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Ethnic Cleansing - The Video Game?
February 16, 2002 8:42 PM   Subscribe

Ethnic Cleansing - The Video Game? I don't know what can be said about this. It pushes several hot buttons - violence in video games, "hate speech" and (in the US) the First Amendment, and race relations in a post 9-11 world. Yes, it's reprehensible - but can you play Voltaire and defend the author's right to create it? (Warning: Pro-Aryan website; link contains explicit depictions of race-based violence.) Discuss.
posted by tpoh.org (39 comments total)

 
And thank you tpoh.org so much for your help spreading the hate.
posted by fleener at 8:44 PM on February 16, 2002


Just curious: was this game made with the LithTech engine?
posted by Ptrin at 8:57 PM on February 16, 2002


My reason for posting this was partially due to the segment that NPR presented on Friday's All Things Considered. [RealAudio Link] I heard this on the way home from work, and it really made me wonder just where the line can be drawn when, say, a coalition of various white-supremacist groups decide to consolidate their memberships in one town. How can you stop it before violence actually occurs, can you stop it legally without violating the rights of the members of the hate groups, where is the line drawn?

fleener: I presume that the majority of MeFi people are intelligent, thinking individuals and are capable of tackling controversial issues like this one. I resent your attack on me - you might as well indict NPR of "spreading the hate" by telling neo-Nazis which town in Pennsylvania they might want to move to if they want to congregate with like-minded violent racists.
posted by tpoh.org at 8:58 PM on February 16, 2002


From the FAQ...

2.) Q.)What video cards work best/worst with Ethnic Cleansing?
posted by bingo at 8:58 PM on February 16, 2002


This is really sad. When will humanity realize that it is the diversity of it that makes us strong.
posted by MaddCutty at 9:28 PM on February 16, 2002


The question, however, is whether you would be willing to defend this as valid free speech.

I think we can all agree that it's sad and pathetic.
posted by tpoh.org at 10:00 PM on February 16, 2002


After watching the impact of a few race-hatred murders on Pittsburgh, PA, I take a position much like the German government regarding this sort of material. I'm not going to click on the posted link.

I urge Matt to delete this thread.
posted by sheauga at 10:02 PM on February 16, 2002


That is just about as repugnant as I've ever seen. Yes, they have the right to put it up. Yes, I have the right, indeed the duty to denounce it.
posted by scottymac at 10:15 PM on February 16, 2002


much as he has every right to create it, i have every right to de- damnit scottymac.

and i also have the right to take this game, and replace all faces with his and his ilk.

hmm...
posted by jcterminal at 10:17 PM on February 16, 2002


Agreed, but that would be no less repugnant.
posted by scottymac at 10:24 PM on February 16, 2002


Oddly enough, I have to urge Matt not to delete the thread.

Repugnant and icky? Absolutely. (the link, not Our Fearless Leader)

But my humble opinion is that free speech is strongest when we as a society have to allow and defend the right to be a Big Racist Goober.

And if someone is stupid enough to be incited into breaking the law over something they read or someone they listen to, then that action becomes quite the different matter, and one for the judiciary to handle.

It's in the same philosophy that I also reject the notion of "hate-based" criminal penalties. The action stands on its own.
posted by ebarker at 10:24 PM on February 16, 2002


Okay, I guess I'll play Voltaire. I don't think any of us is unfamiliar with white supremacist "philosophy," namely that miscegenation and immigration are to blame for the downfall of the American western empire. Blah blah blah. Looks from the homepage as if this is a simple extension of that same old line of crap. But instead of taking the form of a flyer or a graffito, this is a 1st person shooter video game. Big deal. It's offensive, it's racism, it's hatred, it's probably a crap play.

But I happen to think that repressing hate dialogue does little good. Better to face it and denounce it in all your eloquent righteous indignation than simply suppress it. First ammendment rights are based on the same principle, whatever milieu they are tested in. I've never been comfortable with "hate crime" labeling. Lending some crimes special severity based on the content of their politics is extremely dangerous, as is the rhetoric about "terrorism" nowadays.

Let these enclaves of po white skinheads play their game and drink their beer. It's a shame if they wish to spend their lives that way, but I'd prefer to know that they're out there. I don't think tpoh.org could have composed the link more tactfully.

