Bad Hair Day

Illustration by Bob AulLos Angeles International Airport officials on Sept. 18 displayed for the media some of the 5,000 previously innocuous items they're confiscating from travelers these days. Mountains of tweezers, nail files and pencil sharpeners have replaced piles of cocaine, cash and AK-47s as the hot items to put under hot TV lights. Such is life after the suicide plane attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., but Clockwork wonders if security officers at LAX and other airports around the U.S. aren't freaking a wee bit. After all, nail clippers don't kill people; people kill people. Does not the U.S. Constitution guarantee everyone's right to bare arms? Those who want to restrict our unsightly hair-removal freedoms will have to take the nose-hair trimmers from our cold, dead fingers.

WORLD WIDE DREAD Two Internet watchdog groups released advisories warning e-mail readers to be wary of solicitations for “Express Relief Funds” and “Victims Survivor Funds” because donations may line the pockets of some scumbag spammer instead of victims' families. Meanwhile, creeps went on eBay ( to auction off rubble, debris and other assorted items said to be from the disaster sites. Porn sites spammed promises of “No terrorists here” in their membership-fishing expeditions. And dozens of cybersquatters immediately registered domain names with the words “Pentagon,” “Infinite Justice,” “World Trade Center,” “Attack on America” and other related disaster references in their titles. Whoever coined the phrase “People suck” had no idea.

MISERY LOVES COMPANY The calamity also produced its share of distastefulness from more mainstream corners. Starbucks Coffee issued a press release to say it shut down on Sept. 11 and sent workers home to be with their families. Great. Thanks for sharing. (It's a good thing the Weekly's favorite coffeehouse didn't follow suit because if we hadn't gotten our caffeine fix on that stress-filled day, we would've gone Osama bin Laden on someone's ass.) Speaking of timely press releases, some Beverly Hills flacks sent us one two days after Starbucks' that began by praising firemen who witness death and destruction and still risk their lives. Then it praised their client's new novel about firefighters. Which they sent us a month ago. Remember? Maybe we'd want to actually crack it open now. Because . . . you know . . . it's more timely. Excuse us while we go puke up our venti double decaf latte.

MEDIA WHORES Clockwork received a veritable plethora of mail, faxes and phone calls from companies that want us to tell you they're aiding rescue workers and victims' families. Neat. But can anyone do a fucking good thing in this dysfunctional land of ours without hiring press agents to tell us about it? We're much too busy for that shit. We've got nose hairs to trim! The only thing that pisses us off more than self-serving free advertising is self-serving paid advertising. We are not referring to, say, American Express acknowledging the condolences it has received for its lost workers or Nissan saying its dual-piston heart is with victims' families—with nary a pitch for cars. No, we mean companies wrapping themselves in the flag and trying to get you to buy crap you'd otherwise shun merely because now—in this time of great remorse and etc.—a pittance of proceeds will go to disaster victims. Even more shameless was the Sept. 22 La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries ad in the Los Angeles Times and other papers. Against an Old Glory backdrop, the ad proclaims, “The Spirit of America Lives!” Victims are mourned. Terrorists are scorned. “We revel in our relaxed casual way of life,” the ad states. “We don't demand that others think or feel as we do. We truly believe in individuality, freedom of thought, speech and ingenuity. That creative spirit led two cousins in 1927 in a Monroe, Michigan, garage to design a chair that reclined. Their belief in America and their idea spawned the world's largest and best known furniture company, La-Z-Boy.” Yep, from jetliners falling from the sky to lardasses falling into recliners. God fucking bless America!

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