Monday, March 02, 2020

Book Lover Callum Manning 1, Bullies 0

Callum Manning, Book Lover Supreme
I have a very neglected Instagram account that I'm tempted to resurrect just so that I can follow a young British teen by the name of Callum Manning. 

It seems that Callum has been catching all kind of grief from an obnoxious bunch of students from his new school in South Shields, England. Why? Simply because the boy is an avid reader and he decided to share his love of books on the internet - exactly the way that book bloggers all over the world have been doing for the last fifteen years or so. Callum's detractors/ridiculers took it so far as to set up a special group for the sole purpose of laughing at his bookish behavior, and then had the gall to make Callum a member of the group so that he could read all of their ignorant comments. 

Thus is life for a male teenager who enjoys reading. Not much has changed since I was that age (except that we did not have to meet our bullies on the internet), and I well remember that as a young reader myself, I had two choices: go public and accept the bullying and ostracism from my male peers or stay in the reading closet. I'm ashamed to admit that unlike Callum I chose the latter course. 

The BBC has the whole story here. The good news is that after Callum's older sister tweeted about the bullying he was suffering, the young man began to receive tremendous support from all over the world. He went from less than 40 followers to more than 85,000 and he's loving it. And it's all thanks to an ignorant bunch of bullies who wanted nothing more than to make his life miserable. Even my local NBC television affiliate is featuring the story on its website today.

The best revenge is to live well, Callum, and the best laugh is the last one. Congratulations.

Cal's twitter account: @_cal_123321

Cal's Instagram account: cals_book_account


  1. I would say this is typical behaviour by bullies in this country. Schools declare that they're a 'Bullying free zone' and then do nothing to stop it. Virtue signalling I believe it's called. Poor Callum, and poor you growing up hiding the fact that you liked to read. I must ask my husband if he had to do that as he was a big reader from a very young age. Mind, even as a girl I was still thought of as slightly odd by my friends, being a reader. My English teacher was thrilled with me but thought my taste for science fiction was unusual for a girl. It seems you can't really win.

    1. Sadly enough, Cath, I think this kind of bullying is typical everywhere around the world. Boys who read are just odd enough to stand out from the crowd, and I suppose that makes them natural targets for those inclined to do that kind of thing.

  2. One has to wonder about people who unite to cause grief for another human being. It takes one leader to decide who to ostracize and then followers to adhere to the meanness.

    I once taught a group of senior boys whose leader decided that they should be Renaissance men. They not only read books, but were "required" to read newspapers as well. Since they were all athletes and cute as only high school boys can be, they were a great example. We had a remarkable drama teacher at the time and that group of boys got boot camp haircuts to participate in a production of Biloxi Blues. I will never forget them.

    1. Sounds like a great group of kids, Jenclair.

      I think you're spot on about "leaders." It only takes one or two influential kids to set the tone for a whole class, or even sometimes a whole school. I'm convinced that a lot of bullies are just followers who use bullying as a defense mechanism to keep the real bullies from picking on them instead.