Mar 25

In-flight magazines are the worst

Category: Travel

The population of an average commercial aircraft cabin might not be a perfect representation of society at large, but I think that it must be fairly inclusive.  Let’s say 70% of income levels are found on a typical southwest flight.  Or some such fraction.  So why is it that airline magazines are particularly ludicrous and have such craven advertisements?

A typical specimen displays an inordinately high number of ads for plastic surgery, undignified and disturbing cosmetic appliances, and Really Shiny & Heavy Expensive Vehicles (RSHEVs).  The magazines lack nothing in their unrestrained appeal to the basest, most craven levels of greed and excess.

This quality leaves me feeling insulted by implication, but the publications also have an arbitrary quality that interrupts their plea to grasping, shallowly desperate readers – a surreal obviousness so comical that flattery fails to sustain the pretense of sophistication.  In this light, such ads acquire the stature of a graceless, zitty teenager clawing futilely at the clasp of his date’s bra.

Our first example appeals to a woman reader – let’s call her “Wife,” depicted as a nobly toned young woman but doubtlessly an aged balding hag in reality.  Husband is present in the background – as befits his importance in Wife’s mental hierarchy – but in an arrangement probably reminiscent of actual events, he’s contracting genital warts from a pair of floozies while Wife obliviously rubs oil into her grotesquely varicosed calves; it’s a tradeoff she made long ago.  She pretends not to notice, and we’re too embarrassed to say anything.

In our second example, what’s with the blue circle?  Is it the incision through which the doctors endoscopically extracted 50 pounds of adipose tissue?  Perhaps its the port where she now must attach her colonoscopy bag – the result of a clumsily handled scalpel – because she used some fly-by-night plastic surgeon that can only advertise in airline magazines?  After all, he now works in Bolivian exile as the result of a misunderstood approach to surgery that ended in an unfortunate legal decision; he has to appeal relentlessly to the surgical tourism set in order to pay for the spa vacations where he ditches his wife and plays with bikini-clad locals.

Finally, from this image, we learn that the trustees of the Jacksonville public library have decided to subsidize their struggling enterprise by operating an after-hours bawdy house.  I would say a nightclub, but with the exhortation to go anywhere, it’s hard to misunderstand.  Go anywhere, yes, like behind the reference section with Sandra.  If you don’t have a late book fine, you can take Carmen too.  She likes hard covers.  I wonder what she did to earn that star earring from the head librarian?  Maybe she works in the spa when she’s not in the library.  One should never make assumptions; sex workers can be very well educated.

Next time I fly, I’m going to collect more of these.


4 Comments so far

  1. Michael Berman March 25th, 2009 11:38 PM

    That’s what you get for straying from “Telescope” and “Science News” and “SCUBA Illustrated”.

  2. Clare March 26th, 2009 8:31 AM

    Maybe that’s the plastic surgeon at the Spa enjoying himself after botching yet another routine surgery :)

  3. Buddy March 30th, 2009 10:57 AM

    See ? That’s what you get for not hitting up your library pre- flight.
    Plus the fact you can’t just meander up to the flight deck as per usual turns time in that aluminum anxiety tube into hell .And anudda thing …
    Oop’s gotta go and zap some squirrels with JT’s nerf gun .
    Nice rantage btw .


  4. Dan March 31st, 2009 4:59 PM

    I actually do go to the library before every flight! But my library doesn’t have those kinds of patrons, unfortunately.

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