YAK YAK YAK….Western civilization has taken one more step toward its ultimate decline and fall:

The European Commission just issued new rules that pave the way for in-flight mobile phone use across Europe. It took three years of hearings and negotiations, and pressure from business travelers, airlines and manufacturers of new in-flight mobile phone systems, but Europe now has a uniform code to match up technical and licensing requirements across borders.

I don’t think Rome fell because of lead in the pipes or loss of civic virtue or any of that jazz. More likely it was because someone invented the Roman equivalent of a tin can telephone and after that no one would shut up. A century later everyone was exhausted and the rest was just a mopping up operation for the Visigoths.

On the bright side, though, there’s this:

After hearing customers’ concerns about a chatterbox in the next seat, Lufthansa decided “we didn’t want to be the first to offer this service,” Lamberty said. “If we or our public have a change of heart, it would be a piece of cake to add this feature to the broadband system.”

….In the fall, the International Airline Passengers Assn. sent surveys to 3,000 frequent fliers about phone use in the air. “The overwhelming conclusion,” the group said, is that it would be “a source of great irritation.”

Sadly, this is a mere speed bump. There isn’t a businessman alive these days who thinks the home office can survive without hourly contact, and soon the unfriendly skies will be even unfriendlier than ever. The end is nigh.