by Jessica Smith

Long before teens posted nasty comments on their friends’ Facebook pages and adults took surreptitious photos of Walmart shoppers to post and mock on peopleofwalmart.com, there was Vice magazine. It pioneered the art of matching photos of regular people with cutting comments.

Gavin McInnes, a founder of Vice who cut ties with the magazine in 2008, created the infamous Dos and Don’ts in early ’90s Montreal. A bully by today’s standards, he argues that bullying — especially the old-fashioned noogie and purple nurple — is good for children.

Dos and Don’ts were photos taken of people out in public — knowingly or unknowingly — paired with humorous insults or lecherous and offensive compliments. It began when Vice was based in Montreal and continued as a staple of the magazine when its founders moved it to Brooklyn and found worldwide success.

He says bullying has changed over time. “When I was a kid, bullies weren’t necessarily a bad thing,” he said. “You got a wedgie. No one wore glasses when I was in school because you’d be a ‘four-eyes.’ Now, all kids have glasses.”

McInnes says legal attempts to stop cyberbullying won’t help children. High-profile cases of kids who kill themselves after they’ve been bullied are not enough to prove a crisis, he said.

“To cling to that I’m sure sells papers and makes people feel special and makes people feel that they’re righteous, but the mathematical truth of it is it’s not a major problem and the worst thing you could do would be to try to fix this fake problem by regulating people. Sorry, someone called you fat. Sorry, you were bullied online. That’s called high school.”

McInnes fondly recalls his childhood, when he says bullies were respected as tough guys that you’d want to be, and kids were tough enough to ride their bikes barefoot until their soles were like leather.

“Every kid had a cast on, we wouldn’t wear a helmet, we didn’t have car seats, and then you go into the real world and you can fight and survive,” he said. “Now we have fat kids, sitting inside where it’s safe, playing video games, being regulated to extinction.

“You do a lot more disservice to a child when you make him scared of the world and when you put him in a protective bubble where it’s illegal for anyone to be mean to him. Mean is good, because the world is cruel.”



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