Cosby In Context (Update)

One of America’s most beloved entertainers, Bill Cosby, is now not only a rapist, but a serial rapist.  As his lawyer, Marty Singer, correctly points out, most of the allegations now being raised aren’t new. Rather, they are debunked allegations renewed in the context of new social norms, where challenging such claims is viewed as a form of sexual abuse in itself. Victims can’t be blamed.

But the latest, victim number 7, provides an opportunity to appreciate how conduct that occurred (assuming it occurred) in one era is viewed through the prism of another era, and significantly misinterpreted.

In an interview on WPTV in West Palm Beach, Fla., the woman, Therese Serignese, 57, a registered nurse, accused Mr. Cosby of drugging and having sex with her after one of his shows at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1976 when she was 19.

The narrative of drugging a woman for sex is a recent one.  Today, there are roofies, drugs surreptitiously slipped into a drink to incapacitate a woman so she can be raped.  Concerns abound about men who will target a drunk or drugged woman as well, taking advantage of their incapacitated state.  In the context of today’s narratives, these are the images that come to mind when a woman talks of “being drugged.”

But Serignese talks about conduct that occurred in 1976.  Those were very different days than now, well before AIDS existed and well in the midst of drugs being a normal social mixer, routinely shared between men and women.  Men didn’t “drug” women. While it’s unclear what type of drug Serignese is talking about, pills were social.  From Black Beauties to Bennies, it would have been downright rude and offensive for a man not to offer pills to a woman he was courting.

At the same time, no one forced anyone else to take drugs. Indeed, no one really had to.  Drugs were fairly pervasive, and were routinely used by everyone from nerdy, ordinary people to celebrities like Cosby.  Everybody was getting high. Well, not everybody, but pretty much.  The point is that, had Serignese told all her friends about how Bill Cosby gave her some pills in 1976, they would have said, “groovy” and asked how good they were.

In her interview with the local TV station in Florida, Ms. Serignese said that after meeting Mr. Cosby in the hotel gift shop, he invited her to watch the show, and she was given a front-row seat. She said that while she was alone with Mr. Cosby at an after-party, he offered her three large pills and said she should take them. She said she felt that she could not object. She was then sexually assaulted, she said.

In 1976, the social norm was the men would seek to seduce women into having sex.  Women were expected to resist their advances, and men were expected to persist.  This wasn’t considered rape, but ordinary courting.  Men were the hunters, and women the hunted.

Indeed, lying to women to get them into bed was not merely commonplace, but anticipated. This was the sexual ritual that most people went through, and no one, neither male nor female, thought it wrong, no less criminal.  Even in its most extreme, People v. Martin Evans (1975), it was not a crime. (Full disclosure: defense counsel in the Evans trial was Howie Meyer, my partner for ten years.)

The question presented in this case is whether the sexual conquest by a predatory male of a resisting female constitutes rape or seduction.

In making the distinction, we must deal with patterns of behavior which have been exhibited by aggressive males towards gentle or timid or submissive females, the broad outlines of which have been similar for hundreds or maybe thousands of years, but the particulars of which vary markedly in individual cases.

Marty, the “Snowman” as he was called back then, was acquitted.

As we have become more civilized, we have come to condemn the more overt, aggressive and outrageous behavior of some men towards women and we have labelled it ‘rape.’ We have attempted to control or deter it by providing for extremely heavy sentences, second to and, in some jurisdictions, equalled by the penalties set by the law for murder.

At the same time we have recognized that there are some patterns of aggression or aggressive male sexual behavior toward females which do not deserve such extreme penalties, in which the male objective may be achieved through charm or guile or protestations of love, promises or deceit.

Where force is not employed to overcome reluctance, and where consent, however reluctant initially, can be spelled out, this we label ‘seduction,’ which society may condone, even as it disapproves.

There is some conduct which comes close to the line between rape and seduction. This is such a case.

