Categories
antifeminism misogyny rape rape culture

The worst take? Columnist argues that Bill Cosby is “taking the hit for men who’ve wronged women”

Is it fair to convict someone who was so charming playing Cliff Huxtable?

By David Futrelle

UPDATE: 6/17 Mistrial

As I write this, I am awaiting what I hope will be a guilty verdict in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial.

Meanwhile, on Philly.com, columnist Christine M. Flowers is wishing “we’d never come to verdict on this case.” Because, in her mind,

Bill Cosby is an easy target, able to stand in for all the men who might have mistreated us in a distant past … it’s as if the tidal wave of feminist history is set to engulf that one man as some kind of vindication for all the women who’ve been wronged.

Let’s see if you can follow her, er, logic here, as I sure can’t. Even before the verdict, Flowers writes,

The greatest damage has already been done, and that is the shattering of beloved myths and comforting relationships by the proxy of television and nostalgia. Bill Cosby is Cliff Huxtable, regardless of what the critics say. … It is ridiculous to argue that a man who was capable of creating the character that fathered a generation did not, at some deep level, possess those nurturing characteristics.

Er, what!? It’s not ridiculous. The world is full of charming abusers, able to hide their true nature from the public. And it’s full of men who treat some women well and others horrifically.

Oh sure, Flowers knows that Mr. Huxtable Cosby is far from perfect.

And yes, he is an adulterer who admitted to giving women drugs for sex. He has confessed in a secular confessional to betraying the trust of his wife, and perhaps of the women who considered him a mentor before he moved them to another spot on the sliding scale of human interaction.

Seriously? Before he moved them to another spot on the sliding scale of human interaction!?

That’s one way of putting it, I guess.

But I am allowed to refuse to believe that it includes rape.

That you are. And the rest of us are allowed to believe that you’re full of shit.

As Flowers sees it, there are

Too many people willing to pull down a man who, because he happened to say the taboo things that shamed young black men for living down to expectations, is considered a traitor to the race. Too many women who see in this an opportunity to exorcise the ghosts of all the meanness in the world, the assault on their presumed dignity, the Trump effect.

I’m pretty sure that no women think that putting Cosby behind bars will “exorcise” all the evil in the world.

This, I think, is the real reason so many people want to see a conviction: It will confirm that the world is a dangerous place for my gender, and get a condemnation, by proxy, of the patriarchy.

No. But it will bring some small measure of justice to a woman that a lot of us strongly believe is telling the truth about what he did to her.

And that’s my problem with this prosecution. Bill Cosby is an easy target, able to stand in for all the men who might have mistreated us in a distant past, and a cautionary tale to those college frat boys who might take advantage when we lie supine and drunk on the floor in the future.

And why shouldn’t a guilty verdict against Cosby provide a cautionary tale to frat boys “who might take advantage” — that is, rape — women too incapacitated to consent? That is one of the biggest fucking reasons we put people in jail in the first place, to provide “cautionary tales” to other potential criminals. Obviously Flowers, as an adult human being, is aware of this; it;s not clear why she’s decided it’s somehow inappropriate in rape cases.

After a year of leaked commentaries and conversation, evidence and prognostication, we are left with the words of one woman and one man, and yet it’s as if the tidal wave of feminist history is set to engulf that one man as some kind of vindication for all the women who’ve been wronged.

The jury isn’t deliberating feminist history; they’re looking at evidence.

The 50 other accusers, like a finger-wagging Greek chorus in the back of the courtroom, stand in for the wronged women of the past. Gloria Allred leads them in righteous chant, and we look on.

Yes, by all means, reduce the other women who have also accused Cosby of rape to a bunch of “finger-wagging” onlookers.

I do hate these trials that pit an evolving societal ethic against a flawed human being, one person, albeit a person greatly privileged, to make a point that “we’re better, because now we get it.”

This type of proceeding, with breads and circuses and wailing choruses, shows we really haven’t, after all.

Cosby isn’t being tried for violating “an evolving societal ethic.” He’s on trial for rape. Rape was as wrong, and as illegal, in 2004 as it is today. The only “wailing chorus” here is in Flowers’ head.

H/T — @EyesOnTheRight

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

118 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dalillama: Irate Social Engineer

Horatio Alger, rather, not Dickens.

eli
eli
3 years ago

They’re called “safety net policies” for a reason you assholes in Congress. Just because some of you like calling them “entitlements” doesn’t mean they’re bad for the social structure of the country.

I was stopped at a light the other day behind a car that had a bumper sticker. It read, “Anything you get from the government was stolen from somebody else.”

I saw the dude driving when we both turned left and he just looked like your average anybody. But he put this on his car and drove around in it.

