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I’m sad about Bill Cosby.

I really am.

For kids that grew up in the 70’s, before the hit tv show, before the Pudding Pops, Bill Cosby was primarily a children’s entertainer. He had his own cartoon, of course, Fat Albert; hey, hey, hey, most people have heard of that. But he also guested on Sesame Street and Electric Company and Captain Kangaroo among other programs. I didn’t really know who he was back then, but I did know he must be some kind of parentally-approved child-friendly-guy since he was always showing up on pretty much whatever I happened to be watching to tell me the alphabet while making googly faces. Bill Cosby was as much a part of my childhood as Mr. Rogers or the principal of my elementary school, just a seemingly nice man who was always popping up with an important lesson that I needed to know.

Over the last half-century, we’ve seen many of our idols revealed to have feet of clay and penises of some sort of unstoppable material. Not only entertainers but scout leaders, teachers, priests, coaches, and government officials including the mayor of my very own hometown have been exposed as predators who used positions of power and intimacy to exploit vulnerable individuals who looked up to them. At this point, I’m no longer surprised by the big reveal, but every time I feel sad. I hate being reminded that something has been taken from me that I’ll never get back. A sense of security that I had as a child is gone. I can no longer rest easy in the assumption that any given man that I encounter isn’t inherently a threat to my children or myself.  I can never assume that a man will be kind for no other reason than because they are good people and you are a defenseless kid or a distressed damsel.

To put it plainly – I have to at least consider that every man I encounter may be a predator.

As a child of divorce, this concept of fundamental male decency was especially important to me. I had very limited experience with adult men. I had no older brothers, no cousins, my father and grandfathers and uncles lived far away. We moved constantly and so never formed bonds with friends or neighbors or people from church. Most of my experience with adult males from the time that I was a small girl has been that they want things, first from my mother, and later on from me. I learned first through absorption and later through experience that women have to be constantly on guard against the things that men want, and that we must be prepared to earn their assistance and protection through what we can provide in return. Over time I learned that male benevolence is not always given freely, or at all. But at least growing up, I had the perception that there were decent men in the world because I saw them on TV. Mr. Rogers existed. Bill Cosby existed. Bob and Gordon and Mr. Hooper existed.

There were, of course, bad men in the world, but they were creeps who drove up beside you in cars or strangers who jumped out of alleyways. They were broken and dysfunctional weirdos who lurked on the fringes of society and not at its very heart. They weren’t the kind of people that you would ever be fooled into trusting; you would know them at a glance because they weren’t normal. They couldn’t be normal, because that behavior wasn’t normal. The idea that someone who seemed kind, who you KNEW, even if it was only as a face on the TV screen, might hurt you, might force you into doing something you didn’t want to do, was utterly foreign to me. I believed that the world was full of good guys doing good things not because they were forced to by fear of arrest or exposure or guilt, but because they didn’t even want to do anything but.

Over the years, as more and more layers have been stripped away to reveal a seamy underbelly that I would have vastly preferred not to know about, I feel like that concept has slipped away. I’ve lost something.  I think we all have. I’m not actually safe and I never really was. My safety was an illusion that was shattered by Bill Cosby’s Quaaludes. (Quaaludes! Quaaludes begins with the letter Q, kids!) The world is really, truly, actually a place of danger where trusted, even beloved figures are all too often revealed as monsters who will devour you if they have half a chance. You are never safe, not really, not ever.

I’m not saying all men are bad guys. Not at all.  There are good men, I know that there are.  I have four sons that I am hopefully, hopefully raising to be good men.  I am not sure I even believe Bill Cosby is a bad guy. He has done some amazing things with his life, he’s helped people, he clearly wants to be a good person.  But then there’s this thing that he did, a decision that he made, a choice that seemed to directly undermine his own personal values. An important minority of seemingly otherwise good and decent men – again, not the creeps in the alleyway, but seemingly decent and functional men – seem willing to take the opportunity to walk this dark path when they stumble onto it. I don’t think it’s because their parents didn’t raise them right or rape culture or video games or horror movies or comic books or detective novels. We want to believe those things are true because we don’t want to face the reality that good men can do bad things sometimes. Sometimes even fundamentally good men will take an opportunity when it arises. Despite the risks, despite the costs, despite the damage they are doing to a fellow human being, despite the potential damage they are doing to their future selves, they are willing to make that choice for 60 seconds of sexual release.

