Crying Bully

Renegade by J. A. Souders

Written by J. A. Souders

“I know you are, but what am I?” Chances are you’ve heard this once or twice in your lifetime. This may be a simple child’s joke, but it’s no joke when it comes to bullying.

Bullying might seem like a new epidemic, but I’m sure most of us can think back to that person we’d call a bully from our pasts. Why the big fuss lately, then? It might be because bullying seems to be getting worse every year and I’m fairly certain that has to do with how connected we are, due to the Internet and smart phones. We can never get away from it. When, once, we could leave school, or work, or wherever and escape from our tormentors, now they can reach us through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and our phones push their messages straight into our hands the second they send it. There’s no safety zone.

Because of its prevalence and inescapability, bullying has become the new “hot-button,” much the same way drugs and smoking were back when I was in high school. Organizations have been founded. Politicians vow to change laws to prevent bullying. A quick Google search shows pages and pages of different schools’ initiatives to stop bullying. Most schools have a zero-tolerance policy for it and kids accused of bullying are often expelled, just as they would be if they were found with drugs.

This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s easier now for a bullied child to get the protection they need, but at the same time it may have become too easy to “cry bully.” Every time someone says something we don’t like, or when they disagree with us, or someone says something mean, we immediately yell bully. That accomplishes exactly what we hope it will—it gets that person in trouble and we feel better about ourselves.

So we keep doing it, but we take it one step forward. We strike back. Sometimes it’s a good thing. Other times? Not so much. Can anti-bullying become bullying itself? It certainly can look that way some times. There are entire websites devoted to “outing” the “bullies” who dare dislike our books. Some even go entirely too far and send death threats to the bully and their families.

However, no matter how many rules we pass or how we strike back at the bullies, stopping them is almost impossible. There have always been mean-spirited people in the world. Always that certain person who needs to put other people down to feel good about themselves. But, a lot of what they do is protected under free speech. And even when it turns to harassment and/or violence, punishing that one bully is like plugging a dam with your finger. Our leaders and teachers and those in a position to stop it, often find themselves impotent.

From my book, Renegade, Mother—the leader of Elysium—has addressed this epidemic in her own brand of leadership. Eradicate all differences. Remove the right of free speech, make sure punishments are so extreme no one would dare argue. And when all else fails, brainwash. It’s effective—in Elysium—but do we really want that here?

But more damaging than all of that is all the people who’ve been “crying bully” and turning bullying into just another word. Like the boy who cried wolf, the more time we cry bully, the less people are going to pay attention. And the real victims of bullying will get ignored again, but this time it’ll be even worse, because no one will care at all. It’s a type of brainwashing and punishment all in one. One Mother would be proud of. One of which requires no more effort than watching the masses becoming indifferent to the issue because of constant exposure. And like that boy who cried wolf, the victim will get eaten.

We really need to focus on educating people on what bullying really is and stop using it as a buzzword to get people to respond to us, because if we continue to call everything bullying, then eventually nothing will be.

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0 thoughts on “Crying Bully

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  4. Thank you for writing this. There are entirely too many thin-skinned authors out there who just cannot accept criticism of their precious babies.

  5. The problem is less that bullies being outed by the new drive to disclosure but rather that it becomes the new medium for denial: “We don’t have bullying in our school, we have an anti-bullying policy!” Its like anti-discrimination policies in the workplace, they’re about covering management against (legitimate) complaints.

  6. “There are entire websites devoted to “outing” the “bullies” who dare dislike our books.”

    The website you’re referring to doesn’t claim that criticism of books is bullying. They say that attacks on authors and the libeling of authors is bullying. If you read the website, you will see. They give screenshots of people attacking and libeling authors. If you go here, http://stopthegrbullies.com/learn-more/what-is-a-gr-bully/, the site says, “Note: writing an honest, critical review of a book is not considered bullying on this site.”

    Before you make statements like the one above, it’s important to get the facts straight first.

    • Before you make statements, maybe you should get your facts straight. That website is so biased, cruel, and one-sided that it is ridiculous. Nobody takes them seriously. People go there just to see the latest diarrhea they spew. They post up pictures of their targets, their real names, where they live, what they do for fun, and anything else they can find out. They do not care what happens to the people they target. They routinely call their targets mean names, especially in the comments. It’s like fighting fire with fire, but their stuff is worse. For anyone else who is reading this that isn’t completely brainwashed or easily fooled, here is the truth behind STGRB: http://stopthegrbullies.net/

    • Totally false Jen, careful what you read and believe. That entire site is filled with slanted truths and flat out lies. I know first hand. They list me as a bully despite the fact that I do not ever (nor do they show any proof) that I write bully reviews. I am listed because I spoke out against Douthit and her criminal activities of ‘outing’ people who caught her red handed faking reviews and have many sock accounts on GR. She is very likely ‘Athena’, the lunatic leader of that vendetta site. If you believe all that they write, you’re just a pawn in their game to punish those who went against Douthit.

