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September 20, 2006 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Kissing is terrorist behavior now? From the article: 'Shortly after takeoff, Varnier nodded off, leaning his head on Tsikhiseli. A stewardess came over to their row. “The purser wants you to stop that,” she said...The captain told Tsikhiseli that if they didn’t stop arguing with the crew he would divert the plane.'
posted by Poagao (166 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
They're both dudes! Eewwww!
posted by chunking express at 10:55 AM on September 20, 2006


But you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:58 AM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


“I had a José Saramago book I was looking forward to reading,” Leisner said. “And then I was going to take some melatonin and have a little nap.”

How gay is that?
posted by blucevalo at 10:59 AM on September 20, 2006


Kissing is terrorist behavior now?

If you'd ever seen me do it, you'd know it always has been!
posted by freebird at 10:59 AM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


that's some fucking fucked up shit, wearing your hair Texas-style and shit.
posted by docpops at 10:59 AM on September 20, 2006


Of course the request to stop was ridiculous, but where in the article does it say that the behavior was terrorist in nature?
posted by trey at 11:01 AM on September 20, 2006


Sounds like the purser was going to be reasonable until they made the comparison to a straight couple, at which point the purser went into automatic lawsuit defense mode, which ironically generated worse results than if she had just told the stewardess to knock it off.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:02 AM on September 20, 2006


I can think of a zillion ways to effectively complain about airline treatment, and receive redress for my grievances, that don't involve arguing with the crew while still airborne to the point where the captain of the plane feels he needs to exit the cockpit to intervene.
posted by frogan at 11:04 AM on September 20, 2006


"One of the men pointed out the stewardess—a woman with, as Jackson put it, “Texas hair, like from the nineteen-sixties.”

Definately not a terrorist because only a genuine gay guy could offer such a description.
posted by StarForce5 at 11:04 AM on September 20, 2006


The threat to divert the place implied a reaction equal to that of a terrorist threat.

I almost named the threat "Gays on a Plane", but that ship has sailed, methinks.
posted by Poagao at 11:05 AM on September 20, 2006


Diverting a plane's flightplan happens when a terrorist or other threat to the safety of the flight is assumed. Apparently two men kissing will cause cabin decompression, or the plane will suddenly nosedive into a skyscraper, or something.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:06 AM on September 20, 2006


Well, hell, I'm straight but I know exactly what that kind of hair looks like....calling that "gay" is lame.
posted by pax digita at 11:07 AM on September 20, 2006


OK, let me say one more time that I agree that this is ridiculous, but the "terrorist" angle is still bugging me. Flights have been diverted because people are drunk, arguing, causing disruptions, etc. It is standard procedure for disruptions that the crew does not feel comfortable allowing to proceed. Yes, it's ridiculous that the flight crew could even consider this situation in that light, but nowhere do they claim that it was terrorism-related behavior.
posted by trey at 11:09 AM on September 20, 2006


The threat to divert the place implied a reaction equal to that of a terrorist threat.

Nah, planes get diverted because of garden-variety disruptive behavior fairly regularly. (Remember the story about the guy that took a dump in the drink cart? Classic.) Anyway, the only mention of terrorism in the article was the note that the events occurred shortly after the terrorist threat against planes flying to the US from the UK was "thwarted." Any comparison to terrorism is overblown, and wasn't made by airline personnel.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:09 AM on September 20, 2006


Texas hair.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:10 AM on September 20, 2006


Seriously, though, can you really see the Captain trying to explain diverting a planeload of passengers to Logan or Bangor Maine over this? The press would shit themselves blind with glee.
posted by docpops at 11:10 AM on September 20, 2006


Definately not a terrorist because only a genuine gay guy could offer such a description.

What description would you have preferred that he offer?

"Yeah, she had ... well, I can't really describe her hair, you know, because I'm straight, and straight men get really confused and mixed-up and tongue-tied when we're asked to talk about hair ... "
posted by blucevalo at 11:11 AM on September 20, 2006


pax digita: Yeah, we all know "Texas hair" means but would you come up with that description on the spot? I couldn't help but laugh. Texas hair.
posted by StarForce5 at 11:11 AM on September 20, 2006


Finally, the purser said that if they didn’t drop the matter the flight would be diverted.

Had this been me and my boyfriend, my response would be something like "Then go ahead and divert it. Maybe the next flight won't be filled with assholes."
posted by triolus at 11:13 AM on September 20, 2006


blucevalo: Dial back on the caffeine.
posted by StarForce5 at 11:13 AM on September 20, 2006


I hope everyone flying American Airlines Flight 45 for the next few weeks is wearing a "Texas hair" wig and practicing for the county kiss-a-thon.
posted by pracowity at 11:13 AM on September 20, 2006


A few months ago I sat next to a women who was badly treated and in fact thrown off our plane by the purser right before departure. After stewing about it a bit once we were airborn, I asked one of the flight attendants for the name of the purser. She refused, but he came over a short while later (points to him), so I explained quietly and politely thta I had asked for his name because "I was disappointed in how that situation was handled." He still refused to give me his name (points off), told me I didn't know the whole situation (I'd been sitting literally six inches from the passenger while the whole situation transpired - big demerits), and then stormed off like a little martinet. I and the other passengers around me who had shown similar discomfort with the whole scene sat verrrrrry quietly for the rest of the flight...
posted by twsf at 11:13 AM on September 20, 2006


I think the terrorism comparison is apt, as I am terrified that I might see two men kissing. Ew!

Why do they have to be so hot! Won't ... succumb ... to the lust!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:15 AM on September 20, 2006


can someone explain what a "purser" is? i've never heard of that before..
posted by virga at 11:15 AM on September 20, 2006


blucevalo: Dial back on the caffeine.

You're right. Highly unsuccessful attempt at sarcasm amplified by overcaffeination. My apologies.
posted by blucevalo at 11:15 AM on September 20, 2006


Blazecock Pileon, for the win.

This is fascinating, though. Air travel has become such a nexus of anxiety and obedience that normal expectations of social behavior have completely eroded. Flight crews exercise an astonishing degree of authority over passengers, and passengers are, for the most part, accustomed to exercising rigid self-censorship so as not to appear to be a threat.

This makes me think that it's gone so far, though, that the extraordinary anxiety of the threat of a terror attack is starting to be elided with a variety of other, less black and white anxieties. In this incident, the flight crew was incapable of distinguishing between their real responsibility to keep their passengers safe and their perceived need to keep them feeling safe. And these guys found themselves in a position where their reasonable expectation to be affectionate with one another outweighed their urge to be compliant.

But look, if we're to the point where planes can be turned around because men are resting their heads on each others' shoulders, maybe the post-9/11 police state has jumped the shark.

One can at least hope...
posted by felix betachat at 11:17 AM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


can someone explain what a "purser" is? i've never heard of that before..

purser

I had to look it up too. Apparently, he just handles the services that the airline affords to their passengers.
posted by triolus at 11:17 AM on September 20, 2006


StarForce5: dial back on the homophobia. It went out of fashion after high school ended.
posted by kdar at 11:18 AM on September 20, 2006


blucevalo: Sorry, I misunderguesstimated the scarcasm.
posted by StarForce5 at 11:18 AM on September 20, 2006


well, what should we expect? ... you give people power with no accountability and this is exactly what's going to happen ... it's going to be abused

if there's any way i can drive instead, i'll do it
posted by pyramid termite at 11:18 AM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


My boyfriend and I recently jumped into a taxi with a Sikh driver at 2 a.m. in our hometown, NYC. We were laughing about something, and chattering, gave our address and continued a high-spirited and animated discussion after politely giving the driver our destination. At one point, my man gave me kind of a nuzzle on the neck -- all extremely PG. The driver, who'd obviously been monitoring us in the rearview, screeched across two lanes of traffic to the curb and ordered us out of the cab! "None of that in my cab. I am owner-operator, my rules!"

