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Works and Days

From Herman Cain to Blue Wall Street—the News Behind the News

November 10th, 2011 - 7:45 am

The News Behind the News

Here are some things in the daily news that do not quite make sense.

I.The Joe Paterno Implosion

To the outsider, it is inexplicable how a coach/former coach like Mr. Sandusky could serially molest boys, even after the crimes were known to many of the athletic staff, apparently at one point even to the campus police, and many in the higher administration.

We are supposed to assume that over decades Joe Paterno had no inkling that his most trusted coach was a pederast/pedophile in a gym-like environment where male youth were ubiquitous? An athletic program is a sort of petri dish for the bacillus of the pederast.

What was going on? Did the campus community close ranks, in the manner of the Catholic Church, to avoid the tabloids, and in fact did so successfully for years? Was the attitude that a ten-year-old who was sodomized in the shower was expendable, given the careers that might otherwise summarily end? If Paterno reported the matter to officials, and even to campus security, and nothing followed, was he not curious as to why that was so?

Did the alleged pervert demonically masque some of his lust in the context of locker-room frolicking to fool his colleagues, as if his groping was just “horseplay” and then by design would escalate at the opportune moment? The Penn State community must have informally considered Sandusky a mere in-house embarrassment? But if so, what a travesty, given the predator’s proverbial ingenuity in finding new victims, and the raw calculation that others were to suffer to protect the reputations of university grandees. So Paterno et al. resigned, but far too late; the tragedy was that it came only after so many new victims.

II. The Herman Cain Mess

If one were to believe some of the narratives about Herman Cain, what exactly is he guilty of? Buffoonery? Lying? Assault? Bad manners? Perversion? Nothing at all? We are never quite told in any meaningful detail.

1) In regard to the current five complainants, is Cain a married roving eye? A sort of unfulfilled man, eager to flirt and fantasize, or, to quote Jimmy Carter, to lust in his heart? That is, did he vent his sexual frustrations, by occasional loose talk, but draw the line by eschewing classical sexual harassment of the casting couch sort that leads to intercourse? Note that no women have come forward in the last, say, ten years. Did age and cancer change Herman Cain? But from what to what?

2) Is Cain a crude groper? A sort of Strom Thurmond or sex-poodle Al Gore? Are there third-party witnesses who can attest that Cain grabbed thighs? If not, are we back to he said/she said? Are we once more to ponder what is “sexual harassment”? We can all agree it surely is the gross quid pro quo, ‘screw’ me for your job. But is it also the asymmetrical relationship between the man with power and the woman subordinate without so much of it? (If we think Cain’s tête-à-tête evening with Ms. Bialek was stupidly above and beyond the call of duty, what in the world was hair over the eye Sharon Bialek thinking in scoring a private coffee break/dinner with CEO Herman Cain?) How odd, that in the age of trashy media sex and crass overt nudity, we act as if we are in the age of Puritanism. In 2011, a coffee break will be both more overtly sexual (even a group discussion of last night’s sitcoms would ensure that) and yet prudish (as in one false slip, a bad joke, a crass compliment can become 14 years later a sexual harassment charge).

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