Keep your head down. Don’t make me remind you to keep your head down. Keep it down.

Sherlock Holmes news: Stephen Fry, who played IIRC the psychiatrist on Bones who treated Seeley Booth after he shot the clown off the ice cream truck in a conniption of annoyance, will play Mycroft in the second Guy Ritchie Holmes adaptation (with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law) due out in December 2011. Excellent choice.

Delta Airline 5951 required an emergency landing last night due to faulty wheels. Here is a video of the event from inside the cockpit:

I’ve never heard a flight attendant do that. I hope someone slapped her and the person who thought of the idea of doing that and the person who trained her to do that and all the executives and stockholders of Delta airline who paid her to do that. Seriously. That sort of shit is nothing but a manifestation of the post-civilization culture thatI’ve been complaining about all along.


No, it didn’t feel good to say that at all. Here’s the next item:

That’s a new sculpture in Milan. At the stock exchange. READ THE STORY HERE NOW, READ THE STORY HERE NOW, GET YOUR HEAD DOWN, DOWN, DOWN…

No, I still don’t think I want a job as a flight attendant.

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16 thoughts on “Keep your head down. Don’t make me remind you to keep your head down. Keep it down.

  1. I don’t understand the objection to the flight attendant’s behavior. I’m surprised you don’t have more understanding about people whose responsibilities include keeping heedless patrons alive. A good example
    I witnessed goes like this:

    “Return to your vehicle. You are too close. Return to your vehicle. DO NOT APPROACH THE BEAR. Return to your vehicle. You are too close. Stop. Stop.”

    Seriously, have you never observed airline passengers?

  2. I agree with dcotler. In addition it gives the passengers something to pay attention to instead of freaking out ad screaming themselves.

  3. I have to agree; it only sounds ridiculous because we’re sitting in front of our computers (and, in my case, eating lunch while looking for a bit of online snark to enjoy). The people who come up with this stuff are not capricious or overly lawsuit-fearful (afraid they’ll be sued if someone stands up). By and large, the training comes from independent authorities who continually conduct research on how best to improve survivability in an accident. Keeping the head down is important, and at least as important is realizing that people go a little bit crazy when they’re scared — they won’t be listening as well as they would otherwise, and may be not be focused on survival. Case in point: this video. This isn’t even the only cell phone video of this particular accident. Considering that you’re not supposed to have your phone even on during landing, and that you’re supposed to put your head down and not spend time taking video footage*, I think it’s safe to assume that not everybody was listening as well as they possibly could have been, and so repeating the message is useful. As soon as she stops saying it, you know people will look up to see what’s going on.

    *I’m not saying the person who took this was irresponsible. It’s awesome footage, and it’s quite possible to take footage while your head is down. Still, I don’t think getting out the camera phone would have been on the top of my to-do list.

  4. Greg, if all you know about Stephen Fry is that little-known spot, you really should give your British funny bone a hefty shot of “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” (on YouTube, plenty of clips, also Netflix), or “Peter’s Friends”, or the quintessential portrayal of Jeeves in the TV series “Jeeves” he and Hugh Laurie did, or check out his bio in While on You Tube, check out his commentaries on religion etc. As is beginning to seem common these days, the more intelligent comedians seem to be carrying the banner for Reason more than any MSM pundits (cf also Ricky Gervais, Eddie Izzard, …).

    And yes, an excellent choice.

  5. i agree with Gray, but i’d like to add Blackadder, the documentaries Last Chance To See and Stephen Fry in America, and (the best quiz on television) QI which he hosts.
    and he played Oscar Wilde too!

  6. Greg,

    I’m curious. What are your thoughts on the new BBC series Sherlock? Steven Moffat (of Doctor Who and Coupling) has set the story in modern times but tried to stay as true to the original stories and characters as he can. They now use cellphones and GPS, but Holmes is still that eccentric who doesn’t care whether heliocentrism is right. There’s no “my dear Watson” or “my dear Holmes” as they call each other “John” and “Sherlock” now. Dr. Watson is still a veteran of the Afghan War and still writes down all the stories of his adventures, except that now he publishes them on his blog.

