A brief observation

Those of us who were occasionally bullied in grade school (for me it was during my younger years, much less so in my older ones, and even then I didn’t get bullied a whole lot, but it did happen) might remember scenarios in which the bigger kid is picking on the smaller, and doing stuff like cornering him someplace alone, and refusing to let him pass, and maybe punching him a bit in the stomach or shoulder. Maybe it gets worse, like dumping the kid’s books while he’s in the bathroom. Whatever it is — it’s the canonical style of bullying, what people my age tend to think of when they hear the word.

Remember what the bully always said on those rare occasions when a teacher or other adult just happened to show up, coming ’round the corner at just the right time? “I was just kidding around with him!”

“I was just playin’!”

“I wasn’t gonna hurt him or anything, we were just playin’!”

“I was just joking with him!”

That’s what I think of whenever some comedian says something really awful, gets called on it, and then starts in with the “I was just telling a joke!” defense.

I think that an uncomfortably large amount of comedy these days springs from the same mental space from which bullying comes. And that, no matter what the comedians might wish, is their problem, not mine.

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5 Responses to A brief observation

  1. Kal says:

    I had a bully that pulled me on that. The teacher pulled us apart and told us if we wanted to fight then I had to wait until he took off his glasses. I took one shot to his head imediately and his glasses broke in half and hit the ground in two pieces. Like he did.

  2. SK Waller says:

    I so agree. The only that hurt me was, "I was just teasing!" Hard to swallow after being called ugly and stupid.

  3. Roger Owen Green says:

    Interesting thing that's happened with my monthly collection of links for March is that it addresses a lot of those bullied/ and/or wounded people. Wasn't looking for them; they just cropped up.

  4. teflonjedi says:

    Tina Fey picking on Taylor Swift, at the Golden Globes, for having dated a few people, used the "if she can't take a joke" defense.

    Perhaps I'm alone in this, but I didn't think that was particularly nice, to call Swift out in public for having a normal dating life for a young woman. It all seemed snarky on the part of Fey.

    I'm not a big big fan of Swift, but that's not the issue is it? Now I'm not a big fan of Fey.

  5. fillyjonk says:

    I used to work with someone who would say some rather rude and hurtful things, and then, if you called him on it, would whine, "But I was *just kidding*!"

    No, no, he wasn't. He were hoping to get away with his crap and wasn't man enough to apologize when called on it. It was really distasteful.

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