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And that was where I decided to leave that particular call – safe in the knowledge that trolls are not a figment of my digital imagination.
They do exist and fully believe it is their right to abuse people who have opinions. Then Gary from Birmingham decided to call in – and while the experience was quite vile, I can only thank him for his horrible honesty.
“I email, play games and go on forums,” he told me.
When I asked what he did on those forums and whether he was nasty to people, he explained that he did post offensive comments and was horrible to people who “deserved it”.
I know for sure that a minority of my listeners sadly are trolls – as I do most of my blocking and reporting after I come off air each week.
After interviewing Criado-Perez, who voiced her fear for other victims without a high profile to get help from the authorities, I didn’t have to wait long for the first digital ogre to call in. He was quick to deliver some clichés - such as if Criado-Perez can’t stand the heat on Twitter, then she should get out of the kitchen.
Because while Peter was a good starter troll – Gary provided the full-fat version of what it is to be a woman-hating internet troll.
Gary, a deep-voiced menacing-sounding man, sat in an eerily quiet home, told me in no uncertain terms that “feminists like Caroline were undermining what it is to be a man” and needed “sorting out”. “And this [rape threats] is what we do.” I was almost stunned into silence – which is after all what blokes like Gary get off on.
Dear reader, you will be happy to hear Peter does use the internet, when he’s not calling radio shows.
I asked the question again and his reply defied belief: “She would know these men wouldn’t actually come and rape her. Rape is a metaphor.” No Gary, rape ain’t a metaphor mate. Gary, I think a little trolled out by himself, couldn’t even answer that one and I duly decided airtime needed to go back to the majority of mankind, who deplore this kind of mentality.
Brilliantly, as if on cue, a great bloke, Abbas from Redbridge, rang in just to remind me that “real men don’t think threatening women with rape is a metaphor or ever ok, online or off”, and my Twitter feed began fizzing in time with the non-stop ringing of the studio phones.
I watched my wife play at Carnegie Hall in New York City two weeks ago. I said hello and we talked about how incredible the venue looked.
At some point, I asked, “Do you have someone performing here tonight?
We can feel happy or sad It depends upon our views Optimism is a safety pad When comes a sad news We can turn easily mad Or decide to wisely muse Shock or hope can be had Both we can surely produce If we worry, our life turns bad If trust and faith, we choose To our peace, we then add Fearing is of negative Empty, numb cold all alone No one to talk to, not even on the phone Time passes, feelings never fade Emptiness grows, leaving life in the shade. I walk over and bend down to kiss you, our lips entwined.