A Lifetime of Deception

Wesley Morris, writing for The Times, Cliff Huxtable Was Bill Cosby’s Sickest Joke:

If a sexual predator wanted to come up with a smoke screen for his ghastly conquests, he couldn’t do better than Cliff Huxtable.

Cliff was affable, patient, wise, and where Mrs. Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad) was concerned, justly deferential. His wit was quick, his sweaters roomy and kaleidoscopic. He could be romantic. Cliff should have been the envy of any father ever to appear on a sitcom. He was vertiginously dadly. Cliff is the reason for the cognitive dissonance we’ve been experiencing for the last three or four years. He seemed inseparable from the man who portrayed him.

Bill Cosby was good at his job. That sums up why the guilty verdict Thursday is depressing — depressing not for its shock but for the work the verdict now requires me to do. The discarding and condemning and reconsidering — of the shows, the albums, the movies. But I don’t need to watch them anymore. It’s too late. I’ve seen them. I’ve absorbed them. I’ve lived them. I’m a black man, so I am them.

I was originally going to say this is such a sad fall from grace, but that’s not correct. Bill Cosby didn’t have an amazing career and then screw up at the end of it, this was a lifetime of deception.

Categories:

Crime, Pyschology

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Dumb Fucks

Jean-Louis Gassée posted another great Monday Morning Note, Mark Zuckerberg Thinks We’re Idiots:

The message is clear: Zuckerberg thinks we’re idiots. How are we to believe Facebook didn’t know — and derived benefits — from the widespread abuse of user data by its developers. We just became aware of the Cambridge Analytica cockroach…how many more are under the sink? In more lawyerly terms: “What did you know, and when did you know it?”

A company’s culture emanates from the top and it starts early. In 2004, the man who was in the process of creating Facebook allegedly called Harvard people who entrusted him with their emails, text messages, pictures, and addresses “dumb fucks”. Should we charitably assume he was joking, or ponder the revelatory power of such cracks?

I deleted my Facebook account last week like (a lot of? a few?) others, but as I mentioned on Twitter, I’m not naive.

My newsfeed has been full of junk, memes, opinions, and ignorant political rants for too long and this Cambridge Analytics scandal was just the extra push I needed to do want I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time.

A Good-Character Test

New Zealand Examines Matt Lauer’s Ranch Purchase After His Firing:

The ripples from the firing of Matt Lauer as the co-host of the “Today” morning news show have hit the world of New Zealand property, where officials are already scrutinizing the role of foreign buyers in an increasingly expensive market.

A New Zealand government agency said on Thursday that it was in discussions with Mr. Lauer’s representative over his purchase of a 16,000-acre farm there. Foreigners must pass a good-character test to be allowed to buy New Zealand land, and while Mr. Lauer’s purchase was approved earlier this year, the country’s Overseas Investment Office is revisiting his case in light of his firing.

I wish our presidential candidates had to pass ‘good-character’ tests.

Categories:

Crime

Louie

Louis C.K. Crossed a Line Into Sexual Misconduct, 5 Women Say:

In 2015, a few months before the now-defunct website Defamer circulated rumors of Louis C.K.’s alleged sexual misconduct, Ms. Corry also received an email from Louis C.K., which was obtained by The Times, saying he owed her a “very very very late apology.” When he phoned her, he said was sorry for shoving her in a bathroom. Ms. Corry replied that he had never done that, but had instead asked to masturbate in front of her. Responding in a shaky voice, he acknowledged it and said, “I used to misread people back then,” she recalled.

The call confounded her, Ms. Corry said: not only had he misremembered the incident, which made her think there were other moments of misconduct, he also implied she had done something to invite his behavior. “It is unfair he’s put me or anyone else in this position,” Ms. Corry said.

When you’re misremembering the times you’ve sexually harassed women you definitely have a problem.

Update: Louis has responded: ‘These Stories Are True’

“the way things were back then”

David Bowie and Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Statutory Rape Problem:

We can dismiss all of this as just the “way things were back then.” We can pretend that we haven’t heard countless songs about young “Lolitas” who were “just seventeen—you know what I mean.” We can ignore the racial implications in the mainstream media’s relative silence on rockers’ histories of statutory rape and its glorification. But the next time you watch Almost Famous, take note of how much younger most of the Band Aids seem compared to the world-weary rockers that are repeatedly shown taking them to bed (Kate Hudson’s Penny Lane says she’s 16 in the film). Note how the movie casually nods to Page and Mattix in a scene at the infamous Hyatt “Riot House” on Sunset Strip. And think about how many girls would’ve been better off had someone given a damn way back when, as opposed to just fawning over a guitarist with some hit songs.Former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman infamously began seeing 13-year-old Mandy Smith in 1983. According to Smith, Wyman had sex with her when she was 14. They married when she turned 18 in 1989; they divorced in 1991. She spoke about her time with the ex-Stone in an interview with The Daily Mail in 2010.

