Friday, February 25, 2011

Chicken Soup with Izzy Kalman...

This post is being completely rewritten on 1/11/2013...and further updated on May 23, 2014.

Poor Izzy keeps stepping on his own dick.

It may also be helpful to read this, this, and this first.

The original content of this post was excessively scathing of both Izzy Kalman's techniques and personal character. In an effort to avoid sounding as hollow and insincere as Mitt Romney, I won't be offering any belated apologies. But, after an extensive e-mail exchange with Mr. Kalman I now have more information to work with.

From what I've been able to learn from our e-mail exchange and from what he's written, Kalman's technique involves depriving the bully of the pleasure of precipitating a negative reaction from its victim. I was a runt in middle school and playing dead was a pretty effective short term technique. Playing dead, becoming very quiet, and glaring at some of the witnesses for the next few days also seemed to unnerve many adults who even back then understood the significance of the cliche, "He was a quiet man."

My primary criticism of Kalman's technique is that it has no effect on the bully's sense of legitimacy or its pathological need to dominate, brutalize, and terrorize other people's kids for pleasure. It also neatly relieves adults, particularly the bully's parents of any responsibility for consistently role modeling civilized behavior by transferring that responsibility to the demographic group least able to fulfill it: children who are frightened, confused, and often under siege from multiple directions. In my opinion, bullies and the criminally incompetent parents who raise them are no different than any other group of criminals that prey upon children and should be treated as such. But...since no politician, subject matter expert, or other opinion leader appears brave enough to openly criticize bad parents for their role modeling, I don't see this problem being addressed effectively without even more victims turning into homicidal maniacs.

Izzy Kalman appears to believe in what he's doing, but any technique that simply convinces the bully to move on to more satisfying victims has no overall effect upon the problem. It's roughly equivalent to advising motorists to lock their cars, take their keys, and place valuables out of sight. It's a good thing to do, but it doesn't prevent a determined thief or vandal from harming you and it certainly doesn't transform car thieves into law abiding citizens. It only provides a small incentive for them to break into someone else's car. Bullies will continue to damage victims and precipitate the development of serial killers, mass murderers, and domestic terrorists, and as long as their victims murder other people's children, bullies and their criminally incompetent parents have no incentive to clean up their act.

I believe that Izzy Kalman has convinced himself that his techniques are effective, but I also believe that he woefully underestimates the desocializing effect that community sanctioned bullying has on the victim's long term values and subsequent behavior. Being bullied didn't transform me into a killer, but it did teach me to understand killers. Even Adam Lanza's initially baffling choice of targets presents a certain amount of cold hearted logic. If you despise the community you grew up in and you want to hurt that community as much as possible, destroying what that community cherishes most and then depriving it of any chance to take revenge is a very effective technique. The citizens of Newtown, Connecticut now understand how victims of bullying feel. They're in great pain and utterly confused about why they were chosen and how anyone could be so fucking cruel.

Criminally incompetent parents and the cruel, violent progeny they dump into our nation's schools and neighborhoods are a serious national problem and an obvious danger to everyone. I think it's time for everyone to be brave enough to admit it.







60 comments:

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  8. M.B. Allen, LCSWApril 8, 2011 at 9:16 PM

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  26. I can't believe you! How could you take a liking to that man after all he's done?! Can you not see that he brainwashes bullied victims into being mindless and enslaved pacifists?!

    You were more like me in that you criticized Izzy for enabling bullies. But now, I see that you support him. How could you do that? A true anti-bully doesn't support Kalman.

    You were right about Izzy being a sociopath just like bullies. However, I'm no longer sure whether I support you due to your changed opinion of that man.

    Heck, you were more similar to a guy whose name is Ben Leichtling. And I like him because he's against Izzy's way of dealing with bullies. Besides, he has a better way to deal with those jerks than Kalman does.

    If you want to learn more about Ben, you can go his website, which is this:

    http://www.bulliesbegone.com/

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  27. I don't agree with Kalman's techniques and he seems to have ceased communicating with me. During our e-mail exchange Kalman expressed concern for his personal safety and that of his family. I could not simply ignore his concerns and avoid legal liability. Besides, anyone doing an internet search for Izzy Kalman will almost certainly find this weblog. My rewritten post sounds less like an angry rant and more like well deserved criticism. I suspect my rewritten post will be more effective at diminishing his influence.

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  28. I did not read your original article; I wonder what was criminal about it, was it really condoning violence or was it just criticizing Izzy? It is difficult to believe that you were slandering Izzy because this modified essay is simply kissing his ass. I'm disgusted that the bullying enabler Izzy Kalman was able to bully you into silence, ironically using the legal system that he argues is over-used.

