By Sam Foster
“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…” supposedly Sigmund Freud
…Then again, sometimes the cigar is in the hands of Bill Clinton.
You may have missed it having been jumbled in with all the usual hot topics overflowing the political blogi-verse. However, the conservative blogosphere has been making landmark advancements in the study of progressive troll psychoanalysis this week and I’d be remiss if I didn’t attempt to add to those efforts.
Today’s intriguing foray into the overdeveloped Id of the progressive troll comes from the renowned Robert Stacy McCain who makes a case study out of a recent encounter by Donald Douglas.
Channeling Christopher Lasch and a narcissism diagnosis in hand, Stacy provides us a glimpse at the background template for your standard troll:
Like online porn, trolling is a secretive, solitary, anti-social vice, pursued in anonymity. Julie Zhuo of the New York Times emphasized anonymity as the decisive factor in the behavior of trolls. It is fun to imagine a sort of “To Catch a Predator” sting operation on trolls, with Chris Hansen confronting these people with their comments: “Did you write this?”
Anonymity is clearly a factor in the anti-social behavior of trolls, but what about isolation? In The Culture of Narcissism, Christopher Lasch analyzed how changes in social structures, including the family and the workplace, created different behavioral incentives and a shift of values.
American Thinker’s resident psychologist, Robin of Berkley, also expounded on the toxic psyche of the progressive troll earlier this week:
The most hardcore of the leftists seem almost feral, wild, and undomesticated. Many lack even the most rudimentary of social skills; some people may very well be diagnosable on the autism spectrum.
Many militants are devoid of an essential ingredient of being human: empathy. While they exude endless compassion for an endangered snail, they are contemptuous of living, feeling human beings. This is why they can cavalierly imagine snuffing out Granny, a late-term fetus, or, in fact, anyone who gets in their way.
However, I have always employed a slightly different methodology for analyzing your standard troll.
For throngs of those that make up the tech-savvy Nintendo generation that has taken to the internet like an Egyptian plague, social media like blogs are the new normal for social interaction. I’ve found that when a social atmosphere is involved with irrational or anti-social psychological behavior, it is prudent to employ Dr. Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis.
Dr. Berne, in his groundbreaking book “The Games People Play,” outlines the motivations and constructs behind the idea of social games. It’s a theory that people play out certain roles and behaviors in social settings in the hopes of receiving “strokes” (his word not mine. I’d liken it a butt slap from a fellow football teammate…ok mine’s not any better). These roles and behaviors informally develop into an unconscious social game where the groups of participants fall into specified roles.
For example, the oft played female game of “You’re lucky you don’t have my…”
This is played amongst a group of women. One person in the group initializes the game by complaining about some body part, usually their thighs. Thus eliciting a chorus of:
“What? Your thighs are great, you’re lucky you don’t have my…”
Motivations for playing this game are based on the participating women’s insecurity about their bodies and the psychological need for confirmation from other women to alleviate those insecurities.
You will also notice that anyone not willing to play the game is immediately berated by game players as being snobbish, self-centered and narcissistic. The reasoning is to both enforce participation in the game and to ensure that the social and psychological dysfunction of the game is never exposed to its members.
Now applying the tool I’ve outlined above, we will use Donald Douglas’ situation. Take note that this troll makes their comments in the safer confines of the progressive blog and after Donald Douglas chimes in on the conversation:
And then c u n d gulag, Barbara's in-house demonic pustule, left this:
DON’T click on AmericanNEOCLOWN’s link!!!
This turd pops up on the web and does this all the time, hoping to get people to go to his insipid website. Hey, NEOCLOWNIE, I’m sorry to see you back. I figured the cops finally had you on moral’s charges when you exposed your thimble-sized member to the JH School boys gym class. I guess there wasn’t enough evidence, huh?
I’d define this one as the “Playing LeFou to Gaston” game. LeFou was the puny, incompetent henchman of Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Can you tell I have a little child?
The motivation in this game is that the troll is unimaginably impotent and is seeking elevation in the unending sea of impotent progressive nutroot drones. Lacking the ability to be noticed in their own little niche of the web, they travel to more populous progressive ghettos in the hopes of attracting the attention and affirmation of the blog author.
The nauseatingly uncivil dribble in this particular instance is intentionally spewed onto the page, because if you aren’t interesting, have a grasp of English grammar or giftedly clever, then your only recourse is to shock your reader. When that describes 99.9% of the progressive blogosphere, the sheer unbridled rudeness so commonly pervasive on the nutroot blogs is explained. Or in other words, one has to achieve a level of epic ugliness to stand out in a group of exceedingly ugly people.
Berne’s transactional analysis is powerful stuff for the conservative blogger as well as the care and feeding of progressive trolls. There is also a particularly useful section in Berne’s book on people’s tone with regards to social interaction. He argues that people interact in three basic tones; child, parent and adult.
This is a particularly powerful tool, because the parent/child rolls are innately ingrained into our psyche having all once been children, but not all of us have been parents. If you speak to someone with a parental tone, most times the person you are interacting with will naturally slip into the role of the child. A good example would be giving someone until the count of three to comply with a command.
You’ll notice this appears to be Robin of Berkley’s preferred method in dealing with trolls and it has paid dividends too.
Please note that transactional analysis focuses on the structure of the situation and not so much the diagnosis of psychological dysfunction. Thus, it’s a complimentary tool to RSM’s and Robin of Berkley’s work. How a troll approaches the game and interacts with the game could certainly be augmented by psychological disorders. However, it is very useful in leveling the playing field and understanding the context of the progressive troll’s construct for their behavior.