An Ode to Heather Hogan’s In-Flight “Carol” Breakdown

It should be no surprise to any of you that on a recent flight Autostraddle’s own Heather Hogan took to repeating aloud the lines from Carol after a man next to her complained to the flight staff that she was watching “homosexual pornography.” What happened next is a story we’ll all tell our future grandchildren.

It began as it always does, a man in the seat next to you refusing to mind his own business. Heather was simply on what I assume was her 80th viewing of Carol on her laptop and the gentleman next to her didn’t like what he saw.


Paged the flight attendant! Can you imagine how little problems you have going on in your life that a brief, understated sex scene throws your entire life into chaos and you at once must have it be corrected? Luckily Heather knew just how to handle the situation.


I’m sorry, have you ever said anything as hilarious and with such precision as a response to someone’s bigotry in your entire godforsaken life? This somehow did not immediately smooth things over.


“I don’t wanna!” This man is probably a CEO somewhere super important and not at Petulant Babies R’ Us where he belongs. This all could have ended there upon Heather’s advice. It didn’t.


When I read this tweet I broke on through the to other side. It’s one thing to read this tweet but it’s a whole other bag of chips to sit back, close your eyes, and really take in this scene. It’s a thing of beauty. It couldn’t possibly be topped. Oh, but it gets topped, just like Terese.

5 6 7

What did we do to deserve this. Thankfully, it’s not over.


“No I wasn’t.” At that moment Heather and that man became brother and sister. And what does any dominant sibling do after mom is called and then leaves? That’s right, play “my hand’s not in your face.” Heather, finish him.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our A+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining A+ and supporting the people who make this indie queer media site possible?

Join A+!


Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 208 articles for us.


    • Real talk, I don’t mean for this to get weird, but when you’re still a chicken about reading as queer in the real world, like yours truly, who cried in her girlfriend’s lap on Sunday night because she knew she’d have to come in to work Monday with a queerer haircut than ever before, and even more so, because that shouldn’t bother her anymore…

      TL:DR camp really did give me courage, it must have, because when Julia cut my hair I faced away from the mirror and told her to do what she wanted and when I felt the clippers against the back of my head I had no idea how short their setting was, and I survived that, and now that I’ve met Heather (although all I could do at the time was fangirl out) and can conjure the image of her whispering lines of Carol to the patriarchy on a plane, not scared, not shutting up, like some sort of lesbian patronus in a Star Trek t-shirt…well, that’s a gift. Camp was a gift and I needed it. So there’s that.

      Anywho. (Sorry Chloe, I just totally made this about me)

  1. Ahh this was the best Twitter story. We should pass it down through the ages. I spit out my drink when I read “in terms of finger-banging.” Hell hath no fury like a woman returning from A-Camp.

  2. This is how Hufflepuffs handle their shit. Heather Hogan the Hero!

    Sidebar I got my mum to watch Carol on her flight back from Singapore where she had been working, and she loved it. She said “It is art”. No one told her it was porn but that’s probably because she was watching on one of those BA tiny seat back screens no one can see but you.


    I am so, so glad this made it to AS. And the next time I need courage to be unapologetically gay in some space I’m going to take a moment, center myself, and whisper “dearest, tits and fanny” to bolster my courage.

  4. This is so magical

    Anyone flown Delta lately? Carol is one of the only free feature films on Delta, and literally every flight I’ve been on this year I’ve been next to or behind people watching Carol who I definitely wouldn’t have visually pegged as “people interested in Carol.” They tend to look around a lot and sometimes stop the movie, watch TV, and then go back to the movie. I wish there was a tumblr for Shifty People Watching Carol on Delta

  5. Waterloo, He was defeated, you won the war
    Waterloo, Promise to shut up forevermore
    Waterloo, Couldn’t escape if he wanted to
    Waterloo, Knowing his fate is to sit beside you
    Waterloo, Finally facing his Waterloo

    Please tell me the old white dude in question was very short and had a French accent.

  6. I was on a Japan – Australia flight recently and saw the dad of a family watching this movie and he showed it so little respect that he took two breaks and watched other things before returning. It looked like his daughter noticed the sex scene, told her mum and it got awkward. I’m not sure if he ever finished the film.

  7. I have never SAID anything as hilarious and with such precision as a response to someone’s bigotry in my entire godforsaken life, however I did spit right in the face of someone who had just spit on my face.
    There was no speaking on my end, there may have been a slur before he spit on me not sure it was long ago, but spiting back totally counts as a precise and hilarious response because y’all the look on his face was fucking priceless.

    He went from triumphant-putting-the-freak-in-its-place to 404-blank-screen-does-not-compute-total-shock for like a minute before bugging out and trying to get the freak germs off his face while everyone laughed at his dumb ass.
    Middle school kids give mercy to no one, not even the cool kids in moments like that.

    But yeah go Heather presenting film credentials to that bigot.
    Slay him with your Hufflepuff nature.

  8. This made me cry, and not from laughter, but like, from sincere gratitude that out of the billions upon billions of years that the universe has existed, I get to live at the same time in history as Heather Hogan.

  9. I have other Writers that I read, obviously, but Heather, you are my very, very favourite Writing Human. Just so you know. This makes me sad that I have no idea how to Twitter.

    Thanks for this, Erin. :)

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!