I don’t really think it works this way, but people believe that it does and that’s so disheartening and terrifying.

kiki
kiki
3 years ago

Gotta love that phrasing “gave them drugs for sex”. TIL that if I slip someone a mickey and steal their wallet while they’re passed out, I’m just “giving them drugs for money”.

JS
JS
3 years ago

Beware the “self-made man”, they can be ridiculously jealous of people who can’t but still get “free money” to live anyway.

Fiat currency is only as good as the society it’s based on.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I was stopped at a light the other day behind a car that had a bumper sticker. It read, “Anything you get from the government was stolen from somebody else.”

There are not enough eye rolls in the world.

I guess that guy is not self aware to realize that by his own logic, driving on publicly funded roads in a car that’s safe to drive because of government safety regulations makes him a thief?

kiki
kiki
3 years ago

On TV in the UK we have this odious little shit called Nick Robinson; he used to be the political editor for the BBC. Once he did this “Just what are taxes, anyway?” bit where he went to a park with a camera crew and said to random people, “Hey, give me £1. There’s a guy over there (points to another random person in the park) that says he needs £1, so I’m going to take it off you and give it to him.” Predictably, none of the people he canvassed were too impressed with this line of reasoning, and nobody gave him £1. Then he turned to camera and said, “Well, there you have it. That’s taxes, and nobody seems to like them.”

The fact that he was doing his absurd little “experiment” in a fucking well-maintained public park was apparently completely lost on Mr Robinson. I imagine if he’d changed his pitch to “Hey, do you come to this park often, and if so, can I have £1 towards its ongoing maintenance?”, he’d have had a lot more takers (or, rather, givers) – but I guess that wouldn’t have supported his fatuous “people hate taxes” narrative…

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
3 years ago

@KatieKitten420:
Yes, Fred Clark is a fairly good writer; he used to work for a newspaper as well as blogging. On the religious side, he’s a rather progressive Baptist. He’s been documenting the actions of the Religious Right for many years now, though he’s most famous for his commentary on the Left Behind book series. Which he quite openly refers to as ‘the world’s worst books’ and rips apart for their horrible writing, horrible theology, and horrible view of humanity in general.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
3 years ago

@kiki Not to mention that for one person to get $1 (or whatever) from taxes, it means that millions of people would have paid .0000001 of a monetary unit. Hard to collect from passersby in a park, I’m sure.

Francesca Torpedo, Femoid Special Forces Major
Francesca Torpedo, Femoid Special Forces Major
3 years ago

@SFHC

How come so many of the richest black men are racist towards other black men?

In my opinion, it’s not just rich black people.

In general, there is a cross-section of Black people who fucking hate other black people.

It’s really weird!

Axe was booping me on the snoot for tolerating it, in a prior conversation: we were talking about how some black people think mixed-race black people like myself are Not Real Black People.

Axe said he disagrees strongly with the way I encourage their hatred by not saying anything; I said I’m just a nice person and can’t really be bothered to defend myself from their attack.

For another citation, just look at how many intra-racial murders, usually gang-related, happen in our community.

Then we have the Hoteps, who famously hate black women, black LGBT people, and such. A Hotep would beat me in my head with a sock full of rolled-up quarters for being trans and pansexual.

It’s funny, because Hoteps call black people God-Emperors and Goddess-Empresses and #blackgirlmagic and #BLACKMANIZGAWD, but don’t fucking hold hands with someone of the same sex or identify as a sex outside your own, or they will fucking kill you.

Also, somehow Dwhyte Mann can teach us To Be Gay and Trans. That’s real shit Hoteps say. In spite of our God-like power and our Imperial majesty, somehow Dwhyte Mann can overcome all this and still ‘turn us gay/trans’. Being gay or trans is Dwhyte Mann’s invention, according to Hoteps.

Hoteps are weird. They have this strange mythology going.

I’m not sure if this is merely a thing that only occurs in the black community, because, due to my years-long stint in the transwoman community, I’ve noticed the Truscum who bitterly hate other transwomen who don’t conform to their narrow ideals of what we should do, and take every effort to attack and snipe at those of us who aren’t fitting into their nice little boxes, in a passive-aggressive way.

I guess it’s just a thing for marginalized groups to cannibalize their own, I guess.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
3 years ago

@Francesca Torpedo:

I guess it’s just a thing for marginalized groups to cannibalize their own, I guess.

You’re always going to have your strict accomodationists; the people who think that playing ‘nice’ will be enough to win people over, and who get annoyed at anybody on ‘their’ side who doesn’t play nice.

