I put the clarion call out on social media for suggestions on this list, and I'd like to thank everyone who contributed. This the 10th anniversary year for a lot of bloggers, including myself, and I thought it might be fun to look back on the past decade and honor/mock some of the strangest characters that keep popping up in all corners of the internet. To get on this list, a group of weirdoes has to meet three criteria:
- Being outright deluded in their obsession or, even if they might have a sliver of a point, their obsession outstrips any sense of proportion, pushing them into the "delusional" category.
- First rate trolling abilities. They can turn all sorts of discussions into flamewars about their obsession. They have this uncanny ability to know if there's a thread somewhere online that touches on their obsession, so they can descend en masse and utterly derail any productive conversation. You start to suspect some of them never sleep.
- No sense of humor whatsoever, coupled with an enormous ego that leads to rapid fire butthurt at even the merest whiff of pushback.
With no further ado, and with all your wonderful assistance, here they are:
- Anti-male circumcision obsessives. No, not people who are simply opposed to circumcising babies. I'm talking about the people who act like removing a foreskin is one of the greatest human rights abuses of all time, on level not just with the much more serious female circumcision but also with slavery and the Holocaust and who tend to use the word "mutilated" to describe it. Most of them are misogynists whose eagerness to construct an edifice of male oppression has completely overwhelmed any concern that their weirdness is permanently destroying any ability to have a reasonable discussion about the pros and cons of circumcision. Because of the combination of gender weirdness, sexual obsessions, bad faith, and lack of all proportion, they get the number one spot.
- Anti-trans bigots who claim they are feminists. Known for their ability to try to shut down any discussion by spinning out so much dense, self-contradictory pseudo-intellectual academic-ese that people just give up in confusion and walk away.
- Men who think "creep-shaming" is a thing. They take it way more seriously than, say, victim-blaming of rape victims. Much overlap with the anti-circumcision nuts.
- Libertarians with half-baked economic theories they insist on expounding upon at length. This goes double if the "gold standard" comes into play.
- People with elaborate fantasies about how they would turn into action heroes if they encountered a rapist/mugger/home invader. Sadly, as we saw with George Zimmerman, these people are no longer just irritants online but are actually taking lives.
- Women who believe it's child abuse if you don't breast feed until they're 10 years old. They also like to believe hospitals are out to torture women in childbirth for reasons unknown. Often they identify as "feminists" but they also seem to take a dim view of women who work outside of the home after 30. (Note, easily butthurt: I'm not saying all women who breast feed or have "natural" childbirth. Just the subset that treat it like a moral crusade and a competition.) They also tend to go all-in on the belief that vaccinations are poison.
- Hardcore vegans who have never spent a day in their life hanging out with actual farm animals. Again, most vegans are fine. But you do find the ones who think milking a cow should be equated with rape, and they are kind of scary people.
- People who think a bunch of guys coughing up bullshit "evolutionary psychology" theories on Reddit counts as science. This group is incredibly dogged, because coming up with endless theories about how women are "hardwired" to do sex wrong is much easier than actually going out and trying to talk to women.
- People who feel guilty about how much driving they do and take it out by screaming about how all bicyclists are criminals and public transportation is dirty and scary.
- Evolutionary theory and/or climate change denialists who think that repeating the same 10 "gotcha" questions that have been answered thoroughly over and over constitutes a real argument. And even though the people they're trying to play "gotcha" with have carefully organized and addressed all their objections so that they can be easily found and read. But since none of these people are actually trying to find understanding, and are instead just interested in derailing, they will never, ever click the link when given the chance.
I imagine that at least half of these folks will show up in comments. If you have your troll-hunting shoes on and feel up for some sport, have at it. If not, then just enjoy this video below to get a quick fix of what the experience of arguing with any of these folks feels like.