Monday, April 30, 2018

Lessons Learned

What would Cliff Huxtable do? Presented with a situation in which his father (for dramatic purposes) had been convicted of a serious crime (sexual assault for realistic purposes), what would the America's Top Sweater Model say? To his family? To his friends? To himself? 
Here are some things he said back in the late eighties and early nineties: 
"If you call a female surgeon 'old', she will tear you apart."
"Rudy, hurry up and become president because we need you now!"
"No, no, don't take my bubble thing."
"Look at me when you lie."
It would have to be "a very special episode," but that is what we came to expect from The Cosby Show, back in its heyday. Kids smoking pot. Kids drinking. Teenage pregnancy. Teen sex. And somewhere in that mix, you might expect that the star of the show would have picked up some of the wisdom that he was spouting, and applied it to the problem faced by the elderly Huxtable drugging and sexually assaulting women. 
Or maybe it was a matter of working the line of "who would ever believe..." Not Bill Cosby. Not the Doctor of Education who used to introduce every episode of Fat Albert with the phrase, "This is Bill Cosby comin' at you with music and fun, and if you're not careful you may learn something before it's done."
No. This was not a very special episode. This was a decades-long crime spree that cannot be legitimized the the times or how we used to do things. It was a man using his power and privilege to force himself and his urges on women who were not given any chance to refuse. These are no longer "alleged" victims. These are victims of a system that is only now starting to tip back in favor of those who have been attacked. The applause and praise now belongs to those women who stood up and waded through the public's disdain for them while waiting for someone, anyone, to listen. 
Cliff Huxtable would be happy with that outcome. Sorry "his father" wasn't able to get the lesson. 

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