Ah, the good old days. MySpace (is MySpace still around?) introduced me to the art of trolling (w00t!). Back in the day my Friends and I were amongst the nastiest people I had ever met....and it was a blast!
We were seek and destroy trolls - when we would actively search for groups ripe with stupid people that we could flame while laughing hysterically at our own cleverness. I remember this one time, we decided to go see what was up with the white supremacists. We couldn't believe our luck! These people were hilarious! One of them had posted that virile post...you know...the one that lists all the standard complaints about black celebrations. The one that includes in its list of complaints the existence of BET television stations, the fact that Martin Luther King Jr has a national holiday, and the fact that there is a Black History Month. This young man was going on and on about how he wanted WET (White Entertainment Television), complained about not having national holidays for white people, and wanting a White History Month too. After engaging in the obvious intellectual traps, I asked, truly curious, what would be celebrated on White History Day. His response: the fact that the white man survived the Ice Age. !!! My troll friends and I were in hysterics for days on this one. This poor guy could not shake us from that moment on. Being the MySpace hacking trolls that we were, we mercilessly followed him wherever he went on MySpace. He could not visit an ice cream discussion group without us popping in and linking back to the stupidest of his comments.
How did I (virtually) meet these people? Well, MySpace hadn't only introduced me to trolling; it had introduced me to a whole world of anorexidom. In those days MySpace was chock-full of ana/mia (anorexia/bulimia) Groups. Oh, these sites did not give
me an eating disorder. Oh, no, my eating disorder had me happily in its bony, cold choke-hold for years before there was even a term 'social media'. I'd been cold-blue starved, sitting alone in a corner counting and re-counting spinach leaves for a long time before I met my troll-buds.
But what I didn't know was that there was an eating disorder culture out there. Really. There really was. There were Groups of girls telling each other to stay strong and 'fast' for 5 pounds. I mean, these girls were posting collages of stick-thin models and calling it 'thinspiration', and compiling lists of tips & tricks for how to distract yourself from eating when hungry. Then they would go on and on about how hard it was to be anorexic, and...um....well... they were ...normal
. It baffled my mind, after reading all the sob stories of how hungry they were, but nothing tastes as good as being thin, and how their anorexia was all because they didn't feel in control of their lives, and how their disease was ruining their lives, and blah blah blah.
And yet their before and after pictures were...normal. Some of them were, dare I say it,....fat. And not fat from anoretic's perspective. Really and truly fat. Not that there's anything wrong with being fat, but there is if you're claiming you have anorexia.
While sifting through all this bullshit and getting angrier and angrier at these silly girls, I naturally did come across others who were...like me. Skinny. And mad. And discovering the perfect target for our angers and frustrations: the wannarexic.
Oh, we had a love/hate relationship with the wannarexic. While we hated them for their stupidity and whininess and complete misunderstanding and misinterpretation of our particular diseases (my Friends included bulimics, compulsive exercisers, and this one eater who craved -and ate- chalk), we loved them for their entertainment value. And their entertainment value was predicated on their lack of ability to shake us trolls.
Eventually, our trolling affected a pendulum effect in anorexidom. Our trolling was so severe and so widespread that it became obvious which statements you could make that would reward you with a troll treatment. So there came a time when everyone acted like starving trolls. Everyone learned to say the right things (You collect thinspiration? You're a wanna), learned to attack others at the first sign of insincerity (you're "writing a research paper" on anorexia and want us to expose our tips & tricks? Fuck you), learned to cover their tracks. And so it just wasn't fun anymore.
When I reflect on my trolling era, I recognize it for what it was: an outlet for my anger and frustrations. There were the side benefits of being able to come up with a razor sharp come-back on a dime (which I think I'm starting to lose with misuse) and having a community to be a part of in a time in my life when IRL I was utterly alone.
But I also recognize some of the hypocrisy of my troll Friends. They (we) tried to justify their nastiness as being a public service: they humiliated wannarexics for their own and others' good. Wannarexics spread around tips & tricks, and encouraged young teenage girls to develop anorexia. This, of course, is ludicrous, and a gross misunderstanding of the disease by the diseased. I don't really know how or why one develops anorexia, but it's not by following an anoretic's tips & tricks, I know that much. I do, however, know some of the symptoms of prolonged self-starvation: a general feeling of injustice, jealousy toward 'normal' people, and an intense urge to be the best at the only thing you apparently do well: be skinny.
Eventually anorexidom on MySpace became a ghost town, and I eased (thundered? crumbled? white-knuckled? crept?) out of my disease (one not having anything to do with the other).
Anyway, my point with all this is that there was one part of this book, when Kathryn slips in, very non-chalantly, that she was starving herslef, but that she wouldn't go into details, lest she give away 'tips & tricks'. I almost gagged. I mean, even some author that I have no idea where she came from bought into this whole twisted anoretic logic (never help someone else succeed in losing weight lest she win, oops I mean, get a big old meany disease).
I liked the book in general. The glimpse into the world of figure-skating kept my interest well enough. It wasn't boring or anything like that.
But, really, I was disappointed and sad at her treatment of her anorexia.