This week’s article is short by my usual standards. My point is simple; words are meaningless whenever actions belie them. Phony is as phony does and even the most adept rationalizing does NOT change it.
Ego and Arrogance are hopelessly drawn to each other; they copulate every chance they get. And, even though they’ve convinced themselves that they’re engaging in safe sex, they’re not. The condoms they use are always made from low-grade rationalization, which always rupture resulting in the birth of an offspring named STUPIDITY.
It’s been going on since the dawn of humanity and there isn’t a shred of evidence—not even a hint—that it’s going to stop before the human race annihilates itself. In fact, it most likely will be this offspring of EGO and ARROGANCE that will be at the root of it.
This culture, by the way, isn’t applicable ONLY to Penn State. Every group has its “sacred cows” that NOBODY dares to criticize, even when “plain-as-day” evidence justifies doing so. And the farther removed people are from the TOP, the more likely they are to succumb to a “see no evil… hear no evil… speak no evil” mentality.
Pennsylvania State University is still an outstanding academic institution. Even back when all of this horror began taking place, most of the faculty, staff, student body, and administrators had no idea of it.
They knew only that they had a highly successful collegiate division-1A football program and that the financial aspect of that success funded many programs that less successful universities could afford.
But this has all changed. The innocent will pay right along with the guilty. The University is looking at potentially $-HUNDREDS of MILLIONS in civil payouts, multiple severe NCAA sanctions, and Title-9 penalties that will not only shut down the football program for a year or more, but will affect the entire university sports endeavor.
While Penn State will survive in the long run because its endowments are just a tad shy of $2-BILLION, it’s not the point. The fact that Jerry Sandusky is in jail isn’t the point, either; he should have been there years ago. No, the point is something much more sinister.
The point is the extent to which four very powerful PSU administrators were willing to go in order to protect the cash flowing from the football program and just how little regard they had for the youngsters ravaged by a prowling sexual predator in an ongoing quest to satisfy his sick sexual perversions.
The arrogance and egos of Graham Spanier, Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, and Gary Shultz in believing that they, ALONE, could save PSU’s reputation by lying was bad enough.
But the idea that they thought that their organizational authority along with their self-defined magnanimous personalities could somehow make it all go away reeks of hopeless STUPIDITY.
Had these people turned Sandusky into the police back in the ‘90s; informed the public of what they had discovered; and ENCOURAGED all the witnesses to come forward and testify, it would have had an entirely different outcome.
In fact, we’d still be worshiping, although posthumously, before the image of Joe Paterno in the Cathedral of Penn State Football.
In retrospect—and I am not about to rehash it here—the priest sexual abuse scandal is similar to the Penn State affair in terms of its root motivation: protect the cash flow by protecting the reputation of Holy Mother Church.
And, just as in the case of PSU’s four very powerful administrators, the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church proved that the welfare of kids means nothing whenever cash flow and reputation hang in the balance.
But, unlike Penn State, the Church’s hierarchy divulged something they didn’t intend to show us: an unprecedented level of phoniness when it comes to the faith they claim to possess.
In not owning up to the problems from the start by turning the offenders into the police and state authorities for criminal prosecution, they showed how shakable their faith IS.
In the words of Jesus to the apostle Peter, “Thou art Peter; upon this rock of will build MY church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And whatsoever you bind on Earth shall also be bound by my Father in Heaven.”
What did these hierarchical church phonies think: that such a scandal would have thrust God into such a state of depression that he might have committed suicide?
Words can be powerfully comforting and inspiring… that is until related behavior belies them. Once this happens, the words become meaningless.
As I wrote at the start, phony is as phony does. Whether phony is Graham Spanier, Joe Paterno, Tim Curry, Gary Shultz, the Pope, the College of Cardinals, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or myriad local parish Pastors is completely immaterial.
Have a great week.