We were astonished but not up for arguing -- it was just another piece in the crazy quilt of the night, but later, we couldn't believe we'd been 86'd for some innocent canoodling!
posted by thinkpiece at 11:19 AM on September 20, 2006


kdar: Can we still laugh at "Texas hair"?
posted by StarForce5 at 11:20 AM on September 20, 2006


Honey, this post needs a texashair tag, like tout de suite.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:23 AM on September 20, 2006


$20 says the purser was gay, too.
posted by ColdChef at 11:24 AM on September 20, 2006


I mean, he WAS carrying a purse, right? Or am I misunderstanding his title?
posted by ColdChef at 11:25 AM on September 20, 2006


Can we still laugh at "Texas hair"?

Try and stop me, go ahead. I'll turn this plane around!
posted by Skorgu at 11:25 AM on September 20, 2006


Man. What a crock up on AA's part. Talk about a stonewall in the sky. I have a feeling flight 45 out of Gay Paree is soon going to be transformed into the bass thumping high flying phallis of homo fun.
posted by Skygazer at 11:30 AM on September 20, 2006


"Diverting a plane's flightplan happens when a terrorist or other threat to the safety of the flight is assumed. Apparently two men kissing will cause cabin decompression, or the plane will suddenly nosedive into a skyscraper, or something."

What if, like, the captain sees it and thinks that it's so hot that he suddenly makes a pass at the copilot, and the copilot is so innundated with the gay-diation (what sets off gaydar) that he succumbs, and then both of them are up there in the cockpit, if you know what I mean, and because of that new anti-terrorist door the rest of the staff can't get to them until they've fucked the plane right into the ocean? What then? Is that what you homos want?
posted by klangklangston at 11:33 AM on September 20, 2006 [4 favorites]


Had this been me and my boyfriend, my response would be something like "Then go ahead and divert it. Maybe the next flight won't be filled with assholes."

Exactly. Whatever inconvenience that involved would have been more than made up for by hearing it announced on national television that the airline decided to divert the plane because two men were kissing.
posted by scottreynen at 11:34 AM on September 20, 2006


Whatever inconvenience that involved would have been more than made up for...

So, the guy rushing to make a connecting flight, to make it home in time to say goodbye to his terminally ill child before he/she succumbs ... he gets a good laugh out of all of this, too?

Again, there are far, far better ways to complain...
posted by frogan at 11:38 AM on September 20, 2006


I'm for letting the diversion happen, too, but I'll bet they'd get arrested for disorderly conduct or something.
posted by etaoin at 11:39 AM on September 20, 2006


For what it's worth, it was the guy in the seat behind them that used the "texas-hair" term. Don't know if he was gay or not, but he was coming from France, so he was.

Could someone explain how diverting the plane under any non-violent situation makes any sense at all? How can a situation be handled better simply because it's not an aggressor's ideal landing spot?
posted by hoborg at 11:42 AM on September 20, 2006


can someone explain what a "purser" is?


posted by ericb at 11:48 AM on September 20, 2006


I stand corrected: the passenger who uttered "Texas hair" may or may not have been gay but he's definately funny.

Bottom line is this another incident of airlines using terrorism as a blanket excuse every time they dish out abuse on customers.
posted by StarForce5 at 11:51 AM on September 20, 2006


They're lucky Cheney didn't order the plane shot down.
posted by brain_drain at 11:51 AM on September 20, 2006


That "gay-diation" really fucks with the cockpit's controls!
posted by ericb at 11:51 AM on September 20, 2006


So, the guy rushing to make a connecting flight, to make it home in time to say goodbye to his terminally ill child before he/she succumbs ... he gets a good laugh out of all of this, too?

WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE (DYING) CHILDREN?!!
posted by gigawhat? at 11:52 AM on September 20, 2006


We couldn't believe we'd been 86'd for some innocent canoodling!
posted by thinkpiece at 2:19 PM EST on September 20 [+] [!]


That's illegal Thinkpiece. Once you enter a cab the driver is required to take you where you want to go within the city. What's happening in the back seat is none of his business. You can report that behavior to the Taxi and Limo Commision. Get the guys name and license number (That needs to be displayed at all times, if not get the cab number which is both on the license plate and stamped behind the front seat).
posted by Skygazer at 11:53 AM on September 20, 2006


Heck -- and why do they call it a "cock"pit anyway?
posted by ericb at 11:53 AM on September 20, 2006


Bottom line is this another incident of airlines using terrorism as a blanket excuse every time they dish out abuse on customers.
posted by StarForce5 at 11:51 AM PST on September 20 [+] [!]


No. It's not.
posted by trey at 11:56 AM on September 20, 2006


Why make a big deal about getting an employees name? In this age of camera phones just snap their picture and include it in the angry email to the company.
posted by Megafly at 11:57 AM on September 20, 2006


Kissing, even a quick kiss, on a plane is inappropriate. I don't care who is doing it.
posted by QIbHom at 11:59 AM on September 20, 2006


Go ahead, divert the plane because two guys are cuddling. If you didn't look like a homophobic cunt before that happened, you sure would afterward.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 12:04 PM on September 20, 2006


Kissing, even a quick kiss, on a plane is inappropriate. I don't care who is doing it.

Just be sure to do so boarding the aircraft.


posted by ericb at 12:06 PM on September 20, 2006


No. It's not.
posted by trey at 2:56 PM EST on September 20 [+] [!]


In what way is it not?
posted by kalessin at 12:07 PM on September 20, 2006


There's always Mile High Atlanta's private charters for enjoying amorous encounters.
posted by ericb at 12:10 PM on September 20, 2006


"So, the guy rushing to make a connecting flight, to make it home in time to say goodbye to his terminally ill child before he/she succumbs ... he gets a good laugh out of all of this, too?"

And what if the plane had been carrying Hitler's brain and diverting it sent it back to Nazis with time machines that they used to win the war! Wir alles Deutsch gesprechen!
posted by klangklangston at 12:11 PM on September 20, 2006 [2 favorites]


In what way is it not?
posted by kalessin at 12:07 PM PST on September 20 [+] [!]


If you'll see my previous discussion of this earlier in the thread -- the airline in no way makes any implications of terrorism or insinuates that their behavior is terrorism-related. The airline's reaction was inappropriate and reprehensible, but at no time did they say the men were acting as terrorists. Diverting the plane for disruptions is SOP and existed before 9/11.
posted by trey at 12:16 PM on September 20, 2006


Kissing, even a quick kiss, on a plane is inappropriate. I don't care who is doing it.

WTF?
posted by callmejay at 12:16 PM on September 20, 2006


So, the guy rushing to make a connecting flight, to make it home in time to say goodbye to his terminally ill child before he/she succumbs ... he gets a good laugh out of all of this, too?

Did you make that one up just to exercise your rhetoric, or did I miss that part in the original article?
posted by kalessin at 12:17 PM on September 20, 2006


kalessin writes "In what way is it not?"

In what way is it? At no point in the New Yorker account is "terrorism" given as a reason to divert the plane. As others have pointed out, planes are diverted all the time when passengers become disorderly, and it has nothing to do with terrorism. Now, this particular situation is absurd, and the flight crew seriously overreacted, but it's certainly not surprising to see a person in authority threaten to abuse their authority. That's what people in authority do. But they did it before Sept. 11, 2001, too.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:17 PM on September 20, 2006


Kissing, even a quick kiss, on a plane is inappropriate. I don't care who is doing it.

