Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Don't you just love Flamers? They inhabit almost every spot on the Internet that the public can reach, and they have a vast repertoire of colorful phrases and descriptions and are only too happy to bombast you with them. They make intelligent conversation impossible, and the advice given most victims of this problem is to never respond to them, to ignore them, to hope they will become discouraged and go away.

Who are flamers? I understand that, in reality, they are meek, repressed individuals who have inner pits of repressed anger, that the anonymity of the Internet brings out this sadistic urge to annihilate other people with their insane rhetoric. It gives them a sense of power, of privilege.

Sometimes Flamers troll from one forum or chat room to another. Or, they frequently pick a victim and follow them around, from one spot to another, making sure that their real names or e-mail addresses are hidden from view, never halting in their quest to humiliate and intimidate.

Some Flamers seem to be men who despise women, thus they try to browbeat and discourage them from having any ideas at all, lavishing sexual insults and innuendoes with macho delight, accusing her of every feminine flaw imaginable, linking her to everything from prostitution to masturbation, using their four letter command of obscenity and profanity.

Ignoring them sometimes just does not work, and there are horror stories of Flamers and Trollers who have followed feminine Internet users from place to place, loading their e-mails with obscene messages and generally trying to frighten and intimidate.

Victims of these vicious tirades often think in terms of calling authorities or instigating lawsuits. But the freedom of the Internet allows these punks to continue their spiteful path, enjoying their masterful command of filth. No one wants a monitored or censored Internet...but, along with child molesters, I would guess that someday, something will have to be done about the practice of Flaming, where the victims have no place to turn, no recourse against the attacks.

These fools do not realize that they are risking their own freedom of speech, that authorities may eventually have to take action. It is happening already with child molesters, and God bless those police officers who successfully convince some creep they are only 13 years old and lure those criminals into a tryst that sends them to jail! They belong there!

Flamers are not far behind the child molesters, because what they are doing to women is a form of rape, an invasion of her spirit, her freedom, her dignity. By calling names and making sexual references, they are invading the mind and soul as forcefully as a rapist invades the body of his victim. Often they take on the stance that THEY are the victims, that it is not THEM that is carrying on the harassment, that they are just innocently defending themselves.

And they do this flame act for various reasons....for political differences, for some imagined insult, for just the fact that a woman is voicing opinions that may not agree with their own. Or because she is there, a punching bag to be pummeled, a stand-in for the hatreds held for other disappointing features in their lives.....a bad job, a nagging wife, a parent. Unable to cope with their lives, they release their anger in a torrent of bad behavior.

Sometimes these Flamers do not work alone, but are joined by another man or even several. The others drop out, however, if the Flamer disappears. He is the leader, the instigator, the crux of the problem.

Some forums have strict rules against Flamers and enforce them. Other forums are lax, and while they admonish a Flamer, they don't take quick action. Thus, the Flamer benefits from the lackadaisical attitude of the forum providers, and sometimes the abuse can go on for years. The weak woman...or man, as the case might be...drops out, just to escape the problem, even though she is very apt to be followed and would have to give up the Internet entirely to rid herself of her tormentor. Even that, unfortunately, may not work. The more forceful stay on, to be attacked, ridiculed and treated with profanities laced with contempt.

I have been the victim of one of these Flamers and he has begun to make comments on this Blog. I have erased his obscenities and threats and will continue to do so. I will not be frightened by him, although believe me, he is frightening, and I will not allow him to intimidate me. But I ask your indulgence in putting up with him, should he make a habit of posting his comments.