BULLY WATCH: Point of reassurance!

MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2012

We’re glad we clicked this link: We were glad we clicked this YouTube link concerning the school bus bullying incident. (See our previous post.)

In this tape, a 16-year-old girl thinks her way through what she saw on the tape. We’d have to say her aim is true and her expression is wonderfully pure.

It’s often inspiring to be exposed to the moral reasoning of younger people. At some point around 1975, we were lucky enough to watch a roomful of so-called black kids in Baltimore as a visiting teacher read The Hundred Dresses to them.

We’ll never forget the way those kids sat on the edge of their seats, hanging on every word in Eleanor Estes' famous book. They were transfixed by the thought that a (Polish-American) girl in Pittsburgh could have been teased in the ways they were hearing described. Afterwards, they wanted to think through every aspect of what they had heard.

On arrival, our moral vision is often quite pure. As time goes by, things can get cloudy.


  1. With all due respect to the 16-year-old, she is basically regurgitating everything that's been said AFTER the incident.

    And of course, she wasn't "raised that way" and would never, ever do such a thing. As a result, she underscores a problem we have in America: Namely, all our problems are the fault of those OTHER people who weren't raised as well as we were.

    Note also how it isn't enough for her to address the situation. She also calls the intelligence of the bullies into question. And then we got the issue of the ego it takes to put this on YouTube.

    Bob, as a former teacher, you know how quickly group dynamics (call it mob behavior) can snowball to the point that even "good" kids can get caught up.

    Please also note that some of the children involved (and their parents) have issued sincere, heartfelt apologies.

    Contrast that to Mitt who can't even remember ganging up on a kid and cutting off his hair, and has never sincerely apologized for it.

    That, of course, was a "youthful indiscretion" which you want badly to excuse.

    1. You have some good points anonymous. But saying Somerby wants to "excuse" Romney's school-age bullying isn't one of them.

      Somerby hasn't published anything that amounted to an excuse for Romney's acts.

      A demand for factual reporting doesn't constitute an excuse.

      Saying that, as a rule, investigation of the youthful acts of *any* candidate is probably stupid and crowds out reporting on policy, also doesn't make an excuse.

    2. Nope, it's nitpicking not demanding factual reporting when Somerby glommed onto the reporter's choice of not directly quoting, in words surrounded by "".

      In that particular piece, the reporter interviewed everyone involved who was still alive, and I think he got the motive for attacking the kid with the long, bleach blond hair down prettp well.

      And of course, he missed the forest for the leaf that fell before his feet -- Everyone involved TO DATE remembered the incident vividly and said it continues to haunt them.

      Everyone except one.

      Never mind that. Here is the mean, ol' "liberal" media digging things up about Mitt that happened 50 years ago.

      Oh, and did you read last weekend's entry?

      Mitt never, ever endorsed the Arizona immigration approach. And never mind that Joe Arpaio was his Arizona campaign chair in 2008, largely because Arpaio considered McCain too soft on immigration.

      But that was four years ago. That "Etch A Sketch" thing, you know. Mitt apparently is entitled to take a new position every day, and not even Somerby wants to hold him accountable. After all, that's all in the past.

    3. The Real AnonymousJune 25, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      Funny stuff.

      Romney never uttered the phrase "I support the AZ immigration law" but insteads allows how he'd drop the fed lawsuit against it.

      Mr. Somerby used to rail against this kind of bullshit.

      Now he embraces it as long as it can be used as a weapon against Maddow.

    4. Just noting, the folks (I'll refrain from calling them "our reflex Somerby-haters" -- wait, no I won't refrain...) "contradicting" Anon of 10:26, haven't pointed to anything Somerby did to "excuse" Romney bullying someone. There was a little bit of subject-changing instead.

      Par for the course.

    5. Yeah, right. Everybody who is saddened that this once good read of a blog has now become a log of the perceived, and sometimes invented, sins of a very few MSNBC hosts and NYT op-ed columnists is now a "reflex Somberby-hater." How tribal of you!

      Maybe, just maybe, these "haters" know very well what The Daily Howler once was and should be again. Perhaps we "Somberby-haters" are insisting on the high standards we once enjoyed here instezd of "reflex MSNBC-NYT-hate."

      If you really want to know where Romney stands on the Arizona immigration law, just go back to last January when he brought it's author, Kris Kobach, onto his campaign as an "advisor."

      “We need more conservative leaders like Kris willing to stand up for the rule of law. With Kris on the team, I look forward to working with him to take forceful steps to curtail illegal immigration and to support states like South Carolina and Arizona that are stepping forward to address this problem.”

      Nice strategy to appeal to the party's right wing in a primary fight. Of course, faced with the fact that he is now polling in the 20s with Latino voters, Romney is trying to "Etch-A-Sketch" all that.

      And here is Somerby, helping him.

    6. Real, that is exactly the way Somerby works

      Never mind that Sheriff Joe and Kris Kobach had very visible and public roles in his campaign, roles that Mitt himself publicly bragged about back when he was pandering for right-wing votes.

      Obviously, Maddow just made up "Mitt endorses the Arizona law" because he didn't explicitly say "I endorse the Arizona law" in the one statement Somerby gloms onto.

  2. And since Anonymous 4:38 has such a short memory, I will point to something Somerby wrote as recently as THIS MONTH, June 6, to be exact:

    "Regarding the high school bullying story, we’ve long said this about that: If you’re going to say what a candidate did as a teen, you’d better say that he robbed six banks—and then shot all the tellers. We’ve said this because we don’t want to grant license to our “press corps” to go rooting around in the dim, distant past, exciting us rubes with thrilling tales about drug use and bad tattle-taling."

    You know what? Maybe Romney's press guy was onto something with the "Etch A Sketch" thing: Just forget what we said then, focus on what we say now. Some people have such short memories that it might work.

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