America’s very bad dad.

A couple of us went out to dinner Saturday night. It was a very Detroit 2.0 evening, featuring a chic restaurant, a long wait for a table and a cocktail called a Rosemary Burn (featuring a sprig of charred you-know-what). I swear, I’ve had more cocktails featuring rosemary in the last year than I’ve had potatoes or lamb or any other rosemary-friendly food. Maybe it was a Rosemary Char. Something like that. Can’t recall.

Anyway, we were sitting there working through our small-plates selection when the subject of Bill Cosby came up. We marveled at the parade of women now coming forward, most without the shroud of anonymity, many of them now senior citizens; their stories and the timeline suggest Cosby’s alleged strategy of mickey-slipping went on for decades.

That’s what makes this WashPost story published today so damning; it hears out the known accusers in chronological order, starting with the young comedy writer (who said she was drugged and assaulted in 1965) to the Temple University staffer (ditto, 2004). It’s an interesting structure, because you can see in its detail how we came to understand rape and sex crimes in that nearly 40-year span of time. The first victim didn’t go to the police because who would believe her word against a famous man? The last one brooded for a while, then called a lawyer, not the police, after a belated visit to police, and negotiated a cash settlement. (Please understand I am not criticizing her for doing so; absent a strong criminal case with solid physical evidence, Cosby likely wouldn’t have spent a day behind bars. That she chose to hit him in the wallet was a valid alternative choice.)

It’s also interesting because, after every victim’s story, the writers reproduce the comment of Cosby’s legal team. It’s almost hilarious:

One of Cosby’s attorneys, John Schmitt, issued a statement this past week saying that repeating old allegations “does not make them true.”

…Singer, Cosby’s attorney, called Traitz “the latest example of people coming out of the woodwork with unsubstantiated or fabricated stories about my client.”

…When contacted by The Post about Valentino’s allegations, Cosby’s attorney responded by issuing the broad denial to the recent accusations.

…Another Cosby attorney, Walter M. Phillips Jr., called Green’s allegations “absolutely false.”

Well, to their credit, no one said, “Another one? Where are all these crazy bitches coming from?”

He’s toast. Of course, Mitch Albom says he needs a little more time to study on the subject, and in the meantime, was it really necessary to pull reruns of “The Cosby Show” from TVLand? I mean, talk about a rush to judgment.

In case you’re wondering, the Rosemary Burn/Char was a twist on a whiskey sour, and featured bourbon, orange-blossom honey, lemon and salt. “The bourbon was infused with pine nuts,” Alan reminds me. Noted.

It must take so long to make a drink like that, you don’t have to worry about having too many.

Thanksgiving week! And so it begins. I will try to post what and when I can, but as always: Holidays. Etc.

Posted at 1:18 pm in Current events, Detroit life |

41 responses to “America’s very bad dad.”

  1. brian stouder said on November 23, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Bill Cosby is disappointing, because he had always seemed such a warm, engaging personage; and his humor had the ring of truth, especially when he spun yarns about when he was a kid.

    The sexual assault/predator nature of the recent revelations also has the ring of truth. Over the years, women I know have sometimes related similar stories (about men that I wouldn’t have thought would act that way), so that such stories are always more upsetting/disappointing than surprising, anymore.

    490 chars

  2. Jolene said on November 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    A small correction: Andrea Constand, the woman who filed the civil suit, did contact the police. The prosecutor investigated and felt that Cosby was probably guilty, but felt that he did not have a provable case and did not pursue it further.

    Meanwhile, the NY Daily News has introduced a new wrinkle by turning up a former NBC employee who claims to have been Cosby’s fixer, paying off women, finding apartments for them, and so on. Charming.

    554 chars

  3. Deborah said on November 23, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I wonder why Cosby went for women he had to drug to have sex with when he probably could have had his pick of women who would’ve been happy to sleep with him. Of course, he probably had plenty of those too. Unless the risk was partly what interested him.

