Thursday, May 22, 2014

Internet Left Derangement Watch: "Trolls Don't Just Want To Be Rude; They Want Power Over Us"

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I know it's hard to be overweight. I've seen its effects up close. I saw it destroy my mother's life. And that damage was done long before the most recent ratcheting-up of our obsession with physical beauty.

But damn, the Tumblr left is just as loony with respect to the weight issue as anything else.

Here's just the first bit of this truly terrible post:
It’s easy to roll your eyes at trolling—to say “don’t read the comments” and dismiss trolls as just a bunch of haters. But let’s talk about trolling for what it really is: disruptive behavior that seeks reinforce power over marginalized communities. [sic]
Nope. That isn't right at all.

These people see everything through the crude lens of their own political obsessions. It's currently fashionable on the left to construe everything as a political battle. But not everything is, and that's as obvious as anything could be.  

Trolling is not "disruptive behavior that seeks to reinforce power over marginalized communities." That is a complete misunderstanding of trolling. It really is amazing how bad these people are at something that they claim special expertise in...

First, of course, not all trolling "seeks [to] reinforce power over marginalized communities." Anybody can be trolled, and trolls have various motivations. Mostly, they're just dicks. Some of them are bored and stupid. Some are mentally ill. Probably some of them are doing something roughly political in a way...but there's no doubt that it's a minority. In short: no. The theory of trolling above is false. Explicit or implicit political ends are in no way essential to trolling.

Then we get:

In April, Lindsey Averill and Veridiana Lieberman launched fattitude-a-body-positive-documentaryKickstarter campaign for their documentaryFattitude, a feature-length film that will seek to “expose how popular culture fosters fat prejudice” and offer an alternative approach to thinking about fatness. When the campaign began, Averill and Veridiana were instantly attacked online. People wrote vitriolic messages to them on Twitter and on the project’s social media sites, saying that the film shouldn’t exist. The online abuse spread into their home lives—people called Averill to harass her, so she changed her number. Then someone anonymously ordered her a pizza. an interview with a local TV station, Averill says she knows that this isn’t just about trying to make a fat woman feel bad by sending her a pizza. “They are telling me they know where I live,” she says.
No they aren't.

They are exactly "trying to make a fat woman feel bad by sending her a pizza."

If they wanted to tell you that they know where you live, they'd e-mail you or tweet you or something. They wouldn't spend $15 on a pizza.

They were making fun of you.

They are assholes.

That's what trolling is about.

Why, incidentally, do I bother with this nonsense? This article is completely unimportant. But the styles of reasoning (if we can dignify it by calling it 'reasoning'...) on display here have pervaded the left, including many sectors of liberalism. This crap is the left's analog of religious fundamentalism. It's a rot that threatens to make liberalism absurd.

Look. I imagine there is some comfort to be had in trying to turn this pizza incident into something that it isn't. It sucks to be made fun of. And perhaps it stings a bit less to reconstrue ridicule as hatred. If someone threatens you, at least they are taking you seriously. They are, in some sense, elevating you to their level. There's something, perhaps, a bit more noble and less embarrassing about that.

And, of course, the internet left is nothing if not dramatic. Shrill and dramatic. But mostly dramatic. No...also pretty shrill. Anyway: definitely dramatic. One of their favorite pastimes involves reconstruing minor annoyances as oppression. And threats...oh, lord, how they love to pretend they are fearful and endangered...  "I'm afraid" is actually a kind of Tumblr trump card. It's all so sad, so pathetic...

Look, here's the sad fact: no one is trying to "silence" you. Your whole system of categories is confused. These people do not see you as political opponents. They do not respect you enough to see you as political opponents. They despise you. You nauseate them. Because they don't like the way you look. You are an object of ridicule to them. They are, at heart, no different than, say, racists. They are nauseated by the appearance of certain people, and they're bad enough human beings that they're willing to act on their dislike.

Except for the pizza dude. He's probably just a smart-ass. Maybe a prick, maybe just insufficiently empathetic. Maybe he's just 18...but I repeat myself... Whatever. But he's definitely not "telling you he knows where you live" nor any such thing.

This is all worse, of course. And I understand if people would rather tell themselves the political myth about hatred and battle than face the crappy reality of the situation, the contempt and ridicule. I really do understand.

But this whole orientation of the the internet left threatens to infect seriously liberalism. This myth-spinning masquerading as political analysis needs to be exposed for what it is.

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