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Jan 23 2012

How many football games do you have to win to make up for one broken child?

Joe Paterno is dead. He won a bunch of games, and that’s the best thing he’ll be remembered for, which is awfully trivial, if you think about it. The worst thing he’ll be known for? He closed his eyes and kept silent when children were raped.

I’m imagining a scale. In the right pan are heaped all the great accomplishments of Joe Paterno — and it’s all inconsequential fluff, balls thrown across lines on the ground, numbers on scoreboards long since forgotten. In the left pan…well, we start by throwing on one child’s tears, and the balance tips with a leaden thud, the beam crashes to the ground, the whole assembly splinters and falls apart.

We’re done. The man’s life has been weighed and found wanting.

373 comments

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  1. 1
    Glen Davidson

    Died in disgrace.

    Not a bad ending, even if the rest sucked.

    Glen Davidson

  2. 2
    frog

    In fairness, he apparently also worked to make sure his athletes also got something resembling educations.

    Doesn’t make up for the colossal failure re: not reporting a child-rapist.

    I’m sickened watching all the canonization of “Joe Pa” on the news.

    The best I can take from this is that his comments on the case seem to indicate that at the last, he realized he’d suffered a terrible moral failure in mentally oublietting the reports on Sandusky.

  3. 3
    'Tis Himself

    Paterno was more concerned with the prestige of a football team than in the welfare of children.

    A minor league football team at that.

  4. 4
    Ingdigo Jump

    In fairness, he apparently also worked to make sure his athletes also got something resembling educations.

    The fact that that’s somehow supposed to be exceptional for coaches is pathetic.

  5. 5
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    PZ:
    -I’m with you. I don’t follow any kind of pro or college sports, so I don’t have the love of teams or coaches that so many have. I look at them as humans who had a job. Sure Paterno led Penn State to many wins, but ultimately all he did was help them win football games. I’m sorry if that doesn’t fill me with awe. Don’t get me wrong. It takes talent to consistently keep your college football team on top, but that’s all it is. Paterno was no saint (no one is). He was a human being. A human being involved in the coverup of Jerry Sandusky’s multiple counts of child rape. I’m sorry, but covering up for a child rapist is of far greater import-and displays what kind of human he was-than how many games he helped win.
    Watching people crying and placing flowers at a statue was very frustrating for me. It’s just football for crying out loud. They act like the guy was the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr for Lokissake.

  6. 6
    Sili

    Pity. It would have been nice to see him dragged through a court of law for criminal negligence.

    SMBC has it right today. Death is too good for some people – public, sustained humiliation is a better punishment.

  7. 7
    lordofsporks

    I’m not an american, what did this guy do that’s so bad?

  8. 8
    Anthony K

    what did this guy do that’s so bad?

    Do? What didn’t he do?

    Literally.

  9. 9
    cicely

    Aha; now that I see that there’s a thread for it…

    Fuck Joe Paterno.
    -

  10. 10
    venturefree

    At least the scandal happened before he died. Otherwise we’d now be inundated with cries of “How dare you try and sully a good man’s name when he’s not here to defend himself. How DARE you?”

  11. 11
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    I’m with cicely: Fuck Joe Paterno.

  12. 12
    vltava

    from The Onion – “Joe Paterno dies in hospital; doctors promise to tell their superiors first thing tomorrow”

  13. 13
    Curt Cameron

    I liked your Bible reference at the end.

  14. 14
    ibyea

    Fuck Paterno

  15. 15
    Hekuni Cat, MQG

    Fuck Joe Paterno.

  16. 16
    Skatje Myers

    I’m just going to mention that I’m really sick of hearing otherwise sensible people refer to victims of rape or abuse as “broken” (or even worse: “damaged”). Everyone seems to acknowledge that reinforcing the sadly common view amongst victims that they’re “less” of people post-rape is really, really Bad™, until it’s time to criticise the the rapist, then BAM, anything pushing for how messed up the victim is is a-okay.

    Jus’ sayin’. I’ve been seeing this too much lately (not referring to just here), usually in regards to victims of the Catholics. We can emphasise the gravity and harmfulness of the event without demeaning the victims.

  17. 17
    frankb

    Todd Blackledge, former Penn State quarterback currently with ESPN said

    Paterno died of a broken heart. I think that a lot of people that had a part to play in that, whether it be the board of trustees and the way they handled his situation or even the media and the way they covered everything over the last several months

    “The way they handled”, “the way they covered”? Todd is putting a hint in there that I don’t like the sound of. With the RCC setting the example, the Penn State Trustees need to be applauded for their firm responce.

    We don’t want aged priests and bishops suffering from broken hearts now do we?

  18. 18
    Becca Stareyes

    Lordofsporks @ 7

    Basically one of Coach Paterno’s assistants — who ran a program for at-risk kids in addition to working with college athletes — was caught raping one of these kids in the Penn State locker room. (IIRC evidence also pointed to other victims.)

    Paterno may not have done everything to hinder the investigation, but he was definitely on the side of ‘trying to avoid a scandal by being difficult, which, in the end, meant a bigger scandal AND letting more victims get hurt’.

    My condolences to his friends and family. But a man died; we shouldn’t try to turn him into a saint now that he’s dead.

  19. 19
    Ingdigo Jump

    Jus’ sayin’. I’ve been seeing this too much lately (not referring to just here), usually in regards to victims of the Catholics. We can emphasise the gravity and harmfulness of the event without demeaning the victims.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/22/1057341/-F**k-Joe-Paterno-%28Updated%29?via=blog_799387

    Please consider how it looks that this is your first comment on the topic.

  20. 20
    carlie

    Otherwise we’d now be inundated with cries of “How dare you try and sully a good man’s name when he’s not here to defend himself. How DARE you

    I’m afraid of the opposite now – that he will be the total scapegoat in any criminal/civil investigation, since he can’t defend himself. All of the other superiors/subordinates who should have done more will try and lay all their blame at his feet too. (“Well, we would have done more, but Joe didn’t seem that concerned when he told us…”)

  21. 21
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    I can’t think of a more fitting obituary than to quote from Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”:

    “Do you believe? Do you accept the festival, the city, the joy? No? Then let me describe one more thing…”

  22. 22
    PZ Myers

    Well, Skatje, if you read the linked entry from a child abuse victim, she is coming right out and saying that her life and the life of her friend was damaged by the rapes. While some people can power through the pain and get their life together afterwards, rape does do harm, and sometimes lasting, lifelong harm.

  23. 23
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    My condolences to his friends and family. But a man died; we shouldn’t try to turn him into a saint now that he’s dead.

    Troglodytes were busy making this waste of meat a saint long before he died.

  24. 24
    satanaugustine

    I’m sickened watching all the canonization of “Joe Pa” on the news.

    They’re going to be shooting his rotting corpse out of a cannon? Cool! Will it be on youtube?

  25. 25
    Dhorvath, OM

    Not a whit of concern here. We all die. A whole lot of contempt, not everyone fails at Paterno’s level. For a game. A GAME!

  26. 26
    satanaugustine

    Oops, blockquote fail. That first sentence is a quote from frog at #2.

  27. 27
    Ingdigo Jump

    I’m just going to mention that I’m really sick of hearing otherwise sensible people refer to victims of rape or abuse as “broken” (or even worse: “damaged”). Everyone seems to acknowledge that reinforcing the sadly common view amongst victims that they’re “less” of people post-rape is really, really Bad™, until it’s time to criticise the the rapist, then BAM, anything pushing for how messed up the victim is is a-okay.

    Pointing out that people are harmed by actions does not dehumanize them. Please do not speak on behalf of others like this.

    There is no inconsistency with observing that people are harmed by rape and pointing out that that doesn’t make them any less human.

  28. 28
    Brian Murtagh

    I’m also seeing a lot of complaints that he was the scapegoat, that he did the right thing and passed it on, that it’s other people (Sandusky, McQuery, the Dean) who should be having calumny hurled upon them, that we should just leave “JoePa” alone (anyone using that ridiculous nickname at this point is almost certainly one of the apologists, obviously).

    It’s bullshit. There was child abuse – rape – going on, within his professional purview even, he knew it and made no real effort to stop it, for years. It was not only right to punish him by firing him, it was wholly inadequate; he should have been prosecuted as an accessory after the fact. Given time, he might well have been.

    The sincerity of his fans’ tapdancing can be made plain with one question: had he been a *losing* coach, or a janitor, or an academic professor (English, History, what have you), would those same people be defending him and his legacy now? I feel pretty safe in thinking the answer would be a resounding NO.

  29. 29
    billgascoyne

    A little devil’s advocate never hurt anyone, so:

    Is there too much emphasis placed on college sports? Absolutely! OTOH, do college athletes learn positive life lessons from their participation (granting that there may be less expensive ways of doing this)? Quite likely. Can all of this be dismissed as “winning a lot of games”? Not so sure. If we can set Joe P. aside for a moment, I wonder how little harm any football coach would have to do in a career for PZ’s balance to tip the other way?

    Just pointing out, PZ, that you’re very quick to condemn others for oversimplifying and pontificating about things outside their areas of expertise…

  30. 30
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Paterno died of a broken heart. I think that a lot of people that had a part to play in that, whether it be the board of trustees and the way they handled his situation or even the media and the way they covered everything over the last several months.

    So, the knowing that his right hand man was a child rapist was not enough to cause death by broken heart. It was the fact that news organizations that do not prize football victories above all pointed out that he covered for his friend, the child rapist.

    And fuck the governor of Pennsylvania for flying the flags at half mast. Paterno does not deserve an iota of honor. His actions were not that of an honorable person.

  31. 31
    Glen Davidson

    I’m just going to mention that I’m really sick of hearing otherwise sensible people refer to victims of rape or abuse as “broken” (or even worse: “damaged”).

    It’s why molestation victims receive “damage awards.”

    It is not right or proper to tell victims that they do not suffer.

    Glen Davidson

  32. 32
    Ingdigo Jump

    A little devil’s advocate never hurt anyone, so:

    Just for the sake of arguement, say you led him on…

    Just for the sake of argument, niggers really are dumber than whites right?

    Just for the sake of argument, how do we know there was a holocaust?

    Is there too much emphasis placed on college sports? Absolutely! OTOH, do college athletes learn positive life lessons from their participation (granting that there may be less expensive ways of doing this)? Quite likely. Can all of this be dismissed as “winning a lot of games”? Not so sure. If we can set Joe P. aside for a moment, I wonder how little harm any football coach would have to do in a career for PZ’s balance to tip the other way?

    Just pointing out, PZ, that you’re very quick to condemn others for oversimplifying and pontificating about things outside their areas of expertise…

    What the fuck did you even say?

  33. 33
    carlie

    Skatje does have a point: there are certain labels and ways of talking about victims that are types of shaming and feeding into the religious idea that people (particularly women) are incurably damaged and made lesser beings by being “defiled”. It’s a fine line, and I think the place it’s drawn is when talking about people as being horribly affected and victimized as opposed to declaring that they are now permanently damaged. It’s up to each victim individually to describe their own experience and how it’s affected them, and the danger is in making sweeping group statements on how they all are forever after.

  34. 34
    carlie

    The sincerity of his fans’ tapdancing can be made plain with one question: had he been a *losing* coach, or a janitor, or an academic professor (English, History, what have you), would those same people be defending him and his legacy now? I feel pretty safe in thinking the answer would be a resounding NO.

    This should be reprinted on every single discussion on him, ever.

    And fuck the governor of Pennsylvania for flying the flags at half mast.

    He did what the fuck now??? That makes me want to vomit.

  35. 35
    Cipher

    I’m just going to mention that I’m really sick of hearing otherwise sensible people refer to victims of rape or abuse as “broken” (or even worse: “damaged”).

    I get what you’re saying and I agree that we must be careful about labeling victims with things that reinforce the notion that they are no longer whole people (we’re on especially scary ground with “broken” and “damaged” because they are inanimate-object words). But I’m conflicted in general because I feel like a lot of victims label themselves that way too, not as a way of demeaning themseleves, but as a way of explaining what was done to them. My position in this is that I consider myself to have been “broken” by an abuser, and I know that I am in no way demeaning myself with the label, but merely describing what happened and how it changed me, what I’m recovering from. So maybe it’s like reclaimed slurs, where it’s okay for people to use it to describe themselves but possibly not okay for others? I’m not sure.

  36. 36
    carlie

    So maybe it’s like reclaimed slurs, where it’s okay for people to use it to describe themselves but possibly not okay for others? I’m not sure.

    I think that’s what I was trying to get at but didn’t quite manage.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    Ingdigo Jump

    So are we not allowed to observe that rape hurts people now?

  39. 39
    Cipher

    P.S. Thanks, PZ, for giving us a thread to get this out in the open: FUCK Joe Paterno. Fuck anyone who defends him. And fuck the mindset that allows them to defend him.

  40. 40
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    And do not look at the photo in the news story.

    YAY! CHILD RAPE!

  41. 41
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Cheeses! What’s with the Jehovah impersonation! Is your beard in need of trimming, or going white?

    On the one hand, what Paterno did/failed to do was criminal, stupid, and allowed people – children – to be harmed and scarred. That is pretty much the limit implied by an exaggeration like “unforgivable”.

    But he is dead.

    And there ain’t no heaven or hell.

    And it ain’t his football record that people are going to remember, save as the shiny objet that draws their attention to his failings.

    He was a weak human being, unable to muster the courage to do what was obviously right, and who allowed his horrible, horrible mistakes to become calcified beyond the imagination of some ordinary Joe like myself (though my name isn’t “Joe”).

    These kind of people are anything but unusual. Indeed, they seem to make up 23% of Americans – and likely 23% of humanity.

    He’s dead. Of cancer, no less. And he will soon be remembered ONLY for his disgrace.

    Isn’t that enough, in this case?

    My policy is to forgive everybody of every crime upon their death. Pissing on Gingrich’s grave (a tempting idea while he is alive, I must admit), or Darwin’s or Stalin’s for that matter, is a rude – and pointless – insult, mostly to one’s own pretention to be a reasonable human being.

    Joe Paterno
    Weak Human Being
    Dead

    What more punishment would any reasonable person ask?

    — BC

  42. 42
    Ingdigo Jump

    Isn’t that enough, in this case?

    No

    My policy is to forgive everybody of every crime upon their death. Pissing on Gingrich’s grave (a tempting idea while he is alive, I must admit), or Darwin’s or Stalin’s for that matter, is a rude – and pointless – insult, mostly to one’s own pretention to be a reasonable human being.

    Yes we should all sit back and let him be lionized because pointing out how horrible he was with this is just an empty blah blah blah.

    What more punishment would any reasonable person ask?

    How about not making excuses for fuck ups. It’s child rape. How the fuck are so many people apparently confused about this?

  43. 43
    Part-Time Insomniac

    Fuck Paterno AND his fanclub idiots twenty times over. With spiked clubs dipped in cobra poison.

  44. 44
    Ingdigo Jump

    These kind of people are anything but unusual. Indeed, they seem to make up 23% of Americans – and likely 23% of humanity.

    Yes and making excuses for them is entirely going to help get those numbers down.

    Guess we know what % you’re in.

  45. 45
    Cipher

    My policy is to forgive everybody of every crime upon their death.

    Did the harm he did by not reporting child rape stop when he died?
    No?
    Then fuck you.

  46. 46
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Being dead does not make him any less despicable. Fucking save your scorn for all of the fools who are busy defending that waste of meat and have been going off about how he was wronged.

    Fuck you, genie.

  47. 47
    Ingdigo Jump

    Why on earth would we keep all the praise someone did after they die but not the evil they did?

    By this idiot’s account shouldn’t we be praising Hitler as an OK painter?

  48. 48
    Gregory Greenwood

    billgascoyne @ 29;

    Is there too much emphasis placed on college sports? Absolutely! OTOH, do college athletes learn positive life lessons from their participation (granting that there may be less expensive ways of doing this)? Quite likely. Can all of this be dismissed as “winning a lot of games”? Not so sure. If we can set Joe P. aside for a moment, I wonder how little harm any football coach would have to do in a career for PZ’s balance to tip the other way?

    You do know that this man covered up child rape, right? That his actions directly facilitated further child rape? Set against such a thing, any sporting achievement is utterly insignificant. Even if he had gone on to both cure all forms of cancer and discover cold fusion, this would still not redress the balance – acting as a somewhat successful coach of some sports team doesn’t even register on the scale.

    Frankly, I am amazed that when reading this post and (I assume) having read the article it links to, the first thing that enters your mind – the first topic you comment on – is PZ’s supposed unfairness to the profession of sports coach. Don’t you think that you might need to re-evaluate your priorities in relation to this?

    Just pointing out, PZ, that you’re very quick to condemn others for oversimplifying and pontificating about things outside their areas of expertise…

    What ‘area of expertise’ is required to understand that child rape is a horrific crime, and that covering it up is utterly indefensible? What ‘area of expertise’ is required to recognise that being a proficient sports coach does nothing to mitigate the harm caused by child rape, and nothing to excuse the monstrous moral failure of covering up that rape? I had thought that these points would be self evident to any ethically functional human being.

    A little devil’s advocate never hurt anyone, so:

    Are you sure you want to carp about this kind of stuff on a thread about the horror of child rape?

  49. 49
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Gregory Greenwood, just one little detail; Paterno did not just cover up child rape. He knowingly allowed many acts of rape to happen by not saying a word about his friend. He was the most powerful person at Penn State, he could have stopped Sandusky if he wanted to.

  50. 50
    DLC

    Yes, it’s a sad thing to see such a coach blow his reputation into shreds at the last hours of his career. But it was his hand on the match that lit the fuse that caused his downfall. If ever a man was hoist on his own petard, Joe Paterno was.

    (I prefer Shakespearean reference to biblical. )

  51. 51
    Gregory Greenwood

    imthegenieicandoanything @ 41;

    These kind of people are anything but unusual. Indeed, they seem to make up 23% of Americans – and likely 23% of humanity.

    And the ubiquity of such behaviour makes it acceptable… how exactly?

    He’s dead. Of cancer, no less. And he will soon be remembered ONLY for his disgrace.

    Isn’t that enough, in this case?

    In a word, no. He covered up child rape – as pointed out upthread, the harm he did to thse children does not simply magically stop with his death.

    What more punishment would any reasonable person ask?

    Also pointed out upthread is the nauseating spectacle of people already trying to whitewash his actions and lionise him post-mortem. People are actually trying to hold up Paterno as some kind of example, even a role model. That cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

    My policy is to forgive everybody of every crime upon their death.

    How nice for you. Has it occurred to you that the actual victims might not find it so easy to forgive and forget, or don’t they count?

    Pissing on Gingrich’s grave (a tempting idea while he is alive, I must admit), or Darwin’s or Stalin’s for that matter, is a rude – and pointless – insult, mostly to one’s own pretention to be a reasonable human being.

    And there is simply nothing in the whole wide world that is worse than being rude and insulting. Not even covering up child rape, apparently…

  52. 52
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Yes, it’s a sad thing to see such a coach blow his reputation into shreds at the last hours of his career.

    No where near as sad as what he knowingly allowed to happen.

  53. 53
    Gregory Greenwood

    janine @ 49;

    Gregory Greenwood, just one little detail; Paterno did not just cover up child rape. He knowingly allowed many acts of rape to happen by not saying a word about his friend. He was the most powerful person at Penn State, he could have stopped Sandusky if he wanted to.

    Thanks for the correction. Without even intending to, I managed to sell the sheer depth of the immorality of Paterno’s actions short. He was a truly detestable man, and I refuse to ignore that fact simply because he happens to be dead.

  54. 54
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    How nice for you. Has it occurred to you that the actual victims might not find it so easy to forgive and forget, or don’t they count?

    I am sure that the asshole who terrorized my family thirty tears ago is dead. It does not lesson my hatred of him and I will not forgive him for his sadism.

  55. 55
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    My policy is to forgive everybody of every crime upon their death.

    Oh how brave of you.

  56. 56
    carlie

    So are we not allowed to observe that rape hurts people now?

    Ing – I was trying to say that we shouldn’t unilaterally declare that all rape victims are irreparably, permanently damaged half-people. There’s language that acknowledges the effects, and then there’s language that dehumanizes the victims and classifies them as less-than-other people, and I was trying to caution against the latter.

  57. 57
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Let’s make clear, since I already smell the chum of self-righteousness and purity here, that I am ignoring no facts, nor downplaying Paterno’s crimes, nor in the least sympathetic to those who defend his “accomplishments”.

    But the man is dead. Nobody can punish him. In any way.

    I, for one, don’t forgive others for their sakes, but for my own peace of mind. I can get as angry as anyone at the stupidity and cowardice that often seem to be the most notable trait of human beings, but am trying to stop indulging what is a generally useless, even vain, potentially dangerous habit.

    I’ll be impressed if a significant portion of our hordes here understand that – even if they disagree with it.

    I’m prepared to be disappointed, though. Twain’s maxim about human beings is as true here as anywhere, after all.

    Surprise me!

  58. 58
    carlie

    My policy is to forgive everybody of every crime upon their death.

    Why?

    Pissing on Gingrich’s grave (a tempting idea while he is alive, I must admit), or Darwin’s or Stalin’s for that matter, is a rude – and pointless – insult, mostly to one’s own pretention to be a reasonable human being.

    No, they can serve as examples to other people to not do that kind of shit.

  59. 59
    jupiter

    Apparently ignorance is fully acceptable when there is overpowering righteous indignation.

    I suggest most, if not all of you, do some investigation about the man and what happened or STFU. If you feel you must continue to display your ignorance than please eat a nice helping of fecal matter at the same time.

    Your as bad as religious people who make things up about atheists to make themselves, and their righteousness, feel better.

  60. 60
    Cipher

    I’ll be impressed if a significant portion of our hordes here understand that – even if they disagree with it.

    Yeah, yeah, you stupid sanctimonius fucker. So misunderstood. Poor fucking soul. Get the fuck out of here with your shitty accusations and self-righteousness, all right?

  61. 61
    chigau (違う)

    billgascoyne

    OTOH, do college athletes learn positive life lessons from their participation (granting that there may be less expensive ways of doing this)? Quite likely.
    [my emphasis]

    examples and citations needed
    Or would these be lessons similar to those learned from belonging to a church?

  62. 62
    Matt125

    I’m disgusted by how his death was met with so many tributes from public figures. They should have kept quiet, considering his involvement in the Penn State Sex Abuse scandal.

  63. 63
    carlie

    Hey jupiter!

    Fuck you.

  64. 64
    Cipher

    Jupiter, if you think you have shit to say that we haven’t heard yet, feel free to bring it to the thread. Don’t just dance around telling us there are IMPORTANT FACTS that we DON’T KNOW, because that’s fucking useless. Christ.

  65. 65
    danishdynamite

    Who the hell is Joe Paterno?

  66. 66
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Well, my second post didn’t even get logged in before the righteous demanded purity.

    [sigh]

    And you really think you’re reasoning.

    My response to my safely-imbedded hecklers is that of Principal Poop on leaving the rally.

    I do not enjoy feeding frenzies, nor ideological cluster fucks, even as a spectator.

    “Oh, the humanity!”

  67. 67
    Skatje Myers

    I’m not denying that it can and often does do lasting damage.

    Pointing out that people are harmed by actions does not dehumanize them.

    Calling some nonspecific boy “broken” does not just point out that rape harms people — it also describes that person based solely on the only attribute we know about them, which is that they were raped.

    I don’t have a problem with saying that Sandusky and Joe Paterno hurt people — this is absolutely true. I just have a problem with making broad statements that speak so negatively of victims themselves.

    I wouldn’t really care if this was about a specific someone who describes themselves accordingly, but broadbrushing sexually abused children as “broken” just seems shitty. Sexual crime victims get enough reinforcement of being broken, damaged, defiled, dirtied, etc., from assholes and our culture without supposed allies adding to it.

    I think #33 and #35 expressed what’s in my head better than me, but yeah.

  68. 68
    'Tis Himself

    If Paterno had turned his buddy Sandusky over to the police then people would be honoring Paterno for taking a moral stand that might have tarnished the reputation of the Penn State team. However since he was too cowardly to be moral, then both the team’s and his reputations are sullied.

