Go Lean Commentary
It is hard to reconcile the accusations floating against Bill Cosby with his television characters: Dr. Huxtable, Jell-O Pudding Pitch-Man and the voice/persona of the animated do-gooder Fat Albert (and the Cosby Kids ; see Appendix below*). Or is it?
… that it’s easy to categorize personalities as good versus bad. “We don’t think good and evil can co-exist in the same person” – Psychologist David Adams.
The following article posits that those who do horrible things may still be talented in their gifts and notoriously good to people in their lives, like family members. While it maybe difficult to understand the complexities of personalities, it is very much necessary that society be receptive to the possibility of good people doing bad things. The entire article is presented here:
By: NO MORE Staff
America’s Dad is having a very bad week. A few days ago, Barbara Bowman wrote a personal essay in The Washington Post chronicling how Bill Cosby drugged and raped her 30 years ago.
The story went viral and inspired several others to echo her experiences.
Not so when the teenager spoke out soon after the alleged attacks: When she went to a lawyer after the assaults, she was accused of lying. Her agent did nothing, either. Eventually, she moved on. Years later, Andrea Constand accused Cosby of rape and Bowman was asked to speak in court, but the case was quietly settled.
At this writing, a grand total of 15 women have accused Cosby of assault, dating from the late 1960s. (Here’s a timeline of the accusations.) Despite all this, Cosby’s career had coasted along—in fact, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor not long ago and was planning a new TV show.
But things are changing.
Finally, the accusers’ stories are getting traction. Why now? Last month, comedian Hannibal Buress called Cosby a rapist in his stand-up routine, which went viral. The Twitter-verse responded in kind: Last week, Cosby’s tone-deaf invitation to “meme me!” resulted in people superimposing assault accusations over his photo. #Cosbymeme did not go according to plan, and things only got worse: Last weekend, NPR interviewed him about his African American art collection and then asked him to respond to the Post story. He went silent. Eventually, his lawyer issued a statement firmly denying the allegations and refusing to comment further.
But the damage has been done: New stories about Cosby’s behavior continue to surface, Netflix has put his upcoming comedy special on hold, and NBC has abandoned plans to develop a new sitcom with him.
Why Accusations About Celebrities Aren’t Believed
Cosby isn’t the first icon to be accused of sexual assault or domestic violence, and yet the question persists: Why aren’t these accusers heard or given any credence—not just Cosby’s alleged victims, but the countless other people who have dared to challenge a celebrity?
The answer lies in the American conflation of celebrity and security, says Ulester Douglas, executive director of Men Stopping Violence. “We are a celebrity culture. Seeing someone we idolize, revere, and idealize being accused of horrific crimes makes us wonder: Who are we? It makes us realize that our own families could be capable of it, too,” he says. It’s unsettling and even terrifying to associate an idol with evil, particularly because there are so many celebrities who are good people, capable of powerful, positive influence.
Dissonance Perpetuates Silence
David Adams is a psychologist and co-director of Emerge, a Boston-based abusers’ intervention and counseling program. He sees a difference in how we respond to a stereotypical criminal and a celebrity accused of bad behavior due to our preconceptions about abusers. “We tend to think of an abuser as someone who is easily detectable: someone who is crude, sexist, and boorish. A quarter of men who abuse women do fit this stereotype, and since that’s a substantial subgroup, we tend to spot those guys and not the ones who are more likable. If we don’t know what to do with bad information about someone we adore, it creates dissonance, and we sometimes choose to disbelieve or to ignore it,” he says.
“When we see someone likable accused of a crime, we have a choice to believe something bad about them or to discount it because it doesn’t fit our experience. In some ways it’s easier to do that than to think, oh God, the world really is unknowable—I might as well give up on knowing people,” he says. “If we don’t know what to do with information about someone we worship, we put it aside.”
Why Celebrities Feel Immune
Of course, Cosby is hardly the first famous person to be accused of rape or assault. When we think about any celebrity facing serious allegations, though, it’s difficult to believe that an image-conscious idol could be willing to engage in hugely risky behavior, throwing away the very image they need. What’s going through their mind?
“Any consequence is overridden by the high of the conquest,” Douglas says. And, on a purely logistical level, “They do it because they can. They truly think they can get away with it, based on the very fact that they have a certain image. They will be believed; the accusers will be laughed out of the room.”
Absorbing The Narcissism Factor
In many celebrity cases, narcissism also plays a starring role. “A hallmark of narcissism is exceptionality. You literally think you will not get caught. This personality takes chances, acts reckless, and even associates the behavior with success, because they’ve always been rewarded,” Adams says.
“We think narcissists are people nobody would like. But, in fact, they’re quite charismatic, with good social and image-maintenance skills”— which often allow them to get away with bad behavior, even more so when there’s a PR team on call. Narcissists are also skilled at compartmentalization, Adams says, and they choose to focus on the “part of their life that everybody adores. They don’t focus on other parts of their lives, and if they do something wrong, they think, ‘Gee, everybody loves me. What’s the problem?’” he says. “It’s a lack of character development.”
“Narcissists can engage in all sorts of psychological gymnastics not to feel empathy,” says Douglas.
The Changing Tide
Adams says that it’s easy to categorize personalities as good versus bad. “We don’t think good and evil can co-exist in the same person,” he says. “But look at the Mafia—these guys who do horrible things but are notoriously good to their mothers. And along comes a show like The Sopranos to paint them in a more nuanced light. There’s now less focus on ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys,’” he says. Understanding the complexities of personalities—refusing to glorify a celebrity as all good, all the time—could help to close the dissonance gap.
