I was watching a three hour video on the Byzantine Empire narrated by an Englishman in a white Panama hat. This would have been enough to make him a bad guy if he appeared in hardboiled 1940s detective fiction. But I think this was made in the aughts, the 2000s. He did make my eyebrows raise when five minutes into a tour of modern day Istanbul he said, “Nobody knows just why Emperor Constantine built Constantinople.” Really? Still, I enjoyed going to a place I’d never been. Then, stretching out, I decided to read some of the internet comments. I figured, a three hour documentary on Byzantium, what could anybody find wrong with that? But the people on the internet, they can troll anything with such heated passion, racism and outright incredulity. There were several “discussions” that had started with historical questions and ended with racial and cultural insults. But some of the comments started horribly, indicting entire races of people who weren’t even involved in the Byzantine Empire. Somehow, this particular exchange of race hatred had turned into a discussion about people from Hong Kong versus people from Mainland China. Then somebody chimed in about the Taiwanese. No idea where these people get their energy to be so hateful.

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