Short disclaimer before I begin this discourse: I have been known to troll from time to time, but I limit my trolling to slashdot and do not even troll there any more because, ironically, the place is overrun with trolls. I will occasionally slip into troll mode on everything, but if I do, I do so as demonstration and clearly state that I am doing or have done so. I have no intention of adding more coals to an already well-stoked fire. Thanks also to Troll for a recent writeup of his that reminded me of an art I'd forgotten about.
The key feature of art
is that it is creative expression
that elicits emotion
is considered a form of art. Nobody would argue that the poems of Poe
or the famous Thomas Hardy
mysteries... Oops - troll mode again - Hardy was a poet, The Hardy Boys
were the players in detective fiction
. Anyway, nobody would argue that Shakespeare
is not art. It is all creative writing that elicits emotion.
Trolling is no different in any way whatsoever. Like the other arts, it comes more naturally to some people than it does to others. You look around, you come to know your compatriot
s, you participate in active, honest
discussion. And after you know their habits, eventually that whisper in the back of your head. It's a voice. "You know these guys here at slashdot
really hate Big Business
and they just love Free Software
, and here they are talking about how Free Software helped create the internet
." You know they're right, but before you can stop yourself you blurt out, "You know Open Source is great for getting ideas flowing, but until you have a corporation
actually get in there and build and market it, it rarely actually amounts to anything." And you find yourself thinking, "What the hell
was that?! Even if I honestly believed it, they'd never buy it. Best to just fess up now." But that little whisper has taken control and now controls your powers of speech. "Sure some defense eggheads had the idea of the huge neural network, but it was AT&T
that actually built the damn thing. They wrote UNIX
, too, that operating system you love so much. You owe your whole livelihood
to Big Business." But it doesn't stop there.
Soon you find you are telling the Christian
about how evolution
and the Big Bang
are concrete fact
, and then relaying her (as women are the less intelligent sex - shit, doing it again, sorry) -- their replies to the devout atheist
as your own misguided pagan (sorry!) beliefs. You are a godless Marxist revolutionary
among the gun-toting, bible thumping hicks (shit - sorry, sorry) and an NRA
-member among the communist Democrats
(sorry). You are vehemently opposed or staunchly in favor of abortion, depending entirely upon your present company.
And then, when the whisper has gone, you are free to face the horrible consequences.
But there is that glee. It is not the glee of a sadist
(or a masochist
for that matter), at enciting the hatred of others, but the glee that your words have charged a person's emotions, made them again conscious that they are alive. In their turning on you, you too feel emotion. The same emotions as your audience. You are, as they are, conscious of the blood flowing through your veins, of the sweat on your brow, of the air in your lungs, of the fragility and necessity of life. Emotions are base things - suited for your survival, and so infinitely more powerful than logic
in their affect upon us. So it is for that taste that the troll, nay, the artist
So I'll admit it. I am an artist. I write music, poetry, stories, I paint, I draw. And damn it, I troll, too.
artists are manipulators. And we're never understood.