Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Posnanski book preview - Joe Paterno’s Last Season

Scott Paterno was the first in the family to understand that the Pennsylvania grand jury presentment that indicted Jerry Sandusky could end his father’s career. This wasn’t surprising; Scott tended to be the most realistic—or cynical, depending on who you asked—in the family. He had run for Congress and lost and along the way tasted the allure and nastiness of public life. He had worked as a lawyer and as a lobbyist. He would sometimes tell people, “Hey, don’t kid yourself, I’m the ####### of the family.” When Scott read the presentment, he called his father and said, “Dad, you have to face the possibility that you will never coach another game.”

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM | 525 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, off-topic, ped, posnanski

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 4 of 6 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 6 > 
   301. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4213044)
I had a child who played a D-1 sport, and I find most of this just flat out wrong. HC's (any sport) can be supportive of the athlete's academic side of life; indifferent to the academic side of life; or destructive to the academic side of life. Those HC attitudes permeate through the program and the assistant coaches.


The first is expected of any decent-minded coach; the second deserves criticism; the third deserves serious criticism.

People should not be thought "great" because they do something that is utterly expected of them.

If PSU football players graduated in higher percentages than other like schools, it is most likely attributable to Paterno pushing the academic side; making practice flexible enough so kids could get classes that they needed to get for the major; forcing attendance at study halls; and generally not tolerating crappy academic performance.


Yay. Again, I see nothing praiseworthy here. So he was one of the best of a sorry lot. That doesn't earn him praise in my book.

And following the recruiting rules? You trivialize that?


Completely and utterly.
   302. bfan Posted: August 20, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4213057)
The first is expected of any decent-minded coach; the second deserves criticism; the third deserves serious criticism.


Yes, and for a school that must try and put 80,000 fannies in the seats 6 or 7 Saturday's a year where there is a correlation between winning and ticket sales, serious criticism for detracting from academics is quite the deterrent. You may not like what the money in college athletics does to academic priorities and thus make your base-line one of academic support, but that doesn't make your line correct (or even close to correct). It is not easy to keep the academic integrity of a program when your competitors and many peers do not.

If you trivialize following recruiting rules then you have missed what has happened in college athletics the last 20 years.
   303. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4213060)

Yes, and for a school that must try and put 80,000 fannies in the seats 6 or 7 Saturday's a year where there is a correlation between winning and ticket sales, serious criticism for detracting from academics is quite the deterrent. You may not like what the money in college athletics does to academic priorities and thus make your base-line one of academic support, but that doesn't make your line correct (or even close to correct). It is not easy to keep the academic integrity of a program when your competitors and many peers do not.

If you trivialize following recruiting rules then you have missed what has happened in college athletics the last 20 years.


Why must they? Why should any school care about athletics?

Sure, football and basketball make money, but you just give it back on the 100 other sports you have to support. Why should being good at a sport get you a free college education? It's no more relevant to education than being good at video games.

Why not just eliminate athletic scholarships completely, and be done with this madness?
   304. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 20, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4213066)
Yes, and for a school that must try and put 80,000 fannies in the seats 6 or 7 Saturday's a year where there is a correlation between winning and ticket sales, serious criticism for detracting from academics is quite the deterrent.

Why do you say "must" there? Why "must" Penn State University try to put tens of thousands of fannies in the seats on fall Saturdays?

   305. bfan Posted: August 20, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4213067)
Sure, football and basketball make money, but you just give it back on the 100 other sports you have to support. Why should being good at a sport get you a free college education? It's no more relevant to education than being good at video games.

Why not just eliminate athletic scholarships completely, and be done with this madness?


This may be the world you want to live in (and there is much merit to that world). It just doesn't happen to be the world we actually live in, and that is the one by which we must judge people's actions.
   306. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 20, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4213069)
It just doesn't happen to be the world we actually live in, and that is the one by which we must judge people's actions

Actually, it is. No other country in the world ties colleges and sports together like we do in the United States.
   307. bfan Posted: August 20, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4213070)
Why do you say "must" there? Why "must" Penn State University try to put tens of thousands of fannies in the seats on fall Saturdays?


True; they do not. But they have built an infrastructure and a network that feeds off of that revenue stream. And although it did take some promotion to get there, the market has spoken pretty loudly on wanting to consume the product.
   308. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4213073)
If you trivialize following recruiting rules then you have missed what has happened in college athletics the last 20 years.


No, I just think that college athletics are trivial as regards their fake pretense to be instilling character in people. They are a business, plain and simple.

And I frankly don't think there's anything "admirable" about getting rich off of student athletes while not paying student athletes their fair market value - and in that sense I think "recruiting violations" are actually *more* noble than the other way around - but that's a different issue. Paterno got rich off the backs of many of these players, while they were paid next to nothing. A scholarship or what not sounds great and all, until you realize that the player is worth much more than that. In that regard, I actually find nothing special about Paterno and his ilk at all.
   309. Topher Posted: August 20, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4213074)
You're not wrong Ray, but you also aren't right. I do think it is fair to say (like Misirlou did) that you are almost for sure in the minority of that view point.

Maybe football shouldn't be valued, but it is by lots of folks. Maybe coaches aren't father figures but a good number see them that way. And maybe we need to be much more skeptical of what we read, but most of us see Paterno declared Sportsman of the Year and read Rick Reily's fawning words and assume that the man is indeed great.

Our culture/society/values/media turned Paterno into a legend. Folks that drank that Kool-Aid -- and Posnanski is almost for sure one of them -- are going to have an awfully hard time reconciling the Joe they thought they knew with the Joe that they are now discovering. Not at all surprised that Posnanski seems to have failed to eliminate the Paterno myth in his book.
   310. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4213076)
This may be the world you want to live in (and there is much merit to that world). It just doesn't happen to be the world we actually live in, and that is the one by which we must judge people's actions.

So Paterno was the "best" coach in a morally bankrupt system. Why should that earn him any praise?

I he wanted to "build men of character", he could have done so just as well in DII or III, without the corruption.
   311. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 20, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4213085)
No, I just think that college athletics are trivial as regards their fake pretense to be instilling character in people. They are a business, plain and simple.

Let's not go overboard; you're still impressionable and developing at 18-22 and to the extent football can leave you with positive experiences, influences, and memories, it has value.

