Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Is this a fair argument, or not?

If he wore overalls instead of a sweater, would Cosby be more sympathetic?

I should go back to what I was doing....

Rudy Giuliani says this:

"But the fact is, I find it very disappointing that you're not discussing the fact that 93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We're talking about the exception here," Giuliani said on NBC's "Meet the Press" while discussing whether police forces reflect the demographics of the communities they serve.

Later in the argument Giuliani argued that while police officers are only present in certain communities because black people are committing crimes. "It is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community," he said. "White police officers won't be there if you weren't killing each other 70 percent of the time."
Which is, frankly, racist and disgusting.  Sixteen women, most (if not all) of them white, now say Bill Cosby sexually assaulted and/or raped them.

Which isn't racist, because.....well, I'm not sure why.  The idea that black men are slavering after white women goes so far back in American history it might as well be the original racist trope.  I remember seeing a KKK pamphlet showing a drawing of a google-eyed black man drooling at the thought of raping a fair young white woman, when I was much younger, and I'm still a lot younger than Harper Lee.

I'm not saying there's a racial animus against Bill Cosby; but I'm intrigued by the idea nobody seems to think there could be.  16 white women (or the majority are white, if not all) claim this black man raped them.  And tout le mond is as ready to believe them as the jury was ready to believe Mayella Ewell.

Why doesn't this sound like a case for Atticus Finch?  Is it because the generation so happy to despise Cosby for this, doesn't remember the racism that Harper Lee knew?

Really; I'm wondering.

29 Comments:

Blogger jim, some guy in iowa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:06 PM  
Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

It was tempting to note the similarities of the online and tabloid mobbing of Cosby and the case of the Scottsboro Boys but yours is better.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Rmj said...

There was no justice in the novel, because the woman was believed.

There is justice now on-line, because the women are believed.

Justice is about who is punished. Obviously.

Which is the problem.

10:30 AM  
Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

Is it just me or is it harder to believe Cosby could have covered this up that long as the number of accusers take their story to the online tabloids instead of the police increase?

I have no problem believing it's possible some of what's being claimed may be true, though not without a trial, but I'm having a really hard time believing all of it is true. It's not as if Cosby were an obscure figure who hasn't generated controversy since at least the time he started telling gangsta kids that they were acting like jerks.

11:55 AM  
Blogger June Butler said...

Rmj, I don't quite understand your point. Agreed, Guiliani's words are racist and disgusting, but I'm mystified by the leap to Cosby and the allegations against him. I'm not certain whether the allegations are true, but I wonder, are all the women lying, because - racism? I don't find it at all difficult to believe that if any of the allegations are true, they were covered up for many years. Think of child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

Yes, by all means, bring on Atticus Finch.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

June--

There was no presumption of innocence in that courtroom. And there is no presumption of innocence for Mr. Cosby.

Of course, the presumption of innocence is not the same thing as innocence, and the question of rape is the question of consent and when it can be withdrawn. Did any of these women consent beforehand, and withdraw consent later? 45 years later, in some cases?

That's a very uncomfortable question, but it is the question of law if you accuse someone of rape. If you accuse them of being a pig, you're free to say what you want. Rape, however, is a serious crime, and the latest article identifies Mr. Cosby as the country's worst serial rapist.

These women were not children when the had sex with Mr. Cosby, if, indeed, they did. They made adult decisions, they took the adult consequences; or they are making all of this up. I have no way of separating truth from fiction here, but I don't accept it as true just because they say so.

Which is what happened in the courtroom in the novel. It isn't so much the racism of their accusations, it's the willingness to conclude that a black man lusted after so many white women. That's the racial aspect that bothers me. And, as in that courtroom, the willingness to "convict", if only in the court of public opinion, without any evidence at all (except news stories).

2:16 PM  
Blogger June Butler said...

The continuing unwillingness of authorities to accept the word of women who say they were raped bothers me a great deal. Also, the question of power in relationships, and yes, consent can be withdrawn at any point along the way, though, indeed, not after the fact, even with adult women.

I have not declared Cosby convicted, and he is indeed innocent until proven guilty. What if at least some of the women are telling the truth? Should they be silenced in the name of possibly being white and racist?

I'll leave it that I don't understand your post. Besides, I'm not following the story all that closely anyway. You probably know more than I do.

