Dances with trolls.

[CONTENT NOTE: casual ableism]

Our troll story today begins as they almost always do: with an unprompted comment on an oooooold post. Behold my Facebook status from November 10, 2016:

Iris Vander Pluym
November 10, 2016 

JUST TO BE CRYSTAL CLEAR: If you voted for Donald Trump, or you live in a swing state and voted for a third party candidate or declined to vote entirely, UNFRIEND ME. You are now and always will be dead to me.

Now I thought I was being clear and fair. Kind, even, if not particularly nice. I felt that not only was I was doing a service to myself and my own online spaces, but to those who would interact with me, or decide not to. I then went ahead and proactively blocked some people, and apparently I did a pretty good job since only one Trump voter slipped by:

[Former IRL “friend”] Really

Iris Is a dead person trying to communicate with me? No, that cannot be. I don’t believe in ghosts. (Unfriended/blocked)


Oh, wait no. NOT the end. Eight months later:

Farriss I came upon your posts through a mutual friend. Question, what gives you your sense of superiority? You, actually find this too be a rational and intelligent veiw on the issues.

I did not vote 45, I definitely have some strong opinions and let them be known. I feel everyone is entitled to an opinion whether we “hate” it or not.

But I also feel being angry, hateful and spiteful is what has helped get us in this mess.

Iris 1 – Christ, we have a mutual friend? That’s…interesting.

2 – Um, I don’t think I’m superior to *anyone*, so I’m not sure where you got that. I mean, it’s not like I go on other people’s 8-month old Facebook posts to ‘splain how their feelings are WRONG, and further that expressing those feelings with clarity and conviction is how we got into “this mess.” And that they are somehow obligated to spend their limited time on Earth engaging with fucking Trump voters and enablers, or with anyone else for that matter. BTW, anti-“superiority” is pretty much the definition of leftism: equality (and cooperation) vs. hierarchy (and domination). And yeah, I think systems which promote equality (and cooperation) are far, FAR superior to those which promote hierarchy (and domination). I absolutely own that shit 100%. Unapologetically.

3 – Yes, I actually find this to be a rational view on “the issues,” although you did not specify precisely which issue(s) you are referring to. On the issue of whether I am under some ethical obligation to interact (respectfully? “nicely?”) with Trump voters and enablers, either in real life or social media? HAHAHA NO.

Now you run along and go be respectful and “nice” to…well, whatever white supremacists you want. Good luck with that.

Farriss You have no fucking idea what you are speaking about. Supremacist I am not. You need some psychological help.

Iris Well, you’re certainly right about that psychological help. I’ll be sure to pass along to my therapist next week that in Farriss Ann Collins’s highly esteemed and respected opinion, he is just not doing a very good job with me.

Meanwhile, I think it’s only fair, Farriss, that *I* now get to point out that *you* need some reading comprehension help. I did NOT deem you a white supremacist. It seems you’ve forgotten already, but let me remind you that you came here this morning to condemn my intolerance of Trump voters and enablers in my personal life and my social media. My last comment to you emphasizes that *you*, on the other hand, are perfectly free to tolerate, engage with, be respectful of and/or “nice” to Trump voters and enablers however and wherever you see fit. I promise I won’t come on your page and flame you for it. See, even though I believe it’s an exercise in futility and an utterly failed strategy, IDGAF. Shit, I don’t know, maybe you’re a one-in-a-million special snowflake that actually gets through to one of these assholes with niceness! They really don’t seem to value it, though. Perhaps consider that they actually view niceness as weakness. I’m not saying it *is* a weakness. “Niceness” is just a strategy like any other, with upsides and downsides. I’m saying that right-wing conservatives are known to view it as a weakness.

Relatedly, you also came here to proclaim your (entirely unsupported) opinion that “being angry, hateful and spiteful is what has helped get us in this mess,” whereas I hold that wilful ignorance, apathy and *not being fucking angry enough when it is clearly fucking warranted* lies at the heart of our current predicament. Alas, that topic will have to wait for another day!


Around the same time, Farriss also shared from my page that MLK quote I posted here the other day:

[“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.]

I have to say I had a good laugh at that, since people like Farriss are precisely the people Dr. King is talking about.

Anyway, while perusing my page Farriss came across my most recent status, and was moved to bestow her insightful comments thereupon.

Iris Vander Pluym

9 hrs

Pretty sure more than a few ppl on my friends list would happily join me in making this fashion statement. [oh hi Katherine!] Also, if you’re not following Bitch Media (Twitter: @BitchMedia) you may want to seriously reconsider all of your life choices.

[image: tank shirt on woman, front reads: “I’m not always a bitch…”
back reads: “Just kidding. go fuck yourself.” with a cartoon drawing of a unicorn with a middle finger raised.]

Supportive comments and likes/reactions ensue as expected. And then:

Farriss What an idiot! I wouldn’t follow her. Maybe she should rethink her life choices.

A commenter replies to defend my impugned honor, whilst I promptly retire to the fainting couch! LOL.

Farriss […] I read some of her posts. Superiority, anger and hate is what has helped us get in this mess.

