Jews on a plane: A reader’s take

Today seems to be shaping up as “Readers Weigh In Day,” for I want to post the content of two emails sent to me by readers, emails that I thought might be of more general interest. This one, and one I’ll post later, are reproduced with permission.

I’ve posted several times (and had one guest post) about the bigotry shown by ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who refuse to sit next to women on planes (see herehere, and here, for instance). In some cases the airlines try to be “accommodating,” with flight attendants asking passengers if they wouldn’t move to accommodate these requests.

My readers, especially women, continue to be upset by both the religiously-based misogyny of the Jews as well as the desire of airlines to accommodate these requests.  One woman emailed me with a strongly-felt objection to this “accommodationism,” pointing out, correctly, that while this biogtry is tolerated out of respect for religion, it wouldn’t be if it wasn’t connected with religion:

of respect for religion, it wouldn’t be if it wasn’t connected with religion:

As an example of how society ignores bigotry against women, imagine the same scenario on a plane if a white-supremacist religious wingnut said it was against his religion to sit next to someone who had dark skin.  Would the airline personnel ask the black passenger if he would kindly move to another seat?  Of course not, because the request would be seen for its true nature—pure bigotry combined with abject ignorance.
Airline personel who ask a woman to move in order to allow a fundamentalist bat-shit crazy mad-hatter to exercise his fear of the female sex should consider what it is they are doing.  The airline should be sued for discrimination against women and against THEIR freedom of religion.
If the bastards are fearful of sitting next to a woman, let them buy three tickets for themselves so they can be certain their seat is empty.

I have to say that I agree.  Bigotry in the guise of religious belief is still bigotry, as we’ve learned with all the recent “religious freedom restoration acts.” If a flight attendant wouldn’t accommodate a racist passenger, why would he or she accommodate a sexist one? Or is sexism somehow sanctified if it’s based on faith?

Curiously, Andrzej just posted a relevant video on his Facebook page:

143 Comments

  1. rickflick
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Again racism and religion are conjoined at the hip. The parallel is a very apt one in this case and brightly illuminates the (often hidden) problem with this kind of accommodation.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      I would have said bigotry and religion are conjoined at the hip, but I guess they both fly.

  2. Joseph Stans
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    AS the chosen people they have always been the special little flowers and it is impossible for them to conceive themselves as anything but.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      In Judaism, being the “chosen “people is not defined as a matter of privilege, but as a matter of responsibility to their deity .

      • Pali
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        Are you saying you see no self-aggrandizement, no sense of “we are special” in that position? Because I do.

        • Lesli
          Posted May 2, 2015 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          And Christians and Muslims think they’re the only ones going to heaven, and Buddhists think they’re the only ones getting out of samsara, and Jehovah’s Witlesses think only 144 of them will make it to heaven, and Mormons are sure they have the true revelation and Americans have their American exceptionalism and…

          Let’s not Jew bash here. Many peoples think they’re special. It’s one of the ways they form a unit. At least the Jews don’t ring my doorbell on Saturday morning to tell me about it.

          • Posted May 2, 2015 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            +1

          • rickflick
            Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

            OK, I’m forming my own group. Nobody else gets in. Problem solved.

          • Pali
            Posted May 3, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            Yes, most religious traditions claim their followers as special – I wasn’t aware that pointing out that Judaism does the same counts as Jew-bashing.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 4, 2015 at 5:04 am | Permalink

            I think that ‘God’s chosen people’ idea causes very real and specific problems for everybody when ultra-orthodox Jews use it as justification for obstinately building settlements in the West Bank and create a nasty mess for Israel and everyone else to deal with. Which they don’t care about because they’re God’s chosen people.

            (I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong about that. Of course some other religions – not all – cause trouble with their ideas of religious supremacy too).

