Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Warhammer 40K appears in a Greek Newspaper, and gets demonized
**UPDATE - you can email the paper at one of the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Sorry for the late post on this article, I have been hoping for a updated email address to add to the article but still haven’t seen one. I will add it as soon as one is available
Well Warhammer 40k made it into a major Greek newspaper. The author essentially calls the entire hobby community right wing Nazis. I highly suggest sending an email to her editor at the email address that I will add as soon as I have a valid one. I sent out the email below, and I also have attached Natfkas article and email that he wrote below my email. This includes a English translation of the original greek article. I usually don’t just cut and paste things, but I feel this article needs to have as few authors as possible. Please visit his blog on my blog list.
My email to the editor
To Whom it may concern,
I am writing you this email because of your newspaper Article on Warhammer 40K published this week. First let me say something about myself. I am a hardworking, college educated father of 2. I have played, and enjoy watching American Football, Baseball, and soccer which you would refer to as football. I am a active member in my community, a member of my children’s schools PTA (parent teachers association), and I am far from a social outcast. My wife and 3 of my close female friends are all avid Warhammer 40k players and hobbyists. All have college degrees and are also active members in our community beyond the hobby. I am of German descent, my great grandfather left Nazi Germany to fight for the United states in the hope that not all Germans would be considered Nazi’s. I find your reporters comments on our hobby rude, inaccurate, and the equivalent of what Americans call gutter journalism. A form of journalism reserved for trash newspapers such as the national enquirer. Her remarks prove she should be reporting on Bigfoot, and Alien abduction.
You might find my comments about your reporter rude as well, but as a journalist she should be held to a higher standard and research her own comments. Here is my example of what I mean. She reported “Black Templars, that have the Iron Cross as a sign and their colours are black, white and red, are clearly Nazis”. The Black Templars are based off the Knights Templar (gee that wasn’t hard to make that connection” they have the same colors and standards used by the Knights Templar which was black, red, and white, with the Iron cross as one of their symbols. The Iron cross Originated in 1219 (long before the Nazis), when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted special privilege to the Teutonic order the right to combine the Teutonic black cross with the silver cross of Jerusalem by placing it over their cross to create a silver outline. The thought that these holy warriors where Nazis due to the Nazis hijacking their designs is ignorant and not researched. Furthermore the Iron cross was used by the German people since 1813 when it was awarded to soldiers during the Napoleonic war (once again long before the Nazis). The Iron cross was used as the symbol of the German army from 1871 to 1918 when it was replaced by a more simple GREEK CROSS which remained the symbol during Nazi Germany (does that make greeks Nazis?). The Iron Cross returned in 1956 in post war Germany used by the new Bundeswehr the new German armed forces. The traditional design is black, and is used to identify armored vehicles, and aircraft.
Warhammer 40K is a dystopian future. Mankind is on the brink of eradication not only from other species, but from its own fanaticism and Daemons brought to the world by the corrupt and perverse actions of mankind. First and foremost it is a work of science fiction, it isn’t a book of beliefs, and it sure isn’t a hand book to train right wing militants. The good humans aren’t racist they are xenophobic. They fear alien species due to a lack of understanding. They are also in decline due to their own fanaticism towards their unswerving loyalty to a brain dead emperor essentially hooked up on life support. The humans are essentially lead by a small group of religious zealots who believe he is a god. I believe this universe teaches a valuable lesson, that blindly following anyone can create more problems than help. The entire game is based off real world history, the great crusade, Salem witch trials, and the inquisition. I would also like to point out your writers comments about 40k being right wing. I have played this game for over 20 years, I have never seen a Nazi, or right wing extremist playing this game, I have met more left wing individuals playing Warhammer than right wing. I myself have read “Mein Kampf” by Adolf Hitler, but I have also read “the communist manifesto” by Karl Marx, and “Guerilla Warfare” by Che Guevara this doesn’t make me a left wing revolutionary. Any learned individual would agree with the comments of Sir Winston Churchill “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”.
I could continue to take apart your reporters disgraceful article but I feel I have made my point. I would like to point out a few facts in closing. These are all examples of history and fiction that are actually negative, but seen by society as positive.
Batman – a Vigilante who beats up criminals, breaking the law himself to avenge his parents. Law breaking, violence, revenge, not things I would like my kids to learn, yet Batman is a comic book, kids toy, and movie bonanza for the young.
Star Wars – a defender of good turns to the dark side, kills children, hunts down and kills his own family and friends, only to turn around and kill the emperor. In the end all is forgiven, but the entire empire is very much like the world of 40K.
Organised religion (all religion) – Many, many people have died in the name of religion, yet our society is based off the ideals taught in these religions.
The battle of Thermopylae – considered to be one of the first examples of an army taking up arms and defending its country against an oppressive invader. Lead by the Spartans a culture that focused on military supremacy, and left any child seeming weak to die by exposure on the slopes of mount Taygetos.
Alexander the great – or Alexander the 3rd of Macedon. Considered one of the most successful generals in history, but was driven by his belief that the Greeks where a superior race, and should rule the world.
