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1 SanFranciscoZionist  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 11:21:29am

I honestly don't know.

I didn't grow up in a college-football culture myself, and I have trouble understanding the dynamics of it.

I've watched my father's Catholic community suffer through sex abuse revelations, and all they wanted was FOR the hierarchy to take a strong line and fire people, and get the authorities involved.

I don't get this at all.

2 Charleston Chew  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 11:57:06am

College-age people are literally the most riotous demographic there is. I remember hearing about riots on American campuses going back to the 18th century. I think a big part of it is just biology.

And sports fans are the 2nd most riotous group. If their team loses the big game, they riot, but if their team wins the big game... well, they also riot.

Put these together and I don't think there's a need for probing questions. When I lived near OSU, streets full of flaming couches and dumpsters was a weekly feature of the local news.

3 sliv_the_eli  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 11:58:56am

re: #1 SanFranciscoZionist

I'm not sure what woudl be more troubling to me -- that the reaction of the rioters at PSU was a result of the school's football culture (or of college football culture, generally), or that it had nothing to do with the school's football culture and was entirely a result of a misplaced sense of right and wrong.

4 sliv_the_eli  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 12:15:06pm

re: #2 Charleston Chew

That is certainly something to chew on. However, I am not sure the explanation is that benign. After all, prisoners -- another group that is more likely to riot than the populaton at large -- have displayed over the years a particular view (and treatment) of pedophiles which suggests that a sociopathic predisposition to riot does not adequately explain this particular riotous behavior.

Still, even if that is all that is at play, I think it is still worth asking how it is that we have raised large numbers of young people who lack the ability to stop themselves from rioting in support of a person who enabled a pedophile.

5 _RememberTonyC  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 12:21:04pm

I have two kids in college. I was horrified by the reaction of the kids last night. I have worked in the sports media for 33 years and understand very well what Penn State football means to the community in which it is located. Many of the kids let their emotions get the best of them because their hero (Paterno) seemed so "God like." Well, after a few days many of those kids will probably see things differently. They are mostly immature 18-21 year olds. My beef is with Paterno, whom I have disliked for many years because I never believed him to be the man that so many thought he was. I can cite many examples from my observations of him in the past 30+ years to support that view. Penn State football is religion in the Keystone State, particularly in State College, PA. And Paterno was like the Pope. So the "morality bar" should be set much higher for a man like Paterno. Good riddance.

6 sliv_the_eli  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 12:37:47pm

re: #5 _RememberTonyC

I wonder, can it really be as simple as young PSU students reacting to a perceived attack on Joe "Pa", their father-figure? Perhaps. After all, family members "defend" their criminal parent/sibling/child against accusations of criminality all the time. One would think, however, that pedophelia was sufficiently stigmatized by now that Joe Pa's kids would, if not be disgusted by his inaction in this case, at least not rush out to so strongly and violently support him.

7 _RememberTonyC  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 12:54:07pm

re: #6 sliv_the_eli

I wonder, can it really be as simple as young PSU students reacting to a perceived attack on Joe "Pa", their father-figure? Perhaps. After all, family members "defend" their criminal parent/sibling/child against accusations of criminality all the time. One would think, however, that pedophelia was sufficiently stigmatized by now that Joe Pa's kids would, if not be disgusted by his inaction in this case, at least not rush out to so strongly and violently support him.

I would be really mad at my kids if they were in that crowd. I have a pretty deep understanding of how sports figures can be so revered. I have been part of the sports scene my entire life. I will agree with you that anyone who defends pedophilia or its enablers have a corrupt moral compass. But I also know what it is like to be an 18 year old sports fanatic whose enthusiasm exceeds their wisdom and judgment.

8 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 2:28:28pm

re: #7 _RememberTonyC

Is this departure really a drastic departure from our general football reverence in the US? Athletes receive special treatment from the moment they show potential. The more they realize that potential, the more authorities look the other way--in terms of grades and violation of the law. Part of this reaction could be that if Penn State is just as amoral as we know every other university and professional sports culture is, then what's left?

Still the initial point of the post is most valid--something is wrong in a culture in which the moral compass needle is drawn to a place where the magnetic pull is the weakest.

9 _RememberTonyC  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 2:38:29pm

re: #8 Bob Levin

Is this departure really a drastic departure from our general football reverence in the US? Athletes receive special treatment from the moment they show potential. The more they realize that potential, the more authorities look the other way--in terms of grades and violation of the law. Part of this reaction could be that if Penn State is just as amoral as we know every other university and professional sports culture is, then what's left?

Still the initial point of the post is most valid--something is wrong in a culture in which the moral compass needle is drawn to a place where the magnetic pull is the weakest.

