HOPPING ONTO SOAP BOX, ADJUSTING MIC . . .
There have always been bullies, but we hear more about bullying today than ever before. Social media has brought bullying to the forefront by providing endless opportunity for thoughtless individuals to anonymously exercise their personal discontent and need for control.
“I was just being honest,” is the frequent battle cry of the bully, but it’s a crock. Bullying has nothing to do with honesty. Bullying is not an adjective, it’s a verb—an action. It’s exercising power to intentionally harm or intimidate another human being.
Respect for others, their beliefs, their work, their differences, does not mean letting go of our convictions. It’s simple human decency. At the risk of plagiarizing one of my earlier posts: someone else does not need to be wrong so we can be right.
Take EL James’s recent Q&A debacle on Twitter. Most of us would agree James lacks writing chops, and her subject matter—well, let’s just say it’s not to my taste. But to attack her (and peripherally, her millions of readers) on Twitter was inexcusable. There was no attempt at civility or communication. The comments were intended to wound and browbeat. This, my friends, is the definition of bullying.
Whether James’s books “perpetuate rape culture and sanction domestic violence” is not the point. I repeat: bullying is not about honesty. It’s about how we conduct ourselves. It’s engaging in behavior that disrespects others.
It’s possible to disagree with someone without demonizing her or him…Tolerance and respect are at such a premium in real life. Why do we allow people to trash these values online? —Porter Anderson
No matter how strongly you feel about a subject, please don’t bully. When interacting, commenting, or reviewing, hold to the value of honesty always, but do so with respect.
HOPPING DOWN FROM SOAPBOX . . .