Emil Guillermo: When women were finally believed, Cosby could no longer tread water
April 26, 2018 9:44 PM
"Noah, how long can you tread water?"
Delivered as if the voice of God, it''s a classic Cosby punch line from one of the first Bill Cosby records I ever owned.
"Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow" was the name of the album.
The modern remix has renamed it: Bill Cosby is a very funny felon.
And let's not forget the tag: "Right."
The only thing he's quoted as saying on Thursday came after his three guilty verdicts on aggravated indecent assault were read. The prosecution mentioned that Cosby, who faces up to ten years per charge, had a private plane and could be a flight risk.
The thought of that made Cosby blurt out in rage, according to reporters.
"He doesn't have a plane, you asshole," said Cosby.
It was a kind of showstopper in this whole five-year ordeal.
From the start, I had hoped it wouldn't happen. But the evidence was so great, I knew it would.
I'm not pro-rapist. In this case, I'm pro-woman.
It's just that growing up in America, Bill Cosby was like a beacon of comedic hope for any non-white person in America.
He may have been known as America's dad in the '80s for his TV show.
But in the 60's, even for an Asian American kid, Cosby could have been my dad.
At least, he spoke English well.
Consider that in 1963 when my Cosby album was released, America's Asian community was unnaturally suppressed.
Discriminatory immigration quotas virtually eliminated the rise of Asians to America.
You may gloat over having an Asian American population approaching 21 million people today.
In 1963, when I listened to my Cosby album, the population looked like this:
Whites: 75 percent
Blacks: 4 percent
Hispanics: 8 percent
Asians: Less than 1 percent
We found our affinities where we could. For me, it was Cosby on my record player. A funny black man telling stories coming from a round black vinyl record called an LP (for "long play"), and spinning at 33-1/3 revolutions.
It was a revolution.
I remembered listening to Cosby so much, over and over again. I'd get the power of his timing and his stories. They were universal.
I think about them when I put together my own one-man-show, " Amok Monologues," coming to the Orlando Fringe Festival May 15-28.
That Cosby was black didn't matter.
He told stories about those "little tiny hairs on my face," which even made a pre-pubescent boy like me laugh.
And then there were the biblical Noah stories, where the voice of God asks, "Noah, how long can you tread water?"
It didn't work on the nuns at my catechism classes, but it worked on me.
I loved that Bill Cosby.
More so than all the other versions of Cos.
He's been the TV Spy; the TV Dad; the doctorate in education from U. Mass; the moralizing parent chiding others to teach their children; and now this new version, the 77-year old who prefers silence when it comes to rape.
It was in 2013 when the whole rape saga began.
You'll recall it was a video tape of another black comedian Hannibal Buress that called Cosby out.
Buress just told it like it was. In 2013, Cosby was the African American scold, telling young men to "pull up your pants," criticizing black families for how they were raising their kids.
On the cultural front, Cosby was being hailed by conservatives like Bill O'Reilly as a great example for the African American community.
Funny how that all worked out.
In 2018, O'Reilly is out of his job at Fox as a serial sexual harasser. Cosby has fallen so hard he faces up to ten years in prison for each of his three guilty verdicts.
And it wouldn't have happened if Buress didn't use his standup one night to point out the hypocrisy of Cosby, that the moralist was a rapist.
"Google Bill Cosby and rape," Buress said on the hand-held phone video of his show that went viral.
The power of the story, the internet, and the truth.
It was the beginning.
One by one, women came forward.
And on Thursday, four of them together, led by accuser Andrea Constandt, won their day in court.
It's quite a milestone. America believed women over a powerful, rich, iconic man.
The qualuudes wore off.
Those who've followed Cosby all our lives know the significance. Look at our diverse country with its emerging minority majority, with more than 20 million Asian Americans among women and people of color.
It's a wave so great, one can no longer tread water anymore.
* * *
Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.