Monday, December 12, 2016

Treasure Quest, PTSD and a Sheridan Resort Hotel


For those of you keeping score at home, I had sworn off publishing anything more about Treasure Quest – Snake Island (which has nothing to do with Snake Island this season) but the last episode outraged me. Keith “Cappy” Plaskett had collapsed in the jungle and when the rest of the team reached him and touched him, he began screaming and curling up into a ball. He then said something about Vietnamese and later we’re told he had a flash back to his Vietnam service. I’m always suspicious of those claims and read a statistic that suggested there are only 880,000 Vietnam Vets still alive though some nine to thirteen million people claim service in country. The vast majority of people who claim they are Vietnam Veterans are lying about it.

So, they reach Plaskett and suddenly one of the team members is screaming for the doctor and I’m thinking, “What doctor?” But, of course there is a doctor with them, along with cameramen, and sound engineers and other support personnel that we never see (until this show when the cameramen are shown in the background. Do the camera operators drag all that heavy equipment through the jungle themselves or do they have help? Just how large is that support team? Who all is on it?). Okay, that’s no surprise because it would be impossible for all of the team to appear on film together with changing angles and whatnot without there being camera operators around. Here, however we get the proof because the doctor appears and suggests that Plaskett is dehydrated. He doesn’t seem to respond at first, but eventually comes around telling them that it was a flash back from one of his two tours in Vietnam (and I have to wonder again if I’m the only service member in the world who had only a single tour).

Although his team understands about PTSD, and there is a cheesy announcement at the end of the episode about helping our vets, I’m outraged that they would bring this into a faked reality show about treasure hunting in Argentina for the purpose of building dramatic ratings. And, knowing that so many “Vietnam Vets” are vets only in their minds, I did a little checking. Posted to Plaskett’s Facebook page are pictures of him receiving a medal while in uniform. One of the pictures is of sufficient quality that I can see the medals he’s wearing and they include the Vietnam Service and Vietnam Campaign which, given the circumstances confirms a tour in Vietnam but not necessarily two. And, given that picture, I have no reason to doubt other aspects of his claim of lengthy naval service.

As I say, I’m just annoyed that they brought this PTSD thing forward in a dramatic way. It reinforces a stereotype of the Vietnam Vet. Back in the old days, when I had a real job that required I go to an office every day and do work to make a living, I let it slip one day that I had served in Vietnam (and hey, if you want proof, go to the 187th AHC web site and look me up). One of the other employees couldn’t believe it. She said, “But you seem so normal.” So, yes, I’m a little sensitive to this and really don’t need to see it exploited on television in this cheap way.

I wouldn’t have even brought this up, except for a comment made to one of the postings I made about this show. A commenter, identified only as Claude (who just created his “profile” in December 2016 and has one view, me) wrote, “The team travels up river and travels hours through the ‘jungle’ to find the Santa Ana mission. Total BS! You can't get from the river to the mission without crossing the highway. Thanks to google maps, all they had to do is drive down highway 12 from the nearby town and take the small road to the visitor’s center and walk a hundred yards. In filming they were careful not to show the flood lights mounted on the ground to illuminate the mission at night. Not so remote as they would have us believe.”

I’m not going to comment on this unless I do a little checking myself which, given the Internet and Google Earth, isn’t all that difficult. I found the grid coordinates for Reduccion de Neustra Senora de Santa Ana which are 27 degrees 23 minutes South and 55 degrees 34 minutes west, which puts us in a field with highways running very close to it. No journey on a river into the remote jungle, no long trek through the thick vegetation, but a highway that runs very close and a town not too far away. In fact, you can stay in a Sheridan Resort Hotel for about three hundred bucks a night, which includes a buffet breakfast… so do the treasure hunters remain the jungle, in their tents, or do they set them up, talk about roughing it and retire to a hotel which probably has Internet, HBO, and that buffet breakfast?

Sure the jungle around them is remote and filled with dangerous creatures, but remember some of the Guarani showed up demanding to know what they were doing and eventually invited them to meet with village elders. Wasn’t one of these guys wearing an “Old Navy” T-shirt? Doesn’t that suggest the village might not be quite as remote as they suggest? And doesn’t it seem odd that some guy in a black market in Paraguay tells them he had a silver bar from this mission when it is apparently a big tourist attraction in Argentina with operating hours and recommendations for accommodations? Not to mention, didn’t anyone on the show think that some of us would resort to using the Internet to learn a little bit more about all of this? In the world today, it is very simple to use a variety of search engines to discover just what is going on and seeing just how “remote” the area is, and then find the hyperbole more than a little annoying.

3 comments:

Craig McDaniel said...

Kevin,

We learn something new every day. I really thought P.T. Barnum was the one who created the famous quote about a sucker born every minute. Not true. Wikipedia said the following:

Barnum Never Did Say "There's a Sucker Born Every Minute" R. J. Brown asserts that it actually originated with a banker named David Hannum, in regard to one of Barnum's hoaxes: a replica of the Cardiff Giant.

The point is this show and producers think there are plenty of suckers to show their tv reality show too. Some how I think the banker David Hannum would have financed this show...lol

Good job on the research. Also there was one very quick sceen from one of the drones that I thought showed a car in the background. The other thing I say was it looked like the so called ruins where mowed and weed eat. Too clean and neat. But I am sure someone would say I crazy or worse.

albert said...

@Kevin,
Cappy may indeed be a Nam Vet. I'll give him that. But who's to say how real the flashback was, given all the dancing around the truth presented by the show. Just a little too 'lucky' for the producers, IMO. If it was faked, then shame on the lot of them.

Your point about Vietnam Vets as portrayed in the media is well taken. In your shoes, I'd write a letter to the Discovery company. I'll bet you could get a lot of signatures.

I have good friends who are Nam Vets, and I -had- friends who didn't make it back home. For me, it's personal.

BTW, are there any 'dramatization' disclaimers on this show?
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Sarge said...

When I came back from my tour in Vietnam we were advised to not travel in uniform if possible. the only hassle I had traveling was the airport MP's who seemed to stop everyone in uniform and give them a full dress inspection and papers check.
I was stationed in south Florida and stopped to give a couple of kids hitch hiking along Route 1 a lift when I got my first taste of the anti war crowd. They ran up to the car but when they looked in and saw the uniform they exploded in a hate filled rant about "Baby Killers" and such stuff.
Two years later when I left active duty I was made very aware of my place in our small town when the nice old lady at the local market commented that she hadn't seen me in a few weeks.
Viet Vets were always the bad guys on TV and in the movies, always just one loud noise away from putting on their jungle fatigues, grabbing that AK they smuggled home in their socks, and killing everyone in sight.
Some years ago just after the whole "Desert Storm - Let's make nice to our Vets" movement started my kids bought me a hat that said I was a Nam Vet. I wore it around town for a day and hated the way everyone kept saying "Welcome Home". I came home back in 1972 and no one gave a damn. It all seems to fake for my tastes. Like the smile and "have a nice day" the girl says at the checkout. It's just something people say, they don't really care or mean it.
If my Father was the 'Greatest Generation",we were the "Bastard Step-Child at the Reunion" one.