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Politically Incoherent: Troll In The Basement

Column: LOLCol   |   Date Published: Sunday, 14 May 17   |   Author: Leanne Duck   |   1 month, 1 week ago

     "There’s no way to frame it without sounding wanky. However, I embraced the wank and jerked it off to the point of climax."

If you haven’t heard of Miss Ink Australia, you are not a lone ranger in the populace. It’s a pageant specifically catered towards tattooed women and the celebration of an alternative counterculture. The organiser, Fallon Nicole, has been at the helm of the hullabaloo since 2009 and unfortunately 2017 will be its final year.

The competition itself consists of three rounds – daywear, swimwear and formal gowns. The capital of each state and territory hosts its own individual heat. A finalist and runner-up from each of these come together for the Grand Final, being held at The Basement in Canberra on September 30. The competitors are judged by a panel of professionals from the Australian tattoo, fashion and modelling industries. Entrants are rated on various qualities, such as stage presence, personality, quality and quantity of tattoos and how successfully they articulate themselves on stage.

I received my first tattoo after surviving 21 orbits of the Sun and from that Lilliputian greyscale teapot, a starburst of vibrantly coloured illustrations blossomed across my epidermis. I hadn’t even heard of the competition until 2016, when my wombmate at the time tagged me in a media release on Facebook to encourage applicants because the CBR gene pool of inked shiksas was running high and dry. I caved in to the encouragement and, although I was quietly confident in my overall performance, commandeering the sash and crown was a unique kind of thrill.

If you try to explain to people that you’re a pageant winner, there’s no way to frame it without sounding wanky. However, I embraced the wank and jerked it off to the point of climax. As of February this year, I am the defending champion of the ACT as I’ve swooped in to claim the title of Miss Ink Canberra two years running. Thankfully being an F grade local celebrity doesn’t impede on my privacy at all because your average citizen is completely ignorant of the tableau vivant.

However, there is a darker and less expected side to pageant involvement. For a community that’s meant to be supportive, some unsavoury characters can slip through the veil, attempting to pass themselves off as polished turds. When a new heat is announced, entrant photos are steadily uploaded onto social media as their applications are approved. Since I decided to re-enter at the last minute, mine was the final pictorial released for the CBR round. These photos are publicly accessible to anyone with a Facebook profile if they wish to view them and leave any well wishes. My entrant photo acquired a few comments, but there was one in particular that stood out amongst the rest and not for good reason. It contained unfounded claims of a mean-spirited nature and was posted to discourage me from entering the competition. The comment was eventually removed by the page moderator. The account which posted the aforementioned was quite obviously a fake one intended for the purpose of trolling, anyone with an untrained eye could see that.

The comment itself hinted at a slight incident which occurred during the Grand Final of 2016, only the recount was entirely inaccurate featuring sensationalist additions which did not even occur. The misinterpreted and misreported incident was so slight that it barely deserves that classification. To be aware of this, the keyboard warrior would’ve had to be familiar with my personality within close quarters and present at the event in question. It was relatively easy to whittle down the suspected individuals and identify the most likely culprit through a logical process of elimination. I became the modernist female embodiment of Sherlock Holmes. I chose not to response directly to the attack until after the pageant as I didn’t wish to inflame the situation and give the troll undue satisfaction and momentum. I could’ve easily left it unaddressed and allowed the comment to slip back into irrelevance and anonymity just like the person responsible, but anything akin to online bullying strikes a cord of dissonance with me. I reclaimed my victory by posting a calculated public service announcement to make the troll aware that I knew of their existence.

I remember when I first read the comment. I had just finished up a positively charged shift at work and was mildly curious to gauge how people were responding to my photo. After reading the passage, my mood immediately dropped and a combination of confusion and anger boiled beneath the surface. Even during my schooling, I had never experienced the phenomenon of online bullying but I can see how consistent messages of a malicious nature would be quite disruptive in day-to-day life – particularly for a wee bairn. I prefer the face-to-face method where the antagonist actually has the gizzards to reveal their identity upfront.

However, it didn’t take long for me to discredit the feelings caused by the trolling comment – particularly when one of my friends jumped to my defence online as soon as they noticed the defamatory attempt, immediately outing it as a fallacy.

The faceless poster inspired me to give it my all during the competition and my showmanship far surpassed the previous year’s attempts, which contributed to my overall success. I wasn’t sure it was possible to win the same heat two years in a row, despite having acquired new ink. The fact someone would go to that extent for a low key local pageant said more about them than it ever could about me. They considered me enough of a threat to do that and, in a warped sense, it was actually kind of flattering. Pageants are meant to be rewarding for everyone involved, but sometimes an unhealthy competitive streak can transform a person into a bitter little ninny. I’m still brainstorming for the finals in September, but as it’ll be the last on record I plan to make it an indelible experience. Perhaps I’ll shave my noggin and permanently imbue a troll face on the back of my skull as a statement piece.

 

 





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