Ashton Kutcher, Rick Perry, Brett Ratner, Joe Paterno

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There are lot of adjectives that could be applied to Ashton Kutcher, Gov. Rick Perry and Brett Ratner.

Here's one: Lucky.

As in, they're lucky they're not Joe Paterno.

Kutcher, Perry and Ratner are having bad weeks; Paterno is having something else entirely, something from which his legacy, it seems safe to say, will never recover.


As for the others?

Kutcher's guilty of tweeting without thinking, or, per his account, without reading up on exactly why Paterno, a wins-and-losses college-football king, was fired mid-season by Penn State. The actor didn't mean any harm, and it's doubtful he caused any, either. He'll move on, and so will the Twitterverse.

Perry's guilty of becoming a viral-video joke for his brain freeze at Wednesday's Republican presidential debate. He didn't cause any harm, either—after all, you can't eliminate a federal agency if you can't remember it. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) Ultimately, though, Perry's gaffe is a trivial "gotcha" moment, meaningless, except perhaps to the candidate's own ambitions. He'll move on, too; maybe or maybe not to Washington, D.C., but he'll move on.

MORE: Ashton's tweets will now be monitored

Ratner's shame is more far shameful than Kutcher's and Perry's, but even it doesn't feel like something that will stop the director, especially if, going forward, the never-was Oscar producer says and does the right things. It helps that the Academy Awards moved on lightning fast from Ratner and Ratner's gay slur. It helps more that, in the wake of Ratner's resignation, and Eddie Murphy's expected one after that, most movie fans got what they wanted anyway: Billy Crystal back as host. And certainly Hollywood's penchant for forgiveness, misplaced though it may be in the case of Roman Polanski, works in Ratner's favor, too. 

But what helps most of all, and in the cases of Kutcher and Perry, too, is that in an uncommon week of uncommon scandal, nothing comes close to Paterno's. Except for Penn State's shocking lack of institutional accountability, if not outrage, in regard to unseemly child-abuse allegations against assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.  

And hopefully nothing ever will.

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