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I See Them Trollin’—They Hatin’

25 Feb

Do you know what I’ve discovered?   A year ago if you would have asked me what a troll was, I would have told you it was a mythical being out of Norse mythology or one of those cute/ugly dolls that were a huge fad in the early 60s.

blinged out troll anythingtroll dot tumblr dot com

My Favorite: Blinged-out Troll||image from anythingtroll.trumblr.com

When other well-known authors, my kids, my husband WW, and my IT savvy friends helped me set up my blog and my first-time Facebook account (I had planned to live to 100 and never, ever engage in FB—I consider it such a waste of time), not one of my helpers breathed a word that I would draw the ire of “trolls” and that these entities would not be from fairy tales nor would they be cute little plastic dolls.  “You must enter the wide-wide-world of the Internet if you want to be successful as a writer,” they said—“Try it, it will be fun,” they said. 

Now that I am doing better than I ever thought possible with this blog venture and am riding on 93,000 plus blog hits with thunderous applause from my fan base, I am beginning to get my fair share of haters, and I have been informed that these cretins are called trolls.

Internet Troll Beartoons dot com 2012 used by permission

http://beartoons.com ||(used by permission)

At first my “trolls” were “Christians” I had briefly known from a previous life (acquaintances, who when they contacted me via Facebook some 30 years after we’d first met, I couldn’t even remember who they were).   They had “friended” me on Facebook (probably to be nosy and see how life had treated me or kicked my ass in some divine retribution that they secretly hoped I deserved).  Upon finding out that even though I was chubbier than the time they had last seen me, I still “loved me some Jesus” but was “mad as hell” at the misrepresentation of the love of God by many of their right-wing heroes. I began to piss some people off when I used my humor to do a shout-out to anyone who would listen that I was a Christian, but not “one of those Christians.”   Wow, did the shit hit the fan, and the trolls started pouring in!

Tea Party Christians cartoonist Bigey The alt of America caglecartoons dot com

Bigley Cartoon||www.caglecartoons.com

“EXAMPLES” OF SOME OF MY TROLL COMMENTS ABOUT  MY BLOG

TROLL #1/MISSIONARY LADY:  “You are disgusting and need to burn in Hell.  What happened to you?  When I knew you on the mission field, you were such a lovely Colored lady who knew her place.  Now you’re crude and full of coarse humor and not worthy to speak our Lord’s name.  You’re leading all those naïve heathens astray.  You’re hanging around with liberals, befriending homosexuals, and voting for a Muslim terrorist for President.  I will pray for your soul because you sure could use it.”

  • MY RESPONSE:  “WHO DIED AND MADE YOU GOD?  YOUR SORRY-ASS IS PERMANENTLY BLOCKED FROM MY FB PAGE.  AND . . . WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?”

TROLL #2/SARAH PALIN RELIGIOUS SYCOPHANT:  “How dare you question the wisdom of God’s anointed, Sarah Palin?  Do you know her?  We used to be roommates, and if you were truly my friend, you would agree with me that Sarah is the chosen one.”  (I checked around and discovered this troll had never met Sarah Palin.)  “Now I don’t mind your potty mouth like some others might.  But I expect better of you regarding one of God’s chosen.  This poor woman has taken such abuse from godless people like you.  God has called Sarah to lead our country out of the darkness.  She is a prophet, and you better beware of speaking against God’s anointed before he strikes you dead.”

  • MY RESPONSE:  SAID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING—COMPLETELY IGNORED THE BITCH, BLOCKED PERSON FROM MY FB PAGE,  AND PERMANENTLY TURNED BLOG COMMENT MONITOR ON.  (I’d been wondering how to kick this relationship to the curb for years due to her increasingly right-wing leanings and the hurtful racist comments to me from her husband—so this was as good a time as ever.)

TROLL #3/MAD-AS-HELL-ROMNEY CAMPAIGNER:  “How dare you post congratulations on your Facebook page for a man who just stole the election?  You are much smarter than that!  Just because that Kenyan won, doesn’t mean your prayers were answered—it means the Devil tricked you, and all you and your liberal friends who want something for nothing.  You don’t even realize how much of a pathetic Christian you’ve become—you are the Devil’s spawn.  I can’t stop crying that such a good, quality man as Mitt Romney has lost to such a Communist that wasn’t even born in this country and neither can any of my true Christian friends who understand that our country is going to Hell in a hand basket.”

  • MY RESPONSEWTF? I didn’t post my meme on your Facebook page.  You were snooping around on mine!”  (I DELETED, BLOCKED SAID PERSON FROM FACEBOOK, AND WROTE A BLOG STORY ENTITLED:  “I DON’T GIVE A FUCK WHAT YOU THINK!” (Writing is truly one of the best revenges!)

