I’ve been publishing this blog for two and a quarter years. Today is the first time I’ve been hit by trolls. Some writers would consider me lucky to have avoided trolls for so long. The obscurity of this blog is probably what spared me a troll infestation until today. Writers on prominent platforms often get bombarded from day one. Some receive genuinely scary threats from readers. In the most extreme cases, writers have to go into hiding or get bodyguards.
What I’m dealing with is merely annoying. A keyboard goon squad is trying to insult and humiliate me into shutting up. By their reckoning I’m a whiny faggot, a Millennial crybaby, insufferably longwinded, easily triggered, a Matt Taibbi Gawker gonzo wannabe, and a brat with hairless balls who shouldn’t publish another word for the next fifteen years because “no one wants this shit.” In point of fact, I have repeat readers here, and some of them have thoughtfully engaged me in the comments. I don’t mind disagreement, even strident disagreement, and I have a liberal comment publication policy: basically, I’ll publish any comments that aren’t spam and that are minimally civil and on-topic. Most of what I’ve gotten today has been sloppily punctuated, semicoherent ad hominem attacks from an openly racist internet mob. I’ve had no prior correspondence with any of these asshats, while I’ve had extensive, productive, very much worthwhile correspondence with others on various online platforms. This should help explain why I don’t consider these Johnny-come-lately trolls credible as critics.
It should go without saying, but apparently doesn’t, that those who dislike my writing are free to leave. I don’t expect to get a huge audience writing more or less whatever comes to my mind on a personal blog. As things stood before the troll onslaught, my readership was already much higher than I expected, largely thanks to an SEO positive feedback loop on Dubai Porta Potty. Honestly, I’ve considered this project worthwhile at times when I’ve had two or three regular readers. If I wanted to write in a more focused, disciplined, and mainstream fashion, I’d fucking do so. Quasi-stream-of-consciousness outbursts are more to my liking on this blog because they give me the time and energy to cover more topics than I’d be able to manage if I forced myself to do major editing before publication. If it isn’t to your liking, that doesn’t offend me. I’m sure many readers are put off by my writing for various reasons; as I mentioned above, others have enjoyed it.
There is, however, a difference between not caring for something and making a point of petulantly telling its creator, on his own platform, that it sucks and he should stop being the kind of faggot who produces that kind of shit. Most readers who have been put off by this blog haven’t barged in here and shit on the floor. They’ve just gone somewhere else, as any decent, normal person would do.
The tough guys who have been starting this shit with me have been orchestrating their attack in a private forum at My Posting Career, a Reddit-style platform trafficking some of the shrillest, craziest racism I’ve ever seen. I’ve clicked on the referral link, and it’s closed to non-members. These freaks went behind closed doors to coordinate a campaign to swarm me with insults to my masculinity and maturity. It’s transparent bullshit.
What set them off was my essay about the Spic-Nig Cycle motivational meme posters. These posters are truly bizarre. Any normal person would be blown away by their sheer weirdness. If anything, I’m unusually inured to that sort of thing because I often stop by racist websites to rubberneck at the day’s dumpster fire. The Spic-Nig Cycle posters brought the crazy into focus in a way that other things at MPC didn’t, so I shot off an essay about the crazy. I was not triggered by these stupid posters. I did not have a fucking post-traumatic response. I have had mild post-traumatic responses in a number of real-life situations, for the easily explained and defended reason that I was under the authority of crazy shitheads and had no support from other people in similar situations. If you think that makes me a pussy, that’s your goddamn problem. These meme posters did not trigger me. I found their implications and context unsettling, but I didn’t have some kind of psychosomatic freakout at the sight of hate speech. I published a lot of words about these posters instead of fewer, more focused words because I didn’t consider it worth my time to edit my first draft; these were meme posters produced by racist lunatics on the internet. I recall spending about an hour and a half, two hours tops, on the essay, and I may well have been taking breaks in that window to read other things. If you assume that I’m a basement shut-in just because I write so much, realize that I’m able to type anywhere from 60 to 75 words per minute. The details of my lifestyle aren’t some random internet troll’s business, but I thought I’d offer these thoughts on the craft anyway; the meta stuff could be useful to other people who are interested in writing, not just shitheads who want to shame writers into silence because they don’t like what they’re saying.
You guys do realize that it’s harder to write a short essay than a long one. Right?
It’s hard to believe that these shitheads at MPC truly think that I’m an ineffectual whiner. They’re trying to police criticism that they find objectionable. If they didn’t think my writing would have any effect on anyone, why would one of them be telling me to shut up for the next fifteen years? That was part of a comment on my post about the derangement of hiring managers. This asshat wants me to shut up about my own experiences as a line employee dealing with out-of-control hiring managers and supervisors. No way in hell am I going to cave to a demand like that. More people in circumstances like mine should be so honest. The quiet shame of Americans in particular about having fallen into professional difficulties is a major cause of socioeconomic dysfunction. I’d love to get readers’ comments–anonymous, pseudonymous, public, whatever–about their own experiences with the job market and the workplace. In any event, I do not publish this blog for the purpose of putting on a game face for fuckheads who want to humiliate me for being less successful than they claim to be under cover of anonymity. I don’t even do that degrading song and dance on LinkedIn anymore.
I don’t write this stuff as a whiny faggot; I write it as a citizen who wants to get unpopular, even unpleasant, truths out in the open. We should be talking candidly about things like unemployment. If more of us can find the courage to be vulnerable in public by discussing our own potentially embarrassing circumstances, or the sheer disgust with the bad hand we’ve been dealt, great. Nothing gets solved when everyone who got shafted retreats in shame.
Come to think of it, a gang of racist freaks would hold citizenship in contempt. Corruption of blood is much more their thing than the Thirteenth through Fifteenth Amendments.