Tag Archives: bullying

No Meanies Allowed!

There are bad people in this world.

Really bad.

Then there are people like this, who are just demented and cruel, who enjoy inflicting emotional pain but would never have the balls to get physical about it.

Long story short?

“How it started depends on who you ask.  It escalated into frequent calls to police and personal protection orders against the Petkovs.

Besides posting disturbing photos on Facebook, the Petkov’s painted their truck with tombstones and placed a coffin in the back of the truck.  The truck was parked in front of the Rose family home.  The Petkov’s claim the truck is a decoration for Halloween.”

(From the Ron Savage  MyFoxNewsDetroit.com report that originally broke this story wide open.)

The Petkovs are the “nasty” neighbours. The Rose family includes 7-year-old Kathleen Edward, dying of Huntington Disease, daughter to the now-dead-from-Huntington’s Laura Edward (passed at age 24), and grand-daughter to Rebecca Rose, the owner of the home in question.

Now the Petkovs apologize. Sure, now. I don’t care how it started, there’s no justification for doing that to a dying seven-year-old.

That’s nature for you.

There are people like this out there. That’s reality. In the wild, mothers sometimes eat their young. It happens: Cruelty.

But it’s not the only thing that happens.

There’s more people out there who are sickened by this behaviour than those committing it, and it’s up to you to decide which group it is that gets your attention.

For every news story like this (and it IS “news” because it’s not typical, doesn’t happen often) there are dozens of stories of small but amazing acts of kindnesses that are being randomly committed upon every landscape on earth.

We are, in general, good people. We do, on average, help when help is needed. And, because we do, it’s technically not “news” often.

Sure, we fall apathetic and get distracted in our lives, but we usually jump up when the times require us to do so.

The reality out there is, violent crime is at its lowest levels in anyone’s memories.

Personal crime seems to occur less frequently, too.

Volunteerism is escalating.

Awareness on all sorts of issues has grown astronomically.

You see what you choose to see.

You’re surrounded by what you want to be surrounded by.

When you hear about stories like this, try to remember also that there are people who will go to amazing lengths to help strangers.

Every day, little kindnesses unfold, everywhere — not just the big stories, lots of little stories.

If you think the world is worse off, then what are you doing about it?

Just complaining? Feeling depressed? Giving in to your feelings?

Shut off the news. That’s your first problem. Read the news; don’t watch it.

Then, do something. Anything.

Buy someone on the street a lunch.* Every now and then I’ve got $5 I feel like spending on someone who looks legitimately hungry, and it’s the best money I spend all day when they appreciate it and genuinely smile.

But it doesn’t make the news.

When I make small talk on transit with what seems a lonely old person, their day brightens, they smile. That doesn’t make the news. When I see a parking enforcement officer down the block and some rundown car with an expired meter and I pop a quarter in to help a seemingly unwealthy person avoid a ticket, that, too, does not make the news.

They’re little things. It doesn’t take a lot to be kind in small ways.

Brightening another person’s day can often lift YOUR mood too.

There will always be people who don’t appreciate it. Sometimes the bought lunch gets scoffed at. You can’t SEE a meth or crack addiction right off, so you never know. Maybe the old person I get talking to is totally toxic and alone for good reason. It happens.

But when it works outweighs the fails.

It keeps me believing in us.

It keeps me respecting myself.

It keeps my focus on who we can be, not who some of us have devolved into.

And that’s how I prefer to think, the way I prefer to see us.

When it comes to how we are as a society, perspective is everything. Our history hasn’t been written yet, and you are not inconsequential in how it will unfold.

Good/Bad, you see what you want to see. Be the change you want. Live the cliche.

At times like these, the saying “pick your poison” has more relevance than ever. The happy “We Can Do It” juice, or are you more a “Life Sucks and Everyone’s Mean” on-the-rocks kinda person?

Choose. Then live it.

*Get high-calorie stuff.
Homeless folk generally don't have "vegan" tendancies, FYI.
Just sayin'.

The Dark Lord versus Perez Hilton: Bullying

I never thought I’d type these words:

I’m with Lord Voldemort.

But there you have it.

On Twitter, I luckily caught the retweet of this pretty perfect comment of @Lord_Voldemort7’s tirade against the hypocrisy of PEREZ HILTON having the fucking audacity to lead a campaign against bullying, despite it being started by the well-intentioned Dan Savage.

I’ll let the Dark Lord have the floor:

Perez’ website is designed to ridicule & mock others. Whether it be a a smarmy comment, unoriginal nickname (kiki drunkst, Mischa Fartone, Slutty Cyrus etc) or a photoshopped picture with drool added; his posts garner attention through bullying. Currently Perez has made anti-bullying his pet project. He has gathered videos from celebrities & reiterated over & over the importance of putting an end to the very ridicule & comments that have made him “famous”. Additionally, celebrities have responded to his requests & made their own videos (many of them the celebrities that he mocks on a daily basis). Whether these videos are genuinely because the care about the cause or were created to gain favor with Perez is up to individual discretion. One thing is certain, creating these videos is simply the victims aiding the bully that terrorizes them. It’s Pettigrew all over again. (See what I did there? With the reference to the wizarding world? Yeah.)

