Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ode to Bully Joe

Bullying - a phenomenon which, based on childhood experience, we rank just below genocide on the list of mankind's evils, has been making a lot of news in Mexico this year, ever since the OECD ranked the country #1 on its bullying index. This was followed by a report by Querétaro's state Commission on Human Rights declaring incidents of bullying to be up by 60% compared to last year. (As an aside, if you clicked the links, you'll notice the Spanish word for bullying appears to be bullying, because the concept of conquering people weaker than you simply doesn't exist in Spanish.) The report pointed out that bullying is mostly directed at fat kids, short kids, and kids missing one or both parents; basically every kid in Querétaro.

So even though the obvious solution is to simply round up the dozen or so tall, thin kids from well-adjusted homes and ship them off to a labor camp, the state legislature nevertheless held a special session yesterday to address the whole bullying issue. Magnificently, as if we were making the rest of this up but we swear we really aren't, an argument erupted and the legislators came to blows, with diputado José Luis Aguilera popping his shorter, fatter counterpart Juan José Jiménez Yáñez right smack in the honker.

Like all Mexican arguments, this one was about something that happened 150 years ago - specifically, Aguilera's referencing of Benito Juárez's famous quote about respecting the rights of others, and Jiménez's pedantic insistence that Juárez wasn't literally talking about playground bullying. (Seriously, people get into fistfights about this kind of shit here.) Presumably, what happened next was that someone mentioned that the chubby Mr. Juárez was an indigenous orphan who stood barely 4'6", and as such may well have had a passing acquaintance with the whole bullying thing, at which point hands were thrown. (Again, we know from experience that pointing out a dumber kid's errors is an excellent way to to test the impact-resistance of one's facial cartilage.)

The two of them have been sent to the principal's office, as it were, with Gov. Calzada issuing a statement demanding everybody play together nice. For the children's sake.


Crazy Rita said...

I learn so much from reading your blog. If it weren't for Burro Hall, I would be totally unaware of events happening outside my cave.

A very interesting post on bullying. From my perspective, I saw a fair amount of bullying when I taught 5th grade in Iowa. In fact, the only time I ever had to break up a physical fight involved a much larger 4th grade bully who had been picking on a smaller, wimpier,and nerdier 5th grader all year. You should have heard that 4th grader squeal when I pulled him off the 5th grader and sat on him. Yes, it is within my legal rights to use force when fights become physical. I'd like to think his bullying days were over after that. Or at least it didn't happen again when I was around.

I had a few bullying incidents this year with my 5th graders in Reynosa. The worst was when a gang of jocks stole the autistic child's pencil bag and played "keep away". I nailed the four bullies with a 100 point major report (no honor roll for them that month). The psychologist and parents had meetings. It's probably a better approach than sitting on them.

As a reformed bully, I know one when I see one. I'm the daughter of a former football player and football coach. I used to play tackle football. I used to regularly beat up boys. I'll take care of the Mexican bullies. I'll write up major reports and schedule meetings with the school psychologist. Or I'll tackle and sit on them.

Anonymous said...


Vermin found in Arizona State Capitol building

Dave said...

Glad to have you back posting, Frank. Good piece. I have to say that anyone could be fair game.. being the tallest kid in class (and least prone to bopping someone)also seems to make one a good target. Even Rita would have taken a shot at me. Grade school was a mixed bag as a result. After I figured out my intimidating look and hovering over the offender things seemed to work out without much bloodshed.

Back to your post, it's much nicer when adults get things figured out before they're wearing suits...

Burro Hall said...

Frankly, I would have guess the this site's readership as 100% former bullying victims. And probably quite a few current ones.

Dave said...

One could go in a lot of directions with that thought (are we all masochists??) though I'm content to think of it as a sort of support group.

Chewy Chewem of Deepest Coyoacan said...

Mighty thing it wasn't Texas, he might have hauled out the bazooka.

Anonymous said...!/AnonymousIRC/status/86673720810278912

Anonymous said...

The closest word in mexican spanish for bullying would be "carrilla"