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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Shocked, and Horrified

This post might offend some of my readers. If you think I'm going to apologize for that, you might want to re-familiarize yourself with Magpie's disclaimer at the top of the screen there, Punky Jewster.

I read in the paper yesterday morning that there was an accident at an airshow.

I know, right? I was stunned, too. Let's spoon each other till we both get over the shock.

Now, I know that I've been accused, by many a person, both smart and dumb, of great cerebrally-based crime of thinking too much. If it makes you feel better, I haven't given this subject matter much thought at all, but I have to say I've given at least a little bit of thought about the subject of airshows, every now and again, and I have to confess that I just don't understand.

I don't know whose idea it was in the first place. I doubt it was one of the Wright brothers, they seemed far too serious about the whole aviation thing to turn it into some sort of testosterone-fueled spectacle that would inevitably culminate with fire, gasoline and huge chunks of metal raining down on slack-jawed spectators.

It must have been some asshole who came along later.

Someone, perhaps, with roots in the circus. Some carnival barker type with a beaver-fur top-hat and a monocle who was like, "I know a way to make lots of money and scare the bejesus out of people-- all I need are a couple cheap planes and a few drunken, divorced pilots who aren't afraid to die-- or who perhaps might want to."

What I don't understand even more than airshows are the people who go to airshows. Now, this is the part where I might offend somebody, but, if you go to airshows, there's something seriously wrong with you. You want to see people die. There, I said it, and, you know what, it feels orgasmic. You're a sick, twisted duck-fucker and you'll crane your neck in any way possible so that you can get a better look at some Blue Angel's torso falling to the earth whilst engulfed in flames.

Not only that, you may even be vaguely suicidal. In that annoying, passive way, though. You're content to just kind of sit around on some tacky, plastic lawn chair and hope that you get killed by a piece of turbo fan or a pilot's neck traveling at some high rate of speed.

You're not there to be amazed and awed. You're there for death. Carnage. Horror.

(The horror.)

I like reading articles about airshow crashes-- they inevitably say something like, the airplane crashed to the ground in a fireball in front of "shocked and horrified" spectators.

Please. They're not shocked or horrified. They're thoroughly nonplussed and suitably pleased. In fact, if an airshow goes off without a hitch, I'll bet there's inevitably some maniac who goes and asks for his money back.

You know what would have been really coolballs? If, during WWII, we took every Japanese pilot who was captured as a POW and made them perform in airshows to entertain the American public. I mean, we'd have to make sure they were totally the kamikaze guys, and the airshows would consist simply of them either crashing into each other in mid-air or just making spectacular nose-dive, dive-bomb runs to the earth.

I think that would have boosted our national morale in a big way.

If that idea sounds too mundane, perhaps, for an extra fee, the high-rollers in the crowd could be sold or rented a surface-to-air missile launcher to try to take out some of the airshow participants. I mean, call it "Audience Participation" night or something. I think that would be immensely popular, because, that way, you're not just hanging around in that tacky, plastic lawn-chair just waiting for the eventual inevitability of an airshow accident, you can make it happen!

Shocked and horrified? Please.


  1. Is this, by any chance, the air show in Bournemouth, England, where a member of the red arrows crashed? The red arrows are actually part of the RAF, where pilots take a year or so out to fly. Everyone in England has heard of them, and most have seen them. They fly in so many more events than air shows. I saw them myself the week before this happened, and several times before that (not at an air show), and they are spectacular.

    People here are actually shocked and horrified. The displays are fantastic and need no accidents to make people want to go back to see them over and over.

    I'm not offended by your post, (I long ago learnt that people are entitled to their own opinions), I'm just not sure you've had all the facts about the incident.

    If I've got the wrong end of the stick, well, oops.

  2. Hi, Becca, I don't think you've got the "wrong end of the stick" just a bit of a misunderstanding of what this blog is all about. Read a few other posts and you'll get more of an idea of what things are like around here.

    Best not to take me too seriously.


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