I posted about Fort Meade’s Facebook page and their Justin Bieber prank, shortly after it happened. They officially announced and then minutes later, officially cancelled a fake 15-minute event featuring Justin Bieber, Mila Kunis, and Barry Manilow. The target of the prank was actually the base commander, as he had been photoshopped into a Saturday Night Fever poster.
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Despite the obvious fake event, extreme short notice, and the cancellation, some people showed up. That’s surely a testament to the growing integration of social media into our culture. I highly doubt they thought anybody would show up – or even could show up on such short notice. A few people expressed outrage at Fort Meade for tricking and ‘devastating’ the children. The vast majority thought it was funny and good for morale.
I understand what the handful of critics are saying, but I think they’re taking it way out of context. I am glad that commenter Jesse is engaging me on the blog, and hope he continues to do so. I’m not ‘attacking’ him, or the others that expressed concern. I’m expanding on my response, for clarity.
I’m sure the children are fine now. I’m sure they were not ‘devastated’ by some experience that will haunt them forever.It’s kind of a military tradition, too. When I was deployed on the Kuwait/Iraq border, I stopped over in Camp Buehring. There were hundreds of flyers all over for upcoming ‘Camel Races in Zone 1′. Camel racing does exist, and I’m sure these flyers kinda forced everyone to google it. Something — anything — to break up the monotony of a deployment can be a soldier’s equivalent to a tween’s Justin Bieber meeting.
The flyers were all over the place for weeks, complete with a “BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!!!” Lots of people showed up, but no camels. Some of the people apparently still weren’t sure if Camel Racing was real. I was actually thinking of going, but was busy with a mission. I heard that a colonel showed up (this is very high rank).
For weeks, we all laughed like a bastard about it. We vowed to pull the same prank at other camps and bases, but I never got around to it.
It’s essentially like sending a private out to get ‘chem-light batteries‘, or telling a private to check the HUM-V’s ‘blinker fluid’, or to bring you a ‘box of grid squares’ for your map. Army brats grow up with ‘chem-light battery chase’ humor. Many civilians can probably recount fond memories of similar ‘snipe hunts’. Except in this case, Fort Meade’s fifteen minute event was much easier to detect as fake, and it was announced right before it was supposed to happen. Describing what happened as ‘hurt children’ at the hands of ‘deceptive co-workers’ is quite an exaggeration.