Daniel Solove at Concurring Opinions has a hilarious comic about the recent TSA screening uproar. It’s a follow-up to his post five years ago about the Playmobil Airline Screening Playset, which you can buy for your very own at Amazon.com. Maybe if we all get together and buy a lot of them, Playmobil will be inspired to expand that product line. I, for one, would love to spend hours playing with the Fallujah Checkpoint Playlist, the Kabul Suicide Bomber Interdiction Kit, the Blackwater Maritime Security Somali Piracy Prevention Gunboat, and of course DEA Humbolt: Midnight Helicopter Raid!
The comments at Amazon are so bizarre and uproarious that I’m left utterly convinced that the Playset is a hoax. And yet? There it is, manipulated by Daniel into illustrative cautionary tales about the dangers of unchecked government.
At the Amazon page, though, the LOLZ begin before you even get to the comments, as this little screencap demonstrates:
“Black Friday,” of course, is not just the day that the marketing managers of every consumer business in the United States have panic attacks waiting for their revenue figures and the mainstream media tells us (yet again!) that the American way of life is over because retail revenues are down by 8% over last year, and as a result there won’t be a Christmas this year, or any more Christmases, EVER. “Black Friday” is also a name used for the 1993 terrorist bombings in Bombay, India, by the Islamic organized syndicate of Dawood Ibrahim, in retaliation for the Muslim casualties in the Muslim-Hindu riots of December-January 1992-1993, and the title for a book and a movie about them. Isn’t politics fun?
“Black Friday” was also used in the old days to refer to Friday the 13th, and its negative connotations in the West come, of course, from the fact that Jesus was crucified on Friday.
Oh, but back to the Airline Screening Playset, which had me grooving on the manufacturer’s description:
The woman traveler stops by the security checkpoint. After placing her luggage on the screening machine, the airport employee checks her baggage. The traveler hands her spare change and watch to the security guard and proceeds through the metal detector. With no time to spare, she picks up her luggage and hurries to board her flight!
…which makes the manufacturer seem utterly unprepared for the Davy Crocket broadside provided by Amazon’s customer reviews. A few choice excerpts:
My 5 year old son pointed out that the passenger’s shoes cannot be removed. Then, we placed a deadly fingernail file underneath the passenger’s scarf, and neither the detector doorway nor the security wand picked it up. My son said “that’s the worst security ever!”. But it turned out to be okay, because when the passenger got on the Playmobil B757 and tried to hijack it, she was mobbed by a couple of other heroic passengers, who only sustained minor injuries in the scuffle, which were treated at the Playmobil Hospital.
This toy would be a lot more realistic with about 350 people standing in line for an average of an hour. It still makes a nice set with the interrogation room…
But wait, there’s more:
My family was planning a vacation to Europe, so I purchased this item to teach my twins about what to expect at the airport and hopefully, alleviate some of their anxiety. We also downloaded the actual TSA security checklist from the American Airlines website and then proceeded with our demonstration. Well, first we had to round up a Barbie and a few Bratz dolls to play the other family members, so that cost us a few extra bucks at the Dollar General and it is aggravating that the manufacturer did not make this product “family-friendly.” Of course, since the playmobil Dad could not remove his shoes or other clothing items, unlike the Barbie, the playmobil security agent became suspicious and after waving her wand wildy a few dozen times, called her supervisor to wisk the Dad into a special body-cavity search room, (which incidentally led to quite an embarasing and interesting discussion with my twin daughters about personal hygiene and a slight adjustment to the rules we had them memorize about touching by strangers). But worst of all, since the suitcase did not actually open, the baggage inspector made a call to the FBI and ATF bomb squads which then segregated the family’s suitcase (which btw was the only suitcase they provided for our educational family experience) and according to the advanced TSA regulations, had to blow it up, (since they could not otherwise mutilate the luggage, break off the locks and put one of those nice little advisory stickers on it), which we had to simulate out in the backyard with a few M-80s and other fireworks. The girls started crying. They became so hysterical by the whole experience that we could not even get them in the car when the time came to actually take our trip…
Welcome to the Internets, Playmobil. It’s not as simple as it was for Richard Scarry, is it?