I was bopping my way out to the East Coast yesterday when I had to pass through a telephone booth that could see through my clothing. It wasn’t as fun as it sounds.
Apparently the scare over the Christmas Day plane bombing attempt has wrought some interesting technological developments in SFO. Namely, the implementation of the millimeter wave scan machine, which allows Homeland Security employees to see through your clothes in order to make sure you’re not carrying any shoe bombs, rifles, letter openers, etc. We’ve made the decision that we Americans must be perved on for our own safety. Even the Pope will tell you that’s a bad idea!
What’s up with these things? The machines, which are now being used in 19 US airports, rely on “millimeter wave radio frequency energy in the advanced imaging spectrum [beamed] over the body's surface at high speed from two antennas simultaneously as they rotate around the body,” according to the TSA website. They create a detailed, three dimensional image of you in your birthday suit.
Here’s a sample scan, posted on the TSA blog by a genial chap named Bob, who cheerfully ventures “Mikhail Baryshnikov may have exposed more in his ballet costume than these robotic images portray.”
My, what lovely testicles that Mikhail has. First of all, I find it strange that X ray machines can differentiate between outer clothing (penetrate!) and undergarments (stay outside of panties!). But leaving that aside, Bob- what of us that free ball, what of us that wear no such sensible bra tops as those shown in above scans? What of the hippies, Bob, what of them?
Here’s what- nips away! This is not the shot that greets you on the explicatory placard in the SFO security line, by the way. And though TSA is quick to shove USA Today polls that prove it's all okay in your face and remind you that the officers who view the scans do so from a remote location with people’s faces blanked out, those assurances are not winning over Islamic leaders (who have forbidden Muslims to violate their privacy with the machines) or good old Benedict XVI, who, although cognizant of the fact airport security is a fuckin’ head scratcher, insists “it is essential never to lose sight of respect for the primacy of the person.” I feel ya Benny- if we lose our right to go commando, doesn't that mean the terrorists have won?
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