    The lesson from Watergate that everyone seems to forget is that the coverup is often worse than the actual crime.

  69. 69
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Why bother with superstitious avoidance of biblical references? Anyway, the scales imagery is older than that. Possibly nicked from the Egyptians, weighing the heart of the dead before Ma’at – see piccie at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunefer

    Oh yeah, FUCK Joe Paterno.

  70. 70
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I suggest most, if not all of you, do some investigation about the man and what happened or STFU. If you feel you must continue to display your ignorance than please eat a nice helping of fecal matter at the same time.

    Oh we’ve been over this a few times and I promise you we know what needs to be known about the incident. His previous work or whatever you want to call it does not outweigh the fact he let a child rapist continue to rape children many of them probably at his facilities.

    He ignored signs, warnings and straight up reports of his subordinate raping children on the facility that he was in charge of.

    That pretty much covers it.

    So do go fuck yourself.

  71. 71
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Take your sanctimony, imthegenieicandoanything, and give it to those who deserve it: all of the fools who are going off about what a great man Paterno was and moaning that the disclosure killed him. Give it to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett who is flying flags at half mast. Give it to fucking ESPN and the hordes of former Penn State players who condemned the board that justifiably fired Paterno.

    And fuck you.

  72. 72
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Read the fucking grand jury reports before you say an other word on the subject, jupiter, you pig ignorant pile of shit.

  73. 73
    stark

    Jupiter –

    I have read absolutely everything publicly available about the Sandusky situation. It all paints a VERY grim picture for not only Sandusky and Paterno but the whole Penn-State sports program. Not only did Paterno know about the “incidents” as they are so quaintly called but he also, it appears, used his connections to do favors for other people who knew in order to keep things quiet.

    My family has been a multi-generation fan of Penn-State football. Paterno was held as a great man by many in my family. After what has come out… well, nobody around here still sees him as anything but a moral failure and a poor excuse for a human. Sure, he was a good football strategist and coach but that talent is absolutely NOTHING in comparison to his shortcomings as a human being. The only person worse in this terrible story is Sandusky himself.

    So please, Jupiter, drop back out to your distant orbit with your “facts” we don’t know.

  74. 74
    imthegenieicandoanything

    [sigh]

    When will people here learn to fucking read?

    Well, the situation calls for a single, succinct, “Fuck off”, since nothing short of digging up Paterno’s corpse and posting a video of myself abusing it on YouTube would more than partially redeem me in the eyes of the (fucking) my erstwhile atheist comrades, given their fixations.

    May some of them learn to fucking read with their brains’ engaged. Someday.

    So, to all the temporarily stupid, who find abusing others better than, well, anything else (what else if the Net for, except maybe porn?),…

    [sigh]

    …fuck off.

  75. 75
    paulhavlak

    I’m a sports apostate, don’t give a damn about football personally.

    But it’s oh-so-slightly more complicated. Paterno didn’t just win football games, he made sure his players got educations. Too many college football coaches don’t bother with that, and the players end up with no useful skills after years of ritual combat for their schools.

    So, we must weigh his positive influence on many hundreds of college-age men against negligent enabling of child rape, participation in a conspiracy of silence that let Sandusky go on to rape yet more boys.

    Irene is right to cite “Omelas”. This wouldn’t be interesting if Paterno had done nothing worthwhile; “Omelas” wouldn’t be interesting if it were about a city of general depravity and cruelty. The tragedy is that out of friendship or concern for publicity, Paterno allowed such heinous crimes that they do outweigh his other accomplishments.

    And even worse… if he’d done his job right with all those football players? If they’d learned more about ethics as well as football? They’d have joined in condemning Paterno’s shameful conduct, in saying that he can no longer be called a role model.

  76. 76
    Cipher

    I, for one, am not going to try to reason with a fucking asshole who’s only here to put hir Oh-So-Fucking-Superior morality and SUPREME REASONABLENESS on display by telling us to forgive a child rape enabler because to do otherwise would be rude and we shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. Pearls, swine, et cetera. Just get the fuck out.

  77. 77
    Aquaria

    My policy is to forgive everybody of every crime upon their death.

    You’re a fucking moron, and a goddamned liar.

    Hitler’s dead. Do you seriously forgive him for the horrors he committed?

    Stalin?

    Pol Pot?

    Osama Bin Laden?

    Ted Bundy?

    Reagan the Scumbag?

    Death doesn’t save anyone from criticism.

    Fuck you. And fuck off.

  78. 78
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    So, to all the temporarily stupid, who find abusing others better than, well, anything else (what else if the Net for, except maybe porn?),…

    I know I am putting words in your fucking mouth but here it goes.

    Why, you are as bad as all the people defending the rape of children.

    And I repeat the question, I you showing your disappointment to all of the people who are celebrating his life, calling Paterno an honorable man?

    Fuck off.

  79. 79
    carlie

    Emphasis mine:

    Mr. Paterno: Well, I don’t know what you would call it. Obviously, he was doing something with the youngster.

    It was a sexual nature. I’m not sure exactly what it was.

    I didn’t push Mike to describe exactly what it was because he was very upset. Obviously, I was in a little bit of a dilemma since Mr. Sandusky was not working for me anymore.

    So I told — I didn’t go any further than that except I knew Mike was upset and I knew some kind of inappropriate action was being taken by Jerry Sandusky with a youngster.

    [...]

    Q: Did you tell Mike McQueary at that time what you were going to do with that information that he had provided to you?

    Mr. Paterno: I don’t know whether I was specific or not. I did tell Mike, Mike, you did what was right; you told me.

    Even though Jerry does not work for the football staff any longer, I would refer his concerns to the right people.

    Q: You recall this taking place on a Saturday morning, the conversation with Mike?

    Mr. Paterno: Yes.

    Q: When did you — did you do something with that information?

    Mr. Paterno: Well, I can’t be precise.

    I ordinarily would have called people right away, but it was a Saturday morning and I didn’t want to interfere with their weekends.

    [...]

    Q: Other than the incident that Mike McQueary reported to you, do you know in any way, through rumor, direct knowledge or any other fashion, of any other inappropriate sexual conduct by Jerry Sandusky with young boys?

    Mr. Paterno: I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved in of that nature, no. I do not know of it.

    You did mention — I think you said something about a rumor. It may have been discussed in my presence, something else about somebody.

    I don’t know.

    I don’t remember, and I could not honestly say I heard a rumor.

  80. 80
    Fred Sanford

    As a group that prides themselves on evidence, I have never been more disgusted by your comments on this thread. Are any of you cognizant that a Grand Jury report is a prosecutor’s summary and not a direct transcript of testimony? Are you cognizant that Mike McQuery’s testimony to the Grand Jury about what he reported to Koe Paterno was in no way anal sex or child rape as indicated in the GJ report? Are you cognizant that Sandusky was not under Joe Paterno’s employ in 2002? Are you cognizant that Mike McQuery first reported what he witnessed in the showers to his father and a family friend, both physicians and primary reporters, and, they did not contact the police? Are you cognizant that Joe Paterno was not in charge of the football facilities nor “the most powerful man in the University”? If so, how was he fired?

    Are you cognizant that Joe Paterno reported what Mike McQuery told him to his immediate superior, Curley, and to Schulz, the head of the University Police, yes, a real police agency? Are you cognizant that Paterno had no power over Jerry Sandusky in 2002? Are you cognizant that the Second Mile Foundation and its board members made no attempts to prevent Sandusky from being near children? are you cognizant that Joe Paterno followed up with McQueary, Schulz, and Curley and was advised that the matter was being investigated? Are you cognizant that Jerry Sandusky has yet to be tried? Are you cognizant that Joe Paterno was found by the Grand Jury to be credible and to have followed the law? Are you cognizant that the prosecutors do not have “Victim 2″ but the defense allegedly does? Are you cognizant that the prosecutor’s libelous, fact-challenged GJ report may be the impetus for a not guilty verdict?

    Are you cognizant that while ESPN was lambasting Joe Paterno and trying him in the media they were sitting, for 10 years, on a tape where a coach from Syracuse admitted molesting underage boys? Are you cognizant their excuse was they needed more information? Are you cognizant that ESPN personalities like Lou Holz are honorary board members of the Second Mile Foundation? Are you cognizant that CBS has already apologized to the Paterno family for their libelous actions? Are you in any way cognizant of any of the facts in this case or are you all suddenly immune to evidence and just looking for a Christian witch hunt and a rush to judgment?

    If you would like to read facts instead of salacious GJ reports and media posturing, please follow these links. This gentleman is from Tennessee and has no connection to the University, but, unlike the denizens of this vitriolic thread, he seeks evidence and truth.

    http://notpsu.blogspot.com/

    The media is actually beginning to wake up. Why won’t you? The lies in the original post and now in the comments are wholly ridiculous. If Sandusky is found guilty, he deserves the maximum penalty the law will bear. Joe Paterno, however, was not aiding, abetting, or covering up molestation. That is an utter media fabrication and each of you should be ashamed for falling for ir. Free Thinkers, indeed.

    More links from rational people:

    http://www.blackshoediaries.com/2012/1/4/2674450/anatomy-of-a-media-frenzy

    http://tominpaine.blogspot.com/2012/01/news-media-at-it-again-with-joe-paterno.html

    http://tominpaine.blogspot.com/2012/01/what-to-do-about-news-media.html

    http://tominpaine.blogspot.com/2011/12/dr-jonathan-dranov-puts-final-nail-in.html

    PZ, you a truly a disappointment here. A disgusting disappointment. I don’t anticipate a mea culpa from any of you, but, how dare you call yourselves truth seekers, free thinkers, or rational.

  81. 81
    shouldbeworking

    Fuck Joe. Will anyone care in 10 years about his football career? Will the pain of what he let happen continue?

    Fuck Joe, fuck the governor too. Perhaps someone should educate the governor about the other side of his honoured citizen.

  82. 82
    Fred Sanford

    Joe Paterno DID NOT enable child rape. What is wrong with you people?

  83. 83
    Aquaria

    Oh for chrissakes, Skatje, knock it off with the quibbling over semantics.

    Please–I know what you’re trying to say, but it does not negate the fact that a part of every victim of sexual abuse does get broken. Irretrievably broken. Unless you’re a victim of sexual abuse, you cannot know how it feels. You cannot know the words to describe it.

    You cannot imagine that, and I don’t wish it on anyone. So you have to stop thinking that you can speak for us–when you can’t.

  84. 84
    Aquaria

    Joe Paterno DID NOT enable child rape. What is wrong with you people?

    Liar.

    Fuck off.

  85. 85
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    @ fredsanford, are you Paterno’s ghost or his legal counsel? What’s wrong with YOU when you conflate “hasn’t been convicted of having enabled child rape” with “did not enable child rape”?

  86. 86
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Fredsanford, go have n heart attack and meet Elizabeth.

  87. 87
    Cipher

    I don’t have killfile on this (public) computer :( This thread is way worse than it should be, without killfile.

  88. 88
    jupiter

    Ignorance #1: Joe was a friend of Sandusky’s. While they worked together for many years there are several sources that have reported this as acrimonious and they did not “like” each other. At one time Sandusky was considered the heir apparent to Joe but he was shown the door. Well before the incident in 2002.

    Ignorance #2: Joe did not report anything to the police. He reported it to the administrator in charge of police services on campus (people should know that the University’s is it’s own jurisdiction, with their own police force. (Gary Shultz, that man, is currently under inditement and can metaphorically rot in hell as far as I’m concerned.)

    Ignorance #3: Joe did nothing but coach football at PSU. Joe was instrumental from turning a podunk university with about ten thousand students into a major research institution with about a hundred thousand students. Maybe you should pull your head out of your a$$ and listen to the testimonials of hundreds of former players or the chair of the Classics department which received thousands of dollars from Joe himself along with Joe’s recommendation that others donate to that department rather than football. He and his wife donated more than $4 million dollars to the university over the years much to the library that bears his name.

    Demonstration of your ignorance: can you name the third man indicted by the grand jury in relation to this matter or anything substantial to the case that happened before the 2002 incident ? Probably not, because you just attack the most visible person involved to make yourself feel better about the horrible thing that happened. Your coping skills are FAIL!

    Is Joe innocent of any wrong doing? No. In his comments after the Grand Jury Incitements and before his death he admitted that he knew that there were serious lapses and he not handle the situation correctly. He voluntarily resigned his job to atone for this (at the end of the season to minimize the impact on the players of the team who had worked long and hard to get where they were and were not at all responsible for Sandusky’s violations or continued violations.) Weighing what he did, or more correctly what he didn’t do, in that situation compared to the good he did for over 60 years, I really don’t think that all of the vitriol directed towards him is at all justified.

    Apparently most of you are perfect or just live in a glassless house.

  89. 89
    David C Brayton

    Good people do bad things and bad people do good things.

    Joe P’s failings are substantial and people were hurt seriously by his failure. But Joe loved his family and Penn and did lots of good things by and for those people.

    Dividing people into groups of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is rarely a way to achieve insight into a person’s psyche or promote understanding.

    Instead, PZ wants to feel self-righteous and it is easier for him to maintain this feeling if he refuses to consider all of the good stuff Joe did too.

  90. 90
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Are you cognizant that Joe Paterno was not in charge of the football facilities nor “the most powerful man in the University”? If so, how was he fired?

    If you think in practice this wasn’t the case, you’re as dumb as the other ones defending his actions.

  91. 91
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    Oh, dear. The Paterno fan club in out in force. Maybe you should begin your tour of Pharyngula by this page about Standards and practices before starting hectoring us.

  92. 92
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    But Joe loved his family and Penn and did lots of good things by and for those people.

    Whether he loved his family and took his dog on long walks and led the loudest cheers ever at Penn State doesn’t excuse what he didn’t do, protect the children raped or to be raped by Sandusky.

  93. 93
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Poor Joe Paterno was silenced by the university administration. There was not way in hell he was free to call the police.

    Fuck you, jupiter.

  94. 94
    feralboy12

    Paterno did bring money to his university, money that was spent on things other than sports; and Penn State, before the success in football, was pretty much a “cow college” in the middle of nowhere. He was known to be far more committed to education, for his players and others, than the more modern coaches working at that level. I think the regret he expressed over the Sandusky case, and his own role in it, was sincere.
    That being said, it’s clear he faceplanted when it came to making the biggest decision of his life; merely kicking it up the chain (to administrators who wouldn’t dare sully the football program or ever challenge Joe Paterno) was a transparent attempt at making it go away. Which, as far as Paterno was concerned, it did, which put more children at risk. Paterno never followed up his report, never rescinded Sandusky’s access to the school’s facilities and, given the way Sandusky went from next-head-coach-in-waiting to a sudden retirement in 1999, leads one to wonder if suspicions had been circulating for years.
    There are also stories coming out that show Paterno seeking to short circuit attempts to discipline players who got in trouble with the law. All to protect the program.
    I see Paterno less as pariah than cautionary tale: even a guy who had plenty of good in him can go completely astray and betray everything he ever claimed to stand for, just by letting brand loyalty substitute for morality.
    It all shows, again, that true morality is about examining the consequences of your actions, and harm done, and making decisions on that basis; if you think it’s about following rules, the Paterno story tells you everything you need to know.

  95. 95
    Cipher

    Instead, PZ wants to feel self-righteous and it is easier for him to maintain this feeling if he refuses to consider all of the good stuff Joe did too.

    Or, alternatively, “all of the good stuff Joe did” is being used to lionize and idealize the man elsewhere, and we are responding to that situation because we don’t believe that any of that good sutff outweighs the sexual abuse of children.
    Why are so many people so very, very stupid?

  96. 96
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Joe Paterno DID NOT enable child rape. What is wrong with you people?

    He sure as hell did.

  97. 97
    carlie

    I know that there are mixed feelings about Shakesville, but this quote from there seems an appropriate retort to the Paterno fans:

    But let us be honest about the fact that Joe Paterno’s family, friends, and colleagues could, today, be recalling among his other successes the time he was a hero who stopped a child predator in his tracks. The reason they’re not is because Joe Paterno made the choice to value football over the safety of children.

  98. 98
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Joe P’s failings are substantial and people were hurt seriously by his failure. But Joe loved his family and Penn and did lots of good things by and for those people.

    I do not understand how running a successful football program counts as doing good. Fro what I understand, big time college football is deeply corrupt.

  99. 99
    Anthony K

    [sigh]

    …fuck off.

    What happened to all that forgiveness, imthegenieicandoanything?

    If you’re gonna get all sanctimonious and spew bullshit in the guise of life lessons, try not to piss on your own fucking ideals for at least a single thread, willya?

  100. 100
    'Tis Himself

    jupiter #88

    Joe did not report anything to the police.

    Exactly! He had the moral responsibility to report his buddy Sandusky to the police and he didn’t. He told someone in the Penn State administration. Guess what, asshole, that wasn’t enough. And as soon as it was obvious that it wasn’t enough, when his friend Sandusky was still raping children, then your hero Joe should have told the police, Department of Youth Services, district attorney, or someone of that nature. He didn’t. That’s why we piss on him. Because he was an immoral asshole.

    As for you, I’ll slightly misquote Tim Minchin:

    But if you find me more offensive than the fucking possibility
    Paterno protected friends when they were getting fucking fiddly
    Then listen to me motherfucker, this here is a fact
    You are just as morally misguided as that motherfucking
    Power-hungry, self-aggrandised bigot with the stupid fucking team!

  101. 101
    Skatje Myers

    Unless you’re a victim of sexual abuse, you cannot know how it feels. You cannot know the words to describe it.

    I do. And I describe myself now as broken, damaged, and worth less. It’s something that I have tried and do try very hard to overcome, because I certainly hope not to judge others as harshly as I do myself, and because I don’t think that sexual abuse is or has to be a definitive ticket to being “broken”. I, for one, want to break this cycle and get people to stop pushing this notion, since I’m sure as hell that I would not feel as damaged as I do if the culture I’m surrounded by didn’t keep telling me that it would make me damaged.

  102. 102
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    @ carlie:

    Reminds me of what Albert Camus, writer, philosopher and also sports fan, wrote once: “It’s never just bad luck that causes you to forfeit your honour.”

  103. 103
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Pointing out that people are harmed by actions does not dehumanize them. Please do not speak on behalf of others like this.

    There is no inconsistency with observing that people are harmed by rape and pointing out that that doesn’t make them any less human.

    Then wouldn’t it be more fitting to say “injured” or “traumatized?”

    I think there’s merit in the observation that people don’t get “broken.” Dishes get broken. Arms get broken.

    People are hurt.

  104. 104
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    It’s why molestation victims receive “damage awards.”

    It is not right or proper to tell victims that they do not suffer.

    Jesus Fuck, did you actually read Skatje as arguing that abuse victims don’t suffer?

    It was pretty clear to me that the issue was some combination of 1) describing that suffering in terms that evoke inanimate objects or 2) otherwise implicitly denying the agency of the victims “going forward.” :/

  105. 105
    echidna

    Instead, PZ wants to feel self-righteous and it is easier for him to maintain this feeling if he refuses to consider all of the good stuff Joe did too.

    Nah. I see no evidence that PZ wants to feel self-righteous. Sure, Joe did good stuff, and much of this is all over the media. But the harm that he did overwhelms that, and needs to be at the forefront of how he is remembered.

    Even people who appear to be pillars of community can be sources of evil. In a sense, the good things that Paterno did gave him power, and the responsibility to protect children from Sandusky. Alternatively, Sandusky’s social power derived from Paterno, and Paterno did not assume any kind of responsibility for the abuse of that power.

  106. 106
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    Holy shit, this calls for a fisking:

    As a group that prides themselves on evidence, I have never been more disgusted by your comments on this thread. Are any of you cognizant that a Grand Jury report is a prosecutor’s summary and not a direct transcript of testimony?

    The Grand Jury report shows multiple instances of child sexual assault, testified to under oath. Which of the incidents do you feel, fred, did not require intervention? Which of the witnesses do you believe are lying? And if they are lying, pray tell, give us your proof.

    Are you cognizant that Mike McQuery’s testimony to the Grand Jury about what he reported to Koe Paterno was in no way anal sex or child rape as indicated in the GJ report?

    Hmm. All of the testimony attributed to Mr. McQuery has clearly described anal rape. Please give us the link where Mr. McQuery recants his description, and describes something different. I’ve looked and I haven’t found anything. Please help us.

    Are you cognizant that Sandusky was not under Joe Paterno’s employ in 2002?

    We are. We are also cognizant that Sandusky had the keys to the facilities and free run of them, with “his boys.” This was common knowledge, and it was Joe Paterno who could have rescinded these privileges.

    Are you cognizant that Mike McQuery first reported what he witnessed in the showers to his father and a family friend, both physicians and primary reporters, and, they did not contact the police?

    As a matter of fact, we are cognizant of that. And that make McQuery, McQuery’s father, and the family friend both accessories after the fact to child rape. Spreading the responsibility does not make each person less responsible — it makes the crimes WORSE.

    Are you cognizant that Joe Paterno was not in charge of the football facilities nor “the most powerful man in the University”?

    fred, Joe Paterno, with five — or was it six — decades, DECADES of experience, honours, contacts with alumni, etc. could get ANYTHING he wanted. Including cover for child molesters. He was the most powerful man in the university, as is evidenced by the riot over his firing, and the continued lionizing of the old bastard.

    If so, how was he fired?

    Generally, being involved with facilitating child rape gets one canned, charged, and convicted. Very, very few persons, excepting perverted dictators and Catholic priests enjoy immunity from punishment for such crimes.

    Are you cognizant that Joe Paterno reported what Mike McQuery told him to his immediate superior, Curley, and to Schulz, the head of the University Police, yes, a real police agency?

    Again, Paterno should have reported it to regular police and to the newspapers and to anyone else who is concerned about the welfare of children. That he did not pursue the matter to its proper conclusion, that is, the cessation of child molestation and the charging of the perpetrators, is his failing. And it is that failing of everyone else that he reported this to. In my opinion, every one of these fuckers should have been fired, and charged.

    Are you cognizant that Paterno had no power over Jerry Sandusky in 2002?

    Hah! All he had to do was to phone Sandusky: “Hey, Jerry, I hear you’re fuckin’ kids in the showers! My assistant coach saw you! I’m turnin’ you into the police!”

    Are you cognizant that the Second Mile Foundation and its board members made no attempts to prevent Sandusky from being near children?

    We are indeed. And all of those persons are equally guilty.

    are you cognizant that Joe Paterno followed up with McQueary, Schulz, and Curley and was advised that the matter was being investigated?

    Reasonable people follow up such things. Like making sure that Sandusky wasn’t ever allowed near children again. Look, when someone is accused of child molestation, THE FIRST THING YOU DO IS TO REMOVE THEM FROM ACCESS TO CHILDREN. PERIOD. AND YOU MAKE SURE OF THAT!

    Are you cognizant that Jerry Sandusky has yet to be tried? Are you cognizant that Joe Paterno was found by the Grand Jury to be credible and to have followed the law?

    The banksters “followed the law”, too. Quoting the law to defend immoral fuckheads is a desperate, last-ditch tactic.

    Are you cognizant that the prosecutors do not have “Victim 2″ but the defense allegedly does?

    Link to this allegation, please.

    Are you cognizant that the prosecutor’s libelous, fact-challenged GJ report may be the impetus for a not guilty verdict?

    Look, we are open-minded. We do look at evidence. Please present to us every wrong fact and incorrect allegation laid out in the GJ report and let us judge. If you have evidence, be specific, cite credible sources, be detailed. We will take it into account.

    Are you cognizant that while ESPN was lambasting Joe Paterno and trying him in the media they were sitting, for 10 years, on a tape where a coach from Syracuse admitted molesting underage boys? Are you cognizant their excuse was they needed more information? Are you cognizant that ESPN personalities like Lou Holz are honorary board members of the Second Mile Foundation? Are you cognizant that CBS has already apologized to the Paterno family for their libelous actions? Are you in any way cognizant of any of the facts in this case or are you all suddenly immune to evidence and just looking for a Christian witch hunt and a rush to judgment?

