What is a troll?

Photo: Dianne Enger Snell Beware of trolls! Sign from Trollstigen, Norway.

Photo: Dianne Enger Snell
Beware of trolls! Sign from Trollstigen, Norway.

David Moe
Sun City, Calif.

What is a troll? The motto of a troll is: “To myself alone be enough.” I also refer to the distorted Boy Scout motto: “On my honor I do my best, to help myself and cheat the rest.” A troll is self-centered, they want to call attention to themselves, and they surround themselves with people who will admire them and tell them things they want to hear.

A troll is a trickster who has a need for mischief. They want to thumb their noses at authority and be individuals, self-made individuals, who believe they are the only ones who tell the truth. If they are questioned or found to be telling an untruth, they will respond, “Don’t you have a sense of humor?”

According to Norwegian legend, a troll does not have a soul. The only way they have any hope of gaining a soul is to marry a Christian. That is why trolls love to attend Christian weddings and steal the bride, with a hope of gaining a soul. Brides, historically, wear lots of silver to protect themselves from the trolls.

In the August 29 issue of Time magazine, Joel Stein has written an article entitled, “Why we’re losing the internet to the culture of hate.” It seems the trolls have taken over the internet. These are basically cowards, with no morals or accountability, who use their right of free speech to degrade and humiliate other people. For example, Stein writes of one database called “fatpeoplehate,” a site that reveals photos of overweight people looking happy, almost all women, and adding mean captions. Do you think these things affect our society?

My daughter has a boss who posted a photograph of one of his female employees on all of the garbage cans in the area. Why did he do this? Where did he get the idea to do this? These are the things trolls do to make themselves feel more important.

We are living in a time when trolls want to rule the world. They are down on what they are not up on and they want to elevate themselves by putting others down. Where do we go from here?

David Moe was born in Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1964 and received his M.A. degree from San Francisco State University in 1975. He spent four years in the Navy and 32 years in the insurance business. He is married to his wife, Thordis, and they have two daughters and four grandchildren. They now live in Sun City, California.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 23, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.