Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Naked in Leviticus, Over Weight in America and the Body Scanners

(image source Terry Gilliam: BRAZIL, 1985 )

MeanMesa has watched with amusement as the latest "burning question of the day" has emerged from the nation-wide chorus of complaints about the full body scanners now guarding the boarding lines at our airports.  Of course, even beyond the incomprehensible "feather ruffling,"  the true mysteries of the phenomenon are nothing less than another, rather plump, elephant in the living room.

A few easily verified bits of news

Literally moments after Homeland Security Chief, Michael Chertoff, stepped aside from his position of power, he co-founded the now, ultra-smelly Chertoff Group, a risk management and security consulting company. He's not alone in those new, fancy offices, either.  A nice "clutch" of other senior Homeland Security types made the jump with him.  Just down the hall we find Mr. Hayden, the old Director of the National Security Agency (Remember?  He's the one who was a little shaky on the 4 Amendment...) and the CIA.

That's the first story prep.

Our tale begins with a recap of the rather dated story of last year's underwear bomber.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was flying with a "special surprise" under his belt.  MeanMesa has nothing particular to add to that old, road weary tale, but still felt we should revisit a few points.  Perhaps the only fresh part of the mystery is the youngster's remarkable turns of "good fate" which made his failed terrorism possible in the first place.

His family ratted him out to everyone who would listen -- the Embassy in Nigeria, the CIA and a few others, but -- somehow -- the plot was, mysteriously, not investigated, much less foiled.  MeanMesa has to wonder how that happened.  In fact, Umar actually boarded his flight without a passport!  MeanMesa has to wonder even more how that happened.

The old "conspiracy allergy" starts acting up just about now.  You know, that nagging itch which torments MeanMesa when generally indigestible "news" is being presented as fact by the corporate media frauds.

That's the second story prep.

Next, we must return to the Chertoff tale.

(image source Terry Gilliam: BRAZIL, 1985 )

Because of the innovative design of Umar's boxer shorts terror bomb, it turns out that there is absolutely no possible way to detect such miscreants other than to purchase  a zillion very special x-ray machines. Yup, the very same devices which we now call, "full body scanners."  However, this story's altitude seems to keep descending along with its overall credibility.

Where, oh, where can we possibly buy these machines we need so-o-o-o very badly?  Not a problem.  The Chertoff Group happened to have a whole barn full of them in India where the manufacturing task had been outsourced.

That's the third story prep.

BTW, we all have to thank Randi Rhodes (The Randi Rhodes Show, AM 1350, Albuquerque, 1 - 4 PM weekdays) for the "heads up."  The other little item Randi brought out is that the "full body scanners" don't seem to actually work very well.  The $2+ billion dollar contract with their Indian manufacturers did not include much testing for effectiveness.  That issue became, well, a trust matter between the parties on the contract.

The only hard fact around here is that the machines were "deployed" to counter any future underwear bombs.

That's the fourth story prep.

You're simply not going to be able to get through the rest of this posting if you can't stop laughing so hard.  Try peeling an onion...

Next, we have to address the question of just exactly why would Americans be so "turned off" by the prospect of some minimum wage TSA employee gazing at an x-ray image of them without their clothes?

To answer this part of the mystery, MeanMesa will introduce two streams of evidence.  The first has to do with exactly why we Americans are so gun-shy about being seen naked in the first place.

Yup. You guessed it.  Sunday School.

It turns out that the latest, hybrid version of the Old Testament happens to include dozens of dire warnings not to ever be naked.  Not to be seen naked; not to see someone else naked and not to do any of the fun things which are possible to do while naked.

Leviticus Chapter 18:
6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their NAKEDNESS: I am the LORD.
7 The NAKEDNESS of thy father, or the NAKEDNESS of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her NAKEDNESS.
8 The NAKEDNESS of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's NAKEDNESS.
9 The NAKEDNESS of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their NAKEDNESS thou shalt not uncover.
10 The NAKEDNESS of thy son's daughter, or of thy daughter's daughter, even their NAKEDNESS thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own NAKEDNESS.
11 The NAKEDNESS of thy father's wife's daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her NAKEDNESS.
12 Thou shalt not uncover the NAKEDNESS of thy father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman.
13 Thou shalt not uncover the NAKEDNESS of thy mother's sister: for she is thy mother's near kinswoman.
14 Thou shalt not uncover the NAKEDNESS of thy father's brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.
15 Thou shalt not uncover the NAKEDNESS of thy daughter in law: she is thy son's wife; thou shalt not uncover her NAKEDNESS.
16 Thou shalt not uncover the NAKEDNESS of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's NAKEDNESS.
17 Thou shalt not uncover the NAKEDNESS of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her NAKEDNESS; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.
18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her NAKEDNESS, beside the other in her life time.
19 Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her NAKEDNESS, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness. 

and, for good measure,

Leviticus Chapter 20:

11 And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's NAKEDNESS: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her NAKEDNESS, and she see his NAKEDNESS; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's NAKEDNESS; he shall bear his iniquity.
18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her NAKEDNESS; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
19 And thou shalt not uncover the NAKEDNESS of thy mother's sister, nor of thy father's sister: for he uncovereth his near kin: they shall bear their iniquity.
20 And if a man shall lie with his uncle's wife, he hath uncovered his uncle's NAKEDNESS: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.
21 And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's NAKEDNESS; they shall be childless. 

That's the fifth story prep.  There's only going to be one last piece -- promise.

For the final "nut in the soup," we can provide evidence so obvious that it can hardly even be called evidence.

Lots and lots of Americans, being 20 or 50 pounds overweight, absolutely shudder at the prospect of appearing "naked" on the full body scanners.  However, instead of simply "kissing the girlfriend," and saying honestly, "I am just too not ready to handle that much exposure," these overly robust Americans immediately grab hold of whatever little snippets of Leviticus they can remember and justify their their modesty as nothing less than a devout compliance with the Old English King's (James) book of tricks with respect to nudity.

(image source Terry Gilliam: BRAZIL, 1985 )

Now, MeanMesa is certainly no longer the sveldt young Tarzan of decades past, and, in his company, there is no shortage of gracefully aging ladies who no longer resemble Marilyn Monroe.  Yet, being a bit more frank, how many of us actually believe that a casual observer, seeing us fully clothed, cannot fairly accurately imagine how we would appear naked?  This grotesque denial of our true appearance would be comical in itself if didn't simply represent another "laugh line" in this crazy spectacle.

That's the sixth, and final story prep.
For the final note in this posting, we will have to imagine a "pretend" visit to Osama bin Laden.  Yes, the old man is shivering in his Pakistani cave somewhere in the Swat, but when we are announced, we don't hear the groaning arthritic complaints  about the cold which we expected.

No.  Not at all.

Instead, sitting there in front of an 8" black and white, battery operated television, we see an old Arab laughing his ass off.

Post Posting Script:  Are the images accompanying this posting confusing?  If so, this may mean that you have not yet enjoyed Terry Gilliam's fantastic 1985 movie BRAZIL.  If you plan to understand what this latest TSA policy actually means, watch the film!  You'll feel much better after a good belly laugh!

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