This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

Archive for the category “travel”

Real-Life Twin Peaks Is A Town In France: A Halloween Post

800px-La_Sorgue_shrouded_in_fog,_Fontaine-de-VaucluseBear with me, Dear Reader.

At the risk of arousing the ire of other Twin Peaks fans, I will add my own far-fetched fan theory as this year’s Halloween post.  For what it’s worth, some of these thoughts have swirled in my mind since the first season of Twin Peaks (so, for decades), even before I knew of the existence of the French town I mention in the title.  In the spirit holiday, please be patient and indulge me. 

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That United Airlines Passenger: The Saga Continues

United Boeing 767-300 at Chicago O'Haire

Oh, perfect.  First, a sixty-nine year-old man was told he was being booted off the flight he paid for, because reasons.  Then he was dragged away and battered by those valiant defenders of corporate profit, Chicago PD, who managed to re-accommodate his face into an armrest with enough force to draw blood.  That was yesterday.


Now comes the character assassination.

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Our New Normal

So this happened.  By now, you have probably seen the harrowing video of a United passenger being violently “re-accommodated” off an overbooked flight for refusing to voluntarily relinquish his paid-for seat to an airline employee.

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Friday Ramblings: The Elitist Edition

The cultural phenomenon of grossly overrating the mediocre never ceases to fascinate me. Some of these are easy targets: Spectator sports. Weddings. Traditional family values. But there are some rather meh people, stories and cultural widgets that have truly achieved the status of sacred cows, and I would like to devote this Friday to tearing some of them down. And so, a random selection from my list of horribly overrated, but actually mediocre, people, events, places and phenomena: Read more…

When Multiculturalism Becomes Bigotry

A few years ago, an acquaintance of mine took a trip to Uzbekistan, a small land-locked country in Central Asia. The people who inhabit it speak a Turkic language, are predominantly Muslim and possess a rich and ancient cultural tradition. In centuries past, their position along the Silk Road and the fertile Fergana Valley made Uzbek khanates rich. It was then that Tamerlane built his gleaming blue-and-gold palaces at Samarkand, and the area became renowned for its scientists, mathematicians, poets and artists. Today, Uzbekistan is a poor country, with a crumbling infrastructure and a low standard of living. And yet, it rewards the traveler intrepid enough to venture into that part of the world with sights of exquisite beauty and ornate ancient cities that represent, I think, the closest anything in the real world comes to resembling the idealized, nostalgic East that we think of when we read the Arabian Nights.

Notwithstanding the splendor of places like Samarkand, Kokand, Bukhara and Khiva, my acquaintance was disappointed. Read more…

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