An incident where some nasty-spirited and heartless little twatwaffles from Greece, NY bullied their elderly school bus monitor without mercy has come to national attention. It’s awful. I’ve embedded the video of her harassment but don’t watch it if you have a sensitive nature … or a delicate stomach.
They are breathtakingly cruel. They taunt her for her weight, her poverty, her age, her gender, and even over the fact her son committed suicide. It is beyond appalling.
The interweb is baying for the blood of the children heard on this tape. Some asshats have carried it too far and have even made death threats. While I do not think these kids should have their lives ruined, I certainly want them to be punished in a way that is appropriate to the severity of their actions.
So, I think that the kids should definitely be punished … but I would also like to point out that they are a reflection of our culture. Culture has taught them that fat people are vile and should not be afforded the human dignity given to slender people. It’s taught them that poverty is the fault of the individual alone, with no systemic factors, and thus worthy of scathing ridicule. It’s taught them the myth that masculinity can be defined by cruelty, and that the “weak” or passive deserve to be hurt. They have been taught that mental illness is a character flaw, so the fact her son was depressed enough to kill himself is not something they should look at as a tragedy but rather something to be mocked. The elderly, especially old women, are rendered “transparent” (only a very few are visible in the media) so there is no reason to see them as ‘people’ like ‘us’. They are attacking her because she is almost the epitome of the Other — a fat, poor, elderly woman.
People are repelled by the actions of the mean little shits involved, but the public wants to call them deviant when they are not. They are practically paragons of our lowest common denominator cultural messaging. If people were really, truly disgusted by the symbolic violence directed at a fat, elderly woman whose son killed himself, then there wouldn’t be so much fat-hate, ageism, prejudiced against mental illness, and misogyny prevalent in our society.
The public seems shocked by the children’s actions, but I see their behavior as a symptom of the widespread cultural dynamic. Until we address these larger issues attacks like the one endured by the bus monitor will continue unabated.