The point isn’t to argue that what Evans did, or how Judge Greenfield (no relation) found, but that this was the world back then. These were the social norms within which people functioned. You can hate it all you want, but you can’t expect today’s social norms to replace the ones in effect at the time.

After that, she said, she stayed at a room in his penthouse suite for several weeks, but he made her leave when she told him she might be pregnant, which turned out to be a false alarm. They kept in touch, she said, and, later, when she got into financial difficulty, Mr. Cosby sent her money.

Serignese wasn’t held captive. She wasn’t bound in chains while living with Cosby in his penthouse.  She wasn’t subject to his Svengali-like voodoo to stay in touch and accept Cosby’s money when she was in financial difficulty.  Today, there are complex explanations for why women who are raped don’t accuse their rapists, deny it happened, rationalize away the harm.

There are also simple explanations that it wasn’t considered rape, and that shacking up for a while was a good thing, a desirable thing.  And living in the Penthouse with Cosby, taking his money, wasn’t a negative under any imaginable scenario at the time.

She said she had not spoken out publicly years ago because at that time she was young and believed that, given the culture of the era, few would have listened.

Yes, the culture of the era.  It’s not that few would have listened, but that few, perhaps no one, would have thought anything wrong about it.  While it may play well in light of today’s sexual mores, the developing rituals of infantile permission-based courting, such complaints back then would have not only failed to horrify anyone, but would have made Serignese come off as a flaming nutjob.  And indeed, she would have deserved it.

“I did not want to be shamed, humiliated,” she said. But now, she said, she wants an apology.

Was it really so shameful, so humiliating, to spend “several weeks” living large in Bill Cosby’s penthouse?  Not back then.  Frankly, not today either.  Perhaps she should have thought about an apology before enjoying Cosby’s largesse. In 1976, she was living the good life, and there is no reason why choices made based on the culture of the era demand an apology as we enter the neo-Victorian era of 2014.

Update:  Soon after posting, Cristian Farias twitted to alert me that the Marshall Project had a post of the same title as mine.  Notably, however, the post reflected the context of political captivity.  While the titles may be the same (and I’m not changing mine), the content most assuredly is not.

Memo to Marshall Project: Somebody really ought to explain to Dana Goldstein the difference between facts (“Seven facts about rape.”) and rank speculation:

There is nothing surprising about sexual assault victims failing to come forward. More than half of rapes go unreported, according to the Justice Department.

Just a suggestion.

H/T Turk

59 thoughts on “Cosby In Context (Update)

  1. william doriss

    Bill Cosby Still Nashing the Young. Ah, those were the days my friend,… when love was relatively free and easy. Today, it’s No Romance without Finance, up front, and written consent: Notarized before one witness. “Courting” now takes on a whole new meaning: The very real possibility of sending one to court, before a jury of one’s peers for previously marginal but acceptable romantic behavior–and the Judge Greenfields of the Judicial Branch. Ha. What a way to start the day. Think I’ll take a cold shower this morning.

  2. DDJ

    If Cosby in now a rapist for bedding some opportunistic tart back in the day, since she in turn profitted from her amatory skills albeit somewhat later, I think we have a whore. But clearly she is only the tip of an ugly iceberg of crime.

    Perhaps it’s time for presecutors to look into societal menace of women who have accept dinner in lieu of monetary payment before slipping between their John’s silky sheets.

    Every resturant in America is now a cat house.

  3. Todd Wachtel

    Lots of argument to fit the facts….but maybe I’m naive, but I can’t imagine that there was ever a time where nonconsensual, (or at least noncompetent consent) was ever “groovy”. This isn’t “free love” that we’re talking about, there was always a price…..

    1. SHG Post author

      It wasn’t nonconsensual. That’s today’s infantile revisionist view. What a shame that young men today have been so badly indoctrinated into the cult of neo-feminist feelings that they are incapable of grasping a time when women bore responsibility for their choices, as did men. That was real feminism; equal rights and equal responsibility.

