Noteworthy media portrayals of TSA/DHS

Discussion in 'What's On Your Mind?' started by CelticWhisper, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    I've gone back and forth on creating this thread for a while. On the one hand, it's TSA-related so it should fit in, but on the other, it seemed a little frivolous. But then I suppose that's what the "What's On Your Mind" forum is for - a touch of frivolity to keep spirits up. goal here, being that art and fiction often highlights moral quandaries and serves as a tool for taking the temperature of the public consciousness, is to track portrayals of DHS/TSA in popular media - TV, movies, music, commercials, etc. Hopefully we can get an idea of how (un)favourably everyone's dear beloved TSA is viewed by the producers and consumers of our dear beloved popular culture.

    Without further ado, I'll start:

    -As mentioned previously, Eureka had this in a late season 5 episode. Doug Fargo, while trying to backtrace a military order to erase precious (and how!) information from a storage device, says to the DHS official on the phone "What's the matter? Is Homeland Security too busy groping people to make a simple phone call?" and hangs up in frustration. He follows it with "Great, now I'm going to get strip-searched on every flight I take for the rest of my life." While I can see the followup line being put in to dissuade would-be copycats (or am I just reading waaaaaay too much into that?), the original accusation was said with a definite tone of anger and without playfulness or mirth.

    -Another previously-mentioned Eureka example - a DNA scanner that would allow the local authorities to track anyone, anywhere, anytime sparks a debate over civil liberties versus safety with a subtle but unmistakable undercurrent of "civil liberties should win out" running through the arguments. Also, the device itself is eerily reminiscent of a NoS.

    -Dexter, S05E05 "First Blood" was scarily prophetic. The episode aired in Nov. 2010 at the dawn of scope-n-grope, when most of the nation was still in denial. A character who was the victim of repeated brutal rape is provided with a plane ticket back home to try to move on with her life. TSA has other plans and the ensuing grope causes her to relive her trauma at the hands of her attackers and ultimately spurs her decision to remain in Miami to seek revenge. It's essentially a milder version (as the character didn't wind up in the hospital) of the events reported in TSA News Blog's "Rape Survivor Assaulted by TSA" article. The portrayal of the groping was hard-hitting and personal (my heart was threatening to burst out of my chest just watching it - kudos to the director for making it that immersive) and TSA, while not the focus of the scene story-wise, received no (expletive deleted)-covering and I can easily see the scene sparking discussions by audience members over "can that really happen?" Maybe a bit of a wakeup call.

    So...anyone else notice any memorable cameos by our blue-shirted airport thug squad in media? Were they positive or negative, and what sort of themes were presented?

    Oh, before I forget, there's also the TVTropes page (Time-sink alert! Productivity factor dropping!) for Overreacting Airport Security. A few of the Real Life entries are compliments of Yours Truly. I debated editing previous usages of the word "agents" to "screeners" or "clerks," but that runs the risk of starting a debate and having a mod decide that because the agency uses the false-legitimacy term "Officers," so shall their page until an official change is made. Knowing moderation trends on that site as I do, that's one sleeping dog that's best to let lie.
  2. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    I can't come up with anything specific, but almost every novel I have read in the last several years has an "unkind" reference to the TSA. I know that several "NCIS" episodes have included denigrating comments about airport "security."

    Sorry I can't be any more specific, but it's out there big time. People hate the TSA.
  3. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    Another one I just recalled - FlashForward had an episode featuring a guy who, in his eponymous future vision, saw himself working in the "respectable" role of a smurf-clerk (though the vision saw him in a white uniform and not fake-cop blue). When one of the main characters goes to talk to him in the present day, he's a shiftless loser sitting at home watching TV in his underwear. The MC almost trips over the huge bong the guy has in his living room.

    Amurrka's finest indeed.

    (Side note: my girlfriend and I have really been enjoying this show. TV and speculative sci-fi don't usually get along, but this one's actually quite good.)
  4. Harold and Kumar 2: Escape From Guantanamo Bay!

    Here's the clip. It's not safe for work.

    Kumar has some weed on him, and takes a stand against the clerk when he is stopped for a "random" search. The clerk does say it's his job to look for weapons AND illegal drugs. Kumar makes a big scene about racial profiling, threatens to call the ACLU, and the guy's supervisor sends him on his way.
  5. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Wouldn't it be great if those who write commercials would do a whole bundle, covering a wide range of products/services, that make fun of the TSA, commercials that are seen by a wide spectrum of viewers? And if every movie could write in a scene at a TSA checkpoint, a scene where a woman is subjected to a full-on grope, a disabled child is shown being groped?
  6. RB

    RB Founding Member

  7. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    Linking to this article here since it seems the most appropriate place:

    What do video games, gender egalitariansim, and TSA have in common?

    ...Actually, not all that much. However, I do want to point out something in the article itself that caught my attention and gave me hope:
    Maybe it's just me, but I loved seeing that a journalist in a totally TSA-unrelated field talks about The War Against Terror (*spookyfingers*) as a bad thing, and does so in so offhanded and matter-of-fact a fashion.

    People are clearly waking up to the fact that this (expletive deleted)-backwards country's response to 9/11 has gone way, way too far. Hope to read more like this in the near future.

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