For those of you who wonder why I continuously bring up the malignancies of Michelle Malkin, I’d like to provide at least a partial answer (there’s more to it than I can tell in this post). It was when I read this post that I knew she would be my blood enemy forever. It was, of all things, a call for awareness of the misery that school bullies cause their victims, a call for respect for those weaker than ourselves, that drove Malkin to a new peak of odiousness.
The left-wing Kumbaya crowd is quietly grooming a generation of pushovers in the public schools. At a time of war, when young Americans should be educated about this nation’s resilience and steely resolve, educators are indoctrinating students with saccharine-sticky lessons on “non-violent conflict resolution” and “promoting constructive dialogues.”
Just what we need to combat throat-slitting, suicide plane-flying Islamists: young eunuchs swaying to moldy old folk music while their ‘Peace Place’ signs flap in the wind….Peaceniks are covering our kids from head to toe in emotional bubble wrap. They are creating a nation of namby-pambys.
It was when I saw this rebuttal of Malkin’s Mein Kamp-inspired article that I promptly blogrolled its authors, moving them immediately to the very top. If you really don’t understand why Malkin’s prescription is so depraved (and I choose the word carefully), be sure to check their deconstruction of it.
So why did this one post have such a deep effect on me? Because bullying is no laughing matter, and to condone it as an exercise of our “will” or “virility” or “toughness” is to condone brutality, torture. And I know.
Nearly every morning before getting up to go to school in 7th grade, I would lay in bed crying, afraid to move, afraid to talk to my parents, afraid someone would see the terror on my face. When I arrived at school, I knew that a brute named Arthur Lang would be waiting for me, waiting to push me down in the hall, waiting to kick my books across the hallway, waiting to call me a girl and a weakling. I had no idea why he did it. And I had no way out. I could only accept the humiliation and try to block out the laughter of my schoolmates. Once he pushed me off the schoolbus and I landed face-down in the snow, my nose bleeding. I remember the snow turning red, and my books and my homework soaked in slush, and trying to stand and pick everything up knowing others were watching and laughing, and walking home in a state of mortification and helplessness.
As I remember Arthur Lang now, this description of one of the characters in The Great Gatsby, Tom, rings in my ears:
Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body – he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing, and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage – a cruel body.
A cruel body…. Everything about Arthur Lang was cruel. The nightmare went on for three or four months. And then one day something very strange happened, In gym class, the teacher assigned Arthur Lang and me to be workout partners. I felt consumed by dread when the teacher pointed to me and then to Arthur. How was he going to torture me this time, I wondered. We had to help each other do sit-ups. I was struggling. And suddenly Arthur began to talk to me, for the very first time, like one human being to another. “It would be better if you did it this way,” he said, and he helped me. For about half an hour we worked together, while I waited the whole time for the monster I knew he was to strike again. It never did. And after that day, he never terrorized me again. I still don’t know exactly what happened. I can only guess he saw I was a human being.
But that wasn’t the end of my experience with bullies. In summer camp that year I was fair game because I brought my violin instead of my baseball mitt to the cabin, and I hated sports. One day I came into the cabin to find all the strings on my violin pulled out and the hairs on the bow snipped off. Worst of all, I found the most terrible solution to deal with the emotional torture, to convince myself I was strong, that I was valid: I found someone else weaker than me and I bullied him. Even now I can hear Freddie Cohen crying because I took one of his most beloved possessions (I cannot remember, no matter how hard i try, what it was) and I destroyed it. He lay there sobbing, and I taunted him some more. There was no excuse for what I did; I did it simply because I could. It is one of those moments where you think, if only I could go back and correct what I did and apologize. I would do anything, anything at all to go back and tell him how sorry I am, how I turned on him only because I had been turned on myself….
It all came to a stop when I was 15. Suddenly my tenor voice became a full deep bass and I was the star in my high school musical, I got confident, I got a girlfriend and I became “one of the popular kids.” Arthur Lang melted away, but any time I think about those three nightmare months, even today, I cringe; I feel physically sick.
The idea of one person forcing another through brute force to submit to his will, the idea of kicking and punching someone less powerful than you to show your own strength – the victim’s sense of humiliation can be pushed down, but it never fully goes away. Which is why I can be hyper-sensitive about the brutalities of the CCP, and why I always have to speak out when I see my government use raw, ugly force against perceived enemies, and when monsters like Malkin swoon, seeing this force as an example of virility and strength, as something good. As I read her insidious words confusing bullying with determination, a poem by Sylvia Plath came to mind:
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.
And Michelle is just that type of woman.
There is nothing more terrifying than being a frightened child who knows the bully is coming for you, about to push his boot in your face, and knowing you have nowhere to turn. The experience was probably pivotal in determining the kind of person I’d be, the kind of work I’d do, the attitude I’d take toward politics, toward people who cut lines, toward the little guy persecuted by a thuggish government.
Bullying is a disease, in every way a terrible thing. Malkin’s philosophy is that it’s alright until it reaches the point of being a jailable felony. She is wrong, of course, and it’s pretty clear she wasn’t bullied as a child. There’s nothing wrong with teaching children to respect one another and refrain from acts of sadism. Anyone who says otherwise is probably a bully herself.
Update: There is another splendid take-down of Michelle’s worldview over here:
I imagine that Michelle practices what she preaches, and when her children squabble, she has them fight it out with switchblades and Uzis, in order to prepare them to deal with suicide plane-flying Islamimists.