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Why Do We Forgive?: A Pajiba Discussion

By Courtney Enlow | Think Pieces | November 10, 2011 |

By Courtney Enlow | Think Pieces | November 10, 2011 |

As you have no doubt heard by now, the Penn State board of trustees has elected to fire Joe Paterno, despite his decision to retire at the end of the season. The president of the school was allowed to resign. The board made a statement; that though this type of behavior had been allowed for quite some time, now that it had become public knowledge and not great for their public image it was not going to be anymore.

Naturally, a bunch of Penn State students rioted, flipping cars and generally acting like fucking assholes. Because being complicit in child molestation, nay, the molestation of children under the guise of charity work, all because a fucking football team wants its awesome legacy, is okay.

Now, let’s be real. Were we ever dumber than when we were in college? Even in high school, I don’t think I was as big an idiot as I was in college. Because in high school I didn’t have to think I had everything figured out. In college I decided I did. That made me much stupider. So these idiots may not be capable of thinking beyond “football is world, fire good, flip truck, flip cup” but it’s not like they’re alone. Hell, check any comments section on any article. Check fucking Twitter, where a technical adult tweeted his support, saying “How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.” Kutcher, obviously, deleted it, because that makes things go away on the internet, then tweeted “As of immediately I will stop tweeting until I find a way to properly manage this feed. I feel awful about this error. Won’t happen again.” Ugh, go fuck yourself, Kutcher.

We always forgive people for the sometimes heinous shit they do if they’re talented enough or provide us with enough something that it would be inconvenient or against our better enjoyment to not forgive them.

Since we’re on the subject, let’s trot out Roman Polanski again. Because I still don’t get it.

Every few weeks or so, someone manages to bring up Roman Polanski, and someone explains why people signed that petition, but I still don’t understand. Is it because they think he did his time, chilling in France with delicious food and wine? Is it because he had a terrible life prior to anally raping a child? Or is it because he made excellent movies and that counts as penance. No question mark necessary. The Artist is always forgiven if their Art is good enough. Or even if we just like them enough. What’s the biggest difference between Matthew Broderick and Rebecca Gayheart? Only one of them was Ferris Bueller. (Also, the crack threeways. At least, to our knowledge.)

Fans periodically tweet Chris Brown telling him they’d let him hit them. Mickey Rourke is now a beloved quirky weirdo rather than an abusive stalker. Charlie Sheen managed to ride out this past year quite nicely and will soon have a TV show and career again until everything repeats itself in three years. We are fine with everything done by people we like. We do it in our personal lives, too. How much have we forgiven from our significant others or in past relationships, or from our families or friends? And isn’t that often okay? But where is the line? When does it stop being okay and start being damaging, to us personally or sending a terrible message publicly, that beating women is okay, that locking a hooker in a closet is okay, that doing nothing while a man rapes children is okay, all because we like something else about that person?

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