Archives for posts with tag: Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby was released from prison Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 conviction for sexual assault,

Let’s recap the events, as described in the NY Times article.

2004 – Ms Constand was raped by Mr. Cosby.
According to the 2018 sentence!
Please note that the Pennsylvania High Court didn’t say the 2018 jurors had ‘seen things”. Only that the trial shouldn’t have taken place!

2005 – The district attorney prosecuting the case “announced in a news release at the time that after an investigation he had found “insufficient” evidence. He later testified that he had given Mr. Cosby the assurance to encourage him to testify in a subsequent civil case brought by Ms. Constand. (A civil suit she filed against Mr. Cosby was settled in 2006 for $3.38 million.)”
As he was convinced he didn’t have enough evidence to make a penal case against Mr. Cosby, the prosecutor promised the defendant he will not be further prosecuted if he testified (a.k.a. ‘told the truth’) in the civil suit.
“In that testimony, Mr. Cosby acknowledged giving quaaludes to women he was pursuing for sex.”

2006 – The civil case was settled for $3.38 million. As in Bill Cosby agreed to pay that amount of money for something the prosecution wasn’t sure that it was able to convince a jury that he had actually done it.

2015 – The next district attorney reopened the case. And got a conviction. Despite the fact that the ‘main’ evidence had been provided by the defendant himself. Given after he was promised he wasn’t incriminating himself in a penal way.

2018 – Mr. Cosby is convicted for something he had done 14 years ago.

2021 – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decides that Mr. Cosby had been practically duped into incriminating himself, found this to be unacceptable and released the former prisoner.

What are we, ordinary citizens, to make out of all these?

Be glad that our individual rights have been upheld?
It makes a lot of sense!
After all, upholding individual rights is what makes the difference between a free society and an authoritarian one.
Between people being free and finding themselves at the whims of the government.

Ask ourselves ‘what about the individual rights of the victim’?
That also makes sense.
But my experience of living under a dictatorship strongly suggests that letting some guilty people walk free is a small price to pay for making resonably sure that a government – any government, doesn’t accrue too much power over the individuals making up the people.

Ask ourselves ‘what happened to us’?
What drives so many of to use constitutional rights as loopholes?
Is this OK?

No legislation will ever be perfect!
That’s why verdicts are given by ‘peers’, judges are given so much ‘leeway’ and why, in general, the law is administered by highly trained responsible people and not by ‘machines’.

After all, how we use whatever we have at our disposal – legislation included, speaks more about ourselves than about the things we use and the circumstances in which we make our choices.



Some 30 years ago I stumbled upon a book by Desmond Morris.

The Naked Ape.

I read it overnight because next day it had to be returned to its owner. Books published in their original languages were hard to come by in communist Romania…
Little did I know at that time that my interests will slowly shift from Mechanical Engineering to Sociology and then on to decision making… Anyway…
In that book Morris tries to convince us that women have so many periods because in this way they are a lot readier to receive their mates, thus ensuring a tighter bond inside the couple. In turn this is beneficial in an evolutionary sense because a tightly knit couple is better suited for raising the kind of slow growing children that is characteristic for the human species.
In short Morris proposes that monogamy was a step forward in human evolution.
I tend to agree with him and I even have a further argument. Imagine what would happen if a small number of alpha males would ‘corral’ – one way or another – most of the available nubile women, as it’s the case with the chimps or the gorillas. Do you think the rest of the males would be able to cooperate in any way towards the survival of the community they belong to or they’d be constantly obsessing about how to get laid?

Which brings me to my subject.

Emile Durkheim used suicide as a pretext to introduce us to his theory about social solidarity and the social function played by what we consider to be a crime.
Durkheim’s research had led him to see suicide as an individual decision but one which is heavily influenced by the cultural medium to which the decision maker belongs. More over, the same line of thinking produced his conclusion that a society must keep a fine balance between ‘solidarity/intolerance’ and ‘laisez-faire’. One that is too intolerant drastically reduces its own ability to adapt to changes that occur in its ‘environment’ while those that do not care about the fate of their members will eventually auto-dissolve.

What if incidence of rape was to be studied in the same light?

Bill Cosby – a man who, let’s face it, could have had legions of willing women – is accused  to have drugged and raped some 40 women in more than 30 years before anything came to public notice.
Jimmy Savile, a British “larger-than-life character”, used “his celebrity status and fund-raising activity to gain uncontrolled access to vulnerable people across six decades” and to unabashedly rape them.
Rape not only occurs randomly in war time but has also been used as a weapon:
Sexual violence is also used to destabilize communities and sow terror”.
Meanwhile France – Durkheim’s own Motherland – has become the stage for some 7000 ‘tournantes’ every year. The English term for ‘tournant’ being gang rape.

As Durkheim said more than a hundred years ago suicide is indeed an individual act/decision but it’s incidence is heavily influenced by what happens around that person.
Same thing is valid for rape. A rape appears at the intersection between the history/experience/upbringing of the rapist, the social/cultural milieu in which he lives and his ‘on the spot’ decision.

