An interesting Wisconsin State Journal article argues that the Left and the Right are uniting in opposition to the Bully video game. It would be interesting to see if there’s a line between supporters and opponents that can be drawn elsewhere. For instance, would the positions reflect a generational divide? Or perhaps the battle over Bully is defined by economic as opposed to political positions: is this a free market vs. planned economy showdown?
I’m personally still in favor of parents choosing not to buy the game instead of banning it. I think it’s providing a terrific focus for conversation about bullying.
Also, I learned today that 160,000 students have reported skipping out on school because they fear being bullied. I wonder how this number would look if other strategies to avoid bullying were factored in. For instance, my father drove me every day to a school in another town for my senior year in high school to dissuade me from dropping out of my hometown school. I was bullied extensively as a classic chess nerd – though it was probably more of a problem that the social status of my family and my dollar store clothes didn’t match my upper class-ish abilities and interests. Nothing drives people crazier than a person that’s difficult to categorize.
I often wonder if the mass unsettling of categories isn’t the root of a lot of reactionary politics today. A lot of people have attempted to assert equality without any financial ground to stand on since the 60s: this probably looks like chaos from the perspective of the traditionally privileged. No wonder our government and the media are looking for any rationale – scientific or religious or judicial – to put people “in their place”. A banner example is Tom Delay’s shifty agenda for moral fitness. For the reader’s benefit, here’s a defition of “moral fitness” from a philosophy web site:
Moral fitness theory is a rationalist theory that includes the notion that the human mind is able to grasp the various moral relations that result from the essential natures of things in the universe; e.g., the nature of humans and God creates a relation that necessitates the allegiance of humans to their superior (this view was made most famous by Samuel Clarke).
The idea of “moral fitness” probably sounds comforting to the people dismayed by the confusion and contradictions of the modern world. However, I imagine it’s a lot more comforting for those who deem themselves to be the “superiors” than those who are shoved into the class obliged to proffer a natural “allegiance.”