The urbanisation of the mythical troll

As both of my regular readers know, I sometime trawl, (perhaps troll would be more appropriate here) the news sites for …well…news. I was on that well-known site in the UK (yes, you are ahead of me, the one run by the Broken Biscuit Company) when I came across an article which inspired me to write a post on FaceTwitt.

Trolls and a fairy
By John Bauer – Illustration of Walter Stenström’s The boy and the trolls or The Adventure in childrens’ anthology Among pixies and trolls, a collection of childrens’ stories, 1915., Public Domain,

We have to go back to the thirteenth century and Norse mythology for the beginning of the subsequent story. According to the legends, trolls lived in isolated places amongst the rocks and in caves, and rarely had contact with humans. On the odd occasion they did come across homo sapiens, the trolls would be unhelpful and belligerent.

The first signs of real trouble from the troll community came when trolls moved from their isolated places and started to live under bridges, as detailed in that incredibly accurate historical document, Three Billy Goats Gruff. It would appear, even as far back as the eighteenth century, wildlife was being driven from its natural habitat into more urban areas.

So, we come to the present day and my post, which was clearly in support of an ambulance crew who found a note on their vehicle, urging, nay, demanding it be moved from outside what can only be described as an incredibly self-centred person’s abode. Barely had the metaphorical ink dried on the screen when I could feel it, tremors rising up through the soles of my feet, the unmistakable approach of an urban troll of the clan Internet.

By Graham Richardson from Plymouth, England – South Western Ambulance VX09FYP, CC BY 2.0,

Now, unlike their ancestors, urban trolls seek out humans whenever and wherever possible, so they can inflict their own brand of wisdom on these poor unfortunates. What had drawn this particular beast to my doorstep was the opening line in my post; Dear Ambulance Driver. Apparently, this is incredibly derogatory and laid me open to a not particularly eloquent tongue-lashing. Despite the intent of my post – support for ambulance crews who do a fantastic job under the most difficult of conditions – the focus of the troll was on her being offended. Oh dear.

I can’t speak for all the ambulance crews in the UK, but I am betting there would be very few that found this form of address offensive and indeed, I am sure the majority would see it for what it is, a particularly British term of endearment.

I have included a link to both the original article and the post which caused so much offence, for one individual at least.

Should any of you find something offensive in this post, or any I may do in the future, please forward your complaints in writing to the following address:

Mr Rhett Butler
Gone With the Wind
MGM Studios
Beverly Hills, California,
United States

…because frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Original article, here.

My ‘offensive post’, here.

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2 Replies to “The urbanisation of the mythical troll”

  1. Yes, I was amused at how quickly your harmless little post escalated into a major ‘first world issue’ war zone. You are not alone. On our local Facebook group daggers have been drawn over a cat in a shop and a star fish on the beach! Someone drove that ambulance and your note was addressed to the driver!

  2. It’s sad that some people need a bigger title to stroke their ego. I was there at the interaction. It went beyond rational consideration. If people insist on taking offence over plain English, then they must seek an audience elsewhere.

    From here on out, all ‘drivers’ shall be known as ‘Head of Steering and Navigation’. In accordance, ambulance drivers are now to be referred to as ‘Technical Head of Medical Steering and Navigation’. 😀

    I still maintain that you should be human first before you are your job.

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