Welcome to privacy week in America.
While millions of Gmail users begin to adjust to the notion that Google might consider they have feelings, movie director Kevin Smith is having his own privacy issues with Southwest Airlines.
Unless you've spent the last few hours locked in a cupboard as a post-Valentine's Day spousal punishment, you might be aware that Smith, the director of such movies as "Clerks" and a man who made an appearance at last week's Macworld, was reportedly removed from a Southwest flight Saturday for being a hazard to its stability.
You see, the captain, according to Smith, deemed that the director was too large to have flown in just one seat. Even though it appears that the ladies on either side of him were perfectly happy with both his size and his other personal features.
Smith, who enjoys more than 1.6 million Twitter followers, took to microblogging his displeasure at twitter.com/ThatKevinSmith.
Some of his tweets were, indeed, not suitable for church. However, in his less profane moments, he seems to tell a winning tale: "rests come down, and voila! I'm legit! I've passed the stinkin' arm-rest-test. And still, the lady asks me to get up and come with her off the plane. I get up without a fuss at all, quietly grab my bag, make eye contact with a fellow Fatty who was praying he'd pass, and leave.," he offered in two separate bursts of 140 characters.
Having tweeted his displeasure, Smith took to podcasting at Smodcast.com. Some of this is also not quite what you'd hear from a pulpit.
In it, he admitted that he usually buys two tickets flying on Southwest (or, as Smith calls it, "foodstamp airline"), not because he's fat. He actually does fit into a Southwest seat. But he books two seats because he can. And because "I just don't like people." Smith says he is fat, but isn't "John Candy yet." Indeed, he claims he wears his girth well.
Before his Smodcast went live, Southwest leaped to diffuse his Twittered concern. On its blog, Southwest's Christi Day offers apologies and explains the situation. However, Day, in a post Sunday, very wittily entitled "Not So Silent Bob," revealed: "Mr. Smith originally purchased two Southwest seats on a flight from Oakland to Burbank - as he's been known to do when traveling on Southwest."
Which led Smith to tweet Monday: "They're personal travel details they blogged without asking for my permission. So heads-up: @SouthwestAir is casual with your personal info!"
Things, naturally, have waddled uphill from there. At the time of writing, Smith is pressuring Southwest to admit he wasn't thrown off because he was fat. He says the Southwest reps resolutely refused to use the word "fat," instead merely referring to "safety concerns." Simultaneously, he has tried to calm the Southwest PR people (and lawyers) by promising not to sue.
Still, in a world in which companies try to react to customers by Twitter and blogs, sometimes the folks who write these things might have brains that are a little too engaged in the immediate. Which now leads Smith to not be demanding dollars, but Texan justice, something that Texan Southwest should understand
Texan justice is a particular form of socially networked justice, indeed.