Saturday, June 23, 2012

Teachable Moment

Apparently we're all supposed to have learned something from the Sandusky verdict. (And hey, didn't that turn around with a quickness? Guess the jury went into their room, the foreman looked around and said, "Okay, we're done here. Any questions?")

There's nothing new here. What happened at Penn State is what happened at archdioceses around the world, what happens in the armed forces, the government, greedy corporations -- evil human beings protected from the consequences of their crimes by other evil human beings, people either too invested in the trappings of their institution, or cowed by authoritah, to simply do the obvious right thing.

So yeah, Sandusky's a bastard, and I wouldn't be surprised if he offs himself before heading off to the big house, unless he really just wants to be passed around the cell block like a chew toy. But Paterno was a bastard as well, and he got off easy, and every Penn State fan who was more concerned about the fucking program and Joe Pa's rep than the kids Sandusky systematically abused, they can go straight to hell.

The (in)actions of assistant Mike McQueary are perhaps the most perplexing of all. Maybe some of us are just cut from a different cloth, but if you walked in on an old man butt-fucking a fourth-grader in a college shower, would you break it up, maybe pound the old perv's face into the tile a few times for good measure, and call the cops, or would you slink away and call your dad for advice? Jesus Tapdancing Christ, McQueary (a 6'5" former college athlete who could easily have handled Sandusky) actually chose the latter option. He gets to live with that, but so does the poor kid Sandusky was abusing.

Sandusky's nauseating conduct is not remotely what's most interesting about this case; what should have been the captivating aspect is the absolute nature of power corrupting, of otherwise presumably decent people doing indecent things -- that is to say, nothing at all -- when confronted with vile deeds.

Stockholm syndrome ain't just for hostages, folks.

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