The hullaballoo about the new TSA screening procedures (where at the security checkpoint one must choose a full-body scan or being patted down by a person) and the protest movement someone sought to organize today, a very busy travel day, to encourage people to choose the slower pat-down and drag down the system, makes me ponder the following question: Is the government secretly trying to make us want to get in shape?
There's concerns about the radiation these scanners emit and what effect such exposure would have on humans, but the bigger issue seems to be that the images rendered by the process are generally unflattering. Could it be that the government—who have an avowed interest in making we Americans healthier, with the push to encourage eating more vegetables and whatnot—has figured out a clever way to exacerbate our insecurities about our bodies while seeming to enhance security? Might the notion of having to either look like a marshmallow in the scanner or to have our pudge touched by a stranger merely a ploy to inspire us to get into the sort of shape where we would be proud to go through either screening process?
Or, alternatively, could it be an attempt to force us to come to grips with our lumpy physiques and overcome our body image issues once and for all? Maybe the suggestion is that they're abandoning the futile mission to improve our bodies and instead seeing if we can improve our psyches?
We're not in shape, America. Get over it.
It's unlikely these measures are designed to make air travel safer, unless we can ward off evil by merely making going to the airport really inconvenient. The trouble is that terrorist tend to exhibit remarkable patience.
Hey—maybe that's it: Perhaps these screening procedures reveal those with malicious plans not through the direct scanning or body inspection but by checking to see who seems the least bothered by all of it.
Well played, TSA.