So somebody please tell me I got trolled. I'd rather suffer that embarassment than believe that anyone here would object to this link's being posted at all.
posted by scarabic at 10:28 PM on February 16, 2002


If you believe in free speech, that includes speech which is repugnant.
If you believe in diversity, that includes people and
groups which are repugnant.
You are not required to endorse or admire speech or
groups you recognize as 'ungood'. But if you believe in free speech and diversity, you acknowledge the right of the 'ungood' to exist. And contrary to popular belief, you can yell fire in a crowded theater, if there is a fire.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:50 PM on February 16, 2002


I don't think there was any trolling. And I certainly disagree with repression. As a mostly liberal agnostic, I'm accustomed to holding unpopular opinions. I feel little need to be particularly strident about them. Racial provocations do strike a chord within me though. I have lived in times and places when and where there was a strong social stigma against interracial marriage, yet my wife and I chose to enter one. For us, it was a good decision. Folks that know us can share in the richness of each of our cultures, rather than attempting to evaluate one against the other. I acknowledge that people have the right to attempt to poison the well of our society. I will also vociferously speak out to counter them.
posted by scottymac at 10:53 PM on February 16, 2002


Hate must be exposed to the light. We cannot let it stay hidden in the dark corners. I find the suggestion that this thread should be deleted highly offensive. That would not only be unjust, but unwise. The haters do win if we choose to let them ply their trade quietly, without protest.
posted by gspira at 11:01 PM on February 16, 2002


I miss the good old days, when I could just wipe out hordes of faceless ninjas. This is too personal for me. Ick.



Oh, wait, I keep forgetting that some of you have to be told...
See, the irony here is, even though I was killing before, this game makes it hatefull, and that makes it distasteful. Thanks!

posted by dong_resin at 11:09 PM on February 16, 2002


it really made me wonder just where the line can be drawn when, say, a coalition of various white-supremacist groups decide to consolidate their memberships in one town

The constitution allows freedom of assembly, freedom of speech - even for backwoods racist pigs. If racist slime lose their rights to speech, the slope already swings way past slippery.

I take a position much like the German government regarding this sort of material

Which is why Neo-nazism is on the rise there. When you quash their freedom of speech, it just legitimizes their wacked thought process and gives them a reason to band together.
posted by owillis at 11:17 PM on February 16, 2002


I also disagree with hate crime legislation. A crime is a crime, no matter what rationalisation the offender attempts to use as a defense.
posted by scottymac at 11:21 PM on February 16, 2002


Deep breath.
...OK, as much as it hurts my heart, I needed to know about this new nastiness.
Deep breath.

I'm of the "know thine enemy" school.

**Sunshine kills pin-worm eggs.**

I've sent this other nasty link to friends of mine because, if we don't know somebody's out there means us harm, we're sitting ducks.
posted by realjanetkagan at 11:50 PM on February 16, 2002


Ok; this is kind of interesting. Not so much the link itself, which is pretty retarded stuff being peddled to retarded people; but this post modern superstition of moral offensiveness being as communicable as a cold germ. Let the rant begin...

Don't look, or it will make you go Nazi! Wash your hands before you leave the hate on doorknobs and dinner forks. Pornography causes rape, too. Does anybody here suddenly feel a new desire to goosestep around your living room and namecall because of your exposure to this rubbish? Anyone at all? Can anyone show me some empirical evidence of previously sane individuals older than 12 getting their morals set askew by a sudden instance of evil? God save me from those who would try to save me against my will.

Trying to make me a boy in a moral bubble insults me; it assumes I can't keep my own adult stack-and-swivel in order without outside help. I prefer to take my life with grit included, thanks - it keeps up my immunity to this dopey stuff.
posted by Perigee at 12:55 AM on February 17, 2002


I hate to agree with almost everyone, but this really is a great link, worth a hundred political op-ed pieces. There will be plenty more sites like this, that won't need to be posted here, but some fringe webshit is worth logging. Most of us probably wouldn't otherwise see this stuff, only read of it in politicians' speeches and newspaper articles. For the record, it's a site for sore losers.
posted by liam at 3:01 AM on February 17, 2002


well, the idea of this game sounds good to me. it is not about promoting racism, it's about having fun shooting people. how are you suppose to put an end to racist phylosophy? letting people simulate it!… it would be great if you could play as a black, a jew, or an hispanic and shoot to death just white people.
posted by trismegisto at 8:25 AM on February 17, 2002


Which is why Neo-nazism is on the rise there.

It's on the rise in the West also.
posted by lucien at 8:38 AM on February 17, 2002


Does anybody here suddenly feel a new desire to goosestep around your living room and namecall because of your exposure to this rubbish?

