The Game’s the Thing. Really?
In my generation, college campuses were the loci of dissatisfaction with the status quo. College was where kids raised by even the most lackadaisical of parents learned how to care about what was going on in the world around them. We protested the Vietnam War on campus. Issues faced by women and minorities became legitimate fields of study and inquiry during my college years. Gay and lesbian alliances were added to the roster of university groups. My political views were shaped in college. It was where I became an official citizen of the world.
For years I have wondered what it is that will ignite the next generation of college students. Our country has been engaged in two wars for more than a decade. Eighteen-year-old children have been killed or scarred for life both physically and emotionally while our fortunate coeds play beer pong. Granted, there is no draft to call them to action, but still…
Then there’s the economy. There are conflicting reports about how Occupy Wall Street began. The Canadian anti-capitalist magazine, Adbusters, credits itself with sparking the idea, but according to Mother Jones Magazine, the protest against the 1% began when a group of artists, activists, writers and organizers gathered on the fourth floor of 16 Beaver Street, an artist’s space near Wall Street, to talk about changing the world. In either case, the impetus for the massive protest did not begin in a college or university setting.
But this week, we finally learned what college kids deem significant enough to riot about. Football. The riots on Penn State’s campus in support of Joe Paturno were a disgrace. Thousands of students displayed outrage that “JoePa” would not be allowed to coach one more game on his way to a record. Are our hearts supposed to bleed for those poor coachless babies? Are you kidding me? We’re talking about rape and sodomy here.
Paul Howard, a 24-year-old student told The New York Times, “Of course we’re going to riot. What do they expect when they tell us at 10 pm that they fired our football coach?”
I’m sure he didn’t mean me when he asked what “they” would expect, because I would expect Penn State students to feel disappointed that a man trusted to work with young people failed to alert authorities when very young people were victimized by his assistant. I would expect them to feel shame that their school was stained by the horrific reports coming from Jerry Sandusky’s victims, and by the fact that their head coach could have made a courageous and morally appropriate move and chose not to.
You have to wonder what would have happened if a Dean had been fired for not reporting that one of the English teachers had sexually abused children. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by suggesting the whole ordeal would have been inconsequential to the students at worst, and at best the outrage would have been directed at the Dean and not at the administration that released him from his duties. But this is football.
Tonight the students have decided to hold a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with the victims and their families. It’s a nice gesture, though a tardy one. After all the unfavorable press coverage the students’ received, it’s no wonder they decided to do the right thing.
My son is in college. I sent him there for academics, but also to mature as a person by taking the code of morality we tried to teach him at home, and applying it in real life situations. I would have been appalled had he been one of the rioters that night.
An argument can be made that there are 44,000 students at Penn State so obviously most of them did not riot. But that fact doesn’t cancel out the fact that thousands, not hundreds, but thousands of students did. I hope they someday lasso that energy and direct it in support of something good.
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 Amanda Bynes’s Behavior Revealed to Be Elaborate PSA
- 2 Obama Horrified by the Grammar in Our Emails
- 3 Monster Fart Prompting Management to Rethink “Open Office”
- 4 NSA Demanded Access To Un-Filtered Instagram Photos
- 5 Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Ambushed By Alan ‘The Paper’ Rubinstein
- 6 Vice Magazine Now Only Hiring Writers Who Fail Drug Test
- 7 ‘Licensed to Kim Jong Il’ Records 27th Straight Year Atop N. Korean Charts
- 8 Henry Cavill to be Replaced by Stack of Pancakes in “Man of Steel” Sequel
- 9 Taco Bell Now Just Dumping Bags of Doritos Into Everything On Menu
- 10 Stanley Cup Final One Blowout Away From “Boston Massacre” Headline Outrage