Dont troll troll dot me

TROLL #4/BLOG FOLLOWER (SOMEONE I KNEW) WHO SUBMITTED A COMMENT TO MY BLOG LATE INTO THE NIGHT AFTER THE ELECTION RETURNS WERE ANNOUNCED IN PRESIDENT OBAMA’S FAVOR:  “Hi Y’all!”  (The “familiar troll” purposely addressed my audience and not me to stir up a response.) “Wasn’t tonight just over-the-top?  It is so special when we can all engage in the electoral process—it shows what a great and exceptional country we have.  Now, I must confess that I don’t quite agree with the results—no I really don’t.   I wanted to let you all know that I’m a Christian” (the familiar troll assumed no one else was a Christian or pro-life who read my blog) “and I didn’t vote for Barak Obama because I am anti-abortion and I believe that all those little babies deserve a chance to live which this president won’t give them.  He is also spending way too much money and has really bamboozled people who aren’t thinking clearly about our country’s future.”  (On this particular “familiar troll’s” FB page, the responders were all born-again, white, right-wing Evangelical women who were sobbing and damning all the liberal white women they didn’t personally know but who they assumed wanted their “free birth control” from Obamacare, which must have been the reason the election was stolen from Romney.  I purposely didn’t leave a comment on this person’s FB page so as not to be a disruptive troll.  I respected the posters’ right to have their own opinions—no matter how misguided—and I left them to mourn in peace.)  “I think if you’ll think about it and do some more research, you’ll find that we missed a true opportunity here to turn our great country around.  What do you think? Well, I’m just exhausted from all the excitement and need to turn in for the battle ahead.  Thanks for listening. Love ya!”

MY RESPONSE:  DELETED COMMENT IMMEDIATELY AND DID NOT LET ANY OF MY READERS SEE IT.   Sent an email to “said friend” who I am pretty sure is probably no longer my friend:  “Out of respect for you and our friendship, I just wanted to let you know that I deleted your comment on my blog.  I felt that you were baiting my readers.  I heard anger in the tenor of your comment and a desire to beat the shit out of the first liberal you could get your hands on with your southern boxing gloves since no liberal was venturing onto your FB page.  That’s not what Jesus would do, and I’m not going to let you do it.  This is a safe place for my readers and I want it to remain as such.”

“One rule of thumb is that trolls pretend to be sincerely interested in a topic at hand—that’s how they rope you in—but their real motive is to push your neural buttons and elicit some sort of reaction.  In other words, they want to make your brain every bit as angry and addled as their own.  Science has got some advice on this:  don’t let them.  Do not feed the trolls.”—Richard Schiffman, The Huffingtonpost.com

Online Trolls James Kin Cartoon uwire dot com

Cartoonist James Kim||image from uwire.com

TROLL #5/TEA-BAGGER STRANGER TO MY INAUGURATION BLOG:  “Eleanor, you are a horrid racist!  You hate white people, you’ve never known any white person which is why you hate us so bad, and although you write well (I’ll give you that), you spew hatred upon the white race and you want us destroyed.  You should be ashamed because you’re one of the reasons our country is headed for civil war.  Let me say this so that it gets through your thick skull:  You really hate white people like that racist Kenyan you worship!

MY RESPONSE(I talked to my white husband, and called all my white friends [in the interest of full-disclosure, I have more white friends than I do black friends due to the nature of where I live and work], and called my half-white children and asked them:  “Darlings, have I ever expressed hatred toward any other race, including the white race?”)  After picking themselves up from rolling on the floor with laughter, I SENT SAID TEA BAGGER TO SPAM AND NEVER LET HIS COMMENT SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY.  Although, in all honesty, I was strongly tempted to defend my honor (which is what this type of troll wants—they’re counting on you not being able to resist being falsely accused), but WW said:  “Do not reward negative behavior—ignoring the dishonest taunt will be the best revenge.  In other words:  Don’t feed the trolls!”

That is when I had an “aha” moment and realized that all Internet trolls are nothing more than the high school bullies of old.   The bullies want you to do what they want; think how they think, and submit to their control so that they can reign supreme, whether it is in the high school corridor, the church pew, or in the chat forums, the commentary sections of news articles, the message boards, or various blogs on the Internet.  Bullying never stops!  It really doesn’t get better after high school—sorry kids.  The attacked just have to learn how to fight back against the attackers by ignoring the trolls and not giving them an audience, and then learning the most effective way to banish them into oblivion (another name for troll hell).

