No Grownups At Penn State

Gary McCoy

Leave it to the amazing Mark Steyn to reveal the cultural disease that produced the Penn State evil:

…it would be unreasonable to expect the college football elite to show facility with an entirely separate [from football] discipline such as pedophilia reporting procedures, and, besides, many of those officials who were aware of Jerry Sandusky’s child sex activities did mention it to other officials who promised to look into mentioning it to someone else.

From the grand jury indictment:

“On March 1, 2002, a Penn State graduate assistant (‘graduate assistant’) who was then 28 years old, entered the locker room at the Lasch Football Building on the University Park Campus on a Friday night. … He saw a naked boy, Victim 2, whose age he estimated to be 10 years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky. The graduate assistant was shocked but noticed that both Victim 2 and Sandusky saw him. The graduate assistant left immediately, distraught.

“The graduate assistant went to his office and called his father, reporting to him what he had seen. His father told the graduate assistant to leave the building and come to his home. The graduate assistant and his father decided that the graduate assistant had to promptly report what he had seen to Coach Joe Paterno (‘Paterno’), head football coach of Penn State. The next morning, a Saturday, the graduate assistant telephoned Paterno…”

Hold it right there. “The next morning”?

Here surely is an almost too perfect snapshot of a culture that simultaneously destroys childhood and infantilizes adulthood. The “child” in this vignette ought to be the 10-year-old boy, “hands up against the wall,” but, instead, the “man” appropriates the child role for himself: Why, the graduate assistant is so “distraught” that he has to leave and telephone his father. He is pushing 30, an age when previous generations would have had little boys of their own. But today, confronted by a grade-schooler being sodomized before his eyes, the poor distraught child-man approaching early middle-age seeks out some fatherly advice, like one of Fred MacMurray’s “My Three Sons” might have done had he seen the boy next door swiping a can of soda pop from the lunch counter.

The graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, is now pushing 40, and is sufficiently grown-up to realize that the portrait of him that emerges from the indictment is not to his credit and to attempt, privately, to modify it. “No one can imagine my thoughts or wants to be in my shoes for those 30-45 seconds,” he emailed a friend a few days ago. “Trust me.”…

I am not claiming any moral superiority here, but I have never understood the attraction of professional sports and its talent supplier, “big time” college sports programs.

While it might be fun to cheer on your kids, friends or neighbors at a game, I don’t get the obsession with grossly overpaid athletes performing in corporate spectacles. Sure, you can appreciate the skill of the athletes, but the kind of fanaticism that compels seemingly normal people to drape themselves head to toe in sports team trademarks? And the supposedly adult fanatics actually pay for these overpriced hats, shirts, and jackets when common sense would indicate that the teams should be paying the fans who go out in public advertizing their corporate logos.

Perhaps Penn State, Occupy Wall Street and the election of Barack Obama are symptoms of our culture’s growing infantilization.

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