Ian Thorpe, Bullied, USA insight

The first two are related to a must see coming to ABC this week: Bullied.

There are two episodes, and at time of writing only the first was available for viewing. It isn’t perfect television, but it should be compulsory viewing for every schoolchild, parent, teacher and education bureaucrat in the country.

The focus in the first episode is on Kelsey, a 14-year-old in Queensland whose greatest loves are cricket and his long, floppy, blonde hair.

The latter has earned him a litany of abuse from his schoolmates. Their animus is all-consuming. He’s been cyberbullied (“why don’t you kill/harm urself”), he’s been physically bullied. He’s been ostracised and he’s had his sexuality questioned (they call him “shemale” and “faggot”).

His family and friends claim they have reported all this to the school. The response? He is on reduced hours, allowed to attend only a couple of periods a day, and encouraged to spend his lunch hours in the office…

Kelsey is sent to school with a backpack containing a hidden camera and a microphone to capture what happens to him over a week…

How many bullied kids have access to a camera crew and an Olympic champion to argue their case? How many advocates can hang around for four weeks – long enough to wear down the school’s stonewalling? How many principals will be forced to make a choice between dealing with a difficult issue or being made to look like a totally uncaring ass-hat on national television?

If Bullied were compulsory viewing in every school – and I mean for staff as well as students – it might help force this scourge out of the dark, where it thrives, and into the light, where there’s a fighting chance of it being given six
of the best.

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Specialist child psychologist Marilyn Campbell provides ethical guidance to Ian Thorpe and the documentary makers on Bullied.

The  second is a must read, and a hat tip to Au Waipang in Singapore for posting it to Facebook: An Insider’s View: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America.

 As Au Waipang said: “I’m sure this isn’t the whole story, but this article urges us to confront what is likely a big part of the reality.”

As the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump is being sorted out, a common theme keeps cropping up from all sides: “Democrats failed to understand white, working-class, fly-over America.”

Trump supporters are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all forms of the media are saying this. Even some Democratic leaders are saying this. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, it is complete BS. It is an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to draw attention away from the real problem. The real problem isn’t East Coast elites who don’t understand or care about rural America. The real problem is that rural Americans don’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out….

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One thought on “Ian Thorpe, Bullied, USA insight

  1. Insider’s View…: “Shut up, he explained.” Possibly the most succinct sentence ever written, not by the Bard.

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