Security Theater, now on Broadway

This piece was born as the sound track for a cartoon.  The company that pulled it together provides sound tracks.  Lots of over the top musical effects for your B movies.  None the less it’s fun.

I don’t like list songs.  But, now days when ever I hear a song based on a list I think about the password generating trick of using a list, say bpnpbw (Boston, Providence, New York, …); so maybe he’s revealing his password?

That monster with it’s smoke, chorus, strings, sweaty sexy rocker reminded me of the rule of thumb that it’s tacky to use white paint in an oil painting.  I bet there is a “tacky” list for every art form.

Ned Gully wrote a delightful bit recently on the puzzle of when to cheerfully let the vendor manipulate your inner animal.   I agree with his example. but still I can’t resist highlighting that he admits to being the vendor.  The vendor always thinks the customer should unleash his inner animal.

A while back the Times has an article about manipulative consumer research used to design of restaurant menus.  For example, always pull the family values cord: “Uncle Juan’s Haggas.”  Of course the article’s full of the same rhetotical dabs of white paint: “The company hired Gregg Rapp, a menu engineer and consultant who holds “menu boot camps” for restaurants around the country. He said he had been “taking dollar signs off menus for 25 years,”.”  Boot camps!

I think it was Bruce Schneier who invented the delightful term Security Theater to highlight how the TSA is a kind of performance art.   It gives the impression of security but little real security.  The TSA is thus to security as a Cheesecake Factory is to fine dinning; the Temple of Thebes decor not withstanding.

So I was all LOL on receipt of the rumor that a friend of one of my offspring, having graduated with a degree in theater, had gone to work at the Department of Homeland Security!  The mind boggles.  I’m hoping that we can look forward to a significant upgrade in the production values at the TSA.  Better lighting.  A thrilling sound track.  Costume design.  Now that we have Democrats in power it makes sense that we would get a good dose of arts funding into the mix.   If we accept Bruce’s diagnosis then we should demand a more artful experience, one that make us feel substantially safer than it does today.  Oh wait, what if the goal isn’t to make us feel safe?

One thought on “Security Theater, now on Broadway

  1. Ned Gulley

    Burning Man meets Uncle Sam at Logan Airport: “Excuse me, ma’am, but I’m going to have to confiscate that contact lens solution and pour it on my body while chanting Tibetan throat music.” [thanks for the link, by the way!]

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