Do you seriously think that this stuff is targeted at us? By all means, if there are any lurkers out there who feel differently, correct me if I am wrong, but I can't see anyone at Metafilter putting up something like this in the "reviews"

"I recently wrote to you regarding a damaged game. I got the new copy that you sent out automatically today. Thanks for a great game...I only managed to kill seven or eight sambos before I got killed though.
Never mind, practice, practice... "

posted by lucien at 8:47 AM on February 17, 2002


I think links like this belong here (thanks tpoh), because I think exposing this sort of thing to the light is extremely important. If it's allowed to fester in dark corners where only those already poisoned by it can see it, its inherent stupidity and fundamental lack of clear logic can't be highlighted by those who haven't been blinded by the rhetoric of ignorant hatred. And if we sweep it under the carpet, it serves to further convince those who buy into it that it has some validity, otherwise why would those who don't believe in it be so afraid of it?

I tend to think that most racists can be cured or at least helped. I think racism is closer to a mental illness than it is to an informed and freely-chosen worldview.
posted by biscotti at 9:11 AM on February 17, 2002


Dreamed I was the ACLU's chief litigator on a free speech case. Attended a kaffeeklatsch of warm, chummy cannibals sharing their favorite recipes, and wondered why I was invited?

My experience is different from most of you. I have the face of the Aryan poster child, so I've had perfectly sane, highly educated Americans and Europeans make unexpected Nazi-type recruitment efforts with me. I shudder to think of a Germany that permits Nazi propaganda again.

Hopefully enough solid defenders of free speech will show up at the next stop-the-Klan rally, for the next carpet bombing of expansionist Nazi-German/Nazi-Jugoslavian motherlands, or at least bear up bravely as their sons and daughters head out for interminable peacekeeping missions. (If you want to sign up for a peacekeeping mission yourself, that's the link.)

Here in Cleveland, we have many Serbian-American and Croatian-American families. In the past, it's been difficult to get their teams to play a peaceable game of soccer together. Imagine how things go if one of their teenagers decides to bring an ethnic cleansing video game home.
posted by sheauga at 10:04 AM on February 17, 2002


Sheauga, no one is promoting this game, the concept is to expose this garbage, so that we can be armed with the knowledge that it is exists, and seek to combat it on whatever levels we can.

After watching the impact of a few race-hatred murders on Pittsburgh, PA, I take a position much like the German government regarding this sort of material.

Living in Pittsburgh, I can tell you that a.) this "kind of material" had nothing to do with the two "racially motivated" mass murders of 2000 and b.) there has been no real impact on the community at large from those awful incidents. I'm not sure how this is in any way germane to the discussion at hand.
posted by Dreama at 10:19 AM on February 17, 2002


And thank you tpoh.org so much for your help spreading the hate.

Fleener, pushing this kind of thing into open discussion is the best way to beat it. When we try to retreat to our 1950's bungalow behind the safety of the white picket fence, these elements fester and grow until the real thing happens.

I urge Matt to delete this thread.

I would press for the preservation of this thread. Seeing that something like this exists and what people's real words of reaction are to something like this is important. Suppressing discussion of something like this is a mighty poor disservice to those who suffer from ethnic violence, since silence serves the interest of the offender.

Some twisted bugger has taken a first person shoot-em-up and modified it to serve a warped fantasy. Not a big surprise, given the nature of the game genre, which are about simulated people killing. The game is grossly distasteful, and it's a valuable example of how screwed up some people can be. Great post, tpoh.org.
posted by holycola at 11:00 AM on February 17, 2002


Question: How many people think this game looks horrible, but have no problem with Grand Theft Auto, in which you also receive points (or money, or whatever) for the wanton killing of innocent people and destruction of property? I was all ready to condemn this game before I remembered some of the other stuff I've enjoyed playing, and now I'm not so sure I have the moral high ground.

Note: I love GTA3; don't get me wrong.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 12:04 PM on February 17, 2002


This isn't about a moral high/low ground. The difference between this game and GTA3 is the motivation behind the killing. Ethnic Cleansing kills out of hate; the enemy deserves to die because of their race. While killing innocents in GTA3 can be considered just as reprehensible, the motivation is different. They are innocents, and you kill them knowing full well that they are innocent. It is bad, and you know it.

GTA3 is killing for the gleeful high that comes from such destructive action; the reason some people like to toss rocks off cliffs or push over dead trees. Sometimes it's just fun to manifest our impact on the world by destroying it, and video games allow us to do so in a consequence-free, virtual environment. But as dong resin said, Ethnic Cleansing is sickening because it puts a face on the victims that "justifies" their death.

