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Old 11-09-2011, 09:22 AM   #61
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Teacher, aide bullied student, 14 | The Columbus Dispatch
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:05 PM   #62
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Bully (Trailer)

NPR, Feb. 24
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The Weinstein Company has lost an appeal to the MPAA, which has smacked an R rating on the painful documentary Bully (which I saw at Silverdocs last year when it was called The Bully Project), from filmmaker Lee Hirsch. The rating is for language—meaning that the reason the ratings organization is taking the position that the movie isn't appropriate for kids to see without their parents is not that it depicts violence and trauma and the aftermath of the suicides of children, but because an environment full of teenagers, when realistically portrayed, includes swearing.

The MPAA sent out a polite statement that says, in part:
Bullying is a serious issue and is a subject that parents should discuss with their children. The MPAA agrees with the Weinstein Company that Bully can serve as a vehicle for such important discussions. The MPAA also has the responsibility, however, to acknowledge and represent the strong feedback from parents throughout the country who want to be informed about content in movies, including language. The rating and rating descriptor of 'some language,' indicate to parents that this movie contains certain language. With that, some parents may choose to take their kids to this movie and others may not, but it is their choice and not ours to make for them. The R rating is not a judgment on the value of any movie. The rating simply conveys to parents that a film has elements strong enough to require careful consideration before allowing their children to view it. Once advised, many parents may take their kids to see an R-rated film. School districts, similarly, handle the determination of showing movies on a case-by-case basis and have their own guidelines for parental approval.
The first thing to understand about this statement is that it's simply not the case that a rating "simply conveys to parents" information. At theaters that choose to participate in the ratings system and in enforcing it, the rating stops kids at the door if they come without an adult. It's patently disingenuous, if not outright dishonest, to refuse even to come to terms with the fact that ratings functionally limit access for kids as old as 15 and 16, many of whom are old enough that they have jobs and substantial responsibilities they take care of every day, arguing that they only convey information to parents. It's just not true. In fact, the rating has the ability to affect access for kids whose parents never have any idea the movie even exists, so obviously, it doesn't have only the effect of conveying information to parents. It can, in fact, effectively supplant the parents by deciding that if the parents for whatever reason don't know that their kids have decided to head out to a theater to see a movie about bullying, the kids aren't admitted. Nobody, in that scenario, has gotten any information about anything. Nobody. All you have is a kid who's seeking out a documentary about bullying—a documentary that tries to take them seriously, that tries in part to show them that it understands how hard it is to be them, who can't get to it.

The entire purpose of Bully is to tell you what it's really like. It's trying to tell you what it feels like to be these families in these situations. That's all it's for. It doesn't exist to prescribe solutions. It is a documentary in the purest sense, in the sense that it is a document. It's a truthful portrayal of what is at stake when we talk about bullying and figuring out what to do about kids who are suffering in school. It will break your heart; it will break your kid's heart, and that may be something you don't want. But the last reason on the planet anyone should be concerned about a kid's experience with this film is the language. It's flabbergastingly obtuse to believe the most important thing for parents to know about the content of Bully is that people say "f—-" in it.

...The difference between this and other ratings controversies is that this has a more obvious opportunity to do actual damage. There are intelligent, hurting kids out there who (1) will want to see this film, alone or perhaps with a treasured and trusted friend, and (2) will not want to tell their parents that they want to go see it. Some of them will be kids in pain, kids looking for help. There is a reasonable argument to be made that ideally, those kids will have an adult to talk to who can help provide some support, because it's a pretty wrenching set of stories, including the story of Ty Field-Smalley, who killed himself when he was 11. If there's a reason we should be given pause over kids seeing this film alone with no one to talk to, it's because they will be confronted with emotionally devastating stories of parents left to figure out why no one intervened before their kids died. But the rating isn't about that. The rating is about swear words. If the swear words get bleeped, they'll change it. The MPAA is saying, whether they would put it in these terms or not, that it is more important that a parent or guardian be present to contextualize too many uses of the F-word—and be informed that their kid will be exposed to that—than it is that a parent or guardian be present to contextualize an 11-year-old committing suicide, and that the parent know that the kid is going to watch as the parents of a dead teenager tour the bedroom where he died.

There's a grotesque irony in declaring that what is portrayed in Bully should be softened, or bleeped—should be hidden, really, because it's too much for kids to see. Of course it's too much for kids to see. It's also too much for kids to live through, walk through, ride the bus with, and go to school with. That's why they made the movie. The entire point of this film is that kids do not live with the protection we often believe they do—many of them live in a terrifying, isolating war zone, and if you hide what it's like, if you lie about what they're experiencing, you destroy what is there to be learned. It seems grievously beside the point to worry that the film is too much for kids. The problem is that even at school where there is meant to be protection, the world is too much for them; some of their parents will tell you that's why they took their own lives. Any parent who is truly offended by the language their kids experience in seeing Bully would be wise to consider that they're likely hearing it at school anyway—that's how it got in the film.
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:47 AM   #63
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Yeah, why can't they just bully others by citing romantic poems? I cannot condone child-inappropriate verbal bullying.
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Old 02-28-2012, 02:12 AM   #64
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Any parent who is truly offended by the language their kids experience in seeing Bully would be wise to consider that they're likely hearing it at school anyway—that's how it got in the film.
Yeah, this. Or, from those very same parents that go by the "Do as I say, not as I do" style of parenting.