    I really wish I could read a copy of the original post somewhere; were you comparing yourself to Adam Lanza and other mass-murderers? On this issue, I actually disagree with you that these supposedly bullied people should represent bully victims and even though many bullying laws were a result of the Columbine murders, anti-bullying should not be because of threats but because of the suffering caused to bullying victims.

    The ideas of Izzy Kalman are ridiculous and should be thoroughly disproved. As a bullying victim, reading anti-bullying blogs is very helpful to my healing process and am disappointed that you could be forced to take your opinions back by Izzy Kalman. I do not have the desire or energy to start a blog myself (where I would refute Izzy in detail), but would like to end this response by pointing out the specific parts I disagree with:

    "Izzy Kalman appears to believe in what he's doing" ...if he did he would practice what he preaches, he would respond to his bully (Fowl Ideas)by sucking up to him and not complaining about it, refer to my calling out his hypocrisy in last sentence of paragraph one

    "Izzy Kalman has convinced himself that his techniques are effective" once again, just as he wants bully victims to play victim and enable them to be hyper-sensitive and take revenge on bullying victims/targets by pummeling them with punches, he wants to take away the actual bully victims' right to feel victimhood and silently endure the attack. Izzy Kalman provides many similar scenarios in his writing, where he wants abusers to conquer territory while targets must welcome their role as victims and submit to the bullies.

    "earn his living by teaching victims to deflect the bully's attention" ...even though he claims his advice helps, facts and logic prove otherwise, the only thing he teaches victims, real victims (not perceived, like Izzy often insults them), to accept victimhood and to not dare speak to anyone about their problems but also to not even dare consider in their mind that their abuse is not beneficial to them.

    I did not initially realize my comment would be so long but I hope writers such as Fowl Ideas will not stop advocating anti-bullying as well as not be censored; Izzy Kalman and the many pro-bullies similar to him should not be threatened or slandered but they should be accurately criticized.

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    1. I rewrote this post for the simplest of reasons. During my months long e-mail exchange with Izzy Kalman, I began to suspect that he was a bit unhinged and I began to realize that he was generating a dangerous level of hatred independent of my rhetoric. Because he is a professional person offering a service to the public, it would be very easy for some homicidal person to find him and his family. Should that occur, I would almost certainly become the object of a nuisance suit. Kalman expressed concern for the safety of himself and his family in writing. I did ridicule the idea that I was the source of any future problems he may have and he admitted that there were people who's hatred for him predated my weblog, but I still had to react in order to minimize my own legal liability.

      Besides, if you carefully read the new post, it's just as critical of his dumb ideas. I just dialed down the vitriol that to many readers only made me sound unhinged.

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  29. Thank You for approving my message and responding to it, what you wrote sounds reasonable. I am the one who should learn more about the responsibilities and limitations of expressing oneself.

    Also, I meant to write: "he wants bullies to play victim and enable them to be hyper-sensitive"

    This is the first article I came across of yours; I have since had the opportunity to read more, very interesting work.

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  30. Kalman seems to believe that people are basically good and that expressing hostility to the bully is the real source of the problem. He also quoted scripture a few times. I find his outlook to be dangerously naïve, especially when one considers the fact that he is Jewish and his parents were Holocaust survivors. His state of denial baffles the logical mind. Humans are the most successful predatory species this planet has ever produced. We are not basically good.

    He didn't think much of my idea to create a few complimentary programs like Rapists2Romeos or Nazis2Nannies either.

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    1. Love it! How about "Killers2Kuddlers"? I was bullied out of my career, not just my job, resulting in bankruptcy and my home being foreclosed. We've never financially recovered, and I'm currently employing my graduate degree as a low-paid telephone surveyor. I did many things Izzy would have approved of as the bullying went on, and ignored the multiple small humiliations, to no avail. All it did was drive the bully to focus on work sabotage (tampering with files, withholding resources critical to work completion, etc.)in order to provide reasons to terminate me. Unfortunately for me, the bully also held the data for my dissertation. No dissertation = no Phd = career destruction in my field. Ergo, I have never been able to work in the field I devoted 10 years of graduate study to (I hold a non-terminal master's degree only). Kalman has no understanding of socialized psychopaths. They can never be taught to "make nice."

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    2. Bullies instinctively know who is most likely to re-enter their lives years later and who won't. I'm assuming you never imposed any cost upon the bully in question.

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  31. In that sense, Izzy is not so strange because historically Jewish people have often been self-blaming wimps and were in-turn viewed as easy targets by Europeans who took advantage of the vulnerability by victimizing Jews as well as victim blaming. I agree that his views are baffling and wonder if he hates the Allies who defeated the Nazis as much as he hates the anti-bullying movement because they didn't try to understand Hitler better and appease him. It's interesting that in Izzy's essay about Chris Dorner he compares Jews to bullies; I did not realize the 1930's Germany Jews were Neanderthal jocks who beat the crap out of nerds whom they were threatened by intellectually.