Paterno got rich off the backs of many of these players,

Yep, and that's the problem with the ESPN/Nike era of college sports -- there's nothing wrong with Paterno getting paid a professor's salary, or maybe a tad more; there's all sorts of problem with Paterno getting rich. As in many aspects of American life, there was a healthier balance between various factions in the 1970s and early 1980s, and that needs to be the model. Freshman can't play, teams can be on TV four times a year with all TV deals done by the NCAA alone, coach's salaries are capped at something around $300K (and that might even be too high), NCAA basketball tournament money, and EA Sports NCAA Football 13 money, distributed equally to the member schools. If the college football "fanbase" wants to ##### and moan about having their fix and their obsession taken away, #### 'em. If they want to see their team play every week, they can buy a ticket.
   312. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4213103)
If the college football "fanbase" wants to ##### and moan about having their fix and their obsession taken away, #### 'em. If they want to see their team play every week, they can buy a ticket.

Here's my question. What does the fanbase lose if the money gets taken out of the sport?

They're rooting for the laundry anyway; if they wanted to see the best quality of play, they'd go to the NFL. What difference does it make to the fans if the DI schools all of a sudden ran D2 programs?

If anything, it will just make their tickets cheaper.
   313. Srul Itza Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:25 PM (#4213160)
Actually, it is. No other country in the world ties colleges and sports together like we do in the United States.


America does a LOT of things different from the rest of the world. Just pointing that out is pretty meaningless. Unless you move to or live in those other countries, THIS is the world WE live in.



As in many aspects of American life, there was a healthier balance between various factions in the 1970s and early 1980s, and that needs to be the model.


Of course, that was the era when Paterno started at Penn State. College football was a distraction and fun, but not the be-all and end-all of the schools. There were only a handful of bowl games, and, IIRC, Notre Dame would not go to them, because they interfered with the school year or were beneath them, or some such thing.


all TV deals done by the NCAA alone


This, in fact, is part of where it all started to go wrong. Certain powerful conferences (or was it networks? or both?) sued the NCAA, claiming their monopoly was an antitrust violation. The power to televise games was handed over to the individual schools, the money started getting real big, and the whole thing went to the hell we see now.

College football became a huge money machine for a select few; certain powerful alumni pushed it too far; and now college football (and in some places basketball) is a big business.

If anyone has a realistic way that we can put this genie back in the bottle, as opposed to pie in the sky platitudes, I have yet to hear it.

   314. Srul Itza Posted: August 20, 2012 at 07:28 PM (#4213162)
Here's my question. What does the fanbase lose if the money gets taken out of the sport?


Since when has any "fanbase" had much say over the direction of any sport, except by the extreme of stopping patronizing it?

All sports businesses pay lip service to their "fanbase", while the power remains with those who real skin in the game -- owners; college coaches and administrations; professional sports unions; rich, powerful alumni with deep pockets; networks.

I wonder if we could make a REAL change by having the college athletes form a union? That might be interesting.

But fans? They are just dragged along for the ride.
   315. steagles Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4213221)

As to the library -- WARNING, MEANINGLESS PSYCHOBABBLE EVALUATION AHEAD -- Paterno seems the type of vain, self-centered person to whom it would be worth millions to him just to have his name on the library
based on what evidence?
... and don't kid yourself, by the 2000s, Paterno was recruiting just as many criminals as many, many other programs and doing just as much to have their crimes overlooked.(*) He enabled the "Let's bring criminals to campus" movement that has permeated college sports in the last 15-20 years as much as anyone else.

(*) Perhaps more, if you believe the reoprts of him approaching the people in charge and demanding plenary jurisdiction over his players' crimes -- reports fully consistent with the man we now know better.
yeah, that's actually fairly accurate. there have been a ton of public drunkenness complaints that are fairly meaningless, but there was also a stabbing, and various other criminal incidents that were of a serious nature.



and, not that it's exceedingly important right now, but over the weekend, there was actually a player who transferred TO penn state.
   316. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:52 PM (#4213249)


They're rooting for the laundry anyway; if they wanted to see the best quality of play, they'd go to the NFL


Uh oh. LionOfTheSenate will be showing up any minute to tell us how Alabama would destroy the colts.
   317. Gaelan Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:56 PM (#4213254)
I find the reviews suggest a book near the worst case scenario for what I had imagined the book to be. How terribly sad for Posnanski.


I agree completely and yet the reviewers seem to be going out of their way to give Posnanski the most favourable interpretation of his book. Posnanski was and is providing moral cover for an empty vessel of a man who deserves every bit of condemnation he gets.

The sad thing about this is that Posnanski's own self-image appears to be of someone trying to do good. He isn't simply acting out of narcissistic self-interest. In the name of balance and open-mindedness he is defending the indefensible. He has turned the best instincts of modern society into a vile caricature. Being open-minded might be the supreme virtue of modern society but if it takes place in a moral vacuum it is just that, vacuous, and in its vacuity is found the moral dispersion of the banality of evil.

I don't think Posnanski is cynically sociopath taking advantage of the situation but that just makes what he is doing worse. He has become an empty vessel and in my view the vacuity of the "good" is worse than the cynical actions of evil men.


   318. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:28 PM (#4213274)
I am actually interested in hearing any answers to my question from the previous page. (Steagles? Any BSD people lurking here?) My question was:

Is there ANY evidence that Paterno was worried about the children rather than his program? Any, at all, until the night he was fired and uttered his "and by the way, say a prayer for those kids" comment?

Any evidence at all? Because I've not had a chance to read the entire Freeh report yet, but from what I can recall I've seen none. Not in his words, not in his actions, not in the emails of the others.

Does Posnanski present any? The excerpt I've read has Paterno completely focused and consumed by what this will do to his name and legacy.


I would be happy to evaluate any evidence of the above. If Paterno was such a great man who "merely made a mistake," this shouldn't be difficult.

I think one of the stunning things about Paterno's actions in enabling the child sex abuse is that he appears to not at all have been conflicted by it.

