Troll so hard

It’s said that while the first Velvet Underground album may have sold only 30,000 copies in its early years, everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band. I hope that, while only 30,000 people read this blog, everyone who reads this blog becomes an accomplished internet troll.

The other day I stopped by the Dish because one of you was complaining about how Sully (or his minions or whoever writes that blog now) was wanking about the assassination of Brendan Eich by the cowardly decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts. The post at the top made me a little sad. They had run some Rickroll April Fools’ joke and now they were reprinting reader responses, most of which were “wow, you really Rickrolled me”. But indeed the other posts were all Moore Awards and fear-mongering about the ugly tactics of dirty hippies.

It got me thinking…my proudest moment as a troll was when I got the Dish to reprint parts of my email about “shooter rushing”. The whole thing I sent was idiotic and obviously fake, but I thought this in particular was a give away:

Believe it or not, there is even a passage in Beowulf involving
“shooter rushing”, albeit with spears. Hengest briefly loses his mind after drinking tainted water and is subdued by a group of unarmed men who run at him.

But apparently it wasn’t!

I think it’s time to declare the first Trollifada, wherein we as a group bombard various serious Burkeans (the Dish is the main one that comes to mind, but there must be other good targets) with ridiculous contrarian emails (or tweets or whatever) and try to get them to run them as if they were sober serious commentary. The emails have to be too stupid for any sensible person to take at face value but not stupid enough for serious Burkeans to recognize as farce. That leaves a pretty big window, as you might imagine.

Here’s some tips. Establish credentials, either by being an expert who bigs to differ with the conventional wisdom of our hippie overlords, or by being even the liberal person who agrees that the left is unfair blah blah blah. This is completely off the top of my head, so it won’t be great but here’s a sample: “I’m a gay liberal Mozilla employee who worked under Eich for several years. He was the best boss I ever had and he never questioned my life style. And the man is both a genius and a humanitarian. The open source browser kernel he wrote (in his spare time!), and freely distributed, is now being used by millions of African children. Right now, I’m ashamed to be a liberal…”and so on

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36 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Mike in NC says:

    I always figured “The Decadent Left” would be a pretty good band name.

  3. 3
    Trentrunner says:

    Or you could just be one of the many people Andrew likely infected with HIV when he was in his “milky loads” hook-up phase.

    But of course, whenever your bring that up, he whinges on about “complex humanity” or some such dodge.

    He really is a horrible, horrible human being.

    Also note that the was 100% behind MSNBC firing Alec Baldwin for Baldwin’s angry slur-laden tirade at a paparazzo.

    He has the consistency of a weather vane and the memory of a fruit fly.

  4. 4
    eldorado says:

    i played bass for trollifada on the ’08 west coast tour

  5. 5
    Porco rosso says:

    Yeah, remember that post about how people don’t think colbert is kidding…

  6. 6
    mattH says:

    @Trentrunner: too bad he outlives that memory

  7. 7
    WaterGirl says:

    I don’t understand how the idea of being a troll is a good thing or is something to aspire to. To me, trolling is a very negative thing, not something to be proud of. I just don’t get it.

  8. 8
    Jamey says:

    Re: The whole Brendan Eich/Mozilla thing:

    I fret over every FB posting and Tweet out of fear that it would jeopardize my professional status. Guys like Brendan Eich who would presume the privilege of not hiring me because I posted something off-color about an abortion clinic bomber back in 2010 surely should understand that his donation to an astroturf group dedicated to denying civil rights to a whole class of people might cause him to do some ‘splainin’ a bit down the road…

    Leaving aside the whole question of “fairness,” seriously, Mr. “I-Invented-Javascript-and-My-Browser-Is-Best-at-Protecting-Privacy,” you of all people should have seen this coming.

  9. 9
    Ecks says:

    @WaterGirl: Trolling is basically about antagonizing people for the sake of antagonizing them. Doug would presumably argue that there are some people worth antagonizing, but this doesn’t even seem to be about that. It seems to be about elaborate attempts to fool people into saying the kinds of things they say anyway…. which doesn’t seem negative to me, so much as just pointless.

  10. 10
    SatanicPanic says:

    Let’s roll! Where’s the first target? Or do we just choose our own?

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    we as a group bombard various serious Burkeans (the Dish is the main one that comes to mind, but there must be other good targets) with ridiculous contrarian emails (or tweets or whatever)

    One little flaw in your plan, DougJ. We’re all you.

  12. 12
    Birthmarker says:

    I think Doug’s way of doing it is humorous, and it amuses Doug. He tries to see how transparent he can be and how outlandish and yet still fool some blowhard. Personally, I love his posts about it. It’s performance art.

  13. 13
    jeffreyw says:

    @WaterGirl: If you look around the table and can’t figure out who he’s trolling, he’s probably trolling you.

  14. 14
    Tractarian says:

    This whole post is full of win. A Balloon Juice call to arms. Thank you Doug.

    @WaterGirl:

    To me, trolling is a very negative thing, not something to be proud of. I just don’t get it.

    Well, there’s trolling, and then there’s trolling. At its subtle best it is a form of art.

  15. 15
    Joey Giraud says:

    My best “troll” was in 2003 on Slate. The issue was the crucifixion of Christ, and my title was “Jesus had it coming.” I listed seven things Christ had done that damaged the Free Market and ran counter to Capitalist Orthodoxy.