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  32. I had to go back and read his Chris Dorner article again.

    Kalman attributes all violence to what he calls a "victim mentality." He points out that when Hitler scapegoated the Jews, he was appealing to the German population's need to blame someone, anyone for the difficult economic conditions they were dealing with. This basic tactic is practiced by just about all politicians and their supporters in every country. Fox News routinely appeals to the bigotry and ignorance of its core audience by blaming the Obama Administration for everything from potholes to pollen.

    What Kalman avoids doing is admitting that bullies do not behave the way they do in reaction to a sense of victimhood. Bullies are simply fulfilling their animal instinct to establish a hierarchy and protect their position in it. Bullies behave like dogs and chimpanzees because their parents are usually assholes who look upon civilized behavior as a sign of weakness. And Kalman has somehow latched onto the idea that victims are bringing it on themselves by failing to befriend the bullies.

    If he were to watch the movie, "Bully" he'd probably criticize Alex Libby for choosing not to make friends with those "good as gold" sadists he had to ride the bus with.

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  33. Even before I commented on your article, we were on the same page about the mentality of bullies. I noticed that in some articles, you described groups of people as an animal hierarchy, where the bully is the Alpha. After being bullied since early childhood, eventually in school I became the very lowest on this hierarchy, everyone knew the Alpha bully and everyone knew me too, as a punching bag...because many of them would join in when the Alpha bully attacked and the rest would at least be witnesses of "pranks" during public gatherings, such as a school assembly. You correctly mention that the people arguably as bad as bullies themselves or perhaps worse are the enablers. When I would storm out of class when the other students would start throwing books, pencils, chairs, etc. at me to the counselors office, the counselor would give me similar advice as Izzy (also, it is appalling that Mr. Kalman is a school counselor), where I would express my thoughts that the bully’s behavior is wrong, the counselor responded by saying that the solution was to put me on psychiatric medication in addition to telling me to act like Alex Libby by turning the other cheek, which proved time and time again that it only escalates the violence. As a society we expect communities to protect the vulnerable from criminals. Izzy Kalman is like a judge who tells a rape victim she is to blame because of the way she was dressed and perhaps instead of arresting the rapist, labels the rape victim with some mental illness for complaining and sends her to a mental asylum where they perform a lobotomy on her. Actually, Izzy Kalman is more like a judge who feels sorry for a rapist that anyone would deny him of his desires and forces the rape victim to marry her rapist. People like Izzy Kalman do not believe that no one should see themselves as victims, he very much supports the idea of bullies as victims…and not only because he feels sorry for them if they are given any punishment but if they are not permitted to have their cathartic release on their desired punching bag victim; he does not even give victims the option to not accuse their bullies but at least recognize that they do not deserve to suffer and can leave the situation, instead he wants victims to learn to either appease (such as a battered wife learning what not to say so her abuser will not be pissed off) or learn to love the abuse. It is evident that you are rationalizing Izzy Kalman’s views because he threatened you through e-mails, and you present him as an oblivious bystander but he does not fool me for one second. He is a bully advocate and a bully himself who loves to disarm targets so he can victimize them, a far worse variety of bully than the typical jock; Izzy is a manipulator who stands on a podium while his Nazi henchmen do his bidding and preaches to the rest of society that they should not react while the victims are taken to concentration camps. Even if you actually believe that Izzy is an oblivious do-gooder, his willful ignorance still makes him an embarrassment to his Holocaust survivor parents.

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    1. He complained to me that when someone does an internet search for his name, my weblog is on the first page of the results. Considering his concern, it's likely that my criticism has reduced the market's willingness to be fooled. At least that's one step closer to convincing the public to blame bullying on the bully instead of the victim.

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    2. Que un bebé (What a baby) he is. I knew that Izzy y un pene (is a prick). He has his up his culo (ass) if he thinks that makin' amigos with bullies will ever trabajo (work).

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  34. I do not know if you can change the text from other people's comments but my message should not have oblivious do-gooder (that does not make sense), instead it should simply say: Oblivian.

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    1. I can only delete a comment, not alter it.

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  35. It is a shame that most comments were deleted (Izzy's request?), I was interested in reading them.

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  36. After rewriting the post, most of the comments would not have made much sense so I deleted them. The rewrite is just as effective at undermining his credibility without sounding like a raging loon.

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  37. Just for the record: Izzy Kalman is obviously not some good intentioned ignoramus; he is lying on purpose. He uses catchphrases to sell his point of view, such as “anti-bullying limits freedom of speech” yet he is quick to become defensive about blogs online criticizing his views, even using the legal system to threaten for expressing an opinion; he sure does sound like he practices what he preaches by not getting offended about what someone says, a real modern-day Voltaire. Secondly, he does not only limit the definition of bullying to offensive speech, he recommends victims to suck it up when bullies shove them, punch them, and in any other way physically attack them.

