Pity the Fool

People of Penn State, you have my sympathy.  You have just discovered that your community is not what you thought it was.  Your heroes have fallen, your trust has been violated, and your memories have been tarnished.  Everything has changed.

The sorrows are multiple.  Children were abused, the abuse was reported, and then nothing happened.  People were either in denial or actively engaged in covering up the crime.  It’s bad enough that the abuse occurred, but the complete ethical failure of those wh0 knew about it to do anything at all is something else again.

If I were writing a play about a man who became a sort of surrogate father to thousands, I might briefly consider naming him “Paterno” — and then dismiss it as either too overt or too clever.  His fall, at any rate, is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.  He is your Lear, Penn State, possessed of that same combination of determination and blindness that led the other to his fall:  A fool; deserving of your pity, but a fool nonetheless.


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