Charlie, a member of my immediate family, is a 21 year old student at a college in Boston. He is relentlessly nice and upstanding, known to every family member for his decency and disposition.

Which made his response to my question about deflate-gate – about the under-inflation of footballs used by the Patriots in Sunday’s victory over the Colts – the more surprising. To my query about who was responsible for the scandal, he replied, “I think it’s the most boring story and I couldn’t care less.”

What?! Are twenty-somethings so inured to cheating in professional sports – so jaded about corruption in America – that nothing has the power any longer to shock them? If Charlie is any indication, the answer is yes.

I didn’t ask Charlie to comment on the news that the feds had just charged New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver with abusing his office by taking millions in payoffs. Just as well. For though Silver is being accused of using his position over a period of many years to “obtain millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks,” the likelihood that Charlie would be exercised by the revelation is nil.

Pats quarterback Tom Brady is strong and large and handsome. Silver appears weak and small and, well, not so handsome. They are, to put it politely, radically different physically. But otherwise they are not radically different.  Both are clever and gifted and have been stunningly successful. But… both seem intent on winning at all costs. Both seem as attracted to power as fairness. And both seem emblematic of an America in which greed for money and power are pervasive.

I suppose this accounts for Charlie’s response. But the fact that deflate-gate bores him, and that he couldn’t care less that one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of American football is suspected by many of cheating, is a downer. It’s a melancholy commentary on the temper of the times.


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