There are so many news stories about “trolls” on the internet.
First of all, I’m really put off by the media’s definition of “troll” as someone who spews vitriol online. That’s not actually what a troll is.
Trolling is a fishing term. The term is derived from this term, not a “troll under the bridge” type of troll. “Trolling is a method of fishing where one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or bait fish, are drawn through the water.” How does this translate to the internet slang term? What you do when trolling is throw out some line that is not something that you actually believe. Like if I believe that grapes are the best fruit ever, but go to a forum about how great grapes are and say “grapes suck” to elicit a negative response from fellow grape lovers. That’s not quite the same thing as making fun of someone, or just being rude under the guise of anonymity that the internet gives. It is very specifically saying something you don’t believe to elicit a response from someone before they think about it. It’s to bait someone else into saying something they might not necessarily believe to make them look like an idiot.
People who just say rude nonsense online to others are just tools. Most of these people who spew “vaccines gave my baby autism” or “black people are so violent and stupid” are generally not trolls. They actually believe these things, and the internet is the only place they can get away with saying it without being slapped.
On another note, Michelle Bachmann makes me feel physically ill when she speaks. I caught only a single minute of the CNN debate the other night and there’s a good chance that my stomach is irreparably damaged. I’m not just saying that for the sake of witty hyperbole, I actually feel awful just thinking about it.
Rick Perry is pretty insane, but believing that 12 year olds should have the opportunity to get an HPV vaccine– and opt out if they don’t think it’s a good idea– is hardly absurd. There are many stories about the HPV vaccine making a very small number of girls sick, that is true, but the numbers aren’t much different than any vaccine. Bachmann is absolutely crazy to deny someone else’s children the right to a vaccine, but the fact that she would not want even her own children to be given the HPV vaccine speaks to how shortsighted she is. You would rather not have the “birds and the bees” discussion with your 12 year old due to your shortcomings as a parent than possibly prevent your child from getting a nearly undetectable-before-it’s-too-late cancer later in life? How truly sad. Not so much sad that she believes in these things herself and that her children will grow up to believe these things, but says them more to appeal to a mass of people larger than 20 that actually believes this as well.
I cannot imagine what it must be like growing up and believing something my whole life, coming to find out in late adulthood that everything I’ve ever believed was wrong, and choosing instead to continue to spread such blatant untruth lest I might be a little embarrassed merely for the fact that I were wrong once about something. No, definitely makes more sense to just keep the lies going to save face.
Now that’s some great trolling.