The Bullying Culture
I wasn’t going to talk about bullying, but with all the kafuffle about it going on, I guess I’d better weigh in. Just because it’s now happening in cyberspace doesn’t mean it’s a new phenomenon for heaven’s sake. I was just reading a poem of Robert Service that was written about a hundred years ago addressing the remedy for this very thing. In fact, if you think about it, it’s been going on forever if you look at examples of Hannibal, Genghis Kahn, Alexander the Great and so on. It’s a natural phenomenon. That’s how you get what you want without getting into a physical confrontation.
What we have to get through our heads is the fact that it exists – period. The question is why do these children feel so alone and battered? Don’t they have a family? Don’t they have parents who will teach them and encourage them and comfort them? The answer to that is a pretty well self-evident NO.
Ya, ya, I know. The old guy is bellyachin’ about families again. You darn right I am! Dad is staying with his girlfriend, mom is shacked up with her boyfriend, and the kids are in day care under the supervision of some twenty-year-old worker who hasn’t got a clue about life skills. What sort of stupid family is that? Whatever family values mom and dad might have had at one time have been thrown out the window in exchange with self-gratification. I hear it all the time; ‘Oh the children will adapt.’ Yeah, right. So the children, fragile and unprepared for the pain that is coming their way decide life ain’t worth it and so they off themselves. Who’s to say they’re not better off?
In the meantime parents cry for their dead child who hasn’t had a chance at life yet, they say while the community wrings its hands at such a tragedy, and the do-gooders form all sorts of support groups to deal with the calamity. Well. Where the hell were they when the kid was born. Where the hell were they when the child was growing?
You know, families are not a new phenomenon either. They’ve been around for a long time. It’s just recently that we’ve decided to mess with them – to restructure them and to slough off the responsibilities associated with them. We want all the perks that come with raising a family; i.e. bragging rights, the possibility of grand children, child welfare allowance. But the responsibility of teaching and instilling confidence in the child – well we leave that to someone else; whoever has the expertise in that. That kind of gives us time for our own pursuits.
The child in the meantime comes into this world and looks around at what he or she is in store for. Seeing nothing but nastiness, it says “Who needs this? I’m outa here!” and leaves this miserable world behind. Oh sure, short-term pain, but what is that compared to the long-term pain of parents who are incompetent, or on drugs, or drunk, or just too bloody busy. Think about it. If you’re a little kid all alone seemingly in a world of seven billion nasty people continually putting you down, that’s a pretty scary thought.
We shouldn’t be crying for the child at all. We should instead be mourning the loss of our family values, at our own inadequacy and incompetence. Having done that, we should then get busy and fix it before it is all forgotten and we don’t know how to do it anymore. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.
p.s. As I was finishing this piece I heard some woman on the T.V. saying that we shouldn’t be too quick to criminalize this sort of behavior because children after all don’t realize what sort of hurt they’re causing. They perhaps do this in a joking way and you don’t want to give them a criminal record for that. Oh no? Oh yes! There have to be consequences and severe ones – instantly! I have no patience for these do-gooders who insist on diluting consequences for malicious acts. Perpetrators are perpetrators – not victims. Get your head on straight woman!