Airport Shuffle — Or, Hey, Airports in X-Files are Weird Places

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I’ve been re-watching X-Files lately and it dawned on me how strange the world looked back then. For example, in one of the 1st season episodes (“E.B.E.”), Scully walks right into an airport terminal and purchases two tickets (one with her credit card and one with cash). The desk lady says to her “You can catch your plane right over there,” pointing to the actual gate at which Scully would board her plane.

Think about that for a moment. When was the last time you could do that in an airport? Granted, some of you are older than I am, so you have better memories of the pre-9/11 world. I, however, didn’t do a lot of flying pre-2001 because I was a) not quite an adult yet, and b) not financially well off (by that I mean my mother didn’t have a lot of money, as we spent part of my youth on welfare
and the rest as lower middle class). So while I have some memories of flying pre-2001, more of my flight memories take place after.

For me, then, seeing someone waltz into an airport, do something fishy, and then get pointed to their gate without having to go through a giant x-ray machine or without TSA agents staring them down is a little bizarre. That world doesn’t exist anymore (and in a somewhat ironic way, it’s the exact world Mulder and Scully were fighting against…only their “terrorists” were aliens and their agents, not human beings with a political/religious agenda of destruction). I’m not even sure that world can _ever_ exist again. How could it? The world Mulder and Scully fought in died on 9/11 (one of my professors actually sees the end of the collapse of the Soviet Union and 9/11 as two rupture points in U.S. history, framing, I would argue, a long-not-quite-decade of utopian thinking).

Has anyone else had this experience? You’re watching some show from the 90s or whenever and realized that things are different. Not because the cars are from a different era or they have strange hair or use different slang, and so on and so forth, but because the ideological landscape is almost alien.

I wonder what the world of film will look like in 20 years…

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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