Yesterday a respected local columnist Eugene Kane published a personal essay in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel detailing his personal recollections of Bill Cosby. It must have been painful for him in the face of widespread allegations against Cosby by several women. Kane anguished over the fact he considers Cosby his friend and he respected his work on fatherhood. Reaction to Kane’s essay came swift and a lot of it was very negative. I debated with a person on facebook who called it the worst thing Kane had ever written. I pointed out the simple fact that Bill Cosby has never been tried or even indicted for rape. I was told I was part of a culture of rape, whatever that is.
Later I read a Washington Post article Kane had forwarded that painted a very disturbing picture of Cosby out of control and spending money like it was water in Los Angeles. He even fathered a child outside of his marriage, which remains intact. The pain he caused his wife Camille was terrible. he stands now at 77 a man who has never been tried but in a worse position because many people no longer believe or respect him. He has lost his good name which is almost as bad as a criminal conviction. I will never look at him the same way. My personal memory of Cosby goes back to a grade school friend Bill Vaccaro who had memorized one of his comedy albums. i used to think he was so funny until I realized he was a young Italian kid channeling a black comedian.
Bill Cosby had this image of a universally loved man, someone people could live up to but for many of us it has been destroyed. That is the source of conflict many of us, including me, are feeling about him. I don’t know how I would have voted if I had been on a jury but I wish there had been one.