Tag Archives: bullying

Making America Great Again – Circa 2050

duck and cover

I’ve wondered at times what it was about the 1950s and 1960s that allowed those two decades to dominate the nostalgia market during almost all the late 20th Century. In a lot of ways it just doesn’t make sense.

Sure, we had a better music, rhythm and blues, wailing ballads of quality country ad western, and all that new frontier of rock and roll at its birth. Songs we knew well enough to sing along, or alone as we rode down those roads before super-highways on used tires.

Old cars with personality, greasy hair, dandruff, acne and bad teeth. Parents and grandparents who went through the Great Depression and worked hard to assure we wouldn’t experience those kinds of difficult times.

Mostly at the time it was in the world around us and I don’t recall being all that happy about all the other crap that came with it. Constant brink of war sf a sort that it’s better not to remember. Knowing when you turned 18 you’d have the draft hanging over your head. And a lot of bullying everywhere you turned.

If you worked doing farm work the farmers and ranchers who hired you felt a moral obligation to shout and verbally abuse the workers anytime they got within earshot. Construction jobs? You’ve never seen bullying and abuse that could compete with a construction foreman. It was there on the school playgrounds, on the streets, anywhere people happened to be.

And mostly nobody much said a word. It just went with being alive.

Our little farm was just across the railroad tracks on the ‘Mexican’ side of town. When I was in the first and second grade I walked home from school the same way several ‘Mexican’ kids walked. I was smaller than them, anglo, and outnumbered. They started just by yelling insults, but gradually it worked up they’d chase me with sticks or throwing rocks at me.

There came a day I was running home just in front of them, arrived with my mother on the front porch. They gathered on the dirt road in front of the house, still shouting and throwing rocks.

“Get out of here you little Mescin bastards!” She ran down off the porch waving the broom. “I’ll twist your heads off and shove them up your butts!” She never got close to catching them, but they were off.

Then she came back where I was waiting on the porch and smacked me upside the head with the broom so hard it broke the handle. Grabbed me by the collar and proceeded to beat my backside with the handle fragment. “If I ever see you running away from a fight again you’d better not set foot in this house!”

When my step-dad got home she told him, and it was off to the back porch with his belt. But at least he followed that up a bit later by teaching me to fight.

I don’t know what these kids today are going to have to feel nostalgia about. Maybe some of them will have similar memories or they’ll just remember all the computer games and hum rap music to themselves and smile.

But you can almost bet when they reach 50 or so they’ll be rallying around the flag and trying to elect candidates who promise to make America great again. The way it is today.

Old Jules

School Bully Not So Tough Since Being Molested

The Onion News in PhotosBack To SchoolISSUE 38•07• Feb 27, 2002


No heaven on earth. No utopias. Just more people

Finding stereotypes capable of holding up under close scrutiny is necessary for humans, but generally goes unrefined.

Finding stereotypes capable of holding up under close scrutiny is necessary for humans, but generally goes unrefined.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I spent a while bouncing around RV full timers forum-type discussion board-type places lately.  Curious about whether any stereotype applies.  What I found was not a single good, solid stereotype a person could hammer down to perfection, but rather a number of herds of them.

Not much of this sort of thing out there among the modern nomad population.  Whether they're van dwellers or motor homesters, clean lines, shiny paintjobs and glitter are major attractions.  If it ain't eye candy it belongs in a different universe.

Not much of this sort of thing out there among the modern nomad population. Whether they’re van dwellers or motor homesters, clean lines, shiny paintjobs and glitter are major attractions. If it ain’t eye candy it belongs in a different universe.

Fields of peas pretty much running with other peas, cornfields sticking with their corny neighbors, and everyone seemingly well fed.  A few farmers within each stereotype weeding and watering.

I was especially interested in Slab City and what the people who stay there winters have to say to one another.  I thought because it’s as near anarchy as a person gets in the US, it might tell some worthy things about us as a place viewing itself as a free people, thinkers, individualists.

There’s some of that on the surface.  Everyone saying to one another, you have to take whatever comes in Slab City.  Everyone celebrating and patting themselves on the backs for their rugged individualism.

But in fact there’s an undercurrent a lot less worthy of self-praise among them.  An undercurrent of bullying and intimidation hidden in the “gotta take it as it comes” platitudes.

Turns out “take it as it comes” means, “take me as I come” and don’t even think about me taking you as you come.  If you try I’ll probably slit your tires.  Or shoot your cats.

It manifests itself subtly in the matter of cats.  Seems over the past few years women visiting the slabs have had their cats killed by dogs, or shot by dog lovers.  Always women.  How about them apples?

For folks who don’t have much interest nor love for cats and don’t have any desire at all in going on crusades, sacrificing the soothing rewards of rugged individualist wildass self-image community, it just flows down like Jack Daniels Black Label.  Everything bad hiding inside “taking it as it comes” harmony.

I’m figuring it would be a place I’d have to go to war if I landed there.  Can’t see myself sitting still for having my tires cut, knowing someone else who got his tires cut, me having a firm idea who did it.  And most especially knowing who some cat-shooting human was, or cat-killing dog-running-loose owner.

