This is a more serious Weirdness Wednesday choice – A FIELD GUIDE TO THE LONG HISTORY OF SKYJACKINGS: https://crimereads.com/skyjackings/. Slightly longer article, but here’s a brief synopsis.
JULIA SIRMONS May 10, 2021
For those of us obsessed with them, stories about skyjackings offer retro fascination, criminal ingenuity and daring, and, in some cases, wackiness. Skyjackings have been around as long as aviation itself, and continue to this day. But they are most associated with their peak in the 60s-70s, when air travel evoked a sense of glamour (well-coiffed stewardess and Dungeness crab served on china). In this so-called “Golden Age” of skyjackings, global political turmoil produced many cults, revolutionary groups, and malcontents. These are colorful characters, who saw skyjackings as financial or political opportunities. While it was shockingly easy to hijack a plane back then, there were very well-planned attempts, and many wildly, stupidly bold ones. Skyjacking stories hit us on psychological and visceral levels. They reveal the repressed risk inherent to air travel. When we fly, we are vulnerable, and cede so much control to others. They also show what minimal conveniences airlines use to maintain a fragile semblance of civilization, and how horrific it would be to be stuck on a plane without them. Skyjackings are nightmares not necessarily because they’re violent, but because they can drag on—for hours, days—sometimes months. Good will tends to run out with the last of bags of peanuts, and after no one on board has showered for 48 hours.
Beyond these fun and thrilling aspects, skyjacking stories also offer more complex pleasures. The sheer variety of skyjackings (and skyjackers) means they raise many questions: not only of crime and law, but also of geopolitics, ethics, social and cultural change. They also inevitably involve questions of identity, memory, loss and trauma. Skyjacking stories are freshly relevant, as the schizoid political climate of the 60s and 70s seems closer and closer to our own.–snip–https://crimereads.com/skyjackings/
Other Weirdness Wednesdays posts: https://upsdownsfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/tag/Weirdness-Wednesdays/