Why?
posted by SBMike at 12:18 PM on September 20, 2006


Because kissing is gay.
posted by klangklangston at 12:21 PM on September 20, 2006


Diverting the plane for disruptions is SOP and existed before 9/11

Can you provide a citation for that? I'm coming up empty, and I honestly don't remember it being so, but I will admit I was not a regular air traveller pre-2001.
posted by kalessin at 12:21 PM on September 20, 2006


But they did it before Sept. 11, 2001, too.

Can you provide a citation for that?

I reread the original article, and I see that the New Yorker introduced the concept of terrorism as a possible reason that the airline crew acted the way they did, but it was not int he actual quotes they cited of a witness' recollection of events.
posted by kalessin at 12:23 PM on September 20, 2006


Wow.

Had I been on the flight, and had it been diverted because people were kissing, I would've started masturbating furiously. I mean, what are they going to do? They're already diverting the flight.
posted by mullingitover at 12:33 PM on September 20, 2006 [11 favorites]


They'd arrest you as a suspected terroronanist.
posted by brain_drain at 12:52 PM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


I mean, what are they going to do? They're already diverting the flight.

That's awesome.
posted by kalessin at 12:54 PM on September 20, 2006


I would've started masturbating furiously. I mean, what are they going to do? They're already diverting the flight.
posted by mullingitover at 12:33 PM PST on September 20 [+] [!]


That point pretty much trumps any and all possible lessons of this thread.
posted by docpops at 12:54 PM on September 20, 2006


Planes can be diverted at the captain's discretion anytime; that's been airline policy forever. It happens most often with people who've had too much to drink causing problems for the cabin crew, but the captain has complete leeway in deciding to divert the plane.

As so many have already noted in the thread, absolutely nothing about this incident has anything to do with terrorism. It has everything to do with homophobia.
posted by briank at 12:55 PM on September 20, 2006


kalessin writes "Can you provide a citation for that?"


Here are a couple (1,2), both from 2000. Scroll down to 12 July 2000 in the first one and 20 August 2000 in the second. There are a few others in there too, if you care to look, including a flight that was diverted for "unruly conduct".

I have no doubt that the current environment has put everyone more on edge, and has probably made pilots more ready to divert flights. But flights have been diverted for reasons other that "terrorism" since well before Sept. 11.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:56 PM on September 20, 2006


So, the guy rushing to make a connecting flight, to make it home in time to say goodbye to his terminally ill child before he/she succumbs ... he gets a good laugh out of all of this, too?

I wouldn't think so. I'd expect any reasonable person would get pissed at the airline for diverting a plane over such a ridiculous reason and the airline would be properly shamed into not doing the same thing again in the future when another guy is rushing to make a connecting flight to make it home in time to say goodbye to his terminally ill partner whose family has decided to let him die because they disapprove of his sexuality and the guy on the plane has no legal standing to question such medical decisions despite having lived with the man for a few decades because of the type of asinine people who are apparently allowed to run roughshod at American Airlines.
posted by scottreynen at 12:59 PM on September 20, 2006 [4 favorites]


SBMike, PDAs are intrusive, tacky and rude. I don't want to see it, and I don't care if it is hetero, gay or parent-child. On a plane, it is doubly offensive, because I can't move away.
posted by QIbHom at 12:59 PM on September 20, 2006


kalessin writes "Can you provide a citation for that?"

Sorry; maybe I misunderstood you... Did you want a citation for my claim that people in authority occasionally abused their authority prior to Sept. 11? Or just that planes were diverted for disorderly conduct? I read it as the latter, because the former should be pretty obvious, even without Google.

QIbHom writes "SBMike, PDAs are intrusive, tacky and rude. I don't want to see it, and I don't care if it is hetero, gay or parent-child. On a plane, it is doubly offensive, because I can't move away."

Christ, how do you live in the world? You can't stand to see a parent kiss their child? That's just freakish.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:01 PM on September 20, 2006


Wow.

Had I been on the flight, and had it been diverted because people were kissing, I would've started masturbating furiously. I mean, what are they going to do? They're already diverting the flight.


If terrorists attacked a diverting flight...would they undivert it? Or would they divert it more?!

What level of anarchy would the plane need to be at to be destinationless?
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:01 PM on September 20, 2006 [3 favorites]


QIbHom -- what about when the in-flight film shows a couple (gay or straight) kissing? Do you shield your eyes, shake your head, and quietly mutter: "na-na-na-na-nan-na?"
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on September 20, 2006


At no point in the New Yorker account is "terrorism" given as a reason to divert the plane.

Let's nail this canard, or at least divert it to the safety of the ground:

Twelve days earlier, British police had foiled a terrorist plot to blow up airliners. Heightened security had delayed the flight by about two hours, and passengers, by the time they boarded, were ready to relax.

So, indeed, using the language of "diverting the flight" in the context of recent events, and of the pre-flight conditions of this specific flight, indicates the airline staff interpreting the two gentlemen kissing as a terrorist threat (of some sort), even if the use of that interpretation is for alterior motives (namely, homophobia).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:02 PM on September 20, 2006


Well you see callmejay, there comes a point where, once you've completely given yourself over to being a mindless kiss ass, you'll rationalize any over reaction by anyone in any position of authority, no matter how counter productive it is or how much it costs the tax payer. You will call this proof of your moral character.

Later on you will argue that ambulance service is a luxury and call it proof of your fiscal responsibility.

Next question.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:04 PM on September 20, 2006


On a plane, it is doubly offensive, because I can't move away.

Same for perfume, fatties, BO, halitosis, sub sandwiches ( one time a guy brought on a container of steamed broccoli and I thought a nursery school full of incontinent toddlers had just boarded), people that are boring, Jesus freaks, freak freaks, adolescents with gum, synthetic fiber-pants-wearers, and the insane.
posted by docpops at 1:05 PM on September 20, 2006 [2 favorites]


PDAs are intrusive, tacky and rude.

Agreed. I see someone tapping away on a Palm or Treo, I'm like, gross, go to an internet cafe!
posted by brain_drain at 1:06 PM on September 20, 2006 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon writes "So, indeed, using the language of 'diverting the flight' in the context of recent events, and of the pre-flight conditions of this specific flight, indicates the airline staff interpreting the two gentlemen kissing as a terrorist threat (of some sort), even if the use of that interpretation is for alterior motives (namely, homophobia)."

Nonsense. None of the witnesses mention terrorism as a motive for the flight crew's behavior, nor do they report the flight crew mentioning terrorism. In fact, according to the witnesses, the flight crew's explicit reason for issuing the warning was to accomodate other passengers, who had been made "uncomfortable" by what they witnessed.

Unless you're claiming that New Yorker writers can read people's minds through spacetime, and signal the results of their psionic activity with oblique references in the setting of their pieces.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:08 PM on September 20, 2006


Am I the only straight person who has ever said "leave them the hell alone" to people who are bothering gay people for showing affection? The plane was full of people, and not one stood up and said they thought the complaints were more offensive than the action?

