2018-05-17 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

Death of a troll


Andrew Dietderich—Staff Writer Andrew Dietderich—Staff Writer Before coming to work for View Newspapers in Lapeer, I served as editor of a newspaper in a neighboring community.

The duties included moderating the Facebook page of the newspaper.

That meant dealing with all level of “trolls” — according to Wikipedia, “a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community… with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response emotional response of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.”

I would see similar names and methods used to “troll” our stories and us as individuals time and time again. Usually, it went like this: Troll says something controversial that they wouldn’t have the courage to say to our faces, immediate reaction ensues from people sitting on a toilet, standing in line at the grocery store, etc. life goes on.

As time goes by, a troll’s “controversial” statements become commonplace, they become “noise”, and the troll’s followers move on to more important topics, like “what color is this dress?” or “do you hear Yanny or Laurel?”

Why do I bring this up?

An obituary I recently saw for one of the old faithful “trolls.”

Putting aside the ironic fact that, in all likelihood, the last time his name would be in the paper he so despised was in a glowing obituary about his life, I had additional thoughts.

Perhaps he wasn’t really angry about anything he was “trolling.”

Perhaps, instead, he wanted to be a baseball player. Perhaps he dreamt of being a theater star.

Perhaps he was angry about being too short. Perhaps he knew the end was near for him. Who knows?

But whereas some people take such feelings and turn them in motivation for art, to work harder, etc., others don’t. They choose, instead, to hunch over a computer in the middle of the night and spend vast amounts of time criticizing, insulting, and more — really doing nothing more than displaying ugliness while providing free advertising/publicity for the intended target.

Of course we all wonder what it will be like when it’s our time to go.

Will it be a time for reflection? Will we wish our time had been better spent? That the gift of life we had been given — each and every breath — wasn’t taken for granted?

Robin Williams’ character in “Dead Poets Society” has two lines:

“That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

Yes, it’s about poetry, but it can be used in this context.

Because all of the angry, nasty things the dead troll spewed forth unto the online world remains.

That is his verse.

What will your verse be?

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