Trolling as Art :”what I do is harmless fun.”

Today I came across a very interesting article on the Sydney Morning Herald that interviewed a internet troll. But unlike all the troll expose that we have already published about on this blog, this troll has never driven anyone to suicide or depression. Instead this troll is what she likes to call herself a ‘true troll’ . You see we are here educated as a public by Jaime Cochran to see trolling in its original form – An art. 

Trolling she claims came from a need to satirise ridiculous people on the internet. The fact that trolls were anonymous were a protection for the artists, which in times past could have been sued for defamation or even criminal act. What she does she says is an art form that has been around for centuries. The practise of making fun of people you don’t agree with , not to hurt them , but to point out their ridiculousness. 

Below are excerpts of the article: 

“Jaime Cochran is a 20-something professional living in Chicago. She works all day on a computer, but her real labour, the one she loves, is hated around the world.

“I try my best to always be facetious, but not malicious” … self-confessed troll Jaime Cochran.

It sounds cruel. Trolling in the eyes of many is a deeply disturbing and sinister occupation. But Cochran insists there’s method to her meanness. She declares herself a performance artist, compares herself to Andy Kaufman, and describes her trolling as “more cerebral than abrasive”. According to this young troll, she’s out for scalps, not souls.

“First and foremost, to me, trolling is an art,” Cochran begins to explain. “It’s a way of evoking a reaction.”

Young, employed and articulate, in many ways Cochran debunks popular stereotypes about trolls. She is no teenage boy, fuelled by foul energy drinks and hormones pushing bile into the cyberspace from the darkness of his bedroom. But she is gleeful when her trolling incites rage. She feels good when being bad.

“[Trolling] might be something as banal as insisting men who drink their coffee black aren’t real men, because they can’t handle the cream and sugar,” she says.

“I laugh just thinking about it now. Some people need to learn how to take criticism, especially on the internet.

“[It’s] stupid, but hilarious.”

But, even she recognises that the dangerous boundary between fun and serious hurt. The issue is where does one draw the line? 

“I try my best to always be facetious, but not malicious,” Cochran says.

“Most of what I do, I do with great jest and playfulness. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings, I just want to make people think and laugh along the way.

“I also look at [trolling] as a form of culture jamming, in the sense that it can disrupt the status quo to hopefully stop and make people think for a moment. I’m an activist as well and absolutely have no problem trolling people that are activists too, even if we’re on the same side.

“I troll Anonymous, I troll Occupy, I troll WikiLeaks. I do it because I’d like them to see the hypocrisies of their and our ways and as a reminder that the emperor wears no clothing.”

“Hopefully I’ve just made people laugh and maybe think about things differently. If I’ve offended people, then they should take a long hard look at themselves, because what I do is harmless fun.

While I can appreciate that some forms of trolling is intended to be humorous and a form of satire, with recent news about the nasty effects of trolling and its potential to sometimes even drive people into deep depression or even suicide , where should we draw the line between bullying and harmless fun? Where would you draw the line ? 

AS Always let us know! 

Read more:

 *Image also from  The Sydney Morning Herald*

Post by – J.Y


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