Bill Cosby, Justine Sacco, and Public Opinion

Before I launch into another evening of delightful edits, let’s warm up with a blog post!

When I started this blog, I did it because I wanted to act more like a “real” writer.  I wanted to take my writing career more seriously, and many successful writers that I admire have a similar public outlet.

This is my open journal.  This is a place where I share my writer’s journey, taking note of the pitfalls I’ve discovered.  This is also where I celebrate some of my successes.  I’m entertaining the idea of using this as a sketchbook from time to time, taking writing prompts and creating some quick, light fiction here.

Sometimes, I want to comment on something that is more of a political or religious nature, and I stop myself.  I’m afraid that I’m going to say something that is going to get me blacklisted.

Stop and appreciate with me the absurdity.  I’m not afraid of posting my sloppy fiction here, but I’m afraid of posting my own, genuine opinions on real life in this place.  This place that I maintain, that has my name all over it.

It’s a legitimate fear, though.  Just read this article from the New York Times.  People have been publicly shamed for making jokes.  Lives have been ruined for quips taken out of context.  Is it wise for anyone to put anything real out in the public?

Here’s an example of the kind of thing I’m afraid to say here: I think Bill Cosby has been mistreated by our society.

“But Brian!  He’s clearly a rapist!  How can you say that?”

Well, for starters, I don’t believe everything, just because a large number of people come forward and say it is so.  In regards to Bill Cosby, it is uncomfortable taking this stance, because the allegations are about rape.  It doesn’t get much more serious than that.

Whether he did the crimes or not, it is not up to me.  We have a legal system.  The legal system may not be perfect, but it’s the system that we have.  When we go outside that system, we embrace vigilantism and anarchy.  I am not an anarchist, and I actually believe our legal system is pretty good, even if it’s a bit flawed in some places.

One of the problems with this whole situation is that almost all of the allegations point to a time well beyond the statute of limitations.  This eliminates the ability to formally prosecute.

Instead, he’s prosecuted in the media.  Bill Cosby’s performances are curtailed.  Honorary titles are revoked.  He becomes the butt of jokes, unwanted, and disgraced.

I don’t know if he did he crimes or not.  I have an opinion, but that doesn’t really matter.  If he’s guilty, then maybe justice has been served.  If he’s not, though, then we as a society took a collective dump on an old man that didn’t deserve it.

I want to talk about these kinds of things sometimes, but I’m afraid.  I want to talk about feminism, equality, responsibility, and the principles of our society, but I don’t want what I say to be taken out of context.  I don’t want what happened to Justine Sacco to happen to me.

I’ll probably just stick to fiction, and less controversial subjects.  But sometimes I’m sorely tempted to say something real.

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