Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Cyberbullying Asshat

You know how you teach your children about cyberbullies and that you try to give them tools to fight against the creeps. Well I have to tell you I was a victim of bullying this morning on a website. I did tweet about the article and even about the ad hominem attacks but you know I think that if I was a teenager and had to go to school with persons who had been assaulting me on line, I know for a fact it would be a painful experience and interfere with my being able to access my education. That is in a nutshell why there are rules against bullying and why there are laws against interfering with someone’s education.

In an on-line magazine, there was an article about a court case in California where the bully posted a You Tube video about another child. The school suspended the bully, as they should have, but the father instead of punishing his daughter sued the school for infringement of her free speech rights. The truly sad thing is that the court sided with the parent. The school district was forced to repay the parent’s legal fees of over $100,000, saying the school overstepped its bounds because the You Tube video did not interfere with the victim’s ability to attend school. Not quite sure what century that judge lives in that he isn’t capable of understanding the effects of social media on society, nor the rights of students in school. This is probably why California is in the trouble that it is. There is obviously a screwed up sense of right and wrong and application of the law. People actually started to attack the parent, rightly so, and he answered back with snarky nastiness.

His comments were so nasty that at first I thought it was a hoax, because no one could be that stupid in print especially a lawyer. You know the rule that whatever you put into cyberspace stays in cyberspace was not being watched by this man. So I really thought that there was no way that this person was who he claimed to be. Apparently he is a well known lawyer in the record industry, personally I had never heard of him, but did a little checking on line myself. To my surprise so many people had already encountered him and had written blogs about him being a real jackass that I realized that he was the real deal. The problem with me was when I challenged him and his behavior that the nastiness really blew up. I also mentioned that I hoped the child who had been cyberbullied sued for libel and slander. From questioning whether I had gone to law school, to deciding to fix spelling mistakes I may have made to being condescending and downright revolting, he epitomized everything that is wrong with cyberspace without actually using profanity and porn. In decrying the fact that I thought children who sent certain text messages should be arrested, I suppose he never heard that it is illegal to make a bomb threat and threaten someone with physical violence when it comes to school as well, he told me I was sickening. But then again, he didn't come off as someone who truly understands any form of boundary never mind understanding the legal  balancing concept between government and civil rights. He also unfortunately, epitomized everything that is negative about lawyers as well. I can see why his daughter thought it was just fine to be a little bitch. She was looking for daddy’s approval after all and actually got it didn’t she?

What it truly showed me is that someone who bullies your child is taught to bully by their parent. I know they say that bullies are themselves bullied. Well maybe that is the situation with this girl and her father, I do not know, or maybe she is just copying what she sees him do on a daily basis to other people. It is truly sad that somewhere in the mentality of this individual there is a sense of entitlement to be cruel and mean to others and that somehow when attacked they decide that nothing is their fault. They think that there is some implicit right in their lives to do as they please. That there is nothing out there that can touch them.

On another note, to highlight that not everyone in the world is made up of morons, Louisiana just passed a law against cyberbullying. Luckily it has become a cause célèbre in our society due to the terrible suicides it has brought about, albeit way too late for the poor children who have taken their own lives.

This incident did bring back a memory from collegeman's childhood. I remember when collegeman was three-years old and taking a boy’s dance class at a ballet school. It was really cute. The boys wore sweats of course and danced to marching music and did all kinds of exercises. Now right after his class was a six-year old girl class. One day as I sat and watched collegeman with another boy-mom, four little six-year old girls were watching the boys. The comments consisted of how the boys are stupid when they dance, that they weren’t really dancing and that boys were dumb. OK, not necessarily unheard of among girls, not liking boys and thinking they are idiots at one time or the other. But then they went on to discuss how they hate other girls who don’t wear pigtails, and they weren’t going to talk to other girls who didn’t wear pigtails and make sure that others didn’t talk to them too. Remember these were six-year olds. They finally decided that the boys were too stupid to watch and left.

The other boy-mom turned to me and remarked that she had never in her life heard anything like that. I responded, “What do you think you suddenly become a bitch at thirty?” You see bullies learn from very early on how to respond to people. There is no way those six-year olds learned that independently of their mothers. They just were able to extrapolate how their mother’s behaved into their own world. I also saw it as a nursery school aide, while I studied for the bar exam. The girls would ostracize this one girl because she never wore dresses. Even though we actually asked constantly that the girls come in jeans or sweats so they could play outside during recess, the mothers had to dress these children up like little dolls in $300 dresses. (Eastside of Manhattan mentality). Incidentally, all these mothers were friends and went out constantly with each other, even the one who dressed her child appropriately for school. Why she remained part of that crew I never understood, she knew how the other little girls treated her daughter too. I guess self-esteem is an interesting issue.

The problem is not limited obviously to the very rich. Phoebe Price was bullied to death in a middle class neighborhood in Boston. Children are bullied all over the country and the parents do nothing about it. You could chalk up what happened to me this morning as the rantings and ravings of a very disturbed man. But there is crazy and there is being an asshat. The problem is that not only is this man an awful parent having raised a bully but he is out there in the world, bullying others whom he comes across on a daily basis.

Life does have a way of getting even with bullies they say. All I can hope is that smackdowns will be forthcoming for those that think they can go around causing pain and hurt. In fact I hope that these parents are the biggest losers and that life really does come along and shoves a boot up their ass.

Oh and by the way, I will not link to the article; it really isn’t worth your time. However, the online magazine that allowed the cyberbullying is  Tablet Magazine. Just so you know never to bother with that site. They also had an article by the same author, who wrote about this California case, about how useless us mommy-bloggers happen to be. So why did I read this magazine? It had a different take and a different perspective about Judaism, which was at times thought provoking. Unfortunately it also has that Upper West-Side New York City elitism which obviously gets in the way of any true sense of real life.

Until next time,