Sometime in the near future an individual with a name that sounds like “dad-gum-it” and an outfit resembling a severe sort of muumuu will present himself at an airport security checkpoint. His successful passage through security will be interrupted when the explosive device hidden in his rectum detonates as he powers up his mobile phone. Happily for those nearby the device will be a partial dud, unhappily for him it will not be a complete one. We have no way of knowing, but it is probable the last thought that will go through his mind will be “oh wait, didn’t they tell me to leave the phone off until …”
If precedent means anything the TSA will then ignore the obvious lessons – i.e. don’t let a man dressed like Lawrence of Arabia, bathed in flop-sweat and walking like he has a kielbasa up his bum, board a plane – and focus right in on mobile phones and rectums. The former will be banned from airports. No more phone calls for you. The latter, given the fact they really can’t be banned (a cause for some relief in the upper echelons of DHS), will be subject to the now-standard TSA response, further expanding the market bubble in x-ray machines and latex gloves.
As the “universal body cavity probe” takes hold, so to speak, phrases like “don’t touch my polyps” will become the viral war-cry. Janet Napolitano will issue an announcement, which by now will be a kind of fill in the blanks affair, stating that if these [enter invasive procedure here]: impromptu colonoscopies will save one life they are more than justified. She will then threaten harsh penalties for anyone who refuses to comply, without specifying what could be harsher than the thing not being complied with.
CAIR will of course demand, and obtain, an exemption, which in turn will prompt brisk sales of blackout curtains and Zorro masks.
This will continue to be a hot topic until somebody else with a name that sounds like “mom’s habit” comes within an eyelash of checking through a suitcase nuke (foiled the last minute when alert staff notice the conveyor belt is melting) after which the TSA will sensibly ban all luggage.
One of the great challenges of being a semi-professional wag these days is that satire is frequently only a few weeks ahead of the next headline.
Consider this for instance from a recent post of mine that not long ago would have seemed the stuff of low comedy:
Thus, when Muslims … try to bring down an airplane with an exploding shoe we ban lighters and make everyone take off their shoes, when Muslims try to bring down an airplane with liquid explosive we ban liquids altogether for a while and then relent with quantity restrictions and Glad bags, when Muslims try to bring down an airplane with exploding underwear we snap on the latex gloves and “examine” anyone churlish enough not to consent to nude photos.
I could well have added, “Gee, the next thing you know they’ll be putting their hands down our pants!” and chortled mightily at my own hyperbolic wit.
The TSA’s invasive new screening measures include officers literally putting their hands down people’s pants if they are wearing baggy clothing in a shocking new elevation of groping procedures that have stoked a nationwide revolt against privacy-busting airport security measures.
There now comes word that several people incapable of understanding how being publicly exposed and felt up is thwarting al-Qaeda are suing the federal government. Good on them, I say, despite the fact the feds will be using our money to defend and settle these suits, and, as my colleague Rebecca Grunewald trenchantly points out:
The FTLA (Future Trial Lawyers of America) are smiling.
Observation of this “new normal” of a willfully blind TSA doggedly escalating pointless, intrusive and entirely ineffectual security procedures — straight into the teeth of an increasingly restive population — renders the idea of bum-bombers and their consequences not at all fantastical as it turns out.
Because, as Bruce Cockburn famously observed, the trouble with normal is it always gets worse.
(Cross-posted at NewsReal Blog.