Should The Cosby Show still be on TV?

Do I have your attention?

What Bill Cosby did to women was despicable. It was wrong on all sorts of levels which is why he went to prison.

But his TV show, the one all about family values….should it be pushed aside to the bins?

Should the thousands of other people who worked on that show be forced to suffer in shame even thought they did nothing wrong?

Do we separate the artist from the art?

I have been struggling with this issue for awhile. There are many books, movies, music and art that I like and appreciate for their intrinsic value. It’s pretty to look at, or complex in its ideas. It makes me think or it inspires me. Is it wrong to look at a work of art and not contemplate who the artist is? Should we just get rid of all that intellectual property because of the person who made it?

So, I have decided to take a stand: I am going to separate art from the artist. I am going to enjoy a piece of work on its own merits. I am not going to look at the background of an artist.

My college book club is really focused on looking at the background of the authors of the books that we read. We spent the first ten minutes of the last book club hearing someone recite the bio of the author…

Why?

Can’t a book just be a book?

Shouldn’t a book stand on its own merits without knowing anything about the author? if you’re a scholar this could be very interesting. I understand many a thesis is based on looking into the life of an artist. But for the lay person? Should we need a reason for the art? Shouldn’t the art stand alone?

Does the authors bio really matter?

Does who the artist is really matter?

Should we separate art from the artist?

Discuss:

On a side note: Two of my blog friends wrote very thought provoking pieces yesterday. As they gave me much to think about, I thought that you might enjoy them as well:

http://theycallmetater.com/2021/05/03/free-speech-and-the-cheerleader/

https://bleuwater.me/2021/05/03/study-56-of-young-liberal-women/

95 thoughts on “Portrait of the Artist as Just an Artist

  1. You make a good point. I agree that art can and should stand on its own. However, it can be interesting for some to look into an artist’s background to see how it played a role in shaping the art.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think it’s interesting to see how an artist was inspired. But is it necessary to appreciate the work? I figure if I have to read a 200 page bio, maybe the art isn’t that good. We went to an exhibit recently. My husband fully read all the notes on the wall, my daughter and I looked at the piece. My husband says “do you know what this represents? And my daughter and I both said “oppression” the piece didn’t need a blurb…if you looked, you saw it with every stroke and layer of paint. That being said, I do like to read about artists sometimes because they intrigue me

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree with separating the art from the artist. Viewpoints and lifestyles are personal matters. Even when they don’t conform to society or go against everything we believe, it shouldn’t detract from the contribution they make artistically. I say let the art speak for itself and let the artist speak for themselves.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I have struggled with this. Should I feel guilty for liking books, music, film from someone who has done terrible things? I have plenty of friends who say yes. I feel like I’m doing something wrong for disagreeing. The Cosby Show isn’t any worse because of what he did. I wouldn’t seek it out, but if I was bored and Cosby was on TV I would watch it. I still love Michael Jackson’s music. I still love JK Rowling’s writing. I still love Mel Gibson movies. What they did and said in their personal life didn’t change that.
    Also – thanks for the shout out.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree with you in every point. Why can’t I like the work? If it said anonymous after it, would that be different? Everyone has a past…how much do we delve? And you’re welcome. Still thinking about your post

      Liked by 1 person

  4. THIS IS A GOOD ONE! I haven’t read the other posts yet, so I may be back to post another comment. But I see The Cosby Show every now and again, and it bothers me. It used to be one of my favorite shows, but now I can’t watch it without looking at him and seeing him as a rapist. Should I punish the other actors in the cast because of that? No. But it ruins the show for me. I’m not able to separate the art and the artist in this case, unfortunately.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I totally understand this. I struggle with it too. But I figure everyone has a past if some sort. Do I want someone looking into mine and deciding my worth? Perhaps throwing my family under the bus? When I was in high school, a girls father got caught for embezzlement. Her life was sucky at school after that, and that was pretty internet. I’m still thinking this one out

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you on that but with something like sexual assault, I feel differently. I think of women who’ve been assaulted who could never watch that show again. How triggering it would be.

        I feel for your friend. Embezzlement rings different for me. Also, that was her dad’s transgression. But here I am judging Bill Cosby….

