Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Anatomy of an Alex Jones Fan

artist's crappy rendering of "Steve"

On 4/20, my Significant Other stopped by a cannabis rally to give his pot activist buddies a bit of good news: An NDP candidate had said, on the record, that he supports legalization. The Signif Other isn't a cannabis aficionado, himself, but over the years has forged ties with pot activists who support peace/anti-war efforts and the 9/11 Truth movement.

Now as you can imagine, 4/20 rallies tend to be casual affairs. This particular one had a small stage-like setup, but no PA system and no schedule. Through the crowd, the Signif Other spotted a fellow he has encountered many times in the past few years, a medical marijuana activist who was once head of a provincial Marijuana Party. We'll call him Steve.

Steve may look and sound like a granola-lovin', tree-huggin' socialist, and in some respects he is. He claims to be a peacenik and an admirer of Gandhi. But he's also a hardcore Alex Jones fan.

Most of the Alex Jones fans I've encountered understand that Jones can get his facts a little, um, confused, and they take him with a grain of salt. They appreciate his overall message without necessarily believing that Bill Gates is trying to kill them, or that schizophrenics are demonically possessed, or that pi is 33.
Then there are those rare few who live, breath, and defecate Alex Jones. They deck themselves out in his merchandise, watch his entire show every day, and preface every other sentence with, "Alex says..."

These people are, quite frankly, insane. Not mentally ill. Just insane. Of the hardcore Jones fans I have met, not one exhibited a single symptom of emotional stability or common sense. One guy popped up out of nowhere, illegally plastered my neighborhood utility boxes and light poles with Infowars posters declaring "THERE'S POISON IN THE WATER" for several days, then vanished. He didn't round up other concerned citizens and petition the city council to stop putting fluoride in our municipal water supply. He didn't sponsor an educational seminar on the hazards of fluoridation. He just freaked everybody out and left.
Another hardcore Jones fan was TrutherBitch. She literally could not utter a sentence without inserting "Alex Jones", and her mass emails were batsh** insanity on crank. She was heavily invested in one of those Scamway-style MLMs.
Then there's Steve. When he learned I was the author of this blog, he growled at me. Actually growled. Like a dog when you get too close to something it's trying to bury.
His Twitter feed has exactly one subscription: Infowars.

Anyway, back to 4/20. The Signif Other saw Steve standing on the edge of the stage, hollering something. Steve didn't seem to be addressing the wandering, distracted crowd, though he later insisted he was making a VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT (as every hardcore Alex Jones fan knows, ALL CAPS convey that you are CREDIBLE and IMPORTANT).
The Signif Other wandered over to the stage and called out something like, "Steve! Hey, Steve! I have some good news!"
Steve didn't respond, but a few seconds later he hopped off the platform, stalked directly up to the Signif Other, and threw a sheet of paper in his face. He growled something along the lines of, "Don't you ever do that to me again. I was making a VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT." Then he stomped away without a word of explanation.

The Signif Other told me about this later in the day. I said, "Well, you shouldn't have interrupted someone who was on a stage. That was kinda douchey."
He said, "I didn't know he was making an announcement. I thought he was just yelling at somebody. I felt bad when I realized he was actually trying to say something." Undoubtedly, he would have apologized to Steve the next time he ran into him. It was one of those minor misunderstandings that happens all the time.

Fifteen hours later, we received an e-mailed death threat from Steve. I can't repeat 98% of it here, 'cause this is sort of a PG-13 blog, but the gist was that the Signif Other had deliberately interfered with a VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT, COINTELPRO-style, and in so doing had "dishonored" Steve. One line was "Notice the abundance of scars on my knuckles. You will keep your f***ing mouth shut whenever I speak" (emphasis in original). Another was "I'll wipe your blood up with your family." Another was "Stay the f*** out of this visionary genius's way or you'll get walked on." You get the drift. It was a rambling, paranoid, two-page screed about all the ways and means and desires Steve has to inflict violence on those who disrespect him. You know, like Gandhi.

This letter was followed by a spate of other bizarre emails and messages, like, "The dishonoring stands until you honor me again."

Now I'm not saying that Steve is representative of Alex Jones fans. He sure as hell isn't representative of hippies, Canadians, or potheads. But maybe you can tell me why so many of Jones' hardcore admirers seem to be unhinged paranoiacs with massive chips on their shoulders...


GumbyTheCat said...

I have run into several hardcore Alex Jones fans in discussion forums. Your assessment of them is spot-on. They make the most crazed religious fundamentalists appear perfectly rational in comparison.

Lars Goldschlager said...

You know, I don't know how law works in your area, and how the relationship with Steve has been in general, but if it was a minor issue or process, I'd warn the police about the threat (with printed emails, etc) just in case he crosses the line in the future.

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