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Friday Feedback: Making the Army Experience Center Realer than Real


Every Friday the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by Buck-Connecticut, commenting on "Shutting Down the Army Experience Center,"by Pat Elder. Buck responded:

"The mall-based Army Experience Center has stirred up controversy by using simulators (aka video games) to create a fun-filled, hi-tech recruitment milieux. They could have saved tax dollars by simply creating a giant roach motel for academically disinclined high school students and baiting it with fast food and free downloads (nobody ever consults me about these things, Bush-Cheney-Rumsmelled could have simulated the whole war on terror and saved a giant assload of cash–they would have also apprehended Bin Laden using this approach).

In addition to luring in mongo-loads of kids (the center is across the hall from a “skateboard park”), the Army Experience Center has attracted peace-oriented types who would rather the kids were painting picket fences (with non-toxic, eco-friendly, multi-hue wash) or fishing (okay, maybe not fishing, maybe making heart-healthy muffins for charity bake sales and helping people cross streets without regard to age, gender or other suspect categories). Interestingly, when interviewed both youthful kill center enthusiasts and party-pooping wet blanket types (who will try to shut down the center on May 2) confused reality with virtuality and frequently referred to the fact that the center provided “real experiences.” The only thing real about it happens after you sign up (Soylent Green had Sol Roth/Edward G. Robinson “going home” — our present-day distopia has job hungry teenagers “going to Afghanistan”).

I do not think shutting down the interactive views of a terrorless, unsoiled war experience is the answer. A better approach would be to create a virtual veterans hospital with “real pee smell,” where people could empty bedpans, change dressings, and learn to walk on artificial legs."

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