            • Malgorzata
              Posted May 4, 2015 at 5:44 am | Permalink

              The settlements on the West Bank (well under 2% of the whole area) were not built because of the concept of “chosen people”. Some religious fanatics justified it with God giving this land to Jewish nation, but there were other reasons why people who were not religious fanatics went to build homes there. The legal reason: according to a binding resolution of League of Nations from San Remo 1922 all the land west of River Jordan was supposed to be “Jewish National Home” (Arabs got over 70% of Mandate of Palestine which was originally the future “Jewish National Home” – today’s Jordan). This was confirmed by U.N. and never rescinded. U.N.’s resolution from 1947 (181) about the division of this land in one Jewish and one Arab state was only a recommendation, which the Jews accepted (they were desperate to have a place for the remnants of European Jews who languished in European DP camps, and for persecuted Jews from Arab and Islamic countries) but all Arab countries refused and so this resolution became null and void.
              The historical reason: one is from ancient history – this was a cradle of Jewish nation (Jews are from Judea, Arabs are from Arabia), this was the only place on Earth Jews ever had a sovereign state; the other is from a much more recent history – Jews lived in Judea and Samaria in towns and villages and were “ethnically cleansed” by Jordan in the aggressive war 1948. Their kibbutzim, synagogues etc. were razed to the ground, many were killed, the rest expelled.
              The concept of “chosen people”, which so irks so many and which was one of the reasons of the persecution of Jews across ages, is so very common – every nation feels “chosen”. The trouble is, of course, that Christianity took over and wanted to have this “choseness” for themselves. This is the theology of supersessionism.

  3. Pablo
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I want these mutherfuckin’ Jews off my mutherfuckin’ plane!

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      This may be a Roolz violation, friend.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Pablo – Just for future reference, bro, you might want to preface a line like that with “to quote ____” or “to paraphrase _____.” Or put a link in there, so folks know where you’re coming from. You know, so as not to freak-out the non-cognoscenti.

      It was pretty obvious here, but why chance that?

      • Doug
        Posted May 2, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Can you say “I want these these mutherfuckin’ schmucks off my mutherfuckin’ plane?”

    • Larry
      Posted May 3, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      I have a very high appreciation of people who have a 10 word vocabulary, one of which is mutheruckin’

  4. eric
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Would the airline personnel ask the black passenger if he would kindly move to another seat? Of course not

    I don’t think this is directly analogous. AIUI the typical case, the orthodox Jewish traveler is not asking the women to move, nor asking the airlines to move the women. They’re asking for the airline to find them another seat; for other passengers to switch with them. So its like a white supremacist who asks someone to switch seats with him.

    Now its perfectly legitimate to say that no airline should pressure other passengers to accommodate this request, or even spend microphone time asking if there is a volunteer. Its also perfectly legitimate to say that if nobody volunteers, the airline should take a “sit down in your assigned seat or disembark now” position. I’d fully agree with the first and third and maybe the second too. However, it throws the ethicalness of another passenger volunteering to switch with the religious nut into a completely different light. Its not clear to me, at least, that its necessarily immoral or unethical of some other passenger to voluntarily switch with the Orthodox guy, with the airline playing essentially no part in it other than allowing a mutually agreed upon switch – which they do all the time.

    • alnitak
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      It is quite clear that passengers could exchange seats if they wished to, but we’d never know about that. What we face is a religious sect claiming special privilege and asking the airline to meet their religious seating preference. To which the proper answer is “buckle in or leave the plane.” How would the orthodox feel if a Christian guy stands up and says “I can’t sit in the same row as this Jew?”

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        How would the orthodox feel if a Christian guy stands up and says “I can’t sit in the same row as this Jew?”

        Why bring religion into it? Surely it should be sufficient to say “I don’t want to breathe air that has been polluted by this bigot”?

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      The simple solution is to buy two seats on an airline that allows one to pick one’s seat.

      Didn’t we just go through this exercise with wedding cakes?

      • eric
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Or just buy one first class seat; he’d have no dearth of volunteers to switch with him then.

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the cabin crew are trained to smooth over any issues and keep people safe, period.

      They will always try for a simple, quick, solution like asking for someone to switch. I’ve switched seats many times. (And I try to helps others with their kids or luggage if possible and if it is welcomed.)

      As much as I dislike the religiously inspired nonsense from the Jewish male passenger, I would likely comply with a request to move. I certainly would oppose the woman being inconvenienced in any way. (I would be doing this to help out the cabin crew and possibly the woman involved — I can’t imagine she’d want to sit next to the creep.*)

      I’ll pose a hypothetical: What if a black person is seated next to a skin-head with swastika tattoos, piercings, and an Aryan Nations t-shirt? Would it be OK for them (the black person) to request re-seating? In my mind, of course. Could they demand it? I don’t think so. Would they get sympathy from the rest of the passengers? I would hope so.