      1. wes

        Where do you get the idea that it was consensual sex? She claims it wasn’t. She consented to taking pills. Is it your contention that because she consented to taking those pills, she therefore consented to anything that happened after that, even if they left her incapacitated?

        She said, “I took them, didn’t know what they were didn’t even ask. I just was intimidated I guess and I took them. Then my next memory is feeling drugged and him having sex with me.”

        I have no idea what ‘neofeminist’ means BTW.

        1. SHG Post author

          She spent the next several weeks living with him in his penthouse, then remained in friendly contact for years thereafter. Said nothing of the sort for almost 30 years. That’s why. Post-hoc rationale does not constitute a credible claim.

          BTW, if you don’t know what neo-feminist means, a good thing to do is look it up.

          1. wes

            Sorry, unnecessary attempt at snark. I’ve seen conflicting definitions, so if you could explain what you mean by neofeminism, I’d be appreciative.

            I don’t know whether Ms. Serignese consented to having sex with Cosby or not. The only thing I’d definitely state is that she certainly believes it was rape, and nothing she’s said or done necessarily contradicts the idea that she honestly believes this. I think there’s a difference between saying there wouldn’t be enough evidence to convict Cosby of rape, which I think we’d both agree on, and stating definitively that their first sexual encounter wasn’t nonconsensual, which is a claim I don’t think you have evidence to make.

            To your point that she stayed in his suite and maintained contact with Cosby for decades after the incident (although friendly contact is your phrase, bc I don’t see it described as friendly in the story I read) – all true, but none of that behavior is necessarily inconsistent with someone who believes they were sexually assaulted. Plenty of rape victims maintain relationships with their rapists. Some may do it out of necessity if the rapist is a family member or another authority figure, others may do it to rationalize away a traumatic experience. Ms. Serignese claims her mother told her she should contact Cosby in the hopes that he would ‘take care of her’, which is her explanation for the ensuing post assault relationship. Relatedly, I think this contradicts your point that Ms. Serignese said nothing about rape for 30 years, since she claims she told her mother right after it happened. Possibly a lie, but if her mother is still alive I’d imagine she’d be able to confirm whether her daughter told her this or not.

            I appreciated your explanation of 70s social norms, definitely informative for those of us not around then. I don’t think the explanation was relevant here. Her description of using the pills wasn’t in the social and sharing manner you paint of the usual norms. She was given the pills alone in a room with Cosby, and as far as we know he didn’t partake (she doesn’t describe him taking any). I don’t know if it was normal in 1976 for a 39 year old man to encourage a 19 year old woman to take pills in front of him, stay sober himself, and then engage in sexual intercourse with her.

            Lastly (and thanks if you read this far), even if you believe her story is simply an after the fact rationalization of behavior she came to regret, I think you’d necessarily have to believe something even more insidious about her. 10 years ago, this was a woman who was prepared to testify under oath that Bill Cosby raped her. Her stated reason for agreeing to testify is that she heard about the Constand case in the news and was so angry that Cosby was still assaulting women, she wanted to help. But it seems like you believe this woman was willing to tell a malicious lie under oath, for no discernible benefit to herself and at some cost ( in terms of her time at least; would she have been reimbursed for travel expenses related to testifying in a civil case?). Why would she take it that far and what would her motivation be, absent her stated reason?

            Thanks again for reading

            1. SHG Post author

              The only thing I’d definitely state is that she certainly believes it was rape, and nothing she’s said or done necessarily contradicts the idea that she honestly believes this.

              You haven’t heard enough stories in your life. I don’t know what anyone else “believes,” but I surely wouldn’t vouch for someone whose “belief” is based on stories in the media. And you fill in the blanks with facile assumptions that rationalize her story, some of which are contrary then-current social norms.

              The burden of proof is on the accuser. You leaped to rationalizations to assume the accuser is telling the truth, enough so that you state it’s sufficient for you to “definitely” state a position. Her story isn’t impossible. Her story is highly implausible in context, and since she’s the accuser, your rationalizing away the holes and relying on flawed assumptions doesn’t save her story from doubt.