    And while it was obviously sarcastic, it wasn’t intended as a troll per-se.

    There were over 1400 responses. Does that qualify as a TBogg unit?

  16. 16
    opiejeanne says:

    @jeffreyw: figured that, since he usually trolls us.

  17. 17
    opiejeanne says:

    @Joey Giraud: I bow to you; that was genius.

  18. 18
    Rex Everything says:

    I actually think Sully is well meaning & not all that bad. His readers/commenters, however, are a bunch of assholes and shitheads. Let’s do it.

  19. 19
    WaterGirl says:

    @Tractarian: Perhaps it’s an acquired taste.

    Edit: I should add that (long ago) I stopped trying to develop a taste for things. First I tried to learn to like yogurt, but it just made me gain weight. Then, I tried to like eggplant because I thought it was so good for you. I made ratatouille so I could mix it in with stuff I loved, got stomach flu and puked it all up. May I say that puking up eggplant does not help in acquiring a taste for it. Then I found out that eggplant has almost no nutritional value – it’s up there with iceberg lettuce, I think. That’s when I said “fuck this” to trying to like something I didn’t like.

  20. 20
    Nick says:

    Tyler Cowen needs it so bad. He’s tough, because (my impression is) he’s actually an intellectually honest Burkean who happens to be a bit blind. But he’s frequently idiotic, and credential-bedazzled, and should be doable.

    Edit: “Soft Libertarians. Some of the most influential bloggers on the right, like Tyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok and Megan McArdle, start from broadly libertarian premises but do not apply them in a doctrinaire way.” – David Brooks

    Oh dear.

  21. 21
    WaterGirl says:

    @jeffreyw: You may be right. It’s like Facebook – if you can’t tell what they’re selling, you’re the product being sold.

  22. 22
    the Conster says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    That’s awesome. Did you save the link? That would be great fun for free form Good Friday.

  23. 23
    WaterGirl says:

    @Joey Giraud: I do have to confess a bit of admiration for that.

  24. 24
    burnspbesq says:

    If this is all you’ve got left, Doug, you’ve reached your sell-by date. Time to move on.

  25. 25
    justawriter says:

    It won’t work. That is because even after it is pointed out to victims that the comments are parody, even if it pointed out by the writer, they will refuse to believe it. After all, the 27 percent believe that deep down, Colbert is one of them.

  26. 26
    different-church-lady says:

    Dude, you’re nuts… it would be like shooter rushing Poe’s Law, albeit with spears.

  27. 27
    different-church-lady says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    There were over 1400 responses. Does that qualify as a TBogg unit?

    Close to three, in fact: 2.8 TBu

  28. 28
    wmd says:

    This post is insulting to trolls everywhere, and I hope you’re found outside of your cave when the sun rises so that you turn to stone.

  29. 29
    patrick II says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Steve Colbert trolls every weekday from 11:30 to midnight. I enjoy it, I am just not sly enough to do it.

  30. 30
    Bob In Portland says:

    I may or may not be a troll, depending on whether you agree with me, but I did start a band.

  31. 31
    geg6 says:

    Well, I’ve had my emails published by Sully and I wasn’t trolling. Just telling Sully and/or his readers that they were assholes. And, credit to him when due, he actually did publish them, even though I wasn’t necessarily nice about it.

    So I’ll give him that. But I’ll also say he’s easily trolled. So go for it! It will be entertaining!

  32. 32
    Joey Giraud says:

    @opiejeanne:

    Thanks! I’d been thinking for a long time that Jesus’ teachings should be like Kryptonite to the Republican business types and I had a Colbert-style snark attitude at the time.

    Slate doesn’t save forever, the only evidence is at the bottom of this:
    http://www.politicaljack.com/t.....ecko.3329/

    I just learned there’s actually a wayback site for blogs that keeps the original post and titles for the top level responses, many of them had mini-debates within. The responses weren’t saved, but you can imagine how heated the debate got.

    http://thefraybackmachine.blog.....oming.html

    I don’t like trolling that just creates trivial argument for the sake of it, but I do love to strike a topic at just the right angle to expose people’s biases and create the kind of mental dissonance that opens people up to reconsidering their perceptions.

    I guess dialectic on some level looks just like trolling.

  33. 33
    The Pale Scot says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I don’t understand how the idea of being a troll is a good thing or is something to aspire to

    See Swift, Jonathan \

  34. 34
    RSA says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I made ratatouille so I could mix it in with stuff I loved, got stomach flu and puked it all up. May I say that puking up eggplant does not help in acquiring a taste for it.

    I feel bad, but your description made me laugh.

    That’s a kind of aversion treatment that’s been applied successfully with some animals, I’m told, to keep them from eating crops.

  35. 35
    wetcasements says:

    Why anybody would pay 20 bucks for Sullivan’s turd-droppings is beyond me.

  36. 36
    EthylEster says:

    @patrick II wrote:

    Steve Colbert trolls every weekday from 11:30 to midnight.

    Dead thread but….

    I disagree. Folks with functioning brains know what’s going on. This is not trollery. If you read the Onion, everybody (again, caveat, with functioning brains) knows it’s a spoof. That’s not trollery either.

    DougJ wants to fool people. Colbert is not trying to fool anyone. But he inadvertently fools fools.

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