    None of the items you list above has anything to do with stopping Sandusky from raping little boys in the Penn showers. But, here in the last sentence is the key to your weak, wobbly “defence” of Joe Paterno: that he is a Christian.

    Understand, idiot, we don’t care that he was a Christian (evidence notwithstanding), or a Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, Hindu, Zoroastrian, or . . . ATHIEST!! We don’t care. He knowingly tolerated child abuse.

    So fuck him and his legacy.

    If you would like to read facts instead of salacious GJ reports and media posturing, please follow these links. This gentleman is from Tennessee and has no connection to the University, but, unlike the denizens of this vitriolic thread, he seeks evidence and truth.

    http://notpsu.blogspot.com/

    The media is actually beginning to wake up. Why won’t you? The lies in the original post and now in the comments are wholly ridiculous. If Sandusky is found guilty, he deserves the maximum penalty the law will bear. Joe Paterno, however, was not aiding, abetting, or covering up molestation. That is an utter media fabrication and each of you should be ashamed for falling for ir. Free Thinkers, indeed.

    More links from rational people:

    PZ, you a truly a disappointment here. A disgusting disappointment. I don’t anticipate a mea culpa from any of you, but, how dare you call yourselves truth seekers, free thinkers, or rational.

  107. 107
    Sir Chris Harper

    Anyone who is defending Paterno, ask yourself how you’d feel if it was your child who was abused due to his negligence.

  108. 108
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Hairhead, other than the borked ended ending, great job.

  109. 109
    echidna

    Why is it wrong to make the point that some actions can cause some peoples lives to be broken or shattered?

    This is exactly how an Australian doctor describes her transition from an active, healthy physician to a brain-damaged person who cannot look after herself after being deliberately attacked by a vehicle as she was cycling. She is not who she was, her life is broken. She is less able, she is not less human.

    It would be a bad thing to use the term about an individual who objected to the term, but as a description of the immense harm done by child-rape? It seems reasonable, especially given the linked article.

  110. 110
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    Argh! I unfortunately left the last bits of fredsanford’s screed at the bottom of my post. Ignore it, and fred, please.

  111. 111
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Why is it wrong to make the point that some actions can cause some peoples lives to be broken or shattered?

    Maybe the things Carlie and Skatje mentioned?

  112. 112
    Ingdigo Jump

    Carlie and Skatje make a good point. But can we cite in the OP or comments before that where people were doing that?

  113. 113
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    What.

  114. 114
    Ingdigo Jump

    Sorry.

    Skatje’s original point is valid, but I was asking if anyone had actually done that here.

  115. 115
    Ingdigo Jump

    You know what never mind it doesn’t matter

  116. 116
    Anthony K

    Skatje’s original point is valid, but I was asking if anyone had actually done that here.

    I thought Skatje was referring to PZ’s post title.

  117. 117
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Brownian

    Yup I figured it out.

  118. 118
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    @ echidna:

    Good point about “less able, not less human”. I can’t talk for survivors of sexual abuse. Other forms, now… Let’s just say that it feels like a deep fracture inside, at times.

    And then, metaphors can also help the bystanders to feel empathy:

    “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?”

    But this is obviously a very sensitive and personal subject. See carlie #33 or Classical Cipher #35 for more nuances. In the end… Dunno. PZ is a grown man and I’m not going to talk for him either!

  119. 119
    shouldbeworking

    Just how the fuck did the university stop Joe from calling the police? Hold his wife and children hostage? Or worse, threaten to kill his dog? Give my a fucking break. The shithead was more worried about a damn football team than he was about children. He deserves to have his name dragged through all the mud we can find.

  120. 120
    jackdaley

    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
    —Mark Twain

    Count me as another who is distressed that a supposedly skeptical community trusts the national media enough to consider what has been reported to be equal to the truth. Early reports usually contain many factual errors, most of which are either never corrected, or the correction is buried. Either way, things that are not true, or for which there is a lack of evidence, get accepted as true.

    I also find the level of discussion to be an embarrassment. “Fuck you” is an argument that can only be trumped by “Your mother!”

    Joe Paterno may be guilty of many of the charges that have been leveled. I don’t know. But neither do you! I think it is pure hubris to believe that you have enough evidence to publicly condemn the man.

    At least have the decency to add an “if true” or “allegedly” in now and then.

    Finally, I have no deep love for football, Penn State, or Joe Paterno. I think the whole college football wagging the tail of the university dog is perverse. None of that justifies a lynch mob or turning on those who say “wait a minute, let’s wait for more solid information.”

    I’ll save some of you some typing and tell myself to Go Fuck Myself!

  121. 121
    Ingdigo Jump

    I do love how Joey is praised for making sure his kids get an education.

    At a fucking university.

    Should we praise his parenting for not starving his children?

  122. 122
    Randide, Mais il faut cultiver notre jardin

    I’m late to this dance, but I just really, REALLY need to add “fuck Joe Paterno.” I found myself for just a small part of the day on Sunday wishing that there was a Hell just so that selfish fuck could have found himself burning in it.

  123. 123
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Jackdaley

    You sully the good name of Twain.

    At least have the decency to add an “if true” or “allegedly” in now and then.

    There is no fucking allegedly. That he knew of it and did nothing is of fucking record.

  124. 124
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    He was told.
    He didn’t do anything to help the victim, nor what was in his power to do to prevent further rapes.
    Therefore, he was responsible for what followed.
    Men who are responsible for children being raped are not good men.

    Fuck him and everyone who gives him an ounce of respect.

  125. 125
    Ingdigo Jump

    Joe Paterno may be guilty of many of the charges that have been leveled. I don’t know. But neither do you! I think it is pure hubris to believe that you have enough evidence to publicly condemn the man.

    Do you do this game for every crime or just the rape ones?

  126. 126
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    imthegenieicandoanything:

    I, for one, don’t forgive others for their sakes, but for my own peace of mind.

    -I’m sorry, but this seems so selfish. You forgive others for your benefit? You’re forgiving Joe Paterno’s immoral actions because it makes you feel better?
    I can’t and won’t begin to do that. I’m not interested in making myself feel better. It’s not about me. It’s about the children that were raped. It’s about the coverup by many individuals at Penn State. I don’t forgive him. He was an accessory to child rape and has aided in ruining the lives of children.

    I’ll be impressed if a significant portion of our hordes here understand that – even if they disagree with it.

    I’m prepared to be disappointed, though. Twain’s maxim about human beings is as true here as anywhere, after all.

    Surprise me!

    -I’m not sure I can surprise you. I am surprised at how condescending your comments are.

  127. 127
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    paulhavlak:

    So, we must weigh his positive influence on many hundreds of college-age men against negligent enabling of child rape, participation in a conspiracy of silence that let Sandusky go on to rape yet more boys.

    -I don’t understand why anything has to be weighed (and I fully understand why PZ was getting at with his original post). Joe Paterno was an accessory to child rape and the cover up of that. Yeah, he won some football games. Yeah, he helped get college students education. So what?
    He still was an accessory to child rape. He was morally deficient.

  128. 128
    Ingdigo Jump

    Apparently feeling that allowing child rape is something that needs to be commented on is an exceptional moral standard to hold.

  129. 129
    robro

    One interesting aspect to all this breast beating over Paterno — Americans and American media have been going to lengths to whitewash his “failure” far beyond the excuses made for any priest or bishop that I’m aware of. Perhaps that says something about America’s true religion.

  130. 130
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    jackdaley:

    Count me as another who is distressed that a supposedly skeptical community trusts the national media enough to consider what has been reported to be equal to the truth. Early reports usually contain many factual errors, most of which are either never corrected, or the correction is buried. Either way, things that are not true, or for which there is a lack of evidence, get accepted as true.

    -Can you, along with genie, and all the other JoePologists please let this ‘supposedly skeptical community’ know where we should go to get the proper information. Clearly in the case of someone ignorant like me, someone who believes that aiding and abetting child rape is immoral, someone who’s read the entire Grand Jury report, someone with an ounce of compassion for the children involved…clearly I have my information wrong.
    Please direct me to the well informed, non biased site that shows how Joe Paterno’s actions were not immoral.
    Please show the site where it is reported that Joe Paterno did what the law and human decency require.
    I will be waiting.

    I absolutely cannot believe how anyone can be a Joe Paterno apologist.
    Oh yeah, Fuck Joe Paterno.

  131. 131
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Please direct me to the well informed, non biased site that shows how Joe Paterno’s actions were not immoral.

    Somehow I don’t imagine a NAMBLA link is going to get through moderation.

  132. 132
    Marcus Ranum

    Anyone who’s defending Paterno who’s not catholic should ask themselves how they’d feel if the catholic church… No, wait, maybe I shouldn’t go there. There’s no similarity at all, really.

  133. 133
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    Wow, the child rape apologists are out in force!

    I’m an employee (instructor) at a university. I am MORALLY and LEGALLY required to report illegal activity to the police. It’s in the handbook. I should also report it to my superiors or the appropriate department as needed, but the university’s first priority is the safety of the victims. I’d be surprised as fuck if Penn State didn’t have similar language written into their handbooks. Especially where minor children are involved.

    I seriously can’t understand what’s so hard about this.

    Lets pretend that these guys were coworkers at Microsoft. One of them is the president of marketing. Someone tells him, “Hey, that guy who used to work with you in marketing and is now in IT is totally raping kids. I saw it.” What is he morally and legally required to do? It sure as hell isn’t to call Bill Gates and leave it there.

    In literally no other situation would what Joe did be considered okay. It’s just…unconscionable. It really is. Paterno himself said that, even if McQuerty would have been more forceful in his descriptions of what he saw, Paterno wouldn’t have done anything more because: “And to be frank with you I don’t know that it would have done any good, because I never heard of, of, rape and a man.” In other words, he’s an ignorant fuck who didn’t think men could be raped. NOT the kind of person that should even have access to young people, imo.

    Also, Paterno never reported any of this to university police. That is a lie. He reported to his superiors only.

  134. 134
    feralboy12

    None of that justifies a lynch mob or turning on those who say “wait a minute, let’s wait for more solid information.”

    Paterno was widely quoted in a very recent interview as saying he “should have done more.” We’re basically just agreeing with him.
    If Sandusky is guilty, then Paterno’s failure to report it to anyone outside the university that granted him Demi-God status allowed children to be abused. If Sandusky is innocent, Paterno’s failure prevented the case from being aired nearly a decade ago and Sandusky is being dragged through mud that could have been dried up years ago.
    And to those less familiar with the long-time situation at Penn State: Joe Paterno was in charge. Of the football team, the football program, the athletic department, and the college as a whole. He raised a lot of money for the university, which is good, but that, along with his football success, gave him an exalted status that left him untouchable by university presidents and administrators, which is bad.
    There’s no lynch mob here; just people expressing frustration that a guy who so recently put an institution’s image ahead of children’s welfare would be lionized so. Flags at half-staff? Nah.

  135. 135
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    There really is nothing ambiguous about it. The JoePa fanclub does not give a fraction of a shit about the raped children, because FOOOOTBAAAAALL. No matter how much they dress it up in “concern”, no matter how much they question the black and fucking white evidence (funny how it’s just rape cases that cause that kind of questioning), they fundamentally don’t give a shit. The fact that their hero was a fundamentally awful person who was happy to sacrifice children in the name of small-time sports is a fact, and having that acknowledged gives them a sad. Behold the cornucopia of fucks I am not giving!

    Skatje, I was, for some values of “fortunate”, fortunate enough to have only been repeatedly violated as an adult. And yeah, I am kind of broken. PTSD, especially if left untreated because you’ve turned away from everything and retreated into your own mind for a couple years, permanently alters your brain. I will never, ever be what I used to be. And that extends to the physical parts of the damage as well. I am not fine, but I’m better, and that’s what I’m going to have to settle for. I can understand why you would be uncomfortable with the term “broken”, because it does have some depressing as hell connotations, on the other hand, it does rather capture the effect. My favourite rice bowl was dropped months ago, and repaired. I still enjoy it, but I can’t hold it without feeling the crack where it split in two. I feel like my bowl.

  136. 136
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Azkyroth:

    Somehow I don’t imagine a NAMBLA link is going to get through moderation.

    -you know how there are some things you wish you could ‘un’know? I had to google NAMBLA and I wish I hadn’t. That’s the second time in the last 10 minutes that I felt sick to my stomach (the first time was clicking on PZ’s Daily Kos link).
    I wonder if NAMBLA is on the front lines defending Jerry Sandusky…

  137. 137
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Why in the love of holy fuck is forgiving Paterno anything we have to do, one way or the other? I will never, ever understand the perceived need to ‘forgive’ people after their death, or even in general. Forgiveness does not imply being able to not spend energy on someone, either, and neither does disliking someone.

    I can loathe Paterno just fine without spending a ton of energy on it. Maybe it’s an unusual skill?

    People tend to mean forget when they say forgive; a strategy for resolving cognitive dissonance and personal pain. It’s a religious truism that we should forgive, and a thing we are pressured to do in the US.

    I am not interested in forgetting anything for the purposes of fulfilling some sort social pressure. Especially not for the sake of sports, at the cost of child rape. That is a godawful tradeoff.

  138. 138
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    @ Cyranothe2nd:

    And to be frank with you I don’t know that it would have done any good, because I never heard of, of, rape and a man.” In other words, he’s an ignorant fuck who didn’t think men could be raped. NOT the kind of person that should even have access to young people, imo.

    Gaaah. Definitely not. ><

  139. 139
    Cupcake

    Well said PZ.

    And well said mouthyb.

  140. 140
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Happiestsadist:
    > Behold the cornucopia of fucks I am not giving!<

    -Thanks for that turn of phrase. The JoePologists have pissed me off with their complete lack of concern for the victims of the Penn State Child Sex Scandal; so much so that I almost felt bad laughing when I read the above. But laugh I did. I think I needed that. I also may want to start using that one.

  141. 141
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Tony, please do not think I am being rude here, this is not meant to be rude at all. It is a common ploy for the homophobes to equate the goals of the LGBT community with the goals of NAMBLA. Even those of us who do not want to deal with that pathology have to know about it because most of them will not hesitate to use them to tar us.

  142. 142
    Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu

    What tony at #136 said. Fuck.

    Oh, and fuck all child raping, enabling motherfuckers. Fuck. You.

  143. 143
    scottjordan

    Off-topic, but I thought this was funny enough to post here.

    Rick Santorum’s CUM

  144. 144
    Cipher

    Off-topic, but I thought this was funny enough to post here.

    Rick Santorum’s CUM

    Scottjordan, you really think this is the right thread for off-topic humor? There are other threads for OT stuff – namely, TET. And you choose the child rape thread?

  145. 145
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Scottjordan, just a little hint; at Pharyngula there is a dedicated thread just for anything and everything off topic. You can find a link to the unending thread near the upper right hand side of the screen, beneath the photo of PZ.

    But you are right, that is funny as shit, especially given what his last name has because slang for.

  146. 146
    Worldtraveller

    I realize I’m late to the party, but this:

    My policy is to forgive everybody of every crime upon their death.

    I like Galen the techno mage’s better:

    Gideon: I thought you said you never hold a grudge.
    Galen: Well, I don’t. I have no surviving enemies… at all.

  147. 147
    debbaasseerr

    @Jackdaley 120

    Count me as another who is distressed that a supposedly skeptical community trusts the national media enough to consider what has been reported to be equal to the truth.

    Count me as one who finds your supposed skepticism of skeptics to be painfully misguided. People are being openly critical of the national media for being too nice to a dead man.

    Early reports usually contain many factual errors, most of which are either never corrected, or the correction is buried. Either way, things that are not true, or for which there is a lack of evidence, get accepted as true.

    Thanks, bro! That’s so true! Think of this, every report on how great Joe Paterno was now needs correcting, and many people will continue to incorrectly believe he was a great guy.

  148. 148
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    But the man is dead. Nobody can punish him. In any way.

    Don’t be such an obtuse moron. It isn’t about punishing Paterno. It’s about calling out the assholes eulogizing him, which is completely fucked up.

  149. 149
    tami

    I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor. I might have been a victim after I was raped but I’ve let go of that. I’m also not broken or damaged. I’m a person, not a f%#king vase. I was injured…physically and emotionally. I’m healing…still healing after almost 20 years. I probably shouldnt have read the Daily Kos posting as I will likely have nightmares, but I’m glad I did. I know those same feelings. Ghouls who prey on children deserve to die.

  150. 150
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    I’m not alone in thinking this, but I’ll add my voice anyhow.

    It is entirely unconscionable that the fact that this man was a football coach is supposed to somehow gloss the fact that he enabled the rape of children.

    I just don’t care that he was a football coach, let alone about football. The only reason I, and I’m not a fan of foreign sports let alone domestic sports, even know anything about Joe Paterno, is because of his massive failure at being a good person.

    I probably don’t need to ask this question, but it goes to the heart of my inability to understand why what the man did for a living even matters: Do Americans really love sports and the people who participate in them so much that it overshadows, even blacks out, the fact that someone enabled the rape of children?

    I know the answer, I just don’t understand it. I don’t, fucking, understand it.

  151. 151
    Ingdigo Jump

    FFS even if there was no scandal Penn State would have done everyone a great disservice by apparently fostering an environment where one man could develop what is basically a fucking cult of personality.

  152. 152
    scottjordan

    @Classical Cipher, janine

    Whoops, sorry guys, it won’t happen again.

  153. 153
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Fredsanford: Aside from everything else that was said to you, why should we be impressed by three random blogs written by Pedaterno stans? I mean, I could go into a serious blog discussion about oncology and link to a few no-name blogs that promise to cure cancer with Vitamin C enemas, and it’d prove about as much and make me look about as stupid as you’ve made yourself look.

    Mouthyb:

    Why in the love of holy fuck is forgiving Paterno anything we have to do, one way or the other? I will never, ever understand the perceived need to ‘forgive’ people after their death, or even in general.

    Between Joe Paterno and Hugo Schwyzer, I’ve had my fill of sanctimonious xtians, and sanctimonious non-xtians who’ve absorbed xtian ideals by upbringing or osmosis, pushing the poison pill of forgiveness.

    Preventing harm or punishing the harmful is obviously less important to them than “harmony,” the maintenance of their idols’ pedestals, or, of course, the “souls” of all us “haters.”

    Scott Jordan, here’s a tip for you: Even on blogs that do not have open threads (and this one does), there are some threads into which it is more OK and some threads into which it is less OK to drop a completely unserious link. Threads about child rape fall into the latter category.

    You see, lots and lots of people were sexually assaulted as children, and when you show up with a “O/T bur HURR HURR HURR” link in one of those threads, you’re telling everybody there that you don’t take the trauma that changed their lives seriously enough to take your fucking fingers off the keyboard and refrain from changing the subject to some joke you just spotted on the Series of Tubes.

    Hope that helps.

  154. 154
    carlie

    Behold the cornucopia of fucks I am not giving!

    Visual version

  155. 155
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Scott: Should have refreshed the page before I posted my comment. Thanks for the apology.

  156. 156
    carlie

    Joe Paterno deserves to be dragged through the mud and back again, because it needs to be crystal clear that society does not tolerate someone covering for child rapists. We have far, far too much of society that tacitly endorses rape, and child abuse, and self-preservation over actually helping others. This needs to be at least one case where it becomes very, very, very clear that a person who covers for a child rapist is a bad person.

  157. 157
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Ms. Daisy Cutter: Yep. Like that.

  158. 158
    Ingdigo Jump

    This needs to be at least one case where it becomes very, very, very clear that a person who covers for a child rapist is a bad person.

    Too late. If anything this is going to muddy the water. Because hey if even the Great Joe could make a mistake here this is clearly A Complex Issue ™

  159. 159
    feralboy12

    I probably don’t need to ask this question, but it goes to the heart of my inability to understand why what the man did for a living even matters: Do Americans really love sports and the people who participate in them so much that it overshadows, even blacks out, the fact that someone enabled the rape of children?

    To a significant portion of the American population, including myself, Joe Paterno was a celebrity of the first order. Having become head coach at Penn State in 1966, and I think having his first unbeaten season in 1969 (right around the time I started watching football) to anybody who follows the game even a little, he’s just always been there. And his program always seemed so clean; a lot of scandals came and went in 40 years. This was really, really unexpected.
    And now he’s dead. So it goes.

    FFS even if there was no scandal Penn State would have done everyone a great disservice by apparently fostering an environment where one man could develop what is basically a fucking cult of personality.

    Yes. It might be somewhat encouraging that the big sports media outlets have been examining that, at least before he died. Some are even wondering how the hell we got to the point where a fucking football coach could have such a hold over, not only an entire university, but a whole city and a big chunk of a state.
    I don’t know if Paterno was among them, but there are football and basketball coaches who are the highest paid state employee of their respective states.

  160. 160
    Thy Goddess

    You know what pissed me off the most? When I visited CNN’s website (why I don’t know.) and saw that one of their big title was something along the lines of “Opinion: A flawed hero”

    Hero? Do you even know what the hell a HERO is? A hero isn’t a great coach. A hero is someone who saves lives, against the odds. Someone who does something heroic… Like someone who reports that children were being raped even if he has been forbidden to by his bosses! That’s not a huge hero, it’s more like a natural moral duty, but it’s still saving a lot of children from a predator!

    He was not a hero. He was a goddamn football coach who failed at having a conscience.

  161. 161
    scottjordan

    @Ms. Daisy Cutter

    No problem. I’ll look out for “TET” in the future. :)

  162. 162
    echidna

    echidna:

    Why is it wrong to make the point that some actions can cause some peoples lives to be broken or shattered?

    Azkyroth:
    Maybe the things Carlie and Skatje mentioned?

    I obviously didn’t make myself clear. I read Carlie and Skatje’s posts, but I still don’t get it.

    I don’t get that using the words “broken” and “damaged” are reducing humans because they are also used about inanimate objects. Maybe this is a cultural thing.

    I used the word “shattered” because that is how a paralysed brain-damaged assault victim is describing herself.

    The whole issue here is that child-rape harms the victims, and that JoePa apologists are glossing over his inaction as if it doesn’t matter. What is “harm” that isn’t “damage”?

    Is this a regional semantic thing?

  163. 163
    Ichthyic

    Well, Skatje, if you read the linked entry from a child abuse victim, she is coming right out and saying that her life and the life of her friend was damaged by the rapes. While some people can power through the pain and get their life together afterwards, rape does do harm, and sometimes lasting, lifelong harm.

    a bit late, but I don’t think that was Skatje’s point.

    IMO, what she was getting at was the idea that it is to common to see people that have been raped labeled “damaged goods”; this is what she is tired of seeing, though if that is the case, I think she could have bee a bit clearer.

    I indeed have seen people shun rape victims in various circumstances, and their reasoning when asked tends to use words just like that: “they’re damaged goods; never be the same… don’t want to deal with it”

    which of course victimizes them all over again, and again… and again.

    It’s not fair, and again, if that was really what Skatje was trying to point at, it is indeed a problem that needs more attention in our society.

  164. 164
    Ichthyic

    Paterno died of a broken heart.

    I thought he died of complications from cancer treatment?

  165. 165
    Ichthyic

    and of course, Chimpy McGrin just had to stick his nose in and bark:

    His death resulted in tributes from prominent leaders in the U.S., including former President George H. W. Bush, who called Paterno “an outstanding American who was respected not only on the field of play but in life generally—and he was, without a doubt, a true icon in the world of sports.”

    Worst.

    President.

    Ever.

    I actually rank him in my top 100 worst HUMAN BEINGS ever, let alone president.

  166. 166
    Benjamin "Derp" Geiger

    Ichthyic: Actually, that’d be Fearless Flightsuit’s pappy.

  167. 167
    Ichthyic

    ….Ok, so that was really meant for the son, but think about it…

    The father MADE that son, no question.

    the Bush Family may be the single worst thing to happen to America in the 20th Century.

  168. 168
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    First, fuck Joe Paterno. I suspect I’m more fond of college athletics than the average Pharyngulist, and thus give his achievements in that sphere more weight than most here would… but enabling, even by “mere” inaction, the sexual abuse of children is neutron-star-dense evil; no conceivable weight of ordinary good works can counterbalance it.

