(The following post is basically just a silly rant about people being mean, idiotic, and just plain obnoxious on the internet, with a slight attempt at being intellectual abou tit. Hehe, I accidentally typed “tit.” Hehehe)
So who’s been watching The Newsroom on HBO?? This girl has. It’s a wonderful show. What issues it has in picking a political perspective, it makes up for in excellent characters (as well as the actors who portray them), and I’m a sucker for likable characters. Doubly so if they have a romantic interest. Triply so (most of the time) if there is a love triangle.
But love triangles have nothing to do with this post (I wish). This post is about Internet Trolls. Internet Trolls are random people who post random shit on random websites in order to get a rise out of other random people because they think somehow it’s fun and makes them cool. This very topic was addressed by the character Neal on The Newsroom. And frankly, with what few lines he had about it, he described the whole moral kit and kaboodle better than I just did and probably ever could, so if you really want a smart description and analysis of what Internet Trolls are and what they try to do and how they function, just go watch The Newsroom. It’ll save you a lot of time and be far more entertaining and stimulating than this post is likely to be.
Trolls piss the shit out of me. Perhaps this is because of my own people-pleasing nature that causes me to never want to make anybody mad or feel bad, but I just don’t see what’s so fun about making somebody angry or uncomfortable. It’s probably some kind of miniature power trip that they can say “OHH look at me I just shut down this one page on the internet out of millions of pages on the internet because I’m using my intellect for obnoxious purposes.” Attention-seeking much?
Now, not everyone who posts something mean, stupid, or obnoxious on the internet is a Troll. For instance, when somebody leaves a comment about, say, a certain brilliant podcast on Nerdist.com (The JV Club hosted by Janet Varney a.k.a. the voice of Korra on the Nickelodeon show Legend of Korra) that says, “Interviewer needs to stfu,” that’s hardly grounds for Troll-dom, mostly in its utter stupidity & brevity. In the actual episode on which this comment was made a brief discussion was had about finding one’s own voice annoying and consequently how ironic it was that these two lovely ladies (the aforementioned Janet Varney and guest Yvette Nicole Brown of NBC’s Community) were creating something strictly with their voices. “Interviewer needs to stfu” has got to be the least amount of effort a wannabe Troll can exude in order to feed their need for anonymous attention. I gave it one look, one iota of a thought, and then posted my own comment saying how lovely the episode was (it really was lovely and I would recommend the podcast to all of my devoted followers).
As was addressed by Neal in The Newsroom, Trolling is all about inciting a reaction; getting a rise out of people that would otherwise have too much common sense to stoop to the level of insulting anonymous strangers on the internet. A one-off comment of ten words or less is not generally going to incite internet backlash because most people DO have enough common sense to identify that commenter as an obnoxious idiot who is trying to get a rise out of people for no good reason. OR that person is a twelve-year boy who thinks it’s hilarious and cool to write curse words where his mom can’t find out. The REAL internet Trolls have clubs & shit where they revel in their Troll-dom and have complex initiation processes where you have to prove how Troll-ish you are. Seriously?? Is this real life?? Cause that sounds closer to a cult than a club if you ask me. A cult of hatefulness. Was the Ku Klux Klan a klan, a klub, or a kult (what were those Kardashians thinking with all the K’s??)?? It was/is a cult, ya’ll!!
NEWSFLASH: Cults aren’t happy places where people do happy things. Rainbows and butterflies don’t exist in cults; nobody screams for ice cream; three legged races result in severed limbs, and humans genetically altered with strains of synthetic, hallucinatory marijuana turn into zombies and eat the faces off their dogs. Scared straight yet?
If The Newsroom covering internet Trolls can do anything, it will hopefully bring a broader knowledge of this epidemic to the internet masses – and by masses I mean both people who leave comments on the internet and people who don’t. I personally enjoy leaving comments on internet posts that I am interested in. I like knowing that there are like-minded people out there who like to think that they think as critically about entertainment as I like to think I do (did that even make sense?), and neither of us will place judgment on the other (unless of course one of us is wrong ;-)).
I was recently Trolled on TVLine.com. There was a poll about who should win the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and while I was only familiar with the work of one of the nominees, I had heard wonderful, wonderful things about one of the other actors, leading me to believe that perhaps he DID deserve the recognition, more so than the brilliant actor I would have chosen otherwise. So I placed my very (not) important and (not at all) influential vote for the actor with whom I was not familiar, and left a comment on the post saying as much as a way of giving him my benefit of the doubt props. Naturally, some 12 foot tall, hairy-eared, slobbering Troll posted a reply that basically said I was the reason the Emmy Award voting system was so flawed. That I was making the popular hive-mind choice and was therefore the reason why shows like Buffy and The Wire got cancelled before their time. And because I was stupid, and tried to reply with something sincerely snarky, s/he literally said, “Shame on you.” Twice. If I hadn’t already subconsciously suspected s/he was a Troll, or at the very least a very judgmental person, that second response sure as hell sealed the deal.
As Neal lamented about when he was thwarted in his quest to become Grand Master Troll of the Realm, I recognized this poster as a hack; a wannabe. A slightly pathetic soul who finds some kind of misguided self-affirmation in getting a rise out of other people. In case you didn’t already guess, I did not rise to his/her second taunt. And actually, another person replied very kindly to my initial post, saying “oh you really should! that actor was very excellent!” See? Why can’t everyone just post nice stuff like that? (Because that’s what HelloGiggles.com is for! He-llo!)
The fact that internet Trolls exist is stupid enough, but the fact that people who watch The Newsroom fall prey to their antics on posts ABOUT The Newsroom is utterly ridiculous to me. This poster who called him/herself “Chuck Finley (AJ)” was making all these political statements (politics are addressed on this show and some people were not pleased with the show’s comparison between The Tea Party and The Taliban in the season finale – that’s fair game) and then replied to basically every reply by saying something even more annoying and inflammatory and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at these posters who rose to the taunt of the very topic that was addressed, quite intelligently in my opinion, on the very same show not two weeks earlier! I realize that it’s probably much more important (and fun) to worry about the romantic entanglements and Will’s going up against The Man (who is really a woman played like a boss by Jane Fonda), but seriously people – PAY ATTENTION. These are not just throw-away subplots. Yes, Neal’s Trolling story was a plot device to get us further into the death threat fiasco, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important, nor that it is not a real thing.
Now, I realize that it is purely my own opinion that people should learn about and actively attempt to subdue internet Trolls – and that, frankly, is why I am writing this post to my hundreds, thousands, and millions of loyal readers. I’m pretty sure my WordPress blog is so prolific it reaches the eyeballs or aborigines in Australia, as well as all the native tribes of the Amazon River Delta. IN FACT, my blog posts travel back through time via the mysterious blue mists on the Amazon River, lovingly guided by a regal, talking, black panther. Basically what I’m saying is that my blog, and specifically this post, transcends the laws of physics and therefore space and time as we know it. With that kind of power I feel it necessary to send out the call to internet posters everywhere and scream at the top of the my lungs,
“T–t–troll! T–TROOOLLLL IN THE DUNGEONS!”
and hope that at least one person in the universe (and the history of all time) heeds the call and pays it forward.