I LOVE YOU CHARLIE ROSE: WHEN INSTINCTS RULE
I remember clearly that afternoon almost twenty years ago when I realised that I loved Charlie Rose. It came to me unexpectedly, suddenly. For in an instant I fell for not one guy but the two men who were seated across from each other around an impressive but almost bare table, as they were projected on the television screen of channel 13 PBS, as it was then in Brooklyn New York.
The dialogue was calm, clear and respectful. They sometimes spoke at once or interrupted each other but it was so fascinating; so much so that I wished that time could be frozen so that their conversation will never end; that they’ll speak about all the other things that I knew they knew, and help me to learn and understand from their well informed perspectives.
The other guy was Ed Bradley. I was long fascinated with him; his confident manly self holding his place so eloquently among a field of elite journalists, among whom melanin was rarely present. For about ten minutes on Sunday evenings, Ed will present his story of the week on CBS’ Sixty Minutes, with charisma and finesse. Moments I celebrated each week, as it juxtaposed against my reality of living in Brooklyn and witnessing the stereotyping of the black male. Ed made me hopeful for black men in the USA.
So that afternoon, with Ed as the guest on the Charlie Rose show, I learned that he had worked in the frontlines in Vietnam, and was a lover of Jazz and New Orleans, and lived his blackness every day with dignity. I saw that Charlie wanted Ed’s story to be known and that he [Charlie] respected and appreciated that story, and thought that it was worthy to be told. I could not help but fall in love with both Ed and Charlie in an instant.
I continued to watch the Charlie Rose Show for the rest of my time in New York; and always wished that I could one day own a credit card to make a donation to the PBS network. I was a single unemployed mother then, my donation is still outstanding. PBS didn’t just infrom me, its many outstanding educational programmes were the first ‘formal learning’ my twin daughters received.
So here we are in 2017, it’s been ten years since Ed Bradley passed away. I stopped watching Sixty Minutes within weeks of his death. Charlie Rose was now on CBS but in the morning and I’m a busy professional, with little time to watch television. From time to time I catch a glimpse of him on PBS. He has aged, like we all have, but the passion remains.
So how is it possible for me to accept that this man with seemingly so much integrity, modesty, and humility, can be guilty of the kind of things that are characteristic of sleazebags and perverts? What is the oil that lubricates the mind of so many of our men and causes them to slide over that red line between integrity and perversion?
Is it the perfume of power, like that which King David dabbed upon his cheek as he set out that evening in search of adventure, that took him past Bathsheba’s basin? Or is it simply the aura of arrogance, such as Samson boasted as he taunted the Philistines, while agreeing to be tied up by their daughter, Delilah?
Simply put, why are intelligent men making such poor decisions in regards to their sexual lives, and putting so much at risk?
Could it be that living in a society that subscribes in theory to monogamy, these men are finding it difficult to suppress their feral biological instincts that still demand survival of the fittest; and this might not be exactly compatible with having one wife/female partner.
Biological theories of human sexuality suggest that the human male is polygamous by nature. His survival is dependent on the survival of his offsprings, and so having one wife to produce one healthy offspring per year could not have been good for the hunter/gatherer. In the case of illness or death of that single child, then the father’s chances for survival would have been seriously threatened.
While Mr. Rose and the numerous men recently and otherwise implicated in seemingly antisocial sexual behaviour towards female acquaintances are by no stretch of the imagination hunters or gatherers; we have come to accept that much of the basic instinctive behaviours of humans are coded in our genetics, which have been modified by the past behaviours and environments of our ancestors.
This is no attempt to create excuses for what is certainly reprehensible acts that would have resulted in numerous people: females and males, being traumatised and even physically harmed. However, my feeling is that a broader, more honest conversation is needed.
The firing of perpetrators and legal proceedings are certainly necessary. But are these not just knee-jerk-like reactions to what appear to be pervasive patterns of behaviours that seem to be outside of the moral control of these men, who should know better.
The impairments in judgement unearthed by these numerous revelations of inappropriate sexual behaviours seem to be societal and not just limited to a few individuals. My love for Charlie Rose as a journalist remains, but without the glue of respect, it’s now an embarrassment.
Your comments are welcomed.
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Charlie Rose, Photo Source: Wikipedia.