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?!?