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The T-Shirt Terrorist?
October 11, 2005 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Last week, a woman was forced off a Southwest Airlines flight for wearing a t-shirt. The shirt in question bore the phrase "Meet the F*ckers" and an image of US President Bush, VP Cheney and Condoleezza Rice. The passenger, Lorrie Heasley, refused to remove it after other passengers complained. Apparently "Southwest rules filed with the FAA say they can remove a passenger that is offensive, abusive, disorderly or violent or for clothing that is "lewd, obscene, or patently offensive," but the airline says the curse (not the political message) led to her being asked to leave. Ms. Heasley is now speaking with the ACLU to see if she can initiate a lawsuit, but the NYTimes checked with experts in constitutional law and they don't think she has a case.

Well, the makers of the t-shirt have responded: "If any T-Shirt Hell customer is kicked off of any commercial airline flight simply for wearing one of our shirts, we will provide you with alternate transportation to get you to your original destination. This transportation includes, but is not limited to, the T-Shirt Hell corporate jet."
posted by zarq (221 comments total)

 
Good PR. I wonder how well that's gonna work out though if it takes til next day...
posted by dig_duggler at 12:29 PM on October 11, 2005


Had that woman been reading a magazine with that cover, no one would have complained. Why is clothing any different?
posted by orange swan at 12:30 PM on October 11, 2005


Had that woman been reading a magazine with that cover, no one would have complained.

Afraid I have to disagree.
posted by russilwvong at 12:33 PM on October 11, 2005


T-shirt corporate jet? Man, I'm in the wrong business.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:33 PM on October 11, 2005


The passenger, Lorrie Heasley, refused to remove it after other passengers complained.

Guess she didn't want to go topless.
posted by alumshubby at 12:34 PM on October 11, 2005


I guess I'm old-fashioned, but I'm glad she was forced off. I mean, how about showing a little decorum in public? When you are going to be in an enclosed space with a couple hundred other captives for several hours, it might be thoughtful to leave the shirt with the curse words folded up in your dresser. You don't have the constitutional right to be a thoughtless, crass asshole on an airplane.
posted by MegoSteve at 12:34 PM on October 11, 2005


She got thrown off for the lame joke.

I don't see how this is a big deal. Nightclubs are free to enforce dress codes, why not airlines? Traveling by air on a corporate owned airline is not a constitutional right, now is it?

If she owned a private plane and had a bunch of "Fuck Bush" t-shirts in the cargo hold and the FAA wouldn't let her take off -- I'd fight this to the death. Southwest has every right to exclude her for what she wishes to wear as she has every right to pick a different airline.
posted by geoff. at 12:34 PM on October 11, 2005


You didn't read your own link. It makes it clear that T-Shirt Hell was not the manufacturer of the shirt in question. ("We believe her only crime was purchasing a t-shirt from somewhere other than tshirthell.com")
posted by dobbs at 12:36 PM on October 11, 2005


If anyone had a shirt that said "Fuck" on it and refused to cover it up, I would also support them being kicked off a plane. I don't swear around little kids or mixed company and an airline is perfectly within its rights to ban that sort of behavior if it so chooses. No ones rights are being infringed.

If an airline only selectively utilized this policy and only booted off people with politically charged shirts with such language, then that would be more disturbing. Seems here that the airline did just that or at least had conflicting reasons.
posted by Falconetti at 12:37 PM on October 11, 2005


Yeah, the story loses a little bit of its punch when you realize that T-Shirt Hell is just jumping on the bandwagon for publicity (and it is a nice PR stunt; I'll grant them that) rather than responding to an incident that actually involved a shirt that they printed.

Bonus points for the "of" tag, too.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:39 PM on October 11, 2005


Had that woman been reading a magazine with that cover, no one would have complained.

T-shirts are like bumper stickers, used to broadcast one's political beliefs/taste in music/experiences/etc., whereas a magazine is just something you buy, consume and don't necessarily endorse the views of. Although I have to agree with russilwvong; a magazine with a similar slogan could very well have elicited a similar response.
posted by you just lost the game at 12:40 PM on October 11, 2005


My parents got bombed by the US and lost their limbs and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

My parents got neglected due to poverty and race during a flood and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

My parents are consistantly lied to and manipulated and all I got ...
posted by Peter H at 12:44 PM on October 11, 2005


So now tons of people will wear T-Shirt Hell shirts on planes, trying to get kicked off. What happenes when dozens of people start calling up looking for a ride on their corporate jet? This is going to backfire on them.

As for this woman, boo fucking hoo. If she values her freedom of speech so much let's see her wear it to her next job interview and see how that goes. You're in Southwest Airline's house, they can kick you out for being a douchebag.
posted by bondcliff at 12:47 PM on October 11, 2005


If anyone had a shirt that said "Fuck" on it and refused to cover it up, I would...

...be awfully tempted to walk off the plane with them. Not sure if I would do it, since I have a wife who would be angry, and it would depend on the reason for our flight, but still I'd be tempted.

Seriously, the world, especially the current American culture needs to get off the morality crusades and start growing a little common sense. The woman agreed to cover it up for chris'sakes, and fell asleep and the covering fell off. It's a t-shirt, and she acted entirely appropriately when requested to cover it. She should NOT have been booted off the plane because other people were offended, when she was breaking no law.

What's next? Can I get that Muslim booted off the plane because we happen to be waiting for takeoff during the time for his daily prayer? Or just because his wife is wearing a hijab and I don't agree with that? How about that rich son-of-a-bitch in First Class who can't stop talking about his job in Big Tobacco? Can he be frog-marched out on the tarmac? Or maybe I'm a member of "No Kidding" and the squalling brat in seat 4B offends me?
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:47 PM on October 11, 2005


What is going to happen to someone who accidentally sees the word "Fuck?"
posted by dial-tone at 12:47 PM on October 11, 2005


but the NYTimes checked with experts in constitutional law and they don't think she has a case.

They had to check with experts in constitutional law to know this? It is facially obvious that she doesn't have a claim.
posted by dios at 12:48 PM on October 11, 2005


stupid citizen sues for own ignorance. news at eleven.
posted by NationalKato at 12:48 PM on October 11, 2005


"If anyone had a shirt that said "Fuck" on it and refused to cover it up, I would also support them being kicked off a plane."

If anyone had a shirt that said "Believe in Jesus" on it and refused to cover it up, I would also support them being kicked off a plane.

If anyone had a shirt that said "Michigan State University" on it and refused to cover it up, I would also support them being kicked off a plane.

If anyone had a shirt that said "Nike" on it and refused to cover it up, I would also support them being kicked off a plane.

If anyone had weird facial piercings that made my kids ask uncomfortable questions, I would also support them being kicked off a plane.


I support your right to shut up and stop worrying so much about other people's clothing choices.
Or..oh wait...am I living in a theocracy? Oh...I forgot. That's right. *quickly changes into more appropriate clothing*
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:49 PM on October 11, 2005


So I guess that means fcuk shirts are grounds for exit since it's clear that the association is made in the majority of people's minds.

Somehow, I don't think this will be the case.
posted by juiceCake at 12:49 PM on October 11, 2005


This isn't anything new. You can be refused service at all kinds of places - restaurants, stores, DISNEY - if you are deemed to be offending others with your clothing (or lack thereof).

While I fully support her right to wear the shirt, there are times to do it and then there aren't times.

It's not like I go around wearing my DDR (East German) shirt everywhere. Just on the 4th. ;)
posted by vannsant at 12:49 PM on October 11, 2005


Yeah, I wonder if I can get a shirt ordered, a flight booked, and myself kicked off the flight in time for my trip this weekend...

What is going to happen to someone who accidentally sees the word "Fuck?"

THEY WILL DIE
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:50 PM on October 11, 2005


posted by MegoSteve I guess I'm old-fashioned, but I'm glad she was forced off. I mean, how about showing a little decorum in public? When you are going to be in an enclosed space with a couple hundred other captives for several hours, it might be thoughtful to leave the shirt with the curse words folded up in your dresser. You don't have the constitutional right to be a thoughtless, crass asshole on an airplane.

I quote Frank Zappa: "We're talking about words."
If you're getting that worked up over words on a t-shirt, you've got issues a dress code and manners aren't going to solve.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:50 PM on October 11, 2005


French Connection UK, a major fashion chain, has been blazing its 'FCUK' logo across its clothes in Britain for years. The joke is lame now (of course, it always was) but for a while it wasn't unusual to see T-shirts that said 'FCUK me' and 'gorgeous as FCUK'. No one's ever been kicked off a plane, or a bus for that matter, for wearing a French Connection top... much to the company's chagrin.
posted by MinPin at 12:50 PM on October 11, 2005


This reminds me of an episode of the cable show "Airport" (I think that's what it was called) where a passenger was told, more or less, "Sir, it is not your constitutional right to sit in the waiting area wearing a mini-skirt with your balls hanging out."

I think we can all agree on at least that.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:52 PM on October 11, 2005


dobbs: DOH! Thanks for the correction. :)
posted by zarq at 12:52 PM on October 11, 2005


Faint of Heart: Yeah, my first time using tags on a MeFi post.
posted by zarq at 12:53 PM on October 11, 2005


A friend of mine runs sinfulshirts.com, which is 100x better then t-shirt hell. T-shirt hell are just publicity whores, and their press releases are 90% bs designed to get them traffic, which is exactly what this post has done.
posted by delmoi at 12:53 PM on October 11, 2005


dios: If the Times simply stated she didn't without going to an expert source, they'd be editorializing, not reporting. :)
posted by zarq at 12:56 PM on October 11, 2005


hey, why stop there? why not just let everyone board airplanes naked? i mean, golly gee, what's the big deal?

c'mon, we all know everyone here supports the first amendment. but let's look at this realistically: bondcliff put it best - she chose to wear a shirt that said 'Fuck.' she was called on it.

for the record, i also support kicking the following off of planes: screaming babies, cell phone jerks, flatulent bastards, and those people who think they have all the time in the damned world to stow their overhead baggage. i paid for my ticket just like you pal...try not to be the center of the universe for once day in your life.
posted by NationalKato at 12:58 PM on October 11, 2005


French Connection UK, a major fashion chain, has been blazing its 'FCUK' logo across its clothes in Britain for years. The joke is lame now (of course, it always was) but for a while it wasn't unusual to see T-shirts that said 'FCUK me' and 'gorgeous as FCUK'. No one's ever been kicked off a plane, or a bus for that matter, for wearing a French Connection top... much to the company's chagrin.

Yes, and they sell FCUK stuff in the US as well, which makes no sense.
posted by delmoi at 12:59 PM on October 11, 2005


fandango_matt: Acting like "it's just words, they don't mean anything" is damn stupid on a web site that's almost entirely text-based.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:00 PM on October 11, 2005


I really wonder who initiated the complaint. The story says that the couple was not approached until after they boarded. I imagine this means some other annoying passenger noticed it at some point while waiting/boarding and stewed in their own prudishness until they decided to complain. This means that the person had ALREADY been offended and, since no one can really see another passenger's shirt from another seat on the plane, wanted these people punished retroactively.

If airline officials had noticed it in the terminal and decided to preempt any offense, that would be more acceptable in my mind. This just sounds like Southwest was forced to react by some unreasonable passenger that had the letter of the law/policy on their side. Those type of people are hurting America.
posted by mullacc at 1:00 PM on October 11, 2005


Those type of people are hurting America.

Wait, I thought Bush flew on Air Force One?
posted by NationalKato at 1:02 PM on October 11, 2005


If anyone had a shirt that said "Believe in Jesus" on it and refused to cover it up, I would also support them being kicked off a plane.

What about a shirt that said N*****S ♥ WATERMELON?
posted by delmoi at 1:04 PM on October 11, 2005


Those type of people are hurting America.
posted by mullacc at 3:00 PM CST on October 11


Those are the people hurting America?

The people who are so shrill, callous, and lowbrow that they think such a shirt is a good political statement and who apparently don't care about decorum or civility.... those people aren't the ones hurting America?

I would think this country could use a little more decorum and civility in general, but even more so in their political discourse.
posted by dios at 1:04 PM on October 11, 2005


I am 28 years old, but, so help me, if I see the word "fuck" in a public space with no warning, I just don't know what may happen! I may lose control! Lives may be forever affected!

America is full of fat, wage-earning crybabies. People need to get over themselves and their stupid little social taboos.
posted by wakko at 1:04 PM on October 11, 2005


delmoi: What about a shirt that said N*****S ♥ WATERMELON?

I doubt they'd make it on the plane in the first place without being beaten within an inch of their life.
posted by zarq at 1:07 PM on October 11, 2005


wage-earning

Is that an insult?
posted by dios at 1:07 PM on October 11, 2005


Lorrie needs to learn a basic life skill: how to pick her fights. Heh, what a goofball thing to take a stand on...
posted by scheptech at 1:08 PM on October 11, 2005


Those are the people hurting America?

Actually, both kinds of people are hurting America.
posted by you just lost the game at 1:08 PM on October 11, 2005


I doubt they'd make it on the plane in the first place without being beaten within an inch of their life.

