The Immorality of Human Flight

In 1713, essayist and politician Joseph Addison considered human attempts to fly like a bird, and he did not like it. Not one bit. Was it because these experiments were dangerous? Was it because human flight is unnatural? No, it was because successful human flight would make adultery easier.

I have fully considered the project of these our modern Dædalists, and am resolved so far to discourage it, as to prevent any person from flying in my time. It would fill the world with innumerable immoralities, and give such occasions for intrigues as people cannot meet with who have nothing but legs to carry them. You should have a couple of lovers make a midnight assignation upon the top of the monument, and see the cupola of St. Paul’s covered with both sexes like the outside of a pigeon-house. Nothing would be more frequent than to see a beau flying in at a garret window, or a gallant giving chaos to his mistress, like a hawk after a lark. There would be no walking in a shady wood without springing a covey of toasts. The poor husband could not dream what was doing over his head. If he were jealous, indeed, he might clip his wife’s wings, but what would this avail when there were flocks of whore-masters perpetually hovering over his house? What concern would the father of a family be in all the time his daughter was upon the wing?

Without knowing anything about Addison, one might get the idea that the gentleman doth protest too much. But a peek at his Wikipedia entry shows that Addison did not marry until 1716, only a few years before his death. Link  -via Nag on the Lake


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