    Next, it’s Penn State, a large state university; Penn is a private Ivy League university (and among the schools my daughter has applied to for grad school, so I don’t want to see its name sullied).

    Finally…

    you know how there are some things you wish you could ‘un’know? I had to google NAMBLA and I wish I hadn’t.

    Yah. A while back, I had occasion to Google the name of an old undergraduate English professor — a guy I’d socialized and played tennis with — only to stumble over the fact that he’d “served” on the executive committee of NAMBLA, and had written “boylove” fiction under a pseudonym. He’d never said a word to me, and had given no hint in his behavior (of course, I was already older than a “boy” by the time we met).

    Wow, did I need brain bleach. He was long dead by the time I learned this (and I learned it from public sources), so there was no issue of needing to do anything… but I wish I didn’t know.

  169. 169
    Koshka

    Thy Goddess #160,

    I am with you on that.

    Why do people who can run fast or throw a stick a long way get labelled as heros?

    Tennis players hit a ball back and forth for several hours and it is called a heroic effort!

    I can see reporting a rapist as somewhat heroic, particularly if the person they are reporting is more powerful. However this guy apparently was the powerful one so it should have been easy to (properly) report the rapist.

    Fuck Joe Paterno.

  170. 170
    Ichthyic

    cognizant

    having now seen that word abused beyond measure, I can now no longer use it in my vocabulary for at least a year.

    Is fredsanford AWARE of how FAMILIAR most people are with this story?

    and I mean… fredsanford… a habitual liar that ran a junkyard…

    Yes, I’m AQUAINTED with old TV tropes and yet find it fitting in this case…

    I PERCEIVE he should in fact be VERSED with how to engage himself properly with a decaying porcupine.

  171. 171
    bigj

    Damn, I really wish I had seen this thread earlier. As a former football player and coach (volunteered to help my high school while I was in college), I feel like I have some perspective to offer on this.

    Dismissing the good a football coach can do as “inconsequential fluff,” as Prof. Myers did, is really dismissive of coaches in general. A good coach is not only good at teaching football, but will teach hard work, teamwork, loyalty, and personal responsibility. A good coach can be a guidance counselor, tutor, and, in some cases, a surrogate parent. I have seen coaches become more involved and personally invested in the education of struggling students to a degree I rarely saw from other faculty members in high school or college. And I have heard from several former Penn State players that Paterno fulfilled all of these (at times, anyway), and at a time when most college coaches only care about winning.

    All of this makes Paterno’s failings in this case even more vile. That someone who had the power to change so many lives for the better essentially turned a blind eye to those who needed him most is one of the most disgusting legacies a man can leave.

  172. 172
    Pteryxx

    Why do people who can run fast or throw a stick a long way get labelled as heros?

    As a sportarian, I don’t think mere physical prowess counts for squat. Where something resembling heroism comes into football, say, is when a player in a desperate situation, about to be pulled down from all sides, knowing that the eyes of millions will dissect your every move and a stadium full of hostile fans are screaming for you to fail, nevertheless commits every effort to getting the job done.

    That Joe Paterno and all his apologists have signally failed to apply this standard of behavior to seeing justice done, instead of merely seeing games won, is not lost on this sports fan.

  173. 173
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Honestly. All this sturm und drag. Joe Paterno was a working class white trash town boy who made good by turning a third rate college into a sports franchise. It’s the dream of every US gym teacher.

    He wasn’t a miracle worker or some great inspirational god outside the TV movie of the week. He was a provincial townie who played to the tribal ego of a bunch of bumfucks.

    I grew up with people like this; they’re my family. And they’re small, egotistical parochial self important goons.

  174. 174
    SallyStrange

    It makes me want to celebrate the passing of the old guard. One less old white motherfucker who was so twisted by patriarchal social norms that he looked the other way while his subordinate raped children. People like him are the ones who oppose gay marriage, want to repeal Roe v. Wade, hate affirmative action, and so on. Good riddance.

  175. 175
    Ichthyic

    @cccbccc:

    How would you reword the title of the OP such that it isn’t spreading the “broken” meme?

    would replacing the word “broken” with “traumatized” work?

    or is a more generic term like “injured” even better?

    People won’t stop using the term unless people who are sensitive to the effects of it speak up and suggest what would be better.

  176. 176
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    “Raped” seems to have about the right connotations.

  177. 177
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Dismissing the good a football coach can do as “inconsequential fluff,” as Prof. Myers did, is really dismissive of coaches in general. A good coach is not only good at teaching football, but will teach hard work, teamwork, loyalty, and personal responsibility. A good coach can be a guidance counselor, tutor, and, in some cases, a surrogate parent.

    What is it about a “coach” that makes these things more likely? What is it that a “coachs” can do for a student that an academic mentor can’t?

    I’m tired of hearing about deified “coaches” as if they were some key to personal fulfillment beyond the wildest dreams of any poor, hard-scrabble student. Can we please retire them to Central Casting?

  178. 178
    consciousness razor

    I have confrontationalist tendencies, so I personally think (and am open to disagreement) that “raped” would possibly be the best, since it is factually accurate and doesn’t give any Paterno-apoligizers any way to avoid the cold reality of what the man did(n’t do).

    I agree, and whatever your point of view, “raped” doesn’t imply anything that it isn’t. It won’t send the wrong message.

    People tend to get caught up trying to make their language more colorful and diverse, but sometimes the plain facts are exactly what you need to say and nothing more, even if you think some bit of elaboration might make an interesting rhetorical flourish or convey your opinion about it. This is one of those cases.

  179. 179
    consciousness razor

    I’m tired of hearing about deified “coaches” as if they were some key to personal fulfillment beyond the wildest dreams of any poor, hard-scrabble student. Can we please retire them to Central Casting?

    Josh, no mere coach’s death would cause the PA Governor to fly flags at half staff, or the President to call his family to offer his deepest condolences.

    No, Paterno either made a deal with the devil, or he is the devil.

    The only other possibility I can think of is that we never should’ve had any faith in humanity to begin with, which means losing it is somehow for the better.

  180. 180
    andrewbrown not the one from the grauniad

    This is a wonderful example of what I refer to as the Shipman defence, where you point out the small good you do to deflect the massive harm.

    To whit. Harold Shipman doctor and serial killer is exasperated and snaps at the police “Why do you keep asking about the 15 patients I supposedly killed, you never ask me about the hundreds I saved?”

    N.B. The above is culled solely from my imagination, but a great example is shown below, also in connection with child rape. (Starts at 3:35)

  181. 181
    Ichthyic

    “Raped” seems to have about the right connotations.

    Yup.

    don’t know why I didn’t just add it there.

  182. 182
    consciousness razor

    To be honest, I didn’t think I had any left anyway, but now that bit is definitely gone.

  183. 183
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    CR: Errrrr.

    Or we can stop pretending PE teachers are so goddamn amazing they deserve 90 minutes of film stock and a promo during commercial breaks.

    :O

  184. 184
    Ichthyic

    One thing though:

    College Football is BIG MONEY.

    in a nation that fucking worships money above all else, is it any wonder that successful coaches that bring sports franchise money into their unis get labeled “heroes”?

  185. 185
    bigj

    What is it about a “coach” that makes these things more likely? What is it that a “coachs” can do for a student that an academic mentor can’t?

    I’m tired of hearing about deified “coaches” as if they were some key to personal fulfillment beyond the wildest dreams of any poor, hard-scrabble student. Can we please retire them to Central Casting?

    I’m not saying that a coach is more likely to do any of these things than a good academic mentor, or that a coach is the only person who can fulfill these roles. And, as I noted, few coaches on the college level seem at all interested in any of this. However, in my experience, certain students accord significantly more respect to a coach than any other academic mentor. If a coach can reach a student like that when teachers, mentors, counselors, tutors, advisers, and even parents have failed, as I have seen several times, why be so dismissive?

    I absolutely agree with you about the disproportionate status granted coaches (and sports in general) in our culture. I have a long running dispute with my alma mater’s alumni association about its support for the football and hockey teams, but lack of support for the band or engineering programs. Sweeping dismissals of coaches as “inconsequential fluff” really do bug me, however, because the good I have seen coaches accomplish by virtue of their positions.

  186. 186
    robro

    Possible drawback to Joe’s going…his grand jury testimony against Schultz and Curley can’t be admitted as evidence because he wasn’t cross-examined by their attorneys:

    http://nyti.ms/zyWJrO

  187. 187
    Pteryxx

    What is it about a “coach” that makes these things more likely? What is it that a “coachs” can do for a student that an academic mentor can’t?

    Basically, coaching is mentoring in a physical activity context, usually with more emphasis on competition. The best coaches I ever had taught meditation, stretching, concentration under physical stress, how to do physical repetitive training (which differs from intellectual training), and how to deal honorably with teammates and opponents (the beginning of management skills). All of this is still useful to me today as a physical, kinesthetic, competitive person.

    This doesn’t make them any more or less important than academic mentors, except for humans’ propensity to get obsessed with winning and pack identity. People DO get obsessed with straight-A’s and getting into the biggest-name schools, too. But those of us whose think kinesthetically also deserve mentoring.

  188. 188
    cccbccc

    @robro: I don’t think I’ve ever resented the Confrontation Clause before…

  189. 189
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    This doesn’t make them any more or less important than academic mentors, except for humans’ propensity to get obsessed with winning and pack identity.

    All right. That’s all reasonable and straightforward. Thanks for that explanation. It makes good sense.

  190. 190
    consciousness razor

    However, in my experience, certain students accord significantly more respect to a coach than any other academic mentor.

    Why do you think that is? Do you think that could have anything to do with the unwarranted respect they’re given? How about all of the competitive, testosterone-fueled bullshit they hear growing up and have no safe way to imitate except through sports? How about all the money and fame thrown at coaches and athletes, as if there aren’t countless starving people in the world who need more of our attention?

    If a coach can reach a student like that when teachers, mentors, counselors, tutors, advisers, and even parents have failed, as I have seen several times, why be so dismissive?

    You want to turn this into a conversation about how wonderful coaches can be? Or can it wait just a little while, until we’re done talking about the kids who were raped? Because, in case you haven’t been paying attention, that’s what we were fucking talking about.

  191. 191
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    My policy is to forgive everybody of every crime upon their death.

    ORLY. So who died and made you pope?

    This idea of third party forgiveness is one of the disgusting things about Xianity. You have no right to forgive him. You’re not the victim of that crime. How dare you usurp their rights and trample on their feelings just to proclaim your sanctimony?

  192. 192
    bigj

    consciousness razor: Did you actually read either of my posts? If you had, maybe you might have been able to figure out my opinions on your comment:

    I absolutely agree with you about the disproportionate status granted coaches (and sports in general) in our culture. I have a long running dispute with my alma mater’s alumni association about its support for the football and hockey teams, but lack of support for the band or engineering programs.

    That’s from my second comment. Sports are accorded far too much respect in our culture. You won’t find any argument from me on that.
    The whole point of my first comment, and discussion about the worth of a coach, was in the last paragraph, which you seem to have missed:

    All of this makes Paterno’s failings in this case even more vile. That someone who had the power to change so many lives for the better essentially turned a blind eye to those who needed him most is one of the most disgusting legacies a man can leave.

    I am not defending Paterno. I am not trying to mitigate his crimes. I took issue with Prof. Myers’ sweeping dismissal of football coaches, but my main point was that, to someone with actual experience with football coaching from both sides, his moral failures were even worse when you take the rest into account.

  193. 193
    Pteryxx

    I should also say that while coaches aren’t (or shouldn’t be) more important than academic mentors (let’s say teachers), they definitely should be under greater scrutiny. Not only does sports mentoring often involve physical contact, which academics don’t, but the propensity for hero-worship in any form of competition means even higher standards of conduct just to compensate. There’s a reason charismatic, predatory child-rapists keep going into coaching, the same reason other kinds of rapists want – for plausible deniability.

  194. 194
    echidna

    I took issue with Prof. Myers’ sweeping dismissal of football coaches

    Even from Australia, it is apparent that football coaches are given money and deference over academic professors in US academic institutions. The anti-intellectual climate that exists there is heart-breaking.

    Do you honestly expect fawning over football coaches from academics?

  195. 195
    Pteryxx

    …Frick, I’m dense at 3 AM. OF COURSE the charismatic, manipulative type of predator is going to go into coaching – coaches of competitive team sports already have to be charismatic to guide the emotions and unity of their players in the first place.

    I’m starting to think that the predator-awareness part of sex ed needs to be taught along with the basic safety ground rules in all coaching situations, starting with NO-GO-TELL and expanding every year.

    Do you honestly expect fawning over football coaches from academics?

    Fawning, no. I’d rather not blanket dismissal, either. But this is off topic, IMHO.

  196. 196
    consciousness razor

    consciousness razor: Did you actually read either of my posts?

    I sure did. Have you read this thread? Been reading the news? Know what dismissing the seriousness of rape looks like?

    I absolutely agree with you about the disproportionate status granted coaches (and sports in general) in our culture. [...]

    That’s from my second comment. Sports are accorded far too much respect in our culture. You won’t find any argument from me on that.

    Then you shouldn’t have any problem with what I said. I asked why you think that’s the case. Is it because some are good at teaching things like hard work and loyalty? Or could there be other reasons as well?

    I took issue with Prof. Myers’ sweeping dismissal of football coaches, but my main point was that, to someone with actual experience with football coaching from both sides, his moral failures were even worse when you take the rest into account.

    I don’t think we ought to hold coaches up to a higher standard than anyone else. Besides, if it were any higher, it would probably involve apotheosis; which might put one of them in danger of crucifixion, and surely coaches are too precious a resource for us to risk that.

  197. 197
    bigj

    Do you honestly expect fawning over football coaches from academics?

    If I have not been clear on anything, honestly, please let me know. Repeating myself is getting a little ridiculous.

    Sports in general, and that includes the coaches, are accorded far too much respect in today’s culture. It disgusts me when science or engineering budgets get slashed, while the football coach gets a huge contract. I was happy to see it when Northeastern ended its football program in favor of academics and less expensive athletics programs. It was never my intention to argue otherwise.

    The thing is, there is one thing I am more proud of than anything else I have accomplished in my life to date, which never would have happened if not for playing and coaching football. I have had three people, one I knew as a teammate, one as a coach, and one as both, tell me that I was their inspiration for getting serious about academics and going to college. I never would have met any of those three outside of football (they didn’t start going to tutoring sessions except as a condition to play football), and they likely, by their own admissions, would not have graduated high school without influences from the coaching staff.

    So no, to answer your question, echidna, I do not expect fawning over football coaches, or anyone else for that matter. At the same time, I think my experiences, at least, are about as far from “inconsequential fluff” as you can get.

  198. 198
    bigj

    consciousness razor: If I read a little too much snark into your comment, I apologize (my typing and my reading comprehension might be affected by the late hour, so be warned).

    In all seriousness, I really have not at all meant any of my comments to dismiss the seriousness of any of the crimes committed at Penn State, whether child rape or the subsequent cover up. If I gave you that impression, please let me know what I said to that effect.

    As to your question about the importance given to sports, I suspect it’s a combination of over-competitiveness that seems pervasive in our culture, and a desire to live vicariously through others (note how often people refer to “their team” in relation to sports teams, when they have absolutely no connection to said team). Unfortunately, the better lessons seem to be mentioned in larger conversations only to justify the investment.

    I actually do think that coaches should be held to a higher standard, for many of the reasons Pteryxx mentioned. Anyone who spends that much time in such close quarters with kids should be held to the highest standards of conduct.

  199. 199
    echidna

    At the same time, I think my experiences, at least, are about as far from “inconsequential fluff” as you can get.

    Even now, the NYT is talking about how the prosecution of Sandusky has lost a key witness.

    This stupid, greedy, powerhungry football coach put his own glory above protecting children from his child-raping mate.

    Look, I’m glad you used your position as a football coach for good. But football coaches hardly need protection in the grand scheme of things. Children do.

  200. 200
    Pteryxx

    bigj: in my opinion, just as a suggestion, it’s time to let this point go.

  201. 201
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Fuck Joe Paterno.
    And fuck all his fans who are raising him into sainthood. Death doesn’t erase his failure.

    And about forgiveness… The only people who lay claim on giving forgiveness are the victims of the rapist he failed to turn in. And since Paterno is dead, if they decided to forgive him, it would be only for themselves – if they felt it would do them some good. They don’t own him forgiveness just because he’s dead.

    And all his fans who have “forgiven” him can go fuck themselves again. I can’t even imagine how rape survivors who could have been spared if only Paterno wasn’t such a coward feel when they hear how he is being praised, excused and even “forgiven”.

  202. 202
    imthegenieicandoanything

    [sigh] I might as well be Charlie Brown, what with all the sighs.

    Nice display of a lack of humanism here, as well as reason and tolerance.

    And an utterly appalling determination to not read, much less understand.

    I likely agree on every issue with most people here, but most everyone just wants to finger their miserable little faux-righteousness.

    To deliver an ultimate insult: many of them sound like Xian Republicans.

    Well, this pettiness and invective I’ve seen before here, and been equally disgusted by.

    It’s healthy, knowing even most of those you “agree” with really don’t give a shit about anything but being “right” and toeing their tribal line.

    “Reason”! That is a laugh, isn’t it, when the proper dog whistle is blown?

  203. 203
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Tolerance? For a guy who could have made sure that the man who was raping children got reported to the authorities, but didn’t?
    Or for his fans who are so blinded with hero worship that they are willing to throw raped children under the bus for a couple of good football games?

    No, I have no tolerance for either.

  204. 204
    Cipher

    Yes, we’re the ones being faux-righteous. It’s not at all like you came into the thread to spout about how grand and reasonable you were for forgiving a child rape enabler on behalf of the victims because, after all, this is all about your feelings.
    Fuck. Off.

  205. 205
    Koshka

    #205,
    Diddums,
    Was the big bad horde being mean to you?

  206. 206
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    Sorry, but wasn’t the rapist originally getting said children from the charity that Paterno had set up to help disadvantaged children? Which would seriously call into question Paterno’s intentions on helping these kids.

    Yeah i raised a bit of money for you, now run along with my friend who i know is going to molest you.

    I’m wondering now if I misread that, or if timelines changed or whatever because no one has mentioned it.

  207. 207
    tami

    Obviously the term “raped” applies…and works as well or better than “damaged,” “injured,” “broken,” or “traumatized.” The point is, though, that when a rape survivor chooses the word she (or he) is reflecting what she feels her own condition to be. I spent years working to learn NOT to be a victim…and years trying to “repair” the emotional damage done to me. But that’s me, looking at it from the INSIDE.

    When some fool refers to a rape survivor as “damaged goods” or tells me that “it’s over and done with so just get over it” (yes, I’ve heard that…from a therapist no less) I may think to myself “Yes, I am damaged, and I want to get over it” but then I tell those people to STFU and scream at them for being incredibly insensitive a$$holes.

    The fact is — context matters. The words one uses don’t matter so much as how you use them. Minimizing the impact that being raped (or sexually- or physically- abused) is never ok. Denigrating someone who was raped BECAUSE they were raped is even worse. Even one incident of rape changes one’s life forever…the impact defies my ability to describe it…and not just to the survivor, but to their loved ones — spouses, children, friends, parents.

    That article in the Daily Kos was excellent. It gives you a glimpse of what a rape can do to someone’s life. Paterno didn’t get it. I don’t care if he was the greatest coach/teacher (because a good coach really can be a great teacher) who ever lived. He let a terrible wrong continue and for that there is no forgiveness…at least not from me.

    If any good is to come out of this it’s that people begin to understand the impact that rape has on a human being. Maybe someone who wouldn’t have said anything in the past will step up and blow the whistle on the Sandusky’s of the world.

  208. 208
    funkyderek

    “For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name,
    He writes – not that you won or lost – but how you played the Game.”

  209. 209
    rrpostal

    I don’t think it’s necessary to denigrate all sport in order to see the horrors committed here.

  210. 210
    trianglethief

    I don’t think it’s necessary to keep making the same tedious and irrelevant point.

    What is it that possesses people, upon seeing a post about some fucknugget who abetted the rape of children, to fart out some assriffic non-thought that just makes decent people long for an internet window to open in order to dissipate the stench of bullshit?

  211. 211
    Matt Penfold

    imthegenieicandoanything,

    What connection did you have with Paterno ? You speak of forgiving him, and that can only be done by someone who was harmed by him in some way. If you had no connection with the man, then it is not your place to forgive him, and it is rather arrogant to think you do.

  212. 212
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    imthegenieicandoanything, you’ve had your say. We reject your fuckwitted apologetics. Now, deal with it elsewhere. You are doing a version of tone-trolling.

    Ooh, I’ve no doubt hurt poor cupcakes feelings by calling you what you are, a troll. You don’t have the last say, and your attempts to shame us only shame yourself and demonstrate your inflated ego. Get over yourself and your minimal importance to the world. Your opinion is rejected for being stupid and inane. Paterno did bad by not doing good when morally required. Until you admit it and deal with it on your own, your opinion is fuckwitted. We don’t have to forgive anybody, at anytime. Our decision, not yours.

  213. 213
    rrpostal

    “I don’t think it’s necessary to keep making the same tedious and irrelevant point……………….bullshit”

    Did I repeat myself somewhere?

    I apologize profusely and deem your four line fart joke as a far superior use of the commenting process.

  214. 214
    Bernard Bumner

    My policy is to forgive everybody of every crime upon their death.

    What does that mean?

    Expunging their misdemeanors from history?

    Not criticising their moral cowardice?

    Not pointing out the harm they did by virtue of a basic failure of duty of care? By their neglect? Their self-interest? Their deliberate misdeeds?

    Not being angry at them? Not challenging eulogies and agrandising myths even as they constructed?

    Exactly how are we meant to show this forgiveness, and just what is it worth?

    What is it worth to the dead?

    Much more importantly, what is it worth to the living who have suffered the consequences of those crimes?

    He’s dead. Of cancer, no less. And he will soon be remembered ONLY for his disgrace.

    Isn’t that enough, in this case?…

    Joe Paterno
    Weak Human Being
    Dead

    What more punishment would any reasonable person ask?

    What punishment?

    Joe Paterno wasn’t punished, he was merely sacked and called to account for his actions. The wheels of justice barely had time to tremble.

    He was virtually carried from office on the shoulders of his supporters, all the while blaming others for his own disgusting behaviour. In death, eulogy writers have barely acknowledged his active part in enabling child abuse. At best, they seem to think that a oblique reference to scandal is sufficient.

    His failure to act was not a passive consequence, it was an active choice. He participated in a cover up of the worst kind of crimes.

    He died at a ripe old age, having lived the majority of his life in a blaze of glory with the full trappings of office and the rewards that go with sporting success. He had cancer. That wasn’t any sort of punishment, no natural justice; he suffered the same pain and terrible end as so many good and right-acting people who won’t be lavished with praise by the media and press. Cancer was not some sort of deserved end, it was a mere coincidence that denied his victims any real formal justice for his part in their abuse.

    …everyone just wants to finger their miserable little faux-righteousness…

    So says our would-be better, who comes here with their quasi-religious notion of forgiveness.

    The monument to Joe Paterno should be whatever the victims of his inaction wish it to be. It should be built by his critics to serve as a warning and a demonstration that turning a blind eye to abuse is to actively enable it and will not be tolerated at any cost.

    Forgive is a meaningless word in the mouth of anyone other than a victim of his crime.

  215. 215
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    To deliver an ultimate insult: many of them sound like Xian Republicans.

    Well, this pettiness and invective I’ve seen before here, and been equally disgusted by.

    It’s healthy, knowing even most of those you “agree” with really don’t give a shit about anything but being “right” and toeing their tribal line.

    “Reason”! That is a laugh, isn’t it, when the proper dog whistle is blown?

    Oh please. Classic bullshit that people who have been pointed out to be wrong pull here.

    It’s old, it’s boring and it makes you look like a giant ass who can’t admit they’re wrong.

  216. 216
    David Marjanović

    Sexual crime victims get enough reinforcement of being broken, damaged, defiled, dirtied, etc., from assholes and our culture without supposed allies adding to it.

