Friday, July 25, 2008

$5 Pillows, No Offense

I just got back from my (kind of) vacation. On the plane earlier today, the flight attendant announced that passengers would have to pay $5.00 for an in-flight pillow. What an outrage.
Upon hearing the announcement, the guy sitting next to me said, I'd rather kill somebody than pay five dollars for a pillow!

I must have reacted in a way that seemed disapproving, because after 30 seconds or so he added, No offense.....

We're doomed.


38 comments:

The Brooks Blog said...

Huh? Did he think a dead body better than a pillow?

In any event, sounds like you weren't flying British Airways...another reason why I avoid US-based airlines whenever I can.

Ben said...

I took it perhaps he'd kill somebody for their pillow - which would be another good reason not to pay $5 for one...

imipolex_g-unit said...

Was that "No offense..." as in "No offense, but you're the one I'm going to have to kill" or "No offense..." as in "No offense to your family's proud heritage as hard-working pillow merchants"? Of course, either way: offense taken!

Krinos said...

This isn't doom, it's the call of opportunity! Two markets are ready for development: The first is that of cheap pillows: sell them for $3. The second is that of inexpensive implements of silent murder. Here's the sales pitch: "I have pillows for $3, and if you'd rather kill someone than buy a pillow, I have a range of very affordable plastic bags and piano wire for asphysxiating or strangling your co-passengers!" We'll make a killing! (Ahem)

Spiros said...

Brooks:

It's hard to know what this guy was thinking!

BTW, he of course exhibited the complete 30-Something Tool package: bluetooth, sidekick, iPod all going simultaneously which he kept on throughout the take-off; designer suit, sculpted brows, etc. I watched him practicing his golf-swing (sans club) in the gate area prior to boarding.

Spiros said...

imipolex:

Hard to say... I didn't take offense at what he initially said, so I don't know what he could have meant. The flight attendant was African-American. Does this add a clue?

Spiros said...

krinos:

I wonder whether what the guy said could have gotten him booted from the plane (had someone else heard him).

Anonymous said...

It indicates you're a racist.

Spiros said...

Anon:

Perhaps. But does it indicate anything about what the guy meant by his initial statement?

imipolex g-unit said...

You just got Leitered:

http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2008/07/five-dollars-fo.html

Spiros said...

imipolex:

Oh joy.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Are you guys really that oblivious to sarcasm? Shot in the dark here: are you not from the northeast?

(Pop quiz: my post contained sarcasm; can you spot all the instances!? Hint: there's more than one).

Spiros said...

Anon:

Hi. I had no trouble detecting the sarcasm at all. But sarcastic utterances still have to have some meaning: one cannot express sarcasm by means of utter gibberish. So: did the guy mean that he really would be happy to pay the 5 bucks and that those who would protest the charge should stop whining?

Your geographical inference intrigues. Shot in the dark: you're so provincial that you think "northeast" doesn't require any further geographical specification (northeast of *what*?). Pop quiz: You're not my teacher.

Paul Gowder said...

What airline? Enquiring consumers/airline-haters want to know...

Spiros said...

gowder:

American Airlines.

The attendant prefaced his announcement with the statement, "Ladies and gentlemen, what I am about to say unfortunately is NOT a joke...."

Anonymous said...

"Hi. I had no trouble detecting the sarcasm at all. But sarcastic utterances still have to have some meaning: one cannot express sarcasm by means of utter gibberish."

--Here you're either arguing a straw man or...you're being sarcastic! Nice job!

"So: did the guy mean that he really would be happy to pay the 5 bucks and that those who would protest the charge should stop whining?"

--Is this a serious interpretation of what he said? What possible reason is there for thinking his sarcasm was directed at the complaining of other passengers? Also, a) if his sarcasm is directed at the other passengers, why disapprove? It's satire. Satire is good. b) if his sarcasm is directed at the airline for charging so much for a pillow, why disapprove of that? Unless you actually think he's a psychopath, or encouraging others to be a psychopath, you have to think his sarcasm consists, at least in part, in hyperbole. I can't see what's worth disapproving of there. Perhaps you were one of those people who were also outraged at Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction."

"Your geographical inference intrigues. Shot in the dark: you're so provincial that you think "northeast" doesn't require any further geographical specification (northeast of *what*?)."

