The Big Bad Airport Bogeyman Wants To See You Naked!


If there was any doubt about the abject inadequacy of the conservative psyche to face modern life, the airport scanner controversy should erase it forever. It seems puritanism, hypocrisy, repression, libertarianism, and ‘privacy’ paranoia are poised to have a panting, wild, screaming gang-bang in a microwave backscatter machine. Certain to be unsated by their preliminary romp, next they’ll move the party to the courtroom, where they’ll make lurid allegations of security screeners masturbating in back rooms to video feeds of ‘child porn!!’ You think I’m kidding.

Is there anyone alive over the age of ten who doesn’t know what a naked human body looks like? Is there any child who hasn’t nursed at their mother’s breast, or who doesn’t see their mother or father naked at some point as a normal part of growing up? Even if they were formula-fed and lived with parents who wore burqas 24/7, their isolation from nudity will quickly end as soon as they get near a computer with an internet connection. (Parental filters are the worst joke of all, since your ten-year-old is likely to know more about the computer than you do). That aside, it takes only the slightest exercise of imagination to mentally undress anyone standing in front of you. Trust me. Or you can get the iPhone app.

The conservative problem with nudity is all in their minds–their dirty, repressed minds. Don’t think just because they’re prudes, they’re not mentally undressing people, too. Even moreso. But liberals who are comfortable with their own bodies and their own sexuality just don’t care. They also don’t imagine everyone is a rapist or a pedophile. People who are used to nudity also seem to be more comfortable admitting what the rest of society tries to pretend to hide: we are all sexual animals. Even so, they don’t pathologize the most common mammalian activity like prudes do, warping every proclivity–indeed every stolen glance or flicker of skin–into something morbid.

Maybe I’m just one of the lucky few who understands. See, I’ve had the experience of being naked in a room of at least 500 naked men and women where there was nothing at all sexual going on. (Don’t ask–I really don’t care if you believe me). After about two minutes, the novelty and nervousness wore off, and everyone completely forgot they weren’t wearing clothes. There was no leering, pointing, or jeering. They acted just like they would have at any normal social gathering. I say this to illustrate the absurdity of the common reaction to nudity–not to suggest we all walk around that way. I’m not a philosophical naturist, but I find people’s typical revulsion over exposed flesh (especially curvy, hairy, or mature flesh) to be an expression of self-loathing that is profoundly demeaning to the human race.

Enter airport scanners.

So now we have tea-party conservatives, who go apoplectic over the slightest hint of a homeland security breach, lining up to oppose the machines. In their wildest drug-fueled pipe dream, could anyone come up with a more ironic contradiction? These right-wing nutjobs are a brutal self-parody. Their brittle, can’t-help-themselves, prejudice-addled and hamstrung minds go into blue-screen crash-of-death over the free world’s necessary response to an enemy that’s about to resort to body-cavity bombs.

That’s where we are in 2010, folks. I’m as bummed out about it as anyone. I realize that the same scanners which detect explosives can detect other contraband that I simply don’t think should be illegal. I also realize that some people walk around with sex toys or other “embarrassing” things under their clothes. They might want to rethink that practice on travel days. Sorry, defenders of “civil liberties” are going to lose this round. If we want to fly, we are going to have to get naked in front of a guy in the back room who will examine our electronically exposed corpus for weapons of mass-murder. Get used to it.

After all, don’t you remember the spaceport scanning scene in Total Recall where travelers were x-rayed down to their skeleton? We’re not quite there yet. But closer than you think. All it will take is an airliner getting downed by some loser with a giant butt-plug filled with PETN. (Now that’s a sentence I realize stretches human oddity to the breaking point–but truth is stranger than fiction). Once we can search body cavities, the next step is surgically implanted explosives. Then we really will need to scan down to the bone–possibly with MRI, fluoroscopes, mass spectrometers, or some other as-yet undeveloped technique. Sometimes sci-fi is pretty damned prescient.

Look at the bright side: no more taking your shoes off, and the lines should move a lot faster.

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Comments (64 comments)

darkeros / January 8th, 2010, 6:18 pm / #1

Great article… great fun… and really, who cares? I mean about the scanners? You KNOW that if this happened under Bush's reign, the scanner's would be in. It is absurd that they are opposing exactly the measures that go after the evil terrorist that they were up in arms about! Every move they make seems to be just to oppose Obama.. NOTHING to do with any logical political party philosophy. A scanner is much less intrusive than someone patting down your body. Clint, you think that its more intrusive? I don't understand what rights you see being abused here? And I think you are waaaaaaaaaaaaay off on what Ben would think. You can't take someone that far back in history and suggest that he would oppose it. We live in a different frame. And he was a progressive thinker, not a ludite! (no way am I suggesting this of you… but just this fear or idea that these scanners are bad or worse than being physically pat down and taking off layers of clothes)

If you are writing about it, Black Sun, then no doubt the next level will be xray… might as well just do it. Criminals go all the way! I know!

