Suggested Audio Jukebox ♬
 Talk Talk Life’s What You Make It
 Foreigner Cold As Ice
 Kevin MacLeod Killers
 Spineshank Tear Me Down
I count myself decidedly fortunate with regards to the people I’ve been exposed to during my forty-three-year stint on planet earth. On the whole, I’ve found mankind to be rather a cordial cluster of fruit and nuts, and seldom have I felt it necessary to loathe another solitary soul. Perhaps I was conceived beneath a lucky star and it has continued to watch vigilantly over me as I’ve made the transition from boy to man and eventually back to boy again relatively unscathed. Let’s not twist the billy goat’s gruff here, there are a couple of undesirables for whom karma is more than entitled to do its very worst as far as I’m concerned and both worryingly live within my very zip code. However, rotten eggs aside, all other Homo sapiens are more than welcome to continue breathing and far be it from me to cast judgement without first having all the facts at my disposal. Live and let live is what I say, each to their own, and I offer my full endorsement to express themselves in whichever manner they deem fit.
That’s not to suggest that certain types don’t make my dick and balls itch and this irritation seems to be provoked by those further up the food chain than kindly algae such as myself. Politicians are generally a tough bunch to adulate and their ranks largely consist of privately educated pencil nosed yes men/women who don’t give a solitary hoot whether their policies fuck things up for the working classes as long as their kind are taken care of.
They make false promise upon false promise, which ordinarily consist of the moon on the stick or something similarly pie in the sky, and the very moment we vote them into parliament, they pour themselves a tumbler of malt whiskey and promptly raise our taxes. I always wondered why I haven’t the faintest interest in political agenda and it would likely have something to do with the dicks with ears who miraculously keep finding their way into congress. Have they not watched The Planet of The Apes? It may seem like a harmlessly entertaining sci-fi epic but who is to say that it’s not premonition, a stark warning of where humanity will wind up if we don’t get our house in order pronto.
Tabloid journalists and the dreaded paparazzi are no less despicable a breed in my opinion. Granted, there are exceptions to the rule, but I struggle to comprehend their basic mission statement as it entails spreading Chinese whispers and brainwashing the population into sharing their disconcertingly bleak outlook. Bullshit propaganda, he said she said, and blatant mistruths make up their column inches and the most terrifying fact is that many of us actually buy into their hateful blathering and donate our pocket change to their insipid cause.
Apologies to any members of the press who don’t roll like ‘dat, but the general consensus is that their speculative drivel isn’t worth the paper its printed on. I haven’t purchased a daily rag for over twenty years now and would think twice before using these rancid publications to dislodge the excrement from my sneakers. Of course, it’s ultimately the executives at the top of the tree pulling the strings and I’m sure the lion’s share of their muculent minions entered into this vocation with grand designs on making the world better. But somewhere along the line, souls change hands for cash, and it can only ever be downhill from there.
One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument
So there are just a couple of examples of the human race at its most diabolical but they’re not actually the reason I’ve concocted this vial of rant today. You see, something evil lurks within our midst and they’re every bit as odious as the aforementioned grunge mongers. I’m speaking of course about trolls and get ready to roll those eyes as I’m sure we’re all more than familiar with this particularly contemptible cack-pedaling collective. Using the worldwide web as their virulent vessel, they merrily devote their free time to making others feel utterly worthless, and this astonishingly appears to be their sole directive.
Having already survived the school bullies by the skin of our teeth, we would be forgiven for expecting an easier ride once we come of age, but this sickness seems to be the natural progression. Moreover, while ruffians tend not to tail us into our homes and beat on us some more, trolls are little more than a few harsh characters away at any given moment and foul up social networks with their inhospitable remarks. Indeed, just this very afternoon, I caught a whiff of such treachery and it was directed at one of my most cherished friends so, needless to say, I was tempted to leap atop my soap box and publicly dress this cretin down.
However, being the tree-hugging hippie that I am, I opted instead merely to make them aware that they were dancing about my radar as slanging matches will never be my style. Should things continue to escalate, then I shall rethink my stance, and I’ve got a can of premium whoop at the ready in case they fail to take the hint as I won’t allow one of my own to be subjected to treatment so wholly unflavorsome. It did get me thinking though as to what drives these deviants on to do what they do and here’s what I came up with on the fly.
Most of us gravitate towards those who share our positive attitude and, while life can have a habit of dousing our feathers in tar once in a while, we’re determined not to succumb to the dreaded “negative outlook”. The thing is, it takes all sorts, and there are those amongst us who despise nothing more than witnessing others engaging in joyful pursuits. Evidently they’re not happy campers but, if cheek dimples are not forthcoming for them, then they’ll do their darndest to ensure that others are just as miserable too. If it’s true that a building is only as strong as its foundations, then the squalid house of cards they construct around themselves is diarrhetic from the ground up.
So why the big obsession with shit flinging anyhoots? Granted, the monkeys make it look like a mildly diverting exercise, but it’s all fun and games until some poor bastard contracts E.coli. The thing about trolls is that they tend not to consider the ramifications of their actions, either that, or they simply don’t care. As long as they’re spreading a little misery to the masses, then job’s a good ‘un as far as they’re concerned. Given that the internet is so difficult to police effectively, they’re generally granted immunity, and left to run amok without fear of being penalized.
Thus they continue to post their inflammatory comments, gatecrash chat rooms, and try their level best to provoke as many people as they possibly can, each time they log in. I’ve actually been fortunate and, in over three years of using social networks as a platform to exhibit my work, have only come across two of these heinous hobgoblins. However, I’m very aware that others haven’t been quite so fortunate and, when you consider this platform is intended as a sanctuary from the frustrations of everyday life, it breaks my heart to see that compromised by a few deluded undesirables.
