Recently the media have drawn a lot of attention to the subject of bullying. It is as though the subject has just been discovered as a new phenomena, previously unrecognized as a problem. Tragic examples are given of the consequences. A level of blame and shame has emerged as though the subject could be dealt with and, with proper action, be dispatched.
I have no idea which planet has been the home of these sudden crusaders for justice. Have they been so comfortable in their own little worlds that they denied there was a problem until they were dragged out to face it?
Bullying has existed in varying degrees in every culture of mankind, as well as everywhere in the animal kingdom. I doubt if there is a single person who has not experienced being bullied at some time in his or her life. Perhaps it was by an older sibling, a classmate, a clique of self-aggrandizing snobs, or even a family adult or a teacher with a sarcastic tongue.
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There may be those among us who have thrived on being the bully and have, therefore, dominated the scene, thereby preventing themselves from being the recipient of the action.
Notable examples in the animal kingdom can be found in flocks of crows or colonies of Madagascar lemurs where the dominant members will designate others in their group as unfit and lead the brethren to attack and kill the victim. Is that not their version of bullying?
When we look and listen to the various examples of entertainment which fill our lives, the bullying of the Three Stooges is merely an antiquated and crude example of the ridicule performed daily in television’s sitcoms. The gentle humor of Mark Twain has been supplanted by vicious personal attacks issued by almost all of today’s comedians.
Even the comics don’t seem to be funny unless someone or something is being bullied. “Baby Blues” has a continuing storyline of harassment initiated by the siblings toward each other with no indications of parental attempts to recognize a problem. Garfield thrives on belittling either Jon or the resident mouse or spider. “Blondie” has Dagwood being bullied by his boss. In “Red and Rover,” the older brother is always being mean. Jeremy in “Zits” bullies his mother. “The Born Loser” personifies what happens when bullies are in a workplace or family relationship. Only “Family Circus” is free of onslaughts.
Yes, bullying is a serious problem which, unfortunately, can never be eradicated. When our humor and entertainment thrive on its existence, we are, all of us, tools of its perpetuation.
We must accept the responsibility for recognizing bullying when it appears, especially in the world of children and young adults. We must not let the bullies rule the scene. We must encourage the victims to stay strong and recognize the bullies for what they are — sad, insecure wannabes who tragically believe they can only feel superior if they can push someone else down.
Sharp is a retired La Loma Junior High School teacher.
Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2012/07/20/2290074/bullyings-nothing-new-but-we-need.html#storylink=cpy
Modbee.com – Bullying’s nothing new, but we need to stop it