18 November, 2010

Thank God For The Atomic Bomb

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com. Mail sent directly to Mystic Metals will not be read.

Thank God For The Atomic Bomb


I’ve started taking Ambien recently. A pill that makes you sleep is an interesting thing. It’s a science of killing you just enough before you die, but not taking your life away. I was excited to read that some of the side effects included sleep eating and sleep driving. But I don’t think I’ve experienced those yet. Boo me. It has given me some vivid nightmares, however. Maybe that’s all the horror movies I watch too. Dreams are weird things. I’ve never put too much stock into them; I’ve always thought of them as just nighttime entertainment. This rant isn’t about dreams, though, because the only people that want to talk about dreams are the people who had the dream. Honestly, when you share your dream to someone, that person really doesn’t care.

If you’re one of my regular readers, thank you. Also, you’ll know how I align politically. Different points of view is one of the things that makes this country great. Debate, argument, discussion, resolution. All of that. And war. And Big Macs. And the atomic bomb. And the push-up bra. You kids also know that I’m pretty conservative (and no, that’s not a bad word). Part of being more conservative is to lean toward less government. What does that mean, exactly? It means that conservatives favor less intervention of long arm of the Man. The people have more control over their own decisions without the government telling them what the government thinks is best, but rather letting the people fuck up on their own with less intervention. Interesting idea. One such topic that is hot on the table is airport security and how invasive it ought to be. We all heard about the “don’t touch my junque” guy. But this rant relates to modification. Follow me. Not too close. That’s better.

The TSA is now using full body scanners to make sure there are no plastic explosives in your anus. These things are pretty neat, and kind of remind me of when I was little and Kermit the Frog (who is left handed, by the way) was dancing and singing with the X-ray machine in front of him. Does anyone else remember that, or am I just old? Anyway, the problem is that it shows your dick or pussy or tits when you go through it. The TSA machine, not Kermit’s X-ray machine. People are reacting to this as a violation of their privacy and rights. If you opt out of taking the full body scanner, then the TSA guy or gal puts on rubber gloves and touches you where your bathing suit covers. It’s kind of a pick your poison situation. If you cause a shit storm over the creepy uncle touching, then you’re not getting on the plane, and you’ll probably go on some kind of list. You know, that same list that has people who have borrowed “Mein Kampf” from the library. All in the name of safety. How far is too far?

Here’s an example of ‘too far,’ and it’s mod related. Yeah, no shit. Keep reading. So, in Los Angles a food stylist (whatever the fuck that is) named Adam Pearson was pulled from a flight on Delta airlines (they’re still in business?) after arriving at his seat on the plane. After being escorted off of the plane and interrogated by security, Adam was eventually allowed to return to his seat. There, he tweeted (that’s a message on Twitter for you technology illiterates) about what had just happened. That’s important later. Why was he pulled from his flight? Adam Pearson has the words “Atom Bomb” tattooed across his knuckles. Why would he have such a phrase tattooed? We all know that it doesn’t matter why someone gets whatever tattooed, but for the curious, Atom Bomb is Adam’s nickname. That’s actually a pretty rad nickname. I want a nickname. He found out that another passenger on the same flight saw his knuckle tattoos and alerted security to them. After landing, Pearson had over one hundred and fifty emails in response to his tweet. His tweet was also retweeted by many people with a consensus that the situation was severely fuct up. Atom Bomb is only really looking for an apology from the airline, which is refreshing to see that the sue happy besmirched and entitled sensibility of the offended isn’t too overbearing. What was most interesting in the article that I read on The Drudge Report was this quote by Adam: “...why didn’t they offer to book the other person on another flight if they didn’t like my tattoos? Why was the other person more important than me?”

How much power is held in the complaint of a stranger. Let’s sift the bullshit out for a second. This is what happened: Stranger said, ‘I don’t like that guy;’ guy gets taken off plane and interrogated. Wow. The gravity of that is absurd. Our society walks on safety eggshells. If we feel threatened by anything in this post September eleventh society, it immediately becomes a threat to national security. You could be seated next to a cat with a suspect tattoo and, with one subtle complaint, ruin that guy’s day. That seems to be what happened here. I’d like to talk to the person who complained. I’d ask that person if he actually thought that Adam Pearson, food stylist, was in possession of a bomb; and further, if the complaining person actually thought that Adam Pearson successfully smuggled a bomb onto the plane after the full body scanner, dick touching, shoeless, beltless, bag emptying bullshit that is required to even get near a plane. Adam’s question is not out of bounds here. Why shouldn’t Delta send the complainer on another flight? Why is the responsibility on Adam to move away from the person who is assuming things that are in no way correct? To be fair, the complainer has no way of knowing that Adam is on the level, the complainer on knows what he feels, and he feels that Adam is a threat because of tattoos on his knuckles. In the complainer’s complaint, he was given a stupid amount of power all in the judgmental and irrational name of flight safety.

This sets a precedent, doesn’t it. A white racist is seated next to a black. Excuse me sir, I think this black has a bomb. A homophobe is seated next to a lesbian. Excuse me sir, I think this lesbian has uranium. A democrat is seated next to a republican. Excuse me sir, I think this republican hates America. All in the name of safety? Where does it end. When can the security at the airport say that your request for me to finger butt this guy is absurd. The problem is not that he doesn’t have a bomb. The problem is that he might. The result of the empty handed search is not ‘what a waste of everyone’s time that was’ but rather ‘whew, I’m glad that guy is bombless.’ It leans on the protective rights of the complainer but infringes on those same rights of the searched, doesn’t it? What the complainer doesn’t realize is that he doesn’t have to fly. Getting on an airplane isn’t a right; it’s a privilege. The complainer also has no accountability in the situation. Adam returns to his seat, bombless and irritated, and has no power to bring the complainer to his responsibility. The complainer just thinks, ‘Well, that’s good that I’m safe now.’

Where is society headed when we are allowed to look onto a modified person, or any person, and bring a burden of proof to him solely because his aesthetic speaks to something that may or may not be destructive? Does that sound absolutely absurd to anyone else but me? We’re not allowed to profile people who statistically lean more toward the types that would perpetrate certain crimes, but we are allowed to baselessly force an individual to prove that he isn’t what a stranger thinks he may be? What a waste of resources. What a waste of panic. What a waste of everything. Every time something like this happens, we mortgage another one of our freedoms. Take my cigarettes. Take my Happy Meals. Take my toothpaste on airplanes and artistic expression in film. Take all of these things that piss off one person and create a situation that disenfranchises or encumbers everyone else. It’s not about serving the best. It’s about serving the least worst. Take all of those things whose banishment or limitation is steeped in misinformation or irritation in the name of the greater good. Just make sure the booze, affirmative action, and animal rights groups get left alone. For some reason we’ve decided that if you love a cat, have a not-white skin tone, or drink light beer on the beach, you mean more to this country than a smoker. If you feel pensive because the guy next to you on a plane has stretched lobes, you mean more to this country than the guy with the lobes and the tattoos who never once considered the personality of the assuming stranger. Why do all of these ‘greater good’ people create situations that are solely about them? Isn’t that exactly not the point? Stay beautiful, kids.

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1 comment:

  1. Love it! You hit the mark. By the way, you have several nicknames, sir. Guess they just don't give you the warm, fuzzy feeling Atom Bomb does.