Image 01 Image 03

Interactive Voyeurism

Interactive Voyeurism

Put the spotlight on more important issues and make comic relief less exploitive. Otherwise, we become easily manipulated slaves to tech publishers, unable to filter information, prioritize knowledge, and keep our eyes and fingers away from the screens.

And he drank of the wine and became drunk, and he uncovered himself within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness, and he told his two brothers outside. And Shem and Japheth took the garment, and they placed [it] on both of their shoulders, and they walked backwards, and they covered their father’s nakedness, and their faces were turned backwards, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and he knew what his small son had done to him. And he said, “Cursed be Canaan; he shall be a slave among slaves to his brethren.”

Genesis 9, 21-25.

An American Airlines flight was about to depart when a woman had a mental episode. She now explains that she had an argument with a family member. Maybe she was intoxicated, who knows — it doesn’t matter to me and shouldn’t matter to my readers.

The woman was very attractive. Because she screamed something about not being safe, the airline followed the procedures and evacuated the airplane. The flight was delayed for hours. My readers probably recognize the episode I am describing. If not, I’m going to omit a certain distinguishing feature of the story that’s not that important in the grand scheme of things. Also because I find the constant references to it exploitive.

The police arrived, and their report noted that the female passenger “appeared extremely distraught, crying.” The woman was escorted to the unsecured area of the airport. That wasn’t the end of it.

Everyone has a cell phone these days, and if everyone has a cell phone, at least some of them are bound to be used compulsively. One passenger recorded the ruckus, getting a good shot of the disruptor. A celebrity named Carrot Top happened to be on the flight. I hear he’s some kind of comedian. Carrot Top was understandably upset about the delay — it’s not easy to get on the plane these days, and some strange lady caused everyone to deboard. He posted the video on social media, and it went viral.

Content creators saw what they had there and knew they could capitalize on it. Twitter — or X, as it’s now known — recently started paying users for interactions they generate on the publishing platform, so there is the obvious financial motive for large accounts to circulate a video of an unknown woman during one of her less than finest moments.

In the past, I argued that citizen journalism documenting the decrepit condition of the homeless in San Francisco is necessary because it forces viewers to confront the disturbing reality of the cities. This episode is different. At the time the video went viral, the woman represented no threat to anyone. If the footage was meant to show the sorry state of contemporary air travel, there are better ways to do it than by ogling a chick in a tight-fitting t-shirt. If the story was about drugs that can cause psychotic reaction, the public should be informed about such substances, but obviously nobody will divulge. It was pure morbid curiosity.

Memes poured in. Several hashtags were created in relation to the episode. Most of what was said about the woman wasn’t malicious, but, for all we know, she could be emotionally fragile and she became the butt of many jokes. She was an ordinary passenger on the airplane, subject to the same excruciating and dehumanizing routine as everyone else, but when she broke down, that episode was recorded and blew up on social media.

Not going to lie, I found the video funny, and the woman relatable even. It’s easy to see why she fascinated millions. But I found it disturbing that the story simply refused to die, not because powers that be were pushing it, but because the masses couldn’t have enough of it.

I blame the kind of interactive voyeurism that digital technology enables. In the 2000s or earlier, a story of a disruptive passenger related to a friend was ordinary gossip, hardly worse retelling. It’s the sights and sounds of the video, the woman’s mannerisms, and her choice of words that kept social media users hooked on the episode.

Watching a short recording is a pleasant little task. Clicking the heart button is easier still, and reposting makes one feel like participating in a conversation. Leaving a witty comment takes work, but it feels most satisfying when other accounts notice it.

No person is real on the screen of one’s iPhone, but the need to click is. Users keep their fingers busy when they feel they will get engagement, getting stuck in a viral feedback loop. There is no compassion or sympathy. Media dependency is the sole authentic feature of the digital world.

There were, of course, very good reasons to avert our eyes. The woman in the video exists in three dimensions, she is a recognizable person, and nothing can be gained by awarding her with notoriety.

If that wasn’t enough, the viral video wasn’t the end of her ordeal. Some accounts demanded to know who the woman was; one writer did the legwork and published her identity on Substack. Then major media continued doxxing. One website snapped a picture of her, presumably at the door of her home, holding a check — the wealthy individual that she turned out to be, she appeared to be accepted a payment from the publication while complaining that her life has become hell and that journalists are stalking her neighbors.

None of the media attention will advance the cause of restoring the dignity of air travel, or any other kind of legitimate social or political goal. The video went viral for no other reason than it was a funny short clip to interact with online. The users couldn’t help themselves.

I am not the one to argue for limits on speech. Although the fallout for the individual at the center of the story could potentially be worse, I don’t believe media publishers should be censoring posts related to this incident.

