Thursday, August 07, 2008

Stuff: “It don’t Gitmo better!”

The New York Times has an article on a new "attraction" at Coney Island: the Waterboard Thrill Ride! From the article:

It looks at first like any other shuttered storefront near the boardwalk: some garish lettering and a cartoonish invitation to a delight or a scam — in this case there’s SpongeBob SquarePants saying, “It don’t Gitmo better!”

If you climb up a few cinderblock steps to the small window, you can look through the bars at a scene meant to invoke a Guantánamo Bay interrogation. A lifesize figure in a dark sweatshirt, the hood drawn low over his face, leans over another figure in an orange jumpsuit, his face covered by a towel and his body strapped down on a tilted surface.

Feed a dollar into a slot, the lights go on, and Black Hood pours water up Orange Jumpsuit’s nose and mouth while Orange Jumpsuit convulses against his restraints for 15 seconds.

In my previous series on torture porn, I brought up 1) the sort of extremely stylized hyper-reality of torture porn that makes the real thing seem weirdly underwhelming and 2) the generational divide regarding the reception of torture imagery. Here's an extract that briefly touches on these issues:

Many people stroll by the installation without even stopping to look. As for those who do, Jodi Taylor, house manager for the freak show, said: “Adults find it very shocking, and kids are like, ‘That stinks.’ They’re so desensitized. They have no idea what the ethical issues are. They wish there was water spraying in their face.”

Kids these days.

1 comment:

B-Sol said...

This is very depressing.

I was planning on taking the kids down to Coney to see the sideshow soon. Guess we'll have to hurriedly go by this part.