              As for my definition of neo-feminist, I’ve explained it many times in the past here. It’s there if you wish to look. Just because you’ve read only one post doesn’t compel me to re-explain everything I’ve ever written before.

  4. Quinn Martindale

    Are you saying you don’t believe the claims of the women who claim that Cosby lied about the nature of the pills he gave them or that him doing do was acceptable under the time’s social norms? And what about the two women who’ve alleged that Cosby drugged their drinks without their knowledge?

      1. Quinn Maritndale

        No. You wrote “at the same time, no one forced anyone else to take drugs.” and “lying to women to get them into bed was not merely commonplace, but anticipated.” It’s unclear what you think that context implies about the women’s allegations that Cosby lied about the drugs. Your line about roofies being a thing of the present but not the past also seems weird given that Kristina Ruehli recently alleged Cosby drugged her drink in 1965

        1. SHG Post author

          It’s not weird at all. You are incapable of grasping that there was a world that existed before you did, and lack the capacity to understand that things that fit your worldview today didn’t exist then. Aside from your flagrant bias (which is sadly commonplace and so nothing out of the ordinary), you can’t seem to comprehend that the things you find so easily understandable today didn’t exist or happen back then.

          So yes, it would be utterly nonsensical then. That you don’t get it isn’t a reflection of it being weird. It’s a reflection of your being simplistic, myopic and narcissistic.

          By the way, Quinn. How well do you personally know any of these women? Not at all? Yet you’ve decided to believe them, and to stake your credibility on their veracity? And you still can’t see that you have issues?

  5. ecpa

    I’m not so sure that the “narrative of drugging a woman for sex is a recent one. ” Bill Cosby’s “Spanish Fly” routine suggests that he was aware of it in 1969; here is a portion quoted in Slate: “You know anything about Spanish Fly? No, tell me about it. Well, there’s this girl—Crazy Mary—you put some in her drink, man … ahhhhhh.”

    Slate yesterday included a description of thirteen women’s allegations against Cosby. Some of the allegations include claims that Crosby misrepresented the nature of the drugs he gave them (as “for cramps” or as “cold medicine” for a woman who felt ill).

    These are of course unproven allegations, but I don’t think that such behavior was ever socially acceptable.

    1. SHG Post author

      Spanish fly was a mythical aphrodisiac back then. It didn’t exist, but guys always wished it did as it would make women desire us. It was never something that was supposed to render women unconscious, but make men irresistible to women.

      Yet again, it’s not a mystery. You just need to know rather than engage in facile assumption.

      1. Dan

        Moreover, the bit wasn’t about how great it would be to have Spanish Fly, but about where do these myths get started and how do they persist.

      2. ecpa

        An aphrodisiac to make women desire men may not have existed then or now, but intoxicants that could allow a man to take sexual advantage of a woman existed then, as now. And any claim that “men didn’t ‘drug’ women” in the 1970s or before strikes me as clearly wrong. Times change, but creeps are nothing new (though the frequency of drugging may well change based on availability of drugs, etc.). Here is one counterexample: People v. Lombardi, 20 N.Y. 2d 266 (N.Y. 1967). On several occasions in 1963 and 1964, the defendant hired young women, gave them barbiturates that he told them were for hardening their nails, drove the women to a motel, and made sexual advances towards them.

        1. SHG Post author

          That’s not what Cosby was talking about, your initial mistaken point, and doubling down on one outlier doesn’t change the social norm. There was no “roofie” panic, nor Spanish Fly panic, nor any other panic that you seem to desperately wish happened. It’s just not how it was, no matter how badly you want it to be otherwise.

          This encapsulates the point of this post: the culture was what it was back in the 1970s, and your efforts to make it into something more familiar to you and consistent with your gasp of culture changes nothing. You must see it as it existed at the time, not through your 2014 lens.

