The ‘Jack-Booted Fascist’ Story (with an Explanation)

29 April, 2008

In the Comment Section of I Do Not ‘Believe’ In Evolution, a suggestion came up that, when faced with the rudeness and insanity of many theists, I could resort to rudeness.  It’s a wonderful idea.  It’s also one I really don’t see myself using.

For one thing, though I may come across as moderately erudite when posting or commenting, that is, for me, an unusual situation.  Unless I am in control of a situation, I tend to be somewhat deferential and non-confrontational.  It may not be what I want, but it is who I am.  Here’s a perfect example:

Back in 2007, I was at a forest fire in Idaho.  I was stationed at a roadblock at the summit of a mountain pass.  I saw about thirty non-fire cars per day, most of which had passes to get into one of the two towns within the closure.  The vehicles sans pass sometimes got interesting.

The day before elk season started, a large Dodge Ram pickup (and I mean large — I think the tyres cost almost as much as my car) roared up and screached to a stop by the roadblock.  A young man got out and marched in my direction.  He was around thirty, had a buzzcut, and was very muscular.  Before he even got up to me, he began yelling.

“Why’s my hunting spot closed?” he yelled.

“Well sir,” I answered, “where were you planning to hunt?”

He began to describe it and I coaxed him over to the closure map.  He pointed to a spot two miles inside the closed area.   I explained that, due to the 150,000 acre forest fire, that area was closed.

He then went off on me, explaining in no uncertain terms that the National Forest Service was illegal (this was in a National Forest), that the government was illegal, and asked me “How can you sleep at night with what you do to people?”  This entire rant was well peppered with ‘fuck this,’ ‘fuck that,’ ‘fuck the other thing,’ and ‘fuck you.’

As he walked back to his truck (which had three high-powered rifles in the back window (even though it was bow season approaching)) gesticulating wildly and rudely, and telling me I was a jack-booted fascist (for the record, I was wearing mid-calf Georgia boots), I calmly pulled out my notebook, wrote down his plate number, and told him, “Have a nice day!”

I then called my manager who called the Sheriff dispatcher.  Before he had the plate read out, the dispatcher interrupted him and said, “Oh, thats ________ _______.  He’s a loudmouth asshole, but he’s harmless.”

Anyway, this is the normal way I respond to rude people.  I tend to work more towards defusing a situation without backing down.  I try to be non-confrontational without surrendering.

This also means that, when confronted with irrational people, I tend to aim for a path which will allow me to avoid the confrontation while still remaining true to who I am.

This is one reason I decided to start my blog.  My pseudonymous presence on the web allows me to confront difficult subjects without the pressure of trying to come up with the perfect response instantly.  I, with my blog, have the chance to stop and think about my response (and keep in mind what happened when I knee-jerked) in a calm and (hopefully) rational manner.



  1. You big meanie fascist, trying to save him from getting burned and killed. Whats this country coming to when people can’t use high powered rifles to hunt elk (off season) in the middle of a forest fire?
    Seriously, you handled that very professionally. I have a tendency to have a very smart mouth and go at people. But my boyfriend says that as I am female, I have a greatly decreased chance of some muscle bound moron getting riled up and punching me 🙂

  2. Sabrina: I’ve found that, in a professional situation, I can deal with abusive people. In a one-on-one situation, in which it is a personal, non-profesional conversation, I tend to get tongue-tied. Part of it is, I guess, that in a professional situation, I already have my options laid out. In a non-professional situation, I acutally have to think on the fly which ain’t easy.

  3. I’ve always believed that in that old adage that you get more flies with honey. Indulging in rudeness just starts the downward spiral of trading insults and reinforcing existing beliefs. It reduces everyone to the level of six-year-olds shoving each other around on a playground. No one comes out looking good. One of the unfortunate trends on the internet, though, is for rudeness to accelerate quickly because most of the usual social constraints don’t exist. People indulge in name calling they’d never resort to if they were having a face to face conversation. A number of the blogs I drop in on have been talking about how to keep the tone civil. It’s not easy. I know people who turned comments off because they got tired of being yelled at.