Thank you for your time,
Author of the Abnormal Gamer
Naftka at Faiet 212 wrote
Warhammer 40k suddenly appears on the front page of a popular newspaper in Greece, with the creator of the blog, 122nd Cadia face down checking his line of sight.
This article calls us Nazi's, stupid, racists, and more things than I am going to repeat. The Antipope was able to translate the article to the best of his ability into English for us upon request, so it is posted for your reading below. My understanding that his normal job includes translating English to Greek, so even if the article loses some of its sarcasm, as he claims, the point of it is still there.
I highly suggest that everyone, and other bloggers as well, pick up on this story and write the editor of the newspaper. Here is my email to the editor of the newspaper that went with this article. You can copy paste if you don't think you can write your own, just attach your own name to it.
Editors Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your newspapers article this week on Warhammer 40k was high inflammatory, ignorant, and completely wrong in so many places, that I even wonder if the author did indeed listened to any of the interviews, or even read the background herself. While she was there at the tournament, she constantly questioned the gamers if they know people in the extreme right wing that play the game. She refers to the players of the game (it is only a game and a hobby), as Nazi's, racist, and complete idiots.
The Warhammer 40k universe in its background is a reflection upon the extremes of mankind. It is first and foremost Science Fiction. I really think the author of the article needs to get off her high horse and do some background on what science fiction is. Then needs to reflect upon movies and other fictional works, to see if those authors or those that follow them are also racist.
The journalist in question published a highly political and self indulging article in an attempt to garner a moment in the spotlight. Instead she has shown just how low a journalist can go in creating a monster out of what is a very strong and wonderful hobby, with enthusiasts all over the world.
At the very least, this journalist should lose her job, this is not journalism. Corrections should be made, and an apology published.
Author of Faeit 212
via The Antipope
Link to his blog and his response http://cadia122.blogspot.com/2011/11/bad-journalism.html
Okay Gary, this is the translation of the text to the best of my abilities. I have the impression that the underlying sarcasm of the text is somehow lost but that's not such a big deal I guess. Here it is then:
War on a table
A plunge into the dark, bizarre and militaristic world of the game that combines modeling and strategy, and holds as "prisoners" thousands of players in Greece and all over the World.
"Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Skull Throne". This is the motto and war-cry of the servants of the God of Chaos, Khorne (The Antipope: she translates if phonetically to Greek as "Horn"...). If you think that this sentence was "strange" enough as a magazine's article opening line, wait and see what's to come. This started as a report for one of the most popular miniature tabletop games of the last 30 years and I still don't know how I ended up fighting against "Daemons of Chaos" in 40000 AD and hang out with creatures with names such as Necrons, Dark Eldar, Black Angels (not sure what army that is...)and much more like them...undead and badass.
(Caption under my picture): Dedication. Studying the rules needs time, building requires effort, the creation of a decent army...money- up to 500 euros for the starter "set". During the game all this is forgotten though.
(Caption under next picture): Precise calculations. Before any move the player must contemplate on it's consequences. "Somehow like chess..." like they told us, but much bloodier.
Dozens of horrible creatures, together with an Emperor-God (of the earthlings) and four Gods of Chaos, live in the blackest, obscurantist, religionist, militaristic, fundamentalist, authoritarian, racist, abominable and repulsive world ever conceived by the human mind. In fact, by the British mind, since the game was coined and released in England at the beginning of the eighties.
The game, that for the last 30 years has been played by millions of people all over the world, is called "Warhammer:40000 or "40K" for it's friends. With many of these friends (Greeks) we talked about the multifarious 40K and it's exceptional miniatures, modeling, hobby, required intelligence, strategic ability, men (that play), women (that don't) and daemons that eat souls (soul-eating is the pop corn of the future).
In the same future that, as the general motto of the game states, "There is no time for peace. Neither for forgiveness. There is only war. Endless War."
Little "toy soldiers" for men? And beyond...
As an intro into the world of this "joyful" game, we watched ,during a tournament, around forty males (between 18 and 39 years old), with tape measures and dice on hand, planning assaults against the military units that were placed on top of special dioramas (model battlefields with obstacles, buildings, trees etc.). 40K is a game of strategy (or tactics rather) and requires thought, a lot time studying the rules and a certain degree of intelligence of the mathematically skilled type. The toy soldier miniatures-designed with a lot of imagination and incredible details by the company of Games Workshop-have to be assembled and painted by the hobbyists-players. Painting the "armies" is a form of art on it's own accord, to which modelers dedicated hours or even days. Considering all this, when questioned "why do you play" everybody gave the same answer:" Because it's a hobby that gives me the opportunity to do miniature modeling, to think strategically and, mainly, get together with friends at least twice a week, for gaming, talking, painting...". That's great!
At this point it could be the end of this discussion, if there wasn't for the fluff to be considered, i.e. if there was no ideological-mythical environment of 40K. The world "fluff" ,that is the creation of tabletop or non tabletop role playing gamers and it has to do with everything else but the rule set of the game, is the key to open the...darkness of 40K. Because the fictions, facts and characteristics of the bloodthirsty and soul-hungering soldiers are so outrageous that the question "but, why do you want to play?" was coming back to our conversation almost automatically.
To think or not to think?
