WHY ARE PENN STATE AND BILL O’BRIEN CHANGING THOUSANDS OF LIVES? By Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

The vision of the Sandusky horror is almost too much to fathom — a sexual predator allowed access to a hallowed sports facility because the men in power just couldn’t and wouldn’t systematically investigate one of their own. Disgrace to Joe Paterno, football sanctions, a mass exodus of players to other teams, and a university disrespected and threatened with a loss of accreditation, was accepted as the righteous result of their transgression.

Enter the beleaguered team and Bill O’Brien, the new coach, to start the season. The resounding “We Are Penn State” was down to a muffled embarrassed whimper. Then the team lost its first two games and it appeared that the humiliation and devalued attitude was here to stay.

Week three, and the team dumps gallons of Gatorade on O’Brien’s head after their first win. Weeks four and five and six, they win again and again and AGAIN. Is the Phoenix finally dragging itself out of the ashes of shower rooms and sexual perversity?

It’s fun and wonderful to win, but in this case, it’s not just winning a football game, it’s winning the battle against an infectious stigma that made a great majority of Penn Staters feel humiliated and devalued by what their elders did over a decade ago. I wonder how many PSU Ts and sweatshirts stayed hidden in closets?

Is this any different than what so many of us experienced at the hands of our own parents? Insensitivity, violence, sexual abuse and flat-out stupidity can obviously influence an entire life. The results of poor parenting — ¬†depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, are rampant in psychiatric offices. Helping a patient unravel how the past has unduly influenced his view of himself is often very helpful.

Like the changes happening at Penn State, we can also change. We don’t have to continue to feel trapped or controlled or humiliated by what our parents did or didn’t do. It’s wonderful to have a new hero like Bill O’Brien, but let’s keep in mind what happened with our old hero, Joe Paterno. He was simply a human being with his own set of limitations.

We need to embrace the hero inside each of us, the part that doesn’t follow the herd and does the right thing, whatever it takes.

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RESULTS OF THE OBAMA-SPIELBERG EXPERIMENT, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

Last week, I used 10 well-known celebrities in my post title. These ranged from Barack Obama to Mark Cuban to Steven Spielberg. My theory was that Google would connect anyone with an interest in these personalities to my blog site.

I imagined millions of potential viewers, with thousands of my books lining their shelves.

It didn’t happen — not even close. I’ve published 50 posts and have a total of 9000 hits, an average of 180 hits per post. For this experiment I received a grand total of…(drum roll) 190 hits.¬†8 new people decided to follow my blog and 7 people downloaded books. Fame and riches did not rain down upon me.

What does it all mean? To me, it means that post readers are interested in actual content — subjects that matter to them and people who have something to say. Just listing famous people doesn’t do it. Also, for someone to buy an unknown person’s book, there needs to be some sort of ¬†emotional connection or a recommendation from someone that they respect.

There’s no easy way to become known throughout the internet and throughout the world if you haven’t earned it. And really, that’s the way it should be.

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