Friday, October 22, 2010

"Would You Go All the Way?"

Would you go all the way for the USA?
Would you go all the way for the USO?
Would you go all the way for the USA?
Lift up your dress if the answer is no.

Frank Zappa's raunchy lyrics from the 1960s aren't so "far out, man," anymore. Now if you want to fly, you've got to take it all off for the TSA. Some prudes and geezers object, of course, but we can always expect some people to resist progress.

It's also usually true that if people knew what would happen at the end of the road, they might have been less complacent during the early stages of the journey. Honorable men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoeller supported Hitler initially, only to find that their trust had been misplaced; Bonhoeffer's repentance cost him his life.

If people had known how graphic the images from the virtual strip-search scanners would be, they might have resisted early on. I certainly wanted to know what was happening, but during the run-up, the only pictures available were this, which looks pretty innocuous. Even this and this aren't so bad (especially when your attention is drawn to the hidden weapons). One could understandably ask, what's the big deal?

But of course, as one can expect from a police state, they weren't giving us the real picture, and only after the TSA had begun installing the devices at airports was it possible know for sure what we would look like "on camera." Leave it to disgruntled pilots, who probably thought they were going to be exempt from the indignities, to squeal once their ox got gored. Check it out here. And while the resolution isn't magazine quality and the image is black and white, one can expect the resolution to improve over time and color to be introduced, "for security purposes only," of course.

Do you think people who don't want such pictures taken of them are unreasonable?

My boss, who is a Jewish atheist, doesn't mind the situation. He doesn't even mind having his wife go through. (She's a looker, so maybe it's his way of boasting.) He says the machines are faster than the old scanners (how having to stop and pose is faster than walking through a metal detector is beyond me), and besides, the guys manning the screens "get inured" to what they see.

I see his point: I found out in my early teens that I lost interest in my friend's physician father's four-foot stack of Playboy magazines about the third time through, though that was before they could publish full frontal nudity; otherwise I would likely have needed another pass or two.

The inurement argument doesn't hold water. I read an article by a gynecologist in Reader's Digest decades ago, and he stated matter-of-factly that he isn't above noting (in ways only he can read?) that a certain patient has "nice breasts." I've asked two physician friends how they dealt with seeing naked women, and they admitted that they don't cease to be guys. As I said, my friend's father, who was a physician, kept a stack of Playboys, and indeed the first Playboy I ever saw belonged to my physician uncle. We lived in a village in Papua New Guinea for almost two decades, and I was never unaware of what women were and weren't wearing shirts, and yes, I had my preferences. Most unmarried women with developed breasts would wear shirts until they delivered their first baby, probably because they were aware that young, firm breasts can distract males from what's important in life. You can't tell me the occasional looker wouldn't be a perk to the guy watching the screens.

What does all this have to do with Jesus? I frankly don't know. I could go on about how the rise of the messianic state in the US has been accompanied by a decline in morals, but this post is long enough already.

But I do know that any Christian who hasn't spoken out against strip-search scanners but disparages nude beaches will immediately lose his credibility with me.

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