The Witch, The Troll and The Homeopath for Pages Of Magazine
I wrote a piece what feels like an age ago, for issue 1(offline but you can get a preview if you click the link) of the beautiful Pages Of Thanks to Emma Sjoberg-Snell for the beautiful illustration (there are more in the paper mag). The strategy of writing offline about online trolls might seem like an evasion but it allowed me to work through ideas I was genuinely scared to air online.
It seems like there have been lot of trolls under the bridge since I wrote this and the genderedness of online discourse has really been complicated with, to name one example, the advent of the high profile white lady columnist calling for report buttons on twitter to use against their, often less fortunate of platform, critics. I don’t think report buttons are the answer but nor do I think we can ignore the way the asymmetries of power and oppression shape the experience of individuals online. Discussions in the last year around intersectionality have added vast fields of hard fought nuance to the debate. The troll as neutral trickster archetype is differentiated from the abusive internet hater brilliantly by Sam Kriss for Full Stop Magazine here but I question the alleged neutrality of the ‘concern troll’ he sets up as a historically legitimated precedent. Not everyone gets to play the fool and keep their intellectual status equally. In The New Inquiry this piece by Jason Wilson about media moderators as ‘hate sinks’ reveals the affective infrastructure that the columnist, the internet concern troll and the online hater all implicitly rely on.
I’m grateful to Pages Of for the opportunity to write about this offline among other really talented people’s work. Please consider buying the magazine. In a time of so-called immaterial discourse there’s still much to be said for the feel of a page in your hand and the maintenance of spaces for writing which don’t exponentially spawn spirals of comment.
“the most important issue in terms of the future of reading will not be the death of book culture (doomsday prophecies are a power bid), but how we can hear from those outside of our self-reinforcing circles”