You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - 2009
Memo to Todd Petruna and his worshippers: YOU ARE DUMB.
I'm not sure why, but I thought we were past the right-wing, Islamophobic, Rambo "Let's Roll" fantasy that was a recurring theme of the post-9/11 e-mail. You know, the hyperbolic forwarded e-mail that warns friends and family to be alert, because they saw bearded dudes acting funny on a plane and it had to be some kind of terrorist plot or "dry run" testing security.
Invariably, it turns out to be a rank xenophobic misunderstanding, and doubly inevitably, the kinds of people who have a vested interest in believing things that aren't true refuse to admit that they're just being crazy. But like I said, I thought we were past this. Not that we'd gotten BETTER, mind, just that the people who would have been fake-foiling fake-terrorist fake-plots have moved on to discovering fake birth certificates from fake countries in a fake attempt to prove that Barack Obama is fake.
But then Todd Petruna came and made me all nostalgic for 2005. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"If you read the papers the 18th you may have seen a blurb where a AirTran flight was cancelled from Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get off of his cell phone before takeoff. It was on Fox. This was NOT what happened. I was in 1st class coming home. 11 Muslim men got on the plane in full attire. 2 sat in 1st class and the rest peppered themselves throughout the plane all the way to the back. As the plane taxied to the runway the stewardesses gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with. At that time, one of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively. This took the 1st stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones were not permitted at the time. He ignored her as if she was not there."
Already, we're in the presence of at least three different kinds of awesome. I love how he thinks the people most interested in his e-mail might have seen it in the papers, but he has to tell them it was on Fox. Trust me, if it was on Fox and in print, the vast majority of people who'll take you seriously will have seen it on the Scary News. Second, we already have our first warning sign - the "full attire" of Muslim men who "peppered" themselves throughout the plane. Ever try getting eleven contiguous seats on a plane? Ever try it on a shit-ass budget carrier like AirTran? Even assuming all 11 dudes knew each other, which is a xenophobic stretch as is, they're lucky they all ended up on the same plane.
But the best part is how he vehemently informs us that it was NOT about a guy not getting off his cell phone, then goes on to describe how one of the guys refused to get off his cell phone. But clearly there was more to it than that, right? Of course.
"In the back of the plane at this time, 2 younger Muslims, one in the back, isle, and one in front of him, window, began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before, and were very loud about it. Now....they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad. If a Muslim man goes into a strip club, he has to view the woman via mirror with his back to her. (don't ask me....I don't make the rules, but I've studied) The 3rd stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time. To which one of the men said 'shut up infidel dog!' She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic."
I beg your fucking pardon? Let's just look at the logistics of this for a second. Petruna claims he was in first class. Yet he was able to discern that all the way in the back of the plane were watching homemade porn on their camcorder? There's no way he saw the screen, which means that for him to have known what was going on, the Muslims "being very loud about it" would have had to mean the two guys, shouting, in English, about how they were watching a homemade porno from the previous night. Loud enough to carry up to first class.
And then the strip club thing. Even assuming his "study" of Muslim law regarding pornography were accurate, the adult entertainment industry has lived happily alongside major religions, all of which prohibit the consumption of adult entertainment, for over two millennia. Clearly, a whole bunch of motherfuckers, from all three major faiths, are breaking the rules ALL THE TIME. Not just before they're gonna hijack a plane. By the way, remember his "insightful" observation about porn and jihad, it'll come in handy later.
"This is where I had had enough! I got up and started to the back where I heard a voice behind me from another Texan twice my size say 'I got your back.' I grabbed the man who had been on the phone by the arm and said 'you WILL go sit down or you Will be thrown from this plane!' As I 'led' him around me to take his seat, the fellow Texan grabbed him by the back of his neck and his waist and headed out with him. I then grabbed the 2nd man and said, 'You WILL do the same!' He protested but adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to go. As I escorted him forward the plane doors open and 3 TSA agents and 4 police officers entered. Me and my new Texan friend were told to cease and desist for they had this under control. I was happy to oblige actually."
This isn't even propaganda. This is Flight 93 fanfic. Bad self-insertion Flight 93 fanfic, at that. A couple of big, manly, white Texans manhandling the terrorists until the authorities arrive. This doesn't pass the most rudimentary bullshit detectors, which is why the anti-jihad wingnuts went apeshit over it.
"If this wasn't a dry run, I don't know what one is. The terrorists wanted to see how TSA would handle it, how the crew would handle it, and how the passengers would handle it. I'm telling this to you because I want you to know.... The threat is real. I saw it with my own eyes..."
This is why I wanted you to remember that bit about porn. This was, according to Todd Petruna, a "dry run". Not a real terrorist attack, just a test to see how much odd behavior passengers and security would accept from Muslim men before Texans got up and thwarted them while having each other's back. But if they can only go to a strip club or watch porn before jihad, how come the young Muslim dudes were making homemade porno before what was only jihad practice? Just because you get to wear a tux to your concert doesn't mean you should be wearing one at the rehearsal.
Anyway, in case you were inclined to believe Petruna anyway, despite the obvious holes and embellishments in his story, AirTran would like you to know one key thing. Todd Petruna wasn't on this plane. He missed a connection. I don't know why he missed his connection, but given Todd's e-mail, I can only assume he was foiling a ring of international jewelry thieves while having hot sex with his wife, Morgan Fairchild.
Also, the flight wasn't cancelled, like Petruna said in a bit of the e-mail I didn't quote because it was too long and boring. It was just delayed a couple of hours while security handled the passengers who, because of language difficulties (a language that may, according to some witnesses, have been Spanish, by the way), refused to stop talking on their cell phones while on the runway. Petruna has since admitted that he got the clothes and the porn wrong, but insists the rest happened just like he said... on the plane he wasn't on.
He also claims, by the way, that his e-mail was only intended for a small group of friends and family, and was not intended to get out. If that's true, which I doubt, but if it's true, then Petruna can blame his friend, A. Gene Hackemack, who gave an even clearer indication of the mindset at play when he passed it along:
"In my opinion, the muslims are all getting very brave now, since they have one of their own in the white house……read Tedd’s story below."
They are a never-ending source of class and distinction, aren't they? It almost makes me feel guilty about questioning their tales of derring-do. Almost.