Happy almost Christmas. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter of that particular holiday in this letter. Today I’m going to talk to you about something interesting I spoke to your very own Dad about this week. I’ll start by telling you the story and then we’ll get to the nitty gritty.
So, this teenager in your country hates his coach at school. He thinks the coach is a perv and gets pretty pissed off about it. He goes home, writes a rap, records it on Youtube and then posts it. In the rap lyrics he threatens to put a pistol down the throat of his coach or some such expression of his anger and frustration. No surprise to me, anyway, the school suspends his arse.
To me, this sounds cut and dried other than the thought that if he had half decent parents, they would have also reprimanded him for being such a stupid dick wad and getting himself caught being a dick and suspended. If he had better than decent parents, they would also reprimand him for being a dickwad, but then they would explain that threatening to put a pistol down someone’s throat, no matter how angry you may be, is not very constructive. Then they would look into the coach being a perv issue and support their son if he wanted to start a campaign to stop the pervy behaviour. I don’t think I live in a world without logic. Wait a minute. I’m certain I live in a world without logic. What I meant to say is ‘I don’t think that the world I’ve created in my head is without logic’. At least, for the most part. I have my moments.
But in what appears from the outside to be a completely fucked up sense of entitlement, his parents didn’t do that it seems. What they did was support him in whining about his ‘rights’ and ‘freedom of speech’. Let me say, straight up right now – I do not like pervy coaches. I do not like censorship. I do not like the government getting all up in anyone’s business if they aren’t actually hurting people or torturing small animals. But, for fucks sake. Let’s get real here. If a society is now teaching kids that if they do some dumb shit, call it art and then get suspended, they are a victim of the ‘establishment’, we might as well give up all hope of anyone understanding the consequences of their actions.
This kid was lucky in the wrong sort of way in terms of being able to whine his way up into the appeal courts and possibly whining all the way to the supreme court so that other kids who do stupid shit won’t have to. I love rap music and I love some rap music with some pretty disgusting and violent lyrics. Do I think they have the right to write and rap stuff like that? Well, I suppose they do because they are not in jail. Would I be surprised if someone kicked their arse or if they did get arrested for some of the things they say? No, not a bit. I believe that we can say whatever shit we want to say and I practice that belief on a daily basis. I also believe that we have to live with the consequences, whether that involves a real or metaphorical arse kicking, arrest or what not.
If you smart mouth a cop in your country, you could get shot. Is that right? No. Is it legal? Probably not, but honestly, given some of the court rulings in police shootings there lately, It might well be legal. But it’s still wrong. The thing is being wrong doesn’t mean it won’t happen or that it’s smart to encourage the possibility of it happening unless you are totally at ease with living with, or in this case, dying with the consequences of your actions. Whining about rights isn’t really very attractive if you were being a prick, and, is totally ineffective if you’re dead.
Quite a few years back, your Tia (who I will tell you about one day) and I were very naughty. We went to a friends’ alcohol laden birthday party and consumed far and beyond the amount of alcohol that would render us in any way mistaken for sensible. We were adults. we chose to get fucking wasted. We were in London at the time, which, thank fuck doesn’t have cops who shoot people for being arseholes because – if they had shot us, well it would have been for the crime of being complete drunken arseholes. If they had shot us – would it have been right? Of fucking course not. Would it have been legal? Probably not. Were we still arseholes who had to live with the real consequences of our arseholery? For sure.
Even though we both had plenty of money on us, we decided in our drunken condition, that we would behave like the young rebels we once had been and jump the barriers in the tube station (that would be subway to you). There were two problems with this plan. First, we were not young and we were drunk. Jumping over barriers was totally unrealistic. Second, back in the day, when we could jump barriers, they were a mechanical, somewhat different style of barrier. Modern equipment had been introduced making the process difficult for the sober and fit. This was already not going well.
As we drunkenly attempted to crawl over the barriers, we were stopped by two policemen. I immediately started wailing like a piss head ‘He’s trying to touch my tits. He’s trying to sexually assault me! He’s a pervert!’ and various other completely untrue accusations, which were probably incomprehensible anyway due to my fucked up condition. Your Tia, on the other hand, never as loud and bolshie as I am, simply responded, when asked for a name ‘Mickey fucking Mouse’, if I remember correctly. Truly, we did deserve at least a mild slap.
Now, this is where I have to give total kudos to the professionalism and good humour of British cops because you know what they did? They walked us over to the ticket machine. Helped us buy tickets and then sent us on our merry way. They could have easily roughed us up and arrested us, or worse. Would I have whined and screamed about my ‘rights’? Probably, while I was drunk. The next day I would have been horrified and embarrassed and would have taken my lickings, whatever they might have been and gone on my way. I most certainly would not have gone to the press and played the ‘my rights have been infringed’ card. Funny observation in all this though. In the UK, we don’t have that ‘freedom of speech’ right thingie anyway. Not at all. Yet you can still be rude as fuck to the cops and not get shot.
So the question is, is this whole ‘you’re infringing my rights’ thing starting to actually dilute the importance and meaning of rights? Not just about your freedom of speech in your country, but that other one – the right to bear arms. Is it turning the country into a bunch of self entitled whiners? Hmm.
