Dr. Laura -
I saw your video blog, "Defending Against a Bully." The question that has been bothering me for a long time was, "How did it get so bad?" Then I began watching some of the comedy shows on TVLand vs. some of the things we call comedy today.
If you watch the old stuff, (Pre- 1970-ish) you see comedy is about the person. The joke is always on the person or about main character (Dick Van Dyke show, etc). By the mid-1970's (Michael J. Fox) comedy had changed to putting down someone else. Comedy was comprised of "Put-downs" and making fun of another person. It is still that way today. Just look at almost any comedy show on any network. It is comprised of putting down someone else. Even Betty White's show (Hot in Cleveland) - comedy is about making fun of someone else - or at least most of the time.
We have taught our children it is okay to do this - and call it humor or comedy. That it is okay to make fun of someone else, who is not laughing at themselves for something they just did.
It used to be we laughed with someone and not at them. But today it is acceptable & normal to "Laugh at someone, and very seldom laugh with them." THUS - Kids who would normally not be bullies - see it as a way of striking back at those who put them down. Or better yet, Striking at those who are just a little bit different than them. "I can't strike at the bully above me, so I will strike at those equal or below me."
Because of the comedy our kids think is acceptable today, bullies are made without even knowing it. And kids accepted being bullied, because it's the comedy they have been taught is okay to do to each other. Or don't even realize is bullying.
Change the way we do comedy and eventually you change how we talk to each other when we feel small.