Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Trolls and Aversion/Compulsion

a·ver·sion Pronunciation Key (-vûrzhn, -shn)
n.
1. A fixed, intense dislike; repugnance: formed an aversion to crowds.

com·pul·sion Pronunciation Key (km-plshn)
n.
1. The act of compelling.
2. The state of being compelled.
or
1. An irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the rationality of the motivation:


Aversion/Compulsion is popularly thought to be a diagnostic category in the APA's DSM IV, but it is not.

I offer the above dictionary.com definitions as basic building blocks to understand the two seemingly opposed concepts, and how they relate to trolls.

There can be no doubt that trolls lend a certain excitement to one's blog. No mistake that being called names tends to increase one's heart rate and blood pressure; and while these symptoms may not be healthy, they certainly aren't indications of boredom. And, if for whatever reason one finds himself suffering from the Doldrums, he can just scroll back to the most recent post from the most common (or most egregious, as the case may be) troll and voila. The Doldrums are cast away like fog before broken wind.

Therein lies the compulsion; the sick, bent desire to see what latest atrocities, idiocies and outright foolishness your own pet troll has perpetrated in the recent past.


Sometimes the compulsion goes deeper, to actually visit the homesite of your own troll and see what filth is oozing from the blogosphere over there. Still more exciting is to read references to you -always put forth in the most sarcastic, uncharitable way possible- and up go your vital signs once again.

I once equated viewing the ravings of a troll with the sick tendency we all have to both gawk at carny gross-out shows and to slow down and rubberneck at car accidents on the side of the highway. And upon reflection, that analogy just keeps fitting better and better. You look over at the accident (or the freakshow) in ghoulish fascination, taking in the carnage all the while telling yourself, "Thank God I'M not the one in that mess."

The only difference is that the people in the accident also wish they weren't there. The trolls, on the other hand, delight in living inside the carnage. And worse, they would love it if you would join them in their ruin.


From there comes the aversion, the repugnance (as opposed to hatred), the desire to get away from the scene as fast as possible. The sinking feeling you get in your belly when you look at the comments upon your post and you see that. . .yes. . .THAT troll has befouled your work once again.


The saddest part of all of this is the fact that the troll keeps coming here (or there, or there, or there, or there) thinking he is doing his job in "smiting the ignorant", when in fact he is a lost little boy, as cited here, tantrumming against those who know better, all in the hopes that if he screams loud enough, the truth he fears so badly will go away.


In the end, it matter not how many names the troll calls, how many times he smears, how many times he deliberately misunderstands and obfuscates and ad homs his way out of the corners he paints himself into: The Truth is always still there, waiting silently, patiently, lovingly, for the troll to open his eyes, re-embrace his full humanity and return Home.
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