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.