      There are two re-seating scenarios here:

      1. The Jewish guy asks to move
      2. The Jewish guy asks for the woman to move

      (* As long as he didn’t drone on about how “all the answers are found in the Torah — anything you need to know in life, it can be found there!” As one rabbi did to all and sundry in the jury candidate waiting room one time when I had jury duty. I had to listen this “maven” for several days — worst jury duty of my life!)

      • quiscalus
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        and you didn’t ask the rabbi, “if the Torah has all of life’s answers, could it explain to me how to make you shut the hell up?”

      • Henry Fitzgerald
        Posted May 2, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        Telling the can’t-sit-next-to-a-woman chap to stay where they are or get off the plane is also a simple, quick solution – and to my mind a preferable one.

      • Filippo
        Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        “Yes, the cabin crew are trained to smooth over any issues and keep people safe, period.”

        Yes, they are so trained, but get grief from passengers not so trained. Makes me want the airline CEO to have to respond at a moment’s notice and earn those big bucks by dealing with these monumental senses of entitlement.

  5. Jeff Gauthier
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Being from a Jewish household and upbringing. I think that if they don’t want to sit next to a woman, they need to find a different way to get to where they are going?
    I also have to wonder what El Al’s (Israeli airlines) position is on it.
    Google-
    http://forward.com/news/israel/206615/el-al-grapples-with-gender-segregation-furor/

    and a better article, both are from Jewish publications.

    http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/anglo-file/ultra-orthodox-jews-increasingly-refuse-to-sit-near-women-on-el-al-flights-1.420298

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I think going forward, whenever I fly, I will ask the airline to put seatbelts in the overhead bin so that I can lay down up there. That way I don’t have to sit next to any passenger.

      • eric
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        “In case of a social emergency, please fasten the oxygen mask over the mouth of the bigot next to you.”

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          please fasten the oxygen mask over the mouth of the bigot next to you.

          “nitrogen”, surely?
          And “glue”.

          • quiscalus
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            or a dirty sock and some duct-tape.

            • Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

              If you’ve got the sock, a rock in the sock will typically work well also.

              b&

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted May 2, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

              [Homer] Mmmmm dirty sock and duct tape.[/Homer]
              And … we’re back to Rule 34.

  6. Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I’d try to write something original and insightful, but I’m afraid anything I can think of has already been covered by the anonymous correspondent.

    May I at least be permitted a bit of a whine that you could consider leaving at least some bases uncovered to give us schmucks in the peanut gallery something to chew on?

    b&

    • rickflick
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Here’s a handful of peanuts. Now stop whining will yu already?

      • Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        Too salty.

        b&

        • rickflick
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          Then I know you don’t want your pretzels. Mind if I….

          • Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            Woah — I just said they were too salty, not that I wouldn’t eat them!

            b&

  7. muffy
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Sub.

  8. Scote
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    “The airline should be sued for discrimination against women and against THEIR freedom of religion.”

    While I feel the demand to not sit next to women is ridiculous and bigoted, I’m not sure quite how we legally settle competing airline seating claims of discrimination, as in, “You discriminated against my sex!” “No, you discriminated against my religion!” This seems to put the airlines into a legally untenable position.

    (Perhaps religious men who can’t handle being near women shouldn’t leave their homes?)

    • eric
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Seems pretty simple to me: you have a legal claim to sit in the seat you bought…and only that seat. There is no discrimination in enforcing that everyone sit in their assigned seat.

      A person wanting to switch (or wanting someone else to switch) may get their way due to the courtesy and goodwill of the other passengers, or the airline’s desire to keep everything running smoothly, but they have no right to a switch.

      • Larry
        Posted May 4, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        While I think this guy’s request is wrong, please note that seat change requests are usually granted when possible. If I’m a businessman going to a meeting or if I own the airline, I want to do whatever it takes to get this flight going. That’s what an airline is for. If 1 weird guy and 40 people standing their ground against discrimination manage to hold this flight up, I’ll choose another airline. And if I sue, I’ll be suing 41 people.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Seems pretty simple to me, too: See that number and letter on your boarding pass? That’s where you sit, Ace.

      • Filippo
        Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Have I correctly read somewhere to the effect that there is the beginning of a minor epidemic of passengers commandeering seats not their own, though knowing their seat assignments in advance? And that they’re generally being accommodated rather than having to deal with the headache of wrangling with them? No apparent racism, sexism, etc. involved here; just monumental senses of entitlement and specialness and exceptionalism exhibited by grown spoiled adult children.

