Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quick Note

"To be fair, I don’t think gender explains everything about the Penn State scandal. But I do think it’s noteworthy that this story only involves men. These Penn State college football men make up a very powerful club, one with lots of prestige, influence, and money. I’ll add that the Catholic Church—infamous for its own pattern of harboring pedophiles—is also an old boys' club, albeit one of a very different sort. There seems to be something distinctly masculine about the type of cowardice that allows one to prioritize loyalty to powerful institutions and friends over protecting children."

I would say that, however distinctively masculine this trait may be, it is also indirect and socially constructed.   Institutions have historically been controlled by men, so naturally we men are taught that loyalty is central to manhood and by far the most important virtue.  In institutions where women have gained a foothold this conceit has been reduced to expressing itself in a somewhat backhanded, weaselly manner, pious concerns about 'stability' or 'morale' or some such.  But of course the Catholic Church and football coaches have no need to play that game, their realms are just as absolutely dominated by men as they have always been and shall forever be.  so the tendency there is to state rather more directly that there is nothing worse thing a man can be than disloyal. (or, an 'infidel', if you want to give it a spiritual flourish)  No matter what godawful thing you can think of that people have done to each other, there is no act of murder, rape or torture that is worse than treason towards the institution, the boss, the Papa.  The chauvinists' level of bluntness in saying so is somewhat refreshing,  especially if he is encased  in some patriarchal hierarchy, such as the RCC or the ole ballclub, that is proudly dedicated to preventing accountability. 

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