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Whether You're Left or Right, It's Time to Fight the Bullies
a "How We Get You" Column by Brian Vaszily

Brian VaszilyAbout
Brian Vaszily

Brian Vaszily (pronounced "vay zlee") is a bestselling author, positive change advocate, speaker/organizer and sometimes funny guy whose life mission is to help others explore, experience and enjoy life more intensely while bypassing the traps that would hamper that goal -- particularly unscrupulous marketing and rampant consumerism.

Brian is the founder of, has authored several books including the acclaimed novella Beyond Stone and Steel (see for some reviews), and with over fourteen years of marketing management experience is President of the TopMarketingPro consultancy.

In addition to his How We Get You columns here at SixWise, Brian also leads the popular blog, "The 'Live Deeper' Blog by Brian Vaszily." He has appeared on many TV and radio shows and been quoted in many publications regarding his books, columns, articles and ideas. Brian Vaszily was born and raised in Chicago, growing up on the northwest side in the blue-collar Portage-Cragin neighborhood. Brian and his wife and two children currently reside outside Chicago, Illinois.

It is one of the few things I did in my youth that haunts me still. To be precise I should say it is one of the few things I didn't do. I didn't stand up for Bobbie T.

Every school classroom has a Bobbie T or two. They come from both sides of the gender line. On the female side, she may be an overweight girl who wears hand-me-down clothes and appears to take little interest in make-up or styling her hair or pop stars. On the male side, he may be the too-thin boy with effeminate characteristics who shows no skill or interest in sports or muscle cars or blowing things up.

And they are attacked for it. They are whispered about, taunted to their face, the butt of endless jokes, sometimes physically abused, and things are said and repeated until most everyone - often including the Bobbie T - believes them to be true.

Though the harassment and its effects certainly spill over to the opposite gender, the Bobbie Ts are primarily attacked from those within their gender.

So it was with our Bobbie T.

There was that small handful of boys within our class who routinely launched the attacks, calling him a wimp, a dork, a fag, tripping him as he entered the classroom, yanking his pants down in front of the giggling girls on the playground. Etcetera.

And then there was that larger handful of boys who, though they didn't land the verbal and physical blows, hit Bobbie T even harder -- because they laughed when he was taunted and because they shunned him. Because they did nothing.

I belonged to that larger handful.

Though I secretly felt sorry for Bobbie, though sometimes I felt rage for him when the bullies went to particularly cruel extremes, I never did or said anything to stand up for him for one reason alone: I did not want to get taken down along with him.

I did not want to risk being ridiculed and laughed at by the bullies and therefore laughed at and shunned by everyone else for defending a "wimp." No one wanted to take that risk (save some of the teachers, which only made matters worse.) So no one did anything.

We're Still Afraid of the Bullies… and We're Paying for It

Most adults have not grown up. They just suffer from the delusion that they have grown up. In reality, they've only developed more sophisticated ways to repeat the behaviors of their youth.


Jeer Pressure: Fear of standing up to the bullies and getting picked on and laughed at, too.

As I have suggested throughout my previous columns -- and as I am telling you outright here -- those in the business of marketing in all its names and variations take full advantage of this delusion by targeting the unaware with tactics that prey directly upon it.

The reason I am still haunted by not standing up for Bobbie T - versus merely feeling a bit guilty - is because I repeated this behavior well into adulthood. In fact, I stood silently by and watched certain peers transform this same type of bullying without fear of repercussion into a sinister but highly effective marketing tactic, building their careers, their clients' careers, and their pocketbooks on it.

The tactic even has a name - "jeer pressure" - whose basic definition is "conformity to a harsh, demeaning, or otherwise divisive viewpoint out of fear that you, too, will become the subject of the ridicule."

This tactic is used to moderate extent in the marketing of products and services, though I predict that if patterns discussed below don't change soon its use will escalate there.

BUT it is now being used to an excessive and deadly extent by those in U.S. politics and media who are marketing their chosen party, their set of ideas about what is right and wrong, and their representatives.

I am of course referring to certain Republican and Democrat politicians and especially to certain well-known "commentators" who champion rightist or leftist agendas and who dominate talk TV and radio … "commentators" of course being just another word for rabid marketers.

As many and perhaps most American adults now readily agree, the political divide between the right and left has widened to a disgusting and deadly degree -- particularly disgusting and deadly for the horrid lessons it is teaching our youth about how to deal with those who hold viewpoints different than their own (i.e., call them names, defame their character, attack the individual not the ideas!)

And make no mistake: it IS primarily the sinister, extremely effective marketing tactics these politicians and commentators and editorialists are using to increase their own position and power that is contributing to the great big ugly divide.

