Sunday, January 22, 2012

Out of Sync . . . Again

Joe Paterno died today. He had lung cancer for a while. He went in the hospital just a day or so ago. And he's not going to come out.

I was doing something very unusual for me today. I watching NFL football. Something I rarely do, unless it's the Saints. But yesterday, Susan and I watched both the AFC and NFC championship games (great ones, btw), and I told her I don't if I have ever in my life watched two NFL games in one day. And during both, the gushing of tributes for Paterno started. Just two thoughts. And I guarantee you, either of these thoughts, much less the two of them put me out of sync with the vast majority of the rest of this country. Which I seem to be most of the time.

First, what was this guy, anyway? He was a damned football coach, for Pete's sake . . . a football coach who held his job a long time. A guy who apparently had already been defied on the Penn State campus long ago. All kinds of stuff named after him, and a holy shrine on the campus for him where the vigil lights--just like for the Sacred Heart of Jesus or Mary Immaculate in Catholic churches--now glow at his holy feet.

When prayers to Paterno cure the sick, he'll be sanctified a saint.
I repeat: this man was a football coach. He made no lasting or even temporary contribution to the history of western civilization. He's not leaving a building, a work of art, or even a recipe book behind him. His achievements, wins on the football field, bowl appearances, and so forth are like dust in the wind. Nobody remembers them. Which brings me to the second thought. I'm going to remember this guy, alright, and maybe others will, too. I'm going to remember him as somebody who suborned the practice of pedophilia by one of his longtime assistant coaches right there in his sports complex . He made a perfunctory report up the chain, but he did nothing else. Nothing. ("I wish I would have done more," he later said, after he had been outed. Well, no shit, dude!) He didn't confront the scumbag who was abusing children, much less fire his ass; he didn't press the school to investigate; he didn't follow up on his own report. What he did do was let the scumbag Sandusky continue to abuse kids. That's what "Joe Pa" means to me. I'll never forget him for that, just like I will never forget the hundreds of Catholic bishops who did the same exact thing with their vast collection of clerical scumbag pedophiles at the same time they posed as paragons of rectitude and arbiters of morality.

Update I: As expected, the media is overflowing today with bowing and scraping over Paterno. On Penn State campus there were a thousand candles and votive lights at the bronze shrine to the guy. Tears and lamentations.
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