- May 26, 2006
But... it's true.
I guess it only takes 3 months in Happy Valley for the Kool-Aid to kick in. I am really disappointed that he rushed to his own judgement.Having read, and loved, The Machine, I'm confident Joe will write a great book.
The issue is that there is no way he can do it without taking a stance on Paterno's guilt, which could be messy for him either way.
My thoughts exactly. I have complete confidence, based on his past work, that Posnanski getting to know Paterno before the scandal broke will actually lead to a better book.On the deadspin item about Poz, all I can say is I have immense faith in the guy and I think that in time the facts of the matter - many of which are still unknown to us - will lead him to the right place. I'm an unapologetic Poz fanboy and I'm still confident that he'll write the book that most of us would hope for him to write.
In what way did he rush to his own judgment?I guess it only takes 3 months in Happy Valley for the Kool-Aid to kick in. I am really disappointed that he rushed to his own judgement.
Well, the money quotes for me are:In what way did he rush to his own judgment?
I'm reading what Posnanski is saying as, "Just because I don't write the eight millionth article this week crucifying everyone who ever had anything to do with Penn State doesn't mean I support child molestation."
Paterno is his friend, he is too close to the subject to make it an objective look at his downfall. We're not going to get that book.Posnanski:"It's already shameful. It'll be ten times more shameful to think that they fired him with a personal messenger sent to his home."
JoePos "When was the last time anyone said the name Sandusky? Where are the Sandusky headlines?" Stresses that presentment is only one side.
I find this very disappointing. Posnanski is too nice. And on this point, he's wrong."A lot of people came here to bury Joe. As a writer, I'm mad with that, as someone who's come to know the Paternos, I'm heartbroken."
Ugh I hate reading those quotes. Nobody can be perfect forever I guess.Yea. Isn't it journalism 101 to NOT become personally invested in your subject? Cameron Crowe wrote a movie about it, for chrissakes.
I find this very disappointing. Posnanski is too nice. And on this point, he's wrong.
Someone yesterday in the Sandusky thread said college was a "make believe land."I guess it only takes 3 months in Happy Valley for the Kool-Aid to kick in. I am really disappointed that he rushed to his own judgement.
I understand the frustration, but what makes you so certain that this is how the book will turn out? Pos is making comments after having about three days to digest a story that's really close to him and also happens to be one of the most horrific stories in recent football history. He just seems overwhelmed right now. (He described himself on Twitter as "like a surfer in a tsunami".)I am very disappointed with Joe Pos -- if he can't see that a book about how a man who had everything most people want threw it all away out of a misguided sense of loyalty to an old friend, out of fear of being exposed as a fraud, about losing a gravy train for his family and friends and himself, out of wilful ignorance and disregard for anyone but himself -- then he's not even half the writer I thought he was. In fact, I'd say he has no integrity as a journalist if he still forges ahead with a puff biog about how Joe Pa got railroaded.
The book we want to read could be one of the greatest pieces of journalism written in decades, "All the President's Men" level stuff. What a shame.
It is still unclear what Paterno did in this case. It will remain unclear for a while. You might be one of the hundreds and hundreds of people I’ve heard from who know EXACTLY what Paterno did. He HAD to know this. He DEFINITELY knew that. He COULD have done something. I respect that. Joe Paterno’s a public figure. You have every right to believe what you want to believe and be absolutely certain about it. But since we have not heard from Joe, not heard from former athletic director Tim Curley, not heard from GA/assistant coach Mike McQueary, not heard from anyone who was in the room, I’ll repeat: It’s unclear. A determined grand jury did not charge Joe Paterno with any crime. A motivated reporting barrage, so far anyway, has not uncovered a single thing that can tell us definitively what Joe Paterno knew
You can say that he knew enough to stop this, and I’d say you were right. I have tried so hard to make it clear that I am not defending Joe Paterno’s actions or inactions, but I know that won’t be enough. You may be writing an email right now telling me how terrible child molestation is, how awful a person Joe Paterno is, how awful a person I am for wanting to wait and see. I understand. This case hits emotions that are unstoppable.
My take from Posnanski's essay is that he understands why so many people feel such rage towards Paterno for his actions and inaction but that he has not decided whether he himself should feel such rage and disgust about Paterno and will hold off on those feelings until he knows all the facts about Paterno's involvement and Paterno's bad actions.Isn't the fundamental reason that people are furious with Paterno that Paterno knew one that of his trusted assistants was doing something horrific to little kids in (at the latest) 2002, and yet did functionally nothing to stop it? I don't understand how Posnaski can admit the answer to that question is "yes" and not understand why people are absolutely furious and calling for his head.
