ARTISANAL PRESS — Consider the recent case of Libor, Connor, and the bully. Libor, Connor, and the bully attend the same grade school together. Libor pays his lunch money to the bully. Connor does not pay his lunch money to the bully.
The bully is notorious. Unfortunately, as is all-too-common, the adults never want to hear about the bully’s latest exploits. In fact, so sick of hearing about the bully are they, that they frequently punish those who tattle on the bully, or who fight back against his bullying — just to discourage the interruption to their day.
One fine spring day, Connor was getting ready to play, and Libor was sulking about being picked on. The bully walked onto the schoolyard, and zeroed in on Libor, who was standing in the middle of an empty field.
“Hey, what if I want to play there?” the bully yelled, antagonistically.
“I won’t fight you,” Libor declared. Libor neither looked up, nor moved away.
Libor meant what he had said, about not fighting back — and so, the bully mercilessly pummeled him, bloody and crying, as he had done almost every single day for the past few years.
Emboldened by the rush of a mid-morning act of dominance, the bully then noticed that Connor was walking towards the baseball diamond. The bully didn’t notice that Connor was carrying a bat.
“Maybe I should teach you whose baseball diamond that is,” the bully said, menacingly.
Connor turned around slowly, gently patting his hand with the baseball bat. “Yes, let’s try that,” Connor replied, with a grin that could freeze water.
The bully — unaccustomed to having his aura of invincibility challenged — wordlessly ran off the field. Sources report that he quickly fled to the first-level bathroom, seeking a change of pants.
“I don’t like Connor,” Libor says, in the aftermath. “Don’t even compare what I went through to what happened with him. Just because it’s the same bully doesn’t mean that the two situations had anything to do with each other.”
“Really, in a way, the bully is on my side, about the baseball diamond,” elaborates Libor. “I don’t like how Connor disrespected him. There’s a rule to the schoolyard, and Connor thinks he doesn’t have to follow it.”
“Well, if I do, then so does Connor.”
“Where was Connor all of those other times that the bully was picking on me?,” Libor wonders aloud. “Or on anyone else — ever — for that matter? I even told Connor that he could stand with me — all he had to do was not bring his bat, and also admit that history is one big record of him being wrong. And otherwise, he could have been a warm, silent body standing between me and the bully — so that we could get beaten up, together, in solidarity.”
“He never once did that for me. So, fuck him. He obviously doesn’t believe in solidarity.”
Connor has a somewhat different perspective. “I don’t get why Libor is saying that my way is violent. The bully bared his teeth, so I showed that I had teeth, too. Nobody got hurt. Libor gets hurt every single fucking day, but he seems to hate himself so much that he doesn’t count that as violence.”
“I tried telling Libor to get his own bat, but he got all sanctimonious on me, and starting posting all of these anti-bat memes on my wall. I had to unfriend him.”
Although the school’s volunteer donation-funded A/V club captured the entire debacle on film, the video — shared freely online — has garnered only a few views. “I prefer to stay informed by Jon Stewart and the Daily Kos,” explains Alexa, who wants to be a reporter for CNN when she grows up. “I wouldn’t want to run the risk of some eccentric wingnut billionaire influencing my perception of what really happened at recess.”
Connor — who continues to refuse to pay his lunch money to the bully — nevertheless still plays every day on the baseball diamond. Libor remains dutiful in his lunch money payments to the bully, and has since committed himself to a social media campaign to liberate the baseball diamond from Connor.