Bullying and Avoidable Grief

Another one bites the dust.” — Freddy Mercury, fellow homo

The usual suspects line up to decry the bullying of Tyler Clementi.  The crowdsful of mock mourners will nod in agreement that bullying just has to stop, especially hate-crime-gay bullying.  More celebrities like Alan Cumming will insist that we need to stop using words like “faggot,” and that such censorship will make it all better.  When the world is done with its fake mourning and concern over a cute, cute violinist — just like the fake mourning over Matthew Shepard and Princess Diana — the bullying will continue.  Then the crowds will get additional mourning time in, which is great, because we could sure use more hyper-emotion in our increasingly deadened culture.  Along with a few more deceased gay guys, the truth will also remain silent.  Well, everywhere else but here: Pull your kids out of school.

Now, this particular suicide gets special attention because Clementi was gay, or at least experimenting with gay feelings with another man, which experimentation ended up on the Internet when his roommate posted it there without Clementi’s permission.  Furthermore, Clementi was not one of the countless victims of government schooling; he was at a university.

Although I can sympathize somewhat more, the bullying to which I was subjected in government school was, for the most part, about being a wimp.  Will Alan Cumming do another commercial about that word?  How about “fat ass,” one that neither Cumming nor I have ever had to worry about?  Or “n*gger” (a special epithet that has already been subjected to the social sanction Cumming desires for “faggot,” hence the necessity for the asterisk)?  Perhaps it’s not as easy to lobby government with those words.  Forget it.

Unfortunately for Mr. Cumming, I happen to like the words “fag” and “faggot.”  I think they’re funny.  I use them constantly around my fag friends, although my personal favorite is “rump ranger”: far more descriptive, erotic, and to-the-point.  What Mr. Cumming, Ellen Degeneres, and a host of other (I’m assuming) left-leaning celebrities of the gay and bi persuasion fail to understand is that words are far less important that context.

Why is it that not a single fellow rump ranger has objected to my calling him a fag?  Probably because he knows he’s not being bullied.  (Also probably because he knows he’s about to get some.)  Context is everything.  To understand context, of course, you have to understand where the speaker is coming from.  Where do bullies come from?  Clementi didn’t know any better than anyone else.  All he knew was that he was stuck with a roommate he didn’t like, and made repeated requests to be relieved of this aggravation.  This is called “freedom of association.”  Rutgers is a state school.  Even though nobody is forced to go to Rutgers, it apparently acts in much the same way as a forced government school, the kind where younger queens are compelled to spend the most glorious of their waking hours for twelve arduous years breaking rocks alongside bullies.  You’re not free to associate there, either.  This lack of freedom is never questioned.  It’s going to be questioned (and answered) here: Pull your kids out of school.

Everybody’s got an opinion about how bullying starts.  The good Christians at The Christian Science Monitor are speculating about it now, after it’s too late for that cute little redhead.  Apparently, the best the educrats in charge of your brats have been able to come up with is inventing a new term for kids who kill themselves instead of being subjected to further bullying: bullycide.  When they aren’t inventing new terms that look good on their grown-up term papers, handed around the table to other educrats who immediately harrumph at the atrocity; they’re enacting zero tolerance policies, which, according to numerous reports I’ve read, are just as horrific as bullying.  In spite of zero tolerance for action figures with guns, remarkably, the bullying continues.  Huh.  Somebody write that up and pass it around.  Harrumph!

Well, I can write, too.  I don’t work for the Christian Scientists, so here’s how I would have rephrased a few choice passages of this great, big, harrumphing article:

“Most recently – in March – the term [bullycide] pierced national consciousness when a Massachusetts district attorney indicted nine students on criminal charges arising from the suicide of a 15-year-old Irish immigrant named Phoebe Prince who also hanged herself after experiencing persistent bullying.”

That should read: “Most recently – in March – the term pierced national consciousness when a Massachusetts district attorney indicted nine students on criminal charges arising from the suicide of a 15-year-old Irish immigrant named Phoebe Prince who also hanged herself after experiencing persistent forced relocation by her own idiotic parents to the scene of the initial bullying.

So this bullycide involved a female victim.  That will happen from time to time.  It is boys, however, who are overwhelmingly the targets of the physical bullying that grabs headlines and starts the Great Fake Mourning Parade.  We’ll get to what I think are the reasons why in a bit.  In the meantime, pull your kids out of school.

Another Tyler, this one named Tyler Lee Long, was not a rump ranger; straight as an arrow, I guess.  He killed himself, too.  I doubt any celebrities are going to speak on his behalf.  I’d be pleased to be wrong on that.  But why did he do it?  Bullying.  At least, bullying was the last straw, although, by the time I’m done with them, you’ll see what sort of parents he was apparently subjected to:

“[I]n March, the Longs filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Murray County School District and Murray High School principal Gail Linder for allegedly failing to protect Tyler despite many entreaties from his parents.”

