Sunday, September 30, 2007

Friedman Gives Enchilada Excuse to Rant

Since Times Select is no longer, I now can read what the opinion makers at the New York Times have to say. I was not going to pay extra to read these people, and apparently lots of other people felt the same way.
The Thomas Friedman article, which is the most emailed today, basically states that we have become a stupid nation since 9/11, which is entirely true. It is our great misfortune that this incident happened to be on the watch of the stupidest president ever, so our great leap backward is exponentially compounded.
Friedman complains that leaving or entering this country by airplane has become so absurdly stupid and humiliating that one thinks twice about showing up at an airport. I don't blame any tourists that look with serious reservations at the prospect of being treated almost like common criminals once they deplane. They may rather spend their money and their time in places where they are appreciated, not viewed with irrational suspicion.
The situation has become untenable. The moronic ritual of taking the shoes off, the humiliation of being treated like cattle by murgatroids with, let alone no education, but no training and no prospect of using sensible criteria if indeed one of us turns out to be a terrorist. My rosewater is confiscated because it may turn out to be explosive. Lip gloss is not allowed, but lipstick is. This is insane and there is no justification for such stupidity. Things like these do not make us safer. Intelligent screeners and smart measures make us safer. The whole process seems to be designed in a punishing way, as if wanting to leave the country, either for business or pleasure, is some kind of morally dubious enterprise. It is provincial and xenophobic, which is what this country is fast becoming.
The other day I accompanied a friend to the airport. The machine that screens the big luggage collapsed, stalling the passengers who not only had to drag their own bags to it but still had to go through the metal detectors and the sock showing dance. However, there was an identical machine functioning in perfect order two feet away, with very few passengers, but it didn't seem to occur to anybody to get that machine to screen the bags for this flight. Too much trouble to drag those bags two extra feet.
Friedman is right. Our airports are dumps, our cellphones are medieval, we do not have enough public WiFi and the United States now lags behind on everything that characterizes the 21st century, from gay unions to making technology accessible to everyone. But as long as someone can make a buck, someone will come up with a twist. I saw at JFK these branded machines that I'm sure you pay to screen your info so you don't have to go through the security nightmare. This should be the case with all passengers and one needn't have to pay for it. I wonder who is going to get rich with that concession. Halliburton?

1 comment:

  1. nicolas1:07 PM

    judy, you are still welcome in France, if US are boring you, or if you would like to try our airports and Train station, even if it is not comparable to yours.

    come back in paris, you need to taste other flavour…

    see you,


    Nicolas… from Paris