Nov. 24, 2014

A Tale of Two Bills

Both are high-profile celebrities, household names if you will, and both share what appears to be a rather large appetite for extra-marital affairs.

This is a tale of two Bills, one black, one white. Both are high-profile celebrities, household names if you will, and both share what appears to be a rather large appetite for extra-marital affairs. Some of those affairs allegedly involve sex that may not have been consensual. Despite such remarkable similarities, one of these Bills is in the process of being socially ostracized. The other remains not only popular, but revered as a feminist icon.

Bill Cosby’s descent into a hell seemingly of his own making began four weeks ago when a bit by stand-up comic Hannibal Buress went viral. “Bill Cosby has the f–ing smuggest old black man public persona that I hate,” Buress jibed. “‘Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the '80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’ Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, [that] brings you down a couple notches. I don’t curse on stage. But yeah, you’re a rapist.”

Cosby did himself no favors when he fired back on Twitter. “Go ahead. Meme me!” he tweeted. That response elicited a barrage of slurs amassed at the #CosbyMeme hashtag. Next, a Washington Post column written by alleged Cosby victim Barbara Bowman appeared on Nov. 13, followed by an NPR interview two days later, during which Cosby maintained complete silence when host Scott Simon asked about the allegations. Prior to both the column and the interview, Cosby’s name was deleted from the “Late Show With David Letterman” guest lineup for the following week.

Since then, Cosby’s ostracization has ramped up in earnest. NBC canceled a deal for a Cosby sitcom, one of his live shows was axed by an Arizona casino, Netflix dropped the launch of stand-up comedy special “Bill Cosby 77,” and cable channel TV Land canceled reruns of “The Cosby Show,” one of the most popular sitcoms in television history. And while all of this was unfolding, model Janice Dickinson and other women joined the chorus accusing Cosby of sexual assault.

Barring something completely unforeseen, Cosby’s career is over, and it is more than likely he will remain a pariah for the rest of his life.

Justified? It would certainly seem that way – provided one is content with the reality that Cosby has never been criminally charged with sexual assault, much less rape. Or provided that one must deal with the reality that one of his accusers, Joan Tarshis, alleges Cosby drugged and raped her twice, meaning she gave Cosby a second opportunity to abuse her after the first incident. And provided the screaming double standard of a suddenly self-righteous Hollywood that has long lionized convicted child rapist Roman Polanski can be ignored.

Bowman offered an explanation for such behavior in her column: “The entertainment world is rife with famous men who use their power to victimize and then silence young women who look up to them. Even when their victims speak out, the industry and the public turn blind eyes; these men’s celebrity, careers, and public adulation continue to thrive.”

Changing “entertainment world” to “political world” brings us to Bill Number Two, as in former President Bill Clinton. His numerous extramarital dalliances were dubbed “bimbo eruptions.” It was a phrase coined by 1992 presidential campaign Deputy Chairwoman Betsey Wright, and one rife with the kind of denigrating implications of women that should have set feminists’ teeth on edge.

Yet those feminists, along with countless others, were more than willing to dismiss more than 20 years of sexual assault allegations against Clinton. They remained indifferent when Paula Jones, who won an $850,000 out of court settlement from Clinton after he allegedly exposed himself to her in a hotel room, was constantly referred to as “trailer trash” by the Clinton smear machine. Clinton’s “intentionally false” testimony during that trial cost him a $90,000 fine and the loss of his law license, and it still didn’t matter.

Nor did it matter when the man in the most powerful position in the world took advantage of then-19-year-old Monica Lewinsky, shamelessly lied about it to the nation, and trashed her reputation – until a semen-stained dress revealed the truth.

The response? It was “just about sex” and the investigation that ultimately led to Clinton’s impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice was little more than a “witch hunt” orchestrated by a “vast, right-wing conspiracy.”

What about allegations of actual rape? “[Clinton] turned me around and started kissing me, and that was a real shock. I first pushed him away. I just told him ‘no.’ … He tries to kiss me again. He starts biting on my lip. … And then he forced me down on the bed. I just was very frightened. I tried to get away from him. I told him ‘no.’ … He wouldn’t listen to me,” alleged Juanita Broaddrick on “Dateline” in 1999. NBC had thoroughly vetted Broaddrick’s accusation and found it credible, but didn’t air it until almost two weeks after Clinton was acquitted by the Senate.

Bill Clinton has remained a highly regarded, celebrity ex-president ever since – one that still sets feminist hearts a-flutter.

Why the blatant discrepancy? Politics. A longtime, in-your-face challenger of liberalism’s “victimist” black American narrative will inevitably be held to a higher standard than an ex-president whose “pro-abortion on demand” bona fides have apparently granted him a lifetime absolution from anything resembling genuine scrutiny, much less accountability.

Thus concludes the sordid Tale of Two Bills. Cosby is headed for the celebrity ash heap, Clinton could end up back in the White House, and the army of hypocrites who defend the latter Bill will remain willfully oblivious to their contemptible double standard. That’s the way it goes in a nation where some alleged sexual abusers are “more equal” than others.

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