Penn State has done a better job than many schools in the areas of graduation rates and the behavior of many young men who played there. It says something good about one level of Joe Paterno's judgment that he would mostly recruit good kids. But his handling of the Sandusky situation also reveals a major hole in his own personal character.

10 Alexzander  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 2:47:04pm

How I feel; while many are happy to throw the word nihilism around to describe atheist activists and anarchists, it in fact applies to our mainstream sports culture, devoid of any major moral convictions or interests. Hyper-bro-consumeristic-rape-culture.
The worst riots in recent memory are this and the Vancouver Stanley cup finals.

11 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 2:57:56pm

re: #9 _RememberTonyC

You know something the rest of us don't. Again, you are the expert here.

12 Mad Prophet Ludwig  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 3:26:03pm

Very well said.

13 sliv_the_eli  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 3:35:07pm

re: #9 _RememberTonyC

Penn State has done a better job than many schools in the areas of graduation rates and the behavior of many young men who played there. It says something good about one level of Joe Paterno's judgment that he would mostly recruit good kids. But his handling of the Sandusky situation also reveals a major hole in his own personal character.

All points well taken, and with which I agree.

The fact that thousands of Penn State students nevertheless saw fit to riot as a way of protesting his firing also says something about a major hole in a system of socialization which resuled in thousands of students being unable to distinguish who the real victim is. (Incidentally, I was tempted to make a direct parallel to your comment by stating that it says something about the personal character of each of the rioters, but doubtless some of them were merely caught up in the moment and reacted as members of a herd will react).

14 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 3:52:24pm

re: #13 sliv_the_eli

it says something about the personal character of each of the rioters, but doubtless some of them were merely caught up in the moment and reacted as members of a herd will react).

That's the strength of your point. Part of our personal character is how we react to the movements of the herd.

15 Atlas Fails  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 4:29:46pm

For what it's worth, I have friends who attend Penn State who are just as disgusted by this embarrassing display from their fellow students as we are. Some of them plan to participate in a "blue out" to honor the victims at the game this Saturday. The others are too sickened by the whole debacle to even go to the game.

16 Atlas Fails  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 4:34:38pm

re: #5 _RememberTonyC

I have two kids in college. I was horrified by the reaction of the kids last night. I have worked in the sports media for 33 years and understand very well what Penn State football means to the community in which it is located. Many of the kids let their emotions get the best of them because their hero (Paterno) seemed so "God like." Well, after a few days many of those kids will probably see things differently. They are mostly immature 18-21 year olds. My beef is with Paterno, whom I have disliked for many years because I never believed him to be the man that so many thought he was. I can cite many examples from my observations of him in the past 30+ years to support that view. Penn State football is religion in the Keystone State, particularly in State College, PA. And Paterno was like the Pope. So the "morality bar" should be set much higher for a man like Paterno. Good riddance.

My dad, a Pitt grad, always despised Paterno for (at least as he saw it) killing the once celebrated Pitt-PSU rivalry over Pitt's refusal to join Joe's Eastern Sports conference. As someone who probably knows more about that whole situation than I do, what do you think? Was my dad right, or just a biased alum of a rival school?

17 _RememberTonyC  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 5:05:31pm

re: #16 Atlas Fails

My dad, a Pitt grad, always despised Paterno for (at least as he saw it) killing the once celebrated Pitt-PSU rivalry over Pitt's refusal to join Joe's Eastern Sports conference. As someone who probably knows more about that whole situation than I do, what do you think? Was my dad right, or just a biased alum of a rival school?

Your Dad was 100% right. My original beef with Paterno was over a similar situation. I am a Syracuse grad and PSU/'Cuse was another great eastern football rivalry. Paterno scuttled the yearly series (which began in the 1920's) because Syr 's home stadium only seated 50,000. Paterno told Syr that if the rivalry was to continue, 6 out of every 10 Games had to be played in State College. Syracuse told him no and he said the schools would no longer play each year. So he showed himself to be just another money hungry coach, as opposed to the saintly sportsman we were led to believe he was. He has done this type of thing more than once.

18 _RememberTonyC  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 5:15:23pm

re: #15 Atlas Fails

For what it's worth, I have friends who attend Penn State who are just as disgusted by this embarrassing display from their fellow students as we are. Some of them plan to participate in a "blue out" to honor the victims at the game this Saturday. The others are too sickened by the whole debacle to even go to the game.

It was not thousands of students rioting. It was closer to 100. But they flocked to the cameras like moths and their numbers looked much bigger than they were. There were other students on campus who were orderly in their reaction. The riot scenes were not on the campus, they were on a public street. But there were mostly students in the mob.