    254 chars

  4. Dave said on November 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Exactly, Deborah, that was what I was thinking. Why did he feel the need to do this and there are so many, he must have done it. I don’t get it.

    It’s very disappointing but, sadly enough, I have thought for a long time that there are a lot of celebrities I probably wouldn’t like if I knew them. I might be so presumptuous to add our hostess’ love of Warren Zevon and all that was revealed about him. I suspect there are many others.

    You English majors, is that the proper form of a singular possessive for hostess? Or should it be hostess’s? I’m curious.

    567 chars

  5. nancy said on November 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks, Jolene. Edited to clarify. She did go to the police, but not immediately, which is almost the same as not going at all. Physical evidence is so, so important in cases like this, as indicated in the story:

    “I thought, in my gut, that she was telling the truth,” Bruce L. Castor Jr., the Montgomery County district attorney at the time, said in a recent interview with The Post. “I was absolutely certain that she believed that Cosby had taken advantage of her, but there were not enough details.”

    Castor lacked physical evidence, and he thought any possible case would be hampered by the long delay in filing a complaint. In February 2005, he announced that he would not be prosecuting Cosby.

    753 chars

  6. Deborah said on November 23, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    My husband and I binge watch movies by directors, one at a time. We’ve been watching Roman Polanski movies since I’ve been back in Chicago. He’s another example of a guy who has so much talent and yet he basically drugged a 13 year old girl to have sex with him while he was working in Hollywood. As a result he’s been on the lam and I think he still can’t come to the US because of it. He’s made some great movies, like Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby etc. Last night we watched The Ghost Writer again, which I think is another really good movie. Granted he’s had some awful things happen in his life, like he was 6 1/2 when his father sent him off to fend for himself in Poland when the rest of his family was killed by the Nazis. And his wife Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by Charles Manson. But still, what makes these guys do stupid stuff when it comes to sex? Clinton anyone?

    883 chars

  7. brian stouder said on November 23, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Or, speaking of Hollywood types, Woody Allen used to be interesting, before his cruddy nature became known.

    Presumably the exultant male ego, within these hyper-successful men, overwhelms any sense of decency or humanity. I cannot imagine how a guy who has daughters can look at these young, striving women – and then exploit them so mercilessly.

    Can they not remember their own transition from youth to adulthood, and their own efforts to see how the world works, and how to get from where they are to where they want to be? (or at least, to head the right direction?)

    And you can just hear the jaded answer they’d offer…from their CURRENT perspective of success. “Those girls knew what they were in for/they accepted my financial help/they came back” etc etc.

    But, no. These powerful men manipulate and exploit the innocence of the striving young ladies in their midst, until they not only don’t feel shame; they become almost righteous in their arrogance and conceit.

    The interesting thing is, when these stories are wall-to-wall, Cosby (et al) go silent, thereby pretty much conceding that indeed they KNOW they behaved despicably (even as they didn’t act illegally)

    And of course, this all foreshadows how President Clinton’s behavior in the White House will come powerfully to the fore when HRC runs for the office….because the whole damned thing is(essentially) anti-woman from the get-go, and somehow WHC’s “misbehavior” is REALLY his wife’s fault, right?

    (By way of saying, I think the national Republicans are stupid enough to try and make such a case [not quite overtly, but in a dog-whistle way]; and although I think it will blow up in their face – still, you can see it coming)

    1731 chars

  8. Jolene said on November 23, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Why did Cosby use drugs? Of course, I don’t know, but my theory is that rendering these women incapable of resistance enabled him to have his way with them while maintaining a sort of distance from them.

    He didn’t have to go to the trouble of seducing them, which would have required treating them, at least to some extent, like people, thereby risking a problematic attachment. And he didn’t have to physically assault them, which would have involved a different kind of engagement, one in which he risked real involvement of law enforcement. The drugs were a way of getting what he wanted at the least risk to himself–to his marriage, his reputation, and, perhaps, his own sense of self.

