Snakes on a Plane is at best a stale collection of B-movie cliches cobbled together into the semblance of a movie and propelled skywards by meme-happy bloggers and a hyperactive marketing machine, but as a barometer of the American psyche it could not be more telling. Steven King, a man not unfamiliar with shock-slock, posits in his book Danse Macabre that the sub-text of a majority of 1950s b-horrors was that of nuclear annihilation – one of the era’s greatest fears. The same, admittedly serpentine, argument can be made for Snakes on a Plane, as a stockpile of America’s travel fears played out in a vaguely consumable form across the silver screen.
Just take a look at the movie for a second, ditching the sophomoric Freudian commentary on how phallic snakes are. The villain is definitely not white, and resorts to an act of terrorism done at a distance though his minions. The plan itself was ludicrous; fill a plane with snakes to kill the witness to one of the villain’s crime. Mind you until 9/11 so was flying planes into towers, a plan with a real life villain (with admittedly more complex motives) that does his bidding from a distance – Ernst Blofeld couldn’t have come up with better. Finally, in the movie, everyday people rally together to fight a common foe, no need to point the parallels there. It’s easy to establish a pervasive theme of planes as dangerous by only scratching the sub-textual surface here… Likely when the August 10th arrests of some 11 suspected terrorist plotting to suicide bomb US-bound flights occurred, the movies promoters, if they were psychologically minded, likely were high-fiving forecasting new 9/11s all ’round.
A persistent theme that air travel isn’t to be trusted really isn’t a stretch, and that’s before you factor in the hassle of carry on restrictions and an evil plot by the airlines to turn us cattle-class travelers to jerky. The ban on liquids on planes, regardless of its perceived anti-terrorism effect, forces one to rely on beverage cart service for water. A cart that transits up and down the isles at best once or twice on a cross-country flight where one is held captive in an 10-20% relative humidity environment – you’ll find as much humidity in the Sahara and you’re not likely to spend 8 hours there without a Perrier. Perhaps the airlines will take the money saved on fuel from not carrying the masses liquids and pour it into service… when you stop laughing at that thought we’ll get to the point.
So, if Snakes on a Plane is systemic of North American society’s underlying distrust of air travel, and that actual act of travel has over the course of a series of terror alerts and baggage restrictions become more uncomfortable (and likely no safer from terrorism – if “they” can create liquid bombs what’s to stop minor surgical procedures for the subcutaneous implant of such explosives) where does a traveler stand?
Personally I’m hoping to see the rise of local travel, more importantly to OneWheelDrive.Net readers, the rise of local motorcycle travel. North America, and lets include Mexico in this, has an amazing array of destinations, all coincidentally accessible by motorcycle. You’ll have noticed of late that OneWheelDrive.Net has been increasing coverage of the locales we test in, at least when we get a chance to sneak out of Vancouver. Likely that’s a trend that will continue as we realize the importance of a motorcycle is not what it does, so much as where it takes you and what you experience on the way.
Ah, late night ranting when I should be doing something useful… like trying to find a cruise ship that will let me bring the bike.