The art of trolling is one that many attempt, but few have mastered. Separate from online harassment, Trolling requires a deep understanding of society combined with a natural thirst for truth and the drive to push the boundaries of acceptable behavior.
“Troll Inc” chronicles the various endeavors of the notorious internet troll known as Weev. Having received international notoriety from a stunt involving a security breach at Apple, Weev has become a controversial figure, whose eccentric behaviors and lack of decorum has gained him the admiration of some, and the ire of others.
At first glance, Weev appears as little more than a nihilistic clown, taking pleasure in disrupting the status quo for his own amusement. While this view isn’t entirely off base, it would be dishonest to summarize a character such as Weev by such a simplistic description.
As any good documentary should, “Troll Inc” explores the mindset of the infamous troll and provides a greater understanding of who he is. Underlying the cheap thrills inherent in trolling, the film presents a man set on challenging the boundaries of social convention and pushing the limits of the first amendment.
The advent of the internet has led to an age in which the distinction between the personal and public has become nearly undefinable. As society expands to encompass more of the world into the global economy, the individual is reduced to a mere consumer, void of culture and lacking in personal intimacy. The consumer apathetically drifts through life, passively following the latest trends while surrendering his personal autonomy to international corporations and special interest groups.
As a result of an increasingly competitive society, some people choose to disconnect from the world entirely. They drift off into the dark corners of the internet, growing increasingly cynical and hostile towards anyone outside their small circle of compatriots. Others choose a more productive path by utilizing the internet to reach an audience of thousands dedicated followers and exposing them to the truth, while also showing the elites of society that they aren’t as untouchable as they may think.
At the end of the documentary, the audience is left to make their own judgement about Weev and others like him. Is he just some obnoxious interloper, causing trouble just for laughs (for the lols as many prefer to say)? Or is he a crusader of justice, attempting to return control of society to the masses? I believe the answer lies somewhere in between these two extremes. Modern day internet trolls like Weev are a product of the time period. They’re people looking to expose the fragility of the current system, while laughing at the ensuing chaos.