Is it just me…

…or do all the most egregious examples of bullying on the web seem to come from the “anti-bullying” crowd? First, there was Dan Savage brow-beating kids half his age and calling them “pansy-asses” for not sitting still and taking it while he tried to publicly humiliate them. Then, I get this on my Facebook yesterday:

My reply: The stranger you Facebooked with the accusatory guilt-mongering note featuring the litany of crimes he did not commit is harried with a thousand other more important worries and responsibilities and now has to go to confession because you hectored him into anger out of your need to feel morally superior. I bet you won’t repost *that*, you member of the 99% of people who send these emotional blackmail notes to strangers. But repost it if you’re that 1% who are sick of guilt manipulation on Facebook.

To which Victor Lams added: That driver you cut off today? He went home and beat his wife. That penny you didn’t pick up off the sidewalk? Some kid swallowed it and died. That deep breath you just took right now? Some poor mother in Sudan can’t give that air to her malnourished child now, thanks to you.

Heh! But seriously, how un-self-aware can you get? The sentiment is a fine one: Be kind to every one you meet, for each person is fighting a great battle. True enough, and deeply moving when expressed well. But stuff like that FB post is just a blunt instrument for beating in the brains of strangers with moral superiority in its most toxic and obnoxious form. And it seems to come–an awful lot–from apostles of “anti-bullying”. Project much?

  • michael

    A few of my fb friends posted this. They are the sames ones who post the judgemental “don’t judge me” crap as well.

  • Michael in ArchDen

    Anything that says “Repost if you agree, ignore if you disagree” gets ignored by me. I don’t expect that on that day, Jesus will be asking why I didn’t repost some banality about Him.

  • http://theophor.us Ignatius Theophorus

    I prefer Little Flower’s teachings to those if for no other reason than I find Therese actually teaches me to convert my heart, while that merely gets people to (maybe) pay attention for a minute.

    Why not post her quote as a response:

    A holy nun of our community annoyed me in all that she did; the devil must have had something to do with it, and he it was undoubtedly who made me see in her so many disagreeable points. I did not want to yield to my natural antipathy, for I remembered that charity ought to betray itself in deeds, and not exist merely in the feelings, so I set myself to do for this sister all I should do for the one I loved most. Every time I met her I prayed for her, and offered to God her virtues and merits

    • ds

      that’s just awesome. Makes me wanna just read saints instead of making all my dumbass posts on this blog.

  • Dean

    It’s all about misty-eyed sentimentality and the Internet equivalent of the old playground ploy of getting more kids on your side, with little intellectual rigor behind it, hence, the contradictory behavior. I would be surprised if any of my friends who post this tripe even go back to check which of their friends re-posted. “Let’s see which of my friends actually read my posts and who are simply trolling,” and, “I know who will re-post and who won’t,” and, “If you don’t re-post, I’ll understand,” (yah, i.e., “I’ll understand you aren’t really a good friend”), are other guilt-tricks used. Drive-by vacuousness, quickly forgotten by the person who posts it, is how I regard it all.

  • Faith

    Everybody has to be a victim. Everybody gets to blame other people for their own despair. That’s the modern way of thinking. But they keep forgetting life is full of bumps. Everybody, I mean EVERYBODY, has had someone do something rotten to them at some point in their life. People sin. People can be nasty. Tuck in your shirt, throw back your shoulders, hold up your head and soldier on! Self-pity makes everything worse.

    • Imrahil

      Some short thought of mine:

      Where does the notion that self-pity is intrinsically evil come from? Is it not rather a plain normal thing to be subdued unter the virtue of temperance? For why for all things in the world, under the hypothesis the world is a bad place to live in (which is debatable, but that’s another story), can we not even lament this state of affairs?

      Another short thought of mine:

      Why for all things in the world should it comfort me that not only am I that miserable creature, but that even others, let alone all of them, have the same problem? Isn’t that worse still?

      And even so, while everybody may have something to blame, I cannot blame it to him. Not only because Our Lord forbade it, but even just because I don’t know and in dubio pro reo.

      Now I wouldn’t want to do so anyway. But still, that creates the image that I am the sinner in a world of – as far as I am concerned – perfect people. Now I stop short of contradicting myself, but it’d be easier to come along with being imperfect, if not everyone else were perfect.

      Coming from the hundredth into the thousandth, this is why the white lie is so wrong. It creates a standard-level of morality which dismisses too many people.

  • Michael

    That Facebook friend that you passive-aggressively guilted into reposting your inane post? He was defriended by a pretty girl who was annoyed by his passive aggressive post…and they could have gotten married. Repost if you’re against breaking up marriages.

    • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com Dan F.

      passive-agressive anti-passive agressive posts for the win!

  • spastichedgehog

    Facebook slactivism at its worst. You can take five seconds and repost some twaddle that no one in their righ tmind would disagree with (bullying is bad! Cancer sucks! World peace and cyberhugs for everyone!) or you can turn of facebook go outside your house and do something. But that takes, you know, effort and stuff.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Awareness: the activism of the lazy.

  • Tim

    That dude on whose facebook profile you posted this diatribe. He actually read it, felt guilty and then took a drink and reverted back to alcoholism after 15 years being sober.

    • BiggieTea

      For all its crudeness, South Park is often spot on about some of the idiotic trends of the culture today.

  • Aclepius

    Though I do not claim to enjoy everything they do, the writers at South Park agreed with you in a recent episode on bullying, centered around how anti-bullying turns into bullying. The climax of the episode was a video starring the children of the school, singing, “Let’s all get together / and make bullying kill itself.” Perfect satire.

  • http://facebook Helen

    Okay Lisa and Mark, you just gave me a soap box to stand on. So how does one stand up to idiots who bully? Especially when the one being bullied is doing a good deed….Does it really make the bully feel better to belittle an individual who already feels unappreciated. I doubt it. Their time would be better spent beating up a head of cabbage and turning it into cole slaw. …The list of occasions for bulling goesd on. All this comes back to “How do you stand up to bullies? Unfortunately, the people who bullied me as a child and adult, aren’t my facebook friends. So if I and many others bore our friends who don’t bully people by posting and reposting this post, our appologies. Surely, someone is FB friends with the idiots who do bully people, and they will finally get the hint.

    • Patrick

      Helen, it’s a dumb tactic.

      If you stand up to bullies by posting about it on Facebook, YOU AREN’T STANDING UP TO BULLIES.

      And if you think Facebook is going to make bullies SELF-CONSCIOUS ABOUT BEING BULLIED, you must be totally misc., and I wouldn’t be surprised if you, etc.

  • ds

    I can email you a wheel of just *divine* camembert, if you’d like some cheese with your whine, Mark. It’s Facebook, you’re asking for it. You ate the chicken salad and you loved it, or like Veronica told Heather: lick it up baby, lick it up.

  • http://www.pavelspoetry.com Pavel

    We are all complicit, or did Jesus of Nazareth submit to the Sacrifice only for some of us?

  • Alexander S. Anderson

    Ok. Most of those things are like: look at you, you kicked people while their horrible lives got them down. And then it says: “That girl you called a slut? She’s a virgin.” As if that makes her life horrible. We really need to get rid of this cultural thing in which people who aren’t having sex MUST have horrible lives.

    • ds

      I didn’t interpret that as any kind of being a virgin is bad, or that she was sadly trying to lose her virginity and thus being accused of slutting it up was so hurtful. I just thought it meant you don’t know what the heck other people actually do. Or maybe you just shouldn’t call people sluts.

  • Nonymous

    That’s a nice warning about bullying. Doesn’t bother me. All the people I put down really do deserve it.

  • Kirt Higdon

    Bullying, like sexual harassment, has now become so broadly defined that everybody does it and everybody is a victim. Being a victim, of course, is the status to which everyone aspires. Time to move on to the next politically correct victimization fad.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Bullying, like sexual harassment, has now become so broadly defined that everybody does it and everybody is a victim.

      While this is technically true, it’s not at all what the anti-bullying movement is all about. It’s solely about universal acceptance of homosex. The anti-bulliers could care less about the lonely nerd or depressed emo kid. Only gay people are really bullied, in their eyes.

      • Kirt Higdon

        Agreed. What’s more, homosexuals are incapable of harassment. If a homosexual makes a pass at you and you turn him/her down, you’re being a bully.

      • Imrahil

        Never seen it from that perspective. Interesting

  • Emily =D

    I think this video (a training video for Chick-Fil-A) makes the point of always appreciating the battles others might be fighting and treating them with kindness and dignity extremely well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v0RhvZ3lvY

  • Imrahil

    Dear @Mark, that was an appropriate and genious comment.

  • Imrahil

    Another thing is that the actions the FB moral lecture describes – has anyone noticed? – are not really bullying.

    For the most part they’d qualify as (venial) sins. But bullying means a somewhat concentrated effort to drive a person into despair and subjection by repeated actions of such sort. That is bullying.

    If every schoolchild that says to a classmate, “hey come along you lame donkey”, is a bully, then we’d better forget about the notion of bullying. Meaningless words with highly guilt-mongering potential that stems from a meaning the word used to have, that is very dangerous.


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