Following Katie Couric's lead, comedian Bill Cosby is seriously promoting the idea of a Muslim Cosby show. The 73-year old even gave some suggestions for would-be producers:
The bottom line: No, the show wouldn't be a perfect solution. But yes, it would be a good idea. Like The Cosby Show, it would have to start off by tiptoeing around people's prejudices by keeping things comfortable and familiar.
By leveraging the universal appeal of family, he says, the program would force people who have unfounded bitterness toward Islam to stop and ask themselves, "Have I been a hater?" And, all criticism and snark aside, we must admit, that's a start.
It will put the truth out, and it will [get] each individual, if they watch the show, [to ask]: Am I a person who needs to change my attitude about [someone]? Was I a hater, and enjoying hating, and enjoying the fact that I really did not understand? That like an awful lot of racists, I didn't care to know the truth, I just enjoyed hating? In the Muslim religion and culture, it can be different [from what we believe], but it's what they believe in.
There may be some merit to Cosby's rant.
But instead of a sitcom depicting an upwardly mobile Muslim family how about a comedy involving a Tea Party mom, dad and kids; surely no group has been subjected to more scapegoating and false stereotypes in the past two years than this bunch. Cosby's own comic cohorts, as well as top White House officials, have all gone politically incorrect on regular citizens without any provocation.
The likes of Chris Rock, Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, Barack Obama, Janet Napolitano and others could tune in each week and ask themselves "Have I been a hater?" Perhaps after one season, their "unfounded bitterness" toward tea partiers would begin to dissipate. Soon vitriolic labels like "right-wing nuts," "extremists," "homegrown terrorists," "insane hinterlanders," "fear mongers," "mentally retarded," "teabaggers," "stupid rednecks," and "bigots" would not be tolerated.
A humorous half-hour with tax-paying, hard-working and ordinary Americans might change attitudes and make haters less afraid of what they don't understand. It certainly worked with the Huxtables. America loved Cliff, Claire and their wonderful brood.