From the Archives of JasonRivera.com comes a social commentary that I felt was appropriate to bring back from the depths. In a society where you hear so much about Anti-Bullying campaigns, do we have it all wrong? Despite the fact "bullying" seems like such a "bad" thing , does the over-importance we place on eliminating it also ruin the natural order? Here's a thought provoking article on the somewhat controversial topic which is free of all these stupid political agendas we keep hearing about.
Why are there so many anti-bullying campaigns out there and no “stand up for yourself” campaigns instead? It’s no secret that I watch wrestling, even though with how disgracefully frowned upon by society that is in this day and age, I probably should be ashamed. Anyway, one thing that is being pitched constantly by the number one company in wrestling, the WWE, in their attempt to promote a positive domestic and family image is that “bullying is wrong.” This campaign by the company has been a focal point complete with the release of an Anti-Bullying film starring WWE’s Randy Orton entitled “That’s What I Am” (review coming… one of these days). Actually it stars Ed Harris and Randy Orton is something like 6th billed in the cast.
But it’s not just WWE that is pushing for all this peace and love hippie crap. Plenty of movies, television shows, media companies, and interest groups are telling the world we need to “stop bullying.” We’re told “bullying” is wrong and that we shouldn’t make fun of anyone. Ever. No matter what. Could you imagine a world we didn’t? I don’t think our podcast would even exist. Could you imagine what would happen if comedians didn’t have people to make fun of? You’d single handedly rob the world of 75% of its jokes as they are usually made at the expense of someone or something.
To these whiny little crybabies who preach about how we should all hold hands and sing kumbaya. I say SCREW THAT. And before you label me a tyrant or an asshole with a heart of stone, you should read this until the end so you can find out why bullying might actually be essential to building the human character.
When I was a kid, I had a speech impediment and used to get made fun of a lot for it. I used to get picked last for sports, pushed around, talked down to and pretty much disrespected by most of my class. One day one of the kids who was my friend decided that he would push me around too so that he could “fit in.” He put his hands on me, so what did I do? I beat his ass. From there I went on an ass-beating rampage through the third grade and anyone who tried to cross the line with me got their ass handed to them on the schoolyard. No one ever bullied me again. And that’s just the way the world is supposed to work. I didn’t need someone to come in and tell kids “stop, you’re being mean.” All I needed was to stand up for myself and not sit back and take the BS I was being handed. It wasn’t a complicated psychological issue. It was just common cause and effect, action and reaction - when you are pushed, you push back and twice as hard. Such is the way of the world.
The simple fact is that the lessons learned through being bullied are two-fold. Those who are the victims of bullying eventually have to learn to fight back, to take a stand for what they believe in, for who they are with no shame and fight back. For the bullies, they eventually learn “open your mouth to the wrong one and you’re going to get your ass beat and humiliated in front of everybody.” So it’s a lesson in strength for one group and a lesson in humility to the other group. In fact one of my favorite recent pieces of media involves a fat kid being bullied by several other kids and then body-slamming one of his tormentors. I bet those little douchebags thought twice about picking on anyone else after that happened.
Another iconic scene is shown below from the movie “A Christmas Story.” That movie is set in the 1950s or so and Ralphie beats up a bully that had been terrorizing everyone, humbling him. It was just the way it worked - eventually people have enough and even those who are weak when under pressure are able to do extraordinary things such as beat up someone twice their size who is trying to push their weight around. This was just how things have been since before any of us were on the earth. It’s a part of life, and it’s stupid to try to change it.
How many people actually walked out a better person for being picked on as a kid? How many times do you watch an episode of some day time talk show and the subject matter is some girl who got picked on in school got sick of it and decided to work at becoming incredible sexy? They may have cried and hurt for a while but eventually they realized “screw it, that’s not happening” and made themselves into a typical Cinderella story.