   319. Jay Z Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:36 PM (#4213278)
Yep, and that's the problem with the ESPN/Nike era of college sports -- there's nothing wrong with Paterno getting paid a professor's salary, or maybe a tad more; there's all sorts of problem with Paterno getting rich. As in many aspects of American life, there was a healthier balance between various factions in the 1970s and early 1980s, and that needs to be the model. Freshman can't play, teams can be on TV four times a year with all TV deals done by the NCAA alone, coach's salaries are capped at something around $300K (and that might even be too high), NCAA basketball tournament money, and EA Sports NCAA Football 13 money, distributed equally to the member schools. If the college football "fanbase" wants to ##### and moan about having their fix and their obsession taken away, #### 'em. If they want to see their team play every week, they can buy a ticket.


The players were not paid so much back then, but then there was less revenue as well. Few here will believe it, but yes, the raise in salaries does have something to do with higher ticket prices, since the old revenue model wouldn't work any more.

Maybe the Depression/WWII generation centered our society in a way that we miss now. That society valued institutionalism more. A pain once in a while, but I could live with being shushed in a library now and then. Then we decided to start valuing money more than institutionalism. I guess according to economic theory the players are being paid more fairly now (though as I mentioned, the teams rake in more too), but are people happier? The well off are in nicer houses, but everyone's a grumpy ideologue.
   320. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 20, 2012 at 09:43 PM (#4213284)
Maybe coaches aren't father figures but a good number see them that way.


Is there a sociologist of the contemporary American family in the house? Seems to me the correspondences are numerous and nothing to celebrate.
   321. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:52 AM (#4213408)
For those interested, Posnanski will be on Francesa's WFAN show on Tuesday. You can watch/listen on YES and probably online, also.

Francesa has been almost perfect on this issue from Day One. I don't know whether he understands the specific controversy w/r/t Posnanski, and it's not his style to ambush his guests so I don't think he would be hard on Posnanski, but he's sure to ask the array of "What did Paterno know?" questions and he doesn't pull any punches w/r/t Paterno, and he's read the book and is up on the Freeh evidence, so his questions may cause Posnanski to answer some direct questions.
   322. rr Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:04 AM (#4213413)
“Paterno” is breezy and largely sympathetic. It doesn’t contain (reverse spoiler alert) any especially startling revelations about what Paterno knew and when he knew it. It adds grain and texture to the historical record, though, while mostly skimming the surface of its subject’s life.

One example of this book’s relative slightness can stand in for many. Paterno’s undergraduate years at Brown University are dismissed in three gauzy pages and two broad anecdotes, one of them about this middle-class Brooklyn boy’s being mocked by snobs for wearing an unhip white sweater. There’s not a single quotation about Paterno from a classmate. Most biographers suck on college years as if they were marrow bones; that’s the time when, as Paterno knew so well, personalities are forged.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/books/paterno-by-joe-posnanski-a-biography-of-the-coach.html?pagewanted=all

This illustrates what I was saying earlier: I think Poz is a good writer, but based on his other work, I didn't think he was the guy to do this book.

The book’s primal moment arrives in its final section. Mr. Posnanski sits alone with Paterno, who has already been fired and has learned he has lung cancer, at his kitchen table. “So,” Paterno asks him, “what do you think of all this?”

Mr. Posnanski writes: “I told him that I thought he should have done more when he was told about Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy. I had heard what he had said about not understanding the severity, not knowing much about child molestation, not having Sandusky as an employee. But, I said: ‘You are Joe Paterno. Right or wrong, people expect more from you.’ ”

The author adds: “He did not try to defend or deflect. He simply said, ‘I wish I had done more,’ again, and then he descended into another coughing fit.”



The reviewer is Dwight Garner of the NYT.
   323. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:08 AM (#4213415)
twice now with the melodrama of the coughing fit.
   324. Swedish Chef Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:18 AM (#4213419)
Actually, it is. No other country in the world ties colleges and sports together like we do in the United States.

Funny thing is that going to an American college on a scholarship is a popular way for Swedish athletes to get by without starving, I bet that's true of other countries too.
   325. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:24 AM (#4213420)
2 or 2:30pm EST for Posnanski on Francesa's show.
   326. Repoz Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:54 AM (#4213424)
I don't know whether he understands the specific controversy w/r/t Posnanski,

A few years ago a caller told Francesspool about an S.I. article written by Poz (he had just moved to S.I.)...and The Pool had no idea who he was, blew his name a few times and then blew off the caller. Natch.
   327. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:22 AM (#4213482)
Since when has any "fanbase" had much say over the direction of any sport, except by the extreme of stopping patronizing it?

All sports businesses pay lip service to their "fanbase", while the power remains with those who real skin in the game -- owners; college coaches and administrations; professional sports unions; rich, powerful alumni with deep pockets; networks.

I wonder if we could make a REAL change by having the college athletes form a union? That might be interesting.

But fans? They are just dragged along for the ride.


Right, but the point is, there would be no nationwide backlash if steps were made to take the money out of College Sports.

No one cares except the corrupt insiders (coaches, ADs, etc.) who're getting rich off the system.
   328. Jay Z Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:40 AM (#4213491)
Right, but the point is, there would be no nationwide backlash if steps were made to take the money out of College Sports.

No one cares except the corrupt insiders (coaches, ADs, etc.) who're getting rich off the system.


That's like saying the only thing wrong with a 500 pound gorilla is that he's a 500 pound gorilla.

Money has triumphed in our society; it has won a complete and total victory in exchange for an end to discrimination. There is absolutely no possibility of that kind of reform at this political moment. Our politics are much less dimensional than they were 30 or 40 years ago.
   329. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4213524)
I'm about 25 pages into the book right now (which I had pre-ordered to my kindle). Yes, the Bill James quote leading it is real, and yes, I too found it almost comically inappropriate. Poz is definitely taking the "this was a complicated man like all men are complicated, so I'm going to try and tell this story from every angle" tack, and though this is Joe Posnanski ad therefore the writing itself is very accessible and enjoyable, I'm already starting to get the feeling he's not going to pull it off.

I will say I'm pleasantly surprised that the book takes the scandal head on; I was on record with my expectation it would just shove it into the last few chapters.
   330. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:44 AM (#4213543)
Here's this from the first real chapter: a little story of the Paterno family eating at a restaurant, where one child ordered all you can eat salad and everyone else ordered something else, and another child ate a cucumber off the all you can eat plate, and Dad flipped out.

"You just stole from them," Joe said even louder.

Mary Kay looked helplessly around at the table. No one met her eyes. She quietly said she only took a single cucumber. But Joe was off again. When he started on something, nobody could outtalk him, nobody could drown him out; he was like that all his life. "These people work hard to run a business. You are not supposed to share food. It says, very clearly, all you can eat. Not all you and your sister can eat. You stole from them."