Even from a purely self-interested position, it’s as self-destructive a behavior as a game of Russian Roulette. Every offense is another click of the chamber, every time could be the bullet that blows your life to smithereens. For 60 seconds. And many of them seem either incapable of stopping, or unwilling to. It’s not a one time mistake that scares them straight, it’s not that they messed up once one New Year’s Eve when they’d had too much to drink and had a moment of weakness but never let it happen again. They try it again and again and again, like an addict who shuffles along begging enough spare change for their next hit.  But the addict has nothing left to lose. Their lives already suck, they’re not gambling anything they haven’t already lost. Yet so many of these guys are rich and famous and powerful and successful, at the top of their fields, respected by the community. They are gambling everything, even their freedom, for that 60 seconds, not only once, but dozens or even hundreds of times. This doesn’t seem like a choice, it seems like a compulsion.

Louis C.K. famously said, regarding child molesters, that he really, really, really likes Mounds bars, but he doesn’t understand being willing to go to jail to eat one. And I think I agree with him. I cannot wrap my brain around being so desperate for a certain sexual experience that I would risk everything in a fantastic life full of money, power, and prestige, to have it. I can’t even pretend that I understand it. It simply cannot be a rational decision and thus we cannot treat it as such. There is obviously some sort of disconnect in the brains of certain men, where the temptation is so great and/or the fear of detection and punishment is so little that they throw even their own self-interest out the window. All for 60 seconds. The trade is apparently so good they make it again and again. And regarding Louis C.K., I really really, really like Mounds bars too, but I don’t lock people in a room and force them to watch me eating them.

It almost seems like some of these men are afflicted or cursed, plagued by demons that are very nearly out of their control. If, for whatever reason, they are incapable of stopping, they seem worthy of our pity. And I do pity them. I feel sorry for Bill Cosby. But I’m also angry, not only for the sake of his victims, but angry for my family, because my children, my daughter especially, will never know the innocence and freedom that I did, or even that I allowed my two oldest children to enjoy. I don’t send my younger children to camp, I don’t take them to church, I hesitate to let them out of my sight for a moment even among friends and relatives. I don’t allow them to have that freedom because of Bill Cosby and the men like him. And I am angry for my own sake, for what I’ve lost, because not only do I fear for myself at times, I can’t parent my kids without a nagging sense of constant fear that my mother never experienced. I don’t bother to teach my children not to talk to strangers because it is not usually strangers who hurt you. It is the people you know. And who can protect against everyone?

This is the part of the piece where I am supposed to pull some amazing plan or scheme to solve this problem out of my hat. But I don’t think there is a fix for this, and certainly not a quick or easy one. Because this happens so much, I can’t draw any other conclusion other than that it is normal. It’s normal like car accidents and heart disease and forest fires in August are normal – in the sense that while they are terrible, they happen so often that they’re just something you have to accept as part of the cost of doing business with this thing called life.

To live in a world free of the risk of abuse would be to live in a society so structured and strictured it would probably be unlivably hellish, and would be about as effective as Prohibition. The truly determined offenders would find a way; whatever drives them is apparently so compelling that resistance is futile, and the rest of us would be continually punished for their transgressions. We’d have to put up with constant intrusions into our privacy, strongarmed into policing our behavior, with well-meaning busybodies holding everyone to a standard we neither want nor need in order to prevent even the slightest appearance of impropriety. Something I’ve learned over my life is that it’s damn hard to avoid even the appearance of impropriety when those around you are highly motivated to seek it out. When you cast a wide net, you end up catching everyone in it. And all too often the big fish swim around the net anyway because you’re so busy dealing with the minnows.

