By Francois Marchand, Vancouver Sun September 26, 2014
B.C. poet Shane Koyczan is at the heart of a Category Five creative hurricane.
Not only is he putting the finishing touches to the libretto for Stickboy, the Vancouver Opera production based on his 2008 book of the same name, but Koyczan has also just released his latest album and companion book of poetry entitled Silence Is A Song I Know All The Words To.
You may have seen the latest video stemming from the collection, Troll, in which Koyczan addresses online bullying and anonymous commenters who get their kicks in berating and belittling others on the Internet.
The video followed in the footsteps of his viral anti-bullying video To This Day, which has gathered over 14 million views on YouTube and generated a tidal wave of discussion last year.
As Koyczan explained, no one is safe from online troublemakers, and even a positive statement like To This Day got “trolled” on YouTube.
“Anything is going to get trolled — it doesn’t matter what it is,” Koyczan said via phone while on his way to shoot another video, this one an homage to his deceased grandfather entitled Heaven Or Whatever, in a Maple Ridge cemetery earlier this week.
“There’s always somebody trying to step on something beautiful or trying to piss people off. Part of it is that people want attention. And whether that’s good attention or bad attention is sometimes beside the point. Some of it borders of sociopathic behaviour. It’s an interesting phenomenon.
“The more I researched troll culture, the more I realized, ‘Here are these people who live in these little comment boxes. Why not turn my video into a comment about what they’re doing?’ Look at what happened to Amanda Todd’s family after she passed away. Or what people did to Zelda Williams after her father (actor Robin Williams) died, sending her photos of her dead father. That’s insane behaviour. If you look at the comments for Troll, you can see people defending that behaviour. There’s been a long-standing culture of silence and victim-blaming.”
Bullying, depression and self-affirmation are still front and centre in Koyczan’s work.
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