JOE PATERNO TOOK THE BROWN ACID!
It's preposterous that Walter Russell Mead coughs up nearly two thousand cliched words blaming the Jerry Sandusky child-rape scandal on the values of the Baby Boom generation:
“Talkin' about my generation”: the Who song once expressed the hope and self confidence of the Baby Boomers as they reached biological if not emotional maturity....
Talking about our generation is not going to be as much fun for the Boomers as it was in those long distant days of infinite promise.
... at the level of public policy and moral leadership, as a generation we have largely failed. The Boomer Progressive Establishment in particular has been a huge disappointment to itself and to the country. The political class slumbered as the entitlement and pension crisis grew to ominous dimensions. Boomer financial leadership was selfish and shortsighted, by and large. Boomer CEOs accelerated the trend toward unlimited greed among corporate elites, and Boomer members of corporate boards sit by and let it happen. Boomer academics created a profoundly dysfunctional system that systemically shovels resources upward from students and adjuncts to overpaid administrators and professors who by and large have not, to say the least, done an outstanding job of transmitting the cultural heritage of the past to future generations. Boomer Hollywood execs created an amoral morass of sludge....
See, I'm not sure what this has to do with Jerry Sandusky -- who, in fact, was born in 1944 (that is, two years before the postwar baby boom started) and who, when Woodstock happened, had been married for nearly three years and was about to return to Penn State, his alma mater, for his third coaching job in college football (a world that was not exactly the epicenter of the Boomer Progressive Establishment). Oh, and never mind the fact that Sandusky's most prominent enabler, Joe Paterno, was 42 years old when Hendrix played the national anthem in Bethel, New York -- did he absorb these depraved Boomer values by osmosis?
But perhaps even more preposterous is the title of Mead's essay: "Listen Up, Boomers: The Backlash Has Begun." Begun? Begun? The backlash against Boomers began more than forty years ago, possibly at the Hard Hat Riot of 1970, possibly even earlier. The backlash against the sixties is of at least four times the duration of the decade itself -- and it shows no sign of ending (see: Ayers, Bill, right-wingers' obsession with.) To Mead, everything bad in America, from dirty pictures at the cineplex to bloated corporate salaries, happened because Boomers "grokked Jefferson Airplane, achieved nirvana on LSD and" believed they "had a spiritual wealth and sensitivity that our boorish bourgeois forbears could not grasp." But back in the bad old days, the world of football was supposed to be the antithesis of all that -- why do you think Nixon seriously considered Vince Lombardi as a possible running mate in '68? (Lombardi, as it turned out, was a cultural conservative but a Democrat, or I suppose it might have happened.) This sex abuse took place precisely on the opposite side of Boomer cultural battle lines. Patchouli was not involved.
Similarly, via BooMan I see that David Brooks made clear on Meet the Press yesterday that he also blames this scandal on cultural decadence in the past few decades:
MR. BROOKS: I don't think it was just a Penn State problem. You know, you spend 30 or 40 years muddying the moral waters here. We have lost our clear sense of what evil is, what sin is; and so, when people see things like that, they don't have categories to put it into. They vaguely know it's wrong, but they've been raised in a morality that says, "If it feels all right for you, it's probably OK." And so that waters everything down.
Really? And that includes the octogenarian Paterno, too? I guess it's kinda like the end of the movie Joe, except without the murders -- Paterno was a straight arrow, but then he slept with a couple of those hippie chicks, and, well, you know....
If you follow Brooks's argument to its logical conclusion, then there could never have been an unpunished case of child molestation in any culturally conservative society ever. Um, ask the Irish about that, David.