I was reflecting on an article linked recently by commenter Northern Refugee. It describes a married couple in a small Southern town who have set about doing God’s will by accumulating a battalion of third-world urchins. The tone of the article is obviously glowing and includes the requisite encomia from various locals for this good Christian charity. Examples include the following:
It’s just an amazing and a beautiful picture of sacrifice.
I call them a sermon in shoes. It’s better than anything I could preach.
I would wager a few neighbors call them terms substantially less complimentary. Though that aside, what an opportunity for a malicious plutocrat to execute an epic troll.
Trolling, strictly as a concept, is unfairly maligned. It is reviled in so many quarters not because of an absence in aesthetic appeal or failure as a rhetorical tactic, but because it is done with such consistent ineptitude. If no player could sink a putt, golf would be even more boring to watch. As another comparison, trolling is quite like stand up comedy: the vast majority of people only embarrass themselves in the attempt. Though at its core is a quite effective artifice. That is coquettishly setting an opponent’s stated principles against themselves or his interests. And then smiling primly at the ensuing melee.
It requires observational skills and the capacity to understand and articulate how the sharp angles of an adversary’s statements can be oriented to pierce their own flanks. Finally it requires sufficient wit to place the IED in a position to maximize rhetorical injury. Something done often…rarely well.
And this is what struck me in reading the praise from locals. They have established an open door principle of charity toward the third-world. This from a perception of costs being lower than the received moral frisson. But a wealthy troll could invert that equation dramatically and force these virtuous townsfolk into abject abandonment of either their own welfare or sententious statements of principle. And as we know precedent, it is the former that modernity always jettisons.
According to Wiki, Lookout Mountain, Georgia has a 2010 population of 1602 souls. A tiny hamlet that will accomodate very little diversity before suffering pronounced alteration. A place where a rapacious provocateur such as Mark Zuckerburg (as one of many hypotheticals) could alight to introduce a new immigrant appartment complex for which he has recently broken ground. This ultimately housing 10,000 people from those locales hand-chosen for greatest incompatibility with their white southern hosts. And with a wink to Sheldon and sneer at suddenly stricken Christians, he will acknowledge the commitment this town has voiced in opening its doors to the Earth’s poor and downtrodden. “I saw in this place a home for the weary and war-torn. A home for thousands upon thousands of Liberians, Haitians, Hondurans, and Syrians. You have opened your hearts and your doors. A grateful world accepts.”
This greeted by a canvas of white faces, each frozen in a terrified rictus. The realization of what their pieties have wrought rising simultaneous in each mind like a sunrise over Somalia. And grinning like a satanic imp is The Zuck, offering an unspoken dare to the audience: lose your town or renounce your heretofore orgasmic moralizing. He knows what corner they’re painted into, and delights in the writhing. It’s principles set against interests. Lookout Mountain just got trolled good and hard.
And after the pomp has mercifully concluded, a great many good-hearted families will hold hands across the kitchen table and pray for guidance. Most specifically in choosing jobs, schools, and towns for when they leave Lookout Mountain, Georgia.