    I’m surprised you lump “broken” and “damaged” with the much more metaphorical and inevitably religiously/patriarchally tinged “defiled” and “dirtied”. Does “defiled” even have a physical meaning?

    I associate “broken” in such usage with “broken heart”, “broken will” and the like.

    @Ichthyic – thank you for making that connection. And Skatje, thank you for bringing up the issue. The damage, to those of you who are asking, is *imposing* the label of “broken” onto people who have not claimed it. The harm is me, a rape survivor, sitting in a class discussing sex crimes, when it was PERFECTLY acceptable for the professor to ask “Would you all date a rape victim?” and some frat boy saying “Absolutely not. Damaged goods.”

    The horror here isn’t so much “damaged” as “goods” – it’s the idea that women are goods rather than people.

    (And why the fuck did the professor ask such a thing?!? How did he react to the fratboy’s answer?)

    Hero? Do you even know what the hell a HERO is? A hero isn’t a great coach.

    Soon after 9/11, “hero” came to mean “dead American”.

  217. 217
    trianglethief

    rrpostal: So you’re saying you just didn’t read the thread? Because you are not the first to a) invent a reality wherein the original post or someone in the comments ‘denigrated all sport’ or b) decide that said imagined denigration will be what you choose to comment on in the context of a conversation about prioritising a sport over protecting children from rape.

    Yours was merely the strawcomment that broke the back of my restraint this morning.

  218. 218
    tami

    “I’m surprised you lump “broken” and “damaged” with the much more metaphorical and inevitably religiously/patriarchally tinged “defiled” and “dirtied”. Does “defiled” even have a physical meaning?”

    I don’t know about the “religiously/patriarchally tinged” aspect of the words “defiled” and “dirtied,” but to me, “defiled” has an emotional meaning. It means, insulted, offended, demeaned, and dehumanized.

    “Dirtied” is too nice a word, but is not necessarily off the mark…the filth that took part of my life was vulgar, disgusting and yes, dirty. He dirtied me by touching me.

    I guess it depends on how you look at it…words have different meanings to different people. IMHO, those words fit. It’s semantics…

    …and it shows that there really aren’t words capable of completely describing the horrible and vile acts we’re talking about.

  219. 219
    Anri

    Well, imthegenieicandoanything, since you’re back to sully your poor, tattered decency by slumming with us ijjit Pharyngulites:

    I, for one, don’t forgive others for their sakes, but for my own peace of mind. I can get as angry as anyone at the stupidity and cowardice that often seem to be the most notable trait of human beings, but am trying to stop indulging what is a generally useless, even vain, potentially dangerous habit.

    So, not thinking about bad things makes you feel better.

    Um, good for you?

    Some people – wild-eyed crazy fundamentalists, no doubt – feel that the correct response to atrocity is anger, even if the perpetrator is dead.

    I’ll be impressed if a significant portion of our hordes here understand that – even if they disagree with it.

    I’m prepared to be disappointed, though. Twain’s maxim about human beings is as true here as anywhere, after all.

    Surprise me!

    Hey, but thanks for even entertaining the thought that someday, with enough hard work and practice, even we mud-people might be as enlightened as you…

    …one day.

  220. 220
    concernedjoe

    Oh for fucksake …

    Joe lived a privileged life .. in a capitalistic sense he earned it .. again in a capitalistic sense he earned it for all the right reasons. Now one could argue against the economic system and the values of society and its pay for play values – but that is a different discussion. Joe played his life in the ambient system – not his bad.

    Joe like many people of privilege had resources to spare; he could and did use them to do good things. But that comes with the territory. And people of privilege earn significant rewards in return – don’t be naive. I am glad Joe played the game on the good side (for whatever reason) and used his exceptional resources to do some exceptional things but this is a big “so what?!?!?”. Frankly a line worker making lower-middle-class wages that often sacrifices (truly) their knowledge and talent, and sparse leisure hours to a “Habitat for Humanity” because they want to help others so to speak is much more impressive and inspiring to me.

    The issues are these and they are incontrovertible:

    Joe was very powerful.

    Joe knew very well or had good reason to believe (do not be naive!!) that hanky-panky with CHILDREN was going on in a context in which his power had sway (directly or INdirectly)

    Joe did not use his significant power – his leadership position and prestige – to ENSURE that hanky-panky was STOPPED! He did no more really than a low level employee would do; no more than someone who because of justifiable fear of potential devastating repercussions and/or just faith in the masters’ handling it and/or the lack of take charge experience might do. That is ONLY tell a superior and let it be otherwise. But this is a major FAIL as a human being of privilege and power!

    Joe is receiving adulation.. I don’t want to piss on his grave – BUT I do want the World to play it right.

    Media should leave it at this: “Joe was a man who did great things in our book – but he also failed when his power was needed most, he failed in a very important inexcusable way. We do extend our sympathies to his family and friends.” I’d be harsher but I am speaking about a media that one should not overestimate when it comes to reality.

    I think this is PZ’s essential point.

  221. 221
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    hanky……panky…..?!?

    Heavy petting is a type of hanky panky. Let’s call it what it was.

    From the reports I read these children were repeatedly cornered, stripped, held down and raped.

  222. 222
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I was right. I should have stayed away. But I am a well-known idiot, so here I am.

    He’s dead. Of cancer, no less. And he will soon be remembered ONLY for his disgrace.

    Isn’t that enough, in this case?

    Or maybe his post mortem disgrace will help give one person in a position of authority the guts to do the right thing. His downfall will, hopefully, serve as an example of what not to do.

    The lesson from Watergate that everyone seems to forget is that the coverup is often worse than the actual crime.

    No, the crime was still worse than the coverup.

    Joe Paterno DID NOT enable child rape.

    He failed to report a reasonable suspicion that a crime against a child had been committed and, because he did that, Sandusky had ten more years of access to children. If that is not enabling child rape, what is?

    Instead, PZ wants to feel self-righteous and it is easier for him to maintain this feeling if he refuses to consider all of the good stuff Joe did too.

    I have an appreciation for the good that Paterno did — his massive (and often anonymous) donations to the school, for example. To dismiss the evil that he allowed to continue because he did some good things? You do know that Hitler was really good to his dog, right?

    People are being openly critical of the national media for being too nice to a dead man.

    Who gave a child rapist ten more years of access to children.

    Do Americans really love sports and the people who participate in them so much that it overshadows, even blacks out, the fact that someone enabled the rape of children?

    Yes.

    However, in my experience, certain students accord significantly more respect to a coach than any other academic mentor.

    And this doesn’t seam like a problem to you? Maybe this attitude is why it was more important for Joe Paterno and Penn State to protect the athletic program than it was to protect children.

    Nice display of a lack of humanism here, as well as reason and tolerance.

    Vilifying a man who enabled a child rapist is not humanistic? Are we supposed to tolerate child rape in order to be ‘fair and balanced’?

    I don’t think it’s necessary to denigrate all sport in order to see the horrors committed here.

    I don’t think sports itself is being denigrated. What is being attacked, though, is the elevation of sports above and beyond anything else. Sports is good. Sports is fun. Sports has also corrupted education and ethics. That is the problem.

    My policy is to forgive everybody of every crime upon their death.

    Just thought of this (which is why it is out of order): Doesn’t that put historians (like me) out of business?

  223. 223
    Heliantus

    @ ricardodivali

    Let’s call it what it was.

    That. A million times.

    We are talking about a grown man abusing his position to anally rape 10-year boys, not just once, but during a long period of time, and about the lack of reaction from the people who were put in a position to suspect something, foremost among them the formerly great coach Joe Paterno.

    In the free newspaper I grab every morning, there was an editorial after the story broke which summarized it like this:

    Remember:
    Taking a shower with your kids –> Good
    Taking a shower with someone’s else kids –> Bad

    Err, no. Most emphatically no. It was more than “taking a shower”. You don’t do that to any kid. Period.

    English is my secong language, and I didn’t had a clear meaning for “horsing around”. Now it will be forevermore associated with raping children.

    Let’s stop with euphemisms and call a cat a cat. Or a rape a rape.

  224. 224
    josephsimko

    This reminds me of the American students gathering in Washington DC after Osama’s death and chanting “USA USA!” I found that very distasteful. I find this thread equally distasteful.

  225. 225
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    josephsimko,
    No mention of how distasteful you find all those praising Paterno as a hero, completely dismissing the cover up of child rape?
    Strange, I find that very, very distasteful. This thread… not so much, except for those making excuses for him.

  226. 226
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    This reminds me of the American students gathering in Washington DC after Osama’s death and chanting “USA USA!” I found that very distasteful. I find this thread equally distasteful.

    Odd. I don’t see the original post, nor any of the comments, as the writer doing a victory dance over someone’s death. I do see people claiming that being a good football coach, and contibuting to the school and to charity, outweighing allowing a child rapist access to children for an additional decade. Do you mean that pointing out that enabling child rape is far more important to football is distasteful?

  227. 227
    WithinThisMind

    Joe seemed a good, upright, decent man. A jolly bloke. A model citizen. Plenty to admire. Just like most people.

    Except…

    One day, Joe actually had to make a hard decision. In spite of his ‘goodness’ and ‘decency’, it sounds like it was the first hard decision he ever actually had to make. It was the first time doing the right thing would have consequences for him. The first time doing the right thing entailed actual risk to him.

    And when faced with the hard decision, the mask of ‘good, decent, upright man’ came off, and he showed that in the way that truly matters, he was a coward.

    Oh, whine and wail how terrible it was that he lost the lottery and actually had to make such a decision. Plenty of people never do. Others make the choice and it’s their shining moment, a choice that outweighs any bad they’ve done in the past because it shows the world that where it counts, they’ve got it.

    Joe didn’t. The good, upstanding, decent person was just a veneer. Under it, he was an immoral coward. He showed his true colors.

  228. 228
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I find this thread equally distasteful.

    And why should we care what you think? You haven’t shown you can think in context, which is why we don’t give a shit about the nonsense you spew.

  229. 229
    Anthony K

    This reminds me of the American students gathering in Washington DC after Osama’s death and chanting “USA USA!” I found that very distasteful. I find this thread equally distasteful.

    Not to worry. imthegenieicandoanything will forgive you for that when you’re dead.

  230. 230
    godlessheathen

    @Thomathy, 150:

    I probably don’t need to ask this question, but it goes to the heart of my inability to understand why what the man did for a living even matters: Do Americans really love sports and the people who participate in them so much that it overshadows, even blacks out, the fact that someone enabled the rape of children?

    I’m sure someone answered this already, but yes. Definitely, yes. There’s a long history of college football (and basketball) players being accused of rape and the entire thing being covered up and brushed under the rug because they are college football players. Oh, also happens to pro players (see: Ben Roethlisberger).

  231. 231
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    I find this thread equally distasteful.

    If you’re going to rock the boat, do it good and hard.

    Because it seems a lot of people need a good dunking in freezing cold reality and maybe just a little pain. It might wake them up out of their self-absorbed stupor.

  232. 232
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    There’s a long history of college football (and basketball) players being accused of rape and the entire thing being covered up and brushed under the rug because they are college football players. Oh, also happens to pro players (see: Ben Roethlisberger).

    And in high school.

  233. 233
    carlie

    It was the first time doing the right thing would have consequences for him. The first time doing the right thing entailed actual risk to him.

    And the worst about that is that the risk to him was very minimal. Loss of a friend? Losing a friend who is a child molester isn’t a bad thing at all. Bad publicity? Well, Sandusky wasn’t employed there any more, so he would be easy to sacrifice and say the house has been cleaned, and Paterno comes off as a hero. Loss of his own job? No way, not after doing the good deed of protecting children. Doing the right thing would have eventually enhanced his reputation, not tarnished it.

  234. 234
    Ingdigo Jump

    Just want to say to others on the damaged topic that I have been convinced to use more careful language.

  235. 235
    carlie

    If you’re going to rock the boat, do it good and hard.

    Because it seems a lot of people need a good dunking in freezing cold reality and maybe just a little pain. It might wake them up out of their self-absorbed stupor.

    I assume that you’re talking about people who are writing things like “I find this whole thread distasteful”. Because an awful lot of the people posting here have had up-close and personal encounters with the “freezing cold reality” and pain of rape. They are not the ones who need to be woken up to the actual evil that resulted from Paterno choosing to look the other way.

  236. 236
    godlessheathen

    @Ogvorbis,

    And in high school.

    You’re right. I should have added that as well.

  237. 237
    ltft

    I am not a Paterno fan- he deserved to be fired, he may have deserved to be prosecuted, he ignored his moral duty, and he definitely deserves quite a lot of the condemnation he’s getting.

    That said, literally thousands of student atheletes got their degree, and a better life, because they went to Penn State and he was their coach (versus going to many other D1 schools with inferior graduation rates). He donated almost his entire life savings back to the University.

    A good person can do bad things and a bad person can do good. Maybe the balance of Paterno’s actions were good and maybe that all that good is easily outweighed by the horribleness of the bad. Maybe Paterno was a mostly good person with some terrible darkness in him and that the presence and extent of that darkness makes him a bad person. I don’t know.

    Does making thousands of lives better offset the horrific damage done to the possibly dozens of victims of Sandusky’s molestation? I have no idea how to do that moral calculus but I’d hazard a guess that abso-frickin’-lutely not, it doesn’t. But the mass of people condemning Paterno in this thread… the venom and oversimplification captured in some of these comments is every bit as stupid as any unrestrained praise of Paterno is.

  238. 238
    Matt Penfold

    That said, literally thousands of student atheletes got their degree, and a better life, because they went to Penn State and he was their coach (versus going to many other D1 schools with inferior graduation rates). He donated almost his entire life savings back to the University.

    That is not a credit to Paterno but a condemnation of the the funding of university education in the US.

  239. 239
    Matt Penfold

    Oh, and if Paterno could afford to donate most of his salary, something I doubt many of the academic or support staff could do, then he was being paid too much.

  240. 240
    chigau (違う)

    Maybe Paterno “donated” all that money to try to alleviate his overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame.

  241. 241
    Matt Penfold

    Also, what the fuck is that bit about student athletes ? Why should being an athlete have any bearing on getting to a decent university ? In what way does being able throw or catch a ball make someone able to benefit from a decent education ?

  242. 242
    Pink No More

    This reminds me of the American students gathering in Washington DC after Osama’s death and chanting “USA USA!” I found that very distasteful. I find this thread equally distasteful.

    Yes, because condemnation of someone for their misdeeds is just sooooo wrong. Well, nobody’s putting a gun to your fucking head and telling you you have to soil your oh-so-beautiful mind with our basic fucking decency. If you’re oh-so-very-offended at us daring to speak our minds on someone who enabld child rape, then why don’t you do both us and yourself a favor and get the fuck out?

  243. 243
    Ingdigo Jump

    Joepoe should be bashed for one good practical reason. People need to learn from other peoples big mistakes because the stakes of them are too big to learn from your own.

  244. 244
    Ingdigo Jump

    I wish those comming in to inform us of all the good Joey did would just answer the question

    Its in the title.

    Yes or no. Was. It . Worth. It.?

  245. 245
    Bernard Bumner

    That said, literally thousands of student atheletes got their degree, and a better life, because they went to Penn State and he was their coach (versus going to many other D1 schools with inferior graduation rates). He donated almost his entire life savings back to the University.

    And this required that he ignored child rape? Would doing what was right somehow have jeopardized that legacy?

    I think not.

    …thousands of student atheletes got their degree…

    So, he did his job then? I’m not sure that merits any special praise.

    …He donated almost his entire life savings back to the University.

    The not inconsiderable riches he accumulated by being disproportionately rewarded over and above those others, those academics thanks to whom thousands of students got their degrees.

    He also lived a priviledged existance, prior to buying this legacy. It must be nice to be able to afford such extravagant philanthropy.

    He did something perfectly nice.

    But the mass of people condemning Paterno in this thread… the venom and oversimplification captured in some of these comments is every bit as stupid as any unrestrained praise of Paterno is.

    Perfect bollocks.

    Paterno made a choice not to take action when he suspected an adult was raping children.

    That is no oversimplification, it is simply stripping away the excuses and mitigations which cloud what he did and minimise his actions as someone who contributed to child abuse.

  246. 246
    Ingdigo Jump

    I envy the rich. If I did anything wrong like ignore child rape I could never donate enough to be recoginized as a good person.

  247. 247
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I have no idea how to do that moral calculus but I’d hazard a guess that abso-frickin’-lutely not, it doesn’t. But the mass of people condemning Paterno in this thread… the venom and oversimplification captured in some of these comments is every bit as stupid as any unrestrained praise of Paterno is.

    Paterno’s apologizers keep needing to be reminded why everybody doesn’t join in their chorus of praise for the man. Until they acknowledge his flaws, some of us won’t acknowledge his good as a counterbalance. The man did both good and bad, and both the good and bad should be acknowledged, with neither one swept under the rug. But the apologizers want to sweep only the bad under the rug, making him St. Paterno.

  248. 248
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    . But the mass of people condemning Paterno in this thread… the venom and oversimplification captured in some of these comments is every bit as stupid as any unrestrained praise of Paterno is.

    It all comes down to Joe Paterno’s decision in the one major choice he had to make during his entire adult life: “Do I stop a child rapist, or protect the Penn State athletics programme?” He chose to protect the programme, a short-sighted and cowardly choice.

    Yes, he was good football coach. Yes, football scholarships helped many students athletes afford college. Yes, he was either very honest in the operation of the football programme, or he didn’t get caught by the NCAA rules committee. Yes, he donated large sums of money back to the school, often trying to remain anonymous. Yes, he was really part of the community. Yes, he helped to found a charity to held underprivileged youths. Yes, when an assistant coach used that charity to gain access to children so that he could rape them, Joe Paterno kicked the problem upstairs to avoid rocking the boat. Yes, when given the choice of dialing 911 while the witness was in his office, or letting it wait because it was Saturday morning, he chose to wait and not call the police. Yes, when Joe Paterno saw that no investigation was forthcoming, when Sandusky was still free (for a decade!), he chose to remain silent and let the rapes continue (just not in the locker room showers anymore). Yes, he covered up for someone who was raping children, but should that really matter in the way he is remembered?

    If you have to think about that question at the end of the paragraph, you have problems.

    All it would have taken would have been for Paterno to do the right thing. All it ever takes is someone with a suspicion, or knowledge, of abuse to do the right thing. And it doesn’t happen enough. Not nearly enough. And the effects, when people do not do the right thing, can be horrific. Not the head coach losing his job when it comes to light — that is minor.

    Again, if you have to think about when somebody asks you, “Well, yeah, he covered up for a child rapist, but since he did all these other things (charity, football, community), should that really affect the way he is remembered?” you have to stop and think about it, you have serious issues on many levels.

  249. 249
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    I have no idea how to do that moral calculus but I’d hazard a guess that abso-frickin’-lutely not, it doesn’t.

    There is no calculus to do in my opinion. They are two different things. It is bizarre to even try to compare with this whole “good” vs “bad” thing. A religious holdover that protects those that can afford to “pay off” the angry mob (like religious officials in fact… funny that).

    All the charity in the world does not magically undo a rape. EVEN MORE SO when those raped never received the charity and “good works” these people go on, and on about.

  250. 250
    Anthony K

    Seriously, why is this thread so fucking long? What’s the fucking issue?

    You know what other organisation does good work and mostly turns a blind eye to kiddie fucking while assisting the authorities in a lackadaisical, footdragging way?

    The Catholic Church.

    We’d better see every fucking one of these Paterno defenders pop in to talk about all the good the Pope has done the next time there’s a thread on abuse by Catholic clergy.

    I mean, the venom and oversimplification of religious institutions is every bit as stupid as any unrestrained praise, right?

  251. 251
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    THIS SCHOOL TENURE ONLY!!
    FIRESALE on Child Rape Coverup!

    Donate 20% or more of your Salary to the Same School that helped over up the Rape and you are ABSOLVED of any guilt!

    Deal of a LIFETIME

    BUY NOW as this sale is only for as long as your apologists keep wearing blinders!

    *These terms of sale are only good for long term coaches with winning records. All sales are final. Does not guarantee victims will be clear of any pain or damage caused, but who cares you won a bunch of games.

  252. 252
    Gregory Greenwood

    josephsimko @ 227;

    This reminds me of the American students gathering in Washington DC after Osama’s death and chanting “USA USA!” I found that very distasteful. I find this thread equally distasteful.

    Yet you don’t find the lionization of a man who covered up child rape and facilitated a decade of further child rape ‘distasteful’?

    Really? You really want to take the part of a child rape enabler?

    You know what I find distasteful? More than distasteful, but actively repugnant and morally indefensible? Rape apologia.

    And even though you didn’t say that rape is OK, you sought to excuse the facilitation of rape, and that is still rape apologia.

    Maybe you should think about that. Do you really want to be the kind of person who champions the rapist against their victims?

  253. 253
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    This reminds me of the American students gathering in Washington DC after Osama’s death and chanting “USA USA!” I found that very distasteful. I find this thread equally distasteful.

    Analogy fail for 1000 alex.

  254. 254
    tgriehl

    Not to flagellate a deceased equus, but everyone, on this site and in the media, need to stop saying a “mistake” was made, that “one decision” was made. In both cases, JoePa made multiple, considered decisions, probably in possession of a great deal more information than we will ever be. He was not alone or unique in this travesty (so yes, hang out to dry (metaphorically) the sundry members of the administration as well), but that doesn’t remove his complicity. We all make stupid mistakes and ill-considered decisions. This is not one of those, and even if it were, we are all culpable for our mistakes.

    And I want to second the sentiment that if JoePa died of a broken heart, maybe he should have died over a decade ago. Fuck the idiot who said that pseudo-profound, sentimental, dessicated goose intestine. And fuck JoePa, and all the rest.

  255. 255
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    Josh #173:

    Honestly. All this sturm und drag. Joe Paterno was a working class white trash town boy who made good by turning a third rate college into a sports franchise. It’s the dream of every US gym teacher.

    He wasn’t a miracle worker or some great inspirational god outside the TV movie of the week. He was a provincial townie who played to the tribal ego of a bunch of bumfucks.

    Drive-by classism, now? Do we really need to further the memes about “stupid poor people who just deserve to rot in their turpitude” or “you can take them out of the slums but you can’t take the slums out of them”?

    I know it’s easy to put your foot in your mouth with a keyboard (anatomy be damned!), as the debate about PZ’s choice of words in the title shows, but still, WTF??

  256. 256
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Sorry, but wasn’t the rapist originally getting said children from the charity that Paterno had set up to help disadvantaged children?

    No. Sandusky set up the charity himself. Paterno later told him that he would never be a head coach because he was spending too much time at the charity; this led to Sandusky’s retiring from coaching.

    Paterno’s issue was not what Sandusky was doing at the charity–even when he learned about the rape in the shower, he didn’t seem (or bother) to add two and two. Paterno’s only concern was with how much extra time Sandusky would or wouldn’t dedicate to the team.

    Paterno did not care about the kids that Sandusky was raping or had raped.

    Fuck Paterno.

  257. 257
    Gregory Greenwood

    It occurs to me that all the Paterno apologists on the thread are doing a fine job of emulating him – as he placed the reputation of Penn State and his own sporting legacy above the prevention of child rape, so are they placing the maintenance of the myth of Joe Paterno; Great American Hero(TM) above stating clearly and unambiguously that covering up and facilitating child rape is always wrong – and that people who do it are never fit to be held up as role models – no matter who you are or what your life achievements might be.

    It seems that rape apologia is the true legacy of Paterno, and sadly his fans are doing a fine job of keeping it alive and well.

  258. 258
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    I am surprised that no-one has mentioned the irony in Joe Paterno’s name. Paterno/Paternal. And wouldn’t any father worth his salt protect his (and others’) children from being raped?

    It’s not just that I despise Joe P. for what he did and didn’t do — it’s that I really, really DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT!

    Child-raping? Going on in MY locker room? In MY football program? By one of MY ex-employees? And I do — nothing? NOTHING?

  259. 259
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Fuck me running.

    There are people here, in this thread, claiming it’s distasteful the way we hold an enabler of long-term child rape fucking responsible?

