Poke. Poke. Poke.


[Butterfly Garden, Boston Science Museum, 2014]

This morning I slept as long as I wanted and woke up only when “my eyes popped open on their own.” Whoa, I realized, my just-popped eyes staring at the ceiling, that voice in my head saying “eyes pop open” and playing around with the word pop so it actually *pops,* that voice is Bill Cosby’s as Dr. Cliff Huxtable! And I shuddered.

“Why is it,” I groggily wondered, “that I am able to say, ‘I don’t believe any person is the worst thing he or she has ever done,’ yet am unable to think of Bill Cosby with anything that even comes close to resembling compassion? Or forgiveness?”

Now wide awake, I’m still groggy. Because it’s complicated, isn’t it! Like most white Americans who’d done exactly zero work on racial justice and white privilege, I’d loved “Cliff” and “Clair” and, especially, “Vanessa” as, you know, living, breathing examples of how the good ol’ U.S. of A. was doing just fine. Ha! Like most clueless white people, it had been convenient for me to believe that show signified an actual, large-scale upward mobility; worse, by some twisted, inane logic, I think I actually believed that watching that show was an act of solidarity with my Black brothers and sisters! Jesus!

But now I know; I know more, way more, about the first man of color to star on a TV series, whose career I’d been faithfully following since the mid-sixties. His earliest stand-up routines, “Noah.” “Why Is There Air?” Brilliant stuff. Dr. Cliff Huxtable? I purely loved that man. To have to kick my image of Bill Cosby to the gutter pushes my “Betrayal” button. Big-time. More, it triggers my deepest, collective, archetypal memory of being drugged and raped by a man I trusted. No, what happened to Cosby’s numerous victims never happened to me. But, like all women, I think, I can remember it.

Here’s the thing, though. I’m pretty sure I relish my rage at Bill Cosby because it’s actually pleasurable; it’s schadenfreude. I like poking at that scab. I like being angry at famous people. It’s easy. It’s safe and flabby and doesn’t require me to stretch my compassion and forgiveness muscles.

Here’s the other thing, though: Mentally beating up Bill Cosby (or Donald Trump or Kim Kardashian or . . . ) is a “seed of war.” For sure.



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1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia, my so, so very dearly special and dearest and precious white friend and sister who you are For Always so, so very much! Wow, do I so love and like this greatly so dear and brave and inspiring blog post article of yours! My precious white sisterfriend, I just know somehow how very courageous you are being a survivor and still having the deepest, collective, archetypal memories!!!!!! What a brave, brave, brave woman and soul sister you are for sure For Always, Patricia!!!!!! I, too, am a survivor having had these vast evil wrongdoings done to me so, so very many times when I was a lot younger but not as often over the years!!!!!! Thanks to the past decades of ongoing and current therapy along with my very, very many 12-Step Programs which I am a rejoicing and proud member of I am healing and recovering as a survivor, sisterfriend!!!!!! Patricia, I thank-you so as well for the great links which you have so, so very graciously and generously provided!

    Sister, I know what you mean about how you feel about Bill Cosby, my precious white sisterfriend!!!!!! My heart is so, so very absolutely broken finding out about the truth about this man I once thought was such a good person, Patricia!!!!!! I truly believe all of the women who have accused him of raping them and otherwise sexually assaulting and sexually harassing them and drugging them!!!!!! These so, so very dearest and darling women!!!!!! I am absolutely disgusted by what I believe Bill Cosby has done, sister!!!!!!! My heart is absolutely broken because I formerly held him in such high regard!!!!!! I remember that I would watch his show I Spy when I was a little girl and I used to just love him. Not anymore! I am just so utterly disappointed in and disgusted with him. This reminds me of how I felt when I learned the truth about O.J. Simpson and how he brutalized his wife Nicole Brown. I used to like O.J. Simpson but I no longer do once I found out that he would batter our dearest and darling Nicole Brown!!!!!!! I truly believe that O. J. Simpson was really guilty of the heinous murders of our Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman and that Simpson got away with murder, Patricia!!!!!!!

    Patricia, I used to be really depressed over the popular Cosby Show from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s because the family on that show seemed so loving and caring and that they were an upper middle class black family and I felt sad that with my own black middle class family my parents had a little bit of money to work with but there was so much abuse in every way, alcoholism, other addictions, and pathological dysfunction. What I mean is how I felt sad that my own family was somewhat financially well off and black middle class and I wondered why we couldn’t be like the Huxtables on the Cosby Show. I felt that that show wrongfully gave the impression that abuse, pathological dysfunction, alcoholism and other addictions could never happen in a well off financially black family. I felt very silenced and unheard by this portrayal in the Cosby Show somehow back then, sisterfriend!!!!!!!

    Patricia, I have such greatly immense enjoyment, blessings, and pleasure reading your magnificent blog post articles and responding to them with my heartfelt comments! Please have a totally terrific and thrilling Tuesday, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, my friend!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my sister Patricia, with Peace and Love To You For Always, my so very dear white sisterfriend, with Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always,

    Your sisterfriend Christian lesbian black woman For Always in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

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