So, is this the Oscar Wilde mistake?

Bill Cosby is suing seven of the women who have accused him of sexual assault, hitting back at a slew of accusations that have emerged in over the past year.

Nope, I dunno either.

40 thoughts on “So, is this the Oscar Wilde mistake?”

  1. “In June this year a 2005 statement emerged from Mr Cosby, in which he admitted giving women Quaaludes – a sedative and hypnotic drug – in the 1970s, before having sex with them.”

    He’s had it; that’s the only truth the court is going to heat.
    So, with his reputation gone, his legacy and probably very soon his finances, there doesn’t seem to be anything much for him to lose. So no, probably not a mistake.

  2. I am not an expert on drugs, but as I understand it from my drug-related media reading[1] qualuudes were a recreational drug. So the question is whether this was recreational drug use or “doping”.

    Consider “I gave the woman several gin and tonics before we had sex” for comparison. Were you deliberately doping her, or simply having a drink together?

    Not that the court will see it that way, probably. Not under the New Dogmas.

    [1] Okay, underground comics, and that

  3. It’s also worth noting that we’re truly back in the early First Wave (I tend to call it the Zeroth Wave) of Feminism- earlier 19th century- which was all wrapped up in the Temperance Movement. The wimmins were furiously trying to ban alcohol because it contributes to “loose” behaviour. Because no woman in her right mind would want to indulge the bestial male lust, etc.

  4. The basic problem is that to win this type of case, you’ve effectively got to prove that all your accusers are lying. This is really hard, especially in the current climate. And then when you fail, it will be taken as read that they are telling the truth.

  5. You’re right Ian. Back in the 70’s ‘ludes were a common “soft” high for those, didn’t want to get into serious drugs.
    And judging someone’s behaviour in the 70’s by 2015 standards is insane. It’s another country. Like criticising attending a public hanging in 1780.
    In the circles Cosby would have been moving in, “dropping” someone or “tripping them out” were regarded as doing them a favour. Not having casual sex would have been the atypical behaviour.

  6. Not even you believe, as sadly mostly people do, in a universal morality which applies to all times and places and people (and peoples), and when somebody like me points that this is not tenable we get “moral relativist” yelled at us until we shut up.

    All across the social/political/ideological spectrum we find people convinced that morality is already “out there” and just needs to be discovered. Whether in the supernatural realm of religion, or somewhere in nature (“natural rights”) etc. So the idea that morals are human inventions (and indeed conventions) and in constant flux just gets denied, despite the overwhelming evidence from history, anthropology and plain common sense.

    So X is wrong, X has always been wrong, and you can go back and condemn anyone who ever thought or acted differently.

    Look forward to the transphobia show trials to come, as elderly drag queens and pantomime dames are forced to recant their hate acts.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “I am not an expert on drugs, but as I understand it from my drug-related media reading[1] qualuudes were a recreational drug. So the question is whether this was recreational drug use or “doping”.”

    Giving a woman a drug without her knowledge in order to have sex with her is pretty much the worst thing you could put in front a jury. A lot of people have daughters. Quaaludes may have been legal until the early 1980s. They may have been lightly regulated in the 70s. The jury won’t care.

    If those women weren’t told, or say they weren’t told, he is toast.

    Quaaludes were the drug that sh!t Roman Polanski gave that 12 year old before he raped her orally, anally and vaginally. I look forward to Whoopie Goldberg et al defending Cosby.

  8. That’s the point really; obviously if they were given surreptitiously a crime was committed. The question is if they were taken knowingly, and then how the hell you prove any of this or not.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “The question is if they were taken knowingly, and then how the hell you prove any of this or not.”

    If his lawyer is telling him he can stand in front of a jury and insist on the presumption of innocence while half a dozen women in tears testify he drugged and then raped them, his lawyer is insane.

    If you admit to drugging women before having sex with them, don’t even bother trying to reach a settlement. Flee for Brazil or some tropical sh!thole without an extradition treaty with the US.

  10. Ian B,

    The biggest shifts in morality are about technology and economics. We no longer consider it moral to remove the hands of thieves stealing a loaf of bread, but that’s about economics. Someone stealing a loaf of bread from your table meant that you went hungry. It doesn’t today. The welfare state didn’t appear because there were suddenly more enlightened men, it was because we could afford it.