    I also suspect that we haven’t heard from nearly all the women he was involved with. There’s a forty-year span between the first and the last of those who’ve spoken out, and there are, at last count, fewer than twenty such reports. I have to believe that, given what he is accused of doing, he was likely doing a lot more of it.

    1026 chars

  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Men with power and authority, whether it’s a public spotlight position, or a floor supervisor with near dictatorial reach over all fifty to a hundred people under his command, tend to either have a very strong wife and a complex relationship* (I’m thinking of Claire Underwood here), or a reputation that precedes and follows them, but which folks think either “it won’t happen to me” or “oh, it’s just talk” and come on aboard with no sense of personal fear.

    Then the moves come, and the nervous dance of “can they get me fired?” as well as the occasional “can they help me, so this won’t last anyhow” and the tempo increases. These predators are different only in kind and not in approach from molesters who go after kids: their reign ends when they pick out of the herd the wrong victim. They may overstep, but it’s damnably hard to nail them in court, criminal or civil, and they tend to be rootless enough to simply move into a new jurisdiction, which really is an evil baptism of sorts, cleansing their standing and allowing them to begin again. But it’s not just a celebrity thing — I’ve seen them in county politics, regional businesses, and just plain old charming rascals with an ambiguous work history working their way from senior night buffets to aging program luncheons, spotting widows or separated women “of a certain age” and spiraling in for the kill.

    *There’s a cinematic oomph to the spouse who both controls the rapist/molestor and participates in some skewed fashion, but I honestly have never run into them. I’ve heard the same stories, but this whole approach seems to favor lone wolves. I guess it’s a fourth sub-set of wives who simply *must* be aware of their husband’s forays out into the night, but find it easier to think cruel thoughts about the women and not have to think much at all about the convenient spouse. If all this is true, Mrs. Cosby would appear to fit this category. They’re apparently rare, or maybe that’s the most effective cover and they’re all around me without showing signs of their vicious streak, hiding it beneath their wedding ring.

    2096 chars

  10. basset said on November 23, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I was just about to post on holiday depression… not now, though, it seems.

    76 chars

  11. David C. said on November 23, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    The combination of the Cosby revelations and the Rolling Stone article on rape at the University of Virginia make me think that maybe every man in America, or more likely in the world, needs to be sent to a re-education camp to be disabused of the notion that an impaired woman is fair game. Read the comments on any of the Cosby or Evan Reed (Detroit Tigers pitcher accused of drugging and raping a woman) articles, and realize these people are the jury pool for any woman who tries to get the legal system to do what it’s supposed to do. It’s no wonder so few are rapists are prosecuted or even brought to trial. There are too many enablers, both personal and institutional. The culture needs to be changed and soon.

    792 chars

  12. Dexter said on November 23, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    I bought the Cosby 33 rpm record album when I was a kid, the one with the “Spanish Fly” topic that was played constantly on radio stations last week (sat-radio, anyway). My friends and I were Cosby fanatics, but we had no idea Cosby MEANT it. And Cosby seemed so warm and nice when I attended a koffee-klatch kind of thing in the Monterey Peninsula College cafeteria in 1970. There were maybe 40 people there and I sat at the first table just listening to The Cos talk about life, asking him questions, just very cool and informal.
    Pine nut infused bourbon…charred rosemary? “We serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast and we don’t need any characters….”

    733 chars

  13. Dexter said on November 23, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    …and dontcha just HATE it when this happens?

    91 chars

  14. beb said on November 23, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    I was wondering if we were going to quietly tiptoe past the Cosby scandal. Then this morning I say that Mitch Albom had written about it and knew that Nancy would be compelled to say … something.

    I knew Cosby’s goose was cooked when he simply refused the say anything in reply to questions. Not that he had to answer any questions but to not even make a token denial seemed to tasic admission of guilt.

    Like s lot of us I grew up listening to Cosby’s comedy. I remember more his bits on Noah than the one’s on Spanish fly. It’s hard to imagine so nice being capable of doing such dark deeds. But Jeff reminds us that a little power does things to people….

