Electronic gaming monthly
January 8, 2004 4:40 AM   Subscribe

Electronic Gaming Monthly published this. It's a photoshopped picture of a group of Russian soldiers holding the game Socom 2. Trouble is the picture should have looked like this, Russian soldiers holding up pictures of soldiers who died in Chechnya. Whatever you think of that war this is in pretty poor taste (added to the fact it's an advert for a shoot 'em up), but thankfully there is now an online petition to get them to take it down.
posted by ciderwoman (40 comments total)
 
in soviet russia, petition remove you.
posted by quonsar at 5:44 AM on January 8, 2004


Oswald/Ruby as Rock Band
posted by dgaicun at 5:45 AM on January 8, 2004


dgaicun: I had to look at that for a moment to let it sink in, waiting for my coffee to kick in here. Now it is making me laugh. Where did you dig that pic up?
posted by a3matrix at 6:24 AM on January 8, 2004


One man's 'poor taste' is another man's 'ho-hum'.

a3: that pic's been floating around for years.
posted by mischief at 6:25 AM on January 8, 2004


Bad taste, yes. Funny? To me, while I shake my head. A lot of funny things piss people off, and you can't just go around taking down everything that pisses people off.
posted by angry modem at 6:25 AM on January 8, 2004


Yep, Chechnya really is a bummer. But even if they are fundamentalist Moslem, was it a wise idea to export fighters to attack US interests?
Why, exactly are they trying to break off from Russia? Is it to form a peace loving democracy?
posted by kablam at 6:30 AM on January 8, 2004


Qutie agree Angry Modem, which is one of the reasons I FPP'd it. I find this one pretty offensive, but the LHO one above just made me laugh. Is it just time taking the shock away or is it the cold heart of advertising that is putting me off so?

Would they get away using images of people jumping from the WTC (I think probably not), and if so why not?
posted by ciderwoman at 6:31 AM on January 8, 2004


ciderwoman ... If you "quite agree" with Angry Modem, why write: "thankfully there is now an online petition to get them to take it down."? One of us seems to be misreading what he wrote. Moreover, though the line is often crossed, it's probably better to keep the front page description somewhat neutral and leave the cheerleading for the inside comments.

Just sayin' ...
posted by RavinDave at 6:47 AM on January 8, 2004


Fair point about leaving the FPP neutral. What I was agreeing with Angry Modem about was that you can't just go round taking down everything that pisses people off. Quite agree, you can't and shouldn't. I just feel this one oversteps a mark, and am interested in what others think and where this mark is.
posted by ciderwoman at 6:55 AM on January 8, 2004


This promo stinks of an idea spat out by someone at an ad agency "find a picture with a bunch of soldiers holding something, we'll put in SOCOM packages digitally..."

I'm surprised they used this shot. It doesn't really create a sense of people ready to fight (or play to fight). I mean, these soldiers' faces are full of thoughts of their fallen comrades in an occupation assignment that they're probably not even getting paid for.
posted by Busithoth at 7:11 AM on January 8, 2004


Before even reading what the original picture's content was, I thought the Socom picture was far more of an attempt at being clever than it actually was clever or funny.

They took pictures of people that died at war, held by their fellow soldiers, and hijacked it for something ridiculously banal. Perhaps if they were doing it to make a political statement it might arguably be acceptable -- but this is simply lame.

Ciderwoman brings up the World Trade Center. Certainly, they wouldn't promote a terrorist fighting game with pictures of people falling from the towers. They wouldn't take pictures of World War II death camps and gas chambers and and promote something over it.

I think it's unacceptable to disrespect these people and the lives of those that died simply because they're from another country and wear different military uniforms than our soldiers.
posted by VulcanMike at 7:14 AM on January 8, 2004


dgaicun:

The inimitable Dr. Cosmo, who those of you in the central Jersey / Philly areas may know from his late night odysseys on WPRB 103.3 Princeton, is responsible for that photo. It's called "Oswald in a Jam."

God bless the righteous use of Photoshop. (And independent radio!)
posted by UlfMagnet at 7:15 AM on January 8, 2004


Taste aside, in the US, the soldiers would potentially have a lawsuit based upon invasion of privacy. The company appropriated their likenesses and placed them in a false light.
posted by ptermit at 7:23 AM on January 8, 2004


whoops, my comment should be directed at a3matrix
posted by UlfMagnet at 7:24 AM on January 8, 2004


You are assuming that the photoshopper knew who was in the original pictures.
posted by mischief at 7:42 AM on January 8, 2004


online petitions...
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 7:53 AM on January 8, 2004


"There is now an online petition to get them to take it down."

