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Bullied as a kid?


BSB Addict
Oct 26, 2008
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The island next door to Ibiza
When I was bullied at age 13, the 3 older and bigger guys who couldn't stand the sight of me for at least half a dozen reasons, none of them probably even to do with sexual preference, said nary a word as they silently pummeled me, slapped me around and twisted my arm right before geometry three times a week. It only took half a minute, and made all four of us miserable. They obviously weren't any better off afterward and couldn't even look at each other as they fell back to get their breath, arrange their ducktails, tuck their shirts in and move into class. This drama took place in the backstage of the auditorium of the small town Missouri school I sometimes went to when I could (down with asthma a lot). And since it was an elective available to several grades, alternative space had to be found for the class. I learned my theorems under spotlights, with the proscenium curtains closed to the auditorium, my attackers in the front so they wouldn't have to look at the touseled, stung and disarranged victim of the anger they barely understood themselves.

My assailants never called me names for some reason. Some victims of bullying suffer the added indignity of nomenclature. But in a discussion of bullying, and hate crimes, to lose track of what a tyrant does, in favor of his vocabulary, is shortsighted. Among some overstimulated heterosexual males it seems there is a visceral, basic, unlearned repugnance toward homosexuality, almost instinctual, as in snakes and spiders. If these people are also violent and aggressive, their feelings spur them on to actions. I'd rather not sound too jesus-y, but I feel sorry for poor damned devils who hurt others out of unhappiness and rancor. I hope there is a more effective way to help them be better human beings than by silencing their ugly speech.

On the other hand I recognize that I live in a society where people are no longer beaten up and killed because of their sexual preferences. Spain has many faults but sexual tolerance is pretty widespread, marriage and all that, and gayness mostly isn't a stigma.

I wish for the country of my birth a climate in which kids like Matthew Wayne Shepard aren't executed by conflicted righteous dullards intolerant of differences among people. It seems to me there's a long way to go.
Bully: one habitually cruel to others who are weaker

Tyrant: one resembling an oppressive ruler in the harsh use of authority or power

Homophobia: irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals

"Among some over stimulated heterosexual males it seems there is a visceral, basic, unlearned repugnance toward homosexuality, almost instinctual, as in snakes and spiders. If these people are also violent and aggressive, their feelings spur them on to actions."

I'm not trying to be clever or sarcastic or anything else. I just don't know any other way to say this without taking up another thousand lines. I, too, wish for a country free from intolerance and bigotry. But, Slim, your nemeses were no more than bullies picking on you because you were weaker. You weren't picked on because there is a long history of abuse of asthmatics. (If there were, I would have been right there on the floor with you!) Matt Shepard was attacked because he was gay. He was screamed at and then killed because he belonged to a group Henderson and McKinney felt they had almost a right to attack.

There is no unlearned repugnance to any behavior except loud noises and sudden movements in human nature. Babies play with snakes and spiders all the time. They learn to fear and hate them from adults who react strongly in front of them. And that is how homophobia, the true culprit in this long chain, comes into existence. It is passed from, shall we say, father to son, peer to peer. And it begins with hate speech. A child whose father slaps him for playing with a doll and screams "No son of mine is going to become a fucking faggot!" is likely to think that that is the appropriate thing to say to an effeminate boy and hitting him is the appropriate treatment.

To paraphrase, I think it is equally shortsighted to lose sight of a primary means by which the homophobe (1) is taught (2) teaches (3) justifies his actions in the name of over stimulated heterosexual males. You see, a tyrant didn’t begin as a tyrant. Hitler began as a housepainter whose anti-Semitic hatespeech brought followers to him. Gas chambers and ovens were nowhere in his mind until his hatespeech brought him the power.

Now, how do I reconcile my inalienable belief in freedom of speech with my (according to many here) insufferable abhorrence of hate speech? It's a little word called tolerance. I read the word faggot in books; my God, I write it in books, for the sake of realism. I hear it in movies; I hear it in plays; I hear it on television. I tolerate it. It’s being used for a purpose. If I don't find a purpose I leave/change channels/ask for a refund. I hear it on Broke Straight Boys - it's also reality - I don't blame David - I don't blame Mark - I don't blame Broke Straight Boys - I joined this group because I wanted a semblance of reality, and like freedom, I have to let Torin march in Skokie so Broke Straight Boys can stay on line. But the Constitution does not say I have to like Torin, like what he said, feel sorry for him, want to suck his dick, or jack off while he's on the screen. I simply flip back over to episodes and click on something I do like and watch it until the next new thing comes along. We had a wonderful lesson on statistics from a member the other day and saw how divided we are on this issue. That's the beauty of living here and not somewhere else. We can be divided. And I can turn around to the smart-alecky son of a bitch behind me who calls some poor kid a fag and tell him "I will not tolerate that kind of speech from you or anyone else in my presence." That, I think, is intolerance, and that is how I do my part to stop hate speech and castrate homophobia.
The whole polemic of "nature versus nurture", as we all know, has recently taken an interesting turn. People of my generation were steeped from an early age in "nurture", that is to say the theories of human behavior that posit an empty slate upon which experiences in early childhood etch themselves onto a human personality. The "nature" psychologists were, in the second half of the last century, discredited and reviled for their suggestions that some of our behavior might be atavistic and instinctual. They may have reckoned that if many other species could be proven to act to some degree out of instinct, and had some inborn characteristics that they didn't have to learn, which came with their genetic makeup, then why not us. These guys were chillingly non-PC. They brought to mind the memory of such no-no's as the eugenics practiced in the US by state governments up till the 1970s, they sounded like apologists for the National Socialists in the Germany of the 30s and 40s, they sounded like racists and homophobes. I daresay some of them were. But the researchers who claimed to have discovered in humans certain innate characteristics and behavior that had been touted as "learned" by the "nurture" camp, but which seemed to be inborn, have brought the whole argument again to the table.