What does someone need furthermost in order to be able to play 40K? "Brains", most of them think, claiming at the same time that "nobody takes fluff seriously" but also..."I chose the game based on the fluff" or "real life is a different thing to the game" but also..."I have seen in the US the ideology of the army and the player matching to a dangerous degree. I've even seen a player with swastikas tattooed all over his body". So many contradictions they could win a Guinness world record.
Generally speaking, when having to choose the game, but also the army, fluff is always there to play a role. As a 38 old professor of biotechnology told us "I also chose an army based on the fluff - I play with dark eldar..."(he stops to think)"in the end they are psychic vampires..." (pausing and saying out very loud)... "I don't even care about my army's fluff!". Perhaps a mind with mathematical skills is necessary but it also seems necessary that the same mind needs the ability not to be able to...think!
The first thing we found out about the 40 participants of the tournament, is that most of them is what we would call "educated" (higher degree level) and working (you need a lot of money to be able to play 40K seriously for many years). Amongst them we found a manager of marketing in a multinational company, a university professor, a gold smith, a 23 year old business man, many civil engineers and many students (chemists, engineers, mathematicians).
Most of them started off as fans of science or heroic fiction, mythology, history and comic books. Many of them have read the low literary value novels based on the game's fluff, for which 30 year old Thanos said: "If I had a child, I wouldn't let him read these novels before he develops his character". We can summarize the profile of the average 40K player as follows: a rather "introvert", lonely guy that doesn't like to go out, doesn't like to watch the TV or football(!), but he likes listening to music (foreign, and mainly classic rock) and he prefers when going out to talk with friends in cafes or houses. Many of them claimed that they "believe in God", whom they defined as the "beginning" of everything or "the power" of the universe etc. but they don't like his "fan club". Couple of them claimed to be pronounced atheists.
Lastly, we found out that all of them are ready to talk about politics, expressing extreme ideas more or less with words that are somewhat muddled inside their heads. We only found one person who deals with the understanding of human relationships, while most of the other are ignorant even of the word "psychology".
A large percentage of their population compared with their average number (5 out of the 15 interviewees) had some racist and xenophobic ideas and had been involved with the study of Nazi texts, including "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler. George, a mulatto (from a Greek father and a mother from impoverished Louisiana), one of the most intelligent and sincere kids we met, following the question if the game is "a bit" racist he replied: "It's very racist and in America (US) many gamers identify themselves with that racism. Moreover, Black Templars, that have the Iron Cross as a sign and their colours are black, white and red, are clearly Nazis"
"Have you noticed that a percentage of the players belong to the extreme right wing?" we asked 35 year old Takis, a middle school teacher who claims to be "left wing". "Yes, but I don't know why. Maybe they are fascinated by the epic, heroic or even the racist elements of 40K. Because there is a lot of racism in the game." The next question that came up naturally is if 40K makes you feel superior compared to other people :"Yes, it's a bit elitist. It requires a lot of thought so it makes you feel..."somehow". Somehow superior" said Markos laughing. One of the most extreme statements we heard was :"It's been proved throughout the history of Greece that we can only go forward with a fascist government" said John. "And I am going to be the one executing them", added his friend Fotis.
Playing with your soul?
I would also add, playing with your sword. But why would someone fight with a sword in the technologically super advanced 40000 AD? And why does it's system has to be so authoritarian and obscurantist? And why does the "trophy" have to be the most valuable thing humans have, i.e. their souls?
"Because 40K combines elements that fascinate men, like chivalry, heroism, power, ability, speed etc" said 38 year old widely educated Kostas with his well structured speech. "Probably because we want to look better in comparison. Maybe I would never go to real war, but in the game you can be an awesome hero or a general without having to pay the price in return. For it's system now, the wider the network of planets that human inhabit becomes, the more we will keep losing our humanity. In the minds of the creators of science fiction, there is always a strong central authority necessary, which through cutting down our freedoms and though fear can create a structure in order for that new world to function. In 40K there is a mixture of western imperialism and eastern fundamentalism."
And why does the future has to seem so bleak I wonder: "Because", as 39 year old Giannis is saying "this sells. This game has the best marketing." "Furthermore because reality sucks and progress is even worse" adds the younger Minas. "Everything in the fluff is derived from human history, to an excessive extend maybe, but historically".
Why aren't women playing the game, I ask them: "Now you are delving into a touchy subject", Fotis told me, who is married and has one child. "Women don't go for mentally committing stuff. In order to be able to commit in something so that you can disengage from the everyday life, you have to be a man." Fotis was the same person who told me when I asked him why the ideology of the game is crazy: "Are there any ideological obstacles in fantasy?".
In the interview we did with 23 year old Markos, who describes the game as a "struggle for the survival of the human race" and as the "absolute decline", after he told us that "Warhammer is not a comedy but a tragedy with the classical sense, in a dystopian future" he also express the optimistic thought that "Man has the awesome capacity to conquer everything, even himself." When I asked what does he do to ...conquer himself he answered :"I am reading thousands of books, I am writing down stories and poetry, I work, talk, travel and do thousands of different things. Why? Because I have an enormous stress that I will stay mediocre"