215: Cease Fire: A Look at Virtual Jihadi

Kate McKiernan

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ReverseEngineered said:
Kate, I'm glad you brought this story out into the open for people to see. I wasn't aware of Balil's plight before this article and it makes it clear how the cliched response to controversy in all forms of artistic media undermines any attempt at rational thought.

I think Balil's game makes a very good point -- as I said in my previous post, we're happy to blindly kill some generic enemy -- but the American focus on Middle Eastern cultures as the generic enemy leads to a stereotyping that is by no means healthy.

Since we're surrounded by these stereotypes in the media every day, we often don't realize how these stereotypes become part of our consciousness. Reality quickly sits in when you see it from the other side -- the thought of Iraqis killing Americans makes us painfully aware of how terrible the things are that we are simulating.

What really concerns me are those people who are up in arms about this art display. They are so blinded by their prejudices that they don't realize the hypocrisy of their concerns. Yes, we shouldn't be encouraging people to kill the President, but we shouldn't be encouraging them to kill Muslims either. For some reason America has accepted that people from the Middle East are hedonists and terrorists, that they are enemies who want to kill us, and that we must protect ourselves by killing them first. The people who are against the former but excuse the latter are guilty of as much racism and prejudice as anyone.

Through his game, Balil is trying to show us how our prejudices and stereotypes have created a double-standard for the acceptability of violence, and he does so using one of the worst purportrators -- war games. Those who think it's offensive or obscene imply that they disagree with his statements -- that they believe in those stereotypes and double-standards. We're in a sad situation when those in power are not only blinded by prejudice, but are willing to abuse their power to protect, maintain, and spread those prejudices.

God bless the USA. It needs it.

Agreed. You said everything i was going to say. Though i would like to add the idea of free speach anywere is a bit of a sham.
 

Kate McKiernan

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Wargamer said:
Evil Tim said:
Wargamer said:
Well, yes - good guys do not, as a rule, kill people because they MIGHT do something wrong. They have to, you know, do something wrong first.
I'm very glad people with more practical morals than you are in charge of the world. If someone's following them with a knife, good guys don't wait to have their throat cut before they actually consider doing something.
Actually, they do.

The British didn't invade Germany because they "might be bad". Hell, they had reason to - Germany was flaunting treaties put in place for the very purpose of stopping her starting World War Two.

However, World War Two arguably started BECAUSE of those punishing limitations, and because people like YOU were in charge of Germany - people who believe the ends justify the means.

They don't. Part of being the good guy is biting the bullet and saying "Yes, we could shoot these bastards NOW, but if we do that we are no better than them. As long as there is a chance for them to see sense, we must give them that chance."

I also find it more than a little amusing that you consider Imperial Japan a worthy choice under this system of morality, since they are famous for launching a massive preemptive strike on an American port in a war over oil, since the Americans had just cut off their supply due to Japan's empire-building in Asia. Hypocritical much?
Hypocritical of the Yanks, who as always were busy playing World Police, and didn't like the idea of anyone else being bigger or better than they were.

Besides, as I have said, a part of my hatred of American factions is their foreign policy, irrespective of who the in-game opposition is. If Battlefield was, say, British vs Japanese or Australians vs Japanese, I wouldn't play as the Japs.

As a yank i am saddened by the fact i must agree with you and the fact that that is how everyone views us. Though i suppose it could be worse, i could be french.


And does anyone find the irony in the Americans cutting off Japan's oil and than Japan launching an attack on them?
 

theultimateend

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The Rogue Wolf said:
I honestly can't say I'm surprised in the least. This is an unfortunately typical mindset in many Americans today- "They're not people, they're terrorists!" Demonize the enemy, make them subhuman, believe that they are a relentless and implacable foe bent on your extermination, and then it's okay to hate them and destroy them.
Interesting to note this is exactly what the Japanese and Nazi's (and well anyone) does during war.

Most of the tactics used by our military were extremely popular during the Nazi era. Which is kind of funny in a sick sort of way.

Sir Roflpwn said:
Wargamer said:
Evil Tim said:
Wargamer said:
Well, yes - good guys do not, as a rule, kill people because they MIGHT do something wrong. They have to, you know, do something wrong first.
I'm very glad people with more practical morals than you are in charge of the world. If someone's following them with a knife, good guys don't wait to have their throat cut before they actually consider doing something.
Actually, they do.

The British didn't invade Germany because they "might be bad". Hell, they had reason to - Germany was flaunting treaties put in place for the very purpose of stopping her starting World War Two.

However, World War Two arguably started BECAUSE of those punishing limitations, and because people like YOU were in charge of Germany - people who believe the ends justify the means.

They don't. Part of being the good guy is biting the bullet and saying "Yes, we could shoot these bastards NOW, but if we do that we are no better than them. As long as there is a chance for them to see sense, we must give them that chance."

I also find it more than a little amusing that you consider Imperial Japan a worthy choice under this system of morality, since they are famous for launching a massive preemptive strike on an American port in a war over oil, since the Americans had just cut off their supply due to Japan's empire-building in Asia. Hypocritical much?
Hypocritical of the Yanks, who as always were busy playing World Police, and didn't like the idea of anyone else being bigger or better than they were.

