Penn Jillette, airport patriot

Penn Jillette, nerd squillionairre and fearless bad-boy magician, had a bad experience with Las Vegas airport security, where a security guard grabbed his crotch during a frisking without asking permission. Penn, who knows his rights, told the guard that unless he asks first, grabbing a person's groin is assault. The guard told him, basically, that he doesn't have any rights once he's in the security checkpoint, and shut up. So Penn asked him to call the cops so that he could press assault charges. What follows is a tragicomedy for the twenty-first century, in which various airport personnel insist that poor Penn will be late for his flight if he doesn't back off of this pressing charges business, and a Las Vegas cop (who's an enormous Penn and Teller fan) tells them, Penn's right, you committed assualt, and Penn stoically insists that he won't mind missing his flight, since he can always catch a later one.

The punchline is a call from a PR person at the airport who offers to ensure that he gets VIP treatment from now on whenever he flies out of Vegas.

I explained the problem. "Do you allow your crotch to be grabbed without being asked?" I didn't exaggerate, I said that there was nothing sexual, I wasn't hurt, and it wasn't my genitals. I just said it was wrong. She said "Well, your feedback is really important because most people are afraid of us…"

She said, "Well, you know a LOT about this." I said, "Well, it's not really the right word, but freedom is kind of a hobby with me, and I have disposable income that I'll spend to find out how to get people more of it."

She said, "Well, the airport is very important to all of our incomes and we don't want bad press. It'll hurt everyone, but you have to do what you think is right. But, if you give me your itinerary every time you fly, I'll be at the airport with you and we can make sure it's very pleasant for you."

I have no idea what this means, does it mean that they have a special area where all the friskers are topless showgirls, "We have nothing to hide, do you?" I have no idea. She pushes me for the next time I'm flying. I tell her I'm flying to Chicago around 2 on Sunday, if she wants to get that security guy there to sneer at me. She says, she'll be there, and it'll be very easy for me. I have no idea what this means…



(Thanks, Joe!)