I had a conversation with a couple of guys today. Actually, I interjected myself into a conversation that these two were having. The conversation had to do with Denver’s airport, in particular with conspiracy theories about this airport. The gist of the theory was that a secret underground complex was built under the tarmac of the airport. This complex was built as some sort of super bolt-hole, in preparation for the coming apocalyptic event; insert your favorite one here. One proof of the veracity of these theories was that airport construction ran $7B+ over budget. I mistakenly interjected that the budget overrun was because of Superfund clean up activity at Rocky Flats, on which the airport was built. I was wrong, Rocky Flats is in the neighborhood, but is not the site of the airport. I knew that I had a blog story here though, when after typing Denver Airport into Google, the very first choice on the list of auto-completes was conspiracies.
The $7B+ cost overrun is wrong. According to Wiki, total construction cost was ~$5B, including a $2B cost overrun. The primary source of the cost overruns was design changes, not secret bunkers. I point this out in a vain attempt to recoup some of my reputation, because when dealing with conspiracy theorist, such objective observations are totally futile. Adding fuel to the bonfire of conspiracy that shrouds this airport are some of the artistic design choices that the airport’s authority has made. I speak of the murals that appear in the airport. I have pictured two of them with this post, “In Peace and Harmony with Nature” and “The Children of the World Dream of Peace”. To say that they are a bit dark is frankly an understatement. Their only excuse is that they are in baggage claim, where only people seeking to leave the airport, enter.
Another controversy occurred at the Saint Louis airport. The two airports’ conspiracies both involve murals and baggage claim, but unlike Denver, Saint Louis’ conspiracy theories do not involve Satanic, Masonic, or New World Order forces. No the conspiracy in Saint Louis was attributed to old fashion racism. The Saint Louis airport authority commissioned a football field long mural on the subject of the history of flight, with Saint Louis, naturally, in the starring role. The only problem with this mural and with the hundreds of people commemorated within it, was that none of them were black, not one. After the hue and cry erupted, the airport commissioned a second smaller mural, off to one side that commemorated only black people in aviation, separate, but hardly equal. Airport directors should be good at moving people safely. Art direction is likely only an afterthought, if not delegated entirely. Rather than more sinister forces, I see a conspiracy of mediocrity and stupidity, and I never check bags.
We do, and will. So this will be your opportunity to check out St. Louis baggage claim.
I guess then, I’ll have pay for parking.