    I’ve been wondering why its taking so long to the Fergeson Grand Jury to decide on indicting the killer of Michael Brown. To my mind the simple answer is there’s enough doubt to indict and let the court settle the matter of actual guilt. You wonder the reason that jury is taking so long is because the jury refuses to indict and the prosecutor won’t let them go until they change their minds.

    1065 chars

  15. Dexter said on November 24, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Brown’s parents plead for peace, but that place is a tinderbox, whoa!

    69 chars

  16. MichaelG said on November 24, 2014 at 12:46 am

    I heard the NPR Cosby interview a week ago Saturday. By that time I was not surprised by the non-response from Cosby. I was struck, though, by how lady like and serene Camille sounded as she sat with him. Take Mrs. Clinton’s situation and multiply it by Lord knows how many instances and by many, many years and here was this woman, still sitting by her man calmly supporting him as if nothing had happened, as if she hadn’t seen a thing. I’m not sure just what this says about her. It has to be more than obvious that what we’ve seen is merely the tip of the iceberg.

    That Mitch Albom thing is one of the most, well, I can’t think of an adjective that describes the piece. His brain is in some kind of horrible fibrillation. I can see him blinking rapidly, his cheek twitching, drooling, his tongue protruding. I was so gob smacked that I went back and read it a second time and then a third time. I don’t know a time when I have read a column whose author was so disconnected from reality, from what was happening before his very eyes as Albom was today. Yesterday. Whatever. I don’t know if he was drunk, stoned, whacked out on some kind of internal visions or voices from space or what. I’ve heard of people having difficulties comparing apples to oranges but this guy was comparing apples to garbage trucks. Doesn’t that publication have any kind or editor? Am I the only one who’s appalled by this column? Maybe it just hit me in a mood.

    I just see the Ferguson people as having voted not to indict but not having the balls to make it public.

    1590 chars

  17. beb said on November 24, 2014 at 8:17 am

    We don’t hear much about the Darwin Awards lately. This is an award for people who remove themselves (through their own stupidity) from the gene pool before they have a chance to reproduce. This woman seems to be an candidate:

    304 chars

  18. brian stouder said on November 24, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Beb, wow.

    And on top of that is the Cleveland deal where a kiddo on a playground had a very real-looking toy gun, and got killed by a police officer responding to a 911 call about a kid on the playground with a gun ‘that might be real’.

    I mean, damn.

    256 chars

  19. adrianne said on November 24, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Nance, drinks with herbs are all the rage. The restaurant in NYC that I’ve been to twice has an absolutely delicious lemon and thyme soda that I’ve become addicted to (non-alcoholic).

    The Cosby story is still stunning to me, especially that it took a male comic’s rant on him as a serial rapist to go viral before it gained traction. Think of all the people over the years who knew this was going on and enabled him to continue. What scum.

    442 chars

  20. Bitter Scribe said on November 24, 2014 at 10:49 am

    You know, I have to confess…I’d never heard of Mitch Albom until I started reading this blog, and then there was a piece of me that kept wondering if all the Mitch hatred shown here wasn’t just a tiny bit overblown.

    Then, this morning, I read the Cosby thing.

    Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. That man has sunk lower than Bob Greene in my estimation, and I didn’t think there was even any such place.

    393 chars

  21. Peter said on November 24, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Wow Bitter, Mitch’s agent should take that to the bank. “Mr. Publisher, you need my client’s columns – they make Bob Greene’s look good!!!”

    “Well, that’s a big step up from Kathleen Parker – you got a deal!”

    211 chars

  22. Sherri said on November 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I thought I remembered reading a post from Ken Levine about Cosby and how he treated people off camera, and I tracked it down. Read the comments too, for more anecdotes of Cosby the jerk. This isn’t about Cosby the serial rapist, but rather how Cosby treated people “less than”.

    342 chars

  23. Pam said on November 24, 2014 at 11:51 am

    brian – the caller reported in his 911 call that the gun was probably not real. Heard it replayed on the news this morning. I wonder where he got it and why his parents would allow him to play with it. The police officers involved said that they were not told that the 911 caller stated that the gun was probably not real. What a mess!

