what about them there leftwingnut trolls?

AH YES, LEFTWINGNUT TROLLS. I sup­pose they’re there, but they have to wait until I ad­dress old-fashioned, mod­erate Re­pub­li­cans. If they have a pres­ence or a voice on Face­book and other so­cial media on the In­ternet, it’s hard to find. Or it’s there but drowned out by the ubiq­ui­tous and rabid rightwingnuts and their bel­li­cose blath­er­ings and intellectually-challenged ‘opin­ions.’

If so, then the former are being found guilty by as­so­ci­a­tion with the latter and by not gain­saying them. 1

That said, the types of hate-based and hate-filled com­ments that are typ­ical of rightwingnuts on Face­book are NOT in­dica­tive of their being the type of In­ternet trolls that I hinted at in my two previous ar­ti­cles, “My Face­book Page Is Now A Rightwingnut Hate Free Zone” and “Rightwingnuts Do It For Free On Face­book.”

In fact, both those ar­ti­cles took for granted that readers knew the terms troll and trolling and what they meant. For readers not con­ver­sant with the nomen­cla­ture, here is some explanation:

“In In­ternet slang, a troll is a person who sows dis­cord on the In­ternet by starting ar­gu­ments or up­set­ting people, by posting in­flam­ma­tory, ex­tra­neous, or off-topic mes­sages in an on­line com­mu­nity (such as a news­group, forum, chat room, or blog) with the de­lib­erate in­tent of pro­voking readers into an emo­tional re­sponse or of oth­er­wise dis­rupting normal on-topic dis­cus­sion, often for their own amuse­ment.” (Wikipedia)

I use the term troll (as I be­lieve many people do) to mean the troller has ma­li­cious in­tent, al­though that was not al­ways so. For a re­cent look on both old-fashioned trolling and the modern ver­sion, give a read to Kali Hol­loway’s ar­ticle “In­ternet Trolls Ex­plain Why They Do What They Do” for AlterNet.

 

JohnBauer Trolls painting 1200

This fan­tastic painting of by John Bauer is being used by Wikipedia for its entry on trolls: A troll is a su­per­nat­ural being in Scan­di­na­vian folk­lore. In origin, troll may have been a neg­a­tive syn­onym for a jö­tunn. In Old Norse sources, be­ings de­scribed as trolls dwell in iso­lated rocks, moun­tains, or caves, live to­gether in small family units, and are rarely helpful to human beings.”

Trolls have a strategy

But are there those who troll for more than their amuse­ment? Go to Google and type “paid right wing trolls” and there are more than 239,000 list­ings. The first is “The Right-Wing Trolls Have a Strategy. What’s Ours?” by Andy Schmookler for the Huff­in­g­ton­Post site. He observes:

“Why do right-wingers come to a lib­eral site? It’s not an at­tempt to per­suade, much less to learn. These men—almost all of them are men—only pre­tend to be in­volved in a dis­cus­sion. They’re re­ally on a guer­rilla mis­sion be­hind enemy lines to dis­rupt communications.

One can find dis­cus­sions among right-wing trolls, sharing strate­gies for frus­trating lib­eral com­menters and tech­niques to cir­cum­vent the ef­forts of lib­eral blogs to ban them for their de­lib­erate dis­rup­tion and annoyance.

Some of the trolling forces of the right are nei­ther free-lance nor vol­un­teer: re­ports tell of ‘wanted post­ings’ for paid commenters—soliciting a kind of mer­ce­nary army to ad­vance the po­lit­ical force that’s taken over the right.” 2

Andy has found sites where these folk con­gre­gate to con­spire, and that there ap­pear to be sites where they can be paid to carry out those con­spir­a­cies. Meaning my para­noia wasn’t para­noia at all!

 

There Leftwingnut Trolls: generic drawing of an internet troll face.

A pop­ular image used to de­pict an In­ternet troll. If this car­toon is based on someone or some­thing, I don’t know what that or it is. 

Some of your friends are trolls

But the do­ings of anony­mous trolls are not why I wrote this piece: what I want to ad­dress are the righties on Face­book who have names and faces and en­gage in the same type of anti-discourse.

You know them: they are Face­book ‘friends’ or friends of friends scrolling though their time­line, or guys you went to high school with, or guys you work with, etcetera.

They have on­line Face­book iden­ti­ties that re­flect who they are: their name, photos of them­selves and their wives and their kids, where they went to school, etcetera.

They’re hu­mans just like us …

 

There Leftwingnut Trolls: Anatomy of a Forum Troll by Woody Heam.

