Old Friends and Trolls

So I went to another free speech thing the other day, there was a lot of talk about patriotism and it seemed a little evangelical and a lot of it over the top but like I say, I am all for free speech, though I was going to try to talk to the leader when it was over because I had some concerns about what he wanted his free speech for. You know, it’s all give and take, right, and I also wanted to talk to him about some of the hangers on that you might describe as a little rough around the edges and all, and also, man those tattoos! We got away from wearing our tribal affiliations on our skin a long time ago, what kind of message do you think you’re sending? I mean, this is America! Western civilization. Enlightenment!

So I was waiting for the rally or protest to be over when whom did I see but my old friend in the black mask, the one in the street theatre group and of course I was so happy because maybe this time I could get his phone number and start some serious dialog. At first I couldn’t tell if it really was my friend but that rough voice of his when he told me to get the f*** out of the way, now that identified him to me immediately and it evoked this sympathetic twinge in my shoulder from our previous acquaintance, well I would say encounter but that might sound like I am trying to prejudice the conversation and you know I am a liberal and I never want to poison the well. So I say hey good to see you again and he says who are you m*****f***** and I say don’t you remember and he really doesn’t so I let it pass but I say hey last time we met you forgot to leave me your number so we could get together later and he laughs and says oh yeah I remember you, you’re that Republican a**hole that called me a Nazi and I said well I’m not a Republican and I don’t think that’s what I said, I was talking about your street theatre presentation which I thought – and he doesn’t let me finish but says we got a job to do, get the hell out of my way we got to go bust up this fascist hatefest and I say uh, man, I don’t think that will work anymore and he says what? and I say because you already did the counter-intuitive Nazi protesting fascist free speech thing and it’s one of those bits that usually don’t work twice and he says you f****** idiot this is not street theatre we are gonna bust all these fascists up! So there I was, quite taken aback and for once in my life stunned into silence for a second or two and then I recover and say I don’t quite get this and he says what’s there not to get and I say well I am a liberal and I believe – and he interrupts and says I hate liberals man, you’re scum.

Well, that hurt quite a lot because I like this young man and even though he may be a little bit enthusiastic and misguided in his righteous indignation, like I was a kid too, once so I understand so I say why do you hate liberals and he says because all they want to do is talk talk talk and dialog and compromise and you can’t compromise with pure evil and I pointed back to the guys in the protest and I said you think they’re pure evil and he says naw, they’re f****** right-wing extremist angels, and I say oh, sarcasm, I recognize that but I can’t see the fascism angle just now and he says well just wait until we start knocking their heads together and you’ll see and I said but if you leave them alone won’t they leave you alone? And then he gets really mad and starts stomping his feet and all his friends kinda gather around me and my broken finger starts throbbing and I wonder what is going on and he is yelling at me something about this is what they do, they do these “protests” just trolling for us so that we’ll attack them and it was my turn to say huh? – you have free will don’t you? If this “trolling” thing is what they are doing nothing says you have to take the bait, does it? and then he gets right in my face and says you don’t know nothing the ASPCA says this is all the fault of those guys and I say the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and he says no, the southern something lawyer something and I say you mean the SPLC, the Southern Poverty Law Center? and he says yeah, and I am very intrigued because the SPLC is like one of the major stars in the liberal universe. I mean they would be like the counsel of God if I was religious, but of course I’m not, but … so I say well if the the Southern Poverty Law Center says it then I have a hard time disagreeing and my friend says hell yeah, so get out of my way you p**** m*****f*****.

And I get out of his way. Man, it all seemed so wrong to me, but the SPLC, well you just can’t argue with them, so I get on my phone and look up the article which isn’t too hard to find and I start reading it. It is kind of difficult to concentrate at first, what with the shouting and fighting going on around me but when I am interested in something I am pretty good at shutting out distractions and yes the article did say just what the young man reported, and even though this isn’t the south and has nothing to do with poverty and the article wasn’t even remotely about the law, still it is the SPLC! So I look up and all the disturbance is over, the police have moved in and everyone is dispersing but I do spot my friend sitting on the ground so I go over because I want to talk to him about it, and I see he is kind of slumping and there is blood over his whole face and this thought ran through my head that he might be getting a taste of his own medicine but I banish it really quickly because that is not the way a good liberal thinks!

So I grab my friend’s arm and I tell him, hey man, I think I grok this whole thing and I can’t stand between a man and his mission but I just have to know, doesn’t it kind of bother you that the guy who wrote that article at the SPLC made you look really stupid and he says are you calling me stupid and I say no, the guy who wrote this article did, well not directly but pretty much what the whole trolling theme hinges on is that you and your friends are like mindless beasts with nothing but bloodlust and raw instinct guiding your every action. I mean, he makes it sound like you have no will or volition of your own, like a pack of dogs or rabid children. Doesn’t that offend you? And he sits there and thinks about it a while and then he starts crying and says everybody’s picking on me I just wanna go home.

And I say well make a wide berth of any more protests today, I don’t think you’re in much shape to stomp on any more fascists, my man. And by the way, it would really be a lot safer if you stuck to street theatre.