    Shall we talk about the weather? The thing that fascinates all older people? Now that I’m retired, I’m more interested in the weather than when I had to drive out in it. The WIND!!! It’s been blowing at many miles an hour all morning. It’s already blown over the porch glider and blown all the winter covers off the porch furniture. I really can’t understand how people live through hurricanes, huddled in their bathtubs, when we have wind like this.

    40 minutes later: I’m back. The power went out due to the wind. Heard a loud crack/pop and then no power. Still with the wind, going like a freight train.

    Nan, the only thing I like rosemary in is hand lotion. Did it burn your lips?

    1048 chars

  24. Connie said on November 24, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Some years ago I made a Rachel Ray recipe for tomato rosemary soup. It had a lot of rosemary in it, so much so that my hands smelled of it for days. As a result it is no longer a smell I care for.

    198 chars

  25. brian stouder said on November 24, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Pam – indeed, the 911 caller said the gun some kid was “waving” at everybody was “probably” not real.

    But it looked real enough that the person called 911 – so we’re headed to the Clint Eastwood question: do you feel lucky?

    In 2014 America, a kid with a gun who menaces people he doesn’t know is all too believable

    323 chars

  26. Julie Robinson said on November 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    For Halloween, our son dressed up as a gangster from a video game, but to me it looked like a zoot suit. He found a balloon artist who made him a gun from black balloons, which I thought was a great idea.

    Cosby: ew, ew, ew. It’s starting to smell like Penn State, with all the enablers and cover-ups of the great humanitarian.

    Count me in the thumbs down contingent on rosemary. No one seems to manage to use it in moderation, and I’ve overdosed one too many time.

    470 chars

  27. Charlotte said on November 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Ta Naheisi Coates is really good on the Cosby thing. One of his few regrets is not being brave enough to write about it at the time:

    My hope is that as a culture perhaps we’re at some kind of tipping point as far as recognizing sexual assault for what it is — perhaps fallout from the decades of abuse in the Catholic church? The whole narrative of “oh, he *couldn’t* have done that” might have cracked for good? There were dads when I was a teenager who you knew you didn’t want to get caught in a hallway or pantry or isolated part of the house with when there was a party. No one thought of *that* as abuse, it was just the way it was.

    As for the frat boys problem — I always start with thinking the Greek system is an anachronism that has gone from quaint to dangerous. It’s *designed* to instill elitism in its members, to protect them from the consequences of their actions, and to keep everything in an in-group. The U of I was so dangerous when I was there that you couldn’t walk anywhere alone, even in the daytime. I had a friend insist on walking 3 blocks to drop an English paper off with me at 4pm, because my instructor’s office was way up at the top of the building down a dark hallway. We all knew never to go to a frat party alone, always to watch out for one another, and never to let anyone walk home alone. It sucked. It was SO oppressive to live with the constant fear of being raped, and the constant reminder that to so many of the men around you, you were simply prey.

    The Cosby thing is disappointing, but not a shock. That people are still shocked that someone “so nice” can be a rapist seems astonishing to me. Really? Clearly those people were never young girls slightly on alert when being driven home after babysitting, or who knew to watch out for someone else’s dad, or that a certain “uncle” was too handsy, or that you never wanted your brother left alone with the “youth” priest.

    2007 chars

  28. Judybusy said on November 24, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    I love cooking with herbs/spices–just this morning I brought in an orange-cardamom flan for coworkers. I think it helps if you cook a great deal and know when to dial amounts back–or increase as needed. A Thai cookbook I have always uses beaucoup chilies, and I know our tolerance, so I use what’s right for us. A coworker shared that he’d had cardomom-flavored mojitos this summer, so now that’s on the list of things to make!

    I do make this <a href=""rosemary shortbread recipe. It’s divine with red wine. My apologies for those who don’t like it, but I love the stuff, in moderation. I always grow it in my garden and like all my herbs, love running my hands through it just to enjoy the scent.

