Maybe “Bully” Should be Seen with a Parent or Guardian

March 1, 2012 at 9:46 AM Leave a comment

To be authentic, a movie about bullying may not be able to pass all the hurdles for the access provided by a PG rating. Meanwhile, what parent of middle or high school students isn’t looking for an opportunity to see a film with his or her child? The kids already know what is going on, so seeing it with each other may not be the point. Take your child to see the movie, and then talk about it.

The movie Bully has been rated “R“ by the Motion Picture Association, making it less accessible to the very population that it targets. However, I am not sure that changing the rating is the best solution to the problem. Perhaps part of the point could be that the language that mandates an “R” rating does not belong in school. In fact, reversal of that standard would imply that the abusiveness we wish to protest has become an accepted part of the landscape.

My husband and I looked at each other the first time one of his kids dropped the F-bomb in casual conversation. How should we respond? As Baby Boomers, we grew up in a generation that had challenged authority and the limits of the vernacular. However, peppering everyday conversations with any of George Carlin’s Very Bad Words was not intellectually defensible. Yeah, we may have earned a few language citations of our own among our friends, but controversial language needed to pass the test of approval by everyone within earshot, not just one’s inner circle.

And bad words are not just the profane ones. Any language can be turned into a weapon with intent. Again, we looked in the mirror. Sarcasm and irony are valued highly around the house. And no one was prouder than we were when the kids developed their ruthlessly dry wit. Fortunately, there was a teen improv group through which to diffuse mean jokes across a larger audience. But what are the limits?

Then there’s the notion of competitiveness. Isn’t that when an athletic event or debate makes us stronger by allowing us to totally triumph over worthy adversaries? Or some days just sort us into winners and losers? It gets complicated, especially when supporters gather. Is the home team advantage anything more than outnumbering the other guy?

Empowerment is good; arrogance is bad. But who is the judge when even genuine success can be fleeting? We constantly look for opportunities to bolster ourselves and our friends and families. Our homies need us. They are not a gang, are they?

We do not stand taller when the other guy falls down, but no one knows better than a Bostonian that the other guy’s missed field goal can get you into the Super Bowl…

Kids need help sorting it out. So do we. Read the stories, watch the movies and TV shows, and then listen. The kids may come to the right answers faster than we do.


Entry filed under: Journal Entries, Special Rants. Tags: , .

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