Thursday, February 15, 2018

Chris Rock says we need bullies.

Right here he says it.

In the only language Chris Rock understands -- because it's the only language he speaks -- I reply, "fuck you, motherfucker."

I really, really want to add a few instances of the n-word in there, because that word is punctuation to him (and to several other black comics, for reasons that escape me. I get reclaiming a slur, but I'll never understand repetition of the slur for the sake of repetition).

Apologies if you find this racist fuck funny. I don't. I never have.

This is Rock's vision of what school is, or ought to be, shorn of its needless profanity:

We need bullies. gonna have a school without bullies? Bullies do half the work. Teachers do one half, bullies do the whole other half. And that’s the half you’re gonna use if you’re a...grownup. Who [cares] if you can code if you cry because your boss doesn’t say ‘Hi’? You think people were nice to Bill Gates in high school? “Hey, Gates, you Charlie Brown–looking [.....]!" 

In school as in life, there are bullies, the bullied, and bystanders. Three guess which category Chris Rock belonged to. Because nobody who was ever bullied would say it made them great.

I've gone on at far too much length elsewhere about how I was bullied. Suffice it to say this: I have two friends on Facebook who personally witnessed some of the worst of it. One was my grade five teacher. The other was one of the very few people who treated me at all decently that year. That latter woman has gone on record expressing amazement I didn't bring a gun to school and even the score a little. This is a woman who abhors crime of all kinds even more than most of us do; that she'd say that actually knocked me back a step.

Why didn't I? Bring a gun to school and start shooting? I won't lie and say the thought never crossed my mind. But it crossed fleetingly and was driven out so fast it might have been on wheels. Why?

It sure as FUCK wasn't the bullies.

Rather, it was -- part of it was -- the teachers, especially the aforementioned Mr. Sackville, who was the kind of teacher they make biopics about. He sheltered me as much as anyone could, and what's more he made sure to build me up each time I got knocked down. He did this to everyone, it's just who he was (and is).

I had a cop for a father; I knew what would happen to me if I so much as brandished a gun around school. But...

Here's Rock again:

Pressure makes diamonds. Not hugs. Hug a piece of coal and see what you get. You get a dirty shirt.”

He's on to, well, something here. Coddling kids, teaching them they can't fail, buying them whatever they want whenever they want it, and on and on and on...not helpful. Rock is right that the world is full of assholes and you'd better learn to deal with them right quick or you'll spend your life huddled in fear.

Bullies are one way to learn. They're FAR from the most effective.

A little secret about the bullies who aren't out-and-out psychopaths: they're more insecure than the people they bully.  The only way they've learned to feel good about themselves is to make others feel bad about THEMselves. Be that as it may, when your glasses are being broken, it's hard to see the difference between the psychos and the they-tread-on-me-so-I'm-a-gonna-tread-on-yous.

There are other kinds of PRESSURE, Mr. Rock. Yes to consequences; they exert their own pressure and mould you for a world run by them. An emphatic FUCK NO to senseless acts of violence. Build me up, but don't allow me to "succeed" without effort on my part. Hello? Happy Medium? Please pick up a white courtesy phone.

I think I know the root of this attitude he's got.

“[O]nly women, children, and dogs are loved unconditionally,” whereas “a man is only loved under the condition that he provide something. I’ve never heard a woman in my life say, ‘You know, after he got laid off, we got so much closer.’” After all, when a man meets someone new, his friends ask, “What does she look like?” When a woman meets someone new, her friends ask, “What does he do?” 

I echo many undervalued, underpaid (and often overworked) people much younger than me when I say A MAN IS NOT HIS JOB. (Neither, for that matter, is a woman). A job is what you do to pay bills. A job is where they pay you to get out of bed and go be with friends for the day. A job is something to take pride in, for sure, even if it's menial (sometimes especially if it's menial)...I just know that many of the people who look down on me because I work as a stocker at Walmart wouldn't last a week doing the job I do. Or if they did, they wouldn't do it half as well.

It's a pity Rock has never heard a woman say something like "after he got laid off, we got so much closer." Because Eva said that, once. Pretty sure it's something Kathy might say, if god forbid it happens to me again.

In fact, there isn't a woman IN my life who doesn't at least have the capacity to say something like that. I am loved for who I am. AND for what I do.

What do I do? I give people a safe space to be themselves. To grow (or not). To become the next greatest version of the grandest vision ever they had about who they are, should they choose. I love them as close to unconditionally as I can, and I demonstrate that love as many ways as I'm allowed to.

There are people who are better at certain things than I am. Many people, many certain things. That doesn't make them better people. I am better at certain things than some people. That doesn't make ME a better person, either. This notion of better or worse is at the root of bully culture: for me to win, you must lose.

I reject that. I reject that UTTERLY. And I reject Chris Rock for saying it.

"We need bullies?" Bull(y)shit.

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