Paterno Down the Memory Hole

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The Big Ten Network cable channel has given us detailed coverage of Joe Paterno’s statue being torn down from just outside the Penn State stadium. A reporter informs us that Paterno’s name will also likely be removed from the university library that he and his wife funded. (Is she also to be punished for having been married to Joe?) No mention was made — at least not yet — as to whether even the mention of Joe Paterno’s name by students, faculty, or administrators will be cause for disciplinary action.

It is clear that the university is going all out to distance itself from the wrongdoing alleged to have taken place within the higher echelons of the football program. But the school could do more. As these charged offenses allegedly occurred within the football facilities, it seems to me that tearing down the entire stadium would “help the healing process,” and “bring closure” — two favorite, empty phrases employed in any wrongdoing whenever the institutional order has done all it is willing to do.

George Orwell’s prescience warned us of the established order’s use of the “memory hole” to rid people of the knowledge of events that now prove embarrassing to it. The erstwhile Soviet Union made use of such practices — including removing pictures from earlier official photos — while the American establishment has relied on its obedient media and academia to accomplish the same effects. If you want to locate this “memory hole” geographically, you might find it in the same neighborhood as “the tubes,” into which our culture is rapidly descending!

1:56 pm on July 22, 2012