“Hysteria” in the truest sense of the word

A couple weeks ago, a truely shockingly banal and ridiculous tirade appeared at WomensWallStreet.com, authored by one Annie Jacobsen. The piece itself is worthy of a Lifetime movie; seriously, it’s on par with “Baby Monitor: Sound of Fear.” The gist of the thing — which is terribly irritating to read both for its absurdly overwrought prose style and the awful design of the site — is that she was on a Northwest flight from Detroit to LA that included some Middle Eastern people who did all sorts of scary things on board. By “scary things,” of course, she means “talking,” and “moving about the cabin” and “carrying oddly shaped bags” and, worst of all, “using the lavatory.”

Now, enough people were freaked out, apparently, that an investigation was done, and the 14 men turned out to be — shock! — innocent musicians hired to play a gig in LA. Not that this changes Jacobsen’s mind, of course, nor the minds of the thousands of critical-thought-impaired lemmings who shared her freakout via the WomensWallStreet story.

I read her piece about a week ago, about the third time it showed up in my mailbox from well-meaning friends. Turns out, I’m not the only one who thought it was hysterial fear-mongering from some suburbanite bitty who doesn’t get out much; Salon’s Patrick Smith, author of the ongoing column “Ask the Pilot,” had a similar reaction that’s far more eloquent and clear than my post here. Read it.

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