  6. Lil Lord Funkleroy

    That’s a whole lotta context. You are aware that the allegations against Bill Cosby span five decades? Not that I wish to speculate on whether he is or isn’t a rapist, or to appear skeptical of your re-debunking of “victim number 7,” I just think that you’re being a little disingenuous about the number of claims and the timespan involved. That said, it’s refreshing to read an article on this subject that is supported by actual facts.

    1. SHG Post author

      I’m not defending Cosby. I’m providing context to allegations that are being misinterpreted through today’s feminist social norms. Unless and until he retains me, defending him is Marty Singer’s job.

  7. Leonard

    I’m sorry, but I have a hard time believing claims that occurred over 30 years ago. Why now and why is the media giving credence to theses women’s claims without any proof whatsoever. I’m not a Cosby defender, but this just smells to me.

  8. Lil Lord Funkleroy

    As baseless as much of the speculation about Cosby is, it stills affords a wider context than is provided here. You’ve narrowed in on just one of the many women who have made similar allegations. Generally, I don’t disagree about the feminist lens, but in this instance more context is needed.

    1. SHG Post author

      First, if you are replying to an earlier comment, please use the reply button rather than start a new thread. Second, I have no clue what this means:

      As baseless as much of the speculation about Cosby is, it stills affords a wider context than is provided here.

      If your complaint is that this post doesn’t address all the other complaints about Cosby, that’s true. This post isn’t a defense against the allegations. It’s context to the misinterpretation of reality 30 years ago. If you think every complaint should be addressed at length, then I strongly urge you to start a blog and do so.

      1. Lil Lord Funkleroy

        Apologies. My comment was indeed in response to an earlier comment. I’ll make sure to use the reply button next time.

        As for the poorly worded reference to “baseless speculation,” I mean that for many people the verdict is in: Cosby is guilty. The facts, however, are not in, hence the “baseless speculation” over his innocence/guilt; one of the many reasons I love your blog posts is that they come with actual facts. Now for my complaint.

        My complaint isn’t that you’ve written an article focusing on just one of the incidents alleged to have happened. My complaint that you’ve written an article called “Cosby in Context” focusing on just one of the incidents alleged to have happened. I don’t see how you can provide “context to allegations that are being misinterpreted through today’s feminist social norms” without admitting that said allegations cover a timespan of five decades. You claim to provide context while also restricting context. That’s my complaint.

        Thanks wholeheartedly for your advice and support, but I’ll stick to commenting on your blog, which is superb if I may say so myself.

        1. SHG Post author

          Ah. Now I see where the disconnect is. My post is about the context, not Cosby. This post is about how people take conduct of another era and try to understand it using social norms of the day. I use the claims of one purported victim against Cosby as the mechanism to do this.

          1. Lil Lord Funkleroy

            Ah right. Thanks for clarifying. For a minute there I thought one of us had lost their bearings. All a matter of context, as it turns out.

            1. SHG Post author

              The two are not mutually exclusive (I’m referring to me, not you).

              By the way, one additional point about Cosby; given my perspective, he’s not been convicted and never will be. Those who choose to pick sides based on their politics or prejudice (“are you saying they’re LYING?!?”) don’t interest. He’s innocent because he’s never been convicted of a crime. I neither accept nor reject any allegation, but dismiss any conclusion of criminality that, as you note, would find a person guilty without trial. And that’s that.

  9. Dan

    This post, and this discussion in general, makes me think about the show Mad Men. On Mad Men (mild spoilers ahead) characters like Roger and Don engage in behavior that today would get them tossed and ostracized- sleeping with multiple subordinates, marrying their secretaries, divorcing their secretaries and just plain old drinking whiskey and smoking cigarettes in the office. Part of the appeal of watching Mad Men is to look back and say holy crap, I can’t believe things were like that, thank goodness we’ve evolved. Another part of the appeal is to look back and say you know, that could never happen today, but was it really so bad?