Here a couple of family members tried, tentatively, to speak up on Mary Kay's behalf. It was a single slice of cucumber. Diana wasn't going to eat it anyway. It was just going to go to waste. It was nothing. But Joe could not be stopped. He pounded the table. He ranted. And finally he said, "You all are a bunch of shysters. I don't want anything to do with you." And he stormed out of the restaurant.


It's a story that demonstrates clear as day that Joe Paterno might have had admirable ethics about some things, he was a relentless bully and a colossal #######. And the interesting (and impressive) thing about it is that Posnanski doesn't offer a single word of editorializing. He just tells the story and lets it speak for itself, knowing full well that it says nothing flattering about his subject.

(And immediately after that Posnanski relates another story that makes clear he is going to be making, on the Paterno family's behalf, the "Joe didn't know what Sandusky was doing" defense.)
   331. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4213549)
Paterno probably loved cod liver oil.
   332. GregD Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4213568)
You just stole from them," Joe said even louder.

Mary Kay looked helplessly around at the table. No one met her eyes. She quietly said she only took a single cucumber. But Joe was off again. When he started on something, nobody could outtalk him, nobody could drown him out; he was like that all his life. "These people work hard to run a business. You are not supposed to share food. It says, very clearly, all you can eat. Not all you and your sister can eat. You stole from them."
I can almost see this. It's annoying to watch teenagers do stuff like this as if it means nothing. It's a dickish way to say it but it's not a ridiculous thing to point out.

Here a couple of family members tried, tentatively, to speak up on Mary Kay's behalf. It was a single slice of cucumber. Diana wasn't going to eat it anyway. It was just going to go to waste. It was nothing. But Joe could not be stopped. He pounded the table. He ranted. And finally he said, "You all are a bunch of shysters. I don't want anything to do with you." And he stormed out of the restaurant.
This though is insane! Calling your family shysters and saying you want nothing to do with them?
   333. AROM Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4213569)
#330, Wow. Does it say how old the were kids at the time of that story?
   334. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4213571)
Yeah, the whole "you're stealing food from someone working hard to run a business" thing is not unexpected or unreasonable from someone who grew up during the Depression. It doesn't excuse being an ####### about it, though.

AROM: Teenagers, I believe, probably in the 12-16 range.
   335. AndrewJ Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4213577)
That restaurant anecdote doesn't flatter JoePa. When it came to his grappling with moral dilemmas, to borrow a line from the New Testament, he strained at gnats while swallowing camels.
   336. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4213578)
He has turned the best instincts of modern society into a vile caricature. Being open-minded might be the supreme virtue of modern society but if it takes place in a moral vacuum it is just that, vacuous, and in its vacuity is found the moral dispersion of the banality of evil.


"There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." - Richard Dawkins
   337. Lassus Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4213589)
#335 - While that story obviously doesn't flatter Paterno, the idea that it sets him apart from more than a few million men from that generation is pretty dumb. (Not that you were promoting that idea, I mean in general.)
   338. GregD Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4213594)
#335 - While that story obviously doesn't flatter Paterno, the idea that it sets him apart from more than a few million men from that generation is pretty dumb. (Not that you were promoting that idea, I mean in general.)
Do you think millions of men in that generation called their families shysters and said they wanted nothing to do with them? If you just mean the first part of the quote, though, then I agree with you that this was probably common.
   339. Busted Flush Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4213595)
The most interesting thing about "Paterno" may be that, even leaving the scandal aside, the coach comes across as a self-mythologizing monster, consumed by his legacy of winning on the football field. I'm not sure that this is what Mr. Posnanski was going for, given the amount of space he spends on the inspiring life lessons that various players learned from the coach


From the WSJ review.
   340. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4213606)
Do you think millions of men in that generation called their families shysters and said they wanted nothing to do with them?


If their kids were lawyers? I would certainly hope so!
   341. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4213613)
the comments above just tick me off to no end as paterno's less appealing aspects are assigned to his background and more likely to age versus the other plausible explanation that he was just a jerk.

i grew up the depression. you know what people from the depression did? they loved buffets? why? because you could buy one plate and feed several people. don't let anyone tell you that this approach has anything do with the depression. that is bs.

more and more i know this guy, this paterno. because what is described above is a guy looking for a reason to browbeat his kids. to let them know who is in charge. most folks are uncomfortable with public displays which guys like this know and exploit so they have their public tantrums which embarrass those around them and give the bully the edge in any future discussion/confrontation.

worthless piece of ####. i hate those pricks. pick on someone your own stature you son of a #####
   342. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4213617)
and yes i am a bully. but i don't and never did bully the weak or the timid. i went after sobs like this clown who needed a good right cross and some blood on their lip and by someone who knew how. not a saint nor noble.

but i had been the tormented fat, poor kid so i knew the humiliation. and i doled out my revenge at every opportunity
   343. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4213620)
i don't and never did bully the weak or the timid.

And you hang out here why? :)

so i knew the humiliation. and i doled out my revenge at every opportunity


Nothing more satisfying than serving that dish cold, is there?
   344. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4213649)
"You just stole from them," Joe said even louder.

Mary Kay looked helplessly around at the table. No one met her eyes. She quietly said she only took a single cucumber. But Joe was off again. When he started on something, nobody could outtalk him, nobody could drown him out; he was like that all his life. "These people work hard to run a business. You are not supposed to share food. It says, very clearly, all you can eat. Not all you and your sister can eat. You stole from them."


Look, fathers have bad days, but this is a bizarre thing to get fired up about. He was clearly in the wrong and part insane with this story, and it shows that his sense of what is right and wrong is all screwed up - which, unfortunately, would come back to haunt the kids who suffered at the hands of Sandusky after Paterno enabled him.
   345. DA Baracus Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4213651)
From the WSJ review.


As a middle-aged assistant coach, he courted his future wife, an undergraduate at the time, then took her on a short recruiting trip for their honeymoon. Her birthday fell on Valentine's Day; he routinely ignored the date and once called her from the road claiming that he had gotten her a great present—two new recruits.


What an #######.
   346. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4213653)
That restaurant anecdote doesn't flatter JoePa. When it came to his grappling with moral dilemmas, to borrow a line from the New Testament, he strained at gnats while swallowing camels.


