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This is a professional troll. He is in media or showbiz of some kind; he may be a shockjock or a writer of pretentious schlock. Here, for today, he is a comedian who has based his career on being quite edgy, a bit near the knuckle (where the knuckle is the bounds of decency). He has been doing standup and TV for a few years, to small and niche audiences, who love him for his humour that they understand to be clever and subversive.
One momentous day, he gets on mainstream TV. He tells a joke. It is a very tasteless joke. The live studio audience goes wild. The joke is funny, it is edgy and it requires a little bit of thought. The broadcaster leaves it in for the broadcast. The recorded home audience go into reactionary meltdown (as they probably should, the joke really is THAT tasteless) and it is at the moment that the comedian realises something about himself.
He finally understands that he doesn’t do his edgy comedy to be subversive and try to get people to think about an idea. He does it because he loves the frisson of the reaction. All that attention makes him shiver. In a small room above a pub, it feels like subversion. When the reaction is nationwide, facebookwide, twitterwide, it feels glorious and nothing to do with sticking it to the man. It is more attention than he has ever received for anything and he is going to revel in it.
Instead of waiting for his next natural opportunity to get on the mainstream telly again and tell another repulsive joke — he needs his next hit of hate-adrenalin — he gets into twitter and starts spewing pure mad-bile through it, with strange delusional ideas of doing horrible things to famous people, using language that would make your quite sturdy granny faint, while all the time visibly laughing smugly with his unholier-than-thou avatar staring out of the screen at you.
Every time he tweets something deliberately awful, the response is tweafening (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and he laughs and laughs and laughs at the twitter mob calling him a c*@t (my mother reads this), a shithead, a bastard, a foul little creep, then he throws his head back and laughs some more. He regards this as the next step in his career and he becomes (in his head) a professional troll, realising that sales of his horrible gobshitey memoir spike every time he causes a furore online.
His trolling gets worse and worse, but many of his old fans still stand up for him in front of the new haters, and so his trolling continues. They don’t know what to think, unsure if this is an act, a subversive and edgy act or if he’s actually just an enormous twat.
He doesn’t care, not because he’s being edgy and subversive but because he’s getting all this attention; more attention than he ever dreamt possible.
But he does care, and after a good laugh (on his own in the dark) he cries and cries and cries (on his own in the dark) until he falls asleep with his head on his desk, dribbling onto the single A4 sheet of (edgy and subversive) jokes he has spent the day writing. He is dying inside.