What If The World Conducted Itself Like a Comments Page?

Happy Monday and Daylight Savings Time, M.O.M Squad!

Last Friday, I did a post about some dude marauding in the jungles of Africa, whose name I daren’t utter here. It sparks too much emotion for certain people. Over the weekend, some things were said and some feelings may have gotten hurt. However given the relentless verbal assault between those who agreed with the post and those who didn’t, I believe it’s safe to say that no one’s feelings or egos were mortally wounded.

The comment section on any online publication often brings out the worst in people. No entity is safe from this scourge, no matter how prestigious, although some are worse than others. Shielded by the safety of a blinking cursor and 84 – 105 keys (depending on who manufactures your keyboard) a profusion of keyboard commandos and kamikazes emerge every day. They wreak havoc on a publisher’s forum by attacking the writer, the reader, and anyone who does not agree with their point of view. Often, these militants go in search of published fodder that they KNOW they are in disagreement with, often with no other motivation than to be combative. These individuals are endearingly referred to as “trolls”.

A troll is someone with a staunch point of view who is not to be persuaded from that point, no matter how compelling the contrary argument may be. Cloaked with the pretense of wanting to engage in “enlightened discourse”, this person goes onto a dedicated site – or perhaps a myriad of sites if they are uber dedicated to their trolling duties – in order to abuse the readers and writer of the “offending” site. It gives them pleasure. For instance, on the subject of that guy-in-the-jungle-who-shall-remain-nameless, I had 3 or 4 instances of troll flare ups (which are very similar to herpes flare ups; unexpected but must be anticipated and dealt with with vigilance) courtesy of certain not-to-be-named individuals. Like herpes, troll flare ups are uncomfortable, but can be suppressed BUT ONLY with the appropriate remedy. (I understand that I sound as if I am personally well informed on the subject of herpes, and I am okay with that. It’s called a metaphor.)

Dedicated readers of my blog know my mind, and know where I stand on certain issues. That’s why they are dedicated readers, because although we might not agree on ALL things, we agree on most things. Some people get their news from Fox and others from MSNBC for that very reason. Why would you go to a site to glean information or a point of view that you know is starkly dissimilar to yours? Do these people like feeling uncomfortable?

Dave Chappelle once did a skit asking what the world looked like if we lived in the internet. It got me thinking: what would the world look like if we conducted ourselves in reality as we did in the virtual world? I have a vague idea.

******

There is a Ku Klux Klan meeting somewhere in the forests of south Georgia. They are incensed, because there is an ordinance against burning anything – trash, crosses, whatever – in anyone’s front yard. Perplexed, they try to generate ideas for an alternative method to spread their message of hate…within the confines of the law.

“We could git them there electronic/batter powered crosses and put them on niggras yards,” suggests one Klansman.

“Or we could wear bright red and form a human cross on them coon’s yard,” opines another.

“And we could give a rebel yell as we did it!” chimes another excitedly.

Suddenly, in the buzz of their conversation, Jesse Jackson pops out from behind a tree. The light of the campfire illuminates his dilated pupils.

“What is going on here!” he rages. “Why are you talking about battery powered crosses and rebel yells! This is crazy talk!”

Stunned that Jesse found them, let alone has the gall to address the group, the Klansmen stare silently at him for a long, long time. It’s all very awkward.

You take a guess at what happens next. Make your own ending.

******

Was Jesse right to tell them their talk was crazy? Of course! Was that the right place to do it? No. He should have gone to the police. Jesse Jackson was being a troll.

I had a discussion with my old literature teacher last night, and the subject of the Acholi-man’s-video came up. I told him briefly what my view was and that I was stunned by the responses. He was able to explain the issue so succinctly that I couldn’t help but feel relieved and vindicated.

The problem, as it turns out, is that I spoke metaphorically on the subject. As we now live in a post-literal society, wherein many people do not use (or have a capacity to understand metaphors) they take everything they read literally. This is how then candidate Obama found himself embroiled in a stew of ridiculousness when he made the infamous referral to lipsticks and pigs. Somehow, McCain and Republican pundits made the leap that he had called Sarah Palin a pig! Likewise, there is no point in trying to explain my meaning on this subject to these souls (which conveniently rhymes with ‘trolls’), because they are just not going to get it. And that’s not my problem. I like metaphors.

