Author’s note: In this selection from the Cosby Codex, I offer a sampling of various attempts I have made toward developing at a conclusion to this project, as well as notes for chapters unfinished, and questions which I have only begun to ponder answers to. My wish when I first took up this project so many moons ago was to offer something of a definitive reading of the Huxtable narrative, to craft a critical reading that would stand alongside of such masterly critical works as David Markson’s Malcolm Lowry’s Volcano: Myth, Symbol, Meaning, Ted Hughes’s Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being, and Leslie Fielder’s 1966 edition of Love, Death and the American Novel. My own undertaking, however, remains incomplete, as I suspect, given the depth and breadth of the Huxtable narrative, it always will. What I offer below is simply a sampling of what remains to be considered, examined, pondered and wondered over.
Notes Toward a Conclusion:… Do Cliff and Claire truly, at the conclusion of the series, step out of the ontological frame of the Huxtable narrative, from one universe into another and forward several years into the Lucas narrative of Cosby? Do Cliff and Claire, who become what constitutes daemonic metamorphs over the final season of the Huxtable narrative, transform through some inexplicable act of textual ontological violation into the Lucases, a couple who seem to embody, more truly and more freely, the very ideals that rest at the core of the Huxtable hegemony? Or is the Lucas hegemony, which promotes a decidedly working-class, pro-union, and politically democratic social and political ideology, something of a Post-Marxist (and, in effect, Jamesonian), working-class revision of – or revolt against – the decidedly bourgeoisie Huxtable hegemony? …
… Are Cliff and Claire to be best understood as Postmodern revisions of Milton’s Adam and Eve (consider, for example, Claire’s horror at encountering a snake ((and her ignorance as to the true nature of snakes)) in “Bring ‘em Back Alive, 3.1)? If so, which character in the Huxtable narrative represents the Satanic, corrupting agent that leads to the fall of Adam and Even (i.e. Cliff and Claire)? Do the Huxtable children, as a collective, represent the Satanic, corrupting force in the Huxtable narrative that leads, as the final seasons of narrative suggest, to Cliff and Claire’s fall from innocence and grace? Is paradise, indeed, regained by Cliff and Claire in the final episode as they depart their corrupted, fall Eden for a different ontological environment? …
… Clearly the Huxtables—all of the Huxtables—are practicing Freemasons. The guiding moral principles of the Huxtable hegemony—which encourages “squareness,” repudiates direct engagement in discussions of politics and religion, promotes insularity and secrecy, calls for active involvement in education and social charities, demands that it members establish sound bodies and minds and maintain good morals and reputations, rejects religious promotions, embraces fraternity and equality amongst members, encourages conspiracy and subtle political and social manipulation towards its benefits, and insists upon social responsibility, and relies upon communication through allegory and symbolism—reflect those of Freemasonry …
… It would seem possible, upon close examination, to notice visual patterns within Cliff’s more colorful sweater designs, which suggests that these designs are themselves richly symbolic, so much so that it might be possible to trace a linear narrative—be it a counter-narrative to the Huxtable narrative per se—being effectively “told” through these increasingly more bizarre, elaborate and impressionistic sweater designs …
… Does A Different World truly taking place in a different world from the Huxtable narrative proper? Do we have any reason to believe that the Dwayne Wayne narrative occupies the same ontological space/place as the Huxtable narrative? Are the Huxtables we meet on countless occasions in Dwayne Wayne narrative in any way akin or even similar to the Huxtables we meet in the Huxtable narrative? Why, with the exception of “Hillman,” (3.25) do no characters from the Wayne narrative—with, of course, the seeming exception of Denise—enter into the ontological zone of the Huxtable narrative? It is interesting to note that in the Utopian world of the Huxtables, such timely social, political and cultural issues as AIDS, Reaganomics, Bernard Goetz, Iran-Contra, inner-city gang violence, ozone depletion and environmental destruction, psychic warfare, the rise of the internet, the accessibility of mobile phones, the Kennedy assassination, alien abductions, the Soviet Afghan War, Satanic ritual abuse, the drug war, the Gulf War, abortion, gangster rap, the breakup of The Police, Live Aid, bug powder addiction, chaos theory, the innovation of cold fusion, the end of Apartheid, the fall of the Soviet Union and End of the Cold War, the pregnancy of Murphy Brown, and the sudden social acceptance of oral sex and masturbation, are avoided—erased, perhaps—from the narrative; or absent within the world/ontology of the Huxtables, were nevertheless regularly negotiated in the Wayne narrative.
