Imagine someone telling the 1988 version of you that Bill Cosby is a rapist, Donald Trump will be president, and Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Prince will all be dead from drugs before they turn 60.
Today’s conviction of Cosby may be the greatest fall from grace in the history of American celebrity. Those who did not experience Cosby’s cultural domination through his stand-up career, I Spy, cartoon animation, and finally as the reassuring wise and loving patriarch of the Huxtables might not understand.
Cosby was king of American television the way Michael Jackson was king of pop. He was number one year after year in the ratings, pulling nightly numbers that today only the Super Bowl can top.
Cliff Huxtable a rapist?
Impossible. But today a jury found it happened, beyond a reasonable doubt. What a tragic mess. What a fall.
Cosby’s conviction may be welcome in an unexpected way.
These days, many Americans wonder if the law applies to the rich and powerful. They read stories of powerful people lying under oath, multiple times, while holding positions of power inside government, and nothing happens.
Those are real concerns, and it may be that the wheels of justice turn slowly. Or, the wheels might not turn at all for the politically powerful. Time will tell.
But in one case at least, someone who was perhaps the most beloved and trusted celebrity of his time was held accountable by the law. That means something, especially these days.