Orange Lemonjello

That’s a Bill-Cosby inspired false name we used to give to people when I was a kid. We didn’t invent it – some countercultural hollywierd type or writer – maybe Hunter S. Thompson did.
Regardless, we always liked Bill Cosby in our middle to upper-middle class mostly White & Asian burb. (Lotta engineers and lawyers where we lived. There were Blacks, too – wealthy Blacks. They were just like us, so the gulf between the ghetto and the Blacks where I lived was never apparent to me, until I joined the Army a little later in life).
Bill Cosby spoke to us kids, even as teens. He always sounded like our dads, except a bit cooler. Most of the kids I grew up with were good kids – smart, worked hard in school, stayed reasonably drug free. We weren’t nerdy or anything; it’s just that when you grow up in a suburb filled with successful technocrats, that’s mostly how it is. Disturbingly white bread, yes indeed.
Cos got through all that in his humor, and somehow, our parents didn’t mind him quite the way they minded our George Carlin albums. The reason, in retrospect, was that Bill Cosby in many ways is quite conservative, probably moreso than our indulgent parents. Hell, he probably came across to our parents as if he was one of their parents, for all I know. And he was right.
So Cos is getting some negative press now, for telling the truth that is too harsh for most to tell: that Blacks, like everybody else, have to bootstrap themselves to success; that standing on the corner and hooting at women won’t get you a corner office, or any office; that hip hop is mostly shite; and that the civil rights establishment, while it has done some good things in the past, is mostly counterproductive these days.


Cos is backed up on this by prominent Black sociologists, including the late great Johnathan Ogbu, Thomas Sowell, and John McWhorter. Among them Ogbu was the most rigorous. Shortly before his death, he completed a landmark study of middle class Blacks, and found their academic performance lagged compared to White and Asian students. The factors he found that were barriers to success were (1) an attitude that academic success was too “White” and therefore not desirable; (2) a lack of concerted parental involvement pressuring Black students to study; and (3) negative peer pressure and cultural cues (smart geek white kids in movies, versus hip, slick Black kids in hip hop videos on MTV) encouraging Black kids to thug it up.
Cos admitted correctly that there is still such a thing as racism, and we all still have to work on that. But his main point was, the opportunities are there; the man is longer keeping the brothers down; and that the brothers gotta pull themselves up the same way most Whites, Asians and everyone else does it – by hard work.
So for that he is getting a lot of raised eyebrows from the civil rights community. Admittedly, it is refreshing to hear some of the old warhorses in that community finally speaking up, and saying “Damn straight, the Cos is right.” But at the same time, others like Ted Shaw, head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, are working overtime to deconstruct Cos’ earlier statements on the same subject. “What brotha Bill meant to say…”
But the efforts are transparent. Cos knows what is what, and he has spoken the truth.
Now for a fearless prediction: If he continues to fail to pay the prescribed Blacksheesh* then he won’t be a widely accepted hero of the Black community for long. Instead, at least among the company of many Blacks, he’ll find himself in a well appointed ghetto, the same one where Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Jerry Reynolds, and Larry Thompson are all doomed to live, at least for the time being.
It’s sad that we have so many lefties running around talking who think that constructing giant papier mache heads of Bush and wearing a keffiyah to a peace march is somehow brave. Bill Cosby is facing ostracization if he keeps this up; he has spoken truth to power, and he should win a presidential freedom medal for it.
*Blacksheesh: n, the failure to pay the proper obesience to the the civil rights community; the failure to pay actual cash to race hustlers to prevent said race hustlers from branding your enterprise a racist edifice; ex: In paying Blacksheesh to the Rainbow Coalition, by awarding an exclusive Budweiser distributorship to one of Jesse Jackson’s sons, Anheuser Busch ensured it would not be the victim of a publicity campaign branding the company as racist.

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3 comments

  1. yobbo

    I agree with Cos also, and it’s a shame that more black leaders aren’t coming out and saying the same things. However, I don’t see how this celebrity talking head is any different than say, Martin Sheen or Sean Penn, and we are pretty aware of how “brave” the left thinks they are for standing up to the fascist Bush Junta.
    Kind of hypocritical for guys like Sowell to be putting him up on a pedestal while simultaneously decrying “Hollywood liberals”.

  2. Al Maviva

    Yobbo, there is a bit of a difference.
    When Martin Sheen insists that if we all just sing Kumbaya, that there will be world peace, social justice, etc., he is talking out the ass.
    When Bill Cosby intuits, or through his own studies stumbles upon facts that have been pretty much undisputable (on a factual basis; I’m not referring to politics, in which everything is disputable) for a couple decades, he is speaking the truth.
    Moreover, if you look at Sowell’s comments here:
    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/ts20040525.shtml
    I don’t think he’s putting Cos on a pedestal. He’s praising what Cos said – which mirrors what Ogbu, Sowell, McWhorter, and for that matter some of the Black Panthers and Frederick Douglass said.
    One other thing makes Cos notable – he isn’t preaching to the elite choir, and is therefore taking a real social and economic risk to speak out so.
    It’s the difference between calling Barbra Streisand noble for her opposition to the Bush/Hitler/Stalin Junta, or praising her for the content of her ill-reasoned, gramatically impoverished missives to the Democratic National Committee and leading Dem politicians.
    Streisand risks nothing, says little that is factually accurate on the whole, and can do what she does without losing any fans or money. Cos risks Black fans (and profits); has now said something striking and accurate to an otherwise unreachable crowd on two occasions; and he has demonstrated a bit of courage doing so.
    Most Hollywood asshats are asshats for what they say, not for taking advantage of their position to publicize causes. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that if Hollywood activists were a little better informed – see e.g. Catherine Zeta Jones when she speaks about human trafficking and child labor – the notion of actors and the bully pulpit wouldn’t be in such disrepute.