Small Demon
Dec 292007
 

Carole is getting ready to do some international travel next week, so we have been going over the usual litany of indignities one is now subjected to in order to get on an airplane. Carole is also a knitter, which means she uses knitting needles, which are banned by the airline she is flying. Now it’s true that Carole has some big knitting needles that could cause a nasty puncture wound, but all she wants to do on the airplane is work on a a pair of socks. The knitting needles involved are larger than toothpicks, it’s true, but they are smaller than the cheap wooden chopsticks you get with Asian take-out. You would have to be some sort of fantastic ninja to use one of these things as a weapon. But of course the point of the regulations is not, as in the nauseating cliché, to “keep us safe.” No, the TSA regulations are intended to keep us obedient. In the most recent entry in his NY Times weblog Jet Lagged, Patrick Smith comes as close as anyone in the media to laying this fact before the public. He does not quite draw the final political conclusion — that obeying the airport screeners is intended to be practice for obeying any absurd regulation — but he gets everything else exactly right. The purpose of having to take your shoes off & go through a search of your belongings is to teach you to swallow your rage. Try this thought experiment: Imagine the whole enterprise transfered to a psychology laboratory & all the passengers turned into rats.

Update: Swiss Air let Carole take her knitting needles along, but she reports that ripped out most of what she knitted in flight because she made a mistake she “couldn’t live with” in the sock she was working on.

 Posted by at 8:37 pm

  6 Responses to “Knitting in Flight”

  1. joseph, here’s a poem i posted almost 5 years ago on http://www.poetsagainstthewar.org edward mycue

    the homeland seduction

    the haywire clock is ticking.
    the flag bleeds up on the pole
    furling, unfurling in the hot wind.

    THE PATRIOTISM OF CARNAGE
    THE CHIVALROUS ARE DEAD
    AND ALL DEAD LIPS ARE RED

    the sounds of fight, of wrong
    are whipping sounds, are shafts
    of new ill hovering: ‘snicker-snack’.

    THE PATRIOTISM OF CARNAGE
    THE CHIVALROUS ARE DEAD
    AND THEY ROAM IN THE MIND
    AND ALL DEAD LIPS ARE RED

    the flag fades, dries, sags in sun,
    wind, rain, in forbidden flights,
    but the smokey evil fades nowhere.

    THE PATRIOTISM OF CARNAGE
    THE CHIVALROUS ARE DEAD
    AND THEY ROAM IN THE MIND
    FEEDING ON HANDMADE HATE

  2. I have been taking my knitting needles on cross-country flights this last year without any problems. Of course, we are talking JetBlue here, but even so, I did quite a bit of research before I first boarded a plane with needles and I found that most airlines and the TSA don’t have issues with knitting needles. Still, I read one person’s creative solution to having had her needles confiscated back in 2001 — she used pencils as knitting needles on the plane!

    I did take circular knitting needles with me (both metal and wood!), so that might make a difference — I don’t know.

  3. Maria, have you ever considered that circular needles would make a perfect garotte? Don’t tell the TSA! Swiss Air, which is the airline in question, has a notice on their website saying knitting needles are not allowed.

  4. Yes, it did cross my mind — but then, anything, even that pencil, has the potential to inflict harm, right?

    Somehow, it seems ludicrous that were she to take them on the plane, after passing through the airport checkpoint (since the TSA doesn’t seem to have a problem with the knitting needles) only to have a flight attendant confiscate them in flight.

    Will you keep us updated on this? It’s such a minor thing, but as you pointed out, it is a major marker on the swath of space fear keeps claiming from us.

  5. I’ll post an update when I hear, Maria.

  6. Thanks for the update — and by the way, your saga with the Telefund people on behalf of ACLU sounds familiar. We give to a lot of organizations, and still, this time around the volume of calls and the level of desperation and aggression in solicitations took me by surprise!

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