Bullshit.I also think that Posnanski was right to call Paterno as the scapegoat in this scandal, based on the standard definition of the word. Realistically, it is justified that Paterno is being scapegoated because his failure to bring Sandusky's actions to the attention of the police was abhorrent and morally bankrupt. Paterno has been fired and has been the subject of the lionshare of the scorn and anger of the media and public so in effect he is the scapegoat for all of the disastrous failings that pervaded PSU in this situation.
Unless you think Joe Paterno is literally a goat of some kind, he is not being scapegoated. a) He is not bearing the blame for others, because at least one person will certainly go to jail for this and another was fired along with him; and b) the hostility is completely rational. He had all the power, and did nothing with it. He was criminally negligent.scape·goat
Definition of SCAPEGOAT
1: a goat upon whose head are symbolically placed the sins of the people after which he is sent into the wilderness in the biblical ceremony for Yom Kippur
2a : one that bears the blame for others b : one that is the object of irrational hostility
See, I firmly believe "deserving scapegoat" is one hell of an oxymoron.I completely agree that the anger and vitriol is rational and justified. Paterno's actions and inactions are horrific and lacking in any moral strength.
I am going off this definition of scapegoat:
a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.
In terms of the media scrutiny right now, Paterno is bearing almost all of the blame for the failures of many people. I agree that many others will suffer severe consequences and harsh scrutiny for their involvement in this disaster as they should but I believe that at this moment, Paterno is standing in for almost all of the other people involved. All I was saying is that I think Joe Posnanski did not make a huge mistake in calling Paterno a scapegoat, as that word has varied definitions in parlance. To be clear, I think Paterno is a deserving scapegoat for his failings.
Once upon a time, several summers ago, I broke my ankle in three places and walked around on crutches for a couple of months. Invariably, people would try to make me feel better by saying things like, "Well at least you didn't break it during the winter when there's ice everywhere!" or "At least you didn't break your writing hand!" To which I would respond:I love the little story he related in a tweet, about the girl crying because "Everybody lost." Yeah, except some lost more than others. I had less respect for this guy than most but it's dwindling even more.
Is that the only reason why? Could it be that they are disillusioned and sincerely upset?But I will say that I am sickened, absolutely sickened, that some of those people whose lives were fundamentally inspired and galvanized by Joe Paterno have not stepped forward to stand up for him, have stood back and allowed him to be painted as an inhuman monster who was only interested in his legacy, even at the cost of the most heinous crimes against children imaginable.
Shame on them.
And why? I’ll tell you my opinion: Because they were afraid. And I understand that. A kind word for Joe Paterno in this storm is taken by many as a pro vote for a child molester.
Is that the only reason why? Could it be that they are disillusioned and sincerely upset?
Aside from the obvious reasons to hate this whole thing, I hate that it's made me like Posnanski a little bit less.
I'm fine with this as long as you're willing to go all the way with it. I doubt if someone asked that girl or Joe Poz if they feel any sadness for Jerry Sandusky they would have the guts to say yes. But oh, let's cry because a man can't coach a stupid football team anymore. You are way over-intellectualizing what is a simple lack of perspective, which is not the superpower you make it out be.Once upon a time, several summers ago, I broke my ankle in three places and walked around on crutches for a couple of months. Invariably, people would try to make me feel better by saying things like, "Well at least you didn't break it during the winter when there's ice everywhere!" or "At least you didn't break your writing hand!" To which I would respond:
"I DON'T GIVE A S**T ABOUT A BAD THING THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN! MY LEG IS BROKEN! AND MY CAST ITCHES LIKE HELL!"
I wasn't completely miserable most of the time, but I couldn't stand that crap.
Humans are capable of simultaneously a.) realizing that there are worse things out there, and b.) still feeling bad about what actually happened. We can do multiple things. Penn State students/alumni can be capable of feeling bad for the children while simultaneously feeling bad that the administration has been (justifiably) shamed, their icon is not the man they thought he was, and their college is a national punchline to everyone except Kremlin Watcher, who told us in the other thread that we should never joke about rape. I know it sounds insensitive, but much as humans try to find silver linings in bad situations, so too are humans able to perceive lesser, concurrent tragedies in the face of greater tragedies. Urging people to "Get some perspective!" simply runs contrary to how the human mind works, in large part because it requires the mind to be able to deal rationally with pain.
