I remember being saddened, disgusted and deeply disappointed when I first heard the charges made against Bill Cosby for the sexual assault (and other charges) of over 50 women. I was an ardent fan of The Cosby Show growing up and thought that he, as Dr. Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable, set such a brilliant example as a comedian, actor, and father figure. Guilty or innocent, his reputation will be forever tarnished by the accusations against him, just as so many other celebrities before him.
Even sadder is the fact that Bill Cosby holds a doctoral degree in education from the University of Massachusetts and is a prolific author, of both books for adults (including Fatherhood, Time Flies, Love and Marriage, and Childhood) and an entire series of books for children (The Meanest Thing to Say, The Best Way to Play, The Treasure Hunt, Super-Fine Valentine, Shipwreck Saturday, Money Troubles, and One Dark and Scary Night). Another children’s book, which I borrowed from our friends, Sue and Tony, when we recently visited them in Glenwood Springs, CO, is entitled My Big Lie.
Ironic isn’t it, that Mr. Cosby wrote a story that they describe on the back cover as “What started as a tiny fib, grew and grew and GREW into a BIG lie. And now Little Bill is in BIG trouble!”. I wonder if he wrote this story from his own experience? As Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry of the Harvard Medical School, wrote in the books’ preface, “It’s a story that shows why it is wrong, even dangerous, to lie…”.
Mr. Cosby dedicated his Little Bill series of books for beginning readers to his only son, Ennis, who was murdered in 1997 while changing a flat tire on the side of Interstate 405 in Los Angeles. Mr. Cosby will, no doubt, have hired the best defence attorney(s) available and will have his day in court, but I feel very bad for the shame and humiliation faced by Mrs. Cosby, Camille, their four daughters and three grandchildren. Mr. Cosby’s behaviour, if he is found guilty (as I’m sure he will be), is abominable, not only against the women who he assaulted, but in the memory of his son, and for his wife, children and grandchildren, and to people everywhere – especially the children who read and believed his words.
Who do children and people have to look up to as heroes and heroines in our society? I remember feeling the same sadness and disappointment when Lance Armstrong’s doping was revealed, Tiger Woods’ sexual addiction scandal, and so many others. I find it tragic that when these stars’ lights have the potential to shine so brightly, now and for all time, that they lose control and then fall precipitously from grace, from celebrated to reviled and from deity to disgrace.