The Plank

Detainee Chic

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In this week's TNR, Jeffrey Rosen's terrific chronicle of his visit to Guantanamo Bay contains a funny aside: Those notorious orange jumpsuits (65 poly/35 cotton) are apparently "made in South Africa for the Bob Barker Company." The Bob Barker?? Alas, no, it seems the longtime "Price Is Right" host has not transitioned into the detention-gear supply biz. However I did Google up the actual Bob Barker Company in question, and its website is a real hoot. Sample text:

In the pressure cooker of a detention facility, a small problem with a product can have dire and immediate consequences.
At Bob Barker we never forget that fact.
That's why we know that while keeping costs down is important to you, price is not the only thing we care about when developing a new product. Every product in the Bob Barker family has been tested to ensure it is appropriate for institutional use.
We smash radios on the floor and grind toothbrushes on cinderblock walls to see how easily they can be made into shanks. All of our hygiene products are screened for pork and other animal products to minimize conflicts with the practice of religious beliefs. And our mattresses are regularly tested to ensure that they meet the standards of ASTM.
The Bob Barker family of products is used by some of the toughest customers in the world, and we never lose sight of that. Low prices, valued products, and quality service guaranteed.

Got that? So hurry and order your handy no-shank toothbrush today! Or perhaps that "special" someone in your life might fancy a cozy Isolation/Suicide Cell Blanket. (Now in stylish "calming Sherwood Green"!) Order now while the GWOT lasts!

--Michael Crowley

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