I’m not unreasonable, I do think we could do a better job of designing our institutions to avoid temptation for those not-entirely-bad-guys who experience it and at influencing our culture to further use the power of social pressure to further nip the inclination in the bud. But there will be a cost, a price to be paid in terms of freedom for everyone, and we must proceed with very great caution before sacrificing that freedom in pursuit of an unreachable goal. We are not going to be able to prevent all assaults, and we certainly won’t be able to prevent all harassment. We cannot set that expectation as our bar. If we try, it would be a recipe for disaster, for misery. No one wants to talk about that cost but it is real and it is high. It may be too high and we as a society need to make a rational analysis of cost vs. benefit before we really do go all Handmaid’s Tale on ourselves in pursuit of an unreachable goal.

I don’t want to change the culture. There’s a lot to like about our culture, for women most of all, and anyone who says otherwise needs to read more history books. We have a level of freedom that women have never experienced, EVER.  And I like having that freedom. I enjoy the hell out of it, as a matter of fact. I don’t want to wear modest clothes if I don’t want to and have to forgo friendships with males and be constantly worried about what the neighbors say if I laugh too loud or have a drink at a bar or say naughty words now and then. (Now, I may choose to hold myself to those standards voluntarily, but that’s a different matter than being forced into it by the clucking tongues of prying busybodies or the guidelines of thick workbooks handed out by HR.) Loosening up on some of these cultural mores has been a step FORWARD for women, not back. I would even reserve the right to put myself into a dangerous situation if I so choose.  That’s not anyone else’s call to make but my own.  And as a feminist I have a not-so-sneaking suspicion that somehow, some way the burden of these cultural changes will fall heaviest on we the fairer sex, primarily serving to make women less free while leaving men pretty much the same.  Just seems to be the way it generally goes.

So while we must acknowledge the reality that a certain percentage of usually-male people will take the opportunity to act badly when it presents itself, and then prevent those opportunities, inasmuch as we can, we have to stop short before going so far as to basically put us all in a prison forever. As it is now, it is like we expect angels to inhabit the earth, take no precautions even the most basic and obvious ones, and then act surprised when it is demonstrated time and again that we’re surrounded by mere mortals. And as the dust settles, people call for changes to culture and society that will leave all of us worse off, less free, less happy.

For starters, we can, indeed must, do a better job of warning potential victims about the risks. I don’t mean terrifying children with stories of Big Bad Wolves around every corner because stranger abductions are so statistically rare you’re basically frightening kids with the Boogeyman. I mean warning potential victims about real threats, the ones that come in the guise of a potential friend. Telling young people, particularly in places like Hollywood or while they’re away at college, things like “hey maybe don’t just take any old drugs that people give you” or “don’t drink yourself blind”. And this isn’t blaming victims, it is just a sensible precaution to warn people about. Duh. It seems ridiculous that we’ve made a lucrative industry from fingerprinting terrified children and indoctrinating them with never-talk-to-strangers only to skip over warning teens and young adults about the actual risks that come along with intoxication, using “but men shouldn’t rape” as an excuse for sending young people out into the world thinking that partying yourself into unconsciousness is devoid of risk.  Yes, men shouldn’t rape, but they DO rape.  Even women have raped.  Look out for number one, ladies and gents.  Forewarned is forearmed.

And it seems only obvious by now, but perhaps we should step away from the custom of leaving teenagers in the one-on-one care of an older unrelated adult unsupervised.  Even though many of us have great memories of trips with teachers and church groups it’s probably just not a great idea to do it one-on-one, that’s all.  And how about possibly, going out on a crazy, crazy limb here, advising women and men too for that matter in every industry that taking meetings in hotel rooms is probably a bad idea. That’s what offices are for, people. Preferably glass-walled ones surrounded by nosy personal assistants.  These things are small things.  Obvious things.  Not invasive things.  It seems to me self-evident that reasonable people can suggest taking sensible precautions without trading our wonderful and unprecedented freedom in pursuit of a goal that can never be reached.

But all that having been said, my innocence is still gone. And it’s not coming back any time soon. Nothing we do is going to bring that back, unfortunately. You can’t shut the barn door after the horse has escaped.