    So. Enabling child rape? Is that “distasteful?” Or is it the mentioning of the child rape in public that’s distasteful? How about the child rape itself? Is that distasteful?

    josephsimko, you are revolting. Your inability to face up to reality is pathetic. Your complete strawmaning of this thread is disingenuous and a false equivalency. Your tacit approval of the shielding of child rapists makes me retch.

    As tgriehl says in #257, Paterno didn’t make “a mistake.” He made that same fucking mistake every moment of every fucking day for a decade. Every time he did not hand over a child rapist to the proper authorities, he re-made that mistake. Every time he chose his career over the shattered lives of the victims, he cast that mistake anew.

    If you find this conversation distasteful, the actions that prompt this discussion should have you vomiting your disgust in the streets.

  260. 260
    Ingdigo Jump

    This reminds me of the American students gathering in Washington DC after Osama’s death and chanting “USA USA!” I found that very distasteful. I find this thread equally distasteful.

    How did you feel about the people celebrating on 9-11?

  261. 261
    Pteryxx

    (test post, ignore *waves phone cable furiously* )

  262. 262
    Pteryxx

    (heck, my comment’s being spamfiltered.)

  263. 263
    Nick Gotts

    I’m with cicely: Fuck Joe Paterno. – Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart

    I like to think even necrophiliacs would find the thought disgusting.

  264. 264
    Anri

    But the mass of people condemning Paterno in this thread… the venom and oversimplification captured in some of these comments is every bit as stupid as any unrestrained praise of Paterno is.

    Except, of course for the – no doubt inconsequential – detail that one of these positions is supporting a rapist-enabler, and the other, um, isn’t.

    And, as noted, it wasn’t ‘one bad decision’. It was the same bad decision, every single time he thought of the situation, and decided not to do anything effective about it.
    If he was haunted by it, he was constantly deciding not to remedy – or at least stop – it. If he wasn’t haunted by it, he’s repulsive. There’s really no winning for him, sorry ’bout that, sports fans.

  265. 265
    02bnpgh

    I’m completely with ‘fredsanford’ on this one.

    This community of people who supposedly look for evidence first and have honest and open discussions just go off the reservation sometimes.

    I see lots of people calling Paterno a pedophile and plenty of misplaced anger in here. He reported what was heresay with no details about someone he didn’t work with anymore to the guy who RAN THE FUCKING POLICE. When the police don’t do anything about that — what are you supposed to do? He had no direct knowledge of anything ever happening.

    The legal process for the ACTUAL dirtbag still hasn’t even gone to trial but this community of Nancy Grace’s are sure to take a hearty dump on a guy who has done more for his community than probably every single one of you.

    If Paterno really did cover things up, then he deserves all of the vitriol, but that is still nothing but wild speculation and you all know it.

    I’m sure I’ll get more juvenile name calling out of this, but I guess I shouldn’t have expected better out of a so-called skeptical community.

  266. 266
    Ingdigo Jump

    I see lots of people calling Paterno a pedophile and plenty of misplaced anger in here.

    No you have not.

  267. 267
    Ingdigo Jump

    And, as noted, it wasn’t ‘one bad decision’. It was the same bad decision, every single time he thought of the situation, and decided not to do anything effective about it.

    Is it more or less charitable to his character to point out that very well could have been just one mistake?

  268. 268
    Ingdigo Jump

    I see lots of people calling Paterno a pedophile and plenty of misplaced anger in here.

    Actually wroth repeating myself. You have not seen anyone call him a pedophile here. Not one. Go and read. You’re being dishonest.

  269. 269
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    @268, you’re a damn liar. Not one person in this thread has accused Paterno of personally being a pedophile.

    He failed at being a decent human being so fucking spectacularly that you have to invent a strawperson to knock down in order to defend him — and yet you still try to defend him. That says a lot about you, you scum.

  270. 270
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    02bnpgh,
    Who called Paterno a pedophile?
    Do touch up on your reading comprehension.

  271. 271
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    By the way, if it’s “juvenile insults” to point out that defending Paterno with lies makes you scum? Just call me Peter fucking Pan.

  272. 272
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    02bnpgh,

    Not to disappoint you: go fuck yourself, asshole.

    Also, you can hardly say that he ran to the police. As far as I have understood, he waited for a day to report it. And then reported it to the school officials rather than the police.

  273. 273
    02bnpgh

    @We Are Ing

    I did see one reference to “Pedaterno” in here, but you are correct that I was not specific in my language and I stand corrected. I meant to say “acting as if” he was a pedophile.

    And I’ve already been called a scum within a few minutes of my post. Thank you @kristinc for proving my point. You even realized that you did it before I replied. You’re a joke (even to yourself, Peter Pan). Well done.

  274. 274
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I meant to say “acting as if” he was a pedophile.

    Actually, that isn’t true either, but keep trying.

  275. 275
    Cipher

    Fuck off, slimeball. Your inane trolling gambit (YOU’RE JUST PROVING MY POINT) is tired and nobody fucking gives a shit.

  276. 276
    A. Noyd

    ltft (#240)

    Does making thousands of lives better offset the horrific damage done to the possibly dozens of victims of Sandusky’s molestation?

    Rhetorical or not, this moronic question presupposes a dilemma that never existed. Allowing the rape of children was not the price for whatever “good” Paterno might have done. There was no tough decision. He could have bettered the lives of student athletes and prevented the victimization of children. Moreover, he was getting paid a lot of money to do the former. It was his goddamn job. If a chef knowingly prepares contaminated meat, resulting in the deaths of some of her customers, do we insist on weighing against that the fact she also safely nourished thousands of others with her meals? Fuck no. We expect her to do her job without poisoning her customers. Same damn thing here.

  277. 277
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You’re a joke

    Ironic how fuckwitted trolls describe themselves when inanely trying to describe us.

  278. 278
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    @276: that’s kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ to you. Only people who take a hard stance on enabling child rape get to call me for-short.

    I’ve already been called a scum within a few minutes of my post

    Yes. Well, that’s one of the unpleasant side effects of saying scummy things.

  279. 279
    Pteryxx

    (My apologies if this ends up duplicated; I’m trying to clear the filters.)

    Do Americans really love sports and the people who participate in them so much that it overshadows, even blacks out, the fact that someone enabled the rape of children?

    Most of them do… most of us do, yes. But let’s not forget that people also dismiss rape by anyone who’s high-status and beloved: priests, directors, doctors, politicians. They’ll even dismiss rape by random strangers if they’re given the slightest opportunity to blame the victims. Which is how even the least of these predators can hide behind the presumption of normality.

    Maybe Paterno was a mostly good person with some terrible darkness in him and that the presence and extent of that darkness makes him a bad person. I don’t know.

    Without more evidence, there’s no way to know for sure; but anyone whose crimes include betraying the trust and responsibility placed in them, no longer deserve the automatic presumption that they were ever trustworthy. When a financier’s caught in a scam, or a journalist in plagiarism, or (let’s make this simple) a scientist in falsifying data, does anyone seriously claim that the other 99% of their work was probably perfectly fine and there’s no need to check?

    Over and over, serial child rapists have demonstrated that they will mentor children specifically to groom potential victims. Even some parents do this. IF we’re looking at an actual predator – and they are much more common than we want to believe – then there never was any “good” to be weighed against anything. The gifts were just baiting the trap.

    Joel Johnson wrote about his own experience in “Why I’m Funny”:

    But Timmy’s death has made me realize I’ve kept one last lie inside, one that makes me culpable in all of Glen’s sins against others, his cruelties, his deceit, his sociopathic falsehoods that may very well end up in more pain, more abuse, not to me but to my brother, to his friends and cousins, to someone I don’t even know.

    It’s the lie that I can destroy this family by simply talking about the truth, when this family was already destroyed. Despite the stately house, the gleaming Ford truck under the tall tree, the kids laughing in the yard, there is no home, only wreckage.

  280. 280
    Pteryxx

    It was the link to Joel’s blog that triggered the filter.

  281. 281
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    If Paterno really did cover things up, then he deserves all of the vitriol, but that is still nothing but wild speculation and you all know it.

    Success with Honor

    Yeah, he sure did everything he could.

    fucking apologists

  282. 282
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    If Paterno really did cover things up, then he deserves all of the vitriol, but that is still nothing but wild speculation and you all know it.

    Not so “wild,” and the “speculation” is backed with some pretty damning evidence. As for this whole, “Helping other people” shit, he was doing his fucking job, one for which he was paid better than most of the teachers at Penn State, each one of whom helped a far greater number of kids, all while not shielding child rapists.

    But if you want to keep deluding yourself, Sweet Pea, that is certainly your right.

  283. 283
    ltft

    @ Anri, 267:

    You quoted me: “But the mass of people condemning Paterno in this thread… the venom and oversimplification captured in some of these comments is every bit as stupid as any unrestrained praise of Paterno is.”

    In response, you said (in part): “Except, of course for the – no doubt inconsequential – detail that one of these positions is supporting a rapist-enabler, and the other, um, isn’t.”

    No. I am not supporting Paterno; if you’re going to quote me please also quote the bit I wrote at the beginning of my post saying that I think he deserves much if not all of the condemnation he’s gotten.

    What I am saying is that you shouldn’t ignore what good a person has done (or, worse, pretend that he has done no good) just because of a (possibly, maybe even likely) greater evil that was perpetrated by that individual.

    We don’t write Washington out of the history books because he (may have) participated in a massacre during the French and Indian War. To do so would be a shameful and unnecessary distortion of history. Similarly, ignoring that massacre would be a similar insult, both to history and to the intelligence of all the people that history’s editors thought were too stupid to sift through both the good and the bad.

    Paterno was no Washington. He was a football coach. And as someone above noted, no one complicit in rape should ever be held up as a role model. But Paterno was also someone who did some good beyond the box score, and ignoring that, pretending that none of it counts to any extent whatsoever, is the sort of revisionist history I’d expect from Glen Beck, not from skeptics and freethinkers.

  284. 284
    carlie

    I meant to say “acting as if” he was a pedophile.

    Where?

    He reported what was heresay with no details about someone he didn’t work with anymore to the guy who RAN THE FUCKING POLICE.

    Campus police, right? So no, not to the actual police.

    When the police don’t do anything about that — what are you supposed to do? He had no direct knowledge of anything ever happening.

    He knew directly that nothing happened, because Sandusky kept on being able to work with children, because he was friends with Sandusky and never heard him say “It’s the damndest thing, the police came by the other day”, because he was in charge of everything that went on in that sports department and knew nothing changed. He should have followed up. He should have gone to the real police. He should have kept after it.

    Does making thousands of lives better offset the horrific damage done to the possibly dozens of victims of Sandusky’s molestation?

    Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery.
    [...]
    They feel disgust, which they had thought themselves superior to. They feel anger, outrage, impotence, despite all the explanations. They would like to do something for the child. But there is nothing they can do. If the child were brought up into the sunlight out of that vile place, if it were cleaned and fed and comforted, that would be a good thing indeed; but if it were done, in that day and hour all the prosperity and beauty and delight of Omelas would wither and be destroyed. Those are the terms. To exchange all the goodness and grace of every life in Omelas for that single, small improvement: to throw away the happiness of thousands for the chance of the happiness of one: that would be to let guilt within the walls indeed.

  285. 285
    GeekMelange (formerly thepint)

    To everyone whining about cutting JoePa slack because he did “so much for the University and his players,” have you even ONCE thought about what this shit sounds like to Sandusky’s victims? “Paterno did so much good for Penn State and his players that it shouldn’t be overlooked because he made a mistake” is essentially telling those victims that acknowledging their pain and suffering isn’t nearly as important as protecting a dead man’s legacy. It wasn’t “just a mistake,” or “an error in judgement” – it’s a real consequence of what happens when someone in authority chooses to ignore warning signs and information, no matter how slight, of any action that might negatively impact said person’s reputation and/or institution, because no institution or reputation is worth protecting at the expense of the powerless.

    Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you and your priorities? One man’s legacy does not trump the pain and suffering of child rape & molestation victims. I wish that instead of all the concern Paterno’s supporters are expressing that his “legacy not be tarnished by one mistake,” there was more concern that in the rush to canonize “St. Joe” and his legacy, the pain and suffering of Sandusky’s victims not be downplayed or whitewashed. They’re the ones who deserve our sympathy and support.

    If Paterno’s legacy is going to be anything, it should be as a grim reminder all the “good” one does can be undone by one simple, self-serving action and that no institution or personal reputation is ever worth protecting at the expense of the powerless and most vulnerable among us.”

    Because seriously, if anyone is going to take any lesson away from Paterno’s life and “learn from it,” it should be that one. That and becoming aware of how we’re apparently primed to sympathize with powerful rather than the powerless first.

  286. 286
    ltft

    Hi A. Noyd @279. You said, “If a chef knowingly prepares contaminated meat, resulting in the deaths of some of her customers, do we insist on weighing against that the fact she also safely nourished thousands of others with her meals?”

    But if Bobby Flay serves rancid meat do we pretend that Bobby Flay never cooked a good meal before, or that he wasn’t at some point a good chef? Of course not. We can take away Bobby Flay’s license and we can remember him by far the most strongly for poisoning people, but we shouldn’t just pretend that is the entirety of his work.

    I’d suggest that your analogy works more against your argument than against mine.

  287. 287
    GeekMelange (formerly thepint)

    Paterno died of a broken heart. I think that a lot of people that had a part to play in that, whether it be the board of trustees and the way they handled his situation or even the media and the way they covered everything over the last several months.

    Damn straight his heart should have been broken. His self-serving decision not to follow up with the allegations he KNEW about regarding Sandusky until there was no doubt whatsoever led to harm caused to so, so many people. It should have been a source of never-ending shame and guilt that he choose to have such misguided priorities.

    And even worse… if he’d done his job right with all those football players? If they’d learned more about ethics as well as football? They’d have joined in condemning Paterno’s shameful conduct, in saying that he can no longer be called a role model.

    THIS. The fact that nearly the entire community rallied to support PATERNO rather than Sandusky’s victims in the first place signals that Paterno’s influence on the University may not have been as positive as some might have wished.

  288. 288
    02bnpgh

    Y’all are fun.

    So, thus far I’ve gotten “scum”, “fuck off, slimeball”, “go fuck yourself, asshole”, and “fuckwitted troll”. Still no point proven?

    Does anyone here know how to make a rational argument or is it always just name-calling? Seriously.

    @kristinc, ~delicate snowflake~ (as requested) — you said that I “defended Paterno with lies”. Where exactly were my lies?

    I still see nothing but a Nancy Grace mentality thus far of “guilty before proven innocent”. Once again, there is no evidence to back up anything you are saying, but you’re just “sure it’s true”. Sounds like a few religious folks I can think of.

    I even said IF he is guilty of covering this up, then he deserves the vitriol, but not before. It’s very hypocritical to demand evidence for one thing but then go bug-nutty on someone else without any evidence to back up your own position.

    But, by all means keep the venom-spewing going. It’s entertaining at least.

  289. 289
    Pteryxx

    Where exactly were my lies?

    Anybody else notice that “What EXACTLY”, “Where EXACTLY”, and so forth almost always indicate a plausible-deniability troll?

  290. 290
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    This is the guy who caught Sandusky raping a kid in the shower, right? So the ethical person would yell, slam Sandusky’s head against a wall, call 911, and escort the kid home–not tiptoe away. Case closed.

  291. 291
    02bnpgh

    @Pteryxx ummm ok…. where were my lies? Is that better?

    I believe the point is, someone said “you lie”…I said “where”.

  292. 292
    GeekMelange (formerly thepint)

    Martika – No, this is the guy who Sandusky answered to. The guy who found him in the shower raping a child was another assistant coach, Mike McQueary. Regarding that particular incident, it was never reported to police or child welfare authorities, at least not by anyone in the Penn State chain of command. The only fallout was that Sandusky was merely “banned” by school officials from bringing his Second Mile charity youths on campus with him and even that wasn’t enforced.

  293. 293
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Still no point proven?

    Your refusal to acknowledge the points being made is telling.

  294. 294
    GeekMelange (formerly thepint)

    Markita – apologies, mistyped your name in my response. >.<

  295. 295
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    ltft:

    We can take away Bobby Flay’s license and we can remember him by far the most strongly for poisoning people, but we shouldn’t just pretend that is the entirety of his work.

    I don’t see people denying the good he’s done. I see people expressing the revolutionary idea that the good he’s done is far overshadowed by the horror he facilitated.

    So I think the point you’re trying to make is one that isn’t even relevant to the conversation.

  296. 296
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    02bnpgh,

    So, have you found where someone has been acting as if Paterno was a pedophile yet?

  297. 297
    ltft

    Hi thepint @285. You said: “If Paterno’s legacy is going to be anything, it should be as a grim reminder all the “good” one does can be undone by one simple, self-serving action and that no institution or personal reputation is ever worth protecting at the expense of the powerless and most vulnerable among us.”

    Even though I’m (probably) one of the people you’re railing against, I agree completely with the portion of your post you quoted above.

    However, I disagree that this should be the only lesson we take away from Paterno’s life. We should also take away the idea that it is possible to build a successful college athletic program while keeping GPAs and graduation rates up.

    Do you think we should throw that message away? What good would come from the wholesale disregard of that message? What bad will come from recognizing that?

  298. 298
    myeck waters

    Shorter JoPa apologists: “But what about the PENNZ?!?!?” I am now mentally cataloging them all as PSRAs.

  299. 299
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Does anyone here know how to make a rational argument or is it always just name-calling? Seriously.Do you have a cogent argument? Seriously. Or just inane and insane ridicule?

    Once again, there is no evidence to back up anything you are saying,

    Theevidencd is there, and has been linked to, ergo, you are too stoopid,ignorant, and stubborn to acknowledge it. just like any godbot/creobot.

    But, by all means keep the venom-spewing going. It’s entertaining at least.

    Your head-in-the-sand fuckwittery, and inane and stoopid attempts at ridiclue are entertaining too. Paterno screwed the pooch, and you know it.

  300. 300
    ltft

    Hi nigel @295. You wrote, “I don’t see people denying the good he’s done. I see people expressing the revolutionary idea that the good he’s done is far overshadowed by the horror he facilitated.”

    I disagree; I think a fair number of people in this comments section have recommended ignoring any good that Paterno has done. That his players graduating was him doing his job so we do not need to heed it, that his charity work was the result of being overpaid so it matters not.

    More than that, from PZ’s original post: “I’m imagining a scale. In the right pan are heaped all the great accomplishments of Joe Paterno — and it’s all inconsequential fluff, balls thrown across lines on the ground, numbers on scoreboards long since forgotten.”

    I think it’s very clear that people in this thread are reading things in as much black-and-white as the people writing Paterno’s praises in blue-and-white.

    And as an aside, is there anyone outside the message-board community who ISN’T reporting the crisis in Paterno’s obituary?

  301. 301
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Argh, blockquote fail. First paragraph in in #299 should read:

    Does anyone here know how to make a rational argument or is it always just name-calling? Seriously.

    Do you have a cogent argument? Seriously. Or just inane and insane ridicule?

  302. 302
    02bnpgh

    @Rev. BigDumbChimp wait, what?

    The “point” I was referring to was that I would be called names and it happened immediately and repeatedly. That point is clearly proven.

    It appears to me the vast majority on this thread are acting like Paterno is the pedophile (the level of rancor here is clear evidence of that, if anyone even questions the “fuck Joe Paterno” mentality then THEY get hammered as well).

    This is not critical thinking. This is not skepticism. It looks more like a dickish gang mentality.

    It is clear to me that regardless of what I say, I’ll just be called a troll again, even though I just expressed an opinion (god forbid! – pun intended) on an opinion thread.

    Freethoughtblogs, my ass.

    Keep up the inclusive behavior! Way to build up the community.

  303. 303
    Pteryxx

    I disagree; I think a fair number of people in this comments section have recommended ignoring any good that Paterno has done. That his players graduating was him doing his job so we do not need to heed it, that his charity work was the result of being overpaid so it matters not.

    To the extent that his good works helped deliver trusting children to Sandusky, they don’t deserve to be counted as “good works” anymore. To the extent that Paterno KNOWINGLY helped deliver trusting children to Sandusky, HE doesn’t deserve to be counted as a “good person” anymore. I don’t have to dump on coaches, sports, wealth or charity to know that.

  304. 304
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    02bnpgh:

    I still see nothing but a Nancy Grace mentality thus far of “guilty before proven innocent”.

    I see. You’re one of those court-room skeptics, someone who dismisses actual evidence until an authority figure has pronounced judgement on it. Very good.

    From an earlier post of yours:

    He reported what was heresay with no details about someone he didn’t work with anymore to the guy who RAN THE FUCKING POLICE.

    So. While this is a white-washing of the evidence, it seems you are aware of the evidence itself. You are aware of McQueary’s allegations. However, it wasn’t Paterno who went to the campus police. He informed Tim Curley, his boss, who, together with Gary Schultz (who oversaw campus police, but was not himself a policeman) met with the assistant who reported the crime.

    After that, Paterno did nothing. Neither did Curley or Schultz.

    So, even if Sandusky is innocent, Paterno did not pursue the matter. He let his bosses decide it was no big deal. Paterno is guilty of the act he’s being accused of here, the covering up of a report of a child rape. Whether or not that rape happened is irrelevant. As far as Paterno knew, it really happened. That was the report he received, and to the best of our knowledge, he had no reason to doubt the veracity of that report.

    Hopefully, you agree with the evidence presented so far — it is merely a more fleshed-out (and more accurate) version of what you said.

    Now. On to the actual child rape charges. Sandusky has been charged with 40 different crimes. That’s a helluva lot of child rape. The 23-page indictment is horrible to read, and consists of the detailing of quite a bit of evidence. Unless the entire thing is a lie, Sandusky is guilty of raping many children.

    So tell me. What part of this do you wish to defend? Which bit do you wish to deny? It’s been documented that McQueary informed Paterno. The fact Sandusky was barred from bringing any of his “charity” kids on campus anymore is just a piece of circumstantial evidence that a subset of Penn State staff knew of the allegations. The fact that he was forced to turn in his keys is just further circumstantial evidence. That Paterno would be one of those who knew of the allegations is all but incontrovertible.

    And the evidence against Sandusky is damning.

    So tell me, my courtroom skeptic, what other conclusions are we to draw?

  305. 305
    myeck waters

    02bnpgh #302

    It appears to me the vast majority on this thread are acting like Paterno is the pedophile (the level of rancor here is clear evidence of that, if anyone even questions the “fuck Joe Paterno” mentality then THEY get hammered as well).

    Completely illogical.
    Acting like Paterno is the pedophile would involve saying things like “Paterno fucked children” which no one has said.
    The level of rancor here is clear evidence that a lot of people get really angry at the fact that Paterno had good reason to believe Sandusky was molesting children right in the PS locker room and chose to do as little as legally necessary, leaving Sandusky free to do as he pleased FOR YEARS.

    In conclusion, go fuck yourself. You are defending the enabling of chile rape. You are despicable.

  306. 306
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    ltft @300:

    I disagree; I think a fair number of people in this comments section have recommended ignoring any good that Paterno has done. That his players graduating was him doing his job so we do not need to heed it, that his charity work was the result of being overpaid so it matters not.

    -For my part, I just don’t care about the good. The enabling of child rape is damning to such a degree that any good he did doesn’t come close to balancing the scales. For that matter, I question whether the victims of Sandusky’s rape would feel the scales could ever be balanced.

    More than that, from PZ’s original post: “I’m imagining a scale. In the right pan are heaped all the great accomplishments of Joe Paterno — and it’s all inconsequential fluff, balls thrown across lines on the ground, numbers on scoreboards long since forgotten.”

    -PZ is right. Is there a way to break it down further so that people can understand why defending Paterno is *wrong*?
    great accomplishments/winning football games/a nationally recognized team

    versus

    Enabling. A. Child. Rapist.

    Enabling a child rapist by far overshadows his accomplishments. Also, as another poster pointed out, given his ethical and moral failure to do what a human being should have, it calls into question anything and everything he’s done, including training/mentoring young men.

    I think it’s very clear that people in this thread are reading things in as much black-and-white as the people writing Paterno’s praises in blue-and-white.

