Was the woman of the “incident” – a Diane – a nice person? Hell no. She was one of those who complain incessantly about the inevitable, magnifying their own problem to such an extent that there is no room in their heads to accommodate the rest of the world.
Of course, our only access to any info on Diane and indeed the whole incident is from Elan’s testimony, and as we’ve established before, he’s something of an immature cunt, so one can’t quite take his word for the absolute truth. But let us assume this happened, and he was at least right about the fact that when an attendant tried to sympathise with her Thanksgiving flight delays by saying he was being kept away from his family too, she said, “This is not about you”. It’s certainly very difficult to tolerate entitled people who throw fits at their fellow human beings knowing full well that the economic and social hierarchy will compel them to smile politely and put up with it. They’re the embodiment of the ugly, selfish underbelly of our much-vaunted “humanity” that frankly makes my bile rise.
Of course, this Diane person may have been ill, in the middle of an emergency, of an anxious disposition, or not capable of dealing with changes to schedule due to a differently tuned mind. But let us also assume, for Elan’s benefit, that she was not any of these things.
I still find no way to excuse his harassment of her. After his initial Twitter updates, which were fine and dandy and richly deserved by someone who was being mean to service staff, he claims he started sending her lots of little notes in quick succession. Later, he claims he enjoyed goading her immensely, and even had wine delivered to her with the comment, “Hopefully if you drink it, your mouth won’t be able to talk”.
Diane’s response, via a note of her own, that he had no compassion elicited a further attempt to press more unsolicited alcohol on her. However, the attendant refused to deliver them, Elan says he walked past her, leaning into her personal space to drop two bottles of vodka onto her table. He records, for his Twitter followers, the thrill and fear this act brought to him — not unlike the excitement of a truant child who throws a rock through a neighbour’s window.
By Elan’s own admission, Diane was, at this point, seeking help to combat this harassment. “She is pressing the call button a lot”, he reports, after he first escalated his harassment. I assume the attendants refused to interfere (again, a bit hard to believe), she wrote him a second note, asking him to stop bothering her and threatening to involve the authorities if he didn’t desist. Probably realising how little she had to sustain any allegations against him, though, Elan disregarded her request and continued his harassment. So at the point of exit of what must have been a horrendous flight for her, she walked up to him and slapped him.
And then what happened? Well, if Elan is to be believed, the guards immediately restrained her, and urged Elan twice to call the cops on her.
The thing about Diane’s violence is this. She had, allegedly, been rude to an airline staff about her flight’s delay, and was punished for it with hours of harassment and humiliation in an inescapable, enclosed space. According to her harasser, the cabin crew ignored her call for help and “[made] a ‘let’s just pretend this never happened’ face” because she had been rude to their colleague. Now personally, I find this very hard to believe, but who knows? What bothered me was Elan’s claim, later, that it was “class solidarity” that made him decide to harass this woman. He had, he explained, held low-level jobs in the past, and had been forced to suffer the rudeness of women like Diane.
In my opinion, that’s pretty excuse that simply doesn’t hold. Never mind the fact that the “punishment” was unbelievably out of proportion to the transgression. Much more important to me is the fact that Elan’s plan had no component that would make Diane aware of her entitlement and rudeness, or inspire her to make amends. Instead, it began and escalated a feud till violence erupted. Second, if anything, the incident shifted attention completely from a classist slight to a provocative harassing ‘prank’, and the self-adulatory playing-to-the-gallery on Twitter. If social justice was somehow served in the process, it has passed me completely by.
Anyway, in return for the absurd harassment and emotional assault on her, Elan gets a slap in the face. Given his idea of justice, I’d say it was a perfectly calibrated response. But because of his gimmicky viciousness, someone who was just an irksome person will probably be escalated to a felonious jail-bird, while he, the agent of this change, gets away scot-free, delighted with himself and being lauded on media. And lauded on media is right, for the promotional headline for this piece on HuffPost’s side bar is this: “LOOK: Annoying Airplane Passenger Got Exactly What She Deserved”.
So, business as usual the, I suppose.