Yes, because the Nipponees are known for being voilent.
posted by delmoi at 1:09 PM on October 11, 2005


I really don't care if there is no constitutional protection for her...whoever couldn't sack it up because they saw a bad word in a public place was a whiny idiot. And to derail another passenger's travel plans because oh noes, it's a bad word, is just fucking stupid.
posted by emjaybee at 1:10 PM on October 11, 2005


I doubt they'd make it on the plane in the first place without being beaten within an inch of their life.

You didn't answer the question.
posted by NationalKato at 1:10 PM on October 11, 2005


I don't swear around little kids or mixed company

Babies usually come out of a dripping wet pussy several months after a quality fucking. There is nothing dangerous for children in this.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 1:11 PM on October 11, 2005


If the complaint had come just a little later, when the plane was in the air, would they have turned the plane around and returned to the airport rather than endure the hideous, destroying presence of this T-shirt? Or would we have had to scramble the F-16s?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:12 PM on October 11, 2005


Sorry, I'm being a little random here. But the point is that some phrases can be offensive and it's resonable for an airline to try to make the airplane flight not quite so uncomfortable for the other passengers.

People used to dress up in suits and whatnot for airplane rides, now it's tracksuits and sweats.

Although, I suppose if they let her on the plane to begin with, it's rather rude to kick her off in the middle of the flight, leaving her stranded.

Meh.
posted by delmoi at 1:13 PM on October 11, 2005


I'm with you just lost the game. So a shirt says fuck. It's not that big of a deal. Which means the other people on the plane were cry babies. Choosing to make a big deal about it, also kind of whiny.

Oops, I just lost the game.
posted by dial-tone at 1:14 PM on October 11, 2005


George: actualy they kicked her off at a stop-over, or whatever they're called.
posted by delmoi at 1:14 PM on October 11, 2005


Previously posted and discussed here.
posted by ericb at 1:14 PM on October 11, 2005


Oops, I just lost the game.

Thanks, for sharing. It was everso important that you did.
posted by delmoi at 1:15 PM on October 11, 2005


Nationalkato, sure a person can wear a t-shirt that says someone loves watermelons. Other people are free to confront them for choosing to express their opinions to the person wearing said t-shirt.

Free Speech, it might not always be pleasant, but it's the right thing to do.
posted by dial-tone at 1:18 PM on October 11, 2005


delmoi, fair point. As for your other observation, people used to wear suits to baseball games. The very notion of casual clothing was pretty novel before the 1950s or so.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:20 PM on October 11, 2005


Metafilter: Full of fat, wage-earning crybabies
posted by Outlawyr at 1:21 PM on October 11, 2005


Note that the airline could also have settled the issue by offering the complaining passenger a later flight.

"Sir, if you're unable to continue on the 2:15 flight, we can transfer you to the 4:30 without charge..."
posted by jellicle at 1:22 PM on October 11, 2005


From the typical airplane seat, how much clothing can you see? Some of your own, and some of your immediate neighbor's - and that's about it. Even from the aisle, a T-shirt on a seated passenger isn't exactly a billboard. On a Hollywood fantasy airplane, maybe, but not in the sardine-can of a real one.

The story doesn't say any of the passengers complained. It sounds like the air crew could have just ignored the shirt, and there would have been no incident.

If this is the shirt in question, I'd have to say by far the most offensive thing about it is the color.
posted by Western Infidels at 1:23 PM on October 11, 2005


What doesn't make sense to me is that a corporation like Southwest chose, in protecting one uptight passenger from offense, generated a PR shitstorm that offended probably thousands. Was it worth it?
posted by ToasT at 1:23 PM on October 11, 2005


She gets very little sympathy from me. There are plenty of more witty, intelligent and effective things to say to get your point across than "meet the fuckers". We live in a country with obscenity taboos that are enshrined in law. If you can't accept it then work to change the law, don't whine about it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:24 PM on October 11, 2005


This all seems so familiar.

Anyway, T-Shirt Hell's best shirt, in my humble opinion, has been What Would Jesus Do for a Klondike Bar? But then, I haven't been paying attention for a long time.

Didn't they also used to have a cool referalls program?
posted by fenriq at 1:26 PM on October 11, 2005


They had to check with experts in constitutional law to know this? It is facially obvious that she doesn't have a claim.
posted by dios at 12:48 PM PST on October 11


Hey buddy, long time no see. I've missed you.

On topic, it's pretty clear that the airline was clearly within its rights to decide a dress code; however, I'm not going to fly Southwest anymore. It's the Kmart of airlines.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:26 PM on October 11, 2005


How did we get to the point in this country where it being "offended" became a crisis that needed solving? Whiney fuckers. Fuck 'em. Fuckfuckfuckfuck.
posted by selfmedicating at 1:27 PM on October 11, 2005


...and to top it all off, it was a bad pun based on a mind-numbingly stupid movie. C'mon.
posted by fet at 1:30 PM on October 11, 2005


All these people saying "get over it, it's just a shirt", I'm sure you'd feel the same way if I wore that shirt to Christmas dinner at your grandmother's house, or to your church, or to your mother-in-law's house, or any number of other places where common sense and tact would dictate that perhaps I could put my public statement of individuality and rebelliousness aside for a couple of hours.

Nobody asked for this woman to be arrested, as far as I know. Nobody cried that the sky was falling. Nobody said anything about suffering permanent damage. All they wanted her to do was change her damn shirt.
posted by bondcliff at 1:30 PM on October 11, 2005


dial-tone, it all comes down to an airline's right to decide the dress code for its passengers. they don't let you board naked, either. where's the ACLU suit on that front? bottom line: you don't like the airline's policies, fly a different airline. it's not like she was kicked off the only flight in town.
posted by NationalKato at 1:30 PM on October 11, 2005


Bloom County comic strip (p38, "Loose Tails")

[voices from a crowd at a bus stop, opus looking on...]
"Ya know, you penguin types offend me."
"Hey, I'll tell ya what offends me...dirty words, that's what"
"Polish jokes offend me"
"Stereotypes offend ME"
"TV sex offends me!!"
"Look! That SIGN is offensive!"
"I made that sign, and I'm offended!"
"Frankly, sir, YOU offend ME!"
"Well! I'm offended at your offense!"
"Those nudes offend my womanhood!"
"Those gays offend my manhood!"
"This comic offends my offensiveness!"
...
[all together]
MY GOSH, LIFE IS OFFENSIVE!!
AAAAIIIGGGHHH!!!
[everybody runs away, screaming]

leaving poor opus all alone, who, nonplussed, remarks to the camera: "Offensensitivity."
posted by eatdonuts at 1:31 PM on October 11, 2005


ToasT, you could ask the same thing of Martha Stewart, how much did she lose by saving that $100K? She lost hundreds of millions of dollars, her empire has been diminished substantially and her reputation has been permanently tarnished. I doubt she'd say it was worth it.

Same thing for Southwest. But Southwest can't make anywhere near as good an Apple Crisp as Martha can.
posted by fenriq at 1:31 PM on October 11, 2005


Just for this thread, I've just created a special shirt. Buy it, wear it on a plane, let us know what happens!
posted by fandango_matt at 1:31 PM on October 11, 2005


NationalKato: That's because the question wasn't asked of me. It was a response to Baby_Balrog's comment by delmoi.

I don't personally like the sentiment, but the person wearing it certainly has the right to wear it. Well, unless by doing so they incite a riot or something.
posted by zarq at 1:31 PM on October 11, 2005


i love that website!
posted by swinginjohn at 1:32 PM on October 11, 2005


And now, the correct link.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:32 PM on October 11, 2005


Dios said "The people who are so shrill, callous, and lowbrow that they think such a shirt is a good political statement and who apparently don't care about decorum or civility.... those people aren't the ones hurting America?"

Shrill, callous and lowbrow is better than petty, vindictive and self-important.


However, I don't think the t-shirt lady was being callous - unthoughtful, yes, but not quite so bad as to be called callous.
posted by mullacc at 1:35 PM on October 11, 2005


posted by MegoSteve Acting like "it's just words, they don't mean anything" is damn stupid on a web site that's almost entirely text-based.

That's not what I said. Please reread my comment.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:36 PM on October 11, 2005


but the person wearing it certainly has the right to wear it. posted by zarq at 3:31 PM CST on October 11

And companies have the right to refuse her service based on here callous, shrill, unfunny and incivil lack of decorum. Remember, constitutional protections, for the most part, only apply against government action.

Any company that wants to can ban offensive shirts, pink shirts, collared shirts, sandals, Lance Armstrong bracelets, or whatever they want.

And if you think you are excercising your rights by behaving in such a craven manner, then be proud of yourself, but be prepared to suffer the consequences of such behavior.
posted by dios at 1:37 PM on October 11, 2005


Yes, because the Nipponees are known for being voilent.

The Nipponese, you mean? Try again. ;-D
posted by zarq at 1:39 PM on October 11, 2005


In addition to being incivil, it is uncivil, as well.
posted by dios at 1:39 PM on October 11, 2005


1) I love T-Shirt Hell & their products

2) I would never wear any of it

3) It's hard to sympathize with someone who does, in public, and then cries 'persecution' to the media.

Drama. Queenery. How about writing the lady a ticket for being tacky & entitled and sending her on her way?
posted by dhoyt at 1:40 PM on October 11, 2005


1) I love T-Shirt Hell & their products

Yes, i know the shirt wasn't from them.
posted by dhoyt at 1:40 PM on October 11, 2005


You don't have the constitutional right to be a thoughtless, crass asshole on an airplane

It would seem you do, based on the number of them I've met in economy class.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:41 PM on October 11, 2005


Who the fuck cares?
The 'She gets little sympathy because it was a dumb shirt' is mealy-mouthed bullshit from people who think they have convictions but will sell them out at a moment's notice. Yeah, it was a dumb shirt. Hustler's a dumb magazine. Guess what: you should be able to take either one on a plane.
'What about decorum?'
Fuck yer decorum. You don't say anything about my dumb shirt, I won't say anything about your dumb haircut and your leaking assface. You do not have a right to not be offended in public.
'What if the shirt had said that 'Niggers love watermelon?'
So what? Black people can't be trusted to be around a racist without launching into an uncontrolable rage? The shirt would just mark the wearer as a mouth-breathing slope-browed shitheel. That's the baggage that they have to take through life, not you.
Adults can be expected to ignore things that bother them in public spaces. That's why I don't club you all to death with a tire iron when you pay by check for your pack of gum or ask stupid questions in class. Are any of your essential freedoms abrogated by seeing "Fuck"? Have I restrained your life, liberty or property? (Specious arguments about being able to enjoy the "property" of purchased airline flight can be shat out here. I've been reading Locke all day and am willing to mix my labor with a boot to your rhetorical head).
Civility is fine, but using force (or the implied threat of forceful coercion) to enforce it is fundamentally flawed.
posted by klangklangston at 1:41 PM on October 11, 2005


Or how about this? Is this t-shirt obscene? Or would the airline be culpable of discrimination? Yeah, paradox! That's what Kirk would do! (Now, I'm going to go get me a "What Would Kirk Do?" shirt...)
posted by klaatu at 1:42 PM on October 11, 2005


"And companies have the right to refuse her service based on here callous, shrill, unfunny and incivil lack of decorum..."
Ah, the tyranny of the majority meets corporatism in one satisfying morsel.
posted by klangklangston at 1:43 PM on October 11, 2005


Nationalkato, sure they have the right to ban anyone for wearing anything, I never said they didn't (unless if I misread your question). It doesn't mean they should do it.

I'm sure you'd feel the same way if I wore that shirt to Christmas dinner at your grandmother's house, or to your church, or to your mother-in-law's house, or any number of other places where common sense and tact would dictate that perhaps I could put my public statement of individuality and rebelliousness aside for a couple of hours.


If you feel the need to wear that sort of thing to my grandma's house, feel free to. Saying that a person should be allowed to wear a t-shirt with a swear word on it isn't the same as saying people should go around wearing t-shirts with swear words written on it.
posted by dial-tone at 1:44 PM on October 11, 2005


All these people saying "get over it, it's just a shirt", I'm sure you'd feel the same way if I wore that shirt to Christmas dinner at your grandmother's house...

What if you had, by prior arrangement, paid me $500 for the honor of dining at my Grandmother's house? What if the house was hundreds or thousands of miles away from your home? What if I let you eat half a meal, then suddenly "noticed" your shirt, and kicked your ass out into the snow, refusing to refund your $500 - refusing even to call a cab to help you get back home? You wouldn't have anything bad to say about my reaction?
posted by Western Infidels at 1:46 PM on October 11, 2005


dios: I didn't think I said otherwise. Of course they do. Southwest is a private company, providing a private service and can establish reasonable rules which their passengers must follow.

What I mean is, anyone has a legal right to wear a watermelon shirt. The right to do so doesn't give them carte blanche, nor does it mean they won't be attacked by someone who finds it offensive.
posted by zarq at 1:48 PM on October 11, 2005


zarq: Southwest is a public company and has a duty to its shareholders to careful screen the t-shirts of its customers.
posted by mullacc at 1:54 PM on October 11, 2005


She wore the shirt hoping to get a reaction. She got one. End of story.
posted by b_thinky at 2:00 PM on October 11, 2005


Aww, B_thinky, you almost got to the point where you b_thought.
posted by klangklangston at 2:03 PM on October 11, 2005


Ah, the tyranny of the majority meets corporatism in one satisfying morsel.

