Wall Street Journal
Saturday, 15 June 2013
Joe Queenan: Moving Targets


Julie Hermann's Second Chance


The new Athletic Director at Rutgers University believes that she is "uniquely qualified to create a student-care system" because of problems she encountered early in her career. The problems, if her accusers are to be believed, involved routinely abusing the volleyball players she coached. She has learned from the difficult experience of having every single member of that team sign a letter denouncing her for mental cruelty. She has grown as a person.

The congressman who got hounded out of office after a sexting scandal is now running for mayor of New York. His experiences have helped him grow as a person. He now realizes that it's all about family.

Convicted hackers get hired by corporations because the skills they developed as criminals make them uniquely qualified to combat other wrongdoers. Nick Leeson, who single-handedly wiped out the United Kingdom's oldest investment bank, is now a well-remunerated speaker lecturing on corporate responsibility and risk. . . .

The concept of deserving a second chance derives from a misreading of scripture. The Bible said that it was noble and generous and nice to forgive the prodigal son. But it didn't say that you had to hire him as an after-dinner speaker. It didn't recommend hiring him as a consultant on prodigality because he was uniquely qualified to counsel neophyte prodigal sons on which pigsties to avoid sleeping in.

None of these Lazarus-like resurrections is about the redeeming power of love. They are about the redeeming power of chutzpah. When people talk about a classless society, they're talking about these folks. Because if people like Nick Leeson and Anthony Weiner had any class whatsoever, they'd find themselves a nice big rock to crawl under and bed down for the next 50 years. Their self-exhumation will only inspire even worse people to slither out of the crypt. . . .

There is something infuriating about people who do the exact opposite of what they are supposed to do and then have the brass to say that this makes them "uniquely qualified" to occupy an identical position. . . .


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