--Really? You live in America and if someone says "I'm/He's from the northeast" you think that maybe the person is just northeast of Mexico? I doubt it. I'm going to give you a charitable interpretation here and just assume you're playing dumb. (Incidentally, my "shot in the dark" is reflective of a lack of provinciality. Having lived in numerous cities throughout American I have had countless people ask whether I'm "from the northeast." So the general public understands what this phrase means. And like I said, I think you do to, but you just wanted to be snarky, which is fair enough, given my original post).

"Pop quiz: You're not my teacher."

--This is a failed attempt at wit. Shot in the dark: you're not Oscar Wilde? (Ok: now I'm beginning to feel guilty about being a dick. Stupid conscience. It was fun while it lasted, though!)

Spiros said...

Hi Anon:

Thanks for the lengthy post. What a pleasure it is. Let's see what's on offer here....

1. A charge of strawmanning. And here I didn't even realize I was arguing for anything! Nice! The point was that even if one allows that the claim was sarcastic, one still needs to figure out the meaning of what was (sarcastically) said. Seems obvious, right?

2. Questions concerning how what was said should be interpreted, and to whom the sarcasm was directed. So I see we're in full agreement after all. Calling the original statement "sarcasm" does not render unnecessary the attempt to interpret what he meant. So what, then, was the point of your original post chastising previous posters for (allegedly) overlooking the fact that the statement was sarcasm, if, after all, to call the statement sarcastic is *not* to give an account of its meaning?

As for the disapproval, I did not in fact disapprove of what was said. That's why I wrote that I reacted in a way that he *took* to be disapproving. My reaction was rather one of surprise: given today's climate, to even *mention* killing someone while on a plane seems to me unwise.

3. A confirmation of the provincialism! You assume that the "guys" to whom you addressed your initial comment are living in America? Do you mean the northeast of North America (viz. NE Canada) or South America? No... by "America" you mean the US, and by the "northeast" you mean the northeast of the US. But perhaps the people you addressed in you initial post ("you guys") are not living in or from the US. I see you think that it's "playing dumb" to not assume that the US is the center of the universe.

4. A charge of failed wit. Not at all. The point is simple: You're in no position to issue a "pop quiz" to me, as I'm not your pupil. And I find the implicit suggestion that I belong in your tutelage insulting. I hope that the "it was fun while it lasted, though" means that you'll go away.

Annie said...

I hope you'd at least get to keep the pillow.

Spiros said...

annie:

Nope. It was made clear that the five bucks was to *use* the pillow. Criminals.

Santa said...

@ Brooks: Perhaps the passenger thought that the dead body would function as a more effective pillow that would not cost him $5 to rent and by some insane reasoning was "free". Of course that is not the case in terms of the body being free, but sometimes people think life is cheap.

@ Spiros: This is one reason why I refuse to fly American or Delta due to the insane amount of nickel and diming on their flights. I would rather stick a lit bottle rocket up my ass and flap my arms to try and get somewhere than encourage those gold diggers to stay in business.

Brian Leiter said...

I have to apologize to the proprietor of this blog--I suspect my link is what brought the sanctimonious (but of course anonymous) jackass (Mr. "are you oblivious to sarcasm" above) to your site. I've tried various measures to repel sanctimonious jackasses from my blog, but they keep coming back, and then they seep over in to other blogs. I'm sorry. But I enjoyed your excoriation of this fellow. Also enjoy your blog. Too many sanctimonious jackasses, and not enough cranky jerks in the blogosphere, that's my view.

Michael Kremer said...

I flew on United recently, and it was announced that starting next month there would simply be no more in-flight pillows or blankets. Must cost something to clean them all, I guess.

(PS -- I did come here from Leiter's blog.)

Spiros said...

Leiter,

Welcome, thanks for the post, and for the link. No need apologize.

Spiros said...

Kremer,

The United policy makes much more sense.

imipolex_g-unit said...

Just wait till they tear out all the seats and make people stand, subway-style. Unless they are in first-class, of course.

The Brooks Blog said...

Even more reasons to fly British Airways after reading these posts....!

Spiros said...

Perhaps I should note also that the attendant ran through the list of booze that they had available on the flight, and it was *by far* the most extensive list I've seen on a domestic flight.

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Michelle Gordon said...

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