    And people forget that in the 70s, people took a rather dim view of sexually liberated women as sluts. If they’d gone to the police then, they probably wouldn’t have gotten a particularly good hearing. People generally considered rape as when a woman was attacked by a stranger. If you went into a man’s apartment with him, well, maybe you shouldn’t have done.

  11. “If you went into a man’s apartment with him, well, maybe you shouldn’t have done.”

    In a day and age where anticonception was still pretty much a Hot Issue… Yes.. yes… you shouldn’t have done, and as far as I know the general education of girls, social mores, and *social control* of the time in pretty much the entire “western world”, and very much most other places even up to this day, was that you don’t, and certainly don’t whinge about it afterwards if you do and *surprise* Nature Calls.

  12. “People generally considered rape as when a woman was attacked ”

    That’s the bit that matters–stranger or not, Going along with it and then changing your mind later is not rape. You can regret joining the foreign legion (in the old days) but tough. You signed–you are in. If you get duffed over or sign under the gun that is another story.

    As for luudes–here is Wiki–

    “Effects[edit]

    Effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, reduced heart rate, reduced respiration, increased sexual arousal (aphrodisia), erectile dysfunction, and paresthesias (numbness of the fingers and toes). Larger doses can bring about respiratory depression, slurred speech, headache, and photophobia (a symptom of excessive sensitivity to light).[citation needed]

    Overdose[edit]

    An overdose can cause delirium, convulsions, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, vomiting, kidney failure, coma, and death through cardiac or respiratory arrest. It resembles barbiturate poisoning, but with increased motor difficulties and a lower incidence of cardiac or respiratory depression. The standard one tablet adult dosage of Quaalude was 300 mg when made by Lemmon. A dose of 8000 mg is lethal. However, a dose as little as 2000 mg could also be lethal, especially if taken with an alcoholic beverage.[17]”

    Several other websites concur with these effects (I don’t use drugs so I can only go by others accounts). None say that it renders a woman unconscious (except presumably at very dangerous doses) or causes her to loose her volition and be compelled to agree to anything. Like booze it can only bring out what is there.

    Cosby’s danger is boo-hoo legal theatre. Voir dire is where he will win or lose.

    The odds are not in his favour.

  13. The idea of a Universal Human Morality is as daft as the idea of Universal Human Rights.

    Surely even Christians don’t suppose that Christian morality has been unchanging since the wee man laid it down?

  14. “Giving a woman a drug without her knowledge in order to have sex with her is pretty much the worst thing you could put in front a jury. ”

    It is if you put the two things together &hand them to a 2015 jury. But in the 70s?
    Giving someone a drug without their knowledge, “turning them on” was pretty common amongst certain circles, in the 70s. Probably the circles Cosby was moving in. So in the 70s the jury part doesn’t figure because it’s unlikely to have been reported as a crime. And there’s absolutely no way that consensual sex, stoned or not, would have regarded as anything else than a fortunate result. Back in the 70s you fucked someone to find out if they were the sort of people you might want to have coffee with.

  15. @ dearieme
    “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbour as (as a man like) yourself”
    What is culture-specific about this?

  16. The thing I never got about the Oscar Wilde case is that he was convicted of *pretending* to be homosexual.

    Queensbury Senior accused him of “posing as a sodomite”.
    Wilde sued for libel and lost. So, the legal Finding of Fact was that he /was/ *posing* as a sodomite. ie, *pretending* to be a sodomite. The Crown then used that to procecute him for *being* a sodomite.

  17. “Surely even Christians don’t suppose that Christian morality has been unchanging since the wee man laid it down?”

    Point of fact: as john77 notes, that is exactly what Christians say. You don’t agree, that’s fine. Please understand what it is though what it is you are disagreeing with.

  18. IanB

    Applying the laws of logic, you cannot move validly from
    1. Moral standards differ according to time and places
    to:
    2. Moral standards are relative.
    (1) does not imply (2), though some people find it tempting to believe it somehow does. Discounting seriously dysfunctional societies like Colin Turnbull’s Ik, there is a common core to all morality, however it may be added to by circumstance, convention or custom. That core can be summarised as ‘do as you would be done by’. Even the most barbarous cannibals will basically apply that principle to their tribe. Without it, social life becomes almost impossible. Civilisation, crudely speaking, is the extension of that principle beyond kinship and tribal groups. As social animals, the interests of others are part of our interests: the existence of a wider altruism is in my selfish interests. And morality derives from that fact.