19 CuriousLurker  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 7:25:25pm

re: #14 Bob Levin

That's the strength of your point. Part of our personal character is how we react to the movements of the herd.

This. You'd have to pardon an awful lot of people for an awful lot of nasty behavior if herd mentality can be used to excuse. I don't think being young adults excuses them either; 18-20 years old is plenty old enough to distinguish between right & wrong. If by that age you don't have your moral priorities in order on the relative importance of something like child rape versus football, then you're in serious trouble.

20 sliv_the_eli  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 8:40:52pm

re: #15 Atlas Fails

For what it's worth, I have friends who attend Penn State who are just as disgusted by this embarrassing display from their fellow students as we are. Some of them plan to participate in a "blue out" to honor the victims at the game this Saturday. The others are too sickened by the whole debacle to even go to the game.

Kudos to those who have not lost their moral compass and are willing to stand up for the real victims.

With that in mind, your comment reminded me of the following from the article to which I linked, in which Penn State's quarterback showed that he understands where our sympathies should be:

Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Matt McGloin tweeted the following late Thursday: "This is a tough time But the outrage we are feeling now is nothing compared to what the victims are going through.keep them in our prayers."

[Link: news.yahoo.com...]

21 jaunte  Thu, Nov 10, 2011 9:07:20pm

Simple one-page decision tree:
[Link: adultingblog.com...]

22 [deleted]  Fri, Nov 11, 2011 9:00:49am
23 lostlakehiker  Fri, Nov 11, 2011 10:20:19am

Going back to the start of it, here's a question. Why, when the first graduate assistant or whoever witnessed the ongoing rape of a child in the showers, did he not attempt a citizen's arrest? Then and there, man against man? True, Sandusky's a big guy, and the witness might have lost the fight. But it can happen in anyone's life that it comes time to stand and deliver.

24 sliv_the_eli  Fri, Nov 11, 2011 12:09:08pm

re: #23 lostlakehiker

Going back to the start of it, here's a question. Why, when the first graduate assistant or whoever witnessed the ongoing rape of a child in the showers, did he not attempt a citizen's arrest? Then and there, man against man? True, Sandusky's a big guy, and the witness might have lost the fight. But it can happen in anyone's life that it comes time to stand and deliver.

Interestingly, a couple of co-workers and I were discussing this very question over lunch today. Two of us, who have kids, reacted exactly the way you suggested, saying that if we were to ever witness something like that we would intervene immediately and physically. The instinct of our childless co-worker, on the other hand, was, at least initially, that passing the information up the chain of command was enough.

25 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Fri, Nov 11, 2011 12:18:06pm

re: #24 sliv_the_eli

I don't think you have to have kids of your own to know that walking away from that would be wrong and intervening would be right.

26 sliv_the_eli  Fri, Nov 11, 2011 1:15:56pm

re: #25 000G

I don't think you have to have kids of your own to know that walking away from that would be wrong and intervening would be right.

Frankly, I was rather surprised at my co-worker's initial reaction, as well.

27 Bob Levin  Fri, Nov 11, 2011 1:57:24pm

re: #23 lostlakehiker

Then and there, man against man? True, Sandusky's a big guy, and the witness might have lost the fight. Why, when the first graduate assistant or whoever witnessed the ongoing rape of a child in the showers, did he not attempt a citizen's arrest?

Because you would have to be willing to kill Sandusky. You're assuming that there is some line of demarcation in Sandusky that says 'child rape is okay, but killing is wrong'. And that line would hold up. If I witnessed such an event, I wouldn't make such an assumption. I don't believe there is such a line. If a man thinks so little of human life that child rape is a normal activity, then murder isn't that far off.

But, like a soldier, I would be ready to do whatever I could to make sure Sandusky could not get up off the ground, because as soon as I say stop, or if I report it to Paterno, who might very well whitewash it--Sandusky would certainly think he could get away with murder. I think the witness immediately understood the rules of this mafia. It's a frightening thing.

I just spoke with my daughter, who is now out of the house, sort of, and asked her if she remembered our talks on self defense when she would go out walking. It would get down to, 'have fun, be ready to kill someone.' You don't have to go to war for war to find you. That's the world in which we live.

28 CuriousLurker  Fri, Nov 11, 2011 5:37:15pm

re: #25 000G

I don't think you have to have kids of your own to know that walking away from that would be wrong and intervening would be right.

I'm not convinced I'd even be capable of walking away. I rarely go into a full-blown rage when I get angry because I usually try to walk away before things escalate. However, when something catches me off guard and does flip that switch, a red haze clouds my vision, I hear a roaring noise in my ears, and all rational thought immediately evaporates in a cloud of white hot fury. I'm fairly certain seeing a child being raped would flip the switch.


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