I was the shortest child in every grade, cursed with crooked teeth, thick glasses, and a permanent frown. Yet despite (or because of) my “Wednesday Addams” mien, I was never bullied.
Except for once. My first week of high school, some older girls stomped around the cafeteria at lunchtime, picking out Grade Niners for mild hazing.
Three approached me. Their leader proffered an egg, trembling on a tablespoon.
“Walk this from here to there,” she told me, nodding toward the far wall.
I swatted the props out of her hand. The egg smacked on the floor.
“Clean that up,” I snapped flatly.
No one bothered me again for four years.
So all that, and the fact that I don’t have children, means the current moral panic over bullying leaves me cold and confused.
If you’ve wondered how bullying suddenly became “the new black,” this latest “epidemic” was brought about by our old friend, the miracle of “progressive” arithmetic.
Casting about for a new cause to keep their comrades ungainfully employed, the West’s “educators,” bureaucrats, professional homosexuals, craven politicians, and, presumably, colored-ribbon manufacturers latched onto some careerist academic’s table magic.
Mark Taylor explains, pointing to the work of one Valerie Besag, author of the 1989 book Bullies and Victims in Schools:
From having originally set out the term as based on adult definitions of children’s behaviour, Besag (being exploratory) was necessarily open to wider applications. Perhaps a bully could also be a victim—and vice versa? Thus, she identified—in fact, conflated—a number of different types of bullies and victims: colluding victims; false victims; bully-victims; anxious bullies and racial bullies.…
This widening of the approach to bullying has now led to a complete methodological inversion. Recent approaches to bullying have understandably (based on highly ‘ethical’ anonymous reporting) ‘discovered’ a hidden bullying problem, and policymakers have responded. Some school policies now define bullying in the widest possible terms.
Decades ago, radical feminists broadened the definition of “rape,” fiddled with statistics, occasionally just made stuff up, and successfully invented the still-lucrative Harassment-Abuse Complex. The newly spawned bullying industry followed that blueprint.
It helps that the idea of the “bully-as-lonely-misunderstood-victim” (who is just a hug away from redemption) is already a familiar pop-culture trope. The next task is to mesmerize timid, conformist parents with statistical shell games and “studies” to give them a new cause to siphon off their abundant free-floating guilt.
Bullying lacks the medical pedigree of those other fads. It lost momentum when it turned out the Columbine killers hadn’t been abused by their peers—quite the opposite.
However, anti-bullying regained traction as a cause when it added that all-purpose magic ingredient—teh gay!—which renders it immune to skepticism. Question the “fact” that bullied gay teens are dropping (or hanging) like flies and you’re an ignorant, homophobic hater!
Even liberals are starting to notice:
[Gay sex columnist Dan] Savage—whom I respect tremendously—played a tape of Michele [Bachmann’s] husband’s speaking voice. Bachmann has a tiny bit of a lisp—though it’s barely perceptible—and he slurs his words slightly. To Savage’s ears, it was a gay accent. Savage played the tape over and over, and reprised it several times throughout the podcast. He even did his own Bachmann impression, exaggerating the lisp and camping it up.
In other words, the man who launched the “It Gets Better Project,” an effort to stop the bullying of gay teens, was acting like a big bully
Even if the “bullying industry” wasn’t part of the insidious insinuation of gayness into our schools, it’s still another doomed, road-to-hell utopian scheme to reengineer human nature, and as such must be defied.
I’d go further: Bullying isn’t all bad.
For every kid who’s allegedly bullied to death, how many not only survive but thrive, driven by an admittedly toxic urge for revenge?
Take the gangly Jewish kid who got beaten up when he lived in an all-black neighborhood (and later, an all-white one) and grew up to be Howard Stern, the multi-millionaire with the hot blonde wife and army of rabid fans. I can’t picture him ending up as anything more than a particularly amusing, eccentric taxi dispatcher without being literally pushed.
A pal in the T-shirt business sent me a link to someone else’s anti-bullying design. Its crude, old-fashioned message: If he hits you, hit him back. Alas, kids who do that today get suspended from school.
My friend added:
Although of course I don’t condone bullying, the anti-bullying movement is annoying enough to make me consider doing an (ironic) pro-bullying shirt. If only as a necessary antidote to the Toronto school that banned all balls harder than a Nerf ball in the schoolyard.
In a pansified environment like that, I welcome ALL displays of adrenaline/testosterone/life-force/pulse/98.6F body temperature/etc.
Like this one:
A teacher’s decision to promote homosexuality in class rather than teach the approved economics curriculum—and the school district’s endorsement of that—soon will be hitting the court docket, as a complaint has been filed by a student subjected to the instructor’s ‘bullying.’
When “zero tolerance” is the closest thing to math kids are taught, the law of unintended consequences inevitably, shall we say, kicks in.
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