Call them what you will — poseurs, wannabes, walts, blowfish, or the World War I vintage term, “four-flusher” — but we hate ’em. Doesn’t even matter if they’re faking our service. A guy who pretends to be a Naval Aviator or a Marine Scout Sniper infuriates us just as much as some goon rockin’ an unearned Green Beret, and we’re pretty sure that the beret goon also gets up the nose of our Navy, Marine and Air Force bros.
That said, it’s easy to discuss this with fellow vets, because we’re all pretty much on the same page, regardless of what heights we scaled (or depths we plumbed) during our time in uniform. But it’s hard to get it across to most civilians. That’s probably why the Supreme Court invalidated the Stolen Valor Act. None of them are actual vets, are they? They’re all Yarvard lawyers. They would never find against a prohibition on practicing law without passing the Bar Exam — that’s something that hits them where they live.
But military service? Meaningless, foreign, distant and contemptible — that’s how the Justices of the Supreme Court see you, and how the vast majority of judges and lawyers see you.
So this article by Scott Faith at Havok Journal, which is almost a year old, is a pretty good resource when some judge, lawyer, or other non-military person looks at you in complete puzzlement when you’re ranting about the medieval tortures you have in mind for some poseur. It’s called “Why Veterans Hate Posers So, So, So, SO Very Much,” and that’s just what it is.
Faith makes a real effort to explain why we loathe poseurs, and who is and isn’t one:
So who isn’t a poser under this definition? The short answer is, outward appearance on its own doesn’t count, it’s all about intent. People who wear military-style fatigues to do rugged work like hunting, or simply to stay warm, are not posers. Children who are obviously too young for military service aren’t posers. People who wear military-themed clothing, including unit- or qualification-specific shirts or hats, are not automatically posers (do you think everyone wearing an NFL jersey played professional football?). Legitimate re-enactors aren’t posers, and as for Airsofters… well, that’s debatable. Anyway, even celebrities who wear stylized military uniforms or hipsters who wear military-style jackets or hats to be “ironic” aren’t posers, they’re just douchebags. That’s an important difference.
He even creates a taxonomy of four classes of the scrotes. And he runs through the possible solutions, including the all-time favorite:
Unfortunately, the “summarized ass whipping” is not recognized as a legal course of action, so most of the time military posers do not get the punishment they so richly deserve…. So now it’s pretty much an open invitation for military posers, to include well-known celebrity actors like Shia LaBeouf, to carry on however they want.
The fact of the matter is, what most of these guys need is a personal and particularized beating, but the lawyers (see above comments about the vet-hostile ethos of the Supreme Court) won’t let you do that.
So… Big Boy Rules are in effect. Don’t get caught.