Will Penn State Ever Learn?
Posted by Jeff Condon on October 23, 2012
Michael Mann has decided to sue for defamation because someone compared him to Sandusky. Besides the general disgust for the Penn State sexual scandal, there was a certain irony for me in that brought about an article discussing what is a solidly apparent cultural deficiency in the university. I compared the decades of head-in-the-sand treatment of Sandusky to a very similar Penn State investigation of Mann’s work In Case You Were Wondering.
Before I revisit the story, I believe a disclaimer is in order. There is no accusation of any criminal activity against Mann. I can’t imagine what comparison’s anyone could make between Michael Mann and Sandusky, they look nothing alike and Mike likely stinks at football as well as all other athletic endeavors. The money the two made for Penn State was vastly different. Oddly enough, they probably are about equally accurate at math and science but that is a different story. There simply is no rational comparison to be made between the damaging of young lives and the tweaking of obscure nearly useless statistical methodologies for love of money and politics.
This is what I wrote about Penn State, and I believe it is a reasonable interpretation of the news:
Well Penn state, which famously ignored its own employee’s role in climategate, has been caught pretending another situation didn’t exist. This time the situation was so horrific on an individual level that the comparison to previous indiscretions is nearly impossible but the amount of Penn State money involved was so much greater that it can legitimately be made. Recently Penn State President Graham Spanier was forcibly retired from office. This is not proof or even evidence that the president was directly involved or even had any knowledge of the insane sexual behavior by PSU employees which appear to have been deliberately ignored by senior management, but firing was the right thing to do. PSU has an illness in the form of a culture in management which ignores even hideous error in favor of business-as-usual cash flow. Morality at PSU has taken a back seat to gold.
The money in the organization simply overwhelms doing the right thing. “Don’t be evil” used to be the childish corporate slogan at Google. That was before they realized that their true value to the corporate world was collection of information about the public. Don’t bash Google though as Apple and Microsoft never seem to have suffered these childish delusions. I suppose the new unspoken slogan probably is “Don’t be evil unless it is wildly profitable!”
I also wrote:
When the Penn state climategate reviews came out, the typical media’s uncritical acceptance of nonsense words out of Penn State was stunning. It revealed to all who were paying attention just how deeply invested the university and media are in insuring that the global warming message and money flow not be reduced by even the most blatantly false actions. The result was that Penn State has been successful in maintaining its public scientific reputation (and cash flow) in the same pre-climategate mode and the enviro-team has continued down their paths undaunted and likely re-invigorated that they are untouchable. The only thing I can do is write about it here on my blog and make a personal guarantee to Penn State University that when my sons go to college (which they will), not one dollar will intentionally come from our family to this corrupt, and truly disgusting institution. Don’t think for a moment that these messages are not being unintentionally communicated to Penn State students as thousands were idiotically rioting in the streets over the football coach’s firing.
The brainwashing of the public in favor of profit has spread across all media outlets distorting everything from sports to politics to climate science™. There has to be a functional backlash at some point though where Penn State, and the like ,are held accountable for their distortions of the truth in favor of profit. It isn’t only big ‘private’ business which can corrupt the system after all, and Michael Mann not being Sandusky, is far from Michael Mann being innocent of other lesser improprieties — for “the cause”. We all know that propaganda and spin have become the norm on all news channels. We should aslo know that it is the not-s0-meek lawyers whom have inherited the Earth to date. When I think about the future, it seems that the deeper we sink into the morass of poverty, mediocrity and false uniformity, the harder and more violent the backlash will be. Not many claim to know the future though, and I certainly won’t count myself as one who does.
To me, there is a sad irony in watching what is in my opinion one of the most undeservedly arrogant and disingenuous public figureheads file a lawsuit, wholly supported in his own gamesmanship by a broken and corrupted university, against others for a comparison to another man who was protected by the same university’s defunct managerial culture.
It should be interesting to see how this latest waste of a few hundred thousand dollars turns out.