And who shall ‘scape whipping?

A great post by Alyson Miers (whom I met at WiS in May) on bullying and imperfect victims.

There’s this meme –

 See Alyson’s response to that.


  1. 'Tis Himself says

    I was bullied in high school because I was small, uncoordinated, intellectual, non-athletic, shy, socially awkward, and a straight-A student. Guess what, I was all those things. So according to the meme, the bullies had reason to bully me.

  2. callistacat says

    @Alethea “I really really hate those “99% won’t repost” passive-aggressive attempts at emotional blackmail”

    I know, right? It’s so freakin’ obnoxious.

  3. callistacat says

    “I was bullied in high school because I was small, uncoordinated, intellectual, non-athletic, shy, socially awkward, and a straight-A student. Guess what, I was all those things. So according to the meme, the bullies had reason to bully me.”

    I think we might be related. :) Just add *very uncoordinated, and not just shy but more in social anxiety disorder territory.
    When I would compain to my mom she would always tell me, “They must have had a reason. People don’t do things for *no reason*.” Couldn’t argue with that logic.

  4. GordonWillis says

    Ah well, they do say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. One of the worst aspects of my childhood was that people seemed to talk like this all the time.

  5. Ysanne says

    But it’s such a deep, spiritual and compassionate meme! *ommmm*
    I’ve mostly seen it in the streams of FB friends who consider themselves spiritually enlightened and unconditionally loving toward everybody.

    I’m glad Alyson put it into words so well why this meme is just toxic.

  6. says

    “How about this? If you’re against bullying, then stand up for the safety and dignity of the less-than-perfect victims. If bullying is wrong, then there should be no gaping loopholes.

    Fuck yeah… Bullying is wrong by definition. No excuses.

  7. wendy says

    How about this perspective?
    that nerd is a human being with thoughts, feelings and fears..
    That fat girl is a human being with thoughts, feelings and fears…
    That gay kid is a human being with thoughts, feelings and fears…

    Why is it so hard to see humanity in each other?

  8. InvincibleIronyMan says

    Got to love a post with a Hamlet quote for a title.

    The quotation comes from act II, scene II where the players have arrived and Polonius is asked to provide them with lodging and hospitality. It’s a fine lesson in the treatment of other people:

    POLONIUS: My Lord, I will use them according to their desert

    HAMLET: God’s bodkins, man, much better. Use every man after his desert, and who should ’scape whipping? Use them after your own honor and dignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in.

    I always think there’s far more wisdom in Shakespeare than in the Bible!

  9. GordonWillis says

    This makes me so depressed it kept me awake. So I decided to distract myself with a little research into the taxonomy of this form of mental cruelty. No one need go to the trouble of confirming whether distraction is too mild a term.
    From the very recently discovered treatise De Profundis Vomitare come some possibly useful terms:
    sentina fluxa molliter
    (softly flowing bilge-water)
    vomitio dulcitudinis improvida
    (sicking up niceness without actually caring about anybody),
    sp consulto (on purpose).
    Only a few words (wait…ten, not counting the sp) of this treatise have yet come to light. Possibly more will be discovered.
    Further fascinating facts:

    “The manuscript, now MS221B Puddlensis, is preserved on a scrap of material of highly unusual type: the results of an analysis of its composition have not yet been accepted as credible, but what appears to be part of the maker’s name (ellogg) appears on the verso. Prof Guilini has suggested that [H]ellogg[ius] (?) might have been a marketer of an early type of soft vegetable-based parchment (flaccus) for busy scribes (he speculates that it was sold in codex form enclosing a sacculum of free horsetreats as an incentive, but, as Dr Giordano has pointed out, the only evidence of this type of behaviour is too recent to supply confirmation).” [Schnackenpfeffer’s Journal, August 2012]
    A plausibly deniable case for Anonymus Bosch as the author
    has, I am told, been made by someone, I forget whom.

  10. Amy Clare says

    Yeah I prefer Alyson’s version. Also, what if the person bullying you is your best friend, sibling, parent, teacher, etc? Bullying isn’t about not knowing a person.

  11. Stewart says

    If it’s wrong for you to do, then it mustn’t matter to whom you’re doing it. Exactly. Reminds me of an anecdote (telling as remembered, not going back to research details) that makes the same point, except in this case about lynching. After the film director Fritz Lang came to the U.S. from Germany, his first film was “Fury,” which is about how Spencer Tracy is wrongly suspected of a rape and survives, unbeknownst to the lynch mob, the burning of the jail in which he’s being held. Having an innocent, sympathetic and white Tracy as the lynch mob’s apparent victim was forced on Lang by the studio. It was easy to say lynching was wrong to inflict on someone like that. What Lang had wanted to do was make a movie showing that lynching was wrong using an unpleasant, unattractive black man who, in his original pitch, would have been guilty of the rape. Different circumstances but a similar point.

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