It’s better, it’s obviously better for potential victims know about possible threats to prevent them, it’s better to act sensibly and take precautions, but gosh, I wish we didn’t HAVE to prevent them and I wish we didn’t need quite so many precautions. Ignorance really was bliss, in retrospect. Growing up as a regular dumb kid naive and defenseless and admittedly, lucky, was better than the way I feel now. It was better than generations of children terrified by the kidnapper behind every bush and parents like me afraid to let their kids join Boy Scouts or the church youth group. I think we adults need to get our stuff together so kids can have childhoods again.

I prefer that innocent fantasyland I dwelled in as a child where there were good guys and bad guys, and the good guys weren’t just horny guys who hadn’t had the chance to turn bad yet. Even though it was only a fantasy, it was a decent way to grow up and we owe it to our children to let them enjoy that innocence as well, to believe in a world where there really are good men who just want to teach you the damn alphabet.

Image by tedeytan I'm sad about Bill Cosby.

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Kristin is huge geek, a libertarian, and a mother of 4 sons and a daughter. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor.

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38 thoughts on “I’m sad about Bill Cosby.

  1. “I hate being reminded that something has been taken from me that I’ll never get back. A sense of security that I had as a child is gone. I can no longer rest easy in the assumption that any given man that I encounter isn’t inherently a threat to my children or myself. ”

    It’s called the real world for a reason. You’ve had the cover ripped off and seen how the sausage is really made. It’s also called growing up.

    “To put it plainly – I have to at least consider that every man I encounter may be a predator.” Well, it ain’t like women are the primary predators, so that’s completely logical to be wary of men. Hell, I am. Do we not scan our environment when out in public? Do we not think better of taking that short cut down the dark alley? Hell yes. I don’t know how many times I had to remind my now ex to keep her mind on where she was and what she was doing rather than daydreaming or looking at her phone walking to her car in Baltimore.

    May your kids gradually be exposed to this vs a sudden shock. I think that’s the only hope you can have.


    • An important part of attaining full adulthood is reaching a set of understandings about your own parents (or whatever other adults raised you):

      1. They are imperfect people with faults, who have made some bad decisions; and
      2. Some of those bad decisions were sub-optimal parenting choices that concerned you; and
      3. That’s okay, because you realize they mostly did the best they could even if that wasn’t always perfect, and so you accept them for who they are and you love them anyway.

      The thing about celebrities, especially ones that you followed and enjoyed as a child, is that they too are sort of parental figures: they’re adults you admire in some way. Realizing that they too are imperfect, and have made bad decisions, is a part of attaining maturity about that person.

      Unfortunately, we don’t seem to realize that point #3 does not apply to your “relationship” with a celebrity. You don’t have a relationship with a celebrity. You admire this person, or more precisely, you admire who you perceive that person to be. But they don’t owe you doing their best for you and in part because they don’t know you at all. And you don’t have to keep on admiring them if you learn something about them that you really can’t live with.

      At least, it’s much easier for me to compartmentalize liking attribute X and disliking attribute Y about a celebrity, someone I don’t actually know. Because I don’t have to deal with that person one-on-one; I can only deal with attribute X. For instance, no way am I going to condone or support the criminally bad deeds of an athlete like Michael Vick or Ben Roethlisberger. But I find it easy to segregate that off-field conduct from assessing and appreciating their on-field performance. When I watch a football game, I’m not watching those guys interact with dogs or women (or the justice system). I’m watching them play football. It’s not hard for me to say, “Roethlisberger probably ought to be behind bars right now for rape, but he isn’t and while that’s unjust, he just made a fantastic pass.”


      • Easier for some, not for others.

        And there’s such a gap between “made some sub-optimal decisions sometimes” and “was criminally cruel and/or abusive to people weaker than them” that your analogy falls down for me before I even get to not being able to watch Roethlisberger without hoping he breaks something.

        Note that I have one parent who falls into the latter category, and is deeply flawed, but also pretty great, whom I love with all my heart, talk to regularly, and visit; and another parent who falls into the 2nd category, whom I would be happy to never see again. The idea that I *ought* to put parent number 2 into the first category was definitely out there in the culture …. but for as long as my family accepted it, it mostly contributed to a) making us even more miserable for even longer, and b) giving him cover for future criminal acts.


