The earliest documented instance of bullying goes back to February 28, 1825, when Eton Scholars George Alexander Wood and Alexander Wellesley Leith were charged with hazing the Hon. F. Ashley Cooper to the point of death on February 28, 1825 at Aylesbury Assizes. Safe to say, then, that bullying has been around probably since anyone reading this can remember.
The reasons are many, varied, and all dumb. Jealousy, a desire to look tough or be popular with a particular group of people, extortion (mostly for school lunch money, natch), or simply to get attention. All of which can easily be accomplished in many other forms (though extortion isn’t highly recommended).
Yeah, this article probably sounds a little glib at this point. Even like I’m not taking this very seriously. Totally understood why it might sound like I’m making fun of this whole thing, but that’s the farthest from the case. It’s simply impossible to fathom even why this sort of thing goes on.
Certainly peer pressure still plays a part in it. What better way to look cool than to disparage those that seemingly aren’t seen as such? Was that what Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei were thinking when they streamed a video of Tyler Clementi having sex in his dorm room all over the internet, leading Clementi to jump to his death? Hey, the kid’s gay. Nobody likes him, anyway, right? Let’s humiliate him! That’ll be a scream!
And a scream it turned out to be - much of Rutgers campus (where Clementi went to school), Hollywood and the gay community screaming for these two kids’ heads on a platter for being asses.
Of course, Rutgers has a reason to scream in outrage. To a point, Hollywood might, although it’s either sad or funny (depending on which side of the coin you look at) that it takes a high-profile suicide for stars to pay attention to anything other than their own careers or publicity and get “political” for a moment without mentioning that this has been a long-standing problem that plagues gay and straight people alike.