Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
January 4, 2016

Cosby: The Premier

COSBY CHARGED: Though no trial date has been set, actor and comedian Bill Cosby faces sexual assault charges. REUTERS/Mark Makela

If there was no shortage of photos of Cosby on the way to his booking, this was the one leading off Reuters’ New Year slideshow, “What’s ahead in 2016.”

Next to his lawyer in the natty blue suit, Bill Cosby’s choice of the wooly sweater has the whiff of irreverence. (Forget that the patches seem attached by chains.) The harmony between his sweater and the more fine-grained salt-and-pepper of his other lawyer’s jacket, the woman’s, on the other hand, seems ironic — as does the propped arm and cane.

I imagine the large blurry shoulder far right belongs to security or law enforcement. So, you could say that this Reuters photo, given the alignment of the two figures, symbolizes Cosby, the sexual predator, finally coming face-to-face with the judicial system. If justice is blind, though, the media is not. And here, we see the pack, contained behind a warning-striped barrier, making him theirs. (Beyond “looking askance,” I might have said something about “shooting him in the back” if it didn’t sound like I was defending him.)

With that cable twisting around the TV antenna like a snake, though, the media show, like the premier of a final Cosby season, foreshadows less an accounting than a frenzy.

UPDATE: Except for a passing mention of the propped arm and cane, I  mostly concentrated on the media spectacle. In the comments below, however, black_dog_barking focuses on that other dimension. If Cosby and his team have very limited emotional material to work with, we’ll see how much they play the “age card.”

(photo: Mark Makela/Reuters. caption: COSBY CHARGED: Though no trial date has been set, actor and comedian Bill Cosby faces sexual assault charges.)

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