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The Daily Tar Heel

The Cold War Wages on in Friendly Skies

Besides, it was much more fun to cheer for Rocky in the boxing-as-a-metaphor-for-the-world-politics classic "Rocky IV" against that evil Russian Communist Ivan Drago.

Thank you, capitalism, for the freedom we've been given to buy more than 400,000, equally ineffective, cold medications. This is not to say that I'm a disrespectful ingrate, but if capitalism and the free market system are such great ideas that should be blindly cherished, then where did all these steel tariffs come from?

Communism is dead, folks -- dead because it didn't "work," dead because it wasn't run properly and, most importantly, dead because it lost the PR battle. Oh sure, communes and co-ops are still around, but the general public cares as little for these random blips in society as it does for foreigners trying to dump their blasphemous steel in the United States.

So imagine the irony in flying on a Communist-yet-American airline born deep in the heart of Texas. Hello, and thanks for flying Southwest Airlines.

My knowledge of Communism is admittedly unsophisticated. It's limited to the snippets I learned as a kid retold by top Western scholars, while sharing a room with an opinionated East German for a year and while spending time this past summer in two of the few remaining Communist countries in the world.

Based on what I know, however, Southwest is running a bloody Communist racket, what with its rigid yet classless structure, equal distribution of goods and ridiculously affordable prices! And the best part is, Americans are loving them for it! How un-American!

I'll freely admit that I was raised in a socialist democracy, rife with free health care, less dehumanizing welfare programs and super-high taxes. And I wouldn't trade that upbringing for anything in the world, except for maybe a bowl of hamsters and a sensible explanation of macroeconomics. But while I appreciate a free market anomaly like Southwest Airlines, I think some things were not meant to be -- for example, the mixing of the classes.

I spent this past weekend in Chicago -- home of the Cubs, irritatingly cold wind and, I hope, sometime soon in the future, me.

Normally I have a great time and an uneventful flight when I go to Chicago. But this time, I had a great time and a flight that was so wretched that it reminded me of the one time I flew and had a no-jokes case of the flu, which made me feel like my head was on the brink of explosion for two straight hours.

I was stuck sitting by these silly corporate-type caricatures that were blabbing on and on about "Earth," "Sun" and "Fire." It took a second for me to realize that they were talking about some stupid personality test. The test was either designed by some new-age corporate psychologist who was really into the elements as metaphors for personality traits or a really big but burnt-out '70s R&B fan.

There I am in row 18, seat C, decked out in fine thrift store selections while these talking 20-something suits are saying such absurd things as, "My Sun was so high," "I was surprised my Lightning was so developed," and "I really thought we'd get along, but now that I know you're so Earth, well ..." Two hours of nonstop inane chatter -- please, give me head-exploding flu any day.

Whatever happened to the days of old when your personality was based on what you dreamt about (sex), what motivated you (sex), and what a bunch of ink splotches reminded you of (sex, sort of)? These days, you're apparently some bizarre mix of nature, nurture and letters of the alphabet (I'm ENFP BTW).

Of course, there are all sorts of directions to point crooked fingers of blame, and the Cold War is over, but isn't it finally time we stamped out Communism for good and rid this fair land of Southwest? After all, that would be the American thing to do.

Eugene Kim is definitely Sun with a dollop of Lightning and a heaping side of T-bone, medium-rare, whatever that means. You can contact him by e-mail at Oh, and happy birthday Katie Dickman.

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