February 8, 2012
This whole YouTube vlog has really opened a lot of avenues of critique and condemnation. I’ll admit I was nervous. People are more active in places like YouTube that, say, a blog like this. More people are willing to comment and criticize a vlog than a blog. That being said, I got a chance to engage in one of my favorite pastimes.
The troll is a skittish creature. It jumps into a comments thread and leaves a badly-spelled jumble of words that should probably be an argument to what you’ve just written or said. The traditional strategy for dealing with trolls is to ignore them. Feeding a troll is like giving food to a stray animal. That animal will stay and love you. In this case, the troll has found a new source of food and you are its unwilling vending machine.
Of course, I feed the trolls. I leave little morsels of comments for them. I let them have a taste.
Then I poison them and burn their bodies behind the shed. Sort of.
The recent video on Sarah Walls got a lot of attention, but a percentage of the comments on the video were by people who comically missed the point of calling out a racist for being a racist. They insisted she was right. They brought out things like their own dislike of Mexicans, how being a Navy veteran meant you could not be dumb, and how Mexicans are the real racists because they refuse to admit they come from a culture of violence and rape.
And no, none of those are exaggerations.
I answer back. I ask questions. I poke holes in their theories. After all, THIS little ol’ Mexican-American never killed or raped anyone and, as far as I can tell, is eloquent and can string together a coherent, logical argument. Faced with this and other facts, a troll will usually try and justify his or her prejudice and previous observations. This backs them into a corner. They get defensive. At this point, the troll will do one of two things.
It will end the conversation (sometimes launching one last volley of self-righteous anger), or it will launch into a full-blown attack.
Either one is a good thing. If it leaves, game over, but you had the last word. It if attacks, it shows its weakness. It exposes its hatreds and prejudice. The angrier it gets, the more it shows what it really thinks. It’s your job, though, to keep a level head. Maintain composure. Don’t give in to the hatred.
Focus it. Like a laser. Powered out of spite. That targets the idiot.
I enjoy answering trolls. I’ve got three heads on my wall from the last three days. One admitted he was racist but claimed he had a good reason. Another insisted he couldn’t have an intelligent conversation with someone unless his opponent could speak English because Mexicans can’t think critically. The third basically said I was racist for pointing out a racist critique.
I do this for two reasons. Bursting people’s racist world-view and exposing them for the angry, ignorant pricks that they are brings me infinite joy. I can’t stand someone trying to justify prejudice, no matter how good their “rationale” may be. For anyone who stands by and lets this happen in the real world, there’s one more bigot who gets away with demeaning entire cultures. Secondly, it’s good practice. Even though, as the saying goes, you should never argue with idiots because they will take you to their level, it’s good practice for my teaching job. Every class, there is at least one person who wants to try and make a point and relies solely on hearsay and bad evidence. Quickly pointing out the holes in arguments like this keeps me sharp.
Besides, do you honestly think I’m going to let some closeted bigot get away with insulting my friends and family and try to justify it with “science?”
Oh. Hell. No.
That being said, I’m going to wash away those thoughts with a beatboxing baby.
October 4, 2010
I want you to read the following sentence and make sense of it on the first try:
A magisterial district judge with almost 20 years on the bench was arrested for handing out acorns filled with condoms.
Okay, did you get all that? The story’s been circulating around the internet, and for the longest time, I didn’t get it. It seemed like the kind of crime that had no damage other than some people who were offended at being given a condom. In fact, it seemed like a really stupid crime.
Not even a crime. It’s a dumb thing to do. I know that sounds funny on a site called RANDOMology, but this was just way too random even for me. Why acorns? And condoms? Was this some hidden stab at ACORN? Some statement on sex education? Woo gets offended at being given a condom?
What the hell is going on?!
Frankly, after fifteen minutes, I would have called the cops on this judge just for the headache I was getting trying to figure this out.
It wasn’t until I read the full account of what happened that I understood. Sort of.
See, the judge had read somewhere about a joke where you give someone a nut of some sort and tell them it came from a rubber tree. You then tell the mark that if you make a wish and break the rubber tree nut, your wish will come true. They open the nut and… they find a condom.
Rubber tree. Get it?
Yeah, it’s a really stupid joke.
This story’s been making the rounds online because, well… it’s just bizarre.
There are a lot of unanswered questions, and even the police report doesn’t offer a lot of clues.
How many nuts did the judge hollow out? If it was two or three, fine, but if it was a dozen or more, that begs the question as to what this judge hoped to accomplish. Let’s say, just to make this guy sound normal, he only made five or six acorns. This still means he had to sit there and carefully hollow out the nuts. That takes patience. This guy is a judge. He doesn’t have anything better to do?
