Trollin’ for hatin’

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Don’t feed the trolls.

A familiar missive if one commonly uses social media, yet it seems quite a few students forgot this guideline during Monday’s mockery of a protest.

Full disclosure: I was not present on campus during Campus Ministry USA’s protest in the Free Speech Zone, having elected to stay in my room working on projects for finals. That being said, the abundance of Twitter and Facebook posts from the scene left me pretty well informed on what went down, and it worries me deeply.

Two supposedly religious “protestors” set up shop and spent several hours shouting insulting pseudo-religious commentary to passing students.

While annoying, this isn’t what worries me, what worries me is the crowd of students who stuck around and fed the fire.

I must be losing my touch, I can’t tell what’s reality and what’s satire anymore. When videos started to surface of a man affecting a Jerry Seinfeld-esque drawl shouting about pornography first hit Facebook I thought the dynamic cleric duo was a comedy act. At most, an irritating presence.

Yet it seems the small crowd of onlookers were genuinely offended by the outlandish comments made by Brothers Josh and Jed.

Why?

If someone were to say “a woman’s place is in the kitchen and bedroom” in a normal conversational tone, one rightfully should be offended.

Given the context of two men yelling unsourced garbage directly designed to piss off college student, I found them absolutely hilarious. If any of the footage had been uploaded to YouTube one would’ve expected the CollegeHumor logo to pop up at the end.

After the first thirty minutes, one should be able to determine if their rebuttals will make a difference.

At that point the choice becomes either stay and laugh, or walk away. There were some people joining in on the fun, most notably a student who shouted, “Could God create a burrito so hot, it burns his tongue,” earning a goofy thumbs-down from Brother Josh.

You have every right to be pissed off at someone for making a derogatory comment to you, but that right has a limited shelf life if you choose to stay next to said comments. The Free Speech Zone has limited boundaries, the Brothers weren’t spectres of conservative ideas threatening to rampage across campus.

At most they were two people with unpopular social views, a couple of folding chairs and eye-catching signs.

Rage, cries of offense, confused tweets, these things elevate the presence from being annoying to being actual news. If you feed the trolls, they get bigger and more powerful.

Just remember that, kids.

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