In the article, English diplomat Shashi Tharoor tells of his experiences with airport security before and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Tharoor grew up as a frequent flier due to being enrolled on a boarding school at age six. He remembers the days when airport security checks were less strict and you could walk aboard the plane, after a luggage check, with a newspaper or book. Now, Tharoor writes, security checks are not only a much slower process, but also a potentially embarrassing situation. After 9/11 security checks have become very encompassing. The guards check your bags for everyone to see and inspect a person’s most intimate belongings. The guards put people through pointless ordeals, often involving strip searches and emptying/opening everything you have. What Shashi Tharoor says is that security checks are unnecessarily embarrassing for those being checked, and not really helping the war against terror.
2. Give an outline of the various attitudes to airport security in the texts.
In the first text, Spread Your Legs, and Smile, an article posted in the American newsmagazine Newsweek on October 11th, 2004, Shashi Tharoor, a diplomat who works at the United Nations, speak out about his negative views on America’s airport security. He agrees that airport security is a good thing, but he feels that the form of security that has been practiced since 9/11 is unnecessarily strict and succeeds more in making the whole process unpleasant for the passengers than in preventing terrorism. For instance, in the text he mentions how the reinforced airport security has affected his on-flight reading habits:
Once Upon a time, I’d check all my luggage so that I could casually stroll on board with a newspaper and a thick paperback. (…)
As for my book, not long ago they took it away to one of those new-tech compressors to see if they could blow it up!...