No Control!


It was a week of high-intensity stupidity, featuring the parents of a three-year-old girl who were “unable” to secure her in an airline seat, and were subsequently ejected from the flight. Ridiculously low airline fares have effectively brought those better-suited for bus travel into airports, so it’s unreasonable to expect a flight without some sort of drooling, screaming, dirty passenger (of any age) beside you in the departure lounge or on the aircraft.

But lost in the galvanizing of all travelers quite fed up with the inability of so many post-boomer parents to, well, parent — thus erupting in a torrent of abuse at the child for crying — is the fact that the family demonstrated they have no control over their child when directed by the flight crew to follow FAA regulations. Having already demonstrated that inability, the crew quite possibly — and rightly — determined that the parents could be unable to control the child in the air during turbulence or other emergency situations. A drop could land the kid on the ceiling producing serious injury to herself or other passengers, and the possibility of litigation.

Bravo, AirTran Airways!

Topping the week off was the opening screen to a porn DVD I was reviewing — don’t ask, it was a twink foot-fetish production and therefore solely business and not at all pleasure, I assure you. Apparently control is not something which the studio filming, editing and manufacturing the DVD had, either. “Those crazy barebackers! I mean, what could we do? We could not not film them! And then we could not not distribute the finished product! Our hands were tied!”

Fraternity Feet Rituals

Gee, what else can you justify with this sort of warning? “Hey, they wanted to hit each other on the head with hammers, so we had to film it, edit it and distribute it! We had no choice!”

By the way, the packaging for the film in no way indicates the barebacking content within. You’d be crazy, of course, to expect any different behaviour from a porn house but let me assure you, there are some rock-solid studios out there (Hot House, Titan) whose work is professional, hot and in possession of a level of integrity clearly missing from the Pacific Sun release above.

11 Responses to “No Control!”

  1. 1 tim

    i think maybe if the flight attendants gave the parents of the shrieking three-year-old a plastic garbage bag to put over the kid’s head until it stopped disrupting the i’m sure serene, pleasurable aviation experience it probably would’ve done the trick. otherwise if i was on the flight i most certainly would’ve regardless of the parent’s objections and possible bodily harm.

    i have ZERO compassion or sympathy for a child who obviously manages the parents or the parents. i was once on a plane where the wee toddler behind me kept repeatedly kicking my seat. i looked back twice and glared at the child and mother to no avail. after about ten minutes of enduring this i turned around and asked the mother if she could please have her pint-sized terror stop kicking my seat. to which she replied, “well she’s only a child” to which i responded, “well i’m only an adult who will break the child’s legs if she doesn’t stop.” the women was rendered speechless and the child stopped.

    i’m just sorry airtran caved in and gave these people a dime. i would’ve been the one to kick them off and tell them never EVER to even consult airtran again for future travel plans.

    i love a child.

  2. 2 bstewart23

    So, I guess that Madonna-style adoption you were so excited about last month is off now?

    The “she’s just a child” rationale doesn’t cut it. While the child’s behaviour is indeed odious, it’s the parents’ unwillingness — or inability (does it matter?) — to, oh, I dunno, be the parent is what really rankles. Flying business/first class offers no respite, either, thanks to bonus point rewards programs available to the masses.

    My fave justification for children misbehaving on flights is “s/he has a right to be here, just like you, we paid for a seat for him/her, just like you!” Wait until I start kicking your seat, just like her/him and then we’ll talk about rights. Then again, could you possibly expect a better argument from someone whose concept of “rights” extends to airline seating and behaviour?

  3. 3 Lisa

    Yes, okay, we GET it, but why are you assuming that this particular instance is indicative of the entire parent’s ability to parent, or the entirety of the child’s behavior? You’re right, it ISN’T justified by “well we paid for her seat,” or “well, she’s just a child,” but will you please get some perspective? What about all of the times you’ve seen parents trying to calm down toddlers in public, to BE parents, while you snarled away at their odious incompetence? When was the last time YOU tried to calm a scared, hungry, tired, or otherwise out-of-sorts child?
    I’m not saying you’re wrong. I happen to agree with you that there are whole lot of sucky parents out there; and I think Air-Tran was right, too. But for Christ’s sake. It is unbelievably arrogant of you to assume that if a child isn’t behaving like an adult — and hello? it’s a CHILD, you fuck, they can’t always control their emotions; that’s part of what growing up is — then the parents are total dimwits. Is it really so terribly hard to maybe, maybe, try something? What about you turning around to the little boy kicking your seat and engaging him in a conversation; or making up a game or a song with him? Or are you just to cool for that? For all you know they were on that plan flying to his grandma’s funeral and the mom and legitimate other things on ther mind.
    They’re fucking human beings, is all I’m saying.

  4. 4 bstewart23


    Not quite sure to whom you’re delivering a torrent of abuse, but let’s be clear, here: when you choose not to have children, for whatever reason, it’s pretty goddamned clear that you have no need, desire or even a social obligation to calm a scared, hungry, tired or otherwise out-of-sorts child. That “it takes a village” crap is for hippies.

    You’re making a lot of assumptions, too, most of them in favour of the parents and without any evidence that the parents aren’t utterly incompetent, so let’s assume that the examples above are from that category, ‘kay? I’m not sure how parents think their seat-kicking child is exempt from the laws of physics and solid mechanics; that is, kicking the back of a seat is about 90% equivalent to kicking the person ahead of them in the back. There’s the perspective that’s needed, right there.