Iris Right, and being “nice” to people who hate you and the people you love and everything you stand for has been working out SO WELL for decades! We should definitely keep doing more of that. Oh and FYI: the lefties are JUST AS BAD as white supremacists for being (gawdferbid!) angry and hating an evil, deadly and destructive ideology! Also: showing up on my wall to say “What an idiot!” and attempting to dissuade people from following me is NOT AT ALL evidence of a sense of superiority, anger, or hatefulness.


Farriss Iris , I do not discriminate concerning either side. Never have never will. I have experienced plenty of anger , bigotry and hatred in my life also. But, you do spew hatred, this doesn’t solve anything! And, I too hate destructive ideology. Do I believe being nice gets you anywhere not particularly.

I will state this again, better yet read your own posts. Try to look at them objectively.

And, just maybe the LOL, adds to what I mean.

Iris You “do not discriminate concerning either side”? Well there’s your problem right there. You yourself say you “hate ” destructive ideology, and that’s apparently okay. Yet if I do it, I am “spewing hatred” and this is…um, very bad. The rest of your comment is just as incoherent. For example, I really don’t need to read my own posts BECAUSE I WROTE THEM. (And I stand by them.) Being angry, and yes, hating that which is hateful, unjust, destructive and deadly, is *not* a moral failing on my part. The opposite of angry is not “nice.” It’s *apathy*. But by all means, you go right ahead and claim there’s a moral equivalency between what I say and do and the words and actions of white supremacists.

PS. I am truly sorry that you have experienced anger, bigotry and hatred.


I think after that she either blocked or deleted, because I can no longer comment on the subthread. Oh well. It was “nice” while it lasted.

[image: That Dos Equis d00d with text that reads: “I don’t always engage trolls. But when I do I have waaay too much fun.”]


  1. says

    Hahahahahahaha, oh my. What a lightweight. She certainly didn’t have any nice to spare for you. Amazin’ that they think sugar-coating poison somehow makes the poison okay.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    That shirt is amazing. I want one RIGHT NOW. Going to go look it up.

  3. jws1 says

    My beloved wife, my mom, my dad, my step-parents, my sister, and my entire extended family are the folks King was talking about. Confront them on this and I’m scolded as an unreasonable firebrand who is the real problem. I’m disgusted with this enabling of white supremacism that Trump represents. That last clause is “fightin’ words” indeed for most of them. They have gotten the message that racism is wrong; they simply refuse to see racism when they see it, opting instead for a false peace in which fighting hate is seen as the same as hate. My family and most of my friends simply refuse to consider King’s words in a more famous speech in which he placed the real judgment of people to be on their content of character.

  4. says


    What a lightweight.


    Crip Dyke: I couldn’t find it exactly, but maybe this one’s close enough?

    jws1: I share your frustration. As you’re probably aware, the rest of the paragraph reads:

    … who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    It’s all so fucking good, but I guess taken together it’s too long to put on a meme.

  5. says

    I am so sick of these people, to be honest. The fact that these arguments are still popping up when we’re dealing with literal, actual nazis is so infuriatingly baffling to me. How can there be disagreement about how to deal with nazis? How can there be anyone getting all righteous at left-wingers over nazis? Like… what is happening?

    As for that Dr. King quote… I absolutely love it. He’s 100% correct. These people don’t want justice… they want quiet. They just want it to be a level low enough that they can just ignore and going living without being uncomfortable… and fuck everyone else.

  6. eggmoidal says

    Nathan: “How can there be disagreement about how to deal with nazis? How can there be anyone getting all righteous at left-wingers over nazis? Like… what is happening?”

    In a word: cowardice. When everywhere you look, media and the highest eschalons of govt side with the nazis, the general populace become “good little Germans” and turn their heads.

    But even more discouraging for the long run is the permanent media bias against the left. E.g. when the left gets violent, there is near universal and fearless media condemnation, even though their cause is just. But when the right is violent, the media almost sympathizes with them, and cravenly tells us to try understand how they feel, even though their cause is unjust.

  7. methuseus says

    @eggmodai #7:

    But even more discouraging for the long run is the permanent media bias against the left. E.g. when the left gets violent, there is near universal and fearless media condemnation, even though their cause is just. But when the right is violent, the media almost sympathizes with them, and cravenly tells us to try understand how they feel, even though their cause is unjust.

    It’s even worse than that, though. When the left calls out the violence of the right, and says, “this has to stop!” they are told that “this is just how they are, they can’t help it.” I’m not a fan of mental institutions or prisons, but, if someone can’t help hurting other people, they need to be removed from polite society in some way. No, it’s not that they can’t help being assholes, it’s that they’re being enabled. It’s not that they can’t help hurting people, it’s that they actively enjoy hurting those that disagree with them, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

  8. Raucous Indignation says

    Oh dear sweet ambrosia! The nectar of distilled snark! Like a bracing tonic to my soul! I missed this while I was on vacation. I always tell my children that if they aren’t angry, they aren’t paying attention. They don’t quite understand yet, but I think they will.