---

An aside along the same vein: I once worked in a gas station and one evening two (cute, young) lesbians came in bought some pop and chips and left holding hands. My coworkers decided to catcall and whistle and insult them as they left and I told them to leave them alone and quit being so stupid. From then, and because I wasn't attempting to get the phone numbers of the female (or male) customers who came in the store, I was branded as 'gay', and soon after the openly homophobic boss changed my shifts without informing me and then fired me for not showing up at work.
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:11 PM on September 20, 2006


Well to this list we can add "Homosexual terrorists might start making out on dozens of flights simultaneously, sending flight traffic into disarray nationwide."
posted by mullingitover at 1:11 PM on September 20, 2006


one time a guy brought on a container of steamed broccoli and I thought a nursery school full of incontinent toddlers had just boarded

Well, at least he wouldn't be able to carry it on today!
posted by oaf at 1:12 PM on September 20, 2006


Thank God, QIbHom, that you weren't on a Virgin or Quantas flight this past spring, pre-Oscar time.
"Virgin Atlantic's in-flight entertainment director Lysette Gauna...'How can you take a director's work and re-edit it? It just becomes nonsensical, I wouldn't dare,' she told CNN.

Virgin -- which with Qantas last year jointly scooped the World Airline Entertainment Association's best in-flight entertainment award -- was one of the first airlines to operate a no-edit policy on films shown on board its jets.

'They are the same as you see at the cinema,' she says. 'I just think its good that people can get on a Virgin plane and see exactly the same film that they would on the ground. We'll be showing the Oscar nominees, and we're pretty sure they'll be very popular.'

...Says Gauna, her own personal in-flight award winners tend to be the one's that have passengers leaving tears on their inflatable pillows.

'I tend to like a really good weepy, I like to look around the plane and see everyone crying at the same thing. I'm sure there'll be plenty of tears when we show "Brokeback Mountain".'"

[source]
No kissing cowboys at 35,000 feet for you!
posted by ericb at 1:13 PM on September 20, 2006


Kickstart70 writes "The plane was full of people, and not one stood up and said they thought the complaints were more offensive than the action?"

You mean except for Leisner and Jackson, who were upset by what the flight attendant said and asked to speak to the purser, right?

Did you even read the story?
posted by mr_roboto at 1:13 PM on September 20, 2006


Had I been on the flight, and had it been diverted because people were kissing, I would've started masturbating furiously. I mean, what are they going to do? They're already diverting the flight.

Wait a minute. Back up here already. This raises a very sticky question:

Are motherfuckin erections allowed on a motherfuckin' plane ??
posted by Skygazer at 1:15 PM on September 20, 2006


Kissing, even a quick kiss, on a plane is inappropriate. I don't care who is doing it.

Well, I guess a blowjob is out of the question then.
posted by a3matrix at 1:15 PM on September 20, 2006


Seeing affectionate people makes me happy, personally. If it disgusts you, I'm guessing you're not getting too much yourself.
posted by SBMike at 1:17 PM on September 20, 2006


Skygazer: I'm pretty sure if the erection is in the process of mother fucking, the plane will be diverted and other erections will soon be used in prison anus fucking.

mr_roboto: Doh! I read it, left for a while, then came back later and commented...forgetting that bit. I retract that part of my statement.
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:18 PM on September 20, 2006


If terrorists attacked a diverting flight...would they undivert it? Or would they divert it more?!

Yeah. Wouldn't it eventually be "diverted" into a big circle right back to where you wanted to go?

I once got head on an nearly empty overseas charter flight.

OMFG. Does that make me a double-super-terrorist? Is this rule retroactive?

And if they would have said "Sir! Miss! You have to stop that or we'll divert the plane..."

Well, ahem, sorry people. Call me a selfish asshole, but YOUR GETTING FRIGG'N DIVERTED." How many shots do you get in life for something like that?
posted by tkchrist at 1:19 PM on September 20, 2006


Captain Oveur: "Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?"
posted by ericb at 1:21 PM on September 20, 2006


Oh...can't forget...

Capt Oveur: You ever been up in a cockpit before, Joey?
Joey: No sir, I've never been in an airplane before.
Capt Oveur: You ever seen a grown man naked before?
posted by ericb at 1:25 PM on September 20, 2006


Unless you're claiming that New Yorker writers can read people's minds through spacetime, and signal the results of their psionic activity with oblique references in the setting of their pieces.

Nope, it's right there in the article; I even quoted the connection. Further, the "witnesses" who claimed to be "uncomfortable" were never identified by the purser, nor was this claim verified by New Yorker.

Airline staff who vocalize threats in the cabin to divert a plane are making a very serious and specific connotation after 9/11 — moreso when the flight in question had been subjected to security delays prior to take-off.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:25 PM on September 20, 2006


"PDAs are intrusive, tacky and rude. I don't want to see it, and I don't care if it is hetero, gay or parent-child. On a plane, it is doubly offensive, because I can't move away"

Sounds like someone could use a brisk rogering.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:30 PM on September 20, 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
posted by interrobang at 1:31 PM on September 20, 2006 [9 favorites]


Airline staff who vocalize threats in the cabin to divert a plane are making a very serious and specific connotation after 9/11 — moreso when the flight in question had been subjected to security delays prior to take-off.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:25 PM PST on September 20 [+] [!]


I can't help but read this as the equivalent form of "9/11 CHANGED EVERYTHING". So if this happened before 9/11 diverting the plane wouldn't be a reaction to a supposed terrorist threat? Christ, you say it's "right there in the article", but all that is there is the writer stating that their had been security delays. I have no idea how that somehow makes the idea of diverting the plane a reaction to these guys being a "terrorist threat". It's a homophobic reaction, sure. But you're going to have to do a lot better in order to show that they considered their behavior in the realm of terrorism.
posted by Stauf at 1:38 PM on September 20, 2006


Blazecock Pileon writes "Nope, it's right there in the article; I even quoted the connection. "

The author mentions that the event occurred soon after the Liquid Terror, true. No one in the event mentioned terror, however, and I can't imagine how you're seeing anything but the most oblique connection.

Blazecock Pileon writes "Airline staff who vocalize threats in the cabin to divert a plane are making a very serious and specific connotation after 9/11 — moreso when the flight in question had been subjected to security delays prior to take-off."

Uh-huh. No one accused these men of being terrorists. It wasn't even suggested. You're really reaching, here.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:38 PM on September 20, 2006


He may be reaching, but is he reaching around?
posted by MrMustard at 1:51 PM on September 20, 2006


Here's a link to the cart-shitting incident. Nothing about a diversion. In the, ahem, "old days" (pre-911), someone just sat on the unruly passenger until the plane arrived at its scheduled destination. Diversions were for lawsuit-worthy things like smoke in the cabin and heart attacks. (Not to say that pilots didn't have the option. They just didn't exercise it very often.)

As evidence, read this chilling article. Original publication date: April 8, 2000.
posted by turducken at 1:52 PM on September 20, 2006


The author mentions that the event occurred soon after the Liquid Terror, true.

More than that, actually: the AA flight in question had lengthy security delays.

You're really reaching, here.

I really hope so, but I'm not as optimistic, and certainly the article is not as conclusive as you and a few others would necessarily claim. The staff upped the tone of rhetoric after the two gentlemen had asked for identification.

Language was used in a threatening way — and that sort of thing is now possible, because when you're in a position of authority, and you don't have to justify what your reasons are, that's the sort of thing that is easy to get away with.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:56 PM on September 20, 2006


turducken writes "In the, ahem, 'old days' (pre-911), someone just sat on the unruly passenger until the plane arrived at its scheduled destination."

We've already covered this. You're wrong.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:57 PM on September 20, 2006


Turducken: Plenty of evidence pre-2001
posted by patricio at 2:03 PM on September 20, 2006


QIbHom hates our freedom. Put him/her on the do not fly list ASAP!
posted by snofoam at 2:06 PM on September 20, 2006


mr_roboto: I was writing about unruly passengers on US airlines, re the OP. There's exactly one citiation for this in the link you cite -- all the rest appear to be hijackings and other genuinely violent incidents in foreign countries.

