Wildoats: confessions of a troll
1. v.,n. [From the Usenet group alt.folklore.urban] To utter a posting on a forum designed to attract extreme responses or flames; or, the post itself. Derives from the phrase "trolling for newbies" which in turn comes from mainstream "trolling", a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite.
Hey kids, I’m wildoats. Welcome to Rum and Monkey, an evangelist ministry centred on dispelling the evils of alcoholism and primate abuse. Or at least, that was the plan.
And I would’ve gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for you meddling facts….
Oh, who am I kidding. I’m living a lie.
The natural history and evolution of wildoats.
The history of trolling began in the mire of prehistory, when a cro-magnon with a taste for controversy burst into his community’s cave screaming “I’m a bear! A really fucking enormous bear!”. He was promptly beaten to death and set on fire. No-one tried it again until the advent of usenet and that wonder of procrastination technology: the internet forum.
In this day and age, any cretin such as myself with a keyboard and a half-baked idea can set out on an ignoble quest to pretend to be an imaginary moron and see what happens. In this case, the imaginary moron was your friend and mine, wildoats.
Yes folks, just as stewbottom lies rusted and lifeless amidst a heap of maple leaves and broken flagpoles, so now does the faded husk of Wildoats crouch in a mire of reason – both artificial champions to causes that no-one in their right mind would support.
Wiloats was a construct, a puppet, a golem – nothing more than that. But why the hell did I subject you all to something so vile? The answer is a bit complex…
For a start, let me say sorry. If it helps you forgive me, I did write the colossal death robot test ...
Wildoats is a combination of many things. Wildoats is the Baptist minister who kept me awake every night as a child with his fearsome prophecies of hell. Wildoats is the tearful, frustrating late-night conversation with a loved one who had been brought up an unquestioning evangelist. Wildoats is the manipulative creationist lecturer who prowls the schools, looking for the frightened and the weak to subvert into his cult. Wildoats is the wild eyed preacher on the street, the insidiously cheerful televangelist, the twisted old man sketching sadistic pictures of hell to frighten kids, the hateful redneck, the bright-eyed child in Sunday school. Wildoats is what’s wrong with religion. Or at least, that’s what he became.
Wildoats was originally to be a test exercise. I have an upcoming debate with the ICR creationist Malcolm Bowden in front of a couple of hundred people, and really wanted to strike a blow for evolution in my area. Thus, I spent many, many hours in research of creationist beliefs and their scientific refutations. To add to this, I acquired a very dear friend who – to my dismay – turned out to be a born and bred creationist. This made the issue personal.
Eventually, I decided that the best way to know my enemy was to be him, and so I began to assemble an alternate identity, founded in the classic arguments and dogmas of evangelism and creationism.
I originally only wished to discuss evolution and creationism, to hone my skills, but to do this, I had to adopt a whole alternate persona – one who lived and breathed evangelist pamphlet material.
Wildoats: my part in his downfall.
In the end, wildoats only lived four days, since it was so hard to restrain myself from agreeing with the marvellous and reassuringly sane arguments thrown in my face – in fact, as a result, wildoats was far more moderate than I had intended him to be. Whereas I had intended to bombard the forums with moronic tirades of capital letters and bullshit about hellfire, I couldn’t face being such a dick to so many intelligent people. So you got a bizarre creature indeed. Many posts had to be rewritten to be more intolerant and less appreciative, such as my response to spoonshady’s skillful critique of genesis. (On a side note, spoonshady has single-handedly given me an enormous respect for wicca, purely by virtue of being such a kick-ass bloke)
In fact, the number of kick-ass people who swarmed out to argue with wildoats was a great surprise. All through this week, I found myself feeling inexplicably depressed. It dawned on me that this was because I felt like the world hated me – just because of the flak I had drawn to myself by embodying wildoats. Whereas this was an odd feeling, it was bloody comforting, since it showed me that there are still many people very much awake out there. I am glad to say the creationists really will have their work cut out for them when they come gunning for you guys… J
On a final note, I’ll say for the sake of completing the tale that I am in fact a Christian of sorts. If you want to know my views, read the posts by guy_idiosyncrasy… they pretty much sum up my feelings on the subject. (guy is in fact a damn good friend of mine in real life, and about as far from wildoats as they come).
So what did I learn from my brief stint as an evangelist preacher?
A bit about how to fight creationists.
A lot about how people react to evangelist preachers.
Shedloads about religious arguments.
And the verdict?
You all rock. Please don’t kill me!
What do you think, did we get it right? Comment here...
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