Performance Art

“We’re strange allies
With warring hearts
What a wild eyed beast you be.” — Dave Matthews

The dictionary defines troll as an ugly creature depicted as a either a giant or a dwarf. Of course, there are standard dictionaries and then there are urban dictionaries. Those are people that post provocative messages online to stir up an online community. Away from the computer screen, they used to hide in plain sight. The operative phrase there is “used to.”

The picture above represents clothes that people are actually wearing. I saw a similar shirt yesterday at the gym. They guy waltzed in like he owned the place. He was wearing a similar shirt and the hat to match. He stared right at me as if he were sizing me up. Was I going to approve his trolling or was it going to set me off?

One of the reasons why that segment of the population think the 2020 election was rigged is that you don’t see Biden flags everywhere. You don’t see people wearing Biden shirts. You don’t see people wearing Biden hats. You didn’t see people by the hundreds attend his speaking engagements. They simply can’t understand how that translated into 80+ million votes.

The simple reasoning is that most of us don’t need to wear our politics on our sleeve or chest. We don’t need to hear something provocative from our president every day to know we’re alive. If Joe Biden were replaced tomorrow by Kamela Harris or anyone else that is a functioning adult we would not throw a hissy fit about it.

Imagine a world where being woke marks you as something to scorn. Imagine a world where losing an election inspires a desire for revenge. Imagine a world where we not only think this, but feel the need to let everyone around you know we are thinking it. Why do we need to do this? Why should I know definitively that you’re an asshole?

The ex-president has broken through the fourth wall of ex-presidents. You’ll notice that Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, George Bush, and Barack Obama don’t comment about what they would do with Russia as president. They certainly didn’t suggest we paint Chinese flags on our fighter jets so we can attack the Russians and fool them into thinking it wasn’t us.

None of them are suggesting that Russia wouldn’t attack because of their great personalities. This is usually where someone wearing one of those shirts or hats will tell you that he isn’t being serious and shouldn’t be taken seriously. They tell you that all while telling you that the reason for voting for him is that he tells it like it is. Well, which one is it? Is he telling it like it is or is he not to be taken seriously?

For them it is both. For them they enjoy someone making a mockery of the proceedings. These are the same people that watch professional wrestling and enjoy rooting for the heel. In wrestling circles, the heel is the villain. He or she is the one you love to hate. They win only enough so that they are a worthy adversary of the hero. It has to appear challenging for The Rock or John Cena. Yet, we know it’s all an act.

I watch enough bad television to bite my tongue when talking about wrestling. People are entertained how they are entertained. Ultimately, the motivation of the shows I watch, wrestling, and the former president all wind up in the same place. We want to feel good about ourselves and we feel good when we either feel superior to someone else or when we feel like someone important is one of us. The trouble is that we all know wrestling is fake. We know reality television is fake. We know talk shows and sitcoms are fake. The presidency isn’t fake. Words matter. Heels and trolls need not apply.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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