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Meet the Cry-Bully: a hideous hybrid of victim and victor

21 April 2015

4:57 PM

21 April 2015

4:57 PM

In the 1970s, there was a big difference between bullies and cry-babies. Your mum would have preferred you to hang around with the latter, but sometimes the former had a twisted charisma so strong that you found yourself joining in the taunts of ‘Onion Head! ’ at some poor unfortunate creature sporting a cranium of a somewhat allium caste. After a bit, of course, if you had anything about you, you realized what a knob you were being and went off to sample the more solitary, civilized pleasures of shoplifting and reading Oscar Wilde with the bedroom curtains closed. But you could be certain, as you festered in your pilfered Chelsea Girl vest, that bullies were bullies and cry-babies were cry-babies and never the twain would meet.

Fast forward some four decades and things are not so simple. This is the age of the Cry-Bully, a hideous hybrid of victim and victor, weeper and walloper. They are everywhere, these duplicit Pushmi-Pullyus of the personal and the political, from Celebrity Big Brother to the frontline of Islamism. Jeremy Clarkson is a prime cry bully, punching a producer and then whining in The Sunday Times about ‘losing my baby’ (The baby being Top Gear). Perez Hilton, recently of the CBB house, is a good example too, screaming abuse at his wretched room-mates until they snapped and hit back, at which point he would dissolve in floods of tears and flee to the Diary Room to claim that he felt ‘unsafe’. Stephen Fry is one, forever banging on about his own mental fragility yet mocking Stephen Hawking’s voice at a recent awards ceremony.

Esther Rantzen — an anti-bullying campaigner — strikes me as another. An otherwise anodyne interviewer recently felt moved to ask her if she was a bully, due to her reputation as an over-bossy boss during her That ’s Life heyday and the rather vile reports of her yelling out ‘My husband’s ex-wife ’ during a trivia quiz at a TV bash – the question being ‘What burnt in Richmond?’, the locality in which the woman whose husband she took had recently been cremated. Rantzen has re-created herself as a pathetic widow, complaining about having no one to go on holiday with, so desperately lonely for human companionship that she once rang her daughter to say that the Almighty would want them to live together. (Not as much as He’d want people not to gloat over the deaths of people whose lives they had ruined, surely.)


Even social media – the source of so much fun and friendship for most of us – becomes a double-edged sword in the hands of the Cry-Bully. They will threaten women with rape on Twitter then boo-hoo about the invasion of their privacy when called to account. It’ s a sort of Munchausen’s syndrome – causing one’s own misery then complaining about it – seen most sadly in the case of Hannah Smith, the 14-year-old girl who took her own life in 2013 after allegedly being cyber-bullied on the teen website It turned out that some 98 per cent of the abusive messages came from poor Hannah herself, with only four posts being contributed by actual trolls.

Cry-Bullies do end up isolated, as their determination to be victim and victor eventually wears out the patience of the most forebearing friend. But they can also be found hanging around in gangs; then, Cry-Bullies really come into their own and are not just irritating but dangerous. Islamism is the ultimate Cry-Bully cause; on one hand stamping around murdering anyone who doesn’ t agree with you, on the other hand yelling ‘ISLAMOPHOBIA’ in lieu of having a real adult debate about the merits of your case. Their ‘helpline’ is even called Tell Mama – bless. The British-born Islamist recently sentenced to twelve years had no problem posing with severed heads (‘Heads, kaffirs, disgusting’) and asking friends back home to send him condoms which he planned to use raping women captured as ‘war booty’ but then claimed to be having nightmares and suffering from depression in order to escape jail.

The transexual and pimp-lobbies bring classic Cry-Bully tactics into play whenever they come across someone who doesn’t – shock, horror! – think the same as them, as unashamed feminists from the activist Julie Bindel to the comedian Kate Smurthwaite have discovered. In these cases, the claim that ‘safe spaces’ might be violated by the presence of someone who thinks differently to them; but born women, mysteriously, are expected to surrender the ultimate Safe Space – the female toilets – to pre-op chicks with dicks if they are not to be accused of violent bigotry.

I don’t like much about monarchy, but the old saw they are said to live by – ‘Never complain, never explain’ (if only Prince Charles could do this!) – is a good one. The Cry-Bully always explains to the point of demanding that one agrees with them and always complains to the point of insisting that one is persecuting them. They really are the very worst sort of modern moaner.

