Anyone who’s paid close attention to the way people laugh can tell you that most times people laugh, they are not laughing because something is funny. I mean, sure, we laugh because things are amusing or absurd, and sometimes we laugh to minimize things that scare us. But most of the time we laugh because we want to cement social connection to others.
So imagine my surprise when I read this interview with a troll. The guy admits that he’s sent insults to the guy writing the blog for years, that he’s claimed to have fucked the writer’s ex in incredibly degrading ways, and has even done things like claim that Native American genocide didn’t go far enough.
So what happens when the writer puts out a call for the troll to contact him for an interview, with the promise that his identity will never be outed?
The troll turns out to be a huge fan of the site, a fan of the writer himself, and a person who… actually, let me just put a little quote from the troll himself:
… but I felt like we had, you know, a sort of special communication going on.
He was just pinging the guy. He had an “immature sense of humor” and thought it was funny to say outrageous shit that made people angry. What’s more, he assumed no one else would ever be seriously bothered by what he did.
When asked why the troll agreed to the interview, he said:
I did it, I guess, in part because I feel like you and I have had this odd relationship over the last several years, so I guess I felt this would be sort of a good conclusion to that. But also, I kind of felt, I guess, that I owed you an explanation. Again, I never really thought you were offended by anything I wrote, but I would hate it if you told me that I had actually injured you in some way. And so I did feel the need to sort of explain myself to you.
PING! The guy wanted a human response, especially one he could control. He wanted to type awful things and make people angry while telling himself at the same time that he didn’t really mean to offend anyone.
In other words, he was lonely. He visited the site every day to keep up on the latest athletic uniform design news (which… really? Okay, I guess) but he had to treat it like shit for lulz, too.
And how broken is that?