missouri auditor tom schweick commits suicide. the daily beast speculates that he was 'bullied to death'. but now, i want to say that it would take a lot more than a 'whisper campaign' hinting that i was jewish to make me bite the cobain stick or do that virginia woolf doggy paddle. don't believe me? go ahead and whisper. but we live in an era when people plunge into incurable depression or hang themselves because someone made a nasty crack on twitter, and also in an era where people just think that's obviously how you'd respond. instead of trying to keep facebook free of negativity, perhaps we should concentrate on helping people - even teenage girls, for example - realize that it doesn't much matter what some anonymous chump, or indeed some nonymous chump, is saying about you. one problem is social brutality, another is absurd social dependence, where my sense of self hinges on every single person approving of me unconditionally, or at least on keeping them from saying it if they don't. this is the other side of the self-esteem industry that infests everything from schools to oprah. on this account, self-esteem comes from people telling you how great you are all the time. that there is a crazed formula for self-loathing as soon as the bullshit stops, though. without just a hint of self-reliance or independent thought, no one is really going to be able to fend off despair, i think. then again, if you're this socially dependent, there isn't much left to preserve; you're redundant.