(WaPo) — Almost everywhere you turn, it seems like people have their eyes glued to smartphone screens playing Pokemon Go. Since its launch last week, the app has quickly become a cultural phenomenon that has fans of all ages hunting around their neighborhoods for collectible digital creatures that appear on players’ screens almost like magic as they explore real-world locations. But there’s at least one place that would really like to keep Pokemon out: The Holocaust Museum. The Museum itself, along with many other landmarks, is a “PokeStop” within the game — a place where players can get free in-game items. In fact, there are actually three different PokeStops associated with various parts of the museum. “Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” Andrew Hollinger, the museum’s communications director, told The Post in an interview. “We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game.”
“And here we have an exhibit on the power of the Nazi propaganda machi–”
“Hey guy! Guy! Mind shutting the fuck up for two seconds while I catch this Doduo?!”
Is it, perhaps, a little disrespectful to be roaming the halls and completely ignoring the exhibits while you chase down a Snorlax? Sure. I’ll concede that, that could be considered in bad taste. But at the same time this idea that Pokemon Go has completely changed our way of life is so preposterous. “You don’t understand! People are walking around the streets and bumping into each other! Instead of learning at museums they’re playing on their phones! It’s chaos!” Yeah, because we were always very in tune with our surroundings a week ago. Before Pokemon Go our society was so respectful and present. We absolutely never had nervous ticks to check our phones every 15 seconds and we never picked up our iPhone while at a museum and we never played with apps while driving our cars. It’s just now we’re all playing the same game so people with a stick up their ass have a common enemy. Andrew Hollinger can blame the good people over at Niantic but this is business as usual for young people at museums. At least now you’re getting a few more entrance fees and a couple extra bucks.
PS – Ok, I just read a bit more of the story after writing that blog.
One image circulating online appears to show a player encountering an unsettling digital critter inside the museum: A poison gas-type Pokemon called Koffing floating by a sign for the museum’s Helena Rubinstein Auditorium. Clearly, it’s an awkward if not offensive thing to find in a place dedicated to making sure the world never forgets those killed in the gas chambers at Nazi death camps.
Fair enough. Poison gas Pokemon floating around the Holocaust Museum may not be the best look. You’ve got me there.