Wednesday, August 29, 2012
No one knows what to expect on the field when Penn State football kicks off the post-Paterno era this weekend, but one thing it appears we can count on is a tight playlist on the stadium sound system.
University officials have confirmed that Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" will no longer be played at Nittany Lions home games, although they insist it has nothing to do with the song's lyrics, which include "Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching you, touching me." According to a Penn State spokesman, Sweet Caroline was dropped as part of a routine playlist rotation, and the decision is unrelated to the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal. And if you believe that, perhaps I can interest you in some Florida swampland, a prime patch of Brazilian rain forest or a lovely stretch of Mongolian desert. Presumably, if a song as innocuous as Sweet Caroline is getting the hook, we won't be hearing the the Doors' "Touch Me," Journey's "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" or MC Hammer's "You Can't Touch This" at Penn State games. While they're at it, maybe they should ban the term "touchdown" in favor of the less offensive "six point scoring play."
It's one thing to forego due process and throw a dead man under the bus with the benefit of little more than sanctimonious hindsight - and even though I don't agree with it, I understand the expediency in making Joe Paterno a scapegoat to the point where he's come to symbolize the scandal more than the actual perpetrator - but the Sweet Caroline episode is confirmation that panic and paranoia have officially trumped common sense at Penn State.