Friday, November 18, 2011

Penn State Paterno-Sandusky Discussion Continues: All about Powerful Old Boys' Clubs

A gathering of recent read-worthy articles continuing the Penn State discussion:

At his Dish site, Andrew Sullivan links to articles by Hugo Schwyzer and Nicole Rodgers that diagnose the moral sickness which issues in rape of minors and the cover-up of such rape as all about old boys' networks.  It's all about powerful, exclusive clubs of powerful men who imagine that they are ontologically superior to the rest of humanity.  It's about boys'  clubs like that of the Catholic hierarchy and other male-dominated or male-exclusive clubs that almost always purport to be exclusively heterosexual, even when they're not.  Sullivan notes that Jason Berry agrees that that there are striking parallels between the behavior of the Catholic hierarchy and the Penn State coaching club.

As does Katha Pollitt.  Writing in the Nation, Pollitt advises those with the authority to clean up the situation at Penn State to cancel the football season, fire everybody, get real about rape.  And grow up.

Pollitt skewers the patriarchal pastimes that manifest themselves in abuse of children by Catholic priests and powerful football coaches in the following incendiary passage:

And that brings us to the patriarchal aspect of the Penn State scandal. I know it’s predictable and boring, but come on, people! There really is a message here about masculine privilege: the deification of a powerful old man who can do no wrong, an all-male hierarchy protecting itself (hello, pedophile priests), a culture of entitlement and a truly astonishing lack of concern about sexual violence. This last is old news, unfortunately: sexual assaults by athletes are regularly covered up or lightly punished by administrations, even in high school, and society really doesn’t care all that much. A federal appeals court declared that a Texas cheerleader could be kicked off the squad (and made to contribute to the school’s legal costs) for refusing to cheer her rapist when he took the field—and he’d pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault too, so why was he even still playing? According to USA Today, an athlete accused of a sex crime has a very good chance of getting away with it. If Sandusky had abused little girls, let alone teenage or adult women, would he be in trouble today? Or would we say, like the neighbors of an 11-year-old gang-raped in Cleveland, Texas, that she was asking for it?

And on behalf of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Peter Isely decries Paterno's transfer of the ownership of his home to his wife--something that has recently come to light, and happened a few months before the Penn State story hit the media--as an indicator that Paterno has known more all along than he's letting on re: the Sandusky situation.  Isely wants Penn State "to remove all references to and honors of Paterno from the campus."

Wonder what that portends for the Paterno Catholic Faith Student Faith Center that the local Catholic diocese has named in honor of Paterno's wife?

P.S. I suggest that this posting be read as a companion piece with the one preceding it.

The graphic is from Jessie Powell's Jester Queen blog.

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