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 2, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          That would not surprise me.

          Seems like more often than chance would have it I find someone sitting in the window seat (which I’ve usually paid extra for. And it doesn’t help that I’m usually in Boarding Group # 52). Of course, I point it out to the offender politely…

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, me too. I know what seat I booked (usually a window seat) and that’s the one I’m going to get. I do point it out politely though.

  9. Malgorzata
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    When I read it I remembered this video
    Put racism in the right place

  10. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the person who wrote in and I’ve said so in the past. I remain disappointed in those who do not see this as bad and wonder if sexism has so deeply seeped into their experiences that they are blinded to it, even when women themselves explain how offensive this is.

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      It is blatantly sexist; however we accommodate assholes all the time, just to keep the wheels on the bus turning ’round and ’round. Is it sexist to comply with a request from a flight attendant to move to accommodate the jerk? I don’t think so.

      The cabin crew will try an escalating series of actions to try and sort things like this out. In the end, it would come down to putting the guy off and waiting for his luggage to be found and put off as well. But they will try a lot of things before they get to that.

      The other passengers in the plane just want to get where they are going (on time) — and to avoid an “incident” on the airplane. People are going to work it out.

      Does it suck that we have to end up accommodating assholes? Yes, of course. It sucks that we subsidize churches (by giving them tax exemptions and other statutory exemptions). Is this likely to change in the USA? I don’t expect it will (in my lifetime).

      • Posted May 1, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        I predict zero percent chance of winning a lawsuit that goes after the airline for trying to accommodate passengers’ wishes by re-seating them, regardless of the reasons behind the re-seating.

        • eric
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, in fact its probably somewhere in the small print of your ticket purchase that they can change your seating or move you around as needed.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            I think it would be overly litigious to bring a lawsuit about switching seats. But I don’t believe you can be bound by the small print on the ticket. Leave it to the airlines, that print would say: “In case of crash, passenger entitled to partial refund pro rata to number of miles traveled.”

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think the person should be accommodated. They should be told to deplane. There have been enough of these incidents that airlines could announce a policy of “don’t like who you might end up sitting next, buy the seats surrounding you”.

        • Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          That’s already common practice for, for example, musicians with instruments too large for the overhead compartments and too fragile for the cargo hold. Bassists, cellists, and tubists are especially likely to bitch about the necessity, but they know full well they brought it upon themselves.

          Shame the asshats don’t even have that level of common decency.

          b&

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 2, 2015 at 1:51 am | Permalink

          “They should be told to deplane.” The trouble is, as I understand it, that their luggage has to be located and thrown off the plane too. Not for their benefit, but in case it contains a bomb. And this, of course, is just going to hold everyone up.

          For me, pragmatism (i.e. minimising the inconvenience for everybody else) usually trumps principle (i.e. not letting them get away with sexist attitudes). I’d feel differently if in a specific instance they wanted someone else to move to an inferior seat.

          • Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            It’s a very shortsighted form of pragmatism.

            Tell them to shut up and sit down and they might make a bit of a fuss, but it won’t delay the plane any more than the clown act of changing seats will take.

            But, much worse…once they know they can get away with the clown act, they’re going to pull it every fucking time. If, instead, they try it once and get slapped down, hard, for the temerity, they’re much less likely to try it again in the future.

            b&

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

              Yeah, well, ‘shut up and sit down and stop holding everybody up’ works for me. Throwing them off the plane would involve (as I understand it) a significant delay while their luggage is located.

              Call me shortsighted if you like, but I tend to regard ‘principle’ as being what people invoke when they have no good argument. I’ll settle for fixing the problem right now, with the least inconvenience to everybody, rather than hold everybody hostage to some possible or hypothetical situation at some unknown time in the future.

              If you’re concerned that these turkeys may try it again, the answer is surely for the airline to clearly state on tickets that seat changes requested after boarding will not be permitted.

              • Posted May 3, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

                If you’re concerned that these turkeys may try it again, the answer is surely for the airline to clearly state on tickets that seat changes requested after boarding will not be permitted.

                Erm…how is having fine print on a ticket that nobody reads more effective than a flight attendant getting in a dipshit’s face and telling him the exact same thing?