Sometimes wars can happen without anyone having to go looking for, drive so damned far out of the way.  I hope I don’t have anymore wars left ahead of me this lifetime, but if I do I ain’t going to drive 1000 miles to find them.

Old Jules

Bullying – Bringing it all Back Home

If the power to intimidate is derived from a 'legitimate' source the term 'bully' is not applicable.

When I promised a summation of conclusions about bullying behavior based on ponderings and experiences described in those recent other posts, I didn’t grasp what I was setting myself up for.  Every direction I took in my thinking led to unsettling places I couldn’t trust without backing up and thinking it through from other directions.

If you’re new to this blog and haven’t read the earlier posts it’s possible you’ll find it easier to follow if you read them first.

More Future Me: Bass-ackwards Letter to the Past
A Bullying Commie Americauna
The Bullying Homestead Part 2
Half-Century of Male Evolution – Bullying Part 3
Stolen Horses and Baby Rattlers – The Anatomy of a Bully – Part 4

Okay, all that prefacing and cowardly side-step-waffling out-of-the-way, here’s what eventually I found myself inescapably glued to as a conclusion:

Bullying is so much a part of life on this planet we don’t even notice it.  It’s the glue holding every community together, every species, cross-species, inter-species.  It’s the determinant governing community behavior of every description.  We just don’t recognize it as bullying unless it falls into a class of activities we happen to disapprove in our matrix of human-cum-societal judgements.

That’s if ‘bullying’ is defined as a behavior, as opposed to being anchored to a larger concept:  the source from which the power being exerted is derived.  Building a concept bounded by ‘legitimacy’ and protocols does allow what we usually label bullying to be cut out of the herd and isolated in a pen of repudiation.  But by doing so we’d be forced to accept an equally unpalatable conclusion:

If the ‘bullying’ behavior subtracted from the bullying definition is legitimate because it derives power from approved sources of authority is an important piece of what holds things together, we’re stuck with it.  Lock, stock and banana-peel.  As an example, that 5th grade teacher of mine who liked to beat-hell out of me and other kids who weren’t in a ‘protected’ mode, wasn’t bullying us at all.  Reason being that his power derived from his position as a designated tool of the power of legitimate authority.

Similarly, all that Jew-baiting that went on in the 3rd Reich and elsewhere in the world.  The pervasive use of police forces to beat hell out of union strikers in the late 1800s and early 20th Century.  The iron fist used constantly after the Indian wars in the western US to keep tribal members on the REZ and out of the hair of the ‘legitimate’ citizenry far into the 20th Century.  The removal of the tribes east of the Mississippi, to designated places west of the Mississippi, even though doing so was a clear violation of previous treaties and agreements.  National Guardsmen shooting students at Kent State.  Policemen spraying little old ladies with mace.

Almost overnight, previously accepted non-bullying behavior/attitudes can become disgusting examples of bullying.


Sometimes focusing precisely on where the power resides becomes ambiguous.



Other times it’s not ambiguous in fact, but owns the tacit approval of de facto power.


Sometimes it’s bullying when it happens to the the group in question, but non-bullying when they’re doing it.


Sometimes it’s just a matter of being the wrong place at the right time.


And when the ‘legitimate’ source of power tacitly approves it, it’s not bullying.


So when a cop tasers a ten-year-old kid it’s actually business as usual.   It might eventually become ‘brutality’ or might be deemed excessive force, but it will never become ‘bullying’.

But it gets more complicated than that.  There’s a more subtle side of non-bullying we all see so frequently we take it for granted.   For instance, the entire pantheon of political rhetoric today is choreographed to  promote an atmosphere of something akin to bullying, character assassination, and denigration of the opposition.  But because it’s satisfying to the targeted body of listener/participants, it’s ‘legitimate’.


Bullies constantly strive to give the moral high ground to their attitudes and behavior.  Frequently, they succeed, and when they do those attitudes and behaviors cease to be bullying.  Probably the best example can be found in the most non-bullied segment of society filling the jails and prisons in the U.S.  Prostitutes.

They do openly and honestly what millions of women do every night with less honesty, more covertly, in singles bars and honkytonks.  They do it on streets surrounded by ‘legal’, ‘legitimate’ porn houses run by ‘legitimate’ businessmen and patronized by ‘legitimate’ consumers paying to observe the act of fornication.

But prostitutes enjoy the unique, traditional status of being bullied by pimps and johns, brutalized and extorted for sex by cops, exploited by lawyers, and of being the ‘product’ passing through the criminal justice system into the prisons-for-women industry.

They’ve never achieved the sanctity of the moral high-ground to get wives, girl-friends, and ‘respectable’ women objects of scorn and outlawed.  They’ve never found a reservoir of support to allow them to see those other classes of women outlawed and thrown into jails.

But they probably would if they could.

Inside they’re almost certainly bullies, too, like cops and schoolteachers, and like you and me.

Old Jules

 [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?