Yes.
   347. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4213654)
there were rules even back in my caveman days about faculty dating students. did paterno not count as faculty?
   348. UCCF Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4213665)
Different schools have different rules. Some schools, the rule is you can't date students period. In others, it's looser - you can't date students in your class, or students majoring in your department, etc.

It's not entirely implausible that a football coach could have dated an undergrad (presumably not otherwise associated with the athletics department) and not run afoul of school rules. Plus, this must be 40 years ago or so - I think rules then were probably even more likely to be relaxed than they are now. We keep a much tighter lid on that stuff these days (and not without reason).
   349. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4213673)
#335 - While that story obviously doesn't flatter Paterno, the idea that it sets him apart from more than a few million men from that generation is pretty dumb. (Not that you were promoting that idea, I mean in general.)


I don't know how many few million men would have done what he did. (Probably very few, actually. I mean, really? Have you witnessed something like that in your life? You're old enough to have seen it from someone from Paterno's era.)

If the two sisters had ordered one all-you-can-eat salad, and the one kid who ordered it kept going back for more to feed both her and the other kid, that would have been a teachable moment. (Not that I understand how that would have happened, because I imagine Paterno was paying for everything regardless, so if the kids were sharing/stealing meals in this way my question would be, why did they feel the need to do this? Wasn't Paterno paying for a meal for them?) But as it is, just taking a cucumber is nothing to remark about at all.

Paterno was such a moralist that he bizarrely bullied his young daughter over nothing, while at the same time enabled a child sex abuser.
   350. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4213683)
And Harvey makes a lot of sense above.
   351. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4213684)
to be clear not seeking out any 'ah ha' elements by questioning how he landed his wife. just surprised. not that all schools are created equal but fraterinization between faculty and students has been frowned upon for as long as i can recall
   352. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4213706)
Harveys: I'm now about 80 pages in and the book is not, so far, very flattering to Paterno. (I'm into his childhood/college years biography now, fairly bland stuff as expected.) The book is a fairer presentation, so far, than I expected. It seems like you're worked into a lather of righteous indignation about this book before setting an eye on it, which is unfair.
   353. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4213714)
zeth

i have said i will read the book

and i am bothered by jos posnanski's own comments where he pretty clearly puts paterno's failings, if you will, to age and the era from which he sprung. i have read that sentient from joe p now several times

i am also responding to posters remarks that seemingly do the same thing.

and there is no 'righteous indignation'. i am just hacked off that anyone on my age is being used as representative of the population y folks here. i am pretty comfortable in stating i knowa lot more people over the age of 70 than the rest of bbtf and i know their mindset in a general sense.

i ask that folks quit trying to paint me out to 'hating' on paterno as if i was desperate to see the man burn.

i care about my generation being smeared by this guy's action or lack of action.

when folks stop excusing/explaining his stuff by using age or era i will stop.

thank you
   354. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4213719)
But as it is, just taking a cucumber is nothing to remark about at all.

I disagree. It is a teachable moment. Or it CAN be such a moment. You could teach it from a strict moral principle (without the bullying) that Paterno did. I'm sure I got some of that from my slightly older than Joe Pa parents. Or you could teach about levels of right and wrong, you know 1 cucumber slice doesn't really hurt but 10,000 slices would.
   355. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4213724)
ed

help me out. a goodly number want to make me out to be crazy ray and his pitchfork posse where all i want is to cut off at the pass the notion that someone loses their ability to tell right/wrong once they get beyond their three score and ten.

i don't understand these posts accusing me of being unfair to the poor old joe(s)

maybe you can translate because typically sensible posters are writing posts to me that might as well be in urdu
   356. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4213732)
I certainly don't have any problem seeing where Harveys is coming from, & neither do I disagree with what he's said.

Of course, I don't think I'm "typically sensible," either ...
   357. Steve Treder Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4213733)
My Dad was born in 1916. He grew up very poor right through the heart of the depression, without a father.

He had a temper, and could say and do things he would regret. But he never, ever said or did anything like what Paterno did regarding the all-you-can-eat plate, and most definitely never the storm out of the restaurant stunt. I'm confident in asserting that that's a d!ck move in any generation throughout history.
   358. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4213741)
Why must they? Why should any school care about athletics?


It stems from late 19th and early 20th century notions about what it is to be a well-rounded citizen. Good health was thought to be an essential part of the intellectual and moral development of young men. Participation in athletics was thought to encourage teamwork, sportsmanship, manly bearing, steadiness, composure, and bonding with one's peers. Sports were mandatory at English public schools, whence it spread to the university level and to the English-speaking world in general. There are still universities in the United States where athletic participation is mandatory.

Going back farther, this is a holdover from the classical education that was based on the ideals of Classical Greece and Rome. Mens sana in corpore sano, as Horace says.
   359. Greg Franklin Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4213744)
It should be noted that the WSJ review was written by Tim Marchman, a celebrity Primate.
   360. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4213747)
gef is ok
ray is ok

i dub meself as the great uniter

   361. Steve Treder Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4213748)
It stems from late 19th and early 20th century notions about what it is to be a well-rounded citizen. Good health was thought to be an essential part of the intellectual and moral development of young men. Participation in athletics was thought to encourage teamwork, sportsmanship, manly bearing, steadiness, composure, and bonding with one's peers. Sports were mandatory at English public schools, whence it spread to the university level and to the English-speaking world in general. There are still universities in the United States where athletic participation is mandatory.

Going back farther, this is a holdover from the classical education that was based on the ideals of Classical Greece and Rome.


And it's a wonderful tradition that should always be honored. However, it only makes sense understood as PE/Intramural athletics instead of the school perverted into a professional sports franchise.
   362. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4213760)
My father was born in '12, my mother in '20. On the cuke, dad would have been likely to take it from my plate. Mom very possibly would have disapproved, but would not have been a flaming ####### about it; she might well have taken the Edmundo route.

You're fine, Harv's.
   363. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4213769)
And it's a wonderful tradition that should always be honored. However, it only makes sense understood as PE/Intramural athletics instead of the school perverted into a professional sports franchise.

Exactly. Hell, most of these football players aren't even students in any true sense. Most never would have been admitted if they weren't playing football.