“We can also go a long way toward preventing male sexual and domestic violence against women by stopping the pervasive and pernicious victim-blaming,” Douglas says. “The media, for example, should quit asking the toxic, ‘Why did you go back to your abuser?’ and ‘Why didn’t you leave?’ A reporter could say instead, ‘As you know, there are some who question your credibility because of some of the choices you made. What, if anything, would you want to say to them?’ That is respectful journalism. The [accuser] should never be made to feel like she has to justify the choices she made or makes.”
Finally, in his own work with Men Stopping Violence, Douglas sees firsthand the power of healing through sharing. “I see survivors who are finding peace through coming forward and telling their stories. One of the most powerful things that survivors can do is tell their own stories, on their own terms,” he says.
The NO MORE Project – Posted November 19, 2014; retrieved November 26, 2014–
The subject matter in the foregoing article relates to the attitudes that communities must foster so as to mitigate the toleration of domestic violence, rape and stalking. These points are being brought into focus in a consideration of the book Go Lean … Caribbean. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the economic optimization in the region.
The focus of the Go Lean book is Economics, not domestic violence, rape or stalking! And yet this commentary relates that there is an alignment of objectives. The Go Lean roadmap posits that the economy of the Caribbean is inextricably linked to the security (public safety) of the Caribbean.
This CU/Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy and create 2.2 million new jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines and their relevant stakeholders.
- Improve Caribbean governance (Executive facilitations, Legislative oversight and Judicial prudence) to support these economic/security engines.
Among the objectives to accomplish the economic elevation is the mission to retain Caribbean citizens in their homelands and repatriate the far-flung Diaspora back to the region. Since many people may have fled the region to mitigate abuse, attitudes of victim-blaming or complacency among public safety authorities must be “weeded out”.
The subject of Celebrity Culture is also germane for the Caribbean empowerment effort (Pages 203 & 224). The Go Lean roadmap consolidates the region’s 30 member-states into a Single Market, media market included – with the caveat of multi-language “simul-casting”. Celebrities will surely emerge. From a governance perspective, the CU will oversee the jurisdiction of monitoring and metering (ratings, rankings, service levels, etc) local public safety institutions to ensure their delivery of the Social Contract. for all regardless of gender or race.
Change has now come to the Caribbean. As the foregoing article depicts, there is a changing tide. It is no longer acceptable to dismiss accusers, even against celebrities. The article relates that “we can go a long way toward preventing male sexual and domestic violence against women by stopping the pervasive and pernicious victim-blaming”. This is part of a new community ethos – the value of women is not undermined! Many related issues/ points were elaborated in previous blogs, sampled here:
The above commentaries examined global developments in crime mitigations and gender based attitudes, then relate their synchronicity with the principles in the Go Lean book. There are a number of touch points that relate to domestic violence, rape and stalking; these blogs also cite the community attitude to dissuade such behavior. Most importantly, the Go Lean book depicts solutions. These are presented as community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocates; detailed as follows:
|Community Ethos – Privacy –vs- Public Protection||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – Whistleblower Protection||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – Witness Security||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – Anti Bullying & Mitigations||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – Light Up the Dark Places||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – Minority Equalization||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Lean Operations||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – NGO’s||Page 25|
|Community Ethos – Reconciliations||Page 34|
|Strategy – Rule of Law –vs- Vigilantism||Page 49|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – CariPol||Page 77|
|Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate||Page 118|
|Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices||Page 134|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance||Page 168|
|Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract||Page 170|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Justice||Page 177|
|Advocacy – Ways to Remediate and Mitigate Crime||Page 178|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Gun Control – Restraining Orders Automatic Restrictions||Page 179|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering||Page 182|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Communications – Messaging||Page 186|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Hollywood||Page 203|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Prison Industrial Complex – Reduce Recidivism||Page 211|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Foundations||Page 219|
|Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights||Page 220|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact the One Percent – Balancing Justice Provisions for Celebrities||Page 224|
|Advocacy – Ways to Empower Women||Page 226|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Persons with Disabilities – including Mental Challenges||Page 228|
The book Go Lean…Caribbean was written by resources from an organized movement, by people (residents and Diaspora) with passion to change/elevate the Caribbean’s economic, security and governing engines. One principal within this Go Lean movement has a direct job function to dissuade crimes against women.
While there is always the need to give the accused the benefit of the doubt, as in the current case against Bill Cosby, we do not want 30 years of inaction on reported sex crimes by celebrities. The CU roadmap’s goal is to optimize “Justice” institutions in the region. Why? All members of society (celebrities and regular citizens alike) need to be protected, and not dismissed or ignored, especially related to serious allegations like sexually inappropriate behavior. Any “misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance” in this regards reflects negatively on the region’s hospitality – think of the unsolved disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005; (see Page 190).
Though this topic may be a security issue, community wealth is undoubtedly linked, affecting push-and-pull factors for citizens to flee their homelands. This is lose-lose for all concerned. To the contrast, the goal of the Go Lean effort is to make the Caribbean a better place to live work and play; with justice for all. Since the region failed in the past, the new messaging is simple: “No More“!
The foregoing article is sourced by the Not-For-Profit organization, the “No More” Project. Their goal is to neutralize public attitudes that had previously tolerated and thusly promoted domestic violence, rape and stalking. This is a great role model for the Caribbean to emulate, as attitude adjustment is among the heavy-lifting tasks that regional administrators must undertake to bring positive change to the Caribbean.
* Appendix – Video – Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids – http://youtu.be/ga7gflAUGCc
It’s Bill Cosby coming at you with music and fun, and if you’re not careful, you might learn something before its done.