Okay. It is supposed to be bedtime for me and I should be resting, but I learned something that is not very new about human behaviour today.
I refer to the blog "Dar Dar Love Kai Kai Infinitely Much Forever and ever..." and reactions towards it on HardwareZone forums, as well as numerous tweets. (The blog has since been made private, but two posts are available on cache, here and here)
The blog documents the relationship and selected experiences of two Singaporeans, Dar Dar or Darren, and Kai Kai or Kailing. They are a couple and are apparent unabashed by blogging about their dates and sexual encounters.
With the wider internet audience in the know of the blog, their shoutbox and post comments began to be peppered with remarks that denigrate the couple, either one of them, or both, as well as their intimacy.
Kailing is obviously not your size zero elite supermodel, and Darren is obviously not Fabio, or Rain, for that matter. The blog features vignettes of Kailing suggestively providing oral service to the toes of, allegedly, Darren, her boyfriend of more than 2 years.
Perhaps the fodder for public ridicule comes from the proclamations of scientifically impossible sexual intercourse by the couple. Allegedly, they have sex "for 202 times" and on another occasion "192 times", apparently referring to the number of penetrations he had made, I hope. Either that, or it refers to the number of sexual intercourse they have had since they got together, which would be a reasonable explanation. But with my 6 years of media studies training, I read it as number of penetrations.
You can find anything on the internet. And these are two ordinary folks who seem very happy in each other's company.
But the interesting thing is random strangers' reactions to them. Some even make the effort to post comments to make the couple feel bad about themselves and each other, so much so that Darren wrote on his shoutbox "U ALL REALLY TOO MUCH....WE DIDNT OFFEND YOU.....WHY U WANT TO WRITE SUCH COMMENTS TO HURT BOTH OF US???"
Why are some people saying such things to them?
1) Can we use the jealousy argument here? They are a loving couple who have the occasional sexual intercourse and toe-sucking fetish. We could use the jealousy argument on critics who are themselves single and unattached and probably haven't had a sexual experience.
2) What about those who are attached and/or have had a sexual experience? Maybe they find it "disgusting" to see two ordinary persons, who do not possess movie star aesthetics, recounting their sexual encounters. What is gained when you call someone else "fat" or "ugly" or "disgusting"? I think maybe being an anonymous troll is cathartic for some.
3) Perhaps some language/grammar Nazis do not appreciate the way the couple articulate their relationship in their blog. I know, I personally find it bordering on irritating, but they have every right to express their love.
I think trolling is getting out of hand. You do not have to be immature to be a troll.
Yes, the internet is a "free" space and everyone is entitled to freely speak his/her mind. But I feel this is balanced by the obligation not to be a troll and be malicious towards others.
I'm puzzled as to why people won't leave others alone, especially in a country and society where we are apathetic and indifferent towards one another (which makes us a good terrorist target, given Singaporeans are generally less proactive and bothered enough to care for one another).
I think our behaviour is reflective of a society that is increasingly intolerant of certain body types and facial features, i.e. the fat and the ugly. And there are a lot more youths and adults who are psychologically pained by their realities, not helped by this soft discrimination and constantly ridiculing, more than those who have weathered the social stormed and become more comfortable in their own skins.
Maybe this might be a project for psychology. People do feel disinhibited/unhibited when using the internet, and become a lot more malicious than they would be in face-to-face communications. And they derive satisfaction from putting others down with denigrating remarks. Purely cathartic. And since it is computer-mediated communication, the insulter will never know the magnitude nor implications of his/her insults and ill will, hence no sense of responsibility.
The sociologist in me wonders what are the conditions in society that creates and legitimises such behaviour and social relationships that result in such behaviour. Quite intriguing. Why do strangers want to hurt other strangers?
Well, the bottom-line is, don't be a troll. You don't have to be respectful, just be polite.