RICHARD STELLAR SOUNDS LIKE A FAKE PORN NAME, EARNS THE FJM TREATMENT

It was only a matter of time.

You knew that if you were patient, some op-ed hack would describe the media's treatment of Bill Cosby as "rape." They might even, if they are particularly sophomoric and unoriginal, entitle a defense of The Cos "The Rape of Bill Cosby." It is the kind of thing so predictable that we would only be shocked if it didn't happen. The winner of the race to banal inevitability was some guy I've never heard of (Richard Stellar, or perhaps I should say "Richard Stellar") writing for some website I've never heard of. Due to reader outrage, the piece has now been renamed "In Defense of Bill Cosby" by the editors, garishly marked GUEST OPINION BLOG, and preceded by an apology/preamble in a rather heavy-handed attempt at damage control. Steel yourself for the eye-watering shit stench as we plow through this journalistic tour de force on America's most lovable pudding shill and perhaps serial rapist. I will say "alleged" only inasmuch as none of the allegations have yet been conclusively proven, but that is where any semblance of benefit of the doubt for the actor ends.

Bill Cosby raped me.

I bet he didn't, Richard. But if you said this in earnest, I bet it would feel pretty shitty if nobody took you seriously and you were accused by no-name fratboy raconteurs on the internet of being a publicity-seeking liar.

Now that I have your attention, consider this: the allegations of sexual misadventure and impropriety that have pummeled the Cos over the last few weeks is not the issue. The issue is the scurrilous environment where media outlets and journalists lie in wait, like aging corpulent prostitutes, their hair dyed flame red and their nails like elongated daggers — waiting to blow any John who dares to topple those who may be kings. It's once again an example of the TMZ-isation of journalism.

We learn a few things here, namely that Richard Stellar's image of a prostitute has not been updated since the early 70s. We also learn…well, I'm not quite sure. It appears to be the classic "Let's focus on the way This is being covered to deflect attention from It" concern trolling tactic. Is anybody arguing that the media don't relish celebrity scandals? Is anyone surprised that they like stories that drive ratings in a ratings-driven business?

The prized real estate that is the first screen view of news websites, or the much vied for leading news story content on the evening news has been hijacked for reports of the latest Cosby detractor, while issues like Ferguson, IS, immigration reform, and 46 abducted students in Mexico receive a momentary lapse of attention. Our focus shifts when a celebrity falls, and like extras in “Walking Dead,” our direction sharply turns, and our attention shifts to the exposed flesh of the fallen, and we grunt and drool, waiting to feast.

OK, this paragraph is hard to nitpick. Good job, Mr. Stellar (!!!) Certainly celebrity news, even if it involves a celebrity committing violent crimes, should not displace important news from the headlines. Even though we know in practice that it does. All the time.

The concept of justice is disregarded.

Oh, shit. You were doing so well.

The statute of limitations is ignored.

There's a statute of limitations on news? If I discovered tomorrow that Calvin Coolidge once beheaded a drifter as a party trick, I'm not allowed to write about it? When we learn new information about things that may have happened they are not newsworthy if they're in the past? None of this makes any sense. But it's the kind of argument you get when an author switches from one topic to another abruptly in the middle of a piece.

This is a very old tactic. Start with something uncontroversial to suck in the reader ("It's annoying how often airlines cancel flights, amirite?") then switch to the ax-grinding nonsense ("Speaking of, why don't we ban Muslims from flying?") He begins with something about the media that basically nobody disagrees with and now suddenly we're not talking about the media anymore. We're talking specifically about The Cos, the allegations, and the accusers.

Tricksy Hobbitses.

The recollections of events that happened as long as fifty years ago are dredged up

I bet if you got raped you would remember the events with an abundance of clarity, not a lack thereof. And it is pretty common in cases like this – sexual assault, sexual harassment, child abuse, etc. – for people to decline to come forward because they assume (for some wacky reason) that they will not be believed. Then when they realize that they are only one of many people who were victims, they come out and say, "Yes, me too."

by aging actresses who have one eye on the CNN camera, and the other on a book or reality show deal.

Ah, yes. The classic and rock solid "Fabricating allegations to enjoy all of the many benefits of being a woman who accuses a famous, rich, and powerful man or sex crimes" argument. Since rape victims / accusers are treated so well – personally vindicated, showered with material rewards, etc. – we can see why everyone would want to jump on that bandwagon. I often look at the way accusers are treated by the media and general public and think, "Wow, I'm jealous!"

