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‘Saudis, They’re Just Like You And Me!’ Jay Paterno Pens Bizarre Op-Ed

Imagine this: your average rant to come out of Jay Paterno’s mouth — of course discussing history and honor, a connection to a building on campus his parents funded, and something about not listening to the masses — but it’s all about Saudi Arabia.

If you know what we’re talking about, there’s no need to keep reading. It’s probably best to black it out from your memory.

If you didn’t have the pleasure of starting your week with the utterly perplexing op-ed in Arab News from the former assistant football coach and current Penn State trustee — or as he’s described in the story, “a writer and consultant on politics, leadership, crisis communications, and public relations” (?) — then buckle up for the ride ahead.

He’s not saying who funded this travel, just that he was invited to visit Saudi Arabia. His takeaway was nothing but glowing reviews of a country with a questionable human rights record.

For those unfamiliar with the news organization that published the piece, or how news organizations work in a country lacking any freedom of the press, it’s a mouthpiece run by the Saudi Arabian government, for the Saudi Arabian government.

Paterno writes that Saudi Arabia is a lovely place with some great people and a bright future ahead of it, all complete with a strange tree analogy (Thanks, JFK). We bigoted Americans can’t see that with its mountains and sporting events, “the Kingdom” isn’t an oppressive regime.

Much like in the United States, the kids are the future as well! They want to help build a stronger future for Saudi Arabia from within.

“This desire was particularly strong among many of the women I met. They want to be part of the change they seek in the world, and they want it to begin at home, understanding that it will not all happen today, next week, or even within a few years,” Paterno wrote.

As hard as it is to believe, you could probably understand that women would like to see progression in their country that makes them get permission from their “male guardian” to travel or get a job, but aren’t expecting much “next week or even within a few years” considering the world’s only driving ban against women was just lifted there last year.

Anyway, feel free to give it a read here. Or don’t. I’m still trying to figure whether “Saudi Arabia spokesperson Jay Paterno” is real life or a Simpsons episode.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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