"The Recline and Fall of Western Civilization"

Dan Kois, Slate:

The woman sitting in front of me on this plane seems perfectly nice. She, like me, is traveling coach class from Washington to Los Angeles. She had a nice chat before takeoff with the man sitting next to her, in which she revealed she is an elementary school teacher, an extremely honorable profession. She, like me, has an aisle seat and has spent most of the flight watching TV. Nevertheless, I hate her.

Why? She’s a recliner.

Continuing Slate's near-monthly trend of delving into the world of bizarre/counterintuitive/pointless arguments, Dan Kois has today chosen to heroically (i.e., bafflingly) attack reclining seats on planes.

(Also, before you ask, the answer is "Yes." That is the actual headline Slate ran for the article.)

Although Kois' article isn't anywhere near as bad as Henry Blodget's Internet-ruining live-blog of traveling economy on an international flight — which, incidentally, I refuse to link to — I will say that I find this trend to be woefully embarrassing.

Somewhere beneath the link-bait headline and surrealist tone, there's likely an interesting — albeit trite — point to be made about the state of modern airlines. And yet, due to the nature of the publication, such valuable content has been washed over with a deliberately alarmist piece designed to incite responses such as this, mindless agreement in the comments, and a general rise in self-entitlement in the American populace.

We've collectively glossed over the value of a balanced dialog in favor of sporadically yelling controversial things into an audience of buzz-snorting readers. Perhaps it's funny at times. Perhaps it's even relieving to see people take themselves a little less seriously on the Internet. But, at the end of the day, it's realistically just poor writing combined with poorly formed arguments. And I'm growing increasingly tired of it.