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.
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
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.