        Yeah. Nope. Still can’t watch.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. I can see someone buying it to study it.. maybe..the real question is what about all those amazon 4 and 5 star reviews? That’s a lot of stars for Hitler, right? I didn’t take the time to read the reviews..but maybe I should..might prove to be insightful.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. OK..so just read a few reviews.. a couple talked about the quality of the book itself, the size print etc. A few said it was insight into a maniac’s mind.. of course one said “The book was very heart warming and the author made a very good point.”..clearly a bot of some kind..hopefully a bot of some kind.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I can separate. I do not agree that the perp, in this case Bill C, should profit from it though, or it even going to his estate. Let his share be divided among the many support staff who worked on the Cosby Show (many of whom were probably only paid minimum wage).

    Liked by 6 people

  6. I also choose to compartmentalize for precisely the reason you highlighted. All of the peripheral people that were involved.

    From the people that worked closely with the artist(or actor) to the people who have benefited from enjoying their work. The work deserves to exist.🌺

    Liked by 4 people

  7. As John Wayne reportedly remarked…”Well Pilgrim…”

    Are we capable of separating art from the artist? I figure we are. Are we capable from separating a situational comedy from art? Ditto, I figure.

    Will we continue to fruitlessly seed a wasteful and forever culture war? Ditto to that; as long as politics runs downstream from culture, tidal pooling arts and crafts, and damning individual objectivity to a shark jumping basin of collective subjectivity.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Well stated as always. I foresee a return to Puritanism….where there will be a strict code of conduct. If you don’t comply you are shunned…

      Like

    1. I’m still thinking about both of those pieces today. When you think of the present day and future ramifications ,if you will, of both those ideas…these are both things we should be considering and thinking if ways to deal with it

      Like

  8. I completely agree that we should separate the art from the artist. Maybe I don’t agree with their views, or maybe they did something truly horrible, but I can still appreciate the art. Some of my favorite actors are apparently horrible people. That doesn’t stop me from adoring some of the characters they play. I probably wouldn’t give them the time of day in real life, but I don’t have to. I haven’t seen The Cosby Show in years, but if I caught it on TV, I’d watch. It was a great show, with wonderful characters. What Bill Cosby did doesn’t change that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There are many artists who have views completely opposite mine, who have done things I don’t approve of…but to just get rid of the work? I just can’t do it..

      Like

  9. I don’t really care to watch/read something by someone like Bill Cosby. I have felt this way for a very long time, long before “canceling” or whatever you want to call it. The other thing that goes along with The Cosby Show still being available on TV is there still has to be advertisers willing to put their money behind it—is that something companies want to do today?
    I can always vote with my dollars and time–there are more worthy artists out there than those convicted of sexual assault.
    I don’t care to watch shows like the Academy Awards and see people like Roman Polanski winning awards. It boggles my mind that people would want to work with a guy who drugged and raped a 13 year old girl. Would never knowingly watch any film he directed.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The Roman Polanski thing! Omg…when people were up in arms because he was t allowed back in the country to accept an award!! What were they thinking! He should be in jail! That was horrible! Yet…I still think Rosemary’s Baby was a great film

      Like

  10. I understand the feeling of liking a piece of art, a film, play or a book and doing just that enjoy it. I am also not wanting to give people money whose actions and or words are not along my personal lines. I love watching the Harry Potter series on TV and I do own a few of the books, but I am not about to go out and buy another book by Ms. Rowling. Celebrities (anyone in the public eye) like to say that their personal life should be private and separate but if you put yourself out there to earn your living then you open yourself up to people not agreeing with something you have done or believe in, sorry you are part of the product you are selling.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Good point. And we vote with our dollars…but I’m figuring I’d have a problem with just about anyone if I looked close enough. But completely respect your opinion on this

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love that show. I dont understand the double life. How can someone be in such a loving, funny, uplifting show and be such a deplorable person? I still watch it once in awhile but it’s not the same. He deserves what he got.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. This is a tough one that I’ve also struggled with throughout the years. When all the R. Kelley stuff came out, I deleted all of his music from my phone, and I refuse to listen to it if it’s played on the radio. My rationale was if this was my daughter in a situation with RK, then I wouldn’t be playing his music.

    I’m not sure about Bill Cosby (and have gotten into many an argument with my grandmother about it). It’s a hard question. On the one hand, none of us are perfect and can be condemned or cast aside at any moment, depending on what someone finds out. On the other hand, art is art. The Cosby Show and A Different World were great shows.

