We Are Groot.
Over the past week, I’ve written a whole bunch about bullying. I’ve written about what we should do, about what people are doing, about the plight of the victim versus the bully.
Somehow, in the past few years, bullying has become a “cause.” It bugs me a little bit, and I need to be straight about that. When I say a “cause” I mean that bullying has become a thing like Breast Cancer or ALS, a thing that some people stand up about, and raise awareness about, and do the things associated with causes.
I’m not saying that it isn’t important. It is. It’s huge.
Still…I was bullied. Everyone I know was bullied by someone. Even the so called “popular kids”, the ones that regular people like you and I thought had perfect lives, regale tales of being bullied, intimidated, and made to feel small. In prior eras, it was a matter of socialization…of learning to deal with social pressures, and find a niche. For reasons that I don’t understand, this is no longer the social landscape…and bullying does in fact need to be a cause.
Since it is a legitimate cause, I no longer know if the ideas that I have to solve the problem are viable, or even smart. My simple thought is that you combat the forces of meanness with friendship, that you find like minded people and form your own solid group. It’s okay to be the outsider, for there are other outsiders…and you can be together. That’s what friends are.
I hope that’s still the case. I hope it’s a real method, because it is what I suggest day to day.
That’s what the art is about. Groot only becomes a sapling when he is beat up by some other force. When that happens, Rocket takes care of him, because Rocket is his best friend. Rocket isn’t perfect himself, and that’s the fairest thing in the problem…Rocket is just a guy who wants his friend to be okay. In the history of bullying, and the possible cures, the relationship of Rocket and Groot is instructive.
They just want the other to be okay.
They just identify the best of themselves in the other.
I’m not a fancy therapist, but managing to make that kind of relationship seems to be the “anti-bully factor.” Go figure.
Maybe today I can make that clear. When “We are Groot” gets said in the film “Guardians of the Galaxy,” it seems clear enough, thematically. I just want my students to get that point. That’s what the art is about, and arguably, what a whole lot else should be about.