Shock jocks show no maturity in bullying

I loathe practical jokes. They’re bullying in disguise, they’re always hurtful and they’re sometimes criminal.

Think of the recent trial of the teenager who set fire to a guest at his birthday party and thought it was hilarious. He doesn’t now.

Worse, you’re supposed to be jolly about being humiliated because of some dim, ancient agreement in our culture that says the prankster is a helluva dag. His victim is supposed to be a good sport and hide their anger or shame – bullied, then bullied again into denying the hurt. How hilarious.

I last tried out a practical joke when I was about 7, an age at which it’s slightly excusable. I’d seen in a comic, probably a Beano, a drawing of someone pulling out a chair from behind a person trying to sit down. The victim fell to the floor in the comic, which seemed deliciously funny to me – bear in mind that I also thought Jerry Lewis was hilarious at the time – so I did it to a boy in my class.

To my surprise, nobody else thought it was funny and I saw that they were right. I’ve never tried anything like it since.

That’s one excellent reason why I’m not a radio shock jock. Continue reading


Rosemary McLeod is a New Zealand journalist.

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