I'm fine with College sports. They should just be 100% walk-on, and 0% scholarship.
   364. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4213776)
It is a teachable moment.


Unless I'm missing something here, it's not a teachable moment in any "teachable" respect. It's the story of a bully browbeating his own daughter with an empty lesson. The restaurant wasn't going to take back the piece of cucumber; Daughter 1 had already taken it, and JoePa was going to have to pay for it. Daughter 2 was merely ensuring that the cucumber would not be wasted. If anything, I guess you could say that Daughter 1 needed to be taught not to order/get things she didn't want, so as not to waste those things. But come on -- the "all you can eat" vs. "all you and your sister can eat" thing is simply being a jerk. Factor in the rest of the story, and the guy comes across as a step short of a madman.

Or, I guess, a guy having a bad day.
   365. AROM Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4213789)
I don't know how many few million men would have done what he did. (Probably very few, actually. I mean, really? Have you witnessed something like that in your life? You're old enough to have seen it from someone from Paterno's era.)


I defer to Harvey's, as he most certainly knows better than I do the attitudes of a generation. For personal experience, I think back to my grandparents, great aunts and uncles. Most of them are gone now. I cannot imagine any of them acting in the way described to their own children, or any children. Paterno simply comes across here as a complete jerk, and there is no excuse for that.
   366. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4213792)
gef is ok


That's ... that's the nicest thing anyone has said to me today.

Of course, my office is empty; everybody's either at a conference in Baltimore or on leave.

But still!
   367. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4213795)
folks who came out of the depression were careful about everything. food wasn't wasted. if you didn't eat it you took it home. if there was a 2 for 1 dinner option you would feel fine ordering 2 dinners and taking one whole dinner home.

i could bore folks with stories but suffice to say that between the depression and then quickly followed by wwii and the rationing folks who grew up at that time were mindful of waste. it was a bad thing. a sin if you will
   368. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4213800)
gef

don't get weepy on me.
   369. Steve Treder Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4213807)
i could bore folks with stories but suffice to say that between the depression and then quickly followed by wwii and the rationing folks who grew up at that time were mindful of waste. it was a bad thing. a sin if you will

Not just food, either. My Dad repaired every broken household appliance (heaters, toasters, lamps, washing machines, etc.) himself rather than pay a repairman, or god forbid, buy a new one. In his garage/workshop he kept little boxes of gently-used screws, nuts & bolts, brackets, bits of wire, and so on.
   370. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4213816)
I wouldn't allow eating the cuke either, but I'm not gonna lose my mind over it...
   371. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4213821)
steve

my step-grandad and i disassembled every old piece of equipment and salvaged everything including the metal, wood and of course the fasteners (screws and otherwise) say we would be out riding and somebody had hauled a broken old wagon to what they considered a dumping point that came across our path we always had various screw drivers and hammers and our saddlebags to collect the fasteners and then later come out with our wagon to collect the remains.

it was second nature to me
   372. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4213827)

And it's a wonderful tradition that should always be honored. However, it only makes sense understood as PE/Intramural athletics instead of the school perverted into a professional sports franchise.


The earliest attested athletic scholarships date from the 1870s. If it's a 'perversion', it's a perversion that is as old as the practice itself.
   373. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4213831)
It is a teachable moment.


Unless I'm missing something here, it's not a teachable moment in any "teachable" respect. It's the story of a bully browbeating his own daughter with an empty lesson.


I wasn't saying that Paterno made it a teachable moment, but it was/could be a teachable moment. As someone else said, lesson around taking only what you will eat, or not taking what you don't pay for, or the relative severity of misdeeds.

   374. Steve Treder Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4213834)
The earliest attested athletic scholarships date from the 1870s. If it's a 'perversion', it's a perversion that is as old as the practice itself.

So what?
   375. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4213837)
folks who came out of the depression were careful about everything. food wasn't wasted.


My grandmother, 93 in December and a self-described "Depression child" from Worchester, Mass., to this day will wring every last bit of product from every last food container. Growing up, I used to pray we never reached the bottom of the spaghetti sauce jar or the ketchup bottle because I knew she'd keep adding water until that stuff was essentially unrecognizable. But, looking back, I appreciate what she went through and what she was teaching me.

Edmundo: Sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying earlier.
   376. SoSH U at work Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4213838)
folks who came out of the depression were careful about everything. food wasn't wasted. if you didn't eat it you took it home.


I never sniffed the depression, but I generally plan on taking something home for the next day's lunch whenever I go out to eat. It's one part not having a big apetite and one part being phenomenally cheap.

   377. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4213851)
i sent a quick message to my kids asking if they recall me embarrassing them with a public tirade and here is a snapshot of the responses from 3 of the 5:

--told one to get off the floor of church during service and when he kept intentionally sliding down to the floor yanked him out and carried him bawling out of the church in the middle of service

--cut the manes of several ponies at an auction, caught in act, and swatted him on the backside (he was 9) and told him to go to the truck and if i saw him anywhere else he would ride home in the trailer with the animals

--beating the #### out of the guy who grabbed my daugther by the upper arm. kids were not embarrassed. just stunned

i remember the last one. first two are very vague but the kids responded right away so it obviously stuck with them
   378. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4213854)

help me out. a goodly number want to make me out to be crazy ray and his pitchfork posse where all i want is to cut off at the pass the notion that someone loses their ability to tell right/wrong once they get beyond their three score and ten.



Harv, I'll give you W.C. Fields' advice for the handful who are fighting you: Try, try, try again. Then give up, no sense being a damn fool about it.

The one thing that I could see is that Paterno might have only known the word "sodomy" as what the Sodomites did to get fire and brimstoned. No specifics, just in the kind of way a 12 year old in more innocent times** would have known they did some sex things that were very, very bad. HOWEVER, HEARING "SODOMY" AND YOUNG BOYS SHOULD HAVE SET OFF THE ALARMS. But that would have impacted the empire and the Paterno name legacy***.

** Nowadays, that 12 yo can just google sodomy and get 100,000 movies depicting every angle and permutation on sodomy existent.

*** Which is something that I had underestimated prior to the recent revelations.
   379. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4213857)

Or, I guess, a guy having a bad day.


