novel writing and national security

This is how writing dialogue for a novel can actually get you into trouble, via Kevin Drum from the Houston Chronicle:

Without further explanation, they took me to the onsite police station, where I waited for an “interview” with the Transportation Security Administration. By then I was being accused of writing “bomb” on a piece of paper and waving it around for people in the back of the plane to see. While two policemen guarded the door, the honcho behind the desk informed me that my choice of dialogue was unfortunate, that life was not a stage play and that the tiniest thing can ignite fear in American travelers these days. He wanted a summary of my novel’s plot to get the context for why I’d written what I had.

6 thoughts on “novel writing and national security

  1. gibb

    Hmmm, shades of Big Brother. Getting uncomfortably unfree in this country. This is where I am at my most liberal. Even if the guy had been a jackass, which he hadn’t, I maintain that he has the right to be one.

  2. Jason

    Well, as an employee of the aforementioned TSA, I can tell you that the situation described isn’t really very unusual. I’ve seen people raked over the coals more often for the whole nervous humor thing. You know, someone anxiously chuckles as you look in his bag for the Swiss Army knife he won’t be able to bring on the plane, and says something like, “Oh yeah, I must really look like some kind of terrorist… hahaha.” Well, he’s most likely gonna miss that plane he was late for now.

    My idea for using collective paranoia to combat evil-doers is car-cams to give out tickets. You see, you put cameras on people’s dashboards that will record all of the insane things other drivers do on the road. It could really help get the whole tailgating thing under control finally!

    Jason }:)

  3. Katherine Nowakowski

    Well, Susan, I totally agree. But have you noticed since the monkey named George W. (I apologize if I’ve insulted any monkeys.) passed the Patriot Act the only right we have left is to be a “true American” and support everything our self-titled “commander in chief” says. In fact, I probably have no right to be writing this, and will probably get hassled the next time I fly for being “a possible threat” (to who?). I’m surprised I haven’t experienced this yet being that when I registered to vote, I chose Independent with a strong influence from Green. Damn free thinkers!

  4. gibb

    This didn’t start with President Bush, but a long time ago and has been compounded since. At least during his term of presidency there has been an instance to incite a reason.

  5. Maureen

    Well, we’ve all heard that even writing “bomb” or other so-called incendiary words in e-mail can get you into trouble..or at least get looked at more closely…

    It’s a whole different world..but now it’s getting ridiculous…

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