Monthly Archives: October 2010

More Than A Hate Crime at Rutgers University

I am unbelievably furious!  I have a new book coming out in January, entitled “Surviving Shark Attacks on Land.”  It has to do with betrayal and revenge.  18 year old Tyler Clementi didn’t survive his recent shark attack on land.  He killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in New York.  He posted a goodbye on his Facebook page just eight minutes before he ended his life.

The media has made a fuss over this story because he was gay.  That is not the story. The story is that he was betrayed in the most disgusting and egregious way by his own roommate and the roommate’s girlfriend.  They sneaked a camera into the dorm room and secretly taped Tyler Clementi having sex.  They callously “shared” (as it’s lovingly called) this tape with the Internet universe on the roommate’s network of “friends” (as they’re lovingly called).

The roommate bragged about his spying in a Twitter post.

The piece of garbage known as his roommate and his piece of garbage of a girlfriend have been arrested for invasion of privacy.  They intentionally betrayed the friendship between roommates and intentionally humiliated this young man in public.  There ought to be (and there may be) a more serious charge.

For those of you old enough to remember the original movie “M*A*S*H,” an audio version of this humiliation was perpetrated on “Hotlips” Houlihan as a “joke.”  She was devastated, and the audience and actors laughed.  Mainstreaming cruelty.

One 16 year old junior at Rutgers (the same school) defended the perpetrators:  “I’m really shocked.”  About what? “I wouldn’t expect Molly to do something like that.  Dharan was very friendly, open and social.”  And here it comes:  “They’re not like that.  It was probably a practical joke gone wrong.”

Bull.  They are exactly like that.  They intended to humiliate Tyler.  They intended to have a laugh at his expense.  They intended to gain notoriety by having produced this film for all to see for their “entertainment.”  They intended  to be cruel.  They were sharks, attacking by betraying a friend on the Internet.

Could Tyler have survived this attack?  Was suicide his only out? 

The problem is that if he reported them to the school (whether or not they got in trouble for it), it’s on the Internet, seen and downloaded again and again and again for all eternity. 

I know something about this sort of betrayal.  Made up, as well as real, photos of me are on the Internet for all eternity also.  I know personally the feeling of wanting to die…vanish…evaporate.  The pain of that humiliation was extraordinary.  Why did I survive and Tyler not?  Tyler was just 18 years old and did not have decades of adult life experiences, accomplishments, a network of support or perhaps just pure grit.  When someone so vulnerable is betrayed (and the word is betrayed), then life seems totally hopeless.  When people you expect to have some kindness use you to further their fun-loving reputation by humiliating you for all time, and you’re only a teenager, you feel you will never be able to show your face or trust anybody again.  Everything is magnified, including pain, when you’re a teenager.

Tyler would have survived had he believed he could live through this humiliation and hold up his head again.  That he was gay is not the issue.  Had he been straight, we’d be having the same conversation.  This is not about sexual orientation.  This is about the awful inhumanity that is mainstreamed most horrendously via the Internet.

My heart goes out to this boy…I know what he felt, and I wish I had been there to tell him so.

Excuses and More Excuses

Do you have any idea how many calls I take on my radio program having to do with being overweight and out of condition?  Some people make unfortunate choices in a romantic partner because they believe that being fat makes them  less attractive to a more preferable partner.  Parents call with complaints their obese and sedentary children are being “razzed” in school.  Many women have told me they don’t have sex with their husbands because they hate the way their bodies look!  And others have weight-related medical problems, like adult-onset diabetes, bad knees and low energy.

Ultimately, it all comes down to something that is fixable if there’s an effort made to routinely exercise and moderate one’s food intake.

Nonetheless, the callers generally dismiss this rather straightforward solution with “issues” of depression, low self-esteem, problems from childhood, difficult schedules, etc., all to explain or excuse not exercising or controlling their eating habits.

It’s true eating (the first activity we experience upon birth) is a source of solace and pleasure.  However, as mature adults, we have to satisfy those human needs in healthier ways than letting our bodies be punished into obesity, poor balance, or bad conditioning, all which diminish the quality of life and life’s intimacies.

According to Bloomberg Business Week, only 5% of American adults do some type of vigorous physical activity on any given day.  Most of the respondents to their survey reported such sedentary activities as eating and drinking (96%), watching TV/movies (80%) or only very light activities such as washing, dressing, grooming (79%) or driving a car/motorcycle (71%).

Worse still, the most reported “moderate activity” was food and drink preparation!  38% of the women and 13% of the men listed that one as a physical activity.

These facts demonstrate that, generally, being out of condition is largely a voluntary condition for which people then complain about a lack of motivation. The reason many people join exercise and diet groups is they are held accountable as a motivation. Being part of a group which all has the same goal (e.g., weight loss, muscle toning) puts you in a competitive atmosphere as well as a supportive one.  Going for walks with others, working out with friends, getting involved in a healthy cooking group and other similar examples all contribute to accountability.

Motivation is not a miracle, and it’s not something you should count on before you do what is right, good, and healthy for yourself and others.  Discipline ultimately comes from wanting to be proud of yourself and by learning about your level of courage and character.


Quote of the Week

What people commonly call fate is mostly their own stupidity
               – Arthur Schopenhauer
                  German philosopher