    My own suggestion for dealing with theists who insist on being rude or insulting would be to use comment moderation to discourage them. If they get deleted enough times, they’ll either learn to engage in an actual discussion or they’ll give up and go away.

  4. how dare you enseunsuate that god-fearing people who are love by the livnt god are the ones ho are rude it is you god hating atheists god i hate that word who are destroying amaerica because denying god is the rudes t thing you could bpossible do it is athists killing owru boys in irag and affahnisan and it is athisis who are rudely denyingi god and destroying amiercan yhou assholes are the oneds wsho are rude it is always the atheistas who start beign rurde it is rude to deny god it is the rudelst thing you can do in this world or in the nesxt you athists will burn in hell through the love of the one true god but he still loesv you

  5. My, my, (), you do seem to attract them, don’t you? Are you sure your wife knows about your Jesus groupies?

    As for rudeness, apparently you practice a zennish form of conversational jujitsu.

    As for jackboots, they’re okay as long as they’re not the hobnailed ones. Those are nasty, especially the poorly made ones in which the nails come up through the sole and jab you in the foot. One of my fondest wishes is to come back in a next life as a rusty hobnail in a cheap boot and jab the foot of one of these theocratic thugs and give him, or her, let’s be fair, a fatal case of lockjaw. That’s one way to shut them up.

    Look for my new book, ‘My Life As A Hobnail’, to be published by Nailemhigh Anhard.

  6. Well, you’re definitely attracting folks who can’t type worth a darn.

  7. Seriously Christy, parody right? I’m claiming Poe’s Law on this one.

  8. Christy has to be a fake…

    I think…

    It’s hard to tell sometimes.

  9. Either Christy is a joke (seriously, whoever it is, its good, but enough is enough) or she is a prime example of brain dead right wing christianity (or (as my beautiful young wife says) she doesn’t mind embarrassing herself).

    Ric: I had a pair of Wellingtons which did that to my right heel. Very painful.

    Sabrina: What is Poe’s Law?

  10. Nan: One of the reasons I started blogging was to enable me to argue in a way in which I have control. See, I am a control freak. When I present a tour, I am in control. When I am dealing with people in a professional manner I have some degree of control. Outside of work, though, I have no control when it comes to conversations. Here on my blog, I have a degree of control — I can take my time an think about my answers. That is one reason I do not have any moderating on my blog. Even if someone is rude, I can stop and think about my response which gives me a measure of control over myself.

  11. I apologize for pre-empting Sabrina, but here is Poe’s law.

    What you describe in your post is part of the reason I carefully construct possible confrontations beforehand. And I don’t like to be rude for its own sake, though I will when I’ve just reached my limit, so I have scripts to bounce around in as occassion may warrant. I’m almost always better informed than my “opponent” (largely thanks to and with my acting background I can usually think pretty well on my feet. Smoking also gives me the opportunity to take a pause to light or drag on a cigarette and gather my thoughts. Essentially, though, the confrontation is really more to amuse myself, since trying to effect any actual change in opinion or attitude is almost always futile. One either enjoys the argument or doesn’t.

    When I’m not in the mood, I find “Yeah, good luck with that,” is almost always an appropriate response.

  12. Ugh.

    …(largely thanks to these blogs) and…


  13. What do Fundy’s have against spell check?

  14. Billy — your policy on moderation makes sense. I don’t know if I’d have your patience, though.

  15. poodles –

    Spellcheck is the work of the devil. Grammar check is the devil. In any event, for spellcheck to be truly effective you have to know how to spell in the first place. I have a theory that the spate of ignorance about the basics of communication among the fundogelicals is due to home schooling – the willfully ignorant leading the willing to be ignorant. “Let’s brainwash our kids, honey, so they’ll believe the Bible tells them everything they’ll ever need to know to be really stupid people.”

  16. Ric: LOL. Thats a good one, teaching them everything they need to know to be really stupid people.

  17. sabrina –

    Damn. Here I was thinking that ‘the willfully ignorant leading the willing to be ignorant’ was the real zinger… shows what I know, eh? Actually, that probably would be more accurate as ‘the willfully ignorant leading the innocent to ignorance’. But I don’t much like or trust children, having been rumored to have been one myself quite some time ago.

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