Troll fighting back

image from Google Media

To be fair, I am discovering that, on the surface of things, one man’s troll can be another man’s hero.  When someone enters a rational and sane comment on an Internet forum about the sanity of strong background checks and limiting semi-automatic weapons as the beginning of an intelligent form of gun control, they are a standard bearer for all reasonable people—be they Democrats or Republicans.  But to a Tea Party conspiracy theorist, that person is the lowest form of troll pond-scum who is taking away their God-given rights.  If a fiscally conservative Republican enters a comment on a blog about the Sequester and gives a sound discourse on how to balance the budget with both spending cuts and additional revenue, to a moderate Republican and Democrat he or she is a smart thinking politician and a strong leader, but to Breitbart.com or FreedomWorks they are evil and must be destroyed.

But most trolls roam the Internet to demoralize and the validity of the subject rarely matters (it could be as delightful as loving cute furry animals or as mundane as one’s preference of jelly beans vs. cupcakes).  If a right-wing conspiracy theorist troll posts a missive on my blog about jelly beans being part of a Communist take-over, and that I and all my “half-breed jelly bean-eating children” should take my “fat ass back to Africa along with my Kenyan President and leave America to the real cupcake-eating Americans,” then what is driving the troll commentary is contempt for my existence and not the desire to show me a different side of a chewy intellectual argument.   So the problem is not the ability to challenge an argument with which we don’t agree.  The issue is motive:  What makes a troll a troll is anger and contempt (what the author Dallas Willard calls the twin scourges of the Earth).  The anger drives the contempt in us for our opponent and it is that very moment (in the dismissive desire to see one’s opponent harmed or eradicated) that the troll must not be fed and must be banned.

dont feed the trolls sodaheaddotcom

Image from sodahead.com

“Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker’s game because they almost always turn out to be—or to be indistinguishable from—self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

“The way to work with a bully is to take the ball and go home. First time, every time.  When there’s no ball, there’s no game. Bullies hate that. So they’ll either behave so they can play with you or they’ll go bully someone else.”—Seth Godin

RECOMMENDED READING ABOUT DEALING WITH TROLLS:

(These are excellent articles about the subtle and not so subtle art of being trolled, and how to avoid being sucked into their vortex—be they former friends or new foes.)

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
28 Comments

Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

28 responses to “I See Them Trollin’—They Hatin’

  1. georgefloreswrite

    February 25, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Don’t let them get to you Eleanor. I’m glad you aren’t one of the Stepfords, where everybody is the same. Dress the same – talk the same- and so on… What really bothers me of what you shared is the hatred and desire to be all-powerful, wanting another person to be sent to hell, when they have no power whatsoever to damn anybody except themselves.

     
    • etomczyk

      February 27, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      George: No worries. I knew when I got out of the religious and political goose stepping and started walking to the beat of my own drummer, there would be hell to pay. What is life if not an exercise in courage? Thanks for stopping by. I liked your 11th possibility on your blog site. Very thought-provoking!

       
      • georgefloreswrite

        February 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm

        Thank God you wrote back, I was about to send you an email outlining all your wonderful attributes, just in case all that business got you down 🙂
        That beat you walk to is just as necessary as others and only contributes to the rhythmn. Yeah, that courage is what life is about.
        We’ll have to make you a photo like that: “My hat is a boot – All your religious stereotypes are invalid.” hehe

         
      • etomczyk

        February 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        George. That is the great thing about getting old. If not now–when? Thanks for thinking of me.

         
  2. Valentine Logar

    February 25, 2013 at 6:53 am

    First, love the blinged out Troll.

    This is excellent, I have a long standing rule of not feeding trolls. Never, not ever. I periodically post a statement on my FB wall that says “This is my House, Don’t like my comments, positions, or posts ; no problem. This is my House. Respectful discussion is welcome. Trolls will be deleted.”

    I will delete comments and people with equal vigor and glee. I love debate and discussion, respectful, that is. But when it relies on talking points, I am done.

     
  3. imagesbytdashfield

    February 25, 2013 at 8:28 am

    I had (and may still have) some of the troll dolls. When they first came out they were called Wishniks as well as troll dolls. Why did I like those things as a little girl I will never know but I did and can still remember where and when my dad bought me one. Anyway….yeah haters are going to hate and the self righteous will get their panties all in a bunch. Brush that dirt offa your shoulders and keep on. I don’t even try to engage any trolls (but I do have a firey temper) – as the saying goes, don’t argue with an idiot. People might not be able to discern who is who.

     
    • etomczyk

      March 1, 2013 at 11:10 am

      TD: I had no idea the troll dolls were called Wishniks. I still can’t believe some marketer convinced the American public that these were a must-have item. Remember the “pet rock”? What were we thinking?

