April 28, 2012: Bully Shit

Tevye and I went to see Bully the other night at Camelview. Bully is the documentary all about kids picking on other kids for being fat or gay or ugly or not looking enough like Zooey Deschanel, whoever that is. In other words, it’s a movie about public high school in America.

If I have a criticism of the film (and of course I do—have you met me?), it’s that filmmaker Lee Hirsch depicted only kids who live in backwoods communities. Where was the rich kid in the private school in Chicago who’s being bullied? Or the upper-middle-class fourth grader in the Los Angeles public school with the same trouble? I worry that audiences will watch the under-privileged hillbilly teens being picked on in Bully and leave the film with the impression that bullying is something that happens among poor, under-educated Appalachians who live in places with one traffic light.

It isn’t. Tevye and I both grew up in middle-class homes in one of the largest cities in the country, and attended decent public schools run by adults whose job it was to protect us while we were trying to learn the alphabet and the history of the world and New Math.

For the most part, they didn’t. On the way home, Tevye and I talked about having been harassed for being fags when we were young, and how teachers turned a blind eye to it.

What my memories of fourth grade look like.

“The difference between you and me,” my husband said, “is that you told the kids who were picking on you to go fuck themselves, which I couldn’t have done.”

“Sure,” I replied, “but what about you? After being picked on for 12 years, you one day grabbed one of the little ass-hats who’d been bugging you and slammed him against a locker. Which I was never able to do.”

“Yeah,” Tevye said. “And that kid left me alone after that. But the others didn’t.”

I thought about this for a minute. “Let’s go home and look that guy up on Facebook,” I said. “I’ll write him an email telling him I hope he grew up to be fat and ugly and hates his job and is miserable.”

Tevye took my hand. “You’re such a bully,” he said.

“Go fuck yourself,” I replied.

 Thing I Hate Today: My jowls

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4 Responses

  1. Robert, you and I have too much in common! Are we meeting up anytime soon?

  2. the bullies were the teachers at my school, namely nuns.

  3. Robrt you are SPOT ON! lets see I was raised in a “North Shore” suburb of Chicago and had 3 strikes against me…..FAT….GAY (who knew I didn’t) and dare I say the word with the “k” oh I shall KIKE…………….I heard that my ENTIRE school life. Talk about a sad state of affairs, and today these poor kids only know to take their life. I don’t know back then if I would have done that if it were an option. Point being it HAPPENS TO ALL WALKS OF LIFE EVERYWHERE. Thank-you for your wonderful take on the movie, even though I still think you’re BITCHY.
    CHEERS

  4. While walking home from a new school in a new town, I was chided by three boys on bicycles. They followed me for about a dozen blocks and said the usual stupid things teenage boys say. Sending an email telling them I hope they grew up to be fat, ugly and miserable sounds good to me!

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