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One for the Haters

by Dylan Muhlenberg, illustration by Jason Bronkhorst / 13.08.2010

Thick tongue protruding out of the corner of his mouth, Max the Gorilla wields his pen as if it were a banana, aimlessly scribbling in the little cage that is his mind. One cannot help but to watch this from the gallery above and hurl peanuts at such a spectacle. An ape that can write! Which is almost as pleasing as watching a poodle pedal a bicycle.

Now I don’t know what kind of musical background Max the Gorilla has. Hell, I don’t even think he makes a living off of his words? But despite these odds, Max the Gorilla has fashioned himself as an authority of sorts, shitting on angels in his simian stride.

Merely an opinion merchant, Max the Gorilla flings these about like other apes handle their faeces. Which isn’t right. It’s like that restaurant reviewer in Ratatouille says: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”

So I propose that Max the Gorilla is returned to his gulag. Failing that we lop off his writing hand and turn it into an ashtray to be kept in the band room at Mercury. It will go nicely with the ottoman that I propose we turn Roger Young into. Furnishings that would definitely serve the South African music industry a lot better than this pair of self-inflated windbags.

The scourge that is Roger Young is the greater evil though, because while Max is a gorilla, at least he’s on the right side of forty and therefore has some sort of relevance representing a youth-culture brand like Mahala. Roger, in some sort of sick joke, has been bequeathed with a last name that is so far from what he is that it could just as well have been Handsome. Or Skinny. Young is merely a middle aged could’ve-been who should know better than to steal the wind from all those young dreamer’s sails. The only thing worse than listening to a man two decades older than us telling us how we should party, or what we shouldn’t be listening to, would be actually meeting him and trying not to think of his tiny, sweaty penis.

But worst of all is the beast that’s been sitting behind a computer far, far away from the one that you’re reading this on. A beast whose only way to get back at THEM is to write vitriolic, hate-filled treatises on the comment board. Gnashing its teeth at those pot-stirring sentences that set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons. This beast is a troll. His back is hunched from stooping and he has eyes that have grown shifty from staying in the shadows. This beast is a master of puppets, creating fake personas to feign allies and keep his name referenced – thus creating an illusion of support for his own beliefs and arguments. This beast doesn’t take responsibility for his words, instead he dishes out abusive comments willy-nilly, feeds the other trolls, chooses to fight all of his battles via anonymous commentary on the comment boards, and is famous for saying things from behind a computer monitor that he’d never have the gall to say to somebody’s face. This beast is a griefer, purposely irritating and harassing others. This beast is a heckler, shouting disparaging comments, interrupting useful commentary and disturbing other participants. This beast is a lurker, one that takes and never really participates. This beast is me.

Or was me, until I decided to disrobe from my cloak of anonymity and publish this piece on the very site that keeps Young in pies and Cokes and is the only platform where I’ve ever read the above-mentioned gorilla’s byline. Yes, a lot of what you say reveals clues about yourself, and so all you Freudsters are about to have a field day with this gem: the pair of testicles that is Roger and Max have made me want to be the big swinging dick in the middle, spurting out onto the page and draining these sad sacks of their creative juices. Inspired by these hacks my digits dance across the keyboard on behalf of all those that have been left in their collective wake. I am the voice of the voiceless. Just a nice guy giving back to those who have given us so much.

Illustration © Jason Bronkhorst.

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