Friday, March 24, 2006

An archetype of bullying

A man and his wife babysit a 5-year-old boy, by way of entertainment they tell their 3-year-old daughter to "knock the victim down, kick him and hit him in the face. The girl follows her father's instructions as the boy cries and pleads for her to stop". Once done, the daughter is declared the winner and it is demanded of the boy as to why he didn't defend himself. All this takes place in front of a video camera.

It's a nasty little story, I hope the adults get what they deserve and the children are not permanently scarred.

I wouldn't write it up here, but for the fact that it struck me as a very clean archetypal microcosm of bullying. It has all the necessary components - the bully (dad), watched by the dumb crowd (mum) doesn't actually soil his own hands, but gets some easily manipulated sidekick (daughter) to do the dirty work, then harrasses the victim (boy) for losing a fight he can't win. Ths revolting scene plays out day after day in playgrounds, households, workplaces and courtrooms.

Crowd, bully, sidekick, victim.

In particular, consider the hostile, wife-initiated divorce in our modern climate. The mother, gazing on, is the mob, not daring to get involved, but unable to look away, silently complicit. The bully is "the system", wherein lies the brute power, and a few stirrers. The little girl is wifey(*), egged on to lay into little boy hubby for all she's worth while fear of her, the bully and the crowd keeps him in line. Then he gets cleaned out anyway when he loses a fight he can't win.

Sometimes I can barely stomach the human animal. I hope both the adults get jail time, but I know they won't.

(*) To be fair, occasionally you could swap wifey for hubby and vice versa, it depends on who has a line in to the bully's power which is usually had through the sympathies of the crowd.

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