30 September, 2011

It's Friday: Let's Piss Off the Anti-Bullying Movement!

Would you believe that the last time we ended a month on a Friday was 30 April, 2010? Or at least that's what the archives tell me. The archives also tell me that, on that day, I pulled a Piss Off and the stat sheet. Couldn't just roll them into one, could I?
Of course, the difference between then and now is that I was on a roll in 2010. I posted 828 times, 2.27 times per day, in 2010. Last October? Yeah, I broke the four barrier with a hundred twenty five posts that month. I posted eight fucking times on the sixth and then I also wrote the second longest post of the year that month.
And now, today, the pressure is on and I have to come up with two posts minimum. Minimum.
So, who or what can I piss off today?
How about the anti-bullying movement?
Yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be on board with it because bullying is wrong and kids' feelings get hurt and I was on board with "It Gets Better" but lately? This Bully thing is way over the fucking top. You know what I saw today? Beth Ditto's encouraging little video to bullied teens. You know what I read yesterday? John Cheese's column on his experiences with bullying.* I can't seem to get away from this shit; every time I turn around there's another bit from some celebrity of varying media dominance from bloggers to movie stars telling kids to "just hold on" and "don't give up" and blah blah blah.
Yeah, I know, not the popular thing to say. But I look at it like this: Where the fuck were your PSAs back in the day when I was getting threatened with fucking gang violence in south east Toledo?
"But, Charlie, YouTube wasn't around in 1995."
No shit, Sherlock. You know how people watched YouTube back in 1995? They picked up the remote and turned on the TV. We called YouTube videos "TV shows" back then. Advertisements? We called those commercials. Technology hasn't changed, just the nomenclature has. So, yeah, celebrities from sixteen years ago? Thanks for dropping the ball.
I'm calling bullshit because bullying isn't some new fad: It was around before you were born and it'll be there after you die. So long as there are distinctions between strength and weakness, good and bad, and advantage and vulnerability, there will always be a power imbalance through a society on various micro levels, those levels pertaining to one's immediate surroundings and those that populate it.
Hmm? A micro society with an imbalance of power. What does that sound like to you?

Pictured: My actual high school.
Making YouTube videos doesn't change a goddamned thing about a state run building a kid has to attend five days a week.
Look, you know what a bullied kid wants? He doesn't want YouTube videos. YouTube videos don't change the fact that he caught himself a nasty shiner earlier that day. YouTube videos don't force that sociopath's parents to find work somewhere else and thus initiate a move. YouTube videos don't change that the kid is actually scared of when the bully does get thrown in juvie because he's scared of getting comfortable with not being taunted, harassed, or beaten up for a week. So, for real, everybody? Can we lay off the fucking YouTube videos?
As a bullied kid myself, I can tell you what a bullied kid wants. He wants his teachers to actually do something about it. He wants his principle to not be scared of being a white principal punishing a black bully (even at twelve, I could tell Mr. Heer was afraid of the bad PR - I just didn't know it was called PR back then). He wants his dad to not yell at him for getting beat up (thanks, Dad, that really helped). He wants the bullies parents to maybe actually get off the couch and do something about their punk kid rather than lay under the blanket and ask, "What do you want me to do about it?" (That one actually happened to; my mother and I went to visit the new bully's parents. They had just moved into Robbie Potts's old house that summer.)
Yes, we want adults to take care of it for us. Every aspect of it. You know why? We're kids: We have no life skills whatsoever. We don't know how to pay a bill. Do we go to the bill store? Where the fuck is that? We've been to the grocery store plenty of times with Mom but we haven't the faintest idea on how to actually go grocery shopping. Here's something, if I'm at an age where I commit an adult crime - say I kill somebody - but people have to debate whether I can be tried as an adult, I'm probably still at an age where people have to step in and take care of shit for me. People, it should be noted, who drive things called cars to places called work.
Parents need to take their kid seriously when their kid complains of harassment. It's not hormones, it's not a phase, it's not being blown out of proportion. Your kid is not being melodramatic when he says he's thinking about committing suicide. So quit blaming it on the fucking music. And sure as shit quit blaming your kid for getting bullied. You think your kid is some sort of masochist? That he wants to get beaten up or threatened? No. Your kid isn't "asking for it" by acting or looking the way he does; if he's asking for anything, it's who he's supposed to be. So how about this, parents? How about, instead of blaming it on the internet (or, worse, waiting for the internet to fix it with a YouTube video) or whatever it is you do nowadays, you take a half day at work - and I don't want to hear jack shit about how you can't afford to take a half day at work when it comes to your child's safety - and you march right into that principal's office and raise ten kinds of hell over what kind of bullshit operation she's running and why none of these fucks pushing your kid around are in juvie? How about that? And how about you make that half day count and make her late for a few bake sale appointments and spend some time impressing upon that old bitch that your taxes pay her salary? What else were you going to do before lunch?
And school faculty? How about you nitwits open your fucking eyes for a change? Yeah, you're tired, I know you're tired. It's really hard reading out of the text book and teaching to test while you wait for your three month vacation to come around. These kids aren't just parts on an assembly line you have to run off before you clock out for the day, each one of them is somebody's kid and the parent is trusting you with their safety while they're under your watch. You know you can basically fill the kid's head with all sorts of mumbo jumbo and the parent will tolerate it a whole lot more than you sending the kid home with a black eye because you turned a blind one.
We're talking about kids, not little adults. They don't know how to do shit. If you're going to bring them into the world, or if you're going to adopt them, or if you teach them, basically, if you have any part in rearing them, you are fucking responsible them. There is no "eventually they have to do this for themselves", it doesn't work like that. They have small brains and not a whole lot stored in them; their learning curve is remarkably stunted. So if your kid is bullied at seven or eight? Chances are he's not going to have a solid defense mechanism until he's sixteen. It'll be avoidance, it'll be humor, it might be that he doesn't keep karate lessons a secret, whatever,** but I'll tell you this much: He's not going to go from a punching bag in the fifth grade to a strong, confident, able young man in the sixth. So buckle up adults, you're going to have to deal with this problem for a long while. And here's the catch: You have to. It doesn't go any deeper than that. You just have to.
Oh, and I almost forgot one group of adults: Parents of bullies? Do us all a favor and just take your kid out back and shoot the little fucker.

* And, actually, media overload on the subject not withstanding, Cheese's column is brutally realistic. As a matter of fact, he is on every subject and I make it a point to not miss his column.
** Likely, it won't be going home to the warm glow of inspirational YouTube videos.

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