Tag Archives: Bill Cosby

Can we still admire the work of a person accused of sexual assault? Pink gives a fantastic performance at AMA’s. And my annual tribute to “Cheers” Thanksgiving episode

When I was first starting out in journalism, and I was trying to learn to become a better interviewer, I watched Charlie Rose a lot.

He was on late at night (which fit my nocturnal sportswriter hours), and I remember admiring how well he would frame questions to his subjects, how he would draw out revealing answers, and how his interviews always felt more like conversations than interviews.

I remember ordering a VHS copy of his 1999 interview with Dustin Hoffman right after the Columbine school massacre. The show was one of the most sensational things I’ve ever seen (and thank God for  YouTube, that interview is right here)   and actually watching it and studying it for how Rose elicited such an emotional response from the actor. I followed and watched Rose for years, and greatly admired his skills as a TV personality.

All of this is to say that clearly I looked up to Rose, and now like millions of others I’m horrified to find out what a lecherous, inappropriate man he has been to many, many women over the years. And what I’m wrestling with, and what I’m sure many others are wrestling with, is a question that really has no easy answer: Can we still admire the work of individuals who in “real life” have proven to be so loathsome and disgusting?”

Call it the “Woody Allen” problem: If the person who made the art is despicable, can we still enjoy it? Can’t I still laugh at “Annie Hall” or “The Cosby Show” or a Jeffrey Tambor show like “Transparent” even if I know that a huge part of the show is a terrible person when the cameras are off?

I don’t pretend to know the answer, but for me, it’s yes. The art is different from the person who made it.

Sports fans have dealt with this problem for decades. Baltimore Ravens fans cheered Ray Lewis, who was involved in a double murder, to sack the quarterback. San Francisco Giants fans roared for Barry Bonds, steroid cheat. The list could go on and on.

And I think the same holds for entertainment. “Annie Hall” is no less a work of genius because Woody Allen is a severely flawed, possibly criminal, person. Bill Cosby will hopefully rot in hell, but “The Cosby Show” entertained millions and is still pretty damn funny.

Charlie Rose did horrible things, and damaged women. I hope he pays a huge price for his behavior (and it seems he has, as he’s been fired from both his PBS and CBS shows).

But I am still grateful that I learned to become a better journalist thanks to watching him. And I don’t think any of us who still enjoy the work of these disgraced men need to apologize for it.

***Next up today, you all know how much I worship and adore the amazing singer Pink, who is fierce and fabulous and puts on a hell of a show (we’ve seen her live twice already and are seeing her again next April on her next tour). She was at the American Music Awards on Sunday and sang a beautiful, haunting duet of R.E.M’s classic “Everybody Hurts” with Kelly Clarkson. But her even better performance was of her new song, “Beautiful Trauma,” while hanging off the side of a hotel in Vegas. Watch this, the woman is just incredible.

**Finally today, I don’t have too many traditions on this here little piece of the Internet, but one I’m happy to continue each year is to share the “Cheers” Thanksgiving episode, one of the finest pieces of comedy ever recorded. It makes me laugh every time, and often at a different part: Today I took so much joy out of Ted Danson’s face after he’s shut down Diane’s little speech.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there, and I’m as always grateful you take the time to read Wide World of Stuff.

A weekend in Sag Harbor features stairs, relaxation and scary driving. The pro surfer who encountered a shark Sunday. And more disgusting Bill Cosby revelations, can he sink any lower?

Sag Harbor, New York.  Photograph taken July 26, 2011.

I grew up on Long Island but rarely went out to the Hamptons, which is usually the first place non-New Yorkers think about when they hear “Long Island” (well, it was “Amy Fisher” for a while, too, but thank God that faded quickly.)

It just wasn’t something my family did; none of our friends had second homes out there, and it always seemed to me to be another state, practically.

But since moving back a few years ago I’ve been out here a few times; as I type this my wife, baby son and I are in Sag Harbor for a relaxing weekend “mini-vacation.” My bride’s uncle has a house here and he was extremely generous in allowing us to use it this weekend while he was out visiting colleges with his daughter.

So as always when I go places that are “foreign” to me, I’ve been taking mental notes all weekend, so here’s my usual “emptying of my head.”

— Sag Harbor is a very cool town; if you’re not familiar with it, think of it as a lower-key, off-brand Hamptons: Fewer crowds, fewer people “there just to be seen,” and a quieter vibe. It reminds me a little of Saratoga Springs, my beloved former stomping grounds in upstate New York. Lots of cool shops, great seafood restaurants (had a fabulous piece of Swordfish Saturday night at a place called the Dockside Bar), and lots of homemade ice cream shops.

— Driving around here, though, is a sometimes-scary adventure. Maybe I’m too used to city living, but between the frequent traffic circles and the pedestrians just kind of strolling wherever they want, I swear I almost had three accidents this weekend. Then there are the isolated streets with a double solid white line, where you pull up, expecting there to be a stop sign, there isn’t, but someone’s coming at you in the other direction and you have that three seconds of “are you going to turn, or do I go, or do we just sit here staring at each other?”

