Grasshopper Soup: Getting naked vs. getting dead
January 5, 2010
Humans sure are funny. Ivy league educated lawyers in the ACLU insist that full body scans at the airport are an invasion of privacy, but have no objection to Americans parading around naked in public. In Ashland, Ore., the right to stroll through town in your birthday suit may become law, if it hasn’t already.
An out of shape senior citizen can walk naked downtown, but we can’t see grandma naked on a scanner at the airport? Is the right to public nudity more important than the right to keep privacy private? Apparently, only elite Harvard graduates know the answer.
In San Francisco, flaunting your body is given full police protection. The police are actually in charge of making sure it happens. But if it happens semi-discreetly on a full body scanner, all of a sudden the ACLU freaks out.
We scream when we think people’s rights are being taken away, but we say nothing when people lose their right to travel freely through San Francisco because the police have blocked off all the streets so a bunch of flamboyant exhibitionists can make their privacy public. The more obsessed we become about demanding our rights, the more likely it is we will deprive someone else of theirs.
The main issue here is obviously one of choice. Sometimes life gives us difficult choices, and sometimes it gives us easy choices. When traveling by air, being blown out of the sky, or having someone see us naked, is one of the easiest choices we’ll ever have to make, no matter how much we value our privacy. Can you imagine someone actually having to think about that choice for more than a split second? and#8220;Uh, gee, hmm, let me see, I think I’d rather have you see me blown to pieces with my clothes on than alive and nakedand#8221;.
Before we board airplanes, airport security should first ask us if we are aware of the fact that humans are naked under their clothes. If that’s news to you, or if you object to that natural fact, you should be taken into custody and immediately subjected to a three month government re-education program (easy now, I’m just kidding).
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But the ACLU does have a point. Private body scan images of some people are so gross we should never have to look at them, even if it is just on a scanner. But those bodies deserve protection from terrorists too, even though it appears their booty has already been terrorized enough by fast food and the forces of age and gravity.
To the enlightened mind, every human body is beautiful. In his famous book, The Prophet, Lebanese author Kahlil Gibran says, and#8220;Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautifuland#8221;. Put that in your full body scanner and scan it.
Full-body scanners are now available that ensure privacy. The new technology removes all fear about the invasion of the body scanners. In place of an image of your bod, a sterile image resembling a neutered space alien appears. Eventually, airport security personnel won’t have to worry about being grossed out by your body’s complete lack of symmetry. Nor will you have to worry about them taking extra time scanning because you are a such a perfect specimen. Soon, privacy will no longer be an issue at airports, except for some. There will always be those who find something to complain about.
In other areas of life, privacy is still an issue. We all have to share public life. We need to balance the public part and the private part. Everybody has their own idea about how to do that. There are ideas out there that can make everybody happy. All we have to do is agree on whose plan is the best. We can schedule town hall meetings and go over each plan.
But we want to make sure everyone is safe and has a good time, so you can expect strip searches. Maybe that will encourage more people to participate.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 27 years.
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