To stand any hope of beating a troll, we must first understand what drives them to do what they do and it appears we have Norwegians Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe to thank for offering an early heads-up on their shenanigans back in the nineteenth century. My education came courtesy of Three Billy Goats Gruff, a fairy tale that has stood the test of time and reinforces what our parents drum into us about not straying too far from the well-trodden path.
The troll in their fable comes a cropper after doing the typically cowardly thing of threatening the most defenceless of the trio first before repeating for his slightly plumper associate. However, after eventually plucking up the minerals to tackle plumpest of all suitor number three, he comes frightfully unstuck, is sent careering into the stream below, and swiftly carried away by the currents. There’s a clue in here for any trolls in training as, while the easy looking targets may appear to be banking on the old “eat-me-when-I’m-fatter” line to save their hides, there’s a good chance they’ll know others more than capable of fucking your shit up and you may be about to learn a little something about regret.
Anyhoots, after learning of this one-sided fight, things fell eerily silent for a number of years and it appeared that trolls had got the idea. That was until 1990 when Italian director Claudio Fragasso decided to give these shadow lurkers another shot. The result was an unrelated sequel to John Carl Buechler’s fair-to-middling 1986 fantasy film Troll and, without question, one of the most laughably inept movies ever committed to celluloid. It appeared there was no way back from there until something completely unprecedented occurred and it started to amass a hefty cult following.
I hold my hands up on this count as, while cringeworthy in the übermost extreme, it’s also more fun than a sack of randy ferrets and I can’t help but hold a special place in my heart for Fragasso’s travesty. Make no mistake, it sucks on so many levels that it’s positively scary, but the term “so bad it’s good” has rarely been more applicable. That said, if Claudio is expecting an honorary hand job any time soon, then his wait will be a long one as trolls worldwide gained tremendous confidence from this turnabout in fortunes and were no longer content to hang back in the shadows like the dirty little secrets they are.
So you see, the Italian was unwittingly responsible for the entire resurgence and suddenly trolls became hot topic once more. With Troll 2 enjoying its new lease of life and social networking becoming increasingly commonplace, any budding hobgoblins started to get designs on reinvention and were no longer required to skulk beneath bridges to go about their underhand work. Granted, they may not openly parade their identities chanting “I’m a troll, fol-dee-rol”, but they really ain’t that difficult to pinpoint from a country mile off as they cannot help but disrupt the natural order at every opportunity.
Online harassment is everywhere we look nowadays and doesn’t end with personal attacks either. Some trolls may be satisfied with singling one person out in particular, attempting to infiltrate their circle, and making their lives a living hell but others take things to a whole different level of wrong. Targeting internet tribute sites in order to torment grieving families is way beyond excusable and highlights just how out of control trolling has become in recent times.
So what do we do to combat this? Well anyone who knows me will be aware that I prefer not to conduct my business publicly when it involves differences in interests. I didn’t hatch from my ovium to create waves, dish out negative vibes, or engage in one-upmanship as I left that shit behind way back at adolescence and never much cared for it then either truth be known. It just isn’t my way and I’ll take every measure possible not to place myself in that situation as it’s ultimately damaging for both parties involved.
That said, something needs to happen to halt these vile cunts in their tracks as, for all their seemingly unshakeable swagger, trolls are still unquestionably in the minority and can be silenced if we all stand unified. If that sounds like fighting talk then I guess it kind of is but that’s not to suggest that I’m polishing my cuirass as we speak. You see, what it generally boils down to is a desperate need for attention and the very moment their rods are cast and it results in a bite amounts to a small victory in their tiny little minds.
By electing not to react in any way, shape or form, the options at their disposal greatly diminish. Boredom is only ever a dozen or so shuns away for any bully, be it in the schoolyard or the more far-reaching playground that social media affords them. After repeatedly failing to provoke a response from their victims, there’ll be little choice but to concede defeat and move on to pastures new. My advice would therefore be this: block communications if it feels necessary, report their asses to the powers that be when they really step out of line but do so while playing them at their own wretched game and with your very best poker faces activated.
Give them an inch and they’ll instinctively pinch another, refuse to tune into their wavelength and the dead air will soon grow tiresome. It worked for Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street and, by turning her back on her dream weaving antagonist, he was rendered pretty much null and void. Not that it helped Tina, Rod, or Glen a great deal but at least she finally got in some decent shut-eye before Freddy could arrange that rematch.
By the same token, while certain that trolls will find some other way of causing unrest amongst the masses in due course, any legwork involved will be theirs not yours. If that’s really the way that they wish to leave their footprints, then I’m happy to endorse them knocking themselves out as it’s their precious time being frittered worthlessly at close of play. There’s an ancient children’s rhyme that hits the nail dead centre – Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Whether clichéd or not matters less than a jot as the message couldn’t be louder or clearer.
Trolls can feel free to call me every expletive under the sun, make abusive observations until their rancid maws froth, and aim their verbal blows as low as they see fit for all I care. But I needn’t sustain a solitary abrasion by simply turning a deaf ear. Besides, thanks to those Three Billy Goats Gruff, I’m now aware of their preferred hangouts and can take an enormous steaming dump in their hotspots (peanuts inclusive) if the mood takes me. Failing that, I’ve got Freddy Krueger on speed dial and reckon he’ll slide a horse’s head beneath their sheets while they’re sleeping if I slip old crispy chops a twenty. Sweet dreams my trolling fiends and one last thing before I request an almighty amen – fol-dee-rol this motherfuckheads.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Grueheads Films 2016