Monday, January 10, 2005

The book Please Stop Laughing at Me highlights the pervasive rot we allow to ruin our schools, i.e. bullying. The problem with it is that no one is really against bullying except for the victims. Adults are for bullying. If they were against it, they wouldn't be complicit in it, or let it go on. A big problem in their approach is that they think that something is wrong with the victim. DUMB as fuck. They forget that in groups you don't have to do anything to be hated, and that people will do horrible things just to be in a group. They also don't understand how children work. Here's a passage illustrating this:

"Why must mom continue pushing her grown up logic on me? Kids simply don't think that way. Adults perceive the act of ignoring someone as a sign of power. Teenagers think it spells weakness with a capital W. The more I try to pretend indifference, the harder my classmates try to get my goat" p. 194.

Of course, simply pretending that you don't hear someone doesn't make their remarks less hurtful. So while adults defense ineffective advice, children are being damaged for life. The kids of course have a big part to play in this- but they are taught that this sort of behavior is ok. Not only do adults model cruel behavior, when kids are cruel, they are not punished for it, and people act like it is the person that they hurt's fault that they were idiots. Not to mention they are taught that cruelty is not such a big deal, and that it is normal and acceptable to be cruel to others. This of course is a poisonous doctrine.

Another problem is that kids are trapped. They are stuck in school 8 hours a day. I am not sure of the mechanism, but somehow competition over popularity gets entrenched, and is a big contributor to bullying. When I was younger, I observed that the most popular kids didn't have to bully, only the ones just below who were insecure, and had to shore up their status. Basically, they are becoming hypercompetitive over something arbitrary and meaningless.

A person could be popular because she could dance the watusi dance better than others, or unpopular because she smiled slightly too much or something. And at that age, popularity is a bit of a blood sport, and many movies and TV shows reinforce this. There are all these dramas and comedies about teen cliques and suchlike that show that teens are supposed to be catty and suchlike.

Maybe we should provide teens with something meaningful to them to do. When you don't treat people as useful members of society, they have too much time to make up their own society, which ends up all Lord of the Flies type.

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