Monday, December 6, 2010

Wherein We Take a Swipe at Admittedly Low-Hanging Fruit

If you have 10 minutes of your life to waste, feel free to throw them away watching the video below. Afterward, I will gleefully explain why the fellow in said video is a nutcase.

The dude in the video is named Mark Jungwirth. He's an Oshkosh resident in his mid/late 20s and the ringleader of "We Are Change" Oshkosh -- a consortium of conspiracy theorists who live in an alternate reality populated by black helicopters and tin foil hats. These guys seem to think that the official or authoritative explanation to anything is reason enough to consider that account misleading and deceptive. As a result, their ranks are filled with 9/11 truthers, global warming deniers, Federal Reserve nonsensers, FEMA intern camps (seriously) warners, to name just a few of the numerous conspiracy theories to which these dudes subscribe.

Now, as a general rule, folks with such a tenuous grasp on reality tend to be hypersensitive to any real or merely perceived affront to their "rights." Unfortunately, these folks also tend to be poorly informed as to what exactly constitutes those "rights" and generally stick to an interpretation of the law that -- not surprisingly -- conforms quite conveniently to whatever their current situation or whim happens to be.

Take, for example, Mr. Jungwirth's trip to the bank. Not once does it occur to this young man that maybe ... maybe ... video-tapping in a bank is not kosher for reasons that should be rather obvious. Unfortunately, those reasons, obvious as they may be, become completely oblivious to Jungwirth the instant he detects a potential infringement on his rights and is faced with a potential opportunity to embarrass an institution with more power than he has.

"Why should that [i.e. filming the fingerprinting] be a problem?" he says in the video. "That really doesn't make any sense to me at all."

There's actually a lot going on here that make the elements of this situation the perfect ingredients for a total epistemological meltdown of Jungwirth's fragile worldview.

First, is the fingerprinting, which, of course is only done in police states. Second is the anti-video policy of the bank, which is clearly designed to censor the truth from the masses. Third, we're talking about a bank here -- or at least a credit union -- a powerful institution that unquestionably has it's greedy hands on the levers of power. I'm sure there's some Federal Reserve angle that fits in this milieu as well...

All that aside Jungwirth procedes to tell a strange version of his encounter prior to showing the clip from inside the building. He claims that the woman at the credit union -- who is justifiably pissed off at his little stunt -- called the place a "federal building" (1:30) when she quite clearly calls the credit union a "financial" (industry shorthand for a "financial institution" or "financial building"-- at around 6:10).

Jungwirth then explains that he was told exactly why he's being fingerprinted, noting that it's through a program called "Operation ID." While anything with the word "operation" certainly may have a sinister connotation to it, in this case it just a program that police forces around the country have been running for private citizens and small business for almost 30 years now to curtail property loss from theft. The program works substantially differently in a financial institution because the property in these places is usually just cash, hence the fingerprinting.

Jungwirth, however, freely admits in the video that he has no idea what Operation ID because he hasn't even bothered to do any fact-checking before taking to his vlog. Why bother to look for reasonable answers when one can portray one's self a persecuted champion of truth!


This brings us to the overarching problem of this incident: the credit union Jungwirth is patronizing is a private institution. It's not a government entity -- municipal, state, federal or otherwise. They are comlpetely within their rights to set up as many surveillance cameras as they want to on their property. They can demand that patrons not film on the their premises. If they wanted to require a fingerprint and a stool sample in order to withdraw money, that's they're call. It's probably a poor business decision, but very liberty that Jungwirth claims to be fighting for allows the credit union to operate in this fashion.

Jungwirth literally conjures up a completely new conspiracy theory out of nowhere and doesn't even bother to check the facts -- or his own video evidence -- before disseminating this sorted tale over the internets.

This is how conspiracy theories start in the far reaches of the fever swamps of the lunatic fringe. If you look at the comments section of the YouTube page, a poor soul from the credit union took it upon himself to try to explain just why Jungwirth is batshit insane. Unfortunately there's really no other recourse for the credit union to take against the action of a poorly informed, aggressively ignorant, belligerent asshole.

Personally, my favorite part of the video is when Jungwirth sells out the friend who accompanied him to the bank by essentially calling him a giant pussy for wanting to bail on the guerrilla filming session and then uses this as his excuse for not delivering the really important part of the discussion with the branch manager. "Oh, yeah, we would have totally gotten this awesome footage if only my cameraman wasn't such a giant gaping vagina!" Way to rally the troops...

There's a wealth of idiocy at We Are Change - Oshkosh's YouTube page. My personal favorite video can be found here. If you'd like to see Jungwirth interview Joe the Plumber (seriously) go here -- it's a real merge of the minds. Here's Jungwirth waxing ignorant on foreign affairs.

I honestly can't wait to see what this guy will do next.


Anonymous said...

mmm'kay. he's on Prison Planet, he's also on a lot of junk
a rap sheet as long as, you know, whatever
a lot of paraphernalia charges and also manufacture possession deliver THC ones too
Domestic abuse
more than one criminal damage to property
restraining order for yet another female

the guy's probably fucked up all the time. he's not just low-hanging fruit he's on the ground and rotting
The real danger here is that he'll dress up like the proverbial Ham Sandwich and get into the mayoral race. I don't think i have to tell you what would happen O_o

btw this guy's too scary to sign my name to this comment. I'll just wait till it's time to send him a congratulatory note in which I refer to him as Mayor Jungwirth

Zach W. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CJ said...

Wouldn't you want to stay under the radar and NOT try to attract attention given his track record?

That might explain a lot of things.

okjimm said...

boy... that was great!!! just when I think I have turned over the last rock I could in search of creepy crawly thingees... there is one more. funny!!!

Sigmund Stewie said...

CJ- yeah if you're not *ahem* mentally ill that would be how you'd think. However it suits his purposes and IMO is in fact scary.
At first blush we'd think "paranoid", I say not so fast. I smell a lot of narcissism, but of a provocative type. He's going out of his way, He looks like he's ENJOYING all this, really a lot. That kills the idea of paranoia, you'd have anger or fear presenting with that. No, this guy is lovin' every minute of it. And okay so he has been a bit naughty and is "facing consequences," what more perfect mechanism to avoid ANY self-reflection or hint of personal responsibility than an elaborate projection where in he is VICTIM and not perp? it works, He's not breaking laws, the police are actually the guilty ones. They aren't finding HIM out as far as his bad deeds, HE'S the bringer of Truth and Justice exposing the transgressions of others.
The scary part is,he seems to be going around setting up scenarios for him to act this preferred world view out.
The people in the bank were totally played by this guy. He just walks int he doors and hooks them into his little self-serving fantasy.
It's nice when you can respond with compassion to a person with mental illness, or best yet, just respond like you'd respond to anyone else. In this case that normal response can't exclude the fact that mentally ill or not, this guy is a douche.

CJ said...

Mental illness? Maybe.

Personality disorder? Probably.

Arrested maturity? Definitely.

Douche bag? I concur.