I thought about doing a Wednesday wishlist today, but I felt this was more important to say.
Most all of us have been following the James Yeager issue, excitedly waiting to see what will happen next. We predicted he was just planning on murdering whoever stood up to him, and we got proved right. We wait to see who, if anyone, will stand up to him and likely become a martyr. Sure, they will get immortal fame on the internet, but that is a fairly small reward for what they did. James Yeager will also get that same immortal fame, in the role of the villain.
Sure, he will go to jail for life or worse for him admitting to first-degree murder on whoever stands up to him, but he will still be remembered. And with his behavior, that means he has won.
Remember the stories from your childhood? You remember the villains and the heroes alike. What they struggled against, what the villain did to stop them. We love the story of someone who is truly evil and some truly good hero standing up to them. Unfortunately, the world isn’t morally black and white, but grey and grey. A bad guy may turn out to be someone trying to do good, but with poor methods. Then you have a Knight Templar, whose ultimate goal could be considered the best of the best, but who is willing to sink to levels we would consider despicable to achieve that.
Based on the actions of James Yeager, he ever so increasingly begins to look like a classic internet troll. The internet tough guy, trolling people, then challenging hem, then threatening them, knowing nobody will take up that challenge.
The troll wins as long as people talk about them, follow them, respond to them.
To elaborate on my last post, we don’t duel or pre-meditate murder, and James Yeager sets a bad example and is an obvious target. When other forms of mass media are looking for negative things about us, James Yeager is the perfect negative stereotype. People judge the rest of us based on his actions.
If he gets confronted, we have written the story of the hero and James Yeager. It will be a tragedy, but of what type and what scale remains to be seen. Will mass media decry us all as people who dance in the blood of others, as we hold up a dead hero as an example of a good person, while dancing on the grave or jail cell of James Yeager? Do we want to risk losing our rights, as anti-rights groups latch onto this story and use a duel-in a plane where duels are illegal-as a way to push for more gun control?
Instead, I propose we don’t write the story or the hero and James Yeager. The most effective way to get rid of a troll is to ignore them. What if, instead of immortalizing the troll and the martyr, we instead prevent the story from happening? We know it will end up being a tragedy, let’s just close the book now. Fame is lost if the story is closed. Who would remember the story of Macbeth, had they not read it to the end?
So let us forget about the story we are writing. By following the troll with bated breath, just waiting to pounce on what happens next, we are writing our own tragedy. But there is nothing preventing us from stopping the writing. If we simply abandoned the story and didn’t look back, then this problem would be solved with finality and no tragedy. A tale that didn’t need to exist would not exist in a completed form.
If those of us with blogs stopped reporting on Yeager, his subscribers stopped subscribing, his viewers stopped watching, he would start to do increasingly over the top things to get that attention back, like all trolls do. But, if we don’t look back, then James Yeager fades into the shrouds of obscurity.
Why tell the story of the hero who was killed by the troll, but also managed to defeat the troll, when the story of the troll would be the same with every other troll:
“Do you remember that one troll on YouTube?”
“Not really, no.”