- “Does it all Only Exist in Rudy’s Head? Reconsidering Rudy as Narrative Agent in ‘Once Upon a Time’ (4.19)”
- “Snakes, Hamsters, Dogs and Imaginary Bats: Animals as Symbols and Animals as Allegorical Agents in the Huxtable Narrative”
- “Working Up an Appetite or ‘Food for Thought’ Reconsidered: Food and Consumer Consumption Across the Huxtable Narrative”
- “Is that a Hoagie on the Table or are you just Glad to See Me, Cliff?: More Thoughts on Consumption in the Huxtable Narrative”
- “‘Hey, this is Apple Juice!’: Deception, Fraud, and the World as a Lie in the Huxtable Narrative”
- “‘They Want the House’: Political Agency and Machiavellian Politics in the Huxtable Narrative”
- “Specters of James Huxtable: Fraternal Rivalry or Hamlet Redux in the Huxtable Narrative or James Huxtable as Joseph Kennedy Jr. Analogue”
- “Re-Deconstructing the American West: Reading Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian against the Romantic Cowboy Fascination(s) of Cliff Huxtable”
- “Claire Huxtable as Legal Theorist\Cliff Huxtable as Critic of the Postmodern Medical Establishment”
- “Finite Games/Infinite Games and Game Theory: Pinochle, Poker, Petanque, Faux-Drinking Games, Chess and Checkers in the Huxtable Narrative”
- “Did Theo and Cockroach Actually Read Macbeth and Julius Caesar?: Reconsidering ‘Theo and Cockroach’ (2.15) and ‘Shakespeare’ (4.5)”
- “Is There a Text in this Book Club? Reader-response theory, the ‘Death of the Author’ and ‘Bookworm’ (4.14)”
- “Conceptualizing the Wretched and Gordon Gartrelle: Fictional Branding in the Huxtable Narrative”
- “Cousin Thornhill: A Speculatory Psycho-biography of an Absent Huxtable”
- “What does Ja-Ja-Jamin’ on the One Mean?\What can Ja-Ja-Jammin’ on the One Mean?: Theo as Deconstructive Poet and Post-Structural Proto-Philosopher”
- “Homeopathy and Alternative Medical Practices in the Huxtable Narrative: A Reconsideration of ‘Home Remedies’ (7.21)”
- “Cousin Pam and Cousin Oliver: A Comparative Reading in Sitcom Cousinhood”
- “Enacting the Fragmented Apocalypse: Blanchot’s Writing the Disaster and ‘The Day the Spores Landed’ (6.8)”
- “Places and Spaces in the Margin: Applying Theory to Jake’s Appliance Store”
- “Spectral Ontologies: Does Ghost Dad Haunt the Later Seasons of The Cosby Show?”
- “Cliff, Claire and the Dialectical”
- “Russell Huxtable as Existential Hero”
- “Cliff Huxtable as a William Carlos Williams Analogue: Some Gestures Toward a Reading”
- “Theo Huxtable as Young Hamlet”
- “Cliff Huxtable’s Quixotian Sensibility”
- “‘How Ugly is He?’: Same-Sex Love in the Huxtable Narrative”
- “‘I say “Hey Mon!”’’: Reading Black Uhuru’s ‘Spoonja Reggae’ Throughout the Huxtable Narrative”
- “A Marriage from Heaven and Hell: Reconsidering the Huxtable-Tibideaux Union as Re-inversion of the Hanks-Huxtable Inverse Union”
Chapters Unwritten (But Considered):
- A close comparative reading of Dr. Bill Cosby’s doctoral dissertation, “An Integration of the Visual Media Via ‘Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids’ into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased learning,” against the pedagogical principles put forth throughout the Huxtable narrative.
- A speculatory historical study—something, I suspect, which would’ve become more akin to a novel than a critical examination—of Russell Huxtable’s Jazz Caravan.
- A close examination of the Huxtables as musical, dramatic and comedic performers with the Huxtable Narrative, with a particular focus on the opening credit/dance sequences.
- A careful consideration of the striking similarities between Theo Huxtable and Lee
- Harvey Oswald (both were dyslexic, both lived for a time in New York City, both wished briefly to be pilots and had some interesting experiences with flight instructors, both demonstrated decidedly leftist and right-wing political attitudes, both enjoyed traveling, both operated under the blind auspice of larger hegemonies, etc.).
- A consideration of how such literary and cultural luminaries as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, William Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, Patti Smith, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and Paul Auster all reside within five square miles of the Huxtables and yet are never directly mentioned but are nonetheless constantly alluded to throughout the duration of the Huxtable narrative.
- A closer reconsideration of the Huxtable family’s collective obsession with simulation and simulacra throughout the Huxtable narrative.
“There, chew on some of that jibberish!”