If you seriously think that not being able to wear the t-shirt of your choice is the tyranny of the majority, your definition of tyranny is so weak as to be useless.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:03 PM on October 11, 2005


mullac: Well, more accurately, they have a duty to their shareholders not to do anything that would ruin the company's public reputation or cause it to lose money and customers.

I suspect decent arguments for and against screening could be made on that basis. In other words, it's a no-win situation.
posted by zarq at 2:04 PM on October 11, 2005


The story that she covered it up but it slipped as she slept and then she got kicked off is bullshit from so many angles.
posted by fire&wings at 2:09 PM on October 11, 2005


zarq got it. A commerical plane is private property and the owner can legally expel anyone from the plane. They can also keep your money unless you have a good lawyer that can invalidate the purchase contract.

The airline acted well within reason. The other passengers, who also paid $500, do not have be subjected to objectionable vulgarity. The airline simply asked the dimwit to cover the t-shirt up, the dimwit, being dumb, refused, so bub-bye.
posted by StarForce5 at 2:10 PM on October 11, 2005


"If you seriously think that not being able to wear the t-shirt of your choice is the tyranny of the majority, your definition of tyranny is so weak as to be useless."
Or so pervasive that you ignore it. Or flattering to your biases so you accept it.
And besides, the point was the attitudes evidenced behind his comment, not that this t-shirt was somehow the Bloody Sunday of the revolution.
posted by klangklangston at 2:11 PM on October 11, 2005


"The other passengers, who also paid $500, do not have be subjected to objectionable vulgarity."
Because their panties might knot up so tightly that they'd never get them off!
posted by klangklangston at 2:12 PM on October 11, 2005


The 'She gets little sympathy because it was a dumb shirt' is mealy-mouthed bullshit from people who think they have convictions but will sell them out at a moment's notice. Yeah, it was a dumb shirt. Hustler's a dumb magazine. Guess what: you should be able to take either one on a plane.

Thanks for magically looking into my soul and divining my moral fiber. Guess what: just because you think something "should" be allowed does not enshrine it into law. All your references to the constitution fall on deaf ears because this is not even remotely about constitutional issues or freedom of speech. I think it "shouldn't" be allowed. Quit oppressing me by drowning out my constitutional freedom of speech on Metafilter.

People that get their rocks off by wearing an offensive t-shirt in public are egotistical, narcissistic overgrown babies. Respecting other people's personal space and environment isn't usually that hard and decent people who believe that communities are more important than their own personal selfish statements accomodate others within reason.
posted by Falconetti at 2:13 PM on October 11, 2005


I'm sure you'd feel the same way if I wore that shirt to Christmas dinner at your grandmother's house, or to your church, or to your mother-in-law's house

Last time I checked, though, none of those examples offered prepaid services under any kind of common carrier type agreement.
posted by mce at 2:15 PM on October 11, 2005


posted by StarForce5 The other passengers, who also paid $500, do not have be subjected to objectionable vulgarity.

I'd really like to know if and where this clause exists in the purchase contract, because every time I'm seated next to a screaming baby, someone with bad BO, or a really fat person, I'm going to sue the daylights out of the airline for subjecting me to "objectional vugarity."
posted by fandango_matt at 2:16 PM on October 11, 2005


Is there a sign saying no shirts with 'fuck' on them when you board? Perhaps we need obscenity detectors in place at the airports. I wonder if people would have complained if the shirt featured a picture of say i don't know, maybe SATAN (not to say that it didn't). I mean with all these skateboarders for Christ what else say's i love god more than fuck satan. What if the shirt said something offensive in Arabic and an arab guy complained would the person be removed, hmmm somehow i doubts it. The type of person that would complain about said shirt is also the type to support Bush, you know who you are.
And yes those t-shirt hell shirts are tacky as hell but so are those damn magnetic ribbons and plastic writsbands, let's face it U.S.A you are not classy, not even close, possibly the most tasteless nation ever!
posted by los pijamas del gato at 2:17 PM on October 11, 2005


Last time I checked, though, none of those examples offered prepaid services under any kind of common carrier type agreement.
posted by mce at 4:15 PM CST on October 11

Last time I checked, though, the offering of prepaid services under any kind of common carrier type agreement didn't have any effect at all on the ability to establish standards regarding offensive clothing.
posted by dios at 2:18 PM on October 11, 2005


11 posts tagged "of"
posted by voltairemodern at 2:19 PM on October 11, 2005


*BOONG*

Ladies and gentlemen, we're experiencing some mild hysteria, so the captain has turned on the Objectional Vulgarity sign. Please unclench and return your panties to the unknotted and untwisted position.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:21 PM on October 11, 2005


My review of the situation:

T-shirt: dumb
Complainant: dumber
SouthWest: dumbest

I've sat 6 hours next to people who prosetylized on the genius of Michael Moore, and others who were compelled to share the wisdom of Anne Coulter. Perhaps if I was flying SouthWest, I could've had them tossed at the first layover.
posted by I Love Tacos at 2:23 PM on October 11, 2005


I'm not happy with it. But I'm torn between the right of free speech vs. the right of private property.
While I agree there is no “right to travel by commercial airline” thats much along the same “there is no right to have a driver’s license” BS. There isn’t any other way to travel and you should have the right to travel (given that you aren’t an explicit danger to others).

If the shirt said “Fuck” I’d side more with the airlines. But this is political speech. I think that should be safeguarded by the government.
But then again, this is private property and they have to err on the side of the least amount of trouble or trouble causing.

It’s their plane, but I don’t have to like it.

Given that she isn’t actively causing trouble (being rowdy, etc - vs. passively), they should have found her a flight with an alternate airlines.
Refunding her money would have been more reasonable.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:23 PM on October 11, 2005


Let's say airline A didn't have or enforce any kind of dress code, and airlines B, C, D and DD did.

If airline A became more profitable and market research tied it back to the fact that they let butt-plugged nudists and people with "I'm a child-raping paedophile" embroidered on their assless leather chaps on board, then the competing airlines would drop their policies in a heartbeat. Such is the nature of oligopoly.

Yet, I suspect that all major air carriers have and enforce a passenger dress code policy.

So the free market chooses civility. Boo-hoo.

I suspect that if the woman were wearing a t-shirt that said: "Hillary Clinton is a fucking cuntbag" she may have found herself in the same situation, so ya'll can save yourself the faux-righteous indignation.
posted by buck09 at 2:24 PM on October 11, 2005


The type of person that would complain about said shirt is also the type to support Bush, you know who you are.

You are wrong, at least in my case. Actually I doubt I would complain, but I wouldn't complain if someone else complained. Civility and respect for other people is not (or at least should not) be the province of conservatives.
posted by Falconetti at 2:26 PM on October 11, 2005


"I've sat 6 hours next to people who prosetylized on the genius of Michael Moore, and others who were compelled to share the wisdom of Anne Coulter. "

Which raises the question - what if she was speaking using foul language? Politically extreme language?
Why is the line drawn around a t-shirt?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:27 PM on October 11, 2005


Why is the line drawn around a t-shirt?

Practical and pragmatic reasons probably. It would be difficult to police peoples' conversations on an airplane. If they did and then booted people off for being obnoxious they would probably get a lot of bad press, which would be bad for their business. In the abstract, these are business decisions, not constitutional decisions.

If the airline did boot her off, not because of the vulgarity, but because they disagreed with her political viewpoint, then they would probably have to contend with people boycotting or refusing to fly on their airline. Whatever happens, happens. As it was mentioned above, the market decides the consequences for all parties.
posted by Falconetti at 2:32 PM on October 11, 2005


Cogent point Falconetti
posted by Smedleyman at 2:40 PM on October 11, 2005


Good PR move. It *should* cost them very little since most people kicked off airlines are probably drunk. But every time they do pick up the tab, they get press coverage! So I don't think the'd mind having it happen a little more often to keep their name in the news.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:42 PM on October 11, 2005


'You are wrong, at least in my case. Actually I doubt I would complain, but I wouldn't complain if someone else complained. Civility and respect for other people is not (or at least should not) be the province of conservatives'
Um, if by civility and respect for other people you mean not having them kicked off a plane for wearing a dumb shirt i certainly would not say that was the province of the conservatives (who may or may not support Bush, these days)
and also "I wouldn't complain if someone else complained" means virtually nothing, which is something. Would you complain if someone else did not complain? and would you be complaining about the shirt or just the general lack of complaining?
posted by los pijamas del gato at 2:43 PM on October 11, 2005


I would bet that I could get on a Southwest flight everyday for the rest of my life with that same shirt and unless another passenger has a hissy fit, Southwest would take absolutely no action to remove it or me. Southwest may or may not have a "policy" regarding a dress code, but the real policy it follows is to oil the squeaky wheel. If you complained about a baby crying, nothing would happen because Southwest knows that your squeaking is infinitely less squeaky than the outcry it would be subject to if it were seen as anti-baby. But if you wear a political shirt that says fuck this or that person and someone gets worked up, you're gone baby because there's no ACLU case or real outrage there.

This is why letter-writers are effective. Because they're so fucking annoying.
posted by mullacc at 2:43 PM on October 11, 2005


and also "I wouldn't complain if someone else complained" means virtually nothing, which is something. Would you complain if someone else did not complain? and would you be complaining about the shirt or just the general lack of complaining?

It may amount to meaning nothing, but I was trying to say that I don't think I'd personally care enough to actively take a stand if confronted with a similar issue, but that if someone else found the shirt truly upsetting or didn't want their child to see that language, then I wouldn't object to the airline asking the person to cover up the offending language. And if she refused, I wouldn't object to booting her. (Note: there are conflicting versions of the events in the article, so this is a hypothetical not meant to opine on the facts of the immediate case.)

Finally, what is so atrocious about approving of a public sphere that at least attempts to be welcoming to everyone. All public interaction on a grand scale is a process of negotiating what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. The consensus is that wearing offensive material in public is generally unacceptable. Wearing it to a fetish club or your friend's house or a concert is much more acceptable. It is that simple. There are borderline cases of course, but as a general matter one should try not to upset the applecart if there is no countervailing reason.
posted by Falconetti at 2:55 PM on October 11, 2005


I think mullacc just nailed the very mundane origin of this issue.
posted by Falconetti at 2:56 PM on October 11, 2005


Or so pervasive that you ignore it. Or flattering to your biases so you accept it.

It's neither pervasive - you could wear this t-shirt in public spaces - nor flattering to my biases, whatever that means. I'm no fan of this administration, that's for sure.

And besides, the point was the attitudes evidenced behind his comment, not that this t-shirt was somehow the Bloody Sunday of the revolution.

I'm not sure what that means at all, but if I were running an airline, I'd do the same sort of thing. Air travel is unpleasant enough, thank you very much.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:57 PM on October 11, 2005


You kow what scares the living shit out of me and would make me cringe on a flight? Sitting next to another fundie dumbass college age kid wearing a Steadman-esque technicolor mess on his torso advertising the awesome power of The Lord. In a pefect world those guys would be thumbing rides to their destination out on the Serial Assrape highway.
posted by docpops at 2:58 PM on October 11, 2005


Ms. Heasley is now speaking with the ACLU to see if she can initiate a lawsuit...

You know...what a *****. I'm sure she knew what she was doing...trolling on an airplane enough to get kicked off so she could sue.

If the shirt said, "I don't agree with (whoever's) politics" it would be different and wouldn't have little children trying to sound out a new word.

I must admit though, it does make an interesting topic on what it would be like if the government had full control of the airlines.
posted by samsara at 2:59 PM on October 11, 2005


I'm really hoping that every passenger on Southwest finds something to get offended over on every single flight.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:05 PM on October 11, 2005


I just wanted to say that I agree a business can set any dress code they like and refuse service to anyone they want to for just about any reason at all. That is just a fact. But how would it be if you went into a restaurant, were seated at a table, ordered your meal and when you had eaten half of it, they decided what you were wearing didn't fit the dress code (one that isn't publicly posted) and tossed you out without a refund or your leftover meal? The time to decide these things is before you begin giving someone service.

The airline felt that the T-shirt was offensive and that other passengers would be outraged by it ...

... the airline's contract with the Federal Aviation Administration contains rules that say the airline will deny boarding to any customer whose conduct is offensive, abusive, disorderly or violent or for clothing that is "lewd, obscene, or patently offensive.


The airline decided it was an offensive shirt, not complaining passengers, so they should have found it offensive before letting her on the plane, or at the very least before taking off.

Personally, I would have removed the teeshirt, and then gotten thrown off for showing my boobs (though I probably wouldn't have worn that shirt on a plane anyway).
posted by Orb at 3:12 PM on October 11, 2005


I love this quote from the second link. Everyone at Metafilter should take note:

"The Constitution only restricts the government," said Geoffrey R. Stone, a law professor at the University of Chicago and the author of "Perilous Times: Free Speech in War Times."

He added, "One of the most basic facts of the Constitution that the general public doesn't understand is that the Constitution governs the government, so only the government can violate the Constitution."

posted by Roger Dodger at 3:12 PM on October 11, 2005


I, for one, welcome our new T-Shirt selling overlords.
posted by vagus at 3:17 PM on October 11, 2005


"so only the government can violate the Constitution."

