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What to say when asked about bullying, harassment, genocide, and institutional policy

Sunday 12/10/23

I'm looking at this Harvard-Penn-MIT fallout, and of course you're going to have a Harvard Law professor--as I just saw on Twitter--defending the likes of Claudine Gay, and in poor prose to boot, which this particular person--a Ben Eidelson--is too feeble-minded and hubristic to recognize. I swear, you could make soap from out of the fecal matter produced by these people, and they'd shower with it and believe they'd stepped out of the tub cleaner than anyone had ever been.

So much of my life is spent dealing with people like this. They are always morons. They are dumber than, say, the meatheads I described yesterday. And they are that most unpalatable of combos: a pretentious, entitled moron.

But if you're before Congress, and you're asked whether genocide falls under the umbrella of bullying and harassment as per your institution's policies, here's how how you handle it.

You don't just say "Yes!" because it's a stupid question, a set-up kind of a question. If you're intelligent, you should know what words mean and respect them. The meaning of words should always matter to you, because those meanings do matter, and if we forfeit meaning, we forfeit awareness, probity, the ability to communicate and reach.

Genocide is neither bullying nor harassment. It's the systematic wiping out of a race of people. Not the disenfranchising of a race or the suppression of. We're talking the physical extinction-ing of. Physical effacement. That isn't the same as three mean girls at lunch ganging up and saying mean things to another girl.

I understand that bullying is horrible and a nightmare for so many children. And adults, too. That it can ruin a life. End a life. It can physically end a life because the person being bullied sees no way out, no hope, and they take their own life.

There is always a way out, though, and hope, for the victim of bullying. They have to find that hope and hang in, and they need people who care about them and who care about decency to help them do that. No bully is worth your life. No bully deserves to be able to get you to take your life.

Bullying and harassment are horrible, often tragic, base, brutish things. But taking 100 people and putting them on their knees and shooting each of them in the head--as a hypothetical--isn't bullying or harassment. The words have to add up and fit.

There's also the spirit of the question. People are idiots. They can't use words with any efficacy. And yes, the members of Congress are often grandstanding. Note how disrespectful and truculent they are at these hearings, for whatever they're about. It's a power trip, not a justice trip.

But you're out there in front of the nation, representing your institution, your employer, the people at that place, yourself, young, impressionable people in this case, ideas, values. You're not answering the question at the level of the question's language. We talk about reading the room--questions also have to be read. When you answer a question, it's not uncommon that you also have to make up for the deficiencies of the person asking it.

The way you answer this is very simple: You say, yes, of course, yes, by all means, yes, but genocide is also far beyond bullying and harassment. Those are terms for horrific things which lead to horrific forms of suffering in and of themselves, because no one should make light of bullying and harassment. But genocide is so bad that it stands apart from them, and it can't be likened to anything else. So the answer is yes, and so much more.

That's how you answer the question. I saw the testimony, and of course I got what was happening, because again, I deal with people this stupid and entitled and smug, all the time. They're playing to their group, they're cowards, and they think no one will catch on, certainly not the dirty, unwashed masses. Publishing is this way. Because most of the people in the system come from the same background.

That's one thing that makes this Many Moments More journal so radical--it's the first time anyone has ever held the people of the publishing system accountable, and there's nothing new that they can do about it, because they're dealing with someone infinitely smarter than they are, exponentially braver and more honorable, who also has the complete truth on their side. And they already did what they could to that person a long time ago, and now he's fighting back.

I saw the predictably mealy-mouthed, not-at-all-honest apology from Gay, in which--this is funny--she said, "I failed to convey what is my truth."

Your truth, huh? How dumb are you lady? How arrogant? The truth is yours? It belongs to you? And you're at Harvard, where there is that whole "Veritas" thing on the seal, which, last time I checked, was still Latin for "truth." Not my truth, you entitled, ignorant hobgoblin.

Never, ever, actively have anything to do with someone who thinks in terms of "my truth." That is, something that you pursue or stick around for. They are not good for you, they are not good for anyone you care about, and they are not good for the world. Stay the hell away from them. They are never worth your time, your energy, or anything. If they're drowning, yes, help them. If they are hungry, feed them. But don't let yourself be fooled by them or swayed by them. Know that person for what they are.

Truth belongs to no one. Truth is an absolute. Truth is verboten. Truth is reality. No one has a claim on it.

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