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How many of us want to be judged by things we said 20+ years ago, or during our teens or even college years? Some of those things may have been disgusting or reprehensible, unwise or immoral. I’m not suggesting otherwise. 

I’m just wondering where, if at all, forgiveness or grace or allowance for growth, change, and maturity fits in our current woke cancel culture. 

The Olympics Opening Ceremony director was just fired days before showtime for egregious performance jokes he made in 1998. Newly famous college athletes get hammered for offensive texts they posted as 14-year-olds. Actresses get blasted for having participated in a coming-of-age tradition that allowed racist practices 75 years ago, a good 60 years before the actress was involved and more that 10 years since the event publicly apologized and renounced its past. Comedians apologize for jokes they made years earlier in their careers when such jokes were considered edgy but acceptable.

I’m not talking about capital crimes. What is the statute of limitations on what someone later considers offensive speech or boorish behavior?

During his first presidential campaign, George W. Bush was pressured for the DUI he’d gotten as a young man. He said, “When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible.” Smart move. Who hasn’t been irresponsible, particularly when we were young?

During his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama was accused of and admitted to smoking then-illegal marijuana in high school. He called this poor decision “youthful indiscretions.” Smart move. Who doesn’t have a few of these?

Our current culture’s social media-empowered drive for purity is highly arbitrary and wholly without mercy, which is to say it has nothing in common with “religion that is pure and undefiled.”

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at    

Celebrities, politicians, and media use euphemisms as handy deflections to questions they don’t want to answer or don’t know how to answer or don’t want to answer in historically understood moral categories. These euphemisms pass for excuses or even erudition, but they don’t really offer anything substantive and can be misleading or downright wrong.

Consider these:

  • I was lucky.

This comment is regularly made by entertainment stars on late night TV talk shows or by sports figures when they are asked about their success. In an effort to sound, or maybe to give them the benefit of the doubt to actually be, humble, the accomplished star does not say, I am great (unless they are Muhammad Ali); I am enormously talented; I worked hard and by hook and crook clawed my way to the top; I am blessed – especially not this one because this implies there is a God who distributes talent and grace and admitting this in public media isn’t politically correct. 

Problem is, taken at face value, this means that the star is saying I did nothing, I have no talent, did not work hard, and am not responsible for anything I’ve accomplished. Pretty bleak view of themselves, humanity, and existence. It’s all dumb, blind fate.

  • I just want her/him to be happy. 

This comment usually comes when a former spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend has left the person behind. Or it comes when parents hear of their son or daughter’s decision to pursue some odd sexual expression. 

Problem is, does the person’s happiness trump all other considerations?

  • I’m not really religious but I’m a very spiritual person. 

The celebrity making this statement may be honest or may just be dodging the deeper meaning of a question, but either way, the idea is that it’s not really socially kosher anymore to be overtly religious, but it’s apparently OK to be “spiritual.”

Problem is, spiritual can mean anything and nothing.

  • He’s/She’s dealing with his/her demons. 

This is a frequent media comment when some celebrity or politician has gone off the deep end but the media doesn’t want or know how to talk about the person’s choices in moral terms. Certainly, sin is not in the mix, so a reference is made to demons.

Problem is, demons can mean anything and in particular can mean that whatever is going awry in the person’s life, it’s not her or his fault. It’s the demons. So, this is a great way to duck accountability and blame something, anything but one’s own moral choices.

  • Mistakes were made. 

This is the time-honored non-apology-apology. It’s a way of saying something so it sounds like you took responsibility but in actuality you did not take responsibility. Corporate CEOs say this when their company is struggling with a bad product; celebrities and especially politicians say this when they want to sort-of-own-but-not-own bad press. 

Problem is, who made the mistakes? The person saying this rarely says I made mistakes. And if what happened was actually a mistake, then it perhaps was without intent or culpability, so you blame frail humanity. This may be accurate. Humans are frail and we make mistakes. But usually, this comment isn’t referencing actual mistakes. It is referencing premeditated choices. Someone acted and knew what and why they were doing what they were doing. This is not a mistake. It is willful forethought with intent.

  • Just have faith.

This comment is a favorite of celebrities on late night TV.  It’s an all-purpose way of providing some kind of optimism and sometimes the full phrase is “Just have faith in yourself.”

Problem is, faith in what? Faith is as good as what it trusts. Faith in yourself may be good pop-psychology and perhaps helpful self-confidence, but as a religious or moral philosophy capable of dealing with life’s greatest challenges, it’s a non-starter.

  • I have to follow my heart.

This celebrity comment is sometimes presented as “You can’t help who you love,” which usually references some sexually progressive idea, i.e., I am pansexual, or I cheated on my wife because, well, I had to.

Problem is, once again, this comment seeks to side-step individual responsibility because it is saying that somehow the person is doing what they are doing and can’t help doing so.

