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The ‘Not-so-Cosby’ Show

The ‘Not-so-Cosby’ Show

On the side of Ben's Chili Bowl wikicommons

The ‘Not-so-Cosby’ Show
January 21
01:56 2016

Preston Mitchell | Staff Writer


For the past half-century, Bill Cosby has been an iconic figure in the United States’ comedic pop culture scene.

The observational satire of his stand-up was far ahead of its time, and has influenced countless subsequent comedians. His animated creation “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” was a massive edutainment success in the ‘70s, even earning him a doctorate of education from the University of Massachusetts. Most importantly, “The Cosby Show” single-handedly popularized the image of an intelligent black family within the sitcom medium.

However, it’s difficult to ignore the scope or magnitude of Cosby’s recent sexual assault accusations. Despite defending himself as innocent, some of the charges date back to 1965 – no matter how this situation may come to pass, Cosby’s image will forever be tarnished by these accusations.

While no part of these tales should be taken lightly, it is important to keep a frame of reference when thinking about Cosby in the future.

Despite the horrid acts the entertainer has allegedly committed, when looking back, the scope of his work and influence should also be taken into account. While that sentiment may come as a shock to some, it all boils down to something called “separating the art from the artist.”

By human nature, we tend to fixate on the smallest supposition of a man’s despicable acts. I’ve certainly had my fair share of dislike for a celebrity’s persona. In spite of such matters, looking past someone’s misconduct to still venerate their legacy is really important in the field of artistry.

Some could argue that both are inseparable, but that’s not always the case.

Case in point: Mel Gibson. As a person, I think he’s as much of a degenerate as many do. The anti-Semitism, homophobia, racism and alcohol abuse he’s expressed have given him infamy to say the least.

Nonetheless, the man is still a legend in the cinematic world.

As an actor, he’s given countless stellar performances, even immortalizing “Mad Max” far before Tom Hardy came along. Furthermore, I also appreciate him as a brilliant film director. His classics “Braveheart,” “Passion of the Christ” and even the underrated “Apocalypto” are all risky in theory. Worthy of note, Gibson successfully made historical epics for mainstream audiences that normally aren’t keen on brutal violence or dead languages.

Another example is Michael Jackson, whose allegations of child sexual abuse are forever attached to his image. At the same time, no music lover can deny his immense influence on the craft. Defined as the King of Pop, he spent his entire career mixing and mashing genres to create some incredible, timeless music.

Moreover, his Gene-Kelly-inspired dancing techniques turned the music video into a legitimate art form, which (sadly) few artists take advantage of today.

It should be stated that in no way should Cosby’s allegations of rape and sexual assault be forgotten or wiped from the public’s view. These acts are despicable to say the least, and will forever be a footnote at the mention of the celebrity’s name.

All that should be considered is the impact that the name Cosby once positively had in the Western world, and his influence on the comedic world cannot be abandoned because of his demons.

Not the first to be stripped from our hearts and certainly not the last, it will be some time before we can return to the Huxtable home without feeling dirty ourselves.

Featured Image: A Bill Cosby mural in Washington, D.C. Ted Eytan | Courtesy 

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