With this in mind my Badass Auntie wisdom for you today is – don’t do stupid shit and then whine about the consequences unless they really are disproportionate to the stupid shit you did. Even then, own your part in it. I mean if you call a teacher a shit face – apparently you need to ensure it’s in the form of art, so make sure you do it in a painting, a poem, a rap or a song. It seems that makes it more OK. If you just say it to him, I’m not sure how that works with the freedom of speech laws there. Seriously, just don’t do stupid shit like that and expect not to suffer repercussions. If you get suspended, take your punishment with your head held high and don’t whine. Because, you know what? That just destroys the serious fights for rights that are genuine. Getting suspended is not fucking getting shot and kids in school who get suspended for doing stupid shit will hopefully learn not to get caught doing stupid shit again, unless they have parents that don’t want them to learn what consequences are.
I’m totally with you if you have a pervy coach and want to get him, out him or diss him. So, this is the thing, if you’re going to say anything that could get you suspended or arrested, don’t put it in writing and don’t put it on fucking Facebook or Youtube . You still have two alternatives. Tell me. I’ll deal with it and the consequences, like a Badass Auntie, not like an entitled whiner. You know I won’t put up with any pervy coach at your school. The other alternative is to say whatever you want to say to him, just make sure there are no witnesses. Witnesses will fuck you up every time.
Much love from your Badass Auntie
Was just chatting to your brother about pervy coaches. Actually, that wasn’t the real subject. The subject was about whining when you do prickish things and get caught or slapped. So today, my letter to you, we’re going to discuss the word ‘victim’ and your Badass Auntie’s views on this very complicated and delicate subject.
First of all, I’m of a generation that scoffed at the word ‘victim’. We were fucking survivors. No victimhood for us. But for the new generation, it seems that the word ‘victim’ has had a resurgence and there is nothing worse than being accused of victim blaming. The whole arena of what ‘victim blaming’ actually is, is, in fact a minefield. I once suggested on public media (the scourge of this century, maybe there will be more sanity to it when you grow up) that one way to help empower young girls was to build their self esteem when they are young, so they are less likely to form relationships with abusive partners. Well, my comment was picked up by some fucking attention seeking keyboard outrage warrior and I was labeled a ‘victim blamer’. Apparently, suggesting that working on the self esteem of young women was hastily translated to saying that girls with poor self esteem ask to be abused. Of course, that’s just stupid bullshit, but the outrage in itself was a form of the way the use of the word ‘victim’ has been exploited and quite frankly, abused in itself.
Let’s get this straight because it’s important that this is said over and over again to all young people, of any gender. If you are abused, raped or truly damaged in any way simply because of your gender, race, culture, abilities, age, sexuality or for any other reason that you have no control over – it is not your fault. Ever. Full. Stop. It doesn’t matter if you have left your wallet on the table in a bar. If someone steals your money, they are the criminal. But this is where we get down to the grey areas. Is it your fault you left your wallet on the table? Yes. Does this make you complicit in the crime? No. Does this make you thoughtless and careless with your money? Yes. Does that mean you deserve to be stolen from? No. Was being stolen from a likely outcome? Probably.
See how tricky that gets. How do we get people to learn that there are consequences, even really wrong ones, to our behaviours that we can influence without being accused of victim blaming? Going back to living in London and the British police. I remember one year they had a campaign of approaching people in one of the big public parks there if they noticed that the people were not paying proper attention to their belongings. They would approach those people and say ‘You might like to close your backpack’ or ‘We would suggest you don’t hang your purse from the back of your chair’. They did this because they had established that in areas where people were less likely to be careful with their belonging, there were more instances of theft. Were they victim blaming or were they preventing crime?
Well, there’s one school that says ‘instead of targeting people trying to enjoy themselves and relax in the park, why don’t they do their fucking jobs and make sure there are no theives in the park’ and, in theory, they have a point. But that’s fucking theory and we don’t live in a fucking theory. We live in a fucking real world where our behaviour has outcomes that may or may not be pleasing. Shit, what’s the point of locking our doors then? I mean, if the police were doing their jobs properly we should all be able to leave our doors and windows open and leave our cash lying in the grass in our garden because you’d be blaming the fucking victim if you suggested otherwise.
So, my lovely little niece – here is my Badass Auntie wisdom for the day. You are a baby. You don’t have to really worry about your responsibilities and the consequences of your behaviour for quite some time. There will come a time though when it is important to know that when you have no power and someone hurts you or does something bad to you, you are never, ever, ever, ever, ever at fault. Ever. There are things you can do, as you get older, to make it less likely that people can hurt you, whether these are adults, bullies at school, teachers, policemen or thieves. These include having knowledge, being informed, being aware of your surroundings and the people you choose to spend time with, letting your loved ones know where you are and when you’re expected to be somewhere else and a whole heap of other things. Be smart. Live in the real world, not a theoretical one. Your Badass Auntie is a survivor. Let’s make sure you never have to be.
But just one final word. If you’re an arse and you get suspended from school for being one. Too bad so sad.
Much love from your Badass Auntie
ps. I hear they didn’t give you the Baby Jesus role in the church play. If you’re planning on having a shit fit about it, make sure it’s art. Maybe they’ll let you be Moses in the next one.