What ever happened to the word "contraband"? It seems we haven't heard it uttered nor seen it printed in ages. Does anyone know what it means anymore? Has the very notion of "contraband" been rendered obsolete? Here, verbatim, is an automated public-address announcement at a major airport in the heartland: "Passengers are advised to keep their baggage in sight of them at all times, to prevent the unauthorized introduction of any dangerous materials." Dangerous materials? What, polystyrene? "The Communist Manifesto"? Why not say "introduction of contraband"? For those who might not know, "contraband" can be anything from cartons of cheap Virginia cigarettes to an audiocassette tape loaded with the plastique equivalent of 30 megatons of TNT. Which, whatever pretty word we put on it, is what everybody is concerned about, after all. Along with "The Communist Manifesto," of course.
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