David Bowie, Jimmy Page, Sam Cooke, Don Henley, R. Kelly, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis. Lots of names.

Every person condones questionable behavior of others, but the line “you’re not allowed to cross” is different for everyone. Some people are willing to overlook Bowie’s behavior, but others will write him off completely.

This brings to mind Woody Allen, particularly his movie Manhattan. In it, Woody Allen’s character Isaac is a 44-year-old dating a 17-year-old high school student, Tracy, played by an actual 17-year-old Mariel Hemingway. In 1997, Allen married his adopted daughter, Soon-Yi.

As a man, it’s easy for me to justify why I still enjoy watching Woody Allen films (I contend Cate Blanchett’s performance in Blue Jasmine was her best ever), but I would like to know what the actresses that starred in his films from 1998 until today think about his past.

Boycott Bullshit

Twitter Users Split on Boycott Over Platform’s Move Against Rose McGowan:

Activists, celebrities and journalists joined a boycott of Twitter on Friday to protest the social media platform’s locking of the account of the actress Rose McGowan, a fierce critic of the film producer Harvey Weinstein over his alleged sexual harassment and assaults of women.

The boycott began at midnight Thursday in New York and was to last all day. Many of those taking part signified their participation with the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter.

The idea for the protest came from Kelly Ellis, a software engineer, who wrote: “#WomenBoycottTwitter Friday, October 13th. In solidarity w @rosemcgowan and all the victims of hate and harassment Twitter fails to support.”

This is such bullshit.

The idea isn’t bullshit. The idea is great — boycott Twitter for locking Rose McGowan’s account for saying she was the victim of sexual harassment while at the same time allowing Jerkoff Trump to continue to spew hate and hostility on his account. Many have argued Trump has violated Twitter’s terms of service.

I digress.

What’s bullshit about this boycott is how half-assed it is. Boycott Twitter for a day? Really? One whole day? There’s way too many things happening second by second, all over the world, to get a meaningful amount of people to focus on one thing for more than a few hours.

An effective boycott should last longer than 24 measly hours. You also need to offer people an alternative platform of communication if you’re asking them to give up what they currently use. When you do that and Twitter notices their daily active user count plummeting, there’s a good chance they’ll start enforcing their terms of service.

That’s how you effect change.

If you’re saying to yourself that what I’m suggesting is extremely hard, you’re right. Effecting change is very hard. It’s not something you can do by typing a hashtag before a word on your fucking pocket computer.

“the gloves do fit, but you can’t do shit”

Eugene Wei explains the recent scandals in the news — Silicon Valley sexual harassment incidents, Bill Cobsy rape charges, everything Donald Trump does — in the context of common knowledge and “distributed truth”:

We need look no further than the highest office in the land to see that common knowledge often isn’t enough. When the audio of Billy Bush and Donald Trump laughing it up on the bus broke, I thought for sure that would be the incident to sink him. For once, Trump had been caught on tape, when the press and public weren’t in the room to serve as an explicit audience. The tape could be entered into evidence as common knowledge for the public. Then there was video of Trump mocking a disabled reporter.

And on and on and on. Trump has laid so much rope by which the public could have hung him that his feet ended up back on the ground. He is the troll who thumbs his nose at the two intellectually neutered political parties, realizing they have neither the will nor the ideas to do anything as he and his family laugh their way to the bank. In literature, the court jester is often the wisest fool in the room, but sometimes an idiot is just an idiot. If the gloves do not fit, you must acquit. Who will ever forget? What’s depressing about Trump is how he seems to be an exemplar of the variant: the gloves do fit, but you can’t do shit.

It’s easy to feel helpless when we see the ugly truth exposed on a person as bad as Donald Trump and then watch him walk away without punishment.

Luckily Wei shows us justice is possible (although not guaranteed). It just requires a lot of resilience and courage.

#dontaskmillenialstosmugglecoke

In August, VICE reported on a hilarious coke-smugging bust in Australia involving two young ladies who documented their whole adventure on Instagram:

It’s the largest drug bust Australia has ever seen on a boat or plane.

Before they got caught, the women documented the entire journey on Instagram and Facebook, looking joyful in Times Square in New York, drinking out of coconuts in French Polynesia, and enjoying Irish coffees in Ireland.

Hey Millennial criminals: this is the opposite of covering your tracks.

Categories:

Crime