                And it’s gone way past concern that they might try it again; it’s become a regular news feature. Shouldn’t that alone demonstrate the ineffectiveness of “playing nice” in this setting?

                b&

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 4, 2015 at 2:44 am | Permalink

                Well, if it says it on the ticket, the guy can’t contest it when the flight attendant tells him to sit down and shut up, can he?

              • Posted May 4, 2015 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

                It already says on the ticket, I’m pretty sure, that you’re required to comply with all lawful orders from the cabin crew….

                b&

              • Larry
                Posted May 4, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

                The good news is that the airline accommodated him, and the airline did what airlines are supposed to do: get passengers to their destinations.
                Anyone insulted by this will be insulted a million times more in their life if they look hard enough.
                Move on.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      Diana wrote, “I agree with the person who wrote in and I’ve said so in the past.”

      As do and have I. And I’m glad the majority of WEITians (at least those posting here & on previous threads) agree with us.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 2, 2015 at 3:00 am | Permalink

      It is sexist alright.
      Just because, ‘reasons’, doesn’t change that fact.
      It is sexist behaviour based on sexist beliefs.

      I wonder what Garry Trudeau would have to say if some feminist satirical cartoonist drew an ironic piece showing the absurdity (and error) of these orthodox Jews beliefs.
      What retaliation would be permissible?
      Who is punching whom?

      • Posted May 2, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        I wonder what Garry Trudeau would have to say if some feminist satirical cartoonist drew an ironic piece showing the absurdity (and error) of these orthodox Jews beliefs.

        Good point. I also wonder whether, if it were drawings of women not wearing a Burka that provoked murderous rampages, it would be inappropriately punching down to draw such pictures in order to ridicule those individuals.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted May 3, 2015 at 1:25 am | Permalink

          That actually reminds me of some of the stated motivations of some Bali bombers, was that the way western women dress is immoral.

  11. Posted May 1, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious to know if devout jews would mind sitting next to homosexuals or transgenders.
    Also if similarly devout jewish women can sit next to a man, and the above.

    • Marella
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      I think a similarly devout Jewish woman would never travel without her husband. But men are defiled by contact with women, not the other way around; women being the filthy polluted creatures they are. I wonder if it’s because they know when their wives are menstruating, but don’t know when other women are, so they assume the worst and never touch them at all. Surely there must be some ritual they could do to cleanse themselves after having to sit next to a women who may have been menstruating at the time? Aarrghgh, my brain hurts, there is no end to the lunacy of religion.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted May 2, 2015 at 3:02 am | Permalink

        Maybe they could sit inside an airtight plastic bag for the duration.

        • Filippo
          Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          Yes, pull a cord and let it drop down, as with an emergency oxygen mask.

        • Marella
          Posted May 2, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          Some of them do that, but it’s to avoid the impurity of flying over a graveyard at 30,000 feet.

          • Posted May 2, 2015 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

            Astounding that a plastic bag is necessary to keep dead people cooties at bay despite miles of air and a fair amount of aluminum…but even the mighty plastic bag can’t protect them from girl cooties.

            Those girl cooties must be especially powerful!

            b&

          • merilee
            Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

            I am still gob-smacked at the inanity of it all!!

            • merilee
              Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

              Like step on a crack, break your mother’s back, only worse.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted May 3, 2015 at 1:32 am | Permalink

                Worse, yes, no childish charm, just childish idiocy.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 3, 2015 at 3:49 am | Permalink

                LOL, I saw a mother playing a game with her child trying to get him not to step on cracks. I hope that kid doesn’t have a brain that can easily slide over to OCD. 🙂

  12. Posted May 1, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Here is a tweet by Hemant Mehta today:

    “Orthodox Jew near me just switched seats on plane to avoid sitting by woman. All obliged. No drama. #NotPeriscopingThisFlightIGuess”

    I dunno, I’m torn. I can see the merit of not making a fuss.

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and isn’t it wonderful that Rosa Parks didn’t make a fuss, either?

      b&

      • Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        He needs to have that tweeted back at him.

        • Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, I took the liberty with what I believe was my very first tweet. I couldn’t control myself.

          • Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

            Good — thanks. I’ve yet to feel sufficiently arsed to work up the inclination to consider the merits of becoming a twitterer myself….

            b&

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted May 1, 2015 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

              I still haven’t encountered a tweet in its natural habitat — only ex situ on websites like this.

              • Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

                I was under the impression that the source still hadn’t yet been discovered by credible researchers.

                b&

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

                David Livingstone might have found the source, Ben — but he didn’t live to tell the tale.

              • Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

                That’s what I’ve always wondered…did he really make it to the headwaters, or was he just in denial?

                b&

          • Marella
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            Excellent start in the Twitterverse anyway, congrats!

      • eric
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Again, not strictly comparable. Nobody here asked Rosa to move. This is more like the white guy getting up and moving to a different seat because Rosa was there. Subtly but importantly different.

        • Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          Honestly, aren’t we a bit past subtlety at this point?

          Whatever the motivation, the asshole is announcing to the world that his seatmate is an unclean subhuman and he can’t tolerate being in her presence. In reality, with his announcement all he does is make himself the unclean subhuman whose presence is intolerable, save we’re probably too polite to rub his nose in the fact.

          The last thing we should do, though, is tolerate his intolerance.

          It’s no different from any other form of Danegeld. Yes, sure. This particular flight might get off the ground a bit faster if we all humor the terrorized boor. But the next flight is going to have to put up with the same bullshit, and the flight after, and the one after that…

          …until we grow the balls to accept the minor discomfort of putting the scumbags in their place by telling them to shut the fuck up and either sit their asses down or get the hell off the goddamned plane.

          And all that’s long before we get to the question of tacitly agreeing with the dipshits that their seatmates are, indeed, unclean subhumans.

          I mean, really? Do you honestly want to “help” the woman by agreeing with numbnuts that she’s an unclean subhuman whose presence is intolerable to those of sufficient purity?

          b&

          • Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

            And all that’s long before we get to the question of tacitly agreeing with the dipshits that their seatmates are, indeed, unclean subhumans.

            The passenger agreeing to the swap is agreeing to sit beside the woman. Their tacit statement, backed up by action, is thus the exact opposite of agreeing that she is an “unclean subhuman” who cannot be sat beside.

            • Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

              You may see it like that.

              I do not think most women do — though perhaps we could ask one or more of them to chime in?

              To me, at absolute best it comes off as prince charming swooping in to valiantly defend the honor of the poor defenseless maiden and rescue her from the heartless troll. I mean, really. Wouldn’t you think that most women in this day and age with the wherewithal to travel by air have some expertise in putting asshats in their place? Or, if they don’t feel like fighting that battle today, are perfectly capable of requesting to be re-seated themselves without you making the decision for them that they need it? Sure, help if it’s requested — but why the automatic assumption that help is wanted, let alone needed, in the first place?

              Would you want some white knight to come in and rescue you from a similar situation?

              And, further, in practice it’s an explicit agreement with the holy man that he’s too close to the gods to be sullied by mortals as far lesser than him as women are; you’re not as holy as he is, so it’s okay for you to take the hit for the holy man.

              Again, that’s me.

              Maybe the women of WEIT will tell us otherwise.

              b&

              • Marella
                Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

                I certainly won’t tell you otherwise. If I were the woman in question I would find the whole episode deeply humiliating, embarrassing and infuriating. I would also be filled with a probably unfulfilled urge to wreak vengence of some sort on the cause. I would fantasise about landing in his lap on my way back from the toilet, and wish I had a used tampon to drop on his head etc. The person who agreed to swap seats would not have my gratitude at all. I would rather no one offered, the arse-hole stood in the aisle the whole way and I had the extra space to spread myself. Being an Australian, this would probably have him standing for about 17 hours if we were going to the US or Europe. I would enjoy watching that!

            • Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

              Their tacit statement, backed up by action, is thus the exact opposite of agreeing that she is an “unclean subhuman” who cannot be sat beside.

              No. All their action is saying is they can tolerate sitting beside a woman. It says nothing about whether they think she’s an “unclean subhuman”. Actually the fact someone is willing to switch seats with him to me implies you don’t believe his request is unreasonable, since we don’t generally acquiesce to unreasonable requests.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            Thank you Ben, for getting to the heart of the matter.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

            +1

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          What? Nobody asked Rosa to move? Yeah, the bus driver told her to get her ass in the back of the bus with the other coloreds. And when she refused, she was arrested. So right, not comparable; she wasn’t put to the indignity of an airline passengers.

      • Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        The situations aren’t quite the same. The woman (the counterpart of Rosa Parks) didn’t have to move and wasn’t inconvenienced. What happened was that a third party accepted a seat swap.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          I think Ben is addressing the “make a fuss” bit. If you don’t make a fuss, you tacitly accept the sexism/ racism.

