Trolling serves populations whose official dogma has become so detached from reality that stating the plainly obvious will get you ostracized or worse. No one really wants to end up like Socrates, being forced to drink hemlock for the pretenses of the herd, or Jesus who suffered a similar fate later.
When the socially correct answer denies reality and the herd will attack any who deviate from that standard, whoever states something more realistic than the norm will face negative consequences, so trolling emerges.
A troll tries to induce his opponent into a state of mental disorder or rage, ideally revealing the instability of the thinking behind his position. This can be done by provoking him directly, but more commonly is done through deception by appearing to agree with him.
As media control has tightened in the hands of Silicon Valley, a new form of trolling has emerged which takes this to an extreme. We might call it obsequy trolling in a hat-tip to a term referring to the obsequious and servile pandering that passes for common sense:
abject or cringing submissiveness
Obsequy trolling involves taking an absurd position to an absurd extreme so that the troll cannot be discovered or attacked, and to see who agrees and how much further toward total unrealism the troll can push the discussion among the true believers.
This one first showed up a few months ago in response to the ongoing excessive censorship on YouTube, resulting in faux fawning as a way of mocking the stupidity of this time:
The other day I saw a great troll. On an exercise video, someone commented, “I have AIDS and no legs, and this exercise really helped me.” I think this is the future of trolling: affirm the Regime in such an absurd extremism that no one can tell if you are serious but feel guilty for not supporting you. Troll them in and make them reveal their adulation of their servitude. It was the highest-upvoted comment on the video.
No one can attack someone who begins their comment with “I have AIDS and no legs.” In an egalitarian society, power transfers to the victims, so anyone who proclaims himself an absolute victim is owed obedience and respect by the others.
Even more, the complete specificity of this comment makes the victimhood olympics stand out all the clearer. People are not just afraid to attack it, but afraid not to praise it, so it gets all the upvotes and attention.
We can see another example on an article about one of the most corrupt judges to ever have power in Texas, in which damning with effusive praise shows the power of the obsequy troll:
She’s pretty much a war-time judge since she successfully navigated Harris County through the great Monkeypox epidemic of 2022. It’s a good thing she is not petty and can control her emotions when speaking and enacting orders. This poster is glad we have such a powerful latina.
Everything here is sarcastic. Monkeypox was not a real epidemic, Hidalgo flies off the handle all the time, and she is a terrible example for any Hispanic. However, no one can criticize this comment since it reinforces the dominant paradigm, even if the irony and satire are clear.
We can no longer say what is obviously the case. It will be censored, we will be deplatformed, and if anyone links it up to our real-life selves, we will be canceled and lose our jobs, friends, spouses, children, homes, and anything but the cardboard box in which we will dwell.
Consequently, the trolling is kicking up by borrowing from old Soviet tropes. If you cannot say that the government sucks, say that it is great to the point of being ludicrous and let everyone laugh along at the verbal pantomime of the official dogma.
Tags: cancel culture, censorship, deplatforming, lina hidalgo, trolling