Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mission Creep, Part MMMCCVII

People of America, rejoice! I passed my Homeland Security check with flying colors, which means you can safely read my articles without worrying that you’re endangering the security of the homeland or anything.

I’m serious. When I started working for this paper full-time, I expected the HR lady to hand me a thick pile of forms to fill out. And she did.

I did not expect one of the forms to feature the words “Department of Homeland Security” written prominently atop it. Yet it did.

Why, you might wonder, is the identity of the arts and entertainment reporter for a couple of central Connecticut dailies considered a homeland security matter?
The answer to that is in my column this week. But I will mention the relevant part here in case you’re too lazy to click on the frickin’ link:
. . . that Homeland Security document is the standard citizenship form everyone in America must fill out to take a job.

It probably makes sense for Homeland Security to keep track of such folks as nuclear-plant operators and secret-weapon manufacturers. The wrong person in a job such as that could cause serious damage. But art reporters? Retail workers? Every single job in America? How does Homeland Security find time to root out actual terrorist threats when they’re keeping files on every teenage Taco Bell employee in the country?

I can’t answer that question; I’m still struggling to figure out why three ounces of shampoo in a flier’s carry-on luggage is fine, while four ounces is a terrorist threat worthy of confiscation. But I have a theory. Maybe “national security” is just a catch-all excuse to justify government involvement in even the most minute aspects of ordinary American lives.
The column also contains a long-winded rant against my new boss. Check it out!


Anonymous smartass sob said...

I clicked the link and read the story. I especially liked the line about the "finger gestures." ;-) What happened to the photo?

2:04 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

The photo's on the other newspaper web page, and in the print version, but I guess whoever put it online at this one forgot to include it. No complaint from me.

"Homeland Security." Christ.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Ze Homeland hass many enemenimies. Not all are to be known to a zimple minded reporter like yourzelf. Truzt your leader und do az you are told!

5:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...


The last time I had to fill out new-job forms was in February 2007, when I started at the Advocate. I sure as hell don't remember seeing the words "Homeland Security" anywhere. When did THIS happen?

Oh, and I'm quite amused by what a commenter wrote on the Bristol Press website (where the photo DID run): "I am beginning to like what this lady writes more and more, but she has to change back to the picture where she's smiling. This one makes her look mean, nasty and scary."

Um, yeah. I'm supposed to have a talented-photographer friend come over this weekend.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

I sure as hell don't remember seeing the words "Homeland Security" anywhere. When did THIS happen?

I wonder if it could be an attempt to prevent hiring of illegal immigrants bundled under the umbrella of "homeland security"? In the past employers were not legally allowed to ask whether a prospective hire is a citizen - although years ago they were.


...but she has to change back to the picture where she's smiling. This one makes her look mean, nasty and scary."

What the hell are these people talking about? True, you aren't smiling in that photo, but does that mean anyone who isn't smiling is automatically mean and nasty and therefore scary? The only people I know of who smile continuously are morons, Hollywood celebrities (not sure those are mutually exclusive,) and insincere phonies.

I don't think I have ever seen two photos of you that looked like the same person - and I've seen quite a number of them. Of course, I've never met you in person, so maybe none of them look that much like you. Hope you eventually get one you like.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Ask not why your country wants to keep track of you but how you might better be kept track of by your country. That is the true meaning of patriotism in the 21st century.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Just try working construction. I believe you're speaking of the I-9 form, which is INS's version of "You're here legally, right?"

Nice that they moderate your comment posts on the link, btw...speaking of "Ve haf vays"...

1:53 PM  

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