Conservative Mum: Portrait of a Serial Troll

Conservative Mum: Artist's RenderingYesterday morning, I started getting a series of tweets from someone calling themselves Conservative Mum — who I assume is who she says she is. I ignored the first one. It was a link to Elizabeth’s most recent post about the Phoenix Women’s March. Conservative Mum added, “What a pathetic show of stupidity- NOTHING was stolen from you triggered freaks.” It’s bizarre. What does the march, much less the article have to do with anything stolen? And “triggered freaks” just scream, “I listen to hate radio! I never talk to actual liberals except to yell at them!” I know the type.

But I looked on her main page. The header is of a gaudy sunset with the sun’s light as God and “BLESS YOU” display (but cropped because Conservative Mum has important trolling to do and can’t be bothered to set up her page properly. The point is clear: she is Real Christian™. But in case you were wondering, instead of a picture of her, there was an image that tells us, “The only Difference Between a Radical and a Moderate Muslim is… The distance they place between themselves and the bomb..” (All formatting errors in original.) It is a terrible crop of a cartoon stolen from Conservative Papers.

Can you feel the Christian the love, brothers and sisters?! Can I get an “amen”?! Here is her Twitter description in full, exactly as it is formatted:

Historian/Archeology/Ancient Lit. Mum of 3, Libs don’t waste your Alinsky spew on me-Christian does NOT =Won’t fight tooth & nail against EVIL List=BLOCK

Conservative Mum: American, British, or Professional Troll?

There is no location listed, but she claims to be an America. She does, however, use words like “mum” and “arse” that are more associated with the British. This could certainly be an indication that Conservative Mum is a professional troll, but I think it is more likely just some woman who immigrated here. There are two obvious possibilities. Some people leave the UK because they think it is too liberal (socialist). Also: immigrants to this country are often trapped by conservative rhetoric, because it does sound good. The problem is that the Republican Party is not at all interested in what they claim to be interested in.

Twitter Trolling Expands

Despite my silence on her first tweet, she couldn’t leave it alone. I soon got this one:

I don’t care that there are people out there who hate me or think whatever about me. One thing that age has brought is a very clear sense of who I am. I’m not stupid and I’m not insane. But I don’t care that Conservative Mum thinks I am. Just the same, I’m not keen on such people wasting my time. So I tweeted back to her far more politely than she deserved, “What did I ever do to you? Did I make you visit my site? Did I tweet insults at you? Please leave me out of your trolling.” Instead of simply going on her merry, she tweeted back:

My Disgusting Lies

That made me a bit angry. What disgusting lies am I putting out there? This wasn’t a conversation, it was a rage therapy session for this pathetic woman. I tweeted back to her, “By your tweets, you’re a vile human being. I feel that Christian love radiating from you.” And then I blocked her. But she followed up with this, obviously not intended for me but just to get her rage out:

Real Men

This is actually why I am writing about this. I know what she means by “pussified.” She likely thinks it the ultimate insult. But what she’s clearly thinking is that “real” men are of the type so insightfully and brilliantly analyzed by David Futrelle. To me, the archetypes of real American manhood are Rick in Casablanca and Jake in The Sun Also Rises. These are men who are comfortable with themselves. They aren’t men who run around whining that they could get a girlfriend if only the feminazis hadn’t poisoned modern women.

I happen to be a rather typical male myself — much more Jake and Rick — but even more like Don Quixote, having something of an insane chivalric code that I live by. What I most definitely don’t share with the stereotype of the Real American Man™ is any need to prove my manliness. Because Rick, Jake, or anyone else doesn’t define what it is to be real man; I do; and so does every other man who is confident enough to be himself and not some meaningless stereotype.

The Hollow Life of Conservative Mum

I am truly sorry for Conservative Mum. She’s a Trump supporter. Good for her! But instead of being happy that her candidate won the election, her twitter feed is filled with bile. If you can’t be happy in triumph, when can you be happy? Of course, I’m sure that Conservative Mum would tell me she is happy — she’s just fighting the good fight, “Christian doesn’t mean backing down to feral evils”! But I don’t buy that. I analyze because it is my nature. She trolls because she has found a voice. The problem is, it is such a cliche that it can’t possibly be authentic.

Lou Reed wrote the following about heroin addiction, but it applies just as well to trolling addiction:

You know, some people got no choice, and they can never find a voice to talk with that they can even call their own. So the first thing that they see that allows them the right to be, why they follow it. You know, it’s called bad luck.

