Bill Cosby is sounding (almost) calm and reasonable, these days, under the influence of Dr. Alvin Poussaint, respected Harvard psychiatrist and co-author with Cosby in a new book. Despite his improved demeanor, Cosby's blame-the-victim worldview remains compatible with the most rightwing foes of African Americans. The no-longer-funny comedian's hectoring and "burnished anecdotes of times past are near-useless as a guide to either personal behavior in the present, or organized community action." But the corporate media gorges itself on the red-meat of Cosby's Black-bashing - and that's all that matters for book sales. Dr. Poussaint can only do so much to fix a 70-year meanness. Black Psychiatrist's ‘Intervention' Calms Cosby "When presented as a substitute for political action, books like Come On People are great diversions from the tasks at hand, and weapons to bludgeon Black people. Harvard Medical School professor of psychiatry Alvin F. Poussaint has succeed where all other recent efforts have failed: by teaming up with Bill Cosby to write a new book, Dr. Poussaint has softened the tone of the entertainer/philanthropist's crusade against the African American poor. The collaboration adds a sane demeaner, and at least a veneer of previously absent intellectual weight, to the comedic curmudgeon's road show. NBC went wild over the volume, as the corporate media does with all of Cosby's utterances blaming low-income Blacks for most, if not all, negative aspects of life in their neighborhoods. The co-authors of Come on People, On the Path From Victims to Victors got top billing, the first act in last Sunday's edition of Meet The Press, with Tim Russert, plus free publicity placement of the book's entire first chapter on the program's web site. Little wonder that NBC found the Cosby/Poussaint team's work compelling; the book's title and content flays poor Blacks with the dismissive "victimhood" language deployed by the Manhattan Institute's John McWhorter and other propagandists for the Right. What's different, here, is the presence of Dr. Poussaint, the highly regarded scholar usually associated with progressive causes. His intervention in billionaire Cosby's downward spiral into public spectacles of ranting and sputtering is at least a cosmetic success. Gone were the dark glasses that some observers suspected served to hide signs of medication - -self or prescribed. The co-authors scrunched together on the network set, their suit jackets touching, Poussaint's foot close enough to deliver a gentle kick should Cosby revert to abusive hectoring and insults against large segments of the The Race. "Poussaint's intervention in billionaire Cosby's downward spiral into public spectacles of ranting and sputtering is at least a cosmetic success." Host Tim Russert was, of course, true to corporate media form, digging for quotable bites of bile from Cosby, who has since at least 2004 been more than glad to serve as superstar Black-basher. Poussaint's mission is to clean up and smarten up Cosby's act, both in style and by injecting a modicum of substance. Poussaint leads off stating that "70 percent of Black babies are born to unwed mothers," a statistical fact. Russert asks, "What's the model for a two-parent home?" - a lame question whose obvious answer is: a home with both parents living in it - but whose purpose is to open the discussion of ingrained deformities in Black social organization, the alleged root of all ghetto evils. Poussaint, who shares with Cosby a primary focus on Black males, says "a lot of these [young] males have a father-hunger, and later on in life this turns to anger." It's a reasoned-sounding observation from a luminary of psychology. The good doctor notes the "availability of Black men" is central to any conversation about marriage rates; that, "in some Black colleges, women outnumber men two to one; and he stresses that, of the 2.2 million prisoners behind bars in the U.S., 919,000 are Black. "In Baltimore," he says, "75 percent of Black males drop out" of high school. So far, we are on a fact track. But then it's Cosby's turn to respond to Russert's question, "What do we do?" Cosby starts out well, displaying a calmness and equanimity that has been largely missing since he unloaded his anti-poor passions at a Washington anniversary celebration of the Brown school desegregation decision, three years ago. He admits that racism works in systemic ways. "Let's deal with what people call systemic racism...and this is real." Especially in education, "it is there with a very ugly head...." "BUT" - and here Cosby begins his descent into nonsense - "this is not the first time my race has seen systemic, institutional racism...lynchings...we knew how to protect our children, protect our women." Really? Many women and children were among the thousands lynched under Jim Crow terror. Cosby was 18 when 14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched in 1955 - grown enough to vividly remember. The problem with 70-year-old Cosby - an affliction not shared by the 73-year-old Poussaint - is a memory that appears to reinvent itself on such a scale that it revises the history of a people as convenience and the rant-of-the-moment dictate. Then Cosby gets to the heart of his secular ministry: "People must realize that the Revolution is in their apartment...and then they can fight systemic and institutionalized racism." That is, tend to your personal problems first, clean up your character and straighten up your house, and only then even consider confronting the larger forces that have played the mega-historical role in creating the conditions of Black life that bring misery to millions of people just like you. This is vintage Cosby, the message he's been sending for almost forty years. The no-longer-funny comic has no conception of personal growth and affirmation through struggle in common cause with others. He perceives his own wealth as a measure of human worth and mental health, and tells poor people that their personal faults are the source of most ghetto ills. "Cosby revises the history of a people as convenience and the rant-of-the-moment dictate." Under Dr. Poussaint's influence, Cosby mixes his main menu of Black-poor denunciation with a few bows to the real world of racial oppression. But - and there is always the "but" - he quickly returns to the theme: forget about social action until you get yourself straight; until I say so. carry on here..... M.E.