Or: Reality Check: 101
Let’s get real, people. Today marks the first day of the of Joe Paterno’s post-college football life.
Think about how much this man’s life has changed in the past few weeks. For it wasn’t too long ago that JoePa, as he is known to Lions fans the world over, was a giant
at the top of his game in the Penn State community, enjoying the waning days of glory before retiring to that Valhalla of the sports word, “Remember When.”
As in “Remember When JoePa :::insert totally awesome, somewhat embellished recollection from college football here:::?”
My how things change.
It seems like only yesterday that JoePa announced he would be retiring at the end of the season, in the wake of a child rape scandal. Let’s pause there for a moment.
Child rape scandal.
Not allegations, not trial. An outright scandal that has, to date, brought down the athletics director, the university president and, now, JoePa himself. We should forego most of the gory details about this and get right to the absurdity of it all. For I assure you what is currently unfolding on the campus of Penn State University would make even Voltaire blush in embarrassment for the unlikelihood of it all.
Students are rioting in support of JoePa.
I’m a writer whose sentences are at best Spartan. In fact, one of the most often comments I receive from critique groups and rejection letters center on comparisons between my writing style and that of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway is important, when we begin to dissect the sentence above, because with Hemingway you’re supposed to “read between the words” to find the nuanced meanings of the things unsaid.
I’ve spent a little time over the past few hours thinking about that simple sentence, uttered this morning by some moronic talking head on the T.V. as I was getting ready to head out to work. So let’s look closely at it, read between the words, and fill in the blanks.
Students of Penn State University are actively engaging in the criminal destruction of property to express their outrage that officials have fired a man who did very little to nothing to stop one of his high-level staffers from inserting his penis into the anuses of little boys.
Before you express outrage at the shitcanning of Joe Paterno, the university president, or anyone else involved in this sad, sickening commentary on the state of this once-great society, you should have to read that statement. Aloud. In front of your grandmother. That’s what we’re talking about in this case. A man knew about one of his employees *raping children*. Did he report the staffer to the cops? No. Did he fire the staffer? No. Did he report the staffer’s activities to the organization through which said staffer was meeting the kids? No. Did he haul the staffer out back and, as hopefully all of us would do, beat the living daylights out of the creep until he was just simply dead? No. What did he do? He told his boss…who said do nothing. Who then did nothing. And we may never know how much damage this bastard went on to perpetrate on young children to whose care he was entrusted.
If you are going to defend Joe Paterno, be prepared to defend the actions that led to his firing. And before you can do that, you have to be able to say what it is he did. In front of your grandmother.
Yeah…I didn’t think so.