“Stop Saying That!”: Qantas Flight Attendant Demands Passenger Change T-Shirt With Princess Bride Quote

15744_187310782365_1464670_s180px-Qantas_Airways_Limited_logo.svgWe have been following the increasing crackdown on passengers wearing T-Shirts on airlines deemed offensive or threatening. These cases often raise free speech questions, but also raise serious questions of the increasing irrationality of airline staff and some passengers. The t-shirt of Wynand Mullins is a good example. Mullins wore a t-shirt on a Qantas flight from Sydney with the well-known quote from Princess Bride by character Montoya (played in the film by Mandy Patinkin): “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.” Some passengers became alarmed by the t-shirt, presumably convinced that a terrorist would not only advertise his intent but choose a fictional character from a children’s book to represent his deep homicidal beliefs. Flight staff insisted that he change his shirt. Presumably, there was a passenger with five fingers that felt personally threatened by the quotation.

After he boarded his flight home to Auckland, New Zealand, a flight attendant took on the role of Count Rugen who insisted he did not like the line and told Montoya “Stop saying that!”

In this case, however, the flight attendant told him that the t-shirt was unacceptable for travel. He was only allowed to continue after he established that he did not have a change in shirts. You can see Mullins and his t-shirt at this site. I simply do not get how some passengers are so fearful that a joke t-shirt triggers such alarm. These are the same people presumably favoring greater and greater limitations on passengers and citizens under anti-terror laws. Fear has been wiped up to such a frenzy that passengers believe Al Qaeda is going into suicide missions wearing quotes from Rob Reiner films.

I only wish that when he was asked to change his shirt, Mullins pulled out a shirt quoting the character Vizzini: “you are friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless!”

The alternative lines may not be much an improvement for general acceptance of the passengers:

Westley to Buttercup: “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.”

Westley: “DEATH FIRST!”

Westley: “We are men of action, lies do not become us.”

Vizzini: “Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line”! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha… “

Of course, Montoya was warned that his “over-developed sense of vengeance is going to get you into trouble some day.”

Source: Daily Mail

146 thoughts on ““Stop Saying That!”: Qantas Flight Attendant Demands Passenger Change T-Shirt With Princess Bride Quote”

  1. A mechanism for horizontal evolution and evidence of increasing complexity but not directed design. Anything else you’d like to add that supports what I said?

  2. The earliest version of the hypothesis:

    Several genes coding for key proteins involved in viral replication and morphogenesis as well as the major capsid protein of icosahedral virions are shared by many groups of RNA and DNA viruses but are missing in cellular life forms.

    On the basis of this key observation and the data on extensive genetic exchange between diverse viruses, we propose the concept of the ancient virus world. The virus world is construed as a distinct contingent of viral genes that continuously retained its identity throughout the entire history of life. Under this concept, the principal lineages of viruses and related selfish agents emerged from the primordial pool of primitive genetic elements, the ancestors of both cellular and viral genes.

    Thus, notwithstanding the numerous gene exchanges and acquisitions attributed to later stages of evolution, most, if not all, modern viruses and other selfish agents are inferred to descend from elements that belonged to the primordial genetic pool.;

    In this pool, RNA viruses would evolve first, followed by retroid elements, and DNA viruses. The Virus World concept is predicated on a model of early evolution whereby emergence of substantial genetic diversity antedates the advent of full-fledged cells, allowing for extensive gene mixing at this early stage of evolution.

    We outline a scenario of the origin of the main classes of viruses in conjunction with a specific model of precellular evolution under which the primordial gene pool dwelled in a network of inorganic compartments. Somewhat paradoxically, under this scenario, we surmise that selfish genetic elements ancestral to viruses evolved prior to typical cells, to become intracellular parasites once bacteria and archaea arrived at the scene.

    Selection against excessively aggressive parasites that would kill off the host ensembles of genetic elements would lead to early evolution of temperate virus-like agents and primitive defense mechanisms, possibly, based on the RNA interference principle.

    The emergence of the eukaryotic cell is construed as the second melting pot of virus evolution from which the major groups of eukaryotic viruses originated as a result of extensive recombination of genes from various bacteriophages, archaeal viruses, plasmids, and the evolving eukaryotic genomes.

