Monday, October 24, 2011

Attention Whoring Much?

TSA Agent Leaves Lewd Message In Flier’s Luggage After Finding Sex Toy
Not satisfied with fumbling through Americans’ private possessions, one TSA screener saw fit to make a humiliating joke about the contents, writing a personal message on a TSA inspection note after finding a sex toy in writer Jill Filipovic’s luggage.

After arriving at her hotel, Filipovic was unpacking when she discovered her bag had been individually searched by a TSA screener who, having seen the “personal item,” saw fit to comment, writing “GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL” on the reverse side of an inspection notice.

“Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not ok, but I also just died laughing in my hotel room,” wrote Filipovic.

I get a little unnerved when I open my bag after traveling to find a little note from TSA explaining that they had rifled through my stuff.
I imagine anybody would, but what you gonna do about it?

What I can't imagine is anybody declaring "Total violation of privacy" as they run to the media regarding somebody's comment toward their possession of a sex toy.
Unless, of course, they didn't have much dignity to begin with.


my name is Amanda said...

I need to (very respectfully) debunk part of your impression of the story, Gino. Jill Filipovic is a columnist; I subscribe to her column and I follow her on Twitter. The story popped up in my feed this morning. In other words, she didn't run to the media - she's part of the media. She put the story, one of many stories she contributes any given week, on her blog. Her reaction was pragmatic. Yes, it's a funny note to discover, but the fact is, someone was commenting about something that is not any of their business. It's not hypocritical to write about it in her column because (1) it's a legitimate report of behavior exhibited by a TSA agent - it's newsworthy, and Filipovic is a reporter, and because (2) privacy is about being in control of what you share with others. When you are placed in the situation of not having control, by the TSA, for the sake of safety and security, you are vulnerable. So it's a violation of privacy when TSA agents comment about items in your personal luggage that have no bearing on safety and security.

Gino said...

yes, the item in question, i assume had a bullet/bomb shaped apearance, was the exact business of the TSA.

her having one wasnt the business of the world at large, unless she wanted to make it such.
she violated her own privacy, not the TSA, which, by it existence, cannot recognise such a right unless they make their findings public, and they did not.

my name is Amanda said...

It's not possible to violate your own privacy. And I didn't say the TSA didn't have the right to inspect it; I said making the comment was the violation. You wouldn't appreciate unsolicited comments about items that you travel with. But for women, where their personal sex lives are used against them in an attempt to degrade their entire character, the inappropriateness is even greater. Why should she just shut up and take it? I doubt the TSA will argue with that the comment is within their standards. And I hardly think that Filipovic is the first person to experience this. She's just the first who happens to have a nationally-read column.

Brian said...

If instead of leaving an inappropriate note about her sex toy, what if a TSA agent had commented on the way she grooms her pubic hair (or doesn't) after seeing her in the scanner? Would you criticize her implied lack of "dignity" if she chose to relay that story to the public? What about putting a hand just a little bit further than was necessary to confirm she wasn't carrying anything? Or lingering just a little too long in a sensitive area?

In every case, the agent would be abusing their position of trust and authority. Dignity was lost when the agent crossed the line into acting inappropriately, period. Don't blame the victim for calling it out for what it is.

Gino said...

i'm not defending the TSA agent, or the note she left behind.

a comnplaint could have been filed without going public and bemoaning a lack of privacy.

Bike Bubba said...

I'm with Gino here. The woman is, as Amanda notes, part of the media, and specifically the part of the media that thrives (sorry, Amanda) on a touch of voyeurism. You don't write wonderfully complimentary articles about "sex positive researchers" if you're not trolling for attention.

Ms. Filipovic is right to rebuke the TSA for what they did. It's creepy she announced it to the world.

Brian said...

It's creepy she announced it to the world.

Seriously, how they hell else do you do it? Fill out a form to complain to an indifferent and unaccountable bureaucracy, about an event that is completely untraceable to the person responsible, and that I doubt they would do anything about anyway.

Pardon my French, but fuck that.

The only way she makes waves about this is by making it public. The individual responsible is impossible to hold accountable. So you shed light on the broken institution that allows this kind of garbage to happen.

And seriously, someone acknowledging the existence of their sex life is not creepy. People have sex. Some people use toys. It's really a pretty mundane fact, as personal revelations go.

Brian said...

I guess my point is that Filipovic has absolutely nothing to be ashamed about, here. But the TSA and the screener who did this absolutely do. So to suggest that Filipovic should have taken care of this quietly is to imply that she does have something to be ashamed of, and that's pretty fucked up in light of the violation that took place.

Gino said...


Mr. D said...

I suppose if you're going to tell the story, you have to tell the whole story.

Biggest point for me is that the TSA is, and continues to be, an outrage. And Ms. Filipovic provides yet more proof.

Bike Bubba said...

Brian, since when does owning a vibrator count as a sex life?

Besides, there is a huge difference between people knowing that a couple has it goin' on (Bubba's got six kids, he and his wife must be busy) and getting the play by play that so many of the "sex positive" seem to desire to give to the world, no?

Brian said...

I guess its a matter of perspective. I'd put "I own a vibrator" in the same bin as "I like men/women". And rather far from blow by blow.

Gino said...

i'd put 'i own a vibrator' in the same bin as 'i need jack off'.

not that there's necessarily anything wrong with either, it just a case of TMI.