NSFW: Bringing Nothing To TechCrunch, And A Brand New Reality To The Unter-Trolls

Next Story

Video: Street Fighter Ryu combos

trolls2

I don’t know about you, but I give this ridiculously misguided experiment three weeks.

Three weeks until – at best – Arrington comes to his senses and realises that there’s a reason why I’ve been fired from every job I’ve had, most recently as a columnist for the Guardian. Three weeks until – at worst – I say something so insanely actionable about a deep-pocketed venture capitalist that TechCrunch finds itself sued out of existence.

But in the meantime, here I am, and it’s traditional in the opening episode of a new column for the writer to introduce himself and to generally sketch out his plans for the column. So here we go…

Hello TechCrunch readers, my name is Paul Carr and I’ll be your Saturday columnist for the next three weeks. Shortly after I was booted from the Guardian, Arrington called me and asked what it would take to bring me and my weekly column to TechCrunch. I immediately gave him a list of four things…

- Hookers
– A case of good rum
– Editorial independence
– A desk

The Editorial independence thing was particularly important to me. TechCrunch is a publication that never shies away from a good story, which sometimes means it makes embarrassing or amusing mistakes. I called out these mistakes with glee when I was at the Guardian, and I see no reason why I should stop now. Or to put it another way, the next time Erick asks the question “Did Last.fm just hand over listening data to the RIAA?” I need to be able to say “no, you idiot” without fear of reprisals. (Hello Erick. Love you, man).

Likewise when the wifi inevitably fails at TechCrunch 50 – which it will, because it’s a technology conference – I need to be able to write a slap-down at least as damning as the one I wrote about LeWeb without being taken out and shot (Hello Loic. Love you, man).

To Michael’s credit, he didn’t hesitate in agreeing to the editorial independence (“but if you suck, I’ll fire you”) and to two of my other three demands. And so with a hooker on my arm, and a pint of good rum in my hand, I’m ready to get started. But before I kick off my regular posting schedule, there’s one more thing we need to talk about…

We need to talk about You.

I’ve been a TechCrunch reader since long before I joined the masthead – and through the comments appended to each post I feel like I’ve got the measure of you, my fellow readers. The vast majority of you – it’s only fair to say – seem like great people. You post witty, erudite, knowledgeable comments and are always ready to add a new dimension – or lash on a few additional facts – to a story. It’s a genuine honour to be able to write for you and I look forward to your responses, for good or ill.

But then there’s the rest of you. The small but all-too-vocal minority of you who are – and I mean this sincerely – total freaks. Howling at the moon lunatics. Mentally unbalanced, socially subnormal trolls. Except, if Scandinavian mythology has taught us anything (and it hasn’t), it’s that trolls are strong, frightening and cunning creatures. You people are unworthy of the word troll. In fact there is no creature – real or fictional – that I could liken you to, without it being an insult to that poor beast. You people are unter-trolls.

I don’t want to get into a fight with you, for the same reason as Cyrus S. Ching once said you should never fight with a pig: you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it. And so, because you clearly need hard discipline in what you laughably call your lives, I’m simply going to set out some ground rules, not just for commenting on my columns but for every comment you ever make on Techcrunch in future. Listen carefully, unter-trolls, because I won’t tell you again…

Rule One: The next time one of you asks the rhetorical question “why is this news?” I swear to God I will come round to your basement, gather up all of your Wil Wheaton action figures and melt them down into a giant plastic phallus. If you’ve ever seen the Miriam Karlin scene in A Clockwork Orange, you know what happens next. Save us both a trip and next time you find yourself asking “why is this news?”, instead ask yourself “why do I still live with my parents?”. It’s news because people better than you said so.

Rule Two: See rule one again, but add the questions “really MG, another post about Twitter?”, “why should I care about this?” and “is this TechCrunch or Valleywag?”. That last one is particularly mental. If you’re genuinely incapable of telling the two sites apart then I’ll gladly help you by replacing next week’s column with a list of copied and pasted tweets, illustrated with a picture of Julia Allison posing in Pete Cashmore’s vest.

Rule Three: Anonymous comments. If I had my way there would be no absolutely no anonymous comments, not just on TechCrunch but the whole of Internet. They are the last refuge of a child molester. In fact, I would rather encourage my only child to trick-or-treat his way down the sex offenders register than to spend one moment in the company of someone who would leave an anonymous comment on a blog. Man up or fuck off.

Rule Four: Personal attacks. You’ll notice that I’m attacking you generically here, rather than naming and shaming any single one of you. That’s because I realise that this is just a technology news site and that nothing posted here is important enough to warrant an individual being insulted or threatened. Likewise, calling Arrington names or making cheap innuendo about Lacy became boring before it even started, not just because either of them, or every other TechCrunch contributor past and present, could write and report you little punks under the table. Realise that, feel ashamed and move on. And don’t even get me started on actual physical threats: that’s flashing blue lights, handcuffs and padded cell stuff.

Rule Five: Sometimes I write long. I really don’t care if the Internet is supposed to be limited to 140 badly punctuated characters of nothingness or one-note blog posts designed to leave a tsetse fly with ADD wanting more. For every comment I see complaining about the length of this column, I will add an extra 100 words to the following week’s installment. Believe me when I say this is a battle that I will win.

Rule Six: I have written a book. It’s called Bringing Nothing To The Party: True Confessions Of A New Media Whore. Don’t worry, there’s no need for you to remember that title as I will be reminding you in every single post I write. I mention it here because I guarantee whatever criticism you feel the need to level about me – my unprofessionalism, my uncontrollable drinking, my inability to hold on to a job or any other relationship for more than five minutes –  I’ve said far worse about myself in the book. As such I’m immune to your lame retorts. To paraphrase Batfink, my wings of self-confessed loserdom are like a shield of I don’t give a shit.

Ok, that’s enough rules for now. I’m sure I’ll think of others as we go along – you freaks never fail to surprise me – but I think you get the gist. Just remember that you bitches are my bitches from hereon out, and we’ll get along just fine.

As for the rest of you – the sane, rational, intelligent un-anonymous majority of the TechCrunch community – I’m really sorry you all had to witness that undignified scene.

It sounds twee, but I really do see this column as a weird dysfunctional partnership between me and you – my Kermit to your Statler, my Gonzo to your Waldorf. Like you, I adore TechCrunch, in the way I would adore a smart, funny, flawed, bipolar and sometimes-just-plain-wrong lover. I really couldn’t be prouder to be joining the team of professionals who inhabit the terrifyingly-quiet TechCrunch offices (little known fact: there is actually sound on CrunchCam, it’s just that no-one has ever said anything) and I’m really looking forward to being your eyes and ears, responding to your comments and helping to grow the vibrant community that makes TechCrunch such a unique beast.

So, as TS Eliot almost said; let us go then, you and I, when the Valley is spread out against the sky. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll call out the bad guys and celebrate the good, we’ll travel the world and get kicked out of Le Web, uninvited to TED, sued by delusional entrepreneurs and write miles of gushing prose about Last.fm just to piss off Arrington and Schonfeld. Really, it’s going to be a blast.

For three weeks at least.

[Photo credit: Geoffrey Ellis]

blog comments powered by Disqus