July 12, 2010

Made in the USA: Bill Cosby

made-in-usa Socialism, Social Justice, and Collectivist Redistribution schemes only work because the Statist/Collectivist/Socialist/Communist etc. is able to convince people that they cannot make it in the  Free Market, Liberty and Freedom loving system that we (used to?) have.  But there has never been a wealth creation machine better than our (old?) system.  As an aside, I picked Cosby because it is his birthday today. 

021503BillCosby2 Bill Cosby, born July 12, 1937, and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is one of four sons born to Anna Pearl (née Hite), a maid, and William Henry Cosby, Sr., a sailor in the U.S. Navy. During much of his early childhood, Cosby's father was away in the U.S. armed forces during World War II.

As a student, he described himself as a class clown.  But he was a devoted athlete,  was the captain of the baseball and track and field teams at his elementary school in Philadelphia and was also class president.  In Junior High, Cosby began acting in plays as well as continuing his devotion to sports.   He went to Central High School, but in addition to the sports, Cosby was working before and after school selling produce, shining shoes, and stocking shelves at a supermarket to help the family. He failed the tenth grade and instead of repeating the 10th grade he dropped out…

…In our collectivist narrative this is where the story would start to play sad music, young Cosby would be forced into gangs and violence, a rich capitalist would be found to blame, and Cosby would have either died of a drug OD, or from Gang violence; living in the projects and on the government dole.  Just more glaring proof that what we need around here is more redistribution of wealth.  Some Social Justice…


He got a job as an apprentice at a shoe repair shop which he liked, but could not see himself doing it the rest of his life.  After deciding the life of a cobbler was not for him he joined the Navy.  While serving in the Navy, Cosby worked in physical therapy with seriously injured Korean War vets.  This helped refocus his priorities.  He soon realized the need for an education and finished his equivalency diploma via correspondence courses.

WHAT?  he finished school?! 

cosby_b He  won a track and field scholarship to Philadelphia's Temple University in 1961-62, and studied physical education while running track and playing fullback on the football team. Cosby also joined the school's chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.


Even as he progressed through his undergraduate studies, Cosby had continued to hone his talent for humor.  When he began bar tending at  a club in Philadelphia, he became fully aware of his ability to make people laugh. He worked his customers and saw his tips increase, then ventured on to the stage.


Cosby left Temple to pursue a career in comedy, and in 1963, he received national exposure on NBC's The Tonight Show.  He went on to release Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow...Right!, the first of a series of popular comedy albums in 1964.


In 1965, when he was cast alongside Robert Culp in the I Spy adventure series, Cosby became the first African-American co-star in a dramatic television series, and NBC became the first to present such a series.  I Spy finished among the twenty most-watched shows that year, and Cosby would be honored with three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Cosby went on tot become a regular guest host on The Tonight Show 


He returned with another series in 1969, The Bill Cosby Show, a situation comedy that ran for two seasons.  While only a modest critical success, the show was a ratings hit, finishing eleventh in its first season.  Still the show was cancelled.


After The Bill Cosby Show left the air, Cosby returned to his education. He began graduate work at the University of Massachusetts, qualifying under a specialfat_albert program that allowed for the admission of students who had not completed their bachelor's degrees, but who had had a significant impact on society through their careers. This professional interest led to his involvement in the PBS series The Electric Company, for which he recorded several segments teaching reading skills to young children.


In 1972, Cosby received a Masters degree from the University of Massachusetts and was also back in prime time with a variety series, The New Bill Cosby Show. However, this time he met with poor ratings, and the show lasted only a season.

FAILED AGAIN….and then….

He was much more  successful with the Saturday morning show, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.  Cosby received his Doctorate in 1976 from the University of Massachusetts.   Temple University, where Cosby had begun but never finished, would grant him his bachelor's degree on the basis of "life experience".


During the 1970s, Cosby, made some successful comedy films that countered the violent "blaxploitation" films of the era. However, much of his work could be considered failures such as: Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976) ; A Piece of the Action; and California Suite. In addition, Cos (1976) an hour-long variety show featuring puppets, sketches, and musical numbers, was canceled inside of a year.


Cosby's greatest television success came in September, 1984 with the debut of The Cosby Show. The program aired weekly on NBC and went on to become the highest ranking sitcom of all time. The Cosby Show was unprecedented in its portrayal of an intelligent, affluent, nonstereotypical African-American family.

 The Cosby Show is one of only two American programs that have been #1 in the Nielsen ratings for five consecutive seasons.  Cosby, always outspoken for his views on the decay of what he considers black culture, the breakup of the black family, people not taking responsibility for themselves, etc.,   came under sharp criticism for His Pound Cake speech. He was largely unapologetic for his stance 10_cosby_lg when he made similar remarks during a speech in a July 1 meeting commemorating the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. He further described those who he felt needed help as "blacks [who] had forgotten the sacrifices of those in the Civil Rights Movement." Cornel West defended Cosby and his remarks, saying, "[H]e's speaking out of great compassion and trying to get folk to get on the right track, 'cause we've got some brothers and sisters who are not doing the right things, just like in times in our own lives, we don't do the right thing.”

So from the son of a maid and a Navy fighting man, shoe shine boy, high school dropout…To a college educated, critically acclaimed, wildly successful, multi millionaire ($400m+ est.)… He wasn’t born rich, he was not a great student, no foreign benefactors(cough)….but he made it in the USA

Of course, he was also a failure many times.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin