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Waterboarding "Thrill Ride" Hits Coney Island

Waterboarding "Thrill Ride" Hits Coney Island: Political Art?

Folks trekking out to Coney Island are looking for a little summer diversion involving water — but the newest attraction to grace the boardwalk takes that expectation and adds a political message. Called the "Waterboard Thrill Ride," the sideshow is decorated with SpongeBob, advertises that "it dont [sic] Gitmo better" and charges $1 for a look through a barred window onto what appears to be an interrogation scene.

Robots portray a prisoner and an interrogator. After the dollar is paid, the lights come on and the prisoner begins to convulse violently as water is poured on his face. The artist behind the installation says its aim is to provoke people into thinking critically about the technique.

He says, "robot waterboarding became a way of exploring the issue without doing any harm. It's putting a unique experience on the table. And it doesn't take a great leap of the imagination to look in there and say: 'That's really what's going on? That's crazy.'" And who doesn't fancy a little torture demo with their corndog?

There's a video of the "ride" in action, including reaction from some bystanders, some of whom hadn't heard of waterboarding before. In that sense, is it a decent public service — or does it turn a serious message into a silly sideshow?

Join The Conversation
Michaelrcks Michaelrcks 9 years
rabidmoon rabidmoon 9 years
I think the whole thing is sick. Its demented. Its stupid. Its thoughtless, tactless, mindless and crass. Its one more reason I am convinced natural selection is being denied its rightful course. I don't need an internet page to tell me what any sane, rational, compassionate, humane person should know is just plain f**king poor taste. "It don't Gitmo better?" Sometimes, and its usually things like this that remind me why, I am glad I left for Europe. I am ashamed that this even exists. /rant off
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I disagree. We are not in agreement. And yep, I copied the list of side effects of waterboarding from the wiki. I don't mind admitting I don't keep a list of side effects of torture on the tip of my tongue. War will always cause psychological trauma, but torture especially has long lasting, mentally damaging effects.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
I am in total agreement. What I like about you Torg is that you're a free thinker. A lesser writer would cite direct quotations from wikipedia. I think that the most important danger of waterboarding is the psychological effects. In war especially, it's important that no one has any experiences that are too traumatic.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Well, she insists there's no sarcasm involved. I guess we just have accept there are some people out there with what we might think are pretty kooky opinions. I try to ignore people who I think are just trying to get a reaction, but this person swears to being sincere, and it's hard not to get involved in the discussion when addressed directly. Right.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I respectfully disagree--explaining waterboarding as pouring water on someone's face does not, to me, demystify it. If you do want to explain more about the process, I think it's important to note not only the the risks of extreme pain, but also potential damage to the lungs, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation, injuries (including broken bones) due to struggling against restraints, and death. The psychological effects can also last for years after the procedure.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
It's hard to argue with someone is constantly being sarcastic, that's all. And it's funny to watch the posts where you are trying to be rational and they're not. Anyway, it wasn't a criticism. I guess I just find the discussion amusing as a bystander.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
Torg, I don't think you understand my point. I'm attempting to draw attention to what I consider to be an egregious form of torture by explaining what really occurs. Think of it as a demystification. I know that you and I already know how it works, since I can tell we both follow policy very closely. I think we can both agree on the severe, physical pain that is caused by waterboarding that classifies it as torture.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Pop, whatever do you mean? I'm simply having a discussion with a fellow poster. We disagree on most things, but the discussion is fun! We need to welcome all view points, right?
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
torg I don't know why you get sucked in by organicsugr time and time again lol I feel like this is just for show and attention. I guess if it educates people, great but to me it seems to trivialize it by making it seem like a carnival ride. I guess irony is probably the point.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Waterboarding is not simply pouring water on another person's face. It's simulating drowning. I think that saying waterboarding is just like pouring water on a face trivializes a very serious issue. But you're entitled to your differing yet equally valid opinion.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
I'm a little confused by your analogy Torg, but you're probably right. It's just what those kids will do when they grow up that worries me. Since they're becoming desensitized to water being poured on their faces now, just imagine what torture they could do in the future without remorse.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I don't think it's appropriate to compare torture to boys squirting each other with water guns. I'd say it's akin to comparing child rape to playing pattycake.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
It's gross and upsetting for sure. But yeah, I'd say it's art, and it proves a point.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
Having seen little boys waterboard eachother with supersoakers at the neighborhood pool today, I am very worried about the state of affairs in this country. Pouring water on someone's face is not a joke. It's a very serious matter. The injustices that get carried out in the name of homeland security make me sick.
stephley stephley 9 years
I don't know how they do it, Monday, heck even Harold and Kumar knew about it! Maybe if you only watch Wheel of Fortune. I would think that you would have to really be trying to not hear certain things to honestly be able to say you don't know about it.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
stephley... I'm the first to admit that sometimes I prefer Cosmo over Newsweek. But, really. Never even HEARD of waterboarding??? How do people put themselves in this... happy bubble?
stephley stephley 9 years
Makes you proud, doesn't it?
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
Can I pick all of the above as an answer? The fact that some people have never even heard of waterboarding shocks the hell out of me. I guess I shouldn't be surprised considering there's never a lack of souls for Jay Walking.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
The old waterboard ride was way too archaic, hopefully this one will have purified water and an in-ride picture.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
Finally a new waterboarding ride. This'll bring some attention to all of the people who have been tortured in this horrible, horrible way. These are people! You can't treat them like flowers.
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