Posted by: daviemacdonald | February 13, 2011

The Schoolyard Bully, Jonny Lang, and Phoebe Prince (R.I.P.)


social and community comment

This post is a journey with first a review of Jonny Lang CD Long Time Coming, which has indeed been a long time coming

In the course of my research of this CD,  I found a song by Jonny Lang  called “Irish Angel”. It is a very sad song and I was intrigued to find out more. It highlights the results of schoolyard bullying.

This is the story of a young Irish girl who was driven to suicide by school bullies. In Australia today we know this is a phenomenon that appears to be gaining some ground and sadly the school authorities in the western world are often too late to act as in this case of Phoebe Prince an Irish American schoolgirl who was driven to suicide at bloody just 15.

Bullying at School was something I also found myself dealing with and those who know me today are somewhat surprised when I relay some of my experiences. They think I was tough and am still strong today.

Unfortunately bullying does not stop at the playground at the end of childhood, nor is it confined to adolescence, but continues to adulthood and to the workplace.

It is a blight across all of society. This is something I rarely talk about because my life has in the main been great.

Me at school, prabably about 7 year old

Me at school, prabably about 7 year old

It hurts us most inside.  The perpetrators are not gender-specific, nor are they confined to lower sociology-economic groups in fact in my experience I found that they come from where there is comparative economic  privilege .

I wonder what the ‘criminologist’   finds and what real life working solutions they are ready to provide. Society needs a solution that isn’t is delivered as a piece of esoteric university “mumbo jumbo” but something that ordinary folk can understand.

The playground bully remains a bully waiting for the next victim. However when confronted  most often they run away to mother. In later life as adults once  confronted  turn on the tears and cry foul.  Unfortunately even then it doesn’t always  stop and they will seek revenge , but not necessarily with the one who confronts them but later their bullying manifests itself  with another victim that pops up in their life in the future.

Playground at Sandhurst Road School

Playground at Sandhurst Road School

In the case of  Phoebe Prince the perpetrators  resorted to the use of blogs, Face book and twitter. I said this doesn’t stop at adolescents but continues to adult hood.

Remembering bullying does not have to be physical, the smarter perpetrator now can simply resort to social media to continue their behaviour.

Why ?

Bullies have to be in control and they thrive on it. The dunces amongst us will look on an applaud  either by our in-action or unwitting active involvement.  This happened to me recently  where a blog and twitter were used to denigrate me by the bully after extracting myself from a bullying relationship.

Problem with bullying is some became active bystanders and so encouraging the bully like a pack egging on the bully in the school playground. Some of these useful idiots included a Senior Executive  in  Australian Public Service  and a University Lecturer duh

Article 1 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the United Nations in 1948) is

All Human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Others

The bully feels justified in their actions against victims as they can do no wrong in their mind.

The victim or survivor was ALWAYS the problem, and the bully feels justified in their persecution that knows no bounds.  I am no academic nor am I a clinical psychologist but I wonder what NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) has to play in this condition .

Bullying comes from envy and  you don’t have to be poor to have envy. Unfortunately in a materialist society where we condone the trappings of wealth (however ill gotten) an ambition of hierarchy and sheer greed at the expense of others these behaviors will continue grow and are a cause of Domestic Violence.

The bully needs to feel dominant. She or he mostly though for me it was a female  gains attention by showing others how superior they are by a combination of grandiosity and  forcefulness while they project their faults on to others.

The bully is jealous of others who they [secretly] perceive are better than themselves. That is if the victim is more calm, more in control, has a  higher status ( not necessarily work related), having more material goods, ans is simply smarter

The bully feels they are entitled to have all these things including others life partners husbands wives if it suits their need.  You will know when you run into one as they will tell you how mad the other party is.

So watch out if they have entered your circle of friends recently. You will know one if they continually blame a junior or senior work colleagues, blame their bad luck on others always grumble about their work situation and make claims to actions or a life that just doesn’t add up.  They will falsify education, say they have been to countries you know they have never been to but someone in their life has. The will stael another identity of life experience and make it their own.

Engage them in the conversation on a subject or place they claim knowledge that maybe by co-incidence a  mirror of yours and  they will switch away has they don’t have enough detail to engage you fully; if you happen to have been to that destination too.

