Saturday 28 May 2016
News outlets reported earlier this week that Six Flag Great Adventure had to shut down its newest coaster after riders were stuck for hours. Those riders should be glad that they only got stuck. They were lucky they weren't killed. But maybe that's what they wanted. After all, they were riding a coaster named for a mass murderer.
Six Flags, which has a contract with Warner Brothers to use Looney Tunes and DC Comics licensed properties, has a history of trouble on their Superman themed rides. But at least those rides are named for a hero. The ride that broke this week is named for Batman's nemesis, the Joker, a character with a reputation for killing his own henchmen because he thinks its funny.
Why would you name an amusement park ride after a mass murderer, fictional or otherwise? Despite what the Joker preaches, murder isn't fun! Would you willingly ride the Hannibal Lechter Transport or the Patrick Bateman HyperCoaster? What about riding the Ted Bundy Experience? Eating at the Jeffry Dahmer Cafe? Shopping at the Ed Gein Gift Shop? Would you let your kids?
Hey, Six Flags, just because a character appears in comic books doesn't make him kid friendly. Using a despicable character to build your brand just because he has "name recognition" is the worst kind of crass consumerism that American culture has to offer. If you care so little about context, perhaps you'd welcome having all television police procedurals refer to murder as a "code six flags." Hey, at least that would get your name in front of millions of viewers in prime time. That's all you really care about, right?
I certainly don't want roller coaster riders maimed or injured, but if you get on the Six Flags' Mass Murder Machine, you can't be surprised when it strands you to die in an uncomfortable position. You knew what it was when you got on it.