Sunday, April 3, 2016

Trolling America

As you know I never talk about politics here, except when I talk about politics, which is most of the time, because everything has politics. Fortunately one doesn't have to always see the politics, sort of like everyone is meat, but we need not really focus in on that aspect, unless maybe there are a lot of cannibals in the area.

Which brings us to today's topic.

Much as I've tried to avoid it people keep asking me to explain the Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Is this because of my diverse international following? Is this because I am so reliable an interpreter of the cultural moment? Is it because I am the last clear voice of a shattered Internet and Trump is a product, strangely, of the Internet and its hunger for round the clock spectacle? Or is it because as writer of this blog I live in a strange fantasy world where everything I say is speculated upon and discussed, and millions of people take their inspiration and clarification from me like I am coffee incarnate?

Probably one of those.

So I will explain Donald Trump.

Out here on the Internet we have Trolls. I think you know all about them, but I'll briefly explain anyway. On nearly every subject and in every public commentary running richly through the Internet you will find Trolls, people who say things primarily for the extreme reactions, emotions, and disturbance they can provoke. There is a burn down everything nihilism to trolldom, yes, but there is a self aggrandizing protest to it too. The troll says that not only don't they like some singer we're all reading about, or listening to, for instance, but they also hate feeling so small, so unable to have a voice, so bitter about being just one voice, when so many other voices seem so big and authoritative out on the Internet. So they troll. Their voice grows in significance as dozens of attentions focus in on them and emotion swirls. It's a nasty mischief, uncaring, but it gets some vote across while remaining immune from argument because every furious argument against it expresses its victory.

So is Donald Trump a troll? Eh, a little, or a lot, sometimes, but that is not the point really. The point is that most of the votes for Donald Trump are troll votes. At this point a large percentage of the Republican Party voters are trolls. Donald Trump is the first great candidate of the trolls. And so easy! You just cast your vote for him and watch the people explode around you. And it's beautiful, if you're a troll, because it's undiscerning. A vote for Trump even trolls Republicans. If you're the kind of person who finds it amusing and exciting to toss an outrageous comment into an Internet discussion imagine how Trump seems: it's like the whole world is some bullshit discussion full of lies and manipulation and false righteousness, and you throw Trump into it and you can watch it all go nuts.

The only real surprise is that there are so many trolls in America. I thought the billy goats kept them under control.


  1. When my family sailed, we sometimes trolled, which means to put a fishing lure at the end of the line, and drag it a ways from the boat. The fish--usually a mackerel, but sometimes a barracuda--will mistake the lure for a fish, and viola! But it was hard to succeed. Most of the time we didn't catch anything. I wonder if we had a Tump lure if more fish would have struck. Nah, I don't think so. Fish are pretty basic: they eat what they need, they swim, they play, they look around. Wait, I'm not sure if they play, but they love music.

    1. This may be slightly off topic. Perhaps you are trolling? But it all seems too innocent and friendly for that.

      Well I sailed with your family. And while the whole sail over in my memory is blurred by my heavy doses of anti seasick drugs, I remember we (well, your dad) caught a bonita, I think. It's all very hazy. And I seem to recall that he sold the fish to one of the Catalina Island restaurants. Could that be so?

      Of course, to return to trolling, the great episode of that trip was when Gregg Ficks overheard a neighboring table at a restaurant making fun of a talk show host, John Davidson, and interrupted them to say he was Gregg Davidson, John Davidson's son. Do you remember that?

      I think we saw dolphins as well. That was a nice trip.

  2. OMG I remember that now that you bring it up! Thank you. Interesting how memory works, how little threads stay and others go until someone reminds you. Sometimes in writing that happens, too.


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