Saturday, December 8, 2012

on pranksters and bullies

Like many Americans, I'll admit to some Royal curiosity.  The monarchy that lives across the world (and the monarchs themselves) interest me more than they probably should.  So when Kate Middleton and Prince William announced this week that they were having a baby, I joined in on the hubbub and spent some time reading about them, and enjoying the speculation (twins? Godfather Harry?).

When I heard about the Australian radio hosts that called the hospital and pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, I rolled my eyes, thinking that it was a stupid thing to do, and not even funny.  I was surprised that they got through to Kate's nurse.  I thought that with all the public outcry, that they would probably lose their jobs, and I hoped that the hospital employees wouldn't.  And that's really where I thought it ended.

Until later in the week, the devastating news that the nurse involved had committed suicide.  Such a horrible twist to the saga, and I ache for her family and friends.  And for her, the victim of such public embarrassment that she made a decision so final, and so sad.

And it made me think - when is a joke a joke?  When does it cross the line to bullying?  Joking, tricking, pranking, teasing, bullying.  What's the difference?  The fine line differentiating between these seem so small.

I like jokes.  I like a good joke as much as the next person... but at what cost?  The Australian DJ's thought they were just joking around, but to the unwitting nurse on the other end of the phone, it was humiliating and painful and public.

When a joke is at someone else's expense, isn't that a form of bullying?  

And if we as adults can't tell the difference, how can we expect our children to?  

1 comment:

  1. Kind of blows April Fools day all to hell doesn't it?? I'm with you on this one.

    ReplyDelete

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