Ahhh, summertime. A season of bbqs, bikinis, swimming pools, fireflies, packaged meat slurry and the incessant trolling of the Yahoo news comments sections. What? Like you don't do that during the slow summer work week? Liar!
In truth it never occurred to me how entertaining/soul crushing it would be to read the accompanying comments left by the Joe and Jane the plumbers out there until one day recently I came upon an article about the legalization of gay marriage in my home state. Flush with excitement I read news article after news article about this great step forward in civil rights. As I scrolled down on the Yahoo news story I saw the top most comment which received something like 157 "thumbs up" and it was something supportive and positive so I got optimistic and read the second, third, fourth and fifth comments, each one getting less supportive and more, let's just say utterly bigoted. I've long known that the anonymity of the internet gives people the green light to be the biggest assholes they have in their power to be, but I suppose I naively never really gave it much thought. Conversely, I also didn't really consider the fact that posting anonymously on message boards of news articles would be like a vortex, the magnetism of which is fueled by each conflicting comment, a verbal cesspool of stupidity if you will. And, apparently, I did.
Don't get me wrong, it isn't like I set up a Yahoo user account for the sole purpose of replying to the comments of bigots and ignorami (GREAT band name). Nope. Did not do that at all. It also isn't like I spent about 2 hours of precious sleeping time reading all the responses to the article, which numbered in the thousands. Nope. And don't for a second think that I will regret never getting that time back again for as long as I live or that I felt unwashed for a few hours afterwards. No siree.
Don't plan an intervention...yet. I am not an internet troll...yet. But each time I read a comment, written solely for the purpose of riling I feel my arms getting longer and my feet getting hairier and I suddenly have an unquenchable desire to find a big wooden club and go around smashing things in the virtual landscape of the comments section. So I guess the cheap ploys of internet trolls work on me to an extent. But honestly? How many times can one read, without any regard to subject matter of the article, that our current president is a socialist? I swear, the other day I was reading something about how there is a bill pending that will allow more space for chickens being raised for their eggs (the current space they are given by most poultry farms is unconscionable, btw) and I could comfortably say that 15% of the comments indicated that OBAMA IS A SOCIALIST. Even if you (inexplicably) think that, just why you are commenting that on an article about chicken space is a mystery to me. It also makes me a wee bit stabby. What is worse: that those comments have any effect on me to begin with or that I keep going back? Perhaps this is the transformation period that occurs when an everywoman gets bitten by a troll, thus becoming a troll herself. Classic story.
I also just realized that this very blog has a comments section! I don't, however, have enough readers for this post to become a bitter irony...yet!