I’ve been hearing the term a lot lately and the amount of focus on it I find to be a bit more than disturbing. Legislation being lobbied and passed, the media blitz cramming it down your throat to “stop bullying“, cyber or otherwise, and celebrity endorsed charity events to promote awareness and bolster support for this escalating disease that is “BULLYING”. There’s even a .gov website dedicated to stamping out this all-to-important subject. Really? Is this what people need to focus on? Bullies have been around since the dawn of man and probably will continue to be here long after Lady Ga Ga’s celebrity status has faded into oblivion.
Bullies actually serve a vital role in one’s development into adulthood. They teach us to conquer our fear and not be afraid of who we are. They force us to face the terror head on which instils self confidence. But mostly they help toughen us up for the real hardships that come later in life, much like the hazing you get when pledging a fraternity or Army basic training. Once you survive the ordeal and meet the challenge, you feel like you can do anything and take on the world. What would our soldiers be like if they could say, “The Drill Sergeant’s bullying me and he should be punished”? We’d have an Army of wimps instead an Army of One. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone their behavior, they should be reviled for their actions–and yet they’re still apart of life.
As I’m writing this, I’ve heard 3 different service announcements essentially saying “stop bullying”. The various scenarios they play out sound much more like adolescent teasing then actual bullying. A bully used to be the big dumb kid that was held back a few times and physically picked on his smaller peers and stole their lunch money. Now if you call some kid a bugger-face you’re hauled off to the principal’s office and they call your parents in to address the situation.
Thinning the herd.
Over a hundred years ago wolves were pretty much wiped out in America. The media of the day pushed the idea to the masses that this menace had to be eradicated. What was the end result? The herds (the society as a whole) of large mammals began to die off because nothing was picking off the weak. Watch a nature channel sometime, does a lone wolf ever antagonize an animal that stands its ground? No! It’s off chasing the one running away. It pursues that which flees. I know this is an extreme analogy, but you have to see my point. Bullies go after the weak and timid, not the strong-willed and confident. Plus, they’re kind of lazy. If it’s to much trouble to shake you down, they’ll go after the kid that automatically hands over the lunch money.
Let me be clear that I’m not referring to a larger kid or group of kids beating down a smaller one—that is assault. I’m referring to what the media of late is defining as “bullying”.
CYBER Bullying: WTF???
I don’t get this at all. If someone is harassing you online…block them. On Facebook….un-friend them. Saying mean things about you in a chat room….ignore them. Kids that pick on others are always pandering to an audience to hide some kind of shortcoming that they themselves have. If some kid is targeting you for obvious reasons (i.e. You’ve got a big nose, you’re ugly, you’re clothes are outdated, etc…) then they’re probably lashing out because they’re being molested by their uncle, or their father’s an abusive alcoholic, or they still wet the bed etc…. The person giving you the most amount of crap probably deserves your pity more than your fear, anger, or grief.
Lady GaGa is leading the charge to eradicate bullying. Her poster child was this kid that killed himself after some cyber hazing for a video HE released on the web in which he professed to being gay. Lady GaGa and the dead child’s parents are blaming the kids doing the online teasing and tried to have charges filed against them. Now they are even trying to institute a law akin to the “hate crime laws“. No one thought to blame the parents for not noticing that their child was depressed, having issues, or locking himself in his room for hours on end. Here’s a thought…blame the kid. The parents can’t blame themselves so they have to blame the internet, the kids teasing their precious child, Ozzy Osbourne, or the evil and maniacal wolf…I mean the BULLY. I’d bet this kid killed himself because he knew his religious, fanatical parents wouldn’t accept his homosexuality—not because of the online teasing. Teenagers are often depressed and suicidal, for any number of reasons. The ones that survive this difficult time go on to be healthier and more productive members of the societal herd. Those that don’t: The herd has been thinned—Gangnam–Darwin style.
Watch an old re-run of Wally and the Beave or the Brady Bunch that pertains to the school bully. They always end up with father and son in the garage with boxing gloves on going over self-defense moves. It looks ridiculous, but when you think about it, it helps. The child turns to his parents for help, discusses his problem, and is heard. The actual defensive advise is worthless and the kid will probably get his ass kicked but he’s no longer living in fear and can stand up to his bully. He just stood in front of his father (an authoritative male of larger stature) toe-to-toe, had some positive male bonding, and now has more confidence. This is the message that we’re missing today. Parents actually interacting with their children. Now instead of telling them to stand up for themselves, they tell their kid to narc-out the bully—tell a teacher, call a cop; i.e. get someone else to fight your battles for you. Does anyone not remember the “code of the playground” or “snitches get stitches?”
I watched the cult flick “3 O’clock High” again the other day. What an absolute spot-on representation for everything I’ve been saying. Jerry, a wimpy, nerdy, goodie-two-shoes, finds himself at odds with Buddy the school bad-ass and must face him after school in a parking lot brawl. As the end of the school day looms on, you see his fear lead to panic and then fester into desperation. Jerry tries everything to get out of it. He begs, pleads, borrows, steals, pulls the fire alarm, tries hiring a bigger thug, and even tries paying Buddy off—all to no avail. Basically, what the movie is saying is this: When dealing with life’s biggest problems you can’t buy your way out, get someone else to do it for you, steal, hide, lie, or cheat your way out of it. You have to stand up to it, meet it head on, and simply try your best. If you don’t, you’ll never have any self-respect or gain the respect of others. I recommend this movie to everyone—-starting with Lady GaGa.
In the immortal words of Johnny Witherspoon, the father from the movie Friday: “That’s the problem with you kids today. You’re to afraid to take an ass-whoop’in; so quick to pick up a gun. All you needed in my day was these (his fists). You win some, you lose some…..but you live, you live son.”