Saturday, July 14

You Needn't Bother

"Terry Smyth", "Explaining the Cult of Joe Pa". July 11

OKAY, so, it's a thoughtful piece; "Yes, but" is still two words.

I'm not here to defend Paterno, nor really to defend anyone at all. But on the eve of the release of the Freeh report—which promises to be a scorched-earth review of Penn State's handling of the Sandusky matter—I'm compelled to try to explain why it is that so many of "us" seem like cultists, or at least delusional loyalists to a benevolent dictator who it turned out was only benevolent when it suited him. Some percentage is delusional, of course, though I'd argue it's no greater share than in any segment of society. I'm making the case for the overwhelming majority of Penn State fans and alumni, many of whom have made themselves look like fools over these past eight months with maudlin arguments in Paterno's defense. Most aren't fools, and no one I know is a conscious apologist for a guy who appears to have been covering for a child rapist. They're simply stuck somewhere in the first two stages of grief, unable to grasp the apparent truth, livid at a larger world that berates them for ignoring what seems obvious to everyone else.

It's way past time to stop. How many free passes do we have to hand out per day in this country, now, just to maintain the self-delusion of our moral worth? Fuck seven fucking stages of grief. There's no excuse for a non-fool to be there in the first place. It's an institution. It's an institution in the era where forced sodomy, real and figurative, is the fucking norm. It's Big Time College Athletics. You think there's someone riding through that slough who isn't getting splashed with filth? I suppose it's possible, theoretically. It's also possible it could rain Mrs. Rush Limbaugh, Senior's, Jell-O Surprise. It's possible Penn State was graduating 100% of its scholarship football players. And it's possible Penn State could do so and still be covered in shit.

This ain't new, and you aren't exempt because you formed an emotional attachment that went way beyond sanity, or because lots of other people do, too. It's time to stop pretending a reasonable person can ignore all this, and is justified in feeling confident that his side does no wrong. It's bullshit, and anyone who says he doesn't know it's bullshit is bullshitting. Pure Sport may not be a complete fabrication, but it sure is at the level of Division I's major programs. I don't care who ya root for. Just don't come to the rest of us when your program's caught cheating, and act like you've been betrayed.

There came a time--there clearly came a time--when the jig was up. And when the rest of us got to see "grieving" Penn State fans behaving like baboons. And I apologize to baboons. There's no excuse for people defending Bill Belichick. And that was videotape. This is forcible child buggery. I was grieving is not an excuse. "I have a serious head wound" is barely one.

This is what I ask you to do: confront the fucking problem. Reject the marrow-deep dishonesty that's everywhere around you. What went on at Penn State is what went on at BP and Goldman Sachs, what went on in Cheney's private Energy confabs, Reagan's Fucking Treasury Department, and Oprah's Fucking Book Club. After All Else Has Failed mea culpas are worth no more than the solemn pronouncements of the Roman Catholic Church, or the optimistic promises of the Pentagon Body Counters, or the intellectual weight of great institutions of higher learning which have sold themselves out just to win football games.


Anonymous said...

Ya know what I thought, Mr Riley, when I first read that opening?
"I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him".
Oh, yes, WS knew people, including rabid ridiculous cultists.

Porlock Junior said...

My own reaction to "I have a serious head wound" is to think of the Fawlty Towers episode "The Germans".

(Caution: May be triggering for anyone who suspects from the title that it might be; also for anyone who has suffered such horrors from ordinary racism as to rule out clever satire of the stupidity of that whole business. For the lucky ones, though, it's awesomely funny.

(And is this character-recognition horseshit really necessary? Now if I had a bot that could guess over and over till something got through, it would be easy and quick; a lot more so than guessing over and over at highlhy ambiguous strings and doing it all by hand.)