Veterans Day is a double-edged sword
Veterans Day is a holiday on which we honor the individuals that have served in the United States military, sometimes more effectively than others. When it is a day of thanks, it tends to work fine; when it's an excuse for preposterous North-Korea-style fetishized military demonstrations, it's something else entirely.
Last night at the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks' Military Appreciation Night, a bomb-detonating robot (along with its whole bomb-detonating crew) was a part of the honorary puck drop. Weird "robots are taking over the world" vibes notwithstanding, there was something just a little military-flex weird about the whole presentation.
Granted, a bomb-detonating robot's purpose, ultimately, is to defuse violence; it's not like having a Predator drone drop the puck from the skies. But its presence is in line with the sketchily Joe Camel-ish "let's show the kids the cool stuff" approach that the military often uses to promote itself. (Take this commercial, for example.)
Given the fact that both the U.S. government and various sports leagues have taken tax money for "paid patriotism," you'd think they'd want to tone down promotions like these. The announcer made sure to emphasize that the event was funded by Pacific Premier Bank. Anyway, the super-sweet TALON hazmat robot took the ice and dropped the puck. And then it was game on, as usual.