ClintJCL / January 8th, 2010, 9:58 pm / #2

How quick you surrender your rights in the name of safety, and call on others to do the same. Franklin would be ashamed. It's not just a conservative thing.

BTW, you are 20X more likely to be struck by lightning than killed in a terrorist attack on a plane.

BlackSun / January 8th, 2010, 10:12 pm / #3

And you are 100X more likely to get killed in your car on the way to the airport. But it's beyond a question of personal safety, it's also a new front in asymmetrical warfare. National prestige and global perception is in some ways a bigger issue than the particular lives of the people on the plane. Though that wouldn't be true if any of them were my friends or family. Nor was it true for the families of those killed on 9/11. Ask the people on the Christmas flight how lucky they feel to be alive.

I don't like the circumstances, but that doesn't make them go away.

And I don't stand outside under trees in a lightning storm, either. This is *so* far from a civil-liberties issue. I'm not ashamed of my position at all, and Franklin wouldn't be either. He was smart and also adaptable. He wouldn't be afraid to change his position under changing political conditions.

Cutting to the chase, the issue is prudery. And I will mock it incessantly until the machines are universally installed.

Hmmm / January 8th, 2010, 11:51 pm / #4

The sight of me naked, even through one of those scanners, possibly constitutes an act of terrorism to begin with. Those poor, poor airport scanner people.

BlackSun / January 9th, 2010, 12:13 am / #5

Hahahahaha! Exactly.

CybrgnX / January 9th, 2010, 1:43 am / #6

The terrorists target the aeroplane because if they blew up a car no one would notice and it is VERY difficult to fly
a car into a tall building. So the death comparison between cars and planes is not really valid. I hated the
inconvenience of flying before all this BS. All this stuff is a great advertisement for the train.

ChristopherTK / January 9th, 2010, 2:05 am / #7

"The ACR (American College of Radiology) is not aware of any evidence that either of the scanning technologies that the TSA is considering would present significant biological effects for passengers screened," the group says in a statement provided.

So what are the less then significant biological effects?

Anyway, dangerous medical outcomes are not my only concern.

Again I think we are making life more difficult for those that just live everyday lives; meanwhile this will not end or necessarily reduce airline terrorism. This unwelcome stab at a solution still does not remove human error, which is why Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab made it through anyway. We have a solid system in place. The humans running it are screwing it up. Lets not allow more government intrusion.

BlackSun / January 9th, 2010, 2:38 am / #8


You may be right, it may not 100% end terrorism. But we have to keep pushing back until we find something that works the vast majority of the time. And yes, by all means fix the system. There was no excuse for what happened with the no-fly list.

Amaterasu / January 9th, 2010, 3:51 am / #9

How we all compromise ourselves to death behind a veneer of cosy acquiescence.

smoke / January 10th, 2010, 1:37 am / #10

I completely agree. This angle is the first thing that occurred to me when this "controversy" arose. (And all of that said, the image you chose is kinda, well, hot. Just kidding! Sort of… ;))

Spanish_Inquis / January 13th, 2010, 11:26 pm / #11

I'm in complete agreement with you, for the same reasons.
1. The people who will do the scanning will probably be titillated….for about three minutes, then the boredom caused by overexposure (no pun intended) will set in, and it will become as routine as a OB giving a pelvic exam. Just another part of the job.
2. The images are not saved.
3. What the hell does anyone think they have that is so special that no one else has? Besides a weapon, and that's the whole point.

BlackSun / January 14th, 2010, 6:22 pm / #12

I guess I'm not too far out on a limb with this one:

Doris Tracey / January 14th, 2010, 11:31 pm / #13

When my aunt went to the airport and one of the men frisked her she said,"That was the most fun I had in ten yrs". She'll be 79 next July.

ReaderRedux / January 15th, 2010, 6:40 am / #14


ReaderRedux / January 15th, 2010, 6:41 am / #15


ChristopherTK / January 15th, 2010, 10:26 pm / #16

Little by little, we allow ourselves to be victims.
I still say NO! Very briefly, Amaterasu said it best.

ChristopherTK / January 19th, 2010, 1:23 am / #17

ReaderRedux, I thought it was only a difference of religious belief, but your statement leaves me thinking you have bought into a very poorly constructed idea of Atheism and furthermore, it seems you cannot separate one issue from another. We Atheists find no "reason" to worship anybody. We "choose" who we agree and disagree with on a case by case basis. If you will, could you also pass along to MeJane @ 912 that I follow because I care. They made the choice to eliminate other opinions.

Since you found your way to the Black Sun Journal, you should take the time to take a look around. I don't expect it to change your mind but there are somethings on this site I know you have never seen before. Consider opening your mind to new possibilities.

Sean, I'm sorry for the intrusion but ReaderRedux wrote "Obama and the others in the liberal/progressive-party movement worship people including Mao, former communist-mass murderer dictator of China; Che, same of Cuba; and Saul Alinsky, who wrote the book that Obama et al follow - which is the communists’ “Rules for Radicals.” I felt the need to respond and to open up their dialog to others.