  13. Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    imagine the same scenario on a plane if a white-supremacist religious wingnut said it was against his religion to sit next to someone who had dark skin.

    And that’s not even a scenario you have to make up out of whole cloth. Religious white supremacists have, and do justify their bigotry based on the biblical story of Ham.

    I know the opinion I’m about to express isn’t particularly popular, even among anti-theists, but we shouldn’t be giving special status to religion. It should legally be categorized with other ideological choices, rather than with race, gender, sexual orientation, and other classes that aren’t a matter of choice.

    • Thud
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Today, from Krugman, NYT:
      “Everyone has an ideology, a view about how the world does and should work.”
      From this, I draw the insight that religion IS ideology. I’m still contemplating the implications, but so far, as I see it, it’s a good fit with the terms as commonly used.

      • Thud
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        To clarify a little, I don’t see much difference between religion and ideology.
        Disclosure, I’m persuaded to a humanist worldview, imbedded In a sustainable biosphere worldview.

      • Posted May 4, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        I would say more correctly a world view includes an ideology, and since (largely literate) religions are world views …

        (Other components of world views are a metaphysics, an epistemology, etc.)

  14. Curt Nelson
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know… I think that if a person said that it’s against their religion to sit next to a black person, and such a religion was known, it would be considered to be a somewhat reasonable request. All kinds of outrageous BS is tolerated when it falls under the banner of religion.

    That these same things are considered deplorable coming from a secular person is a clue to how absurd religion is.

    • Larry
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      you are totally correct. Compared to other “rights” we give to religious people, thos is nothing special. It’s 2015 and we still give consideration to people with unusual religious beliefs that we give to no other unusual beliefs. “I can’t go outside today because Elvis said not to”.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Where’s a Pastafarian when you need one?

      • Marella
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps Pastafarians should insist on purifying people by sprinkling them with Parmesan cheese before agreeing to sit next to them?

        • Posted May 1, 2015 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

          Only the delectable ones…which might get awkward with a newly-met seatmate. But, hey, consenting adults and all….

          b&

  15. Heather Hastie
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how these ultra-Orthodox Jews got as far as the plane’s aisle in the first place. These are people who cross the road to avoid women; how do they make it through an airport and onto a plane? Surely they need their whole-body condoms long before they have to sit down?

    • quiscalus
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      reminds me somewhat about my confusion as a kid, hearing about how there were “men” only clubs and the like. I couldn’t figure out why guys wanted to get away from women in the first place. Still don’t. I’ve always struggled to find women who want me around, not make them go away!

      • Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        “+1,” as kids say….

        b&

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Thirty years ago, I clerked for a federal judge and discovered that the male judges all ate lunch at a “men only” club everyday. The one woman then on the bench could only join them on “ladies day.” My reaction when brought there for lunch my first day was: Are. you. shitting. me?

        I found a Kresge’s a couple blocks from the courthouse, re-desegregated its lunch counter, and ate there the rest of the term.

        • quiscalus
          Posted May 2, 2015 at 12:38 am | Permalink

          wow. good for you. It’s stories like these that make me grateful I come from strong womenfolk. Being surrounded by strong, intelligent women and them being my first and most direct parent/teacher/role models almost certainly inoculated me against that kind of bullshit.

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      You mean, like this?

      I would probably be quite happy to chip in a few pennies to pay for a condom like that for dipshit, and be only too happy to assist the cabin crew in forcibly inserting dipshit into it….

      b&

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        LOL! I’ve never seen that – one of the few who’s never seen Naked Gun!

        • Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          Oh, you most definitely need to remedy that oversight right away….

          b&

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            Leslie Nelson was a great Canadian comedian. His brother was a politician and his relationship to his political brother helped form the premise of the HBO mockumentary, The Canadian Conspiracy, which jokingly presents evidence that Canada is subverting the US through media since Canadian actors often blend in as Americans.

            • Posted May 1, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

              He’s one of THEM! They’re everywhere!

              b&

  16. Keith Cook or less
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    they need (airlines) a section on the aircraft labelled misogynistic arses sit here.. everyone should be happy at 40,000ft.

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      What, like the wings? Maybe the wheel wells in rainy weather?

      b&

  17. rose
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m thinking of the late Joan Rivers,she would make up some pretty funny jokes about this i’m sure.They would have to include Bruce Jenner as a woman or at least dressed up as one .