The girl is right. Everyone lost. It's a bad outcome for all. And it's much, much, much worse for the children than for anyone else. But noting that "everyone lost" doesn't mean that you support child molesters or that you don't understand the gravity of the situation for one of the parties in particular. It just means that you have tried to process what this means to many people, and in every case, it's something bad.
It's more concerning to me that I believe there might not be legislation on the books that would punish Joe Paterno (and anyone involved) for not reporting molestation of children to the police than it is to me that he was fired.
Super Nomario, I referenced it directly in the post you're quoting. That means I've read the book. Several times, actually.Have you read "In Cold Blood?"
I was hoping to get from Posnanski what I've always gotten. An extremely well-written, honest take on the situation, that shows a lot of thoughtfulness and intelligence. What I've gotten so far is Pos as Paterno's friend, blaming the media for scapegoating Paterno(?!), saying people who think differently about this are being reactionary and sanctimonious, and a writer emotionally wiped out and upset that the book he signed up to do is now officially wrecked and impossible to do. I think he should get out of Happy Valley. Come back to us Pos.You guys are totally right. We need BLOOD! If Posnanski was half a man he would go to Paterno's house and punch him in the face.
I think he is showing spine. He knows his stance is not remotely popular.Super Nomario, I referenced it directly in the post you're quoting. That means I've read the book. Several times, actually.
Have you stopped and thought out that last post? I'm going with no. No one wants blood, clownshoes. They want someone they respect to show some spine and some fucking common sense.
Obviously Joe Paterno is the representation of Penn State and yes, I am aware that in struggles with Spanier and other higher ups, Joe Paterno would come out on top. To some degree that is overblown, because the major struggle he won was in maintaining his position.Really? Joe Paterno IS Penn State. He's won every power struggle with his "superiors". Before this week no one outside of State College knew who any of the administrators were.
This would be a big deal at any powerhouse school, but St. Joe is the main reason why this is the lead on every news program in the country. Sideshow? The Whole F'ing Show.
This is the type of piece that's been needed in all this, and hasn't been written yet. Outstanding writing.Obviously Joe Paterno is the representation of Penn State and yes, I am aware that in struggles with Spanier and other higher ups, Joe Paterno would come out on top. To some degree that is overblown, because the major struggle he won was in maintaining his position.
Holy molely, fantastic post. Thanks very much.Obviously Joe Paterno is the representation of Penn State and yes, I am aware that in struggles with Spanier and other higher ups, Joe Paterno would come out on top. To some degree that is overblown, because the major struggle he won was in maintaining his position.
Its probably a bit more popular where he is, in Happy Valley.I think he is showing spine. He knows his stance is not remotely popular.
In my opinion, one of the things that makes In Cold Blood so compelling is that Capote portrays Perry Smith with sympathy even as he renders the crime in all its heinousness. Without comparing Capote and Posnanski as writers, that strikes me as similar to the mindset Posnanski is taking here.
That's where I'm coming from. Now is not the time for people to step forward and say what a good man Joe really was. Maybe when he dies, that's the time, I don't know. But the whole shit about calling Paterno's naysayers "howlers" and stuff like that, it's denial. Total denial.Taking a nuanced, empathetic view of the situation is fine. Arguing that Joe Pa has lived a decent life and has been a decent guy his entire time at PSU is fine. But wagging his finger at the board of trustees for their "disgusting" method of firing him? Casting shame on people for not supporting JoePa... I mean, what the hell, he's been at fucking State College through this whole thing.
I'm sorry, but when you're dealing with a case with this much heinousness, politeness shouldn't really factor for those doling out the conequences, no matter how revered one is for the number of buildings they've paid for and football games they've won and churches that have their name on plaques. Sandusky was on more than decade long rampage. It was covered up and/or just plain not reported as it should've been. Joe Pa fucked up, in a case where fucking up was completely unacceptable. It's fine to argue that that mistake doesn't negate everything else Joe Pa has done. It's stupid to try and parlay that into some silly moral high ground about Joe Pa not being paid due reverence. And that's where JoePos lost me. Completely. I don't think that the whole article was bad. But that segment? Yeah, that was.
There is no such law, just as there is no "Good Samaritan" law that requires (unless excepted by statute) someone to report a crime in progress or to save someone in peril.It's more concerning to me that I believe there might not be legislation on the books that would punish Joe Paterno (and anyone involved) for not reporting molestation of children to the police than it is to me that he was fired.
I'll break it down as simply as I can. Joe said nothing. More kids were molested for it. That is despicable and utterly void of defense.