Big Ideas, Delivered With Impact

Did Terrorists Just Save the Publishing Industry?

In Writing on December 26, 2009 at 10:49 am

By Tim Beyers

Along with family, friends, presents, and far too much food, Christmas Day brought news of a thwarted terrorist attack on board a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. CNN is reporting that a 23-year-old Nigerian man named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab activated an explosive device that caused a fire as the airplane began its descent.

On TV, talking heads are speculating about heavy-handed new security rules. Ignore them. We already know how the Transportation Security Agency and airlines are responding, thanks to analyst Charlene Li. Here’s what she wrote today about checking in for a flight headed for the U.S. from Canada:

Source: Twitter

To be fair, these changes appear to apply only to inbound international flights. I’m nonetheless disgusted by this whole affair — the attack most all. Once more, an extremist moron puts America on lockdown.

And yet the optimist in me reigns supreme. Upon reading about Li’s tweet at BusinessInsider, my better angels wondered if these new draconian rules, if they persist, would see more of us buying novels, newspapers, and magazines for long-haul air travel.

Or in simpler terms: A terrorist attack could help save the publishing industry. How would that be for unintended consequences?

© Copyright 2009, Tim Beyers.

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  1. “Upon reading about Li’s tweet at BusinessInsider, my better angels wondered if these new draconian rules, if they persist, would see more of us buying novels, newspapers, and magazines for long-haul air travel.”

    Well put, Tim. That’s one of the reasons I love long distance travel– sit back, relax, catch up on some Stephen Hawking or the classic Tom Hardy novels.

    It’s an interesting argument you raise about terrorist attacks being directly related with bolstering the recently dwindling economy of publishers– but I think there’s something more to that statement. Should we always try to fine something positive in something disastrous such as a terrorist attack, or should we just altogether disregard the two as unrelated? The “draconion” airline security rules are necessary and useful in every way. If it helps to do something more–like save a publishing industry– then why not?

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