      Anyway, you’re so right about the “haters are going to hate.” High school never ends; we just have to learn how to stand up against the bullies in an effective way that doesn’t cause us to lose our sanity and our souls. Thanks for stopping by. All the best.

       
  4. Sondra Smith

    February 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    This has needed to be said for a long time. I have had to block, delete and unfriend a few people too. I am not sure why people think that if we are not in agreement with them we must have gone the way of Satan. The hatred and self righteousness and holier than thou attitude that has infiltrated the Church not only leaves me sad but wondering how this could have happened in the first place.

     
    • etomczyk

      March 1, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Sondra: Amen, sister friend! 🙂

       
  5. talesfromthemotherland

    February 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Ouch! I’m not nearly as successful with blogging as you, and right now—reading this, that may be a good thing. I’ve been lucky enough to not have experienced the troll thing. I’ve read about it on other blogs, but no first hand experiences. Occasionally, I get comments that disagree with me, but they are pretty polite overall. Good for you, deleting and blocking! It’s just rude and out of place to be spouting that kind of bs. Love your take on things E, and enjoy your blog! I always appreciate your comments on my posts, and support you in continuing to speak your mind. Haters will be haters.

     
    • etomczyk

      March 1, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Hi Dawn. Thanks for your support and encouraging words. Stick around long enough, you’ll get the trolls. Because their raison d’etre is to antagonize, they don’t care what the subject matter is–they do it for grins and giggles. I also have more because I’ve dared to not fit into a religious mold that others have set for me, even if they’ve never met me or hardly know me. That’s always the way it is through life. I love the Ghandi quote which I live by: “I shall not fear anyone on Earth; I shall fear only God.” Thanks for stopping by!

       
  6. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    February 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Don’t let them near you and don’t listen to or read what they have to say. Hate mongers are nothing new to our lovely world but they will have no power unless they have an audience.

     
    • etomczyk

      March 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

      Ronnie. So true, so true, which is why I banished them all! Take care.

       
  7. Hudson Howl

    February 27, 2013 at 12:23 am

    I must be doing something wrong, I don’t attract d’em d’ar troll’eeeee types, but conforming non-conformist confuse trolls -were subversively quiet, non-confrontational which usually renders them to ‘a deer caught in headlights’ look. After all, it is what I don’t say rather than what I do say, that has more truth than they would ever have the capacity to understand (a troll right about now would be going ‘Huh’). Yet, hard core bullies can be troublesome, an over the years I have, not proudly nor with regret either, taken a couple out – (but its been awhile, guess am getting calmer in my old age). Not for how they treated me, but for how they treated someone else. I admit, blatant insensitivity to another human being detonates my fuse. Especially when am face to face with it, sharing the same air -sorry am not Gandhi-like.

    Not sure if I should be worried for you or not. Leaning heavily towards NOT. I know your a formidable women of tremendous inner strength and quite apt at kicking a troll to the curb with your words and intellect. That said, there is no denying this kind meanness can over time become caustic and eat away at the outer defense layer many of us have laboured to build -there are some who get sucked in by trolls sadly. You delivered a strong message ‘block them out’ -it is not a solution it is a necessity. By blocking a troll or to iggy them as you cleverly demonstrated, one is not changing them or silencing them, as they will simply go after the next target. By blocking them out, it will hopefully for a few, instill in them that there is such a thing as ‘acceptable behavior’. Engaging them, is a little like stooping to their level. Blocking them out just seems the ‘adult’ or rational thing to do.

    I don’t find ‘the internet’ any worst than what one might experience in the hard wired world. Though anonymity does go to some peoples heads, no question. And it is a far far far worst for women because of the ‘freaky creep’ factor, there is no denying that either, So keep do’n your thing, besides you have that magic ‘bitch slap’ wand don’t ya, I assume it works on Trolls as well.

     
    • etomczyk

      March 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      Hudson, how true it is–I do have that magic “bitch slap” and I am not afraid to use it. The strangers I don’t give two hoots about, it is “the friend who was closer than a brother” as King David once said whose betrayal that takes my breath away. But if we all live long enough, then we all have to wear these garments at some point or another. Take care, my poet.

       
      • Hudson Howl

        March 2, 2013 at 10:38 am

        Your right, those closer to us can dole out the hardest hurt. But scared little rabbits don’t behave as they should. You have to look for what is causing the angst or behavior; I think you do that here in buckets -your Ace in the hole.

        I read Nonnie and yours comments regarding Lyle Lovett – I think its the ‘your so dam ugly, your cute’ factor. At least that is how I’ve been referred to as. There must be beauty in ‘uniqueness’ -not sure, just saying.