In other words, we've been, if we're of the demographic born around the middle of the last century, taught to abhor the idea that we have instincts, to shy away from the concept of inborn traits in humans, and stoutly to deny that there are inherent genetic differences between say, a Japanese and a Nigerian. These "nature" people walk on eggs every time they come out with something because they know how nervous their research makes men of good will. One day we will be able to contemplate their studies with equanimity. For now they give us the shivers, or make us righteous and cross, as probably we should be. I do find the idea of a baby human being coming out beautifully cheesy and slimy, with a bunch of behavioral baggage packed already into her genome, terrifically interesting, but recognize that it's not a PC posture to take.
Slim. I do believe that when certain characteristics of human beings repeat themselves over and over throughout history, they are apparently instinctual rather than learned behavior. One example is man's desire to fight and engage in wars has always been part of our nature. I always chuckle to myself when people say that we have to bring an end to war, as it is a part of our DNA. I look back to Donovan's song Universal Soldier from the sixties as an excellent example of this, although he does use the 'hippy mentality" of suggesting that we can "put an end to war".

Similarly, homosexuality has always been part of man's nature throughout history, as well as homophobia, (usually exhibited by people who are afraid to recognize their own homosexual nature). And "bullyism" has always been around too, as certain individuals seem to be "alpha males" who have an inborn sense of proving themselves to be "king of the jungle", at the expense of weaker individuals.

It is definitely interesting to look at the nature of mankind over history. Keep in mind, the human being is an animal, and instincts do control animals in nature. Obviously we are a far advanced form of animal, but that is what we are, despite what some religions teach us.
According to Port aggression is the instinct that leads to fights and wars. Mankind has a natural instinct toward aggression. It shows itself in such human flaws as greed, selfishness, and pugnacity. There is no natural instinct to fight in a war only a natural feeling of aggression which, under certain circumstances, can become a desire to fight: (1) abuse as a child, (2) nationalistic upbringing, (3) hatred, (4) vengeance – the list goes on, but these are all learned behaviors and not instinctive. A child is merely naturally aggressive, how he chooses to channel that aggression depends on his experience and learning. Chuckle away, but many societies have flourished without being called warlike, the aggressive instinct must merely be channeled into a more socially acceptable expression: commerce, sports, manufacturing. There’s a reason most men like highly competitive sports – its their aggressive nature finding a healthy, acceptable outlet.

Hippy mentality? Hardly. Taming the aggressive beast began long before the hippies. It could be called a Christian mentality but it goes further back than that. Every time a farmer adds ten acres to his cultivated field or a cowboy breaks an extra horse for a roundup or a chef puts two more burners on a range to accommodate some extra pots or a store owner adds a dozen more items of merchandise, he’s channeling that aggressive instinct and it’s not likely he’s even considering war in any way, shape, or form.

Sex is certainly instinctive. We don’t even have to learn to fuck. The desire to have sex is instinctive. From that point, no one knows. If we did, the debate on gay rights would have been over sixty years ago. The fixation of one’s sexual desires is probably genetic, and, as such, is no more instinctive than the color of one’s hair. What is learned is the characteristics of that fixation: long legs, sparkling eyes, brown hair, high cheekbones, or boys with high levels of testosterone who pronounce themselves masculine but for the right amount of money will have sex with a telephone pole. Those are fetishes and everyone one of us has some; they are not instinctive behavior. I happened to prefer a man my own age who takes his time and stays with it till everybody’s happy. But he had to teach me that and I’m glad I learned it.

Animals? Of course we are. But almost every single one of those pesky human-animal instincts can be controlled by channeling, education, or fear. Oh, I know, a hungry person will do anything to alleviate the hunger; that’s part of being an animal. Well, how many times have you heard about a hungry mother devouring her child? Cats do it. Dogs do it. Even sentimental fleas do it. Only an insane (not an instinct, a disease) human mother would.

The point about alpha males is really interesting. I suddenly had visions of the wolf pack which lives in the mountains across from our house. One brute of a male, snarling, growling, howling, beating every other wolf down around him. I’ve watched them through my binoculars from horseback. It definitely is instinctive – but bullying is not the instinct – fucking is. Being the alpha male, or lead stallion, or bull of the woods has nothing to do with aggression, it has to do with who gets to fuck the female. Next time you’re in a gay bar and an absolutely stunningly beautiful twink walks in – watch the alpha males begin to circle. I don’t think any of them is planning to beat him up.

You know, like I tell my students, this argument can go on forever. It all boils down to what we’re willing to do and what we’re willing to not do, who we’re willing to do it with, and what we’re willing to go through to get it. Somewhere in there is the truth and none of us has a patent on it. I’ve said just about all I have to say on this subject. I’m going upstairs and see if I can find an old man willing to let nature take its course. His instincts aren’t as sharp as they used to be, but his reflexes are right on the money!
I was also bullied at school and at home by this boy. I was about 14 and had never been in any serious fight, but this person kept on picking on me for no apparent reason. Anyway after months of bullying and turning the other cheek I finally cracked. After a day of abusive comments and pushing I said to this lad "I'll meet you on the football pitch at home at 6pm" - lol it was like gunfight at dawn. Word soon got around and there was quite an audience, but that didn't bother me as my anger had got the better of me. I went down to the field, jumped on the guy and gave him the biggest beating he's ever had. Needless to say I never got picked on again and I never got any joy out of beating him up, just a sense of relief.