Ergo, I'm right, and you're an annoying troll. Please crawl back into your hole.
posted by turducken at 2:11 PM on September 20, 2006


briank writes "absolutely nothing about this incident has anything to do with terrorism."

I'm not sure that's correct. As felix betachat points out, the increasing regimentation you-will-immediately-follow-our-orders thing is a result of the reaction to terrorism. It's turned formerly polite airline and airport employees into rigid martinets with the power to over-react to anybody, on any pretext. No joking, no wearing the wrong T-shirt, no kissing, no praying -- all of these things have become excuses to refuse paying passengers what they've paid for.

The airlines need to ensure safety, of course, but they also need to remember customer service and civility. The excuse of "terror terror terror" has conditioned us to sit quietly and submit to any outrageousness.
posted by orthogonality at 2:14 PM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yeesh. Only on the internet do exceptions count as "plenty of evidence."

Again: the OP refers to minor incidents of so-called "unruly passengers" who aren't really being unruly or violent. Pre-911, U.S. pilots did not, as a general rule, divert planes for boys kissing, or drunk businessmen hitting on the stewies. This is my only point. If you can find pre-911 citations for planes being diverted for hair gel, gays, or suspicious crossword puzzle answers, then please let me know.
posted by turducken at 2:17 PM on September 20, 2006


"SBMike, PDAs are intrusive, tacky and rude. I don't want to see it, and I don't care if it is hetero, gay or parent-child. On a plane, it is doubly offensive, because I can't move away."

Y'know, my former roommate had a philosophy on this that I can agree with. He refused to pull the blinds when he was jerking off because, as he said, what the hell are the neighbors doing looking through his windows?
Kissing is only tacky or rude if you're staring at it. Otherwise, I'd rather have the babies with cholic and the fat people sweating on me removed before the kissers. (And "intrusive"? What, are they kissing you?)

"Christ, how do you live in the world? You can't stand to see a parent kiss their child? That's just freakish."

It is kinda gross when it's all tongue-y.
posted by klangklangston at 2:17 PM on September 20, 2006


"SBMike, PDAs are intrusive, tacky and rude. I don't want to see it, and I don't care if it is hetero, gay or parent-child. On a plane, it is doubly offensive, because I can't move away."

Y'know, my former roommate had a philosophy on this that I can agree with. He refused to pull the blinds when he was jerking off because, as he said, what the hell are the neighbors doing looking through his windows?
Kissing is only tacky or rude if you're staring at it. Otherwise, I'd rather have the babies with cholic and the fat people sweating on me removed before the kissers. (And "intrusive"? What, are they kissing you?)

"Christ, how do you live in the world? You can't stand to see a parent kiss their child? That's just freakish."

It is kinda gross when it's all tongue-y.
posted by klangklangston at 2:18 PM on September 20, 2006


Whups.
posted by klangklangston at 2:18 PM on September 20, 2006


The excuse of "terror terror terror" has conditioned us to sit quietly and submit to any outrageousness.

Indeed. Very well put, orthogonality.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:20 PM on September 20, 2006


I'm pretty appalled that the reason the diversion was threatened was not because they were kissing, but because they were asking questions and demanding the names of the people who were telling them to stop. The attempt on the part of the flight staff to avoid accountability tells me that they knew they were doing something wrong. I'd like to hear what American Airlines has to say about their employees being ashamed to identify themselves.
posted by mullingitover at 2:21 PM on September 20, 2006


turducken writes "There's exactly one citiation for this in the link you cite -- all the rest appear to be hijackings and other genuinely violent incidents in foreign countries."

Wha? There's an report of a diversion of a Phoenix-Austin flight to Tucson and one of a Newark-San Fransciso flight to Lincoln. This page has a London-Newark United flight being diverted to Bangor, here's a United Chicago-Hong Kong flight being diverted to Anchorage and an American Toronto-Dallas flight diverted to Detroit, and another Anchorage diversion for a United Shanghai-San Francisco flight. All US airlines, all unruly passengers. I could go on.

I never claimed it was commonplace for pilots to divert flights over kissing; that is absurd. Diversions have always been an option, however, and should not be taken as indicative of an accusation of terrorism.

Also, calm down.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:34 PM on September 20, 2006


An anarchist, lesbian vegetarian who practices Asatru has a problem with public displays of affection?

Seriously?

I thought one of the main guidelines of Asatru was to step in for freedom. Freedom would, I guess, involve people being able to kiss their loved ones regardless of locale.

But that is just from a quick couple minutes of searching, so I could have it all wrong.
posted by Ateo Fiel at 2:40 PM on September 20, 2006


mullingitover writes "I'd like to hear what American Airlines has to say about their employees being ashamed to identify themselves."


I'm going to guess they'd explain that employees no longer have to identify themselves to customers for "security" reasons in the "post-9.11 world".

Just like nobody in TSA has to explain why you're on a no-fly or extra pat-down list.

There was a time in America when we were secure enough to question authority. But for five long years, we've been told over and over that only troublemakers and terrorists ask questions, and that good people and patriots just unhesitatingly do as they are told, because otherwise WE ALL MIGHT DIE!!!

Anyone asking questions is "disrupting the process" and since "disruption" is itself a threat, the questioner is treated like a potential terrorist -- what the Soviets used to call "sabotuers" of the "Five Year Plan".

And we've become conditioned to hate anyone questioning authority, because the questions delay the already mind-numbingly long process of going through the so-called security. Anyone asking a reasonable question just adds to the delay and rouses the ire of his fellow passengers.

The America I love is turning into the Soviet police state that I was taught we fought to defend against: police everywhere, dozens of agencies with some sort of police powers, an ethic that questioning is disloyalty, fear on the part of the citizens, both of terrorist and of attracting the attention of any of the various police. Police who routinely stop us without explanation, demand ID, pat us down, and tell us to be docile.

And my greatest fear is, the kids who are 15 or 20 or 25 today, they've grown up with this, and see it as normal that in America you have to identify yourself and justify your innocence to any cop who comes along. It breeds an unhealthy arrogance and impatience in cops of all sorts, and an un-American servility in our citizens.
posted by orthogonality at 2:41 PM on September 20, 2006 [4 favorites]


scottreynen intercepts and runs it back for the win.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:52 PM on September 20, 2006


What scottreynen sed.

“I would've started masturbating furiously.”
Did I mention my nickname was ‘furiously’?

“Am I the only straight person who has ever said "leave them the hell alone" to people who are bothering gay people for showing affection?”

Nope. I got into a nice little confrontation with some out of town assholes a bit back. I enjoy the irony when preparing to engage in fisticuffsmanship homophobes realize that gay men are, in fact, men. (And sometimes in good shape as well).
I’d be pissed if an airline diverted me because they are uncomfortable with PDAs. I kiss my wife all the time.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:53 PM on September 20, 2006


I admit I have kissed while on a jet travelling through these friendly skies.

I will kiss again.

I've even offered a shoulder for a napping companion. And once, in the dark of night, napped myself.

If this causes the flying baristas concern I say divert the plane. If the other passengers don't like the side trip let them speak to the purser.

I have no sympathy at all for those who are upset by public displays of affection.
posted by ?! at 3:03 PM on September 20, 2006


I'd rather have 2 gay men making out and 6 guys with turbans reading the Koran on a flight than a flight with screaming, crying lap babies near me.
posted by drstein at 3:18 PM on September 20, 2006


Well to this list we can add "Homosexual terrorists might start making out on dozens of flights simultaneously, sending flight traffic into disarray nationwide."

