Some years back, British TV ran a number of “reality shows” that had no competitive element, no host (and no BUDGET). They were intended as “slice of life” pieces. I accidentally saw part of one, while I was waiting for a REAL programme to start.
I don’t recall the title (I’d be ashamed if I DID) but it concerned the goings-on at an airport (maybe it was called “Airport”) and featured a piece which gave me a salutary lesson.
It concerned a classical musician who gave a humourous answer to a dumb question, posed by an immigration official. The conversation went something like: “Where have you come from?” “Chicago.” “What’s in the violin case?” “A machine gun.”
Stated baldly, it sounds either innocuous or worrisome – depending on the circumstances. But in this instance, they were benign. It was just a mild joke. The musician was a nice guy. Neatly turned out, with a disarming manner.
However, the reaction to his throwaway line (and this was BEFORE “9/11”) was INSANE. The official went APE-SH*T and the next thing, this poor dude found himself being GRILLED for HOURS, being BANNED FOR LIFE by the airline he had used – and was lucky he didn’t end up in the slammer.
And since the footage that showed all this had to have been green-lighted by the officials, they apparently thought it made them look GOOD, instead of like the paranoid, pencil-necked prats they were. Anyone with a heart and a BRAIN would have been left feeling SORRY for the guy.
It just goes to show ANOTHER reason I don’t fly any more. For the other, see http://corneliusatloppers.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/cornelius-on-cross-winds/