ROFL: Random Outbursts From Lar!


The Penn State Disaster Begs the Question: How Do You Get the World to Hate You?

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Sometimes it seems like there's nothing you can do that will prevent you from finding a crowd on your front yard holding a banner that says you are loved and supported.

You've seen it a million times. Whether the person was revered, hated or obscure seems to make little difference. Once they're accused of some heinous act, a bunch of people will appear out of nowhere to support them.

It seems you could murder people, videotape the entire thing, have a dozen witnesses to your actions, and even admit to the crime. The next morning, inevitably, there will be a small crowd of supporters outside your home holding a nice banner that says, "We love you!"

I'm sure you've heard the one-liner when someone is waiting in a restaurant and they ask, "Who do I have to sleep with to get some service around here?" In the same vein, I wonder, "What exactly does one have to do so they will not find a crowd of supporters outside their home?"

Being a Pennsylvania resident, this question hit me recently as news of the Penn State football pedophilia horror broke (and as of this writing continues to break.) As of now, the accused pedophile himself (Jerry Sandusky) is caught, but the controversy centers around beloved coach Joe Paterno, whom the Pennsylvania Attorney General Grand Jury presentment paints as inactive to a degree bordering on (or equal to) a cover-up. (Click here to see presentment PDF.)

His backers claim he did what he was legally obligated to do. Apparently, "Promptly report all instances of child rape to the police, not your supervisor," needs to be added to the books here in Pennsylvania. Until then, while not criminal, Mr. Paterno's alleged inaction is morally indefensible.

I'm sure it must be difficult to learn that a person or organization you supported was raping children (or criminally and morally negligent by doing next to nothing to get such a crime to stop.) It must shatter your world. But isn't there a line that, once crossed, will make you turn against your team? Or at least that individual?

You would hope so. But of course, inevitably, there are legions of fans standing by Paterno, even rioting on his behalf. There's (finally) also a vigil planned for the victims of sex abuse. That's something to balance the outcry on behalf of Paterno's firing. No word yet if there will be a riot in the victims' honor as well.

Michael Jackson, the Catholic Church, Penn State football, Americans torturing suspects, and on and on. I'm sure you can add to the list. What is going on here? Is this a side-effect of humanity's tendency to clump? Is the pull of being in a herd so strong that you can't call someone out for being a monster? Or enabling one? It seems so.

So I ask again, is there anything one can do to wake up the next morning and NOT find a crowd of supporters on their front lawn?

Maybe I need to think about this differently. Is this phenomenon necessarily a bad thing? Doesn't it show that no matter what you do, even if you act (or are) evil, despicable and cowardly, you can always rest assured that a group of people somewhere will love you? That disturbing truth is horrific in its beauty, like the powerful grace of a lioness as she runs down a baby gazelle and kills him.

The good news is, no one should ever feel bad about themselves again. There's clearly nothing any of us can do to make everyone hate us.

Except change the design of Facebook. That really sets people off. Everything else is okay.


Larry Nocella writes the blog ROFL: Random Outbursts From Lar! at He's the author of the novel Where Did This Come From? The world's first CarbonFree(R) novel according to The book is available as an Amazon Kindle eBook. It is also available for reading online. P.S. You don't need a Kindle to read Kindle eBooks. Download the FREE Kindle app for PC, Mac and smartphones. You can then purchase Kindle books or download free ones. Enjoy!


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