November 25, 2012 by Frank Margarella
The internet was hypothesized to be the pinnacle of human tolerance, understanding, and intelligence. With the barriers to planet-wide information sharing nullified, humans could have garnered world peace and and loving-kindness. If Freakazoid has taught us anything, though, this is not the case.
Go on any forum in which people aren’t required to disclose their names (although ones that do require names can be subject to this), and you’ll be greeted with bigotry, misogyny, victim-blaming, flame wars, and just plain cruelty. It was from the internet that the artform of “trolling” appeared. Trolling, for those of you dipshitted enough to fall for their sometimes-clever-but-usually-retarded antics, is the act of saying or doing things with the sole intention of making people angry.
Are you Atheist? See how many people are spewing “God: 1, Atheists: 0” posts on 4chan and try not to get angry at their illogical nature. Are you black? Try your best to make sure no one finds that out; it’s always lynching season just below the surface of the web. Do you have any opinion on anything ever? Might as well shut your Gateway off and begin slamming your genitalia with a ball-peen hammer; it’s an easier pain to deal with.
Many would point to this and cry, “It’s the end of the world!” and “FUCK YOU, YOU LITTLE BITCH! I bet you’re some stupid twelve year old. I’m six foot ten and I can kick your faggot ass.” You know, the common reactions to trolling: anger. But, consider the following:
Glancing at the title to remind yourself why you’re even here, you may ask me, oh nonexistent reader, “What does this have to do with 4chan creating buddhas?”
I was just getting to that, you impatient prick.
Find someone you know who spends a lot of time on 4chan. You know them; they’re sunken eyed and pasty. I want you to stand behind them while they browse the imageboard (make sure they know you’re there). When they inevitably deviate to /gif/ for their porn fix, redirect them back to /b/. Watch what happens when they come across a troll thread (read: every thread) that conflicts with their personal view. Do they get angry, furiously clacking away at their most likely cum-stained keyboard to develop letters and words into a fiery retort? If the answer is yes, you haven’t found the 4chan addict I was mentioning. What you found was a newfag. Get an oldfag (warning: most newfags delude themselves into believing they’re oldfags). Then repeat the process.
If your oldfag smirks, manages a laugh that sounds like a hiccup with their wobbly throats, and then continues to scroll down the page, then congrats! You’ve just been demonstrated the zen-like principals of the internet.
The way trolling works, as stated above, is to say something both ridiculous and yet believable that will make most, if not all, readers feel an intense burning in their chest and whiplash out furious remarks. Slobber may or may not be involved.
To the recurring reader, though, they’ve grown accustomed to the flame wars and the trollings. They see something blasphemous and, instead of lashing out, they understand that getting angry solves nothing, ignore the childish attention-crying, and move on their merry way.
How many atheists do you know that can take someone shouting in their face, “If there’s no god, then who wrote the bible? God: 1, Atheists: 0” without having to angrily correct them? The fact that there are so many people now that can just shrug off such inane anger-bait is a sign that we may very well be heading to that supposed Intellectual Übermensch that was theorized before the dawn of the information age.
The idea of the internet enlightenment is not dead yet; it’s probably just going to take a bit longer and more trolling than we thought.