    You claim to a libertarian. As such, you presumably regard liberty (aka freedom) as the highest value – perhaps, the supreme value, the meta-value that makes all other values possible. If morality is relative to time and place, what are you doing when you advocate liberty and libertarianism on this blog and elsewhere? Are you simply venting emotionally? Or are you arguing rationally that your libertarian doctrine is true? When you argue rationally for libertarianism, you are implicitly assuming that there are moral standards that are quite independent of anyone’s propensity to accept them. Ergo, your moral relativism is self-refuting.

    Moral relativism is, incidentally, very difficult to formulate coherently. It involves – somehow! – steering a course between the platitude that:
    3. Differently situated people may judge differently
    and the blatant falsehood that:
    4. Contradictory views may each be true.

    Moral relativism might furnish you with a response to prosecutions for sexual offences or ‘offences’ committed decades ago, but I believe there are much easier ways to combat that. Moral relativism, in general, helps the left and aligns you with totalitarian thinkers who think it is fine to oppress people.

  19. Stig

    The biggest shifts in morality are about technology and economics.

    Technological and economic change cannot change the fundamental core of morality – viz. the Golden Rule, do as you would be done by – that it might affect its application. To think otherwise is remarkably Marxist.

    We no longer consider it moral to remove the hands of thieves stealing a loaf of bread, but that’s about economics. Someone stealing a loaf of bread from your table meant that you went hungry. It doesn’t today.

    Not true. Even in the scarcity economy of the Middle Ages, Aquinas and others argued for punishment to be proportionate – that is, that hanging and mutilation were not appropriate punishments for a starving thief.

    The welfare state didn’t appear because there were suddenly more enlightened men, it was because we could afford it.

    In 1945, we couldn’t afford it; and, given how it has grown, we still can’t. In any event, you are confusing necessary and sufficient conditions here. Yes, wealth is arguably a necessary condition of a welfare state, but it is not a sufficient condition.

    And people forget that in the 70s, people took a rather dim view of sexually liberated women as sluts. If they’d gone to the police then, they probably wouldn’t have gotten a particularly good hearing.

    True. But it’s important to appreciate that this is a minor moral assumption in the scheme of human morality and that it proves little, except that behavioural standards change. It certainly doesn’t prove that morality is relative or that it is dependent on technology or economics..

    People generally considered rape as when a woman was attacked by a stranger.

    True. Though drugging or intoxicating a woman to have sex with her is not behaviour that accords with the Golden Rule. Anywhere or at any time.

    If you went into a man’s apartment with him, well, maybe you shouldn’t have done.

    True. Morally, she is responsible for the choices she makes, just as he is, too. Hence the idea of contributory negligence, which is much derided by the feminazis.

  20. dearieme
    Ironman and jgh have pointed out that Christ’s moral teaching was quite general and very simple.
    Agreed, there is no universal morality, but there is a universal core to morality. And societies that abandon that core soon disintegrate.

  21. “What is culture-specific about this?” The fact that many people in many cultures wouldn’t agree. Followers of Odin or Zeus, for instance, would have thought it mere gibberish.

    As for Jesus’s morality: but that isn’t Christian morality, is it? Christian morality has been adapted by sundry priests and whatnot to be an altogether more tangled tale, though I’ll grant that there have been various reformations that have attempted to get back towards the original. “love your neighbour as yourself” wouldn’t have been worth saying if jesus hadn’t known that the peoples of his era did no such thing. So it’s not universal.

  22. Theo-

    I don’t argue that liberty is provably either the highest value or even a desirable value at all. I simply advocate that it is subjectively pleasant, and we should give it a try. Much like selling a chocolate bar. I can’t prove it tastes better than an alternative product. I’m just asking people to try it because they might like it.

    The bottom line is that all attempts to prove any moral or social code objectively fails, which David Hume pointed out over two centuries ago. No amount of linguistic arguments in which one attempts to prove that relativity is a logical inconsistency can overcome this basic problem. That human groups tend to have certain moral values more often than others does nothing to solve this jam. Neither does posting Bible quotes which are vague and general, nor indeed wondering what “loving God” has anything to do with anything.

    Moral codes are a human response to try to make things work socially under particular environmental conditions. Some are more effective than others. These values often outlive their usefulness, as with the wearisome persistence of sexual morals suited to other places and times (bedouin societies in the Middle East, which generated the sexual hysteria of the Semitic religions which spread into Europe as Christianity, and most extremely these days in Islam).

