Greetings inquisitive minds!
So the other day it was brought to my attention that I am under attack. Not in the physical or magickal sense – but in the informational sense. Apparently, someone out there with a blog and waaay too much free time on their hands has got it into their mind that I am a dastardly minion of Evil who delights in inciting hatred and strife across the Western magickal community.
This blogger “outed” me as a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (and by “outed” I mean he quoted my ‘About the Author’ blurb found on my website). He then went on to provide a screenshot of a State corporate registration page that displayed not only my home address, but also the addresses of two of my close friends. Wow. And what did all of this prove? Why, my membership in the HOGD was somehow proof-positive that I am promoting anonymous hate blogs here at Ananael and in my forums, and that perhaps I’m even the one writing those hate blogs myself!
See the above graphic…
Of course, those of you who actually read my blog, my forums, my essays, articles and books already know that these are all safe-havens from the drama, politics and trolling that are all-too rampant on the Internet and in various occult communities. (And, to be honest, literally any and every sub-culture of which humans are a part.) At no time ever have I promoted or linked to any hate blogs, and I sure as hell don’t have the time to go anonymously writing them! (And if I did, do you know how fast Chic would have me out of the HOGD on my ass??) For that matter, I strictly moderate anyone who tries to bring their fights to my forums - which quite often gets me accused of “censorship.” (No shit, that’s what “moderate” means, sherlock!)
You might wonder why this person would accuse me of things I’m clearly not doing, and even consider me evil enough that perhaps putting my home and family in danger is worthwhile. Is he someone I know and fell out with? No. Is he someone who I expelled from one of my forums? Nope. Is he someone that I’ve ever met or even spoken to before? Not that I can tell. Maybe this is entirely random. Or maybe it’s because I count as friends some folks this guy doesn’t like. (Note: As of this writing he has removed the screenshot of my address, and simply provided a link to it instead. I suppose that’s something…)
Don’t worry, I’m not intending to suddenly port in drama and trolling here now. I’m not going to tell you who is doing this or link to them (because, contrary to what this person thinks, I don’t link to hate blogs!). In fact, this blog isn’t about him. I’m looking at a bigger and more important picture.
I’m sure many of you have already quit reading and are hitting the reply button to tell me what I should “do” about this attack. But you should save your breath, because I don’t intend to “do” a goddam thing about it. You see, internet fights are what I like to refer to as “tar baby traps.”
A “tar baby” is a kind of bait. It is intended to piss you off enough that you throw a punch at it. But once you do, your fist is stuck. Then you escalate the fight in an effort to get free – but all that does is enmire you further. By the time you’re done thrashing around, you’ve become so entangled you have no hope of extricating yourself from the muck. And it doesn’t do one bit of damage to your opponent – they just stroll along and scoop you up when they’re ready – laughing the whole way at how easily they played you.
And, that, dear friends, is at the very heart of every internet flame war you’ve ever seen. The troll will stoop to any depth to find out how to push your buttons, how to get you nice and angry. Then when you respond with ranting and raving it’s you who look like the asshole. You become “just another one of those jerks who like to fight on the internet.” No one who reads your rants cares that “he started it!” In fact, no one who matters is going to read any of it anyway – the only ears you’ve captured belong to the trolls and the unwashed masses who can’t look away from anything with “Housewives” or “Swap” in the title…
Back when I was getting my first book ready for publication, Chic told me to beware. The moment you become an authority, he warned, people you’ve never even met will line up to take you down a peg. And how right he was! Just look at the reviews for my books on Amazon – specifically the few one and two star reviews – and you’ll find people who appear to be honestly enraged that I exist and am sucking up their precious air. And, like our intrepid blogger, these are folks that I don’t know, have never met, and most certainly have never wronged in any way.
I found a great documentary on this subject called Heckler – you might enjoy giving it a watch. Especially if you are yourself an artist, creator or performer who is in the public eye.
Fortunately, I’m not a stage-performer whose show can be ruined by a heckler. I’m an author who gets to have my full say in each and everything I write. (Except in forum posts – those almost always lead to trouble!) Those who like what I have to say will read my work and enjoy it. And those who don’t will rant against me to little avail. The fact is internet arguments never change anyone’s mind about anything – ever. And online ranting and libel is so common these days, hardly anyone even sees it anymore. You can shout all day every day that I promote hate blogs, or eat babies, or mercilessly beat puppies and kittens (which somehow sounds worse than eating babies… hmmmm…) but its chances of causing me any real harm are slim to none.
So the next time you feel like you’re being baited on the internet – or even in real life for that matter – just think of the tar baby and ask yourself, is this really worth getting stuck in?
99% of the time, the answer is “No.”