If the statute of limitations was as long as the 15 minutes of fame that these lost souls are trying to recapture, then our prisons would be as vacant as the Holiday Inn in Acapulco (you probably have no idea what that means because you're not used to real news).

So…if the statute of limitations was as long as the 15 minutes of fame, the statute of limitations would be 15 minutes. And if the statute of limitations was 15 minutes, our prisons would be vacant.

His logic checks out, guys. He's right.

Thankfully, the statute of limitations was written to avoid exactly what this blog is about.

According to the opening paragraphs, it is about salacious media coverage. Now we're talking about rape allegations.

Also, while it is not an imminent threat to "Freedom of speech!" in the #1 slot, "statute of limitations" must be a solid #2 on the list of legal concepts lots of people appear to believe they understand but do not. At all.

There is no legitimacy to justice if there is no real evidence, and evidence has a way of vanishing as memories dim with the marching of time.

OK it's worth pointing out again at this juncture that this is not a trial and therefore the rules of evidence don't apply, but regardless: If these women are telling similar stories then one of three things must be true.

1. There is a tightly-knit conspiracy against Bill Cosby perpetrated by women with no apparent connection to one another
2. These women are chasing the fame, glory, and respect that come with accusing someone of rape in America – a beloved and famous man, no less
3. The allegations have some merit

Hmm.

A DNA swab on most of Cosby's detractors if done today would most likely come up exceedingly dry.

Ha ha ha you get it guys because they're old.

I'm not saying that what these woman claim happened, didn't happen.

"I'm a good guy! I'm not saying that this didn't happen. I'm just saying that the accusers are fabricating their stories for attention and that their memories of long ago events are unreliable."

I get it

This may be the most blatantly false statement Richard Stellar could write.

Cos was the campfire that parents would sit at with their children, and chuckle at his homespun humor and life lessons. When we all retreated back to our tents with our tummys full of S'mores and toasted marshmallows, Cos was back in his tent, banging the camp counselor after doping her with quaaludes. Yes, that could well have happened, and once those women realized the violation that they endured at the hands of Cosby, then they should have reported it then — not a generation later.

"should have" is the rhetorical crutch of the reactionary asshole – I swear I would totally believe and support you if only you had done X instead of Y, but since you didn't follow proper procedure we must reject your claim. This too is a common tactic, defending the accused by insisting we are not defending the accused but we are outraged that the accusers did not follow The Rules. It's a neat way to defend The Cos without defending The Cos. "I'm not saying he's a good guy, I'm saying his accusers are lying bitches" with a dose of "Ladies I swear I would have believed you if you had said this a few years ago." I have seen infomercials more credible than that last statement.

I wrote a blog recently taking Woody Allen down for his alleged abuse that was detailed in Dylan Farrow's op-ed in The New York Times. You might find it hypocritical that I suggested that we shun Woody Allen based on years-old testimony, and I'm giving the Cos a pass for his alleged abuse of women years ago.

I might find that.

There's a huge difference. Dylan Farrow had credibility.

Ah, right. Credibility is very easy for third parties like us to assess from a distance, in no way reflecting our own biases.

Child abuse in my estimation is on an equal par to murder. The uncomfortable truth that Dylan Farrow courageously revealed, to me, was undeniable — and that abuse had been reported to both social workers and to the courts. Not so with Bill Cosby.

*SOUND OF AIR ESCAPING RAPIDLY FROM BALLOON*

His detractors and accusers smack of something else than truth — they carry the faint aroma of deceit, selective memory, and blind ambition.

What happened to, "I'm not saying that what these woman claim happened, didn't happen"? It sounds very much like you are saying that.

This is what happens when people think they know everything, that they can Figure People Out just by glancing at them. The allegations if true would be horrible, but Richard Stellar can tell that the accusers are deceitful and attention-seeking. He can just tell, OK? It's amazing how often arguments from talking heads – usually but not exclusively old white male egotists in the O'Reilly / Hannity mold – boil down to this. We have conflicting information but I can tell which parts of it are true and which are false because reasons. Because I'm brilliant and never wrong. Because my shit doesn't stink. The rationalizations don't have to make any sense because they inevitably boil down to "I know a _______ when I see one."

