Reporting Dan Bernstein
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By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com Senior Columnist
(CBS) It’s been a nice few days for the Rationalists — the few of us that seem to exist at times — as veneers of myth were stripped away from polarizing storylines, and the truth exposed.
Right now, sanity feels like sunshine.
If Tim Tebow is truly an instrument of god, then god is bad at football. 43% of Americans participating in a Poll Position phone survey last week said they believed that “divine intervention” played a role in Tebow’s game. Not his own confidence, not his unshakable faith, but actual intervention taking place on the field.
Either those people are wrong, or their god isn’t as powerful as Bill Belichick, making any normal person question the value of worshipping it. Or it doesn’t exist at all. Tebow got a holy beating Saturday, and now the wide-eyed, evangelical hoo-hah swirling around him looks deservedly foolish.
It will return with same stupid fervor in due time, I’m sure, but for now we can enjoy discussion of blocking and tackling, rather than messianic prophecy and bible passages. The ridiculous Tebow stuff has been ushered out of the building, banished like the unwanted party guest who was ruining it for everybody.
Get lost, and take the idiot fans with you.
Elsewhere, it has been made entirely clear to anyone paying attention that the sick cult of Penn State football has chosen to stand firmly behind a bad man who enabled the rape of children for years, even as he damned himself further in an exclusive interview published Saturday.
In this case, too, phony rhetoric gave way to reality.
School president Rodney Erickson conducted three town-hall-style meetings with alumni over the weekend, taking questions from packed hotel ballrooms in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York.
If the intent was to publicly recalibrate a collective moral compass, the road show was a miserable, frightening failure.
Each stop became the grownups’ turn to stage their version of the campus riot, wailing about Joe Paterno’s dismissal, utterly unconcerned about children he chose not to protect. The meetings were marked by tirades, ovations and catcalls that proved the Penn State community is as diseased as we believed, if not more so.
No brush is broad enough to paint them, after this obvious representation of their feelings and priorities. We blew right past sample-size issues. No reasonable person could observe the way these masses of adults behaved — in three different cities, three separate crowds, and not come away convinced of the sheer rottenness of it all. There is no shame.
As this was going on, Paterno was making it clear that he didn’t want to stop Jerry Sandusky, even after he was informed that his longtime right-hand-man had molested a child in the locker room.
Paterno took time away from his drain-circling to talk with the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins, under the watchful eye of his high-powered criminal lawyer. She wrote that Paterno “was hesitant to make follow-up calls because he did not want to be seen as trying to exert any influence for or against Sandusky.”
Let that sink in.
In his sworn testimony, he told the grand jury that he was aware that Sandusky’s assault was of a “sexual nature.” If that’s something you’re not actively, aggressively against, then you’re for it.
So ends any question about Paterno’s motivations. He allowed a known predator to use his football program to facilitate child rape, and just didn’t care enough to stop it.
In a short period of time, satisfying evidence has emerged to bring needed clarity on three fronts, especially to those unwilling or unable to see through a self-created haze of irrationality.
Tim Tebow is not powered by some invisible being that intervenes in NFL games to his benefit, Penn State university is dangerously crazy, and Joe Paterno decided to let horrible things happen to kids.
See, the truth doesn’t hurt. Sometimes it feels pretty damn good.
Dan Bernstein joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995, and has been the co-host of ‚ÄúBoers and Bernstein‚Äù since 1999. Read more of Bernstein’s columns, or follow him on Twitter: @dan_bernstein.