Their reaction to this envy is to suffer a super-ego crisis response.  So the Bully Narcissist -person hits out to show they are superior; it is defense by offense; the problem is the other person (the target) does not have to prompt or confront them to be attacked. They will invent false dramas through their false perceptions of reality.

If you try to reason, they will try to bamboozle you with double speak especially if they perceive you to  be not as well-educated.

Best to  walk away but as you do they will claim it was at their doing…They are fucking NUTS

A sociologist referring to the case of Phoebe Prince stated “It is all too common to re-target the target so as to minimize or justify the cruelty reaped on her.”

music

Here is the story of Phoebe Prince as Blues guitarist Jonny Lang sings [the sadness of ] My Irish Angel. You will find the track at the end of The Phoebe Prince Story in this post

Jonny Lang

Long Time Coming was Jonny Lang’s third or fourth album (reports differ), recorded in 2002 –  he is still just a 22 year old. Previously in the post Crossroads I introduced Lang to you with a link to his first recording I know of “Lie To me” then recorded when just 16 years old.

Jonny Lang, Long Time Coming

This album was considered a debut for this then 22-year-old, who started out as a hotshot teenage guitar prodigy. Teaming with Pink producer Marti Frederiksen, Lang took five years between albums and emerged with a collection of songs predominantly co-written by himself and Frederiksen, moving him well past an image that found him coming off like Stevie Ray Vaughn.

With this record (CD Jonny Lang brings to the boil incorporated more R&B to his musical style, with his raspy soul singing that is simply terrific. His voice just hits the spot. The first track featured on his appearance at “Crossroads 2004 Concert” is Give me up relevant to all I wrote before here This time I treat you to a more subtle late night indoor rendition.

I just love it.

With just a hint of pop and classic rock we move on to the next track Red light, Here is a promotional video.

Jonny gives us some more rocky pop stuff  with Get What You Give and The One You Got and  we find ourselves  at Touch a huge song brushed with the kind of beats and arrangements you might find on a Justin Timberlake recording, underscored by his weeping guitar play.

“Goodbye Letter” an anthem for all the broken-hearted everywhere.

Among the pleasant surprises included are the raucous Highway Diner  “To Love Again” and “Happiness and Misery,” My aging ears pick up some harmonica accompaniment by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler Listening to  Dying to live we find a shade of Stevie Wonder.

Then we go to a no frills Home Brand pub folk rock blues country style “Long Time Coming” The CD is nicely finished of with a live track of Stevie Wonder’s “Livin’ for the City.” Oh you must listen to just what a versatile talent this Jonny Lang is. WOW.

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So to the Phoebe Prince Story

Phoebe Prince was a 15-year-old recent immigrant from Ireland a tiny seaside hamlet in County Clare, who found herself at South Hadley High School, Massachusetts in 2010.

She was the target of a group of 9 high school teens targeted the Irish immigrant until after months of complaints that the bullies weren’t being punished  for statutory rape, violation of civil rights, bodily injury, criminal harassment and stalking she was driven to hang herself

The case has become a rallying point against high school bullying.

Phoebe Prince

Investigations revealed relentless activity directed toward Phoebe designed to humiliate her and to make it impossible for her to remain at school

Her books were routinely knocked out of her hands, items were flung at her, her face was scribbled out of photographs on the school walls, and threatening text messages were sent to her mobile

The focus was drawn to her because she by briefly dated a popular boy at the school. One student later said it felt like the whole school ganged up on her.

On January 14, 2010, after a day of harassment and taunting, followed by a final incident in which a student threw a can at her from a passing car as she walked home from school, Phoebe committed suicide by hanging herself in the stairwell leading to the second floor of the family unit.

Her body was discovered by her 12-year-old sister.

My Irish Angel, Jonny Lang

My experience of the bully A Lesson For All Act On Your Intuition Sooner Rather Than Later

Those of you who have read the last paragraphs to “my about” will already be aware that not so long ago I passed through a situation where (and this I know does surprise all who know me) I allowed my self to be  bullied.

One day I finally put my foot down over all things Julia Gillard and the Citizens Assembly. I resented rightly the disparaging comments made about the woman I was busy campaigning for as the Election Campaign manager for my local Canberra ALP branch.

