Yet another die-jobbed, fake-tanned, white, privileged, angry person saying outrageous and hateful things that make no sense and are sincerely disturbing is taking the media by storm, again. I could be talking about a number of people, because it is weirdly common. This happens a lot. And it has been happening for a long time.
There is a reason, well two. For starters, some people are sincerely crazy – cannibalism crazy. And I’m sorry for that level of illness, because on some level it really isn’t them. Something truly is wrong with that individual’s wiring that drives them to want to hurt and physically consume someone. Trolls (internet commentators or more main-stream media personas) hurt and consume people in a more passive or metaphorical way, but it is a similar illness in its root. Some kind of strange deep internal suffering causes it.
The other reason is that they make money. Attention is a commodity. The more time you spend looking at a website the more money they make in ads. Outrageous pieces that offend or support a certain party gets views, likes, comments and shares – which means advertising dollars. Books the say insanely hateful things sell really well when people are talking about the person that wrote it. Even if you are complaining, the more you say the person’s name, the more people ignite excitement and interest. Free advertising! And don’t forget the old saying: “An enemy of an enemy is a friend of mine.” Sometimes people will support a person, without actually agreeing with them, simply because they hate a group that hates that particular person. Pissing off your enemy (or perceived enemy) is a joy for some. So, the more you overtly disavow the actions and words of a particular troll, the more you turn them into a powerful money-maker through the attention they get online, on TV, and through the products they sell that people will want to check out.
Stop feeding them! What they say is not ok, but stop talking about it so much. We need to know what the news is and be informed, but pull back. Resist the urge to be outraged by people who are seeking attention for profit and power. Recognize a troll is a troll and actively feed an amazing person instead. Don’t let being a troll be an effective career move by turning the troll into a celebrity. Actively go out a purchase something from someone you respect and admire for their goodness, love or talent. Tell people about their product, book, or service. Let people know why that person is so wonderful. Let them know that they are wonderful. Monetarily empower people who you feel deserve it and acknowledge the fact that talking about someone is (even when it is an insult) a form of promoting someone and pushing their name into the forefront. Get out and buy art, locally made products from nice people, and books made by people who promote social justice and healthy communities. Speak out against hate without making someone the face of it, otherwise that gives them all the power.
Buy what you want to see more of with your dollars and feed what you want to see more of in the news with your browsers airtime. Go shopping and gossip about good stuff instead. 🙂
If you find yourself upset and engaged with a troll, don’t worry. Here are a few tips to disengage and get back to being happy, healthy, and productive again.