    Again, this vision is predicated on a specific model of the emergence of eukaryotic cell under which archaeo-bacterial symbiosis was the starting point of eukaryogenesis, a scenario that appears to be best compatible with the data.

    (“The ancient Virus World and evolution of cells“, 2006, by Eugene V Koonin, Tatiana G Senkevich, and Valerian V Dolja). These folks are or were from:

    National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, USA (Koonin)

    Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20894, USA (Senkevich)

    Department of Botany and Plant Pathology and Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA (Dolja)


  3. Which still isn’t the same thing as viruses using photosynthesis to create oxygen.

  4. A natural link from virus to cyanobacteria and oxygen:

    The researchers have identified the genetic codes of these viruses using molecular techniques and discovered that some of them are responsible for providing the genetic material that codes for key components of photosynthesis machinery [in cyanobacteria].

    Viruses may also help to spread useful genes for photosynthesis from one strain of bacteria to another.

    The study provides new insight into the role that viruses play in both the processes of evolution, and in making our planet a habitable environment for living organisms.

    (Astrobiology Magazine, emphasis added). The list of scientists going with the virus-first hypothesis is growing:

    I note the growing evidence for the theory that viruses arose before the Last Universal Cellular Ancestor (LUCA). This ancient origin theory is supported by the presence of capsid architectures that are conserved among diverse viral taxa, including among RNA and DNA viruses, and the strongly inverse relationship between genome size and mutation rate across all replication systems, such that pre-LUCA genomes were probably both small and highly error prone and hence RNA virus-like. I also highlight the advances that are needed to come to a better understanding of virus origins, most notably the ability to accurately infer deep evolutionary history from the phylogenetic analysis of conserved protein structures.

    (What does virus evolution tell us about virus origins?, Edward C. Holmes, Journal of Virology, J. Virol. doi:10.1128/JVI.02203-10, Mar. 2011).

  5. On a positive note, MIT researchers have built viruses that in some way mimic photosynthesis by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, however, they fail to produce the useful byproducts because they end up breaking them down to their component atoms and protons. But that is an engineered virus, not a natural occurring one. There are indeed other ways to chemically produce oxygen, including fusion, but in Earth’s biome the majority of the job was done by cyanobacteria – cellular life.

  6. The bottom line is that viruses don’t photosynthesise by themselves – they aren’t complicated enough – nor are they life. Cells photosynthesise.

  7. An abiotic theory for the GOE hypothesizes:

    Pennsylvania State University atmospheric scientist Jim Kasting proposed a decade ago that Earth gained an oxygen-rich atmosphere because molecular hydrogen belched out by volcanoes diffused into space.

    At first, that doesn’t seem to make sense. If volcanoes were putting out hydrogen, and cyanobacteria were pumping out oxygen, why wouldn’t they just combine to form water and be done with it?

    Actually, that did occur to some extent. But Kasting believes more of the oxygen produced by photosynthesis ended up buried within Earth’s mantle, the layer beneath the crust, before the hydrogen could get to it. He is not sure how, but cites three theories:

    (1) oxygen reacted with iron in seawater, and the resulting iron oxide precipitated onto the seafloor, then was buried deep within the Earth;

    (2) oxygen-rich water in seafloor sediments was buried within the Earth, leaving oxygen in the mantle when the water’s hydrogen was belched out by volcanoes; and

    (3) oxygen-rich sulfates in undersea hot springs reacted with iron in seafloor sediments, which were buried to put oxygen into the mantle.

    (ibid, The Rise of Oxygen). Furthermore, we are not talking about original “creation” of oxygen:

    Carbon and oxygen were not created in the Big Bang, but rather much later in stars. All of the carbon and oxygen in all living things are made in the nuclear fusion reactors that we call stars.

    (Understanding the Evolution of Life in the Universe 101). What we are talking about is a viral activity that could happen whether one argues that viruses are alive or not alive.

    Stars are not alive and they create the oxygen, so it is not unthinkable that viruses could manipulate oxygen, since the manipulate molecules, cells, RNA, and DNA.