Great idea! I say we start immediatly.
posted by triolus at 3:19 PM on September 20, 2006


Did you make that one up just to exercise your rhetoric, or did I miss that part in the original article?

What I was saying was ... The petulant bastards saying their reaction would've been to continue causing trouble and inviting the flight crew to divert the plane in order to make their petty little point is missing a larger point -- that their actions would have unforseen repercussions, ranging from the mundane ("I missed my flight because of you, dick") to the tragic ("I missed my flight because of you and something awful happened.")

When it comes to petty little bullshit like an airborne waitress giving you grief, I'm suggesting a stance of "just shut the fuck up and unleash your self-righteous havoc after we're all safely on the ground."
posted by frogan at 3:23 PM on September 20, 2006


The excuse of "terror terror terror" has conditioned us to sit quietly and submit to any outrageousness.

Amen! Are we Americans, or are we just scared little rabbits? Whatever happened to "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."?

Remember how Americans used to say "It's a free country."? If somebody did something stupid or did something you didn't like, you could shrug and say, "It's a free country." I don't hear people saying it that much any more. Now we just call on the nearest authority figure to "handle" anybody who becomes a "problem."
posted by jonp72 at 3:32 PM on September 20, 2006 [2 favorites]


Are many of you really so shocked at the idea that there is a place and a time for certain behaviours, and other places and times that aren't appropriate? Or, are you bothed at the idea that someone may not be paying proper attention to your exhibitionism?

Or, is it that just I must be considerate to you, but you mustn't be to me? Gods forbid anyone actually take other people in to account.

Now, if you'll pardon me, I have some very freaked horses to calm. Then, I'm off to the sex club.
posted by QIbHom at 3:34 PM on September 20, 2006


Airline staff who vocalize threats in the cabin to divert a plane are making a very serious and specific connotation after 9/11 — moreso when the flight in question had been subjected to security delays prior to take-off.
posted by Blazecock Pileon

Haven't the faintest why anyone is shaking their heads at this, Blazecock.

That doesn't mean it's turned us all (passengers and airline staff) into mice and martinets but of course that connotation you refer to exists - especially on the long hauls.

"Anger Management" (2003) even refers to this as a thumping great joke in the opening - with the stewardess intoning ridiculously about "these are difficult times, sir" to Adam Sandler when he gets pissy about his headphones - cue airline staff cattle prods etc.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:38 PM on September 20, 2006


"When it comes to petty little bullshit like an airborne waitress giving you grief, I'm suggesting a stance of "just shut the fuck up and unleash your self-righteous havoc after we're all safely on the ground.""

"Tell the conductor at the end of the train ride, Jew."
posted by klangklangston at 3:47 PM on September 20, 2006 [2 favorites]


"Are many of you really so shocked at the idea that there is a place and a time for certain behaviours, and other places and times that aren't appropriate? Or, are you bothed at the idea that someone may not be paying proper attention to your exhibitionism?"

Wait, what? If you're not paying attention, you shouldn't care. DUH. And there's nothing inappropriate about kissing someone on a plane.
Your retarded morality problems are not my concern.
posted by klangklangston at 3:49 PM on September 20, 2006


The petulant bastards saying their reaction would've been to continue causing trouble and inviting the flight crew to divert the plane in order to make their petty little point is missing a larger point -- that their actions would have unforseen repercussions, [...].

Maybe the flight crew should have thought about that before they make asinine decisions. It would be their fault that the flight got divert (only they have the power to do that), and all because they felt 'threatened' or something from two guys kissing. It's all utter bullshit. People need to get over themselves.

Or, are you bothed at the idea that someone may not be paying proper attention to your exhibitionism?

What exhibitionism? Just because two people kiss in public doesn't mean they _want_ everyone to stare at them. They just wanted to kiss each other. Once again, get over it.

Perhaps the two of you need to go rent a hooker or something...
posted by triolus at 3:52 PM on September 20, 2006


and klangklangston takes the Godwin by a nose!!
posted by Megafly at 4:08 PM on September 20, 2006


Yeah, that was the best Godwin EVAR.
posted by you just lost the game at 4:32 PM on September 20, 2006


"I'd rather have 2 gay men making out and 6 guys with turbans reading the Koran on a flight"

I'd rather have 6 gay men in turbans masturbating furiously over 2 copies of the Koran on my flight.

Then I could sell my story to the media.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:35 PM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


The America I love is turning into the Soviet police state that I was taught we fought to defend against: police everywhere, dozens of agencies with some sort of police powers, an ethic that questioning is disloyalty, fear on the part of the citizens, both of terrorist and of attracting the attention of any of the various police. Police who routinely stop us without explanation, demand ID, pat us down, and tell us to be docile.

And my greatest fear is, the kids who are 15 or 20 or 25 today, they've grown up with this, and see it as normal that in America you have to identify yourself and justify your innocence to any cop who comes along. It breeds an unhealthy arrogance and impatience in cops of all sorts, and an un-American servility in our citizens.



Breeding an unhealthy arrogance and impatience in cops? They go through shit-tons of psych tests before being admitted into the academy, and that's not to pick the best and the brightest, but just to weed out complete psychos. Arrogance and impatience is the least of their worries.
Besides, do you really think Americans are all that different from Russians? Or, for that matter, Germans, Japanese, or British? The first three went through the totalitarian hell a little earlier, while Americans and the Brits are about to. One would think people could learn from mistakes of others, but then again, he would be holding an unreasonably charitable opinion of them.
posted by c13 at 4:36 PM on September 20, 2006


QIbHom writes "Are many of you really so shocked at the idea that there is a place and a time for certain behaviours, and other places and times that aren't appropriate?"

No, we're shocked that you consider things like "parents kissing their children" to be one of those things that are inappropriate.
I, for example, think that fucking someone and then cumming in their hair is totally inappropriate to do in the aisle of a plane. TOTALLY. But if you were to say "blinking is inappropriate in public!", I would be shocked. Not at the "idea that there is a time and place for certain behaviours" (after all, I think so myself, see cumming-in-hair example), but at the fact that you were including "blinking" as one of the things with proscribed times and places.

QIbHom writes "Or, are you bothed at the idea that someone may not be paying proper attention to your exhibitionism?"

If anything, we're shocked at the idea that you consider this activity exhibitionism. What else? Do you find eating in public exhibitionist and inappropriate? Laughing? Smiling?

---

Anyway, I think people are totally missing the reason that there was a complaint against the folks on the plane. It wasn't because they were kissing, and it wasn't because they were gay. It was, as it says right there in the article:

"We’d kiss—not kiss kiss, just mwah,” Tsikhiseli recalled, making a smacking sound."

Wanna kiss? Go ahead. Wanna tongue-wrestle? Fine by me. But repeatedly making annoying smacking sounds instead of kissing? That's gonna drive the people around you up the wall, and you should be prepared for a complaint. No, it doesn't come anywhere close to justifying diverting a plane, but it's still an incredibly obnoxious thing to do.
posted by Bugbread at 4:36 PM on September 20, 2006


klangklangston writes "Tell the conductor at the end of the train ride, Jew."

You mean the Jews were all free to go once the train arrived? History classes and the liberal media have misled me all these years! (subtitled: that metaphor sucks).
posted by Bugbread at 4:40 PM on September 20, 2006


Or, are you bothed at the idea that someone may not be paying proper attention to your exhibitionism?

Wow! Arrogant, aren't we? Why, why the hell would you ever think that to people kiss each other to show off to you?
posted by c13 at 4:58 PM on September 20, 2006


Or, is it that just I must be considerate to you, but you mustn't be to me? Gods forbid anyone actually take other people in to account.

