Traitors, Trolls & Kittens

A busy week, mercifully over; with the local elections put to bed for another 4 years. No more ceaseless noise of election vans or wall to wall TV coverage of sound-bites, spin, threats and promises.

Despite the corruption crisis that has embroiled him and his party since December, the Prime Minister actually increased his party’s share of the vote and further entrenched his 12-year rule. But it wasn’t relief Mr Erdogan had on his mind it was revenge.

“We are going to go into the caves of those traitors,” he told the cheering crowds. “Some might try to run away tomorrow but they are going to pay for what they have done.”

His words were directed towards his enemies – chief among them his arch-rival Fethullah Gulen, a moderate Islamic cleric whom Erdogan blames for a widening graft probe and bribery scandal embroiling the premier and his entourage.

Although there will always be those, who disagree (usually people from an older generation) few of us can deny that the internet age has brought many good things. Instantaneous research plus communication through emails and services like Skype, on-line shopping and of course social media have all shaped much of our lives these past few years. However, this new age has come at a price: Viruses, spyware, identity theft, phishing and trolls are a selection of the problems that have arisen from the dark side of the internet. The first four of these things have shaped our habits and made us all a little more cautious and less trusting in order to not fall victim. However, the last phenomenon – trolls is something I had personally not even thought about until recently.


The word troll is taken from Norse folklore, where it represented a monster like creature that lived in the woods, mountains and the darker places – a bit like the bogeyman – and was traditionally blamed for unexplained events, or random vandalism for no other reason than to be mischievous and disruptive. Our modern day troll lives a similar life, although he (it is more often than not a male) probably can’t remember the last time he visited a wood or the mountains and the only dark place he usually occupies is his mothers basement or wherever his computer is set up. From here he may quietly ingratiate himself into a chatroom or a forum, with the ultimate intention of causing disruption, deliberate misinformation or to illicit an angry response from as many people as possible.

Another way he operates is to set himself up with someone else’s name and do his level best to cause the person, usually a celebrity, as much embarrassment as possible or even try and get them into trouble through misinformation or the crude use of ‘evidence’ in the form of photo-shopped pictures or the distortion or montage of something said or done on camera. This is what the troll feeds on, this is why he does what he does. Because in a world where he is probably quite solitary and a failure in relationships away from his computer, the anger directed towards him or the chaos he sows is often the closest thing he is ever going to get to unpaid-for sexual fulfilment.

Some friends – yes unlike most trolls I do have friends – tell me that in my case the troll’s attention is a form of flattery, an affirmation that he wants to be something he is unlikely ever to be, a fairly normal person. While other friends have warned me not to engage, not to even let the troll know you have noticed them at all because by doing so, you deny him the oxygen he needs to exist. However, while I fully intend to adopt this tactic for the future, I am discussing him here more as a sad curiosity rather than as someone, who genuinely disturbs me. Indeed, as he reads this, as I have no doubt he is out there, hidden amongst my readers, I expect the attention he has been given now has him in raptures of delight, perhaps even now clutching that disappointingly small piece of his anatomy that few women will ever see, unless flashed from a raincoat. So be gone foul troll – and try living your own life for a change instead of trying to live it through someone else.

Finally, I have to report that even my poor cat Kitten has not escaped the attention of a troll this week. However, unlike me she is beside herself with anger at the moment after the picture below appeared on the cover of Paris Match under the banner “Winter Fur or Fat?”
Fur or Fat?
Although she has had her run ins with the paparazzi in the past, she totally denies that she has ever been to the street in Bodrum shown in the photo. So instead of gutter journalism she is now convinced that someone else is deliberately trying to discredit her ahead of Kim Kardashian’s up and coming New York wedding, where Kitten was recently honoured to be asked to be one of the bridesmaids.

“I have my suspicions about who might have done this, said a tearful Kitten late on Thursday night, but I am not going to let some scabby little troll, make me suspect everyone and anyone, as is their intention. I am just going to continue getting ready for this wedding so I can be there for Kimikins on her big day.”
At her request I have added the picture above, which although admittedly taken a couple of years ago, I can vouch is definitely her. So in the end I suppose it is ultimately up to you, dear reader to decide for yourself, where the truth may ultimately lie on this occasion?