Airplanes Are Just Like Slave Ships, Says Some Kind of Expert

Steven Heller is a celebrated expert. His area of expertise is graphic design. In other words, he sees order in patterns in ways that the layman cannot. For example, in a piece today for PrintMag.com entitled "A Curious Similarity," he couldn't help but notice the parallels between airplane seating arrangements and slave ships. Wait! Let him explain. He backs it up with visual evidence and everything:

I don't want to trivialize the inhumane horrors that African slaves endured on slave ships (above) destined for the Americas. But after a recent airplane trip, sitting tightly next to my neighbor in steerage seats, I feel the discomfort and pain endemic to the current air experience has certain curious similarities.

Ever notice how similar the seating plans of airplanes resemble the more horrific layout (yet efficient design of those slave ships)? Could airplane designers be unconsciously influenced by them?

Shockingly, commenters took issue with the comparison, which they deemed somehow to be grossly insensitive. (Design nerds are so touchy.) Here's an example:

"I'm looking forward to your insight and humorous parallels ‘tween Auschwitz and fat camps."

They grow angrier from there. Heller, meanwhile, having realized he touched a nerve, apologized — kind of — writing it off to poor judgment and that old, "C'mon, it's just the internet!" excuse. [PrintMag.com, image via PrintMag.com]