In traveling to and from Montana this week, I found myself in six airports, and I went through security in three of them. I was struck by what seemed to me to be a real change in attitude in the TSA employees. They were far less arrogant and irritating than the last time I flew. They were actually somewhat deferential and helpful. They seemed pretty sheepish when they had to collect people’s "liquids and gels", and they seemed to understand the eye rolling that this inspired in travelers.
I reckon that the most recent idiocy with the liquids and gels has made the TSA seem downright silly, and this has lowered them in the estimation of the public so much that they are trying to seem likable to make up for it. They have an air of "we don’t make the stupid rules, so don’t blame us". Seriously, how could a TSA staffer even try to be intimidating and authoritative without causing passengers to crack up? He or she would seem all the more ridiculous.