Jolt: Uncalled-for and Snide Comments: Trolls here and in real life!

With any luck – and a good following wind! – at least one Troll will read this and get a jolt!

Most of us who write in the public arena get visitations from Trolls (and, one assumes, Trollerinas). I tend to rant and rave and get all aggressive – verbally! – in return, or indulge in humorous scathe.

Sue Vincent, friend and fellow blogger, shows a far better response to Incursion by Irritating and Insulting Under the Bridge Dweller in her morning post. Do read it! It is brilliant!

Sadly, as we all know, Trolls are not just anonymous nuisances who prey upon our internet sites with their darting moves and grammatically incorrect persiflage and sheer unpleasantness. People we know can also hurt us with the Just-Hidden-Troll set of moves. They tend to have far higher IQs than the on-line variety and are very hard to catch because they claim that their poisonous asides and slighting comments are either a joke or a necessary tool to reduce our rampant egotism.

I was Trolled in real life a couple of years ago. It was horrible, really distressing, because the person concerned was, on paper at least, a friend of some years’ standing. Caustic comments flew my way, along with blatant attempts to exclude me. I was talked over. Anything I said became a battle of One-up-man-ship. Any opinion I gave was challenged and, most commonly, deemed wrong-headed and stupid. I was laughed at and made to feel like a complete coward. It was vile.

At the time, I was so busy fending off tears and blaming myself that it didn’t occur to me to ask the obvious questions: ‘Why me?’ and ‘Why now?’

Now, my contention may annoy some people reading this – but, hell, I am going there anyway! Trolls, in my opinion anyway, attack because they are envious. They seek to destroy that which they – secretly or overtly – wish they possessed. They are rarely able to access their own sense of low self-worth, often claiming that they know everything and have been everywhere. They are intensely competitive and can top anything you happen to mention with a far superior example.

Competitiveness often spikes the wheels even of the closest friendship. It is, however, usually managed and softened by self-awareness and genuine love of the other. We all feel lesser at times, and envy our friends their relative good luck, or money, or significant other (or whatever it is) – but the bond of friendship allows us to leap such feelings and prise out the genuine delight in another’s good fortune.

So, going back to my visible Troll, what had shifted things so that amity turned into a form of bullying? What had changed the status quo that year, that time? I say this because all connections exist in a state of balance – and fallings-out often occur when one member of the group appears to have risen far higher on the scales than the others.

Very simple answer to this one: I had published five novels. For some reason, this was seen as borderline unforgivable and certainly, I suspect, evidence of unacceptable big-headed-ness. I needed, of course, to be brought back down to earth and shown that I was less than nothing; that my achievements were small indeed and that this other was capable of far better.

It was a sustained and concentrated ‘attack’ upon my sense of self – and, for a while, it succeeded. I felt incredibly scared and got at and lower than the lowest creature. I began to see my five novels as examples of showing off and dubious talent.

But, once the clouds cleared and logic reasserted itself, I could see the Green-eyed Monster lurking all too prominently in the other’s soul. I could see that – comparatively speaking! – I, who had always played second fiddle in this connection, had been made the leader of the orchestra, albeit a very small local affair!

I do wonder this, however: What do people who indulge in constant nastiness to others tell themselves as justification? How do they square their consciences with such behaviour? Whether they are sneaking in at dead of night, and depositing a verbal turd upon the bed of a sleeping blogger or firing a snide-bomb at a known target, the same rules and motivation apply: They are unsheathing their claws because they feel, at some very deep level, inadequate; they feel that they are only safe if they come out on top – and, if that means destroying others along the way (or attempting such a course of action), so be it.

Trolls are cowards. All of them. You may be surprised by my use of this word because, surely, those who go on the attack are not afraid. Think again. Trolls go on the offensive because they are too cowardly to face their own envy and insecurity and lack of self-esteem. They attack because something in our relative success stirs the broth of jealousy and fear to such an extent that they cannot bear it any longer. They attack because, to them, our small joys and innocent pleasures are construed as a deliberate slight, and a battle for supremacy, to them – and they cannot stand it.


Looking for someone/thing to hate?

A comment on Facebook by a good friend of mine this morning has made me clap my hands in agreement – and shudder privately at the implications behind the statement.

You see, our Trolling Community (whichever the Social Site it visits) exists for one reason only: To act through hatred, perverted sexual desire or contempt.

As with bullies everywhere, Trolls do not come neatly packaged with all the trolloid accoutrements and ‘I’m a Troll, Fol de Rol – and I’ll have you for my supper!’ warbling from their misshapen lips.

They look like you. They look like me. They blend seamlessly in with the crowd. They are friends of friends. They are the people who claim they have five contacts in common with us. They appear from nowhere, and go back to – one assumes – a foetid culvert in Fungus, the Bogeyman, territory…

What, to me, is most sinister, is their one-track-mindedness; the way they look for things which will stir their mighty cauldron of hatred and twisted desire. Thus, they will descend upon a discussion (which has nothing to do with them, and into which they were not invited) and start flinging the grenades of gratuitous violence around as if they were sweeties, or the inappropriately suggestive comments, or the hard sell.