    I wonder if he would agree to an experiment where he would be subjected to standard bullying techniques in order to demonstrate how well his methods work. If a bully were to give him wedgies, swirlies, nipple twisters, repeatedly punch him in the head while asking “why are you punching yourself?”, placing a jock-strap on his face, hazing through the ritual of sodomizing with a broomstick…would Izzy “laugh along” while trying to figure out what about himself is causing the bully to act this way?

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    1. How right you are, amigo. That chocho (cunt) admits that he y una hipcrota (is a hypocrite) but doesn't seem to be ashamed to admit. Well, he should be. In fact, you and Fowl Ideas should see this blog about him:

      http://storify.com/stevebandrews/4-400-children-die-each-year-because-of-terrorism-1

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  38. Kalman appears to embrace the idea that bullying is restricted to a few taunts in the school hallway.

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    1. What a liar he is.

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  39. Is that why his bullies2buddies website has a banner with a boy gleefully receiving a headlock and a noogie?

    I suppose this is a model student of Izzy’s techniques, one that enjoys physical attacks rather than the whiny victim on the cover of the book Bullies To Buddies who flinches when he is about to get punched.

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  40. There are a disturbing number of people in America who genuinely believe that being tortured by cocky, sadistic pricks is just part of a normal, healthy adolescence.

    I wonder how many Newtowns, Columbine's and Oklahoma Cities it will take to pull America's head out of its ass.

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    1. I don't think I could agree with you more, compadre.

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  41. Izzy Kalman IS confusing a bully with a pest. He cannot tell the difference.

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  42. Up until a short time ago, my weblog used to appear on the first page when I Googled the name "Izzy Kalman." I've done an internet search (Google) every day for the past few days and I don't appear at all. Could one of you give it a try and let me know what happens?

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  43. This guy is yet another reason why I have so little respect for today’s mental health profession. After my workplace mobbing, I had to go through several therapists before I found one whose ideas were more grounded in reality than in idealism.

    One clown bemusedly and condescendingly told me that born psychopaths are as likely to come from one MBTI type as any other. Yeah right buddy, the bichon frise is as likely to be as aggressive as pit bulls. “Oh, but those are breeds of dogs...” Good god. And this after we’d discussed the results of my MBTI test he’d made me take. For mobbing.

    I heard of an idea that makes sense here. “Bias is a strategy for conserving cognitive resources.” If the person is intelligent, I might add “emotional resources” as well.

    Sorry, I’m still pissed off. I arrived here after realizing that if I graphed my life in terms of aggression towards me, it’d look relatively flat, like a seismograph printout, but with a humongous two year spike when the mobbing occurred, like a Mag 10 earthquake. Before and after, typical normal usually pleasant relations. But during, everybody hated or abandoned me because of one bully’s lies.

    Still trying to make sense of the enabler thing, and how to crack it.

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    1. Taking revenge on a bully is dangerous because everyone knows exactly who to suspect. Taking revenge on enablers allows you to ask, "Why would I do that?"

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    2. I know a lot of proud parents of overachieving children. I try to warn them about the existence of organizational bullies and the jealous peers who they will use to eliminate the overachiever. I myself had three used against me, many years ago. Today, one lives in paranoia over retribution. Another was smeared and fired when his usefulness was over. The third shall be tormented for my own amusement - bwahahaha....

      But seriously, I try to focus on giving achievers a voice, and other options, besides going Peter Gibbons or Milton Waddams.

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    3. Office Space spoke to millions of Americans who tire of the rat race.

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  44. My webmaster uses a technique for 'Google-popularizing' my name so my business website gets noticed. And I think this is common now. I'd sure hope Izzy isn't becoming more popular, knocking you to the second page. There are too many ideological idiots out there as it is.

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    1. I've been knocked to the second page before. I've never known why I go back and forth.

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  45. You mention Kalman quoting scripture. The obvious "turn the other cheek" comes to mind.

    I've looked that one up, in context, and I don’t think Jesus even once, spoke of how turning the other cheek would stop bullying. He seems to be consistently implying that this behavior encourages spirituality – by people detaching themselves from materialistic outcomes. The reward then comes in "the kingdom of God" (heaven, I'd think).

    I'd think some believers might be persuaded to read this wrong, have bullying increase, then wind up cursing Jesus, between shotgun blasts.

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    1. Scripture isn't history, it's allegory. Kalman appears to believe that bullying is harmless name calling where the recipient is being overly sensitive. He describes bullying victims as "emotional marshmallows." I don't know how a man who's parents were holocaust survivors could become so dangerously naïve about human behavior.

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