America has its downsides: Massive debt, poor math scores, Michael Moore. There’s also the TSA ogling and fondling passengers with its revealing backscatter technology and invasive pat-downs.
But the home of the brave is also home to enterprising capitalists who can turn a gag gift into an act of civil disobedience, not to mention a product experiencing brisk sales.
Say hello to the concealed weapon TSA must now deal with: Flying Pasties.
Launched on Independence Day, 2010, the Flying Pasties online store sells one thing — freedom guards to cover Old Glory from dutiful TSA screeners. Recently, the company has prepared the “second generation” of pasties: they’re twice as fun for your special one.
“Our second generation of pasties have just arrived and they’re far better than the first generation,” said Flying Pasties spokesman Mike Francis. “They’re vibrant, they’re colorful, they’re amusing. The orders are just flying up the shelves, we’re very happy to say.”
These junk covers, however, aren’t like the simple sequined treats at a burlesque show. Flying Pasties are “scientifically tested to … keep your private parts invisible,” according to the website.
Francis wouldn’t reveal the methodology for proper testing but assured The Daily Caller that the company received help from an MIT professor. The final product, said Francis, protects against radiation emitted by the backscatter to “a certain degree, anyway.”
The designs range from an illustrated middle finger to slogans like, “Only My Girlfriend Sees Me Naked.” One pastie set features the entire 4th Amendment, for anyone willing to squint.
“In the beginning, we talked about it as sort of a gag gift/form of protest. Now it’s an absolute form of protest and it’s not really a gag.”
Since Flying Pasties sells a single, one-size-fits-all product, the website itself is fairly limited. It is, however, developing a repository for news about the country’s most recent security debate. It’s also meant to assist Americans with their small attempts at civil disobedience.
“I’m a proud American and I think security is of the up-most importance. But my feeling is, the TSA and the American government have gone too far,” said Francis. “What we’re saying is, we’re not anti-TSA. We’re pro-freedom [and] pro-dignity. We’re for keeping our dignity and keeping our privacy.”
To be fair, the scare stories and Thoreau-in-the-locker-room rhetoric serve to highlight a need for a product that wouldn’t be marketable without the same scanners and pat-downs. But Francis said it’s much more than that.
“The fact of the matter is, if you go into business and make money, that’s great. And we’re going to be happy if we can make money selling flying pasties,” he said. “But we’re not going into this thing saying we’re going to be millionaires because we have a gag gift.”
What’s not amusing, said Francis, is the technology and procedures the TSA have implemented — even if you’re wearing a pasty that says “No Money, No Funny.”