Fascinating blog comment by Michael Caton:
I’m a second generation atheist (both my parents were too) and I’m active in local atheist groups (i.e. I’m the “real deal” with respect to atheism). BUT, I was brought up in a Penn State household – blue and white cars, dad’s ashes scattered over Mt. Nittany, the whole deal. I don’t even care about football anymore, but that programming never leaves you – when I’ve been at a party where someone mentions Paterno in anything but glowing terms I’ve found myself immediately defending them. So the incredible gut-level reaction I’m having – which I know damn well is not right – is “JoePa is right, these kids are making it up, how dare anyone else criticize Penn State” – has been an interesting experience to me to say the least. I still haven’t been able to read the Grand Jury report and I’m sure it’s all for real but it would literally hurt too much to see it. It’s a big lesson that none of us are immune to this kind of in-group vs outgroup, tribe-over-individuals thinking.
That’s a great insight, and I appreciate the commenter’s critical self-analysis. I’m telling you, it is a cult. It’s telling that you can’t even get college kids out to march against war, economic injustice, abortion, or anything else — but fire the football coach, and boy oh boy, there’s rioting in the streets of State College.