In spite of my efforts for world domination, there still remains freedom of speech. He is entitled to say whatever he wants. However, to turn around & chastise others for writing “belittling, hateful comments” while calling teen celebrities promiscuous & other celebrities ugly or fat makes him a hypocrite.

I got chills when I read his rant, because this is how I’ve felt about the celebrity gossip world for years. I’ve hated it, I’ve ranted against it, and I love to see the sentiment shared by people who nail it to the wall.

The Dark Lord and I, in short, concur.

I don’t DO celebrity gossip. I don’t respect it, I don’t think it’s funny, and I don’t believe it’s a past-time. I think it’s an example of everything that’s wrong with today’s society.

I think anyone who’s ever been insulted, mocked, bullied, and hurt by others who enjoys spitefully tearing down public figures, yet cries out about the injustices they’ve supposedly suffered is a big fat h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e.

Making a passing comment is one thing, but making a career out of finding things to spite in other people is something I will never understand.

Living in that headspace? Daily? How can you hold such contempt for people? I don’t get it. I need to hope and believe that we’re better than that as a society.

Everybody hurts. Everybody gets betrayed. Everyone’s all alone in their head.

When it comes to celebrity, I don’t believe that getting famous suddenly makes you impervious to pain. I think it makes you a target.

But, hey, in today’s society, everyone’s spiteful of success. We celebrate it, then we throw darts at it.

The only thing more hypocritical than writing those gossip columns is when one lives and dies by reading their favourite trash-slinging daily, especially devouring the juicy bits, then goes about life pretending they’re Little Good Citizen. Seriously?

I don’t really get this whole “It Gets Better” crap coming from Perez Hilton’s site. I don’t. The Dark Lord points out an absolutely fantastic ethical paradox.

Somehow, it’s okay to be the completely cunty gay man who slams the shit out of everyone’s self-esteem, using “gay” epithets as insults, but if someone’s cruel to a gay teen, that’s the world’s most horrible crime?

I HAVE AN IDEA. LET’S NOT BE CRUEL TO ANYONE.

Bullying sucks. Belittling sucks. Mockery sucks. Laughing and pointing? Really sucks.

I always reserve the right to comment on clothing that’s way over the top. And, you know, toupees and comb-overs. A lot of other stuff, though, really crosses a lot of lines.

It’s really pretty simple, you know.

Would it hurt YOU if someone said that about you?

Then shut your fucking mouth.

My interpretation of the “Golden Rule”. Enjoy. Apply liberally.

I’ve been mocked, bullied, harassed, insulted, and betrayed. Not just 20 years ago, but even weeks ago. I live on Planet Earth in the Internet Age. Of course it’s happened recently.

I will not knowingly do it to others. I will not support websites who do it. I will never behave that way on my blog.

If you don’t see the hypocrisy in reading gossip sites and you’ve ever been hurt by a thing people have said about you, perhaps you need to rethink your behaviour.

You need to rethink your integrity and your ethics.

Really.

Hypocrisy isn’t less offensive just because you’re pleasant to talk to at cocktail parties.

But, hey, it gets better. Chin up.

My thoughts about “It Gets Better”?

I love Dan Savage and I know his heart is in the right place, and I know Dan speaks out often about all kinds of injustices — he’s awesome.

However: the Bullying Problem is bigger than dressing it in platitudes. Instead of saying “It gets better, chin up!” I’d rather see all these stars use their power and high-profile to get some motherfucking laws up in here.

Bullying needs to stop, and it needs to stop in administrative levels at schools and workplaces.

Platitudes won’t do a thing long-term, but I really hope the campaign does change some thinking on the ground right NOW. Still.

Less ain’t more here — time to petition congress, parliament, whoever the hell makes laws in YOUR world.

Gay teens have longattempted suicide, but now it’s apparently en vogue to make videos about it.

Laws, people.

LAWS will save lives. And education. Videos will just make people warm and fuzzy for three minutes. Get real. Make shit happen. Change this. Go to lawmakers. Be adamant.

For those so motivated, check the bottom of this page for a list for how to accomplish getting laws passed against bullying.

Office Life: Thar Be Meanies

In Virginia, there’s an esteemed literary magazine called The Virginia Quarterly Review.

There, an editor has committed suicide, and the Review has been shut down amid a new investigation that the suicide was as a result of workplace bullying and harassment.

I found the story fascinating on a couple levels.

Photographer unknown.