Yeah, but it just seems un-American to do something like this.
I would point out though it is illegal to refuse someone service based on race, creed, etc. You could argue this from that point of view.
You’d lose - because of the profanity, but if that wasn’t there, I think she’d have a case.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:23 PM on October 11, 2005


* certain kinds of service
posted by Smedleyman at 3:24 PM on October 11, 2005


You’d lose - because of the profanity, but if that wasn’t there, I think she’d have a case.

If the profanity wasn't there, she wouldn't have been kicked off of the flight!
posted by me & my monkey at 3:30 PM on October 11, 2005


While she might not "win" a lawsuit, I'll be shocked if a lawyer doesn't take up her case, and end up settling out of court.

Some pictures of the SouthWest terminal in Ft. Lauderdale during spring break would prove that the policy regarding "obscene" t-shirts is not enforced in a fair or consistent manner.
posted by I Love Tacos at 3:39 PM on October 11, 2005


"If the profanity wasn't there, she wouldn't have been kicked off of the flight!"

Just following Roger Dodger's quote through the hypothetical. Bit of a derail really.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:39 PM on October 11, 2005


The other passengers, who also paid $500, do not have be subjected to objectionable vulgarity.

And yet they show violent films on planes. Where is the line drawn? It's entirely absurd.
posted by juiceCake at 3:40 PM on October 11, 2005


The thing that annoys me most about this whole thing is, frankly, the T-shirt slogan itself.

"Meet The Fockers" Is already a contrived and poor allusion to the word "Fuck". It's why his character was called "Gaylord Focker" in the first place. As such it is totally unacceptable, under any circumstance, to make a reference to "Meet The Fuckers", as if it were somehow a novel and inventive bit of wordplay.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:40 PM on October 11, 2005


This thread is terrifying to me. Much more so than the airline's original actions.
posted by Laen at 3:42 PM on October 11, 2005


All these people saying "get over it, it's just a shirt", I'm sure you'd feel the same way if I wore that shirt to Christmas dinner at your grandmother's house, or to your church, or to your mother-in-law's house, or any number of other places

Yes, but a t-shirt might be a bit cold for Christmas dinner. You would be better off knitting it into a sweater.
posted by Happy Monkey at 3:43 PM on October 11, 2005


eatdonuts: I love that strip. :) Nice reference.
posted by zarq at 3:44 PM on October 11, 2005


"...Meet The Fockers" Is already a contrived and poor allusion to the word... "

Agreed Jon Mitchell, most of this type of political humor is crap.

That consistiency thing has me thinking, I Love Tacos.
Southwest would have to justify why ‘fuck’ in one context is wrong but ok in another.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:48 PM on October 11, 2005


Whatever happened to "Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins?"

As long as she wasn't trying to suffocate someone with it, swing it wet around her head (so it's splattering her neighbors), making a big deal out of it to the kids around her, loudly reading it aloud over and over again, and so on -- who cares what her t-shirt said??

Personally, I see lots of better places to start cleaning up manners and mannerisms, if we're going to worry over decorum.
posted by muckalucka at 3:48 PM on October 11, 2005


All the people saying she deserves what she got - could you answer a question for me?

What is the point of "bad words"?
posted by Happy Monkey at 3:49 PM on October 11, 2005


If you seriously think that not being able to wear the t-shirt of your choice is the tyranny of the majority, your definition of tyranny is so weak as to be useless.

I did not speak when they came for the woman in the Fuck T-shirt ...

the person had ALREADY been offended and... wanted these people punished retroactively.
If airline officials had noticed it in the terminal and decided to preempt any offense, that would be more acceptable ...


Thank you, mullacc (and others). That was precisely the point I was trying to make the first time we discussed this. If it was so offensive it violated SW's policy why didn't SW stop her before she got on the plane?

If the shirt said Fuck I'd side more with the airlines. But this is political speech. I think that should be safeguarded by the government.
And you smedleyman got to the other reason this particular situation bothers me - Was this an issue of obscenity or an issue of repressing a political message.

I recall the original poster of the previous thread, a Canadian, was shocked that US laws on such matters *are* different WRT censorship by government or corporations.

Conservatives whine about having to be "political correct" when it comes to important things such as how we treat minorities and women. But don't they turn PC when it comes to what T-fcuking shirt says. Especially those questioning Dear Leader.

Oh, and -
Metafilter: It is not your constitutional right to sit in the waiting area with your balls hanging out.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:56 PM on October 11, 2005


I was in the grocery store about six months ago when I saw a boy of about 15 or 16 with a man who was probably his dad. (A definite family resemblance there.) The boy was wearing a t-shirt that said in big, bold, capitalized letters, "FUCK YOU ALL."

I wasn't offended, but I was a little saddened. That looked like the emotion of the others in the store--a few head shakes and a lot of downturned eyes. It's unfortunate to be so young and have that attitude. I don't, however, think that anyone there tried to have him kicked out of the grocery store.

The t-shirt on the airplane at least had a little more class than that. And it certainly didn't evoke sadness.
posted by leftcoastbob at 4:05 PM on October 11, 2005


What is the point of "bad words"?

Whatever point you are making, Frank Zappa George Carlin III, it is too broad to be relevant. The airline made a business decision and they will be subject to whatever response the market deems. If tons of people are up in arms about it, then they will suffer. If most people think the woman is an annoying, selfish, egotist, then they will either be applauded for their actions or ignored. If the government did or sanctioned such behavior, it would be an entirely different story. Or if she was punished purely for political speech, then while probably still legal, it would be a lot more disturbing. But neither seems to be the case here (although there are conflicting versions of events).

Someone may philosophically believe that "Fuck" should be allowed anywhere and at anytime, but fortunately our laws and norms (ideally) are decided on consensus and fundamental principles not individual worldviews.
posted by Falconetti at 4:06 PM on October 11, 2005


I do find it a bit rich, though, that Southwest, of all focking airlines, gets so "prudish" about a t-shirt.
posted by Skeptic at 4:08 PM on October 11, 2005


I used to work in the music business, at a record distributor. (If that doesn't show my age, I don't know what does!) The first week I was there, one of the promo guys for Motown Records came in to the office wearing a t-shirt that said "No Head, No Backstage Pass."

I was mortified! Of course, that was 25 years ago... back when the shock value of something like that was extreme, and backstage passes were really cool. I asked him if he wore it out in public, where young girls might see it. He was absolutely unashamed at telling me that he wore it everywhere, regardless of the audience. I asked him to cover it up while in my presence. He refused.

One of the owners of the distributorship called him on it, and forbade him to wear that shirt in his place of business ever again. Somehow when his livelihood hinged on the issue, he suddenly saw how that shirt could be offensive.
posted by Corky at 4:09 PM on October 11, 2005


So wait... airline employees cannot ask someone to put their seatback up after they crush my knees and refuse my pleas for a mear 0 amount of legroom as opposed to the negative legroom just incurred (United Airlines, who ironically have many signs proclaiming the great legroom they have, my favorite being "Why let other airlines leave you in a pinch?"), but they can remove someone from a plane over a fucking t-shirt?

Fuck this shit, I'm moving to the goddamned moon.
posted by chibikeandy at 4:15 PM on October 11, 2005


"Finally, what is so atrocious about approving of a public sphere that at least attempts to be welcoming to everyone."
What is attrocious is the idea that your morality supercedes mine. It doesn't.
Ah, you counter that you have a bunch of people who have all decided what is moral, and they've outvoted me.
Doesn't matter. (That was the reference to the tyranny of the majority earlier. My right to wear what I want, to be secure in my person and property, is my right. No matter how many people you have voting.)
Ah, you counter that I'm taking an absolutist view, and anyway, rights only count when dealing with the government.
No. First off, I'm willing to concede that if this woman was truly disrupting the flight, she should be asked to leave. But "Fuck" on a t-shirt ain't a disruption, and anyone claiming thusly is a fool both personally and politically. Second off, rights apply whenever two people interact. That we don't use the government to regulate some of these interactions, prefering to base our enforcement on market forces, doesn't mean that a) those rights are irrelevant, or b) that this is the correct tack to take with regard to the rights in question.
People are too willing to give up their rights and their dignities for convenience, safety or simple herd-mindedness. Your rights are your rights, inalienable. And unless you're infringing on the rights of others in a substantive way, you should be free to exercize those rights no matter where you are.
posted by klangklangston at 4:25 PM on October 11, 2005


"Someone may philosophically believe that "Fuck" should be allowed anywhere and at anytime, but fortunately our laws and norms (ideally) are decided on consensus and fundamental principles not individual worldviews."
Wrong. Welcome to a liberal democracy.
posted by klangklangston at 4:26 PM on October 11, 2005


So wait... airline employees cannot ask someone to put their seatback up after they crush my knees and refuse my pleas for a mear 0 amount of legroom as opposed to the negative legroom just incurred (United Airlines, who ironically have many signs proclaiming the great legroom they have, my favorite being "Why let other airlines leave you in a pinch?"), but they can remove someone from a plane over a fucking t-shirt?

Fuck this shit, I'm moving to the goddamned moon.
posted by chibikeandy at 4:31 PM on October 11, 2005


I did not speak when they came for the woman in the Fuck T-shirt ...

... and, eventually, you were alone on the plane?

All the people saying she deserves what she got - could you answer a question for me?

What is the point of "bad words"?


I don't know. However, I don't see why that question is relevant in the least bit. It doesn't really matter what makes up an offensive gesture, other than that people generally agree it's an offensive gesture.

When I lived in Germany for a short time, I remember being told that tapping your index finger to your temple was an obscene gesture. I don't know if that's true, but I have no trouble believing that people might get offended by something that, to me, carries no significant meaning.

If it was so offensive it violated SW's policy why didn't SW stop her before she got on the plane?

My guess is, that their policy really is just to get along and go along wherever possible. If no one had said anything, she would have likely been allowed to complete her flight. So, someone says something about it, and the Southwest person on the spot has to decide who's going to be pissed off - the person complaining, or the one wearing the t-shirt.

And unless you're infringing on the rights of others in a substantive way, you should be free to exercize those rights no matter where you are.

That's absurd. I have the right to fuck (consenting) people up the ass - should I be able to do it on the plane, right there in the aisle? Assuming I don't get santorum on the carpet, and I'm not blocking the cart, how am I infringing on anyone else's rights by doing so?

Rights aren't absolute. Rights imply duties. For me to have a right to do something, you have to have a duty to allow me to do that. When you buy your own airline, you'll be free to create whatever rules about t-shirts and anal sex you like, and your potential customers can choose whether to use your services based on those rules if they like.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:38 PM on October 11, 2005


Can I sue the airline if they show "Meet the Fockers" as my in-flight film?

Also:
You know...what a *****. I'm sure she knew what she was doing...trolling on an airplane enough to get kicked off so she could sue.

This ("*****") makes me laugh and makes me want to tell you to go **** ********.
posted by ColdChef at 4:40 PM on October 11, 2005


Skeptic: And once upon a time, you could eye the friendly thighs of United, too.
posted by alumshubby at 4:41 PM on October 11, 2005


Wrong. Welcome to a liberal democracy.

I appreciate your libertarianism and I mostly agree with it. But in the areas where the constitution and its protections do not extend, such as private businesses (for the most part), I believe they have the right to make up the rules. The validity of those rules are then decided in the marketplace. We disagree here, of course, which you made clear above. Your characterization of how people can exert their inalienable rights finds no support in the US Constitution though, but you very well may believe that the interpretation of the constitution is incorrect or that it should be written differently. That's OK too.

Also please note that I made a concerted effort to limit my comments to a certain set of facts. If she was kicked off the plane for the political nature of her shirt or was singled out in some arbitrary way, then I would find it much more distressing. I was just using this case as a springboard to discuss a slightly larger issue that was implicated by it.

But "Fuck" on a t-shirt ain't a disruption, and anyone claiming thusly is a fool both personally and politically.

I don't think I am a fool for believing that this could be a disruption (theoretically). Unlike you, who loves the idea of a liberal democracy that supports tolerance of diverse points of view, I actually am willing to consider and tolerate other people's arguments without resorting to namecalling.
posted by Falconetti at 4:51 PM on October 11, 2005


dios: Last time I checked, though, the offering of prepaid services under any kind of common carrier type agreement didn't have any effect at all on the ability to establish standards regarding offensive clothing.

Yeah? When was that exactly? Last time I checked, which was a couple of days ago, it did. In fact, the very specific conditions under which a carrier can refuse to carry someone seem to make up a rather large part of the contracts of carriage of the airlines. Perhaps you mean to say that they are free to establish said standards by way of adding some language on that subject in the appropriate place in the relevant contract, which in fact someone has done for Southwest. So, there you have it. I suppose this makes them a slightly less "common" carrier than those whose contracts lack such conditions.

Can I sue the airline if they show "Meet the Fockers" as my in-flight film?

