Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Cosby Women and The Critical Mom

I always thought Cosby was corny, but I ought to have remembered that sentimentality, says Oscar Wilde, is the bank holiday of cynicism. Cosby's very successful stand-up comedy routines have been dubbed "observational humor," so I'd like to observe where the man is in the humor and I find banality--not a drop of wit. Is that a clue? Are there clues? He plays on our sentimentality. What a cute kid! What a face! Oh, that face.
If it looks too good to be true, you're safer assuming that it can't be true.
When I listen to Cosby's women, I think: there, but for the grace of sheer dumb luck, go I. How often did I listen to fools who, fortunately for me, turned out to be harmless, or to be weak enough for me to push them away? Too often, before I reached the age of reason, and because my mother told me absolutely nothing. It's not really her fault: she knew nothing.
So a friend and I sat around the dining room table with my eleven-year-old daughter, who is beautiful, and a copy of the New York magazine issue featuring the Cosby women, and an old CD of Cosby's I Started Out As Child. On that album, his is the face of a goofy cherub. We told my daughter that after Cosby drugged and used one young woman, and she awoke not knowing why she was in bed with him, groggy, and begged for help, asking, "How can I get home?" he said, "Call a taxi."
We said, if your hunches tell you something's off, pay attention--even if the place looks good. We said, always open your own drink, and if someone you don't know hands you a drink, leave it on the counter. We said, if you leave your drink on the counter and come back, or someone "freshens" it for you, just go get a different drink that you open yourself.  
And I said, "But there aren't that many men who are this bad," and I hope that's true, too.

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