Ever been on a plantation tour in the South and heard all about the lost glories of the Old South -- that idyllic life the planter class enjoyed prior to the martial unpleasantness that brought it all to naught?
Were you amazed at how little you hear on some of these tours about the slaves upon whose backs was built this life of privilege and beauty for the few . . . the proud . . . the wealthy and white?
Ever turned on the TV and seen one of those stories about post-Soviet life in Russia, where you always see some raggedy protest by old pensioners with hammer-and-sickle flags and pictures of Lenin and Stalin, lamenting the passing of the dictatorship of the proletariat and all its attendant glories?
Were you amazed at how the gulags and captive nations never quite fit into the narrative of nostalgia for Soviet greatness?
Yeah. Me, too.
THIS REMINDS me of all that. And the warped, warped culture of idolatry and denial surrounding Penn State football and pervading State College, Pa., needs to follow the Old South and the Soviet Union into the ash bin of history.
Cloresa Turner drove to central Pennsylvania from Virginia to see the statue of veteran Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.NO, THEY'RE not s****ing you.
When she arrived in State College on Sunday and saw that it was gone from its place outside the university stadium, she clasped her hand over her mouth.
"He's done so much for this university. It's sad," said Turner, of Martinsville, Va. "To wipe it all away is like he meant nothing."
Construction vehicles and police arrived shortly after dawn Sunday, barricading the street and sidewalks near the statue, erecting a chain-link fence and then concealing the 7-foot-tall statue with a blue tarp. Workers used jackhammers to free the statue and a forklift to lower it onto a flat-bed truck that rolled into a stadium garage bay as some of the 100 to 150 students and other onlookers chanted, "We are Penn State."
The Paterno family issued a statement saying the statue's removal "does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky's horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State community." The family, which has vowed its own investigation, called the report by former FBI director Louis Freeh the "incomplete and unofficial" equivalent of a charging document by a prosecutor and said the only way to help the victims "is to uncover the full truth."
It's not an act for the tourists like proud faux Confederates re-enacting Pickett's Charge or drunken Kappa Alphas getting their Ashley Wilkes on in hopes of making some Southern belle swoon like Scarlett. This is the kind of true-believer devotion to Baal that gave us the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow laws, because Reconstruction wasn't thorough enough and didn't last nearly long enough.
"Look away, look away, look away . . ." JoePa fans.
Some who came out to watch the statue's removal were angry that it had been done with so little notice that many missed it - "It was under cloak of darkness," said Diane Byerly, 63, of Harrisburg - and worried that stiff sanctions from the NCAA would punish the innocent while possibly destroying businesses that rely on the commerce from the tens of thousands who flood State College on game days.OH . . . I hope it's much, much worse.
"I think there's ways you can punish the parties involved without affecting all of State College," said Richard Hill, a 1967 graduate from West Chester.
Chris Stathes, 40, a lifelong Penn State football fan who has a daughter at the school and manages two State College breakfast eateries, said shutting down the program would devastate area businesses.
"Football season, that's our moment. From the time we open our doors in the morning until kickoff, there's a line out the door," he said.
Philip Frum, 24, who works on research projects for Penn State, said he hoped the statue would be erected elsewhere, such as at a nearby Penn State sports museum.
"This statue was a symbol of all the good things he's done for the university," Frum said. Any NCAA penalty that shuts down the football program "will be just as bad as taking down the statue," he said.
A culture that throws its children into the flaming pyre for the sake of Baal -- also known as "our peculiar institution," "the dictatorship of the proletariat" and big-time college football -- deserves every bit of divine wrath it calls down upon itself. It needs to be obliterated for the sake of the world . . . and for the sake of those under its thrall.
In Germany after World War II, we had a name for a similar effort. "Denazification," we called it.
Today, let the "de-Paternofication" of the Pennsylvania State University begin.
UPDATE: The Philadelphia Daily News just posted this story. Good grief.
Where is the Red Army when you really need it? What's next, tales of Penn State faithful barricaded in their man caves with the little woman, a 9 mm Luger and a couple of cyanide capsules?