      • Same with me. I have never bullied an author in my life. I am up there because I fought back against Carroll Bryant releasing that list of bloggers. I thought it was wrong and was vehemently against it.

        They also have no proof against me because Mr. Bryant has deleted that post and all the comments on it. Since then, he has blogged about my weight, however. I have NEVER written a bully review. STGRB is a site full of liars and hypocrites.

      • I was also listed as a bully on that site for critiquing the writing style of M.T. Dismuke – which I said in my non-review was mediocre from the way he crafted the protagonist and it didn’t interest me from a reading standpoint. The way I shelved it was also criticized. It was more of a personal note than anything else, and I probably would’ve even picked up his future work (not that particular series), but not after some of the events surrounding him had went down. His unprofessionalism in the matter turned me off too much, and that’s my honest opinion on the matter.

        I think in the citation of events from STGRB’s viewpoint, bully is a term that’s thrown around too casually to a point where it dumbs down the term in a harmful way. And their definition/treatment of the matter is more along the lines of a personal vendetta, rather than the real issue of bullying itself. We have to teach people personal responsibility and being able to differentiate criticism and constructive feedback from bullying.

    • If this website upsets you all so much, why read it? Why even talk about it? All you’re doing is spreading the word around about the site.

      The reason I believe what I read on the site is because they write good posts and give evidence. They don’t just say things. What I see is that the people they’re talking about are really bullying other people. Then I hear all the naysayers of the site saying that they’re liars, that they call negative reviews bullying, that they give out people’s private information. I’ve never seen them do that. I’ve also never seen anyone back up these statements with evidence either which only reinforces what STGRB is saying. I have to go with my eyes and the evidence and say that STGRB is telling the truth.

      I also think they’re telling the truth because there seems to be such a huge reaction to the site. The truth hurts and people can’t handle it.

      • I have seen a good portion of the events go down and I know they have posted half-truths and propaganda. I saw the “bullies” exposed, there were posts with their real names and intimate details. These details included where they worked and even what restaurant one of them frequented. Sure these details could have been obtained through posts and about me pages, but some of the information you REALLY had to search for to find.

        Now I wonder why STGRB would delete this information, perhaps because it made them look bad. Don’t even get me started on the paranoia that went down a few weeks back. Lets just say that when they start thinking there is some big conspiracy surrounding book reviews, advocating calling the FBI, and start taking the words of Carroll Bryant seriously….I question their sanity and intelligence.

        But if you feel all the information you have seen posted is true and there have been no twisting of the facts, I invite you to research the cases. There are far too many to list them here but I am pretty sure if you do a little digging you will find many holes in their “facts” that might cause you to contemplate their motives.

        I know some of the cases have some relevance and some of the “bullies” took things a little far. However, that doesn’t change the fact that these events are not examples of “bullying” but rather a difference of opinion and inability to keep cool in the face of criticism. (On both author and reviewer’s part.) Still doesn’t excuse the fact that many of these bloggers feel no peace of mind because of the constant spy like tactics of STGRB.

      • The only half-truths and propaganda I see is here on this thread. Reading all of your statements just convinces me more that they’re telling the truth.

        • Then I see we cannot come to an agreement. It is sad but that is the way things go in most situations. There will always be X vs. Y with the truth somewhere in the middle. I do approve of their practices and you don’t approve of our criticism of them. I imagine this whole comment thread will end up on STGRB and hopefully they get the facts correct without spinning the story too much.

          Wish things could be different but that is not the case.

      • >>The reason I believe what I read on the site is because they write good posts and give evidence.<<

        Jen ~ Please read their "expose" about me entitled "The Many Faces of Anna Karenina" dated August 15, 2012, and tell me what you think of their "evidence."

        Btw, I've never reviewed any author on Goodreads or Amazon.

      • Maybe there is a huge reaction to the site because they are cyber stalking people. Why read it? I think if you were listed on the sidebar and worried for your life and family, you would have a vested interest in stopping the site as well. My safety and privacy has never felt so compromised.

        Also, they pick and choose what they tell people, If you check the links on Readers Have Rights, you will see they are blatant liars and hypocrites.

    • Jen, it seems like you are being a tad gullible. What makes what we say any less believable than what they write on their site? There are dozens of posts on various blog discrediting everything that they say. I don’t believe everything I read on the internet, and neither should you. I would suggest starting at the link I provided for you. There are many, many links you can check out before trying to come to a concrete thought or idea about this site. One blogger was even harassed at her own home because of STGRB. What they are doing isn’t stopping so-called bullying. They have a personal vendetta against most of the people they “out.” Please, educate yourself some more on this topic.

