This is not by any stretch of the imagination intended to be an anti-rec. I found both books to be very useful and thought provoking. I also found it wince-worthy, not only for the way that it reminded me of having been bullied, but also for some of the messages that Jodee Blanco is putting forth. Messages that I think detract from the overall message of, “stop blaming the victim for being bullied. Yes, you are too blaming the victim for being bullied. Your interventions are not working. If something is not working, do something else.”
Blanco tends to portray kids in special education programs as sweet, simple angels. They are infused with this rosy light of innocence that (I believe) would make anyone who has ever been in a special education program wince (which I was, so I did — every time Blanco would go on and on how mean the other kids were to the poor sweet little deaf and “slow” kids.) The problem with the “sweet little angel” view point is that it completely ignores the possibility that the “sweet little angel” might have thoughts and personality traits belonging to them alone…and might not actually be a sweet little angel but a real person who might get cranky and throw a book at someone.
Another thing she did that I thought was kind of peculiar was the way she didn’t seem to realize that someone with severe Attention Deficit Disorder or Dyslexia would probably also be in the special education program. I don’t have either, and I don’t know exactly what I might have been diagnosed with, but when I was in a special education program (from roughly fourth grade until my freshman year in high school) I was put in with people who I am pretty sure had ADD and Dyslexia.
I have always tended to hate counseling when I was a kid, for pretty much the same reason Jodee Blanco seems to. The advice for possible interventions never seems to work in “real life” which means that you are doing them wrong which means you are stupid because you did them wrong. You live in terror of saying the wrong thing and being locked up or having something you said relayed to your parents who will then spend a great deal of time yelling at you. Counseling is extremely stressful and annoying. When I was a kid I spent most of my counseling session reading books and playing with toys and more or less ignoring the counselor. (I have gotten better since then, but still find counseling to be remarkably frustrating on the occasions when I attempt it.)
I can therefore understand why she dislikes counseling and psychiatry so much since she also had to deal with counselors who were convinced it was apparently her fault that kids are often cliquey little bastards with the empathy of an earthworm. On the other hand, I find it mildly irritating when she invents terminology based on some great empathetic insight she has received as a result of having been bullied by cliquey little bastards with the empathy of an earthworm. I’m sure she is actually seeing what she thinks she is, but I’m not sure that she has the background in psychology and/or sociology to back this terminology up with.
She says she did not use an outline or prepare a speech before hand because she wanted it to be “natural.” My first second and third thoughts were “oh, go jump in a lake.” Most people need to have at least an outline of talking points. Having an outline does not make you any better or worse than someone who can wing it without an outline (which is to say, there was a definite feeling that Blanco felt winging it was superior to using an outline).
Review of Please Stop Laughing at Me
Review of Please Stop Laughing at Us