Remember that scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen is standing in front of some guy who’s pontificating about Marshall McLuhan, and Allen’s character is able to produce Marshall McLuhan himself, who in turn denounces the guy as an ignoramus? In case you don’t, give me a minute of your time:
Here’s why this is relevant. The other day I wrote about $17,000 helicopter drip pans being purchased by the Pentagon, and I noted that the company that manufactures them just happened to be a major donor to the congressman who inserted this earmark into a spending bill.
Missing the whole point, an indignant ex-soldier in the comments section couldn’t believe I might criticize government employees, and insisted on the virtues of ordinary soldiers (who have nothing to do with these purchase decisions in any event, so his point is a little obscure). He then said, “If that drip pan can be gotten for cheaper then either someone in the army made an honest mistake or that drip pan is really needed.” I was then lectured on drip pans, and grilled on whether I knew anything about helicopter maintenance and repair:
do you know ANYTHING about helicopter maintenance? have you even ever been close to one?
how about you go and talk to a real helicopter maintenance crew and ask them about this. or how about you join the national guard as a helicopter mechanic and then we can talk. until then i think its best if you leave it to the command structure (who know a thing or two about helicopters) to decide what the army needs or doesn’t.
And then came the Woody Allen/Marshall McLuhan moment, in the comment that followed, from dave_in_sotex:
8 years active duty Army 67N Utility Helicopter Repairman. 20+ years working for Cessna Aircraft Company after I got out. You know what a drip pan is, Greg? It’s a large pan you slide under an aircraft while it’s parked to keep oil or hydraulic fluid from “dripping” on the hangar floor. Sound like it’s worth 17k each to keep someone from having to wipe some drops off the floor?
That was the last we heard of our critic.