2:33 PM  
Blogger ntodd said...

This is fundamentally where I'm at:

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2014/11/term-due-process-think

I ain't burning my old LPs, and it's unlikely I'd ever have bought one of his things again, so it's easy for me to boycott. Yet I'm more than willing to assume that he abused power over these women after so much "testimony" has been given, particularly given the nature of power and the fact that we ignore women's charges as a society far too often.

He hasn't been lynched. He hasn't been charged (some of the statute of limitations have expired) and probably won't be. He hasn't lost his freedom or life without due process.

As one who relies on the goodwill of the public, he has to know it's a fickle thing. He could just as easily lose his gravy train because people are tired of being lectured by Reagan's Saf Black Dad about how black poverty is all their fault, or because a bunch of women who don't have much else to gain have come public. Comes with the territory.

I was in the same about about Woody Allen, pretty much on all points.

3:21 PM  
Blogger June Butler said...

Aye, ntodd. That Cosby has become an old scold does not endear him to me. A boycott by me would be useless, because I wouldn't buy his stuff or attend one of his shows anyway. He can still cry his way to the bank.

3:38 PM  
Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

One of the great differences between this blog and most of the others I go to is that people can respectfully disagree here and people on both sides of a disagreement will have reasons to disagree.

4:40 PM  
Blogger ntodd said...

I admit that I don't feel compelled to engage in my usual MO of swearing and name calling here...

6:50 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

June--

Mostly what I know is the rancid comments at Salon. This is something I should change about my reading habits.

I don't think Cosby is without stain; but I don't think he's the worst serial rapist ever. As I said, there are serious issues of consent here, to begin with. While the reporters see similarities in stories as indicative of truth, I see it as indicative of picking up the stories everyone else is telling and making them your own, especially after 20-40 years.

I understand there are stories of Cosby paying women; which tells me they didn't feel raped, until the past few months. To me, it's a little late to say the sex you had 30 years ago is rape now. But is that what's being said?

And there's the problem: I don't know. I find it chilling that so many white women are once again accusing a black man of rape, and everyone is willing to agree the white women must be right. I'd just like to say I don't know, no one knows, and everyone screwed this pooch a long time ago by either taking the money (allegedly) or not going to the police while there was still physical evidence to be had.

'Cause now it's down to he said/she said, which won't make it past a preliminary hearing (determination of whether to hold a criminal trial) and the argument against Cosby (on the inter webs) is that he should sue for slander if he's innocent, hem-hem. Which means, again, he's guilty until proven innocent.

Are the women lying? Or telling themselves stories they are now convinced are true? Who knows? And by now, we'll never know. So it's an ugly business all around, and no one can claim the moral high ground.

IMHO, and OCICBW.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

Ntodd--

Yeah, it's probably not going to hurt Cosby at all, actually. He's 77. His best days are behind him. To the extent it annoys me, as I say it's due to the sewer of comments at Salon, and that's my fault for wading there.

All in all, I agree with you. I'm saddened because it's more likely true than not; then again, he's not my dad, my best friend, or my estranged uncle.

So ultimately, what do I care, especially since the truth can never be known, since all involved apparently conspired to hide it. Until they got tired of that.

All this proves is the old adage that three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

And maybe it's not a fair argument at all.

I was really wondering when I put that out there.....

7:27 PM  
Blogger ntodd said...

So, can I start swearing now?

7:49 PM  
Blogger ntodd said...

BTW, I can never see a picture of Tom Robinson and not think of Admiral Cartwright from the last 2 TNG movies (he was also in DS9). It's either a generational thing, or just proves I'm a nerd.

7:51 PM  
Blogger June Butler said...

"Mostly what I know is the rancid comments at Salon. This is something I should change about my reading habits."

That would explain a lot about our different viewpoints, since I don't read their rancid comments at all. I haven't given the Cosby matter much thought, since I mostly tune out stories of celebrity scandals.

"I find it chilling that so many white women are once again accusing a black man of rape, and everyone is willing to agree the white women must be right."

...though it is possible that a black man with money and power raped white women at one time or another. Not everyone believes Cosby raped the women, unless I am no one. I simply don't know, but I would not be too quick to dismiss all the women's stories as lies.

