Forward Thinking About Cruelty

Cruelty is a deep part of human nature. So just saying “cruelty is evil” is not enough. We need to think constructively about what good there might be in it, what purposes it might serve, and how we can best keep it from doing serious damage to people. [Read more...]

On the Ethics of Teasing and Mocking People, in Groups, in Friendships, and in Debates and Satire

One of the difficulties in working out the civility pledge I co-wrote and signed earlier this year was addressing the use of humor and mockery in disagreements. So let me offer a bunch of points of clarification of the use of humor to persuade. I will focus on antagonistic humor—like teasing people for what they [Read More...]

Research Suggests Verbal Abuse Hinders Brain Development

Results of a study “revealed that those individuals who reported experiencing verbal abuse from their peers during middle school years had underdeveloped connections between the left and right sides of their brain through the massive bundle of connecting fibers called the corpus callosum. Psychological tests given to all subjects in the study showed that this same group of individuals had higher levels of anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, dissociation, and drug abuse than others in the study.”

I make the case we shouldn’t be perpetuating that damagin abuse (or ruled by our own trauma from experiencing it) as adults. We need to conscientiously work to eradicate verbal harassment, including name-calling, from both children’s and adults’ lives. [Read more...]

My Experiences of Bullying Growing up as a Weakling and a Physical Coward

My experiences with bullying, focused on one week I spent terrified at church camp. [Read more...]

Follow up on Dan Savage's Attack on the Bible That Inspired Walkouts

Yesterday’s post of a Dan Savage video has been unusually popular and continues to get hits so let me add a couple follow up links on matters of interest related to it, for all those trafficking through on the video’s account: [Read more...]

Memorializing Suicides Without Heroizing Suicide

Gay blogger Jim Burroway believes that Lady Gaga’s advocacy for the LGBT community is genuine and passionate but worries about a backfire effect of her decision to prominently dedicate a song to one of her young fans who took his life recently: as I watch this video of her performing “Hair” and dedicating it to Jamey Rodemeyer at [Read More...]

Teachers Suspended For Sprinkling “Holy Water” On Atheist Colleague

Last weekend I discussed the incident in which a teacher accused two other teachers of bullying her over her atheism by threatening to sprinkle her with “holy water” (in the form of a bottle of perfume).  I agreed with the atheist teacher’s assessment that she was being bullied but did not think the passive aggressive [Read More...]

Teachers Accused Of Bullying Atheist Colleague

South Florida News reports: The district is looking into whether the women at Ely High School tried to bully the counterpart into becoming a believer. “The students whom I interviewed said that’s absolutely untrue,” said Fort Lauderdale attorney Johnny McCray, who represents both teachers, Leslie Rainer and Djuna Robinson. He says the two didn’t have [Read More...]


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