Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This Appears to be a Real Product

The product is astonishing enough; the customer reviews are hilarious.


fche said...

I have several airport-related books for my brats, and most of them cover security checkpoints. By gosh, most of them were written before 2001, when we already had security checkpoints. I don't know if they are interesting enough a part to want to pretend/play with, but so what.

The "customer" reviews seem to be just a bunch of lefty whiners, not customers.

Aviatrix said...

Your comment is actually an interesting data point. It's trivial to say that the US is extremely left-right polarized. Is it a common consensus that the left wing is unhappy with airport security procedures and the right wing approves them? I was under the impression that airport security was ridiculed from all shades of the political spectrum, except maybe libertarians. And I'm not sure whether being pro-guns and anti-government makes them left or right wing.

And couldn't you guys get with the rest of the world on your coour scheme? Red is supposed to be left and blue is supposed to be right. How else can you be "better dead than red" or a "commie pinko"? Hey, you guys made those up. When did your colours switch sides?

Anonymous said...

Over here in Australia we have red for the Labour Party (left) and blue for the Liberal Party (right). I think.

But now you could mash them all together and get a lovely purple or brown, they're all basically the same.

My thoughts. I've only been back in the country four weeks, so don't quote me on it.

Anonymous said...

It is a cool playset though. I used to have some Playmobil but our family are strong Lego supporters and the Playmobil was probably donated to a larger collection.

fche said...

Is it a common consensus that the left wing is unhappy with airport security procedures and the right wing approves them?

I don't know -- but it seems exclusively a left wing hobby to extrapolate from airport inconvenience onto full-blown hysteria about brown shirts and civil liberties and america dying and whatever.

majroj said...

Yeah they're serious! Like edgy Playskool toys!

I think the objections are based on two aspects for most people which span political orientations. One is the frequently (used to be "mostly") rude conduct of the TSA employees, many of whom as it turned out were improperly vetted and trained, but also many of whom were subjected to near continual verbal assault and begging by the public (being the only visible and approachable members of TSA). The second is the fear of inadvertantly breaking a rule, missing a plane, losing a valued gift or possession.
Oh, yeah, items three and four:
Looking uncool as you take off then re-donn your shoes and outer garments; and actually being caught doing something dangerous.

Less than a week after the WTC/Pentagon attacks, I flew commercial to Portland OR. On my return I witnessed a tall middle aged man try to walk uninterruptedly through the metal detector and to his gate, simply saying "I ain't doing this bullshit" or some such. The National Guard guys in uniform and carrying weapons (which they did NOT brandish) didn't agree.

Anonymous said...

I saw the same thing at Detroit Metro airport a week or two after 9/11. A businessman was balking at showing his ID to the Wayne County Sheriff's deputy, saying "I don't have time for this; I have a plane to catch". Not a really good idea; the Wayne County Sheriff department has a reputation for not putting up with a lot of nonsense. After the deputy collared him and got him to display his ID, the man stormed off, yelling back over his shoulder "I'm never coming back to Detroit again!" I'm sure the deputy was heartbroken.

Lynn Grant

Anonymous said...

It is very much *not* a "left-wing" thing to hate the airport "security show" nonsense.

The trouble is that we actually aren't left-right polarized in this country. The divide isn't along that line.

On this particular issue, the hatred is pretty mixed. Or, at least, I am routinely ridiculed as a right-wing nutjob in various dark corners of the internet, and I despise the loss of civil liberties that has occurred over the last 7 years.

I am not unique in this respect

A.V. Eightor said...

Two true stories about TSA experiences:

#1.. I tried to use the lockers in the middle of KDEN's terminal, but couldn't figure out how to open the darned things. So I asked one of the Thousands Standing Around for assistance, who informed me that the lockers weren't permitted to be used, since storing my bags (which had just come off one aircraft, and would be going on another one in a few hours without any further screening) would constitute "leaving unattended baggage" and would therefore be a "security threat". O...k...

#2.. I recently tried to pass through a TSA checkpoint with a wallet, sunglasses, cellphone, and 1.3oz bottle of eyedrops. The TSA fellow insisted I had to put the 1.3oz bottle in a quart plastic bag. I pointed out that the idea of the bag is to limit the quantity of liquid that can be carried by an individual passenger, but as usual, logic and reason were ineffective. I wasn't going to buy their $0.75 plastic bag to transport a watertight 1.3oz plastic bottle, so I just tossed the eyedrops and bought more at my destination.

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world...

CYOW + CYVR said...

It's a misnomer to say the the US is left-right polarized. It's heavily polarized along the lines of Republicans and right wing Democrat vs. everyone else, but this isn't as much an ideological split as a split in mental outlook between authoritarian followers and non-authoritarians.

The kind of people who support the TSA and give the current American president his ~30% popularity fall squarely into category of authoritarian followers. They don't do this for reasons of ideology but rather out of a psychological need to follow a strong leader. Their defining characteristic is basically subservience to authoritarian power rather than any political ideology.

The remaining 70% of Americans outside of the authoritarian follower bracket fall across the entire political spectrum but generally hate the TSA and most everything else the current American president has done in the name of security. Many of these people are left-leaning, but by no means all of them.

What makes US so polarized is that the GOP has made the minority of authoritarian followers its political base.

Bob Altemeyer, a researcher at the University of Manitoba has done a lot of work on how authoritarian personality types map to political behavior. He has a very good book on the subject online:
The Authoritarians

See also John W. Dean's dead trees book Conservatives without Conscience.

DO NOT get caught with either work at a TSA or border checkpoint. Authoritarian followers tend to gravitate towards these kind of jobs and don't take kindly to what they perceive as ridicule.

(I fully expect fche to explode after reading this....)

MathFox said...

In Europe security checks were introduced to stop hijacking and they were pretty successfull in that. Both left- and right- leaning governments thought it was worth the inconvenience to the flier. I don't think security is a left vs. right political subject.

I have seen thorough and smooth security checks; I've also seen desinterested people performing the checks; worst checks in quality are where the personel is distracted by bitching with the customers about useless rules (like plastic bags for single bottles)... ignoring other scans.
Yes, politeness (from both sides), can make the screening better, both in actual security provided and experience for workers and fliers.

fche said...


It must be comforting to see that your peculiar imagination of the psychological longings of conservatives is itself shared by such luminaries as Altermeyer, Dean.

In the mean time, the rest of us can perhaps separate our own annoyances with misguided security practices from effete geopolitical yakyak and from little plastic toys.

Dagny said...

That is truly frightening.


dpierce said...

CYOW + CYVR: In my (admittedly limited) experience, most people who claim not to follow an authority indeed do, they're just not entirely aware of how their value system is strung together. Rare is the person who truly questions every turn and makes judgments without the biasing "authority" of some type of associative prejudice.

Regarding a polarized hatred of the TSA, in my (again limited) experience, the split is found between those who travel frequently and those who don't. People who don't travel are quick to cite that we haven't had any major issues since 911, and those who do are quick to cite the latest example of TSA incompetence.

Curt Sampson said...

Avitrix, the US political system was explained to me this way. There they have something called the "Republican" party, which is the equivalent of our Tory party. And then there's the "Democratic" party which is the equivalent of...our Tory party.