Sunday, February 14, 2010

Two Things: Give 'Em Hell Malone & F*ck Southwest Air

Being that this entry in the ongoing putrification of the Internet known as the HoB will be rather pointed, I'll try and be brief -- which means that if I were writing for a printed periodical, I'd be out of a job and collecting empty soda cans.

First and foremost, I came across a Thomas Jane film entitled "Give 'Em Hell Malone" -- which also features Ving Rhames and Elsa Pataky. Many of you know Thomas Jane from the HBO Series "Hung," and many others of you might know him from films like "The Punisher" and/or "61*." Many -- no, all -- of you will not have seen him in perhaps his best film, "Thursday," in which he stars alongside Aaron Eckhart and Paulina Porizkova. That's unfortunate -- but what's even more unfortunate is that anyone felt the need -- or that it was appropriate -- to green-light "Give 'Em Hell Malone." How anyone would allow this two-hour pile of shit to be committed to film without following it up with firing squads for the writer, director and producer(s) is beyond me.

In a word, dogshit. Complete and utter dogshit.

Now on to more rosy pastures.

Apparently, one of the more admirable people in the film business, Kevin Smith (Mallrats, Clerks, Dogma, and the forthcoming Cop Out) had a rough weekend. The other day, he boarded a flight leaving from Oakland to LA (or the other way around) on Southwest Airlines and was the victim of an incident. Apparently, the captain -- a pilot -- of the plane, prior to takeoff, left the cockpit and advised Mr. Smith that he was too fat to fly.

Again: they deemed him a safety risk because he was too heavy to fly.

Never mind that all the previous Southwest staff -- check-in people, flight attendants, baggage people -- didn't find him too heavy to fly, nor was there any problem for him to fly on his prior (Southwest) flight. But apparently he was forced to leave the plane.

Now -- coincidentally -- I posted a photo of Mr. Smith earlier last week speaking at the MacWorld Expo in San Fran, and observed that he was really ballooning. Based on the photo, I'd have to assume he was close to 300 pounds. However, despite the fact that I believe he's gained a lot of weight -- most likely due to his increasing, self-professed enjoyment of marijuana, apparently -- I can't believe an airline actually deemed him worthy of humiliation and ridicule by forcing him off a flight.

The details of the incident are sketchy -- google "Kevin Smith Southwest" for more details -- but it seems that he was comfortably ensconced in his seats (he can fit in one but purchases two for privacy) and wearing a seat belt (without an extender) when Captain Shitbird decided to have him removed. I can respect an airline that is responsible and treats its customers well (cough cough Virgin America cough cough) but what I know of Southwest is that they make decisions that are ridiculous and repulsive. The last time I read something incredibly ridiculous about SouthWest was when they decided a young girl's outfit included a skirt that was apparently too mini for their tastes and advised her she would either have to put a blanket over herself for the entire flight or leave the aircraft.

Far be it from me to lecture a corporation on its strategy, but if treating your customers like shit is in your mantra and/or corporate lexicon, you're doing something wrong. Two other entities -- Blockbuster and Dominos Pizza -- make these types of value judgments about what their customers want and/or to which they are entitled, and both of those companies are just as shitty as SouthWest. Blockbuster -- like Walmart, another crappy corporate entity -- makes value judgments about which movies it will carry (or only carry certain types of films), and behold and lo, Blockbuster is going out of business (not immediately...they're on life support). Dominos Pizza's founder began speaking out about abortion and value judgments, and aside from the fact their pizza is more cardboard than quality, I will not patronize them ever again, and I hope they too hit the skids.

But SouthWest just picked on the wrong fat dude. Kevin Smith has so many fans and such a huge fan base -- on Twitter and at the View Askewniverse (his self-themed forum) -- that the next month will not be spent on PR for his soon-to-be released film Cop Out but in its place how shitty SouthWest is and why they should be boycotted.

I don't care how many "bags fly free" ads they run, any company that decides to judge people on their outfit or their weight doesn't have any place in my America. I'm not sure why or how they came to be this condescending, holier-than-thou source of all that's right (or wrong, your perspective) in America, but I know that I will never -- ever -- patronize them.

In an age where media and communication and information has real, tangible, power, SouthWest just picked on the wrong porcine passenger, and they should -- and will -- pay the price. Whether they survive this incident merely with a 20% drop in revenue or whether this begins their final descent is anyone's guess; but I know that any entity which deems it necessary and appropriate to pull this shit -- especially with someone whose opinions are broadcast to millions of people -- does not deserve to be in business, and while I appreciate the sensibility that this asshat pilot felt he was just doing his job, I can assure you that he, and every other self-aggrandizing imbecile that works for that shithole, should literally and figuratively go down with the ship.

Being that Mr. Smith has since been a non-stop tweet machine about this incident -- entitling many of his tweets and podcasts "F*ck Southwest Air," the irony in and of this particular incident is that the captain's concern that Mr. Smith's weight might bring down a plane will -- hopefully -- and ultimately -- result in the entire airline figuratively slamming into the ground.



Personal note to Kevin: still waiting on that $20 from Affleck. Hope you hung in there and didn't take this incident too-too personally, and while I hope you do jettison some extra baggage, I hope it's not simply this repulsive example of corporate dimensia gone awry that's its impetus.

And finally, Virgin America rocks, even if Branson is one or two bottles short of a case.

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