I have often wondered at the sheer naivete of the wider public; not only in Britain, but also certainly in the United States. A couple of examples springs to mind.
I quote the case of a seemingly switched-on woman who met this bloke on an internet dating site, ‘believed’ his story about his being a semi-retired but extremely wealthy businessman, and ended up handing all her savings over to his allegedly tender but capable care. I would only repeat the sage advice given by, amongst many others, Mark Carney, Bank of England governor who said, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is’. If successful financial investment companies, hedge fund managers and the like seem content with small rates of increase in the funds under their control, why on earth would this man be so much more successful than them? Perhaps she saw a way in which she could increase her savings? We will never know for certain, but, for many gullible people, the fantasy reward seems to blank out their critical faculties. Possibly the only sensible thing this woman did was to go to the police, but it was far too late to get her cash back.
The second episode for discussion comes to us from the Land of the Free, in the guise of the ‘outing’ of Bill Cosby as a serial sexual criminal and rapist, accused of using drugs to ensure compliance from his female victims, and silence by threats of ‘who would America believe?’. Now as to Cosby’s guilt or innocence, I, along with just about everyone else, just do not know. He has not been arrested, he has been tried and found guilty only at the bar of public perception, in newspapers, television and on the internet. The problem, both for Black America, and for America as an entity, is the simple fact that Bill Cosby, in his role as ‘Dr. Cliff Huxtable’ on the ‘Bill Cosby Show, had created a whole alternate reality as the perfect, human, fallible, but funny and totally believable Black American family. Sadly, the fiction became blurred with reality, and the whole idea of a stable, realistic family who also happened to be Black was spread across America as being true, instead of being the creation of a gang of scriptwriters working on vignettes from Bill Cosby’s stand-up comedy routines. Personally, I reckon Cosby to be a very funny guy, with a particular gift for making fun of real-life situations; but, and of course it is a big ‘but’, the commentariat are attempting to bring him down without the benefit of a trial. His silence condemns him, and, to watch a comedy icon brought low by the combination of that silence allied to the torrent of comment, accusations of rape and battery which cannot be considered in a court, as too much time has passed; is but another example of people believing the fiction, and then getting really p***ed off when confronted by reality!