Monday, August 1, 2011

Real True Men (TM)

Ah yes, so we're back to this again. I've taken down this kind of language before, but because I'm a glutton for punishment (and because, like a goddamn weed, it won't go the hell away), I'm right back to weeding the intellectual garden again.

So, here's the deal: Mike Adams defends bullies and thinks bullying is a-okay. It's cool to bully kids, because our men are little wimps today who need to be bullied. It builds character, it makes you stronger person. All this business about psychological scars and stuff is just a bunch of liberal lies designed to make the bullies feel bad about bullying their victims. It's that nanny state garbage... or something. When you say something useful, then you get quoted right. Anyway, Adams wrote this article on the Townhall; I will not be linking you, because I don't want to give them the traffic. Rather, I'll post his article here and take it apart, point for point, like I've done so many in the past. So, get into your moral hazard gear, because here we go...

Yesterday, when I was arguing with a liberal he told me I was entirely too harsh in my assessment of today’s youth. He told me specifically that I needed to be aware of the fact that in 21st Century America one out of five boys gets bullied in school on a “regular basis.” I don’t know where he got that statistic but it really made me ashamed of my country. We need to do better. When I was a kid back in 20th Century America everyone got bullied in school. Those really were the good old days.
Right off the bat, he's defending the bullies. Right there, end of the first paragraph. Back in the good ol' days, we picked on those prissy boys because they talked funny. Back in the good ol' days everyone was bullied, got their heads dunked in toilets, were mocked, tortured daily, and made to regret being born. *Content sigh* Yeah, good times... good times.

Unsaid is this: "When I was a kid back in the 20th Century America everyone got bullied in school [so why should we do anything to stop it now? It happened to me, so let it happen to them. It's not my responsibility.] Moral fortitude to take a stand against something that's wrong and shouldn't happen even though it did happen to me? WATS DAT LOLZ.

"4 out of 5 kids are bullied in school." So he's ashamed of his country because it isn't full of assholes like him, who want to see everyone bullied in school.

Pay close attention: he's reflecting at the end of that sentence. "This is how we did things in the past, and they were better back then." This is that Romantic influence showing; Romanticism was counter-Enlightenment in the way that it was focused backwards, on simpler times, where as Enlightenment had it's head on right, and was looking forward into the future. The romantic roots of his argument are showing already.
My most memorable experience with bullying came during the 1972-73 school year when I was a student at Whitcomb Elementary School in Clear Lake City, Texas. The highlight of the year was Mrs. Ogden who was a total babe (sorry for the antiquated language but I’m telling a story about the 1970s). The lowlight of the year was dealing with some punk named Brian who sat next to me during the last part of the spring semester. Brian was constantly bragging about how tough he was – probably because he was short and had a Napoleon complex.
I dealt with a bully like that in HS. Now, I'm a viper tongued devil, and I'm also extremely social and helpful, so I made a lot of associates. Not everyone is like me; when Napoleon came at me with how tough he was, I cut him apart in public. Again, not everyone is like me - he couldn't react violently because I was friends with half the football team. Once again, everyone is not like me. There are kids out there who can't do that. Who aren't friends with some of the largest guys in school. Who get picked on by the largest guys in school. There are girls out there who are victimized by vicious gossip and rumors daily, sometimes promoted by the parents of these bullies. My experience does not speak for everyone. In fact, my experiences speaks only for myself.

You will note - I told a bully story from my past with the emphasis on one thing: everyone is not like me. My experiences are fairly limited precisely because I am gifted with a social personality. My experiences do not speak for everyone. Everyone is not like me. I'm not even sure if what I did back then would work today, but that's not even the point. The point is this: He's using past experiences to justify bullying. This is my experience, therefore, everyone experiences this, and if you only did what I did (run away), your problems would go away. My experience speaks for everyone's situation.

In short, his Dunbar Number is preceded by a "Square Root" sign.
Eventually, Brian’s bragging about his fighting ability got old – even for Brian. So, one day, he challenged me to a fight on a specific day at a specific time in the schoolyard. Like a wimp, I faked being sick that day so I could stay home and avoid the confrontation. That strategy backfired. After wimping out on my scheduled confrontation with Brian he issued another challenge. And that led to another absence from school, which was excused by another fake illness. My mother was beginning to catch on
So why didn't Brian get on facebook and post nasty stuff about you? Why didn't he get the drop on you in the locker room with for or five of his larger friends, and beat the stuffing out of you there, because you talk funny and his Pastor told him you were going to Hell for it? Or start vicious rumors about you, when you know that you don't have any means of recourse because you're a marginalized minority in this nation, when you worry about even mentioning that you're gay will mean your uber-God fearing parents will through you out? He issued a "Challenge." I got the image of two cocks - rather, dicks - each one trying to out do the other. That's not how this game works anymore. And as far as I know, one of those dicks is still a dick. Because if he wasn't, I wouldn't have to disassemble his article like this.

