Friday, October 01, 2004

The question the 9/11 Commission didn't ask:

Since cartoon characters knew about Osama's hijacking threat, why didn't the government?

Richard Posner, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (chief judge until recently) -- and one prolific policy analyst -- has written a review of the 9/11 Commission Report for the New York Times. In brief, he praises the report's fact finding then goes on to raise serious questions about its analysis and recommendations. But he doesn't mention something the Commission didn't mention.

To wit: On May, 29, 2000, Fox TV's cartoon show Family Guy aired its episode Road to Rhode Island, a pithy homage to Bing and Bob's "Road" pictures. In it little Baby Stewie, evil tyke that he is, tries to board an airplane home while carrying a backpack full of weapons.

When the bag is grabbed from him to be inspected and its contents are about to be revealed by the x-ray machine, cute little Stewie breaks into a song-and-dance performance of Good Ship Lollypop, to the distracted inspectors' delight. He then picks up the bag from the other end of the line and walks off musing, "Let's hope Osama bin Laden doesn't know a show tune." Hear him. (.wav 196k). The next person in the boarding line is Osama, who puts down his bag and breaks into song as it passes through the x-ray machine. See the scene. (You aren't likely to see it anywhere else, as it was cut from the cartoon and DVDs after 9/11 -- but everything is forever on the Internet.)

This was all quite amusing in 2000. Does it mean anything in retrospect? You decide.

FN, from the "life is full of ironies" department: Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy and the voice of Stewie, was booked on one of the hijacked 9/11 flights but his travel agent gave him the wrong departure time, he got to the airport late and missed the plane.