Sunday, 15 June 2014

Internet Trolls: See You Next Tuesday





In 2009, I wrote a piece for the Globe and Mail at a particularly low juncture in my marriage which described our economic free fall from the middle class and how we were handling it.

To my great astonishment, my editor told me that my essay was the most read piece online for the entire year. I knew when I wrote it that I'd hit a nerve; there were more than 150 comments which ranged from supportive and wonderful to horrific.

I think I'm like most writers. I am grateful for the critics who "get me" but I cannot help but obsess over the bad reviews, particularly when people call you names: loser, idiot, waste of air, whiner. Being the great newspaper it is, the Globe stops short on allowing profanity. Thank goodness because I'm sure some of those Trolls would have happily called me the Seven Words You Used to Not Be Able to Say on Television.

My favorite word, well, I still will not write here because it is misogynistic, hurtful and disgusting. It rhymes with Hunt.

I like to refer to it in the Sex and the City vernacular, verbalized by the prissy Charlotte: See You Next Tuesday.

As a blogger, I do not allow the Internet Trolls to have their way with me. I can control what they say by simply declining their comments. I can also report them as spam and block them from my page. In other words, if I don't like what the Trolls have to say, I don't have to take it. Like the blood-engorged ticks they are, I can simply say: "off with your heads" and the trolls are vaporized.

In the old days of newspaper writing, a person had to sign their name to their opinion, provide their address and their phone number. An editorial assistant would then call them up to make sure they weren't garbage-eating verbal defecators before the comment was published. A lot of Trolls were, therefore, pre-beheaded because they were too chicken shit to have their name published spewing fetid fumes.

That rule went out the window with the Internet. Now anybody can say anything under the cloak of "Anonymous" and they often do. Last week, I once again wrote my slice of life comments in the context of the Ontario election. And once again, I was labeled whiny and stupid by some Troll who called himself Anonymous.

It was hurtful. I cannot lie, especially when somebody tells you that because you're having difficulty during these serious economic times, you don't have the right to own a big screen television or a car, or heaven for fend, you should be on the shitlist for subscribing to premium cable.

In other words, young lady, you are a waste of air.

I was reminded of all of this on election night when the CBC commentator Robert Fisher was eviscerated for saying that Kathleen Wynne made a "lifestyle choice" because she had married a woman after being married to a man. The Twittersphere erupted as only it can with Trolls calling for Fisher's resignation. He was called every name in the book because he misspoke himself, mostly by the Anonymous Forces at work the ones who are, as I write this, being eaten alive by hate.

Of course, of course, Fisher was wrong. Gay people are not making a lifestyle choice. As Gaga said it best: they are born that way.

Fisher apologized, but that's never enough. Now, thanks to the Trolls, the award winning journalist has a black smear over his shirt. He is a homophobe, an idiot, a journo well past his expiry date.

I get that wrong-headed comments need to be corrected. But that doesn't mean it has to get personal. He's a good guy, he doesn't deserve vilification.

We're living in an ugly world now where you can't say anything -- even about yourself -- without having some opinionators take a hit out on you.

I can't stand it. It makes me want to stop writing.

But then I think, the haters win.

That's why I've decided to take on the Internet Trolls and continue to delete their posts and mark them as spam. When I write for a newspaper, I simply won't go to the comments section, something that's hard for me.

I have the podium after all. They can't take that away from me.

Just one thing. Say what you want Maggotheads.

While I defend your right to your wrongheaded opinions about me, you don't own the moral high ground if you don't have the cajones to sign your name to your comments. That makes you uncool.

In the meantime, See You Next Tuesday.

And now this:

 

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