The Dangers, and Freedom, of Silicon


Did you catch this video over at BoingBoing? Realistic masks are no longer the stuff of Mission Impossible, now you too can be an old man starting at the low, low, price of $700.

This is the same mask, I believe, recently featured in one man’s flight from Chinese oppression:

On October 29, a young Chinese man who was wearing a latex mask, cap and a cardigan sweater which disguised him as an old Caucasian man was able to board an international flight after passing Hong Kong airport security and make it on a flight to Vancouver, Canada. he took off the disguise and showed his true self sometime mid-flight. – Thaindian News

– and is from the same line of masks as the selection used by a recent bank bandit:

Silicon-Masked Robber From The Telegraph ArticleAccording to police reports, Conrad Zdzierak, 30, is alleged to have used the £450 silicon mask in an audacious string of six bank robberies in Ohio. – The Telegraph

I’ve often wondered what effect the internet has had on the perception of race and sexuality – it’s my theory that the uncertainty of the identity at the far end of the connection generates a greater need for tolerance – but we seem to be living in a world where even the likelihood of being able to believe your own lying-eyes is rapidly dropping.

What would happen if you were in the park with your ornery grandfather, listening to him complain regarding the personal affection a male couple were showing each other, only to have one of the apparent lovebirds pull back a layer of rubber to reveal a woman underneath?

Better yet, what would have happened if, eighty years ago, a black man in the American south had discovered one of these masks and realized it could be the key to a much better paying job?