I'm glad you admitted you were a wimp. That hasn't changed. You're still a moral wimp; you still don't have the moral fortitude to make things right - here's a real challenge: do something about it. You're reflecting on this like it's a "not so good thing." If you acknowledge that, why don't you want to stop other kids from experiencing it?
Fortunately, the end of the year was near and I got to spend the summer at home and away from the bully in my second grade class. My parents even sent me to a baseball camp at nearby San Jacinto College where I would be instructed by real college baseball players. I wasn’t aware that Brian’s best friend Mike would be attending the same baseball camp.

I wasn’t really expecting it when Mike came up behind me and shoved me in front of a bunch of the other little league players – many of whom were also my schoolmates. But the second I turned around and saw him I knew that he had shoved me for one reason and one reason only: His best friend Brian had told him I was a wimp who wouldn’t stand up to a bully. So I did the only thing I could do under the circumstances. I punched him in the mouth.
Oooh... he shoved you. And then you punched him in the mouth. Good on you.

Now put yourself in the position of a gay, or some other marginalized kid, or just some other kid period. You can't punch this boy in the mouth? Why? For the reasons I mentioned above - you are marginalized. You are not popular. The system works against you; it's actively out to get you in some spots. If you punch this guy, he'll maybe get a few days suspension but you'll get worse. Much worse, especially if the accusations are true. And perhaps, maybe, just maybe, they don't want to. They aren't violent like you are. And you know what? They can and should have that choice respected.

And once again, he's repeating this story like it's the "oh-so-bad thing" it is. Oh-so-bad thing that, apparently, must happen to teenagers, because he went through it.

For some reason, I want to punch you too.

After all, that's how you deal with bullies, right?

[...]That’s how we dealt with bullying when I was a kid. Someone picked on someone until he got fed up and learned that he had to defend himself. It was all a part of learning to be a man. When the inevitable fight was over the bully and the bullied became friends. And no one really contemplated shooting up the school in retaliation.
Ayep. Apparently so.

While we're on that train of thought, it's not clear he's defending the bullies by this point, it is visible. "Why don't those little gay kids just stand up and punch their bullies in their mouths, like I did?"

He's speaking from a remarkable position of privilege. That privilege must taste good. But then, that's pretty common for conservatives to do that. It goes hand in hand with their modified vocabulary and modified reality.
But today things are different. The state is increasingly seeing itself as the agent responsible for stopping bullying. And they are increasingly interested in monitoring bullying throughout all levels of the educational process. At my university, there is actually a guide that directs students to various government resources that can help students who are experiencing bullying.
Why? Why is this a bad thing? Why? Explain to me why this is a bad thing. I'm so lost and confused. Bully damages people psychologically; it creates long lasting scars. Why is preventing this a bad thing?

Ah, wait:
In short, his Dunbar Number is preceded by a "Square Root" sign.
Well, that explains it.

Is it because people are using proper recourse to defend themselves rather than fighting like a bunch of damn savages? He's probably the same type of asshole who yells about "frivolous lawsuits" filed against corporations who got caught dumping toxic waste in a community's drinking water or something. After all, as a bully, he doesn't like seeing the same system he uses to hold them down spun against him. Nobody in power wants to see that power in the hands of someone else, much less when that someone else uses that power against them.
Interestingly, the guide defines bullying as “the act of intimidating a weaker person to make them [sic] do something.” Since other campus programs focus on the disproportionate bullying of homosexuals this seems to be a tacit admission that homosexuals are indeed “weaker person(s).” In other words, the implications of their approach to this topic have not been well-thought-out. Few things are “thought” through in higher education today. People generally “feel” their way through problems.
[Citation needed]

Also: what guide is that? What guide is going to call someone "weak" because they get picked on? That's just as bad, if not worse, than what the bully does!

Disproportionate bullying of homosexuals. Silly gay people, get back in the closet, deny who you are, live miserable lives and die unhappily and you'll never have to experience this. "Disproportionate" is spelled wrong; It's properly spelled "I'm an asshole who has no idea what I'm talking about." That's okay, though, not all spell checkers know that.