And suddenly the inconsiderate jerks who picked on them or called them smelly or fat or ugly sees them and their jaw drops. They want them. And the best part about karma being such a bitch? THEY CAN’T HAVE THEM! And that’s just poetic justice at its finest, but the fact is self-improvement happened because that person got sick of being told “hey kid, you smell like a dead animal’s vagina.” If we just stopped being assholes and preached tolerance for kids who smell like they dog crap and musk themselves no one would EVER improve themselves. Everyone would be fine being mediocre because “you’re not supposed to be mean to them.” What would be the motivation to improve? What would be the reason to excel?
One of the biggest reasons that bullying is treated as a big deal now is because of Columbine.
Yes, Columbine was a tragedy. Yes, Columbine was a screwed up, tragic incident. But I don’t know about you but to me it has always been more of a case of parental neglect than a problem caused by bullying. Growing up I didn’t have access to Mommy and Daddy’s gun-rack. I had access to two fists, two elbows, two knees, two feet, and a hard head which could knock another kid’s teeth out if I hit him at the right angle. And maybe there was blood and chipped teeth and skinned knees and bruises but at the end of the day you lived to fight another day. So did that person. And after so much fighting, you’d make enemies out of friends because there was respect. Me and my friends? Beat each other up all the time growing up! Boys will be boys and that’s how it was. We got into fights over everything from our favorite wrestlers losing to another friend’s favorite wrestler, for saying Segal was better than Van Damme, or because we were pissed off we lost to one another in Street Fighter II. It was just how things were, and it was fair, and balanced and taught us how to dust ourselves off and keep going through life.
Believe it or not of all movies, the movie FRIDAY reiterated the point that fighting with the fists is part of life where as shooting people is weak and pathetic - at the end of the film where Ice Cube’s character beats up Zeus in a fist fight when he could have just taken a gun and shot him. Yes, there was a moral to the movie Friday underneath all the comedy and that moral was “don’t shoot anybody.” There was honor in our day and it was for one simple reason: WE DIDN’T SHOOT EACH OTHER BECAUSE OUR PARENTS HAD COMMON SENSE TO LOCK THEIR DEADLY WEAPONS UP OR JUST NOT HAVE THEM. So no, I don’t blame the kids, I blame the parents who wanted to place blame on everything else in the media and weren’t noticing the sudden long trench coats and isolation from everyone else. I blame the parents who don’t keep their firearms locked up away from their mentally ill, overly-medicated stupid kids. I’d actually respect Klebold and Harris if instead of shooting up the entire goddamn school they had gone in there like some '70s action film and just beat the piss out of the entire lunchroom. Maybe they should have paid more attention to the scene where Morpheus teaches Neo karate instead of all the gun scenes. And maybe they would have if someone had done their job right, done some parenting and made sure that legally owned firearms didn’t fall into the hands of some stupid kids that had no business near a firearm at any point in their miserable lives.
I think that as a society we have the message all wrong. It’s not bullying that’s the problem. It’s the fact no one is teaching our kids to fight back when someone treads on them. It’s the fact we’re too busy suspending students for doing so when they do instead of telling the bully “kid, you had that ass-kicking coming and probably for a long time.” It’s that we don’t want to let the computer raise our kids in a fantasy world because we’re “too busy” and then play the “blame game” when something bad happens due to our own negligence and irresponsibility. And it’s the adults being ashamed of their own kid’s short-comings and limitations and wanting to breast-feed kids until they are 10 and not let them learn some of the lessons the previous generations learned growing up on the schoolyards. The bottom line is I fear for the next generations because if we’re going to teach people to be sensitive little pushovers, no one will ever learn how to adapt, improve, change, strive for better, or to stand up after being knocked down because they simply won’t know how to handle it.
Bullies are a necessary evil in life. Because it’s true that what does not kill us makes us stronger. And if we aren’t challenged we won’t get any stronger and this society will become weak and pathetic. In some ways it’s probably already too late.