The Old Question of the Art and the Artist, Revisited

The Old Question of the Art and the Artist, Revisited

Bill Cosby the Man Convicted--What About Bill Cosby the Artist?

Is it even safe to ask this question anymore?

For many people, especially the 50-plus women who claim to have been sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby, Cosby’s April 26th conviction of aggravated indecent assault is just and worthy of cheers.

For others not so involved in the case, myself included, Cosby’s conviction is a huge disappointment and, despite evidence pointing to his guilt, a shock.

Yes, Mr. Cosby has admitted to philandering for years. That doesn’t mean anyone’s wanted to believe it. But now we have to believe it—and what is more, we have to believe that he sexually assaulted tens of women. Because all evidence points to the fact that he did.

It is simply hard to reconcile, that's all.

Bill Cosby is arguably one of the finest comedians and actors of his generation. But with his image as a wholesome, loving, fatherly figure now shattered, what becomes of his art, much of which is based on that image?

Indeed, fans of his work are now in a “limbo,” as a recent article in The New York Times says. The article also states that, because of these accusations, Cosby’s “TV shows, films and recorded stand-up performances, once broadcast staples, have largely been shunned, and with this conviction, are likely to remain so.”

This led me to think of the oft-returned-to questions about an artist and his or her art. Can we separate an artist from his art? And if so, should we continue to when the artist is revealed to be incredibly morally indecent?

For many artists, including myself, the answer to the former question is a resounding yes. An artist cannot be chained to his art. What he writes, or draws, or captures, is in no way connected to himself as a person. This is not to say that his art is completely disconnected from himself—most artists are in at least some ways inspired by their own life experiences. However, the biggest factor in creative production is imagination, and this is what separates the artist from his art. So a novel becomes a piece of art in itself, disconnected from the author; a character becomes a piece of art, an actual person, disconnected from the actor.

Bill Cosby’s work is just as much a reflection of him as it is its own creation, disconnected from him. From his stand-up comedy in the 1950s through to the 1990s, to his dramatic acting in works such as I Spy, and his comedic creativity and acting in Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and his classic The Cosby Show, Bill Cosby’s artistic ability is impressive and diverse. He is an incredibly versatile artist, and like the best comedians, finds humor in everyday situations.

This is the art Bill Cosby, the artist, has produced.

Bill Cosby the man, the human being, is quite different. This man has been hidden for decades, and only now has been made manifest to the public. This man, while valuing children’s education highly, also values sex highly. To the extent that he had to hide his obsession, and cheat all of us.

Is the artist separate from the man? This is a trickier question and much more controversial. I would say yes and no. The artist is all about his art, and what the artist values may not be what the man values. Bill Cosby the actor may not value sex, but Bill Cosby the man does. This is murky water, of course, and many people might disagree with what I just said.

However, what is clear is that art is separate from the person who creates it.

So what are we to do with Bill Cosby’s years and years of art?

Do we throw it away? This is an understandable action, but is it the best one? If we continue to shun Mr. Cosby’s art, as the New York Times article predicts we will, what will we miss out on? We will close ourselves off from other great art (such as that from the great Robert Culp), from insights that in and of themselves are good and true; and from skill and ability from which other artists can learn.

This does not mean we should continue to embrace Mr. Cosby’s work with the mindset that “the man is a great, wholesome man.” He is not wholesome or great; he is fallen like the rest of us. Or for some of us, this knowledge may prevent us from ever watching his programs again. But for those who still wish to view them, they can continue to view his work as “great,” because it is. Because Mr. Cosby has produced some great art.

The line separating the man and his work is blurry, though, and often hard to find. By watching an episode of The Cosby Show, am I indirectly elevating Bill Cosby and, in some way, enabling his bad behavior? I would like to hope not. Can I not watch an episode based solely on the artists’ skills and the episode’s and show's greatness? If the art is indeed separate from the artist—which, I believe, it is—then I as the viewer/reader/listener have the power to make that art into what I want, because it is now in my hands and I am interpreting it.

Let us continue to be cautious in what we affirm and in wholeheartedly embracing any person as “great,” because no one is. But let us not shun good art because of the artist.

Cover Image Credit: Time
Cover Image Credit: WTOP

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"


This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.


Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.


Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.


You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.

You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.

The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers

You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.

The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"

The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution

This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi

Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters

You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs

Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.


Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets

Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

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