I think I can safely say we all love the internet. It has given us instant access to news, sports, videos and a social media cavalcade so we can meet and greet friends and family around the world. But at the same time, it has given a forum for the worst of us … Trolls.
The one thing I hate about the internet, and social media for that matter, is the “trolls” that live on the web. You have a bunch of sissy boys (and girls) hiding behind their posed, self-propagating “selfies” to write trashy comments on every social media channel, news feeds, and chat room. All of this, in an effort, to put someone else down so they can feel good about how tough, how cool, they are.
This is the movie “Mean Girls” in everyday life on the internet. “Trolls” is a good name for them, and being a fantasy writer, I am an expert on trolls. They are bottom dwellers with no ethics, morals or an ounce of compassion in them. They feed on the sorrow and suffering of people trying to have civilized discussions about a variety of topics and interests. Their only goal in life is to make people feel miserable. It doesn’t matter if they live under a bridge or in their mother’s basement, trolls enjoy making people feel like crap.
I realize there is a difference between some trolls and full-on cyber-bulling. Someone dissing a comment about whether “Batman v Superman” was a good movie or not is not hurtful, but it can lead people down the wrong path. The trolls of today can become the cyber-bullies of tomorrow.
“There are two kinds of evil people in this world. Those who do evil stuff and those who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.” – Mean Girls (2004)
Cyber-bulling has become a national pastime for today’s generation. We are raising a bunch of trolls who live to make others feel miserable by just shooting that “zing” across the bow because it makes them feel powerful. We all know how some of these stories have ended … in tragedy, and sometimes, death.
Remember these names… Ryan Halligan, Megan Meier, Jessica Logan, Hope Sitwell, Tyler Clementi, and Amanda Todd. These are just some of the names of victims of this downward internet trend. According to the Megan Meier Foundation, approximately 43% of the students report experiencing cyber-bullying during their lifetime and 15% of students admitted to cyber-bullying others during their lifetime.
This is the leading cause of what’s wrong with society today. We can’t have a meaningful discussion about anything without someone stepping up to put someone down. If you look at the current political climate we are in, you can see the results of the onset of trolls. If you like President Trump, you’re a racist, misogynist, Nazi. Name any topic and there is a hateful name being called at someone who disagrees with you.
It has even crossed over into the world of fantasy and science fiction. When Finn Jones was cast as Danny Rand in Netflix “Iron Fist” series, some people were outraged at a “white boy” being cast in what should be a role for an Asian actor. This clearly demonstrated that these trolls never read a single Iron Fist comic book about the rich, white boy being raised in a hidden monastery to be its protector, the Immortal Iron Fist. The same can be said for the trolls on the other side of the aisle, who complained that Idris Alba was cast as Heimdall , or Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin, in Marvel’s movies. The trolls were out in full force then too. Get back under the bridge troll!
My point is this … Let’s try to be civil in our discussions on the internet. Thumper the rabbit (yes, I’m quoting Bambi here) said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone stuck to this as their mantra? Whether you’re talking politics, sports, the WWE or the Justice League movie, we can give our opinions without throwing in that left turn down the road toward the bridge where the trolls live.
Bryan Cranston, who’s played some of the worst people in TV and movies, said it best. “We’ve been trained since kindergarten: Be nice, be kind, share, put on a smile. So we’re conditioned to squash our natural selfish instincts, and that’s the right thing for society.” Amen, brother … Testify!
Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse. The Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt