These days, we hear frequent stories about the passenger on an airplane who loses it and has to be restrained by the flight crew. Mark Kingwell writes that air rage has overtaken our politics. The root causes of both are about class:
So there we have it, the perfect image of democratic society circa 2016.This is airborne hyperdemocratic dysfunction, the condition in which everyone has been promised everything, but where some kinds of everything are never enough to go around. Because they can’t all be first-class seats.Some people are just happy to have a seat on the plane, maybe want a better seat for their kids one day. Others can’t believe it took so freaking long for them to get on the plane, but they’ll suppress their rage to avoid getting kicked off now.
But there are a lot of passengers who have had enough:
So they respond with gleeful rage when a Row 4 billionaire slides back and tells them that their raw economy-seat deal is the result not just of the elites ahead but also the rapists, unbelievers and possible terrorists behind. How did those people even get on the plane? Send them back! (Note: There is no farther back for them to go.)A couple of middle rows are trying to warn everyone that the plane is about to crash, but they keep interrupting each other and preening in their porthole reflections. Some others, permanently seated in Economy Plus, whatever that is, are trying to recall the original purpose of the plane, pointing out that the bad version of the plane was predicted in Plato, or Tocqueville, or Canetti.They are all shouted down by “safety reminders” of where the emergency exits are. A chant goes up in Rows 12 and 13, encouraged by the wackadoodle from Row 4: “Get out! Get out!” A charming man with no assigned seat is telling everyone the whole plane is rigged. A bossy lady from Row 1 says she knows all about the plane, her family used to run the plane and everyone should trust her with the plane.
And, then, there are those passengers who always fly first class:
In first class, meanwhile, the pinot gris has arrived tepid. What is the point of success if you don’t get to enjoy it right now? Speaking of which, yes, the pinot gris is warm, but it’s also not arriving quickly enough. No, I’m not drunk. Where is my smoked salmon? Get your hand off my arm! Who’s flying the plane? Not clear, except that they almost certainly work for the horrible people sitting right behind them.
If all hell breaks loose on the plane, it may not make it to its destination.