1. It’s Wednesday, July 8, 2015.
2. Today is mathematically correct.
3. I’m one of the 2,858 people who contributed to this campaign to help complete Orson Welles’ last film. I’m happy to see that despite missing their goals by a lot, the people behind this express confidence that they’ll get the movie done. I’m not expecting another “Citizen Kane,” but who knows?
4. One year ago, if you said “Bill Cosby” in a word association game, I would have said “hero.” I, like most other Americans, was unaware of any accusations involving improper behavior with women — other than when he admitted an affair with a woman who surfaced right after his son was murdered on a California highway.
There’s been some hand-wringing about the fact that this week’s revelation — that Cosby testified 10 years ago that he had purchased Quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex — was necessary to convince remaining skeptics about his behavior. The fact that so many women made the accusations were, according to critics, not enough to convince Cosby’s fans that he was a serial rapist.
I just don’t think it’s fair to say that this is another example of how women aren’t believed when they alleged that someone — especially someone of prominence — has raped them. Yes, that’s an issue that deserves serious discussion, and there should be respect for any woman who makes an accusation and any man to defend himself when an accusation is unjust.
But this incident seems more like testimony about how good at being “Bill Cosby” this man was.
A year ago, I would have put him near the head of a league of civil rights pioneers among artists and athletes — people such as Jackie Robinson or Marian Anderson. In some ways, Cosby was more influential. Starting with his comedy records in the 1960s, when he was able to show all of America that African-Americans (the current term; back then, saying Negro would have been more acceptable) were no different in their dreams, their foibles and their experiences.
In a golden era of comedy, he was genuinely funny. That career would stretch for more than a half-century of TV sitcoms, dramas, movies and amazing stand-up shows.
My wife and I saw him in Morristown, N.J., four years ago, and it was a two-hour tour de force. That any comedian can hold a stage by him or herself for two hours is an incredible feat, as Jerry Seinfeld points out in his terrific film “Comedian.”
We were conned. Big time. We were conned into thinking that his high-minded stances on education, behavior and race relations were those of a man of integrity. We were conned into thinking that this man was his TV alter ego, Dr. Cliff Huxstable, the family man any would-be father of any race would aspire to be.
Instead, it was a sham. This would-be American hero appears to be among the lowest forms of life. A man who felt compelled to get women to use drugs as a prelude to sex is not what a man of integrity, a man who offers advice to others on public morality, would do.
So yes, I believe Bill Cosby did what these two dozen or so women accuse him of doing. I probably have believed it since he refused to address the accusations directly as they piled up late last year. What I realize now is that it’s easy to be conned because you want to believe what seems really good about people is really true.
I feel stupid and terrible, and a little empty. And right now, I’m not in the market for any more heroes.