Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Cain and the Death of Shame

Shame is dead or at least comatose as two public figures refuse to retreat into embarrassment over mounting evidence of their sexual misconduct.

A would-be leader of the Free World, Herman Cain is surrounded by barbecue, bunting and bands in announcing “suspension” of his campaign after “continued hurt caused on me and my family” by numerous charges of harassing women as well as a long-term extramarital affair.

Cain’s positive spin on disaster recalls a press conference decades ago by two entrepreneurs who had bankrupt a venerable publication that started with a slide
presentation titled “Moving Ahead with the Saturday Review.”

Similarly, the former pizza mogul touts a “Plan B” that consists of denying everything while trying to hold on to media attention, as if his campaign wreck were the result of a natural disaster not of his own making.

Cain’s disconnection from reality is echoed by the central figure in the Penn State scandal, Jerry Sandusky. Faced with 40 charges of child molestation, the former coach is pursuing what may be the weirdest legal strategy ever by giving interviews everywhere.

In the latest, he tells the New York Times that, despite being caught in a public shower with a 10-year-old boy, that he was only “a father figure” to disadvantaged children and prosecutors “just twisted that all.”

Sandusky sums up the news cyclone that that ended the careers of legendary coach Joe Paterno and the university president with self-pity over the loss of his connection with kids, leaving only his dog Bo, “And I swear he understands...And you know I love him dearly for that.”

Psychiatrists may have clinical explanations for such narcissistic behavior by Cain and Sandusky, but what comes to the inexpert mind is musical comedy. In “Chicago,” after being caught in bed with two women, a two-timing lover asks, “Who are you going to believe? What you see or what I tell you?” His outraged companion pulls the trigger.

Would it be too much to ask the media to do the same about showering attention on the former candidate and the predator coach? Or have we all lost our sense of shame?


roadgeek said...

And what about Bill Clinton?

Yellow Dog Don said...

@roadgeek..I'll see your Bill Clinton and raise you a Newt Gingrich.