Lying Media Bastards

April 27, 2008

Fun New Lows in Journalism

This is just embarassing. Newsweek publishes an article, in the form of a letter full of campaign tips for Barack Obama– written by Karl Rove.

It would be one thing if Rove was a freelance political consultant who worked for either party, or who had a specific ideology or issue that was his focus. But no. Rove has been a Republican political operative since he was 17 years old– for forty years. During his years in the Bush White House, he explicitly talked about his goal of permanent Republican control of the government.

But now, he’s generously giving advice to a democratic candidate. Because Karl Rove Kares.

Of course, the article is a hit piece. It’s sly, no doubt, but it’s hard not to see it’s intent. It fluffs up every potential Obama controversy, props up every trivial smear, slants every poll stat as a point on a downward spiral. An unbiased observer would probably come away from this article thinking that Barack Obama has a lot of work to do if he wants to be a popular political candidate.

However, I don’t really blame Rove for this. Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, Rove gotta stab baby kittens in the eye with a shrimp fork. He’s evil and should be launched into the sun, but we shouldn’t exactly be surprised when he tries to do evil things.

But jesus Newsweek, this is pretty fucking embarassing on your part. Clearly this “author” has a conflict of interests, clearly he has an agenda, and you publish his piece anyway? Go put on your Shame Hats.

Posted by Jake on April 27, 2008 12:24 am

April 25, 2008

Routine Horror

NY cops not punished for murdering an unarmed black man.

Again.

Posted by Jake on April 25, 2008 8:13 pm

April 15, 2008

Fight AIDS a Little Bit

Yearly reminder: if you’re gonna go eat at a restaurant in a major city next week, you can eat at one of the restaurants listed here on April 24, and 25+% of your bill will be donated to a local AIDS-related charity. Not a huge deal, but if you were gonna go out anyway, you can do a tiny bit of good.

Posted by Jake on April 15, 2008 8:55 am

April 12, 2008

Color Blind Is the New Racism

Maybe you folks know that I’m a big video game nerd. Been playing them since near birth, and I could write a book or two explaining what I like, analyzing what games say about their designers and audience, pointing out the few games that have intriguing politics, and slamming the ones who’s politics are terrible. This is a little bit about topics 2 and 4.

Maybe some of you are familiar with the Resident Evil series of video games (and their horrible spin-off movie franchise of the same name). The games are usually about cities overrun with zombies, and the cops and soldiers who kill those zombies (and various other genetic mutants spawned by the evil corporate villain). Resident Evil 4 changed up the series slightly by replacing most of the zombies with regular people who’d been infected with some disease or something which made them mindless, violent minions of… somebody, I don’t remember. The story was set in some fictional countryside in Spain, which meant that you were killing wave after wave of rural Spanish villagers* (or some game designers idea of Spanish villagers, anyway). True, the farmers were hurling pitchforks and carving knives at you, but it was a little more disturbing to be shooting old women in aprons than shooting moaning, mobile corpses.

Resident Evil 5 is set to be released in November, and a trailer for the game was screened for the public last July. It follows some of the formula of RE4, with the infected/maniac regular people instead of zombies, but this one is set in Africa. And the main character is a white guy. So the trailer is largely footage of a white guy shooting and killing wave after wave of black people. Black people who are acting like violent savages. In Africa**.

Yeah.

Now, coming to my main point, I found an article on a popular gamer website called Kotaku, that quoted an African-American journalist criticizing the racism, intentional and un-, within the game’s trailer. And in the first several hundred comments left by fans on the website, barely any of commenters sided with the journalist, even a little bit.

I’m not attacking the trailer or the game (although I probably will in a moment). You can find plenty of reasonable factors and context that mitigate or explain away some of the racism. But almost no one was saying “wow, a game where a white guy shoots up a whole bunch of black people? I can see how that might be a little racist.” Or “a game where all the black characters are mindless, bloodthirsty beasts? That might be offensive to some people.”

Instead, it was dozens and dozens and dozens of people loudly proclaiming that the journalist was playing “the race card” (I don’t even know what that means anymore), arguing that the journalist was the one who was racist, putting words into the journalist’s mouth, sarcastically attacking the journalist for not pointing out every other example of racism against every race in every video game ever, or people who just kept saying “I watched the trailer, and I don’t see anything racist about it.”

That’s depressing.

There are, of course, plenty of contextual and mitigating factors here: the game designers, who are Japanese, might not understand racial history in the United States; the game is set in Africa so it makes sense that most of the people in it are African; the Africans are acting violently not because they are stereotypes but because they’ve been bitten by the zombie maniac virus; the game itself might be much different than the trailer; the game is probably not intended to be racist and will probably not turn anyone into a racist. And I’m sure that some of the response is because gamers are very sensitive to criticism of their games; politicians and pundits love to blame video games for the ills of society and propose various forms of control and censorship of this beloved medium.

But still.

It saddens and frightens me that so many of these people who think they are “color blind” are actually “blind to racism.”


* For the record, I was creeped out that I was killing poor Spaniards in this game and never did finish. Nice imperial supremacy going on in that game, really. American agent drops into Spain and starts killing the inhabitants because he needs to resuce the President’s Daughter. Yes, the Spaniards did happen to be weird alien hybrid things, but they weren’t hurting anyone till Hero showed up.
** It was initially announced that the game was set in Haiti, now the game designers are saying it’s actually set in Africa.

Posted by Jake on April 12, 2008 9:13 pm

April 6, 2008

Truth to Power, Motherfuckers

Journalist Nir Rosen, testifying before the Senate:

BIDEN: Based on what you’ve said, there’s really no hope, is there? We should really get the hell out of there right now, right? There’s nothing to do.

ROSEN: As a journalist, I’m uncomfortable advising an imperialist power about how to be a more efficient imperialist power. I don’t think we’re there for the interests of the Iraqi people. I don’t think that’s ever been a motivation.

If anyone ever meets Nir Rosen, buy him a beer for me.

Posted by Jake on April 6, 2008 11:03 pm

April 1, 2008

Electrified Fooling Machine

Sigh. April Fool’s Day is upon us again. Guess I won’t even try to write anything, because I don’t want to have to double-check my sources in case they’re just funnin’ me.

In other news, I’m totally a robot. Yup, wacky, I know.

Posted by Jake on April 1, 2008 7:29 am

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