Are You KIDDING Me With This???

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Against My Better Judgment

When I started this blog, I wasn't really sure what direction it would take. I didn't want a blog in the first place. So it's not like anything about it was premeditated. Consider it the one thing in my life I never planned. Crazy, I know. It worked for me, though. After a couple of posts, the blog seemed to develop a theme, anyway, whether I liked it or not. That theme is one I lovingly call "A Freakshow's Guide To Finding The Absurd In Life." This has several advantages. First, I seem to make people laugh with my odd take on life, and if I can make people laugh, I figured that's a rare and special gift that's worth using. Second, I can pretty much talk about anything. That's helpful, because I tend to be pretty random, and the fact that nobody has any particular expectations that I will talk about one subject or another makes it easier for me to riff about anything that captures my attention. Third, I don't have to delve too deeply into the areas of my life that I prefer to keep private. I have my soft spots, and I prefer not to expose those to the world, thanks.

Of course, there are other people who are considerably more open about their lives than I am. This is something that I both admire and find terrifying. I think it's incredibly brave to show your vulnerabilities to the world and try to learn from the other people who see them and decide to offer advice or share their own stories. What concerns me, though, are the people out there whose motivations are less than altruistic. Some people, as we've discussed before, appear not to have learned any manners growing up, or at the very least, think they don't apply to a medium such as the internet.

These people - the ones we call "trolls" - seem to relish preying on the vulnerabilities of others. I hate that they are out there. They fill me with blinding rage. It's one thing to disagree with someone, but when you are targeting someone for the specific purpose of eviscerating them in a public forum? I just....I start sputtering. I don't understand if it's just a lack of morals, or a lack of intelligence, or a lack of common courtesy, or a lack of respect, or a lack of self-awareness, or a lack of compassion, or a lack of humanity, or just a lack in someone, in general, that makes him believe that hijacking someone else's blog or creating one's own blog for the sole purpose of spewing hate all over the place is appropriate behavior. But whatever it is, all I want to do is find that person and crush him, physically, mentally and emotionally, because there is no room in this world for the kind of vile bitterness he is peddling.

Of course, the best course of action in this case is to ignore the trolls, because you only feed their need to be "right" and lord it over you if you engage them. They are petty and small that way. Most of the time, I find that really easy to do, too. I have a preschooler. I am quite familiar with how they operate and have learned the fine art of ignoring bad behavior until it goes away. Unfortunately, the occasional troll will manage to time his attack to a moment when I am primed for getting riled up, and in those circumstances, I find the troll difficult to ignore. I know I should stick my fingers in my ears and say "la la la la la" until he goes away, but instead, I fortify my defenses and prepare for battle.

Sadly, it always ends the same way. I mean, let's be realistic: you can't grow someone else's brain, so if he starts out small-minded, nothing I say is going to change that fact. And while it's incredibly validating to have all the sane people around you send e-mails to say "way to go" and "thanks for the support," it's not like anything I've said is going to change the troll's modus operandi, which is what I would ideally like to accomplish. It's against my better judgment that I engage them and it's with regret that I finally give up the fight and reconcile myself with the knowledge that not all people are worth my instinctive faith in their inherent goodness.

So while I took up the sword today (or keyboard, as the case may be) in defense of a friend who shared his soft spots with the world and suffered for it, I will be putting it down tonight. The fight is not worth it. I'm sure his troll will continue to make comments, full of righteous indignation and self-important bluster, but I am immune now. As I've learned with Turtle, sometimes the best response to bad behavior is no response at all.


At November 02, 2006 7:21 AM, Blogger SD said...

And you held the sword valiantly, dear Cymber, but I agree, with those types of people, the end result will always be the same.

And mores the pity really, as every once in a while one of them actually comes up with a point that has a bit of merit--if they'd only learn how to express themselves without coming off like a judgemental asshole people might actually listen to what they're saying instead of dismissing them as just another "troll" stirring up shit.

But, your defense of your friend was spot on and lovely to see.


At November 02, 2006 5:25 PM, Blogger SQT said...

Trolls are only fit for the delete key IMO. At least most of the time. I have seen trolls that are good for mocking from time to time. But mostly, they're only fit to annihilate

At November 03, 2006 12:47 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

It was incredible. You were calm. You were rational. You were the voice of concern and compassion.

He obviously has issues that he's dealing with. Hopefully he heard, understood and felt what you had to say.

After taking a deep breath, and getting a chance to reflect, I do feel like I learned something from the conversation. Thanks for contributing.

At November 03, 2006 7:48 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Do you think David could even define eviscerate? You did the right thing to stand up and now you are doing the right thing to sit down.

We "live" in an incredible neighborhood - regulars like you and Mark, Flip, Ben and others and less heard from but still with us like SD and others. Occassionally someone will make a wrong turn and hopefully we can point them to the freeway heading out. The neighborhood remains vital either way.


At November 03, 2006 8:03 PM, Blogger middleageddad said...

Mean people suck and maybe you can direct me to the blog you are speaking of so I can see what your talking about...



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