Aside from the issue of the tastefulness of the picture, how does one "take down" 600,000 magazines already sent to subscribers? I got mine more than a week ago. Do you expect Ziff-Davis representatives to come to my door and ask to have the magazine back so they can rip the page out? Asking the picture not be used in future printings of the magazine is sort of silly, since it's unlikely that the company will reprint the same issue at any point in the future (the picture is copy art, not ad art, which means it's unlikely to be recycled).

The article isn't available online on EGM's Web site. Since the picture in question is a scan of the magazine, it's unlikely the illustration is online through the graces of ZD in any event. Also, I'm pretty sure the official EGM discussion boards on 1up.com have html disabled for posters. So it's probably likely that the picture, if it is up, is not up on the official EGM site (I can't find it, in any event), which means it's likely neither EGM or ZD has control of the forum on which the picture was found.

If you're going to petition EGM or ZD to do something, it helps if the petition is factually correct and practicable.

(Disclosure: I write for one of ZD's other video game magazines)
posted by jscalzi at 7:53 AM on January 8, 2004


You're absolutely right, jscalzi. Instead, the petition should be reworded to indicate to EGM and ZD just what a friggin' stupid thing it was to post that picture as an advertisement, and indicate that the undersigned will be boycotting the game.

After all, they can't do anything about the ad itself at this point, so why reward either of these chuckleheads for what amounts to an incredible lack of taste?
posted by FormlessOne at 8:24 AM on January 8, 2004


JScalzi, I'm bitter because in college, my girlfriend had a crush on you and your Fresno Bee column. Hope you're happy.
posted by inksyndicate at 8:33 AM on January 8, 2004


a3: that pic's been floating around for years

I have somehow missed it all this time. New to me, and I find it amusing.

The righteous use of photoshop? Umm, ok, if you say so.
posted by a3matrix at 8:40 AM on January 8, 2004


Ink: Boy, if I had a nickel for every guy's girlfriend who had a crush on me and my newspaper column, I'd have... Hmmm. A nickel.

If it's any consolation, I never touched her. Honest.
posted by jscalzi at 8:43 AM on January 8, 2004


Dr. Cosmo is awesome. I used to do a show on WPRB right before his and he would always hijack my last song to do his sloooooowing doooooown the muuuuuusic thing, which is SO COOL.

The picture is in terrible taste and should never have been made. It's unbelievable that some people are so oblivious to the non-vide-game world filled with actual people who actually die. It's like using a newspaper article about a drive-by to advertise GTA3.
posted by josh at 8:59 AM on January 8, 2004


So, Formless, now every publisher must question their advertisers about the source of their content? I think the corrosion from the tinfoil is creeping.
posted by mischief at 9:00 AM on January 8, 2004


I agree with people's right to be upset, but the idea that a fight has begun because someone started a PetitionOnline is just a silly thing to say. This is the site that got a few thousand people to demand that "The Two Towers" was offensive to 9/11 victims.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:12 AM on January 8, 2004


It wasn't an ad. It was an article about the game. Instead of a petition sending letters to the editor and publisher would be more effective.
posted by birdherder at 9:13 AM on January 8, 2004


...because we all know how effective online petitions are.
posted by crunchland at 9:16 AM on January 8, 2004


Shouldn't you all be mad at Getty Images for having the image be available for use in the first place? And to allow for altering? There's a 99.9999% chance that was who it came from in the first place.

But since some here couldn't be bothered to determine the diff between and AD and an ARTICLE, or whether this was an ONLINE page or a MAGAZINE page (ever see a web page that looks like that? Sheesh, read some mags already) I can see how that point escaped notice despite the giant blatant watermark.
posted by marzenie99 at 11:08 AM on January 8, 2004


I'm just wondering why the people who Photoshopped in the SOCOM cover didn't bother to blank out the black ribbon in the corner of the portrait. Are they promoting SOCOM, or mourning its demise?

