Full Body Scans and Same-Sex Pat Downs Coming to an Airport Near You

Discrimination: A Concept Whose Time Has Come


It’s nice to know Montanans will be subject to full body scans at Gallatin Field next year, courtesy of the Transportation Safety Administration. For a moment, I was concerned we would be treated differently. That would be discrimination, and discrimination is very, very, wrong. Everyone must be treated equally, no matter who they are, no matter where they come from. So we must search absolutely everybody, even if there’s no chance they are a terrorist. And what’s even more reassuring is that all parts of our bodies will be treated equally. That is, all our body parts will be searched, even our private areas, otherwise some body part might get the wrong idea and feel it was being treated unfairly. What’s more, unlike medical X-Rays, which discriminate, concentrating radiation only on body parts where there’s a problem, TSA X-Rays dose your entire body with radiation.
Now that’s equality.

One recent change, though, in this scanning and pat down regimen, will be that non X-rated X-Rays will be used. Instead of your actual naked body being revealed to a voyeuristic TSA employee, a stick figure will appear on a monitor that merely indicates bodily areas. Since we are a society so sensitive about discrimination, though, this poses a serious problem. Certain air travelers, you see, are skinny. It can be a life long problem, being underweight, and being the target of so many toothpick jokes—and such a representa-tion, a stick figure, a bodily stereotype, constitutes the worst kind of discrimination, something that targets what millions of Americans have no control over—their skinniness. Unlike the obese, you see, who, as we all know, have glandular problems and are entitled while flying to overflow their bodily excesses onto the people next to them, our society does not accommodate skinny people in any way that shows sensitivity and tolerance (the scary thing is that somebody on a college campus is nodding in agreement to this nonsense). So, the plan to introduce stick figures as representations of our bodies amounts to the equivalent of Al Jolson parading around in black face—simply offensive, and intolerant.

Another issue is that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has mandated that the body pat downs be conducted on a same sex basis, but doesn’t that discriminate against those who prefer a good-old-fashioned opposite sex pat down? And what about TSA agents who get their jollies doing same-sex pat downs and travelers who naturally take offense to that. Doesn’t that discriminate against non same sexers who want nothing more from their flying experience than a bad meal and long nap?  

I therefore have a better idea, and that is, since we’re already discriminating out the wazoo, why not go whole hog on that score and begin discriminating in a way that would actually catch terrorists. No more wasting time on grandmas and toddlers, we’ll concentrate instead on swarthy young men with rings of moisture around their armpits, a red flag and sign of stress that indicates who the bad guys are. Think how much time and bother that would save, and how targeted such a method would be.

Okay, let’s say you don’t like that idea (though it would be effective, because who wouldn’t be sweating bullets while trying to commit suicide and blow up an airplane, unless perhaps they were fixated on all those virgins to be had in the afterlife, in which case another type of pat down would be quite telling, but then we’re right back to the X Rated thing. And I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t like that idea either, because, after all, it unfairly targets people who fantasize about virgins, or even about, say, someone like Kim Kardashian—a terror suspect in her own right, given what she’s packin’ in those jeans. Incidentally, this technique would be kept secret, otherwise countermeasures could be adopted by terrorists in the form of anti-perspirant, sales of which, though, could be tracked and matched with those fitting the profile of single males of middle eastern descent seeking virgins in the afterlife, as opposed to those who merely sweat a lot when catching a plane. As things stand, however, use of anti-perspirant is for the most part an American thing, and for the purposes of this security strategy it’s better that we keep it that way.

Plan B—or C, depending on where you started counting—would be to ask the kind of questions posed in WWII to GIs suspected of being German spies in disguise. Quick, who won the 2010 World Series? Or, the TSA screener might ask, The Israeli occupation of Palestine is a good thing, don’t  you think? If the screener happens to notice veins popping in the would-be air traveler’s forehead, a pat down is in order. Or, better still, an either/or question—Who do you admire more, former American Vice President Dick Cheney or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? And if they answer Dick Cheney—well, there’s your man.








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