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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Superbowl and Internet Trolls

What a great Superbowl!

The game came down to the final seconds and it was a rookie member of the NE Patriots Defense that saved the day.

The look on Richard Sherman's face made sitting there not watching my team in the Big Show worth every minute.

Thank you, Jesus....and Tom Brady....and Malcolm Butler.

Now that we are gearing up for March Madness and Baseball Season (GO GIANTS!) I can turn my attention to another topic - Internet Trolls.

Recently I read a lovely piece by a woman writer by the name of Lindy West who writes for the Guardian.  The piece she wrote about confronting her internet troll may be found here:

The person who attacked Ms. West was especially cruel, much more so than those who have attacked me in the past, and her ability to confront and forgive demonstrate the power of Love and Human Spirit.  In a practical way, Ms. West proves herself to be a really brave woman and for that I salute you.

The worst case of Trolling that I encountered came from someone suffering horribly from the disease of alcoholism.  In the middle of the night, the unfortunate fellow decided to call my house and threaten to cut my throat.  My mother answered the phone.  Do not wake up an Italian mother in the middle of the night and threaten to cut the throat of one of her children.  The guy apparently started crying by the time Mama was finished with him and he had to resort to attending the same 12 step meetings I attend in order to get over making those kinds of phone calls.

Recently, as those who follow my blog know, I had a situation where a woman I did not know sent me a message on FB and asked one of those provocative "when did you stop beating your dog?" questions.  She was upset because she felt my writing as a Sober Catholic Woman who belongs to a 12 Step Program and, as such, sponsors men and women in said program, I was breaking anonymity.

I referred her to the guidelines offered by the General Service Office of the program in question. I stated my reasons for writing as I do, and I quoted her directly into my blog post.  She has never responded.

My point is this:  no one forces anyone to read our blogs.  My experience has been that Trolls are suffering horribly, and really want others to suffer too.  The irony is that when they cause a Catholic to suffer they are providing another means by which we can grow in holiness.  At the risk of bringing on more abuse, you Trolls are doing us Catholic Bloggers a favor when you call us 'fat ugly bitches who are probably doing it with the priest'.  You are hurting us with your words, causing us to wince and then giving us something to offer up for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

As much as I like to avoid suffering (another reason I will never be St Leslie K.) I have had my fair share.  I have been lied to and about, rejected and pummeled and accused of all kinds of nefarious deed and thought.

Throughout it all has been the running theme of "You think you are so much better than us".  I have been accused of trying to shove my religion down people's throats, or being judgmental (of course I am, Howie!  How else am I going to form an opinion or hold to a belief?) and other silly things.  I have even been called (today!) an IDIOT because I think our attention should be focused on something other than illegal immigrants being the root of all evil in this country.

Ms. West's experiences and the action she took simply fortifies my position:  Happy and secure people do not need to attack anyone.  They know how to disagree without being disagreeable.  They can listen and debate without taking it personally and they can end a discussion without using foul language.

Those who cannot do the above are Trolls.

And our job is to pray for them.

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