douthat argues today that there are parallels between catholic priests' sexual abuse of boys and the cover-ups of it and the penn state case. and folks on espn have been describing it as "the worst scandal in the history of college athletics." now let me say why i don't think these things are right, exactly. now, almost any institution - in particular any institution that deals with children - might harbor a pedophile; i guess there's a little segment of the population that is sexually configured this way; lord knows why. but the catholic church, i believe, more or less actively encouraged homosexual pedophilia for centuries. really 'celibacy' amounted to misogyny: the basic idea was not to touch women. and the idea of celibacy attracted many people who were disgusted - often for extremely good reasons - by their own sexuality. i actually think the altar boy was conceived to be a way to keep priests celibate: which is absurd, but there it is. you had thousands of abusers, layers and layers of concealment, and i think actual institutional encouragement. i don't know much about big-time college football, and it has its amazing corruptions, but it would surprise me if it had anything like that going on. what you have is one predator, and one extremely disturbing cover-up.
the worst scandals in college football are scandals that infect the whole thing routinely: those are the scandals that are peculiar to, characteristic of, the institution: scandals involving, say, cash or sex used to lure high school players to commit to a school: the way usc has conducted its program for decades, e.g. or academic scandals that amount to relieving players of their status as students. or judicial-type scandals where player misbehavior is forgiven or concealed over and over. these are the corruptions that are characteristic of the institution, as homosexual pederasty is characteristic of the catholic church. now it's probably true that sandusky was protected by a kind of culture of impunity around big-time college athletics. but it's not, i think, true that child sexual abuse is any more rampant in this environment than in any other. you'd be likelier to find that in children's charities, like sandusky's foundation, and maybe that's a place where we might focus more attention.
[let me acknowledge a little streak of homophobia in what i just wrote. and let me say that i also think that the extreme repugnance with which many people have greeted the sandusky revelations also has such a streak. 'anally raping a ten-year-old boy' causes about as severe a disgust reaction as i am capable of. and let me say: i was sexually abused by one of my step-brothers, and as an adolescent i was incessantly chicken-hawked by men: the guy on the bus who just puts his hand on your crotch; the guy who picks you up hitch-hiking and asks whether you like to masturbate etc etc. i kind of had to fight for a heterosexual identity. well obviously girls have to put up with shit like that from heterosexual men. but if that turned them against heterosexuality, you might understand it. but the homosexual element is intrinsic to the catholic situation (though of course there might be an occasional girl abused by a priest). reason tells me it's just as bad either way. nausea tries to tell me something else. no doubt further therapy is recommended.]