Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Rainbow Trolling.

This little chap on the left, and the one below, are non threatening, mostly liked, cute little mice, stealing sweets off the top of a cake in Life 12 - Murder.Ahhhh, that's nice.   It'll be on show at Bilston Art Gallery in May/July 2015. The title of the quilt, Murder, is about some of the reactions I get to my quilts from other quilters. The "story" for this one is: “And The Crows Came To The Feast and Laid Waste To The Beauty

Regular readers will know that I sometimes moan a bit because the quilts get me into a bit of bother and trouble - mostly with other quilters, and mostly because they often have naked bodies on them.  No big deal really, but occasionally they seem to cause offence.

I always say that I'm "whispering my stories to you and not shouting", and the trouble with that is that sometimes people don't hear properly.

This morning, the nasty but not new remarks of "disgusting" "yuck" "disgraceful" " absolutely horrific" paled into insignificance because I was trolled. Trolling is according to the Urban Dictionary: Being a prick on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent by-stander, because it's the internet and, hey, you can.

A more wikipedia description is: a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

Pinterest can be wonderful, and I think must be regulated reasonably well.  Someone had posted Life 4 on a board (next to a lot of guns with pink handles and cutsey crotcheted covers) and said how disgusting it was.  There followed a string of unpleasantness that I'm too embarrassed to repeat. Fortunately the comments were taken down very quickly but not before I'd seen them. True, I shouldn't look, but then they shouldn't be ******'* (insert any rude word you wish)

I'm not saying that what happened to me was as bad as that poor woman who was threatened with rape and murder because she happened to suggest that Jane Austen would make a great addition to a banknote. Or those people who've lost loved ones and found facebook sites set up in their name with horrible remarks.  In both these cases the people involved were jailed.

The law
  • The Communications Act 2003 governs the internet, email, mobile phone calls and text messaging
  • Under section 127 of the act it is an offence to send messages that are "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character"
  • The offence occurs whether those targeted actually receive the message or not

Apparently we can all become trolls..."The temptation is there and we can get caught up in impulses. If someone reacts, it's emotional and it can be hard to get out of."

 Internet experts say the key is not to "feed the troll" by offering them a response.

Comedian Dom Joly takes a different approach.

He describes himself as "troll slayer" and takes pleasure in tracking down the culprits and exposing them to public shame, especially from close family.

"There's something about a bully that really annoys me," he says. "They'll say something online that they'd never dare to say to your face."

The deviousness is "freaky". He discovered that one of those who'd threatened him was a 14-year-old girl with nine different online identities. They aren't always very intelligent about how they do it, he says.
"One guy tweeted from his work account that he hoped my kids die of cancer. I let the MD of the firm know and the guy was fired. I felt no guilt, he should have gone to prison." 

So that was a jolly nice start to my day.  Fortunately for me, there are thousands of really lovely people out there, who are continually supportive and put things in perspective.  I've turned off the anonymous comments on this blog too, and hope that won't cause geniune commenters too much trouble.  I've been wondering what to write on the bodies of my Poisonous Plant quilt, and I think I may just have been helped along the way.  See, Positive Outcome, yay!


  1. Brilliant train of thought and ultimate conclusion. These trolls create as much or more disturbance as many of the stories you have previously used. So yes... a great source for words on this one. But I am sorry they were so horrible.
    Sandy in Bracknell

    1. Thank you Sandy, unfortunately I don't think it won't be the last time!

  2. I am so sorry to hear that your powerful art has been subject to mindless verbal-vandalism. We do seem to live in times wherein the celebrity bully has cachet. I am thinking of the likes of Jeremy Clarkson and Katy Hopkins, whom a sizeable proportion of the population seem to applaud, whilst the non-celebrity trollers are revealed to be the inadequate, the lost, the lonely, the uneducated, and the deluded. The celebs hide behind the mask of either 'calling a spade a spade', or devaluing 'political correctness' as something that curtails their right to freedom of speech. They give the trolls validation. I am glad that certain 'freedoms', such as using 'spastic' as an attack word, or refusing to rent property to 'Irish and Coloureds' have been withdrawn. We haven't yet learnt how to manage these new-born days of anonymous internet interaction with decorum, let alone kindness. The sooner we reveal the celebs to be just as pathetic as anonymous trollers, the sooner we recognise as a world population that pink guns sold for children are utterly revolting, and that the human form in all its glorious diversity is a creation of beauty and wonder, and the sooner we decide as one planet to support, accept and celebrate individuals rather than search for reasons to divide, condemn, and attack, the better the world will be for us all. Sadly, dearest, darlingest, brave and wonderful Annabel, you are at the vanguard of that change. You are the one who has stepped forward across the line, at a time when swathes of people seem to be stepping backwards. I hope you don't feel alone, because you are not.

    1. Thank you for such a lovely full and thoughtful reply rcw. Your words are beautiful and heartening, and without people like your goodself, it would indeed be lonely out there!! Thanks x