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Air crash porn

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(Image via cabledx.tv)

There is a new kind of neurosis simmering in the media. It might be called Aeronautical Hypochondria. Or Air Crash Porn.

A plane goes down. The media investigates. Conspiracy theories multiply. And a lot of money is made by lawyers, forensics and army personnel.

The most remarkable case, probably, was a couple of years ago. A plane took off in New York, hit a flight of ducks, landed safely in the Hudson. The whole thing took forty-five seconds.

An "Inquiry" then occurred. It took eighteen months. And if found that, yes, the plane hit a flight of ducks and came down safely in the Hudson. And the pilot behaved admirably.

The Inquiry would have cost twenty million dollars. A waste of money, some might think.

In another case, a plane fell silent, went out of radio contact and flew many hours and crashed in the Indian Ocean somewhere, after turning left in a suspicious manner. And half a billion dollars has been spent looking for it, in an area of water the size of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia put together. The hope is to find out what happened, and thereby supply "closure" to the two thousand relatives of the dead.

Why do this?

No such money is spent looking for lone yachtsmen lost at sea, or bushwalkers who disappear in Tasmanian forests, or fishermen swept off rocks on the Central Coast. "Death by misadventure" is the usual assessment made, and we go on to other things.

Now we have a plane that was crashed in the Alps by a co-pilot who was mad and crashed it deliberately. It was no more remarkable, no more inexplicable, than a man who loses his girlfriend, gets drunk and crashes his car, deliberately, while driving home.

And yet we have all this fuss about it. No cockpit, henceforth, will have only one person in it, always two, lest an event which was one in forty-eight billion recur.

This event, as it turns out, took the heat off Mike Baird. He was thought to be in a crooked deal with a tainted Chinese corporation and selling the poles and wires to them, and was in big trouble in the last week of an election, and we were talking, suddenly, about an air crash in the Alps and a troubled young man with a history of mental illness taking it out on his passengers.

The political use of an air crash has become a frequent thing lately. MH17 was shot down by Ukrainians over Ukraine and Putin was blamed for it, "shirt-fronted" for it, though it was nothing to do with him, and our government demanded a war be halted while we looked for the bodies and brought them home. MH370 allowed Abbott to declare, with increasing confidence, that the downed plane would be found in days.

Malaysian Airways is making less money, Qantas more. Alan Joyce, a short-arsed dunderhead who talks Puckoon, looks good in consequence. He has ruined, in sackings, 100,000 lives, but he has not killed anybody.

And now we have this nonsense of never-empty cockpits. Does it apply to trains as well? Of course not. Does it apply to all-night bus journeys? Of course not. Instead of saying, simply: "Once in a blue moon, a bad thing happens, it’s a mathematical certainty", we pretend it’s an ever-threatening perpetual emergency. And if a plane goes down in a war zone, or in the sea, the bodies must be found.

Why would they be found? No-one looked for long for the sunken, frozen corpses clinging onto the rails of the Titanic. No-one searched the seas for the dead of the Lusitania. No-one brought back the scorched corpses on that hill in Pennsylvania after UA93 went down on the morning of 9/11. It was enough to name the heroes, and beweep them at Ground Zero on the anniversaries.

Aeronautical hypochondria. Air Crash Porn. We should stop this waste of money, this indulgence of acquired emotions, artificially confected by the media.

Enough, already.

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