All political lessons from it amount to this: as John Adams once observed, our form of government was created for moral and religious people. It takes self-restraint to allow a stranger to have his episode in privacy. Put the spotlight on more important issues and make comic relief less exploitive. Otherwise, we become easily manipulated slaves to tech publishers, unable to filter information, prioritize knowledge, and keep our eyes and fingers away from the screens.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



Soap opera is the only thing that draws eyeballs so it’s the only thing that pays the bills.

All you do is make me track this video down because I really don’t know what this is about.

    NotCoach in reply to NotCoach. | August 22, 2023 at 7:21 am

    OK, I happened to catch this clip sometime in the last week now that I look it up. I am at a loss as to why we are getting a sermon about it.

      amwick in reply to NotCoach. | August 22, 2023 at 7:26 am

      THis was a huge story, that I ignored. I think Katya is making an interesting point about the difference between news and voyeurism.

      Otherwise, we become easily manipulated slaves to tech publishers, unable to filter information, prioritize knowledge,

      I disagree in one respect, I think we are already past the point of no return..

        NotCoach in reply to amwick. | August 22, 2023 at 7:45 am

        I just happened to come across it in some other video that covered several other topics. I had no idea it is/was a huge story. My interest ended as soon as the video was over. Of course I don’t do any of the social network sites, so I guess I am left in the dark on the “important” news.

        As far as Sedgwick’s point is concerned we develop our own filters, and many will always be attracted to this sort of thing. For my part, in the last week, I have been more interested in the autistic girl and the lesbian looking bobby who egregiously abused her authority in an island country that is quickly abandoning liberty.

        bev in reply to amwick. | August 22, 2023 at 12:00 pm

        “THis was a huge story, that I ignored. I think Katya is making an interesting point about the difference between news and voyeurism.”

        I might say news, entertainment and voyeurism. Gutfeld has discussed this and shown the video a couple of times. For laughs. Made me uncomfortable. Unless she was faking this — and I highly doubt she was —- she was having a very serious meltdown, whatever the cause. Whatever she was referring to in her tirade, even though it wasn’t real, it was clearly very real to her and it terrified her.

        Years ago had a patient in the nursing home, an elderly French lady, who at night would have delusions about Nazis and other atrocities from the War. She would scream out of fear. It was very disruptive and the staff were frustrated. After the psychiatrist evaluated her and spoke with her he pointed out that her delusions were very real to her.

        Regarding the voyeurism, what struck me is that, even though her uncontrolled outburst occurred in a very public setting, it felt very personal. And somehow the fact that this thing has gone viral almost seems like an invasion, a violation. It seems many people lack a certain code of decency and basic empathy.

      henrybowman in reply to NotCoach. | August 22, 2023 at 2:03 pm

      I’m quickly tiring of admonishments to “take the high road” with technologies that our enemies (such as Antifa, trans militants, woke activists, federal “law” enforcement) ab/use continually to oppress and persecute us. I will take the high road when they do. They will never do so, just as criminals will never bring their guns to “buybacks.” Arguments that my side (but only my side) should disarm fall on rocky ground with me.

The Gentle Grizzly | August 22, 2023 at 7:30 am

Is it me thinking incorrectly, or, have people become far more fragile in the last, say, ten or so years? I despise the the term “[to be] triggered”, but it seems a lot of people go off the rails about nothing. Did it get its start with women being offended at men being gentlemen? Or what? I just know I find the entire thing a mystery.

    Zoomers are weak. This incident though was some sort of mental breakdown.

    Agreed. This article comes across as if it was ghost written by David French who is forever siezing the iilecturing us about why he

      CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | August 22, 2023 at 8:15 am

      ….is our moral superior.

      This woman is cray cray and she broadcast that fact in public on an airplane. We’ve had quite the ramp up in security and what is tolerated in terms of disturbances from airline passengers over past few decades.

      This grown woman was ranting about imaginary threats on an airplane causing a massive issue for the remaining passengers and crew. Why wasn’t she involuntarily committed for 96 hours for evaluation? Why wasn’t she facing criminal charges if it was determined she was ‘sane’?

      Cray Cray or weirdo Karens shrieking about whatever imaginary thing upsets them and inconveniencing everyone around them has got to end. Especially the part where their sense of self entitlement extends to infecting others who then attempting to white knight for them and shield them from criticism. Eff this.

        JackinSilverSpring in reply to CommoChief. | August 22, 2023 at 10:23 am

        I had some of the same questions. Also, why wasn’t she sued by the airline to reimburse it for the cost of aborting the flight?

          She wasn’t committed because she showed no sign of being a danger to herself or others. She wasn’t charged because having a mental episode is not a crime. And she didn’t force the airline to abort its flight. That was its decision, based on its policy, for which she is not responsible. It may be a sensible policy, but it’s still the airline’s choice, not this woman’s, so why should she have to pay for it?

