Feed the Trolls: Links You Need to See

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Trolling on the Internet is one of the world’s newest, most despicable forms of intellectual terrorism. For years, the frequenters of community Facebook pages, A.V. Club comments sections, and general interest message boards have futilely resisted the urge to react to invective spewed from the fingers of hateful trolls. And yet, new research shows that the very opposite of that might be the true solution. According to a new study, the best way to silence trolls (or, in the study’s terms, raise the level of “civility”) is to introduce a known authority into the mix. This makes perfect sense, as it’s basically like a parent breaking up a fight on an elementary school playground.

Still, there’s always that kid who likes acting out even then, for that extra-special attention, maybe by playing dead and refusing to move unless an adult carries them. Sound familiar? Probably not, I guess. Somebody familiar might be that person, though, as it’s rumored that Ariana Grande demands to be carried everywhere she goes. I don’t know how to feel about the prospect of that: it’s both mildly irritating and kind of amazing, which is maybe a combination of reactions I feel too often.

Pure irritation — no amazement! — is something I certainly feel very often when reading lists of nominees for major awards. Calling stupid nominees “silly” is such a light way of putting it, but I still appreciate the effort that went into curating this list of head-scratching Golden Globes nominees. (Though, for real, I am happy for Jennifer Aniston, whatever.)

Now, for something a little heavier. The Hollywood Reporter has published an in-depth look at the case of an ex-Survivor producer who has been imprisoned in a Mexican jail for murdering his wife while vacationing in Cancun. It’s a strange, fascinating tale that lists testimony from parties both for and against the accused’s innocence. The story provides no hard conclusion, but — as superficial as it is to suggest such a reality-based story as entertainment — it’s a good read for anyone who can’t stand going another week without an installment of Serial.

And, lastly, another long read, this time from BuzzFeed. Author Kathleen Founds writes about the trauma of discovering that your spiritual literary grandfather — in her case, Kurt Vonnegut — had beliefs that were not only out of step with your own, but downright offensive. This piece hooked me at its start, as Vonnegut was the first “real” writer to reel me in to his world and vision, though the work in question never stood out to me as terribly wrong. Perhaps it was because I discovered Welcome to the Monkey House as a 13-year-old, unsexed boy, or perhaps I was reading too lightly, eager to consume as much of Vonnegut’s wisdom as I could, as quickly as possible. Still, the piece here is reasoned and measured, and is something I could relate to on so many levels, not the least of which is this quote: “I was a sophomore in a fiction writing workshop. I made up for my mundane milieu by having an existential crisis every 15 minutes.”

And with these flowers, I bid you adieu.