I've been thinking quite a bit about an article my friend Joe forwarded on Facebook today, which is always a sign to me that there is something more to explore or be expressed, at least in my little grindy-clicky head. Go ahead and click HERE to read this explosive piece by comedian Margaret Cho about some Twitter bullies she encountered, and be forewarned: there's nothing funny about it. I'll wait.

OK? A bit of a tough read, right? I'm left with conflicting feelings, though, and this is why: in imagining that she was speaking up for herself and every other spat-upon woman in the world, fighting back rather than backing off, shaming and chastising and threatening those in the wrong, she gave the bullies exactly what they wanted, and therefore, the 100% decisive win and enabled them even more to continue their cruel behaviors.

You have to understand what drives the bully, the meanie, the shitbird, in order to understand what I've said. What is it that they want when they take the time to slam someone viciously (and almost always anonymously) on the internet?


Do not discount in any way what a huge and common motivator this is for people, and a lot of them, and not just Basement Boy Troll Losers. It could be just as likely that Cho's detractors are female, or have prestigious, respected jobs, or 3.5 angelic kids, or go to church every Sunday, and you might likely never have a single clue of how they really spend their time on the 'net. Let us also agree: bullies are as old as mankind; hell, there's even animal bullies. Whether it's fair or not, whether it's right or not, it doesn't really matter. You could form some kind of pink sweet cotton candy bubble society where all babies are raised with nothing but praise and compassion and THERE WOULD STILL BE BULLIES. All of nature runs on hierarchies, and some of those are pretty horrific and cruel, and some people are not going to have as good a run here as others. There will be kind people that come from the most desperate abusive situations and there will be sociopaths who arise from supportive and loving homes. This is reality. The bully will always be with us, even more now with the internet firmly in place as a place of vastly open, primary communication.

So now what? We are still left with a mess. Let's divide this one into three parts.

1.Just because we can't remove cruelty from humanity doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to make things better. First and foremost, we have to be accountable for ourselves. What might seem like casual ball-busting fun to you might really be hurtful to another. I'm not saying you should censor everything you say and do, but at least resolve to be more aware. Be the change, etc., and your actions are seen and multiplied, especially by your kids. And parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses...maybe dip into the deep end into your loved one's online activities every so often, especially if you see "real life" emotional changes or secretive behaviors. You might be hosting a bully, and that's something you better deal with.

2. Bullies? We already know that you have problems. People who feel good and secure don't have this need to tear other people down. Understand this: your own personal issues and considerable weakness is laid out bare to the bone each and every time you attack someone else unprovoked, even though you think the complete opposite. If you keep at it and ramp up to making threats that are serious and credible, you can be located by law enforcement within seconds, even if you use a proxy. Internet privacy? You don't have it either, pal. I don't have to tell you that your shitbirding isn't very satisfying in the end. It's up to you to decide if your life has any value above that.

3. Margaret Cho, I am very sorry that you had such deeply traumatic things happen to you in your life. Cruelty against children is heinous and unforgivable, and I am sad that you suffered so much, and continue to feel such searing, fresh pain.

I am also going to tell you some other stuff. 

You are a grown, independent woman in your 40s. You have built a career millions would be thrilled to have. You are an attractive person, with a sharp wit and intellect. And you are going to literally kill yourself if you refuse to acknowledge that your unchecked anger is unproductive, a waste of energy, and actively harmful to your mind and body. Your rant in this case doesn't shame the bully; it strengthens him. It's exciting to see some famous woman lose her shit; he could care less that you are upset! He'll be more likely to do it again and again and again to other women because the payoff was so sweet: an article written about him! Win!

Think smart. There's healthy acceptance of your looks and then there's posting pictures of a massive tattoo on your ass. Why choose this? What response did YOU hope for? There isn't a person alive, man or woman, ugly or gorgeous, who is going to have EVERYONE LOVE THEIR ASS ON THE INTERNET. If you KNOW you are prone to rage over any kind of criticism about your appearance -- even an insult that is a slight 140 characters in length -- it's not wise to set yourself up for it. Save the tat butt shots for the people who love you in your private life -- NOT THE INTERNET. This may not be what you want, but it's what is. What is the need here you are trying to fill?

You claim you are hard and don't care, and that you accept yourself and are finally free. These are lies. You care a great deal, and if you truly and genuinely accepted yourself as worthy and beautiful, there are no outside criticisms -- especially from faceless strangers -- that could seriously shake that. Someone calling you "ugly" would hold no more weight than "you have purple skin and are from Mars." If something is known to you as absolute truth, some shitbird throwing a pile of words that do not resonante with you shouldn't matter past the hurt of someone attempting to make you feel bad. I cannot overstate this. When you really believe in your own worth, you own your power, and you are not going to continue giving it away to anyone who doesn't happen to like you. WHY CARE WHAT CRAPPY PEOPLE THINK ABOUT YOU? WHY? There is no gain. You don't WANT THEM. And you think any of your nasty words mean A THING to them? They don't, because they are not invested in your opinion. You cannot hurt someone who simply doesn't care. They just get off further on your flailing and attempts to strike back. I assume this is the opposite of what you intended to provoke.

If you want to help others that have suffered as you have, that is admirable, but you aren't ready. You can gather those who have been victimized and have a frothing anger fest or a weepy pity party, but you cannot tell people that they are loved, beautiful, and wonderful when you cannot at all truthfully claim you've given the same gifts to yourself. 

If you feel good about yourself, you aren't jealous of others who had or have love and kindness.

If you feel good about yourself, you don't burn with the need to wound or get revenge (see related above: Bullies).

If you feel good about yourself, you don't drag the painful ghosts of your past along with you until your dying day, blaming everything bad about your life on them, excusing you from your responsibility to move on and make a good life from all that you do have. I'm not at all saying you have to forgive your tormentors; in fact, I think it's a damn good thing to remember those who have done you wrong and never give them a chance to do it again. But stop giving them yourself on a plate forever. Move on, ditch the crushing, ruinous weight of bitterness and don't look back.

It's ain't easy, folks. It ain't easy.