Looking past someone’s faults is hard, especially if that someone is a stranger. It’s even harder if that stranger is a troll.

Recently, an American comedian, Silverman, responded to one of her trolls by engaging in a conversation with him, trying to understand his hurtful actions.  To briefly recap, after this person tweeted her something offensive, she looked through his Twitter feed and pieced together the kind of life he leads. This interaction led to Silverman asking twitter people to help the man heal his back pain and get him “back on his feet.”

This is a noble exchange, almost abnormal. Of course, helping someone out should not seem so strange, but it sometimes does. Silverman shows heightened empathy and calmness and this understanding is something we should encourage. But, is her response tactic something we should emulate? Or is it a band-aid solution to a more widespread problem?

What’s the system?

I wonder why this person was not able to get help before an off-chance encounter with a celebrity. Celebrities have great influence and can change behaviours for better or worse, but they should not be the fount of all aid. The healthcare organizations, the government, are services that should have been able to help this man. These systematic failures are not problems unique to one country, and are found in many around the world.

During this Twitter exchange, a spinal clinic jumped in to offer help for the man. This is a great development, but were there no clinics offering similar aid before this? There must, and the problem then lies in a collective failure to reach those who need help.  This is something governments and other organizations need to continually assess and act on because I hear too many people saying they can’t get the help they need.

But there is help.

What guides you?

With a lack of care, people are not able to build the resiliency they need to move forward. Unfortunately, this Twitter user seems to have faced abuse in his past and this has taken a great toll on him. It is unfair what some people have to go through.

Yet, this unfairness does not need to control you. It is not something you have to resign yourself to and accept.  Whatever you may face, there are ways to get help. Yes, the system is broken, very broken, but there are things we can do to move past those or fix them. Sometimes you need to abolish the walls and ask for help. It takes time and energy, and may seem unnatural, like showing compassion to a troll, but is achievable.

We all know that a bully unmasked is a trembling, fearful figure. Move past the tendency to lash out on others. Make good choices instead. Ones only you can make.


Information is more available to us now than it has ever been in any other point in history.  We cannot solely rely on winsome systems and saviours; we need to be able to build ourselves up. Don’t give up on yourself, and don’t give up on people.  There are always more good people than you think.


7 thoughts on “a tired troll

  1. This is true! I also think a big part of it is people have dehumanized celebrities, and because it’s all digital people feel they can say whatever to them. I had not heard about this situation, but I now have a greater respect for Silverman

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, that dehumanization is frightening. Some people think because someone is a celebrity, they have a ‘free ride’ in life, completely ignoring any of the hard work that many have put into their craft. There are some people who need to remember that they are just people too; they may have a different set of skills that are viewed differently from yours, but that should not take away from our empathy.


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