Oct 13, 2010

It's Nice to be Nice

I happened to catch Perez Hilton on Ellen today...and I have to say, I was moved.  Perez Hilton, as you may or may not know, runs a website that is brutal -- BRUTAL -- on celebrities and public figures.  And, as Perez admitted on Ellen, he has even outed people.  

Perez Hilton Ellen Degeneres bullying
The thing is, Perez has been a loud voice in the movement to stop bullying (in the midst of the recent epidemic of bullying and suicides among gay youth)...which some found odd, given that Perez is a very open, very public bully.  So, he took a long, hard look at himself, and he has made the decision to stop.  That's a huge step.  Check out his appearance here.

Perez's announcement really touched me but, more important, it made me realize that I've done the same thing!  So, I wrote him this e-mail: 
Perez, I admit that I've been a fan for a LONG time...and I have always loved your blog, as vicious and mean as it sometimes was. 

I was really eager to hear what you had to say on Ellen (although I kinda guessed that you would announce you were going to be changing your attitude and approach, given the current campaign to end bullying)...and I felt your pain.  You seemed a little nervous, a little awkward, a little vulnerable (because Ellen is, admittedly, not a big fan) and I could feel your pain. 

I know where you're coming from, though...it seems as though everyone is of the opinion that celebrities really put themselves on the chopping block, open to our abuse and ridicule, as some sort of trade for their fame and fortune.  But, when you take a good, hard look at yourself, you're completely right...why do we justify that type of bullying (I know I do!) against public figures but slam anyone who dares to be a bully on another level? 

I was bullied in grade school (at a Catholic grade school, imagine that!) for who knows what reasons...my family wasn't rich like the others, I was overweight, I was an outcast, it all becomes a vicious circle that feeds into itself and becomes a monster of a predicament, one that can hardly be overcome at that point.  It was ugly, it was painful, it was traumatic.  But I guess I persevered OK, and turned into a (somewhat) normal adult.  LOL.  And, then, what do you know, I turned around and started thriving on the type of celebrity gossip that you do, and even wore it as a badge of honor for a while, when I was worked for my university newspaper as an editor and staff writer.  I wrote a weekly column (and plenty of editorials) that I liked to call "snarky," "sarcastic, "sassy," etc., but, in retrospect, were mean, hurtful, and, at times, vicious.  I would regularly (and with relish) lampoon public figures (both politicians and celebrities), sparing no one.  Do you realize that no one ever called me on it?  Never addressed the issue that I was a bully...but plenty would attack me, but on the basis that I was a bleeding heart liberal who was just picking on Republicans, etc.  The attacks were vicious, mean-spirited, and very hurtful.  It was easy for me to recognize that THEY were bullies...but never, ever, that I was one. 

Well, I sure can recognize that now.  Thank you for owning your behavior, your actions and words that hurt others.  Seeing you take responsibility for that made me respect you more than you will ever know.  But it also made me take a long, hard look at myself, and address those same behaviors within myself.  Thank you for that as well.

Good luck...keep up the hard work.  Or, as they say, "Keep fightin' the good fight."  You can make a difference in the world. 
 Who knows if he'll even read that e-mail...but it doesn't really matter.  What matters is that people just...be nice, for crying out loud.  A family member always said, "It's nice to be nice."  That's not trite or cliche.  It's a powerful, meaningful statement.  One, sadly, that many don't live by. 


Augmented Gem said...

It is nice to be nice isn't it! Sometimes it doesn't really matter if the letter is read, simply that it was written. Thank you for sharing your letter.

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Kelly said...

What a great letter! I hope he reads it!

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