The Zman is not a big admirer of “diversity” and “inclusion.”
The first leg of my journey was a stop in London. When booking the trip, the cheapest flight took me through Heathrow, with a half day layover. I hate having to run to make connections, as that often ends in me missing my connection, so I donâ€™t mind a few hour gap between flights. Having almost a full day between flights was not ideal, but it beat the alternatives when I was booking the flight. My plan was to leave the airport and do a quick tour of London, but that plan got scuttled by British security.
When leaving the airportâ€™s secure area, I was pulled aside for the rubber glove treatment by whatever they call their security forces. I was taken to a room and asked the usual questions. Then they asked to examine my phone, which got them upset, as there is nothing on it other than some classical music I loaded for the trip. I keep nothing on my phone as a rule. This one is brand new, so the browser does not even have some history on it. That lack of a information seemed to upset them.
That led them to ask to look at my laptop. I use a travel laptop, so if something happens, Iâ€™m not missing important parts of my life. This one I just setup with Linux and a new solid state drive. This only increased their anxiety, so we spent an hour or so playing Petrovich and Raskolnikov. My Russian visa did not help matters. Iâ€™ve gone through this a couple of times in American airports, but this seemed different. Maybe Iâ€™m imagining things, but I got the strong sense of being on a list. Maybe it was just the culture gap.
You see, thatâ€™s the other thing. The British Starsky and Hutch were Apu and Mustafa, two brown guys from over the rainbow. Their English was fine, but it had the hint of the exotic, suggesting they grew up speaking something other than English at home. They also had the narrowness that is typical of the South Asian. Thereâ€™s always a barrier that exists between the Occidental and the Oriental, despite the degree of shared experience. There is an inscrutableness there that always leaves a degree of uncertainty between usâ€¦
After getting sprung from gaol, I was free to explore the giant shopping mall that is the Heathrow airport. The best I could tell, all of the employees were either brown people from over the horizon or Eastern Europeans. I got something to eat and all of the wait staff was not British. Given the international flavor of the passengers, you would be hard pressed to know you were in the heart of Britain. They donâ€™t even have televisions playing the BBC or local sporting events. Heathrow is a foreign country disguised as an airportâ€¦
Iâ€™ve been in a great many airports in my life and I have a weird fascination for them. Most airports serving big cities are really just complex systems that have evolved over many years to solve evolving problems of air travel. An airport is a solution for a problem of modern life. As a result, you can learn a lot about the evolution of human organization by observing what happens at the big airports. Their design is similar everywhere, but everywhere is not the same, so the airport says something about the local culture. …
On the fight from Lagos to London, a couple of Africans were across the aisle, one row up, from where I was sitting. Both were dressed up in what Hollywood tells us is traditional African dress for African royalty. Their accents suggested Ghana to me. At some point, the male got very agitated at the person in front of him, who had reclined her chair. He started violently shaking her chair-back and hollering something. Two stewards came over and gave him a lecture about his behavior and airplane etiquette.
Watching the two of them struggle to understand how to be passengers on an airplane, I realized what it would be like to bring Stone Age people into this age. The two of them were just too dumb to navigate plane transport. They were frustrated by the food service process. They struggled to understand simple directions. When the plane landed, they got up and started walking down the aisle, while the plane was still taxiing to the gate. They are primitives incapable of existing in a modern society, without constant supervisionâ€¦
Walking around Heathrow, it is easy to see why our rulers love multiculturalism. They look at the diversity you see at a big intentional airport and they think of it as the Casablanca of this age. It makes them feel worldly and sophisticated. That brown guy in their department with the perfect continental English is not just a colleague. He is a symbol of what makes them special. They are not provincials. They are worldly cosmopolitans. They never see the other side of it. They just see the good part of the transaction.