         
      • etomczyk

        March 2, 2013 at 11:50 am

        Hudson. You’re too much. I like people with character in their faces and talent in their bones which Lyle Lovett has in spades. To me, that wins over the George Clooneys any day. Take care.

         
  8. nonnie9999

    February 28, 2013 at 4:25 am

    i was very relieved when julia roberts and lyle lovett got divorced, because i knew for sure that if they had a baby, it would look like the troll dolls i used to collect when i was a kid.

     
    • etomczyk

      March 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Nonnie: Am I the only person on Earth that kind of thought Lyle Lovett was “cute” in a kind of elfin sort of way? WW and I go round and round about this dude’s looks. I think he’s kind of adorable. Actually, now that he has been married for awhile to a Julia Roberts look alike, he’s put some meat on his bones, he looks happier, and he’s rather adorable. No? 🙂 Take care, my friend.

       
  9. composerinthegarden

    February 28, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Eleanor, the quote from Neal Stephenson on “self-righteous sixteen-year-olds” was priceless, as were the many variations of troll cartoons. I haven’t attracted online trolls much but they are everywhere on YouTube, which I use with some of my classes. There it is usually the 14-16 year old crowd with too much time on their hands and very little knowledge or ability to express a considered opinion, just a lot of incoherent negativism. Unfortunately, it seems to breed more of the same; many studies have shown how people’s opinions can be changed when they think they are going “against the crowd” – good for you for posting this statement with which I’m guessing most of us can concur. I like Hudson’s comment – ” I know you’re a formidable women of tremendous inner strength and quite apt at kicking a troll to the curb with your words and intellect.” Still, know we are with you and value you highly 🙂

     
    • composerinthegarden

      February 28, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      Eleanor, here’s a Rachel Maddow clip where she accuses the NRA and right wing conservatives of “trolling” against Obama – right in line with what you were saying. Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuXGiV82tmg

       
      • etomczyk

        March 1, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        Lynn: I loved, loved, loved this clip. I’m a Maddow fan but had not seen this. It is so true and it really underscored my blog. Thank you so much.

         
    • etomczyk

      March 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Lynn. I am so touched by your comment. I am actually amused by the trolling, and I first started noticing it when the Obamas moved into the White House. Everything that could be trolled about them was done–so if a blogger wrote something positive about them, you got trolled. To me Mrs. Obama is a lovely woman but if you type in “Michele Obama’s looks,” the crap that will come flooding to your computer will be as if a sewage mainline broke. The references to her “fat a___” are just horrific and said by men in office who have no right to say this about any woman, let alone the First Lady. Once someone asked Mrs. Obama how she dealt with all that nastiness and she quoted the poet Lucille Clifton: “What they call you is one thing; what you answer to is another.” This is what I think of when a troll tries to engage me.

      I love my readers. They are intelligent, gracious, warm-hearted, and overflowing with love. So it was not hard to smack down a person who called themselves my friend, when she wrote a comment meant to antagonize my readers by assuming she knew who they were and what they stood for. Not only did she not know them, but she obviously does not truly know me. Take care, my friend.

       
  10. Elyse

    March 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    The only way my hair stays up is if I collect it into a ponytail on top of my head. Through the course of the day it softens and slides down to where normal folks wear it. My husband has been calling me a troll for years, and we have an impressive collection of those cute/ugly guys.

    But on the internet? Nope. No patience. I’ve only had one — on a gun control post about Newtown — where my family lived (and two still live). I was livid because she was a braggard who was telling me how she is sooooooo much safer packing heat.

    How I felt is nothing compared to how you must have felt when the troll said this: “you were such a lovely Colored lady who knew her place.” As they say, a woman’s place is in the House and in the Senate.

    Good advice to not feed them. I won’t make that mistake twice!

     
    • etomczyk

      March 2, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Elyse, I know. In fact, one of your trolls that was so hot under the collar about gun control followed me from your post to my blog to continue the argument. I decided not to answer her/him. She/he took offense at my defense for your support of gun control and really tried to bring it on. Once I realized that the comment had nothing to do with the story I’d written, I kicked it to the curb. I don’t know if it was the same woman that tangled with you or not. That really confirmed that one shouldn’t feed them. I won’t make that mistake twice, either. Take care!

       
      • Elyse

        March 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

        You are a wise woman, Eleanor! Sorry to send you my cast-off trolls. Unless you want one of the little dolls, of course. Somewhere or other I found a “Lucky Lottery Troll” with green hair …

         
  11. Lindy Lee

    March 3, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Can’t start a fire without some kind of spark…

     

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