Trolling, Trash Talking, and Tolerance
I have a few confessions to make to you my wonderful reader.
I am a competitive person. I grew up the oldest of nine children, and this led to always competing with my siblings for the attention of my parents and even other siblings. I also played sports growing up, baseball, soccer, tennis, football, were all staples of my childhood and even partially my adulthood. I have never been athletically gifted, but i always put my all into the the sport i was playing. I play a lot of competitive video games, from shooters to MOBAs, to strategy games. If you have ever watched my streams when i played such games, you have witnessed my competitive nature sneak out and lead to spats of “Salt!”
I have in the past, been a horrible human being. I have said and typed things that were from a hateful and ignorant place. Part of it stems from my competitive nature and the distaste for losing. But a lot of it had to do with me being young, stupid, and from a generation that loosely threw around words that would not be acceptable in today’s climate.
Now, if anyone has been in a competitive scene; whether sports, gaming, pageantry, et al, they can tell you trash talking is a part of the scene. Back in the Halo 3, Modern Warfare days of online pvp, everyone was having carnal relations with everyone else’s mother, everyone was a noob, everyone needed to sell their console, words like N***** and F***** were thrown around as if they were fireworks at a Fourth of July party. Sports competitions weren’t much better with the vitriol spewed between competitors. I can honestly say that online gaming hasn’t gotten much better. There are just more avenues and mediums for people outside of the community to observe the behavior.
This is not an excuse for such language in the competitive forums. Though I do not have a problem with trash talk in general. But as I have gotten older, I have tried to refine my trash talking to a more intelligent criticism. I also avoid using inflammatory words that have been used to degrade a class or race of people who should be allowed to enjoy the same hobbies and competitions as I enjoy. When I played football, I was a defensive lineman which put me face to face with my immediate competitor, this allowed close proximity to trash talking my opponent, to which I would just smile and say things like, “I heard your mother was a nice lady, I hope she appreciates all the hard work you put into your craft.” Now one may ask, “What kind of trash talk is this?” It is the most ingenious form. Because people are expecting hateful angry words to come out of their opponents mouth, they are expecting something like, “Tell your wife to keep dinner warm, I will be over later!” So to say something nice, will more likely confuse the person in front of me even for a split second gaining me the advantage of a split second he is processing the information. Sometimes getting your opponent angry will throw him off to where he makes a mistake but doing the opposite has been more successful, (for me at least), at causing missteps to occur.
I often use the same form when I have discussions and debates with individuals. Because politeness to me is more important than being right or wrong. Emotional responses tend to lose an argument quicker than lack of evidence. The moment someone resorts to name calling they have instantly lost an argument, whether they are right or wrong in their case. I came to this conclusion after a failed marriage, and many failed arguments with my peers along with successful open minded discussions on both counts. People are less likely to take you seriously if you resort to mud slinging to prove your point.
Now in my three years of streaming, I have come across my share of trolls. Most of them are poor excuses for trolls, because they point out generalizations of me that are unimaginative. “You’re Fat!” “You suck!” “You’re a [insert derogatory term for brown person]” all have been used and overused in my live streams and in responses to online discourse. Sometimes I chuckle, because this person (most likely a teenager or young adult) think they are saying something I haven’t heard before. Sometimes I respond with a quip of my own:
Random user: Man you suck!
Me: You know what sucks? The fact that your mother drinks a whole bottle of Pinot wondering how disappointed she is that you are her offspring
But there are sometimes, that I try to have a heart to heart with the individual, especially when it comes to race and orientation.
Troll: Man are you some kind of gay?
Me, “Honestly, whom I like to have relations with is none of your business, and even though i prefer women as my partner, if I enjoyed the company of a man, that would have no bearing on me as a person, nor make you less likely to try and grasp at some semblance of importance in the world. In 5 minutes, you will have moved off to try and harass some other person, and I will have forgotten your name.”
Most of my adult life I have spent in the world of the internet, this gives people the vague feeling of the power of anonymity, which leads to people saying things to others they wouldn’t have the courage to say to their face. You either learn to cope with it, realize that most of them are just begging for attention, and deal with it however you feel works best. Or, you fall away from it all, giving in to the misery that these others are trying to spread because they themselves feel miserable. I am sure there are things I am doing wrong, and I will continue to try and build myself to be the best human being i can be, and treat others with the respect they deserve.
Til next time,
Love and Tentacles,