by Logan Macnair
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Pub Date 15 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 21 Apr 2023
"The radicalized, the alienated, the angry, and the aberrant lingering in the darkest corners of the Internet and the one grifter who would unite them all in the pursuit of fame…"
When aspiring actor Peter Riley is given the assignment in his drama class to perform in a YouTube-style video, he creates the character of ‘Petrol Riley,’ a satire of a politically extreme right-wing conspiracy theorist. Peter is soon surprised to learn that the video he has uploaded has gone unexpectedly viral, with thousands of viewers misinterpreting his satirical performance as genuine.
Seeing this as his path toward fame, Peter commits to portraying the hatemongering character of Petrol full-time, building a devout and rabid fanbase of online supporters that only grow more loyal and dedicated the more hateful Petrol’s rhetoric becomes.
What starts as a harmless piece of ironic performance art quickly boils into offline violence as Peter finds himself unable to relinquish the fame and notoriety that he has found as the Internet’s newest and most controversial content creator.
Striking and timely, Troll offers a meditation and authentic, subversive, and cutting critique on digital modernity, the alienation of late-capitalism, political discourse, and the strange, fascinating, and oftentimes ugly world that was late 2010s online discourse.
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