Friday, June 10, 2005

My own special troll

So what is a troll?
It's like asking what is a fan? A groupie? A devotee? An admirer?
Except the troll is a sort-of anti-fan, someone whose attraction to you is due to some deep emptiness inside that you are somehow able to satisfy. The connection between blogger and troll is much like that between dominant and submissive in the S&M scene, except that the roles are contorted. Most bloggers and message board posters regard trolls as a nuisance, somewhere between pop-up ads and spammers. But I find trolls to be a lot more important. Unlike ads and spammers, trolls have a relationship between themselves and their targets.

About the time I began blogging I had a conversation with my buddy Bob about blog comments in general and negative comments in particular. I had just read a delightful post by Risawn, military girl blogger from Kosovo, about getting her first troll. Her site has changed a bit, but the archives content is intack. (I think she has the cutest smile I have ever seen. She makes me want to be thirty years younger and single. Check out these most recent pics, especially the one at the bottom of the post. What's not to love about this girl?)

You know you're doing something right when a Troll takes the time to bash you on your own website. I won't bother erasing their message, it's rather flattering.

Typical Liberal Slander from the left-wing whiners. He's appropriately named Beavis. I would give you his email but I have a suspicion that it isn't really his.

Honestly, what do people expect to gain by going to opposing websites and posting stupid remarks? His remarks, ver batum.

"Are you from Columbine? You look like you might be Dylan whats-his-name's ex girlfriend. Pretty sickening display of self deprication."

"Umm, did you kill any of your classmates recently? Reese Witherspoon meets Dylan Kliebold and the other freak who was his lover. You are such a freak!"

"BTW, I sent your website to the Justice Dept. American Terrorists like you should be watched closely."

Why to these assholes even bother? Where does this get anybody anywhere? Come here, attack me becuase I happened to pose with a M203 during a military training excercise and suddenly I'm in league with a school killing massacre from five years ago, because I happen to be in the military and know how to use a gun. And I don't know what the heck the Justice Department will do to my website, I haven't broken any laws or threatened anybody's life. All talk, no action. This shows your mentality, Beavis. It's non-existent.

But I won't deny that I'm a freak. I'll take that as a compliment.

UPDATE he brought it on himself. Beavis' IP Address links him to New York City. Liberal haven. Not surprised. Have at him - I would warn Trolls, if you are here to cause a little havoc, you won't find that easy with me. If you have a differing opinion, I don't mind if you post an intelligent rebuttal. Postng stupid crap like "Have you shot up any schools recently" will cause me to mock you mercilessly.-->

Woah! Don't be messin' with this kid.

Anyway, I have had a troll admirer from early on who left occasional billets-doux (that's plural for billet-doux) in the form of anonymous comments. From the first one I thought of Risawn's post and thought to myself Is this the start of something big? Am I about to hit the big time, like Boortz, so I can brag about hate mail?

So far that fantasy is not to be.
All I have is a single, lonely troll who, bless his heart, can hardly spell and is way under the radar if the topic is not about the war in Iraq. He is unable to grasp the difference between pawns and policy, tactics and strategy, or conflict resolution in any form except one side successfully annihilating the other. He is immune to both nuance and precision, cannot discern the difference between fact and opinion, and is deeply threatened by suggestions of alternatives to military solutions anywhere in the world, especially Iraq, which he considers empty wastes of time.

Two days ago he left another deposit on a post that was irrelevant to the post and I deleted it because I was expecting company. Doc Searles was sending me readers and I didn't want them to step into a pile of anything right at the front door. I cleaned up a mess in the same way one uses a pooper-scooper to keep stuff off the sidewalk. It's the first time I did that, and it is interesting to see how well it works.

Well I must publicly apologize to my troll, because I apparently hurt his feelings. Within forty-eight hours he had posted another comment at my blog as well as one at the Piccadilly Message Board, a dying ember at Yahoo which still holds a sentimental place in my heart. (I am making an assumption here that my anonymous troll and the "hootsbudie" profile -- with one "d" -- at Yahoo are the same, but the spelling is not bad at Yahoo so they may not be the same. Actually, if they are different, it means I am up to two trolls, not counting the recommendation that someone added to the Yahoo post. Heck, I may be up to three! Things are looking up!)

I feel bad about deleting his carefully-worded comment and have decided to put it back into the record for completeness' sake.

John, I read your "Footnote from Iraq" story that you copied from another Bloger. You came down hard on our troops who shot a person by mistake. How many inocent people have the terorists killed with their car bombs? When will you stop defending Jihadists and tell the truth about the improved conditions there. I pity you.

I won't bother with the sics. The reader can supply his own.
I look forward to the day when I have more than one troll to brag about. In the meantime, I share two references.


The Chinese gave a lot of thought to many subjects long before the invention of the internet, so they sometimes came to some interesting conclusions. In ancient China a student once asked his teacher about leadership:

"What do you think of the leader who is loved and respected by everyone in the community?"

"That is not enough," said the teacher.

"Then what of the leader who is feared and hated by all in the community?"

"That, too, is not enough," said the teacher,

"The ideal leader is one who is loved and respected by all the good people in the community, but feared and hated by all the bad people in the community."

Good leadership, it seems, involves selecting the right people and deselecting others. The master didn't give any guidelines to deselecting those who pay us to endure meanness, whether perpetrated by them or others. In this way we are not too different from professional athletes who sacrifice their health in exchange for big money. Or ladies of the night, for that matter, who are selling something else...

I suppose that is how we get the scar tissue. The scars which remain are those that came first, before we learned to forgive. Years at this job will build your faith. Only by learning to forgive the shortcomings of others, even before they become manifest, can we prevent the formation of new scars.

(Three weeks after I wrote that, the world changed with the destruction of the World Trade Center. I still get a bad feeling just remembering, now nearly four years later.)


Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matt 5:11-12)

1 comment:

Hoots said...

Hmm. Interesting to re-read what I wrote two and a half years ago. (It's now December, 2007.) When I wrote that I was imagining myself as a blog host to a small but growing community of commenting readers, leaving stimulating threads that, like Christmas and tail-gate parties, make everyone want to stay and play.

That was not to be. My blog has become a semi-private exercise in introspective reflections that very few people care to read. I don't think I am as wordy now as I was then...but I also think I'm not as fat, and the bathroom scales say otherwise. Oh, well, I have fun blogging.