Saturday, November 16, 2013

If we're going to be Anti-Bullying, perhaps we should stop Bullying Rob Ford.

And you thought the Rob Ford rants were over. Surprise! Jumping on the bandwagon…

This one will be my only one, though. Because mine is not a rant on this certain man's behaviour: that's been covered. We all know that this is not a person in sound mind to make reasonable choices for the better of the people around him and not on himself.

My rant is concerning how we - not just Toronto, but the media and indeed, the world at large - is dealing with it.

And hey, don't get me wrong. I preface this to say I don't condone a thing Mr. Ford has done. If you're not familiar with the throes of addiction, check out Dr. Gabor Mate's work. He speaks to how we could (dare I say Should?) work with addicts and addiction - in others AND ourselves - it far more eloquently and succinctly than I.

HOWEVER. Allow me this space to be rageful. For some reason, our society has gone WILD with Anti-Bullying. Google "anti bullying" and you could be entertained for days. Our tax dollars have gone to full school PROGRAMS to "cut down on bullying" (check out There is "zero tolerance" for any kind of abuse - physical, verbal, or otherwise - at many schools these days.

And yet…

How many of US - as parents, peer mentors, role models, co-workers, bosses, or even users of Facebook - REALLY take the time to look at our words? How many of us have paid attention to the fact that we might, just might, have a sphere of influence where people... gasp… look up to us and value our opinion? And how many times do we attempt to connect with people who are "cooler" than us, or whatever, by saying MEAN THINGS about EASY TARGETS?

There was a dude at the bar last night who spent a good 20 minutes of the night - loudly, I might add - telling everybody what he thought of the "red-faced fatty" to his table of drunk young 20-somethings, all quite attractive and dressed well. Clearly this man was influential in his circles, as he had a rapt audience.

I was at a course all day today, on a topic with NOTHING TO DO with politics, or comedy, or Toronto. And yet, the very first keynote speaker of the day came up and spent over 5 minutes of his 20 minute lecture (that's one quarter, folks), playing Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert/Jimmy Kimmel clips on the current affairs, and the speaker himself made MEAN jokes about Rob Ford. I believe I counted no less than 7 - probably closer to 12 or 13 - times that this speaker said the word "crack" and "drugs" with sheer disdain in his voice.

Both of these guys were probably nice people. The second guy in particular is quite accomplished in his line of work, he has a young family in a respectable neighbourhood, AND HE'S A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!! Really Mr. ______???? The ONLY way you felt you could engage an audience who PAID TO HEAR YOU SPEAK was by spending ONE QUARTER of your speech making fun of a man who's clearly in SERIOUS EMOTIONAL PAIN????????? And who knows what other chemistry is all fucked in his brain from substance abuse and possible trauma???

Let me be clear. I am not a perfect human (much as my ego attempts to convince me hourly that I am). I have said some mean stuff and I thought Jon Stewart's bits have been pretty fucking funny. I even LIKED a mashup photo of Miley Cyrus treating Rob Ford's face as a Wrecking Ball. He needs to step down, and then do whatever healing work he's ready to do. But I'm a product of this society and I am committing to you… no more Rob Ford jokes. It's getting old and it's getting sad.

Because my JOB is to be a role model for the kids I teach and nanny. And how are our kids supposed to NOT bully - either inside or outside of school - if all they receive on the media is that "Bullying is Cool, Bullying is funny, and it's only OK if you go for the easy targets". Have some compassion, everyone, leave the guy alone. And maybe… just maybe… you might find that as you take your attention off an easy scapegoat, you might just look inside… and see you have some healing work of your own that you need to do.

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