No, you read that right.
An Australian man was removed from a Qantas flight to London when he refused to change out of his anti-Bush shirt. The airline was afraid the shirt, which called Bush the "World's Number 1 Terrorist," might offend other passengers.
We can put aside whether Bush is the "World's Number 1 Terrorist" or not. (Though he's certainly ahead on points.) We know that George Bush is so sacred, so golden, that no one criticizes him in his presence. Now we can't do it in his absence??
Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon to become dictator of most of the known world. If anyone would be snappish about being mocked, you'd think it would be Julius Caesar. Yet when people gave him shit about his being bald and bi, he took it like a man. (Of course, Bush is no Caesar, no matter what he thinks.)
But back to Qantas. There is an implication in their actions that there would have been no problem had the Australian gentleman worn a "Yay, Bush!" T-shirt. If I were on that plane, such a shirt would certainly make my blood boil. But I would never think to complain about it.
I've been on flights with women with "Bitch" or "Slut" on their tank tops. I've been on flights with guys in mesh shirts that offered up tufts of their lush back hair. On one memorable occasion, there was a guy a few rows back in a hunting outfit. The whole vest-and-flappy-hat, Elmer Fudd deal. With an NRA button. I was, to say the least, offended.
And anyone who flies between L.A. and Vegas has found himself face-to-face with doughy ass cleavage, bisected by thongs that struggle as if they were in a Hooke's Law experiment. Or Botoxed, dermabraded, middle-aged women wearing skimpy, scoopy tops, the better to reveal breasts so leathery they should have "Coach" stamped on them. Or, worst of all, guys in sandals and socks.
But do I complain to the crew? God, no.
Because I don't believe that it's my unassailable right to move through my day without being "offended." If everyone who offended me were "removed" from my sight, there'd be few cars on the freeway, no one at movie theatres, and Fox News would be a test pattern.
Besides, people who are never offended also never encounter anything that challenges their world view. They're never exposed to ideas or opinions they don't already have. Their belief systems are suspended forever, like a mosquito in amber.
There's a word for those people. They're called "stupid."