Tuesday, November 15, 2011
If you spend any time at all reading David Brooks -- and I can't in good conscience suggest that you do -- you know that the question is never, will he drop to his knees and subserviently suck off the wealthy and powerful in any given situation but whether he'll take the full porn star-style money shot to the face when it's all over. Nobody shills for the power structure like Brooks; not even his counterpart at the Times in imparting the enlightened view from the Upper East Side, Tom Friedman, even comes close. If he were a decent writer rather than a flatulent hack it could easily be argued that he takes shamelessness to an art form.
With all of that in mind, guess which side of the fence Brooks comes down on in the whole Penn State child rape and cover-up? In a piece in yesterday's Times with the breathtakingly ironic title "Let's All Feel Superior," Brooks cautions the little people against the "vanity" of voicing indignation in the direction of those who were aware of the horrors occurring right under their noses yet did nothing substantial to immediately put a stop to them -- the Penn State athletic and institutional Illuminati which includes Mike McQueary, Joe Paterno, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley. Employing a sense of moral relativism honed to a knife's edge by years of making excuses for Wall Street, Brooks over-intellectualizes the decision to, you know, do the right thing by bringing up motivated blindness, normalcy bias, the Rwandan genocide, Kitty Genovese and by generally raising his nose toward the heavens and beseeching only he who is without sin to cast the first stone.
It practically goes without saying that Brooks will give the automatic benefit of the doubt to those who've attained positions of authority and therefore know better and are made of higher-quality stuff than the average unwashed, but to indirectly condone the systemic concealment of child rape -- and the protection, inadvertently or not, of the rapist -- is new territory even for him. In the ethical purgatory Brooks and his anointed ilk inhabit, there are always acceptable rationalizations for why the powerful do what they do, regardless of which realm those powerful happen to move in or what it is they happen to be doing. His masturbating aloud by sternly scolding those who dare to look with disdain at a guy who didn't immediately put his fist in the face of a child rapist or at least go directly to the police is just more of Brooks being Brooks.
As usual, it's a lot of pseudo-cerebral horseshit that's meaningless to anyone who exists in the real world.
The fact is that whether any of us can conclusively say exactly what he or she would've done if confronted with the evil McQueary, Paterno, et al were aware of hardly matters. If you have a brain, a heart and a soul you would've done something more. Something right. And even if you wouldn't have, it in no way exculpates the actions of those who we already know didn't do all they should have. If you dropped the ball and didn't do the moral and human thing when put in that situation -- whether it be because you were blinded or scared, or because you wanted to cover your ass and the ass of your football program and school -- it would make you exactly the same as the people at Penn State who covered for Jerry Sandusky as he raped kids: wrong.