One, there’s a strange perception, I think, that these sort of things don’t happen in intellectual/cultural offices, and I think this sheds light on the reality that people can be mean fuckers whatever their aesthetic tastes.

Two, it continues the realization I’ve had since reading William Styron’s Darkness Visible years ago — that is, to be literary is to be predisposed to depression and potentially suicidal tendencies. The “Overthinky Syndrome” comes on something fierce when one is closely aligned with literary pursuits.

Three, I don’t think we really give enough weight to mental health on the job when it comes to the people around us.

A few years ago, as I was descending into the darkest depression I’ve ever had, I was working at an office where I felt put down and distrusted daily. It was a very difficult environment to work in, but I had no choice, I’d run out of employment insurance and had to take something.

Given my declining emotional state, I didn’t really trust my feelings — maybe I just felt like shit. Maybe I was misreading the things said and done around the office.

One day I was sorting through papers and found legal documents relating to a case involving one of the company’s principals and the province’s labour board. Apparently there were allegations of psychological abuse by the company’s principal, made by former employees.

I suddenly felt a little vindicated. It wasn’t just me, this person actually was kind of mean and cruel.

A year later, I was working for another employer who would mentally beat me down now and then because I wasn’t sacrificing myself for the job like she was. (I don’t own the company, woman, and I was told it was 9-5, not 55 hours a week, and I was getting paid for 40. Liars.)

I know what it’s like to have the opposite kind of bosses, too.

I’ve had a lot of employers who’ve been people who stopped me from doing negative self-talk, who told me how valued I was. I’ve had a lot of luck working for good people.

There’s a world of difference between going to that kind of job, where a bad mood is just part of life’s occasional fluctuations, versus one of the jobs where I’d be lucky to make it through a day without some mocking, blaming, or guilting kind of assault happening, where a bad mood would spiral into dread about returning the next day, and more dread about enduring five full days in a row with no escape.

One of the reasons I want to be self-employed is, the good people I was working for are in a precarious part of the film industry and job security is a thing of the past. I’m pushing 40. I could’ve handled that uncertainty in my 20s, but I can’t anymore.  I can rely on myself, though.

Another is, my last experience looking for work landed me in both of the above jobs, and I do blame both experiences in part for the depression I then spiralled into.

I also credit them with making me ANGRY enough to change my life.

But some people don’t get to reach angry.

Some people get beaten down day after day, told they’re stupid, useless, and lucky to even be employed. Management puts hurdles before them they’ll never overcome, and the economy ensures more hurdles.

The hopelessness of being stuck in jobs like that, in the face of an economic climate like we have now, it makes sense it’d be driving people to suicide.

And our dearly departed editor? Well, there’s not really a growing market for literary review editors, is there? If he felt trapped, if the university was looking the other way on complaints just to avoid controversy, if daily badgering and emotional assaults were happening, if he was your typical overly-analytical literary genius, then… tragically, it does compute.

Workplace bullying is as bad as childhood bullying, if not worse.

At least when you’re a kid there are potential adult figures who might ride in and save you from bullies.

When you’re an adult, there’s a veneer of judgment that comes with admitting you’re being bullied at work. Most reactions are along the lines of “Suck it up” or “It’s just a job” or “Hey, just three days till Friday! Chin up!”

When a job becomes your jail, you try shrugging it off. One can logically think “Oh, it’s just a paycheque”, but there’s a toxicity that comes from being exposed to these people on a day-in, day-out basis.

Like a river can passively wear down even the strongest of rocky terrain, just running over the same ground day after day, so too can a person’s soul and spirit erode.

When I quit the job that had me working daily for six months just 10 feet away from the most toxic, negative, and belittling woman I’ve ever known, it took me more than a year to start finding the positivity and hope in myself again — the things I said were just nothing like the person I used to be. That negativity changed who I was.

And I’m a pretty strong chick.

That was six months, just six months of being broken down by intimidation and judgment and belittling.

What about others? How far does that daily treatment go, how much worse does it become over time? How deeply does it seep?

This kind of treatment isn’t business as usual.

It shouldn’t be overlooked.

Employees should have greater rights about how they can expect to be treated, especially if they’re performing good work and delivering results. (Some useless fuckheads who don’t care about their jobs or quality could use a little yelling at, but all within reason.)

If this was just another unhappy Wal-Mart or McDonald’s or city-sanitation type job, the story would’ve been dismissed. “I’d commit suicide if I had that job, too — har-har.”

But all this guy had to do was read and write for a living. These were literary people, they had soul and the ability to communicate well.

And yet, here we are.

Cruelty and harassment knows no boundaries. There is no class distinction. Intelligence isn’t immune to meanness.

We’re supposed to be a kinder, gentler society. Maybe now we can stop with the lip-service and get on with the reality of being better than our predecessors.