Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Phoebe, ostracized for having a brief relationship with a popular boy, reached her breaking point and hanged herself after one particularly hellish day in January — a day that, according to officials, included being hounded with slurs and pelted with a beverage container as she walked home from school.
Now, nine teenagers face charges in what a prosecutor called "unrelenting" bullying, including two teen boys charged with statutory rape and a clique of girls charged with stalking, criminal harassment and violating Phoebe's civil rights.
School officials won't be charged, even though authorities say they knew about the bullying and that Phoebe's mother brought her concerns to at least two of them.
Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel, who announced the charges Monday, said the events before Phoebe's death on Jan. 14 were "the culmination of a nearly three-month campaign of verbally assaultive behavior and threats of physical harm" widely known among the student body. (As reported by the Star Tribune.)
So why are these things happening on an almost weekly basis? Why are kids so much more vicious than they were? I know there have always been bullies and gossips. But what is happening now is beyond what we knew, it is beyond natural boundaries of behavior.
I can't help but wonder if it stems from what has happened in "entertainment" over the years. Reality TV shows are all about pitting people against each other, not so much to see who is the most accomplished, but to see how mean they can be about each other, if they can lie and cheat to improve their position. Year after year the shows are more focused on nastiness and one up manship than anything else.
Then there is Simon Cowell, the leader of the snarky judge movement. The sad thing is that he is very knowledgeable and would be helpful to the aspiring contestants if he weren't so interested in making it about him.
There is a whole cadre of the mean girls shows where fights break out, they call each other names and generally display themselves to be sad, self-esteem lacking women who could actually use a great big dose of sisterhood and kindness in their lives.
The youth culture has taken to calling women bitches, whores and sluts because that is what they are called in the music. The videos and music also appear to advocate violence in the face of "disrespect." We think this stuff is just happening in gang infested areas; we are wrong. It is a pervasive part of the youth culture and has been for years.
Our kids have learned a lot of this behavior from us - we have brought this into our homes and allowed it to be consumed as entertainment. I, personally, can't bear to watch shows, including Survivor and Idol because of the meanness. Many shows women tell me are guilty pleasures are things I would never watch because I think they are so demeaning to women. I have discussed with my kids my distaste for references to women as sluts, etc. I speak up when I think someone is being unkind on a show we are watching. I interrupt if my daughter and her friends are gossiping. I do try to intervene and set a good example. I hope my kids would not stand by and let someone be bullied.
I think this woman is very naive and many are like her, which is why it is important that charges have been filed in this case and I will be watching to see what happens. We need to stop calling this "bullying" and label it what is is - harassment, assault, stalking and whatever other terms necessary to make people wake up to the seriousness of what is happening.
I can't help agonizing a little for the students who tormented her too. How profoundly have they been failed by their own community, that nobody stopped them? How much brutality have they already seen in their lives to be so skilled, so young, at directing it at others? How lost must they be that a handful of them were still taunting Prince even after she died, on her Facebook memorial page? Four of the kids up on charges now are girls under the age of 16. That's far too young to be that vicious -- although frankly I can't fathom that level of savagery in anyone, at any age.
Monday, March 29, 2010
The study, published in the Nature Neuroscience journal, found that when rats consumed a lot of high-fat, high-calorie food, it led to compulsive eating habits - similar to a drug addiction.
Another study that could have saved money by just asking me...or any number of overweight people.
I am sure this story is getting a lot of attention so I will not go through the details, but I will add my experience. Some of us can't eat "what we want" in moderation. My husband is always after me when I turn down foods: "Just have a little", "a bite won't hurt you."
Well, some people can have a little and then move on to the healthy alternatives. Me? When I am off the sugar, the high fat, the rich foods - I need to stay off. One taste and I am drawn back in like an alcoholic back to the bottle, like an addict back to the needle.
My friends and family frequently comment on my will power. Yes. I can be very strong minded when I am off the stuff. But don't ask me to to have just a taste. It is torture. It is why I have spent most of my life fat.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
The only glitch to the day happened when we got to the Embarcadero BART station and found that the elevator was not working. Tom explained how to take the bike on the escalator. I figured it couldn't be any more difficult than the huge double stroller I used to wrangle around with the twins and told him I would follow behind him.
Well, I rolled the bike on, squeezed the brake as he instructed and the bike reared up and knocked me backward! I went down on my back, and found myself looking into the rather startled face the the man who had entered the escalator behind me. He reached down to help me up - but I said I thought it best to just wait until we got to the top as my bike seemed to be riding along just fine beside me. So I rode the escalator to the top, on my back, feet first all the way up to the station.
The nice man helped me up, Tom grabbed my bike, I scooped up all my stuff that had tumbled out of my basket and rolled down the steps. Tom was so upset, because he thought I was hurt and it did bang up the bike a bit. But I just can't stop laughing about it.
We went to a different station on the way back. The elevator was working. Darn.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Baby boomers are the largest and wealthiest demographic and at the peak of their spending power. What marketing and sales professionals might not realize is that the majority of this spending power is wielded by women ages 50–75. They are the healthiest, wealthiest, most educated, active, and influential generation of women in history.
Monday, March 8, 2010
And this was the cap worn by one of their dads attending a regional soccer tournament we attended. Being exposed to parents like this is my reminder of why generation after generation, some of our children never really grow up to be fully functioning adults in our society.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
My mom sent me an e-mail about a friend who got a ticket. A police car (turned out it was 2 police cars) was on the side of the road giving a ticket to someone else. He slowed down to pass but did not move into the other lane. The second police car immediately pulled him over and gave him a ticket. Apparently, it is not enough to slow down, if any emergency vehicle is on the side of the road, if you are able, you are to move into the far lane.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
This is how I felt after my interview on Monday.
This is how I feel today after I have not gotten the call about being the one they hired.
Thanks for all the good wishes. I had really hoped this was it, but I sent out a couple more applications today...