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Monday, April 11, 2011

Attention All Bullies: Justice is Served

Attention all bullies: Justice is served!

In high school, you bullies liked to poke fun at the nerds, geeks and smart folk. You called us dork, homo, queer, wimp, four eyes, or if you were having a particularly bad day you just sucker punched us in the chest when we werent looking, or perhaps you outsourced your bullying and stuck a sign on our backs saying "Kick me" and let your buddies do all the work.

Instead of learning for yourself the ways of the physical universe, you went and played football, or you smoked the various herbs, drank six packs of brew, and partied on the weekends prostituting your brains for a 'quick fix' or a 'good time', and ostracized us for not doing the same.

Instead of learning for yourself Euclid's geometry, differential equations, machine language, electronic circuits or other forms of applied mathematics; you instead chose cheerleading and playing hockey, football and basketball, or you simply made us do your homework by threat of force because you were too busy ridiculing or trying to beat us up to get much involved in that whole learning thing.

How are all those cheerleading pom poms, footballs, hockey sticks, and beer bongs working out for you now? Not too well from what I hear.

Now many years later, you still havent learned the techniques of producing something useful, or how to use the mechanisms of generating the true wealth (i.e.,  computer programming, engineering, biological sciences, geological sciences, metallurgy, etc.) to benefit humanity, nor have you learned proper logic, symbolic logic, reason, and analysis. (Once learned these can be applied to any situation to solve problems and generate new avenues of exploration).

Fast forward: This is not High School. Your time is up!

Now you cannot simply lean over our desk and give us a wet willie to get the answers from our trigonometry exam when your mortage comes due. And to think you used to joke and complain how stupid math was, and how you would never use it.

You ask what time it is?

Well for you, its panic time! Sheer, unadulterated--looking under the couch for spare change--while shivering in your dirty jock strap cause you didn't pay your heating and water bill--while trying to pay your mortgage--all encompassing terrifying Panic Time!

In other words,  you have no real employable skills because you were to busy with more important things (like picking on us) to learn anything applicable during your formative years; yet still you complain and whine and want to take from and bully the nerds, geeks, dorks and smart folk who have become the millionaires and billionaires of today. Yet you still insult us even though you use the toasters, cars, jets, light bulbs, televisions, facebook pages, youtubes, ATM machines, and CPU's that we created. (Still cant see any use for all that stupid mathematics?)

But alas, since we run the companies you work for, you cannot as easily bully us by force, so you do so by herding together like mindless sheep in unions, working seven at a time to change a lightbulb, coasting at your jobs that anyone including a trained gerbil could perform. Yet whenever one of us comes up with an idea, you swarm around trying to get a piece of it, just as you did in the locker rooms and hallways, trying to take our lunch money.

Only now, instead of taking our lunch money, you stop paying your mortgages and expect us to pick up the tab, or you chant, "Eat the rich," (the new rallying cry of the grown up bully). What about welfare programs, mortgage cram-downs, union rallies; these are the mere temper tantrums of an bully turned adult still trying to bully the nerds and geeks and all the people you used to make fun of, but who are now successful.

Now you are working for us!

You cant get what you want through the path of least mental effort, so you try to use your bully-unions, socialism, guilt tripping and government to get it for you.
Some things never change!

Your grade in life: F.

The Moonraker,
Hieronymus Bosch XVII


  1. Hi, Hieronymus Bosch XVII.

    It seems that the institutions in power have perfected their dogma to the point where their own victims blame the individuals for their problems instead of the institutions.

    They get the majority of U.S. citizens to believe so firmly in the democrat and republican pseudo-differences that the citizens don't realize they're voting their own rights away.

    Both the Democrats and the Republicans print money to give to the big companies and institutions. Both Democrats and Republicans write laws to let police tap your phones or knock your doors down and shoot your pets literally at will, but each pretend-side tricks their followers into thinking their side doesn't do that while the other does.

    At least in high school the bullies knew they were bad. Now the few people who have the most power have millions of brainwashed citizen soldiers fighting on their behalf boosting their power and eliminating all our freedoms.

  2. Thanks for your post Dear Sir.

    I personally wonder how many sovereign individuals are out there. Its hard to get a good count. The automotons, body snatchers, etc. have taken over, and they dont even show up on a new invention of mine that I call the individuometer.

    Do you think most people want to blend into the herd, or do you think people just dont know what other options are out there, because the corporations are so good at keeping things from them, and directing their options to one or two choices?

  3. Jambalaya Crawfish Pie, I think that most people blend out of a sense of fear of being different more than a desire to be assimilated. They don't know this consciously, of course. They just know that they feel discomfort when people disagree with them and distress when people don't accept them.

