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Politics in Media - The Good, the Bad, and the Preachy

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Antanza from behind the wall
Jun 11th 2019 at 9:48:16 AM

@Chernobyl: Funny, all the Russian critique for the show I see is coming from Socialist opposition (which I support btw), not from any Kremlin figures. I think some of the officials have actually praised it, I certainly remember the minister of culture did.

People talking about "Putin becoming a Stalinist" show a ludicrous yet ultimately sad ignorance of the duplicity our current government treats the Soviet past with.

Thou shalt not.
CharlesPhipps Author from Ashland, Ky Relationship Status: Lovey-Dovey
Antanza from behind the wall
Jun 11th 2019 at 10:26:26 AM

[up] Let's just say that state media never really stopped pouring crap on Soviet age. The stream became very thin and subtle post-2014 but it is steadily gaining strength again after the much-maligned pension reform of 2018 have boosted popular support to left-winged opposition.

Excuse me If don't really have the moral strength to elaborate in any considerable volume. It's really sad that I can read your language but you can't read mine.

Thou shalt not.
Jun 11th 2019 at 10:32:43 AM

So just the usual Soviet apologia-type stuff then.

CrimsonZephyr Would that it were so simple. from Massachusetts Relationship Status: It's complicated
Would that it were so simple.
Jun 11th 2019 at 10:44:09 AM

"There's of course The Man in the High Castle, where somehow Imperial Japan is less crazy and cruel than the Nazis."

The Man in the High Castle was written in the Sixties when honest historiography about Imperial Japan wasn't commonplace. Making a serious accounting of the crimes of that regime is a recent and Eurocentric development. A Korean would find the notion of Imperial Japan being A Lighter Shade of Black to be ridiculous, and they would be right with specific reference to their own culture.

Edited by CrimsonZephyr on Jun 11th 2019 at 1:45:05 PM

"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
KazuyaProta Porky from A Industrial Farm Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Porky
Jun 11th 2019 at 10:46:29 AM

The lack of information and focus regarding the horrors in East Asia during the 20th century is pretty damn sad.

Edited by KazuyaProta on Jun 11th 2019 at 12:46:54 PM

Watch me destroying my country
Antanza from behind the wall
Jun 11th 2019 at 11:01:54 AM

[up][up][up] What are you referring to, specifically?

Edited by Antanza on Jun 11th 2019 at 9:05:06 PM

Thou shalt not.
Gaon Smoking Snake from Grim Up North Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Jun 11th 2019 at 11:55:10 AM

The series adaptation, truer to form, portrays Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan more or less equal in terms of moral equivalence. It's just that the sympathetic Japanese character (Tagomi) lasts much longer than the Nazi ones (Nazi backstabbing means they have a fairly large revolving door).

"Cobras Fumantes eterna é sua vitória!"
Kevan from Somewhere, like most. Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Jun 11th 2019 at 4:56:49 PM

I think one of the reasons the nazis are so popular as villains in fiction is how open about it they were. Sure, history does not lack for monsters. Crusaders in the albigean crusade, Moghols under Tamerlan, Belgian mercenaries in Congo, you name it. But the nazis went above and beyond in a time where mass media were beginning to be a thing. They fought dirty and were bad winners, had obvious madmen as leaders, openly talked about wiping out entire peoples, and some wore goddamned skulls on their caps. They were pretty much proud of their cartoonish villainy. The problem is that it makes them "unrealistic" for some people, who assumes that this image of leather-clad evil is a result of propaganda, rather than something the nazis cultivated themselves. It makes the job easier for apologists.

KazuyaProta Porky from A Industrial Farm Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Porky
Jun 11th 2019 at 5:19:34 PM

Technically, everyone used skulls as symbols back then. Really

Also, Tamerlane is such a underrated historical villain. He was practically a fantasy Evil Overlord made real.

Edited by KazuyaProta on Jun 11th 2019 at 7:22:22 AM

Watch me destroying my country
CharlesPhipps Author from Ashland, Ky Relationship Status: Lovey-Dovey
Author
Jun 11th 2019 at 5:28:59 PM

One thing I've noticed is a lot of villains of RL have a desire to cosplay as the Theme Park Version of historical people they admire.