That could very well read: “[I]n March, the Longs filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Murray County School District and Murray High School principal Gail Linder for allegedly failing to protect Tyler despite many entreaties from his parents, who also had a hand in Tyler being sent right back to the bullies.”  Now that he’s dead, Tyler will be unable to sue his own parents.  Instead, the money that the Murray County School District receives from the county, state, and Federal governments, who steal that money from everyone else, will be given to what remains of Tyler’s dysfunctional family, if they happen to win.

Here’s another gem about poor, straight Tyler: “In the seventh grade, a teacher was assigned to walk Tyler to the bus and through the halls, and to sit with him in the cafeteria.”  Well, I’m sure that helped him feel like less of a “special case,” didn’t it?  He’s physically protected, yes, but what about the stares, the whispers, the continual seven-hour-a-day reminder that he’s got no goddamned friends?  That sort of bullying can continue unabated, as far as the government school is concerned.  (That is largely the bullying girls are subjected to.  Guess Tyler was really a girl.)  What sort of man was Tyler supposed to magically turn into?  In the seventh grade, he’s definitely turning into one.  How does a budding man ever score with young women when a mother or father figure has to escort him around?  Do any of these idiots remember what it was like to be a boy?  Or is it turned into a big, colossal joke like in “A Christmas Story”?

You will have to forgive my sarcasm, but I’m not actually trying to be funny.  You may also think that I am not expressing enough compassion for Tyler’s parents.  I understand that they’re in pain.  Unfortunately, I cannot escape the feeling that the pain with which they now suffer could have been easily avoided by removing their kid from the location where the bullying was taking place.  (No one’s invented a new word for that, though, so bullycides will continue unabated.)  I can also remember with exquisite clarity the sort of bullying to which I was subjected, so unfortunately for these grieving parents, I am entirely too angry to give a damn about their grief.  What kind of parent subjects a child to this, five times a week, seven hours a day?  What is so goddamned necessary about receiving a “free” education at the hands of a bullying government, that the slightly more childish bullying must be tolerated until educrats do something about it?  When have educrats ever done anything about anything?

My own parents can be forgiven for not doing anything about the bullying, because they didn’t know about it.  What I won’t forgive them for is being emotionally unavailable to discuss it.  I will also not forgive them for sending me into the lion’s den in the first place, a building where I never wished to be, and they knew it.  And I didn’t want the lunch lady to keep the bullies away from my area, or for any teacher to intervene on my behalf.  I simply didn’t wish to be in the presence of those assholes.  I didn’t want to be in their classes; I didn’t want to be on the same playground; I didn’t want to be seen by them, period.  I didn’t wish to be subjected to government-tolerated bullying at all.  It’s something called “freedom of association,” something that boys on this land mass do not possess.  Who is the dumbfuck who came up with the idea that the bullying alone needs to be contained, but nothing else about this sick system needs to be changed?

The article continues shoveling shit: “‘We’re hopeful that because of the renewed interest in bullying and attention from the federal government, schools will begin to take the necessary steps to makes sure all students, including LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) students, are safe and have an opportunity to get an education,’ Presgraves says.”

God, I hate that acronym LGBT!  I have virtually nothing in common with lesbians or “transgendered” individuals, except that we’re all misunderstood.  Well, so are Aborigines and Native Americans.  Should we call it LGBTANA?  Beyond that, what’s this crap about “an opportunity to get an education”?  You mean I won’t get an education unless I’m stuck in a room with fifteen nice kids and two complete assholes who throw stuff at me whenever the “protecting” teacher has her goddamned back turned?

Let me tell you something about education.  I’m not a singer, but I’m aces at harmonizing.  I can definitely carry a tune, and if you give me the music, I can sing parts in any choir.  I learned this sitting next to my parents in church, both of whom were fine singers in their day, and they could also harmonize.  I would pick everything in the music apart every Sunday when we sang hymns for worship.  I figured it out on my own, you see.  Why did I do this?  Because it interested me.

I’m a firm believer in unschooling.  You’ll get an education when you want one.  The Internet has rendered modern government schooling entirely obsolete.  Computers and Internet access are now affordable to dirt poor people, thanks largely to the government being taken completely by surprise.  Clementi’s fuckface roommate used these tools to do something inexcusable, but even from this atrocious example, the ease of using it to communicate and learn is obvious.  Kids who want an education can log on and get one.  So take your “opportunity” for government education and shove it straight up your ass.

Now, just imagine for a minute that you’re a really, really mushy beta male.  You and your wife go to a restaurant, where one of the other patrons continually makes loud and lewd remarks in your wife’s direction.  She doesn’t like it, and asks you to do something about it.  You speak to the owner.  The owner does nothing.  The second time you go, the jerk is there again.  You can see him through the window.  Here are your beta-male options:

1. Go in and hope he’s not such a jerk this time.  It turns out he’s a full-time jerk with disability benefits.  You complain again to the manager, who again does nothing.  You go back a third time because you’re a fucking idiot.

2. Become an alpha male suddenly overnight, and go in because you want to show him up.

3. With your wife waiting outside, go in alone, to discuss the matter with him calmly and rationally, and then get beat up.

