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Sunday, 10 February 2013


Historian on the Edge tweeteth no more.  My foray into that medium was very short-lived.  For possibly contingent reasons, it soon revealed itself to be the empire of the gobshite and ideal home of drive-by personal abuse: even worse, possibly, than Facebook and the discussion threads under on-line articles.  Speaking for myself, I prefer my anonymous abuse to take a more traditional form.  In January, regular readers may remember, I received a post-card bearing a personal attack.  Post-marked Edinburgh and clearly from an academic of some sort, over the age of 60, it didn't seem like the work of a well man (or woman, but I'm guessing a man) as it soon went off into orthographically and logically incomprehensible ramblings.  It did seem to originate from one of our more privileged citizens, since it used the phrase 'chip on your shoulder' (that's what the toffs call it when you get angry at being been talked down to or otherwise treated as a second-class citizen).  I'm currently guessing at a classicist, but who knows?  That, after all, is the point of anonymous abuse.  

Anyway, hats off to his retro-trolling.  Maybe he can be a fellow founder-member of The Campaign for Real Anonymous Abuse (CAMRAA, to be pronounced 'Cam-rargh').  The post-card is clearly an important step in the right direction - back to the way things were done in the good old days - but there are other alternatives.  What about the anonymous letter from 'A. Wellwisher'?  Or the epistles made from letters cut out from Newspapers?  Even that seems to me not quite to capture all the possibilities of retro-trolling.  Perhaps we can return to leaving scurrilous notes in 'talking statues', as they did in early modern Rome, or pay orators to denounce people in the public square via specially (but anonymously) commissioned diatribes or wicked satires?  Personally, though, I look forward to a real return to basics and surely the origin of anonymous trolling: writing curses on scraps of wood and throwing them into a sacred bog.  I'm sure my Edinburgh correspondent knows a few locations where he can perfect his art.