I intended to write this rant last week, but I was too exhausted. I prefer to rant about things that are on some level funny, and bullying is never funny.
So if we all agree bullying is so awful for our kids, why do we watch so much of it on TV reality shows?
Last week my daughter dragged me to the couch and forced me to watch a half-hour of “Housewives of Beverly Hills.” I really think we should consider having prisoners in jail watch this show as punishment. We would probably see a down-tick in the crime rate.
I was so sad at the end of the show. A new girl was introduced to the show. I don’t know any names, so I’ll use descriptions. These two ancient hag mean-girl sisters decided to be unbelieveably rude to her for no reason. She hadn’t said anything to either one, they hadn’t fought before. The wrinkled older-sister hag came into the party seeming to be drunk or high — she disappeared into the bathroom constantly, and her sister kept racing after her, obvously worried about what she was doing in there. She also checked the wrinkled hag’s drink for alcohol. I’ve never watched the show before, but the producers made it appear that the wrinkled hag has a problem. She staggered into the living room and collapsed on the couch, and everyone pretended there was nothing wrong — smile, smile, smile! The hostess, a woman with a perpetually brown nose from ass-kissing the mean-girl sisters, split them into groups for games. (How old are these people? Oh, right, they’re rich, so they will act stupid and childish and get on TV for it. I forgot.) The hostess kindly grouped the new girl with the mean sisters — no drama set-up there! The old hag stage-whispered, “I don’t know her. I don’t like her. I don’t want to be in a group with her.” The hag sisters then treated the new girl like she wasn’t even there, shutting her out of the game. The final straw was when the younger hag said they should play a new game: take IQ tests. She pointed to the new girl and said, “You first.” If they had been laughing and friendly to one another, this comment could have been mean-funny. After the hag sisters’ behavior, it was insulting, and everyone in the room knew it.
Camille Grammer got up and left the room. She knew what was happening was wrong, but she didn’t want to be next.
The hostess threw in with the hag sisters. Even though the old hag had called her by the wrong name first, when the new girl did it as a joke, she whined at the younger hag, “She’s calling me by the wrong name. Make her stop.” Right in front of the new girl, as if she weren’t there. (Has this whiny bitch never heard about the responsibility of a hostess to make sure everyone feels welcome and safe in her home?) In the next show, two other women who hadn’t been there took the mean hags’ side as well. The “nice” one (must really be spineless — the new girl was her friend) even talked the new girl into apologizing to the old hag for pointing out the obvious: She seemed drunk and was acting like a bitch because of it. No one apologized to the new girl for this train wreck of a party.
I was sad when the show was over because all three of my kids have been bullied. I told all three of them the same thing: Just wait until you get out of high school. Everyone will have outgrown this stupidity, and everyone will think the bullies are idiots.
I guess I was wrong.
This scene was a lock-step replay of the bullying that goes on in every school every day: The new kid who gets attacked by the popular mean girls, the suck-ups who egg them on, the cowards who can’t watch but won’t help.
I think bullying has gotten worse. There were a few bullies when I was a kid, but it seems to be so common now. Kids videotape it and put it on YouTube. There is no sense of shame about it. And the reality shows are full of it. That’s why people watch them, right? To see the fights. (Kind of like hockey.) When kids see their moms watching this crap, they don’t think, “This is disgusting. I’m going to handle this differently next time I see it at school.” They think it’s okay. If Mom is watching it, it must be, right?
Kids model what they see. Turn off the damn TV.