I’d like to expand a little more on my last post concerning the loss of eloquence.  If anyone knows me, they know that I am a big fan of Bill Cosby.  I grew from my adolescent to teen years with The Cosby Show and still watch reruns of his show to this day with my kids.  The amount of respect I have for Mr. Cosby is rooted in his comedy, of course, but is more deeply rooted in his intelligence and his drive to always be better.  His character creations were always heart-felt, funny, and intelligent.  I always wanted to be Cliff Huxtable when I became a father, and I have tried my hardest to do so, but it is a rocky road to take to be such a dad, besides the fact that Cliff is just a television character, perfect and flawless.  Nonetheless, I see a lot of who I wish I could be in Dr. Huxtable.

Recently, Bill Cosby has been in the news for certain things he has said concerning the black community.  In two separate occasions, he has come out with flame-thrower in hand specifically aiming it at the “dumbing down” of black youth.  Now, I can understand where he comes from because I share the same feelings concerning youth in general.  Mr. Cosby’s remarks may have been harsh and aired the dirty laundry, as it is called, of the black community, but is this truly out of line?  I am a little awash in a tide of thoughts concerning this.

While debating the nature of Mr. Cosby’s remarks, my wife and I find ourselves on the opposite sides of a fence.  She believes that he was out of line and I do not.  I feel that sometimes you have to come out swinging like he did and lay the proverbial law down.  What Bill Cosby did was just that.  He pulled no punches and laid into his own community concerning their irresponsibility toward education, intelligence, and eloquence.  I felt that he was doing what needed to be done, as I would if my own kids were in such a mode.  My wife, as well as others, claimed he was being classist.  After some thought, I started to give some floor time to her idea.  This classist attitude is very possible because, as we all know, Mr. Cosby is very well off and may not have really known anyone of lower/middle income status in a long time.  However, if my ideas about Mr. Cosby are correct, it is very possible that he does know not only some, but many lower or middle class black families because of his work within the black community.  The question remains, did he really need to rail as he did?

The answer is not so simple and I decided that I should seek out the advice of some of my most favored authors/commentators, Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West.  Performing a search on NPR I found that both men had made comments on the Tavis Smiley radio program concerning Mr. Cosby’s first salvo.  Here are the links:

Cornel West on Tavis Smiley

Michael Eric Dyson on Tavis Smiley

After listening to these two men, I came away unable to sort my thoughts any better because both men had differing, but very substantial points.  Perhaps this is why I love Bill Cosby so.  Even in desperate outbursts, he is as complex as he is simply stated.  But then, after lisening to both men I realized what link existed: the media.

When I mention the media, I am not taking the approach of conservative republicans who hatched the egg known as the liberal media simply because the liberal media, relatively speaking, barely exists.  Conversely, when I mention media I do include very conservative news outlets (i.e. Fox, oftentimes MSNBC, and various factions of the big few networks) as well as other shock media outlets such as MTV, Spike TV, E!, etc.  What led to Mr. Cosby’s ballyhooed ranting is the steady, sure infiltration of ignorance into mainstream media.  Journalistic integrity holds on by a thread, teens are portrayed as ignorant fools all the while they are the poster children for coolness, and our nation’s leaders curse in the Senate and our president presents his middle finger to those who oppose his ideas (an unsubstantiated, but terribly believeable, report) and we who sit idly suffer all the more for it.  This is what Bill Cosby is talking about.  I’m not fingering the less-than-savory media alone, because we are all people with a brain and it is ultimately up to us to discern right from wrong, prudence from irrationalism, proper oration from ineloquence.  What we’re fed by our televisions are TV dinners wrapped in cheap foil and what we all truly need is a good, home cooked meal.

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