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Occupational Hazard

BULLYING’S NOT JUST AN OUTLET FOR YOUTHFUL ANGST. IT HAPPENS IN THE ONLINE WORKPLACE, TOO by Heidi Staseson When pondering the prototype of the human “bully,” society’s once-popular archetype of the burly sand tyrant named “Biff” and his pastime for picking on 98-lb.teen weaklings has evolved significantly from the beach scenes of 1950’s comic books. In fact, with the rise of technology, the “Biffs” of the past are the least of people’s worries; yesteryear’s bully has morphed and attached itself to a more sombre and serious trend: cyberbullying. Vitriolic spewing is especially ubiquitous on social media. And many of us are complicit in some way – as perpetrators or inactive witnesses to attacks, or even as unwitting victims who stay silent post-blast. Calgary high school guidance counsellor Marc Osenton, an AU Faculty of Health Disciplines graduate, says part of the problem is the newer phenomenon of being “turned on all the time” – especially the teens he sees, who take to social media like birds to breadcrumbs. While news about online bullying is rife in the media, …

On dumping a friend

One hot and muggy August, I fully enabled a knock-down-drag-out fight with a person whose ‘friendship,’ I felt, had dragged out much longer than it should have (it shouldn’t have extended past some bad, crescendo-reaching karaoke that took place shortly after I had met her a year-and-a-half earlier). I’ll call her Maude. I can definitively say I’ve since lost my ability to get the chills when I hear Whitney Houston belt out the climax to her cover of I Will Always Love You. Anybody who grew up during the 1980s and 1990s will understand: the part from Houston’s music video where, clad like Olivia Pope in a white pantsuit, she sits posture-perfect in a chair and goes for that high note, nailing it bang-on. It was the song that secured Ms. Houston her goddess-like stature in the music industry, years ahead of Celine Dion crooning about her heart going on. When Maude tried to replicate the hit in the handful of grubby clubs we used to circuit Sunday nights, the result was astonishing. Astonishingly awful. I’ve …