It Takes More Than 140 Characters

Bad luck indeed. Conservative Mum would be welcome to comment here. But I doubt she would have any more to say than the slogans and bile that fit so well in 140 characters. Two references to Saul Alinsky! His name has only showed up 3 times in 8,000 articles on this site. And every time his name did come up, it was in reference to conservatives’ obsession with him. I’ve never read Rules for Radicals. Of course, I’m sure Conservative Mum hasn’t either. Alinsky is just her favorite liberal boogeyman. What a sad, sad tiny world to live in where you don’t even know what it is you’re so terrified of.

But you know: some trolls have no choice…

27 thoughts on “Conservative Mum: Portrait of a Serial Troll

  1. This individual seems to place anyone not entirely in the Christofascist camp together actually. Basically anything else is ‘lies’ by definition.

    I’ve put this out there several times, and people seem to think it’s crazy – basically, left-wing sites should ban conservative comments. A person like C.M. comes on and then the discussion, if there was one, quickly degenerates to dealing with C.M.

    I continue to be astonished at how many people, not actually crazy, can believe crazy things. C.M. seems to be on the boundary.

    Even the ‘reasonable’ commentators are in reality trolls whether they like it or not – a left-wing site needs to be able to have a discussion in which certain bottom lines are treated as settled. Otherwise people who could have a worthwhile discussion wind up defending leftism against a person who almost certainly is not going to change their mind. It actually is very politically valuable to the conservatives to have leftists spending their time arguing for the uptenth time that yes, workplace sexual harassment can happen even if profits might be affected. (‘That’s impossible, because they have to make a profit!!! Managers who harass will be quickly waded out under ‘true’ capitalism!!! etc.).

    Instead of having a real discussion.

    BTW, did you see Gary Kasparov’s tweet in response to White House claims of a well-attended inauguration? It’s a beaut.

    • Trolls definitely can do that, and I have banned them in the past. However, I have no problem with anyone coming with any ideology to discuss matters. The problem comes when they just spout talking points (much less when they are rude). That’s all CM is: talking points. That’s what’s with the constant reference to Alinsky (you see a lot of Soros in her feed too). Such people know nothing of either man.

      But this is the other side of what you are talking about. In general, if people are going to have a conversation, there must be certain base assumptions. One profound thing I learned as a kid is that you need to see the whole picture. I grew up in a very conservative household. And I would hear my father say things, only to later find that he what he was telling me was at best a half-truth. There were so many hidden assumptions behind them that, as a child, I didn’t see what the truth was.

      It’s this kind of arguing that I like to avoid. But you are right that there are things that are simply settled. And we don’t debate whether there is systemic racism in this country, for example. And we don’t debate that there is systemic sexism. And we certainly don’t debate whether global warming is happening around here. Yet I still hear people telling me that I’m too mean to the Republicans and the Democrats “do it too.” And they will counter a fundamental policy (eg, global warming is just a theory; we should be drilling more oil) of the Republican Party with what some liberal journalist did or said that time. It’s nonsense, and that kind of thing, I would argue, is even more dangerous. But we don’t tend to get that type around here. Instead, they just have columns in all the major newspapers.

      No, I didn’t seeKasparov’s tweet. Can you send a link? I’m not that fond of his glibertarian views. But he is smart — and he really does know Putin.

    • I seem to recall disagreeing with you on one issue or another in the past, yet I wouldn’t call you crazy. (Compared to me, you’d have a high bar to jump.) Conservative troll comments are simply conversation enders. Where on Earth can you go with them? It’s like debating one of those talking dolls with a string you pull, or a magic 8-ball. I recently got into it with one of these “all regulations are job killers” folks and realized, why am I bothering? To win? I can’t win! Just drop it, James.

      They do poison liberal websites. And those should be places where liberals come together, fight with each other (as we do!), share information, and motivate each other to keep our heads up. Trolls just suck all the air out of the room. Thoughtful conservatives do not — but good luck finding any. You’ll have better luck chasing down Bigfoot.

      • No, there should be sites where even thoughtful conservatives are banned. They poison the spaces in which people need to be able to hammer out shared values and general strategies. You’re not going to get that arguing with a conservative – however nice, well-intentioned, and intelligent they are. The discussion always goes to arguing with the conservative, and never to sharing, strategizing, and negotiation.

        I’m suggesting that even these well-meaning (maybe), nice (depends on perspective) and intelligent (perhaps) conservatives are trolling just by showing up, even if they don’t realize it. Don’t forget that they are free to themselves create webplaces for this kind of discussion – if they want it.