The MPAA ratings are stupid to begin with, but the idea that they need to put some sort of restriction on a film like this with the kind of subject it touches on is insane. It's insulting for a group of people to think they have the right to determine what I or anyone else is capable of watching in a theater (or on TV at home).

I'm curious to see this documentary. It sounds disturbing as hell, but if it helps open people's eyes and brings attention to this topic, then it will have served its purpose well.
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Old 02-28-2012, 02:58 AM   #65
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I don't find ratings to be a bad thing per se, but sometimes they can be ridiculous. Like in the 9/11 documentary where they got into trouble from the FCC I think because some of the firefighters uttered the word "fuck" and similar ones.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:13 AM   #66
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Oh, yeah, I remember that outcry. Ridiculous indeed.

As PJ O'Rourke so eloquently put it: "Millions of people said 'What the FUCK?' that day!"
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:05 AM   #67
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:43 AM   #68
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I always thought focusing on school bullying was was funny because it is so pervasive in 'adult life' as well.
can somebody give me an example of the pervasiveness of adults bullying other adults?
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:58 AM   #69
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can somebody give me an example of the pervasiveness of adults bullying other adults?
Back when I had a job, I and a few others were bullied at work. It was reminiscent of junior high school, with a clique doing smear campaigns, taunting others to not cooperate with me and even not talk to me. There was even physical intimidation going on. I couldn't turn to my boss for complaints because she was part of the bullying. She was a complete moron who broke one of the most important boss rules: don't try to be friends with your underlings (Meaning, she wanted so badly to be liked by us that she sided with the bullies in order to fit in. Absurd).

Granted, this was the news business - a cut-throat, backstabbing industry. To complain and expect something to do be done about the bullying is be laughed at. It's the nature of the beast, unfortunately.

So yes, bullying does happen among adults. There are many adults who still have high school mentality, or are just plain mentally ill.
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Old 02-28-2012, 02:29 PM   #70
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yea i guess this has simply never happened to me or anyone i know
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:10 PM   #71
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What exactly is "bullying" with regard to adults? Gossiping? Telling mean lies? Threats? Actual physical assault?
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:25 PM   #72
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I would say it's insults, constantly f'ing with someone, not dropping things when they should be dropped. Psychological and emotional games. Getting others to gang up on someone. That kind of juvenile crap. High school mentality continued into adulthood.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:37 PM   #73
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In the workplace it's rather called mobbing, but it's basically the same: Mobbing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mobbing or bullying happens in more companies than not, so it's a huge problem. For thos who are the victims, but also for the companies.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:13 PM   #74
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^ Huh, wonder if that's mostly a British English term? I've never heard it before.

I mentioned this upthread, but the only person I've ever worked with whom I'd describe as a "bully" was a former administrator who, in fact, wound up going down in flames with multiple lawsuits against him. The initial cases against him all involved sexual harassment, which is normally treated as a separate category from "bullying," but--and I suspect this is often the case with serial sexual harassers--once they saw multiple women accusing him, men also started stepping forward to recount times when this guy had cornered them one-on-one and used his physical size (which was formidable), his vocal chords (ditto), and unpleasantly assertive touching to intimidate them into compliance--basically, LBJ-type stuff:



I've certainly seen cliquishness (which could also be considered "high-schoolish," I suppose) in the workplace, which just as in school can make for hurt feelings among coworkers who don't fit in with any of the going cliques. But that's different from intentionally targeting people for isolation or persecution. I've also had coworkers (male and female) who were divas and a real pain in the ass to have disagreements with, because of the hugely overblown show of huffy indignation every time, but those aren't people who have much success rallying others to join them since they just look pretty silly to everyone in those moments. But actual social ganging up on someone, no, I haven't personally encountered that in the workplace, either in terms of witnessing it or in terms of receiving complaints about it while in the management and administrative positions I've held. The closest thing to it would be situations where one or a few individuals really, really didn't get along with someone else and poorly concealed their impatience, which can maybe get borderline, but in general I don't see that as bullying, just bad manners. I guess I've been lucky with the various environments I've worked in. I've seen nothing like the taunting, the physical harassment, the pointedly overt displays of cold-shouldering, or the concerted smear campaigns (as opposed to occasional private fuming about how much so-and-so annoys you) that I remember so well from elementary, junior high and high school (and to some degree, college--particularly in dorms, you'll occasionally see that kind of behavior).

Improper training of supervisors in conflict resolution--managers, admins, vice-principals, whatever--seems to be such a common theme with people who've experienced bullying, whether in school or in the workplace. Supervisors who are themselves intimidated by bullies, supervisors who are inappropriately chummy with the bullies (or even in league with them), supervisors who seem shockingly clueless about the existence of hostilities that are obvious to everyone else, etc.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:16 PM   #75
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I find it a little juvenile to refer to it as adult 'bullying'. Bullying is what goes on with kids on the playground. I realize just calling it by a different name doesn't change what's happening, but there are other words to describe it that won't make you sound like a subordinate ('you' in the general sense, not anyone in particular). When you say you're getting bullied, you're almost relegating yourself to victim-hood.

As far as that video goes, shitty about the rating first of all. And I'm of the position that bullying will never ever go away, but I like the idea of encouraging other children and teenagers (not the bully or the bullied) to reach out and befriend or stick up for the ones being pushed around. I really wish I did that more actively when I was younger
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