Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Hunchback of Penn State

I recently saw a production of Phantom of the Opera and am currently reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Since I read about Jerry Sandusky over the weekend I keep seeing similarities. The men in Phantom and Hunchback are physically deformed and ugly. The Phantom says he was never kissed, never loved, even by his mother. Both men are heartbreaking.

I see Jerry Sandusky as another sort of human deformity only his ugliness is inside. I feel enormous sadness for him, along with revulsion. And for his victims, whose lives have been horribly altered--children raped and betrayed--I am angry on their behalf and sickened by their innocence laid waste.

But the real corruption is with the men who knew about this and chose Penn State over innocent children and by their choice, allowed this depravity to continue, destroying more lives of children who were tossed aside so the football games could continue.

The coach and all the Catholic priests who prey on children are sick, hideously sick. But the Penn State officials and all the bishops, cardinals and even the present pope of the Holy Roman Catholic Church are so beyond contempt I cannot summon the words to describe them. And they are the ones who should be prosecuted and prosecuted and prosecuted. They aren't sick, they are corrupt and corrupted, they are complicit in the rape and destruction of children.

I can't hate the sick clergy or Sandusky. They should be locked up, forever, never to be able to touch another child. But the bishops, cardinals and popes should be jailed and perhaps even have brands burned into their foreheads, setting an example for all who consider allowing pedophiles to continue their predations in order to preserve the outward appearance of respectability for churches and football teams.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

So I said in a rash moment that I read all of Victor Hugo. Au contraire. After an extensive search on wikipedia and amazon.com I've come to the conclusion that it was a combination of Balzac, Hugo and Dickens I read, but not all of any.

I see a set of about 10 volumes and I'm thinking it must have been Balzac. I was 16 when we moved to Stockton, in June, right after school got out for the summer. I knew no one and my mother and I spent many hours and sometimes days in used bookstores and at my aunt Mildred's house which was close to downtown. I suspect my aunt had sets of Balzac and Dickens (people had them back in those days--this would have been in 1956) and I read them. I definitely remember reading Les Mis and The Hunchback of Notre Dame but sure as hell don't remember any of the rest. However, I do remember many Balzac and Dickens titles.

What's interesting to me is that I read so many books between ages 14 and 25 that I cannot force myself to read now and it's mainly being too impatient to spend the time wading through the dense description. Of Cabbages and Kings by O. Henry is one I remember fondly from about age 14. I just ordered it to see if it holds up at all. East of Eden held up and Hemingway's work, so far.

When I go to Bisbee I invariably end up reading something from my youth and somehow there, I can do it. In 2008 I reread Frances Parkinson Keyes. Marvelous novels and the descriptions go on for pages. Somehow, on vacation it's possible. I would say it's Hemingway who ruined me for Balzac and Dickens but I was reading him alongside B & D.