Friday, November 28, 2014

"What I Think About The Cosby Situation"

This is a follow-up to the “What I Know About The Cosby Situation” post I wrote the day before yesterday.  You might want to check it out.  It’s a pretty quick read.  I’ll wait till you come back.  Believe me, it will not take long.


Are you back?  Good.

When the most recent flurry of Cosby sexual misconduct allegations bubbled up, I gave little to no thought about writing about it.  And I’m a guy who is constantly scrounging for blog post ideas!  Still, I decided, Just Thinking would not be weighing in on this monumental occurrence.

Then, I got a call from Access Hollywood.

A lovely woman, simply doing her job, which I imagine was going down a list of potential “Illuminators of the Situation”, and/or “Whistle Blowers”, and/or “Sneaky Little Snitches”, and calling them up, one at a time.

“Are you Earl Pomerantz?”

“Yes, I am.

“This is (an immediately forgotten name) from Access Hollywood.  I was wondering if you would you like to come on the show and talk about…?”

“No, thank you.”

“Do you any information concerning…?”

“No, I do not.”

“Well, would you like to say something positive about…?”

“Sorry, I have nothing to add to the conversation.  Thank you, and have a nice day.”

And that was that. 


“Dad, you could have gone on the show and told people about your blog.  You could have said ‘I will be writing about what I know about the Cosby situation at tomorrow’, and you would have had millions of readers.  Then, you could have written ‘What I Know About The Cosby Situation’, and underneath, left a totally blank space.”  I took only a portion of her advice – the last portion.  The rest of her advice made me a little disturbed concerning her deviousness, or, as Americans call it, opportunism.

Anyway, besides Access Hollywood, I was also bombarded by inquiries concerning the Cosby situation from family, friends and tangential acquaintances, all of whom knew that I had once worked on The Cosby Show.  It is then, that I decided to officially add my two cents’ worth.  Though they may possibly be worth less.

My entire understanding of sex crimes emanates from years of watching Law & Order: SVU, which I have determined to watch less but have not entirely succeeded, though I adamantly refuse to watch episodes featuring children.  “Yuk!” on two levels – the “manipulative story” level and the “exploiting child actors” level.  And “Yuk!” on me for ever considering it “entertainment”! 

Here’s what SVU taught me about sex crimes.  Sex crimes are the only crime in which the victim has to prove that they took place.  (Why?  Because there are generally no witnesses.  As I facetiously remarked to a curious inquisitor:   “Here’s what never happened.  {AS BILL COSBY}:  ‘Hey, Earl.  I am going to drug this woman and have sex with her.  Would you like to watch?’”)

Meaning, how exactly could I know?

As behooves its status as a television drama – and an extremely long-running one at that, so as it got older, they had run through pretty much all of the permutations – SVU episodes concerning sexual misconduct (which are the only stories they did because…they’re SVU) are, ideologically and story-wise, all over the map:

They did it.  They were accused of doing it but the accuser was lying.  They appeared to have done it but they were set up by a vindictive “Third Party.”  They admitted to doing it but they were covering up for a loved one who actually did it.  They did it but (it was argued) an addiction to pornography made them do it.  And hundreds of other permutations, too numerous to mention, or remember. 

Oh, yeah, one of my favorites.  The person did it, but the evidence did not match until it is discovered that the “exonerated” female suspect used to be a guy.  That one was a “stretch” but you know, it was the Fifteenth Season.

Random considerations – on both sides of the issue – which you can sift through and evaluate as you see fit:

“Sexual predator.”  An at least questionable lack of good judgment.  Celebrity “entitlement.”  Groupies and thrill-seekers.  “Where’s there’s smoke there’s fire.”  And last but not least, a line immortalized by Reagan Administration Secretary of Labor Raymond J. Donovan, accused of a crime and later exonerated:

“Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?”

There are two reasons I rebuffed Access Hollywood.  One, I had, as previously mentioned, nothing to add to the conversation.  And two, perhaps equally importantly, I am generically hostile to gossip, and programs that enrich themselves disseminating it.

As usual in cases of the seamier uses of the Free Speech protection, I blame the audience for making gossip shows so popular and profitable.  I suspect those viewers can intuit my disapproval.  Which is at least one reason I am not more popular and profitable myself. 

A lot of people enjoy gossip.  And they have little patience for the “judgmentalists” who don’t.


Hobbes said...

Wow. I recently found this blog (led here by Ken Levine) and I was already enjoying your posts. But this is not only a great post, it is a great position statement. I also don't like gossip.

Unless, of course, it is about me, where I know the truth. Then gossip can be entertaining (or frustrating - or just plain stooooopid).

Come to think of it - I don't like gossip.

Calvin said...

Hobbes! There you are!

The Cosby crap long ago moved from gossip to more than likely. But you don't want to express an opinion so I won't either, not beyond the one I just expressed.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

What I'd like to see you discuss is a slightly related topic that's come up on Ken Levine's blog, and that's the rough anything-goes culture he indicates is common in many writers' rooms, especially in comedy. At Ken's SITCOM ROOM event, Jane Espenson talked about how personal some of the off-color comments were that came her way, and said that the culture was what sent her to writing drama instead.

Ken has generally defended the notion that writers need to have the space to say absolutely anything that comes to mind; I'm not so sure it's really necessary to pick apart the beddability and sexual qualities of the female writers in order to collaborate on great comedy. So one day soon, if you have time, I'd be interested in your thoughts about whether some basic civility can be had while still enabling great writing.


Canda said...

Not sure Writers Rooms are as wild as they once were. More women are running shows, and more women are in the rooms.

I'd be surprised if writers are even working as late as they once were, based on the shows I've seen. Irony doesn't require you to stay up late. Jokes are hardly part of the fabric. "Character" usually means wry observations that seem to be written by one person, and not really in a collaborative style.

Anonymous said...

integrity and humor are an odd have both....that's a compliment

Anonymous said...

3514integrity and humor are an odd have both....that's a compliment