We "feel" our way through problems. Silly effete people, don't you know you're supposed to be KRUG THE BARBARIAN and bet the shit out of them? That's how REAL TRUE MEN solve their problems.
Speaking of educators, they are the ones most likely to jump on the anti-bullying bandwagon. And when they do there is always a plethora of recommendations and strategies focusing on government intervention – all organized within the framework of our public schools and funded by the over-burdened taxpayer.
Dirty nasty gummit takin' my moniez and tryin' to build a civilized society with it. And yes educators will jump on the bandwagon. See, educators, by in large, have this thing called "empathy." Empathy means your Dunbar Number is not preceded with a square root sign. Note that he invokes the "over-burdened taxpayer," like the taxpayer shouldn't be responsible, as a member of society, to try and help with a severe problem that's underlying that society.
Some people believe the government should stop bullying because we have so many defenseless effeminate young men in the public school system. But I believe we have so many defenseless effeminate young men in the public school system because people believe the government should protect them from bullying. That’s the difference between the liberals and me. And I’m pleased to offer my advice at no expense to the taxpayer.
That's the difference between liberals and me. I'm a smug asshole who will offer my highly skewed opinions without having any empathy at all towards kids today - your kids - at no expense to the taxpayer! Except of the taxes you payed to keep the roads going, so you could have that computer you're reading this screed on. And the taxes you paid to keep our aging power grid up. TANSTAAFL.

I can't get over how incredibly smug that last sentence is. "And I'm please to offer my advice at no expense to the taxpayer." I'm sorry, but that's more smug that one blog can handle, especially when it's leading competition are the protagonists in Chick Tracts.

"But we've always selected someone from a random lottery to stone in public. We've always fed Christians to lions. Why should we change now, it's tradition? We did it all the time when I was growing up."

Throughout this whole article he only deals with male-on-male bullying. How nice of him to ignore how savage, mean, and nasty girls can be towards each other. I'm a sub; I have no problem injecting myself in between two boys fighting. Two girls fighting? I'll stand right here and call security, because I won't get anywhere near that. Bullying is not just a "male-on-male" phenomena. It's kid on kid phenomena. This machismo bullshit that's just piling up in this article is making me ill; solve your problems like a man - because we know that only gay men get bullied, right? Of course. They aren't REAL TRUE MEN (RTM).
Put simply, the question of whether one will or will not be bullied is largely a matter of choice. You can either remain the boy who is bullied or you can become the man who fights back. I don’t think the former are restricted by what is in their genes. More likely, it’s just what’s missing in their jeans.
I'm... floored. He hits the problem right there but then proceeds to let the point fly at 10,000 feet with 30,000 feet clearance over his head. The fact that they don't choose to be bullied is the problem. It isn't a matter of choice, and that's why they need to have a system in place that will stand up for them, and punish the bullies who do it.

Become KRUG. Channel your INNER BARBARIAN! Drink BRAWNDO!

LOLZ. I made about how people lack balls to do something about a problem. THE IRONY BURNS.


  1. Unsaid is this: "When I was a kid back in the 20th Century America everyone got bullied in school [so why should we do anything to stop it now? It happened to me, so let it happen to them. It's not my responsibility.] Moral fortitude to take a stand against something that's wrong and shouldn't happen even though it did happen to me? WATS DAT LOLZ.

    See, it didn't happen to me. Because I was hyperlexic, so by the time I was kindergarten age I already knew the major thing they would teach me. My parents figured bored five-year-old Brin + kindergarten = bad, so they homeschooled me.
    It gives me a strange kind of horror to read accounts of school bullying. It's like reading stories from my alternate-universe self, whose parents sent her to school anyway. Maybe they didn't realise there was another way, maybe they were a two-working-parent household and couldn't sink the time into it, whatever. That would have been me. I am as certain of that as of anything; that would have been me.
    More people should get to have that feeling. As bad as it is, “That would have been me” is much better than “That was me” or “That is me.” Like smallpox: experienced only through stories of the past, disturbed that it ever existed but grateful that it's gone.

    It's kid on kid phenomena.

    Not even that specific. Workplace bullying happens too.

  2. Re Workplace bullying: That comes a brief surprise it really shouldn't. I got caught up in the whole child aspect of it that I totally overlooked that what can happen to adults is every bit as damaging as what happens to children. I think that's probably more widespread and than child bullying, but nobody says anything thanks to the real life application of this trope: - and the belief that adults should "just know how to tolerant it."

  3. Yep, bullying is a person-on-person phenomenon. Many people are socialised out of bullying as they grow up, but clearly not all.

    I was bullied as a young girl. Nothing to do with sexuality, a lot to do with a muchore socially savvy former best friend picking me as a scapegoat to cement a clique of girls around her. The old unite against a common "enemy", except in this case enemy=victim. I was a small, bookish kid who had some hefty family problems, and she as a former friend knew all my weak spots. And it worked for her! She worked her way up to Evil Queen of 11- and 12-year-old girls through a concerted program of bullying and intimidation that left me emotionally and socially scarred for years.

