Gerard Depardieu is my new hero.
I equate him with the lone demonstrator who faced down a squadron of Chinese Type 59 armed tanks in Tiananmen Square, holding nothing but an empty shopping bag. (Editor's note: For those of you who missed it, the actor was thrown off an Air France flight from Paris to Dublin for urniating outside the confines of the restroom.)
Depardieu, in his own way, faced down the culture of corporate greed and control, holding something much more symbolic than an empty shopping bag, albeit equally vacant and non-threatening.
Depardieu's urgent need to relieve himself is metaphoric to the basic rights and privileges that are denied to many of us.
It doesn't matter if it's an international airline, a media conglomerate, or the United States Government — the basic needs that we pay taxes for are circumvented, denied, and so wrapped in red tape that they have become invisibly impenetrable and unattainable.
Depardieu's condition was in part a result of the need for transportation conglomerates and municipal airports to up-sell traveler's on products and services that have no place in public transportation hubs.
There is no need to serve alcohol on a plane or in an airport.
Yet, it is done en masse, and when the results arise from this commerce, they look the other way.
Whether your distress culminates in a drunken and disorderly confrontation with a hormonally challenged flight attendant, or you just have to take a piss … like, now — the airline will disavow any responsibility for your condition.
The FAA will profile you, X-ray you, document you, fondle you, and maybe even penetrate you for the sake of flight safety. The airlines will also pour liquor into you, which has threatened more flight safety than turbaned and burka'd passengers who request tea and then peacefully read their Koran.
If you've ever finally made a delayed flight after spending a couple of hours in an airport bar, only to be told once you are biologically reminded that you have to pee: "Sorry sir, not until the pilot extinguishes the seat belt light," then you know whereof I speak.
The attendant is only parroting the corporate line, and its done to control those who utilize their services.
Once, on a flight to London, I had to relieve myself before take-off.
The steward, who was annoyed to be pulled from the first class section to answer a boisterous passenger, politely turned me down.
I told him that there was no way I was going to wait. This ponce winked at me and said "are you taking the piss?" Not being up on English humor, I told him to stick around, and I would be doing it right there.
He relented and allowed me to make a quick trip to the loo. Once I arrived at my British destination, my prostate and bladder wrote a note to the airline commending their helpful and understanding attendants.
The obvious comment would be, "Iit takes balls to do what Gerard Depardieu did."
Let's be thankful that he just had to urinate. There is a fine line between social activism and bad taste.