If we're being honest, though, I do admit to claiming to know an asshole when I see one – or in this case, when I read his columns.

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28 Responses to “RICHARD STELLAR SOUNDS LIKE A FAKE PORN NAME, EARNS THE FJM TREATMENT”

  1. doug Says:

    If I discovered tomorrow that Calvin Coolidge once beheaded a drifter as a party trick, I'm not allowed to write about it?

    Thank you. still enjoying that line. well done, sir.

  2. jaktheyak Says:

    "sexual misadventure" is my new least favorite way of referring to sexual abuse. Sex can be an adventure, perhaps, and there may even be cases of "sexual misadventure" e.g. things we might see in a terrible comedy movie, but fuck this guy (against his will) for whitewashing rape this way. And all the other things, too.

  3. Amarylllis Says:

    "Had sex with". Every time someone discusses Cosby, they say he drugged a woman and then "had sex with" her. No, he RAPED her. Words have meanings!

    Damn rape culture.

  4. John Danley Says:

    Stellar has the adjudication skills of someone using their Ouija board. He could be a public defender for the Catholic church while wearing a "I am Darren Wilson" shirt.

  5. Anubis Bard Says:

    This FJM treatment seems a bit like a middle school wedgie given to the unlikeable kid who stutters and wipes his boogers on the side of his desk. I'm not anxious to go to his defense, but I can't say I take any great satisfaction in the spectacle either.

  6. Major Kong Says:

    "If I discovered tomorrow that Calvin Coolidge once beheaded a drifter as a party trick"

    You're doing it all wrong! You have to do it Fox News style.

    SOME PEOPLE SAY that Calvin Coolidge once beheaded a drifter as a party trick.

    See? Now it's not slander because you're just reporting what some people say.

  7. Arslan Says:

    If you want to remind people of the presumption of innocence and the fact that there has been no trial, that's one thing. But when you go labeling these women liars, conspirators, and frauds, now you are making an accusation and alleging a conspiracy.

  8. Khaled Says:

    @Major Kong- Nice catch.
    Although, to be fair, What Fox News usually does is have one of their asshole "entertainers" say awful things with no backup (i.e., Glenn Beck's "The sky is falling!" routine) and then have the "news" follow it with reporting on "Will the sky fall today or tomorrow? Everyone is talking about how the sky is falling!"

  9. DiTurno Says:

    Here's a question: what would it take to get wingers like Stellar to stop defending Cosby? I don't think a conviction would be enough: they'd still say no one should have speculated on his guilt before the trial, and anyway all you feminazis and media-types biased the jury.

    Obviously, this comes down to politics: if this were a still-alive Richard Pryor, the right would be piling on. But suppose Cos had never adopted the mantle of Black Scourge of the Black Community. Suppose he never made any political statements at all. Would misogyny and hatred of liberals be enough to make Stellar defend a rapist?

    I think the answer is yes. And that says a lot about today's right wing.

  10. Skepticalist Says:

    This guy could learn from the "stellar" reporters that populate checkout sleaze tabloids.

    I'm sure more than one bottom feeder is several chapters into writing a book. It'll be almost as ugly as Mr. Cosby's behavior.

  11. Robert Says:

    Thank you, Ed. The flambéing of witless churls in purest linseed oil is one of the joys that keep me coming back.

  12. waspuppet Says:

    "… aging actresses who have one eye on the CNN camera, and the other on a book or reality show deal."

    Yes; they're all anxious to join that long list of women who have achieved fame and fortune by accusing famous men of raping them. You know, women like – um … well, there's … uh …

    "We have conflicting information but I can tell which parts of it are true and which are false because reasons."

    I think it comes down to "Women and/or minorities* don't operate by the rules of normal (white, male) people. Sure, it makes no sense at all to concoct these allegations but that's JUST HOW CRAZY these bitches are."

    (*Yes, Bill Cosby's black, but his old-maleness trumps that, especially given his pull-up-your-pants schtick.)

  13. c u n d gulag Says:

    Yeesh, why can't I be a soul-less hack and write moronic and offensive opinion pieces – and get paid for them?

    Oh, yeah.
    Even an ancient Agnostic like me, believes that there's some inner-spark called a soul.