  2. And if you’re a bit older, you remember Cosby from his comedy records about growing up in Philadelphia, playing buck-buck and touch football in the street, or being terrified by late-night horror shows (the material that eventually became the Fat Albert cartoons). It was hilarious and warm and heartfelt, all at the same time. Now it’s just rancid.


  3. As a side note, that picture makes me mostly nostalgic for Ben’s Chili Bowl, probably the best restaurant in DC. I think they did finally change the mural, but it was painful. Cosby used to take his wife there when they were dating and it was long a point of pride for them.


  4. We must always remember that We Don’t Know These People. We may admire their artistic or athletic or other talents, which sometimes showcase desirable human qualities other than their raw talents, but did what did we really know about Bill Cosby or Kobe Bryant, or [fill in the blank]? Some of them, maybe many, will turn out to be awful human beings in a variety of ways, including sexual predation.
    Sticking with Cosby for a moment, it would have been jaw-droppingly dumb if any of the 30-odd women he drugged and abused didn’t think going in that Cos might want to have sex with them — not because they had reason to suspect what Cosby was, but simply because he is a man. I’d be willing to bet that some of them, had Cos let nature take its course, would have had sex willingly. Most men aren’t predators, and most will take no — all right, maybe you have to say it twice — for an answer. Women should be able to rely on that.


    • I assume it’s a lot more than 30. Decades after the fact, how many would be willing to come forward and put their life in a blender? Explain to their husbands, employers, children, etc that they’re going to be in the news in such a way and everything else will have to take a backseat for weeks/months/years? 10%? 5%?

      Once a month for 10 years would be 120. I very much doubt Bill was only active once a month and for only every 10 years.

      Sometimes math is ugly.


  5. What do we do when evil is right in our midst, right in our families, right inside of us ourselves?

    When I was a teenager, I knew a priest who was remarkably kind and thoughtful and had such a brilliant incisive mind, I can still remember his sermons to this day, and even flirted with the idea of becoming a priest myself because of him.

    Years later I picked up the paper and saw that he had been accused of forcing himself sexually on a young man, and was convicted.

    I remember reading the charges and indignant testimony although I couldn’t deny them, I found myself wanting to shout, But there is more to this man than the sum of his sins! He is not unredeemable evil, there is another side to him that deserves to be seen and testified to.

    I suppose this is why I keep returning to the notion of confession, forgiveness, and redemption.

    Its easy to think of simply sending a Cosby away somewhere out of sight and out of mind.
    But right now all across America there are husbands and fathers, teachers and coaches, bosses and managers who are either committing sexual harassment and assault, or flirting with the boundary.

    They aren’t monsters, they aren’t going to simply disappear and be replaced by angels. We need to find a way to come to terms with human frailty and darkness, and work towards healing where we can.


    • There are certain people who relentlessly pursue power, who use their power and position to abuse others in so many ways. Those people, I never trust, no matter how good their intentions seem. Their pursuit of power always tarnishes, to some degree, whatever good may come.

      But the people who seem to have greatness thrust upon them, who we later find to be damaged… I have to wonder if it’s them, or just the nature of fame & renown finding a way to corrupt anyone who is not actively working against it.


    • I’m less concerned with healing and more with prevention.

      Burning down Cosby’s life and his life’s work is painful but sends the right message.

      Holding up unacceptable behavior and proclaiming it unacceptable deals with the problem, letting it hide in the darkness does not.


  6. The worst part is that if you really want to protect your children from sexual predators, you need to watch are close family friends, their uncles, (step)father and your son’s themselves with caution and distrust.
    While every man might be a predator, the predators for most abuse victims is usually close to the family or from the family itself. People you trust implicitly, people you just know are the good guys.


    • I’m not sure you can live your life like that, though. Constantly distrusting those closest to you? That seems like a recipe for misery. Is it possible, evidently it’s always possible, but I to some extent trust my instincts towards those who I live with day in and day out more than a coach or a youth pastor, TBH.


