Scanning the scans

Eli: Well, since we’re talking again, I’ve been thinking about the big flap over body scans that you guys are having (although you made it through Thanksgiving OK)—it kind of fits with your “Divine Reversal” theme.

RR: Oh, really, how’s that?

Eli: It’s probably not divine, exactly, but there’s this big reversal between the right-wingers and left-wingers on this one. The right-wingers, who are for law and order and eternal vigilance in the war against terror, are against the beefed-up security, and the lefties, who are always freaking out about civil liberties and the right to privacy, are backing it.

RR: Yeah, good point, but I have a theory on why that is—it’s really about profiling. The right wants to profile and is exasperated because the governments has this whole elaborate system to keep it impersonal and random when, they think, it would be a lot simper just to swoop down on suspicious looking characters.

Eli: You’re probably right, although not so original. I mean, lots of people suspect that’s what it’s really about. And I can sympathize with the liberals on this one. I used to get profiled myself pretty often, because of hair length, mostly, and general grubbiness. Once I had to take a bus from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to Chicago (it’s a long story), and at every stop someone would get on the bus and openly glare at me. One lady said in a loud voice, “Where did he get on?” and the driver made some sarcastic, discriminatory crack. Not the same kind of profiling, exactly (after all, I chose to keep my hair on the long side), but I get how it feels.

RR: OK, the there’s another theory that it all divides down pro-Obama and anti-Obama lines. The same people who backed Bush on wire taps are screaming about enhanced pat-downs, and vice versa. It’s really about backing your party right or wrong, and all the other rhetoric is just a smoke screen.

Eli: Yeah, can’t argue with that, but it’s not too original either. I’ve got a much cooler theory—it’s creeping nudism. The lefties are for breaking down all the old rules, you know same-sex marriage, abortion on demand, legalized marijuana. So, how about public nudity? You know, the naked bike rides, where do they happen? Vancouver, Vermont, Portland, lefty places like that. So, body scans and public touching of private parts are just paving the way for people opting to check onto a flight, or into the office for work, in nothing at all. And then making it illegal to discriminate against that, of course.

RR: Yeah, I have a poster that a well-known local artist gave me—Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (and not needing any sort of body scanner) over the caption, “God’s original plan was to hang out in a garden with some naked vegetarians.” (Check out, Sort of a progressive redemption myth. We return to our primeval innocence and don’t need sacrifice, forgiveness, or deliverance from anything except the evil fully clothed establishment. I remember you falling for that in the old days—everyone on the commune walking around totally naked for a couple of weeks one summer or something like that.

Eli: Yeah, we even had a few tourists from Albuquerque dropping by. One of them stopped at the entrance of our valley, at a little ranchito owned by old Rumoldo Montoya, and asked him about the nudists in the vicinity. He said, “No nudems here,” with that gruff poker face that the local men wore, at least around the gringo public, and the tourists drove off. But legalized nudity is the hidden agenda behind the body scans if you ask me.

RR: Hmm, I’m sure there’s lots of ethical and theological problems with that one. For one thing, as your hippie friend Joseph Turner discovered almost as soon as we all started reading the Bible, we don’t go back to the Garden, but to the New Jerusalem, and we’re not naked, but “clothed with fine linen, bright and pure” (Rev. 19:8). But ethical nudity could be a good thing. I mean the debate about body scanners would be a lot more helpful if both sides flashed their real agendas once in a while.



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