        I also think that these sorts of discussions tend to morally corrode leftists. I don’t want to argue with a conservative – I want to achieve a shared understanding with people who share my goals. I guess I want a safe space.

        • Ha — “safe space.” But I get what you mean. It feels like such a waste of time arguing with these people. Either you’re interested in learning why liberals see the world the way they do, which I’ll gladly share my two cents on, or you’re interested in telling liberals they’re all wrong. Which is just rude! I don’t go over to conservative sites and troll the fuck outta them. If I’m gonna spend a gazillion hours on the internet, I’d rather do so making friends than enemies. Rudeness seems futile to me.

  2. I’m told Something Awful went through this before I was a poster there. For a while it was overrun with libertarians, but they got sick of debating first principles of capitalism and eventually said there were certain premises that were settled and would no longer be debated. Now it’s a fairly left-wing site.

    • Oh, good gravy. I don’t envy those folks on that site. Debating the “first principles of capitalism” is like debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, or the proper pronunciation of words in Klingon. It’s absolute goofiness which has no connection to human beings on planet Earth. And yet, for a lot of people, this stuff matters. It’s a crazy, chaotic world. Making sense of it is alternately frustrating and fascinating, ain’t it?

      • Another thing is that if you get really intellectually rigorous with libertarians (a group filled with subgeniuses), you find that they actually have all these hidden assumptions that they are not aware of. Of course, even their “self-evident” assumptions are ridiculous. I no longer believe that land can ethically be private property except in the sense that it belongs to you as a result of making use of it. And even that may be a pass that I don’t grant soon enough. Where I live, there are homeless people, yet scads of unused land, just being held onto until the city reaches it and so can sell it for scads of money. It’s interesting that some “libertarians” (more than will admit it) believe bring back slavery would be good for giving blacks a sense of meaning, but relaxing private land property laws would be out of the question. Liberty!

  3. Wowza. Just … wowza. The more I hear about “social media,” the more I think this label is missing the prefix “anti.” I sense no good in it.

    I was looking at the Creation Museum (the one run by our dear friend Mr. Ham) website. Just out of curiosity. How much are tickets? Surely, cheap enough to cover the cost of basic facility maintenance and no more, right? After all, this isn’t a cash cow. It’s a noble, principled calling. Ham is sacrificing his wealth for your sins. You’re welcome, humanity.

    Oh, Lordy, no. Try $30 a pop (sales tax not included; give unto Caesar). $60 if you pair it with “The Ark Experience.” Another $39 if you buy a family pass to the zip line called (this is 100% true) the “Ptero Soar.”

    This is grand theft. It’s scooping money from the marks. That’s it. There’s nothing more.

    How did these things become so polluted? Jesus threw moneychangers out of the temple. Now they build fake temples and charge $30 an adult. Mohammed was appalled by how greedheads made quick buck off pilgrims to the ancient sacred site of Mecca. Now Saudi princes running it are balls-deep in skank pussy, while getting their jollies beheading women who walk around with an ankle uncovered.

    The great, courageous, noble tradition of freethinkers has been hijacked by opportunistic twerps getting famous publishing books about how they “stand up” to religion. Tell me, Dawkins, Harris, how your principled opposition has cost you in any fucking way. I know a thing or two about getting hurt by not abandoning a principle. Please — tell me how your best-selling books qualify. I’m waiting. Illuminate me anytime, fuckers.

    I’m starting to have the slight suspicion that capitalism may not, in fact, be the greatest invention in the history of humanity.

    • I don’t share your view on Dawkins and others, and frankly don’t know why you’re mad at them. You know there’s parts of the U.S.A., not all conservative-dominated, where simply being an atheist will get your kids beat up at school, right?

      And past freethinkers look better in retrospect, like anyone. I’m not impressed by the religious intellectuals – and I have a humanities degree. I already listened, heard them out, just like I heard out the libertarians. (Though I read a lot more from the libertarians.)

      However I won’t buy a book by Sam Harris. I might someday look at a library copy of that neuroscience/philosophy book of his – I hear it’s ghastly.

      As to the fees at the Ark, to me that doesn’t add any extra to this already evil thing. Museums sometimes cost more. Trust me, they’re not going to make a profit off visitors – they just want to scoop coin off the State. Actually, don’t trust me – check out Panda’s Thumb archives.