But seriously though. Can you imagine what are places of commerce and recreation would look like if we spoke to each other as we do in the comments section?

Would you want our world to look like this?!?

 

  • A-Dub

    I love it!!!! Jesse Jackson is a troll! Oh, I’m sorry – was that a metaphor?

  • NM

    LOL @ A-Dub! I wouldn’t be surprised if she is accused of being pro-KKK, how else would she be so familiar with them?

    • In about 5 minutes I’m going to be labelled an “Uncle Tom” or whatever his female counterpart is. Juuuust wait for it…Ha!!

      • Kwaku

        It’s Aunt Jemima. She is welcome in all white homes, no questions asked.

        • Better get my apron ready.

  • David S.

    The first rule of dealing with trolls is Don’t Feed Them!!! I learned this the hard way in my days as a blogger. Once you have identified a commenter as a troll, do not continue to interact with them. Don’t respond to their comment, don’t acknowledge it, and certainly don’t create a new post dedicated to them. Trolls may try to sound like they are trying to have a legitimate discussion, but mostly they are just starting conflict for the attention. If you feed them they will hang around. You know, like puppies.

    • I know, I know. It’s folly. But it’s so hard to ignore something so foul! – Very much unlike puppies, by the way.

  • If the world were a comments page, a lot of trolls would have taken a stroll to the other planet.

  • Kwaku

    Correction, we live in a faux-literal society not a post-literal one. Just because you can identify a few squiggly lines on a screen or whatever, and can make some sort of correlation between them and the nonsense in your brain does not necessarily qualify you as truly literate. At least not by my standards. As you implied, Malaka, there are things like metaphors, and sarcasm that need to be taken into consideration before blurting out a comment. Some of these modern day online intellectuals just don’t seem to get that.
    And they shall be dealt with accordingly!

  • @ Kwaku – I’m trembling in my space boots! You sound so fearsome!

  • Andrew

    I had subscribed to the comments on the last post. And what an experience – the last 4 days I have woken up to at least 10 new comments (long ones). I had hoped to find some engaging discourse on the man-not-to-be-named, but somehow the discourse ended in a stroll to another planet. Moral of the story – Jesse Jacksons abound. But, still, (KKK) meetings have to be held.

    • Jesse was a LONG way from home. Why was he in the woods at all?!?

    • NM

      @Andrew: I will apologize being that I contributed to cluttering your inbox LOL, I got caught in the mire. I know better now.

      • Andrew

        @NM Haha…no worries. Ying yang situation – I mean the many comments also led me to an excellent blog/twitter account…that of Ikhide….what,amazing!!

  • Romana

    Hahaha, think that it is time I told you this Malaka, stop camping out in my brain!! I could not have put it better. Nicely put

    • Ha! Ooo forgive me , but you’re brain is do inviting. I can’t help it I say! I claim squatters rights on your grey matter.

  • Nana Ama

    You are not a troll but you are so droll!:):)

    • Truth be told
      Trolls are hardly droll

      Their fodder for life
      Is to create stress and strife!!

      🙂

  • siaj won

    I read the “man in the jungle”piece..lol..and I couldnt go through all of the comments section…that was a reality show!Anywayz the whole thing reminded me of when Michelle Obama uttered ” for the first time in my adult life ,I am proud to be American”.Gosh there was a circus with that one and as you have rightly pointed out some people cannot handle “literally”.Back to Jesse jackson..He had his butt whooped and Rev Al Shapiro prayed for him….don’t mind me..love the way you came up this piece after the broohahha with KONY..oops I said the K-word!

    • Heh!!! You want to bring more trouble to this my blog eh? What have I done to make you mention K- Aaahh!!! See? You almost caught me ! 😉

  • siaj won

    my bad… Sharpton..

  • TEBOHO MOABI

    WHY DO WE HAVE TO MAKE A WOLD A COMMENT PAGE? WOLD IS SET BY YAHWEH SO SHEEEEEEEE……….