In today’s Toronto Star, Trish Crawford writes a piece on bullying and makes an attempt to draw a link between bullying and people like Simon Cowell, Donald Trump and Tie Domi. She also quotes some authorities including a psychologist and several experts on child behavior. Quite obviously, this article comes on the heels of last week’s shooting rampage at Dawson College in Montreal. No one really knows for sure Kimveer Gill’s motives for his shooting spree, but it’s speculated that he was bullied at some point during his life.
I really have an issue with this kind of journalism. Ms. Crawford had a good thing going when she was investigating the issue of bullies and causes/prevention. But to even suggest that Simon Cowell is a bully is ridiculous! Cowell and Trump use their celebrity and the medium of television to camp up their own versions of their acerbic personalities. They’re characters. They are the product of good writing and that which makes for good TV ratings. Period. Tie Domi isn’t a bully. He’s what has been known in professional hockey for eons as an “enforcer” and every hockey team has one. I doubt Mr. Domi is checking ordinary citizens while shopping at Loblaws. Quite the contrary. Domi’s tough guy hockey persona is complemented by that of a champion for children’s charities and is touted as a role model in many circles.
I’m surprised Ms. Crawford didn’t add Anna Wintour (Vogue editor), Martha Stewart and Muhammad Ali to the list of “bullies.” All of whom are the “Cowell’s” in their respective domains. Ali made trash-talking an art form and Wintour and Stewart are the coolest and smartest women in high heels. Yes, they are aggressive and are known to eat their young, but they have built enviable empires and get the job done. Sans bullying -- it’s called being direct.
Bullying is a fact and a reality in our classrooms, schoolyards, parks and yes, on TV. Good journalism should attempt to help parents deal with the issues, how to talk to our children and how to deal with it responsibly. Drawing a link between scripted reality TV stars and an unfortunate tragedy like that which took place in Montreal last week for the furtherance of a point is not only silly, it trivializes the seriousness of the issue.