In a taped concert by the Booth Brothers, Michael Booth said something about Bill Gaither that I’ve never forgotten. Speaking of Bill’s friendship and encouragement as the young gospel trio made their rise, Michael said, “Bill is exactly who you would hope him to be.” He was kind, gracious and generous, Michael said. Exactly as fans who do not know Bill personally but have been blessed by his music would hope him to be.
For decades, Bill Cosby appeared to be the person America hoped him to be. He was America’s favorite comedian, America’s favorite sitcom dad. He was Cliff Huxtable. He was dorky, funny and wise. Wrapped in that comfortingly hideous sweater, he made you want to run out and eat a Jello Pudding-Pop just because he was advertising it, and he was too darn lovable too resist.
Bill Cosby: Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, pioneer of clean comedy, father-figure to a generation of black youth.
Now, everything is changing, with relentless and horrifying rapidity. Every day brings a new name, a new story, varying in the particulars but always consistent on the now inescapable fact that Bill Cosby was not the man we hoped he was. The credibly vivid, disparate testimonies of over a dozen women, plus damning new information from the man who spent years paying off his “customers,” have now come together to form a very different picture: the picture of a man who, had justice been served, ideally should have been executed for serial rape decades ago.