For how horrid it may be, the game is covered under free speech unless one can prove it's a form of fighting words.
posted by Dane at 12:38 PM on February 17, 2002


It's on the rise in the West also
Is it? I've seen evidence of Germany's problem (1,2) but not necessarily here to the same extent
posted by owillis at 1:14 PM on February 17, 2002


Western Europe, certainly.
posted by liam at 1:39 PM on February 17, 2002


Which is why Neo-nazism is on the rise there.
I blame Wolfenstein.
posted by holloway at 2:49 PM on February 17, 2002


Dane: GTA3 is killing for the gleeful high that comes from such destructive action; the reason some people like to toss rocks off cliffs or push over dead trees. Sometimes it's just fun to manifest our impact on the world by destroying it, and video games allow us to do so in a consequence-free, virtual environment. But as dong resin said, Ethnic Cleansing is sickening because it puts a face on the victims that "justifies" their death.

Unless the justification in GTA3 is that the cops represent "the man," and the death of the innocent bystanders is what McVeigh called "collateral damage." Conversely, someone playing Ethnic Cleansing may not actually feel that black people deserve to die; racism is the excuse they're using to kill in general (or, in this case, or pretend to kill).
posted by bingo at 5:00 PM on February 17, 2002


I just wanted to point out that two thousand years from now all these 1st person alien shooters are going to really hurt our intergalactic PR.

Well, from what I see, it's a game. And one that doesn't focus on being well designed or complete. It's purpose is to serve a message of hate, and maybe a little experimental at that.

I definately wouldn't even begin to defend a game like this, but I would like to point out that a very similar mentality has been portrayed in the past through computer games. I remember one, from a while back called Body Count. The objective was to fight your way to the top of a building captured by Arab terrorists. I haven't thought much about it, and games like it until reading this thread. It seems that it is 'ok' on a larger sense to produce games that have a perceived threat in them (ie. Terrorists holding weapons, kill or be killed). In the case of Carmageddon, a game that allowed you to sadistically tread over innocent pedestrians (another poorly designed game imo), there was a strong reaction by the public and even some game retailers....or atleast moreso than most other games of similar nomenclature.

The part of Ethnic Cleansing that would probably make it work is that it does have a perceived threat, other races with weapons. I'm not trying to defend this at all, but it is nothing new, it just pushes the envelope even further. Call it "shock evolution" if you'd like, or the way of digital media. But the part of this game that clearly makes it offensive is that it is obviously produced by Aryan/White-power influences.

it would be great if you could play as a black, a jew, or an hispanic and shoot to death just white people.

Meaning race as an easy way to identify your enemy? I'm not calling you out really because I was thinking the same thing in the back of my head. To make it short, any game that involves virtually killing, destroying, etc probably is morally wrong. That doesn't stop anyone from playing them. The real danger is if the message of perceived threat is passed along into reality and some young skinhead/racist blames a certain videogame for his/her murdering of an innocent person.
posted by samsara at 5:24 PM on February 17, 2002


fleener, sheauga:

I'll go on record and say I'm disappointed at your stances against this thread. Probably most dumb young skinheads have never heard reasoned arguments against them, because the national "debate" on racism has been genericized, treated as a dead issue. The specific flavor and nature of racism has to be publicized and specifically denounced.

Your stance reminds me of families that loudly announce: "We have no problem with anger in this family; we know anger is unhealthy"; inside, everyone is seething.
posted by argybarg at 5:31 PM on February 17, 2002


I too think the thread belongs here and anywhere it can be exposed. Just as I think the Confederate flag is a good thing. It tags the owner. I can look at that flag on the porch or t-shirt or bumper sticker and I instantly know that I should stay away from that person. I don't need to find out the hard way ( like trying to engage them in conversation). At the restaurant I work at a man walked in the other day with a shirt on that said "Redneck" on the front. Really at first glance I formed a pretty acurate impression, but he saw fit to let people know right away. I like that.

On my car is a rainbow sticker and Gore 2000 sticker. People pretty much know where I come from.
posted by bas67 at 7:03 PM on February 17, 2002


Tangent : I still gag when I hear the phrase 'ethnic cleansing'. What a foul perversion of language that one is.

Anything else I wanted to say here has been said by others.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:05 PM on February 17, 2002


Diversity is a good thing. But lets look at the wheat crop. There are different kind of wheat seeds. If all continents have the same crop, one virus can kill all the wheat in the world, rendering us without a big portion of food.

Similarly, with diversity and inter-racial marriages, theoretically it is possible that in say a 5000 years we will be all alike. All of us, wiped out by one virus.

There is a big debate about short term and long term effects of all out diversity.

Wouldnt comment on the game. We are all better than that.
posted by adnanbwp at 9:48 AM on February 18, 2002


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