Bullying Beyond The Schoolyard

Does bullying ever really end?

Sure, recent teen suicides and murders have brought the issue of bullying to the forefront of society prompting celebrities to release PSAs, kids to wear those rubber bracelets in cause-specific colors, and zero-tolerance policies set in place in schools across the country.

But what happens when we get out of school?  Who/what protects us then?

Last night, a best-selling author took to her Facebook page to publicly crucify Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.  Again.

This is not the first time she has done this nor, I’m certain, will it be her last.  The majority of her readers joined in to rip apart Brad and Angelina, calling them skanks, homewreckers, phony, smug, pompous, and a variety of other not-worth-repeating adjectives.

However, this time a fellow follower decided to call the author out.  This brave reader posted her thoughts defending the couple and their humanitarian efforts and calling the author’s choice to denounce them as unacceptable.  She vowed to stop purchasing/reading her books.

The author was pissed.

She posted the following in response to her once-loyal reader:

K—, I’m really sorry I offended you so much.  I treat my Facebook page like a conversation with friends. and everything we do here is in good fun.  If I thought my comments would hurt Angelina and Brad or impact them at all, I would never post them.  I am 100% sure they don’t care what I have to say about them—nor do they care that you have rushed to their defense.  I have never picked on the weak or the powerless.  I make it a point to be kind to all the people in my life—regardless of their status, etc. I happen to think Brad and Angie are smug and self-important (they won’t marry until gay marriage is legalized??  Like we’re all going to write our congressmen and women so that they can get married? etc.)  I think it was insensitive of them to pose as a married couple with children just weeks after his divorce.  I could go on and on.  I don’t really see why you’d bother to post this remark or announce a boycott of my books on MY PAGE.  You don’t have to be here.  In fact, I think your comments are more biting toward me than anything I said about her.  I never called her skanky.  I never called her goth.  I said she was smug.  She is.  I wish you all the best and again I’m truly sorry if I upset you and that you read these threads with such a serious, heavy heart.  It is supposed to be fun.

After the author’s response, this poor girl was met with dozens of cruel comments from other fans calling her everything from unstable to a hater to hyper-sensitive. The backlash was completely ridiculous and entirely uncalled for and yet they praised the author whose original hatred started the whole thread.

I challenge this author to find what is so fun about criticizing people who you’ve never met in a public forum and then to encourage other followers to join in on the hatred.  Plus, I would love to know how she is “100% sure” that Brad and Angie wouldn’t care.  If I were being condemned on the internet by a woman I had never met, you better believe I would care.  And I would be hurt.

I could spend hours dissecting her response and the contradictions in it, but would I be any better than her if I did?

While I have my own opinions on the Brad-Angie-Jen triangle, I’m not going to put them out on the internet for all to read.  Sure, I like one of the women more than the other, but I would never stoop so low as to discredit and mock the other so openly for three reasons:

  1. I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me,
  2. I don’t want to seem like a complete idiot who doesn’t really have any clue as to what I’m talking about, and
  3. It’s really just not worth my time and effort.

Sure, I buy the new issue of US Weekly every time I do my weekly grocery shopping and love to read about what’s going on in the celebrity world, but I know that every opinion I have has been shaped by the media.  The stories and photographs are carefully placed by publicists and who knows what is real and what isn’t.  I don’t know any of these people individually and I certainly don’t believe everything that is written or said about any of them.

I guess what I’m trying to say with this post is that though we may think we know someone based on their image or reputation, we have no idea what they’re going through and we shouldn’t pick at whoever it is we think they are.

People thought it was fun to tease Tyler Clementi until he committed suicide.  Is that what it will take for people to refrain from posting hatred all over the internet?

I certainly hope not.

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One thought on “Bullying Beyond The Schoolyard

Don't let me do all the blogging, join in the conversation. Otherwise, I just feel like I'm talking to myself...

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