Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pre-Internet Trolls

Given that technology changes but people don't, and given that we have Internet trolls, we probably had trolls before the Internets. We did. Tom Standage observes this in his A History of the World in Six Glasses, and this section will remind you of his The Victorian Internet.

News traveled fast across this coffee-powered network; according to one account published in the Spectator in 1712: "There was a fellow in town some years ago, who used to divert himself by telling a lye at Charing Cross in the morning at eight of the clock, and then following it through all parts of town until eight at night; at which time he came to a club of his friends, and diverted them with an account [of] what censure it had drawn at Will's in Covent Garden, how dangerous it was believed [to be?] at Child's and what inference they drew from it with relation to stocks at Jonathan's." (p. 154)
Awesome, except for the "they are trolls" part.