Bill Cosby: America's granddad gets ornery.

Taking stock of people and ideas in the news.
July 13 2004 2:22 PM

Bill Cosby

America's granddad gets ornery.

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"I'm a tired man," he said recently, but he wasn't talking about the energy required to defend himself. He was talking about still fighting battles his generation thought would have been long won by now, and he's talking about how draining it is to watch black complacency with its pockets of stagnation. But true acolytes will recognize the Cos' own personal progression through the stages of life, territory he just about owns. One of Cosby's standards bits was in ribbing his mother for coddling her grandchildren after having been so tough on her children. "That's not the same woman that raised me," he'd claim in mock confusion. Watching our beloved Cos take his people so publicly to the woodshed, it's our turn now to marvel at the evolution of the man we thought we knew so well.

Debra Dickerson is the author of The End of Blackness andAn American Story.

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