There comes a time in your life when you have to admit the undeniable truth to yourself; I’m a troll, and I really like being a troll because trolling idiots is funny! Now, I can’t say I’m the BEST troll because, unlike a certain Eugene Nix, who you can read about here, and to whom you can listen to David Cole, Ann Sterzinger and I talk to on our podcast here, I don’t have the planning or wherewithal to pull the caper he did. However, what I do have, like Eugene Nix, is the ability spot the cliches, use them against people and cause these people to have a visceral reaction. And that is fuckin’ funny. I’m more of a real life troll, the guy who gets punched in the face when my use of absurdity is misinterpreted by people with no sense of humor. And I admit that I TOO have been caught in this trap.
But, before we get to all that, let’s define precisely what a troll is and why a troll exists. Being a Luddite – having found out what rickrolling is when I was rickrolled by phony balloney “libertarian” Julie Borrowsky, of all people – I came to this internet culture way late in life, so the things that I had been doing IN real life have become manifest all over the interwebs, where it seems the entire Western world spends its life even WHEN they’re out exploring the world. Again, I just bought my first smart phone so I am learning how addicting going on the internet can be even when in public among friends and thinking that showing other people pictures of the band you’re watching or whatever cool knick knack you found fulfills a certain desire, satisfies a certain need. I call it narcissism, and anyone who claims that they don’t have a little of it is lying.
So, anyway, in real life, I found it amusing to say over the top or odd stuff just to get a reaction. Only later did I learn that this was “trolling.” The major thing about saying things to get a reaction is that you need other people around who understand what you’re doing, to understand that you’re putting on a show. But, on top of that, you’re also putting the “victim” of your charade to a test. Is that person smart enough to “get it”? Can you tell by that person’s reaction that he or she knows you’re kidding? Like I said, I’ve been on the receiving end and later disappointed that I wasn’t in on the joke at the time of it happening.
For instance, when I was 16, some guy I didn’t know came up to me at a record store in a mall and asked me, “can I fuck you in the ass?” I did a double take and kinda, trying to play cool, said something like, “um, errr, well, I don’t do that dude, but good luck…” only to have Jared fucking Yellin walk up after and say, “hey this is my friend…” I was so disappointed by how easily I was taken in when it should have been obvious how absurd the situation was. Maybe if we were at Fire Island, just asking a random person if you can fuck that person in the ass might seem like a normal thing to do, but, even IF this guy was trying to suss out another fag, he would most likely have a more subtle way of doing it. In other words, I got punked! If I HAD been more perceptive, I would have said something along the lines of “sorry, only pitcher, not catcher.”
How good you are at trolling is contingent on a few key factors. One of them is your victim. As funny as I found Borat to be, one can’t deny that Sasha Baren Cohen’s targets in that movie weren’t exactly positioned very high. Yes, his trolling was effective, but let’s face it; it was cheap and obvious. It was elite America laughing at dumb rednecks and conservative politicians. And, to keep with the politically correct narrative, the couple of experiences with blacks in that movie resulted in him being the butt of the joke, rather than them.
On the other hand, one of my recent FB status updates, is an example of good trolling. The only problem I see with it is that I wasted it by putting it on my FB wall, where it garnered a few laughs from some friends, while confusing others, rather than placing it in the comments section for NPR, New York Times or Huffington Post. In attempting to laugh at the left, I had inadvertently punked my friends Scott V. and Joseph C., who actually thought they “lost another one.” Like with the previous “can I fuck you in the ass” incident, we all get punked. Here is what I wrote:
So sick of people and their “cause” and “effect.” Trump needs to apologize to Clinton and Obama for saying they started ISIS. ISIS just happened, okay? Just like the Nazis, every few years enemies just appear. Nobody knows from where, and really, it’s not important. They just do. What interest would Clinton and Obama have in starting ISIS? ISIS kill people, and why would our secretary of state want that? Donald Trump and ISIS are bad for the real heroes of this story, the Muslims, and I mean the real Muslims, not the violent radicals.
Now let’s break this down. The opening sentence is so fundamentally absurd that anyone with half a brain – barring of course Scott V. and Joseph C., who have fully functioning and intelligent brains, but were just caught off guard – would see that as a dead giveaway. I put the words “cause” and “effect” in ironic quotes to imply that those things need not be considered and that only idiots would pay attention to cause and effect. At that point, the brain should be thinking, “haha, very funny, asshole.”
But the onslaught doesn’t end there. I say Trump needs to apologize to Clinton and Obama for saying they started ISIS. Most informed people realize that Clinton and Obama had something to do with starting ISIS, even if indirectly – ya know, that Iraq war thing. So why would he need to apologize? The only people who complained about Trump’s statements are idiot leftists who didn’t think for a second that Trump didn’t mean they literally were the heads of ISIS. THEN, I turn up the absurdity to 11 with my statement about how “Just like the Nazis, every few years enemies just appear. Nobody knows from where, and really, it’s not important. They just do.” REALLY? They just do? Like magic? Again, should be a dead giveaway.
And then I ask, “What interest would Clinton and Obama have in starting ISIS? ISIS kill people, and why would our secretary of state want that?” This is after Benghazi and after Clinton has been accused of being a sociopath, so again, this post is unrelenting in its obvious stupidity.
And then finally I say, “Donald Trump and ISIS are bad for the real heroes of this story, the Muslims, and I mean the real Muslims, not the violent radicals.” Anybody who knows me knows that I’m no fan of Islam and that I think there is a pathology in the Muslim community, which allows them to tacitly approve terrorism while impeding any attempt to stop it by calling investigations and tougher measures “discrimination.” There is no fathomable way the Muslims are the heroes of this or any narrative.
So, there you go; a perfect 10 in terms of trolling, something befitting the comment section at Huffington Post or New York Times, where anyone who agrees becomes a target for ridicule in my sick show. Similarly, it functions well at a conservative blog; if someone gets the joke, that person might chime in with equally ridiculous and hyperbolic statements. If someone does not, that person might angrily react, or as Joseph C. posted under the comment:
The bottom line is that, to be a good troll, your post has to be able to be taken seriously by the truly stupid, seen as a joke by the intelligent and, on occasion, cause confusion among people who should know better but were caught off guard.