Submitting to an examination slightly less intense than Rudy faced on the average episode of The Cosby Show, Bill Cosby appeared on today’s Good Morning America, where ABC bragged he would at last “break his silence” on the more than 40 allegations of sexual assault he has refused to dignify with an answer, or anything approaching dignity. This promise proved to be true in that noise is the opposite of silence, and Cosby did indeed make noises in the general vicinity of the accusations. But for anyone expecting a direct response—or even coherence—they left disappointed.
The muddling began with ABC News’ Linsey Davis, who was formally there to talk to Cosby about his education reform campaign in Alabama. Likely wanting to avoid another NPR or Associated Press situation, Davis attempted to frame her question in the form of a hypothetical child who might want to know whether the accusations are true, because “my mom says you’ve done some bad things.” From the mouths of babes, and not ABC reporters, and so forth.
Cosby’s reply was every bit as convoluted:
I am prepared to tell this young person the truth about life. I’m not sure that they will come like that. I think that many of them say, “Well, you’re a hypocrite. You say one thing, you say the other.” My point is, okay, listen to me carefully. I’m telling you where the road is out. I’m telling you where, as you’re driving, you’re gonna go into water, and it looks like it might only be three inches deep, but you and your car are gonna go down. Now you wanna go here? Or you wanna be concerned about who’s giving you the message?
Though this resembled some sort of Voight-Kampff test to determine whether you have a conscience, the message was (sort of) clear: You should ignore the many rape allegations against Cosby, if you care at all about your car. Also, that the message is more important than the messenger, even if that message is total gibberish.
Pressed as to whether being accused by more than 40 women of drugging and raping them—in accounts whose graphic details are now permanently etched in the American psyche—might “overshadow” his message about not driving in puddles or whatever, Cosby offered more Dadaist poetry in response. It was a bit like e.e. cummings, if e.e. cummings were accused of multiple counts of rape:
i’ve been in
i’ve never seen
and reality is the situation
i can’t speak
Cosby was also asked, “What would you like your legacy to be?”—a simple question to which Cosby might have answered, “Well, not being an accused serial rapist,” and thereby justified ABC’s claims to have actually gotten somewhere. Instead, he rambled some more about TV shows he wants to make:
I really know about what I want to do tomorrow, in the tomorrows that follow. I have a ton of ideas to put on television for a series about people and their behavior and their love for each other.