    -It *is* a black and white situation. From what I’ve seen, those of us who have condemned Paterno have done so for one reason:
    HE WAS A CHILD RAPE ENABLER.* Personally, if he had done something inconsequential (in comparison), like evaded his taxes or embezzled money, I can see how balancing the scales might work. My two examples are victimless crimes. Of course given Paterno’s actions, I guess he thought Sandusky’s crimes were also victimless, since he didn’t give a damn about the kids.
    (pardon for the caps, but I don’t think some people get it)

    *though if you want to probe deeper, I don’t think you’re going to like the outcome. I question the moral sensibilities and code of ethics of someone in a position like Paterno’s who failed to act as a decent human being. If he didn’t give two shits about the victims, how much did he really care about grooming college students? How much did he really give a damn about their education?

  307. 307
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    It appears to me the vast majority on this thread are acting like Paterno is the pedophile (the level of rancor here is clear evidence of that, if anyone even questions the “fuck Joe Paterno” mentality then THEY get hammered as well).

    You’re he one showing weapons grades stoopidity. Everybody here knows JP wasn’t a pedophile, and no one is saying he was. He was an enabler for a pedophile by not stopping one when he had the chance and the power to do so. That makes him an accomplice by default. Anybody with half a brain, which seems to exclude you, has that figured out.

  308. 308
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Keep up the inclusive behavior! Way to build up the community.

    -Have you stopped for a moment to consider that you *might* be wrong?
    When I first heard the story, I knew nothing about Joe Paterno, Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, or Mike McQueary. I heard about it on CNN. You know, that trusted news source. So I did what anyone who wants to actually learn about the story would do: I researched it. The most damning thing I read was the Grand Jury report conducted over 4 years. That wasn’t a pleasant read. I cringed, winced, and nearly cried several times at the complete moral failing on the part of all the Penn State staffers, in addition to Jerry Sandusky.

    So I have a hard time understanding how anyone could come to this blog, read the comments that I and others have made–comments that we HAVE educated ourselves on–and then accuse us of not thinking critically or skeptically.
    IMHO, the people who are defending Paterno aren’t thinking critically. They haven’t removed their blinders, looked at the facts and realized what should be plainly obvious:

    Joe Paterno was a Child Rape Enabler.
    Thus, I say again:
    Fuck Joe Paterno.

  309. 309
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    A fuck of a lot of people have done the kinds of good things Paterno did. I would venture to say that the majority of those other people were not complicit in the ongoing rape of children for years.

    So, uh, yeah, the hell with Paterno’s “good deeds”. His good deeds were really not that damn speshul, and his evil deeds were really that outstandingly appalling.

  310. 310
    consciousness razor

    ltft:

    However, I disagree that this should be the only lesson we take away from Paterno’s life. We should also take away the idea that it is possible to build a successful college athletic program while keeping GPAs and graduation rates up.

    You call this a successful college athletic program? It’s a fucking disaster. And why the fuck is this relevant? I didn’t realize we were here to discuss the merits of athletics programs in education. Take it to a fucking PTA meeting, then get laughed down for dwelling on anecdotes from one person’s life while brushing aside their major ethical failures.

  311. 311
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    02bnpgh:

    (I used this comment before, verbatim, but I guess it also works with you.)

    It all comes down to Joe Paterno’s decision in the one major choice he had to make during his entire adult life: “Do I stop a child rapist, or protect the Penn State athletics programme?” He chose to protect the programme, a short-sighted and cowardly choice.

    Yes, he was good football coach. Yes, football scholarships helped many students athletes afford college. Yes, he was either very honest in the operation of the football programme, or he didn’t get caught by the NCAA rules committee. Yes, he donated large sums of money back to the school, often trying to remain anonymous. Yes, he was really part of the community. Yes, he helped to found a charity to held underprivileged youths. Yes, when an assistant coach used that charity to gain access to children so that he could rape them, Joe Paterno kicked the problem upstairs to avoid rocking the boat. Yes, when given the choice of dialing 911 while the witness was in his office, or letting it wait because it was Saturday morning, he chose to wait and not call the police. Yes, when Joe Paterno saw that no investigation was forthcoming, when Sandusky was still free (for a decade!), he chose to remain silent and let the rapes continue (just not in the locker room showers anymore). Yes, he covered up for someone who was raping children, but should that really matter in the way he is remembered?

    If you have to think about that question at the end of the paragraph, you have problems.

    All it would have taken would have been for Paterno to do the right thing. All it ever takes is someone with a suspicion, or knowledge, of abuse to do the right thing. And it doesn’t happen enough. Not nearly enough. And the effects, when people do not do the right thing, can be horrific. Not the head coach losing his job when it comes to light — that is minor.

    Again, if you have to think about when somebody asks you, “Well, yeah, he covered up for a child rapist, but since he did all these other things (charity, football, community), should that really affect the way he is remembered?” you have to stop and think about it, you have serious issues on many levels.

    So, 02bnpgh, do you have to stop and think about it?

  312. 312
    Ingdigo Jump

    How come no one mentions all the criminals J Edgar Hoover helped catch?

    How come no one mentions all the good Nixon did?

  313. 313
    ltft

    Hi Tony@306.

    I think I’m about spent on this topic, but:

    1) I think it is fair to say that Paterno’s legacy should be first and foremost that he enabled, to some extent, Sandusky.

    2) I think it would be wrong to only remember Paterno for Sandusky. Paterno’s emphasis on graduating his athletes unquestionably did matter to hundreds of young men. If you’re going to say the only thing we should say about Paterno is that he enabled a rapist then you’re going to effectively delete a positive lesson that could have a large impact at a hundred D1 schools across the country.

    3) A few weeks ago PZ posted a complaint about how the UK’s atheists, people like Dawkins, were able to get legislation passed while, here in the US, we can’t do squat. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I think among the reasons is:
    -One of the UK’s leading freethought advocates, Dawkins, writes books spelling out in great detail his arguments while deconstructing the arguments of his opponents, while
    -One of the US’s leading advocates, PZ, writes blogposts replacing analysis and information and substance with strawmen and sensationalism.

    That, and not any desire to exonerate Paterno, is among the reasons why I’m posting.

  314. 314
    02bnpgh

    @Tony, @Second Cousin Ogvorbis, OM. Twice Removed by Request

    I appreciate the reasoned responses. Yes, I have thought about it and let me repeat what I said twice now, if it comes out that he was covering this up, then I think the vitriol is deserved.

    Joe himself said he wishes he did more. I don’t disagree with that nor did I ever say that Sandusky was innocent or anything of the like. I discussed the massive rush to judgement and questioned why that is happening in a skeptical community. The facts aren’t all out yet, just a grand jury indictment and some conflicting testimony. That was the point of my original post.

    And, because I already saw plenty of name-calling in the thread, I said I expected it at the end and I sure got it.

    Anyone who disagrees with the masses will get a beat-down. This is nothing new, but I still hate that it keeps happening in the skeptical community. Perhaps I should have started my first note with “Dear Muslima” to properly inflame the rhetoric.

    This community will never grow with this type of mentality.

    Anyway — piss on a dead man’s grave all you want. I hope it makes you all feel better (since many of you clearly need a hug). One thing I expect we CAN agree on is that the dead guy won’t know about it either way.

    –Seacrest out

  315. 315
    consciousness razor

    If you’re going to say the only thing we should say about Paterno is that he enabled a rapist

    No one is saying that. You know that problem you have with strawmen? It applies to you too.

    then you’re going to effectively delete a positive lesson that could have a large impact at a hundred D1 schools across the country.

    How could this have a large impact like you’re saying? What impact would that be, and what is the positive lesson other schools are supposed to glean from Paterno’s career?

  316. 316
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    02bnpgh:

    Anyone who disagrees with the masses will get a beat-down. This is nothing new, but I still hate that it keeps happening in the skeptical community.

    The only shield you need is evidence. Which, y’know, has been provided here. You even provided some of it yourself.

  317. 317
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    If you’re going to say the only thing we should say about Paterno is that he enabled a rapist then you’re going to effectively delete a positive lesson that could have a large impact at a hundred D1 schools across the country.

    I am somehow more concerned about the impact his lack of action had on the kids who were raped.

    Seriously… Some day, we’ll probably be able to talk about him as a guy who failed to stop a child rapist, but who was a good coach before that. Now? Now there is a trial going on, those raped children’s wounds are being reopened and yet all his supporters can talk about is how we are dismissing all the good he has done. We only focus on the bad. Well, tough. His good coaching is really not the important thing right now and dragging it out at every opportunity is rightfully pissing people off.

  318. 318
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    ltft:

    -One of the UK’s leading freethought advocates, Dawkins, writes books spelling out in great detail his arguments while deconstructing the arguments of his opponents, while
    -One of the US’s leading advocates, PZ, writes blogposts replacing analysis and information and substance with strawmen and sensationalism.

    So, let me get this straight. You’re comparing books with blog posts?

    Do you always build strawmen for your arguments, or just usually?

  319. 319
    Pteryxx

    Well, no, anyone who’s an arrogant ignorant berk gets the verbal beat-down. The only reason there’s a Horde at all is that people capable of learning from their mistakes stick around. Some of us can handle getting schooled into better people. (Some of us even like it.)

  320. 320
    GeekMelange (formerly thepint)

    ltft @297

    However, I disagree that this should be the only lesson we take away from Paterno’s life. We should also take away the idea that it is possible to build a successful college athletic program while keeping GPAs and graduation rates up.

    Do you think we should throw that message away? What good would come from the wholesale disregard of that message? What bad will come from recognizing that?

    Paterno is not the only reason Penn State’s athletic program grew while maintaining higher than average GPAs and graduation rates. There were dedicated teachers involved, hard-working students and other administrators who worked to make this possible. Paterno didn’t do it all by himself and therefore doesn’t deserve the lion’s share of the credit.

    He may have contributed to that growth, but his contribution is forever shadowed by the inescapable fact that he choose to protect the health of an athletics program and the reputation of his school, the program and his own legacy over Sandusky’s victims. So there’s an addendum to the lesson that “it is possible to build a successful college athletic program while keeping GPAs and graduation rates up” – The fact that said program enabled a pedophile to abuse victims is apparently immaterial because what’s a few victims when the health of an entire university’s athletics program is on the line?

    Paterno is not the only coach in the entire world of collegiate level sports who cares about ensuring the futures of college athletes. Please stop acting like there are no other examples of coaches or administrator or teachers who care about the welfare of xir’s teams and programs who can be looked to for guidance. Paterno undid any credibility he might have had when he chose to look the other way. Everything he has EVER done will carry that taint of his own making because Paterno’s the one who ultimately chose to protect a powerful institution rather than powerless victims.

    Second Cousin Ogvorbis’s post at 311 encompasses the “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” argument being pushed here better than I could put it. And even though I quoted it before, I’ll do so again here for emphasis because this says more about all the “good” Paterno’s legacy seems to have left behind at Penn State than anything I could come up with, because as we all saw, the rioting and screaming by much of the Penn State community over Paterno’s being fired was in complete opposition to what his “good example” should have taught them:

    And even worse… if he’d done his job right with all those football players? If they’d learned more about ethics as well as football? They’d have joined in condemning Paterno’s shameful conduct, in saying that he can no longer be called a role model.

    And of course, a very loud majority did not.

  321. 321
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    02bnpgh – Troll, set to ignore. The lie detection, although blatently easier than a mutiple choice question at kindergaerten will be left as an exercise for the viewer.

    #256 Maroon – Thanks for the update.

    ltft – I don’t think the two are comparable and should be treated seperately, but it does bring into question whether an ethically compromised individual should then have spent another 10 years teaching youngsters. I’m also left wondering what else may have been conveniently “forgotten” in order to better fund and grow their college sports…

    Carlie #284 – That is the EXACT story I was thinking of when I heard what the college and the supporters were doing. It is a shame I have utterly forgotten what it was called. Children were sacrificed for the greater good that is money and football. And that is why Ltft will get no traction with me.

  322. 322
    A. Noyd

    ltft (#286)

    But if Bobby Flay serves rancid meat do we pretend that Bobby Flay never cooked a good meal before, or that he wasn’t at some point a good chef?

    Hi, strawman much? You missed both my points, the first of which was that Paterno never faced a dilemma, so it makes no sense to weigh his successes against his failure as though he did. It’s stupid to fuss over whether we’re paying enough due to someone’s good deeds unless the bad ones were the price for a greater good. (Not that coaching could ever be a greater good over enabling child rape, of course. But in principle.)

    Worse, you seem to think that people deserve acknowledgement for living up to minimum standards of humanity. Focusing on Paterno’s failure isn’t the same as denying he ever did good things. However, what are being cited as his good deeds are things like him doing his job and him giving back some of the money that, in sane people’s estimation, he gained from being massively overpaid. So Paterno wasn’t special except in that he failed to prevent the rape of children*. And that’s the point of my chef analogy. Chefs aren’t special for cooking good meals; that’s what they’re hired to do. However, a chef that knowingly allows people to die from contaminated meat is a horrible human being.

    I’d suggest that your analogy works more against your argument than against mine.

    Except, you don’t understand my argument and your own is a strawman.

    *Okay, to be honest, that’s not all that special, either. Which is why people are trying to make Paterno into a lesson for others.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    consciousness razor (#315)

    then you’re going to effectively delete a positive lesson that could have a large impact at a hundred D1 schools across the country.

    How could this have a large impact like you’re saying? What impact would that be, and what is the positive lesson other schools are supposed to glean from Paterno’s career?

    Also, is Paterno the only source for this so-called lesson? Doubtful. If this lesson is that important, the world would be far better served by learning it from someone who didn’t let children get raped.

  323. 323
    GeekMelange (formerly thepint)

    One thing I expect we CAN agree on is that the dead guy won’t know about it either way.

    Please, are you really this dense? Do you honestly think we’re pissed about the lionizing of JoePa at the expense of the respect and compassion due the victims of his negligence because we think he’ll somehow hear it in the afterlife none of use believe in?

    The dead guy won’t know about it, but the people still making excuses for him sure as hell will.

    I asked before and I’ll ask it again – how do you think those victims of Sandusky feel seeing and hearing all this sympathy for Paterno being given at the expense of their own visibility? Every single time someone makes the argument that “it shouldn’t overshadow Paterno’s career or legacy” it’s effectively telling them that what they suffered isn’t as important as protecting a dead man’s memory. Those are some seriously screwed up priorities.

  324. 324
    consciousness razor

    Today Now! Provides Grieving Widower With Miniature Therapy Horse

    (probably NSFW for language at the very end)

  325. 325
    Kristjan Wager

    Just before Christmas, one of my friends reported a childhood friend of his to the police – a friend through 35 years – because of reports of inappropriate behavior towards children.

    This was not an easy thing for my friend to do, but he did the right thing, and the rest of his friends (me included, obviously) fully supports him, even though the other guy was a friend of many of us as well.

    Now it is in the hands of the police, and no matter what the result of the investigation is, many of us have lost a friend. But if it turns out the allegations were right, none of us could have lived with not doing something.

    If someone could do the right thing in such a case, a case where the reported behavior was much less bad than what Paterno heard about, then why the hell should I even for a second consider “the good things” Paterno did? In my eyes, the only time he really had the chance to do a good thing, or even just a proper thing, he failed.

  326. 326
  327. 327
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    This community will never grow with this type of mentality.

    And you never will grow with the type of mentality you have shown to date. This is a community of folks of all ages, many of us longer in the tooth than you are, so we have a better able to understand a more contexutal perspective than you have shown. Still amusing us with your inane atempts to sound like you are the maturist person here. You aren’t.

  328. 328
    feralboy12

    We should also take away the idea that it is possible to build a successful college athletic program while keeping GPAs and graduation rates up.

    then you’re going to effectively delete a positive lesson that could have a large impact at a hundred D1 schools across the country.

    Any positive lesson to be gleaned from Paterno’s tenure at Penn State has had 40+ years to percolate. We don’t need to ignore or downplay such a grand failure to do the right thing in order to learn that lesson.
    And there have always been such examples. As weird as it feels to bring up a Catholic university here, I would point out that Notre Dame has won national championships while maintaining high standards, and that Stanford University finished in the top 10 in football this year. And come April, for the third time in my memory, a Stanford player will likely be chosen first in the NFL draft.
    And then there’s Duke basketball. These lessons abound.

    It appears to me the vast majority on this thread are acting like Paterno is the pedophile (the level of rancor here is clear evidence of that, if anyone even questions the “fuck Joe Paterno” mentality then THEY get hammered as well).

    This is not critical thinking. This is not skepticism.

    Blathering about how it “appears to” you without backing that up with evidence is definitely not critical thinking. People are expressing anger over what Paterno failed to do when the ball fell into his hands. He fumbled it. The level of rancor here is evidence of anger over that; the majority is not calling him a pedophile, and “acting like Paterno is the pedophile” is your perception. And that perception would seem, from the evidence, to be a mistake on your part.

  329. 329
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    This is something else.

    Theres all this going on about how great he was with the college kids and helping and guiding them, but he barely lifted a finger to help kids that weren’t in his college program (you know the one making him famous, rich and successful) that were losing far more than a mere football scholarship.

    Sorry, but the more I think about it, the less impressed I am with his honor.

  330. 330
    Koshka

    This community will never grow with this type of mentality.

    Yes, think about the whole demographic of rape apologists and what they have to offer. Do we really want to miss out on their valued ideas?

  331. 331
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    You know, we in the Horde are familiar with long-lasting, hundreds-of-comments threads, where certain subjects automatically turn up the verbal heat and the exchange of idiocy and ideas. There is the Libertarian Dumbass Thread, with which we are all familiar, the MRA Assholes Thread, and the Female-Circumcision-turned-male-circumcision Thread. They’re all obnoxious to a degree (or at least populated by the noxious), but this new Child-Rape Apologist Thread is easily the most sickening.

  332. 332
    ltft

    My first post in this comment section was meant to address one question: how do you weigh the undeniable good that Paterno has done against the undeniable bad? (My answer, by the way, was that the bad outweighs the good). I further argued, in my first two posts, that you can’t just pretend Paterno didn’t do any good and/or that nothing good that he did matters. I emphasized that this sort of revisionist history should be left to Fox News and not the skeptical community. I think everything else I’ve argued in these comments have been to support these positions.

    I’m not sure what about this is controversial.

    I argued that Paterno deserves the condemnation he’s getting, I argued that Paterno was clearly in the wrong and definitely failed, and I argued that his obituary should begin with this crisis. Where was this not clear? I think I put this in every post I made.

    @Noyd- Sorry I missed your point; didn’t mean to use your analogy to create a strawman. On the idea that Paterno wasn’t special- if he wasn’t special why were his graduation rates always at the top of D1 schools? Yes, he had help. So does every football program in the country. Yes, he had lots of money to give to charity. So does every football coach at the D1 level. And some chefs are phenomenally special at cooking meals; if all chefs are just doing their jobs why would you ever eat anywhere but ?

    @thepint- I don’t mean to take away from the athletic department’s support staff. But, again, every program has a support staff. But the hundreds of people who worked for Paterno’s support staff have done a better job for the past forty years than almost any other group of hundreds of people. Why is that? On the idea that Paterno failed, massively, as discussed in post 311 that you referenced? Damn straight he did. I’m not arguing that he didn’t, nor that his failure shouldn’t be at the top of his obit.

    @nigel,318- yes, I’m comparing the methods and tools one person uses for communication with the methods and tools that a second person has used (and yes, I’m aware of PZ’s new book and Dawkins’ internet presence). How is that a strawman, exactly?

    @, well, everyone else (beatrice 317, most recently)- again, I am not excusing Paterno. I began by asking a philosophical question and then got depressed, as I often do reading these threads, at the lack of depth in some of the commentary (surprisingly not at some of yours, however).

    Cheers.

  333. 333
    Ingdigo Jump

    My first post in this comment section was meant to address one question: how do you weigh the undeniable good that Paterno has done against the undeniable bad?

    What good is undeniable? Even in his work with Penn he’s clearly established a literal fucking cult

  334. 334
    Ingdigo Jump

    well, everyone else (beatrice 317, most recently)- again, I am not excusing Paterno. I began by asking a philosophical question and then got depressed, as I often do reading these threads, at the lack of depth in some of the commentary (surprisingly not at some of yours, however).

    Name names.

    Seriously, fuck off.

  335. 335
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    ltft:

    1) I think it is fair to say that Paterno’s legacy should be first and foremost that he enabled, to some extent, Sandusky.

    -I don’t feel his legacy *should* be or *shouldn’t* be anything in particular. I don’t think he was anything other than a human being who was successful in his professional life to a greater degree than many others who made a continuous series of indefensible, unethical, immoral decisions involving child rape.

    2) I think it would be wrong to only remember Paterno for Sandusky. Paterno’s emphasis on graduating his athletes unquestionably did matter to hundreds of young men. If you’re going to say the only thing we should say about Paterno is that he enabled a rapist then you’re going to effectively delete a positive lesson that could have a large impact at a hundred D1 schools across the country.

    -I don’t remember him for Sandusky. I condemn him for his inaction and his horrible moral character. If you want to remember him for other things, go right ahead, but I place a value on human life that far exceeds any athletic achievements. Also, if you’re a horrible failure as a decent human being, I’m not so sure the impact he had on his athletes was all positive.

    -One of the US’s leading advocates, PZ, writes blogposts replacing analysis and information and substance with strawmen and sensationalism.

    -That you disagree with PZ doesn’t make your points valid. In fact, I haven’t seen any substantive arguments from you as to why PZ’s blogposts are strawmen and sensationalistic. I haven’t read all of PZ’s writings, but what I have has not come across (to me) as being strawmen. Or sensationalistic (for a better example of that word, look to Nancy Grace). If I’m going to accept your premise you’re going to have to help me comprehend why you feel this way. You’re making the assertion that PZ’s blogposts are lacking in analysis and information. So which posts in particular? What information do they lack? What analysis fell short? Is this the case in all his blogposts? The vast majority? Half? A few? I don’t know if you’re making a blanket statement about everything he’s written (nor do I know if you’ve even read everything he’s written), or if you’re speaking in broad terms about one blog post (which, given your response here, seems to at least apply to this one post; to which, I ask: what analysis is necessary? Many here have done due diligence-including PZ-and aren’t speaking out of ignorance. How much analysis needs to be done after reading the Grand Jury report before one can decide that Joe Paterno had serious moral and ethical failings? How much information needs to be presented before one decides not to give a shit about his professional accomplishments and focus instead on all the pain his indecisions cost children?)

    That, and not any desire to exonerate Paterno, is among the reasons why I’m posting.

    -So you’re posting to more or less accuse PZ of not analyzing information, setting up strawmen arguments, and being sensationalistic? On top of that, you cite nothing to back up these claims, expecting us to take your word for it? On top of all that, your whole intent is NOT to talk about the specific topic at hand, but rather to let us know that you don’t like PZ Myers? Thread derailment at its best.

  336. 336
    Ichthyic

    Yes, think about the whole demographic of rape apologists and what they have to offer. Do we really want to miss out on their valued ideas?

    I have to say, while part of me would want to ignore these clowns, another part continues to thank the fact that we have free speech, so they can freely show all of us just how fucked up their thinking really is.

    It’s good to be aware of these things.

    otherwise, before you know it, they end up in the majority, and then…

    oh, wait. It’s too late, isn’t it?

    I keep forgetting just how precious and rare rational thought and real empathy actually is.

    *sigh*

    know that outside of blogs like this, these rape apologists, who probably aren’t even really aware that they are, are the majority. You see the tiny tip of the iceberg of ignorance coming here to try to set us “right”.

    as an analogy, Imagine living in San Francisco, but being surrounded by the entire population of South Carolina.

    …who would constantly be trying to set you right on why you should vote for Newt Gingrich.

  337. 337
    Ingdigo Jump

    Damn straight he did. I’m not arguing that he didn’t, nor that his failure shouldn’t be at the top of his obit.

    Jesus Christ. Yes you are. You are actively arguing. What the fuck did he do that was so great that it even deserves to be in the same topic as this child rape topic? What. Tell me. WHAT is it?

