Tag Archives: trolling

And being trolled in turn

Like many people I spend too much time on Facebook. It’s fun to tease and banter with online “friends,” and it’s easy to “friend” someone, as Facebook calls the process. (In the old days, in the real world, we “befriended” people.) So now I have 370 “friends” online, but regular exchanges occur with only 10 or 20, I suppose.

The other night I posted a thread about President-elect Trump (shudder!), who promised all sorts of reforms during the campaign, for example, that he’d “drain the swamp” of Washington and its entrenched, corrupt political powers. (He was talking mostly, but not exclusively, about the Democrats.)

Trump monster from black lagoon
Donald Trump starring in a remix of The Creature from the Black Lagoon (2016)!

I put up the picture (left) of the monster from an old movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and said this is Trump. He’s the swamp creature, and we need to drain him!

A FB “friend,” and a real-world acquaintance whom I met biking last summer, commented that Trump will indeed drain the swamp — of the communists in the White House! Now the Democrats may be leftists, some like Bernie Sanders socialists, but they certainly aren’t communists! What a laugh. This “friend” is a small business owner, and I’m sure he has the usual mind-set of petty-bourgeois business owners (yes, let’s use Marxist jargon here!): he’s doing all the work and not reaping the rewards. He’s a producer, not moocher, and yet the rewards are being spread to welfare recipients who spend their time making babies, taking drugs, shirking work. 

God almighty, spare me these tiresome alt-right tirades. And spare me, certainly, the cesspools of misinformation like Fox and Breitbart from which they draw their “intelligence.”

I told the dude he would not be able to pass a basic freshman English course with such nonsensical misrepresentations. “Truthiness” is too good a word to apply to such paranoid  McCarthyite outpourings.

When the “friend” called me a liar because I claimed Trump paid no income taxes, I unfriended him.

Life is too short. Who needs such “friends,” who buy into poisoned wells? I could cite the New York Times report on Trump’s failure to pay income taxes, after a huge loss in 1995, but the “friend” would only dismiss this story as the rantings of the “liberal media.” Ditto for Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who says Trump’s cabinet picks suggest not a draining of the swamp but the adding of alligators.

The “friend” suggests my responses make me an enemy of free speech. No, everyone has the right to get up on his bandbox, but I don’t have to listen to toxic nonsense — especially not on my own front porch.

Trolling the alt-right

I have a bad habit, on the Internet and in real life, of deliberately nudging or testing people, usually when their beliefs and mine are at variance. This, I learned recently, is called “trolling.”

trolling
You wanna go trolling? Or aren’t you interested in stinking fish?

Sometimes the habit is innocent enough. Too many Facebook posts I’d characterize as “pious,” whether of a religious or psychological nature. Cliches, really, or maxims from deservedly obscure self-help gurus (not to be confused with writers like Shakespeare, Goethe, or Ambrose Bierce). If people can’t recognize the difference between a genuinely profound idea, or sentiment, and something superficial or bogus, I’ll be glad to call their attention to the matter, though it wins me no popularity contests.

In real life, as we say, in the quotidian, where we live and exercise and breathe, I will troll my alt-right acquaintances at the gym I attend. These are the dumbbells that love guns, hate minorities, and have no room at all for reading or thinking. So I’ll say stuff like “I sure hope Pres-elect Twatwaffle will put an end to welfare!” And when they rail against the lazy moochers — welfare mothers with many mouths to feed, fathers with multiple baby mamas — I’ll say, “You mean niggers?” And they’ll say, “That’s what I was thinking.” And I’ll say, innocently enough, “Well, let’s call a spade a spade!”

And if they say, anent the latest violence on the news, “They kill students at Ohio State?,” I’ll respond, “Yeah, it’s another crazy Somali. Why don’t they restrict immigration to white Europeans?” And they’ll say, “Sounds like a good idea to me.”

Meanwhile, the world whirls on, and if we aren’t getting any smarter in the “first post-literate presidency,” we can at least get sassier.