    No one expects children to behave well. But when parents are alerted to bad behaviour and do nothing to prevent further bad behaviour, well, what the fuck?

  5. 5 Cora

    Oh, come on. That wasn’t a torrent. I used the “f” word a few times, geez. And I never said it takes a village; I think that’s horseshit. What I’m saying is that, as I know from experience, you can plan and plan and plan and plan, and talk to your child beforehand, and make sure that you discipline the child the same at home as you do in public, but there’s still going to be meltdowns — and it doesn’t help when someone like Tim up there stands there across the way at the mall while you’re hiding behind the trash can trying to calm your child while your partner is getting the stroller and you tried, you really tried, to make sure your son was fed and dry and occupied, but he’s just not having any of it and there’s Tim staring and staring and staring and making nasty comments to his friend like you’re some kind of troll who should be exterminated from the earth…. and to come to this site that I like so much and find such an awful comment because, I guess, he knows so very much more about how to raise children instead of giving a very tired low-blood-sugar mom a break. Why isn’t it possible to give up just a little bit of ground to those of us who try?

  6. 6 tim

    thank you mr. stewart for backing me up. a child’s behaviour is directly indicative of a parent’s capability to – oh, i don’t know – parent them? and i’m not on a plane to engage a child in a game of ‘little foofoo rabbit’ or a singalong. i’m there to get from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ with as little stress as possible – a rare feat in today’s aviation world. i turn on my ipod and read my magazines and tend not to engage or infringe on other people’s space. i respect that. but when a self-absorbed parent doesn’t care if their child screams or kicks or throws tantrums on the duration of a TEN HOUR FLIGHT (as i experienced on another occasion) well then you know what? i could care less if they’re going to nana’s funeral. shut your kid up and *you* be the one to pay attention to them and engage them so they don’t run amok. call me heartless but yes – when it comes to ill behaved children – i proudly wear that badge.

    a ball gag and a leash would do wonders….

  7. 7 tim

    i completely sympathize with you cora – i know how difficult it is to raise a child. although i have none, nor wish to at any point in the future, i live vicariously through my two sisters who have a brood. of monsters. who they don’t discipline. children are children and will behave as such and push their parents to the point of breaking. my whole issue is that when meltdowns do occur most parents nowadays just shrug it off thinking ‘kids will be kids’. if your child is midst hissy fit at the mall and screaming at the top of their lungs why is it that the entire mall must be subject to that? can’t you just remove the kid, put them in the car and drive home? or why can’t a parent who’s child continually kicks the back of my seat on a plane take responsibility for that person they’re responsible for molding?

    to come full circle to the original intent of this post on mr. stewart’s part – should it come as any surprise that these people were asked to leave the plane when their kid’s head almost popped off with rage? why is that a bad thing? the people should have voluntarily gotten off the plane and respected the what? 500 other people who were on it and wishing to just have a somewhat easy-going ride. it’s this sense of privilege amongst parents who don’t give a rat’s ass about anyone else. respect me. respect others. k?

  8. 8 bstewart23

    Indeed, Tim.

    A rereading of the original post will reveal that its intent was to draw attention to the specious claims by inept parents (and pornographers) that they have “no control” over that which they, alone, should have control. And if they don’t have control, they must, at the very least, accept responsibility for the consequences of their failure to do so.

    I understand that all parents will recognize the situations described in the original post and comments following. But do you recognize the response to the situation as being one you’ve displayed? I hope not. Some people are just shitty at parenting, and it’s that shitty parenting that I (and Tim, I’m guessing) am talking about.

    Defending a jerk parent just because you’re a parent makes as little sense as me defending a jerk queen simply because I’m a homo, too. A jerk is a jerk is a jerk.

  9. 9 Cora

    Yes. Yes to all; and by the way, Cora and Lisa are the same person (it’s a long, boring story). Maybe my verbiage got lost; I wasn’t defending jerky parents. I don’t like them either, because they make my life hell sometimes — my kid utters one cry of joy at, like, the Thomas store or something, and there is always at least one person ready to snide away, because of their bad experiences with bad parents. My point was that assumptions should not be made on either side. I don’t like it when the above situation happens and someone takes one look at me and decides that I am necessarily the Parent From Hell, irrespective of my actions (including removing the child to a private area when he melts down in public). I think we’re all on the same page; I was just really shocked by the first message. Okay, you’re rightly pissed off, but it seemed awfully out of proportion. I think there’s a middle ground between ignoring bad behavior and telling a self-absorbed mother that you’ll break her kid’s legs. That’s what I would like to see explored.

  10. 10 tim

    cora – i *really* didn’t mean i would indeed break the child’s legs. i just wanted the kid to stop and after repeatedly turning around and staring to no avail – and then asking nicely for the kid to stop – i felt exaggeration to be the one way to make it happen. it was indeed a case of a bad parent bad parenting regardless of the child’s antics. these are the people who need to be taken to task. and i’d wager a bet that the people boarding the plane and attempting to calm their screaming child fall into this category. why would i wager that bet? becuase if it was me and my kid was disrupting an ENTIRE PLANE’S worth of people i wouldn’t demand that the airline re-imburse me for the flight. i’d sulk away and hope i never ever ran into one of the passengers. ever.

    i could never hurt a child. i just don’t like them. so you can have yours and i swear that if you’re a good parent i won’t look at you when your kid is mid-meltdown like you have two heads.

  11. 11 Cora

    This would be so much easier if I lived in Toronto and could just buy you a beer.

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