The Bullying Homestead Part 2

I want to do a post on human bullying, but yesterday and today I’m leading into it with more important issues, namely the way the creatures I observe every day interact and the shifting bullying behavior among them. 

I’m only going to skid across the surface of it, but I don’t want to digress and find myself up to my neck in human bullying issues without first briefly having laid the groundwork among the kinds of creatures people probably learned bullying from.  In this case, cats and chickens.

This is Tabby, daughter to Shiva, the Cow Cat.  Tabby’s the youngest cat around here, always reckless, always strong-willed and independent, always one to avoid conflict.  She’s always been demanding of attention and affectionate. 

But for the past month she’s suddenly become the bull-goose bully around here, beating the hell out of the older cats including her mother, Shiva.

This is Shiva the Cow Cat.  Mother to Tabby, probably hatched around 2000, wandered into proximity with me around 2002 as a stray.  Jeanne carried her to Kansas with her where she lived a few years and had a litter including Tabby.  Around 2005, she and Tabby drifted back into the mix in my life.

Shiva’s never wanted much attention, only a daily stroke and scratch behind the ears to acknowledge I knew she was around.  But her main joy in life was taking walks with me in the woods, sometimes accompanied by Tabby.  When there were cows on the place Shiva took a lot of pleasure helping me chase them off, sometimes almost getting underfoot of them in the process. 

But she was weakened a couple of years ago from some illness almost killed her and she’s never completely recovered.  Sometimes she’d still like to take woods walks, but Tabby’s put a stop to it, and generally with the walks with cats, by attacking her and driving her back to the cabin.  That ends the strolls for both of them.

This is Niaid, littermate to Hydrox, but without a contract.  The old friend who loaned her to me shortly after she was weaned was murdered a few years ago, so she’s in an awkwardly poor-relations status.  She’s part of a 1997 or 1998 litter, but she’s still the hunter/gatherer of the place.  Even travels through the woods up to Gale’s house as nearly as we can figure, to catch rodents in his chicken pen.  She was never a bully, but she could always take care of herself.  Now Tabby’s beating hell out of her, too.

This is Hydrox, littermate to Niaid, 1997-1998 vintage.  He used to have aspirations for being Top Cat, he and I both figuring he’d take over the boss-man job around here if I die before him.  But he’s sort of lost interest in all that the past year, become satisfied to just lie around and let things happen.  Aside from a daily hissing-swatting-spitting match with Niaid he doesn’t get involved in the social climbing and networking.  He’s the only one Tabby’s not bullying yet. 

As I explained yesterday, the chickens bully all the cats, though Tabby’s become more prone to put it to the test, locking eyes and playing out the last scene to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with them.  But she still backs off when someone has to.

Meanwhile almost all the deer have become a lot more aggressive, challenging both cat and chicken in standoffs they always win.  A cat sleeping out by the garden’s liable to find itself nose-to-nose with a deer, then shoved, then chased back to the cabin.  Or a chicken, deliberately knocked ass-over-appetite by a deer with a sudden urge to scurry off.

This is almost certainly a lot more information than you think you need to know about the animals around here, as well as the social life.  But I think some of it applies to how humans interact in human environments and I might use some of what goes on among these creatures as a platform for discussing human bullying patterns.

Old Jules

A Bullying Commie Americauna

Bullying’s getting all out of hand here since the weather’s cooled.  I’ve written about this hen before, probably under the heading, News From the Middle of Nowhere.  She’s always been a Communist from earliest chickhood.  But most recently she’s begun spending her nights locked up with the two younger roosters, one a Black Silky, the other a Silky/Australorp cross.  Then, after everyone’s out ranging, I let her out of the young rooster pen to range with the rest of the flock and do her laying in the same nests as the other hens.

The chickens are allowed to bully the cats here because it’s the lesser of two evils – the cats all know and respect the fact chickens aren’t to be bullied, whatever their feline instincts argue otherwise.  So naturally, the chickens are well aware of this and bully the hell out of every cat that gets in the way of whatever catches their eye.

Sooooo.  I re-established the cat houses for the cold weather and the felines explored and tested each for personal priorities and preferences, not taking into account the Commie hen.  The cats know those are THEIR shelters.  The one this Communist is sitting in is the preferred sleeping place of Shiva the Cow Cat.  Not a nesting box for Communist Party meetings between chicken and egg.

Unfortunately, Shiva also knows she’s not allowed to swat the bejesus out of the hen when it becomes a contest over who gets to take over the Shiva-house.  So Shiva snoozes until the Commie arrives, then the chicken comes in and gives her a couple of pecks, Shiva exits out the other side, and Ms. Commie settles down to drop a bluegreen egg.

But that’s only a piece of the bullying going on here.  I was going to tell a bit about an 8-9 year old kittenish cat named Tabby who’s begun testing my patience by bullying the hell out of the older felines. 

But I’ll save that so’s I won’t be tempted to use language strong enough to cause the lady-readers to blush.

This place is looking every day more like a bunch of human beings trying to get along.

Old Jules