I plan to sue this thread number 45788 for its inexplicable, annoying, and highly offensive failure to include the phrase "contract of carriage" before now.
posted by sfenders at 5:01 PM on October 11, 2005


"That's absurd. I have the right to fuck (consenting) people up the ass - should I be able to do it on the plane, right there in the aisle? Assuming I don't get santorum on the carpet, and I'm not blocking the cart, how am I infringing on anyone else's rights by doing so?"
It's your example. I don't think you're infringing on anyone else's rights. Go for it.
"Rights imply duties. For me to have a right to do something, you have to have a duty to allow me to do that."
You're confused on the issue of how rights imply duties. And you're starting from a position where nothing is allowed unless there's the consent of those around. Which is a) a very weird set of first principles, and b) totally wrong with regard to the notion of rights.
posted by klangklangston at 5:04 PM on October 11, 2005


"Your characterization of how people can exert their inalienable rights finds no support in the US Constitution though, but you very well may believe that the interpretation of the constitution is incorrect or that it should be written differently. That's OK too."
Appeal to authority. The Constitution limits our government. If that's not germane for me (you arguing that it's private business), then it's not germane for you (can't cite as authority).
Further, I'm arguing that rights exist any time that you're dealing with another person (you can extend it to when there's only one person but that becomes truly absurd to argue pro or con on), even when it's a corporation. I'm not sure why you're so eager to sign over rights to another group of people, and why you think that corporations are somehow exempt from discussions of rights. Perhaps you fundamentally misunderstand both your government and the philosophies it's based upon.
posted by klangklangston at 5:07 PM on October 11, 2005


Last time I checked, which was a couple of days ago, it did.

OH SNAP!
posted by mrgrimm at 5:12 PM on October 11, 2005


"I don't think I am a fool for believing that this could be a disruption (theoretically). Unlike you, who loves the idea of a liberal democracy that supports tolerance of diverse points of view, I actually am willing to consider and tolerate other people's arguments without resorting to namecalling."
Well, what would you call someone who assumes that a word written on a shirt somehow "disrupts" a flight? An unvoiced explitive? Even though you'd be wrong, I could see arguing that the shirt "I am a terrorist" could be disruptive. But "Meet the Fuckers"? What would you call someone who asserts that because their head is wet, it must be raining, without a cloud in the sky? I'm sorry if you feel put down and your self-esteem is injured by my calling you a fool, but people have fought and died for ephemeral notions on freedom and giving them up because the slogan on the shirt was dumb and you think that your Aunt Sadie might have huffed uncomfortably under her breath had she been there, well, that's a foolish point of view.
My insistence on freedom might be naive, but I'd rather be a naive dreamer than a conventional fool.
posted by klangklangston at 5:13 PM on October 11, 2005


Also,
posted by Falconetti at 5:17 PM on October 11, 2005


I get offended by the Meet the fOckers movie...mmmm...Had I been wearing that, would have anyone complained?

Also, does the airline have these rules of proper attire written and/or explained to you before you purchase your ticket?
posted by the biscuit man at 5:22 PM on October 11, 2005


It's your example. I don't think you're infringing on anyone else's rights. Go for it.

Would it be ok for me to do it in your dining room, then?

You're confused on the issue of how rights imply duties. And you're starting from a position where nothing is allowed unless there's the consent of those around. Which is a) a very weird set of first principles, and b) totally wrong with regard to the notion of rights.

I don't think I'm confused at all about how rights imply duties. If you were entirely alone in the world, you would be free to do whatever you wanted. You are not, however, so your actions are constrained by what others will allow.

The "notion of rights" as you describe it, is not quite so simple as you make out. Are you referring to "natural rights" - those granted by God? (Because that's really the only justification for positing the existence of natural rights.)

I'm not sure why you're so eager to sign over rights to another group of people, and why you think that corporations are somehow exempt from discussions of rights. Perhaps you fundamentally misunderstand both your government and the philosophies it's based upon.

I don't see anyone signing over rights here. You're free to not use the services of a company if you disagree with how they do business. Corporations are generally exempt from discussions of rights, to the same extent that any non-governmental entity is generally exempt from discussions of rights. Perhaps you fundamentally misunderstand the difference between the government, citizens, and corporations.

My insistence on freedom might be naive, but I'd rather be a naive dreamer than a conventional fool.

Your insistence on freedom is misplaced. I, too, insist on freedom from my government. However, I don't insist that everyone else have a duty to accept whatever I want, because that would interfere with their freedoms. Finally, being a naive dreamer and a conventional fool aren't mutually exclusive.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:26 PM on October 11, 2005


"Would it be ok for me to do it in your dining room, then?"
When are you coming over? If you'd like, I'll even fuck you in the ass.
"I don't think I'm confused at all about how rights imply duties. If you were entirely alone in the world, you would be free to do whatever you wanted. You are not, however, so your actions are constrained by what others will allow."
Then it's not a "right," it's a privilege.

"The "notion of rights" as you describe it, is not quite so simple as you make out. Are you referring to "natural rights" - those granted by God? (Because that's really the only justification for positing the existence of natural rights.)"
Or you can argue that we have these rights based on our existence in a state of nature, or by the basic level of freedom accorded by common humanity, or rationality, or several other arguments. Or even that the source of rights is immaterial once we've met another person. It was a nice try to derail into a criticism of Lockian theology though.
posted by klangklangston at 5:36 PM on October 11, 2005


Ignore that stray also.

The Constitution limits our government. If that's not germane for me (you arguing that it's private business), then it's not germane for you (can't cite as authority).

Fine, I cite it unequivocally as authority, which means your view of rights is untenable under the US Constitution and you are ignorantly wrong. I only meant to imply that the Constitution is not the end all and be all of life and if you were stating you disagreed with it, then that is still a valid arguement.

I'm sorry if you feel put down and your self-esteem is injured by my calling you a fool, but people have fought and died...

Blah, blah, blah. That is a nice chestnut, that those brave soldiers died for my freedoms. Too bad you didn't have a waving flag animated gif. My feelings are not hurt and my self-esteem is fine, I was only pointing out that someone who seems to so vehemently believe in the greatness of liberal democracy, which is characterized by governmental tolerance of a plurality of viewpoints, would cherish those virtues so much that you would clutch them at your breast and live them out in your day-to-day interactions. You made the point that our rights seem to transcend the limitations of the constitution, not me.

The kind of people who wear shirts with vulgar sayings in inappropriate places are the same as trolls who shit in threads. They should be granted tolerance in the private arena to some degree, but once they cross the line (as judged by public opinion, like the consensus of Metafilter members on Bevets or as judged by the person or company that controls the space, like Matt) they should be kicked off the flight (or banninated).

I say totally offensive and vulgar things in coversations all the time, when I am with my friends. I don't shout it out in the middle of a restaurant though because I understand that simple decency is often more important than exercising the dubious right to make a spectacle of myself.

Your absolutist view on these matters are (1) legally wrong, (2) morally wrong, and (3) imply you have the same maturity level as a 15 year old shopping at Hot Topic to freak out the squares. You also imply by your absolutism that you believe in a natural rights theory, which brings with it a whole host of other issues.
posted by Falconetti at 5:37 PM on October 11, 2005


I am with me & my monkey on this one.

Maybe that makes me irrational. I don't care. I kind of like decorum.
posted by bugmuncher at 5:44 PM on October 11, 2005


"I don't see anyone signing over rights here. You're free to not use the services of a company if you disagree with how they do business. Corporations are generally exempt from discussions of rights, to the same extent that any non-governmental entity is generally exempt from discussions of rights. Perhaps you fundamentally misunderstand the difference between the government, citizens, and corporations."
Not at all. You're signing over some of your rights when you enter into a contract with a business, though not all of them. In this case, the right to express yourself is cut short by the threat of coercive force, backed by the government, for non-compliance (you will be forcibly ejected from the plane and brought up on charges).
Further, the argument that somehow corporations are exempt from the discussion of rights is hilariously ignorant. I recommend that you attempt to infringe upon the property rights of a corporation and trot that out. And while you can say that our conventions of conversation do not tend toward a discussion of how corporations are limiting our rights, that's because you lack both a historical context (rights of corporations versus the public have been hotly debated throughout modern history) and because you're coming from unquestioned assumptions of the limits of your rights and the powers of the corporations around you. Arguing that rights have nothing to do with corporations is both short-sighted and irrational, as it does not represent your best interests.
And while you can continue to trot out some sense of a Rousseauian "General Will" which determines which rights shall be enjoyed, that's a fundamental justification for an authoritarian system.
"However, I don't insist that everyone else have a duty to accept whatever I want, because that would interfere with their freedoms. "
I'm sorry, you haven't spelled out what freedom "Meet the Fuckers" interferes with. If you argue that it's the right of the corporation to dispose with their property as they choose, you're again arguing for the corporate to be valued over the personal. And with the utilitarian metric of harm here, I'm going to have to say that it's better for the corporation to ignore the clothing choices of passengers than it is for them to haul people off planes for wearing shirts that might not be popular.
posted by klangklangston at 5:49 PM on October 11, 2005


"I was only pointing out that someone who seems to so vehemently believe in the greatness of liberal democracy, which is characterized by governmental tolerance of a plurality of viewpoints, would cherish those virtues so much that you would clutch them at your breast and live them out in your day-to-day interactions."
The value of tolerance comes in having ideas heard, not having them praised. By calling you a fool, I am clutching those values to my chest: you've made a foolish argument, and it is my right and duty in this marketplace of ideas to see it devalued.
"Your absolutist view on these matters are (1) legally wrong, (2) morally wrong, and (3) imply you have the same maturity level as a 15 year old shopping at Hot Topic to freak out the squares. You also imply by your absolutism that you believe in a natural rights theory, which brings with it a whole host of other issues."
Your reading of my views is a) literally wrong (I already noted that I'm not an absolutist), b) intellectually wrong (which may be my fault for not making them simpler), and c) implies that you are the type of person who loudly decries personal insults until it's your turn to make them.
Hey, if you want to argue that it's morally wrong to wear a shirt that says "fuck" on an airline, do so. Don't just attempt to state by fiat that my views are "morally incorrect." And if you can cite where I've made an argument based on the laws of this country, I'd like to see that. I don't believe that I have, but you have this amazing reading comprehension that allows you to see things that I didn't write, so perhaps you can cite for me the comment.
And while it may be immature to call you a fool for making a foolish argument, it certainly can't be any more mature to counter that through arguing that I should be shopping at Hot Topic. If you want to ride a high horse about maturity, you should make sure that you can reach the stirrups.
posted by klangklangston at 5:57 PM on October 11, 2005


In this case, the right to express yourself is cut short by the threat of coercive force, backed by the government, for non-compliance (you will be forcibly ejected from the plane and brought up on charges).

Who brought her up on charges? No one, if you read the article. And if the government did charge her, then all those rights you are talking about would flow into the situation and I would agree with you fully. Fortunately, that is not the case here. HAve you thought this all along?

I'm sorry, you haven't spelled out what freedom "Meet the Fuckers" interferes with.

I know this isn't addressed to me, but "Meet the Fuckers" interferes with no freedoms at all, because talking about freedoms is for the most part a moot point when you are within a nongovernmental, private sphere (with expections, like racial discrimination). Are you working within the context of constitutional rights or some other source of rights?
posted by Falconetti at 5:59 PM on October 11, 2005


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Lift yourselves up, my brothers and sisters of the earth! Put beneath your feet all fears, all qualms, all hesitancies! Lift yourselves up! Come forth, free and joyous, by night and day, to do your will; for ``There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.' Lift yourselves up! Walk forth with us in Light and Life and Love and Liberty, taking our pleasure as Kings and Queens in Heaven and on Earth, and wear your "Meet the Fuckers" t-shirts where you please! For they are fuckers, and you must tell the world.

Go on, go on in thy might; and let no man make thee afraid.

Love is the law, love under will.
posted by sfenders at 6:03 PM on October 11, 2005


"Who brought her up on charges? No one, if you read the article. And if the government did charge her, then all those rights you are talking about would flow into the situation and I would agree with you fully. Fortunately, that is not the case here. HAve you thought this all along?"
What would have happened if she hadn't left the plane? That's the threat of force.
"I know this isn't addressed to me, but "Meet the Fuckers" interferes with no freedoms at all, because talking about freedoms is for the most part a moot point when you are within a nongovernmental, private sphere (with expections, like racial discrimination). "
Why is it a moot point? People have rights every single second after they're born. Making an argument to abridge those rights requires a harm that abridging the rights would solve and that drastically outweighs the harm of restricting those rights.
And I'm arguing from a perspective of individual, inalienable rights. Why? I'm one of those damned liberals.
posted by klangklangston at 6:04 PM on October 11, 2005


Your reading of my views is a) literally wrong (I already noted that I'm not an absolutist.

But you speak as if you were one, which is what I am finding confusing. People should be able to do what they want, when they want, and where they want as long as it does not physically intrude on someone else's rights. Is that an accurate depiction of your viewpoint? I assumed that when you said that people assfucking in the middle of an airplane should be allowed that you were closer to an absolutist than a moderate.

b) intellectually wrong (which may be my fault for not making them simpler)

Listen, you are working from a conception of rights that you've given no basis for. It is not in any compact of the people. You gave a flurry of possibilities for alternate forms of natural rights, but did not subscribe to one. Am I supposed to just take your word for it that our rights extend to this situation? I would find the extension of this idea intolerable.