I think the point is that we should take other people's reasonable reactions into account. Someone getting freaked out because people are showing affection is not reasonable. In short, the problem is yours.

"Tell the conductor at the end of the train ride, Jew."


An evil, evil comment... but I laughed, god help me.
posted by languagehat at 5:02 PM on September 20, 2006


You mean the Jews were all free to go once the train arrived?

Well, free in "I fly away, Old Glory" sense...
posted by c13 at 5:09 PM on September 20, 2006


orthogonality writes "It breeds an unhealthy arrogance and impatience in cops of all sorts, and an un-American servility in our citizens."

Well said, so true.

Also notice one thing : how many were effectively complaining about their behavior ? I too am offended by the fact the hostess isn't smiling at me and treating me like I am the King of Something and not being in adoration of my cock , ....so ? Who the hell cares except me ?

One thing is to have one obsessed person derail the life of others by complaining, and the other shutting the fuck up silently letting their schedule being derailed ; which probablt is exactly what happened the situation escalated.

Another is an handful of person complaining. I bet they would have stopped their behavior if more people complained. My guess is the outrage was very very limited and maybe even fake, much like some FCC complains sent by "thousand" which are really sent by a dozen.
posted by elpapacito at 6:00 PM on September 20, 2006


Jody Tresidder, well sure those connotations exist, but I still think that still doesn't mean that it was the rational in this case.

And, frogan, it's telling that, if the flight were diverted, you would place all of your anger and the blame on the two men in this case, and not on the people who actually, you know, diverted the flight because of some "scary" man-on-man smooches.
posted by Stauf at 6:29 PM on September 20, 2006


Arg, "but I still think that still..."
posted by Stauf at 6:30 PM on September 20, 2006




"One of the men pointed out the stewardess—a woman with, as Jackson put it, “Texas hair, like from the nineteen-sixties.”

Definately not a terrorist because only a genuine gay guy could offer such a description.
posted by StarForce5


¿¿Whu?? What leads you to believe that no terrorist is gay? They spend a helluva lot of time together hanging out exclusively with men in warm, dark, sandy caves. I'll bet at least some of them are gay.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:06 PM on September 20, 2006


I hope everyone flying American Airlines Flight 45 for the next few weeks is wearing a "Texas hair" wig and practicing for the county kiss-a-thon.

That would absolutely be the best way to handle this affair. In fact, I see no reason why a half-dozen gay and straight friends couldn't coordinate to do exactly that: purchase an assortment of return flights, play newlyweds on the flight, and document their experiences.

How would the couples be treated? Are airlines generally tolerant of straight couples? Of gay couples? Of the challenge of handling an extremely hot problem?

Because I suspect that's what this is about: Texas Hair is stupid about her emotions and acted as a bigot. Everyone ends up trying to cover their asses in preparation for what's surely going to be a bajillion dollar discrimination lawsuit. Because, you know, that's what happens in America.

Sadly, no one is wise enough to make the problem one for the employee herself to deal with: her emotions are her responsibility. Had Texas Hair been told to apologize and the couple assured there'd be some social training coming her way, there'd have been no problems at all... except the problem of having admitted there's a problem.

Which then puts the company into a bajillion dollar lawsuit because, you know, that's what happens in America. Catch-22.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:25 PM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Also please note: the men were not kissing. The one had his head on the shoulder of the other. The upright one was doing that twist-head-sideways, side-of-lips peck-on-forehead "kiss" that makes newlyloves so identifiable. Like a mom kissing the top of her babies resting head, except with more contortion, less contact, and sappy.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:30 PM on September 20, 2006


I enjoy the irony when preparing to engage in fisticuffsmanship homophobes realize that gay men are, in fact, men. (And sometimes in good shape as well).

My favorite overheard bit of dialog ever, from a coffee shop in North Carolina:
Wide-eyed college girl to transsexual woman, apparently post-op: But, do people ever bother you about it?
Transsexual woman: Honey, before I was a six-foot-four black woman, I was six-foot-four black man. Nobody says a damn thing.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:47 PM on September 20, 2006 [4 favorites]


And, frogan, it's telling that, if the flight were diverted, you would place all of your anger and the blame on the two men in this case, and not on the people who actually, you know, diverted the flight because of some "scary" man-on-man smooches.

I could care less about the smooches. But that's not what would've diverted the flight. According to the article, the flight would've been diverted because of an overly combative attitude by the passengers. Hence the quote: "The captain told Tsikhiseli that if they didn’t stop arguing with the crew he would indeed divert the plane."

So ... again ... shut the fuck up now and scream bloody murder later, when your complaint will be far, far more effective than when you're riding in a metal tube 30,000 feet in the air.
posted by frogan at 10:35 PM on September 20, 2006


frogan, they initially asked for the names of the staff, presumably so they could complain later. The staff's petty behaviour was what caused the escalation.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:29 PM on September 20, 2006


The staff's petty behaviour was what caused the escalation.

Toh-MAY-to. Toh-MAH-to.

Just sayin' ... life would be better if people picked better times to demand to see the manager on duty than when you're inside a flying aluminum tube at 30,000 feet.

Dude ... the captain came out of the cockpit ... and we're supposed to believe that they were just sitting there being quiet and polite but the airborne waitresses just ... wouldn't ... leave ... them ... alone? Do you ever think you're getting only one side of the story?

I mean ... he came out of the cockpit. What does that conversation sound like?

"Captain! There's a couple of gay guys kissing back here!"

"Hold on! I'll set this thing on auto-pilot and be right there. Wow, I hope the guys at Boeing knew what they were doing when they made this plane. I have to trust the auto-pilot on this, because heaven help us, there's gay guys kissing in the cabin and I'm the only one that can stop them!"
posted by frogan at 12:19 AM on September 21, 2006


bugbread writes "You mean the Jews were all free to go once the train arrived? History classes and the liberal media have misled me all these years! (subtitled: that metaphor sucks)."

I've had my run-ins with klangklangston, but I have to admit, his comment was hilarious -- and apropos, if not totally accurate as a metaphor.
posted by orthogonality at 12:35 AM on September 21, 2006


Just sayin' ... life would be better if people picked better times to demand to see the manager on duty than when you're inside a flying aluminum tube at 30,000 feet.

Okay, let's recap the events on the airplane, as told to us by the New Yorker.
  1. Gay couple settles into a flight after affectionate touching. Stewardess comes over and tells them to stop. They were "taken aback."
  2. Two other men behind the couple overhear the conversation and confirm what they heard with the gay couple. "The four men summoned a stewardess and asked to speak with the purser."
  3. Purser doesn't know what's up, hears account of behavior and approves, makes snarky comment when the offending stewardess is pointed out. All is well until the gay couple asks8212;it is not said how8212;if they would've received the same treatment if they were a straight couple. Purser promises to return after meal service.
  4. "Half an hour later, the purser returned, this time saying that some passengers had complained about Tsikhiseli and Varnier’s behavior earlier." The four men ask more questions about their treatment before effectively being told to shut up. "After that, Leisner said, 'everyone shut up for a while.' " No one asks to speak to the staff any further, or if they do, the article doesn't mention it.
  5. "Maybe an hour later, the purser approached Tsikhiseli and said that the captain wanted to talk to him. Tsikhiseli went up to the galley and gave the captain his business card. The captain told Tsikhiseli that if they didn’t stop arguing with the crew he would indeed divert the plane."
The gay couple, spurred on by the two men behind them, approach the staff exactly once: to ask if the purser really wanted them to stop the kissing and the touching. At every subsequent point, they are approached BY staff. The captain did not come out of the cockpit to stop an argument or to deal with indignant passengers; the captain asked to see them. When the couple did see the captain, all they did was hand the captain a business card.