    I don’t have an answer lol

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Kegarland, you are SO right. It is a tough one. And empathathizing with the victims should be status quo. (Particularly where the villain and victims are still alive) Compartmentalizing is just the solution I picked to keep my brain from exploding. With so many scum bags throughout history. I was beginning to lose track.

      With that said, I also cringe if Ignition is played on the radio, and the station is promptly changed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL about losing track! I had this thought before, too, like I can’t ban everyone (insert emoji eye roll), but you’re right about compartmentalizing…I mean we do it every day, right? If we really kept track, we’d all be naked, hungry, and boycotting in the streets.

        Ignition was such a good song though, but you’re right.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. I know. I understand both points of view on this completely. It’s tough. But yeah…Cosby and A Different World were great shows. It’s hard for me

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I don’t have a problem with viewing the art separate from the artist. I do like to know the bio of an artist though, regardless of their failings. Maybe because of them. Sometimes very good comes from very bad.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I read somewhere recently that the greatest art comes from those who have suffered the most. I’m still mulling that over, but I think there’s something there

      Liked by 2 people

  14. I don’t like it when people are selective based on the artist or politician. In other words, if they have something in common they forgive the person, artist or politician selectively. I believe I can compartmentalize like your first commenter the work from the artist. In other words, not everyone is like me, and so what….they might have insight or special talents which need to be displayed.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I know everyone doesn’t look like me or even grew up in the same places or visited the same countries. If I am open up to accept those of different religions, cultures, etc. will they accept me…I haven’t gone to jail, most likely won’t demonstrate or show my hand politically as it doesn’t interest me but yet I can appreciate an artist, a writer, etc. Wasn’t it Norman Mailer who released a talented writer years ago from prison? I think he committed more crimes but Mailer did appreciate his talent. There is obviously a few sides to this issue. We might have to ask Dear LA.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Hill song used to preach right near my house…they drew quite a crowd…I hate to see anyone in a position of authority misuse their, I don’t know…influence?

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Thank you for the link to my blog post. I agree with you on separating the art from the artist. When I hear Michael Jackson on the car radio, I have to sing along. His horrific deeds don’t enter my mind. I felt for awhile I could never watch a Kevin Spacey movie again, but some are so good! I think if you go down the road of canceling every artist or historic figure who doesn’t live a perfect life, we won’t have any art or history left.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Your last sentence sums it up for me. I’m betting that someone bad worked on every single thing that exists…there will be nothing left…your post from yesterday made me think…and i thought it was something that everyone should think about

      Liked by 2 people

  16. This argument reminds me of the continuing campaign by certain vocal minorities to cancel anything and everybody they deem prejudiced against them. It’s been refreshing to see notable authors, thinkers, and luminaries begin to circle their wagons – protecting freedom of expression, speech, thought, and belief.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Wow, this one is difficult, as many have written. Yet it is also simple, as many have also pointed out. Separate the art from the artist. I think we can enjoy something for its creativity without having to connect it to the deeds of the creator. What I wonder, however, is this….is there ever a reason to put the artist and art back together; where we must consider them together? Is there a line? Hmmmm. Nice post, LA.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I respect every single person’s opinion on this because I know it’s such a hard topic for most. I vacillate for the most part too. There are going to be people, like KE said R. Kelly, that I will just not listen to. But others…yeah…I’m more open

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Separation is key! I’ve been a dancer my whole life and surrounded by people that are creators. And the one thing we all have in common is this…. We channel something deeper than ourselves and we become someone that you aren’t going to see unless we are performing. However, someone like Bill Cosby channeled his positive and good side when he performed.

    Removing the show takes away so many childhood memories, the ones that were good for so many. I would watch the show and wish my dad was a little like Cliff. But turns out he was more like Bill.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Music is one art form that has successfully done this. From womanizers to heroin addicts and every ‘bad’ thing in between, people don’t consider the artist. They just turn up the radio and sing along.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Ya I bought the first few seasons of the Cosby show cheap, cos I used to like that and a different world, but when the news came out about Cosby the criminal it was hard to watch, to separate the comedian from the criminal it made me I’ll whenever he was around any of the women on the show. I never thought I would react like that. But I did. I had to donate those videos.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. I can still enjoy listening to Michael Jackson, so there’s that. As for Cosby, it’s hard to watch early versions of him knowing what he did later in life. But I don’t like censorship on any level.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s