And yes, I did resort to namecalling (but you poisoned the well). But that is allowed by the norms of this site and I only condemned you for it because it seemed out of character for one who espouses extreme tolerance. I wouldn't call someone names on an airplane because it wouldn't be socially acceptable there.

Don't just attempt to state by fiat that my views are "morally incorrect."

I didn't enact a fiat. It was my personal opinion. I am neither your god nor master, so I can't control you.
posted by Falconetti at 6:12 PM on October 11, 2005


And I'm arguing from a perspective of individual, inalienable rights. Why? I'm one of those damned liberals.

OK, some of the misunderstanding on where you are coming from is chalked up to the posting delays (i am not refreshing). "Liberal" in this sense is pretty vague, what do you mean?
posted by Falconetti at 6:18 PM on October 11, 2005


I'm curious. What if the shirt said meet the f-ckers but there was NO picture. ??? Just supposin.
posted by notreally at 6:21 PM on October 11, 2005


I'm curious. What if the shirt said meet the f-ckers but there was NO picture. ??? Just supposin.

I think the whole case would be stronger if this was true. If te airline was booting her for her political viewpoint, then it is much more unacceptable because we expect neutrality from our common carriers who hold themselves out as being open to the public.
posted by Falconetti at 6:25 PM on October 11, 2005


klangklangston: If you argue that it's the right of the corporation to dispose with their property as they choose, you're again arguing for the corporate to be valued over the personal.

What? How? If a representative of Southwest Airlines was invited to the woman's home and wore an offensive t-shirt, the woman could ask that representative to leave. Southwest isn't being accorded any special corporate rights or privileges here.

Now, you could argue that because of Southwest's unique position as a large, powerful corporation that functions as a public carrier, it should be considered de facto a quasi-governmental body, and should have obligations private citizens don't. But you haven't made that argument.
posted by lbergstr at 6:27 PM on October 11, 2005


"What? How? If a representative of Southwest Airlines was invited to the woman's home and wore an offensive t-shirt, the woman could ask that representative to leave. Southwest isn't being accorded any special corporate rights or privileges here."
A plane is a quasi-public space. A private home is not.
posted by klangklangston at 6:33 PM on October 11, 2005


"But you speak as if you were one, which is what I am finding confusing. People should be able to do what they want, when they want, and where they want as long as it does not physically intrude on someone else's rights. Is that an accurate depiction of your viewpoint? I assumed that when you said that people assfucking in the middle of an airplane should be allowed that you were closer to an absolutist than a moderate."
First off, I object to your use of "allowed." You aren't "allowed" to speak your mind in public. You speak your mind, and if that right is constrained, the onus is on those who would wish to constrain it to justify that.
As for what I am, I am an extremist in defense of liberty, I suppose. I'm not an absolutist because I don't believe that rights are necessarily absolute, but I do believe that any constraint on those rights has to be justified fully by an attendant harm.
And people assfucking in the aisles, with the caveat that it's not inconvenincing anyone, isn't harming anyone. Why shouldn't it be allowed?
"Listen, you are working from a conception of rights that you've given no basis for."
The basis for? Well, OK. People have rights because they are people, and people are inherently equal with regard to justice. What's the basis for your conception of rights? That it offends you to hear "fuck" occassionally, so we should all be quiet around Gramma?
"It is not in any compact of the people. You gave a flurry of possibilities for alternate forms of natural rights, but did not subscribe to one. Am I supposed to just take your word for it that our rights extend to this situation? I would find the extension of this idea intolerable."
I gave a flurry, and you can pick one. I tend to believe that looking for a first cause for rights is a bit of a canard, and I'd prefer to press you on your capitulations rather than get derailed with arguments about whether we have the right to suicide or not (which are generally part and parcel of arguments over the first cause of liberal rights).
We have rights because we are human. We respect rights because we are rational. I'm sorry that you find that intolerable.
posted by klangklangston at 6:42 PM on October 11, 2005


"I didn't enact a fiat. It was my personal opinion. I am neither your god nor master, so I can't control you."
An unsupported opinion, tossed off with sanctimony and emotion but no reason behind it.
"OK, some of the misunderstanding on where you are coming from is chalked up to the posting delays (i am not refreshing). "Liberal" in this sense is pretty vague, what do you mean?"
On Liberty.
posted by klangklangston at 6:48 PM on October 11, 2005


If I get booted off a flight for wearing this t-shirt, do I get a free ride in a leer jet with 17 virgins?
posted by numlok at 6:48 PM on October 11, 2005


A plane is a quasi-public space. A private home is not.

Ok, so what else is a quasi-public space? A church? Let's say I start visiting a church and giving long speeches during coffee klatch arguing that Jesus taught white supremacy. Should the church be able to eject me from their property?

Or say I'm an abortion protestor - should I be able to talk to young women in the lobby of Planned Parenthood about God's plan for their pregnancy?
posted by lbergstr at 6:48 PM on October 11, 2005


Lbergster: Those are good points. Gimme a moment to think about it. (Good on ya for throwing me off of my frothing ranting).

I think in both of these cases, there's more of an argument for restricting the rights of the person to express themselves. In the clinic, it's pretty easy: there's a definite harm that can come from not getting impartial medical advice that just isn't there when talking about "fuck" on a t-shirt. With the church, I would argue that the harm of interrupting worship would outweigh the right to give that particular argument in that particular setting, though more specifics might help (and I tend to think of churches as less public than airplanes, as the airlines have an obligation to serve the general public, and churches only have an obligation to serve their congregation-- though many serve more than that).
posted by klangklangston at 7:01 PM on October 11, 2005


We have rights because we are human. We respect rights because we are rational. I'm sorry that you find that intolerable.

I don't find that intolerable, quit painting someone who disagrees without you about certain points to be some totalitarian despot.

I believe we derive our rights not from god or nature, but from a compact between men and women. In my case, as I live in the US, this compact takes the basic form of the Constitution. That is why I focused on consensus earlier as being a helpful way of figuring out what is acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to common social interaction.

The world you conceptualize would be a really annoying and inhospitable place if everyone took your views to their logical conclusions, people yelling and screaming everywhere, being disruptive every hour of the day and night, people walking around kindergartens with pictures of gaping vaginas and photos of lynched black people, taking shits in stores (as long as they clean it up!). The reason the world is not like that is because we share in an ever-changing but always present negotiation of what is acceptable and unacceptable in certain spheres or situations. Moral opprobrium is not the only arbiter of that decision, but it plays a part. And different situations call for more or less leeway. Compromise is what betters the world (and knowing when it is acceptable to compromise and when it is not). The radical focus on the individual may make egoists and narcissists happy, but the counterbalance is that we also live in a society.
posted by Falconetti at 7:04 PM on October 11, 2005


You know, it used to be that you had to wear a suit or a really nice dress to get on a plane. I'd like to go back to that.
posted by fungible at 7:07 PM on October 11, 2005


have to side with free speech on this one. actually, it's an easy call. with all the shit we put up with on airplanes and with airlines there is no way anyone should be kicked off a plane for wearing some dumb t-shirt. freedom of speech, freedom of expression, if they still exist.
posted by brandz at 7:10 PM on October 11, 2005


klangklang - I see where you're coming from. However, I think the fact that you have to engage in that kind of cost-benefit analysis indicates something wrong with the premise.

Personally, I think people should be allowed to start airlines that only serve GOP members. Or only Guns 'n' Roses fans.
posted by lbergstr at 7:19 PM on October 11, 2005


"I believe we derive our rights not from god or nature, but from a compact between men and women"
Right. So in a society that doesn't believe that lynching is wrong, lynching isn't wrong. There was a consensus reached that black people didn't have rights, even under your precious Constitution. Was that right then, but wrong now?
"The world you conceptualize would be a really annoying and inhospitable place if everyone took your views to their logical conclusions,"
Please don't use "logical conclusions" unless you plan to demonstrate logic. But yes, if everyone took my view to illogical conclusions, it would be a horrible place to live. But hey, if everyone believed that all people are free and equal, it'd be bedlam with negros running rampant over polite society.
Not playing the race card, but rather showing your the "logical conclusions" of your argument. The majority can always vote away the rights of the minority.

"However, I think the fact that you have to engage in that kind of cost-benefit analysis indicates something wrong with the premise."
What else is the best way to measure what the good is than weighing the good against the bad?
posted by klangklangston at 7:29 PM on October 11, 2005


(Falconetti: You'd be well-served to read The Social Contract by Rousseau. It's right up your alley.)
posted by klangklangston at 7:32 PM on October 11, 2005


If the woman had been wearing a t-shirt glorifying Bin Laden, that would have been one thing. She wasn't.

That bullshit wouldn't fly where I live, but it's your country and you guys are free to do what you want. That being said, it's like that shoot-first law in Florida -- it may be ultimately irrelevant and change nothing, but it doesn't make you country look good.
posted by clevershark at 7:41 PM on October 11, 2005


Clevershark: Yeah, but here we ain't gotta put nothin' into French if we don't wanna. And we don't get fooled by Maudite, thinkin' that we can drink all we like of it, when really, it's like 40 proof.
(And I bet someone has told you this already, but since I just looked at your profile for the first time, it's the Land Shark, not Clever Shark that was the SNL sketch. I think.)
posted by klangklangston at 7:46 PM on October 11, 2005


MARY WAS ONLY A VIRGIN IF YOU DON'T COUNT ANAL
posted by VulcanMike at 7:51 PM on October 11, 2005


People that get their rocks off by complaining about shit that does not matter in public are egotistical, narcissistic overgrown babies.

The word "fuck" should not be so specially offensive that people who are offended by it get a special pass to shit on anyone using, wearing, or reading the word. Personally, I'm totally fucking offended by your ill-mannered child drumming the back of my seat for four hours, but I've never gotten anyone thrown off a plane for it because I'm not so unnecessarily thin-skinned. If the woman covered herself with a blanket or jacket, fell asleep, and the thing slipped off, why didn't some nice soul just cover her back up? I guess it's just easier to be a whiny douchebag.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:13 PM on October 11, 2005


klang-

I am familiar with The Social Contract, although I am no philosopher and don't claim to be. Under natural rights theories, slavery and all those other social ills were justified as well. At least the social compact allows modification, unlike a natural rights theory which is set in stone.

And when I said logical conclusion, I more accurately meant to say here are examples of things that no one wants (I think) that would be consistent with the view you are expousing. It was a colloquial or idiomatic use of the word logic, you are right that it is not a logical inference.

I am fairly sure that you and I actually value many of the same things, it is just that I think certain actions and expressions should be curtailed in certain situations (not all situations, not private situations, not situations that are truly public or political). I grant that someone having "Fuck" on their t-shirt is a silly example to ground this discussion in, but I think we are talking about a larger issue, with this being a trivial example. The larger issue being: how do we regulate people's interactions with one another and what is and isn't acceptable in different spheres of interaction.

If I should read Rousseau, I recommend you read Habermas and Apel and the theory of discourse ethics. They draw on everyone from Kant ro Husserl. If one sentence could sum it up (which it can't) they argue broadly that the validity of a claim to normative rightness depends upon the mutual understanding achieved by individuals in argument. This conversation contains this potentiality!
posted by Falconetti at 8:15 PM on October 11, 2005


Maven-

As for the factual situation described in the article, I think her story of he sweatshirt or whatever slipping off is not very believable, but I have stated repeatedly that I am talking about a hypothetical situation without those unknowns.

It would have been better all around if they just asked her to change the shirt before getting on the plane. As someone pointed out above, the practical concern was which pissed off passenger to deal with. That choice should be left up to the airline. They offered a perfectly valid compromise and it may or amy not have been flouted. Again, the details are vague, so I do not pretend to know what happened on that plane.
posted by Falconetti at 8:24 PM on October 11, 2005


Yeah, but the Lockian justification for slavery only applies slavery as legitimate if someone has entered a state of war with you, and then only if the society judges him guilty of covenant-breaking. They have to demonstrate themselves so outside the social contract that they can only be enslaved or killed, otherwise the slavery is injust and they should endeavor to kill you (and a rational society would aid them in doing so). There's no "well, society thinks that these people are less than human, so they shouldn't get full rights..."
And since I am appropriating many of the arguments that follow from natural rights, but not making a natural rights argument, the idea that other natural rights philosophers justified slavery is none of my concern. But if I were, I'd fare better than the idea of societal norms as guideposts for human rights.
Kant and Husserl made my eyes bleed (especially Husserl and his epoche), but I'll take a look at Habermas and Apel if I see 'em around.
posted by klangklangston at 8:31 PM on October 11, 2005


Yeah, a summation of Habermas is much more interesting than actually reading him, because he is as impenerable as Heidegger or Husserl (I just threw those names out because you seemed to have a strong grounding in philosophy and I was using them as enticing bait).

And since I am appropriating many of the arguments that follow from natural rights, but not making a natural rights argument...

I find this confusing to respond to, but novel and you utilize it well. It is impossible to argue against because you get all the certainty of a natural rights argument without any of the downside. I also think it makes your argument less valid because it generates out of nothing and has no grounding besides your truth claim, but it is a million times more interesting than trotting out tired cliches.

