Thursday, June 15, 2017

Let's Talk About Bill Cosby

Polanski at the height of his success
With the giant clusterfucks of the current administration's agenda against women of constant shit and malice hitting us in the face like a curve balls at …I don't know what constitutes fast in baseball, whatever. I wanted to bring this subject up because among all of the Trump news to which I have almost become immune, almost (I mean, its great material for my non-existent comedy career). Alas, we've all recently heard among the Trump babble that the jury is in a deadlock about the verdict against Bill Cosby. A deadlock is not the best use of that word but at least they didn't call it a hung jury …Am I right? Ok! Enough puns. 
If you're not up to date because you've made a nice home for yourself under a rock, let me enlighten you. After a woman's accusation came out that Cosby had sexually assaulted and raped her, it was about 10 or so years old. Now, in the state of California that is still within the statute of limitations so he can still be prosecuted for it. After this very courageous woman finally spoke up, it seemed like every other woman in the greater Los Angeles area came out all with the same disturbing story. 50 to be exact. I mean, it boggles the mind. 50 women are accusing Cosby, and what really sticks in my craw is that these women will never be vindicated. They will never see justice. He's not going to stand trail for those 50 as he should considering none of them had the courage to speak up, which is totally understandable. What's the word of a lowly ingenue against one of the biggest celebrities of that era? If this teaches us anything, and knowing about rape statistics, the most important and best thing a woman can do if she is victimized is speak up. You would think that a comic as successful as Cosby doesn't have to drug and rape girls. Who knows, was it titillating? Was it amusing? At least we know that to a sane person it's sick and wrong, and according to the police an egregious violation on too many women to even wrap your mind around.
Now, I'd like to talk about a paradox of conscience that I've dealt with for a while. It's interesting that no one has yet compared this scandal to the Polanski scandal of the 1970's. Here's some backstory on that; Roman Polanski was and is a brilliant filmmaker from Poland who lost both parents in the Holocaust as a kid. He made a name for himself as an auteur in Europe, moved to Hollywood and after Rosemary's Baby, he was THE Roman Polanski. He was married to the beautiful and wonderful Sharon Tate for a little less than a year until she and others at her house were brutally murdered by the Manson family while Roman was in London. His life changed forever, I mean of course it would. It should be added she was 8 1/2 months pregnant with their child at the time. 
A few years later, when he decided not to give into grief but to survive and to keep going as an artist he made arguably his best film; Chinatown. Around this time, he started dating very young girls. He's European, they were European, I'm sure there was some legality there. Then, one night at Jack Nicholson's house, he was taking photographs of a 13 year old girl named Samantha Gailey, and according to public record, he proceeded to give her champagne and quaaludes to knock her out (sound familiar?), then sodomized and raped her. 
Because of a really long story about what happened to the system of justice in this particular case, even though he had admitted culpability and guilt, he fled to France. To this day he is not allowed in the United States. The crisis comes from the fact that as a film lover, I without any pretense, faux intellect, or politics, really admire and respect him as a filmmaker. He is actually one of my favorites, and given what he had survived in his life, is it time to forgive him? Should we have forgiven him before? Surprisingly most people did. Except the police. I will never in my life advocate what he did. I have had to separate the person from the crime like a family member would.

Cosby at the height of his success
However, there's a sense of betrayal with Cosby that I cannot come to terms with. I grew up on The Cosby Show, and he really was America's dad. Not only that, he was so wholesome, and so iconic, realizing what he had done was such a blow to me that I don't think I have any forgiveness for him. As a woman, it makes my skin crawl. What I think bothers me the most is that he thought he could go on and on and get away with it, but now he's learning that no one is above the law. I just have no mercy for him. Why his case is different to me than the Polanski case is a total mystery. I do not think of Polanski as a victim. Although the European press would argue that. There is a very interesting documentary that I will link that expresses how he became two different people to two different sets of press; The European press saw him as this wholly tragic figure who survived the gassing of his mother, the murder of his wife, and maintained his voice against the Hollywood machine, while the American press saw him as this malignant twisted dwarf who dabbled in Satanism (untrue btw), was highly controversial, and just the perfect villain.
13-year-old Samantha Gailey, Polanski's victim. 
And yet, Cosby would be the last person to understand as a villain. So many of us, particularly women, have difficulty coming to terms with that. He brought happiness to so many homes on TV night, broke race barriers in comedy, did a great deal for Civil Rights as well. And yet, his epic downfall is what his legacy will be, it is not tainted. It is forever tarnished. 
I think the moment where I truly felt guttural hate for this man is when someone not exactly known for being of sound mind or for telling the truth; Janice Dickinson was interviewed about her experience with him as a young model. She said her piece, but the camera man failed at his job and forgot to turn off the tape. You can see that she started weeping in a way I never want to see a woman weep. Sexual assault is no joke, and having to hold it in because of intimidation from Cosby is even more disturbing and disgusting. 
Back to Polanski, I would blanket statement this whole thing and say that of course circumstances aside it is never ok, and we all know this. What is it about a person that you can eventually forgive and one that is unforgivable. When Polanski received his Best Director Oscar for The Pianist in 2002, every single member in the Dolby Theater stood up and clapped their asses off. Is it time? I doubt it. It's ironic that a man like Polanski who made films that were really amazing and that's about it, is more forgivable than Cosby who brought us so much joy when we were children. But perhaps that's why we hate him more. And you know what? We should. There will always be an asterisk next to both of their names, and actually perhaps Cosby's name will be erased from TV history so that there isn't a giant splotch on their repertoire.

How the world will now remember Cosby. 'Shame' should be written on his lapel like a scarlet letter. 
Ironically for Cosby, Hollywood is a very forgiving city. Hugh Grant, Mel Gibson, fucking Tara Reid, I mean c'mon. But in this age where women feel that their rights are being peeled apart like an orange, he is not a martyr. He is the shining example of what happens when power in Hollywood goes unchecked. We've talked about what's most infuriating and for lack of a better word defiling about this whole case is that it took one woman to speak up to make a whole army of them who felt so little next to the great and powerful Cosby to speak up and lived in silence for YEARS. I really do hope he gets his comeuppance. If not in court, the certainly in the court of public opinion. Why? Because I'm a woman. We will always be intimidated by figures like that who have more power, more money, more everything to fear people into speaking up. But since Obama had put sexual violence on the map, and really made it a forthright issue, its time to say I don't give a fuck who you are. You're a monster, and that's all I see.

Below is the trailer for the film I had mentioned earlier. It's called Wanted and Desired. Don't bother with Netflix the full thing is on Youtube, it is a must-see.

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