  14. Mayya Says:

    I always enjoy the FJM Treatment, but have to say this one really seems too easy. No challenge at all.

    However I do like your delineation of the three possibilities. Especially the privileges and prestige given to the accusers. It makes you wonder why EVERY woman doesn't accuse a powerful male of rape; the benefits are so tempting.

    I can't agree with your, or stellar's, categorizing the story as salacious celebrity reporting, though. Sure, there's some of that, but for many women, this IS straight news, because rape is a thing that ACTUALLY HAPPENS to us. I might not get raped by Bill Cosby or another celebrity, but the odds of my being raped by SOMEONE are not insignificant. This story describes the direct personal experience of as many as one-third of the women reading it.

  15. J. Dryden Says:

    @ Mayya: It might be easy, but I'd say it's still necessary. Stellar's words might appall us (wait, did I say "might"–I meant "completely") but I submit that they're essentially the thoughts of a disturbingly large number of people–including the judges and lawyers who may be asked to adjudicate this horror show, and the moneyed individuals who may be debating whether to fund Cosby's attempt at a renewed career. "I'm not going to dignify that with a response" is great fun to say, particularly when the instigator, like Stellar, is so goddamned head-up-his-ass wretched, but such people believe that no response is the same as capitulation, and that shit cannot stand.

    So we need to establish, right away, that asshats who rush to derail the process of investigation that must now occur are only doing so because they are asshats who A. have to have an opinion on everything, because they have not learned that whereof one does not clearly know, thereof one should be silent, B. think that "the Cos" (Jesus Christ, Stellar, really?) or Woody Allen or Roman Polanski should be left alone no matter what to do the stuff that makes us happy, or C. hate women. (And yes, all three are quite possible to achieve simultaneously.)

    And just as women need the story reported–as you quite rightly point out–for its relevance to their own experiences–we, men especially, need to call out this Stellarian bullshit for our own sake.

    Rape is horrible in ways that go beyond the act itself. (Semi-idiotically self-evident, that statement.) One of the ways is that the friends and family (and in the case of celebrity rapists, fans) of the rapist will immediately react with denial, compartmentalization, justification, minimization, and hatred for the accusers. And honestly, I can't blame friends and family for that response–I can't, because if someone I loved were accused of rape, that would be my response. False accusations do occur–really, really, really rarely, but if I love someone accused of rape, I'll immediately cling to that tiny chance, I suspect–that "this is all just a misunderstanding" we hear from supportive voices outside the courtroom.

    I would not be right to react this way, and I'd like to think I'd handle that reaction in a way that wasn't monstrous, but I can't easily assure myself that I would. But my point is, while I might be entitled to have that reaction if I knew and loved someone accused, I do not have that right in the case of a stranger. I don't know Mr. Cosby, Mr. Allen, Mr. Polanski. I know their work–but that does not equal the men themselves, and it does not entitle me to openly attempt to alter common consensus on the truth of their actions. (Well, no–Polanski plead guilty–he can go to hell.) Stellar misses this point. He thinks he's entitled to speak on behalf of "the Cos" because, aw, "the Cos" was a part of my life growing up–I know the man, you guys!

    No, you fucking don't. And you don't get to act as if you do. Shut the fucking fuck up and let the people who know him say what they're gonna say. If somebody must defend Mr. Cosby–and somebody probably should, if there is a defense to be made–then let it be someone who is entitled by virtue of knowledge. You have none. Shut the fucking fuck up.

    Same goes for the supporters of these women. Let their friends and family–those who know them–speak. We who don't know these women–or Mr. Cosby–we cannot speak for them, nor should we. But we can and should speak to those who forget this–who react with denial, minimization, etc. as if they have a right to react that way. The most dangerous statement in this whole piece is "I get it"–that's the one that men who will make this situation worse will use to support their villainy. Don't let them. FJM the motherfuckers.

  16. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @DiTurno:

    If Cosby had allegedly robbed a convenience store hours before one of these encounters, wingers would have to accept that he deserves to die.

    The only thing I missed from Stellar Dick's column was "no one's all good or all bad!" Maybe that's in his interests here. If someone like Cosby can make us all laugh while almost definitely drugging and raping people on the side, a person as generally cringeworthy as Janice Dickinson could theoretically have a horrifying experience at his hands and speak about it candidly. Theoretically.

