Wednesday, October 06, 2010

This Just In....

A very important message brought to you by every news agency on the planet known to man and some apes:

Bullying is bad.

It's bad to be a bully AND it's bad if you're being bullied. Really, just bad, all the way 'round.

Thank you for your attention. Because this announcement is "news."


  1. Unfortunately, a goodly portion of the people who need to hear this "news" are the types who only read the sports page. (Spoken as one who was unmercifully hassled by jocks when I was in high school, because I was one of those artsy-fartsy drama and music types, and had looooong hair.)

  2. The thing that is different today are the tools that bullies can use. Back when I was bullied I could get beat up and harrassed and perhaps get a rep as a pussy that could follow me a couple years within a school.

    Today you can Bully someone on a national stage with the internet and do it in such a way that it never goes away even into adulthood.

    It is one thing for kids to talk about the time you got beat up. It is quite another for people to bring the video up on youtube.

    So yes, to the generation of school teachers, parents, and policemen who do not yet really see things in those terms, it is news.

  3. Also, keep in mind this attention to bullying came because a group of gay kids killed themselves. As someone who grew up queer in a small mining town in South Africa and had the %$#! beat out of me on a daily basis, mocked, cajoled mercilessly and humiliated - not only by kids but by teachers also - I can tell you, people need to hear that bullying gay kids is wrong. You might get it, but plenty think its a whole lot of fun and in fact affirming of their own distorted notion of masculinity.

  4. @ Jason: When you were younger, your stage was proportionally smaller relative to the potential impact of bullies. Your shit wasn't plastered across the planet, but neither was your sphere of awareness/influence/interaction.

    Today's kids have a bigger stage, and I contend the dramas that get worked out on it are as devastating now as they were when the stage was smaller. I knew a girl who killed herself over being bullied in high school. I knew a couple people who were emotionally crippled by it, ended up in therapy and on meds and shit.

    I'm feeling old and world weary. This farce about "oh noes, bullies!!!" is just not that impressive to me. Remember the brat pack movies in the 80s? When the bullies wore izods and had pastel sweaters draped around their shoulders with the sleeves crossed or tied in front? Weird science, 16 candles, say anything, pretty in pink, the breakfast club... The message is the same, the scope of the media is proportional, and the impact will be negligible. It's the flavor of the month, competing with breast cancer awareness and the Sanchez-Stewart spat. Did bullying cross your mind at all a month ago? Will it still be important to you a month from now? In a year, if anyone's legally charged and tried for bully-related crimes against the poor kid who killed himself, will it see more than a day's refreshed interest in the press before it fades again? Will it be anything more than, "Bullying is bad"?

    I have low expectations.

  5. "I have low expectations."

    So do I. Bullying causes emotional wounds... deep emotional wounds. Unfortunately, emotional wounds are not seen as are the physical wounds left by physical abuse. This is why the emotional abuse of bullying in any form, be it from the playground bullies who harass those of us who are seen as "different" in some way, those who bully gays, or the emotional abuse of simply living with one who controls and manipulates is not seen as an issue on much of any stage, worldly or otherwise.

    Bullying in all it's forms is still the last frontier of inflicting pain which is allowed because it leaves unseen scars, and anything unseen, anything occulted, is easily ignored.

  6. Bullying wasn't taken seriously when I was a victim of it. I was thrown on the ground and kicked in the back of the head *during class* at one point, I was punched in the crotch on a regular basis on my way to class, and I was assaulted on a regular basis during and after lunch every day. All of this was witnessed by adults who did nothing. Maybe you think it's a farce. I don't.

  7. I don't think bullying is a farce. I think it's current pop-star treatment in the major news media is a farce.

  8. "Bullying is bad" didn't even begin to show up on people's radar until Columbine. Remember Columbine? The story there (talked about early, then pushed to the back burner) was that the shooters were outcasts in that school - assaulted on a fairly regular basis by the jocks, even to the point of having bottles and rocks thrown at them from moving cars. The story became big news because of one nasty fact: These two found a way to get "even." Not a good way, mind you, but they found a way. You see, most of the time, this doesn't happen. Most of the time, the bullied live on in some damaged condition (if they don't find a way to get past it), or even kill themselves. These two found what some might consider a more "rational" solution: Take the bullies out with them. It scared the shit out of a lot of school admins. Even as they set up draconian security measures in the schools (and really, how many places has something like this happened? Over how long a period? Out of how many schools, and how many kids going to them?) they had to keep in mind one set of uncomfortable facts. They knew the response was out of proportion to the frequency of the Columbine-type events, but...
    Everybody runs a school that has bullies. They had to begin programs to rein in this sort of behavior, because if they didn't, they could never guarantee there'd never be another Columbine. Two kids had figured out a response to the bullies, and nobody liked it. However, if those two could figure it out, so could others. Bullying puts a whole lot of people in mortal danger nowadays.


Thanks for your comments, your opinions are valued, even if I disagree with them. Please feel free to criticize my ideas and arguments, question my observations, and push back if you disagree.