    • This, and ‘ point, are probably closer to what’s realistic for most of us to have to encounter, as opposed to the “going on a date with a beloved celebrity” situation. (On which I have a thought, but I’ll express that thought in a different comment in a few moments.)

      One point of the perniciousness of that kind of sexual abuse is that it frequently happens at a formative point in a young person’s development — either right around the time independent consciousness and long-term memory coalesce, or right around the time puberty manifests. This can and often does cause tremendous harm which can last an entire lifetime, rendering everyone in proximity to the victim vulnerable to its effects.

      The other is that it is perpetrated by someone who is, by definition in a position of trust. If that person is not in a position of trust, there is no trust to betray. And people in that position are the ones that it’s hardest to see problems with.

      You can’t not trust people, but you also can’t trust people. I don’t know what to do about that. I do, unfortuantely, have some relatively recent experience with being on the receiving end of how that kind of pain can hurt people years later that the perpetrator didn’t even know when the crime was committed. Worse, I realize that I’m FAR from unique in this.


  7. There’s a lot of these things ghosts haunting my various entertainments.

    I’ve said for a long while that I’m not going to watch any Polanski movies until he is dead (and I faltered and watched “The Ghostwriter” when I was on an overseas flight). I used to very much enjoy Woody Allen movies but I can’t watch them anymore. (And the trailer for Blue Jasmine made me want to see it very much.)

    I used to love Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and wanted to buy the box set of it… but I pretty much don’t think I’d be able to watch the cartoon now. My family used to check his albums out from the library and we’d laugh until our sides hurt. I can’t recommend them anymore.

    Can’t watch Joss Whedon stuff anymore. Can’t enjoy Ben Affleck as Batman. Pixar is screwed up now too.

    And the worst part is that even though a lot of stuff is being cancelled and people are being digitally removed from movies, I know that there’s been no shortage of “this was an open secret!” being said by people who, somehow, wanted me to know that they knew about this but didn’t do anything.

    And that makes me think that these things are being cancelled not because the people responsible for distributing found out about it, but because the people responsible for distributing found out that schulbs like me found out about it.

    Omelas was a lot nicer before they put pictures of the kid on every billboard.


      • Nope. Just his ex-wife.

        And even if what she says is 100% true, the only thing he’s particularly guilty of is being willing to be swayed in how a story should go by a particularly enthusiastic actress who has a strong idea of the character.

        And yet.


        • Nope. Just his ex-wife.

          So she’s…
          1) Mentally ill (from the previous link you posted)
          2) Pissed at him.
          3) Co-founded Bellwether Pictures with him and presumably would benefit by forcing him out.
          4) Has a 12 and 14 year old kid with him and these charges might be the difference between “joint custody” and “sole custody”.

          Any one of these issues should be a real problem as far as credibility.


  8. This is a difficult truth to accept, but humans are animals. I don’t necessarily mean this in a derogatory sense, but rather as a statement of fact. We are all human animals.

    As much as we like to distance ourselves from this basic fact, citing aspects of our existence like our habits of walking upright and wearing fashionable clothing, our animal instincts are incredibly strong. One could argue that there was a time when they absolutely needed to be, in order to survive as a species. Our sexual urges ensure that we reproduce. Our craving for food and our bodies’ built-in ability to store fat ensures that we have the sustenance to survive. Our fight-or-flight response ensures we either run from danger, or muster up the strength and courage to defeat it.

    We live in a world now where these things may not be necessary. There is less of a biological purpose in storing fat when there’s a McDonald’s on every city block. Our fight-or-flight response is no longer triggered by dangerous wild animals, but silly things like being cut off in traffic or a particularly spiteful YouTube comment. Sex is equal measures procreational and recreational.

    My point is that the animal urges still exist within all of us but they manifest themselves in odd ways, because they don’t really have a fit in today’s society as a whole. We feel compelled to eat when we’re not hungry because our bodies are designed to store fat. We hate this about ourselves, but it’s incredibly difficult for most people to go on a diet and lose weight. Losing weight is the exact opposite of what our bodies are designed to do. We got to anger management classes to try to curb the fight-or-flight response, as if reacting to a perceived threat is some horrible reaction that should never have come about.