For the opposing view, see MLK’s speech about his disappointment with the White Moderate. People with privilege can be like the donkey from the old story: sure, you want to play nice, but you have to get their attention first. (After hitting the donkey with a 2×4.)

And, yeah, as I was noting earlier in commentary about bisexual erasure, for a lot of people, realizing that one level of essentialism is crap (male/female) doesn’t mean that they realize that other levels of essentialism are equally crap (gay/straight, or cis/trans). Some people just don’t seem to be happy unless they can draw nice bright lines and boxes.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
3 years ago

@Fran

Axe said he disagrees strongly with the way I encourage their hatred by not saying anything; I said I’m just a nice person and can’t really be bothered to defend myself from their attack.

Hol up, bring that ass back. That’s not what I said, and I should hope that’s not what I implied. I don’t give a shit whether such people are encouraged by your silence. Their hatred is neither your fault nor your job to correct. You do or don’t do you as you see fit. My issue is the idea that you shouldn’t fuck em up outta worry for their feelings

When a European says that black people should shut up about their oppression cos they did slavery less than Muricans, that person’s feelings are forfeit. When a black person tells a mixed person that their oppression isn’t real or they can’t be woke, that person’s feelings are forefeit. Your feelings, ie being nice and not bothering, are entirely valid. My disagreement is whether or not ‘others criticize this group for bullshit reasons’ makes me or you or anyone wrong for calling them out for real shit

ETA: not all people who support #blackgirlmagic are hoteps 🙂

Francesca Torpedo, Femoid Special Forces Major
Francesca Torpedo, Femoid Special Forces Major
3 years ago

@Axe

Originally, I was going to copy and paste our exchange, but my inner me said “Just half-ass that shit, it’ll be fine.”

comment image

Anyway, thanks for clearing that up, and, yes, I agree with you entirely. However, I was deeply conscious that my choice may not exactly be a wise one, and I felt that you also shared my self-consciousness on the matter.

Also, I’ve noticed people trying to reclaim the #blackgirlmagic thing, with varying degrees of success.

Reminds me of how certain syncretic religions teach that the Gods and Goddesses actually exist within us, and that we are all just shards of divinity exploring the nature of reality.

However, I can’t enjoy this particular philosophy without being reminded of BLACK MAN IS GAWD Hoteptronic rambling. The hoteps fucked that up for me too.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
3 years ago

@Fran

I was deeply conscious that my choice may not exactly be a wise one

Not getting into it with someone you don’t wanna get into it with is the definition of wisdom

I’ve only ever come across #blackgirlmagic in a positive, affirming, SJW typa way. There’s actually people who objected to it on similar grounds to you, ie ‘black girls aren’t actually magic, and saying they are is 8 levels of bullshit’
http://www.elle.com/life-love/a33180/why-i-dont-love-blackgirlmagic/
And a response I quite liked
http://www.theroot.com/elle-you-just-don-t-understand-blackgirlmagic-1790853913

Now, I’m black but neither a girl nor magic. You’re all 3, obvs, so you have way more standing to say whether it’s a good thing or not. I’ll defer to you 🙂

tim gueguen
3 years ago

Whenever someone brings up the “taxation is theft” idea so beloved of libertarians my response is that taxes are equivalent to rent.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
3 years ago

Mistrial and fuck everything

cornychips
cornychips
3 years ago

@axe

Well thats an awesome way to start the weekend

/s

PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Timber-Rattling Booger Slut, But Noice) Sarcastic
3 years ago

Fuck.

The indominable OhNoSheTwitnt captures my feelings about it perfectly:

“Bill Cosby admitted it. The president bragged about it. Yet here we are. This is why women hesitate to come forward about sexual assault.”

Alexis Isabel:

“60 women: Bill Cosby raped/sexually assaulted me. People: You’re all liars. Cosby: I did it People: OK BUT I HAVE THIS THEORY THAT HE DIDNT-”

Yeah. This and Philando Castile’s murderer being aquitted? Shit is admitted, caught on tape, and still given a pass?!? What the fuck is UP with this willfully ignorant bullshit??

/rhetorical question. I already know the fucking answer.

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
3 years ago

There was some footage on the news last night reporting the mistrial decision, showing a handful of supporters outside the court chanting “we love Bill”. I was more shocked than I expected to be, seeing that. It must take a special kind of thinking to dismiss out of hand sixty separate accusations from sixty different people*, none of whom stand to gain in any literal sense but who have indeed put themselves through public hell just to try and bring those accusations to court, on no other grounds than that you really really like a former TV star**. A special kind of thinking shared by an awful lot of people, though.

* Oh did I say people? Sorry, I meant women of course.
** But a manly man former TV star.

Excuse me, I feel a bit nauseous.