Wednesday, March 07, 2012

1984: The TSA Prequel

The first time I read Orwell's 1984, I wished he'd written a prequel explaining how the hell postwar Britain and America turned into the dystopian nightmare of Oceania. Now, seeing what's happening to America these past ten years, I understand. There's a certain type of very frightened person who will make excuses for any government intrusion so long as it's done in the name of "safety." "So what if we are stripped naked before a flight? I bet you prudes keep your clothes on when you visit the doctor too, huh?" "So what if little six-year-old girls have their vulvae stroked by strangers before they get on any form of mass transit? How arrogant must you be, to insist that strangers keep their hands off your genitals?"

I'm guessing the telescreens in Orwell's world were installed after some horror story made headlines: "Evil man rapes and murders his children in his living room." Then the police and their apologists pointed out "This wouldn't have happened if only the cops could've seen what was going on inside that home! We need telescreens!"

Of course, civil libertarians like me spoke out against the telescreens, which inspired bootlicking authoritarian apologists to start sniping "Oh, I see. You don't care how many innocent children are raped and murdered, so long as you can sit on your couch picking your nose without an audience. You are so SELFISH. If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide!"

I've seen, heard or read countless examples of pro-TSA apologists making arguments similar to the ones rapists use to justify their attacks: "If you don't mind getting naked in the doctor's office, you shouldn't mind getting naked anywhere. If a woman consents to having sex with one man, she's consented to having sex with any man, anywhere, anytime."

Nor do I understand the solipsism required to say "I personally don't mind having strangers look at or paw me in the name of 'safety'; ergo, NOBODY ELSE should mind it either." True fact: I paid for college by dancing in topless bars, starting at age 18. Yet even as an 18-year-old with typical teenaged self-centeredness, I knew better than to think "Since I do not mind going topless in front of a roomful of strangers, that means NO woman should mind it."

Seriously, TSA apologists: if you can't bring yourself to give a damn about the constitution or the basic human rights this country used to brag about, try to have at LEAST as much empathy, humanity, humility, common sense and common decency as an 18-year-old topless stripclub dancer.


Blogger Steamboat Lion said...

" try to have at LEAST have as much empathy, humanity, humility, common sense and common decency as an 18-year-old topless stripclub dancer"

Jennifer I think that's your best line ever - keep up the fight against big brother!

12:59 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Thank you! Although (blush) I had to fix a typo.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Richard Raznikov said...

Thanks. You've nailed it. There are an awful lot of happily somnolent people out here who need waking up. We'd better get to it. Are you familiar with Bill Hicks? "Go back to bed, America, your government is in control. here's fifty-six channels of American Gladiator..."
I'm posting your piece on facebook and inviting you to check out my stuff at

6:02 PM  

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