Under pressure, musical festival licks Army’s boots

(8:30PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

One step forward, a half step back.

We said it yesterday, in urging people to thank Milwaukee's Summerfest for doing the right thing and shutting down an Army exhibit that featured virtual killing:

It is never easy to publicly take a stand and reverse an earlier decision — not to mention facing down the military.

Summerfest found just how hard it is after a right-wing radio talker on Wisconsin’s most powerful station, crazed by the decision, spent hours urging his listeners to call the festival and complain.

The result? A "compromise" which allowed the game to begin operating again, replacing the human targets with inanimate ones. (To see the “game,” click here and wait a few seconds.)

“The decision to reopen “America’s Army” was announced late Wednesday afternoon in a joint news release from the Army and Summerfest faxed to the Journal Sentinel on Army stationery," the newspaper reports.

On its face, the decision may seem reasonable. It allows Summerfest to save some face while caving in. But if there's any doubt that this was a nearly total surrender to the power of the military, read this boot-licking excerpt from Summerfest's statement:

Summerfest has the utmost respect and honor for our armed forces. In no way did Summerfest intend any disrespect to our country's past and current cherished servicemen and women and their families with the recent modifications that were made to the virtual reality activity within the U.S. Army exhibit at Summerfest.

Summerfest maintains strong partnerships with many of our armed forces, like the U.S. Marines, U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and U.S. Army, and will continue to partner with these valued entities in the future.

Unfortunately, some consumers are under the impression that Summerfest had asked the U.S. Army to close their entire exhibit and leave the premises. This is simply not true and is not accurate. At no point did Summerfest ask the U.S. Army to close their entire exhibit and leave the premises. The exhibit is currently functioning and operational onsite at Summerfest in the same area footprint that it has been since the very first day of Summerfest. The U.S. Army exhibit is operated in a very professional manner and offers a quality interactive experience for patrons. The exhibit continues to generate solid traffic and patron interaction.

Overall, this situation was a minor modification to a very high-quality exhibit at Summerfest. During the entire time, Summerfest and the U.S. Army personnel maintained open and positive dialogue regarding the situation and worked cooperatively together on this marketing program. Summerfest greatly values its relationship with the U.S. Army and will continue to work cohesively with its personnel.

Ah, yes, working cohesively with Army personnel, whatever that means. Summerfest and the Army, marching along together.

None of this is terribly surprising. What's more surprising is that someone at Summerfest had the courage to do the right thing to begin with, when Peace Action-Wisconsin launched a campaign asking that the game be shut down.

If you'd like to tell Summerfest what you think of its latest decision, the phone number is 414-273–2680.

Another take: Milwaukee blogger Michael Mathias says Summerfest still deserves our thanks.

Another blogger reports that the rabid radio talker   threw a tantrum this morning about the compromise, so maybe we did win something. (Besides the change in targets, Summerfest did raise the age limit to “play” the “game” from 13 to 18.)

One thing’s for sure.  It ain’t easy.

Next stops for the Army’s virtual killing game: Chicago and Duluth.


Skip to comment form

    • nocatz on July 3, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    sucks.  How would a Grand  Theft Auto booth next door go over?

  1. I had the name of the Army fuckwad recruiter who called my 20 year old daughter on her brand new cell phone.  The brand new number absolutely nobody had yet.  He knew where she was attending college, he knew what she was taking in college, he wanted to outline the possibility opportunity for my daughter getting depleted uranium contaminated.  You have no idea the resulting replies and personal telephone conversations(no I did not give them my phone number) I had with the United States local Army recruiting staff.  

    They never called again.

  2. how minor it might appear, is a victory. That’s right. A victory.  This is absolutely a victory for the good people.  You moved the army.  You changed the game.  You changed the rules.  That, folks, is a very big victory.

    No, it’s not everything you might have wanted.  You probably wanted immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and end to torture, closing Gitmo, etc etc.  lby w  But for heaven’s sake, when you win, which you did, celebrate.  Know you won.  Take credit.  Share the credit with others.  Pass around the praise.  Act like f*cking Rethuglicans, dammit.  “Great job, Brownie.”  You know, back slapping and praise.  That’s what you deserve.

    Bravo/a!  You folks rock!!

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