The latest SNL TSA skit mocks the enhanced pat-down procedure that made news last week when one passenger true to his convictions stood firm Nov. 13 and refused to be “molested,” even though his action bounced him off his flight. The humorous SNL skit takes the form of a sexy commercial in the style prevalent among match-making sites. It contains memorable lines like “Do you want to feel contact in certain special places? Then why not go through security at an airport” and “it’s our business to touch yours.”
While lighthearted, the SNL skit highlights a practice that many airline passengers find both unnecessary and offensive. Passengers who refuse to undergo full-body scans are subjected to enhanced pat-downs which many passengers say go too far.
ABC News reported Monday that one of its female employees complained of having a TSA agent at Newark Liberty International Airport place a hand inside her underpants and feel around. If this incident was a test of how much the TSA can get away with, the Agency gets an F. The agency head admitted that the screening went too far.
A North Carolina cancer survivor, Cathi Bossi, at a North Carolina airport was recently subjected to the indignity of displaying her prosthetic breast. Michigander Tom Sawyer was unable to persuade the TSA to keep his hands off his urostomy bag and emerged from airport screening soaked in urine as a result.
As satire does, the SNL skit highlighted the excesses for which the TSA has become known. Might it also become an agent for social change? It appears so, as TSA pat-downs have been labeled “abuses” in the media and have attracted the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU is gathering reports from passengers, according to its website, which says:
“If you are denied the right to opt out of the body scanner machines or believe you have suffered from rough, rude, and humiliating manhandling and groping of breasts and crotch areas, sexual comments, and a lack of privacy, please contact us by using the complaint form linked below.”
Will the TSA revoke the pat-down restrictions in response to passenger outrage like the bathroom, lap item, and blanket ban that TSA put in place in response to last year’s Christmas Day bomber?
So far, the word is no. But as passenger outrage and the threat of lawsuits mount, that could change.