The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

When Beset by Quibbling Trolls, Turn to Dr. Seuss

I read a lot of news and special interest feeds on Facebook and other sources. Many of the stories are quite useful, constructive, and informative (if the feeds are properly chosen). Sadly, the comments are not. There in the comments is a world populated by quibbling, angry trolls and extremists determined to maintain their superiority over anyone who thinks any differently than they do. These apparently unevolved souls seem to have never left the state of the ape people in the movie 2001 who contact an artifact of tremendous, otherworldly intellect and use its knowledge to develop the club with which to bludgeon ape people of a different tribe to death over a watering hole. The subject of the arguments never matter. Facts serve no purpose. The discussion never rises above the verbal equivalent of throwing poo. Of course, in many quarters that seems to pass for "reasoned debate" these days. It would not matter if these folks and their quibbling ways were limited only the the comments on Facebook. There they could easily be avoided. However, these arguing tribes are found everywhere, raising their voices and writing their lines in every medium available. Their one goal seems to be creating division, dissent, and anger everywhere.

So, before you try to contend with another inflammatory, defamatory line in this never ending, tribal bludgeoning, let me steer you to the wisdom of Dr. Seuss. First, refer the aggressive party to a copy of "The Big Brag." In this story, a bear and a rabbit play the roles of the quibbling parties. In this case they are arguing over who is better by who can sense things at greater distances. The bear uses his nose and the rabbit his ears. The two make ever greater claims of more distant sensing, each more absurd than the last. In time an earthworm shows up. They turn to the lowly worm for a solution as to who is greater than whom. In great irony, the worm, sporting eyes and large, bookish glasses begins to stare. He stares so long and so hard he worries the fighting duo. Finally, he turns to them and speaks. He tells them he has stared right 'round the world and this is what he saw: 


The two biggest fools that have ever been seen! 
And the fools that I saw were none other than you, 
who seem to have nothing else better to do 
than sit here and argue who's better than who! 

So, please, for your own sanity, point the quibbling troll to the worm's wisdom. Ask this aggressive, angry soul not to be one of those biggest of fools.

Now, please turn your inquisitor's attention to "The Sneetches," the story of those foolish creatures who rated social success by the presence or absence of a star on their bellies. When your troll quotes his/her favorite hero or heroine from her/his particular tribe with snoot in the air, oozing superiority to all who are in disagreement with said troll, ask this angry individual who profits from his or her little battle with any other tribe (including you, fellow sufferer). Somewhere among that person's numbers will be his/her very own Sylvester McMonkey McBean, the "Fix-It-Up" Chappie who is making money off of that tribe's endless battle with any other tribe. Once that Mr. McBean has wrung all the money from the trollish tribe he/she can, that individual will leave, chuckling, and saying of your troll and his/her tribe what Sylvester said of those now impoverished Sneetches, those slaves to star bellied fashions: 


Then, when every last cent of their money was spent,
The Fix-It-Up Chappie packed up. And he went. 
And he laughed as he drove In his car up the beach, 
“They never will learn. No. You can’t Teach a Sneetch!”

I've heard the arguments from several of these angry tribes involved in their various skirmishes over one "water hole" or another with ever growing frustration at the absurdity of the situation. I did not realize the good Doctor had grappled with these issues long ago and I had heard the answers in childhood from his excellent works. In the end, I doubt this will make one whit of difference to the warring parties, but it does make me feel better. Please be forewarned that from now on I come forearmed with the wisdom of Seuss to use against all mindless, tribal trolling from now on.  And now you are so armed too.

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