Sex sells.
“It’s been said that as human beings, we have a lizard or reptilian brain that responds to certain primal urges. Food is one. Sex and reproduction is definitely another. This underlying, pre-programmed disposition to respond to sexual imagery is so strong, it has been used for over 100 years in advertising. And the industry, while abusing it more and more, would be foolish to ignore the draw of sexual and erotic messaging.”

How far are we willing to go in order to make a sale? As far as Dolce and Gabbana went when they published the picture above?

Morris said that our first step towards humanity was to change our very physiology in order to promote (at least an apparent) monogamy. It seems that we are now altering our culture in order to sell more…

Gang Rape taken to the next level… Manipulation went wild…

Or ‘what can be learned from a stand-up comedian’s long standing career?’:

OK, there are at least two sides of this and until recently there was no sure fire way of ascertaining either:.
1 – he did it and then we have to ask ourselves how come nothing came up for so long or
2 – he didn’t do it and then we have to ask ourselves how come such an obscene thing can happen to a ‘pillar of the society’: “You’ve got to stop beating up your women because you can’t find a job, because you didn’t want to get an education and now you’re (earning) minimum wage,”

Now, after “newly unsealed court documents revealed that the comedian has admitted to giving at least one woman quaaludes before sex”, we have to answer a very clear question. One that every rape victim that has not yet find justice has been yelling at us since the moment of her being violated:

Why are we so willing to overlook the really aberrant behavior of the perpetrator while attempting to make excuses that throw the guilt on the victim?”

(I used quotation marks because I borrowed this from a FB wall. I didn’t provide a link because the owner of that wall has a ‘friends only’ policy. Nevertheless, this is my way of offering thanks for a very well asked question. So well asked in fact as to prod the following answer:)

The fact is that we, modern humans, are so entangled between two conflicting emotions that we sometime behave quite erratically.
On one hand we admire success and successful/powerful figures and on the other we hate/fear failure.
This conflict that tears us apart drives some of us to admire the ‘predators’ – at least as long as they are not caught – and to despise the victim – as long as it is not one of ‘us’.
This might appear as a perversion but maybe this is exactly what we need to do in order to survive as conscious human beings: to constantly adjust our behavior as close to the straight and narrow as possible.
After all it is us who came up with the concept of ‘the end justifies the means’… which, seen from the other side, might be read as ‘Be careful what you wish for, lest it comes true’.

Some of Cosby’s victims might have doubted not only the ability of the judicial system to adequately take care of the matter (“The district attorney on the case told the Daily Mail that at the time, he thought Cosby was probably guilty, and he wanted to arrest him, but he didn’t have sufficient proof of the alleged assault.”), the consequences of filing a complaint but also their value as a person: “What could I say? I was 19 years old. I felt, ‘He’s Bill Cosby. He’ll lawyer himself up. I don’t have a lawyer. It’s going to be he said, she said, and they’ll look at me like I’m crazy.’ … My reputation would have been ruined.”

There is also a way bigger problem. This attitude of ours, the inner conflict, manifests itself in even more pernicious ways.
The German culture is a very strict one. It’s almost inconceivable for a German national to offer a bribe to a fellow German. Yet Siemens had no qualms to shower graft money on foreigners: “Siemens and the battle against bribery and corruption“.
Same thing is valid for the US. Most of the world thinks, backed by the very strong anti-corruption legislation that has been put in place there and by the insistence with which American government officials preach abroad on this subject, that the Union must be a corruption free heaven. Yet things are not exactly as they should be. “An associate warned him that he’d have to “pay to play” “, “Judge Gets ‘Life Sentence’ for Prison Kickback Scheme”, and “Lockheed Wants Out of 40-Years-Old Disclosure Demand”.

This attitude also influences International politics. Putin was lionized in the Western media up to the summer of 2014 despite his ‘antics’ (or rather because of them?!?) and even now almost 22% of the Americans still have confidence in him…not to mention his huge popularity at home, bolstered precisely after the latest events.

The explanation is quite simple. What happened in Putin’s case, as well as in the Siemens/Lockheed Martin developments, follows the pattern we can discern in the dual career of Bill Cosby – stand up comedian and sexual molester. For as long as the perpetrators are seen as being successful, they garner strong collections of fans. As soon as enough of those fans understand that it’s precisely those ‘successes’ that jeopardize the general well being – including their own, the erstwhile fans suddenly wise up.

” “Completely disgusted,” tweeted singer Jill Scott, who had vociferously defended her mentor.” 
PS. Now what about this:
“Bill Cosby’s private art collection at Smithsonian withstands controversy”
““It just raises a little eyebrow that a trustee of a museum is lending [her] own collection, funding part of the exhibition and the exhibition is highlighting works … by less well-known artists whose work is considered by some to be undervalued,””
Normal development or over-reaction?
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