      • The reason I don’t believe you is because I have seen two lies here already. The first is that the website considers negative reviews bullying. They don’t. The second is that they are liars. They can’t be liars when they provide evidence to back up what they are saying. I’ve read that .net site and I’ve seen no proof at all for what they are saying. Just more “he said she said”. Until someone can show me evidence of these statements you are making, I will believe STGRB. Sorry.

    • They ARE liars and they only post things that they WANT you to see. I guess that really, technically, isn’t being a liar, but it is a shady process. They do not allow contradicting opinions on their site in the comments, they do not post up whole conversations of the “bullying.” They pick and pull comments that show what they want to show. I do not understand how you do not get that? The link I gave you has TONS of links, with FULL comments and conversations. They are hyperlinks. Click on them. There are so many people who have had nothing to do with STGRB coming out against them. The only people I know of who are for STGRB are the people who stumble across the site and do not know the background (and once they spend a few hours digging deeper, they change their minds), and the (usually) self-published authors who are upset because of something that was written in a review or from the way a book was shelved on Goodreads. They get a ton of page views because of the same reason people slow down to look at car accidents. It’s so messed up that you can’t look away. Any person with any sense of normalcy, integrity, and common sense is against this site.

      • If what you’re saying is true and everyone hates this site, then you would expect stgrb.net to have a higher alexa ranking than stgrb,com. You would think that stgrb.net would be more popular but it’s not. It’s alexa ranking is around 18 million while strgrb.com’s ranking is around 200 K, last time I checked. That’s a huge difference in magnitude. Why does stgrb.com have such a higher ranking? My answer would be because it has so many more supporters. I’ve also seen that it was recognized by the Huffington Post, USA Today, and Forbes. So I guess by your statement, these three have no normalcy, integrity, or common sense? Hmm……

  7. Thank you so much for writing this! It is right on the money. So many terms get thrown around loosely by these interactions with authors who are mad about bad reviews. Bully, stalker, rape, I’ve even seen terrorism thrown around lightly.in these issues. I think you are completely right. I already loved your book, now I love you even more!

  8. Jen :
    The reason I don’t believe you is because I have seen two lies here already. The first is that the website considers negative reviews bullying. They don’t.

    Hi Jen.
    I can give you three examples where STGRB have claimed reviews/tags are bullying. They claimed this review by Elle bullied Simone Elkeles:
    http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/138220761

    THey claimed this review by Ceilidh bullied Caitlin Moran:
    http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/182477233

    And they praised Cyndy Aleo for ‘standing up to bullies’ because she attacked Rameau for shelving a book as ‘not for me’:
    http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/469180369

    As for lying – they have repeatedly claimed that I run this website:
    http://stopthestgrbbullies.wordpress.com/

    Which I do not and the owner of that site has also denied. Based on that, they claim I use sockpuppets, and have generally libelled me in several ways, claiming my marriage is in trouble, claiming I participate in review exchanges (which I never have and never will) and so on. They go after me because I criticise them. I don’t review at Goodreads, so why would they even bother mentioning me at the site? They’re using the site to run vendettas against individuals who have criticised Douthit or the site. That’s nothing to do with being against bullying, but it *is* bullying in its own right. (If that doesn’t convince you, have you not seen them mocking Ridley for using a wheelchair, or Lucy Davis for receiving threatening phonecalls? Why would an ‘anti-bully’ site engage in that, or the misogynistic abuse and support of domestic violence that they post?)

    The claims about Anna Karenina using socks are based on a weird jumble of assumptions and weak circumstantial evidence which doesn’t stand up – but the main problem with their attack on her is that she does not review. At all. So even if she has multiple socks – which she doesn’t (the so-called socks are individuals well known to Goodreads and Amazon readers in their own right) – she’s not a ‘bully’ or part of the ‘Amazon Review Mafia’ because she doesn’t offer opinions on books at all.

    They also claimed that Foz Meadows and Lucy Davis have harassed and threatened Melissa Douthit, which is a lie even based on the evidence they provided. They also have repeatedly lied about the fact Melissa Douthit owns STGRB – something I have repeatedly offered overwhelming proof for on my blog.

    There’s much more I could offer in evidence, but those are just some examples to demonstrate what people have said to you above is true.

