Let me tell you something that happened last Sunday, the story of Wynand Mullings and his t-shirt.
Mullins boarded a Qantas flight with a funny t-shirt that said "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die," the universally known quote from the universally beloved and widely watched The Princess Bride. But some people didn't laugh. Some people freaked out because they thought Mullins' name was Iñigo and that he thought they killed his father and that he was going to kill them all now.
True story, folks. And it gets worse.
Mullins was minding his own business on a Qantas airplane from Sydney, Australia, to Auckland, New Zealand, when a flight attendant approached him:
The flight attendant said to me: ‘Are you able to remove it because some of the passengers are quite intimidated by it'. I thought it was all a bit silly. The person next to me was laughing, because they knew the movie.
When Mullins said that he didn't have another t-shirt, the flight attendant actually went off to get him a t-shirt but and failed to find one. The flight attendant never came back.
Now, the problem with this is not that some imbeciles never watched or read The Princess Bride (by the way, it is a great book). No, the problem is that people are so impossibly idiotic that they mistake a t-shirt for a terrorist attack. Because that's what terrorists do, make t-shirts. I wish terrorists just made t-shirts.
But what is even more offensively brainless, what makes me actually want to fly to Australia, find this person, and slap him/her until his/her obviously dead brain spills out of his/her ears, is the fact that there was some bozo flight attendant who actually listened to such complains, and, instead of politely asking the complainer to shut up, asked Mullins to remove his t-shirt.
Wait! There's more! According to a Qantas spokesman, the company "does have dress standards for passengers travelling on our aircraft… particularly for slogans which other passengers may find offensive or threatening." So, if I wear a t-shirt with, say, this Roxy Music album cover and some prude idiot deems it offensive, am I supposed to take it off? What about this Sex Pistols' Fuck Forever tshirt?
I would rather whatever airline I'm flying to have rules about clowns who shout rather than talk, people who eat with their mouths open and make such a noise that you can hear their chewing over the sound of the engines, planes that never arrive at their time, overbooking, and flight attendants with lower IQs than fungi.
But that's the sad state of airplane travel, folks. Fly people around like cattle while subjecting them to the most capricious and randomly humiliating rules that don't make any sense. From the moment you step into that clusterfuck of nonsense that is the TSA security checkpoint—with all their absurd rules, ridicule actions and body scanners that don't protect anyone at all—to the moment you get out of the gate at the other side of your trip after waiting for 15 minutes on the tarmac.