Over at the 122nd Cadian, writer Antipope mentioned an article written in the magazine Kathimerini, which is published in Greece. The article in question was basically a hit piece against Warhammer 40k and its fans.
Now in America, we’ve encountered this kind of journalistic garbage before. Back in 1982, an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons player named Irving Pulling committed suicide. His mother, Patricia Pulling, believed that her son’s roleplaying hobby had something to do with it, and this in turn started what some deem the “moral panic” of the roleplaying community. She started the Bothered about Dungeons and Dragons (BADD) group, which pretty much ended in 1997 after she passed away from cancer.
Nor was this the only controversy around gaming. Besides the short lived BADD, we still deal with activist (though no longer attorney) Jack Thompson, who continues to lead the charge against violence in the video game industry.
Kathimerini‘s charges against Warhammer 40k players range between questioning their intelligence and referring to them as social losers and and lack of female players to going so far as to suggest that they are influenced by the so-called “extreme right” of politics.
To the former charges of being nerds, I would simply respond with a lone middle that I’m sure the writers of Kathimerini can devise the meaning too. But to the latter charges, I feel it necessary to say more.
Let me start with the question of “there are no female players” to which I reply is incorrect and complete bull. Sarah Cawkwell is about to release her new novel from the Black Library. Our friend Dorian loves the psychology of the fluff, while Raye Raye does some amazing Night Lords miniature over on her blog.
As both a fan of the Warhammer 40k tabletop game and the novels they produce, I am quite cross with the journalists not only for the insults to Warhammer 40k fans, but also for the underhanded stab at America and its players as well. In this case, Kathimerini‘s editors chose to take a response from a lone player who claimed to have seen swastikas tattooed on the body of an American player. I had absolutely no idea that the poor body art choices of one player automatically condemn the entire American fan community.
I find it even more amusing that a tabletop game about a completely fictional universe, which some could argue traces its roots to fascism or even Nazism, is cause for any alarm. Have you seen Hollywood and the entertainment industry? We have dozens if not hundreds of movies, books, comics and games directly about Nazis, fascism and World War II.
There’s Saving Private Ryan, The Dirty Dozen, Schindler’s List and Inglourious Basterds just to give you a start. Both the movie and especially the graphic novel V for Vendetta used themes of fascism. David Fincher himself admitted that Fight Club involved the use of fascism. There’s Day of Defeat and some of the Call of Duty titles.
It sometimes feels like much of the entertainment industry is desperate to prove itself the quintessential expert on fascism and Nazism, or at least on killing them. So just why the hell these writers feel the need to pick on us in particular is beyond me.
And non-fictionally speaking, scholars, politicians, pundits and talking heads go on and on about what fascism is and who is basically a Nazi. And some scholars admit that plenty of first world countries have embraced certain aspects of fascism either economically or in public policy (or both), even if they reject the entire package. And yes, some claim that even America has become fascist.
But I digress. The fact is that the writer and editors of this particular piece over at Kathimerini were determined to find the latest outrage or topic for the 2 minutes of hate. It was a sad attempt to create nontroversy, slandering Games Workshop, The Black Library and their fans not just in Greece but all over the globe.
Perhaps the last thing I have to say about this is the coincidence, the beating heart of Warhammer 40k has to do with the inherent strong of a centralized, monotheistic religion against varying forms paganism. And these pagan religions just happen to be followers of daemons, a Greek term for nature spirits, which is a frequent source of contention within the stories depending upon ones view at the time.
I just find it amusing that this author’s piece just happens to skip over the fluff despite its distant relation to Greek classical mythology, in their rush to bash us.
If the writer and editors could find time in their busy schedules of inoculating Warhammer 40k fans from ever reading their magazine again to notice this blog post, then I hope they’d take me up on the offer to buy them a copy of Horus Rising. I would relish an opportunity for them to join a few nerds in understanding the pain staking details they work upon to make their figures incredible to look at. And perhaps a few moments to actually play the game.
And when they finish, perhaps recognize that they, in a mean spirited sense, chose to step on a harmless and fun hobby. And feel it necessary to apologize to Antipope, Games Workshop, The Black Library and the Warhammer fans across the world.
And perhaps having learned from this lesson, recognize that a good journalist wouldn’t stoop to cheap shots like what they pulled here.
Oh and PS, Antipope has asked me to air our grievances to Kathimerini. I have done so, I invite you all to help us. Read Antipope’s article and respond to Kathimerini at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Thanks!