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Show comments
  • justejudexultionis

    ex mente burchilliensis semper aliquid novi

    • The Patriarchy

      If burchilliensis is adjectival then it must agree with its noun in number, case and gender. Therefore “ex mente burchilliensi semper ….”

  • Axel Mckibbin
  • avi15

    I had a dog like that once. It was a small jack russell that would bare its teeth, then run at full speed straight at Alsatians and Dobermans, yelping and screeching as if it was being murdered. Makes me think of some adherents of a certain religion.

  • Roger Wilco

    Sounds like this article describes the black lives matter movement to the T.

  • Wendy Barnes

    Excellent article. The writing is clear and to the point!

  • Andrew Smith

    We used to call it “all mouth and no trousers” or some variation on the theme. It doen’t seem new to me.

  • Salomon P

    wow, inventing a primitive stereotypical label won’t solve a thing.
    We have Zizek already to primitivise theory to the unbearable level, we don’t need any additional help, no thank you.

    if you want to describe world problems and perhaps help to solve them, then quit this pseudo intellectual label forging. It occupies the space where a real thought and compassion should engage the complexity of world, or perhaps that’s precisely the aim?

    Either way it’s a negative, abusive description of complex phenomena. Grow out of kindergarten name-calling please. Name is not a description, description is not the phenomenon.
    In short – Cry-bully is a 100% bullshit label.

  • Caviar luvvie

    ‘Cry Bullies’, also known as Muslims, basically.

  • Timov

    The perfect pest control for these types of people – 1/8 oz of lead, properly applied.

  • Robert Johnson

    Well written. I didn’t agree with it all. (TERFs and SWERFs do not pass muster in any world that makes sense. Until we are all free, then none of us are free.) Kate Smurthwaite kicks out a great deal and comedy booking remains a boys’ club. There’s no way to avoid getting kicked back. And like William F. Buckley jr. said or rather wrote years ago, “I would rather be a comedian than a teacher, but it was not meant to be, and by dressing in the robes of the former, I diminish my usefulness in the robes of the latter.” Comedy isn’t the safest platform to kick from or and certainly not to teach from. But without a platform, it’s too hard to get above the crowd at all, so it’s a hard nut to crack.

  • bans

    smurthwaite is a classic cry-bully, just like many of her fellow modern day feminists. I see them everywhere on the internets, on social media and forums bullying those who don’t fall in line, I’ve criticised a few, then I get labeled a sexist, racist or homophobic. I will say that feminist cry bullies are a distinct bunch, they aren’t the run of the mill, equality feminists, these are hardcore radical feminists, or female chauvinists. You know the kind of idiots who think that drinking male tears upsets men, oh the irony, excuse me I need to knock out some ‘male tears’, pass me the tissues….

  • janjansen

    I even like most of the comments here. What is happening? Is this reality?

  • janjansen

    It is not often one gets to read such a though provoking _and_ literary pearl.
    Thanks for writing it.

  • R.Celica

    Well said my babber.

  • Khiri

    “Cry-bully” is THE term of the decade! LOVE IT!

  • manwiththechildinhisfridge

    Is Julie Burchill a cry-bully? Discuss.

    Here she uses her extraordinary gift for clever abuse on an unsuspecting rabbi completely unable to return fire with the same acuity. Yet JB pretends to be hard done by in the exchange.It’s a classic case of projection.

    God bless us, one and all!

  • rtj1211

    I wasn’t a cry baby as a child, I was just mute, absorbing all the bullying taunts and turning the other cheek. Then in my 20s women said I was ‘cold, undemonstrative’ and the like. The Press said that men ‘needed to get in touch with their feelings’ and all that. So when you found out that someone had taken you to the cleaners and you had lost big time, the dam burst and you learned to cry, not in public, but in private.

    Thing was, opening up like that made you far more sensitive to bullying taunts and now you’d learn to use your tongue as an adult, you were more likely to answer back. And because as a kid, the mild response had begotten more taunting, you decide to go for the ‘pre-emptive strike’ showing that you mean business with your first response.

    The key thing is who you target your response at. If it’s at someone weak then you become a cry-bully. But if you target those in power, those who rant and rave, sneer and bully, threaten and taunt, well, then you are targeting those who deserve every word you issue.

