We have a public radio station within FM radio range of the 'chuck hole, (It's also available as a streaming broadcast, and shows are recorded and available as podcasts.) and it has a morning news, culture and policy call-in show, First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross. The marmot is a fairly regular listener (and sustaining member) and has called into the show once or twice.

Monday's show included a segment on the rise of far-right extremism and increasing public expressions of hate in the region, so I was especially motivated to tune in. The first portion of the segment is an NPR report on the recent projections of anti-semitic messaging on buildings by laser projectors. It's a lengthy report, but if you're unfamiliar with the issue, it's worth your time.

One of the first callers, and the subject of this post, was Mark from St. Augustine. You can listen to his comment beginning at the 13:47 mark in the show. Since I'm not going to embed the recording, and I'm only going to paraphrase his comment, I'd strongly urge you to click on the link and listen to him in his own words. The portions in quotation marks are direct quotes.

Mark's comment was prefaced by his assertion that he doesn't condone, believe in or subscribe to the racist messaging being discussed. (It was anti-semitic messaging.) He then gives child-raising tips about not trying to reason with a toddler throwing a temper tantrum, that ignoring them is the smart way to parent, so as not to give them "satisfaction."

He then refers to a guest that had been on a month or two ago who made a similar comment to that effect, that she wouldn't give these groups the satisfaction of even using their name.

He then goes on to describe NPR as a national news outlet that highlighted what was going on in Jacksonville, pointing out that the piece even mentioned that the subject of the report said they started out with three members, and now they're up to twenty.

Mark said he didn't think that was huge, and in his opinion, they were all "idiots." He said that the group even admitted that the large projections made the group look bigger than they even are.

He then asserts, "I understand the topic that you're discussing." (After conflating anti-semitism with racism, but I guess bigotry is all the same to him.) But he thinks that "we're giving them what they want, by even having this discussion in the first place."

He then goes into some word salad about what the effect would be if the news simply didn't give them the coverage. "You can't make stupid thoughts illegal."

He ends, "I just wouldn't give them the satisfaction of even havin' a discussion like this. But that's just my $.02 worth."

And I got well and truly pissed off. So I tweeted some replies, (Yes, I'm still on Twitter. I know, I suck.)

And then I called in, and you can listen to my comment at the 22:50 mark, "Dave in Ponte Vedra."

I'm happy that I sounded far more composed than I felt. I went live just as I was trying to take a deep breath and relax.

If you don't listen to the recording, what I said was that ignoring the group legitimized remaining silent about them. It validated the "do nothing" response. It made complacency acceptable.

Mark from St. Augustine would have been a "good German." He would never have espoused those awful Nazi views.

But he never would have spoken out against them either.

Consider this, was Mark from St. Augustine roused to speak out against the hatred contained in those anti-semitic messages?


What roused Mark from St. Augustine to pick up his phone and dial into the show was the NPR report, the national correspondent reporting on what was taking place in Jacksonville.

What truly offended Mark from St. Augustine, what exercised him so much that he spoke out, was "the media."

You can ignore them all you want. By the time it's impossible to ignore them, it's too late.

It's darker here.

Growing darker by the day.

Originally posted at Notes From the Underground 09:07 Wednesday, 1 March 2023