Thursday, November 10, 2011

About Penn State

Some thoughts about the scandal at Penn State:

A man rapes a ten year old boy in a shower room.  Another man observes but walks away.
Both men had choices.  The choices they made were evil.  The choices that each man made did not concern the boy.  The rapist satisfied his need.  The coward was torn about his duty as a member of an organization that included the rapist.
One wonders: if the rapist had been a stranger, someone not associated with the university, would the observer have walked away?  We'll never know.
The most important thing to remember here is the Child.   Children have no power.  Their worth is minimal in situations like this.   I have posted about abuse of children before, here and here  That kind of crime is as old as the human race and will be with us forever or until we stupidly agree to be genetically and eugenically modified for 'the greater good.'
Homo homini lupus est, said a Roman, millenia ago.  "Man is a wolf to man."  Power is the source, and the motive.
One wonders, too, how these men, the coach, the assistant coaches, the university administration,  went about their daily business knowing what they knew.  What did they say to each other?  What feelings did they suppress?  What face, what mask did they wear?
People wonder about the institutional and personal failure to react as required by what we define as normal human behavior as well as the requirements of our laws.  How did this happen?  Why didn't the hammer of justice come down hard at the discovery of the first instance of abuse?
This is the way of the world.  Institutions protect their own.   It is the way of the world.
Now there will be lectures on the need to have or improve ethics training.  Such talk is busy work for frightened minds.  Most people know the difference between right and wrong. 

It might be more useful to consider this:
The last 60 years have seen  steroidal growth, an over-development of all institutions that are supposed to enrich, regulate and direct this society toward high aims and useful outcomes.  The field of athletics, of sports, of games, of adult play has grown into a multi-million dollar industry and  into a monstrous domain of money, zealous adulation, mis-placed power, and corruption of the soul.
Restore football to its original purpose as a college sport.  Restore the coach to his original position of teacher of rules, of training, of goals, of sportsmanship.  Restore football to the game.  It is not a religion.  College football is not for making money.

Consider this from an interview with Guy Davenport:
"The high schools are evidently teaching nothing.  I was getting students who had read nothing, knew nothing, and thought the university existed for the sake of the Kentucky Wildcats.  It's shortsighted of Disney not to have built an amusement park:  College World, with fraternities, sororities, sports, endless partying, but no classes or libraries or labs.  It would not be appreciably different."

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