  • Julius Caesar (ironically the least crazy person on this list) wanted to be Alexander the Great
  • Tamerlane desperately wanted to be Gengis Khan despite being one of the few Mongols not related to the man. He spent much of his life trying to make as many links between them as possible.
  • The Nazis wanted to be Neo-Romans
  • Neo-Nazis want to be Nazis
  • ISIS wants to be a new Caliphate

Author of The Supervillainy Saga, Cthulhu Armageddon, The United States of Monsters, and Lucifer's Star.
KazuyaProta Porky from A Industrial Farm Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Porky
Jun 11th 2019 at 5:31:33 PM

Yeah, you kinda need precedents.

Add to the list.

Abimael Guzman literally saw himself as the sucessor of Mao, Lenin and Marx, especially Mao.

Watch me destroying my country
Fourthspartan56 from Georgia, US Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Jun 11th 2019 at 7:46:58 PM

The current discussion about obviously evil factions and how they're not unrealistic reminded me of something, Caesar's Legion in Fallout New Vegas.

There is this persistent element of the NV fanbase that is just desperate for features to make things "morally ambiguous" and "gray", which has always pissed me off. I mean, Caesar's Legion is literally just Western Daesh and yet they're supposedly worth making more morally ambiguous?

People (rightfully) would never argue that a video game depiction of Daesh should be depicted less villainously and yet they treat Caesar's Legion differently. The hypocrisy is galling.

"Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies." -Robert Kennedy
DrunkenNordmann from Exile
Jun 11th 2019 at 8:05:28 PM

[up] One thing that always gets me is how some players fully bought into Caesar's propaganda.

The Legion isn't Rome reborn - they're the stereotypical "barbarians at the gate", raping and pillaging where they go. Just look at how Caesar desires to conquer New Vegas to serve as his Rome - the Legion can't build, only take from more "civilised" people.

Also the reason why people like Tamerlane or Genghis Khan don't end up as villains so often - heck, the latter often gets a favourable mention, if anything - is something I personally call "historical distance".

These people lived so long ago that the impact of their actions is more... abstract, for lack of a better word.

While the Nazis are very much recent history.

Edited by DrunkenNordmann on Jun 11th 2019 at 5:07:14 PM

"Satire is meant to ridicule power. If you are laughing at people who are hurting, it's not satire, it's bullying."
CharlesPhipps Author from Ashland, Ky Relationship Status: Lovey-Dovey
Author
Jun 11th 2019 at 8:38:08 PM

The current discussion about obviously evil factions and how they're not unrealistic reminded me of something, Caesar's Legion in Fallout New Vegas.

I remember how so many people were angry you had to fight the Enclave in Fallout 3 and that they wanted the option to be an evil faction. Then they allowed you to play Caesar's Legion in NV and they were angry as hell because they were every bit the monstrous scum that exists in RL.

There is this persistent element of the NV fanbase that is just desperate for features to make things "morally ambiguous" and "gray", which has always pissed me off. I mean, Caesar's Legion is literally just Western Daesh and yet they're supposedly worth making more morally ambiguous?

People (rightfully) would never argue that a video game depiction of Daesh should be depicted less villainously and yet they treat Caesar's Legion differently. The hypocrisy is galling.

Part of it I believe is them being Troll factions. I wrote a joking First Order defense on my blog before I realize that actual Nazis were fans of them.

But yes, the big appeal of Caesar's Legion is it is an incredibly realistic warlord faction.

The Legion isn't Rome reborn - they're the stereotypical "barbarians at the gate", raping and pillaging where they go. Just look at how Caesar desires to conquer New Vegas to serve as his Rome - the Legion can't build, only take from more "civilised" people.

Arcade Gannon, who speaks Latin, points out that the Legion isn't building any aqueducts, lacks a Senate, and hasn't worked on any highways either.

