chapter  9
Sidestepping the Jingle Fallacy: Bullying, Aggression, and the Importance of Knowing the Diff erence
Pages 16

Awareness of the “problem of the bully” goes back hundreds of years, references to which emerge in the literature as early as the late 1600s. Th ese literary references, as such references generally do, shape public perceptions. Famously, for example, a deeply disenfranchised Mr. Bumble from Oliver Twist (Dickens, 1838/1846), a “hard hearted brute” who was so insensitive to tears that his “heart was waterproof,” was characterized as having a “decided propensity for bullying” in which he “derived no inconsiderable pleasure from the exercise of petty cruelty; and, consequently, was (it is needless to say) a coward” (p. 208). Bullying as “petty tyranny” had long been seen as a problem in school contexts. Th us, not only are bullies aggressive, but they also have deep character fl aws refl ected in their tendency to prey on the weak, presumably stemming from a low selfconcept. Now, of course, it is cliché to consider the bully a socially unskilled tyrant who pales in the face of real danger.