    Anyway, I’ll never look at pudding pops the same.

    1. SHG Post author

      Think of the pregnant women smoking and drinking, or the kids running around the plastic bags over their heads. Today, that seems crazy. Then, it was Tuesday.

  10. Troutwaxer

    A big part of the question here is how do the women feel about the “norms” of that era in retrospect? Is this behaviour you’re calling out as “normal” something that women felt happy about? Were they pleased and proud to be part of the culture you’re describing?

    I have my doubts. And thus I’m uncomfortable with your post.

    While any particular woman might opine that sixties and seventies sexual culture was great, I imagine that most of them worked with what they had to deal with and tried to balance keeping their dignity with the need for sex/romance/marriage. This doesn’t mean that most women liked having to deal with men like Cosby – they dealt with the advantages and disadvantages and maybe felt awful afterwards. The hurt feelings may well be sincere. (And there may be other motivations, as celebrity pile-ons always have a brutal underside.)

    Does Cosby’s behaviour qualify as rape? Tell me after a trial, but it was ugly, and I’m not happy about excusing that behaviour by saying “It was normal way back when…” I think your dislike for the neofeminists, which I share for the most part, has led you to some poor reasoning.

    1. SHG Post author

      This was the 1970s. Think about the 1950s, Ozzie and Harriet was the norm, then the 1960s where it transitioned into sex, drugs and rock & roll. The early 70s were ant-Vietnam war protests, and following Nixon’s resignation and the end of the war, the country was adjusting. For women, who had gone from serious repression to sexual revolution, this was still a remarkably free and easy time.

      If a woman today went back in time, I suspect it would be incredibly difficult to stomach. But for women at the time, it was pretty damn liberating. It’s all perspective.

  11. don Roberto

    Context, shmontext. Speaking as one who was in his mid-teens in 1975, and therefore had a bloodstream that was mostly hormones, I still understood “consent.” Offering drugs to friends and potential lovers was not uncommon. Offering drugs to enhance the experience of agreed-upon sex was not either. But giving someone a drug that renders them unable to say “no” to sex is rape no matter what happened the next day / week / whatever. The standard I learned was “fully-informed, competent, consenting adults.” If this woman’s story is true–about which I am not qualified to say–then she was raped.

    It’s not unheard-of, even in these allegedly-more-enlightened days for a rape victim to try to put it aside as an aberration, something to be left behind, rather than trying to prosecute. Remember how much harder it was for a woman who accused a man of rape 40 years ago; we should not be surprised that she might have tried to make the best of it, but we also should not be afraid to call it “rape.”

    1. SHG Post author

      What drugs were being commonly used in 1975 for the purpose of rendering women unable to say “no” to sex? You’ve conflated the two separate questions, context and veracity, so as to make anyone who reads your comment stupider for having done so. May God have mercy on your soul.

      1. don Roberto

        I have no idea what kind of drugs might have been used in 1976, commonly or otherwise. I was on the “consent” team, remember? I’m not conflating anything; if you look again, you’ll see that I said I’m not qualified to speak to the veracity of Ms. Serignese’s accusation. I’m merely pointing out that using drugs to reduce or eliminate someone’s resistance to sex, and then taking advantage of that, is rape. No amount of “context” can change that.

        You often have interesting, insightful, and thought-provoking posts, which is why I read your blog. You often make needlessly rude rejoinders to those who dare to comment, which is why I seldom post. It’s your right, in your blog, to call others “stupid,” but it does inhibit substantive dialogue when only one side of the dialogue must remain civil, and the side that doesn’t have to, doesn’t.

        1. SHG Post author

          First, your substance: Your comment was premised on your acceptance of the truthfulness of the claim, that she was given drugs to incapacitate her, and that’s rape. Your later attempt to disavow her veracity doesn’t alter the fact that your comment already adopted her veracity as its foundation to begin with. That’s how you conflated the two.