Then there’s the actual execution of the joke. Why give the acorns to random strangers? If he’d given them to people in the office, it would still have been weird for a veteran of the judicial system to do this, but it would have been an office prank. I’m really confused, and I’m used to dealing with weird things. This one just makes no sense.
I think it would be easier to digest if a police officer gave out whoopee cushions filled with mangoes.
Or maybe if Bill Clinton walked around and gave out signed Trix cereal boxes with puppy food inside.
I think I could figure those out. This one? Not so much. Any theories?
- Katy Perry thinks sex, religion, and rock don’t mix. I think she just described the recipe for the greatest movie, album, or image ever! Methinks this should be an article in on itself.
- As much as I love her, Carmen Sandiego did not age well. At all.
- Scientists have announced the discovery for the first possible Goldilocks planet, so named because it is just warm enough for water to exist in its liquid state. This also makes it a prime candidate for life. My fellow nerds, we’ve found an M-class planet! Rejoice at the marvels of science!
- We can all talk about the uses of the internet and what it’s good for, but this? THIS is why Youtube was invented. Right here. No arguments.
- Dolphins are cute and make for tasty tuna. We like to think of them as graceful and playful. But who knew they could also be total klutzes?
- And finally, straight from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, I present “The Writer.” I don’t know what’s more sad. The Writer’s thought process or that the ending might be realistic. You decide!
July 23, 2010
Ah, a Carmen story. I’d love to actually shoot a few of these scenes and post them on Youtube, especially the scenes that I’m writing to finish the story either this weekend or by Friday. Either way, you’ll get to find out a bit more about Via Rosa’s favorite assassin and just what it takes to make it on your own in the world.
Things are starting to take off, but I have not forgotten my promise to do a short story a week. They will happen. And when the book gets a publisher, you all will be the first to know.
I love my readers.
Transcripts of video found at 1284 Dominguez Loop.
May 12, 7:43 PM
Carmen: Okay, uhm, this is my first entry in this thing. Father Flores told me to pretend like I was recording for someone else to listen to, so, first of all, my name is Carmen Olivares. I’m twenty-seven years old and have lived in Via Rosa all my life.
Father Flores said that I can’t go to confession anymore. He said he can’t stand listening to me anymore, so this is going to have to do for confession. He also said I could use it to talk to someone since I… well, he was kind enough to not say, “friendless.” I just don’t have too many people to talk to. So… I guess here it goes.
I killed a man today. I was hired to do so by some very nasty people who would appreciate they remain nameless. They paid me to do it. I went in, shot him in the head and twice in the heart, and collected my payment. Then I came home, had a beer, and took a nap.
I guess that’s it. Tomorrow I’m going to go grocery shopping. I’m out of milk.
May 13, 9:11 AM
I got a call today that I’m needed for another hit. That’s two in one week. I don’t usually do that many, and I could refuse, but I need to get out of the house. I’ve been cooped up in here for a month and I really could use the time out. Scouting a location is always relaxing.
[Doorbell rings. Subject picks up a Glock-22 from the nearby table and moves out of camera range. She answers the door. Sounds of a scuffle. A man screams and is quickly silenced. Subject returns to the room to turn the camera off.]
May 13, 9:35 AM
[Subject turns camera on and is covered in blood splatter on one side of her face.]
Carmen: Okay, sorry about that. Some chuc followed me from yesterday’s hit. He didn’t tell anyone where he was going. Stupid fuck thought he could just walk in here, take me back, have me confess for killing his boss, and get a promotion or something. I’m going to have to get rid of him, but first I need to go shopping. I’m out of milk.
May 13, 12:01 PM
[Subject wears a different shirt than before and is clean.]
Carmen: Okay, I got rid of everything. Took forever to clean the splatter on the carpet, though. Uhm… I guess I have to confess. He tried to force his way in and I grabbed his gun, bet him with it, and dragged him to the kitchen. The tile would have made it easier to clean up, but I hit him hard enough to bust his nose. It’s not my fault. Fucker moved.
Okay, confession… confession… I, uhm, had to break three of his fingers before he talked. He was telling the truth. I broke his knees and ankles, dragged him to the tub, and grabbed a silencer so I could get rid of him. Now I have to clean the tub. Fucker.
I’m going to scope the place out for tomorrow. Maybe I’ll take this thing to record anything interesting I find.
[Subject takes a drink from a glass of milk on the stand off camera.]
I think I’ll bake something.
To be continued…
Want to read more? Just visit the main Charcoal Streets page and take a look at the complete stories, samples, and other fun features, and stay tuned in 2011 for the release of the first volume of collected stories!