TSA: Please Fondle My Bum

When I fly, I opt out of millimeter wave scanning and get the "Enhanced Pat Down" for oh-so-many reasons. First, do you know how expensive massages are? If you forget that you're standing up and the person giving the Freedom Grope is wearing nitrile gloves, it's very relaxing. Then there's self-preservation, since even though most schools don't teach it any more, I still maintain a strong faith-based foundation that dictates that "no evidence of harm" is not the same as "evidence of no harm." The doughy road warrior behind me thanked me for opting out first to make it ok, saying "I'll go through when I see pilots go through." And finally, there's pure spite. If the no-bid contracts that bought those scanning machines with insufficient testing help speed things along and make the process more efficient, I am going to do my best to slow that shit down.

This time during my session, I noticed a new piece of propaganda posted in the Pat Down Area. A jaunty little poster (which I did not take a picture of since my phone was in a bucket, in order to prevent me from contacting my vast network of operatives). The poster had five smiling people in TSA costumes, representing a statistically optimized spread of ethnicity and gender. They each hold a portrait of themselves from their military days, held much like someone grieving a loved one who has been disappeared during the Pinochet regime (from the original 9/11, in 1973). Above them reads the following text (this is from memory, so some wording might be off):

DID YOU KNOW? One out of every four TSA agents were in the armed forces and continue to serve their Country [sic] in uniform.

Let us count the bullshit.

For whom was this poster designed? For the other three out of four non-veterans, reminding them that they could have done So Much More? Was it to buck up the veteran's morale, who after busting ass in Afghanistan for a couple tours is now stuck in the hell that is airport security, patting down college professors? Is it a PR move, designed to sway public opinion from open revulsion of TSA by invoking the time-honored media tactic of military genuflection? No. It was a reminder to me, the gropee. That poster plainly says "keep in line, citizen. We know how poorly you performed when playing paintball, and you never know what kind of training the person behind the conveyor belt may have."

Next, the whole "serve" thing. Now, you'll never hear me talk shit about veterans. I won't get into the "who sacrificed most" rat hole, let's just say that there's plenty from my family. And I have so many students who put their lives on hold to serve tours of duty, and now have returned and have to listen to my bullshit. I appreciate their work. But, um, last I looked, TSA didn't draft anybody. People apply for jobs and get them. After some sort of screening process, I think. I believe they get paid. And they can resign their positions at will. Are their jobs vital to national security? My own opinion is that they are not. But if your goal is to convince the public that those jobs are actually important, then it's rhetorically lazy not to make that case clearly and instead use some fallacious diversion like equating their job to "service."

Don't capitalize "country," idiots. Dieses ist nicht das Vaterland. Either use the name of the country and capitalize it, or don't, but lay off the soft nationalism.

And finally, "uniform." Look, there's lots of uniforms. People who work at McDonald's have a uniform, it tells us what they do. TSA specifically took people who have no actual authority and dressed them like mall cops. I understand why they did that. We're trained to be deferential to someone with a badge, and we'll fall into that behavior even if the badge has nothing behind it. The implication here is that it is a direct equivalent to the military. But honestly, that uniform could be anything.

So here's my suggestion. Red velvet smoking jackets, with satin boxers. If I'm going to get a pat down, I want to feel like the person really wants to be there.