While I believe racism is alive and well and spread throughout the country and not limited to the former Confederate states, it is also possible that some things may be more about power and money, than about race.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

June--

Quite so. Thought Criminal has a post up quoting extensively from a People article. I left a comment this morning about another case I read about recently.

What bothers me, more and more, is the concept of "consent" in these cases. It would appear many of these women (not all, but more than one or two) continued relationships with Cosby for months, at least. Yet now, 30 years later or so, they decide the sex was non-consensual?

What is going on here?

Ntodd--eff you, you effing eff!

7:03 AM  
Blogger ntodd said...

There's no need to be rude. Thus your arguments are invalid.

And NEVER read the comments.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Rmj said...

This is the internet, there's always a need to be rude.

You want I should lose my blogging license?

8:54 AM  
Blogger June Butler said...

The account by the woman that TC cites does indeed sound dubious as rape. I think what startled me was your leap from Guiliani to the Cosby story. I'm sorry, too, if the women are lying, and what's happening to Cosby is a trial by media, but I don't know for sure, and I'm not all that interested in following the full story.

I've learned a lesson here that I should not comment on matters that really don't interest me. :-)

9:09 AM  
Blogger jim, some guy in iowa said...

a second run at the hill:

i don't think it is a fair comparison because bill cosby has been for many years a famous, well-liked and reasonably powerful man- tom robinson may have been well-liked by his neighbors, but it isn't the same thing

that power thing makes a lot of difference in even little ways- if i've been victimized by someone like that, i might think nobody would believe me- i might not even quite believe what happened. i might think it was my fault. i might think i was the only person it ever happened to and keep quiet until i found out that someone else had stood up

whatever/wherever i read about this- whether it's here, where there's a defense of cosby as a person deserving of benefit of the doubt, or a place where all the benefit of the doubt is placed on his accusers, i still have this nagging feeling of the writer missing something- but i haven't the intellectual horsepower to pull it all together. so i bite my tongue

9:23 AM  
Blogger Rmj said...

jim--

Well, I got wound up about it via comments at Salon, which led me to all but defending Cosby as innocent.

I know enough about the facts now to know they don't matter to the general conversation. The details of these stories sound more like regrets than actual rape, especially in cases where there are repeated alleged druggings.

Basically, too many questions about events too many years ago, and conclusions based on "someone said she was raped" rather than based on "here's the story this person tells."

In the end, I realize I don't have a dog in this fight, except the concept of fairness and justice. I know now of two cases where these allegations went to lawyers who said there isn't enough here to bring a case (civil or criminal). That isn't the same thing as "not believing women who claim they were raped." Which is where the problem starts: if every non-marital sexual encounter is rape, whether at the time or 30 years later, what is "rape"?

And who do we believe when the accusation is made, at that point? If it is all about power (and giving women power they say they were long denied seems to be the justification here), then it's still not about justice.

It's just about who gets punished, and who gets to do the punishing. That's the abstract but concrete issue that bothers me.

Personally, I think Cosby is probably a pig. But I'm not sure a pig is always a rapist.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Rmj said...

I should add that I agree with jim: i have a nagging feeling some one is missing something about this whole mess.

It's the unerring confidence of those who declare "Cosby is a serial rapist!" that bothers me. That, and the idea that rape is now anything we want it to be. That bothers me a lot.

9:56 AM  
Blogger jim, some guy in iowa said...

rmj: if only inspector maigret wasn't a fictional character. but even he would have a difficult time with this. i'm starting to think that nagging feeling comes from the understanding that events change with time- they don't stay fixed. then add in the fact that there are at least three sides to every story, and how does anyone think they *know* *anything* about what happened between two people, people they only know from tv if at all, forty years ago

5:39 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

Jim--

Yup.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Lawrence said...

"...if every non-marital sexual encounter is rape..." Spousal rape has been a crime in all 50 states since 1993. " That, and the idea that rape is now anything we want it to be." Did you get that one from an MRA website? Really, though, a very staid and respectable version of the "bitches be lyin" defense you have here. William F Buckley upvotes you from the beyond.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

Whatever.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Rmj said...

I can't link to it now, but an article at Salon argues that Darren Wilson should have been cross-examined in order to get at the truth, because that's the heart of our justice system.

The irony is so sharp it will cut and you'll never feel it.

7:45 PM  

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