Jim's Blog

Bill Cosby and the Failure of Our Heroes

The Bill Cosby “trial”, currently proceeding luridly in the so-called “court of public opinion”, is a very telling indicator of a material culture with severe moral blindspots.

It’s ugly on many counts; the very nature of the alleged drugging and rapes, the worrisome fact that the revelation of the crimes are in some cases decades old, the eagerness of the public to accept what is essentially media-driven “justice”, and the duplicity of a culture that on the one hand condemns the use of drugs like the one Mr. Cosby allegedly used on his reluctant paramours, while on the other hand enthusiastically embracing social drugs like alcohol for essentially the same purpose; to facilitate sex.

That it makes for a disappointing last act for one of America’s most (formerly) beloved comedians, a man who influenced generations with his views on life, had suffered terrible personal tragedy in the murder of his son, and was unique among African Americans for the unprecedented success and breadth of his artistic career, is merely another reason why it is so sobering, and begs examination.

While I doubt his audience will ever know the whole truth about Mr. Cosby’s transgressions, the ineffective way he has countered testimony from his numerous accusers points to at least some measure of guilt; it seems reasonable to think there are substantial flaws in the hitherto unblemished Cosby character.

I have watched a few interviews where he has failed to effectively defend his innocence or stem the tide; the unconvincing and unsatisfying responses seem to be a tacit admission of guilt, from a man who’s whole career had been a treasure trove of artful, articulate arguments and reflections about family and society.

One could ask, if legendary communicator Bill Cosby can’t come up with a succint public relations response to deflect these heinous accusations, then why not?

If he is culpable, it’s ultimately not very surprising, given the trend of high-achieving figures in America who turn out to be quite a bit less than perfect. Bill Cosby will join other icons of flawed morality in the pantheon of fallen gods; Lance Armstrong, America’s great morally flawed athlete, Philip Seymour Hoffman, America’s great morally flawed actor, Bill Clinton, America’s great morally flawed president, and others.

Our “best” these days turn out often to be our “best/worst.”

But in a Janus-faced culture such as our modern America, what could be more predictable?

Our nation is a symbol of freedom around the world, still attracting immigrants from distant lands, but our own freedoms are eroded beyond recognition.

The symptoms of racism, a trend that goes back to the original slave-trader of the Americas, Christopher Columbus (though not acknowledged as such by our history text books) are more visible and poisonous than ever.

We decry the use of street drugs, but our medical caretakers almost exclusively recommend drugs for any healing.

Psychiatric “solutions” for unwanted behavioral problems are almost exclusively drug-centric, with pharmaceuticals that are increasingly disruptive to physical health, and are placed on the market with alarming lack of oversight and maximum speed to shelf.

Our military is in a long term crisis; 22 or more of our men and women in uniform, (most of them on one or more army issue antidepressant) commit suicide EACH DAY. And that’s been going on for a long, long time.

Americans vote in smaller numbers, take less responsibility for their impact on their homeland, and watch blithley as their privacy, security and civil rights are weakened and diminished by government.

So, is it surprising that our “best and brightest”, the ones we celebrate and revere, have flaws every bit as deep as the fissures running thru the very society we have wrought?

Can anything be done about it?

Fortunately, the moral decline can be arrested; the focus now should be not on the lurid fall-from-grace de jour, but on getting the common sense moral code, The Way to Happiness out to the people of the world, and getting it’s precepts agreed to and put into action.

The Way to Happiness has brought understanding and tranquility to some of the most war torn, desperate and dangerous places on Earth. With no slant or bias, the book allows the reader to grasp for him or herself why behavior that harms survival of self and associates, specifically dangerous drug use and promiscuity, are poor choices, and what better choices exist.

To find out more and order copies, visit www.thewaytohappiness.org.

comments (10)

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  • Reply

    David Walmsley

    Spot on, Jim. Love is the primary attitude worth holding, and it should apply to all whether they are known about or unknown sinners. Remember Who vengeance belongs to and refrain from indulging in it. It will make the avenger just as regretful as their target. Also, a sin is but a mistake, and since the only way we learn (LOL) is by making mistakes, we could consider revering the greatest sinners for the wisdom they no doubt acquired as a corollary.

    • Reply

      Jim Meskimen

      Thanks for reading, David. I like your point about being grateful to sinners of the past; indeed, anyone we are grateful to has been as laden by missteps as anyone else.

  • Reply

    Caralyn Percy

    The measure of a good and intelligent person is to being willing to face the good, the bad and the ugly and then offer up a workable solution that can be achieved and that removes one from the group of spectators. Thank you, Jim. I am sure that a copy of The Way to Happiness, offered to Mr. Cosby at this time, would be the right thing to do, perhaps with this short saying attached. "There's so much bad in the best of us and so much good in the worst of us, that it ill behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us." Perhaps that would smooth the way to him opening the book and reading it.

    • Reply

      Jim Meskimen

      That's another great, great quote. I need to memorize that one... thanks!

  • Reply

    Anoush

    What a beautifully written blog, Jim! It's thought-provoking and a call to action at the same time! So much good has happened on this planet because of The Way to Happiness campaigns all over the world! Surely a copy into the hands of an embattled human being with as much impact and credibility as Mr. Cosby used to have might help to clear up any confusion he's experiencing this moment. It's been a sobering experience to watch the media circus. That and hospitals - I recommend staying away from them both! Alas, I have no clever quote with which to end my comments. :)

  • Reply

    Bennett Parrish

    I was meaning to write something similar... I am pleased to find that I need not. if only because you have expressed my thoughts and solution so perfectly. If by chance I am leaving multiple copies, I must blame inept use of the computer. Please delete any excess.

  • Reply

    Joava

    Thank you Jim for the great post. I love the "solution". With best regards, Joava

  • Reply

    Alex Eckelberry

    Powerful message. The Way to Happiness is a heretofore undiscovered gem that is spreading like wildfire in the third world; perhaps now, it can become a mainstay of the first world.

  • Reply

    Judy Code

    Well Jim, you've done it again; summed up my feelings and observations in such a fashion and to such a degree that I can only say Thank you and Well said. It is my hope that Mr. Cosby has the opportunity to read this. Perhaps Carolyn Percy could use that banner-quality quote and get a copy of both your blog and the booklet in his hands. Wouldn't that be a happy day?

  • Reply

    Brett Fernau

    The Way to Happiness is indeed an excellent resource for establishing a workable way for human beings to come to an understanding among themselves of what behavior brings freedom, happiness and cooperation. This little book is a breath of fresh, clean air in the smog of social decay. A well-written and on-point commentary, sir.

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