Jet Blue’s mechanical glitch and
emergency landing
in L.A.
close to twenty-four hours ago has re-re-re-played out in both the
footage and the passenger accounts.  The flight returned safely despite the
sideways-jammed and intractable landing gear; the culmination was a straight,
frictional grind to a halt. Thereafter, the angle of many of the news reports
has been the visibility of the event as it unfolded on the television monitors
inside the plane.  One of Jet Blue’s most prized features is a one-per-seat
television monitor that can tune to a variety of programs, including live
national news broadcasts.  Stunning as it must have been, what resulted was
disfiguration of the flash-of-celebrity fan on the Jumbo-tron: "Look, we’re on

Just a few minutes ago, when, after reading for much of the day, I was turning
through the final few pages of Imagologies, the section called "Body
Snatching" synched with yesterday’s Jet Blue event.  I didn’t watch much
of the coverage–just one brief interview with a passenger shortly after the
landing who described the televisual experience as post-postmodern (a
phrase that, would you believe?, came up again today in Eubanks’s essay
in Bazerman and Prior’s collection on discourse analysis…two post-post
refs so close together).  The few bits
and pieces I saw today (online or on the tube) echoed the passenger’s sense of
the hyperreal. 

In "Body Snatching," Taylor and Saarinen pose the question, "is telepresence
absence or presence?"  I don’t have an answer, but I’d spend both of my
nothing-to-fear-in-being-wrong guesses on a two-part response: neither/both.  And maybe this paradox
explains what was perceived to be so completely eventful about the perilous
landing broadcast to the passengers (LIVE) along with everybody else. 
Those on board were caught up in the reality-shredding loop: a question asked
from both in here and out there at once–will theywe make it? One
more related quotation from the "Body Snatching" chapter:

The simulacrum is a novum that is neither original nor copy, real nor imaginary,
signified nor signifier.  The operation of the simulacrum transfigures the
body ("Body Snatching" 9).

I’ve reached the end of insights on this one for now.  While these ideas
aren’t especially revelatory or bowl-you-over original, some of Taylor and Saarinen’s
vocabulary–terms shared by others who’ve worked for some time on questions
media and the visual–clicked for me.  So I’m giving them a try.  Telepresence…etc.  Good stuff
(go on, tell me it’s been passe for eight years).  It’s pushed me to
consider related stuff like (satisfying, disconcerting, voyeuristic) notions of
telepresence in weblogs.  If the plan I have for tomorrow
holds up, I’ll have more to say about Imagologies (but probably
disappointingly little to add to the buzz re Jet Blue and hey, that’s us!).