Friday, August 1, 2008

The Internet Trolls

Mattahias Schwartz's piece on the culture of internet trolls in the New York Times Magazine is fascinating. What's interesting, though not really surprising once you think about it, is the sense of intellectual superiority that many trolls possess. One of the superstars in the troll world that Schwartz profiles, a 20-something kid who goes by "Weev," even fancies himself a great philosopher:

As we walked through Fullerton’s downtown, Weev told me about his day — he'd lost $10,000 on the commodities market, he claimed — and summarized his philosophy of "global ruin." "We are headed for a Malthusian crisis," he said, with professorial confidence. "Plankton levels are dropping. Bees are dying. There are tortilla riots in Mexico, the highest wheat prices in 30-odd years." He paused. "The question we have to answer is: How do we kill four of the world's six billion people in the most just way possible?" He seemed excited to have said this aloud.
In a follow-up post on a NYT blog, Schwartz noted that Weev has responded to the article on his LiveJournal site. Weev apparently thought the NYT article was going to describe his "global ruin" philosophy in detail, so his response is a longer explanation of his conspiracy theory philosophy. As you can imagine, it's off the charts on the unintentional-comedy scale. My favorite part is this:
There was a strategic decision to bleed the middle east dry of oil long ago. We still have plenty of shit we can drill elsewhere. America's deserts have plenty of light sweet crude, I assure you.
Internet trolls are like the college sophomore who, after taking his second philosophy class, is convinced that he has a Grand Theory that has unlocked the Secret Universal Truth and, convinced of his greatness, smugly mocks anyone and everyone. Usually this mentality goes away when they read a bit more, and realize that someone else has already thought of their Grand Theory, and it has already been roundly rejected. Ah, youth.



Theirs lots of them.

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