Suicide — Survival
This post is going to contain spoilers for GLEE Season 3 Episode 14: “On My Way”. I’m sorry. I don’t typically talk about a show or its impact on me. That would really not be my style, because — TV? Not an important, rant-y topic that gets me going. Especially since I haven’t seen any commercials in the last five years.
But since this literally had me sobbing, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to explain why.
And to talk about Bullying. Yes, with a Capital “B”. Because people suck and that deserves attention.
And to talk about that lying bitch, Depression. Yes, with a Capital “D”. Because she tells you things that aren’t true, or that are half-truths taken out of context and twisted for maximum benefit.
And to talk about my anger issues. Not capitalized, because everyone knows by now why I’m so fucking angry. And it has to do with the state of the world, how little there is we can do about it, and how resigned I am to that fact.
First, though, a bit of background.
[[[ THIS IS WHERE THE SPOILERS BEGIN. BEWARE. ]]]
There’s this guy named Karofsky.
When introduced early on in the show, he’s a complete and utter douche bag. He’s *THAT* guy — the big jock who belittles everyone and knocks them down. He bullies everyone who dares to breathe air in his presence. His favorite punching bag is a tiny little fag named Kurt.
Yeah, that’s right. Kurt is gay. And on this show, this is a huge deal.
Kurt has never been quiet about his sexual preference for dudes. He dresses flamboyantly and knows more about skin care than most women. He knows every Broadway hit to ever come across the stage. He dances, he sings like a dream, and he is every girl’s BFF.
Hell, Kurt is so much goddamn fun, I wish he was my own BFF! He’s *THAT* homosexual.
So here we have two extremely stereotypical guys, who mix in stereotypical fashion, and you would expect a stereotypical storyline to play out.
What’s great about GLEE
is that, while most of the characters represent a stereotype, none of the lives they represent are stereotypical at all. Every character has depth and background, and if you can’t relate to more than one of these kids, it’s only because you’re a heartless asshole who hasn’t actually tried.
GLEE is billed as a fluffy, comedy, musical-type-thing full of nonsense and high school crap. I don’t disagree that these things are present. But… they are present in a twisted way that throws it back in your face. Kind of like LIFE.
Stereotypes are another way of saying,
“That which we can expect to play out in a certain way.”
“Labels for quick and easy communication of simple ideas.”
And so we all live a stereotype, to some degree.
But then LIFE gets involved and fucks up our expectations.
GLEE recognizes this, and that’s one of its greatest strengths. It offers us up easy labels, for quick and easy understanding of characters and story lines. Then it twists that shit up and gives it back in an unrecognizable format more closely resembling LIFE.
If this sounds like an overly winded defense of why I love GLEE so much, that’s only because it is. I don’t apologize for my taste. I just want you to understand that this show is about as real as anything I’ve ever lived, and I appreciate the feelings it stirs up in my hardened heart.
Fuck you if you hate on GLEE, okay?
So Karofsky beats up on Kurt on a regular basis. He physically abuses him, threatens him, and causes some major heartache pretty much hourly. It’s bad, it’s no good, and it pisses us (the audience) off because of course we adore Kurt.
With me so far?
Now, in every after-school special, there is a lesson for viewers along the lines of “Be more kind than necessary to everyone you meet, for we are each fighting our own personal battles.” I totally just paraphrased that quote, and I don’t know who said it, and I’m not looking it up. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that whole, “Let’s examine *WHY* Karofsky beats up on Kurt” thing.
Like, in my mom’s words anytime someone is rude at me,
“Maybe his dog just died. You don’t know.”
Or, maybe his dad smacks him around.
Or, maybe his mom just got raped and the GOP told her she has to keep her baby so now Karofsky has a sibling on the way that no one wants and that’s why he’s so darn mean.
It’s none of those things. Turns out, Karofsky is a closet homo himself. *le gasp* … you absolutely cannot be a high school football athlete guy and ALSO be gay. That means your time is up, man. Game over.