I went along with being subjected to a very manipulative and bullying environment. There was never a better place than to lay egg shells than in this house I lived in for over 3 and a half years.

So much so I will freely admit  I was visited by the black dog almost daily for several months. Unknown to me at the time they were freely tweeting and blogging about their association with a person I had introduced them to who I had befriended and who had sought an opportunity for some house renovation work.

stupid

The paradox in my case was that it I was on the receiving end of a solicitor’s letter accusing me of *bullying and Harassment when the opposite was true.

Though I had already in place plans to move and had already moved as much stuff as my little car was able to be loaded with to a store; the other party felt it prudent ( to have the last laugh I guess) to have lawyers email me (not post) a letter giving me just 14 days to remove all my things and most of the furnishings I had supplied for the ENTIRE household.

A coup de grace by the bully.

The Schoolyard

The playground has a bully
In all schools they can be found
I met mine so many times
In many years
First in first school
Then in second school
And some more in second school
And more again and
at….home

In the first school he was in the class above

With his gang all three would wait for me
I’d see them quickly duck and hide around the corner
On the street
My journey home
I was afraid I couldn’t face
So I would go the long way
Around another street

And race
I knew my mother would be waiting
been waiting far too long
So I should have faced the bullies
Some push or shove might be better all the same
Than the beating from the cane

One day I got caught.
Or did I let it happen?
I think I wanted to
With my soft toy in hand
I fought the bully
With just a hand
and the button nose of the seal
(my soft toy from another land)
I forgot those bullies.
And the cowards as they were
And my brother too.
But I remember my mother’s hand
My home was a place for bullies too

But second school had bullies
Year 1
Year 2
And 3
Who it seemed had been all waiting
For someone just for me
In second school most boys had lost their shorts
To real men’s flannel trouser
But some like me had still had shorts.
a badge, a star,
Like a Yellow star of David’s
We’re poor were different were odd
They were cheap of course much cheaper than the trouser
But they were like a magnet. A beacon or a flag
“Hey come and get me”
“Here I am”

Each year or 2 above the first in second school
The bully was always in my frame
You couldn’t pull the curtain
You couldn’t hide in shame
You had to pass through the gate
Or be beside the bus stop
And there you had to wait
I fought back
and fought sometimes very hard
But the bully in 2 and 3 was often
a bit too large.

Eltham Green Lower Entrance

This is the school gate, opposite the bus stop

Somehow when year 2 arrived my trouser had been forgot
Just me alone with frozen knees and a boys long socks
There were less bullies now
and I had my  reputation.
Sometime in spring I think
My trouser came in 64
The bully quick departed.
I didn’t have to chase
And I never did
I let him go
For I was proud
No more hurt at school

At home it did remain
the bully number just the same
For still I had the bully brother
His fist I still couldn’t duck
And the trouser?
my respite from all scorn
It’s the knee became all torn
And so there was my mother
Still
But now WITH broom stick in her hand.
I still see the bully from time to time
And I will intervene
If I should see him or her
I let them know their seen
And so I’m proud of whom I am
That I have never been a bully
And those who know my story
Will know I never can.

And those who ever meet me
Not knowing all above
Like my son My boy
My Friends
My Lover
They know I’ll never bully
They know I never can.

Something about  my Mother

She had an extremely hard life put into service at 13. She was the daughter of my Grandfather a Scots Guardsman who was rarely at home due to military service often overseas.

She lost her first husband who had fought in the Spanish Civil War (my brothers Father) and was ravaged by tuberculosis losing one of her lungs when pregnant with me. She was later to lose half of another when I was 7 or 8.

She  had to cope with our separation at my birth and we were apart for almost all the next 5 years.  When I was 8 she was back in hospital for the removal of some of her remaining lung . This life must have been tough on her. Unfortunately she seemed tough on me too but I know I was a difficult boy at times.

We never did make the best connection and as an adult looking back I blame myself and I miss her sometimes.

My Mother never spoke of her Mother and today as I finish writing I realise I never asked. I wish I had.

So to finish I thought I would include a live version of Sitting at a Red Light

Perhaps we should all stop and give ourselves time to take breath, slow down ….give a chance to think,  give up on speeding through our whole life .

Get out, get on our feet and walk it out.


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