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. O.K., kids, who wants more cotton candy!
In interrupting a day at the beach with scenes of the United States government’s rougher practices, Mr. Powers is being deliberately provocative. “What’s more obscene,” he asks, “the official position that waterboarding is not torture, or our official position that it’s a thrill ride?
Link (Image: Michael Nagle for The New York Times)
I don’t know quite how to feel about the whole thing. It smells like a stunt. I think Americans need to understand just how torturous waterboarding is and why its inhumane, unethical, and a serious crime. At the same time, using animatronics and putting this in Coney Island somehow reduces the issues to a pity spectacle quickly lost amongst the sideshow and amusement park rides. Perhaps, its fitting to find a torture show right along side hot dogs and cotton candy. It’s all so American and also sad.