Sued51's Blog

bullyingYes, I’m writing this in response to the story of the pranked nurse in Great Britain who committed suicide over some radio personalities’ joke. I’m sure Kate Middleton and Prince William are upset about their unintentional involvement. Someone dying over a supposed joke is the ultimate tragedy. But this “joke” is just another form of bullying to me; this tragedy just an adult version of a teen committing suicide over cyber-bullying.

The other day my husband had the radio on when a local radio DJ, disguised as a “Christmas Elf” pranked a woman by reading her personal journal poetry and aired details of personal financial situation and debts, even asked if she was going to declare bankruptcy. The woman was clearly very angry and upset; she kept saying, “Who are you?” She asked, “How did you get my poetry?” as he read right over her hysterical voice. I was cringing in my chair (I would have changed the channel if I had been alone), while my husband chuckled. The woman finally hung up and the DJs laughed hysterically. I failed to see the humor. All I could think of was that we will never know if that woman had a heart attack or beat her kids or got into a car accident on her way to work because she was so upset after that call. My husband said the DJs call the person back later and explain the prank. And how long would it take to get her blood pressure down after that? Is it okay to humiliate someone in such a public way? How is this different from cyber-bullying? Just because we are dealing with supposed “adults” here?

The recipients of these jokes did not deserve to be placed in the “stockade”; they did nothing wrong — except to have had an acquaintance with a sick sense of humor (in the case of the woman on the phone) or to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time (in the case of the nurse). Could the recipients of these jokes have responded differently than they did? Yes, but that does not make it right in my book. Anti-bullying groups have made great strides in raising awareness in schools in the last few years because of tragic events like this most recent story, yet this is still considered entertainment? Bullying adults is no less wrong than bullying children, we just seem to condone it. Am I humorless or are these pranks bullying in disguise?

This is not the blog I had planned on posting today, but as we all know, sometimes plans have to be temporarily put aside to put out the fire.

Let’s make it clear: I’m a Patriots fan so this is not going to be a blog congratulating the Jets for backing up their trash talk, being prepared or playing a good game.  What I learned from them has to do with my own reaction to yesterday’s playoff debacle.

I have been one raw nerve since my father passed away one month ago.  On top of that, it happens to be a new year so I also picked this time to try to get healthy: eat healthier (diet), cut back on alcohol, etc.  So what did I do?  I used my sports team as my crutch, my escape from reality, and allowed myself to feel a totally unhealthy anticipation of them winning a GAME.  What happened?  I was devastated by something that has nothing to do with me or my life.  I was really angry, not at the Patriots for disappointing me, but at the Jets.  The loss brought up old feelings of being bullied as a child; to me the Patriots were the victims and the Jets were the big-mouthed bullies.

I don’t know any of the players or coaches on either side.  They have no knowledge of anything going on in my life and they wouldn’t care if they did.  It is just another unhealthy habit for me to care this much.

I’m finally reading Tuesdays with Morrie.  In that book, Morrie says we need to feel our emotions so we can completely understand them, and then put them aside and detach.  I’m trying to do that with this blog: wallow, understand, and move on.

My husband said, “Time to watch the Celtics and the Bruins,” but I’m thinking I need to stay away from sports for a bit — until I learn to detach.

This is painful for me to write about, but I feel like I should.  Is there more animal abuse happening recently or is it just that in the past it was not publicized?

I see the headlines, but I can’t read the stories.  If it comes on the TV news I have to change the channel or leave the room.  Yes, you can dismiss me as one of those crazy animal lovers, but I feel the same way about child abuse.  Both these issues are about an extreme, sick, violent form of bullying someone vulnerable.  The headlines alone are enough to make me want to cry, I don’t need to read the stories.  But is that why it continues to happen, because people like me want to pretend the problem doesn’t exist?

Bullying in schools has finally become an important issue; it can no longer be ignored because children have died, but it has been going on since the beginning of public schooling.  It has escalated recently because of social media and the illusion that violence is somehow acceptable in our society, which is implied through its excessive use in video games and movies.  Why do children or animals have to die in order for us as a society to address the issue?

I feel very torn about the reporting of it.  I know it is important that people know that it is going on so we can work to stop it.  A news story may motivate some people to step up and offer information on the perpetrators so they can be caught.  But there is also the element of glorifying those who do this by giving them attention.

I feel powerless to do anything but bring it up and get others to think about it.  How can we stop this behavior?

et cetera
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