    People like to believe their own moral code is absolute. People like to believe lots of things. They like to believe in a loving God too. Belief does not make anything actually true.

    For one example; what is the correct response to somebody insulting you? Should you turn the other cheek, or kill them? The latter response is the most commonplace in human societies. Christianity recommends the former. Take your pick.

  23. The other point about liberty is that it’s the only social system which can accomodate human subjectivity, by its nature of allowing people to have different values, and then simply saying that they cannot inflict those values on each other. That’s why it intrigues (and sometimes infuriates) me that professed libertarians, who predicate their economics on subjective value, frequently and fervently reject the subjectivity of other values (“morals”) which is grossly inconsistent at the very least.

  24. My but what a lot of long words.
    Think of all the ‘courtship’ things – a bunch of roses, a martini, a ring ,dancing in the dark -all wrong. No wonder the west needs to import breeders.

  25. So, is this the Oscar Wilde mistake?

    In the sense of, “will a prosecuting authority use evidence gathered by the women to prosecute Cosby for the alleged offences,” the answer seems to be no because of the statute of limitations.

  26. jgh,

    The thing I never got about the Oscar Wilde case is that he was convicted of *pretending* to be homosexual.

    Queensbury Senior accused him of “posing as a sodomite”.
    Wilde sued for libel and lost. So, the legal Finding of Fact was that he /was/ *posing* as a sodomite. ie, *pretending* to be a sodomite. The Crown then used that to procecute him for *being* a sodomite.

    The Crown used evidence including that gathered by Queensberry Senior for his defence against the charge of criminal libel – including love letters, homoerotic passages from Wilde’s literary works and testimony from young men regarding their relationships with Wilde – to prosecute Wilde (and another man) for a number of counts of gross indecency. Wilde was acquitted of some of the charges at his first trial. The Crown pursued him and won more convictions at the second trial.

  27. So Much For Subtlety

    bloke in spain – “It is if you put the two things together &hand them to a 2015 jury. But in the 70s? Giving someone a drug without their knowledge, “turning them on” was pretty common amongst certain circles, in the 70s.”

    Rough circles you move in. Polanksi did get a tiny sentence (or the promise thereof) but that was probably because he was famous. It didn’t work for Fatty Arbuckle and he was famous so there may be something in that.

    “And there’s absolutely no way that consensual sex, stoned or not, would have regarded as anything else than a fortunate result.”

    If these women are dumb enough to admit it was all nice and consensual, Crosby doesn’t have a problem. They won’t get their pay day if they do. So I suspect they won’t. They will claim the nasty man drugged them and then raped them.

  28. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme – “As for Jesus’s morality: but that isn’t Christian morality, is it? Christian morality has been adapted by sundry priests and whatnot to be an altogether more tangled tale, though I’ll grant that there have been various reformations that have attempted to get back towards the original.”

    So. This argument is not as annoying as this sort of argument usually is. But for the record, you are claiming that you have better knowledge of what Jesus Christ said and believed than, you know, professionals who study what he said and believed for a profession? More than that, as a vocation?

    Interesting.

    Most professionals don’t have to put up with people saying things like “You know a lot of people think Einstein was talking about the curvature of space-time but actually what he was saying is that we should all tune in, take acid and drop out”.

  29. So Much For Subtlety

    Mr Ecks – “None say that it renders a woman unconscious (except presumably at very dangerous doses) or causes her to loose her volition and be compelled to agree to anything. Like booze it can only bring out what is there.”

    At the risk of Rusty and Arnald accusing me of arguing with myself, this may be true, but is it relevant? You don’t have to reduce a woman to unconsciousness for it to be rape. If you give a woman alcohol so that her judgement would be impaired, it is surely rape? They may not loose her entire volition but if the intent was merely to impede her decision making, I would not want to argue that in front of a judge and a jury.

    Alcohol is the most common form of date rape drug. And I am sure we have all offered an extra glass hoping to get a leg over. It is walking a very fine line though. When it comes to quasi-illegal drugs there is no contest. There is no socially acceptable reason to slip anything into anyone’s drink. If I spike a girl’s orange juice with vodka intending to sleep with her, I should expect jail time.

