Bully Bully

By Bill Maher

New Rule: Not everyone who says something you don't want to hear or who asks you to do something you don't want to do is a bully. There were two prominent cases of so-called bullying in the news recently: the obese news lady from Wisconsin who claims she was bullied because a viewer wrote in and said, as a public figure and a role model, she had a "community responsibility" to "present and promote a healthy lifestyle," and the Iowa JV football coach who got suspended for breaking the district’s anti-bullying and corporal punishment policy because he made one of his players run laps.

Now, October was Bullying Awareness Month, which means something to me because I was bullied as a child. There was a kid who would beat me up and take my super-PAC donation money. But, at the risk of making someone feel bad, and thereby becoming a bully myself, may I suggest there's been a bit of bully inflation going on?

The Village Voice and others call Michael Bloomberg's size-restriction on sugary soft drinks "soda bullying." But Mayor Bloomberg didn't instruct cops to walk through Manhattan slapping Big Gulps out of people's hands.  He simply recognized that, with one out of every three of our kids either overweight or obese, perhaps enough soda to fill a small bucket is adequate for a first helping. No one is saying you can't drink as much Mountain Dew as you can hold -- they're just saying, for ounces 17 through 32, you have to get your fat ass up out of your seat and waddle back to the concession stand.  

Likewise, scoffing or rolling your eyes during a debate, as Fox News would have us believe, is not bullying. No, that's the appropriate social response to weasels telling lies. Joe Biden expressed ridicule at your candidate's shameless whoppers -- he didn't hold him down while Martha Raddatz gave him a pink belly. The ass-kicking was figurative.

Sometimes, for the common good, you have to hear something you don't want to hear or do something you don't want to do. Like paying taxes. Or getting off your ass and taking care of yourself. I'm not talking about law enforcement rolling up to where you happen to be standing and forcing you to run -- hat's only in the inner city. I'm talking about something we used to have but now seem to dismiss -- our social responsibility to one another.