Far be it from me to criticize Buzz Bissinger. He's the award-winning, mega-famous author who made Ed Rendell into a folk hero and high school football into the stuff of legend. By every professional standard, especially Philadelphia Media, which has given him lots of column space over the years, he's a great writer.
And now he's writing for the Daily News! Bissinger's maiden voyage is an interesting take on the pedophilia scandal that has been front and center in the local papers for the past few weeks. The author opines that perhaps, just perhaps, some of those claims of abuse aren't what they're cracked up to be. Could it be that they're just savvy attempts to get attention?
Bissinger addresses the recent admission by Senator Scott Brown that he was abused by a camp counselor in this way:
I have heard sympathy pour out for Brown, all of it predictable. If sexual abuse isn't bulletproof, what is? They hail him as brave. But what exactly is brave about resorting to sensational and unsubstantiated claims to make money and regain notoriety?
I tend to agree with Bissinger that airing your dirty laundry in public in advance of the publication date for your memoir does seem a little suspicious. I'm glad he's not buying every single claim of abuse that comes down the pike.
But here's where the Mencken of Callowhill Street loses me. While totally willing to question the motives of Brown and others who have claimed abuse, he makes this particular observation about priests:
I believe every allegation of sexual abuse made against the Catholic Church in Philadelphia and elsewhere. I met Cardinal Bevilacqua once, in a car with driver, of course, and he reminded me of a capo going to a costume ball.
I have to hand it to the fellow. He manages to deprive Catholic priests of due process (really, Buzz, you believe every allegation, even the ones that haven't been tested in a court of law?) AND slander Italians in the same colorful sentence.
Guess the clergy doesn't have a Prayer in this City.