I am going to bed. I regret my petty name calling earlier and I apologize for it. I enjoyed our discussion and it made me think through my beliefs, which is always a good thing as it makes one a better person. (I say all this somewhat selfishly: I want you and anybody else who reads this to know my silence isn't capitulation, just exhaustion from a busy day.) This is the reason I like Metafilter, even though I don't contribute often.
posted by Falconetti at 8:42 PM on October 11, 2005


i say we fly fuck airlines and kick off anyone who wears a pro-celibacy t-shirt ... seriously, i would never be so crass as to wear such a t-shirt or complain about one

but that's american life for you these days ... hmmm ... why do they call them the "culture wars" when most of the participants are so uncultured?

i'm waiting for someone to start the "international church of fuck" and wear a t-shirt to an airport saying that ... now THAT would be an interesting legal case ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:53 PM on October 11, 2005


klangklangston writes "And we don't get fooled by Maudite, thinkin' that we can drink all we like of it, when really, it's like 40 proof."

Curses... you're on to our plot to make tourists look foolish!
posted by clevershark at 9:09 PM on October 11, 2005


Part of the reason the word "fuck" is so wonderful is because it can still stir some people up. It's a solid utility word with so many uses for me, but it can really push some people's buttons. I sometimes have to remind myself that not everybody is as comfortable with the word as I am. It has it's place, but there are still many places that it's not acceptable to make an appearance. And as much as I'd like to ignore that, the responsible part of me restricts when and where it comes up.

I limit my use of the word out of respect to others, and decide which environments I think it's OK to use it. My wife loves her George Carlin tourshirt with "Simon Says Go Fuck Yourself" on the back, but I've noticed she never wears it grocery shopping.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:55 PM on October 11, 2005


this bullshit wouldn't fly where I live

And, obviously, it didn't fly in this case either...

Also, does the airline have these rules of proper attire written and/or explained to you before you purchase your ticket?

Kinda. When you buy a ticket, part of the fine print is that you agree to all the conditions of carriage. I believe that there's a federal law that requires airlines or other common carriers to make their conditions of carriage available free of charge upon request.

Although, this can be difficult: I once tried to track down Delta's full conditions of carriage, and it took about three letters and two phone calls before an eighty-paged Xeroxed tome showed up at my door.
posted by Vidiot at 10:17 PM on October 11, 2005


I think young children should spend some time in school classes chanting en masse "Fuck Fuck Fuck""Cunt Cunt Cunt" etc. Then, to this generation, these "bad words" would become merely sounds that would be unobjectionable and rob the words of their power to "shock". New words could be added to the list if they were in danger of becoming "obscene".
posted by Joeforking at 11:29 PM on October 11, 2005


What else is the best way to measure what the good is than weighing the good against the bad?

Because our society is based on the idea that one individual cannot decide what is good for another. There are too many incommensurable viewpoints floating around for a government to attempt to achieve a single vision of the Good. Practically, governments must make these decisions all the time, but when our political system is working it creates the absolute minimum set of rules necessary to fulfill its role. So when I see attempts to micromanage things, I get suspicious.
posted by lbergstr at 11:41 PM on October 11, 2005


fungible wrote : You know, it used to be that you had to wear a suit or a really nice dress to get on a plane. I'd like to go back to that.

Yeah. And then people realized that wearing fragile, flammable clothes on an aircraft stuffed full of highly flammable jet fuel is not a very good idea. Plus in light of modern travel schedules and conditions, it's about as practical and comfortable as wearing a full tux or ball gown to a rugby tryout.

I'll stick to wearing jeans, non-synthetics like cotton and wool and my steel-shank-soled hiking boots when flying, thanks. No I don't mind taking the boots off for inspection, as long as you don't mind the finely and robustly cultivated odors.

Yes, I wish I still could fly with a pocket knife or other functional tools for seat-belt severing and post-crash survival in potentially catastrophic situations, but what can I do?
posted by loquacious at 11:58 PM on October 11, 2005


Look people! You're missing the Real Deal!

I fully support the right of the offended party to wear a fucking blindfold to prevent their sensibility from being offended by someone else's idea of free speech!

I agree, she was a twit for not turning it inside out when asked. I even agree the shirt was in poor taste. But the bigger jerk is whoever felt it was okay to complain about it.

Klang: Thank you very much for your comments.
posted by Goofyy at 12:08 AM on October 12, 2005


Well, here's my bit- keep in mind that I am not actually a lawyer, or intelligent, or even capable of taking a shit without my legal guardian. I am a fucking moron. Here is what I think.
The humans inside the borders of the United States of America have decided that they are all equal, as well as any other human. They have entered into a social contract, simply because it seems to be the best way to run things. The humans have decided upon certain rights which are unalienable; one of these is called "freedom of speech," which, in reality, applies to almost all non-abstract forms of communication- it means that all communication is permitted unless there is evidence of provable harm. However, one can also be ejected from anothers private property for almost any reason, and if you're on your neighbors lawn talking about how the KKK wasn't so bad, he can tell you to go home.
The woman on the plane was not abiding by the rules set forth by the corporation (who is, legally, equal to a human) for use of their private space; thus, she could be ejected from the plane.
This is not to say that the rules of the corporation are correct, but, as it is a private corporation, and the government probably isn't going to bring out the Interstate Commerce Clause to make airlines let people wear Fuck shirts, it's legally peachy.
I don't agree with those rules; in a perfect world, we could wear fuck shirts on the private property of others, because everyone would be cool with the word fuck. Right now, we can run around doing asshole things all the time, as long as we are not provably causing harm to one another- if we are doing them on the private property of others, they can tell us to leave, and after that we'd be trespassing. But I can shout the words "Fuck y'all!" in the street at any point of the day, as long as I don't violate noise ordaninces. My god! What if everyone just stood in the street shouting "Fuck y'all!"
So, yeah, if everyone refused to live by the unofficial social contract we've constructed- what others call decorum- things could be pretty shitty. But I don't think many people would decide that, would you? The unofficial social contract, while ever-changing, is usually as binding as the legal one. However, it's good, every now and then, to have someone say fuck to a baby or something, just to point out that the decorum contract is not the same as the legal one. You have a legal right to be a complete fucking asshole, as long as you are just verbally abusive, in a public space. Hell, the crazy guys on my street display this right EVERY DAY, often for hours!
Right now, as our airlines are not controlled by the government, we can only dream of one day being able to wear t-shirts with the word "Fuck" on them, while traversing the Earth at 400 miles per hour. Oh, joyous day! That it may one day come!
posted by 235w103 at 12:20 AM on October 12, 2005


Ergh- I forgot to mention that the original social contract became a legal one upon agreement.
posted by 235w103 at 12:21 AM on October 12, 2005


The joke is lame now (of course, it always was) but for a while it wasn't unusual to see T-shirts that said 'FCUK me' and 'gorgeous as FCUK'. No one's ever been kicked off a plane, or a bus for that matter, for wearing a French Connection top... much to the company's chagrin.

They're dropping the FCUK thing at long last. As mentioned in that link, and more directly here, someone was thrown off a jury for wearing a FCUK shirt.
posted by biffa at 3:03 AM on October 12, 2005


Is it too late to say "What klangklangston said"?
posted by jaronson at 3:29 AM on October 12, 2005


fickers, feckers, fackers, fockers, fuckers, fyckers, fqckers, f~ckers, f8ckers...hell if I know what "*" stands for.
posted by hellbient at 8:12 AM on October 12, 2005


It's a wildcard. It can stand for multiple letters, too:

fingerlickers
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:13 AM on October 12, 2005


klangklangston- You're comments would be much much easier to read if you put in a linebreak between the stuff you quote and the comment upon it. Of course you don't have to, but I could follow it a lot more easily.

The complainer was probably an asshole motivated by politics, but Southwest probably wasn't. The wearer was an idiot for not covering the shirt. Her principles, which basically boil down to her right to get the reaction that she was hoping for, got her kicked off of the plane.

I know I'm late to this party, but I have to say that while I sympathize with much of what klangklangston writes, I think that the discussion of rights is inapplicable to civility. I think the world would be a worse place for everyone doing everything that's within their rights. Assfucking in the aisles may seem like a nice libertarian idea, but in practice I suspect that it would be discomfitting at best and gross at worst. Civility is not the residue of a bankrupt judeo-christian (or some other) moral system, it's the affect of the realization that living with other people is a nuanced business. Vulgarity, on the other hand, is not a sin, it's a breach of decorum, a failure to attempt to take the diverse feelings of other people into account in even the most rudimentary way. There are many things about society that run on the principle of the lowest (reasonable) common denominator, and they should. (On airlines, for instance, it's appropriate that the languages used to convey information to passengers are those dominant in the culture and on the flight route, rather than every language under the sun.) The diversity of people who have no problem with the word fuck is not denied by not having it emblazoned on a t-shirt, while the comfort of those who find it offensive is affected by having it on a t-shirt.

The interesting thing in this case is that the woman got exactly what she wanted. She wanted to wear a t-shirt that she must have known would be offensive to a lot of people, which it was, and so she suffered a consequence. If I were confident that she was not interested in offending than I would feel more sympathy for her, but I have a hard time believing that.
posted by OmieWise at 8:37 AM on October 12, 2005


This reminds me of a tour of Japan I was on with, among others, some dowager ladies. At a street vendor, one of them bought a red T-shirt with some Japanese characters; she just liked the graphic look of it. The next day she wore it as part of a matching skirt-and-jacket outfit. When our tour guide saw the shirt, she gasped, and told the lady to keep that jacket button tight all day. Apparently, while not obscene, the shirt's characters said "Kamikaze", which would be kind of equivalent to wearing a Nazi shirt over here.
posted by beagle at 8:45 AM on October 12, 2005


Ah, this takes me back. Anybody remember the Ed Meese t-shirts?
posted by JanetLand at 8:55 AM on October 12, 2005


Yes, Meese is a Pig! harDCore!
posted by OmieWise at 9:07 AM on October 12, 2005


I don't generally like having line breaks, as it makes the comments seem to go on forever in my opinion, but if it makes it easier for some of you to read, I'm happy to do so. Oh, and I'm sorry about being a dick last night. I just got incensed and shouldnt've.

"The woman on the plane was not abiding by the rules set forth by the corporation (who is, legally, equal to a human)"

Yes, but enshrining a corporation as equal to a human is absurd. It may be legal, but that's a bad law.

" I think the world would be a worse place for everyone doing everything that's within their rights."

Yes, but everyone is within their rights now to go outside and scream obscenities at the top of their lungs. Just because something is permitted doesn't mean that everyone IS going to do it. You're putting forth a slippery-slope argument.

" Because our society is based on the idea that one individual cannot decide what is good for another."

I disagree, and think that makes your argument kinda contradictory. Our society, at least the deomcratic part of it, is based on the idea that you CAN and MUST have individuals telling each other what is good for them. That's what voting is. For a more specific example, look to drug laws. I guess that I just fall on the side of believing that it's more important to protect individual rights than group feelings, as group feelings will always carry for the majority (not to get tautological). Under your rubric, no one would complain about "Fuck" on a t-shirt. They would say "That person's obviously decided that wearing a Mee the Fuckers t-shirt is good for them."
posted by klangklangston at 9:40 AM on October 12, 2005


I am reading Colleen McCullough's series on Ancient Rome. The Romans had a secret name for their city, Roma, which could not be said outloud otherwise the city would be destroyed. The secret name was....Amor.

One day a Senator, fed-up with all the wars and political battles, decides the world would be a better place if Rome was destroyed. So he stands on the steps of the temple and yells "Amor" over and over, and then flees the city.

The city is not destroyed but sometime later the Senator is tracked down and beheaded.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:46 AM on October 12, 2005


When are you coming over? If you'd like, I'll even fuck you in the ass.

<craigslist>pic? stats?</craigslist>

Not at all. You're signing over some of your rights when you enter into a contract with a business, though not all of them. In this case, the right to express yourself is cut short by the threat of coercive force, backed by the government, for non-compliance (you will be forcibly ejected from the plane and brought up on charges).

You are free to not enter the contract. No one put a gun to this woman's head and said, "you must purchase tickets for Southwest flight 555."

Further, the argument that somehow corporations are exempt from the discussion of rights is hilariously ignorant. I recommend that you attempt to infringe upon the property rights of a corporation and trot that out. And while you can say that our conventions of conversation do not tend toward a discussion of how corporations are limiting our rights, that's because you lack both a historical context (rights of corporations versus the public have been hotly debated throughout modern history) and because you're coming from unquestioned assumptions of the limits of your rights and the powers of the corporations around you. Arguing that rights have nothing to do with corporations is both short-sighted and irrational, as it does not represent your best interests.

I find the tone of your postings - that everyone else is ignorant and that you alone are correct - very annoying. Of course, you have the right to retain that tone.

I am aware of the history of the corporation, and the arguments concerning how corporations should be categorized, and so on. My point was simply that this specific case has nothing to do with corporate rights, per se. If I bought an airplane, and offered flights on that airplane, all by myself, I would expect to be able to behave similarly as Southwest did in this case.

Or you can argue that we have these rights based on our existence in a state of nature, or by the basic level of freedom accorded by common humanity, or rationality, or several other arguments. Or even that the source of rights is immaterial once we've met another person. It was a nice try to derail into a criticism of Lockian theology though.