      • I suspect we just disagree on this, but I think past atheists look better because they were just atheists. I’m an atheist, but I’m not a New Atheist. It took me a while to realize why. It really comes down to the fact that it isn’t an intellectual movement. If you look at the seminal works of New Atheism, they are written by people who have a trivial understanding of religion. Just as I’m not interesting in spending my like attacking global warming denialists, I’m not interested in listening to yet another lecture about how stupid fundamentalists are. I don’t find any theological arguments compelling, thus I’m an atheist. But many theological arguments are interesting and worth considering — mind expanding. And negative theology is a wonderful field of theology that would teach a great deal to almost every theist and atheist I know.

        There’s also simply the “jerk” element to New Atheism. I don’t think being condescending (Or worse!) to New Age neohippies in California is going to help an atheist kid in rural Utah.

        I recommend Harris’ article-length book on free will. To me, it’s obvious stuff, but I’ve been shocked at how most people simply can’t grok the idea that their sense of free will is a delusion.

        • I don’t concede that New Atheists are a particularly jerky group. And they address religion as practiced by the vast majority of religious people, not Karen Armstrong. And I don’t concede this intellectual value to any sort of theology. I don’t concede the sophistication of these arguments; in fact it is they that strike me as condescending. Even if I am wrong there, I don’t concede that New Atheists have an obligation, on any level, to address Armstrong or anyone else.

          As I said, I won’t buy any book by Harris. And i have not made up my mind on free will (but do I really have a choice?). I’ll re-read Churchland and Churchland if I want to re-visit this issue. If their recent writings reference Harris, I’ll assume that H has something new and worthwhile to say. If not, I’ll assume that he does not, because I respect C and C despite disagreeing with them.

      • My view on Dawkins and Harris simply boils down to: I didn’t like their atheist books. Others may have. Literature is a very subjective thing. I like Dawkins’s books on evolutionary biology quite a lot. “The Ancestor’s Tale” is super cool. I won’t argue with anyone who liked the newer atheist books. We all have different tastes. Just that, in my mind, they aren’t worth reading compared to Susan Jacoby or Tom Paine. Which, to me, represents a degradation of atheism’s fine intellectual heritage. Just like Saudi princes do not represent the best of Islam, or that damn Creation Museum the finest sayings attributed to Christ. It’s like the difference between millenia of Native American history and people banging “war drums” at Washington Redskins games.

        Oh, c’mon, that museum is a scam. “Ptero Soar.” That museum has as much to do with missionary Christian goodness as I have to do with shooting flaming marshmallows from my asshole at dangerous gnomes. It’s quite possible that, as a brighter person, you have rarely been taken in by a con. Here’s where a dummy can be illuminating! I’ve been taken in by lots of cons, and I know ’em when I smell ’em. That museum is a straight con. It’s an ATM designed to separate marks from their money. Casinos are far more honest, and have better drinks.

        • I was in San Francisco. I knew 3-card monte is a scam. I tried to convince him I didn’t know the scam. Dude had me convinced he was going to let me win just once (then I’d quit of course). Nope.

          Meta-scammed.

          Look, as far as I can tell, Ham and his minions are sincere in their hateful expressed beliefs. Again, I invite you to read from people who have followed it from the beginning. And again, I don’t concede that missionaries are good. Any good they do, doesn’t require God-belief.

          • That’s my point! Of course you wouldn’t by taken in by three-card monte, or the shell game, because you’re quite bright! I am less bright, and so can bring a different perspective to the conversation.

            I’m fooled every time by skilled slight-of-hand. And also impressed by it. Those people worked for years at duping suckers. Nobody gets that good without vast practice. (Get rich quick books never help anyone save the authors, but that’s another thread.)

            Of course Ham is sincere. Why wouldn’t he be? His income depends on it. And depends on scamming rubes like my father. Cash cows who keep the sacred mission of God flowing along. If a zip line called “ptero soar” doesn’t seem mercenary, I don’t know what would.

    • I’ve seen Hitchens discuss getting death threats, for himself and his family. One I recall was someone describing the school his daughter attended. Harris gets some of this as well. It’s part of his excuse for the gun thing.

      • That’s horrible. Getting your kid threatened — I can’t even imagine. That’s some fucked-up level of maniac, right there.

        However. I’m reasonably sure the Obamas and Clintons faced similar threats. I know Megyn Kelly, the Fox reporter our Circus Peanut attacked as “bleeding out of her whatever,” has gotten death threats. Were I or you to publish a post here which got enough clicks, we’d receive death threats. The right are straight-up fascists now, and there’s no point in denying it.