Euphemisms may not all be bad or wrong. Saying someone “passed away” rather than he or she “died” is often used to soften the sad news. But euphemisms that obscure and deflect accountability ultimately do not serve the speaker well, let alone anyone else.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at    

I've met a few people in my life who've claimed, cluelessly I think, that like Popeye, "I yam what I yam." Sounds cool, but it's baloney, especially if it's a masquerade for faults that could be addressed. No one is changeless but God, who by the way doesn't need to change. But we, human beings, are a work-in-progress. We often need to change, to grow, to become, and the good news is: we can.

Here's more on the issue:

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Betrayal is something that's part of life for some people in a world gone awry. For others, betrayal is not so common, but it can rear its ugly head.

I think I've experienced betrayal, albeit in the scheme of things not nearly as threateningly or severely as others. But at whatever level of intensity, betrayal is usually shocking. We don't expect it, especially from people close to us, and it hurts or angers or embitters.

So how should we respond if we feel betrayed? And how do we avoid betraying others? Here's my perspective:

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno died at 85 years of age, January 22, 2012. Despite his long and enormously successful life his demise leaves us with a sense of something unfinished.

After 46 seasons as head coach at one university and 409 NCAA Division I football victories, the most on record, you wouldn’t think people would think “What if?” But they do.

Paterno’s last season in fall 2011 was marred by horrible allegations of sexual abuse against boys perpetrated over several years by former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. Paterno was accused of acting legally but minimally (after he’d heard about the allegation from an assistant coach who says he witnessed an incident of Sandusky’s abuse of a 10 year old boy in a PSU football locker room shower). Paterno is accused of not doing enough morally and of being ultimately responsible. So November 9, 2011, Paterno was summarily fired as head football coach.

No matter how you slice this story it is sad, egregiously so. It is heart wrenching for the number of youthful victims of perverted sex. It is sad for their families then and now. It’s sad for a university that, though clearly culpable through the inactions and misdirection of its administrators—or perhaps also for allowing a culture of invincibility to develop around a sport—is still largely peopled by individuals whose interest is in learning and in the other good things that come from a school with this level of quality. There’s more than enough blame and collateral damage to go around.

It’s sad for Joe Paterno and his family. Sure, there are those who say they don’t care, that Paterno deserves all he got and more, and that nothing compares to the hurts of the real victims. Who can disagree at least with the last point?

But if Paterno, based on what we know now, is responsible for leadership. “The buck stops here,” Harry Truman said, than how does this play out? Do we dismiss as meaningless Paterno’s life of consistent integrity and investment in young men? If Paterno were a participant in the abuse, I’d say “Yes.” But given that he was not, that he reported what he’d heard to his superiors, and that he trusted them to do their jobs, I’d say “No.” It’s not justifiable to denigrate Paterno or his accomplishments beyond the right/wrong of his sins of omission in this case.

I’m not saying this because I’m a football fan or a Paterno fan, per se. I’m saying this because I think accountability and certainly retribution should fit the indiscretion or failure. Paterno failed for not getting it, for not going ballistic on Sandusky or PSU administrators, for not calling the police.

But he did not, as far as we know at this time, commit a crime, hurt children, or act dishonorably, even when the PSU Board made Paterno the scapegoat and gutlessly and tactlessly fired him by phone.

I am glad the A.D., a V.P., and the President were all fired. They deserved it because they did not act on information given to them. They may have covered up. Paterno did neither. And I’d say that if the buck stops at the top, some of the Board leadership should also go. They handled the crisis poorly at best.

So for all Paterno’s legitimate football achievements, for all his admirable coaching impact upon a long list of known and little known people, for all that’s amazing and good in his story, his death leaves business unfinished. He departs with questions hovering in the air. He leaves us wondering what he would have said and what he yet could have contributed to the trial that is to come for Jerry Sandusky.

Paterno goes to his reward with us wishing he’d been able to stay around a little longer and help us make sense of a tragedy. It’s not about his legacy, as he would have said, but about finding truth and justice that can begin to make us whole again.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

It won't be cyborgs or some other-worldly yet-unknown entity that'll overcome us someday. It'll be our "Stuff." It's all the, well, stuff, that we keep, save, forget about, and allow to have birthdays in our over-"stuffed" closets, attics, basements, garages, and temporary storage units out by the interstate.

Comedian George Carlin has gone to his reward, but he's well-remembered for an ingenious riff on "Stuff." Thing is, though, he never looked at stuff other than as things we own that soon own us.

But for some of us who are really "stuffed," holding onto things far past their usefulness is a matter of our worldview. It gets back to what we think about life, things, security, and wellbeing. "Stuff," after all, is a philosophic matter.

Here are a few more thoughts about "Stuff" and what to do with it.


Stuff-overload is something I've called being "suffocated." It's an avoidable malady.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at