Pretty horrible stuff, but we need to know this. It's an update to the documentary I saw several months ago, in which Jimmy Lee Denson horrifyingly mocks Elvis, rolling his hands over and over so as to indicate a cognitively disabled person . . . It shook me to the core. His brother Jesse Lee claimed to Guralnick that he bowed to his mother's pressure to help the "geek" with his guitar playing. Peter believed him . . . I suppose it could be true cause some other kids who grabbed him, took his car keys, and were going to break him and/or his guitar if he didn't play something, said he played the song the brother often played, and "quite expertly." Under those circumstances, he could have played anything expertly, I guess. It's what's called "motivation." But since he played that song, Peter believed him.
What Peter ignored was what I found here:
Bullying And Elvis Presley
Posting Date: 06-04-2011
By Donald W. Hendon, PhD
Bullying has been in the news a lot lately. Some teenagers who were cyber-bullied have committed suicide. Bullies proudly post their exploits on YouTube.
Believe it or not, Elvis Presley was bullied a lot when he was in high school in the 1940s and 1950s. When he was 12, he was undernourished and weak, according to Jimmy Lee Denson.
When I lived in Memphis in the 1990s, Denson contacted me because he wanted me to help him write a book about Elvis with a very unique point of view. I ended up with six hours of audio tapes. I forgot about them until recently, when I found them in a box. I’m now transcribing them, and my next book will be called Elvis, the Geek with Green Teeth.
Denson’s father was the pastor of a mission-thrift store in downtown Memphis, near the Lauderdale Courts where the Densons and the Presleys lived.
Here’s part of our interview:
Denson: Elvis was physically very weak. He was a malnourished ectomorph. And the first time I laid eyes on him, he was 12 years old. Skin-and-bones. Holding his mama’s hand. He was on the other dirt path that was paralleling down and triangling into Jackson and Lauderdale. I had just moved back to Memphis when I saw him. I was saying to my two little sisters, “Virginia, Dolores, who is that?” And they said, “Oh, that’s baby Elvis and his mama. They go to our mission. His mama and daddy sing. They go to the mission every night.”
So I knew immediately they were Pentacostal Holy Rollers like my mama and daddy. And Dolores and Virginia said, “He’s mama’s and daddy’s date. They go every night.” And he’s walking like this: (Denson pantomimes Elvis’s walking pattern, shuffling, digging his heels into the ground begrudgingly, like a petulant spoiled child who doesn’t really want to go where his parents are taking him, with his eyes facing downward, not looking up to see where he’s going.)
Note: Elvis was using defensive tactic 1 in my book, The Power of Powerlessness. But he was using it incorrectly. His walking pattern only attracted more attention to him, and he wanted to avoid attention.
Denson continues: Kicking his heels in the ground. I was 20 years old then. I had never seen it before that. And I haven’t seen it in the 46 years since then.
Hendon: You mean he walked with his head down?
Denson: He walked with his eyes in the dirt and on the sidewalk for seven years before Dewey Philips put him on drugs.
Note: Dewey was the disc jockey at Memphis station WHBQ, and was the first person to play an Elvis record on the radio. Dewey used dirty trick 80, Get the other person high / drunk. But he had a good motive—to turn introverted Elvis into a star. And it worked.
Hendon: So the drugs changed his personality?
Denson: They released his inhibitions, yes. Before that, he was very inhibited and quiet. Ten times reclusive, ten times a hermit. Pitiful. And my heart bled for him the first time I laid eyes on him. And that very day I started protecting him. I learned that my mama had already had my younger brother Jesse Lee protecting him from the mean kids for the past couple of months. Maybe over two months.
Hendon: You and your brother couldn’t protect Elvis all the time. What did he do when you weren’t around?
Denson: He went where nobody could see him. He became an usher at the movie theater on Main Street, Lowe’s State. A good hiding place. (Elvis was using defensive tactic 27, Get lost.)
Hendon: What about when he was at school? How did he stop the bullying there?
Denson: He never took a bath. And he never brushed his teeth. His teeth were so bad, they were green. He stunk all over—his breath, his armpits, his crotch. People stayed away from him, and that’s what he wanted. (Elvis was using dirty trick 45, Offensive odors.)
Hendon: Did his tactics work?
Denson: They worked pretty good. But he could never get his mother to stop taking him to school and picking him up after school. She always held his hand. And that made the bullies want to beat him up even more.
Several websites give guidelines on how to deal with bullies at school, including:
· Stop Bullying, a government website (http://www.stopbullying.gov
· National Institute of Health’s Medline Plus (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/bullying.html
Some books on the subject:
· Stuart Twemlow and Frank Sacco’s Preventing Bullying and School Violence
· Gershen Kaufman, Stick Up for Yourself
What about dealing with bullies in the workplace? Internet resources include:
· The Workplace Bullying Institute (http://www.workplacebullying.org
· Overcome Bullying (http://www.overcomebullying.org
Books on the subject:
· Robert Hochheiser’s How to Work for a Jerk
· Gary and Ruth Namie, The Bully at Work
A special form of bullying is sexual harassment. Here are a couple of internet sites:
· Feminist Majority Foundation (http://www.feminist.org/911/harass.html
· Sexual Harassment Legal Information Center (http://www.sexualharassment.com
· Linda Howard, The Sexual Harassment Handbook
· Martha Langelan, Back Off
Finally, there are many books on how to deal with difficult people in general, including
· Robert Bramson, Coping with Difficult People
· Rick Brinkman, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand
· Sandra Crowe, Since Strangling Isn’t an Option
I like books better than websites. Books give specific details, while websites give you short generalities. That’s understandable—we know we’re going to spend a lot of time with a book, and we’re just browsing on the internet. Here’s what one website said about how to handle bullies who use psychological warfare on you:
· Don’t be afraid.
· Don’t believe what the bully says. Bullies work best with lies and deception.
· Remember, you’re not the problem, the bully is.
· Get rid of your frustrations by talking to your family and close friends—they’ll support you.
· Keep a record of everything that happened, especially if you’re going to take legal action.
· Report the bully to somebody in authority—school principal, the boss, law enforcement officials
I don’t think those generalities are very helpful. They’re self-evident. I suggest thinking outside the box—come up with creative, unique techniques that will stop the bullying. George Hayduke is a guy who thinks outside the box. You’ll find out when you read his book, The Big Book of Revenge: 200 Dirty Tricks for Those Who Are Serious About Getting Even. But George’s book is about getting even. In my book, 365 Powerful Ways to Influence (Pelican, 2010), getting even is dirty trick number 6—Spoil the other person’s victory party. Sometimes, this isn’t a dirty trick. Labor unions boycott the products of companies they don’t like. And management uses lockouts.
You were probably bullied years ago. Maybe you’re still being bullied. How did you handle it? E-mail me your responses in care of the Mesquite Local News at firstname.lastname@example.org
. I’ll tell you some of the responses in my column next month.
Dr. Donald Hendon lives in Mesquite. He is a retired university professor of business, active consultant, speaker, and author of 365 Powerful Ways to Influence. Download Chapter 1 free of charge at http://www.donaldhendon.com
. His column appears the first Saturday of each month at http://www.MesquiteLocalNews.com
Read it and weep.