Having said that, EGM never impressed me back when I paid attention to game mags. It always seemed like a bunch of high schoolers who'd been given extra cash to print their 'zine on glossy paper.
posted by RakDaddy at 11:27 AM on January 8, 2004


So, you're upset at EGM for invading Chechnya or for exporting Moslem terrorists to Russia?
posted by haqspan at 12:40 PM on January 8, 2004


Does anyone know where I can purchase camo with that pattern? Or, at the very least, what that pattern is called?
posted by starscream at 3:06 PM on January 8, 2004


any time anyone says "thankfully there is now an online petition" I laugh till I cry, then I move on.
posted by tiamat at 3:31 PM on January 8, 2004


The best part of the Lee Harvey Oswald picture is the Dead Kennedys logo on the wall. Nobody ever notices that, but it's the perfect final touch.
posted by kindall at 3:38 PM on January 8, 2004


Holy cow kindall, thanks for pointing that out! I did indeed miss it. Too busy focusing on the foreground of the photo.

For the record, I receive EGM every month. Free subscription I got some time ago. It is a POS. I have been counting down the days for the subscription to end. It caters almost exclusively to the console crowd. Big dissapointment. What month is that pic in? I will cut it out and pin it up.
posted by a3matrix at 4:23 PM on January 8, 2004


I have somehow missed it all this time. New to me, and I find it amusing.

Fark and Something Awful are two communities of, er, somewhat less high-minded pretension than the 'filter, both of which I am known to lurk around occasionally while consuming delicious beverages and listening to loud rock and roll music. Not sure about Fark, but SA has archives of the amusing photoshoppery done by their forum members going back a long time, and the Oswald remix has been redone by people at both sites literally hundreds of times. It's a classic. Both sites are well worth poking around (if not actually joining) for some (sophomoric, sure, but what the heck) laughs, if you like the Oswald pic.

I'd also recommend a look at Worth1000, which, though not so much about the comedy, is very much a showcase of skill.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:45 PM on January 8, 2004


Tiamat, you can be as snide as you like but I really was quite thankfull that there was some means of expressing my concern over this picture. Sure online petitions aren't ever going to amount to much but in this instance it enabled me to let the magazine know I thought they had way overstepped the boundary and also that I wasn't the only one who felt this.

And I only just saw the DK logo too.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:53 PM on January 8, 2004


ciderwoman; the reason I dislike online petitions so much is because folks like you, who are honestly outraged/motivated about something use them instead of a medium that might make a difference. In this day and age of almost total political apathy the last thing in the world we need is an extra medium of organization that goes ignored.

I promise you that if you sent an actual email the company would listen to that one email more than any petition signed by a hundred anonymous users. Should you send a paper letter you would have more of a voice than a thousand people online.

That's why I hate cyber petitions, because they don't give a voice to people, they merely provide a black hole into which people can pour endless motivation - all for naught.
posted by tiamat at 6:51 PM on January 8, 2004


Golly, there's a petition for the easily offended to sign! Thank heavens! We can't have pesky Offensive Images soiling our world!

Honestly, isn't it more important that we take action to have Carrot Top removed from broadcast television than fussing over some third-rate gaming rag's choice of background image? If we're going to take a flying leap down the slippery slope and beg for censors to sheild our delicate eyes, there are far more obnoxious things to concern ourselves with before we should get to the point of caring about alteration and republication of stock photography.
posted by majick at 8:14 PM on January 8, 2004


IMO the most offensive thing about this picture is what a bad photoshop job it is.
posted by maciej at 9:58 PM on January 8, 2004


Write a letter to the editors of EGM... it might actually get printed in the next issue and be taken seriously, rather than the online petition, which is more than likely to NOT be taken seriously.

I remember a couple years ago that EGM posted a link to a Tomb Raider parody site called "Nude Raider", and several parents grew very upset that this was printed in an issue that their children were reading. EGM defended themselves over the URL because the demographics for their magazine listed the average age of their readers as being older than 20 (which was true).

But so it goes in the competitive world of video game publishing... If it's not loud, shocking, violent or generally offensive, it's ignored.

Anyway, get over it. Far worse things get published.
posted by Down10 at 12:57 PM on January 9, 2004


"There is now an online petition to get them to take it down."

Aside from the issue of the tastefulness of the picture, how does one "take down" 600,000 magazines already sent to subscribers? I got mine more than a week ago. Do you expect Ziff-Davis representatives to come to my door and ask to have the magazine back so they can rip the page out? Asking the picture not be used in future printings of the magazine is sort of silly, since it's unlikely that the company will reprint the same issue at any point in the future (the picture is copy art, not ad art, which means it's unlikely to be recycled).


this is exactly what i was thinking. have online petitions ever actually accomplished anything?

this is completely off topic, but jscalzi is officially the coolest guy ever. i mean, opm and uncle john? you sir, are a god among men.
posted by joedan at 2:50 PM on January 9, 2004


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