Star Wars, and the dark side of Twitter

IM a pretty big ‘star wars’ fan. Nothing crazy, I’ve seen all the movies several times, read most the books…maybe the occasional light saber battle…but thats it.  In fact, it was my love of Star Wars that brought me into the digital world. I mean, im not always surrounded by people in my REAL life who are willing to geek out on the latest new canon material. So I often find myself interacting with like-minded people on WordPress, Google plus, and my favorite, Twitter. This is a  pretty large step for me. I can remember when the big social media sites started getting popular; I was the one judging my friends about their ‘MySpace’ and Facebook pages. “Those are not REAL friends” I would say. “When you need to borrow some REAL money, see if one of your 500 Facebook FREINDS volunteer to help”. yea, I was that guy. But, eventually, even I would venture out in the virtual landscape, however awkward and treacherous these grounds can be at times. It also doesn’t help that my social media etiquette is kinda horrible. I’m getting better, but I would have no problem ignoring text and emails, or comments on instagram posts; and twitter interactions as well. I also have several times in the past, shut down my accounts all together…randomly without explanation. I’ve always struggled with thought of whether there is any REAL value in interacting online. I’m not talking monetary value; I know you can make money by having friends and followers click on your links; I’m talking about REAL value…

The Force Awakens

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Good Sci-fi is hard to find these days. So when Star Wars episode seven was announced, I was elated. I bought my tickets months in advance. I took 2 days off work. I talked about it everyday. And I Waited.

Fast-foward to December 17th 2015; One day before star wars is released. I’m off work, the first of the two days I taken for my Star Wars holiday. It’s about 10pm. I’m scrolling though Twitter catching up on whats trending. A CNN post catches my attention; it’s about Freddie Gray, the 25 year black man who died in police custody earlier that year. I’m reading the comments, some interesting debates going on…after reading one-too-many hateful slurs, I’m about to move on, when one user catches my attention. This guy is particularly resourceful, persistent, and Diligent with his hateful insults. I’m thinking ‘this guy is pretty dedicated’…So I click on his profile. An egg for his profile picture. As you would suspect, he’s been trolling for hours. Every few seconds a new and more inventive hate-fueled tweet. His primary target? Black men. I knew better than to REALLY be offended, or even to take it personal for that matter. But I was annoyed.

Please understand, and believe when I tell you, I have never done this before. Nonetheless, I, at some point, decide that I’m going to choose the perfect 140 characters to end this guy. I’m not going to hide my identity. I know that my REAL life friends and family may read what I tweet. So as always, I will carefully choose my words and stand by them. But First, I must see what he looks like. By the way, its 2am now; My Wife and daughter are both fast asleep.

He had a link to his YouTube channel in his Twitter bio…I clicked…Much the same racist and hateful rhetoric I saw on twitter, but now in living color. I was surprised to see the guy was not white. I couldn’t tell what his nationality was. He was actually Pretty articulate, good-looking, young, and fit. I struggled to find an appropriate insult. 2:30 am. I’m locked in. I wondered if I could possibly beat in a REAL fight.( Not that I would actually physically fight anyone, but this is how all men think, even if only for a moment.) probably not.

I’m getting sleepy now.A passing  thought of when I was into body building; I would take protein to build muscle mass. It caused slight unpleasant body odor…Thats it!

“@randomeggyface567 You look like you stink. #troll”

Not the eloquent deathblow I had hoped for, but a well-timed jab to chin, and I was actually proud of it. I’m a 34-year-old husband and father, a few responsibilities; I have pretty good reputation in my community. But, at 3 am on the internet, perhaps we are all just teenage boys. I put my phone on the charger and spent the few remaining moments of consciousness half regretting the way I chose to spend my evening,and half hoping to get response from the troll. I know this has gotten pretty pathetic on my part, but I was locked in at this point.

DECEMBER 18th, 2015

Finally, the wait is over. I wake up that next day at around 1pm or so. I can hear my wife and daughter in the kitchen having lunch. Grabbing my phone to check my notifications, it jerks out my hand and hits the floor, forgot to remove the charger cable that was not quite long enough to reach my side of bed. Now I actually have to get up out of the bed to retrieve the phone. Good, the screen isn’t cracked. There are 3 new interactions, one of which from the troll.

Let me tell you, If I thought for one second that I would get into tit for tat twitter battle with this guy, I had another thing coming. He hit me with the one thing that would REALLY hurt me that day. He came with the Mike Tyson knockout blow that ended the fight before it could even start. He sent a Star Wars spoiler…

 

 

 

 

kylo ren

He sent this image with the caption “Han Solo is killed by his son, Kylo Ren at the climax of Star Wars: The Force Awakens” …He got me gooood. It ruined my day. Han Solo is my favorite Star Wars character.

I saw the 6pm showing that night at Rave theaters here in Springfield, Mass. I quietly watched the scene. I still enjoyed the movie, but it wasnt the same. I know Star Wars is not REAL. But, Star Wars stimulates my imagination and opens me up to REAL emotion.  As corny as that sounds, its true. Thats why I like it so much.

I told my wife about this whole fiasco the next day. She thought it was hilarious.  Her laughter made it feel like less of a debacle. I can take myself too seriously sometimes, and it almost always backfires like this.  I actually tweeted back at that guy:

@randomeggyface you got me sir…#respect

His reply: @chuckeazay22 hahahaha I saw you were into star wars! you(expletive) face .

He remained true to form. I blocked him and deleted my previous interactions with him. I would never attempt to troll a troll again.

THE NEXT EPISODE

1 Timothy 6:18,19 says…”Tell them to be rich in fine works, to be generous, ready to share, safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, so  that they may get a firm hold on the REAL life.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about these verses lately. This digital age we live in now can blur the lines of reality. Making it difficult to spot the fakes. But you don’t study counterfeit dollar bills to know what a REAL one looks like. I fully understand now that there is REAL value in these binary interactions. Everything we say and do online has an impact whether we know or choose to believe it. Anyone can go on Twitter and other platforms and have a REAL voice to influence others for good or bad ends. The Choice is ours. So I try to share things that are upbuilding and positive whenever possible. And I hope that my voice can help me get firm hold on the REAL life that the scripture speaks of.

Thanks for visiting my blog, please leave a comment.( Even you trolls.)

Cheers!

p.s.  The next Star Wars movie comes out in just a few months and I’m once again anticipating its arrival. Rogue One.

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