    What this all means is that it’s also incredibly difficult to resist sexual impulses when they present themselves. I don’t know why some adult humans find children more sexually irresistible than other adults. That’s outside the scope of my thoughts for today. I will say, though, that whatever your particular sexual flavor, it’s immensely difficult to curtail the animal part of your brain and deny these hard-wired, primitive impulses that are in place to make us breed. It’s never a rational or logical decision.

    I’m not saying that nobody can ever overcome their primitive urges, or that we should all just be given free rein to act like animals. I’m just saying that the urges drive us in ways we cannot ever fully control. We are animals who use tools and a sophisticated language and write remarkably insightful essays, but at the end of the day, we’re still just animals.

    Gonna go make a sandwich now. Yes, I already had dinner. Shut up.


    • “incredibly difficult to resist sexual impulses when they present themselves.”

      Respectfully, Bob, no, it’s not THAT incredibly difficult. Like maybe a 4 to a 6 on a scale of 10, as far as the difficult things humans do go. It’s not climbing Mount Everest, it’s not even not eating that second sandwich. There are plenty of truly celibate people, and plenty of people who do, sexually, pretty much what they think they ought to do, and no more. It can be far more difficult when something as huge as your entire sexual orientation is at stake, which is why people suffer so when they try to “convert” themselves to being straight, but just day to day garden variety “this is not moral so I better squash it” reactions? 6/10 is a generous difficulty estimate.

      Great apes (including humans most especially, unless bonobos are especially-er than us and I just don’t recognize it because their mores are different) are *generally* wired to have highly adaptive, highly socially flexible, highly communicative sexuality. As with most human animal failings, some kind of trauma or learned reaction is usually at the bottom of harmful urges.


      • “incredibly difficult to resist sexual impulses when they present themselves.”
        Respectfully, Bob, no, it’s not THAT incredibly difficult.

        This is something that varies significantly from person to person. As tempting as it is to use the “just keep it in your pants” line, I think it’s as unhelpful in this context as the equivalent approach is in other contexts relating to human behavior.


        • “Keep it in your pants” is not what I was saying. And Bob is presenting his claim, that we’re animals and we can’t help our sexual impulses most of the time, in the context of someone who drugged and raped 30 women. It’s really *not* that difficult for the vast majority of people (or other great apes) to not do things like that, and I am vastly skeptical that the only reason Cosby did what he did is because of his “animal” side. That does a disservice to animals, frankly. The point of my comment was to distinguish between normal animal urges and outsize, problem behaviors, which are known to almost always be a result of trauma or learned reactions (think Skinnerian here) or other brokenness in an individual.


  9. And how about possibly, going out on a crazy, crazy limb here, advising women and men too for that matter in every industry that taking meetings in hotel rooms is probably a bad idea. That’s what offices are for, people. Preferably glass-walled ones surrounded by nosy personal assistants.

    That’s the second time I’ve seen that in as many days, and it seems non-workable, as advice, at least towards women. (Men, OTOH, should realize what that request might _look like_, and ask to met elsewhere.)

    You can’t just tell people ‘Do not do what your boss says, despite the fact he’s broken no rules or laws’. Perhaps it is worthwhile to try to get a re-location, and perhaps reasonable bosses will agree…but failing that, employees can’t just refuse.

    You want to assert that industries or workplaces _should_ have rules against meeting in hotel rooms, that makes sense, although I will note that meeting off-site is not only expected in some industries, but basically required. For example, if a company sends two sales people of different genders to another city where they do not have an office, they basically have nowhere to meet to work on strategy besides one of their hotel rooms.

    But ‘there should be rules about that’ is not the same as ‘refuse to do entirely legal and within-the-rules requests of your boss’. If a woman’s boss asks her to meet him in a hotel room, and there’s no specific reason she can point to not to do that that the company itself will agree to, she basically has to or risk her job.

    …and this is the point where I offhandly mention that everyone, even women, are carrying recording devices around in their pocket, and even if you’re in a state that requires two-party consent for recording conversations, usually that only applies if the conversation is happening in private, and not, say, something you thought was a ‘business meeting’.


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