    I was really shocked at the Cosby behavior. Not that “nice guys can’t do this”–I know enough about predators to understand they use their personalities to groom and abuse. It’s just that I always found him pretty funny.

    1022 chars

  29. Scout said on November 24, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    A friend of mine who is an ex model posted this on Facebook.

    “This COULD HAVE happened to me… when I was 17 yrs old living in NYC, I met Bill C at a Cosby Show taping that my modeling agent brought us to. He fed me and my roommate the same BS lines… (I’ll fly you to Vegas on my private jet, etc.) Fortunately, I felt in my gut/intuition that he was bad news and although he wanted to “help” me with my acting… I didn’t fall into his sick ways… his ‘predatory grooming’… but my heart goes out to all of my sister friends that had to experience such sexual violence and to @BarbaraBowman who is breaking the silence. Just because someone is famous, rich or appears normal on the outside doesn’t mean anything. Don’t be tempted by the shiny apple…

    Kate Peterson-Podwils, I just want to say that you’re awesome for standing up. We need more compassionate soldiers. Hopefully the tribe is growing.”

    913 chars

  30. Jolene said on November 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Judybusy, your link went to the Epicurious web site, not to the recipe. Is this the one you had in mind? (Searching on “Rosemary shortbread” returned several result.)

    The Harris-Teeter bakery here sells a rosemary/olive oil bread that is just heavenly. Great toasted with butter.

    365 chars

  31. Judybusy said on November 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Dunno what happened; thought I had all the little HTML markers in there.

    155 chars

  32. Judybusy said on November 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks, Jolene, I had seen that, then tried to provide the correct link above, but the site wasn’t cooperating! That’s the one.

    127 chars

  33. ROGirl said on November 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    The thing about Cosby is that people think they know him based on the persona he has cultivated, and the lawsuits that have bubbled up in the past years have seemed like anomalies, like they can’t really be the real guy underneath the smooth facade. From a distance he seems like that good guy he portrays, but that’s not who he really is, and up to now he has gotten by on the image and managed to keep the two sides separate for the most part.

    445 chars

  34. Charlotte said on November 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Interesting interview at Jezebel with a different student raped at UVA in a frat. Much less sensationalistic than the RS piece:

    212 chars

  35. brian stouder said on November 24, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Ding, bong….. Please buckle your seatbelts; possible turbulence ahead

    State and federal sources told CNN the grand jury decision will be announced some time Monday. The prosecutor’s office formally announced that a decision has been reached, but the news of the actual decision will come later in the day.

    Here’s hoping for a relatively peaceful evening, over there near Dredd Scott’s grave

    491 chars

  36. Ocean said on November 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I bookmarked this site so automatically it made my breathing look like juggling practice. I’m not a juggler. Either you’re channeling Dave Barry, or I’ve found the best thing on the internet since Napster. And I’m a little pissed it took me this long to stumble in.
    I did a search for Bob Greene, as we are wont to do in moments of just fucking around on Google – didn’t know anything about the scandal. Now I do. An insignificant detail compared to my new discovery. You are the best writer I’ve seen in decades.
    Plus, I’ve never liked Bill Cosby.

    550 chars

  37. Dexter said on November 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    The shit is about to hit the fan, brian….

    43 chars

  38. Connie said on November 24, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Ocean, many of us were brought here the first time by Bob Green.

    64 chars

  39. Dave said on November 24, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Ocean’s first few lines made me think that Prospero was back, somehow. I had to look twice. Probably it’s just me.

    116 chars

  40. Ocean said on November 24, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Dave, I’m not Prospero, although I did read enough of the site to understand who Prospero is (was).

    Connie, I searched for Greene out of the blue. Hadn’t read his column in years. As above, after reading some of this site I see that many of you came here at Nancy’s first post about the Bob Greene. You guys have been here since the beginning. Literally.

    357 chars

  41. Dave said on November 24, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    No, if you were Prospero, we’d have a whole new and exciting topic that would go on for days.

    93 chars