Yea, I think you guys are being a bit tough on Paterno. My dad would flip out at pretty innocuous stuff at times, but overall was a very good father. He just had a bit of a temper. Men, especially men that grew up in his era, internalize everything, so any problems he was having are all going to come out on the family when triggered. I'm not excusing the behavior, but I think its a bit ridiculous to read too much into it like he's a madman or anything. At the same time, if Pos is trying to use it as an example of how he plays by the rules, I think its a ridiculous example of that too.
   380. JoeHova Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4213859)
Most never would have been admitted if they weren't playing football.

I don't really like this sentiment. Who cares? They've devoted themselves to becoming good at one thing that will get them into college, just like future mathematicians probably devoted themselves to math. I don't have any problem with there being non-SAT ways to get into college.
   381. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4213860)
HW, the first two sound exactly like what I would have/might have done.

The third one depends on the circumstance. If she was poking a caged animal, that guy's action might have been appropriate. If it was predatory in nature, well then, more power to you.
   382. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4213878)
ed

i hear you on both posts

regarding the last one i am pretty sure that has been shared but short version is that the kids had to pick up their fair projects and my oldest son, of course, had lost his fair pass as an exhibitor. it's the last day of the fair, the last few hours mind you, so my daugther gets on the grounds using her pass and they meet so she can hand over her pass to him through the fence. well some barney fife stops them and when my daugther begins to explain he takes her comments as sass and grabs her by the arm. i am sitting in the truck with the wife and two youngest listening to the ballgame smoking a cigarette when one of the boys pipes up that some guy is grabbing his sister. i look up and all i see is my daughter being dragged along by the arm and my oldest son yelling. as the story goes i shoot out of the truck, scale the fence and proceed to beat the guy senseless with my wife showing up soon after and dragging me off as she basically drove the truck through the fair grounds telling the folks at the gate as she drove through that she was on a rescue mission.

i remember seeing my daughter grabbed and i remember telling the guy that if i ever saw him within a mile of my kids again i would shove his arm up his backside. the other stuff? nothing.

   383. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4213882)

So what?


Just arguing against the idea that there is a 'pure' version of college athletics to go back to.

If you go to PE/Intramurals in an attempt to eliminate 'professional' college athletics, it won't work. Teams will want to face off against rival colleges. Heck, when I was at BU and an unofficial member of the BU SCA we had scrimmages against the Tufts SCA people.

When teams from rival colleges face off, people will want to go see them. When 10,000 people show up for a venue that holds 2,000, somebody will have the idea of charging admission. When college pride is on the line, you'll have coaches who encourage ringers to sign up to your college for one credit hour so they can play in the big game. You'll want to regulate all that, so you will have an intercollegial athletic association. Bingo, you have all the elements of the current system. It's no coincidence that this sort of thing started up about 15 minutes after the idea of collegiate athletics was invented.
   384. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4213886)
AG#1F: That's an argument I have trouble buying. Paterno's behavior in the restaurant scene is just ####### behavior, not 'guy under a lot of stress suddenly snaps at something innocuous' behavior. And I'm pretty sure Poz put it early in the book because it's representative of what kind of guy Paterno was. He was capable of amazing feats of assholery. And I applaud Poz for not shying away from that simple fact.
   385. base ball chick Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4213928)
from tim marchman, who i ALSO like and respect:

"Still, if "Paterno" will satisfy no one who wanted Mr. Posnanski to write a document full of damning details about what the coach knew and when he knew it, the book is, intentionally or not, a devastating blow to Paterno's legacy."

- there's ways and ways of talking/interviewing. one is nancy grace. another is bob costas. there are plenty of ways of showing readers what kind of man paterno REALLY was without having to pointout the obvious.

as for harveys

i'm a lil prejudice bout harveys, who i absolutely love and admire knowin full well that he ain't exactly free of sin. i admit because he's just like my grandaddy who was sharp as a tack until his last breath and he didn't never give no excuse about how he's old and therefore his sins should be forgotten. i would say there are things he repented, rethought and reassessed as he stared death in the face. but he didn't never humilate his own children or wife to establish dominance or make himself feel better about himself - well, i might could be just another n*****r to the world but to these people, i'm f*****G God.

the harveys i've known for years from this here board might could pity the fool, but was always most important to him was improving the lives of his wives and children and damm teh consequences to himself, even if it meant riling God Himself. harvey wouldn't never humiliate his daughter in public just to show her he could, because he could.

ima get that pos book my own self and read it my own self (if/when i get some time) and ima have faith in pos that he wasn't afraid to take a picture of reality without either rose colored filters and photoshopping or justs taking pictures of turds. like fox mulder said so many years ago, i want to believe. like dana scully said so many years ago, show me the evidence....

   386. BFFB Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4213932)
folks who came out of the depression were careful about everything. food wasn't wasted. if you didn't eat it you took it home. if there was a 2 for 1 dinner option you would feel fine ordering 2 dinners and taking one whole dinner home.


Both of my parents grew up in the UK during the 40's and 50's when rationing was still in force and my Grandparents since WW1. In the same situation as the Paterno anecdote my Grandmother would have been asking everyone if they wanted the left-overs and if nobody did badgering the restaurant staff for a doggy bag and at home it was very common to hear my mom say "if it's on your plate you have to eat it".
   387. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4213948)
I can't see how this book is a blow to Paterno's legacy, which was a smoking crater long before today. I guess it's a disappointment to the few left who were holding out hope this book would exonerate him. That completely misses the point; there can be no exoneration after what happened.

It's easy to lose track of the fact this book is a biography, not a commentary and not investigative journalism. Those books will no doubt be coming close behind it, but this is a biography. So far, it's a pretty good and pretty honest biography.
   388. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4213967)

My dad loves telling the story of how my grandfather, a WW2 vet who grew up during the Depression, took the family to a local park where they cooked hot dogs for dinner. My dad didn't like hot dogs and refused to eat, and my grandfather told everyone that they weren't leaving the park until my dad ate his food. The two of them sat there staring at each other until the sun had gone down, at which point a park ranger told them the park was closing and they needed to leave. Score one for my dad (and yes, I come from a long line of stubborn men.)

So yes, I suppose I could see my grandfather behaving in a similar fashion to Paterno, but that is based on one anecdote about a man who died before I was born. I also can't really see him getting up and leaving the table in a huff; more likely he would have stayed and argued about it until the restaurant closed.
   389. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4213969)
and at home it was very common to hear my mom say "if it's on your plate you have to eat it".


when I was growing up everyone's parents were fond of saying, "finish your food, children are starving in [insert random 3rd world hell hole]"

So of course the first time I was every in a comedy club (I was 18) what I remember was that the 1st 2 comics made jokes about that ("so how is me eating going to help a kid starving 10,000 miles away?") and the 3rd one said, "God-damn it you two sobs ruined my staring african routine."

