You may already know that yesterday Peggy Noonan returned to the subject of her unspeakable torture at the airport:
I was directed, shoeless, into the little pen with the black plastic swinging door. A stranger approached, a tall woman with burnt-orange hair. She looked in her 40s. She was muscular, her biceps straining against a tight Transportation Security Administration T-shirt. She carried her wand like a billy club. She began her instructions: Face your baggage. Feet in the footmarks. Arms out. Fully out. Legs apart. Apart. I'm patting you down.
It was like a 1950s women's prison movie. I got to be the girl from the streets who made a big mistake; she was the guard doing intake. "Name's Veronica, but they call me Ron. Want a smoke?" Beeps and bops, her pointer and middle fingers patting for explosives under the back of my brassiere; the wand on and over my body, more beeps, more pats. The she walked wordlessly away....
Heavens, call Amnesty International!
It was all too much for her to bear:
I experienced the search not only as an invasion of privacy, which it was, but as a denial or lowering of that delicate thing, dignity. The dignity of a woman, of a lady, of a person with a right not to be manhandled or to be, or to feel, molested.
Is this quaint, this claiming of such a right? Is it impossibly old-fashioned? I think it's just basic.
This is the same woman who told us on November 2, 2001,
It's back to being pioneer women, hoe in hand; back to being ready to shoo the kids into the cellar beneath the floorboards if the war party comes. And pioneer men working the fields side by side, seeing to the horses and the wheels of the wagons.
... We are, all of us and each of us, part of the new U.S. defense system. We are all soldiers now. We have been drafted by history.
... We're at war; think like a warrior and a survivor.
And on November 30, 2001, when Noonan had just begun flying again after 9/11, she told us this:
I did not experience the level of intrusion a friend of mine who is a reporter has.... Because my friend works in TV her face is well known, and the minute security people see her inching closer to the magnetometer they think: Huh, I bet she's doing an investigative piece on faulty security at airports. She's probably got a gun on her that she's trying to get through. Well, I'll give her a search she won't forget!
This poor woman almost gets thrown against the wall and given a full cavity search every time she travels; her bags are searched inch by inch, she is wanded top to bottom, her nail clippers are taken, her jewelry inspected.
When she told me about it, we started to laugh.
I love that -- it was funny when her friend was searched rudely, but now ... "IT'S HAPPENING TO MOI! MOI!!!"
By all means read the current Noonan column. Savor how she segues from her airport experience to a campaign to either mutter or shriek a sort of Franny & Zooey half-mad pseudo-prayer every time something occurs that offends her as a lady. And, for dessert read Roy Edroso's comments at Alicublog.