          Second, your gripe: Most (not all, but most) commenters think they have an opinion worth providing. Some do. Some do not. My opinions are vetted by the fact that some makes the decision to read SJ. No one forces anyone to come here, or to comment here. People disagree with me all the time, yet everyday, a great many people choose to read SJ.

          One of the features that many readers appreciate is that I do not allow the comments to devolve into stupidity. There’s always reddit for that, but not here. This is a reason why people return daily to read SJ. They do not do so because they want to find out what don Roberto thinks. Your views are not vetted here, except by me. Your views have not withstood scrutiny. You think your views are valuable and entitled to respect. Why? What have you ever done to suggest that your views can withstand scrutiny?

          Instead of griping about the way I treat comments, write your own blog and people will vote with their feet as to the worthiness of your thoughts. Maybe your thoughts will be appreciated by millions of people, and no one will read SJ again. Then you will have shown me that I have misjudged the worthiness of your ideas. Until then, stop complaining.

          1. don Roberto

            No, my comment was general about what does and does not constitute rape. Obviously, if she was not drugged and sexuallyassaulted, then the subject is moot, but if she *was* then no amount of “contectualization” changes that. I made clear distinctions between general and specific.

            It’s not clear how throwing around epithets is “not allow(ing) the comments to devolve into stupidity,” but we’ll assume that’s a deficiency on my part. If you don’t expect people to be interested in what commenters say, why allow comments? Surely not just for the pleasure of berating and disrespecting those commenters who offer relevant comments in good faith.
            I freely admit I do not approach the level of awesomeness that is Lawyer Greenfield, which is why I come to your blog and not the reverse. But you can tell a lot about someone’s character by how they treat those who can neither help nor harm them. Your behavior in this respect is why I seldom comment; I have no particular desire to become another hapless target of gratuitous rudeness. Your intelligence is beyond question; your character, less so.
            This is, as I acknowledged, your blog, so the last word shall be yours. I doubt I shall be inclined to pursue this discussion further.

            1. don Roberto

              With the exception of acknowledging my typo: I do know that “contectualization” is properly spelled “contextualization.”

            2. William Doriss

              Well, let me say this about that! The beauty of the English language is that multiple-variation spellings and/or pronunciations are often permitted. As opposed to the Continental Germanic and Romantic languages which generally enforce a one-rule syntax and spelling regime. That is because we are a free and creative peoples, and they are,… mired in de rigeur, if you catchy my drifty?!? Which would you have?

  12. Goddess

    How much do you charge to be a rape apologist for a scumbag rapist like Cosby? I hope he paid you well to be such a hateful piece of shit.

    1. SHG Post author

      True believers need to hate those who don’t share their blind faith. That’s just an ordinary part of life. If it makes you feel better to attack me, that’s okay. I have broad shoulders.

      1. william doriss

        Broad shoulders and long legs gets you across the finish line. What we really like around here are strong backs AND weak minds. Goddess has blessed us with her vision from hell. Furthermore, my Dear Watson, it’s POS; she does not have spell it out. She could have written “sh!t”, or “sh*t”. But noooo, she had to go there.

  13. Dragoness Eclectic

    I grew up in the 60s and 70s. Maybe getting a woman drunk or high enough so she wouldn’t or couldn’t say “no” was okay behavior for the Hollywood crowd, but it wasn’t considered “nice” or “decent” where I came from. The 60s wasn’t all Hippies, Rockers and Hollywood. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t comment on the legality of it at the time, but men who did that sort of thing were considered predators–the kind you kept your daughters away from.

    Maybe Cosby wasn’t a rapist by the standards of the time, but in context, he was a predator and not a very nice person–not at all the “nice, wholesome dad” image he cultivated with his TV show.

    1. SHG Post author

      “Predator” is a word used today. It wasn’t used back then, at least not in this way. Men inclined to try to seduce or take advantage of women were more likely referred to as “playboys,” or “womanizers,” or even “hound dogs,” but not predators.

