What's a bully, anyway?
noun, plural bullies
1. a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
2. Archaic. a man hired to do violence.
3. Obsolete. a pimp; procurer.
4. Obsolete. good friend; good fellow.
5. Obsolete. sweetheart; darling.
In fact, definitions vary. Teddy Roosevelt used the word one way (below) and my anonymous correspondent (above) another.
The applicability of these many definitions to examples in real-life also is variable. H.L. Mencken spent decades (a) eloquently writing truth to power, or (b) spewing intemperate vitriol at respectable pillars of society.
Was Mencken a buffoon or a bully? A man in love with his vocabulary or a muckraking ray of sunshine? Would he be accused of "cyber-bullying" today, if his columns appeared on-line and not on newsprint?
We all cross the lines on occasion, and I have done so, too. At the same time, this notion of my writing as bullying is strange to me, and perhaps it reveals a different issue, in that some folks probably don't know what to make of me. I don't fit into a convenient box, and I like it that way, but defying categorization bothers some of them.
If they can't tell exactly what my "job" is, they can't typecast me -- and they can't tell me how to go about doing "my job," whatever it might or might not be. Furthermore, in the absence of any willingness on their part to interact, the usual policing levers aren't effective.
What am I? Blogger? Politician? Business owner? Drunkard? Vocabulary deviate? Polemicist?
Why not just plain citizen, exercising that elusive concept of citizenship?
Is this really so hard to grasp? I have demonstrable principles. I'm able to state them cogently. I take part in the process even when it's futile. As a citizen, I'm just trying to do my small part in making this city a better place -- and all these hidebound, antebellum fogies stand in the way of progress.
It's enough to make a man curmudgeonly. Of course humans are fallible. We can't be perfect. Were always learning. I just try to tell the truth as often and consistently as possible, and let the proverbial chips fall where they may. I hope you like it, and I'm not sorry at all if it bothers you. It's my art. You may cease reading at any time.
After all, I'm not at the homeless shelter commanding the occupants to get better. I'm at city meetings demanding openness, transparency and accountability of elected officials, and chiding the supposed journalists when they're to busy promoting cooking school to bother.
I'm not cruel to kids or dogs. Rather, I'm delighted to offer an alternative viewpoint as it pertains to self-assigned community "leaders" with more money and power than brains, and who really did learn everything they need to know way back in kindergarten.
The kids and dogs make better company, anyway -- and have you ever noticed that when a dog offers his territorial pissing, he confines it to a sustainable zone?
If you think Jeff Gahan knows more about a city's street grid than Jeff Speck, I'm not going to miss your comments about the theory and practice of my art as a polemicist. However, I'll remind you that your belief is foolish, and falls into the category of palpable absurdity.
In reverse chronological order, here are a few blog references to Bully Baylor over the past three years. Surely these began prior to 2013, and if you have examples, add them to the comments or at Fb.
August 6, 2015:
ON THE AVENUES: Money is the ultimate bully.
... Even this heretic knows that Goliath was the big bad bully, and not the dude with the spot-on slingshot, and accordingly, I’ll continue to speak and write openly about the way things are in New Albany, because when it comes to underdogs, sleepers, dark horses and the man in Tiananmen Square blocking a column of tanks with his briefcase, you won’t find any of them in the $100,000 mayoral suite overlooking one-way Spring Street.
September 27, 2014:
Bully for you, bully for me. Let's have a bully pulpit in every foyer.
... Like Harding’s “normalcy” and Kennedy’s “vigor," the phrase with which Roosevelt begins this letter, “Bully for you” will forever be emblematic of his presidency.
April 24, 2014:
RUMOR MILL..... (at Freedom to Screech)
... Our final thoughts: A message to Mr. "Bully" Baylor. Hell would freeze over before Freedom of Speech would EVER Support or Endorse you. Sorry Rog the only thing your good at "is kissing ass or bullying people...
August 24, 2013:
My second favorite News and Tribune reader comment yet.
... Without question, Roger Baylor's a bully. Like the previous post says, he would post something like what the Health Dept posted on him and laugh his head off and get his gang of bullies to laugh with him. This person is a menace of the worst sort. He incites anger and hatred. Nothing more.
August 19, 2013:
My favorite News and Tribune reader comment yet.
... No question Baylor is a bully. He would, without so much as a wink, put together some sort of picture just like the one on the Health Dept. site and feature this on his blog. He would do this while sneering and jeering, and he would spout venomous comments with his loyal followers who would gush all over the remarks with similar refrains of their own. Then, he would promote such a picture/blog entry on every website he frequents, Twitter, Facebook, other blogs. And he would guffaw and drink while adding one lie on top of the next in his self-righteous screed.
All together now ...