Case in point?

Well, before I go there, let me stress that endless examples exist from BOTH the left and right, such as Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Don Imus. But by way of example I will focus on Ann Coulter, who is by far the Queen of Vitriol and Jeer Pressure.

In her new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, she writes about "Miss Landolphi," a sex educator who appears to have gone way overboard in her presentation to a high school … so overboard that if presented in a diplomatic and rational manner Coulter could have used it to solidly support her overall case. INSTEAD though here is part of what Coulter writes:

Like most people who enjoy talking to strangers about sex, Miss Landolphi, to put it as charitably as possible, is physically repulsive in appearance.

Huh? More personal attacks on Miss Landolphi follow, and the book is loaded with similar personal insults, including the infamous attacks on 9/11 widows. (What's funny is that most of these attacks, if you ponder them just a bit, are also often bizarre and plain stupid … at that moment in her writing above, for example Ann Coulter is talking to strangers - her readers - about sex… think about it.)

The irony is that Ann Coulter claims to support Christian values (love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, Christ's compassion, etc.) but she is an ace practitioner of vitriol. She claims to support traditional family values but practices harsh language and name-calling as the way to handle those whose opinions differ from your own (and children are of course led by example.)

Of course, Coulter and her advisors - marketers such as producers and editors -- are 110% aware that the reason she is one of the most popular "commentators" and a #1 bestselling author is because of these attacks, because of the vitriol. Hate is a powerful lure. Her advisors undoubtedly help her "spice up" her act where she may forget to personally insult someone she disagrees with.

Like all the other politicians and "commentators" from the right and left using these same despicable marketing tactics, if you administered truth serum into Coulter's veins she'd admit aloud that she actually doesn't give a damn about improving America and families and children, etc. … how could she if what she does is so contrary to what she preaches?

A Couple More Examples from Left and Right…

"My goal is to goad people into saying something that ruins their life."
-- Don Imus

"Anorexics never have boyfriends. ... That's one way to know you don't have anorexia, if you have a boyfriend."
--- Ann Coulter

What she definitely does give a damn about is improving her power and fortune. And that is certainly working.

Breaking Through the Jeer Pressure

Ann Coulter and her ilk from both sides of the political divide are going to keep doing the deadly thing they do as long as you keep giving them money and attention for doing it. So…

IMPORTANT Reminder to Those Who Consider Themselves Conservatives: You ARE allowed to continue to voice and explain and debate your support for conservative ideals while publicly denouncing the ugly, divisive (un-family values, un-Christian) tactics of Ann Coulter and all the rest. They are two quite different things, and must be separated … like removing a parasite from its host.

IMPORTANT Reminder to Those Who Consider Themselves Liberals: You ARE allowed to continue to voice and explain and debate your support for liberal ideals while publicly denouncing the ugly, divisive (uncompassionate, intolerable) tactics of all the Ann Coulter-with-a-liberal-twist wannabes (NONE of them even good enough at copycatting the sinister tactics to mention by name here.)

The one person with courage is a majority.
-- Thomas Jefferson

Be Brave and Check Out these Other Columns by Brian Vaszily…

New Study Warns that Living Can Now Kill You

The One Real Reason You Are Stressed Out, Overweight, Depressed or Angry

Why We're Living (Far) Shorter Lives Than Ever, and What to Do About It

Check Out All the Violence Here! or How I Jolt You into Submission to Get Your Money

With so many people proclaiming how sad and dangerous the growing political divide is - but then so many people's behavior supporting those (being "entertained by" those) doing the dividing - there is an obvious disconnect here.

That disconnect is due to the jeer pressure tactic --- most people are still afraid of standing up and saying something aloud, same as back in elementary school, because of what everyone else might say about you if you do.

Maybe for criticizing Don Imus' tactics, Mr. Liberal, you're afraid all your liberal friends will say YOU FASCIST, YOU MUST LOVE GEORGE BUSH!

Maybe for criticizing Bill O'Reilly's approach, Mrs. Conservative, your conservative friends will holler YOU COMMUNIST, YOU MUST ADORE HILLARY CLINTON!

But so what. That would make them the ignorant ones still repeating the insecure behaviors of their youth. That would make you the strong one for standing up for what you believe in - and living it.

Time to grow up, adults. On a personal basis for each individual, and as a nation and even world, we will all greatly benefit from some courage and fortitude from the public. I can't change a past of not standing up to the bullies, and neither can you, but we can do the Bobbie Ts and ourselves the honor of not repeating the same mistake now, when we really do know better.

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