  8. In my quote up-thread, which coprolalia sufferers probably missed, to wit:

    Cyanobacteria, which appeared about 200 million years before the GOE, [Great Oxygen Event] began producing oxygen by photosynthesis.

    Likewise my statement concerning viral participation in the advent of oxygen:

    Microbial (includes prions, phages, viruses, and bacteria) creation and proliferation of RNA etc. provides a quick way, in evolutionary time scales, for the proliferation of genetic material, the development of oxygen, and other issues.

    Had to do with another GOE just before the Cambrian:

    There is evidence that oxygen levels also rose 1.3 billion years ago and again before the Cambrian Explosion, a rapid proliferation of animal life that began 540 million years ago. Some researchers believe increasing levels of atmospheric oxygen helped trigger the Cambrian Explosion.

    Catling says the reason for those rises in atmospheric oxygen “is even more of a mystery than the first one.”

    “There were huge ice ages [Snowball Earth events] just before the Cambrian Explosion, but also associated with the Great Oxidation Event,” Holland says. “It is important to have a much better understanding of those events and the history of life.”

    Kasting, Catling, Des Marais, Hoehler and Holland are members of the NASA Astrobiology Institute so those issues have special relevance for them.

    (ibid, The Rise of Oxygen, emphasis added). Reasonable people (excludes certain coprolalia sufferers) are honest enough not to dogmatically claim we know the exact source of oxygen at the Cambrian Explosion, and the much earlier GOE.

    And they are honest enough to read and criticize in context when they read other hypotheses from their fellows, such as those scientists who have advanced the “viruses first hypothesis.”

    New T-Shirt: “Coprolalia Sufferers are Infallible.”

  9. Again with not understanding the word “may”, a lack of fossil evidence and an attempt to change the subject which was photosynthesis, not carbon burial, as the source of early oxygen.


    Oxygen came from biotic life, not viruses. That we are uncertain as to the mechanisms that govern the atmosphere’s oxygen level is irrelevant to the fact that photosynthesis is the chemical mechanism that creates it. Again, viruses do not photosynthesise.

  10. The cyanobacteria hypothesis for the origin of oxygen has some problems:

    “Without the Great Oxidation Event [a dramatic rise of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere some 2.3 billion years ago], we would not be here. No dinosaurs, no fish, no snakes – just a lot of microorganisms.”

    The conventional theory of how oxygen accumulated in the atmosphere focused on the burial of organic matter in seafloor sediments that later hardened into rock.

    Cyanobacteria are microbes that live primarily in seawater. They are believed to have been the first organisms on Earth to perform oxygenic photosynthesis. In this process, they produce organic carbon, the building blocks of life’s molecules, and release oxygen gas (O2). The O2 enters into the seawater, and from there some of it escapes into the atmosphere.

    When these microbes die, their remains become buried in seafloor sediment. Their decomposition removes oxygen from seawater, and in turn, from the atmosphere.

    As the carbon-burial theory goes, when organic material is buried, oxygen becomes available to build up in the atmosphere. So perhaps there was a sudden increase 2.3 billion years ago in the amount of organic carbon that was buried, leaving more free oxygen.

    But there’s a glitch: Studies have shown that the amount of buried carbon found in sedimentary rocks remained constant during the early stages of the Great Oxidation Event. So a change in the carbon-burial rate can’t explain the buildup of oxygen in the atmosphere.

    “If the Earth’s early microbial mats acted similarly to modern ones we studied, they may have pumped a thousand times more hydrogen into the atmosphere than did volcanoes and hydrothermal vents, the other main sources,” Hoehler said at the time.

    Scientists are making progress on understanding the Great Oxidation Event, but still greater mysteries remain to be unraveled in the saga of oxygen on Earth.

    “Although we think we know when oxygen first appeared and rose, we know very little about its rise to the present level, especially about the relationship between atmospheric oxygen and the development of animals,” says Catling

    (The Rise of Oxygen, Astrobiology Magazine, emphasis added). If the virus first theory grabs hold, I expect another look will be taken at the various and conflicting hypotheses concerning the the Great Oxidation Event (GOE).

    A viral source is a reasonable suspect, since they were and are the greatest population on Earth.