In other words, aside from asking if they really weren't allowed to kiss on board an airplane, and whether they would've been treated similarly if they were straight, Tsikhiseli and Varnier did nothing to provoke a reaction from the flight attendants or the staff. Your characterization of the couple and the other two men as "overly combatative" is clearly not supported by the article. If you think the article is misleading or false, say so. If you think asking for the same treatment as a straight couple is "overly combatative," then fine. Otherwise, you're doing a disservice to these men by painting them as assholes who won't shut up about their complaint. As far as I can tell, they handled it exactly right8212;and were threatened with a flight plan diversion as a result. What world do you live in where this is rational?
posted by chrominance at 1:15 AM on September 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


I've been trying to figure out what this was reminding me of...and then I remembered this.
posted by pax digita at 3:05 AM on September 21, 2006


As far as I can tell, they handled it exactly right8212;and were threatened with a flight plan diversion as a result. What world do you live in where this is rational?

When you live in a country that promulgates a culture of fear and blind obedience of authority figures, where some of its citizens are highly motivated to ridicule or disparage anyone who points this out, as shown above, that's the sort of irrational behavior that results.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:06 AM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


By the way, just as a data point, I've kissed women on planes on more than one occasion and never had the slightest reaction from passengers or crew. I'm sure it was a total coincidence that we were not the same sex.
posted by languagehat at 6:47 AM on September 21, 2006


Ortho: And my greatest fear is, the kids who are 15 or 20 or 25 today, they've grown up with this, and see it as normal that in America you have to identify yourself and justify your innocence to any cop who comes along. It breeds an unhealthy arrogance and impatience in cops of all sorts, and an un-American servility in our citizens.

Yeah I worry about that too, but there seems to be a strange inverse with these things. They more repressive a society becomes the greater the need to rebel or differentiate oneself from it for young people. Look at the flower power generations. Those people grew up in a repressive, conservative fear ridden cold war atmosphere during the fifties.


Bugbread: But repeatedly making annoying smacking sounds instead of kissing? That's gonna drive the people around you up the wall, and you should be prepared for a complaint. No, it doesn't come anywhere close to justifying diverting a plane, but it's still an incredibly obnoxious thing to do.

Yeah, I too think that maybe there’s something amiss in this story. Nuance tends get lost in these types of heated “pc” situations. Gays are just as capable of asshole behavior as anyone and there’s a certain type of militantly gay person who feels the need to rub their sexuality in the face of everyone around them, especially anyone perceived as a possible homophobe. It’s amazingly annoying actually, especially if you’re completely sympathetic to gay and lesbian rights, but not necessarily wanting to be reminded of it every minute. It’s conceivable they tagged someone around them or aforementioned stewardess “with Texas hair from the sixties” and decided to taunt her by making loud obnoxious “Mwah” sounds, and since flight crews these days are empowered with absolute authority (“the new normal” of absolute power etc..), “Texas hair” decided to exercise that right. Also, it doesn’t make sense for her to be a homophobe as every single steward guy I’ve ever encountered on a plane has been as gay as the day is long. I don’t see how she could be a homophobe if most of her male co-workers are gay.

Than again, perhaps “Texas Hair” was, in fact, power tripping. It would be great to get her side of the story (even though I'm sure she'd lie her ass off either way). The Purser I think she was definitely thinking “lawsuit” when things became unpleasant. Air crews are now trained to consider any sort of passenger confrontation or dissent, no matter how innocuous, as the beginning of “loss of control” and “danger”.

Anyhow anyone who thinks this has nothing to do with terrorism and the “new repressive normal” we live in after 911 is a bit deluded.
posted by Skygazer at 8:26 AM on September 21, 2006


There you have it. I've kissed women on planes without a fuss. languagehat has kissed women on planes without a problem.

I guess if the women kissed that would be met with 20-yo men breaking out their camera phones.

But if I kissed languagehat it is an incident?

skygazer: "every single steward guy I’ve ever encountered on a plane has been as gay as the day is long"

Damn, now I know why the back restroom is always busy! I'm never flying with Skygazer again.
posted by ?! at 12:24 PM on September 21, 2006


Anyone who announces that the threat to divert the plane was obviously because the pilot considered the two men kissing a "terrorist threat" (as the poster and others have suggested) based on what is written in the article is reaching.
posted by Stauf at 12:43 PM on September 21, 2006


Maybe not the explicit reason Stauf, but you can't deny that it's the dominant tacit element of air travel now and the framing gestalt for this whole fucked up time in this here US of A.

Damn, now I know why the back restroom is always busy! I'm never flying with Skygazer again.
posted by ?! at 3:24 PM EST on September 21 [+] [!]


I'll bring my girlfriend along so you won't have to worry Mr. Question mark and exclamation point (and she says she will kick your ass too). ;-)
posted by Skygazer at 2:02 PM on September 21, 2006


Yes, I'm sure "she" will.
posted by found missing at 2:10 PM on September 21, 2006


There’s a certain type of militantly gay person who feels the need to rub their sexuality in the face of everyone around them

...and then there are adults.

There are so many iterations of this story floating around the 'Net and the news right now that my end feeling is that each side of the story will exaggerate their respective retellings to emphasize the rightness of their view. It will be well on its way to urban legend status by tomorrow morning.
posted by mykescipark at 2:31 PM on September 21, 2006


QIbHom: As a person with a Klingon username, would you find it more appropriate if they just smacked the shit out of each other?
posted by Sparx at 2:51 PM on September 21, 2006


With regard to the lipsmacking kiss "mwah" noise -- is it physically possible to even perform that neck-twisty kiss your partner's (fore?)head when their head is on your shoulder thing without that noise? Otherwise, it's less a kiss and more bashing your face into their skull, which is not nearly so endearing or pleasurable for either party.
posted by Dreama at 7:59 PM on September 21, 2006


With regard to the lipsmacking kiss "mwah" noise -- is it physically possible to even perform that neck-twisty kiss your partner's (fore?)head when their head is on your shoulder thing without that noise? Otherwise, it's less a kiss and more bashing your face into their skull, which is not nearly so endearing or pleasurable for either party.

That kind of rational thinking sounds like terrorist talk, pardner.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:42 PM on September 21, 2006


Lock me up. I plead guilty to terror by shmoopiness in the first degree.
posted by Dreama at 9:13 PM on September 21, 2006


Dreama writes "is it physically possible to even perform that neck-twisty kiss your partner's (fore?)head when their head is on your shoulder thing without that noise?"

It is for me.
posted by Bugbread at 2:34 AM on September 22, 2006


David Leisner -- one of the passengers sitting behind the couple on the American Airlines flight:
"You can assure anyone that questions the degree of affection these guys were showing that it was very innocent - hand-holding, resting one's head on the other's shoulder and repeated kissing (but not French kissing!). Nothing disturbing about it at all, unless it had been a straight couple :-).

Also, the New Yorker writer got the punchline wrong: what the captain said to one of the couple was that he would divert the plane not if the arguing continued, but if he heard any more reports of such behavior (kissing). It made an increasingly weird situation even more surreal and disturbing."
posted by ericb at 12:59 PM on September 28, 2006


Thanks for the follow-up, ericb. I had a hunch that was the case.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:56 PM on September 28, 2006


It is for me.

Only because you've got an extra vertabrae. :)
posted by five fresh fish at 7:52 PM on September 28, 2006


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