aired Dec. 6, 2014 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://youtu.be/MaWHy74ejho
Hey Hey Hey! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of December 7, 2014.
How much smoke does there have to be before we cannot deny that there is fire? Well, when my wife is cooking, that’s almost every meal. But in the case of crime and accusation, at what point do look at hearsay and more hearsay and still more hearsay, and think, “It would be nice to have proof, but it’s time to presume the guy’s guilty until proven innocent.” Sounds ridiculous, but there is a logic to it. Does anybody in the world believe O.J. Simpson refrained from chopping up his ex-wife and her boyfriend the way Ted Nugent slices a deer? Can you hear the name Michael Jackson and not think, “He was bad. He was bad. Sham-on. You know.”
And now another black celebrity – well, Michael Jackson wasn’t exactly black, but be that as it may – Bill Cosby, beloved comedian Bill Cosby, has gone from “I Started Out as a Child” to finishing up in various teenagers. For years, Cos has been the cause of whispers, accusations, unsavory speculations and sub rosa scuttlebutt. There was even a civil suit – to continue the alliterations — but it was settled out of court, because a man of Cosby’s wealth could pay families off and leave the world guessing at his motives. After all, even if he was 100% innocent – which he may well be – he’d still have to hire a team of lawyers and endure his name being dragged for months through courts and headlines. And if he’s fully exonerated, the muttering won’t stop: “Oh, he probably did it. Those famous people get away with everything.”
At the same time, so many women, so many similar incidents, so many pointing fingers. Or something stubby pointing at their fingers. Janice Dickinson may be out of her mind, but was her night with Fat Albert what drove her there? And what about Judy Huth, the first accuser to actually subpoena his penis? Last week, Huth filed a lawsuit against the “I Spy” guy for drugging and raping her when she was 15. Too many years have passed for a criminal trial, but at least she’ll have her day in court — though it will still be a case of “he said, she said, he said, she said, he said, she couldn’t say because her mouth was full.”
Cosby is counter-suing, possibly because at this point, he realizes that “no comment” and “I didn’t do it…that time, or that time, or that time” won’t be enough to convince a cynical public – or all the movie and TV people he’s trying to make deals with. They’re all pulling out. Okay, you have five seconds to make your own joke about that, but seriously, Bill Cosby obviously had enough cash, power and influence in the last 40 years to make evil deeds go away. But did he? The burden of proof belongs to the accusers. It’s a little too late for DNA, hotel registries and presidential dry-cleaning bills, so their memories of couches, beds, baths and beyonds better be unimpeachable.
And by the way, I’m really not one of those people who blames the victims – or alleged victims – in rape or sexual-assault cases. But this woman who’ll be suing Cosby four decades after the fact… She was 15 years old when she met 40-year-old Cosby in the park. He took her and her friend to a tennis club where he bought them drinks – and I don’t mean Gatorade; more like a Get-`er Aid – and then he asked them back with him to the Playboy Mansion. I don’t care how naïve girls were back then, if you’re a teenager, and a guy your dad’s age asks you back to the Grotto, what the hell do you think is gonna happen? You think he wants to hear how you’re doing on the debate team? Well, in this case, yes! She helped him master-debate. Supposedly against her will. And against his willy.
And people scratch their heads. “If even half the allegations from different women are true,” we think, “how’d he get away with it? How did he get to be Cliff Huxtable instead of Inmate #42837?” But then again, look at Jimmy Savile over in England, and Rolf Harris in Australia. Beloved entertainers who did more – and worse – than Cosby, and didn’t hit the skids until years after their indiscretions. So, alas, there is precedent for extreme crime and delayed punishment.
What a rotten year it has been for comedians. David Brenner dead from cancer. John Pinette dead from weight issues. Joan Rivers killed by minor surgery. Robin Williams going through a period of belt tightening. Carlos Mencia…still not funny. And now, one of the top five greatest comedians of all time, Bill Cosby, not exactly having the last laugh.
I still hope none of this is true, and these are just gold-diggers or mass hysterics or bitter has-beens who never got the ingénue roles and music careers they wanted. But the realist in me realizes that the star of “Mother, Jugs and Speed” was a mugger with drugs and spooge. I know you were in “Let’s Do it Again” – but did you have to do it again and again and again? Oh Bill, how could you disappoint us this way? After all, it takes a special kind of genius to do something even more vile, even more unspeakable and horrible than “Leonard Part 6.” And no, I won’t be giving my children your chocolate pudding pops.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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