Thoughts from Maharrey Head #88: Outrage Culture

“10 Minutes Closer to Freedom”


This episode of Thoughts from Maharrey Head,  I talk about outrage culture.

I’m outraged!!

Aren’t you?

Last week, video of security dragging a United Airlines passenger off a flight sparked outrage. The backlash caused United stock to stumble. Social media continues to churn the story to this day.

But that wasn’t the only source of outrage last week. Trump press secretary Sean Spicer whipped everybody into a frenzy when he suggested the Nazis didn’t use chemical weapons. And then there was the actual use of chemical weapons. Outrage over a Sarin gas attack allegedly launched by the Syrian government led the U.S. to lob cruise missiles at a government airbase in Syria.

Watching reaction to these three events unfold, I noticed some commonality. There is a definite outrage culture growing in society. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly good reason to become outraged. But outrage culture grows out of a group-think mentality and it has some perverse consequences. Namely, it encourages emotional reactions instead of thoughtful response. That often ends poorly.

In this episode of Thoughts from Maharrey Head, I talk about outrage culture, and try to apply a little critical thinking to the various outrages of the past week.

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SHOW NOTES AND LINKS

Free E-Book – “The Power of No!”

I Know You’re Mad at United, But…

Let’s Be Honest, the passenger was as much in the wrong as the United crew

My explanation of “denied boarding.”

Several people have latched on to the term “denied boarding” and tried to assert that losing your seat only applies before you get on the airplane, and once you’ve boarded, the airline can no longer require you to give up your seat. This is simply not true. “Denied boarding” is just a term that’s developed and not intended to be taken in its literal sense. The airline can, at any point, involuntarily deny you your seat up to the point of departure. Just because you occupy a seat does not give you an inviolate right to that seat.

A little hypothetical situation (based on actual real-life events) serves to illustrate this point.

Smaller aircraft have maximum takeoff weights. Before the plane leaves the gate, the pilots actually do calculations based on the number of passengers, bags and fuel load to ensure they are below that weight. The technical term is “weight and balance.” This is almost never an issue with larger jets, but small regional jets have a much narrower range of tolerance. Now, imagine for a moment everybody is snug aboard the plane, all belted in and ready to go. The pilot gets word that there are thunderstorms developing in the flight path and he may need to fly around them. That means he needs to add fuel. Naturally, he’s going to recalculate the weight and balance. Uh-oh. The plane is now too heavy. Two passengers need to get off the plane in order to get it under the allowable takeoff weight. What does the airline do? You guessed it – they follow the denied boarding procedures. They ask for volunteers. If nobody volunteers, they will involuntarily “deny boarding” – or in this case, since boarding has already happened, make two people get off the plane.

The point here being that even after you board, there is still a chance you could lose your seat. You do not have an unmitigated right to that seat – and again – my main point – you agree to this reality when you buy a ticket.

 

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