One guy tried to set off a bomb in his shoe, and now millions of shoes have been taken off and put through X-ray machines as a result. A couple of guys had a hare-brained scheme to mix deadly chemicals in the plane’s bathroom — which wouldn’t even have worked, as I understand it — and now we have millions of little plastic bags with little travel-sized toiletries.
Some might admittedly view these new practices as over-reactions. Indeed, some might even mourn the fact that there is no foreseeable way out of these stupid practices, as no politician wants to be the one who loosens up the rules and then gets blamed for the next terrorist attack.
But I think we need to look at the bright side — this is an opportunity for the greatest performance-art piece in the history of the world. All we need is a truly dedicated artist to stage an attempted attack and a new bizarre practice can be imposed upon millions of travellers for years to come. (Perhaps we could brainstorm in comments.) This heroic artist would need to be selfless enough not only to risk jail time, but to be willing to forego claiming credit for the piece, as the confession that it was merely a prank might endanger the new practice’s continuation (though who knows?). Only years later could the artist finally come forward and “sign” their massive work, which had played out for years on a stage the size of the entire nation, perhaps adding a note explaining that the project was meant as a commentary on our security-obsessed age, etc.
In a further twist, perhaps next time you’re unlacing your shoes in order to put them through an X-ray machine along with hundreds of your fellow citizens, you should ask yourself, “Has this already happened? Was the shoe-bomber just a performance artist?”