        What I meant was, did Harris/Dawkins risk anything, career-wise, by their declarations of atheism? I’ve made choices based on principle which ruined my life. Perhaps you have (I certainly hope not!) Nobody who makes such a choice looks back and thinks, “given what I know now, I’d do things differently.” No. You’d do it exactly the same. You’re just really annoyed at how it turned out!

        And Harris/Dawkins go on about how daring their atheism is. Bitch, please.

        Tom Paine wrote that an inconceivably omnipotent God, who created the whole of time and space, could certainly speak magic words to any single individual. And those magic words are valid for that individual. However, Paine argued, once that individual tells somebody else what God said, their testimony is hearsay, and I’m not obliged to believe it.

        Well, you can imagine what kind of trouble that got Paine into. The Founding Fathers all denied ever having liked the guy. Even though he was brought to America by Franklin, and used to hang out with Washington at Mount Vernon setting natural gas springs bubbling up through the creek on fire. Nobody knew what else to do with gas, then, and when in doubt, males will set shit on fire.

        Long story short — I’m horrified by those death threats. Yet prominent opponents of the right get them all the time. To me, there is no justification for imagining your stance on atheism, which sold hundreds of thousands of books, is in any way courageous. It may be correct. It’s also been quite lucrative. Get off your high fucking horse, already.

    • I’m going to be honest: I really hate the term “freethinker.” It’s comically self-aggrandizing and an implicit insult to anyone who has different beliefs. Is it just me?

  4. I had another troll pop up in my mentions on Twitter. I think I am starting to get famous enough there to get the idiots who think they are clever.

    I do love the mute function-makes it so much fun to watch them spin endlessly into the void. Some I block though-I don’t want to be bothered.

    And for ease of reference-people like Conservative Troll Mum there, we call them fauxtians on Twitter.

    • The old man asks, “Tell me of this mute function.” He could, of course, look it up, because that’s pretty much what he does for a living: look up stuff he doesn’t know. But it’s easier for you to just explain to us all. This blog skews older.

    • Perhaps the Democratic Party should create an army of 5000 false-flag Internet Trump lovers. This could be done secretly, by university students. Make them waste time on bullshit. You probably could get them to believe almost anything.

        • Indeed, we need more people like you running for office! But we each have different strengths and weaknesses. However — if you or anybody you know is running for office anytime soon, I’d gladly take a look at some campaign speeches. That’s within the realm of what I’m currently able to do. We do what we can, when we can. Few of us are saints, thank goodness (saints are a drag).

          Please keep encouraging us all to do more than we are. It’s a helpful kick in the butt.

            • I feel the same way about disabled services. Perhaps you would care to join in? I’ve done quite a bit of hiring at that job, and if you were an applicant, I’d hire you tomorrow. You’re smart and you don’t believe in mistreating the less fortunate. Fucking bingo, you’d qualify in my eyes.

              The job, alas, does not pay for shit. And it can destroy your body. However, I do guarantee it will be a lifetime-long memorable experience. You will have laughter and a great many tears. You will bury parents and hold their children as they sob. You will be astounded by how a simple statement from a person with brain damage reduces arrogant doctors or lawyers to stuttering incoherence.

              I promise you, if you do this job for 18 years, you will experience all these things. And much more.

              Don’t want to? That’s perfectly understandable. It’s not for everyone. And it doesn’t pay shit, so there’s nothing wrong with looking after yourself by making more money, if you can. Good on you.

              But, then you do NOT get to tell me that I, who broke my back at this shit, or my wife, who went through three months of rehab to repair her back, are somehow ethically inferior to anyone who’s run for office. I’m sure that process of running is a challenge. I’m sure those in office face countless insulting morons every day. I have no doubt that losing assholes with evil financial backers is terrible. I wouldn’t want to go through it. You did, and I thank you.

              I’m also sure the group homes in Arizona could well use a smart, ethically sound individual like yourself.

              When you work at one, feel free to suggest what political office in my district (Saint Paul) I should run for. You’ve no doubt got years of political experience I’d be a fool not to learn from. Cool thing is, I have 18 years of experience in disability services you can learn from! And my wife has 25. We can share notes!

              There’s different ways to serve our country. You did yours, I did mine. Would you tell a teacher what they do is unimportant, compared to what you did? Of course not. Would I? Hell, no. So stop it.

              The important thing is engaging with how to make our society less shitty. And you know this.

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