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-   -   My Bill Cosby Friendship and When Bad People Make Good Art (

Sue 11 April 2018 03:45 PM


Originally Posted by Lainie (Post 1976377)
St. Alia, the Cosby Show ran from 1984-1992, according to IMDB.

I Spy was a 60s drama starring Cosby and Robert Culp as spies who traveled the world. Their cover was that Culp was a tennis player and Cosby was his trainer. But Cosby's character was also a Rhodes Scholar and a very accomplished man, which was groundbreaking for a black character on American TV at the time.

I had a book, I think one of those Whitman hardcovers, which was based on I Spy and now that I think about it it was probably one of the few, if not the only book I had at the time that was aimed at a child/teen market that had a black man as a positive main character - and actually featured on the cover.


Re: differing reactions to such crimes, in Cosby's case, I think some of it is that he was so beloved. I don't think anybody had that kind of investment in Roman Polanski.
That's true and Polanski got a big pass from a lot of people because of his childhood and because, of course, losing his wife the way he did.

Dr. Winston O'Boogie 11 April 2018 07:02 PM


Originally Posted by musicgeek (Post 1976282)
Dr. Winston O'Boogie, I'm curious as to what makes you think Wagner has "fallen out of favor." The Met just performed Parsifal at the start of their 2018 season, Chicago Symphony has Wagner programmed for May, Boston Symphony just finished a 3-day run of an all-Wagner program, Cleveland Symphony has a Tristan und Isolde program coming up in two weeks.... in Europe, the Royal Opera House (London) will open its 2018-2019 season with the complete Ring cycle, the Bayreuth Festival is still going strong, a new production of Lohengrin will be in Marseille in May... I think that most scholarly discussion of Wagner now includes criticisms of his views, but his music is still regularly performed by major opera houses and orchestras.

Well, with your name, you may have a better feel for the pulse of the musical community....

Let's say that I've heard (I know, a phrase that's practically a sin on the ULMB) of people considering then dropping the use of Wagner because of his non-musical side. You had examples, but how much more would his works be performed if his beliefs were different?

E. Q. Taft 11 April 2018 07:16 PM


Originally Posted by Lainie (Post 1976377)
I Spy was a 60s drama starring Cosby and Robert Culp as spies who traveled the world. Their cover was that Culp was a tennis player and Cosby was his trainer. But Cosby's character was also a Rhodes Scholar and a very accomplished man, which was groundbreaking for a black character on American TV at the time.

While I don't think I ever saw I Spy, I do recall the episode of Get Smart! that parodied it, with Maxwell Smart going undercover as a ping-pong champion and Nipsey Russell playing the Cosby part. (Robert Culp was cool enough to appear in a cameo as a drunken waiter...)

crocoduck_hunter 11 April 2018 07:17 PM


Originally Posted by St. Alia (Post 1976366)
I've read your comment several times over a couple days and I'm still trying to figure out which era is which without having to look it all up.

I also grew up in the 80's, but I think you're younger than me based on lurking here for years.

Probably not by much unless the age listed in your profile hasn't been updated in a long time.


I don't really know what I Spy is but I think it's from before I was born? Or at least before I was watching TV shows.
The Cosby Show was something I grew up watching throughout childhood into my teens I think and then I watched A Different World. Did the Cosby Show end far earlier than I recall and I just watched reruns or something?
No, I just misremembered the dates of when the show ran. I grew up out in the country and watching TV was not something the family did at night.

smittykins 12 April 2018 01:33 AM


Which reminds me - OJ Simpson didn't have (as far as I can remember) a TV show but he was in some pretty high profile movies. Do those movies ever get shown on TV anymore I wonder.
He did star in a long-running series of commercials for Hertz Rent-A-Car, which is what I primarily remember him from(although I knew he was a football player).

Mouse 12 April 2018 09:08 PM


Originally Posted by ganzfeld (Post 1976333)
I think one thing is people have to stop putting old art on a pedestal, no matter how "good" it's supposed to be. I love the Gioconda as much as the next guy steeped in this Eurocentric cesspool and I don't expect the Louvre to take it out of its special little place but, really, let's move on. Maybe what we're looking for doesn't exist yet. I'm all for fully funded art history classes to the max but a lot of this "good art" talk is just nostalgia. (Also, if what you talk about in art history is what's "good" or not, fercryinoutloud get a new teacher or textbook or something. That's so f-ing irrelevant.) I mean, are we really losing anything by putting I Spy in film and TV class rather than the reruns hour? Really? Put something new there.

This comment reminded me of a something I stumbled onto on Pinterest. I know, Pinterest hardly qualifies as a scholarly source, but often a brief visual speaks better than a paragraph-long screed, so here it is.

I actually think that it is a smart strategy of Warner Brothers, not trying to ignore or sugarcoat their problematic art, but acknowledging it for what it is.

Though to go along with the last few lines of ganzfeld’s comment, at the same time, the warning label depicted in the link for said cartoons, is probably only found on the DVDs of these cartoons, which are probably geared less towards a wide audience and more for scholars and enthusiasts fascinated with the history of Warner Brothers’ cartoons. These cartoons aren’t likely still shown in reruns on whatever channel.

ganzfeld 13 April 2018 01:18 AM

I dunno. It's a decent thing to put before an outdated cartoon. I don't think it comes close to addressing the issues. Of course, that's not it's purpose but I think people are extremely likely to say "well, we've taken care of that so That's all Folks" and just enjoy the same racist jingoistic sexist crap without giving it another thought.

It's a failure of the education system, IMO. Not that I think enough people care enough to fix it. It's a lot easier to talk about George Washington Carver and Susan B Anthony and say well we've just about covered that than to say, Why were ordinary people so extremely awful to each other for so long, what are they doing that still is, how was this organized into institutions that made this into a matter of policy and what exists of them today, what new ones are being instituted ... etc.

Mouse 14 April 2018 05:55 AM

You have a point, ganz. Too often the approach to teaching history in this country is the teacher hands the students bundles of tree branches. Since the students never see the whole tree, never mind the forest, it makes it darn near impossible to understand how all the various memes that inform a culture and influence things for better and for worst.

It would also be interesting to introduce such psychological concepts as Cognitive Dissonance to help better understand how Thomas Jefferson could preach life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, while denying it to the slaves he owned. By all accounts, even Jefferson recognized the divide between his beliefs and his slave-owning. He struggled with the issue for all his life, but never resolved it and it might be interesting to try to look through his eyes and figure out why he may have chosen not to.

E. Q. Taft 27 April 2018 07:06 PM

No Longer Conflicted About Cosby
For several years, I was conflicted about Bill Cosby.

In the first trial of the #MeToo era, Cosby has been convicted by a jury in Pennsylvania of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, at the time a Temple University employee he was mentoring. She was the only one who was able to file criminal charges against Cosby before the statute of limitations ran out.

Obviously, I consider Cosbyís actions towards all of those women (and some who have probably never stepped forward) as odious. But what should be said about the manís work? That was the source of my conflict.

Sue 28 April 2018 04:18 PM


There were others (e.g. Phylicia Rashad, Whoopi Goldberg, Damon Wayans) who supported him publicly, to their ever-lasting shame, and let’s not forget all the people who continued to pay for tickets to see Cosby in concert after it was clear that his victims — who had no motive to lie — hadn’t manufactured their claims against him. Where is their morality? They’re enablers, too.
Hmm, does the author include himself as an enabler? He talked about seeing Cosby in concert in 2014. Where is his morality? Not rushing to judgement doesn't make someone a bad person - and there is nothing shameful about it. Especially if you have a personal relationship with someone and honestly never saw this behavior in your interactions with them.

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