Since the sickening allegations of Bill Cosby raping numerous women first hit the news, we’ve been treated to much commentary on why, over decades, so many people turned a blind eye to Cosby’s transgressions. For a typical example of the response from the nation’s mainstream pseudointelligentsia (to use a word coined decades ago by my TAC editor, S. T. Karnick), consider the New Republic article, the title of which exemplifies the media’s tendency to think of everything in terms of politics: “No One Wanted to Talk About Bill Cosby’s Alleged Crimes Because He Made White America Feel Good About Race”:
[P]atriarchal attitudes about sex and limitations around racial representation were not some special poison slipped into “The Cosby Show,” any more than the privileging of white experience is exclusive to “Girls.” These are messages baked into practically every iteration of popular culture (and politics) in the United States—from “Friends” to “The Sopranos,” from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama. They’re baked in because we’re a fundamentally racist and sexist country with persistently racist and sexist attitudes. The chilling lesson, perhaps, is that the cheerier, popular vision put forth by Bill Cosby was illusory all along.
The story now unfolding around us is as grim a reminder as I can think of that as tempting as it may be to look away, or perhaps beyond, this country’s founding inequalities, foregoing the discomfort of painful reckoning does not and cannot make those inequalities disappear.
The fact that Cosby is not white seems to have escaped the writer. This was allegedly a series of crimes committed by a black man, and the reason white Americans did not talk about these crimes for several decades is simple and obvious: the crimes (assuming they did happen) were covered up. Normal people, unlike New Republic writers, do not complain about things that they do not know to exist.
The pull quote of the New Republic article is wonderfully revealing of the bilious hatred in which that magazine and other faux-intellectual periodicals trade today: “we’re a fundamentally racist and sexist country with persistently racist and sexist attitudes.” There is little chance of such people ever making any serious contact with reality. Opinion polls continually indicate that the vast majority of Americans believe the United States is fundamentally good, despite the flaws to which all human institutions are heir.
The crimes of Bill Cosby, if true, prove only that one man used his power to do evil many times over the years. No one is responsible for his crimes but him and those who covered it up. To ascribe any kind of blame to white people, males, or any other group for those crimes is utterly contemptible.
Such behavior as that of which Cosby is accused is by no means indicative of widespread racism, sexism, or any other kind of -ism. Indeed, they are the everyday horror in the types of authoritarian banana republics into which the New Republic writers continually endeavor to transform this nation. Let us hope that their continual stream of hatred does not succeed in persuading the people of this nation to go any further down that road to perdition.