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  • Writer's pictureDavid Redding

The Indispensable BatFlipper

First, there was the Refuseniks

BatFlippers are F3 PAX prone to demonstrative celebration of their rebellion against Institutional or cultural orthodoxy. Every F3 Region (like every Organization) has them, although it does seem like Charlott-Metro has more than its share.

We didn’t always call these Institutional-rebels BatFlippers. First, we called them Refuseniks because their most identifiable characteristic was to stand up in the middle of a Workout and refuse to do the called Exercise because they didn’t like it or (more often) because they thought it was too soft to bother with.

Then came the Incognitians

Gradually, we realized that Refusenik didn’t fully encompass the ethos of the true BatFlipper because it failed to capture the bullying/trolling side of the Institutional-rebel. These guys were generally not content to simply stand up and refuse to follow the Q, they would usually also bully the man for calling Imperial Walkers (or whatever) in the first place.

So Refuseniks morphed into Incognitians, in (dubious) honor of Richie Incognito, the NFL guard who tortured the hell out of one of his fellow offensive line-mates on the Dolphins in 2013. Guy is still in the league (btw, incredibly) at age 37 if that means anything (and I think it does).

Incognitians worked for a while, but it didn’t really catch the gleeful aspect of Institutional-rebellion. There is something absurdly glorious in the way Cindy (Nantan of BatFlipper Nation) celebrates his rebellion against the rules, standards and Institutional norms that he deems to be chicken shit.

And finally, the rise of the BatFlipper

That nagged me a wee bit until I saw Juan Bautista’s epic bat flip in the 2015 ACLS. This was a man who truly had no patience for baseball’s unwritten rule against excessive celebration after hitting a home run. Watching Bautista’s bat flip was like seeing Swamp Fox slap the Q’s ass on the way to the top of the Muthaship—where he was sure to mock the rest of us for being so far behind him. There was an evil glee to it that was perfectly encapsulated in that look on Bautista’s face.

And thus, so was born the BatFlipper moniker for those F3 PAX who truly don’t care why you are doing whatever it is you are doing and are perfectly happy to let you and everyone else know how lame they think it is.

Why we need them

Of course, BatFlippers make a lot of PAX mad, but they also serve a critical purpose in F3 (or any Organization) because they are a constant challenge to the Status Quo (which F3 defines as “the state of non-Movement”). Sheep follow tails and trails, which means an Organization of sheep will tend to continue doing the same (often dumb) thing even though nobody can remember why they were doing it in the first place—even though it is now counterproductive.

But an Organization that has at least some BatFlippers can’t do that, at least not comfortably. An Organization that welcomes (not just tolerates) BatFlippers places within its own ranks the kind of internal challenge to the Status Quo that keeps it from morphing from a vibrant Lizard into a self-satisfied (and ultimately useless) Bullfrog.

Despite the way he busts my balls (and he did it just this AM about FTL Redux), I have long said (and have sometimes even meant it ) that if Cindy didn’t exist we would have to invent him. Without BatFlippers, we would be forced to hire consultants to whiteboard the Institutional norms that no longer serve us so that we can stay a Missional Lizard rather than sliding into Bullfroggy existential continuity.

For a Lizard, BatFlippers are indispensable. Driving them out is the first step towards Bullfrogdom.

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