Trolls and their anxiously toxic world

One can’t go far into reading “comments” from readers of practically any form a news (social or conventional) without being struck by the pools of vitriol in which many seem to swim.  It is (another) window into the declining presence of capacity for humans to resist emotional hijacking – and who seem to live what must be painful lives.

A poster, commenting on a NYT piece “How the Trolls Stole Washington”, wrote:

“The alt-right trolls certainly embody Sartre’s famous lines about the anti-semite, and his unwillingness–or inability–to argue in good faith. But it’s my belief that these lonely, impotent young men are also adopting some of the worn-out cliches of postmodernism: a fascination with surface representations, an evacuation of any historical awareness, and a pivoting between deep sincerity and blithe, uncommitted irony.

Just like any conservative movement, they’re about forty years late to the party. To paraphrase Corey Robin, the alt-right is weaponizing the original language and theory of the left. However, unlike some of the original conservatives…the alt-right doesn’t have the attention span or capacity to actually understand the rhetorical phenomenon that they’re mimicking. All they have is resentment, violent urges that they can play off as “lulz,” and Teutonic avatars intended to show off their virility.”

As a general aviation pilot, I regularly read Forums managed by an aviation membership association to which I belong.  The mission of the forums is, naturally, to provide a place of information about aviation which might help pilots become smarter, safer and more skilled.  The mission is mostly well served, but even there, one often reads readers’ angry comments about one thing or another.  The comments sometimes veer into the personal and vindictive. They move beyond “the point” into irrationality. Pilots seethe with angry words about some interesting point someone else has made.  I wonder, as I read these expressions of outrage, “Who would want to fly in an airplane flown by such an angry person?”

Examples of volatile leaders with short tempers and weaponized language abound.  They create toxic, unhealthy and even deadly places where others work and relate.

Only when these toxic leaders disappear, or transform into rational, mature and self-defined persons, will their organizations, and the people who occupy them, change for the better.

Peace and Courage,




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