It troubles me that a certain sentiment “troubles” Dawn Turner Trice in today’s Chi Trib. Her issue is Bill Cosby talking up hard work and perseverance to school parents when he recently settled a sexual harrassment suit. She is troubled by people’s paying it no attention because they like Cosby’s message.
She’s come a long way since January, 2001, when she gave considerable ink to a similar view about Rev. Jesse Jackson, exposed as a philanderer and father of an illegitimate child. Rev. J. had “taken a jump [actually several, over many months] and left a package,” realizing concerns voiced by an A.M.E. pastor in Iowa City about a handsome visitor who was giving his pretty daughters some attention in the summer of ‘63.
Not a problem, according to one of Trice’s sources in a Tribune piece.
"You deal with this the same way you deal with Bill Clinton," [Lorn Foster, an American politics professor at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.] said. "You teach fallibility."
In that respect, Foster said, almost every newsmaker in the 20th Century has had indiscretions and public failings.
"Really, if you use that criteria for not teaching Jackson . . . how do you teach Franklin Delano Roosevelt? How do you teach JFK?" Foster said.
Trice was not troubled by this, but she is by Cosby-excusing. Almost six years have elapsed, and that may be why. Who knows? In any case, my being troubled at her being troubled has less to do with Cosby vs. Jackson — middle-class values vs. victimhood in rebellion — than with a writer trying to disguise her feelings.
You can condemn someone faintly but tellingly. That is, you can be troubled when you’re actually pissed off, or should be, based on the data you present. In which case as a writer, you’re in trouble.