Monday, January 9, 2017

High and Dry

I remember an old circus act and popular attraction involving public officials. It’s the water dunk! You certainly know. Someone sits on a platform over a tank of water in the midway part of a country fair. You pay for three shots at a target. If you hit it, he goes into the water. Good natured public officials will go along with the public humiliation as it is usually for a good cause. The library or fire department. Everyone thinks it’s fun.

Circuses do this purely for the cash. There is no ‘good natured’ about it. So they have a different strategy. The carny sitting on the wet seat taunts passersby. He makes insulting comments about people and taunts them, usually with a repeated phrase, “High and dry. Look at me. I’m high and dry. Can anybody touch me? Nope. Nobody has yet.” Of course he is trying to draw in the mark. He is playing some visceral game with a combination of taunting, insulting, and insolence. 

"Look at me! You can’t touch me!" Of course you can. For only a dollar. You get to play out a mini morality play where they are the serpent and you are St. Michael. Instead of swords your weapons are tennis balls. Instead of vanquishment, your quest is immersion. A play in three acts. Introduction, challenge, victory. Then, when the mark succeeds in hitting the target, the carny simply resets the seat, climbs back up, and resumes his chirping of, “High and dry!” The play begins again.

It occurred to me that this is what the Internet troll does. Their carny chant is to taunt, insult, and make groundless statements while dismissing anything you might say. It doesn’t matter if you have facts which can be substantiated by vetted, credible sources. It doesn’t matter if you state that you are willing to engage in a respectful dialog with the free exchange of ideas and opinions.

Nope. All you will get is, “High and dry!” They will simply ignore anything you say, accuse you of wearing a tin foil hat (they seem to have an unnatural fetish for metal headgear) and mumble something like, “Well. I can only give you the facts so many times! I won’t listen to your conspiracy theories!” High ground retaken. High and dry.

No matter how many times they are dunked in the cesspool of their own specious reasoning, they always pop back up, covered in their own shit, and insist that they are, ‘High and dry.’

Don’t feed the trolls.

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