Vinson: Cosby a major huckster?


Huckster: One that acts primarily from mercenary motives. One that employs persuasive showmanship to attain an objective (Webster's Third New International Dictionary).

My earliest memory of Bill Cosby goes back to the mid '60s, when he, along with actor Robert Culp, starred in the highly successful TV action-espionage series "I Spy." Resultant of his role in "I Spy," Cosby became the first African-American to co-star in a dramatic TV series.

After "I Spy" came the popular TV cartoon show "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," which ran from the early '70s through the late '70s.

Next then came "The Cosby Show" in 1984, a cultural barrier-breaker that ran until 1992. In "The Cosby Show," Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad portrayed husband-and-wife "Cliff and Claire Huxtable." Cliff, a physician, and Claire, an attorney, successfully raised five children in an affluent neighborhood. The show stressed clean humor, strong work ethics, and wholesome family values. "The Cosby Show" aired weekly for those eight seasons and would become--at some point-in-time--"the highest ranking sitcom of all time."

Further, it is common knowledge the idea and storyline for "The Cosby Show" came from Bill Cosby's real-life family situation and his personal philosophy: If black people study hard enough, work hard enough, and have the right value system in place, they can be as successful as any other race of people.

And let's not forget that while Bill Cosby was accomplishing all of the above, he was entertaining millions with his witty, everyday-life, easy-to-follow brand of comedy. In addition to being a regular on Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show" (arguably the hottest venue for an entertainer, at the time), Cosby sold out comedy clubs the nation over and recorded comedy albums that attracted the "thinking" crowd. Back in the day, mid '70s, if you were inside a friend's college dorm room, it would not have been out of the ordinary to have seen Cosby's hit comedy album "Bill" on a shelf wedged between The Beatles' "White Album" and Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon."

And who could ever forget Cosby's TV commercial for Jell-O Pudding!

Thus, we are in agreement Bill Cosby is an accomplished and respected actor, producer, comedian, author, activist, musician, educator . . . was respected, anyway, with emphasis on "was"!

For the past few days, Bill Cosby has been all over the media. At the epicenter of the media's current interest in Cosby are . . . wouldn't you know it . . . tell-tale sex scandals!

Back in October 2014, during a stand-up comedy show in Philadelphia, comedian Hannibal Buress referred to Cosby as a "rapist." For whatever reason, Buress's comment/allegation about Cosby went "viral," and, well, to pun a bit, America hasn't been able to get enough!

If there is any validity to what we read and hear, three women did file sexual assault cases against Bill Cosby in 2005 and 2006. Supposedly, one was settled out of court.

Since comedian Buress's "rapist" allegations in October 2014, several more women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Cosby. Cosby has been lambasted by the media for not responding to questions about his guilt/innocence in these sexual misconduct allegations.

True enough, rich, powerful men, such as Bill Cosby, are in the habit of getting whatever they desire whenever they desire it. However, on the flipside, women have been known to levy false sex-related allegations against rich, powerful men, such as Cosby, solely for the purpose of cashing in: settling out of court, selling a story to a newspaper/news station, writing a book, etc.

Is Bill Cosby still our lovable "Mr. Huxtable," everyone's favorite dad, who's being wrongfully accused by female "hucksters," who, in turn, are being propelled by a rating-hungry media?

Or is Bill Cosby, himself, the "All-American Huckster," guilty as charged, who's using the "Huxtable" persona to pull one over on the public?

Until I talk to both Bill Cosby and his female accusers, I'll reserve making an absolute comment . . .?