Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dante in Luton Airport

I've said it before and I'll say it again : if the great be-getter of Italian literature had been composing the Inferno today - that great torture chamber of failed community and misdirected love - he'd have set the whole damn thing in an airport.  This is where our society goes to self dramatise it's perversity, reveal its ugly energies and make analogy of its fears.

And the overpricing they can get away with is only the most obvious insult.  Being flattered with our popular culture repackaged as system lubricating musak for our pacification is another surface horror of this heavily policed emporium of Hades where the damned are fleeced and tortured and spat out again with all the very considerable contempt that corporate devils can muster..

But we put up with things being a bit crap, because, after all, what can you expect for the money?  We are not the Beatles, the sixties are a mouldering corpse, a parody of the jet set, and its's not as if it's designed to be awful, is it?  It's just a bit crap, isn't it?

No.  Not at all.  It has been designed to be exactly this awful by an as artfully defined agent of hatred as Dante's devil himself. The barely concealed hatred which the public endure and the subordinate devils inflict in airports is no accident. This is a place for deliberate punishment of our desire for shit, and has been designed with Satanic exactitude

Airport seating for example, is ergonomically created to be uncomfortable - to prevent rest. They don't want passengers waiting to be shunted from one budget airline onto another to be able to do such an unproductive thing as sleep.  Dear me no.  At every waking moment, we,  the new, worldwide proletariat must be creating profit for the scum we've lazily allowed to control our lives both through exploitation of our necessities, and by tickling our unworthy desires.  And as in Dante, the punishment will be a mirror of the crime.  We will be punished not by the thwarting of our sick, lonely desires, but by their fulfilment.

In the shops all there for our convenience.  Toilets for our hearts and mind to regurgitate "our" money in.

Because it's not "our" money.  This is what airport emporia tell me.  These shops are not there in case we happen to want a sandwich.  We are confined and imprisoned by them.  They are there to make us the very model citizens we are meant to be all the time.  Airports are where our humanity, as conceived by late capitalism, finds its fulfilment.  Airports are the apogee and exemplar of our failure to live as human beings, and our damnation as consumers instead. To repeat, we are lent the money as a means of recycling it back to the rich.  Wages or loans are equally devices to transfer the value of our lives our work, our emotions, our desires, to the profit of those who already have and own everything and who always want more.  This is where our existence is revealed in its true nature.  And it is hell

The only justification for the poor to live at all, when we are not working for minimum wages, is to part with those wages at the various boutiques set up not for the convenience of said passengers, but for that of the convenient extraction of the credit which one outlet sells while another recaptures it, re-cycling the takings and sending the untaxed profits by way of much nicer airlines to the Cayman Islands or other crown dependencies where the rich can enjoy a lifestyle untroubled by contact with the ugly, stupid and smelly animals who are the source of their ill gotten, excremental excesses.

So we must not be allowed to sleep.  The distances between rows of "free" seating and the barriers between the seats make rest quite impossible.  You try it.  I have.  And waiting in Luton for a flight yesterday on my way home from Wroclow with a plane full of said cheap labourers, I was once more astonished that airports are not places where a sudden violent rebellion lynches the hapless employees of the airlines as they herd those "called forward for boarding" into a room with no seating at all, herding us in obedient silence into the chamber, asking us to make room for those "other passengers awaiting embarkation", so that we all end up, on  exact time despite the non arrival of our connecting flight, the flow of people worked out by subordinate demons in exactly the way the arrival, sale and waste of food is mathematically determined on strict principles of profit at supermarkets, and like string beans from Kenya, we are crammed like sheep too frightened to even bleat into an airless chamber...while our plane, finally arrived late, extrudes the last lot of poor fools like toothpaste from the front end of the flying bus we;re about to enjoy.  It will then be quickly fumigated and frozen, recycled air from another part of hell will be flushed through it, and then we, Gold customers, priority customers that we are,  will be goaded into taking our un -numbered seats, politely fighting each other, little pockets of self-hating, misdirected rage.  Rage against an oppression we barely recognise, because that oppressor ultimately is our own weakness, in permitting and indeed paying for this humiliation, for this passage the peristalsis of capitalism, being washed through the sewer pipes of credit to an early,apoplectic grave.

You half expect them to just lock us in and gas us and get on with it...but no...only when we are too exhausted to work, too spent to spend.

I hate airports. And I can't avoid them.  like everyone else. They are where my slavery is revealed to me.  My slavery to my own weakness and to those who profit from it. I think they are the theatre of our totalitarian consumer culture.  I think they are where you go to understand that we, people, are every bit as re-ified as soap and veal and pharmaceuticals. that we are held in utter and deserved contempt while we are told that our desires are good.

Airports are where a modern Dante would make hell.  And above the door would be inscribed: if you want to know what a piece of  shit feels like in a pipe, fly Easyjet.

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