    It died down a bit when I finally retaliated with violence, after more than a year. But guess what? After that incident, me and the mean girls were NOT friends. They still treated me as an untouchable for the rest of the year.

    This type of social jockeying bullying is so common at age ~12, and not just for girls. (And btw, Adams's story is really not bullying as most of us define it. Another case of language de/reconstruction by a conservative.) My partner, a man, went through something very similar at the same stage, in another country, where a childhood friend sought to climb from dork status to cool-dom by stepping on his head. (Though they actually did become friends again in later years, it was very hurtful and scarring.) Much of his bullying wasn't physical either (fortunately for him my partner is tall and good at sports, which gave him at least some status points in his rural village school), but of course he was mocked as "gay" and socially isolated, people wrote mean things on his yearbook, etc. Kids are assholes.

    And you know what else? When I was being bullied, I stood in the schoolyard with one of my few friends and made fun of poor Carla, one of the rare girls with lower social status even than me. Why? Because shit flows downhill, and kids are assholes. I wish I could say I hadn't done that. I'm so sorry for doing it.

    Bullying is a fundamental social issue, not just a developmental stage. Shit flows downhill, oppressors oppress and the oppressed oppress in turn. The Fifties sucked. Although it is probably the historical "norm", a society that sanctions bullying is sick. And it's not the way I want to live.

  4. Thank you for this. Recently, my four year old son, who has a speech impediment, was taunted and literally chased around the playground by a group of kids - a fucking GROUP of kids - because he can't pronounce words properly. The youngest of his antagonists was three years older than him and the oldest was eight years older than him.

    So I asked the kids' fathers (three of them standing and watching) if they were going to do anything about their kids being pure assholes. Nope. So I brought my son over to them and told him, "Those kids are mean because these guys are bad daddies who don't care if their kids are mean. But we shouldn't hate them. We should simply understand that they are too ignorant to understand right and wrong like a four year old."

    Not a single one opened his mouth. Bunch of pricks.

    Oh yeah - this was on Father's Day. Seems a bit ironic.

    But what happens when I'm not around to help my son defend himself? When he can't remove himself from the situation?

  5. @Tomio - my advice as a teacher is this:

    1. Your son shoulder seek help from the nearest source of authority when you're not around. In an ideal world this would be helpful. I still think it's fairly helpful more often than not, but sometimes it doesn't work. And even when it does work, it will sometimes blow up in your face. But make sure he knows that you always support him, and that he should always look for a way out without having to resort to self-defense, and then avoid the bully. If he has friends, he should stick with those friends. Bullies are less likely to target people who are in groups than if their mark is alone. If he tells you that nobody helped, call up the school and rip everyone's ass from the secretary at the front desk to the school superintendent, if you can get a hold of him. Their they're to do a job, and they obviously failed to do it. They deserve a verbal dressing down for failing their students and their community. If it persists, seek legal recourse. You may be able to sue the school district for negligence (depending). At the very least, the threat of of legal action should kick-start someone.

    2. The absolute last resort, if you're hemmed in, can't remove yourself from the situation, and nobody is there with any authority to help end it, becomes self-defense. That's decidedly different from what Adams was talking about in his article; self-defense is what happens when there's no way out. He could've just gotten up, brushed it off, and then sought out the nearest authority figure. When no other recourse is given, you have every right to strike back to protect yourself. Now, some don't want too. I can't blame them. But at that age (hell, even as an adult - it's the evolutionary ape in us), fight-or-flight can really hijack your entire thinking process. It won't take much; that's why fights are so common between bullies and their marks, and it rarely does anything to stop the bully anyway (although it might make them more determined because you humiliated them). This is different from flat out socking him in the nose right from the get go. This is also different from just fighting the bully; if Adams had been hemmed in, and there was nowhere to go, and he'd shouted for help and nobody had come, then he would've been justified in hitting back. As it was, he didn't seek out authority, he didn't call for help; he just took matters into his own hands and punched the bully, an action that'd get him arrested for assault here in the real world because he couldn't prove it was self-defense (he had a way to potentially exit the situation). One should never be scared to defend themselves, but one shouldn't seek out conflict, and should avoid conflict or shorten conflict as much as possible and defer to the nearest authority figure ASAP. Make sure your son is aware of that

  6. Wait--the bully STOPPED after Adams hit him ONCE? And became his bestest best friend afterward?

    That's not bullying--that's borderline bromance. Like pulling the braids of the girl in the desk in front of you because you think she's cute. If Adams was scared enough of a wuss like that to skip school, a REAL bully would probably cause him to lose bowel and bladder control. Which would result in more bullying.