Is teasing good for us? The New York Times thinks so. But does Tatum Bass? She just got kicked out of her fancy boarding school because the popular girls didn't like her prom planning.
That's what the New York Post is reporting today, at least. The girl, a Miss Porter's School student athlete from Beaufort, SC was harangued by a group of 13 mean girls into a terrible spiral of anxiety and despair, causing her to cheat on tests and skip classes to stay afloat and sane, which eventually got her expelled from the $43,000 per year lycée. The former honors student had never displayed these untoward tendencies until the social clique, named after an old Russian death squad apparently, decided that she was being too uppity about the biggest, most important, most let's-invite-those-baby-faced-boys-boarding-school-date-rapists-and-wear-nice-dressesest night of the year.
As Dr. Spock recedes in the rear window, fading to pebble size, our children continue to be more and more coddled. Didja hear? What ruined, flabby, protected little simps they are, right? Anticipating a backlash to the whole sissy kid trend, I guess, the Times has now urged us that teasing and status negotiations are good, natural, enriching parts of the human experience. So why the heck then (won't someone think of the wolves!) the article smart-assedly asks, are schools cracking down with zero tolerance policies (in the wake of teeny, tiny little hiccups like the Columbine massacre) and companies imposing mean old sexual harassment rules? Well, I think it's because, yes, maybe we are coddling kids a bit too much, but there's a line and there's an across-the-line that's increasingly easier to get to and unfortunately, character building as it may be, some people go through unnecessary hell as youngsters.
Ms. Bass and her parents are suing the Farmington, Conn., institution, hoping to get Bass (like in Gossip Girl!) reinstated at the school and maybe, you know, some sweet ass damages money. I wonder, Dacher Keltner (who wrote the odious Times article that you really should read if you haven't gotten super angry yet today), what do you make of all this? Is this a story of the bad "bullying" you talk about, versus the all-important hierarchy-shaping "teasing" that you so praise?
And, more importantly, I wonder: when you're an anxious, self-conscious sixteen-year-old what the fuck, dear sir, is the fucking difference?