  30. If you give a woman alcohol so that her judgement would be impaired, it is surely rape?

    It depends whether she willingly drank the alcohol or not. Your actual expectation of how she may react to the alcohol isn’t relevant. There seems to be this assumption that every drunk woman is anybody’s. She’s just as likely, probably moreso, to become aggressive, for instance. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, so simply makes choices which one might otherwise suppress more likely to become actions.

    So in switching off the brain’s inhibitors, you’re kind of accepting by definition that those are inhibiting something that is there already. Like, I frequently want to punch my boss, I get drunk and, uninhibited, actually do punch my boss, and then lose my job. But to back up Ecks, the desire to punch him was already there. The alcohol just removed the inhibition.

    In that sense, alcohol has a certain character as a truth drug. It is of course wrong to give somebody a truth drug without their knowledge- “spiking” if it’s booze- but if they knowingly take the drug, they can’t blame somebody else for whatever they do once they have taken it.

  31. IanB

    I don’t argue that liberty is provably either the highest value or even a desirable value at all. I simply advocate that it is subjectively pleasant, and we should give it a try.

    Subjectively pleasant = desirable. Therefore you are recommending one value, liberty, and suggesting it is a desirable value.

    Much like selling a chocolate bar. I can’t prove it tastes better than an alternative product. I’m just asking people to try it because they might like it.

    That will cut no ice with authoritarians and totalitarians, will it? Moreover, on here, you frequently argue for your libertarian position, and in doing so often assume that liberty is more than a mere subjective preference. Choosing chocolate bars involves a subjective taste sensation, but that does not mean that chocolate bar choice is subjective, because there are many other factors that we can evaluate – its constituents, percentage of cocoa solids, manufacture, etc. – that have a bearing on its taste. Partly subjective does not mean irrational and/or wholly unobjective.

    The bottom line is that all attempts to prove any moral or social code objectively fails,

    But we can and do have rational arguments about moral dilemmas. Moral principles are not objective in the sense that a mathematical proof or a scientific experiment are objective, but that does not mean that moral principles are wholly subjective and/or irrational. The core of morality – reciprocity, altruism and the Golden Rule – can be derived from rational consideration of human (and animal) nature. We are highly developed social animals and morality is part of our nature.

    which David Hume pointed out over two centuries ago.

    Hume was neither a subjectivist nor a relativist in ethics.

    No amount of linguistic arguments in which one attempts to prove that relativity is a logical inconsistency can overcome this basic problem.

    The problem is of your devising. Sure, morality is not objective like maths and physical science; but that does not imply that discussion of morality and values is wholly subjective. Ethics – like history, law, wine-tasting, art criticism, etc – can be rational.

    Moral codes are a human response to try to make things work socially under particular environmental conditions. Some are more effective than others.

    But the core of morality remains – and human groups that abandon it do not thrive.

  32. The thing I never got about the Oscar Wilde case is that he was convicted of *pretending* to be homosexual.

    Queensbury Senior accused him of “posing as a sodomite”.
    Wilde sued for libel and lost. So, the legal Finding of Fact was that he /was/ *posing* as a sodomite. ie, *pretending* to be a sodomite. The Crown then used that to procecute him for *being* a sodomite.

    What Queensbury wrote is illegible, but that didn’t matter once his detectives had dug up enough young men to testify about how OW had befriended them.

    The Crown’s prosecution was based on the witness statements collected for Queensbury’s defence, and promptly forwarded to the DPP a the end of the libel trial.

  33. If you give a woman alcohol so that her judgement would be impaired, it is surely rape?

    It depends whether she willingly drank the alcohol or not.

    No, it depends on whether she was capable of consent.

  34. @ dearieme
    What Ironman said.
    Also Jesus was quoting Moses, so he was reminding his hearers of what they should already be doing. Which some of them were doing – your wilful ignorance of multiple examples in the Gospels of people showing love to their neighbour(s) demonstrates that you don’t know what you are talking about rather than the universal failure to obey that part of the Law of Moses that you allege.
    Christian morality is not what the majority are doing it is (we believe) what we *ought* to do. You seem to assume that the priests and monks read the Bible and then told the laity something different. Despite the Gospels being read out day by day throughout the year so that everyone could hear them (and all educated or semi-educated men could understand them). Doubtless you also believe that all the Hospitals, Schools, Almshouses & Charities established and endowed before the appearance of the wonderful Socialist government are figments of our imagination?

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