They are poisonous abscesses just waiting to erupt – and they choose vulnerability, or kindness, as their exploding point. They feel, in some way I have never understood, that knowing the online persona we all present gives them the right to tell us and our friends off; to get nasty about things we write and to sow seeds of nastiness wherever they go.

I think they choose their material with chilling deliberation – and actively go after those who are clearly (as I am) unwilling to get into heated arguments in the wake of each blog post.

They look, as I have said more than once, for types, if you will (people whose beliefs or sexuality or attitudes are part of their prejudice package) and then read those individual’s comments and posts and statuses with a view to increasing their own fury at the world.

They pick on anyone who has a faith. They swarm like ants all over anyone whose gender orientation is different from their own. They respect no one’s opinion but their own.

But it is the inappropriate levels of rage or sexual desire that mark these people out. They have a hair-trigger response which is usually completely out of order and has little to do with the post/status you have written. They are the online equivalent of the thug who starts a fight after accusing you of looking at him/her the wrong way.

An apt analogy as it happens: Trolls have what I call a sense of evil egotistical entitlement. They labour under the illusion that every post/status is written with them in mind, and that the writer is deliberately trying to wind them up or turn them on. This, in their minds, gives them the right to retaliate, either with sleaze or verbal thuggery.

Since they assume at all times that you are squaring up to, or coming on to, them, their kick-back seems totally justified in their minds – and you deserve all you get for pressing their nuclear buttons!

How can you spot them? Easy! They do not actually READ what you have written, just go off on one after skimming the key words! They read each piece pawing at the ground and with the plumes of lustful or raging smoke bellowing from their trollish nostrils, just wait to plunge a horn into your literary red rag – Oh! and they wouldn’t recognise humour if they shat on it!

After having one of these creatures descending upon my words, I am often left with a kind of baffled, ‘What the fuck was all that about?!!’ response: A, ‘Why did that trigger such an explosive reaction?’

I have been almost completely silent on Facebook recently (though my posts still land upon its troubled shores), shocked and paralysed after the River Rocket Rampage (as I call it!). Brief summary: I wrote a post in which I argued that the Olivers (and anyone else) had the right to call their children whatever they liked, whether other individuals agreed with their choice or not, without having to put up with online abuse.

This post, on reaching Facebook, stirred many to agreement – and then, out of the blue, a woman arrived and started throwing insults my way: ‘Fucking bitch…’ she called me and asked who the hell I thought I was.

Her whole demeanour appeared, to me, to suggest that she thought I’d written this post just to rile her up, to press her buttons, to make her furious.

It was extremely intimidating (and very like that gang of girls who, forty-six years ago, attacked me on a bus because they said I’d been staring at them) – and completely uncalled-for.

People do not have an automatic right to take others to task, often viciously, because they have, inadvertently, triggered a hidden wound. I see more and more of this kind of thing on Facebook: People who disagree with another’s words (in itself, fair enough) and then unleash the Dogs of War upon the other, and start barking, snapping, biting and going for the jugular.

What the fuck?!

If you are looking for someone/thing to hate (or lust after), try a punchbag in a properly set-up boxing studio, or go and see a Lady of Negotiable Affection. Stop assuming that a writer, who almost certainly doesn’t know you from Adam (or Eve), is doing this to you with malign intent!

We aren’t! We have better things to do with out creative talents than luring in, or fending off, Trolls!


Do I get a lot of Spam?!! A HUMOROUS rant!

Is the Pope a Catholic? Do bears crap in the woods? Or possibly vice-versa!

Now is the time to recharge my choleric batteries with a damn good rant! Warning: Do not read if you either are, once were, once ate or once played with a TROLL, as my outspoken comments may offend!

Much of my recent Spam has, in fact, been illiterate Trolls – and, not to be sexist about this, Trollesses/Trollerinas – asking me if I have suffered from excessive Spam of late!

Yes, You Egregious Under-the-Bridge-Dwelling Twats, I have! From YOU! Why, in Billy Goat Gruff’s name, don’t you get a job, a blow-up doll-troll, a f***ing life?

Yesterday morning, I got twice as many Spam comments as I did hits – and, to make it worse, one incoherent cretin (clearly translating from Ancient Trollish as he went along) slipped through the Akismet Net twice, which meant I had to plough through his nonsensical bollocks on two tedious occasions. I still have absolutely no idea what this wazzock was on about! Could have been a Mead Hall saga about Grendel’s Mother, for all I know!

Blogging’s come to a pretty pass when the Trolls are outnumbering the genuine visitors twenty to one.

Can’t we just leave the poor bloody badgers alone and cull the Trolls instead?!


This is what they imagine they look like!

In your dreams, Trolls!

Reality below:


Let’s be frank: I used to suck/plait/wash these little buggers’ hair for fun, and twist their bloody annoying little heads off when I was bored – or shove a pencil up their posteriors and write with them.

Be warned, Trolls!