"Leadership, Loutism or Blatant Bullying", with a follow-up post a few months later when I unexpectedly (and briefly) found myself in the role of victim.
But cyber-bullying has other "real-life" antecedents, including vicious and usually anonymous "poison pen" letters, where the perpetrator often hides behind a pseudonym to add an extra level of fear and uncertainty to their actions, which usually involve third parties to whom malicious insinuations are made.
An even less sophisticated form of harassment is hate-mail (or email), consisting of
"... invective and potentially intimidating or threatening comments towards the recipient. Hate mail often contains exceptionally abusive, foul or otherwise hurtful language. " [Wikipedia]When researching this topic, I was wryly amused to find that bloggers should not consider themselves to have "arrived" in the blogosphere until they start getting insulting, spiteful, or just plain crazy comments. So I'm therefore delighted to announce that I've recently received my first hate-mail comments!
Let's see why they qualify:
- Personally insulting? ..... tick
- Randomly capitalised? ..... tick
- Poorly spelled and lacking sentence structure? .... tick
- Threatening? .... tick
- Malicious? .... tick
- Liberal use of expletives? ... tick
So why have I entitled this post "Cyber-bullying - the new bowls or bingo?"?
However, my recent attacker, although of course posting here as "Anonymous", was sufficiently careless to use another (identifiable) account to send his vituperations as emails!
Thanks to this (almost) amusing oversight, I now know that cyber-bullies come in all forms, including urbane, amusing, well-educated and successful people in their 60's. I have known Robin Courtney for almost 30 years, although I met him only a few times, as he was a cousin of a family I knew well. I was always impressed by what I heard of his sense of humour, love of life, and wide range of interests, having transitioned from geology to semi-retirement as an accountant and finally to full retirement in New Zealand. After many years of no contact, he suddenly wrote to me in such an overwrought fashion, with words in red capitals, full of hate and personal bitterness, and all to someone he barely knows ... it is indeed disturbing, although not for the reasons he obviously intended.
The message: bullying and intimidation are always unacceptable, no matter who does it, nor how old or otherwise respectable they are.
Bullies only win when we let them.