Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Penn Skate

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.


John Foley said...

People make a lot of grand statements at times like this. It's easy to say what you would have done; and you might even think you mean it. Until you're actually in the moment, it's difficult to really say for sure.
But I can say without hesitation, without any hemming and hawing, without any shred of doubt, if I'd seen a grown man raping a little boy in the showers I'd have put a stop to it. Then and there, no questions asked. Career considerations, the good of the Program, the school's reputation, none of that would have mattered. A child's innocence and life were being destroyed, in real time, and McQueary just let it happen.
There is NO excuse. None.

becky said...

shouldn't everyone's natural and immediate reflex be to protect a child, no matter what? humanity. shit.

Anonymous said...

The K-Street mentality -- there are only the few who are exempted from laws...and *we* are those. Everyone who is considered Conservative.

The thing is about this "infallibility" of the authority figures is that they -- the conservatives -- are positioning themselves to be these "untouchable" people, and thus aren't subjected to the rules we have to follow.

Bringing up old news, look at Glenn Beck at the joke of a rally a while back -- he said he actually *touched* George Washington's Inaugural Address and, with the fetishized obsession with everything "Founding Fathers" when Obama was elected into office, that somehow elevated him into a higher plane of existence.

Anyone with two brain cells to rub together would know it's bullshit. But they run with it because it places them in this sanctified-by-association supremacy in which we -- the lowly people in their eyes -- are not worthy of criticizing them. If we do, they turn into titty babies and cry victim.

This shit has got to be confronted. This frail image they've made of themselves need to be torn down.

-- Tony

Ducky said...

Me? Without sin? Well, I'm an atheist, so I don't have sins, I have regrets. That being said...

:picks up a large rock:
I've done some wicked shit in my day, but I can't say I've ever thought about raping kids, so who's up first?

namron said...

Chez, your Catholic school training shows when you react to Brooks' columns. At heart, you are an objective moralist and Brooks' situational rationalism disturbs you. I had the full Monty of Catholic schools--K through 12--and also find him and his ilk disturbing.

Chris said...

I'm with Ducky on this one...

Bottom line on McQueary: he saw a ten year-old boy getting raped by an old man and did nothing to stop it. He may have contacted people to prevent those actions in the future (good for him), but did nothing to physically stop this from happening.

Just throwing this out there: would the reactions by all of these defenders be the same if it was a ten year-old girl? Just curious...

Anonymous said...

As one who has, not once but twice, been so tested in this life allow me to say this: Bobo can go fuck himself.
I had a neighbor who was beating his son. I intervened immediately. They moved inside, the beating continued, I called the police and got to watch as the squad cars and vans descended on the house. For the rest of the day a van emblazed “Anne Arundel County Family Crises Intervention Team” was parked in their driveway. Within a matter of months the couple was divorced, mom got custody and dad was marked as a wife/child beater.
Within months of that the woman I was dating moved into an apartment complex. The family downstairs had an abusive father who so badly beating the 8 or 9 year old son that the boy would stand in the parking lot howling like a dog for hours on end. A real messed up kid. I heard a beating taking place, knocked on the door, announced I was reporting the beating and then did so. And after the police left dad spent ten minutes in the hallway screaming obscenities and threatening to kill me.
Dad 1 was a pudgy little dough boy. Dad 2 was a big, tough, mean mofo. Of course a gun in the hands of dad 1 renders dough boy status moot.
The point of all this is simple; I don’t deserve any credit, any pats on the back, any attaboys. I did the bare minimum any adult should do in such situations. I am a big enough male that I was able to confront both men – even though there’s no question number 2 would have handily prevailed in a fight I am big enough to have given him cause for concern. So a smaller person could have skipped the confrontation step yet still called the police. How you could do anything less is beyond me.
And I as I have met Bobo’s standard twice in my life I can unequivocally say the officials at Penn State were in the wrong and deserve censure and punishment. And Bobo is an ass. Simple as that.