Friday, June 28, 2019

Words without meaning. (Also known as flight #76 to SFO.)

For about the past 15 years, new-age, digital bloviators and theorists have been bludgeoning us with the "democratizing" power of technology.

They've asserted (while flying in the face of reality) and with no evidence whatsoever, that "the consumer is in control." You need only to be awake and aware for about two-microseconds to realize how specious and stupid such blathering is.

Virtually every aspect of our lives is controlled by either a monopoly or an oligarchy. And the plutocratic concentration of wealth in our country is such that it makes the original Gilded Age, which lasted from about 1880-1929, look like a mere bubblegum pop overture to today's Wagnerian opera.

Putting that somewhat aside for a second, almost nothing in our world gets me more roiled than flying for business. (Our industry is run by an oligarchy of course. Something like 80% of the jobs are under the crushing thumb of just five publicly-traded companies.)

Though you're ostensibly a valued "member of the team"--agency propaganda insists on telling you that you matter, and we do get free ice-cream on Tuesdays--you are crammed into an oligarchy-controlled "carrier." Virtually every bit of airline-employed humanoid biomass is so angry and unhappy in their jobs that they either don't answer you with any courtesy or they flat out bark at you.

What's more, as aisles on planes have gotten narrower, my personal observation says that the hind-quarters of various flight attendants have become steadily more considerable. You are, therefore, "rumped," about forty times a flight.

We are now one-hour and 23 minutes into my scheduled six-hour flight, already my back hurts, I am engaged in arm-rest warfare and my deep-vein-thrombosis is thinking "class-action suit."

Amid all this, what gets me most irked however, is the language inflation that every one of the aforementioned assails you with.

"Sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight," hasn't a shred of truth in it. You cannot really sit back (my seat doesn't recline), the constant rumping precludes relaxation and enjoyment is out of the question and certainly has no place on my spiritual timesheet.

Just now breakfast options were barked at me in a manner that would make a drill sergeant at Parris Island proud. 


"Are you speaking to me?" I plaintived.


"I'll have the eggs," I said.

I was handed a two-inch by nine-inch plastic container that will wind up in the ocean or in a landfill one day. Or a whale's intestines. Inside there was one hard-boiled egg, cut in half, presumably by a rusty blade.

"You said eggs," I said to the tiptoeing maiden. "There is only one egg."

She gave me a look that could help re-constitute our melting ice-caps.

"You shouldn't say eggs, when you're offering just egg," I Kafka-ed.

"DO YOU WANT IT OR NOT," she said with the maternal kindness of Lizzie Borden.

I demurred. And tried to open the plasticine. The sticker that sealed the contraption shut had, of course, an ad on it. Today, everything has an ad on it. 

The label said, "Savor the moment." By my approximation roughly 97% of all language is now devoid of meaning. Instead, it's dripping with deception.

I read somewhere that the average Yelp! review is 4.3 star out of 5. A B+. At five of the top universities in the US, Brown, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Cal, the average grade is 3.61 out of 4. A solid A.

So, Dean's List, Honors, A's themselves are without meaning or distinction or, even value.

Why is everything rated so great when everything is really so lousy? Why am I asked to savor plastic food encased in plastic packaging? Savor?

It's not hard for me to see a simple prevailing reality. As everything in our world disappoints, distresses or discomforts, we nonetheless rate it highly. 

As for that label, I wonder if the people having breakfast backhanded onto their "tray-tables" would at least have a small smile if the copy said something slight more honest.

"Sorry about this. Corporate's mandated that breakfast cost no more that 79-cents."

If that were the case, I might still hate my egg, but at least I'd admire the airline's candor.

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