This il­lus­tra­tion of a ‘forum troll’ is by Woody Heam for his GU Comics site. He de­signed this for “people who con­sis­tently fail in their at­tempts to com­mu­ni­cate in a mean­ingful way with this com­mu­nity.” Most of the traits above apply to In­ternet trolls of all kinds. (Click on the image for a larger ver­sion that is easier to read.)

Sadistic and wanton abuses

In my ear­lier post, I noted that Sey­mour Her­sh’s 2004 New Yorker ar­ticle “Tor­ture at Abu Ghraib” ad­dressed the US Army’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Abu Ghraib in Iraq. They de­ter­mined that there had been “sys­tem­atic and il­legal abuse of de­tainees” that in­volved “sadistic, bla­tant, and wanton crim­inal abuses.”

When I posted a link to “Court Rules Bush Ad­min­is­tra­tion Can Be Sued for Its War on Terror Conduct” (Truthout, December 14, 2015) about re­cent court rul­ings that open the door into in­ves­ti­ga­tions of just far how up the chain of com­mand the tacit or open ap­proval went in the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, I re­ceived a com­ment from a ‘con­ser­v­a­tive’ that called for more torture:

“A little wa­ter­boarding and pro­filing of Mus­lims is far less an or­deal than what they put their terror vic­tims through.”

Read that again, please: this Face­book ‘friend’ re­sponded to the sadistic, bla­tant, and wanton crim­inal abuses at Abu Ghraib with a call for MORE sadistic, bla­tant, and wanton crim­inal abuses—and ap­par­ently just about any Mus­lims will do!

This was the last straw! I did not want such sadistic blathering’s dis­gracing my Face­book page any­more. So I ‘un­friended’ this person and sev­eral others of his stripe and de­clared my page to be a Rightwingnut Hate Free Zone, which is what the first ar­ticle of this two-parter was about

And I was not re­fer­ring only to the Islamophobia …

 

There Leftwingnut Trolls: a satirical image of Rep. Sally Kern for her anti-gay syance

This clever poster is cour­tesy of the Skepacabra web­site.

A slew of anti-gay legislation

Here is an article ti­tled “Ok­la­homa Rep*blican Wants to Forbid Sui­cidal LGBT Kids From Meeting Gay-Friendly Ther­a­pists” by Bethania Palma Markus (Raw Story, Jan­uary 30, 2016). It ad­dresses new leg­is­la­tion that Rep*blican Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sally Kern has pro­posed in her state.

“The bill states that no public school coun­selor, ther­a­pist, so­cial worker, ad­min­is­trator, teacher or other in­di­vidual will be al­lowed to refer anyone under 18 to any person or or­ga­ni­za­tion if the re­ferral pertain[s] to human sexuality.”

Here is the back-end con­text that we straights with straight kids need to keep in con­stant ro­ta­tion in our con­scious­ness when reading horror sto­ries like this:

“LGBT kids raised in ho­mo­phobic house­holds have higher rates of de­pres­sion, anx­iety and sui­cide, and public school coun­selors who can con­nect them with the right LGBT-friendly groups and gay-affirming ther­a­pists pro­vide a crit­ical lifeline.”

Got that? Ar­ti­cles that I have read over the years have led me to be­lieve that the phrase “raised in ho­mo­phobic house­holds” is un­nec­es­sarily con­fining, if not un­nec­es­sarily restrictive.

 

The man­i­fes­ta­tion of the bully on the In­ternet in the form of a troll is a topic of con­cern to me. The anonymity of the troll is es­pe­cially scary: you get to be a bully and no one knows who you are and there are no repercussions! 

 

I have al­ways un­der­stood that LGBT teens have sig­nif­i­cantly higher rates of de­pres­sion, anx­iety and sui­cide PERIOD. And so it is so and here are the figures:

 sui­cide at­tempts among the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion of Amer­ican is 1.6%.
•  sui­cide at­tempts among het­ero­sexual teens it is 4%!
•  sui­cide at­tempts among les­bian, bi, and gay teens it is 20%!!
•  
sui­cide at­tempts among trans-gender teens it is 41%!!!

Please reread those fig­ures and remember—these are our children!

So, knowing this, why would anyone in their right mind pos­sibly want a law that for­bids pro­fes­sionals in the mental/emotional health fields from as­sisting fellow human be­ings who are our children?

That, of course, is a rhetor­ical ques­tion, be­cause we all know that denying these fellow human be­ings any sup­port is an un­spoken part of to­day’s Rep*blican Party plat­form. Should you have any doubts and have not yet clicked on over to read Ms. Markus’s ar­ticle, she notes:

“The state House bill, pro­posed by Rep*blican Sally Kern, is part of a slew of anti-gay leg­is­la­tion she wants to pass, which would sanc­tion dis­cred­ited gay ‘con­ver­sion’ therapy and pre­vent HIV-positive people from get­ting married.”