    The ability to like yourself in spite of approval is by far one of the most difficult things to learn in our society, but once learned is the most liberating.

  4. Hi Jambalaya,
    In an article on people's response to catastrophe, written in my kids science magazine (Science et vie junior) there was an interesting article on a related subject: People's response to catastrophe. The research showed that in an average population, in catastrophic situation, 10% will try to handle the situation, 10% will panic and 80% will be try to act as if nothing is happening. People will remeain seated in a burning restaurant. The author says that the stress created by the situation "disconects" the analytic frontal lobes and puts these people on automatic. If an authority figure presents itself and asks these people to leave they will do so, but if not, they may burn in their seat.
    Extrapolating wildly,I wonder if a similar mechanism is not in place in everyday life, in the face of the stress levels in their lives, people turn on the cruise control and go through life without actually thinking about it. If a leader shows up with a simple message, they will follow. How many people actually take the time to slow down and think? I know that in my case, during the 15 or so years my kids where growing, my job was demanding and I was adding night courses on top of everything, I kind of stopped thinking. Trying to do better these days!
    Michel Lamontagne

  5. Thanks for the wonderful comment, Michel.

    I think there are several related phenomena you are talking about and all are complex and multifaceted and show up in many different ways. I will try to offer a few examples of my own.

    Like for instance when people are occupied in a group they will often bully and ridicule someone, yet alone or one on one with another person they would never dare do the same. Or when a person passes by another injured person in a busy city intersection because they think some other person will help.

    Furthermore, I think even more to your point, there is only so much information a person can handle. In a finite world, we only have so much time to think, and only so much time for action. I think technology may only make us more vulnerable to inaction, because we are more and more pre-occupied with our own internal affairs of our lives, such as commercialism, sports, gossip, blogs, facebook accounts, news programs, learning pursuits, and combining that with family life, home maintenance etc., and when all is said and done, how many busy people have time to stop and think much anymore outside of work directed thought and other responsibilities. I cant imagine that getting better, as new gadgets are created there is less time just to stop and think as you say.

    My greatest moments of insight come when I am going for walks at night, or walking in the woods, I hope you have time to stop and smell the proverbial roses as well.

    Thanks again.

  6. I think it's true that as humans we're built to process things we pre-thought out much more quickly than things we must process for the first time.

    This is not only true of physical actions (such as performing a dive a thousand times until you can do it reflexively) but of moral behavior, too.

    About 30 years ago at age 15 I remember being challenged, attacked and then chased with a bat by two people while my whole neighborhood watched and did nothing to help. I had to deal with the attackers on my own.

    Later that year at high school I saw four seniors take a little freshman and stick him in a garbage can. I'd already made the decision not to allow such bullying, so it was reflexive to chase off the four seniors and save the kid.

    If it's true that 80% of people do not have the reflex to help people in trouble, I'm not convinced the distinction is genetic. I think the distinction is that 80% of people don't think in advance, "What would I do if I face this situation."

    There's nothing wrong with walking into a room and picking out right away what you'd do if attacked or if the roof fell or if the world turned into zombies. Thinking of the unlikely makes it more certain when it happens that you'll act right away.

  7. Hello Jambalaya,

    Thank you for your kind words. Re-reading your post I appreciate the rythm and flow of it, but I will differ on the conclusions that 'old' bullies are due for panic time. I think there are bullies in all walks of life, and that some of them have actually become our bosses. In 'The Dilbert Principle' , my favorite management book, Scott Adams makes the point that management is the ultimate refuge ot the incompetent; and isn't that a good definition of a bully?

    Michel Lamontagne

  8. Hello Guillermo,

    I agree that forethought will help us tackle unlikely situations. I think that it's one of the main points of military and fire fighting training; teach people to act coherently in difficult situations. Of course, there are limits to training, and being over trained may make us react in an unapropriate manner. I've read the book 'Intuition' by Malcolm Gladwell on this subject recently, and although it isn't as clear as the article in my kid's magazine (!), it does offer insight into how decisions are taken,and why we act and sometimes fail to act.
    Getting back to bullies, when they attack you when you are young, are they trying to train you to react automatically in a subservient way?


    Michel Lamontagne

  9. Hi, Michael.

    I didn't think of the military correlation. That's a good oen but not one I intended because the military tries to remove your own morales from you, while I think we should all try to condition ourselves.

    With regard to: "Getting back to bullies, when they attack you when you are young, are they trying to train you to react automatically in a subservient way?"

