Due to the recent wave of kids -- especially gay teenagers -- who've been bullied to the point of taking their own lives, the U.S. media's begun talking about bullying & teen suicide. It's so horrible that Americans have finally begun to do what we do best -- fight with each other over what to do and never accomplish anything.
Some fundamentalist Christians say anti-bullying laws that protect gay kids legitimize homosexuality and that's an attack on their religion -- y'know, "what kind of an anti-Christian bigot would keep me from being an anti-gay bigot." Then you've got some who say nonstop cruelty and humiliation are just part of growing up. Besides, if kids don't learn that it's OK to displace anger onto the wrong person now, how will they ever be ready for the Tea Party?
Then you've got liberals who want to make verbal bullying a federal crime, which is kind of tricky when the reverend Fred Phelps and his Church of the inbred Anti-Christ Rapture Freaks can legally picket a military funeral screaming "God Hates Fags" -- and it's protected speech.
So while adults debate about bullying, the bullies keep torturing kids emotionally, in school and online. You know why? 'Cause not enough people take bullying seriously.
You wanna know how to get people to take it seriously? Here's step 1. Stop calling it bullying.
I was a pale skinny child of two ex-clergy with an ethnic last name that began with 'FU.' I was picked on so much the bullies all got frequent-abuser cards. If they decked my books ten times they could break into my locker for free.
Bullying is an flaccid, outdated, archies comic-era term. It's so quaint and toothless -- like saying DeNiro bullied Nick Nolte's family in Cape Fear. It doesn't do justice to the kind of brutalizing that would drive a kid to kill him or herself. It's like calling homeless people 'tramps' or 'hoboes' -- or saying the Khmer Rouge was 'Peevish.'
The word dates back to 1693. It's had a good run. Call it peer abuse, unamerican persecution, criminal harassment. Call it anything that makes people take it seriously, but stop calling it bullying. It sounds like what the Little Rascals got from Butch & Woim.
I'm John Fugelsang for GRITtv, and if you don't stop saying bullying, I'm going to meet you after school and break your face.