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The Way To Fight Bullies Is To Fight Adults Who Support Them

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, April 17, 2014 10:45 EDT

I’ve been pleased with the recent tidal wave of anti-bullying sentiment in this country, but I can’t help but think sometimes that the actual root causes of the problem are often being overlooked in favor of a bunch of self-serving back-patting where everyone agrees bullying is wrong before returning to upholding a society where bullying is common. In particular, I take issue with the common assumption out there that bullying is a matter between children and teens and that adults generally oppose it. If you were bullied in high school, you probably know that the adults often range from indifferent to outright supportive of bullying, with some of the more conservative-leaning adults frequently seeing bullying as just desserts for the victim or as a useful form of social control. Without addressing this, we aren’t addressing the problem. When adults hand-wave and claim that of course they’re against bullies, we need to start pushing them to prove it.*

Take this recent example: A 15-year-old Pennsylvania teenager at South Fayette High School was subject to daily abuse from his classmates. He decided to fight back by recording the abuse on his iPad. He brought this evidence of his bullying to the principal, and the principal called the cops. On the victim. “Wire-tapping” charges were contemplated before he was actually found guilty of disorderly conduct, which is kind of mind-blowing when you consider that everything that happened happened in a public school.

When school officials learned about the recording, Principal Scott Milburn contacted local police on February 12, for what he considered a “wiretapping incident.” After approaching the boy for questioning, South Fayette Lieutenant Robert Kurta told him to dispose of the recording, and charged him with disorderly conduct. In Pennsylvania, the low-level crime is known as a “summary offense,” and does not typically result in jail time for juveniles. Nonetheless, they can stay on a juvenile’s criminal record. McGraw-Desmet later upheld the charges, fining the student “a minimum of $25.” The 15-year old was also ordered to pay court costs. Love is currently trying to get the decision reversed.

The student and his mother had tried to stop the bullying in the past, only to have the school officials deny it counts as bullying.

With bullying, you’re facing basically the same problem you have when it comes to rape culture. Everyone flaps their gums about how bad rape is, but when the rubber hits the road, a whole bunch of people side with rapists against rape victims. With this incident, you even see the same logic that rape and domestic violence victims often hear, that speaking out against abuse somehow  deprives their assailant of his privacy.

Beyond that, the problem with bullying is that adults look the other way for exactly the same reasons kids do: They don’t like the victim, they find the whole process amusing or even what the victim deserves, they think the victim is whiny, etc. As long as adults feel this way, bullies will feel free to do their thing, safe in the knowledge that the adults are on their side. To fix bullying, we need to shift some of the efforts away from sending a “message” to kids that bullying is bad and start really tackling the culture of the adults who tolerate or even encourage it.

Substituting The Word “Nature” For “God” Doesn’t Make Your Argument Less Religious, Anti-Choicers

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 13:43 EDT

Feministing has a post up about Bob Marshall, who is running for Congress in Virginia. Marshall thinks children’s disabilities is how his god punishes women for their sexual decisions. In 2010, at an event calling for an end to state funding for Planned Parenthood, Mr. Marshall suggested that women who have abortions are more likely to face “vengeance” from “nature” in children with a greater likelihood of having developmental disabilities. “The number of children who…


Confirmed: “Men’s Rights Activism” Is For Misogynists Without God

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 10:20 EDT

“Men’s rights”, a code word for opposition to women’s rights (usually women’s right to be free of violence, to be autonomous in their sexual and relationship decision-making, and to be treated as equals in education and labor ), is a popular topic on Reddit, and recently the forums dedicated to…


Game of Thrones Makes Its Audience Complicit

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, April 14, 2014 17:19 EDT

Last night’s Game of Thrones was a masterpiece, it really was. (SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT.) It worked even more perfectly than I guessed it would have, having read the books and known what was coming. I’m going to leave the in-depth recapping aside—Scott does a great job of it…


Orange Couch Recaps Mad Men: S7E1, “Time Zones”

By Amanda Marcotte

Mad Men is back, which means so is the Orange Couch! Last night’s episode was masterful. Unlike the big “reveal” of the season six premiere—that Don was cheating again—this reveal felt like an actual shocker. It seems that what Don needed to get good at his job again was to…


Political Junkies Segment On Equal Pay

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, April 10, 2014 15:21 EDT

I’m running a bit behind in my work this week, y’all, because of taxes (which yes, I should have done sooner) and going on the internet TV. But you can enjoy this quite satisfying panel I was on for HuffPost Live’s show “Political Junkies”. There’s been so much back-and-forth and…


Neal Boortz Reports, More In Sorrow Than In Glee, That Female Brains Are Simply Inadequate

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 15:23 EDT

Neal Boortz really has mastered the art of mansplaining in 140 characters. What does it say about women voters that they’re so easily fooled and manipulated by the Democrats asinine “war on women” rhetoric? — Neal Boortz (@Talkmaster) April 8, 2014 Democrats to women: “Hey, we know you’re not, nor…


Bill O’Reilly Is Aggrieved At Your Grievances

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 11:05 EDT

Bill O’Reilly is aggrieved. (What’s new?) He’s aggrieved that other people—people who are not older white men—are aggrieved.  Older white men are the only one allowed grievances, because the only grievance really allowed is to be aggrieved that younger, more female, and more racially diverse people do not accept your…


Captain America: Winter Soldier Is A Political Parable About The Security State

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, April 7, 2014 10:19 EDT

Well, since Scott handled Game of Thrones, I guess that gives me the go to write about Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which I  saw on Friday. Go see this movie! It’s very nearly perfect as an entertaining action movie, except for the part where we’re supposed to believe that…


Don’t Call it Normcore. Call It Brokecore.

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, April 4, 2014 12:58 EDT

Oh boy, the New York Times has discovered the “normcore” trend. Next Time will do something on it, and it will be considered passé in record time, like rising and falling in the space of two months. Not that people will stop dressing this way, of course. But calling it…