— Our 10-month-old discovered his new absolute favorite thing: Stairs. Living in Manhattan he’s never had the chance to crawl/climb anything like this, so at Shelley’s uncle’s house, with 12 hardwood floor steps leading to the upstairs, he was in baby heaven. He would climb up one, stand up, then look back at us like “Look what I did!” Then he’d do that for every stair. So cool to see the look of wonder on his face, with everything.

— I always am interested in cool boat names; so many of them are named “Ms.” something or other, probably because men do the naming. I saw a great one this weekend: “College Fund.”

I’m guessing one of that guy’s children is going to community college since Dad bought a boat. Or, the dude is planning to sell his yacht to pay for college. Either way, I laughed.

 

** So professional surfing can be a pretty dangerous sport, but I’m not sure this is part of what you expect. At a tournament over the weekend a surfer named Mick Fanning saw this while out in the water.

Pretty damn scary, huh? I think he should totally get extra points in the tournament for coming face-to-face with a shark like that.

bill-cosby-as-cliff-huxtable

**Finally today, a few words about one of America’s biggest disgraces, Dr. William H. Cosby. After reading this illuminating New York Times story Sunday, which quotes in great detail from a deposition Cosby gave in a rape lawsuit 10 years ago, I was trying to think of another American figure who was held in as universal high regard as Cosby, who sunk so low so fast in the public eye.
O.J. Simpson? Not sure he was ever as beloved as Cosby. Lance Armstrong? Allegations of cheating dogged him for years before it all finally came out and was no longer deniable by him; even at the height of Lance’s popularity there were many who were suspicious.

But Bill Cosby, America’s Dad? The man who single-handedly turned NBC around, who was as beloved a product pitchman and idol to so many up-and-coming comedians? How can any of us ever watch “The Cosby Show” again? A friend of mine was last week relating a comedy bit they loved and immediately threw in the disclaimer “There was this great Bill Cosby routine, you know, back when you could laugh at his jokes.”

I encourage you to read the NYT story for a bunch of reasons, but mainly to see just how shockingly cavalier Cosby is about drugging and raping women. It’ll be a crying shame if he never does any jail time for what he did, to dozens of ladies over the years (the woman in the NYT story, Andrea Constand, was 19 years old when Cosby seduced her. Nineteen!).

What a despicable, disgraceful person. He deserves to die a slow, lonely death. And be prosecuted for fraud by all of us.

 

“Ray Donovan” a pretty solid summer show. A tournament to find the best Cosby sweater. And the Cleveland Browns grant a man his dying wish

raydonovan

Doesn’t take a lot for me to get into a new Showtime show, since the network’s track record has been so stellar lately.

I’d heard a few good things about the new drama “Ray Donovan” before it premiered last Sunday, and after two episodes, I can positively recommend it.

I dig Liev Schrieber, and not just because he’s the awesome voice of all those great HBO Sports documentaries over the years. He’s a terrific actor and he’s got a great part here in playing Ray, who’s a Hollywood problem-solver to the stars. In just two episodes he’s dealt with a star athlete waking up next to an OD’ed dead girl, an action star who accidentally blew a transvestite, and a stalker of a young girl.

Besides that, he’s stuck with a brother who has Parkinson’s Disease, another brother who was molested by a priest as a kid, and a father (the awesome Jon Voight) who just got out of prison after 20 years, a prison Ray helped put him in (we don’t know all the details yet).

Anyway, the first two episodes have been stellar. The wife and I are hooked, even though the Donovan family’s Boston accents are pretty awful.

Showtime airs it at 9 p.m. on Sunday nights. Definitely worth checking out.

**So, you remember the incredibly colorful, often-hideously ugly sweaters Bill Cosby used to wear on “The Cosby Show?” Of course you do. Every week Dr. Cliff Huxtable would solve the world’s problems wearing one of those garish sweaters.

Well, because it’s July and I guess Cosby wanted to give us something fun to do, he has created a March Madness-style tournament where you can vote on which was your favorite Cosby sweater ever.

They’re already down to the “Fleecey 8”, and you can vote on who you think should advance here.

I highly recommend looking at all the entries, though. Many wardrobes ago I was once accused of wearing a bunch of “Bill Cosby sweaters” by a friend of mine.

Not sure after looking at these if that person should still be my friend …

Brownsmisery

**Finally today, you have to love the Cleveland Browns organization. They know their fans have suffered a lot over the past four decades, and they seem to have a sense of humor when those fans lash out at them, even from the grave.

Last week a 55-year-old Browns fan named Scott Entsminger passed away, and his obituary contained an unusual request: He asked that six Cleveland players act as his pallbearers, so “the Browns can let him down one more time.”

Hilarious. And I know how he feels. Well, the story got some national attention, and the Browns new ownership, instead of feeling hurt or embarrassed, offered a nice gesture. At Tuesday’s memorial service for Entsminger, a Browns team official will deliver a personalized jersey to Entsminger’s wife bearing the number of his favorite all-time player, Lou Groza.

Very cool. Go Cleveland. And it sounds like Entsminger would appreciate the gesture. For once, the Browns didn’t let him down.