Hello, American travelers! It is me, I am back, and I have been on an epic Greyhound trip for over 24 hours now, and I have 10 hours to go, so I am obviously here to tell you how much bullshit American travel infrastructure is! I am all rosy-eyed and shit! (This might be the sleep deprivation but FUCK IT I AM A WARRIOR.)
Most Western civilizations understand the need for public transport and do swanky rail projects and things. But fuck those countries, America First and Americans second! So instead we have buses, where a seven hour drive by car magically transforms itself into a 39-hour odyssey of hellish interactions with people who will tell you very loudly that they are not on crack, and then we have trains that mostly don’t go anywhere but do manage to do it very slowly, and we have roads that will fuck up your alignment (never drive through Oklahoma, kids!) and also we have a cabal of airline companies that are so emboldened they’re trying to take over as airspace regulators!
Which sounds great until you realize these people cannot keep track of your suitcase, cannot make planes fly on time, and cannot behave like human adults. For instance here is the CEO of United Airlines apologizing for his company (except he forgets to actually apologize to the man in question, and says United is the real victim). See if it sounds human to you!
Now. What do you suppose this is about, reading that very sincere customer-focused response to a shitstorm unlike anything the Internet has seen since LeggingsGate? It was about an airline violently removing a passenger! That is called “re-accommodation” now which isn’t at all weird. Here’s the video, if you like this sort of thing:
Now here is how it came to be that any private transport company can have your ass kicked by law enforcement on a whim, and I hope that Dear Leader Of The Swamp-Draining is reading yr Wonkette because it is an answer he will love: fear! And lobbyists! Please tune out now if you are over about 35, you know this already. For you young ones: There once was a time when anyone could go all the way to a plane gate to meet you. The only security was metal detectors. There WAS NO TSA. Those were the good days. Then there was 9/11 and the country collectively went batshit for more than a decade and a half now and in order to Fight Terrorism we started giving cops weapons that would be illegal to use in a war according to international law, and we gave them LRADs and Bearcats and APCs and sniper rifles and we set them to catching people who weren’t white, because in this America we know who the real problem is (Barack HUSSEIN!!1!!1!HEHASACOMMONNAMEHOLYFUCKBALLS Obama) and we also passed laws saying that you can’t even say no to a flight attendant once aboard an aircraft.
Nowadays airlines do this thing called “overbooking” in which they overbook flights and whoever’s last to the gate has to hold an overly heated potato wrapped in tinfoil until their hands blister. They do it so that if people don’t show up (which is frequent) they won’t have empty seats. But if everyone shows up, then THIS shit happens. This is a bullshit policy and should be outlawed but remember we are making things fair for Business here because they are powerless against our pitchforks and even the drum circles and need a thumb on the scales!! Sometimes they offer vouchers to get volunteers to take a later flight. In this case, they were offering $800 and a hotel for the night but nobody wanted a stupid voucher, they wanted their flight to leave please, and United needed to move crew so they decided to kick four people off the flight after boarding. Nobody volunteered so they had the computer pick them, and this was where the unusual level of fuckery kicked in.
This is spectacularly bad management and PR, first off. And one doctor was Not Having It. When the airline people asked him to move, he refused. If it’s frowned on to refuse the orders of flight crew, it is flat-out illegal to refuse an order from law enforcement on an aircraft, because TERRORISMS, but the doctor decided “fuck it, today is when I stand up for all the indignities we passengers have suffered” and did some Civil Disobedience for Freedom or something. Now the thing about Civil Disobedience is you generally get arrested because you are knowingly breaking laws. Which is what happened.
What did the airline people say? Well, former United Airlines parent United Continental Holdings’ Chief Executive Gordon Bethune thought it was the passenger’s fault, saying “Denied boarding is usually handled with a whole lot more maturity,” and we have shown you the bullshit CEO thingy which frankly he should have just farted into a jar and mailed it to the doctor, it would have been a better apology. Here’s what happened when Buzzfeed tried to figure out why the fuck we are beating up doctors for trying to get to surgery on time:
So that is the story about how armed agents of the state began to concern themselves with the profits of private companies, and how despite all fucking odds the Internet is shocked that police would mistreat anyone even though it happened before not that long ago! If you don’t like that example hit the Google, there are dozens! Anyway we are INCREDIBLY SURPRISED around here to find that corporations who thus far have shown nothing like responsibility or humanity for their millions of customers have turned out to be inhumane.
And not for nothing: I’ve been on this fucking bus trip for a day and a half and I’ve seen forcible removals twice already. How many retweets do you suppose I would get if I posted a video of a Poor Person getting fucked up by cops at the behest of a transit company instead of a doctor?
TL;DR: If you pass laws restricting Freedom to help out your fucking rent-seeking unholy capitalist scumfriends THOSE LAWS MIGHT SOMEDAY BE APPLIED TO YOU TOO.
But never fear, our economy is safe! United stock is up 1% since this video dropped and CNBC talked to a dude named Andy Swan who runs a social media thingy called LikeFolio and he laughed while he told us what was what: “Tomorrow we’ll be talking about something else.”