          Suppose you are in possession of extremely sensitive information, so you have decided that if a middle-eastern-looking person who is armed should ever enter your office you will immediately push a button to destroy the information lest it fall into the wrong hands. Suppose we have already established that you have good and rational reasons for adopting this policy. Now someone fitting that description does indeed enter your office, and you carry out your policy; do you imagine you can hold that person liable for the value of the information you chose to destroy?!!!

          healthguyfsu in reply to JackinSilverSpring. | August 22, 2023 at 1:47 pm

          She could have been charged if she had incited a panic. Like yelling fire in a crowded theater.

          However, she didn’t because everyone thought she was loony.

      Yeah, I stopped reading partway through the post because I kept hearing myself say “concern troll.”

        CommoChief in reply to GWB. | August 22, 2023 at 6:31 pm

        Yep. This woman made herself a spectacle in public and effed up lots of other folks day with her antics. On an airplane no less, she’s lucky she didn’t get choked out or knocked out by other passengers over it. Until there is a high price to pay for becoming a Karen this self entitled BS will continue.

    Snowflakes reproduce like rabbits.

Am I the only one who has no idea what this is about, and no curiosity?

Steven Brizel | August 22, 2023 at 8:08 am

There is a huge difference between censorship and simply showing se;f restraint when you see someone else not acting approprately

There is nothing better than by ogling a chick in a tight-fitting t-shirt, well except for a chick NOT in a tight-fitting t-shirt. .

    thad_the_man in reply to thad_the_man. | August 22, 2023 at 8:49 am

    I’m sorry I put a comment in braces () and it doesn’t appear.
    That cooment was “Grocho eyebrow and cigar waggle.”

      Milhouse in reply to thad_the_man. | August 22, 2023 at 12:37 pm

      The trick is to use &lt; for the < sign. Like so: &lt;groucho-waggle>, which will show up as <groucho-waggle>

        thad_the_man in reply to Milhouse. | August 22, 2023 at 12:44 pm

        Yeah I know, it will work on a site that reposts my comments as HTML, other sites do not and you have to use some other method. It’s a problem that there is no standardized method for websites.

E Howard Hunt | August 22, 2023 at 9:41 am

The poor thing feared a crash landing over water, as evidenced by the acquisition of her own robust personal flotation device.

Bridezilla stories had quite the run as click bait and appear everywhere. I notice them less, so the sheep probably have grown tired of them.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, it “feels” like the stories genre of clickable things that tug at this or that emotion are now being generated by AI. They lack any specificity, names or places you can never verify and I’d wager if you reading the comments, those are AI generated as well.

These started appearing by the dozens in my FB feed, because I’ve reduced who I follow to an extraordinary small number of people or groups that only post worthy info or stories of themselves. Real life is boring so my feed is barren except ads… and now these AI generated things.

Roman triumphs, public executions and traveling circus, people haven’t changed much.

Oprah’s daily geek show.

And there were always the David French-Sedgwicks, publicly shaking their collective heads, while privately enthralled, no less fascinated by it all, than the ordinary serf. To realize one is no different than ordinary peasants shatters their self-image.

she’s a Waffle House 7,5

I don’t really feel sorry for her. I think most people just want to know why she freaked out like that….even without her disclosing what psychedelics she was on.

Also, I think it has very little to do with her subjective attractiveness.

People are interested because it occurs on a plane and we have all experienced the uneasiness of air travel. You get in a metal can and someone else you don’t know floats it to another destination. You have no idea how to get there on your own or fly the plane if it became necessary. You have very little control over your circumstances for an hour or more. It’s unsettling. I think more people relate to the passengers around her than this actual woman.

    You have no idea how to get there on your own or fly the plane if it became necessary.
    Not true for everyone. But understandable for those who don’t know how.

      thad_the_man in reply to GWB. | August 22, 2023 at 5:34 pm

      On an episode of QI Steven Fry pointed out that there were studies of people being put in a simulator for a particular airplane and told to fly it. The common result is that they crashed the plane trying to find the radio. Even people who had extensive experience flying other mopdels.

Ah, the longing for a truly civil society.

How dare you disparage the estimable Mr CTop? Who is next on your list? Yakof Smornoff?


A few weeks ago I came across this tweet
quite funny.

In responding to this thread I wanted to look up a receive of Veet for Men on Amazon UK, because it was extremely funny. Sadly it’s gone.

PS: Found on article wuoting one of the reviews:

These kind of things you see, most you forget about very quickly. The only reason I remember the Veet reviews is they were very very funny.

At the same time, there are some very serious posts.

This is particularly scary, because this woman being an aide to a representative, might become a representative in the future.

The woman you show is kind of middling. I’m not particularly interested in who she is, but I think it is demonstrating a kind of insanity increasing in the country.

    The Veet review is a true public service. As soon as he started wishing there was a gay snowman in the kitchen, I lost it completely. One of the funniest things I have ever read.