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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Joe Paterno & Sir Thomas Bertram: Birds of a Feather in Mansfield Park and Happy Valley

What with this week's bombshell sickening revelations about the true extent of Joe Paterno's culpability in the overall picture of the Sandusky sexual abuse cases....

....and maybe we still have not heard it all......I have quickly shifted my view of Paterno from a sense of the tragedy of a great man who made one huge error of judgment that caused enormous suffering, to a sense of a profound hypocrite, a powerful man whose grandiosity made him think he was entitled to do, if not anything, at least a lot of things, in order to protect his own power and his own glory, and to hell with those victims thrown under the bus. I am finding it all too easy to revise my image of Paterno to that of  a profoundly clueless moral monster, who was capable of doing many good things in the world, but only, apparently, so long as he was very very well taken care of and his power and prestige were kept sacrosanct.

Again, unless some substantial and convincing rebuttal is made during the coming months to somehow blunt the force of Freeh's and these latest revelations about Joe Paterno, then I must forever alter my view of his legacy from what it had been just prior to the first Sandusky revelations.

And anyone who has read along in this blog over the past few years knows exactly whom Paterno, as we now begin to see his true colors, reminds me of---Sir Thomas Bertram, the closest thing in Jane Austen's moral universe to Joe Paterno.

Here is just a sampling of my prior investigations into the shadow story of Sir Thomas:

What is most chilling is that at the base of both Sir Thomas's and Joe Paterno's twisted morality is the suppression and/or condonation of child abuse, and also monetary greed---so it seems that the old French expression, "Plus ca change..." applies here, as Jane Austen's portrait of a powerful hypocrite (tragically) still applies today as much as it ever did.

The moral rot in the "timbers" of "Mansfield Park" continues, it "Happy Valley".

Cheers, ARNIE
@JaneAustenCode on Twitter

1 comment:

Arnie Perlstein said...

When I wrote, above, that perhaps we have not even heard all the disturbing facts about Joe Paterno's reign at Penn State, even I did not expect to read the following:

The above is a long and deeply disturbing article at today by Ann O'Neill entitled "The Woman Who Stood Up To Joe Paterno". Read it and whatever vestige of good feeling you might still retain for Joe Paterno will vanish without a trace.

It now becomes clear why Sandusky operated with such brazen impunity --now we can see Paterno's Penn State as a real life version of Nathan Jessup's Guantanamo, where anything is ok as long as it's in the name of "the Program". So Sandusky figured he was protected, and he was, for a sickeningly long time. The abused boys were the "Santiagos" of Happy Valley.

But back to Mansfield Park, where Sir Thomas Bertram reigned supreme ---He like JoePA, was not used to having his wishes refused. Which is why he reacts with astonishment after his niece Fanny refuses to be pandered to the jaded pervert Henry Crawford:

""It is of no use, I perceive, to talk to you. We had better put an end to this most mortifying conference. Mr. Crawford must not be kept longer waiting. I will, therefore, only add, as thinking it my duty to mark my opinion of your conduct, that you have disappointed every expectation I had formed, and proved yourself of a character the very reverse of what I had supposed. For I had, Fanny, as I think my behaviour must have shewn, formed a very favourable opinion of you from the period of my return to England. I had thought you peculiarly free from wilfulness of temper, self-conceit, and every tendency to that independence of spirit which prevails so much in modern days, even in young women, and which in young women is offensive and disgusting beyond all common offence. But you have now shewn me that you can be wilful and perverse; that you can and will decide for yourself, without any consideration or deference for those who have surely some right to guide you, without even asking their advice. You have shewn yourself very, very different from anything that I had imagined. The advantage or disadvantage of your family, of your parents, your brothers and sisters, never seems to have had a moment's share in your thoughts on this occasion. How they might be benefited, how they must rejoice in such an establishment for you, is nothing to you."

To men like Sir Thomas and Joe Paterno, anyone who dares to defy their wishes is "disgusting".