Bullying is once again at the forefront of many discussions in the wake of the suicide of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi. The Rutgers freshman jumped from George Washington Bridge after his roommate and another student secretly videotaped him having sex with another man, and then posted the video online. The two people who committed this egregious act are Dhraun Ravi and Molly Wei, who are also both 18. They are facing charges of invading Clementi’s privacy.
Tonight I watched Dr. Phil talking about this case on television. Dr. Phil said people who do things like this (and presumably think it’s funny) learn this behavior is okay, “or it wouldn’t be so prominent for people to pick on these folks.” He said “… who does that? Who takes somebody’s personal life and extrudes it for everyone to see, knowing that it’s going to be judged … there’s something seriously wrong here.”
I wanted to call in and say “the cast of the “Jersey Shore” does it, Dr. Phil.”
In tonight’s episode of the “Jersey Shore,” ganging up on Angelina was the main activity and, as the name of the episode already told us, she was “Gone, Baby, Gone.” The gang mentality on the “Jersey Shore” works like this: cast everything Angelina does is cast in a negative light. It doesn’t matter what she does, or even if someone else does the same thing, everyone else agrees to somehow drag her through the mud over whatever happens.
When they are not hooking up with each other in the house, the cast of the “Jersey Shore” goes out clubbing and picks up whoever they pick up and take them home to the “smushing room.” Mike “The Situation,” Paulie D and Vinny are the gorillas who get to enjoy the “male double standard,” where it’s okay for the guys to hook up with all the girls in the house and as many girls in the club as they please, but they carry that a step further. The same right cannot be accorded to Ronnie, because he is supposedly in a relationship with Sammi. They also get to decide which girls are okay no matter who they sleep with, and who’s a “ho.” Mike “The Situation” is clearly the ringleader of the guys, while pushy JWoww is his female counterpart.
When Ronnie cheated on Sammi this season, Sammi became the target of contempt for a while for wanting to stay with him but that was a mere diversion. Throughout the season, Angelina has been the target of ridiculous and twisted accusations, manipulation and humiliating confrontations, In one episode, Mike “The Situation” discovers a used folded up sanitary pad on the floor by the garbage in the bathroom. Somehow he knows it is Angelina’s so he takes it and puts it under her pillow in her bed. Angelina comes home with some friends and discovers this in front of her friends.
The Situation calls her a “dirty little hamster” in front of her friends. I personally fail to see the humor in this and told my daughter that no decent person would do anything like that. A decent person would throw it in the trash and tell her to be more careful privately. But that’s me. A lot of people thought it was hilarious and if you google the phrase “dirty little hamster,” you will find there are over 20,000 results and even a “Free Angelina, you dirty little hamster” ringtone.
“The Situation” proceeded to talk about who Angelina had slept with in front of her friends, provoking her to the point where she hit him, then he went and told everyone what she did in that peculiar way troublemakers have of telling an inflammatory story without admitting they provoked the whole situation. (Yeah, yeah – the Situation provoked the situation — are we sick of that yet?). He even had the nerve to call Angelina a rat. They have a name for this particular tactic in psychology — I think it’s called projection.
Snooki, in the meantime, still claims to be incensed that Angelina hooked up with Vinny. Snooki had hit that first in a drunken stupor one morning. Snooki’s alcohol consumption is another area where MTV is coming under criticism. RadarOnline claimed in a recent item that Snooki was treated at a Miami hospital in Season 2, which we are watching now, for alcohol poisoning and MTV covered it up. Usually, I’m not too inclined to give much credence to RadarOnline stories, but I’m telling you, this little guidette actually has the noticeable appearance of someone abusing alcohol, or who simply can’t handle it and shouldn’t be drinking at all. A totally snookered Snooki hooks up with Alex at the club, a guy who was with Angelina first. She continues to call Angelina a whore. In the after hours show, when Angelina points out that Snooki took up with Alex — Snooki says “Oh boo hoo.” So it’s just too bad when Snooki does the same thing she is ranting, raving and fighting Angelina over.
Every once in a while, someone will throw Angelina a tiny bone of friendship, which by now she rightfully doesn’t even trust, until finally she blows up and tells them: “All of youse in this house are f-ing fake.” To call him fake, The Situation reveals, is “just blasphemy — to talk against the leader like that. In other countries you get hung for that type of sh-t.” Well, at least he admits he was the leader.
The audience at the after hours show seemed to be expecting them to all kiss and make up now that Angelina isn’t going to be there, but with the host taking the side of the insane Jersey Shore gang, who even thinks that Angelina owes them an apology — that wasn’t happening.
So there you have the gang mentality and your answer, Dr. Phil, of why bullying will continue. Dr. Phil believes “We have to put it into the curriculum. It has to be not just a hit and miss intervention thing. It’s got to become part of the curriculum. And the Elementary and Secondary Education Act right now is — is being talked about in Congress. I testified there in June, about including bullying and cyber-bullying language into that act so we can put the funds out to get — to teach kids this isn’t okay.
“We have a generation now that is growing up with a lack of empathy. They don’t have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and say, this is hurting someone. These kids don’t have the empathy they need to have. We’ve got to teach that. It’s got to be in the curriculum.” He added that even if they can’t be taught empathy, “you can certainly teach them what constitutes crossing the line and where the boundaries are being violated.”
While that is a commendable plan, if there’s one thing I could plainly see in tonight’s episode of the “Jersey Shore,” we are just not all on the same page at all.
The Situation is Ratty (9/14/2010)
Interview with Dr. Phil McGraw (9/30/2010)
MTV: The Jersey Shore: Gone, Baby, Gone 9/30/2010