      1. Dragon Electric

        Goddess and Dragoness Eclectic on the same post in the same day! How curious? Could they possibly be one and the same? Dragoness we’ve heard from before, but Goddess? Inquiring Minds!
        Predator,… I like that word. Pre-dater/or, whatever. Think about it. I’m going to restate my previous offer: Hey, I’m ecccclecccctic too! Maybe we should get together? What ’bout it? Yasgur’s Farm redux. Be there, or be square, in context naturally. (How do you do Italix on here?)
        All the best,
        Bill, aka William Doriss

        1. Dragoness Eclectic

          Mr. Doriss, I must politely decline, being happily married to a large jealous man who collects guns. 😉

      2. Dragoness Eclectic

        You are correct that ‘predator’ is the modern word–I believe the word I remember from the era was “wolf”. With or without the red roses.

        However, whichever term you use, my point still stands.

        1. SHG Post author

          Whichever term you use is the point. This is about context; using a word that’s common today but was never used in that context 30 years ago is misleading and confusing. That is the problem, and you’ve contributed to it.

          So you understand, since nobody knows who you are, where you lived, or anything about you, using yourself as an outlier exemplar in contrast to the rest of the world was remarkably pointless and somewhat narcissistic. But whatever.

  14. Jeff

    I like the balanced approach you took in the article and in the comments. You were evenhanded and fair in your responses. I often see eye to eye with you on libertarian issues. Cheers on optimizing the playing field so both sides can have their say.

  15. Pamela Martin

    Very confused post that falls below the level of others on this blog. It is peppered with statements–broad and simplistic–about how people behaved, sexually, in the mid-seventies. About what was “normal” and expected.

    I don’t know how old you are, but I was a young woman in the seventies, and the seventies you are describing are not the seventies I lived in. I was not conservative, indeed I was living a very opposite kind of life during that decade, and yet:

    No, “the narrative of using drugs to seduce a woman” is not “a recent one” (it’s a very old one, as evinced by movies, novels, legal cases, and journalism); not “everyone” got high (there was a range of drug and alcohol consumption, just like today); some people, although very few, did “force” drugs on others; I personally knew few if any men who “aggressively” pursued sex (although plenty of sex was going on) and would have found, as would have the young women I knew, aggressive pursuit alarming, off-putting, and obnoxious; the idea that men were “hunters” and women “the hunted”, would have made me and my friends laugh out loud, and so on.

    It seems that a good deal is getting confused here. The first confusion is to attempt, in a blog post, to neatly summarize what sexual norms were, at a point in the past, across a huge swath of the population. That can’t be easily done; and it isn’t done well here.

    The second is to confuse and conflate assertive sexual behavior with assault. Assuming that, today, it is true that certain behaviors considered to be a kind of assault might have been more tolerated, by some, in the past is not an argument that the behavior then was not assault. In other words, the fact that standards for sexual behavior might have risen (in the sense that what we consider to be assault has widened) is not argument that assault did not take place, in the past.

    It did. I, and many others, were there. The fact that it was not labeled, by some, as assault does not change the fact that sexual assault and rape and molestation and harassment took place.

    Finally, perhaps the biggest problem with this post is one that you have wisely avoided in other posts by saying that without having more information, you cannot pass judgment on “what happened”. Without knowing more about what actually took place between Cosby and the various people who have come out and asserted that they were assaulted by him, I cannot begin to judge–any of them.

    1. SHG Post author

      You lost me here:

      No, “the narrative of using drugs to seduce a woman” is not “a recent one” …

      That’s not what I wrote, nor what I suggested in any way. While I appreciate that some people are so deeply blinded by bias when it comes to issues like this, I offer no thoughts about what Cosby did or didn’t do. Rather, I put the report from Victim 7 into the context of the 70’s rather than seen through today’s lens. You can draw your own conclusions, but you lost me and blew your cred when you attribute a non-existent quote to me. That’s unacceptable.

Comments are closed.