It's amazing how often life parodies the French policeman in the film Casablanca being shocked, shocked(!) that gambling was going on at Rick's cafe. The latest parody, now playing out at Penn State, is especially noteworthy.
Everyone is, well, shocked that a former coach was molesting young boys under the protection of Penn State's legendary football department. But you know what's really shocking? The scandal was going on for the better part of two decades and nobody broke open the story until this year.
I mean, c'mon. Even top-secret documents appeared on WikiLeaks faster than that. Even mafia wiseguys have broken their omerta silence in less time.
And Penn State is no secret government agency or mafia. It's a public university with a police force, tens of thousands of students, and media from all over the USA reporting on the activities of its lionized football department.
Think about it. Of all the students, personnel and news reporters professing shock that pedophilia was going on, are we supposed to believe that:
-- Not one person who saw or heard something went to a law authority figure?
-- Not one of the traditional media outlets usually combing the Penn State campus for sports-related tidbits of news got suspicious enough to have even an intern look into it?
-- Not one blogger, tweeter or Facebook writer would post even a rumor about it?
You can tell me until the cows come home that Penn State's football department was so sacred and intimidating that people were too scared to talk. I don't think so.
No one to my knowledge was threatened with excommunication, prison in Guantanamo or being tied in a sack and thrown in a Pennsylvania lake to swim with the fishes. Even if they were, no one thought even to call 911 or quietly slide a note under some newspaper's door.
We are a society that obsesses over Lindsey Lohan going panty-less or Kim Kardashian making a sex tape, but seems to be hesitant to shine a light on something as seedy as a pedophile hiding amongst its football coaching staff. I'm not surprised that Saint Joe Paterno and his ilk chose to ignore or conceal the problem. In their cloistered minds, there was too much of a legacy at stake to worry about some victimized boys getting justice.
But I am shocked, shocked(!) that nobody else worried about those boys either. Somewhere out in our nation standing for truth and justice, during the better part of two decades, there were students, authority figures and media people who had seen or heard something about this scandal and did nothing.
You know who you are and you should be ashamed of yourselves.
Follow Mark W. Schleisner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/markschlei