    I think that it’s very cleverly made. I’m curious what your thoughts are.

    A Study in Pink (90 mins.)

    ps—Stephen Fry is a great choice for Mycroft!

  7. I thought the flight attendant was being civil. Certainly more civil than myself many years ago threatening to shoot at civilians who were receiving packets of food in an aid operation; I would have pulled the trigger too if they didn’t behave, nor do I believe that it would have been a decision which I would ever regret. Disaster areas are not the most pleasant place to be, that’s for sure.

    Ah, Mycroft Holmes – the vastly more intelligent brother of Sherlock – the guy who’s too intelligent for this world and is bored by everyone so he sits in a gentleman’s club on his own all day. I agree Stephen Fry can play that part well.

  8. Science P.: That sounds great, if the directing/acting is good. I’d love to see it.

    Mad: I don’t think she was being civil or uncivil. She was just playing her role.

    I can see why it is done this way but I’m not sure I would have designed the system to work this way, and I’m mildly disturbed that not one person has yet asked the key question.

  9. I haven’t seen the episode yet, but a blogger reported that Dr. House(Hugh Laurie, for those who aren’t aware) had a new expression.

    “Religion is not the opiate of the masses, religion is the placebo of the masses.”

  10. I saw a documentary about airlines trying out ways to quickly and safely evacuate a planeload of passengers. It turns out that having the flight attendants yell the instructions over and over at the passengersâ??most of whom are panickingâ??is the best thing they can do.

    In a tense situation, we revert to our training. Few of us are trained to react properly during a crash landing, so we need the flight attendants to tell us what to do. What that flight attendant did might sound goofy, but there’s research behind it.

    IIRC, Stephen Fry also did a fun documentary about J. S. Bach’s music, published by American Lutherans.

  11. I guess it could be different if you’re actually on a plane doing a crash landing, but while watching that movie I felt hearing this mantra would have made me even more afraid, rather than less.

  12. The “heads down” mantra is not new at all. It used to be “brace – brace – brace”, but same diff. Part of it is certainly getting people, who may well be panicking, to actually do what is the statistically “best” thing to do. However, another part is actually to keep people calmer than they would otherwise be. She did a good job using her authoritative voice, which was probably part of her training.

    It is a bit of a sad commentary that this sort of thing is actually needed (or at least useful). Many people just aren’t level headed in bad situations.

    BTW: There is apparently folks with military training have a better chance of surviving ‘catastrophic’ plane crashes, in the very slight but statistically significant sense of ‘better’. I only saw a second-hand account of the study (Nat Geo documentary or something like that), but it was actually setup specifically to look at what factors, if any, matter in cases where you’d think there is nothing the individual can possibly do to increase their chances or surviving.

  13. On Stephen Fry’s appearance on Bones: Apparently it was little more than an excuse for him to get more time visiting with Hugh Laurie (House is also Fox). The story is that he was originally looking for a short term (but recurring) guest role on House, but the Bones folks were far more eager to write him in.

  14. Greg Laden said:

    Science P.: That sounds great, if the directing/acting is good. I’d love to see it.

    Here’s a review of the series on io9. (via Jennifer Oulette who’s been tweeting how much she loves it)

    from the review

    The writing is so good and acting so convincing that it immediately makes sense that the war-haunted, gruff-and-ready Watson would write a blog at the advice of his therapist, that the technology-forward, cryptic Holmes would take to texting â?? he “prefers” it â?? and run a website.

    The show is slick and well-shot, making innovative use of text on-screen. We see SMS messages and media clues pop that other characters do not, like the street map of London in Holmes’s photographic memory that he relies on to follow a culprit; we see, sometimes, what a scene or a person looks like to his frenetically genius brain, and the things he can dissect and infer about them.

    There’s a link to the first episode in my previous comment, or if you prefer to watch it on an actual TV screen (aka. legally), it’s coming to PBS on October 24th.

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