When did "no thanks" become rude?
Today on Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn a guy had a table set up to hand out anti-war literature. I walked by carrying groceries and when he held a flyer out to me I politely said "no thanks." and kept walking.
After I had taken a couple of steps I heard him say "okay" in a high-pitched, mocking tone. I wasn't sure it was directed at me so I casually looked over my shoulder and he was staring right at me.
I was a little surprised and I think he saw it on my face because he gave me a look that said "I'm committed to free speech no matter what you and your jack booted thugs do to me!" (I was wearing sneakers, coming back from the gym). He then went back to his proclamations to the sidewalk with renewed energy.
First of all, just because I don't take a flyer doesn't mean I agree or disagree with your point of view, it just means I don't want a flyer. As the late Mitch Hedberg observed, handing out a flyer basically says "here, YOU throw this away."
But I empathize with flyerers, after all I'm a musician and a comedian and I've handed out more flyers than the Bush Administration's handed out no-bid contracts. So whenever I don't want one I say "no thanks" as one would in polite society. If you're flyering, you've got to accept that and move on.
But my real questions are: How effective of a movement is this guy going to create if he gets angry at anyone he perceives to disagree with him?
And how much change is he going to effect handing out anti-war flyers in a city where the current prez only managed 25% of the votes in the last election?
If you want to change the mindset of the country, hand your little flyers out in Texas. But try to be a little nicer about it, handguns are legal there.