Oh dear, not a good day for Salman or Shahrukh, and I can’t help but feel it is partly my fault! As an American, and part of “The Internet.”
First, oops! Sorry Salman! That report from yesterday about Zhu Zhu being in Tubelight was premature. I mean, it’s true, just that they wanted to wait until filming was over and then announce it in a planned and careful manner. Only, Zhu Zhu didn’t realize that and innocently tweeted a photo from set. Or maybe she didn’t realize just what big news this is, and that as soon as any photo of Salman Khan appears on twitter, all of the Indian news media will find and report on it.
Anyway, I feel terrible of course, even though I was very late to the party and just reporting what had already been said in plenty of other sources. I never want to mess with the planned promotional strategy for a film! It’s always much more interesting and exciting to just follow along the storyline the nice producers and PR companies have planned out for us!
And then another, much bigger, apology to Shahrukh from America. Sorry for detaining you! Again! For the 3rd time! We are really rude and stupid and also bad at airport security!
Shahrukh as usual was gracious about it, saying it’s no big deal, he is fine with being treated like everyone else, he understands.
It’s true, this isn’t unusual, for someone to be pulled and detained because of where they are flying in from, or their name, or anything like that. For the TSA to insist on following some kind of crazy high paranoid standards instead of common sense.
But it should be unusual! It’s terrible that the TSA in America is so disorganized they are constantly detaining the wrong people just because they in some way don’t fit the perfect expected standard. After about five minutes of googling, here‘s a story about a girl with a brain tumor in a wheelchair being thrown to the ground. Here‘s a story about a transgender woman who was detained for, essentially, being transgender. Here‘s one about an American citizen, and the head of the Muslim Youth USA, who was detained and searched on the way home from an event he coordinated to fight terrorism.
I would be thrilled if Shahrukh decided to make a big stink about this and pushed for America to reform its airport security practices. Besides being likely to harm the very people it should be protecting, they aren’t actually that efficient. Another five minutes of googling pulled up a story about undercover Homeland Security agents being able to get banned explosives and weapons through the TSA screeners 67 out of 70 attempts. Here‘s one about how it wastes billions of dollars on programs that are proven to be ineffective (including body scanners, the type that lead to the transgender woman above being detained). Oh, and here’s my favorite quote from that article:
“It’s a problem that the government has a monopoly on aviation security and that TSA is not accountable to anyone for its level of efficiency or performance. Well, it’s accountable to Congress I suppose, but that doesn’t really amount to much these days.”
And if you need any other proof, just look at the fact that, so far as I know, America is the only country, out of all the many many countries that Shahrukh visits, that has actually been stupid enough to detain him. Everywhere else he goes, airport security is able to look past his name and skin color and use common sense to determine that he is not a threat. Or to not look at his name and skin color at all, because that is a terrible way to determine threats! Only in America is our airport security such a combination of powermad and brainempty that we would make such a mistake.
Anyway, if it were up to me, he would be a little less gracious and a little more pushy and get the TSA to stop doing these stupid things for the good of us all. (by the way, I am a blue eyed blonde, with a German-American name, and I have never been detained or questioned by airport security, in fact I have been waved through to the no-check line. Which could be just a coincidence, but it also seems worth mentioning)