BlackSun / January 19th, 2010, 1:40 am / #18

ChristopherTK, I didn't see the original comment from ReaderRedux. Maybe he deleted it. But your input is always welcome!

ReaderRedux / January 19th, 2010, 2:03 am / #19

ChristopherTK, I made no reference to atheism in my comment.
I should have used the word "admire" instead of "worship."
I do not know specifically how to contact MeJane.

Tom / January 25th, 2010, 3:56 am / #20

What about body cavities, this scanner doesnt go there, but that may be next, how many who are ok with the body scanner will be ok with it's little brother, the cavity probe!

Liquid Egg Product / January 25th, 2010, 4:08 pm / #21

This body scanner is going to cause a lot of problems. Like if my girlfriend gets a hold of these images; she'll find out I have manboobs.

Spanish_Inquis / January 29th, 2010, 5:22 pm / #22

If she doesn't already know that, it's time to get a new girlfreind. ;)

other Mr T / February 23rd, 2010, 9:19 pm / #23

I think the point is that people are upset about being treated like criminals, feeling as they are being processed for a concentration camp or prison, everytime they are flying somewhere. I know I am. It doesn't feel vacation-y! If you have to go through such lengths, it may be too dangerous to fly in any case. So why spend good money to be trapped in an airport for 3 hours to board a 1 hour long flight?!? I suppose that there would be no possible way to 'spoof' or 'hack' this screening machine either

RealityBites / July 31st, 2010, 8:39 pm / #24

The amount of kookaid consumption necessary to justify giving the retarded TSA (The Stupid Arseholes) technology they are way too stupid to be able to operate, must be measured by the tanker full.

Keep up the kookaid consumption… the greedmasters depend on you.

Shifu Careaga / November 16th, 2010, 4:53 pm / #25

Black Sun I am surprised that you cannot see the illogical connection between letting people scan you and YOU NOT HAVING ANY SAY ON IT UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE GROPED and the next steps leading to universal registration, national ID and tyranny.

Disappointing… better use your brilliant mind to read more history. You clearly see only a small picture of what this really means.

In colonial days 3,000 white men controlled the continent of Africa using control of transportation, taxation, and ethnic wars. Controlling movement is exactly what control-type people - the kind you espouse to despise - need to keep people in economic slavery.

Sad. Just sad. All that historical data and you waste time talking about nudity.

Shifu Careaga / November 16th, 2010, 4:55 pm / #26

actually some images have been saved. Don't put faith in strangers' goodwill and company policy. Did you learn nothing from the ISP and FISA scandals of 2003?

sonya ha / November 28th, 2010, 5:26 pm / #27

As a frequent flyer this is too much radiation.

sonya ha / November 28th, 2010, 8:00 pm / #28

IIt could be time to see that your past has affected your future, time to examine why it is clouding your vision.

Meggington / January 7th, 2011, 3:07 pm / #29

As long as they're not trying to strip search me or anything of that nature and as long as it's not directly going to effect my health I'm fine with it. Security at airports needs to be a little tight and I have nothing to hide…I just don't like people touching me =.=

Rong / January 14th, 2011, 5:45 pm / #30

Why dont we all just bend over?

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 7:54 am / #31

well if he was such a progressive thinker he didn't progress fast enough in getting rid of "The Creator" from this damn Constitution which just means what it does - constitutes - "Wow" what a name for an important piece of paper….we're still monkeys we just don't have as much hair…..

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 8:08 am / #32

my above comment was to darkeros….& i agree these scanners r far more better than getting pat down or fingered ! no thk u !

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 8:10 am / #33

wouldn't these scanners help with preventing drugs that r injested from coming in & those who would from doing so?

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 8:10 am / #34

yeah! exactly….!

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 8:21 am / #35

Thumbs up!….I'm sure it was more than 3,000 & aren't the white people still controlling everything? There damn clothing style has taken over business & fashion….I WANT TO BE FREE ! LET ME ROAM AS MY ANCESTORS DID - NAKED !…..YEAH then we wouldn't need these scanners & money & worry about terrorists because terrorist would be to shocked in seeing us naked in our undies…. : 0)..i really love that white country dude who plays his guitar in his manly underwear….we should come to the airport like that…will they let us?

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 8:26 am / #36

wouldn't ur girlfriend already know that?……..

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 8:31 am / #37

oh right she doesn't because u don't want her to know… u got that whole A-sexual thing going….

AmenASHandF / January 31st, 2011, 6:06 am / #38

i was referring to Meggington's comment……

AmenASHandF / January 31st, 2011, 6:15 am / #39

I'm assuming passengers who r pregnant can't go through these scanners therefore making them exempt. What is done in their case? The full-body search?

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Kevin Andrew / February 5th, 2017, 3:07 pm / #62

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Penny Wilkerson / February 5th, 2017, 5:18 pm / #63

It's like a dilemma. In a side, the security have to ensure the safety of the airport but on the other hand it could be an embarrassing moment being naked under the scanner.
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Natalie Floyd Floyd / February 16th, 2017, 5:41 pm / #64

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