MAUI’S MAXIMUM WARRIOR!
You’d think that the line between bloody, dirty, ugly war and slick, sexy reality TV game shows would be, well, a deep and impenetrable chasm. But it apparently is not.
“We are happy to let you know that one of Maui’s outstanding individuals is now featured on a national show called Maximum Warrior,” a public relations flack with California-based Driven Public Relations emailed me on Oct. 14. “Mahalo and have a nice weekend!”
Maximum Warrior is what happens when the magazine Maxim, Jeep and the private military training company T1G build a cross-marketing alliance. It is, well, let’s just let the good people at Driven describe it for you:
“Maximum Warrior is a one-of-a-kind competition that tests 10 active or former military and 10 civilian contestants in 15 action-packed, adrenaline-filled challenges,” states the press release I received on Oct. 14. “Tasks include extractions, terrain navigation around IED [Improvised Explosive Devices] simulations, direct combat, off-road driving capability, agility courses, special ops intelligence gathering and more… In addition to the bragging-rights including [sic] title of 2011 “Maximum Warrior,” the competition’s winner will also receive a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Edition vehicle.”
The whole thing takes place at a giant training facility in Arkansas run by T1G, a private corporation staffed by ex-special forces guys that offers comprehensive military tactics and weapons training (the T1G website says their facility offers “Zero hassles for transit and gear storage and significantly reduced risk/chance of ‘off-property incidents’”). What’s more, those watching the show online at MaximumWarrior.com (which, apparently, is the only way you can watch Maximum Warrior) can also enter a contest to win the same video-game themed Jeep Wrangler.
And yes, one of the 10 ex-military contestants is former Maui resident Mike S. (they apparently don’t use last names in online-only war-themed reality challenge shows). At 44 years old, Mike S. is probably the oldest guy in the Maximum Warrior show. He’s a United States Marine Corps Platoon Sergeant currently stationed at Camp Pendleton in Southern California. A veteran of one Afghanistan and four Iraq deployments, Mike S.–who seems to be an all-around nice guy and square shooter–also loves surfing.
Maybe I’m late to the party, but it seems like equating war with a game might be a bad thing. Or at least, something that kids do that might make some of us squeamish but is generally excusable. But when you look at the guys rounded up for Maximum Warrior, that attitude seems to be the mentality of the modern soldier.
“I don’t think that I grew up,” Mike S. says in his Maximum Warrior video. “I always want to keep playing.”
LINGLE RETURNS TO MAUI!
Linda Lingle, who spent 10 years on the Maui County Council and another eight years in the Maui County Mayor’s Office before winning two terms as Hawaii Governor, returned to the Valley Isle on Monday, Oct. 17 to campaign for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Daniel Akaka next year. In the grand fashion of someone so experienced and stately in the political arena, Lingle started off strong by appearing before a group of seniors at the Wailuku Community Center, where she strongly denounced those who scam the elderly out of their pensions.
“I’m sad that we have to live like that, and we can’t trust everybody when they call us up,” she said, according to Maui Now. “You just can’t let people you don’t know get access to your information; and even people you do know, you just have to be very suspicious.”
Later that day, Lingle moved to an even friendlier crowd: the Maui Chamber of Commerce.
“I will go to Washington with a seriousness of purpose!” she told the hundred or so attendees, according to Lingle’s official Twitter feed (@Lingle2012). “I understand the importance of tourism. The visitor industry is critical. If elected, I want to be the point person in the Senate for tourism.”
Indeed, Lingle reportedly said that if we could just get back to the number of visitors visiting the islands back in 2000, all would be well.
Given Lingle’s many, many years of supporting the visitor industry (her forceful, if ultimately unsuccessful, advocacy for expanding Kahului Airport and the Superferry being just two of many examples), we have no doubt that she was being sincere. But as Mansel Blackford pointed out in his 2001 book Fragile Paradise: The Impact of Tourism on Maui, 1959-2000, relying on tourism handcuffs a region’s economy to the boom and bust market–when the economy is rolling along, Maui gets lots of visitors and times are good. But when large segments of the population are out of work–like they have been for the last few years–the economy on the island can be very bad.
“Tourism was certainly a mixed blessing on Maui,” Blackford wrote. “Tourism often promised more than it delivered; it required wrenching changes in the lifestyles of those embracing it, and even of those shunning it.”