    If you target habitual fraudsters who happen to be millionaires, that’s justified. If you target bullying right wing journalists (and the DT and Spectator is littered with them), that’s fair game. If you target murdering politicians, good on you.

  • skhpcola

    The author forgot to mention the most salient point about the target cult of cry-bullies: that they are uniformly leftists. That particular ideology requires one to be a victim, a pariah with a sense of virtuous entitlement. It also requires one to adopt mental retardation as a badge of honor.

    • WTF

      Well spotted as the first thing that crossed my mind after the first paragraph was that she was referring to the left, but perhaps not. However, I love the word cry-bully as it epitomizes the left so well that we should use it as labels for all of those on the left.

      Recent rants from academia over immigration is a perfect example of a cry-bully as they shed crocodile tears over all the migrants trying to get to the west whilst bullying us into accepting these economic migrants and pay for them.

    • octagon<3

      I find they exist on opposite ends of the horseshoe. Both progressives and social conservatives pull the victim card when it’s convenient for them. It comes from a desire to assert authority over others.

  • DarkTriadMan

    If you have time to whine and moan and piss yourself over imaginary injustices against your own silly ideological narcissism, you have time to stop being an insensible idiot. @darktriadman:disqus

  • Amaretto

    Much to my surprise I’m finding Julie more and more interesting and worthy of attention. Sure it may be maturity, but she increasingly comes across as a rational, intelligent, human being who is prepared to argue a point and not pander to the latest Social Justice Warrior fads. Possibly it’s being on the receiving end of such (I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before she’s denounced as a misogynist and supporter of ‘the patriarchy’), but the number of times I read an article and find myself agreeing with her of late has really been quite disarming.

    In thirty years time at this rate she may even graduate to ‘National Treasure’ status!

    • hedgemagnet

      If the statesman or morning star paid more for her articles, she’d be writing for them instead.

      • blandings

        Wouldn’t you?

    • Mr B J Mann

      I agree with most of what you’ve written:

      Except you’ve mistyped alarming as disarming!

  • marti386

    LOL. The ultimate cry-bully cries about others being cry-bullies.

    Talk about RICH.

    TERFs, man. You can’t make this stuff up.

  • Anon

    Unwuttingly you have provided the perfect description of modern Feminists.

  • The_greyhound

    Good article, though how Julie could write it without mentioning the vile self-pitying Scotch Nazties is a mystery.

  • Picquet

    A fairly good description of the writers of every article written in the Guardian, every day.

    • janjansen

      totally agree. I’d even add some rage profiteering to that charge.

    • bans

      jessica valenti

  • Teacher

    While I agree with this view was it not always the case that bullies were weak people projecting their own fears and inadequacies onto others?

    • David

      Projection is only one root cause of bullying, namely, the narcissistic root. There is also the sociopathic/psychopathic root, where the bully definitely knows that the behaviour is wrong, but simply doesn’t care. This kind of bully doesn’t bully for fun or gratification like the narcissistic one does, but instead does so as a means to an end. Essentially the “bullying is a tool, not a toy” type approach.
      Finally, there’s the ‘message sender’. The person who will occasionally bully another but not so much out of victimization, but out of a need to send a message to those around that they themselves are not an easy target.
      These are the three types of bully I have encountered so far. There may be more that I have been fortunate enough to avoid.

  • magi83

    Add SNP activists to the list of modern cry-bullies.

  • renee202

    You forgot the biggest Cry-Bully of all times-torturing, impaling and murdering a Jew and then blaming the Jews for 2000 years, who have never impaled anyone in over 5000 years. And where is the seat of Christianity-Rome the very descendants of which actually did the killing!

    The second tier Cry-Bullies are the Palestinians and the arabists who viciously defend them who regularly stab Jews, kill Jewish children and old ladies and claim they are the victims. They are not satisfied just getting world opinion to let them get away with this, they have the audacity to try to get everyone on board by declaring the only country in the whole area that has actual democracy to be bullied through the murderous U.N. that is run by dictators and ex Nazis (Kurt Waldheim), to boycott Israel.

  • mickey667

    I’d also throw into the mix the ‘If you say your English these days you get thrown in Jail” crowd as classic cry bullies.

    • Mr B J Mann

      Who are they bullying?!