America, famous for her need for 24/7 stimulation, loves a manufactured controversy. We can now add to the list of controversies the newly installed body scanners in many of our nation’s airports and the accompanying pat-down procedure for those who opt out of being scanned. With 10% unemployment, two wars raging and a newly belligerent North Korea, it is hard to believe we have any bandwidth left to fuss about “messing with my junk.” Maybe it’s time for some common sense:
- In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we would all have willingly lined up stark naked at the airport to protect ourselves. Amazing what poor long-term memory does to a nation.
- There is only one way to take a picture of a naked body and that is to … take a picture of a naked body. No device has been invented that will show your truly naked body on film when you are wearing clothes when the picture is taken. The image rendered by the new devices, based on what I have seen by surfing the web, is your body in the form of a white Thanksgiving Day parade float … or perhaps the Pillsbury Doughboy. Yes, it captures the contours of your body but it looks like a blow-up doll. No skin color, no texture, nothing remotely human and certainly nothing remotely erotic (unless you are REALLY kinky and masturbate to Saturday morning cartoons). People need to get a grip.
- OK, you really don’t want someone looking at a white silhouette image of your fat behind. So you opt for the pat-down. Again, unless the TSA employee physically hurts you, what is the big deal? The real problem here (and with the scanner) is America’s extremely messed up mentality about our bodies and sexuality in general. We are the most repressed bunch of closet porno watchers on the planet. I seriously doubt the French would bat an eye at these procedures.
- There have been abuses. So what? A man was humiliated when his urostomy bag was broken during an aggressive pat-down. A woman was asked to remove her prosthetic breast. These are unfortunate exceptions involving stupid TSA employees. If we stopped every procedure in this country based on isolated examples of stupidity, we’d have no procedures at all.
- The procedure violates your rights. I really love this one because I get to toss this one in the face of my nutty “constitutional scholar”-cum-tea party fanatics. Please tell me where in the Constitution it says you have a right to travel by air? Guess what. Air travel is a privilege, not a right. If you don’t want to get patted down, take a bus, train or drive your car. It’s really very simple.
- Shouldn’t we do everything we can to make it difficult for a dangerous nutjob to board a plane? Do these procedures really rise to the level of the inconvenience of the precaution overshadowing the consequences of a security lapse? I don’t think so.
This is what will happen and I can predict it with 100% certainty. If Obama edicts that the new scanners be stopped and the pat-downs be “softened” and we are then attacked again, Obama will be blamed for going soft on security.
So my friends, as you travel this holiday season, my suggestion is that you view the scanner as a stop in front of a fun-house mirror and the pat-down as an overly robust greeting from your friendly airport security personnel.