  11. Having a problem understanding the word “may” and the fact that the fossil record won’t support your contentions? Awww. Having problems coming to terms with the fact that viruses aren’t alive but exist on the cusp between abiotic and biotic chemistry?

    And I could not possibly care less what you think of me personally, Dredd.

    If you don’t like having holes poked in your delusional theories about the God the Virus? Maybe you should constrain yourself to babbling about it to your inane blog that you are constantly pimping.

  12. Gene H. 1, January 29, 2013 at 10:53 am

    In other words, you didn’t know what you were talking about. Again. Nice attempt at a recovery though.
    I pity those who have to live with you. Your conversations indicate you may suffer from something akin to Coprolalia.

  13. The Virus-First Hypothesis:

    The progressive and regressive hypotheses both assume that cells existed before viruses. What if viruses existed first? Recently, several investigators proposed that viruses may have been the first replicating entities. Koonin and Martin (2005) postulated that viruses existed in a precellular world as self-replicating units. Over time these units, they argue, became more organized and more complex. Eventually, enzymes for the synthesis of membranes and cell walls evolved, resulting in the formation of cells. Viruses, then, may have existed before bacteria, archaea, or eukaryotes (Figure 4; Prangishvili et al. 2006).

    (The Origins of Viruses). The general evolutionary dogma indicates that evolution moves in the direction from simple to complex, not the other way around.

    That is why I currently favor the virus first hypothesis.

  14. In other words, you didn’t know what you were talking about. Again. Nice attempt at a recovery though.

  15. Gene H. 1, January 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    The high level of oxygen in our atmosphere came from cyanobacteria, the first organisms to produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, not viruses. Viruses don’t photosynthesise. They aren’t complex enough nor do they have the need to produce carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water as a source of engery. The changes in eukaryotic cells that allowed photosynthesis to arise came about by endosymbiosis – a process of horizontal evolution where organelles inside the cyanobacteria originated as free-living bacteria (not viruses) that are taken inside another cell first as endosymbionts and are later genetically incorporated to the host cells to become true organelles.

    It is your failure to grasp the very basics of biology that undo you, Dredd.
    Yes, the viruses, under the hypothesis that they evolved first, (which is one of three main hypotheses on the subject, but two others say viruses evolved after simple cells) will have been agents that made other microbes possible.

    I was making statements about the virus first hypothesis. If they developed first then they learned replication or reproduction first. They did RNA or DNA first as well.

    The endosymbiosis theory is well accepted now, but there is dispute and controversy about which came first the virus or the bacterium.

    Time will hopefully tell:

    In our opinion, this proposal, together with definition of viruses as capsid encoding organisms … clarifies the concept of a virus and should have implications for the question of their origin … We will briefly come back below to the history of concepts related to the nature of viruses …

    (Patrick Forterre and Mart Krupovic, listed in my comment up-thread).

  16. The high level of oxygen in our atmosphere came from cyanobacteria, the first organisms to produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, not viruses. Viruses don’t photosynthesise. They aren’t complex enough nor do they have the need to produce carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water as a source of engery. The changes in eukaryotic cells that allowed photosynthesis to arise came about by endosymbiosis – a process of horizontal evolution where organelles inside the cyanobacteria originated as free-living bacteria (not viruses) that are taken inside another cell first as endosymbionts and are later genetically incorporated to the host cells to become true organelles.

    It is your failure to grasp the very basics of biology that undo you, Dredd.

  17. Gene H. 1, January 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Not a virus or microbe hater, Dredd. I’m just not in the extremist end of the pool when it comes to understanding their part in evolutionary processes. They are no more or no less important in shaping evolution than environment and genetics.
    Well that suggests that you did not read the scientific papers indicating that viruses produced both environment (oxygen) and genetics (RNA … XNA … then early DNA and most DNA lately).

    Oh well, code monkeys Cold Monkeys stay way north of the equatorial regions anyway, and may now be, or are scheduled to become extinct by Cambrian Explosion Sexual Diamorphism (it causes heartless attacks).

    Unless, of course, they are darwinian luckytroids (sex not needed).

    Dood, see yah down at The Greatest Gene Casino?

Comments are closed.