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    I was just thinking, if I have to read another word about the mentions of Mary Cheney’s lesbianism in the Cheney-Edwards and Bush-Kerry debates, I will go bananas. Then I spun through the channels to CNN. What’s American Morning talking about? You guessed it.

    The hilarious part was the letter (it was one of Jack Whosis’s Viewer Responses to Thought-Provoking Questions segments, in this case, Do you think the mention of Mary Cheney’s sexuality during the debates was justified?) from some idiot who seems to need irony supplements. He wrote something on the order of, well, Dick Cheney thanked John Edwards for his kind remarks about his family, so obivously, you know, it was no real problem, and the Republicans are just blowing a gasket to make the Democrats look bad.

    This is one of the valuable things that the Japanese remember but many Americans have unfortunately forgotten, despite our genuine goodwill in most instances. People here still understand the concept of saying, “So very kind of you to say so,” when they mean, “Mind your own [bleep]ing business, you crass little twit!” but want to keep the atmosphere of goodwill intact for everyone else’s benefit.

    Isn’t it November yet?


    And then there are people who make up their own language to express indignation. Well, okay, these ninnies are British Commonwealth, not American, but they make the point:

    In the morning, the flight crew woke up everyone to prepare for landing at Heathrow Airport. Potgieter said that he and his partner kissed each other good morning and hugged each other as any couple would do when they wake up.

    Two flight attendants approached the pair and requested that they do “not to kiss each other as doing so was offensive to the other passengers on the flight.”

    A little later a senior flight attendant came up to their seats and told them not to kiss again.

    Potgieter said he was shocked. In his court documents he says that he experienced extreme humiliation by the conduct of the flight attendants and that he became traumatized and angry.

    As the flight touched down the men were so angry they refused to follow the flight crew’s instructions to fasten their seat belts. The crew alerted authorities that they had two unruly passengers on board.

    On landing, both men were arrested and Potgieter was held for three days awaiting an appearance before a judge. He was fined for not wearing the seatbelt, but says he suffered economic losses as a result of the detention.

    I think I understand the concept of the cause-effect relationship, but I don’t get that “the men were so angry they refused to follow the flight crew’s instructions to fasten their seat belts” construction. I mean, way to make those killjoy flight attendants wither with remorse, huh?

    And what is that “he and his partner kissed each other good morning and hugged each other as any couple would do when they wake up” supposed to mean? It is perfectly possible that the BA attendants were acting on excessive preemptive squeamishness based on seeing a locking of molten eyes, a squeezing of shoulders, and a quick peck. But it also wouldn’t surprise me if these characters looked as if they were going to start seriously making out and needed to be reminded that they were on a passenger jet and not at a play party. After all, one of the reasons people feel free to hug and kiss when they wake up in the morning is that they’re, like, alone in their bedroom.

    And can we please stop using the word traumatizing to refer to what even-tempered people are still content to call upsetting or (in pompous moods) distressing? A car accident that kills your parents and leaves you needing physical therapy before you can walk again is traumatizing. Finding out that the love of your life is slowly poisoning you and conspiring to run off with your best friend and your life insurance money is traumatizing. Being gay in a country in which homosexuality is punishable by death or torture (or maybe even just frequent police raids) is traumatizing. Being asked in rapid succession to stop kissing and put on your seatbelt is not traumatizing, even if you think it was discriminatory. Flibbertigibbets.

    2 Responses to “婉曲不足”

    1. Kris says:

      You’re killing me. Stop! Stop! I think, for your own sanity, you SHOULD stop reading about humorless idiots.
      Maybe this will bring you back to us. My favorite line – “that stroller labels remind parents, “Remove baby before folding”…”

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Cool. I don’t know if you know it, but Walter Olson’s overlawyered.com is devoted to stories of stuff like that. Kind of dispiriting, and kind of absurdly comic, too. My Japanese lawyer friends are always highly amused at how much there is for their American counterparts to occupy themselves with.
      And don’t worry too much about me. A hot bath with a glass of wine, a candle or two, and Bonnie Raitt (I really butch it up at bath time, you know) calmed me right back down. Of course, I’ll have to look at the news again, eventually. :(