Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Malleability of Truth? Capturing the Friedmans and Jerry Sandusky's Adventures in Pedophilia


I enjoy watching masters at work. There is something about effortless and natural competence which I cannot get enough of: Michael Stones' interviews with serial killers; Shawn Michaels' last two matches with the Undertaker; and now Bob Costas' interview with Jerry Sandusky.

The saga of Penn State University has provided an object lesson in bad behavior. The coaches and staff who suspected that children were being molested. The students who riot over their beloved coach being held accountable for his behavior--but who sadly are more compelled to act like fools over football than to be active and responsibly engaged citizens in their communities and nation. The police and other authorities who looked the other way.

When the families of these children come forth--and do not be mistaken, these "underprivileged" kids are indeed black--the victims will have a face, and the drama will enter another act. Will this be the denouement? Rising action? The climax?

I am unsure. Whatever moment in the drama ensues, it will be both epic and tragic.

Listening to Jerry Sandusky's interview with Bob Costas, I was reminded of the award winning documentary Capturing the Friedmans. One of the best films in recent memory, it exposes how a family quite literally imploded when its patriarch, Arnold Friedman, and his son Jessie, were accused of molesting dozens of children in the community of Great Neck, New York during the 1980s.

The film resonates because it highlights how the very nature of the truth is malleable, and largely dependent on context and perspective. The film is also a damning indictment of our society's culture of victimhood and a legal system that has to confront monsters, while doing its best to adhere to some minimum norm of procedural justice.

There are some eerie similarities between Jerry Sandusky's honesty about "innocent" naked play with young boys, and Arnold Friedman's confession of his own pedophilia. To my ear at least, the resonance of their words is interchangeable.

Frightening. Sad. In all, not surprising in the least bit.

This one is yours folks. I am at a loss for words.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The whole thing makes me weep.

-Trinity

Anonymous said...

CD, I think you're wrong, I don't believe the kids are black. Nonetheless, I hope Sandusky and everyone else who was involved burns in hell.

MB

Chris Sharp said...

CD: I saw an interview on TV this morning with the birth mom of one of Sandusky's adopted sons and he was as white as they come. Are you sure about there being black victims?

Also, this is not the first sex scandal to come out of Penn state. There was a previous scandal in 2005 involving Dr. John I. Neisworth, a professor emeritus at Penn State and a nationally--recognized authority on autism and childhood education, and another Penn State psychology professor named Karl Goeke, who was a friend of my parents while I was growing up. I don't recall all of the details but I'm sure a Google search would find them. I believe the University may also have received some information about the abuse and looked the other way.

chaunceydevega said...

@Anon 1-Weep, or sick?

@Anon 2-You will see, the rumors are already out there. We will know soon. Question: should it matter?

@Chris--Football is king cotton culture is part of this. There were also rumors of death threats against black graduates, so serious in fact that they had to wear bullet proof vests during commencement. The school hushed it up, even in the face of finding a dead black man's body on campus, murdered, as promised by the threatening letters.

This is all about the money.

sabrinabee said...

I don't think all the victims are black but, I can't shake the feeling that the kid that was witnessed to have been being sexually assaulted only to have the witness walk away was definitely a minority. That is the only way I can see that happening. There is a sort of cognitive dissonance when a minority child is subject to horrors. Sort of as if that child is of no real consequence.