  18. Larry
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Maybe though we CAN put this into some perspective. A lady friend who is Protestant, gave birth in a Catholic hospital, and no nurse would help her. A doctor did of course. And bringing up racism in this discussion is downright silly.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 1, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Where are you commenting from…the 17th Century? Was this during the Thirty Years War?

      Or let me guess again: the Emerald Isle whither my matrilineal ancestors came?

  19. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m always offering to switch seats on planes. (Little while ago, I swapped with a woman in the row in front who was horrified to find her seatmates were a woman, her mother, & her two toddlers — all of ’em standing in the center isle munching hot-dogs & lugging about six carry-ons. The flight attendant saw what happened, got us prompt beverage-cart service; one of the kids broke me off a piece of hot-dog; grandma & I knocked back a couple cold ones; then the kids & I snoozed off sharing a blanket & a couple pillows.)

    Doesn’t matter to me, I’ll sit with anyone…well, except for Episcopalians. I mean, can you imagine? Good thing you can spot those suckers a mile away. 🙂

    I’ll be good & goddamned, though, if I’d ever budge for a racist, or sexist, or any other -ist.

  20. Dionigi
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I have seen this same attitude many times from fundamentalist muslims whilst travelling on Middle Eastern airlines. When I have been involved I have complied with the request as I do not see it as being the time or place to make a scene about such a thing. I totally agree it is sexist and wrong but you will not change the mind of a religious zealot on the spot and will cause more aggravation for eveyone with no end result. many written complaints to the airline I think would have more effect as it reaches people who can make rules and change airline policy.

  21. Larry
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    And so the orthodox guy moves, and the lady is insulted, humiliated.
    And then who moves into the seat the orthodox guy vacated but Johnny Depp. And the deep profound hurt, she felt only moments ago, disappears. Let’s be a little real. Any honest woman knows that I’m right.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 2, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Any rational woman knows the odds against Johnny Depp flying commercial coach.

      • merilee
        Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        True dat, but he might be willing to slum to sit next to MOI (she says narcissistically;-)

  22. Posted May 2, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Sub

  23. Larry
    Posted May 2, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    The guys beliefs are ancient. But for women who are offended by someone on a flight they were not even on, asking to move seats so as to not sit by a woman, there is good news: You will never run out of things to be offended by. Sometimes you may need to go out of your way a bit, but if you give your best effort, you WILL find ways to be offended!
    Good luck in your pursuits!

    • merilee
      Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Boo hiss on insinuations that women are always looking for something to be offended by:-(

      • Larry
        Posted May 2, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Not all women of course, but I appreciate the boo hiss..

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 2, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        I’ve known far more guys itching for a fight (including verbal jousting) than women…

        • Posted May 2, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          I’d write a concurring opinion, but, for the life of me, I can’t figure out a way to do it without using the word, “uppity.” As evidenced by this very post….

          b&

          • Diane G.
            Posted May 2, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

            Well, now you’re being helppity.

            🙂

            (And by the way, men, by “more” I certainly didn’t mean “all” or “most.” Just “some.” Most of whom you no doubt notice, too.)

            • Posted May 2, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

              From uppity to helppity — how long before I finally make it to hip, I wonder…?

              b&

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 2, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

                Once you get to hoppity, hippity is next!

              • Posted May 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

                I guess I shouldn’t stop till the break of dawn….

                b&

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 2, 2015 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

                Exactly!

              • Diane G.
                Posted May 2, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

                HaHaHa!

              • Posted May 2, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

                And here I was thinking of Da Eastah Bunneh. How uncool is that?

              • Diane G.
                Posted May 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

                Oh, I was too. My Ha’s were for Diana’s hoppity hippity.

              • merilee
                Posted May 2, 2015 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

                In the newer version of The Ladykillers the old black woman is complaining about her grandson’s listening to all that hippity-hop music;-)

        • Posted May 2, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          Agreed

  24. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 4, 2015 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    While we’re at it – and particularly since another thread is talking about a Muslim election meeting being segregated – I’m just a bit puzzled that we don’t hear of Muslims behaving this way. It’s just as well they don’t, I’m just curious as to why not.

  25. Posted May 4, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Am I misremembering, or did DHS have a rule for a while that one had to take one’s preassigned seat with no switching, etc.?


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