Thursday, May 08, 2008

This is why I'd much rather drive (if possible) than fly to my destinations in the USA:

I know I am far from alone when I say that after years of flying many times a year, often on a whim, I am now at the point where only the most powerful forces in life -- love and death -- can get me on a plane.

It is not that the whole experience is uncomfortable, which it is, but that the process has become -- through a Satanic collusion between the airlines and government -- utterly dehumanizing. Bean-counters and bureaucrats have combined to create the one central experience of American life in which you are reduced to a hunk of meat.

The next time you simply "must" travel observe the process from one mental remove. The snaking lines and the endless bland posters and placards at "Security." The forced removal of your items of clothing -- coats, sweaters, and shoes (the better to expose you to any tasty foot fungus left behind by those in line in front of you.) Then listen to the endless loop of warnings and instructions as you watch old women in walkers get wanded so that nobody can possibly say "Profiling is afoot!"

Put them all together along with the ever-present though distant chance that the plane will indeed fall out of the air, and you have a vague replay of kindly SS officers in the 1940s murmuring in dulcet tones, "This way to the showers, ladies and gentlemen."

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