Mind you, this is also a problem with Vikings where the Norse are reduced to conquerors and raiders alone.

Edited by CharlesPhipps on Jun 11th 2019 at 8:39:15 AM

Author of The Supervillainy Saga, Cthulhu Armageddon, The United States of Monsters, and Lucifer's Star.
KazuyaProta Porky from A Industrial Farm Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Porky
Jun 11th 2019 at 8:49:49 PM

This talk about warlords is a bit of a opportunity of say that I've noticed that—in a story about a former democracy turned into a brutal civil war with multiple factions—I tend to play the return of the democratic Government in Exile as a Rightful King Returns, with all the aesthetics it involves.

Dunno what that does says of.me

Edited by KazuyaProta on Jun 11th 2019 at 10:50:57 AM

Watch me destroying my country
M84 'Til all are one from Our little blue planet Relationship Status: Chocolate!
'Til all are one
Jun 11th 2019 at 9:39:58 PM

I guess it's the appeal of the idea that everything will be okay just as long as this one person (or institution) takes charge.

The reality of course is that democracy isn't the solution in and of itself. It's just a form of government that, when functioning properly, usually is the best at producing solutions.

Edited by M84 on Jun 12th 2019 at 1:46:57 AM

Disgusted, but not surprised
Jun 11th 2019 at 10:43:04 PM

I wrote a joking First Order defense on my blog before I realize that actual Nazis were fans of them.

First Order, New Order... Plot Bunny: CJ Blaskowitz is a Force-sensitive Rebel. His story could be adapted beat-for-beat to a Star Wars setting.

I'd write it, but I have no lore knowledge about Star Wars' Rebellion or how racism and discrimination and prejudice work in the Empire. FF.Net only has one crossover between Wolfenstein and Star Wars, and it's not very good.

M84 'Til all are one from Our little blue planet Relationship Status: Chocolate!
'Til all are one
Jun 11th 2019 at 10:47:11 PM

Concerning Putin and Stalinism...

Putin once claimed that Stalin shouldn't be judged in black and white.

Trying to argue that Stalin was morally grey...

If he's not hammer-and-sickle flag waving Stalinist himself in private (while bare-chested and riding a horse at the same time), he's certainly shown he's willing to pander to them.

Disgusted, but not surprised
Rationalinsanity from Halifax, Canada Relationship Status: It's complicated
Jun 11th 2019 at 10:59:17 PM

I suspect Putin is more about the autocracy and the authoritarianism (along with expansionism, when possible) than he is about the actual communist trappings and economics.

Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.
Jun 11th 2019 at 11:18:10 PM

I've actually come to the point of being automatically suspicious of anyone trying to argue that a controversial situation or person "isn't so black and white" - while it is indeed true in many cases given how complicated the world is, in just as many cases it's really just making excuses and being an apologist for their favorite authoritarian figures.

Jun 11th 2019 at 11:20:24 PM

Well, don't be. Truth Resists Simplicity. Saying people are some shade of gray is not the same as saying they're all 'okay'.

M84 'Til all are one from Our little blue planet Relationship Status: Chocolate!
'Til all are one
Jun 11th 2019 at 11:23:33 PM

And sometimes it really is just that simple. Sometimes, things are black and white.

And generally, when someone tries to apply that to people like Stalin, it is apologia.

Edited by M84 on Jun 12th 2019 at 2:28:07 AM

Disgusted, but not surprised
Jun 11th 2019 at 11:36:16 PM

Maybe, but even biased apologia can teach you interesting and useful information. It's important to understand the stories your political enemies tell themselves about their own heroes, and what they choose to glorify, ignore, whitewash, or deny, can give you a deeper insight into what they think they value, what they actually value, and what they wish to present themselves as valuing. Ever watch the History vs. series?

M84 'Til all are one from Our little blue planet Relationship Status: Chocolate!
'Til all are one
Jun 11th 2019 at 11:40:47 PM

I don’t get my history from random Youtube channels.

Edited by M84 on Jun 12th 2019 at 2:41:01 AM

Disgusted, but not surprised

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