Michael Kinsley has a brilliant argument in favor of letting TSA officers view our naked bodies or grope our genitals: He’s been patted down before and was embarrassed about delaying other passengers, so if we’re all patted down, he won’t have to feel embarrassed anymore. Really. Oh, yeah, and it makes TSA employees feel bad, too. Really.
For the past five years, as the result of an operation for Parkinson’s disease, I walk around with wires in my brain connected to two pacemakers in my chest. I’m not supposed to go through metal detectors, and nobody’s told me that these new machines are OK, so I avoid those as well. Instead, I have to ask for a “pat-down.” It usually causes a small fuss (smaller and smaller as more people get mechanical parts), which is slightly embarrassing. Especially when the airport is crowded and the security lines are long — and when are they not? — I worry that the people behind me are thinking, “Oh, for heaven’s sake, why doesn’t he just stay home?”
But, hey, since it will now be happening to lots of other people, Kinsley doesn’t have to feel embarrassed anymore! Sure, Mike, I’m happy to let strangers stroke my genitals, if it makes you feel better. Even more, I’m happy to let them stroke my adolescent daughter’s genitals, or take pictures beneath her clothes, just so that you won’t have to feel bad about holding people up at the airport anymore. Yeah. Sure.
I’ve no doubt that it’s an embarrassment the TSA guy could do without, just as I could. He was apologetic as he slid his hands up my leg. “I’m supposed to keep going until I meet resistance,” he said.
See, since the TSA guy feels embarrassed, too, there’s nothing for us to worry about. After all, if they’re not enjoying it, that proves it’s absolutely necessary, right? Try to parse the logic of that. I can’t.
in my experience, the TSA people are unfailingly polite. I don’t mean almost always: I mean 100 percent of the time… In five years, I’ve never had anything but a pleasant experience.
Amazing. The wealthy white guy with the medical problem gets treated well all the time. I never realized that they treated Parkinson’s by putting you in a bubble. Seriously, has Kinsley observed the experiences of other people? I haven’t been treated badly, either, because I’m exceptionally good at being very blandly whitebread when I want, but I have regularly seen other passengers being treated rudely, and at JFK two weeks ago I saw a TSA agent speak very rudely to a darker-skinned woman and her child, then when the husband had the gall to object, call for a special screening for them. I was next in line and when he turned toward me, he had a grin, and he shot a wink to one of his co-workers. I’m sure those people would feel quite reassured that Kinsley’s never experienced the treatment they got. But I’ve got to wonder just how self-absorbed Kinsley is that he’s never seen this going on around him?
there are jokes about what kind of pervert would want to spend all day looking at X-rays of the privates of overweight Americans and then have the wonderful opportunity to run their hands up your leg. Don’t flatter yourself: Your leg is no thrill
Leg? Does Kinsley really think we’re worried about people touching our legs? Here are samples of passenger reports given to the ACLU (At this site you can also see how “polite” TSA agents are to people not named Michael Kinsley):
- My penis was touched by a man. My anus and groin were rubbed by a man
- The pat down was so invasive that the woman doing it stuck her thumb through my jeans into my vagina, significantly more than simple resistance.
- After fondling my genitals he groped my buttocks
- The TSA agent … rammed her hand up into my crotch until it jammed into my pubic bone…. I was touched in the pubic region in between my labia.
- she touched my labia each time, and one pass made contact with my clitoris, through 2 layers of clothing.
- on the second canvassing of my groin, single-finger pressure was applied to my labia majora – the plane of which was near-broken, during which the agent made a wildly off-color remark.
- I was wearing a sanitary napkin, so the agent notified her supervisor that I had a “foreign object.”… I was told to remove my sanitary napkin.
- My genitals were touched no less than 4 times with the index finger as the screener’s hand was slid up my leg until it could go no more into my crotch.
- . She… rubbed my vagina with her fingers three separate times.
- the agent not only felt the inside of my upper thighs but also probed my vagina three separate times.
- most disturbingly, her hands karate-chopped their way a full two inches up into my vagina through my slacks. She performed this maneuver not once, but twice: once from behind me, and then once again, standing/bending in front of me.
Kinsley tries to pass off the prodding of vaginas and groping of testicles as merely “running their hands up your leg.” Why did he say that, when the reality is much more graphic, disturbing, and well-known? Is Kinsley just a liar? Or is he so deep in his mainstream Washington media bubble that he actually is unaware of what’s really happening? This is a classic case of is he stupid or lying, and there is no complimentary answer to that.
Oh, and as to the TSA agents not finding passengers attractive? Maybe not a middle aged dweeb like me or you, Mr. Kinsley, but why don’t you ask for a face-to-face meeting to tell that to this woman?
- I was the only female in a crowd of men. Even though I was not next in line, I was called over to the body scanner. As I got closer to the scanner, I could clearly hear him say “got a cute one, some DD’s.” … I was appalled and decided at that point to “opt out” of the scanner…. I was then put through the pat down procedure which I only can only describe as sexual assault.
But it’s all ok, you see, because Kinsley will no longer feel embarrassed at holding up the line while TSA agents politely and apologetically touch only his legs. And there’s no indignity we shouldn’t suffer if it will end Kinsley’s mild embarrassments at inconveniencing other passengers.
I’d like to see Kinsley meet with a group of these people who’ve experienced this, to defend his claim that it’s only their legs being touched. Then we could find out if he has any human decency left at all. Based on this column, I’m hard-pressed to believe he does.
(Hat tip to the Feral Genius, Jennifer Abel.)