Heathcliff Huxtable is not Bill Cosby

Are you familiar with the term “hate the sin, but love the sinner?” Many people think it’s a direct quote from the Bible. It’s not. It’s a quote often attributed to Ghandi. His actual quote was this;

“Hate the sin and not the sinner” is a precept which, though easy enough to understand, is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world.”

So by now you’re looking back at the title of this post and swilling it around your mind trying to figure out how I am going to justify “loving” an (alleged) rapist, but not the rape itself.

Bill Cosby played Dr Heathcliff ‘Cliff’ Huxtable on what was one of my favourite shows of the 1980s. In fact, knowing how high the ratings were in Australia and his homeland of America, I wasn’t the only one who loved that show. Most of you did too.

Dr Heathcliff Huxtable was a great father no matter how his alter-ego Bill Cosby may have tarnished his good name.

And while Bill Cosby WAS Dr. Huxtable, I’d like to think that Heathcliff Huxtable IS NOT Bill Cosby. Well, not now. Not anymore.

Sure The Cosby Show bears his name but it’s not just his work. First of all there are the writers. There’s also his fellow cast. And there’s also the crew. Above and beyond all those people we have the characters themselves.

Before this show I only saw black families as being portrayed as poor, not even working class in some roles. Take the boys from Diff’Rent Strokes. They were saved from a life of, well, pain, sorrow, anger, drugs, gangs, you name it; saved by a rich old white guy. I was 10 years old when this negative stereotype was killed off. Here’s Cliff, a doctor married to a lawyer. Yes, a sitcom mother with a respectable job career. (Well done knocking over civil right and women’s rights in one fell swoop). Their kids attend school. They don’t skip it, they actually attend school.

Although it was a comedy, the show was educational relying on real human emotion and interactions between each character to make them seem like a real family. And Dr. Huxtable was a hands on active father. He did stuff with the kids. He wasn’t just the breadwinner. His role in that household was to be a part of that household. That’s the dad I wanted to aspire to be. But not the jumpers (sweaters).

One of my fellow Dad Bloggers just removed Cliff Huxtable from his list of great television fathers. I don’t understand this. Heathcliff hasn’t changed.

Bill Cosby is the alleged perpetrator here, not his alter-ego.

Maybe we need to introduce a new phrase.

“Hate the actor, not the character.”

Here in Australia we had our own version of the Bill Cosby/Dr. Huxtable controversy with Robert Hughes/Martin Kelly, the widowed father of three and architect who is a work-from-home-dad being convicted of sexual child abuse. The sitcom Hey Dad! which Robert Hughes starred in was the most successful show of its type in Australia. Now its name is tarnished by the indiscretions of the main star.

The same could be said about Rolf Harris and his fantastic songs. While the man himself is a no good convicted paedophile, the songs he “leaves behind” in the real world while he rots in a cell are still some of the best songs for kids.

Can we hate the singer, love the song?

Justin Bieber is proving to be a real dick but there’s a legion of fans who love his work.

What about Phil Spector? The man was a musical genius. Three words; Wall of Sound. It still hits me where it hurts that this man who created so much great music turned out to be a murderous loony.

I hate these men, I really do. I hate the sinner, and the sin. I hate that they’ve raped, molested, murdered, lied, cheated, and broke the law at every turn (Mr Bieber, I am looking at you), but the body of work, the songs, the acting, the building of great characters, that cannot just be forgotten.

Can it?

One thought on “Heathcliff Huxtable is not Bill Cosby

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s