Besides, as I have said, a part of my hatred of American factions is their foreign policy, irrespective of who the in-game opposition is. If Battlefield was, say, British vs Japanese or Australians vs Japanese, I wouldn't play as the Japs.

As a yank i am saddened by the fact i must agree with you and the fact that that is how everyone views us. Though i suppose it could be worse, i could be french.


And does anyone find the irony in the Americans cutting off Japan's oil and than Japan launching an attack on them?
I often remind people that the events at Pearl Harbor and the Rise of the Nazi's were both because of Allied powers. Which tends to get very negative responses.

Considering that Japan has absolutely no Oil generation to its name cutting off Oil to it is akin to (at the time) sending it back in time. I'm sure the US wouldn't react any differently if importers completely cut off oil production to us. However we'd glorify our response ;) and likely wouldn't nuke ourselves.

Holy crap, lots of hate for Americans in this thread. But hey, thanks for painting us all with one broad brush, guys, we appreciate it.
Most people are just talking about conservatives. I don't really know nor do I care about Liberals but by design Conservative thought has to be very imposing and brutal because it is not open to change (hence the name conservative).

All people blanket process, our brains specialize in what is most relevant to us, which even comes down to race (even babies shown signs of racism its a biological thing, our close genetic relatives do it too). It is just the brain trying to simplify processes to make life easier and pleasant for the entire host.

I wouldn't think too poorly of it, when folks say something stupid I tend to give them a little bit of leeway because I assume it is just a processing error.
 

Killian Kalthorne

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I say more power to the bugger. There are more than two sides in a conflict and sometimes we need to have a good harsh look at other points of view in order to get the full picture. There is no black and white good and evil in this world, just shades of gray.
 

Yelchor

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Aug 30, 2009
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There are so many interesting articles that I've missed throughout this website. I should start a dedicated browsing one day!

On topic. I never thought someone had managed to give an artistic perspective from something that we do not normally see in varied ways, and even then the creator had many difficulties in letting his thought-provoker be known. Even though this concept seems a bit too Rambo-ish (being sent out to eliminate the president of the United States) I still appreciate it due to the simple fact that it tells the other end of the story. I'm honestly very tired with all of these western world-biased games and movies that does not seem to care about that war isn't a battle between "Good" and "Evil".

I am irritated in similar ways over how World War 2 is portrayed almost all the time. Like mentioned in another article on this site we see Axis forces as being "badguys" without being told of what they have really done. Anyone who has had a basic history lesson likely knows what they did, yet no one seems very fond of talking about it. A game besed on a German soldier's perspective would probably be more disturbing then entertaining, but the point is that it makes us think about these things and perhaps able to gain insight on the matter.

Simply put. I hope people will explore Humanity, both in the past and the present, openingly without fearing of being disliked and the risk of being censored. Virtual games can do these things in a very unique way that books or movies are simply incapable of. Instead of asking onself of what he, she or it will do in a situation the actions now rest on -your- shoulders. What will -you- do? Such interactive media can have a deep impact on the experience.

We need to be open-minded and honest about the state of the world. The United States of America isn't the all-protecting light in the world, for example.
 

maturin

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AceDiamond said:
As much as I consider games to be an art-form that should be protected under free speech, and as much as I tried to see things Bilal's way, I simply cannot. He is claiming video games are being used to foster hatred, and yet he's made one that would do exactly the same thing, regardless of his intent.
Did you read the article? That's his point.

He's making a questionable game in order to turn the tables and shine a light on other questionable games.

And who's really going to hate Bush more after shooting his cartoon in the face?

Whoever went after his *building* is gutless and corrupt. It's like an anti-1st Amendment airstrike.
 

maturin

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akmarksman said:
We only attack AFTER we are provoked. Case in point..
Case in point?!? Do you know any history that hasn't been represented in a videogame? We have attacked or 'intervened' in other countries dozens of times without justification or the slightest hint of self-defence.

We only engage in major wars when the government can sell a major war to the population, ie, after an attack.
 

Krion_Vark

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ReverseEngineered said:
It also helps that every boy plays with pretend guns at some time in their childhood,
Until they get suspended from school and face criminal charges for bringing a fake gun on a bus.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/05/14/massachusetts-boy-charged-bringing-toy-gun-bus/

I know its fox news but its still the same story its also a national chain

Here is a local one.

http://www.masslive.com/newsflash/index.ssf/story/palmer-boy-charged-with-bringing-toy-gun/ebefa90c4a85468ebcb5ec48fe6531ac
 

Kate McKiernan

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Aug 14, 2009
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Well, as a non-American, the game is not any more offensive to me than Call of Duty (meaning it isn't offensive at all).
I suppose if someone made a game where you play a Hungarian (or German, I don't much care about nationality) soldier tasked with forcing the Jewish population of the country onto the trains that take them off to Auschwitz, I might think "damn, that's a little heavy-handed", but I wouldn't feel offended.
Violence, brutality and thousands of unspeakable atrocities are a part of history. They are a part of everyday life (yes, some guy (or gal, or kid) is probably getting killed by others in some horrific way right as you are reading this). Perhaps not for you or me, and be thankful that is so. But to deny them or think they should not be expressed in art is like closing your eyes and ears and shouting nonsense to block out reality.