You can argue that all you want, but it's like arguing about religion - you can't prove anything one way or another. I don't see it as a derail at all - you say that rights exist in a state of nature, and you use that idea to justify other things. Therefore, it's fair game for me to criticize that idea. I find any argument that justifies natural rights without reliance on a higher power to grant those rights, to be very weak. Being an atheist myself, I therefore find it difficult to take natural rights seriously, as much as I'd like to. It would make my intellectual life a lot easier. I prefer Locke to Hobbes, but I think Hobbes' description of the state of nature is more accurate.

" Because our society is based on the idea that one individual cannot decide what is good for another."

I disagree, and think that makes your argument kinda contradictory. Our society, at least the deomcratic part of it, is based on the idea that you CAN and MUST have individuals telling each other what is good for them. That's what voting is.


That isn't one individual telling another what to do, it's a majority of individuals telling someone what to do.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:52 AM on October 12, 2005


After some initial wobbly parts, where it looked like it was really close to degenerating, the discussion between klangklangston and Falconetti, above, is pretty top-notch stuff.

Seems like Falconetti is approaching it from a more practical standpoint, while klangklangston's argument is more of a philosophical, abstract one.

On the one hand we have to be considerate of the sensibilities of others, just as a matter of courtesy. Although I may have the right to swing my fist within a millimeter of your nose, I ought to be considerate and not do so if it's going to bother you.

On the other hand, as klangklangston points out, your rights are inalienable, and it's wrong to restrict them.

I think these two views come into conflict in many situations where technically someone has the right to do something, but it's pissing off or annoying someone else. The government is required to apply a strict definition of rights as defined as the law. But private individuals and corporations have to decide on a case by case basis whether the person who is exercising their rights or the person who is being offended is in the right, just like in that incident discussed earlier where some idiot got punched for wearing a racist shirt. In practice, I think if you were in those situations you sort of apply a "slime test" at the end to decide who is right and who is wrong, and a subjective decision is going to be made.

While in principle I agree with klangklangston that rights are inalienable, in practice if someone exercise their free speech in the public arena by saying something that offends me, I might decide to take action against them. Whether or not I do is subjective.

It seems to me from the little I know of the incident that if I were the airline employee in question, I would not take the same action. But we don't know the details of what happened, the intercation between the woman and the airline employees, and what she really did to deserve getting booted.

On preview, part of this echoes OmniWise's points about civility, but in a less eloquent way.
posted by yoz420 at 9:56 AM on October 12, 2005


klangklangston writes "Just because something is permitted doesn't mean that everyone IS going to do it. You're putting forth a slippery-slope argument."

No I'm not, I'm putting forth an argument for the usefulness of civility. I'm confused. Last night you seemed to be suggesting that there was no problem with people assfucking in the aisle. I do think that there would be a problem. That's why I think civility is important. After all, the issue at hand is not one of law, but of social regulation. As you've pointed out more than once those are different things. What the woman did was violate a social norm, which the airline was within their rights to enforce. You seem to be using a slippery slope argument when you suggest that this is an infringement of some basic right, by arguing that enforcing a social norm is the same as imposing social controls in the totalitarian sense.

As an aside, there are laws in most jurisdictions that can be used to silence people screaming obscenities outside. They're nuisance laws which are not tied to the obscenity but to the noise, and which recognize that one's right to scream does not trump another's right to reasonable quiet.

If you don't like line breaks, you could put the quoted parts in italics or something. My problem was in figuring out where your comments started.
posted by OmieWise at 9:58 AM on October 12, 2005


" That isn't one individual telling another what to do, it's a majority of individuals telling someone what to do."
And your body isn't really one life form: it's billions of cells! Therefore, the opinions of fat people matter more, since they represent bigger colonies.
The argument from majority isn't convincing.
"I find any argument that justifies natural rights without reliance on a higher power to grant those rights, to be very weak. Being an atheist myself, I therefore find it difficult to take natural rights seriously, as much as I'd like to.
Well, I'll ignore the idea that you're assuming the conclusion by positing atheism and focus on the origins problem.
Look, what rights does a person have when they're all alone? They can do anything they want, because there's no possibility of infringement upon anyone elses rights. Grant me that much. And go ahead and justify why we all have equal rights for me, atheist. I believe that we do, and I believe the way to make that argument from an atheist's standpoint is to either start with a shared assumption of equality, or with an argument that comes out of something abstract like our capacity to feel pain or to have conscious thought or out of the belief that any contract entered into has to be entered into freely for it to be legitimate. I think all of these arguments have strengths in their cores, but weakness around the edges.
But I've got to get back to fixing my computer instead of moving to the next part of the discussion: defining justice.
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 AM on October 12, 2005


klangklangston writes "And your body isn't really one life form: it's billions of cells! Therefore, the opinions of fat people matter more, since they represent bigger colonies."

The argument from ignoring the difference between cells and people is less convincing.
posted by OmieWise at 11:50 AM on October 12, 2005


After sleeping on the issue I decided that the correct answer is "Fuck Everyone."
posted by Falconetti at 12:47 PM on October 12, 2005


The argument from majority isn't convincing.

Well, ok, but I wasn't making an argument from majority. To briefly review, you said "What else is the best way to measure what the good is than weighing the good against the bad?" In response, lbergstr said "Because our society is based on the idea that one individual cannot decide what is good for another." You responded with "I disagree, and think that makes your argument kinda contradictory. Our society, at least the deomcratic part of it, is based on the idea that you CAN and MUST have individuals telling each other what is good for them. That's what voting is."

I merely pointed out that democracy isn't one individual telling another what to do. I wasn't saying that democracy is right and good (although I generally believe it is.)

Well, I'll ignore the idea that you're assuming the conclusion by positing atheism and focus on the origins problem.

Exactly what conclusion am I assuming? If you're going to justify something based on your conception of natural rights, it seems to be a good idea to be able to accept or reject that conception based on reason alone. I find it very difficult to do that with natural rights. You seem not to, although you can't explain why.

Look, what rights does a person have when they're all alone? They can do anything they want, because there's no possibility of infringement upon anyone elses rights. Grant me that much.

Sure, why not? They can do anything they want. However, they don't have any rights, and they don't need them. Rights only make sense within the context of a group.

And go ahead and justify why we all have equal rights for me, atheist. I believe that we do, and I believe the way to make that argument from an atheist's standpoint is to either start with a shared assumption of equality, or with an argument that comes out of something abstract like our capacity to feel pain or to have conscious thought or out of the belief that any contract entered into has to be entered into freely for it to be legitimate. I think all of these arguments have strengths in their cores, but weakness around the edges.

Either one of these is accurate, or not. You're throwing a bunch of stuff against a wall in the hope that something will stick. I think you'll find it very, very hard to mount a cogent argument in support of natural rights, without relying on a supreme being.

But I've got to get back to fixing my computer instead of moving to the next part of the discussion: defining justice.

Good idea. After all, it only took Plato several hundred pages to tackle that one.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:41 PM on October 12, 2005


Looks like I got back to this thread way too late. *sigh*
My two cents:

I oppose assfucking in aisles on sanitary grounds. Your right to cum ends where my food and beverage service begins. I suspect the CDC might have a few words on the subject as well.


One can be an asshole in a public space, but as klangklangston said, the airplane is quasi-public space -which would come under government regs.
However what the actual law is in this particular argument doesn’t seem relevant. And I agree airlines have an obligation to serve the general public.
I also agree that corporations should not be treated as private individuals and that furthermore clothing choices should be ignored by corporations.

Therefore, even though I’m one of those damned conservatives (yet also believe in individual inalienable rights), I don’t believe property rights apply in this specific instance.

But I’m not willing to wholly cede the argument.

I do think Falconetti’s point about the market applies.
They (Southwest) have a right to do business and to protect their trade.
If an individual offends others, enough others to affect their business, they can refuse service to that individual.

We cannot insist that a business incur a potential loss in trade to defend an individual’s right to - in this instance - wear ‘fuck’ on a t-shirt.
We cannot hold it as equal in weight - as an economic matter - to an individual’s right to service based on race (as previously brought up).

A behavior does not equal inherent qualities of existence. QED. Racists can change their behavior to suit the fact of the existence of people born with traits different from theirs. (The woman was given the option to take her shirt off - not the same gravity, but the same form.)

In this case the business exists to conduct trade, perform services or make goods. While we should not regard it as having the same rights as an individual we must recognize it’s right to exist - given it honestly serves as intended (it’s not a scam).

We cannot ask a business to put in jeopardy it’s right to exist by serving a person who could make others not want to use the services of Southwest.

We are a liberal democracy, but we are also capitalists.

What klangklangston is essentially asking for would require changes in the law.

I agree that the laws should be changed to serve those ends.

Business would then be protected by pointing to a law that states a person can wear ‘fuck’ or whatever - as much as they like.
Once it becomes the norm, their existence would be protected and other businesses could modify their behavior as they see fit, the market could respond as it sees fit.
(Hey folks! We have a dress code contract here on Delta!)
And individual rights would be protected.

I suspect it’s only decorum and the natural cowardice businesses have before the almighty dollar that resists such a change.

But - to add my voice to the others - fuck decorum.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:38 PM on October 12, 2005


Also - fuck Husserl
posted by Smedleyman at 2:44 PM on October 12, 2005


"Exactly what conclusion am I assuming?"

That there isn't a God. Which, for this argument, I'm willing to cede.

"Either one of these is accurate, or not. "

Or there's more than one way to come to the same conclusion.

"I think you'll find it very, very hard to mount a cogent argument in support of natural rights, without relying on a supreme being."

Why are people equal? They clearly aren't, based on physical capacity or mental capacity. The theological backbone of "natural rights" is that we are equal because God created us equally, and from that equality flows the moral argument that it is wrong to to deprive another of the freedoms they enjoy naturally unless their freedom inpinges upon another's (as all are equal, it is just that all have equal acces to their freedoms).
Otherwise, you've got to argue that people in different cultures have different rights, based upon those cultures. Which means, as the ugly extreme vision, that a culture can decide that a class of people have no rights and fail to defend them utterly.
Your system means that we have no moral authority to judge slavery or the Holocaust wrong because people have no inherent rights that must be honored in a moral society.
Equal individuals have equal freedoms, and constraining them without a compelling harm is immoral.

The reason why I'm "throwing things at the wall" is that the origins of rights are fairly irrelevant to my argument, despite your repeated attempts to argue based on them.
Again, when you can explain equality without God or handwaiving about nature, I'll be happy to have a go at it. But the idea of equality is fundamental to the idea of having a group concensus on what is and is not immoral, and if you cede that each individual is equal, you have no moral claim to telling my that my behavior must be restrained in order to maintain decorum.
posted by klangklangston at 4:50 PM on October 12, 2005


That there isn't a God. Which, for this argument, I'm willing to cede.

That's not a conclusion, that's a premise. My conclusion is that natural rights are logically indefensible.

Otherwise, you've got to argue that people in different cultures have different rights, based upon those cultures. Which means, as the ugly extreme vision, that a culture can decide that a class of people have no rights and fail to defend them utterly.

Conversely, you would have to argue that all the rights we currently recognize and understand are all there are - we won't identify new rights in the future. I'm not so fond of that. I can think of two areas which would be constrained mightily by that - childrens' rights and animal rights. So, clearly, yes, I think that people in different cultures have different rights, because there are no inalienable rights - there are only those things which groups of people agree upon.

I realize that this is an unpalatable position. That alone doesn't make it incorrect. Personally, I would prefer a world in which natural rights clearly exist. Unfortunately, that's not this one.

The reason why I'm "throwing things at the wall" is that the origins of rights are fairly irrelevant to my argument, despite your repeated attempts to argue based on them.

I don't see how you can possibly think it's irrelevant. You want everyone to accept your explanation of how rights exist in nature, you have to explain why. If you said "don't fornicate because God says it's wrong," I would clearly be able to question the existence of God in order to counter your statement.

Again, when you can explain equality without God or handwaiving about nature, I'll be happy to have a go at it.

Equality, like rights or morality, is a human concept. Nothing more, nothing less. It's made up, by us. So, there's nothing for me to explain.

But the idea of equality is fundamental to the idea of having a group concensus on what is and is not immoral, and if you cede that each individual is equal, you have no moral claim to telling my that my behavior must be restrained in order to maintain decorum.

No, the idea of equality is not fundamental to having a consensus on what is and is not immoral. There are plenty of societies that don't recognize this concept of equality, and yet they possess a shared morality.

And, even if I ceded that each individual is equal, that doesn't mean you have the right to do whatever you want. By a purely utilitarian approach, if you did something that pissed off two people, the total utility of their happiness would outweigh yours, even if you were equal to either one of them. I'm no utilitarian, but I could come up with a dozen more demonstrations that your statement isn't necessarily true.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:52 PM on October 12, 2005


The question, my friends, is WWJD?

Or more appropriately, WTFWJD?
posted by moonbiter at 1:43 AM on October 13, 2005


I need to make myself a WTFWJD T-shirt...
posted by Vidiot at 3:36 AM on October 13, 2005


I believe in a natural right that the last person to post in this thread is automatically correct.
posted by Falconetti at 7:35 PM on October 13, 2005


As do I, Falconetti, as do I.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:57 PM on October 13, 2005


.
posted by zarq at 10:26 PM on October 13, 2005


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