    Do you go into forums for the holocaust and remind everyone that the Nazis did some good work, what with their research linking cigarettes and cancer, and the advancements in rocketry that got us to the moon?

    You know what you’re saying?

    “At least he kept the trains on time”

  338. 338
    Koshka

    My first post in this comment section was meant to address one question: how do you weigh the undeniable good that Paterno has done against the undeniable bad?

    It is very simple. You don’t need to weigh them against one another. Rape enabling eclipses the good. Surely you dont need to sit down and work out the balance using “moral calculus” . You should just fucking know this.

    And by bringing in your “moral calculus” to weigh good versus bad, you encourage other people to weigh off good and bad when reporting child rape.

    It is simple. If someone is raping a child (or anyone), you report it.

  339. 339
    Ingdigo Jump

    What the fuck is it about this issue that makes people so damn stupid? It’s not even some tough question like say Truman and the bomb. It’s not some vague abstract law or moral quandary. It’s what I’d presume to be basic decency. We as a society are so stupid scared over pedophiles that those attracted to children cannot get therapy or seek help because of automatic reporting, we are hyper vigilant…and yet here we suddenly forget all of our stranger danger panic and revulsion? When faced with the actual factual boogyman the same society who wails and rants about how scarey it is suddenly turn into skeptics?

  340. 340
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    I appreciate the reasoned responses. Yes, I have thought about it and let me repeat what I said twice now, if it comes out that he was covering this up, then I think the vitriol is deserved.

    -As someone asked earlier (though I’m not certain if it was directed at you): do you play “wait and see” with regard to all crimes? Or is it just in cases of rape?
    Also, as someone else pointed out, even *if* Jerry Sandusky isn’t guilty…even if all the children accusing him of raping them are wrong or making it up(just typing that sentence makes me sick)…Joe Paterno is still a moral failure. This situation was drawn out for nearly a decade. Joe Paterno was made aware of at least one situation. He never went to the police. He never went to Child Welfare Services. He even waited to call his immediate superior. That stuff is documented. That stuff wouldn’t change even if Jerry Sandusky is found innocent of all charges. Joe Paterno still failed to act to the full extent that a normal human being who gives two shits about children being raped should have done.
    Also, his moral failings would be evident regarding his treatment of Sandusky. These two were friends, and as far as I can tell, Paterno was silent for years. That silence is a huge part of ‘enabling a child rapist’. If we pretend that Sandusky is completely innocent, then Joe Paterno was still silent when he could have spoken up, pursued this to the full extent of his power (which we all know was massive) to exonerate his friend. Yet he didn’t. That speaks volumes more about his moral character than any coaching accomplishments.

  341. 341
    Koshka

    know that outside of blogs like this, these rape apologists, who probably aren’t even really aware that they are, are the majority. You see the tiny tip of the iceberg of ignorance coming here to try to set us “right”.

    Yes. The majority of people would probably struggle to report rape as it is a socially awkward thing to do. But we need to stand up and say that you must report rape. And by lionising a “hero” who could not do it helps people make excuses to not do it themselves.

  342. 342
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    ltft:

    I further argued, in my first two posts, that you can’t just pretend Paterno didn’t do any good and/or that nothing good that he did matters. I emphasized that this sort of revisionist history should be left to Fox News and not the skeptical community.

    -No one is revising history. No one has said Joe Paterno has never done good things in the past. As far as I can tell, most of the people criticizing him simply don’t care about all the good he’s done in the past . As I’ve said before, I don’t care about the so-called ‘good’ he’s done (and I call that into question as well, since the moral failings he displayed through continuous inaction are highly likely to have impacted other areas of his life, including his training/mentoring of athletes). Yes, I’m making the affirmative statement that:
    Joe Paterno failed as a moral, ethical, and responsible human being. He failed as a moral, ethical, and responsible authority figure. I’m not sure how to spell that out any simpler.

  343. 343
    Anri

    You quoted me: “But the mass of people condemning Paterno in this thread… the venom and oversimplification captured in some of these comments is every bit as stupid as any unrestrained praise of Paterno is.”

    In response, you said (in part): “Except, of course for the – no doubt inconsequential – detail that one of these positions is supporting a rapist-enabler, and the other, um, isn’t.”

    No. I am not supporting Paterno; if you’re going to quote me please also quote the bit I wrote at the beginning of my post saying that I think he deserves much if not all of the condemnation he’s gotten.

    Just as well I didn’t say you were supporting Paterno, then.
    ‘Cause, yanno, I didn’t.

    I did read all of your post. I objected to part of it, and wanted to rebut part of it, so I quoted part of it, and replied to part of it.

    I’ll try to be more clear:
    You said:

    But the mass of people condemning Paterno in this thread… the venom and oversimplification captured in some of these comments

    That’s one of the positions I mentioned.

    is every bit as stupid as

    That’s where you said they were equivalent

    any unrestrained praise of Paterno is.

    And that’s the other position.
    To which I responded:

    Except, of course for the – no doubt inconsequential – detail that one of these positions

    (The second, for those having trouble following)

    is supporting a rapist-enabler, and the other,

    (The first… just in case!)

    um, isn’t.

    Clearer now?

  344. 344
    GeekMelange (formerly thepint)

    Kristjan @325

    Jebus. That can’t have been easy for your friend, but commendations for doing the right thing. I hope it all turns out for the best.

  345. 345
    A. Noyd

    lftf (#332)

    I’m not sure what about this is controversial.

    The fact that you think people here are pretending Paterno did nothing good and that we need to be scolded for doing so. Oh, there’s also the bullshit false equivalence that Anri broke down for you in #343.

    On the idea that Paterno wasn’t special- if he wasn’t special why were his graduation rates always at the top of D1 schools?

    Jesus fucking Christ. Just because it warms your cockles to set the bar for specialness at ankle level doesn’t mean the rest of us have to keep it so low. It’s not that Paterno went out of his way to get his players graduated; it’s that there’s a serious failure of priorities within college athletic programs in general. It’s not special to come off looking good compared to people who aren’t doing their job.

  346. 346
    Ichthyic

    I further argued, in my first two posts, that you can’t just pretend Paterno didn’t do any good and/or that nothing good that he did matters.

    Then, like several others have pointed out, you are either too stupid or too obstinate to understand what the title of the OP means.

    here, let’s bring it down here for review, shall we?

    How many football games do you have to win to make up for one broken child?

    do you even understand that this is taking a direct poke at people JUST LIKE YOU?

    no, you really don’t.

    more’s the pity.

  347. 347
    Ichthyic

    t’s not that Paterno went out of his way to get his players graduated

    indeed, there is much evidence to suggest he would consider that taking time away from his coaching duties.

    The evidence in fact being a reproach he gave to someone… now who was it… oh yeah,

    Mike McQueary

    for spending too much time at his charity instead of… coaching.

    yeah.

    these paterno fanbois are laughably obtuse.

  348. 348
    GeekMelange (formerly thepint)

    You know what? The bottom line is that when push came to shove, Paterno chose to use his power to protect an already powerful institution, NOT the powerless victims of Sandusky. Everything else he’s ever done should be viewed through this lens. Everything that he did to “help build the athletics program,” all the “good that he’s done for Penn State’s community” should be examined and considered with the understanding that ultimately, the man involved in much of these things, the man who many would give credit to for elevating Penn State, sided with the powerful who were already protected by the might of Penn State, rather than the vulnerable children who should have been protected but weren’t in the end. He chose self-preservation rather than risking what he’d built to protect those kids. This one action, more than any other of Paterno’s, reveals more about the man’s character than a laundry list of “good works” ever could. It’s inescapable, no matter how many apologies and excuses and pleas for leniency are thrown at the matter. He screwed up and Penn State’s football program, not to mention the entire university’s character, is going to carry the stain of his self-serving cowardice for years to come. This single choice of Paterno’s is going to end up hurting Penn State and it’s community far more than the timely investigation of Sandusky would have had Paterno pressured the university to follow up on the allegations until all doubt was removed.

    If anyone’s to blame for “undoing” or poisoning the “good works” that Paterno did over his lifetime, no one need look any farther than Paterno himself.

  349. 349
    Ingdigo Jump

    I further argued, in my first two posts, that you can’t just pretend Paterno didn’t do any good and/or that nothing good that he did matters.

    In context to this. What good he did

    a) it’s pathetic, like I said I don’t make enough to do what JoePoe did and be able to be seen as “having done good”

    b) Was it worth it?

    Seriously. Yes or no. Was the good he did worth it?

  350. 350
    Ichthyic

    Mike McQueary

    lol, substitution error – I just finished reading one of the posts on the interview with McQueary.

    you know who I meant.

  351. 351
    Ingdigo Jump

    If Joey had killed a hooker would we be disusing this?

    If Joey had helped someone bury the body would we be disusing this?

    If Joey had seen the murder taking place and rather than helping walked along would we be disusing this?

    If Joey had seen the murder and not call 9-11 and then worked in passing with the murderer for 10 years would we be disusing this?

    If Joey had just seen it and put off calling the police till Monday would we be disusing this?

    Just help me gauge how heinous and how directly connected does he have to be before we stop wringing our hands over whether we’re being fair to him.

    Or to put it another way

    Unfairness that children cannot expect people to lift a damn finger to help them >>> unfairness of people bashing on such a person.

  352. 352
    Bill Dauphin, avec fromage

    Carlie:

    Point of information…

    Campus police, right? So no, not to the actual police.

    Do we know that? Sometimes campus “police” are not actual police, but sometimes they are fully sworn peace officers, with guns and handcuffs and all the same jurisdiction and arrest powers as municipal police. That was the case on my undergraduate campus (and don’t even think about asking me how I know that <g>).

    It wouldn’t exonerate Paterno if they were “real” police, of course; I’m just curious.

    Just for fun, though, imagine (for the sake of a thought experiment) that Paterno had reported what McQueary told him directly to a high-ranking police officer with clear jurisdiction over the case: That might’ve discharged his letter-of-the-law obligations, but even that wouldn’t have discharged his moral obligation to follow the fuck up when no action was taken. This shit was happening in his “classroom”; how could he possibly not run it all the way to ground?

    It amazes me that anyone’s defending him even a little bit over this, no matter how much they might respect his prior record as a coach and/or educator. This strikes me as a frickin’ no-brainer.

  353. 353
    GeekMelange (formerly thepint)

    ltft – It’s a shame you’ve chosen to nitpick with those who apparently agree with your avowed position that Paterno deserves the condemnation he’s been getting, rather than taking this very same nitpicking tack with the people making excuses for Paterno’s behavior because apparently sports programs and coaching legacies are more important than raped children.

    Because apparently you seem to think it’s more important that Paterno’s memory get treated “fairly,” rather than making sure that the pain and suffering of people who became victims in part due to Paterno’s negligence aren’t being trampled on by the Paterno fans determined to whitewash history to preserve his “legacy,” thereby erasing those victims from the picture.

  354. 354
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    You know what you’re saying?

    “At least he kept the trains on time”

    Damn straight. And the derailing s/he’s doing is equivalent to “I agree that sexism/racism/homophobia is terrible, BUT do you all have to use such nasty language about it? Wait, I’m on your side! Why is everyone yelling at me, I agree with you!”

    =====

    So I was thinking about how people have said that we can’t even say the good things Paterno did came at the price of the child rape he allowed, because he could as easily have achieved the same things without enabling said rape.

    I wonder if that’s true. I wonder if it would have been possible to build such a successful athletics program without the intensely hierarchical nature, with people having the power to cover up wrongdoing. It seems to me like Paterno’s achievemnets might have been impossible without someone less powerful being thrown under the bus at some point. It seems to me that this is the kind of “organization” that the program built, maintained and depended on.

  355. 355
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    It appears to me the vast majority on this thread are acting like Paterno is the pedophile (the level of rancor here is clear evidence of that, if anyone even questions the “fuck Joe Paterno” mentality then THEY get hammered as well).

    You’re a moron. Really. No one is acting like Paterno is the pedophile. They are however correctly acting like he enabled a pedophile to continue to rape children.

  356. 356
    concernedjoe

    Let me try this again

    It is elementary – and the facts are incontrovertible

    Joe P was powerful figure. He was management of the highest sort … we was an executive level officer

    Someone shit and/or was shitting where he lived and/or played. He knew about it .. whether as a fact or as an allegation – he knew the possibility and from that point the ball was in his court.

    When you are an officer YOU MUST TAKE ACTION – YOU ARE NEVER FREED FROM THE OBLIGATION TO SEE IT THROUGH TO A DEFINITIVE CONCLUSION

    He did not fulfill his obligations as an manager/officer plain and simple. His malfeasance involved allowing potentially exposing children to terrible harm.

    Any fucking one of you that has been a big company upper manager and/or officer or high ranking NCO in the military know what I am talking about. All stuff like this has NO leeway – legalese means nothing. If you have power and authority you are obligated to use it to do the ethical and moral thing on issues like this. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    Again – anyone who has been even remotely close to an upper management in military or big company knows this. Anyone who was close to Joe P’s position should have written and enforced the code of conduct let alone followed it his/herself.

    Joe P was GUILTY of a major immoral and unethical failure. He WAS obligated to follow through until HE was sure all children were safe. He had no leeway!

    It was despicable that he chose prestige over duty!

  357. 357
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I began by asking a philosophical question and then got depressed,

    Philosophical questions are for mental masturbators who care more how they arrived at the answer, or the answer itself, than how the answer fits reality. We are evidence based here, not philosophy based. Those asking inane philosophical questions here are invariably trolls, trying to disrupt the real conversation. As you so aptly proved, and your tone trolling confirms. Oh, and the one thing absent from your “philosophical musings” is actual evidence.

  358. 358
    Ingdigo Jump

    I began by asking a philosophical question and then got depressed,

    So you’re an essentialist?

  359. 359
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    …..Of all the long contentious threads on Pharyngula I’ve read, this one surprises me the most. Like someone said previously, how in the blue blazing fuck is this not a unanimous thread?

    I just, I mean…. my brain is just sort-of broken right now. I get the influence of culture, I just can’t fathom why anyone could make the argument that we should pay more attention to being a football coach, when he abetted child rape.

    (scratches head and stares blankly) Working on 400 posts, with a handful of people demanding that we be ‘nicer to’ or ‘forgive’ his actions. I hate the world, some days, but I’m grateful the Horde is on it.

  360. 360
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    You’ve asked a philosophical question and you’ve been given an answer. If you were only expecting to get answers that you would like, well, maybe you should give up asking such philosophical question in threads about child rape. They show you in a bad light, because they sound a bit like “Child rape is bad, but…” and that is really not a good way to start a conversation.

  361. 361
    carlie

    If Joey had killed a hooker would we be disusing this?

    Probably, yes. :(

    Sometimes campus “police” are not actual police, but sometimes they are fully sworn peace officers, with guns and handcuffs and all the same jurisdiction and arrest powers as municipal police.

    True. It appears I got that part wrong, though, and he only contacted his superiors and they contacted the civilian supervisor over the campus police force.

  362. 362
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    if it comes out that he was covering this up, then I think the vitriol is deserved.

    If? If he was covering up? He recieved a reasonably credible report that a former employee was sexually abusing a child in the Penn State locker room showers and did not immediately call 911? What would you call that?

    My first post in this comment section was meant to address one question: how do you weigh the undeniable good that Paterno has done against the undeniable bad?

    Again, if you actually have to stop and think for a long time, with careful consideration, “Does being a good football coach, building a programme with a good reputation, giving back to the community and the school make up for enabling a child rapist to continue to have access to children for ten years?” then I really have to wonder where your priorities are.

    I began by asking a philosophical question and then got depressed,

    Because reality intruded?

  363. 363
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    ltft:

    @nigel,318- yes, I’m comparing the methods and tools one person uses for communication with the methods and tools that a second person has used (and yes, I’m aware of PZ’s new book and Dawkins’ internet presence). How is that a strawman, exactly?

    Because they address different audiences?

    Seriously. It’s not like Dawkins only publishes books in Swahili. His books are just as accessible in America as they are in Britain. He is first and foremost a science popularizer, and secondly an atheist, with the odd happenstance that he is also British.

    The fact that the British are far more progressive than the US with regards to science has not one fuck to do with the differences between PZ and Dawkins. PZ uses his blog to create and maintain a community of atheists. Dawkins uses his books to educate the public — and not just the British public, but the US and other countries as well.

    PZ’s goals are different. I don’t know what motivates him and what he desires to accomplish, but one thing that is evident is his intent to build and maintain a community of atheists. He does that with this blog. He addresses things at the depth necessary to convey his thoughts to his intended audience: an educated, articulate community of atheists. He doesn’t need to go into tedious details deconstructing the KAM. It’s been done before, and most of us here could field-strip any number of cosmological arguments in our sleep.

    The same here. There’s no need to go into details defending his position. It’s patently obvious that Paterno failed to act when a child rape was reported. Weigh that against any amount of “good” he might’ve accomplished. I don’t give a fuck. The simple fact is, child rape is abhorrent. Any decent human would act to stop a child rapist.

    Why do you think that needs in-depth analysis?

    You want to talk about the difference between PZ and Dawkins? How’s this — PZ actually fucking tackles issues like this. Important issues. I respect and admire Dawkins. He’s one of the best science popularizers we’ve had since Sagan. But I appreciate PZ for providing a place to talk about important shit like this.

    This is why your comparison is a strawman: Dawkins doesn’t just “belong” to Britain. PZ doesn’t “represent” US atheists, he represents atheists who give very loud fucks about societal issues. And finally, PZ and Dawkins have very different audiences, with very different agendas.

    The US is regressive in science education not because of PZ, but because we have fundamentalist fucks who work hard to destroy actual science education. Trying to pin the blame on PZ with your whiney-assed “you’re not helping” tone-trolling bullshit is sublimely stupid.

  364. 364
    agafina

    Just occurred to me that people who refer to rape victims as “damaged goods” can be the same ones who say of rape “20 minutes of inconvenience” and “just get over it!”

    And to those arguing that Joe P did good work – how would you feel if it was your kid being raped during those last 10 years? Would it really matter to you that Joe P helped some other students graduate, put some money into the university or that he could win games? Because my guess is that that is not what you would think about when you would remember Joe P.

  365. 365
    hence

    And to those arguing that Joe P did good work – how would you feel if it was your kid being raped during those last 10 years?

    Implied in your sentence is that you would feel your child was damaged by it. No one should ever be told they are broken, not even from a therapist, because it has nothing to do with healing and only boils down to self-pity and lowers self-esteem. Parent that think their children are damaged (and I’m guessing very few do in a real situation) need to stop hurting them and make peace with whatever demon they’re really fighting.

  366. 366
    Ingdigo Jump

    Implied in your sentence is that you would feel your child was damaged by it.

    No it doesn’t. Or it might but isn’t necessary. It might imply harm rather than damage.

    No one should ever be told they are broken, not even from a therapist, because it has nothing to do with healing and only boils down to self-pity and lowers self-esteem. Parent that think their children are damaged (and I’m guessing very few do in a real situation) need to stop hurting them and make peace with whatever demon they’re really fighting.

    Not at all the point of what you were quoting. A point that was made previously before too.

  367. 367
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    hence:

    Implied in your sentence is that you would feel your child was damaged by it.

    No. Implied in that sentence is that your child went through years of pain, both physical and emotional. Implied in that sentence is that someone intentionally allowed the infliction of that pain. Implied in that sentence is the simple fact that, to the victims and the parents of the victims, Paterno’s good is trivial compared to the pain and suffering he allowed.

    Parent that think their children are damaged (and I’m guessing very few do in a real situation) need to stop hurting them and make peace with whatever demon they’re really fighting.

    And which demon might that be? Are you suggesting the parents (and perhaps even the victims) should forgive Paterno?

  368. 368
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Apparently people are still reading this thread, so I thought I’d put the “good” that Paterno did in perspective. Granted, over the course of his career, Paterno coached thousands of men, most of whom graduated. For the sake of argument, let’s suppose that, say, 80% of them would never even have attended college otherwise, let alone graduate.

    But all those men had one thing in common. They excelled at football. If you were a top high school football player, you might get lucky and get Paterno’s help, but if you weren’t fast enough or strong enough or big enough or male enough, or if you just didn’t want to play football for whatever reason, Paterno didn’t give a fuck about you.

    I’m not blaming Paterno for that–he had a job to do, and by all accounts he excelled at his job, and yes, it seems that the men who played for him had more success than the average college football player. But that makes him no more a hero than, say, the flight attendant who makes sure that your seat belt is buckled before takeoff. And more to the point, he was part of a rotten system, and he did nothing to challenge that system.

    And yes, the system is rotten. It tells young men that all they have to do is excel at football and they’ll be rich and famous beyond all belief. And to a certain extent that’s true, but only for a miniscule percent of college players who represent a small percent of high school players who manage to make it in the professional game and make a career out of it. It’s like the lottery, except that instead of spending a few bucks every week on a ticket you spend most of your time practicing or lifting weights, you risk fatal or crippling injuries every day, and if you end up being one of the lucky few who makes it, you have a few years of lucrative glory followed by an early retirement, and the prospect of a life of boredom, penury, and perhaps dementia waiting for you.

    And if you don’t win the lottery, then what? I can’t say, as I haven’t read much about what happens to college football players who never make it to the pros. I guess if you were lucky enough to play for Paterno, then you have more of a chance than the kid who went to Alabama, but again, it’s a lottery.

    So that’s the “good” that Paterno’s done.

    Weigh it against the kids who were raped, and tell me what you find.

    (And for the record, I like sports, and especially Boston-area professional teams.)

  369. 369
    Pteryxx

    And if you don’t win the lottery, then what? I can’t say, as I haven’t read much about what happens to college football players who never make it to the pros.

    This is why I can never watch the draft. All the attention’s on the top few picks, who know they’re going SOMEplace big and important, even if they don’t know exactly where. After a few hours, you’re down to the ones grateful to be picked by some team, any team, no matter where they have to move or who they’re going to work with, because at least they’ll have a second-string rookie’s contract. Then look at the faces of the ones still waiting as the pool gets thinner and thinner. It’s horrible to watch, the draft. It’s cruel.

    The smarter players, and those who gamed the system, have somewhere to go when they don’t get chosen. If they were well connected in a big-name program, they have good job prospects through networking… that team loyalty holds beyond the actual game. If they got a decent degree from their school time (not easy while part of a major sports team) then they’re just another college graduate with a really big personal achievement on their resume. The rest, the ones with make-work degrees and few connections? It’s a bit rough to be twenty-one and realize you may never again be as celebrated as you were for the last few years; and to realize the world you’ve lived for, devoted all your effort and training and study to since you were in grade school, will never again be more than just a hobby.

    Some of them become school coaches and PE teachers in their own right, or referees, or other part-time supporters. Most remain fans their whole lives. If you go to any big sports bar in a college football town, not this weekend but next (during the Super Bowl), and ask around, you’ll find many guys happy to talk about their own glory days as players. I’ve met one who showed me his team ring from some college bowl or other, and we parted friends.

  370. 370
    feralboy12

    And if you don’t win the lottery, then what? I can’t say, as I haven’t read much about what happens to college football players who never make it to the pros.

    I have. Sports Illustrated ran an article two or three years ago about former college players who got done with football and found themselves carrying 50 or more pounds they no longer needed. Many players, particularly linemen, are told to gain weight from the time they arrive on campus; many high school players are in fact asked to gain extra weight as well. Many continue to gain weight after college, due to the 8000-calorie-a-day diets they followed in college while working out extensively; after their playing days are done, diet continues, workouts do not. And the nutritional specialists that advised them for 4-5 years mostly aren’t around anymore. Some guys have no idea what a regular-sized meal looks like.
    Some get a handle on it quickly, some don’t.

  371. 371
    Pteryxx

    @feralboy: Gaah, I didn’t know that. I’m closest to hockey and *nobody* in that sport gains weight for sheer anchorage purposes. *shudder*

  372. 372
    Ichthyic

    How many football games do you have to win to make up for one broken child?

    Has anyone asked Mr. Owl yet?

  373. 373
    Ichthyic

    Some guys have no idea what a regular-sized meal looks like.
    Some get a handle on it quickly, some don’t.

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