4. Go someplace else, and berate your beta-male self that you even thought about going back when the owner didn’t do anything the first time.

Now, just imagine for a minute that you’re a really, really mushy beta-male father, whose kid is bullied.  Look at options 1 through 4 again in the context of school.  If you do 1 or 3, you really are a fucking idiot, and when your kid kills himself, he’s the one I’m going to feel sorry for, not you; and not so much for the bullying, but for being stuck with such an idiot for a father.  If you’re hoping for 2, you are still a fucking idiot.  If you choose 4, you, like me, are a recovering fucking idiot.

I didn’t use to have a problem with what my parents subjected me to with the 12-year sentence, because all parents subject their children to the same sentence.  When it’s normal, anyone who questions it looks like the fucking idiot.   This is understandable.  However, it is also no longer tolerable.  When someone you love is hurt by another, and you know that you can do nothing to change the other, why in the hell are you sending your loved one back into the same situation?  What part of “freedom of association” escapes from what’s between your ears?

I think it must have something to do with the research of the late Alice Miller.  Children die without love touch, at least babies do.  I think children remember this, if only on a subconscious level.  There is no magic date when this thought leaves an individual’s mind.  I wanted to believe that my parents’ love was pure.  As much love as I got, it wasn’t.  If you don’t pull your kids out of this abusive environment, especially your boys, who are increasingly being fed drugs, then clearly you don’t understand the impurity of your own love.  The only way to purify it is with truth.  Gay, straight, bi, Aborigine; I couldn’t care less what your kid identifies as.  There is no reason to subject them to bullies, and no excuse.  If you do, then I hope someday you attempt number 2 above and get the crap beaten out of you.  Then maybe you’ll understand what bullycide is really all about.

“The National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2009, said nearly 1 in 3 students between the ages of 12 and 18 reported being bullied in school.”  Do you get it yet?  How are you going to change that?  By forcing kids into “freedom of association”?  Good luck.

“Studies show that bullies tend to have above-average intelligence and an excess of self-regard. They view themselves as entitled, an inadvertent outgrowth, says Stan Davis, an antibullying consultant in Maine [“antibullying consultant”?!], of a culture that stresses every person’s specialness and uniqueness while perhaps giving short shrift to empathy. ‘We need to emphasize similarity,’ Mr. Davis says, ‘not uniqueness.’“  Oh God, another anti-individualist in charge of your kids.  Wonderful.  A little later on: “In education circles, school climate refers to many factors seen as contributing to a positive learning environment: tolerance for differences…”  Well, make up your mind.  Do you teach sameness or uniqueness?  Christ, in the same damn article, no less!

“‘I had a lot of anger, hate, and depression,’ says Joey, now 20. ‘It made me think, “Why am I even here?”‘“  That’s a good question, Joey.  Take a good look at your fucking idiot parents.  That should give you a clue.  And that’s how much they love you.  As for Tyler Long, all his mother seems to have learned is: “This… was his way of having peace.”  I’m sorry, grieving mom, but this was Tyler’s only outlet of communication, in a family of the emotionally deaf.  He apparently failed to communicate loud enough for you to hear.

Boys like Joey, and the Tylers Clementi and Long, whether they’re straight or gay, are taught early on to toughen up and take it, by their schools, their peers, their bullies, and their parents.  Clearly, they’re not able to.  They are still developing individuals.  By their teen years, they ought to have more fully developed volition, where they can actually walk out of the front door of such schools and never go back.  Unfortunately, the culture to which they were all subjected artificially places men their age in boyhood far longer than they belong there, and praises one violent man after another: putting their visages on the coins, erecting statues to them, handing them awards, recreating their love of manly violence in mass media, etc.  The only way for them to communicate when school administrators say, “Boys will be boys,” when dorm leaders won’t reassign them, and when fucking idiot parents won’t pull them out of school, is to stop communicating entirely.

Ellen, Alan, educrats everywhere, moms, and dads: the world will never be rid of bullies.  Too many of them run for office, and then start lecturing us about bullying.  Human nature isn’t going to change; bully boys will indeed be bully boys.  What is going to change is my low level of tolerance for bad parents.  It’s just gotten a little lower.  Pull your kids out of school!

I suspect that the hurt of these bullycide victims went much deeper than bullying, as mine did and does.  The only difference is that I decided against suicide, and in favor of being honest about it.  None of us should have been subjected to that which we didn’t want.  Sadly, these other men didn’t get to experience emancipation.  If there are any bullied, teenaged males reading this, I say to you now without reservation or fear of legal consequences: To hell with school.  Get your own education, and associate with whomever you will.  Don’t wait for Mommy and Daddy.  They’re too busy being fucking idiots.  If you are a teenaged male, you are a man now.  Welcome.

B.R. Merrick writes for “Strike The Root“ and “A Voice for Men,” lives in the Northeast, is  proud to be a classical music reviewer at Amazon.com and iTunes, and in spite of the poisonous nature of television, God Himself will have to pry his DVDs of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” out of his cold, dead hands, under threat of eternal damnation.

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