It was kind of like how ever 70/50s comic mentioned the "kids table" at thanksgiving, being told to eat because of some kid starving in Slobostan was a common cultural experience
   390. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4213973)
--told one to get off the floor of church during service and when he kept intentionally sliding down to the floor yanked him out and carried him bawling out of the church in the middle of service


I once threw my oldest (when he was 4), over my shoulder and carried him out of a restaurant when he wouldn't stay in his seat, and so of course halfway out he started bawling "But I'm HUNGRY!"... took him out anyway


and damned if you knew it, but it actually worked, he became much better behaved in restaurants ever since...

Unfortunately the same tactic did not work on the younger one- food is just less important to him, and dragging him out of a public place actually rewards him- leaving is what he wants...
   391. SoSH U at work Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4213974)
My dad loves telling the story of how my grandfather, a WW2 vet who grew up during the Depression, took the family to a local park where they cooked hot dogs for dinner. My dad didn't like hot dogs and refused to eat, and my grandfather told everyone that they weren't leaving the park until my dad ate his food.


My dad used to tell the story of going into the kitchen, opening the door to the refrigerator and looking for something he wanted to eat. His dad asked him what he was doing. "I'm hungry," my dad replied. "If you're hungry," my grandfather said. "You don't need to look."
   392. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4214005)

the harveys i've known for years from this here board might could pity the fool, but was always most important to him was improving the lives of his wives and children and damm teh consequences to himself, even if it meant riling God Himself


You'll note that while Harveys pronounced Ray & me "ok" in #360, he was conspicuously silent as regards God's merits.
   393. Lassus Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4214016)
I'm not excusing the behavior, but I think its a bit ridiculous to read too much into it like he's a madman or anything.

I agree with this completely.
   394. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4214018)
I don't think anybody has accused him of being a madman. That's a much different thing from being a loudmouthed #######, which is what I certainly read him as.
   395. Steve Treder Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4214019)
I distinctly remember myself at age, oh, probably 6 or 7, being forbidden from leaving the dinner table until I'd eaten all of the helping of seconds I'd taken. Everyone else got to leave, all the other dishes were cleared, but I had to sit there until I ate every bite. Finally, sobbing and sniffing, I did it.

Never committed that blunder again.
   396. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4214024)
I mentioned the word "madman," so Lassus isn't making that up or anything. What I meant was that his behavior, in that one excerpt, was reminiscent of one (although not rising to the level of one). I'm not saying that he actually was one, as I would certainly doubt that he was.
   397. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4214037)
I remember sitting for hours, having to finish the second shrimp on my plate. We were told the helpings were two shrimp. Being that it was Cincinnati in the late 50s and my folks were on a tight, tight budget, so I'm guessing they weren't fresh.

Yeah, I finally gacked it down with requisite gagging noises and tears. They tasted really awful. To this day I can only eat shrimp that is very fresh.
   398. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4214048)
i am liking these childhood stories.

since the wife was the primary caregiver and a master at getting the kids to cooperate i was just the looming threat in the background and rarely had to get involved. these stories make me look tremendous as a parent.

i always advise young couples of the following:

marriage is about cleary defined roles. conflict arises in a marriage from people deviating from their roles.

and this is when my wife walks up and rolls her eyes and tells the new wife to ignore me. the new husbands are always engrossed in the coversation.........
   399. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4214086)
A good one about my pop - he spent much of his childhood in a refugee camp without running water. To go the bathroom, you went to the fields with some newspaper and then wiped your ass with your reading material.

Yada yada yada, 50 years later, my pop cannot go to the bathroom without something to read. Like, if he doesn't have something to read, he cannot bring himself to defecate.
   400. Lassus Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4214097)
My father's family were dairy farmers, so it was drink your milk or sit there until you do. I liked milk just fine, so I didn't care. My brother and parents engaged in an epic battle one day, with my brother sitting at the table for something like three hours and the milk getting more and more more gross to him as it became room temperature. My brother lost that battle, but in reports over the following decade, it became clear he did only just barely.
Page 4 of 6 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 6 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
James Kannengieser
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogHBT: Talking head says Jeter is “a fraud” and “you are all suckers”
(76 - 12:16am, Sep 21)
Last: A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose)

NewsblogAthletics out of top wild-card spot, Texas sweeps
(4 - 12:15am, Sep 21)
Last: #6bid is partially elite

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 9-20-2014
(84 - 12:10am, Sep 21)
Last: Pirate Joe

NewsblogRoyals encounter problem with online sale of playoff tickets
(9 - 12:07am, Sep 21)
Last: Gamingboy

NewsblogOT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(3397 - 12:06am, Sep 21)
Last: Ray (RDP)

NewsblogOT: September 2014 College Football thread
(310 - 12:02am, Sep 21)
Last: Every Inge Counts

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - September 2014
(293 - 11:38pm, Sep 20)
Last: NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!)

NewsblogEn Banc Court May Call Foul on Bonds Conviction
(37 - 11:23pm, Sep 20)
Last:  

NewsblogLindbergh: Dellin Betances’s Season & Bullpen Strategy
(3 - 9:32pm, Sep 20)
Last: bobm

NewsblogEsquire: Martone: The Death of Derek Jeter
(312 - 9:20pm, Sep 20)
Last: Omineca Greg

NewsblogKauffman Stadium ‘should be rocking’ as Royals face most important series in decades Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article2157217.html#storylink=cpy
(1 - 7:25pm, Sep 20)
Last: boteman is not here 'til October

NewsblogJohn Thorn: Fame & Fandom
(1 - 7:09pm, Sep 20)
Last: Ulysses S. Fairsmith

NewsblogKeri: How Washington Built a World Series Favorite
(58 - 5:55pm, Sep 20)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(311 - 4:44pm, Sep 20)
Last: frannyzoo

NewsblogPedro pens a letter to Clayton Kershaw
(68 - 3:09pm, Sep 20)
Last: Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige

Page rendered in 1.1674 seconds
52 querie(s) executed