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Matt Drudge, founder and editor of The Drudge Report, has a lengthy history with the art of Internet trolling. Like most attention whores tricking for web clicks, Drudge goes above and beyond to provoke for the sake of netting attention to his site. Tact is never a tool for those of his ilk, so it’s not surprising to see him consistently sink to the lowest common denominator possible. Still, even if you recognize that his act is to annoy others to get them talking, it’s hard to completely turn a blind eye.

Enter the most-recent Drudge-related controversy with the following headline in 40-point type (also pictured above): “‘N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER.'”

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The header serves as the text for a hyperlink to  Todd McCarthy’s The Hollywood Reporter review of director Quentin Tarantino’s new “spaghetti western” set in slavery, “Django Unchained.”

Based on that headline, one might assume that McCarthy goes to great lengths to lament the use of “the N-word” in the film, considering it’s a constant critique of the famed director. However, as Politico’s Dylan Byers points out via Twitter:

Drudge has the N-word pasted across the top of the page. It links to a film review in the Hollywood Reporter mentioning ‘N-word’ in 9th graf.

And once you get to that graf, it’s much ado about nothing with respect to Drudge’s headline:

Quite naturally, given the historical setting, the N-word gets a heavy workout, by Whites and Blacks alike. But much more forceful is the cruelty dispensed by the Southern Whites, both as punishment and whim; attack dogs are unleashed on one man, Mandingo fighters (in a homage to the unforgettable 1975 Mandingo) battle to the death in a beautifully appointed drawing room for the wealthy’s amusement, a woman is locked naked in a metal “hot box,” genital mutilation is arranged for a man, and much more.

Did this warrant “‘N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER?” Of course not. Drudge knows this, but that wasn’t his intent, was it? His mission was to get people like me and also other media outlets talking. He doesn’t care whether or not it distracts from conversations far more meaningful. Who cares about something silly like that when you’re ideology boils down to “ME, ME, ME!?” With that in mind, congratulations, Matt. You’ve done it again.

Naturally, Drudge doesn’t want to discuss the headline. That’s his M.O. Light a match, watch everything burn down, then go ghost once people start inquiring what was the point of the fire.

Drudge is a race baiter for sport. A provocateur of the least useful variety, but undoubtedly a prick of the highest order. I can’t find it in me to become “outraged” about this headline. Yes, it’s annoying, but he’s already gotten our attention; let’s not reward him additionally by offering our emotions.

The only other thing I have to say of this is to prompt Matt Drudge to stop hiding behind sensationalism and finally say exactly what he feels.

Speaking with the Daily Beast, Harvard Law professor and race relations scholar Randall Kennedy, author of the 2002 bestseller Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, said of the headline and the power behind the word that fuels it:

It still has the capacity to grab people’s attention. It’s quite a sensational, shocking word. That’s why he [Drudge] did it, obviously. And with the little asterisk in there, he doesn’t say ‘nigger,’ he says ‘n*gger,’ sort of an attempt to heighten the taboo.”

If Matt Drudge meant nigger, he should’ve typed it out in full.

He’s clearly doing the most to garner the majority of our attention. For once, you little troll, why not really go for it?

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick

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