It’s a truly magical vacation. And I mean that in the worst way.
For when 777s fly away with no cell phone for a fortnight, legends get born, new gods announce themselves, magic is conjured from the vastness of our revealed ignorance.
Wonderful is this ignorance, for us, as individuals. For now we are as empowered as the experts to wonder at this dis-apparition, to plumb the world around us for clues, portents, signs. We have returned to, or resumed the Art of Sortilege, borne upon the aether of the internet.
It is poor fodder for the group-thinker, though, the true democrat who understands political life only as the power of the majority. Here, all the symbols of national power come a-cropper, faced with the reality of the Greater Unknown. All the faculties of conventional science and national self-interest are stretched to the Seven Seas in an effort to even categorize what might have happened to this aircraft. New categories of possibility must be invented. We are back on our own resources. Our statesmen are long overdue for the reassertion of an Unexplainable that governs even them.
We have been too credulous, too satisfied with our attainments. We have let too many things slide. We ourselves have brought us to this pass.
Consider what this vanishing means for the traditional totems of national and international power: Our techno-military pornography has been well-distributed since the early 90s with its Gulf War footage, and the internet has allowed us to wave it like some kind of wizard-stick at an increasingly bewildered, uneasy and wavering world.
Our vaunted, well-publicized, ever-expanding orbital, subterranean, submarine, urban, arctic-to-antarctic, compound-eyed Panopticon, recording all, knowing all, controlling all, offering ever-increasing, unasked-for new intimacies between you and whoever’s masquerading as the Executive at this moment… has failed.
What has happened to the threat of instant-strike drones and go-anywhere-in-an-hour spaceplanes retro-engineered from those crashed saucers out at Groom Lake? Where is the SEAL Team rescue? Can’t we threaten Somebody with the B52s out at Diego Garcia, the shadowy submarines or, most ominously, the dark hints that we will hit Them with something “In Development” that an enemy nation-state presumably never wants us to unleash on them? What became of these conceits now that a jumbo jet has gone on its own two-week vacation?
Show us the cards, Comrade. The bluff is called. Red-faced are the authorities. (Well, at least, embarrassed, in whatever shade of hot-cheeked awkwardness comes across the world’s diverse faces if you can see in infra-red.)
This threat of overwhelming technological superiority, normally so useful in cowing opposition into at least uneasy compliance, has so far failed in its duty to know the disposition of a huge civilian jet aircraft, seating 239 people. It is a failure echoing with the ghastly mistakes and malign gaps that led to the Four-Plane Mourning of 9/11. How will the sketchy, ghostly crew of psychopaths that desires to run this planet one-up themselves this time? How will they attempt to reassert their authority? What dispensation for the Magic Plane? When will Shroedinger’s Cathay-Pacific 370 arrive, you might ask.
Ask yourself that question. And stay tuned…