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Cervantes: Off the air, yet on the mind

BY CHRISTOPHER CERVANTES | JULY 20, 2015 5:00 AM

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If there is one thing that is always a treat for me, it is a good round of classic television shows. There are several standout programs that defy a particular generation and/or social movement because they are windows into lives either relatable or deeply desired.

A few nights ago, I decided to roam the various channels offered to me when I noticed something quite bizarre. The Emmy-Award-winning sitcom “The Cosby Show” was running reruns. Why was this surprising? Over the past year, there have been allegations of unlawful social misconduct directed toward individuals, such as Bill Cosby, as well as symbols of hate groups that were associated with popular television shows.

The shows, which depict hate-group imagery, such as “Seventh Heaven” and “Dukes of Hazard,” are now off the air through their syndicate identities, yet for some reason, “The Cosby Show” still airs.
To be perfectly fair, several networks have pulled the series from their broadcast schedules.

However, other channels and streaming services have not. For the life of me, I could not figure out how “The Cosby Show” was exempt from the broadcasting cancellation. It is just as entertaining as others, such as “Seventh Heaven” and “Dukes of Hazard,” and deals with situations in positive ways.

Their only real faults that seem to warrant their reduced exposure are the Confederate flag events that do not reflect the character of the show but rather of one individual or instance.

I planned this column out with the pretense to explain why “The Cosby Show” must be treated as the other shows and pulled along with the rest of them. After all, if one incident warrants cancellation/un-airing, then similar ones must, too, follow suit.  However,    upon further contemplation, I realized that this was the wrong way of thinking about things. In actuality, for artistic and media censorship to be truthfully used, none of these shows should be removed from their time slots.

Take, for example, filmmaker Roman Polanski. He is a director, writer, and actor who has been awarded and nominated for several Academy Awards. In 1977, he was arrested and accused of unlawful sex with a minor with a 13-year-old girl, for which he pleaded guilty to and apologized for. Yet, unlike the likes of Cosby or Stephen Collins, Polanski has continued to flourish and win awards, with none of his films being pulled from broadcast.

What’s the difference between Polanski and the others? Nothing whatsoever.

Polanski is not alone. Brittney Spears, Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson, John Travolta, and countless other celebrities have been accused of sexual misconduct but are still thriving. “The Cosby Show,” “Seventh Heaven,” and “Dukes of Hazard” were all solid programs that held messages that taught a generation.

I’m a not condoning the act of rape, but if a person cannot separate what an actor has done to the actions of a character, then that is the individual’s problem. By banning these shows, the networks are denying certain life lessons and wholesome messages to future generations through developed characters. For any one person to punish so many for the actions of one man is an act of inept judgment, which must be rectified as soon as possible.


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