‘Nuff said? Well, not quite: I could also say that it never ceases to amaze me how other peo­ple’s sex lives fas­ci­nate so-called ‘con­ser­v­a­tives.’

It’s down­right … unnatural!

But that’s an­other story.

 

I didn’t do it! This jaypeg poster is from the ar­ticle “Why Are Con­ser­v­a­tives Sup­porting A Lib­eral Troll Like Donald Trump?” in which JAS­mius at­tempts to con­vince readers that Trump is a Dem in dis­guise on the righty web­site Po­lit­ical Pistachio.

Them there leftwingnut trolls

I see In­ternet memes (I prefer jaypeg posters) warning of “lib­eral trolls” but I have yet to see one in ac­tion. I as­sume that there must be some; maybe they avoid me and other pro­gres­sive types be­cause they know we’d be pissed off by them. This is not to say I haven’t seen in­sults hurled and names called by People of the Left in what used to be called flaming wars with People of the Right. 3

I typed “lib­eral in­ternet troll” into Google and this was the first listing that ad­dressed the issue: “Dis­turbing: In­side The Mind Of A Lib­eral Troll” by Jerry Novick. Here is the opening paragraph:

“As a Con­ser­v­a­tive colum­nist on the in­ternet, I get my share of Lib­eral Trolls. They just seem to come out of the wood­work, as if they have some sort of ant-like an­tennae that tin­gles when a Con­ser­v­a­tive is using facts, analysis, and in­sight to put the Pro­gres­sive ide­ology to shame. Then they swarm, using ad hominem at­tacks and cries of It’s Bush’s fault! as if that shields their leaders from taking any blame for their actions.”

Oh my! He gets com­ments that things could have been a former Pres­i­dent’s fault and con­siders that the work of heinous “In­ternet trolls.”

I get sil­lier: he quotes a ‘lib­eral’ as saying “What­ever the truth is, I know it’s more com­plex than what is written here” and claims it to be a “mind-bender” (huh?) and part of a “troll-attack.”

That’s it: What­ever the truth is, I know it’s more com­plex than what is written her. That is the sum of the quote as­so­ci­ated with this “troll” who “at­tacked” his opinion.

This and the other links on the Google page were too silly to dwell on.

Again, I as­sume there are left­winged ar­se­w­holes out there making rude com­ments, it’s just dif­fi­cult to find them—especially when righty writers offer the above as ex­am­ples. And need to be ad­dressed by ‘con­ser­v­a­tive’ writers with slightly thicker skin than Mr Novick. 4

Internet troll trilogy

Yeah yeah yeah, I know: this post is a bit all-over-the-map. I apol­o­gize for that: it’s ac­tu­ally a hodge­podge of side­tracked thoughts and re­flec­tions from the first two parts of my In­ternet Troll Trilogy, and doesn’t have the con­ti­nuity and to­geth­er­ness of those post—but I wanted to post them anyway.

As someone once fa­mous once said, “La de da …”

If old-fashioned con­ser­v­a­tives have a pres­ence on so­cial media like Face­book, it’s hard to find. Click To Tweet

There Leftwingnut Trolls: painiting of a troll beneath a bridge by Mark Page.

FEATURED IMAGE: This was to have been the fea­tured image for this ar­ticle until I found John Bauer’s painting (above). I found this great painting of a troll lurking be­neath a bridge on the Mark Page Work­shop page. It is an il­lus­tra­tion for the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” chil­dren’s story. Mr. Page is Se­nior Con­cept De­signer for Walt Disney Imag­i­neering (sic). Check out his site and see the rest of his work while there.

 


FOOTNOTES:

1   The word gainsay is some­what ar­chaic and means to deny, con­tra­dict, or op­pose someone or some­thing. Need­less to say, I like it.

2   Andy Schmookler is a former De­mo­c­ratic nom­inee for Con­gress in Vir­ginia, po­lit­ical com­men­tator, talk radio philoso­pher, and au­thor of au­thor of What We’re Up Against. The opening para­graph in his ar­ticle above is a single sen­tence that backs up most of my po­si­tions in this ar­ticle, “Years of in­ter­acting on the Web with right-wingers have taught me: to en­gage with right-wing trolls is to play into their hands.”

3  I prefer jaypeg poster to meme be­cause it’s a far more ac­cu­rate de­scrip­tion of the cap­tioned image and doesn’t cause those with a fa­mil­iarity with the orig­inal de­f­i­n­i­tion of meme to cringe.

4   Yes, ar­se­w­holes is a silly word of my own coinage: the first part of British slang for one’s bum, the second a play on the second part of ass­holes. The latter refers to just one small part of the back­side; my term to the whole heinie.

 

 

 

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