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In recent months attacks at airports in Istanbul and Brussels have had many travelers wondering if they are safe when flying the friendly skies. Airports around the world have added increased security and here in the U.S. the TSA regularly adds new wrinkles to its screening procedure to prevent terrorism, and give passengers peace of mind – but nothing could prepare one flier for what would happen to her aboard a United Airlines flight earlier this week.
Former NBC Producer Betsy Fischer Martin was put through the harrowing experience of being offended!
Martin’s holier than thou Twitter tirade didn’t stop there. She was soon joined by “CNN Contributor” Frida Ghitis, and the pair pondered aloud whether it was 2016 or 1965.
Oh the horror! The absolute horror!
How could he say such a thing? “Pretty young ladies!” Forget flying a plane this monster sounds like he should be leading the charge to repeal the 19th amendment, and (if he has time) filing court papers to get Roe v Wade overturned. He is without a doubt the biggest threat to women since Henry VIII.
To steal a page from the Social Justice Warrior’s playbook – this is not okay.
Actually, from being okay, this kind of response to an innocuous comment is absolutely ridiculous.
First of all, I have to wonder if other passengers noticed or if they did, even cared (seriously, does anyone even pay attention during the safety instructions? I usually just sit down, buckle up, and flip through the food and beverage guide to see how much it’s going to cost me for a few in flight beers. My safety procedure amounts to “I hope the guy flying this thing know what he’s doing”) . Anyway assuming there were at least 100 people on the flight, and that a good amount of them have Twitter accounts it seems odd that none took to the web to voice their outrage. Odd, that is, unless they realized that a sentence fragment uttered over the PA system wasn’t worth their time or energy.
I can’t imagine the flight attendants were too concerned either. It’s highly likely after all that this wasn’t the first time he’s used that line during the safety instructions. If the pilot flies over a period of years I have to think that with a line this ‘problematic’ (to take a term from the Social Justice Warrior’s Dictionary) that somewhere along the line a number of flight attendants or passengers would have mentioned it. Apparently they didn’t, probably because it’s not offensive, or misogynistic, or whatever we’re calling innocent comments these days.
Now, had he gotten on the PA and said “We’ll be cruising at an altitude of 30,000-ft, but before we take off why don’t you take a look at some of the serious talent we’ve got strutting the aisle right now. Not only do they have your safety instructions, they’ve also got fantastic legs. Enjoy!” Then Martin might have an argument.
But it’s not 1965, so he didn’t. The flight wasn’t being piloted by Don Draper. The scent of bourbon, cigarettes, and sexual harassment wasn’t seeping from the cockpit. It is most certainly 2016, because only in 2016 would anyone think that it’s necessary to contact an airline about a sentence fragment, uttered by the guy responsible for the safe operation of the massive flying machine.
If the pilot had gotten on the PA system and said something along the lines of “well my wife just left me and I’ve been drowning in Jim Beam for the past 3 hours, we might have a safe flight, but then again I might just put this thing down nose first in the Atlantic, buckle up kids” then I’d say a complaint would be warranted.
But that’s not what happened. He simply decided to inject a little bit of folksiness into his announcement — some bedside manner for the nervous travelers who will soon be flying through the air at hundreds of miles per hour.
If your average Joe, or Joanne I guess in this case, had griped on Twitter I might let it slide, but Martin and Ghitis’ level of influence makes this instance of online outrage particularly aggravating.
It seems to me that Martin and Ghitis could use their considerable influence to spread awareness about issues that are actually a threat to women
Why not start with honor killings?
A teenage girl was recently killed in Pakistan for the crime of helping a neighbor and her boyfriend elope. And by killed I don’t mean she was taken out quickly and painlessly, without realizing it, oh no, instead she was dragged from her home, injected with sedatives, strangled, tied up in a van, and then burned.
Far from an isolated incident, the U.N. has estimated that this happens 5,000 times a year.
If that’s not enough to get Martin’s blood boiling then maybe female circumcision is. In Egypt alone, 92 percent of married women between ages 15 and 49 have been put through the procedure which is often referred to as female genital mutilation, CNN reported.
I’m far from an expert on women’s issues, but I can’t help but think that the surgical removal of a part of one’s genitals deserves more of Martin’s attention than awkward airline pilots.
I’m sure Martin in her media career has advocated for a number of women’s issues beyond in-flight insults. That’s not the point. This is a media professional with a significant amount of online influence, using her very public platform to attack a pilot and his employer over what all but the most hyper sensitive would regard as a harmless compliment.
By now we’ve seen how these situations tend to play out – a vocal minority creates an uproar on Twitter, the company takes notice of said uproar, the company reacts by issuing an apology and firing the offending party. Anyone who has been working in media should know this, and that includes Martin. So for those of you keeping score at home then yes – a woman with a significant social media following, made a federal case out of the pilot’s meant to be friendly comment, and brought it to the attention of his employer all while likely knowing full well what the potential consequences could be.
For an added twist of irony Martin has a quote from Malala Yousafzai retweeted near the top of her Twitter page. As it happens Malala recently spent her 19th birthday visiting the world’s largest refugee camp. This of course is after she stood up to Taliban gunmen in defense of women’s rights in education.
Maybe the Taliban is a bit out of Martin’s league, but there has to be a target out there more worthy of her influence and energy than the guy flying the plane. In any case, leave the pilot alone.
This contributor is a Marine veteran that has served in the Middle East. Due to the sensitive nature of his current job, he has requested to remain anonymous.