    That's a tough call, but I'd guess the answer is almost always no because I think for a bully to bully someone they have to truly not care about their victim. They can't even hate their victim; the victim has to evoke no emotion in them. And that would suggest the bully doesn't really care what happens to the victim in the future. At least that's how it seems to me. You?

  10. Hello,

    Thank you for all of your excellent posts. I have learned something from each of them.

    I have been busy uncovering oppression wherever I can find it. So I was happy when I checked back into my layer to find such fruitful discussion.

    I have a question: I saw a television show where people talked about standing up to bullies, where the hosts acted like they couldn't understand why people would just stand by and let an injustice happen. Is it always that easy?

    I don't think so.

    When someone is being bullied it is often more subtle than being brutalized, but the two are different degrees of the same thing. Standing up is not always so easy. Especially when the bullies are very powerful. I am thinking of people from schoolyard bullies to dictators. If the bully is in the schoolyard, you have to face the consequences of how you deal with it, and if the bully is in government, the consequences of standing up can be very serious.

    Michel, I think sociologically I tend to see the motivations of bullying as an unconscious effort of people (the bullies) to make people subservient. 'Gotta keep the man down.' Although, I agree with you I dont think the bully necessarily realizes that he is just being a tool for the system.

  11. Hello Jambalaya Crawfish pie,

    Such a busy life, being a superhero! Thank you for taking the time from your main activities to comment on these posts.
    Drawing from your heroically immense store of bullying expertise, you can perhaps answer a question these exchanges have raised for me: What is the nature of the relationship between the crony, the underling who does the bullying, and doesn't really care about you, and the boss, who orders the bullying? Which one is the bully?
    Or both? Or are they really acting for another, more ethereal type of bully, `The System`?

    Michel Lamontagne

  12. Hi, Michel. I'm guessing Jambalaya is out patrolling the streets. I'm curious what her answer would be, too.

    But the question reminds me of the old Dungeons and Dragons alignment system back in the 1970's. Ever play that game? They had a scale of good and evil combined with law and chaos. In the game, demons were considered Chaotic Evil (might makes right), and devils were considered Lawful Evil (a system/government system where people obey authority and hierchy).

    The crony system you reference reminds me a lot of that devil system. Perhaps some cronies hope to rise the ranks in the hierchy, but overall I imagine it's a faithful obedience to rank regardless of the inherent evil of the system.

  13. Michel and Guillermo,

    I think there is a symbiotic relationship between different kinds and levels of bullies. But sociologically speaking, I don't think it matters whether you are talking about a schoolyard bully and his henchmen, or a bully in the government, business, mafia, or just a jerk in the neighborhood where you live. The underlying phenomenon is related.

    Also, I don't think a schoolyard bully consciously thinks he is just a tool for subservience and conformity in the system, (there is no way he could think that), but in reality that is just what he is doing, and the end result is the same!

    My basic tenet is that people have a right to be left alone if they are not bothering anyone or hurting anyone else. But this very attitude drives some bullies crazy.

    A neighbor of mine once told me about a time when he had just come back from a long road trip and stopped in a sports bar and grill for a bite to eat. He and his friend were just minding their own business. (Alert: this is what every bully hates: a person minding his or her own business). Some drunk at the bar came up to him and his friend, and said what do you think about the basketball game on tv. The two friends just nodded politely, and said they hadn't really been paying attention to it.

    So the guy went to the restroom and came out and stopped by their table again. He made a comment insulting the two diners masculinity. He said something akin to "what don't you two watch sports, or are you some kind of sissies," (only he said it less delicately), and it escalated from there. Needless to say, they were actually rough and tumble motorcycle bikers, and this bully had picked on the wrong folks. (Sadly most bullies act with impunity).

    I was not there, but I am pretty sure, this is an example of a bully who didn't know his underlying motivations, he was probably drunk, but was nevertheless supporting the system by trying to get these guys to conform to what he thought guys should be. Perhaps he felt that all real guys should watch sporting events, know the scores to all the games, drink a certain kind of beer, I don't know exactly what, but that was the end result. I think people should be free to do so, but they shouldn't be upset if people aren't interested in those things.

    Which is why my friends, we need to treat everyone as individuals, and never typecast, or presume someone else likes something just because they belong to one stereotypical category or another.

    So to sum things up: yes the bully is supporting the system of subservience, and reaps some sort of benefit from their bullying, personal satisfaction or otherwise. But no, I do not think they really see themselves as doing anything corrupt. What does everyone else think.

    Does a bully see him or herself as villain? What are the motivations? If a bully agrees with the system as it stands, then isn't trying to get others to submit really for their own good.

    Guillermo and Michel thanks for your most excellent insights.

    Hieronymus Bosch XVII