"Do terrorists wear Manolo Blahniks?" That's the question an outraged Joan Rivers asked Sunday after gate agents detained her as she was attempting to board a flight in Costa Rica. The 76-year-old Rivers was booted from her Newark-bound flight when jittery officials deemed her passport (which reads "Joan Rivers AKA Rosenberg") and boarding pass "suspicious." After being left practically penniless, Rivers was eventually shuttled to another flight at the country's main airport by a "sympathetic porter." Was the entertainer's bad experience just fodder for late night jokes, or does it suggest a fundamental problem in airport security practices? (Watch Joan Rivers speak about the incident)
Rivers' detainment was a ridiculous spectacle: "We know you can't make security exceptions for someone just because they're a celebrity," says Dan Amira at New York Magazine, but "come on!" Rivers is "the least likely terrorist ever." Then again, if al Qaeda somehow managed to enlist Rivers — who is the total opposite of the Islamic fundamentalist profile — it'd be nothing short of "diabolically genius."
"Joan Rivers, a.k.a. Joan Rosenberg, a.k.a. potential terrorist"
Score one for the terrorists: Apart from actually blowing up planes and killing innocent people, al Qaeda's other goal is simply to create "chaos, inconvenience and extra expense," says Ethel C. Fenig at the American Thinker. Rivers' airport saga illustrates, albeit comically, how seriously flawed and "basically futile" most of our new security airport security measures are in terms of foiling this terrorist objective.
"The unfriendly skies"
The security agents caught a valid discrepancy: Rivers shouldn't be so indignant, says Matt Cherette at Gawker. Maybe the gate agents were on a "pseudo-power trip" when they detained her, but her boarding pass apparently had a man's name—Joseph Rosenberg—on it. Rivers' argument that the misspelling should have been caught beforehand holds little water: "Unless the airline randomly assigned her a different first name," it seems Rivers is the one who's really at fault here.
"Joan Rivers goes apesh*t..."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- Why America won't have enough money to battle ISIS
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- 11 facts yü should know about the umlaut
Subscribe to the Week