Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Billy Goat's Gruff

I’ve read Gluten-Free Girl’s blog at different times. Sometimes. Because, though I do cook gluten-free fairly regularly for a friend, I find that most recipes that are jeririgged to be sans-gluten, often leave me just wishing that it really was what it’s pretending to be. And if you have gluten problems you pretty much have no choice but to love the one your with, as an only occasional consumer of gluten-free products, I’ve never really developed the taste for them. So I tend to go toward recipes that are not now, nor were they ever intended to be, made with gluten. Stick rice pudding or grilled veggies skirt the gluten issue quite effectively.

But I saw a couple of blogs referencing Gluten-Free Girl’s post about internet trolls, and I had to go take a look. I’ve been kind of curious about trolls for awhile now. I mean, who are they? If you ever look at comments sections on public sites out there, you really need to brace yourself. There appears to be a large contingent of people out there who read internet posts, then uncap a bottle of Haterade and just start chugging. And I only say large contingent because going by the number of places they turn up and the sheer volume of comments, it’s gotta be more than just one guy sitting in a bunker in Idaho with nothing but a can of pork and beans and an internet connection.

And they will strike at anything. You’re stupid, a bad writer, entitled, over-priveleged, elitist, fat, ugly, too young, too old, a bad parent, a bad American, the long-lost grandchild of Adolf Hitler, a redneck, a hippie, a monster, and basically what’s-wrong-with-the-world-today. Wow. And that’s not including the ad hominem comments that are simply racist or sexist. And the general tone is fantastically dismissive, and generally questioning of the original writer’s right to put something up for the rest of the world to see. Or breathe.

And it can range from misspelled, barely literate, rage-filled, profanity-laced blurts, to mini essays full of erudition and distain (also rage-filled). I can’t really get a picture in my head about what your typical troll would be like. Other than the fact that they all seem to have a need to get it out. So who are they in the real world? I don’t think I know anyone who I’d think is out there hurling word grenades at random bloggers. Are they getting out their hate in a fairly safe environment? Sort of like free therapy. Are they just the people who never seem to say much, and they just save it for the comments section? What did they do before they had an anonymous outlet for their inner troll? Maybe editors of newspapers from the old days have a better perspective on this. Maybe they had a bag of poison pen epistles that they had to plow through every week.

I’m not sure what I’d do if I ever picked up a troll here on this blog. I’m not sure I’d be willing to be someone’s punching bag. Luckily, I’ve been very fortunate to be pretty much a tiny voice in a very big choir. There’s a Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers song about how we’re all floating out in the middle of the ocean in leaky little boats, calling out to the other leaky little boats out there on the horizon. It would be nice if what we called wasn’t “You’re fat, you’re stupid, you’re ugly!”, but “Hi! How are you? I hope you’re doing well.”

Oh, and that warm rice salad looks hella good. I'm making me some of that.

TIME: Quotes of the Day