Saturday, November 29, 2014

The great Mark Evanier Bill Cosy and Al Capp


for the full piece go here and scroll down

The creator of Li'l Abner finally got busted in 1971. In the years just before that, I was starting to get to know some of his peers, some of the more prominent syndicated cartoonists. I therefore observed a rather amazing transformation. I watched grown men learn that rape is not a funny, colorful prank that goes just one notch past talking a cute woman into bed. I heard a couple of Capp's peers talk about his antics (to them, they were antics) with amusement and even a hint of admiration. These were men between the ages of, say, 50-70, and they just didn't get it. One even said something like, "The girls today, going around dressing like that, they're practically begging for it."
That was before what Capp was doing was reported widely, starting with a scoop in Jack Anderson's newspaper column and a report by one of his aides, Brit Hume. Yes, that Brit Hume. None of those on whom Capp had preyed had pressed charges or insisted on Capp's arrest. They didn't want to get into a "my word against his" battle with a famous man who could afford the best lawyers and most feared a legal system that would in its own way, put them on trial.
But the news stories emboldened one recent victim, Capp was charged and while he got off without jail time, he was humiliated and ruined. And a lot of men — not enough but a lot — figured out that rape wasn't like a great practical joke or a good way to get laid without buying her dinner. Some of them even learned that it wasn't about sex so much as about power, violence, and even pathological hatred. I witnessed this enlightenment on the part of several of Capp's friends and colleagues. The next time I was around some of those gents, it was not, "Hey, did you hear how Capp got a college girl to blow him?" It was, "What a sick, horrible man." Correct. Even the "practically begging for it" guy said that.
Few (if any) of Cosby's current accusers seem to be doing it because they see fame 'n' fortune. That's one reason, along with their number, that they have so much credibility. Some may be doing it because they still need to not feel that bastard got away with it…but I'll bet you they're all thinking others can learn from this. Men can learn that rape is a serious crime…and by the way, so is slipping a drug in someone's drink even if you don'trape them. Women can learn to beware and that even a famous, seemingly-benevolent person can be not so benevolent.
And this kind of thing needs to be reported. Even if you think no one will listen to you, it needs to be reported and those reports need to be investigated, not dismissed because the alleged perpetrator is beloved and/or wealthy. This whole matter with Bill Cosby is so sad and so troubling in so many ways…but if you're searching for some good to come of it, there's this: Some people are learning that it's a crime no less serious than if someone came up behind you with a knife and stabbed you. And somewhere, someone is going to be dissuaded from trying what Cosby did because he'll think, "Geez, even a rich guy like that couldn't get away with it…"

1 comment:

Dan said...

Old newspaper cartoonists seem to have been afflicted with---- Oh Hell, I don't know what got into them, but I saw LI'L ABNER go from a funny strip with colorful characters to an anti-left diatribe. Similarly, LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE and DICK TRACY just got more and more shrill as I grew up reading them.

Was it something in the water? Or the newsprint?