Karofsky falls in love with Kurt,
who lets him down gently, because Kurt already has a boyfriend. And besides, it would be tough to suddenly dismiss the fact that Karofsky threatened to kill him. Forgiveness is one thing — “Let’s be friends,” says Kurt — but “Let’s be lovers?” No. Not gonna happen.
Karofsky is at a new school when the news is leaked that he is into guys. His life is over. It’s hella public now, all over them webby-webs, and OH GOLLY just wait till his daddy finds out. The football team at his new school shuns him and writes all kinds of, “You should just kill yourself,” messages at him.
Suddenly, we feel pretty goddamn sorry for Karofsky. The same way we felt sorry for Kurt. Because we’ve seen Karofsky grow and change, and we forgot to stay mad at him. And now he knows how it feels to be on the receiving end of social abuse.
Karofsky hangs himself.
He doesn’t die — but that isn’t the point. He totally could have, and he totally meant to, and after he’s saved, he still kind of wants to, because people are writing shit like, “Better luck next time,” or, “Try, try again.”
And that’s the bit where I fucking lost my cookies. Shit just got too real.
I know this particular episode is at least a year old by now. But guess what? Amanda Todd just tried — and sadly, succeeded — to kill herself. Because of social abuse.
And you know what? The first few times she attempted suicide, people wrote the same disgusting shit at her.
“Maybe she should try another brand of bleach.”
That sort of thing.
And now that she’s gone? Her stupid piece of shit classmates are STILL writing shit like,
“Glad she did it.”
What the fuck is wrong with these people? I sat there watching Karofsky cry in the hospital, because he knew people still actually, sincerely, all for realz, wanted him to end his life. To die. To stop living. And yes, I know it’s only a show. But is it? Because it seemed an awful lot like those pukes talking to Amanda Todd.
A few weeks ago I watched a fabulous response to bullying which really rallied my heart and gave me some hope for the human condition… at the same time it made me sad that anyone has to defend themselves against such hurtful words in the first damn place.
A news anchor got called to task for being overweight, and the social response was an outpouring of support, so she took a moment to address the bully herself directly. I love her. I do. I absolutely love this women.
I know I say some “mean” thing on this here bloggy-blog. I know I’ve addressed one person in particular with whom I’m not overly fond. I know I’ve called out celebrities like Penelope Trunk.
And I’m not sorry for any of that. Because none of it is bullying behavior. Talking about how someone pisses you off isn’t the same thing as wishing harm upon them or even encouraging them to fuck off and die.
I can’t actually imagine being that heartless.
But I’m an alien. We’ve already been over this. The rest of the human race… I’m just not so sure. I don’t know how I’m supposed to walk through a bunch of assholes completely lacking in empathy. People who are just outright MEAN. I don’t get that.
This is what I get depressed about, when I allow it to overwhelm me. This shit right here is what makes me want to die sometimes.
Look, I’m okay. I’m not wanting to take my own life or anything. I’m mentally stable now. In my late thirties, I have finally found peace within myself and am content in my own skin, in my own brain, in my own decisions, thoughts, beliefs, and ideas.
But Jesus Christ — I found this contentment (and some sort of wary peace with the fucked-up-ness of Planet Earth and all her cockroach-y inhabitants) halfway through adulthood. What the hellz is a teenager supposed to do?
I’m free to choose my life. I can shout “FUCK YOU” in a crowd and walk away. I don’t have to worry about getting fired or suspended. I don’t have to switch schools. I can have sex or not, be gay or straight, get an abortion or not, fight for rights or be a slug — and I’m in control of all that. I get to be in charge of my world.
Teenagers aren’t so lucky.
They are trapped for four years in an institution full of rabid monkeys throwing poop with wild abandon, and are expected to come out mentally prepared to face adulthood. We do that to them. We allow it to happen. And then we wonder why kids today are so fucked up.
I wish I could reach some wise conclusion here. Or a pithy one that offers sage advice. Or a funny one that allows me to sign off with a good laugh. Instead, I’m sitting here in tears because I feel their plight and there’s not a goddamn thing I can do to help them. I can’t even say, “It gets better,” because I can’t promise something that might not actually be true.
All I can do is cry. And so the bullies still win, even now. Assholes.