Thursday, September 29, 2016

Old School Trolling

Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten a bit obsessed with American politics, perhaps to an unhealthy degree. This has led me to take a stab now and then at profound (cough, cough) political commentary, with postings of my opinionated thoughts on this humble blog. And, even worse, I've gotten carried away with clogging my Facebook page with unwelcome political observations, no doubt alienating some people along the way with all my poisonous liberal hogwash.

Maybe it’s a trap that men of a certain age, and uncertain maturity, fall into. But, in my defense, I come by it honestly. In some ways, I have a history of this sort of thing. I was dabbling in the same kind of political trolling some 35 years ago, well before the dawn of the Internet.

Back then, I was part of the university community centered around Athens, Georgia. That’s a way of saying that I was no longer a student, but hadn’t been able to force myself to leave the comforting, liberal milieu of that small, hip college town (the home of R.E.M.!).

For a couple of years at the beginning of the 80s, I had found work as a lab technician at various University of Georgia laboratories, putting my degree in zoology to some use before basically abandoning it forever when I moved to Finland.

As I spent most of my time on campus, almost as if I’d never left school, I was still fairly immersed in university life. That also meant religiously reading the daily student newspaper, The Red and Black. Not only that, I felt compelled to express my opinions on the politics of the day by dashing off the occasional snarky letter to the paper’s editors.

Somewhat surprisingly, all (or at least most) were published. I still have the clippings – a fact that says something about how pleased I must have been with myself over these pre-PC (as in “Personal Computer”) incarnations of trolling.

Here they are, in all their dated glory: 

Interesting to note that Phyllis Schlafy, a long-time anti-feminist, died only recently.

This was in response to some guy making outlandish and feverish claims in the paper about the “dangers” American society faced from “Communists, Jews and queers”. I had a lot of fun with that one.  

As I recall, the KKK was trying to establish a chapter on campus at the time, a move that was hotly debated, and they were trying to make themselves sound more palatable to student types. (And I guess "video recorders" were a big thing back then.)

My ex-roommate, who was still living in the apartment I had just moved out of, started getting a series of silent phone calls after this one was published.

Ah, those were the days.

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