I'm taking a moment today to look at my own propensity to be a bully.
If you, like me are a user of Facebook and other social media then you know that it is to be barraged with endless photos of cute animals that cause us to say "awww" and photos of neglected or abused animals that create outrage and a desire to punish the abusers.
At the same time we post photos of anonymous people that are innocently going through their day to day lives, simply in the process of being, and we hold these people up for scrutiny and ridicule that is incredibly unkind.
Is this not a form of bullying?
I can honestly say that I don't know of any man that loves to laugh more than I do.
I can also openly admit that there are few people that love attention and the opportunity to make others laugh more than I do.
I’m a whore of the lowest demeanor when it comes to going for a laugh, in fact I dare say that I rank as the lowest on the scale of prostitution when it comes to laughter and that would be that I am admittedly a hustler. Get me started and I'll sell my soul a la carte as long as the laughs keep coming.
I'm blessed to live in an age where technology allows me to hold court at my laptop, within the confines and comfort of my own bedroom. I can address the entire virtual world and not have to worry about brushing my teeth or stifling a fart.
I do need to keep in mind though that when I seek laughter and this a type of approval, that I am not doing it at the expense of others.
I don't pretend to be PC, nor do I shy away from laughing at stereotypes being that I myself am a living, breathing stereotype. It’s certainly no secret that I love to give my opinion and have no fear of bridging any topic that I feel I have enough information and knowledge to form an opinion about.
It's one thing to make fun of certain principles but I don't know that it's in anyone's best interest to make fun of people that are simply doing their best to get by.
We talk a lot about bullying these days but then so many of us are guilty of bullying when we post photos of someone we deem more unfortunate then ourselves seeking recognition and popularity that person's expense.
I'm sure that in most cases the person being ridiculed is not even aware that their photo has been taken.
This is not cool, these people are not celebrities or public figures. They are you and me, the same you and me that are at this very moment, in this very USA, fighting to preserve our precious and fragile rights of freedom and self-expression.
We would be furious were our government to take a photo of us at Wal-Mart and post it for public ridicule, yet we do it to one another.
I'm not trying to be the mud hen or Debbie Downer here, hell, it’s fun to laugh at the fashionably challenged. At the same time I do feel obligated to better examine the things I post and be sincere about my motives for posting them.
Is it truly my intent to hold up a principle, theory or idea for examination, exploration and extrapolation? Do I really want to discuss the problems of nutrition or obesity that we face as a nation?
Or am I looking for a few cheap laughs but laughing at the overweight woman wearing a tube top and skinny jeans that aren’t quite her size.
I'm not saying there is no humor in that image, hell, it can be hilarious, but we need to look within ourselves and seek the source of our laughter and admit that it most often comes from our own fear of being that person on line at the Wal-Mart and having our image stolen and posted for others to mock and ridicule.
As a gay man, I have too often been on the receiving end of cruel words and heartless taunts.
I’ve been and remain the stereotype to many.
Factors beyond my control have had their way with my human body, mainly age and gravity, and factors within my control such as my eating habits have not enhanced this spectacle one bit and I own it.
I am in no way a victim, I’m a victor by the fact that I’m still going strong and a volunteer in the fact that I continue to make certain life and dietary choices that are not in my best interest.
However, if I abuse my power to seek laughter today but holding up some other person for ridicule, then I am both victim and volunteer to fear and ignorance. To perpetuate cruelty to others is BULLYING!