Anti-bullying icon bullies students with obscenity-laced anti-Christian rant
Part of the hypocrisy of the "anti-bullying" movement is that the concept of bullying is never defined in a meaningful way. Evidently, bullying is one of those things that is defined by the "victim."
Hence, we have the spectacle of the man who created the video "It Gets Better" can speak against the bullying of gay kids, but then turn around and bully kids with Christian beliefs - and get away with it.
As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker began cursing, attacked the Bible and reportedly called those who refused to listen to his rant "pansy asses."
The speaker was Dan Savage, founder of the "It Gets Better" project, an anti-bullying campaign that has reached more than 40 million viewers with contributors ranging from President Obama to Hollywood stars. Savage also writes a sex advice column called "Savage Love."
Rick Tuttle, the journalism advisor for Sutter Union High School in California, was among several thousand people in the audience. He said they thought the speech was one thing - but it turned into something else.
"I thought this would be about anti-bullying," Tuttle told Fox news. "It turned into a pointed attack on Christian beliefs."
Tuttle said a number of his students were offended by Savage's remarks - and some decided to leave the auditorium.
"It became hostile," he said. "It felt hostile as we were sitting in the audience - especially towards Christians who espouse beliefs that he was literally taking on."
Tuttle said the speech was laced with vulgarities and "sexual innuendo not appropriate for this age group." At one point, he said Savage told the teenagers about how good his partner looked in a speedo.
Referring to people as "pansey asses" for leaving in the middle of his speech is not the way to win friends and influence people. But that was not the point of his rant. He was not there to educate, but to chastize those who disagree with him. And the conference organizers helped out by issuing this vacuous statement about the controversy:
"We appreciate the level of thoughtfulness and deliberation regarding Dan Savage's keynote address," the NSPA wrote. "some audience members who felt hurt by his words and tone decided to leave in the middle of his speech, and to this, we want to make our point very clear: While as a journalist it's important to be able to listen to speech that offends you, these students and advisers had simply reached their tolerance level for what they were willing to hear."
The NSPA said they did not have a prior transcript of Savage's speech and that wish "he had stayed more on target for the audience of teen journalists." They also said it provided a "teachable moment" for students.
As for Savage's attack on people of faith?
"While some of his earlier comments were so strongly worded that they shook some of our audience members, it is never the intent of JEA or NSPA to let students get hurt during their time at our conventions," they wrote.
I fully agree that this was a "teachable moment." What the teen journalists should get out of the event is that the anti-bullying movement is largely a crock. The thrust of the effort is not against bullying for say, ugliness, or obesity, or even kids who are just different. This is largely a movement to protect gay teens from the anti-gay slings and arrows of other kids - not necessarily Christians, by the way. Nothing wrong with this as gay teens are troubled and confused enough about their own sexuality that being teased and called names by their peers - even physically assaulted - could result in feelings of helplessness and suicidal thoughts.
The same could be said about obese kids, those kids who suffer from severe acne or other physical deformities, or who are plain looking, or who are simply unacceptable to the "in crowd" in any town in America. The question arises then; is there anything to be done?
Ever hang around a sandbox and listen to 4 and 5 year olds? Your blood will curdle at some of the stuff that is said. Teasing, name calling, and other manifestations of rigid social organization among children where those not in your "group" are targets for abusive language and behavior has been going on since the species walked out of Africa. It is typical of liberals to believe you can change human nature simply by offering feel good bromides and "raising the consciousness" of young people about "bullying" - an ill-defined concept that has the potential to be subjectively applied and defined by the victim.
There have been several proposed anti-bullying statutes at the state level that have failed because stopping bullying necessarily means impinging on free speech. How? Here's a proposed definition from a Lousiana bill that thankfully failed:
Smith proposed several tweaks and additions, but the most pertinent passage extended the definition to acts "a reasonable person under the circumstances would perceive as being motivated by an actually or perceived characteristic, including but not limited to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, exceptionalities, physical disability, intellectual disability, developmental disability, mental illness or emotional health disorder, language ability, sexual orientation, physical characteristics, gender identity, gender expression, political ideas or affiliations, socioeconomic status or association with others identified by such characteristics."
In other words, if a kid has big ears you can't call him "Dumbo" and pull on them. Or if the kid has normal sized ears, you can't call him "Dumbo" and pull on them because that's a "perceived characteristic." One might ask why it is necessary to protect the kids of the world with big ears from bullies because if they commit suicide, they have far worse problems than the size of their ears.
And we all know how schools will enforce laws like this; they will go overboard in enforcement rather than have some poor, mixed up teen commit suicide and leave them open to a lawsuit. That's the real problem with these laws; they will be enforced by self-interested, politically correct, school management. Going to school at institutions run like this will feel like being in a strait jacket.
Mr. Savage proves himself unworthy of being any kind of leader in an anti-bullying crusade. But his rant reveals how such a movement can stifle free speech and make a bully out of an anti-bullying icon.