  17. Joe Brown Says:

    I've noticed that whenever Cosby is discussed on the teevee, his old, unshaven, and stooped self suddenly appears as if that image is the one he should be judged by, that poor old guy. So that we forget that it was the hip, clever, sometimes smug and powerful one that committed rape.

  18. Mayya Says:

    @J Dryden
    I agree 100% with everything you said. This SHOULD BE called out and FJMed, it should be discussed and analyzed, and as much opprobrium as possible should be heaped on the Asshat Stellar. My clumsy comment was meant to indicate that because Stellar is SUCH an asshat, this task is too easy for Ed's massive FJMing abilities, not that he shouldn't apply the treatment. Sadly, there are some people to whom Ed's analysis is NOT a "well, duh" moment.

  19. mothra Says:

    Well, I spent a decade working in a criminal defense firm that defended accused kiddie diddlers. There I learned that yes, there are false accusations and yes, there can be MANY false accusations against the same person–although they usually didn't come from complete strangers in different corners of the country. So I think all anyone can do at this point is listen to the accusations and Cosby–although Cosby ain't saying much at this point.

    I find it odd that Mr. Stellar is happy to judge the accusers, yet asks us not to judge Cosby. Until there is some kind of legal process in which both sides produce their evidence and a jury finds for the plaintiff(s) or defendant, I think we all just have to hide and watch.*

    *Taking into account, of course, the inherent flaws in our judicial system that lets perps with a lot of money walk and puts schizophrenic men to death…

  20. Anonymouse Says:

    Refuting Stellar's arguments, there were several women who *did* come forth right after they were assaulted, and reported it to the police. That went about as well as you imagine it would. Cosby even paid off some of the women. In other words, this man does have a history of sexually assaulting women, so when I first heard of more women coming forth, my first reaction wasn't "IMPOSSIBLE! Those bitches be lyin'!".

  21. Liebchen Says:

    As for his weird comparison to the Dylan / Woody brouhaha, he seems to be way off the mark. Child witnesses are MUCH more unreliable than an adult witness, as they are very easy to manipulate when being interviewed. In fact, most police do NOT know the proper protocol for doing this, as it requires some actual training that most police departments don't have time for.

    Dylan Farrow's story was full of ginormous gaps of logic, timing, etc. His mom was trying to cut Woody out of the picture, custody-wise. This is, sad to say, a not-all-that-uncommon accusation to be made by parents fighting over child custody.

    So Dylan's statements, which were made as a child, were contradicted by a great deal of evidence, and WERE FOUND BY A COURT TO BE UNTRUE, are not a good comparison for the accusations against Cosby by adults who are relating a story that they find very uncomfortable to relate and who have nothing to be gained from the telling. (Oh, wait: There's the wonderful 15 minutes of notoriety!)

  22. Ursula Says:

    J. Dryden, your comment reminded me of a disturbing factoid I picked up somewhere and cannot cite that Judges in the 1980s who watched [more? any?] porn would give lighter sentences to convicted rapists. So, yeah.

  23. J.D. Says:

    The byline "Richard Stellar" is what happens when someone confuses a porn name with a pen name, right?

  24. Matt Says:

    There's a common thread among all the "if it wasn't proved in a court it didn't really happen" – the people claiming it invariably don't think the behavior in question should even BE illegal. Think about it:

    * cop shoots kid for walking in street, GJ is sabotaged to return no bill: "well, you can't say he's a murderer now" from the crowd who truly believes that Walking While Black should be punishable by summary execution.

    * Cosby rapes dozens of women over years, pays them off to stay quiet: "well, you can't really say he's a rapist" from the assholes who think that going someplace alone with a dude is somehow implicit consent for anything else that happens.

    * Banks rig markets, make terrible loans and pawn them off on retirement funds, nearly blow up the entire goddamn economy: "well, you can't say they're really crooks" from people who are pretty sure banking is one step down on the universal hierarchy from godhood.

  25. West of the Cascades Says:

    Just nitpicking: the statute of limitations for walking down the street while black in Ferguson, MO is less than 15 minutes. The statute of limitations for breathing while black in New York City is less than 15 minutes. The statute of limitations for playing with a toy gun while black in Cleveland, OH is less than 15 minutes. But I guess the point that it keeps the prisons empty does hold up.

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