  9. Jen :
    If what you’re saying is true and everyone hates this site, then you would expect stgrb.net to have a higher alexa ranking than stgrb,com. You would think that stgrb.net would be more popular but it’s not. It’s alexa ranking is around 18 million while strgrb.com’s ranking is around 200 K, last time I checked. That’s a huge difference in magnitude. Why does stgrb.com have such a higher ranking? My answer would be because it has so many more supporters. I’ve also seen that it was recognized by the Huffington Post, USA Today, and Forbes. So I guess by your statement, these three have no normalcy, integrity, or common sense? Hmm……

    Jen, stopthegrbullies.com was registered at the beginning o June. stopthegrbullies.net was registered at the end of November. This will affect Alexa ratings, which in any event have nothing to do with how truthful a site is.

    You mention the Huffington Post – were you aware that the editor who invited STRGB to submit an unsigned editorial, had to backtrack quite severely when he realised that the site was posting personal information and in fact, acting as the bullies they decry?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-losowsky/stop-the-gr-bullies-an-ap_b_1690134.html

    You mention Forbes, but you don’t mention that was also a user submitted post, not an actual piece of journalism.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/suwcharmananderson/2012/11/07/amazon-tackles-review-problem-deletes-wrong-reviews/

    In fact there was a lot of criticism on twitter for Forbes posting the piece. You also don’t seem to realise that many of the people complaining about removed reviews have in fact violated Amazon’s terms of service by offering payment for reviews, or posting reviews by family members and so on. The fact Amazon is removing reviews doesn’t prove there is some conspiracy, and once again STGRB presented a highly slanted view of a situation , ignoring evidence which didn’t fit its case.

    You seem oddly defensive about this site, and the fact you are quoting Alexa ratings sounds very like posters at STGRB. Are you associated with the site in any way? If you are, then you should declare your interest.

  10. Jen :
    strgrb.com’s ranking is around 200 K, last time I checked.

    Actually, it’s 319,857 as of the time I write this, so I wonder when you last checked, and why you would be so interested in the ratings of this site? Usually it’s only the owners of a site that would ever bother checking.

  11. Jen said:

    >>Why does stgrb.com have such a higher ranking? My answer would be because it has so many more supporters. I’ve also seen that it was recognized by the Huffington Post, USA Today, and Forbes. So I guess by your statement, these three have no normalcy, integrity, or common sense? Hmm……<<

    STRGB got a lot of traffic at the beginning, because they are controversial. That is not the same as having supporters. It's no different than people who stop to look at a car accident. People are interested in controversy. That doesn't mean they support it or stick around for a long time.

    If you follow STGRB's Alexa ranking for a week, you'll find it is falling steadily. Stgrb.net is a new site with not a lot of exposure so it's common sense that it won't have a high Alexa compared to a controversial site that was talked about by so many people who were appalled by what it was doing and has been around longer.

    The Huffington Post got so much flack for allowing STGRB to post an article without any fact checking that they had to post an editorial explaining their decision. And being recognized by a news agency isn't the same as being approved of by that entity. Newspapers talk about controversy all the time without approving of one side or the other.

  12. Jen :
    If what you’re saying is true and everyone hates this site, then you would expect stgrb.net to have a higher alexa ranking than stgrb,com. You would think that stgrb.net would be more popular but it’s not. It’s alexa ranking is around 18 million while strgrb.com’s ranking is around 200 K, last time I checked. That’s a huge difference in magnitude. Why does stgrb.com have such a higher ranking? My answer would be because it has so many more supporters. I’ve also seen that it was recognized by the Huffington Post, USA Today, and Forbes. So I guess by your statement, these three have no normalcy, integrity, or common sense? Hmm……

    Because the DOTnet site isn’t very old. It was just created a couple weeks or so ago. STGRB has been around for months, since the summer. Easy question. Next?

    We were also given a voice on Huffington Post and among other credible sites as well as many published and noteworthy authors. If you had done your homework, you would have known that.

  13. Okay, guys. While this is an interesting discussion on STGRB, and it’s remained mostly civil (thanks for that, really!), it’s only tangentially related to the post itself. So we’re going to shut it down. Please feel free to comment on other aspects of the post, but any more comments relating to STGRB.com or .net will be deleted. Thanks!

    • I couldn’t agree with you more on this statement:

      >>We really need to focus on educating people on what bullying really is and stop using it as a buzzword to get people to respond to us, because if we continue to call everything bullying, then eventually nothing will be.<<

      It has already become something that applies to anything that hurts someone's feelings and this is so unfair to people (especially children) who really are bullied and need to be taken seriously.

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  15. great publish, very informative. I’m wondering why the opposite specialists of this sector do not understand this. You should proceed your writing. I am sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  16. Perhaps instead of educating people what bullying is, the goal might be to educate aspiring fiction writers what criticism is, and how to develop THICK SKIN.