Will “Bully” do any good?
“People get bullied all the time” – Casey Heynes You remember Casey Heynes right? The kid who sometime back became an internet sensation for finally standing up to his school bully on tape. He became a hero overnight, the video became viral, taken down and reposted over and over again. I think about him a lot and that particular incident as I write this blog for the movie “Bully” “Bully” is a documentary that follows about 5 kids around the country who are bullied. It also deals with 2 families that have lost children due to bullying, opening on a sad note that tells the story of one child who took his own life. The movie opens on the 30th… and currently there is a bit of a scandal due to the “R” rating and letting kids see the documentary, critics are touting this as the movie every teenager and parent should see. I, however, am not. I am sure the film is a wonderfully documented, poetic, sad movie with an uplifting message in the end, I mean that’s what the trailer portrays anyway. And I may be seen as the bad guy for posting this, but I have to once again, go on my soapbox to remind you how wrong everyone is, and how right I am. The fact is people, you can’t change a person. They are who they are, and let’s be honest, there will always be bullies. They aren’t just kids. They are bosses, neighbors, cops, and even a time or two, it might have been ourselves from time to time. There is a dark part in someone’s soul that puts a person there. You may not even realize it. You may go watch this movie, get all teary eyed, sad and uplifted, then go back to work tomorrow, talk about the great movie you saw, then talk shit about the fat guy who smells like old cheese in the cubicle down the hall. I am tired of seeing “stop bullying” facebook pages and discussions about how this movie is going to change things, yet I have noticed that despite the huge followings these pages get, or how excited people are and mad about the R rating of this movie (when a movie about kids killing each other called “Hunger Games” is only PG-13) yet the problem hasn’t gone away. Indeed going to see a movie may be the new slacktivist thing to do. Why address kids and the perils of growing up when we can just shuffle them to a movie? Why not join a facebook page that says “stop bullying” and feel our guilt being eased knowing you did your part? Because nothing got done. And nothing will get done. The problem with “getting stuff done” is that you have to actually do something. We need to get out of this YMCA “everyone gets a ribbon” world and start teaching kids that everyone is different. This is something that starts with parenting. And I’m going to let you in on a secret, kids don’t tell you everything. Your so called “little angel” could be the most evil kid on the playground, and your confident little artist may be the most submissive punching bag in a 10 block radius. Maybe the problem is there is no answer. That this is going to be part of some kid’s life forever. This is not just possible, but is actually the reality. The only way to solve this is to switch the tables. I can say this, because at one time I was bullied. Relentlessly. In my elementary years, I was sent to a rural school in the country where the kids proceeded to do every cruel thing they could think of four four years to the new kid. It wasn’t until we moved while I was in junior high, that I was able to start over again, discover punk rock and become empowered to change from a sheep to a lion. God soon blessed me with my monster frame, and with my defiant attitude, I became my own champion of what is right, wrong, and have never backed down from my views. This sometimes paints me as an ass, but when I think of where I started, I would rather be a defiant ass then having my own kicked every day. You want to know what happens to kids who were bullied who finally take a stand? They become podcast DJ’s who write scathing blogs about anything they want. When I discovered punk rock, the world really opened up for me. Things made sense. I was no longer alone. There was others out there who were tired, but instead of turning the other cheek, they were defying there oppressors whatever they may be. Punk was loud, dangerous, and empowering. It didn’t take long for me to stand up for myself. Suicide was never an option, punk rock taught me if something gets you down and you find yourself losing, you pick yourself up, make yourself a thorn in your adversary’s side and go down swinging.I still find myself out there, standing up for myself, telling you what I think and making passionate arguments about it, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Even as more and more music becomes stale and cookie cutter, I find the ideals that built me staying more and more true. And maybe that’s the only way out. If we know that human kind is a cruel race, if we know that bullies exist in every facet of life, instead of trying to join facebook pages to make it easier on our kids (which really people isn’t going to do anything) maybe we need to empower those who are bullied to build on whatever strength they have. The problem is that parents are willing to let their kids do whatever they want except be themselves. So I look at Casey Heynes. I think about how when he stood up for himself the world cheered him on. I look at other news reports and found a story about the kid who was bullying him and how he had started being threatened all over the world after the incident. Funny how we don’t realize that standing up for the bullied kids, we had become bullies ourselves. The problem isn’t going to go away. But is it a problem or a part of growing up? Am I saying it’s right or fair? No of course not. But is it a part of life? You bet your sweet facebook group hippie ass it is. We can’t live in a world where Harry Potter’s dad was a jerk and he is seen as a hero in children’s books, then expect our kids to adhere to some golden rule. This movie will unfortunately only preach to the already beaten choir. I invite you to save your money and time for self defense lessons or finding a way to get your kid inspired enough to find an outlet so they can become great at something. Life lessons teach us what we can be good at, and they give us a well of energy to tap into whether it be good or bad. Instead of showing you the trailer for Bully, I would much rather show you Casey’s stand again. Remember how you felt when Casey stood up for himself. I bet no one is picking on him anymore. Now get off my lawn.