Erik McClure

The Bullying Never Stops

I believe that at a young age, I was physically harassed a couple of times, but I have long since forgotten. What I haven’t forgotten is the intellectual bullying I was subjected to during 7th grade. There is not a day that goes by that my actions are not subtly influenced by when I misprounced “subtle” as “sub”-“tle” and was made a laughingstock in front of my honors class, several of whom told me that I was a hopeless idiot who couldn’t do anything right. This was reinforced about three years later after my inept social skills earned me an enormous tirade from someone whom I held in high regard who then told me I was a useless pile of shit whose attempts at being helpful had only slowed things down, and that after 14 months I had contributed absolutely nothing to the project that was actually going to be used.

Years later, memories of these moments would begin to haunt me in high school, where the bullying had largely stopped, or so I had thought. It wasn’t long before programmers started telling me how I should do things and what was the right thing to do. They told me that performance didn’t matter, that I should never learn C++, that interpreted languages are the future. I disagreed with them. I gave reasons for my disagreement, and I was ridiculed and laughed at. At one point I somehow ended up in a game development IRC channel and mentioned that I preferred C++ over .net, and when pressed for justification I explained how I had to sort 10000 images 60 times a second, which requires delicate memory management that is difficult to do in C#.

Naturally, they told me I should have just used Array.Sort(), because the time required to render the images was far greater then the sorting time. The utter stupidity of this answer astonished me; I was in a game development channel and they were obtusely disregarding the fact that games do things other then draw pictures on the screen, not to mention having to fill up an array with images every frame due to culling. I mentioned this to a friend of mine, who then admitted that he had been in the same channel a few months back, and they had instead ridiculed him for using C# instead of C++.

This is when I realized that the bullying never stopped - it just changed. Now the bullies are programmers who ridicule other programmers no matter what they do. They are patent trolls who sue everyone just because they can. They are huge companies that squash smaller ones just because they don’t like them, wiggle out of taxes and then get away with it because they’re the teacher’s pet. Except now, the teacher is the U.S. Government, and she’s accepting bribes.

The bullies never went away, they just changed. I know from 7th grade that bullies aren’t just brainless jocks, they’re stuck-up intellectual assholes who take advantage of other people just because they can. Now those assholes are in charge of $40 billion companies, have friends in the teacher’s lounge, and your parents aren’t there to help you anymore.

Some people argue that everyone is an adult now, and much more mature then a 7th grader. Yeah, right. We have people in Texas who decided to remove Thomas Jefferson from their history curriculum. We have the RIAA demanding $75 trillion from Limewire, which more then the total GDP of the entire world. We have Facebook suing someone because they didn’t get written permission to crawl publically accessible data. Anyone who thinks we’re more mature then a bunch of screaming toddlers who keep throwing a fit when someone steals a block from their block tower has apparently never dealt with the business world. Subtlety is only difference between adults and toddlers. At least the toddlers have someone to tell them how silly they’re being.

Now the bullies are running rampant and the teachers don’t care. High school never ends; the bullying never stops. If you don’t do what people expect you to do (like an entrepreneur), then you’d better be ready to deal with endless attacks from all sides from everyone who will hate you for absolutely no reason at all. You’re at war with ideas, and you are the battlefield. Are you ready?



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