In The Guardian, Kathleen Hale offers her riveting tale story of tracking down an Internet troll who turns out to be a catfish. At one point, she makes a powerful observation on the psychology of those who troll:
Why do hecklers heckle? Recent studies have had dark things to say about abusive internet commenters â€“ a University of Manitoba report suggested they share traits with child molesters and serial killers. The more I wondered about Blythe, the more I was reminded of something Sarah Silverman said in an article for Entertainment Weekly: â€œA guy once just yelled, â€˜Me!â€™ in the middle of my set. It was amazing. This guyâ€™s heckle directly equalled its heartbreaking subtext â€“ â€˜Me!â€™â€ Silverman, an avid fan of Howard Stern, went on to describe a poignant moment she remembers from listening to his radio show: one of the many callers who turns out to be an asshole is about to be hung up on when, just before the line goes dead, he blurts out, in a crazed, stuttering voice, â€œI exist!â€.
It’s the best essay I’ve read in awhile, and is sparking debate about the ethics of the author and the troll. Check it out here.