I really need to step away from the internet now and then (who am I kidding? Like that’s going to happen without my network access being pried from my cold, dead hands), particularly when there is idiocy on display.
I have this terrible urge to play whackatroll and the next thing you know my news feed explodes with long threads as someone suffering extreme recto-cranial inversion tries to back up their first round of stupid with even more stupid.
Me, at least I’ve got the sense to back off when it turns out I’m wrong. I’ve even been known to apologize. In public.
This week has included two Facebook fracases (or should that be fricasees which would at least be tasty), one of which resulted in the alleged gentleman in question earning the dubious honor of being the first person Sarah ever blocked on her Facebook feed. Impressive, no? I have to say I was amused when he lost his marbles so spectacularly that the best he could manage was to call me (paraphrased slightly) a fornicating female dog. I didn’t do that much – just mocked his rather obviously passive-aggressive non-apology for being what it was.
Er… after dissecting his arguments, and doing the oh-so-plodding explanation of why A is funny and B is not (they just don’t appreciate me, Igor).
Anyway, this must be the season for it because today my Facebook feed acquired another case of severe recto-cranial inversion and I’m playing again. I really need to stop playing with the trolls. It only irritates them and who knows what I’ll catch.
This particular troll started with what could have been a decent discussion point – the matter of realistic portrayals of female character in extraordinary circumstances (particularly in mil-SF, but not entirely). Said discussion point started to lose validity when the “men with boobs” argument came out. Seriously, unless you’re writing SF comedies of manners where your characters are sitting around in Sfnal drawing rooms taking vat-brewed tea and discussing whether that latest clone needs physical behavioral therapy or not, you’re going to be writing characters who are at the end of their personal ropes, and hanging on by their fingernails over a bottomless abyss… metaphorically speaking (also possibly literally speaking but that’s your plot point).
They’re not going to act like normal people in normal situations. They just aren’t.
People in crisis situations do things they’d normally never do. Hell, people do different things in different environments. I worked with a geologist (female) who was as much “one of the guys” as it was possible to be without gender reassignment surgery and who really loved the girly-girl activities in her time off. I’ve done similar things myself, turning off as much of the weirdness as I could to be one of the guys on a 6 person camp in the middle of nowhere where I wanted and needed to be seen as their equal. I fail to see anything remotely unbelievable about women in any military unit doing the same thing.
Now, this isn’t to say that an author needs to have the five foot four woman kicking the asses of six foot males around her – particularly if they’ve had more or less the same training and are in similar condition. That’s unrealistic. But said woman being equally capable with the equalizers she has access to, be that rifles, pistols, powered armor, or anything else a twisted authorial mind can devise is well within bounds, as is her being just as willing to kill and just as willing to do her share of the dirty work.
Wrong… at least to this specimen. He went on to trot out that women should be married housewives and mothers and that no “real” man would want a female boss, even a good female boss. That it’s better for a man to have a mediocre male boss than a good female boss because having a female boss damages his masculinity or some such nonsense. Obviously the result of empirical observation: “Oh noes! My boss is a woman and my dick is shrinking!” (Yes, I’m joking. Mostly. But seriously that was about the intellectual level of the dude’s commentary).
He also shifted goalposts fast enough to hit lightspeed. And committed quite a few other sins from the troll argument playbook. So far (around 8pm) he’s been quiet for almost an hour after I called him “Mister” (Which in Kate-speak means I’ll need help to hide the body if he opens his trap again because the gloves are coming off and I’ll eviscerate first, defenestrate second, then ask questions of the battered corpse (What? Jeez, what’s wrong with a bit of necromancy for a good cause?).
Honestly, what else is a writer to do?
And like the proverbial bad smell he came back, with some more goalpost shifting, evidence of extreme idiocy, with a grand finally of a preemptive accusation of racism – when race had not once been mentioned in the entire thread. This is going to be one extremely messy and gory redshirt-with-extreme-prejudice.
I just have to find a situation where I can legitimately put the specimen at ground zero of a nuclear detonation. It’s the only way to be sure.