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The CIA reads French Theory
"It is often presumed that intellectuals have little or no political power. Perched in a privileged ivory tower, disconnected from the real world, embroiled in meaningless academic debates over specialized minutia, or floating in the abstruse clouds of high-minded theory, intellectuals are frequently portrayed as not only cut off from political reality but as incapable of having any meaningful impact on it. The Central Intelligence Agency thinks otherwise."
Gabriel Rockhill in The Philosophical Salon on how the CIA examined "the French intelligentsia and its fundamental role in shaping the trends that generate political policy".
CIA's research paper from 1985, "France: Defection of the Leftist Intellectuals". [pdf]
Sundays Smiles for Monday Morning
For Sale: DUP MPs. £100m per MP ONO.
The Atlas of Lie Groups and Representations
China's Mistress Dispellers
This was the sound, this was the sound I saw
My Mother knew words that will never be spoken again.
I may not be a bed book, but I'd like to see you.
Great Barrier Reef valued at $56 billion
If you stop every time a dog barks, your road will never end.
Mayors can't start nuclear wars.
Rag Rappy Ad Astra
The Boy from the Black Sea
Trap Streets, Ghost Words, and Mountweazel - see: Fictious entries
"...we are now well into the fourth decade of digital Nazi slaughter,"
"The white nationalist alt-right is upset about Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus [Trailer] [YouTube], a game about fighting Nazis who control America in an alternate 1961. No one is surprised by this reaction, and coverage of it is one part schadenfreude, one part reminder that the new white supremacy hasn't strayed far from its horrific roots. While these reminders are useful, the fact that Bethesda made racists mad is less interesting than watching the entire saga play out in the trailer's YouTube comment section. Like many unmoderated comment sections, the Wolfenstein II trailer is the purest argument against the notion that a marketplace of ideas will improve the world. It's a free-for-all between people who don't know or care about each other, can't figure out who's serious, and are having their entire debate under a video about a man named "B.J. Blazkowicz" who's been fighting cyborg Nazis since before many of them were born."• I fought Nazis at Berkeley — and I can't wait to punch them in 'Wolfenstein II'[Mic]
"I suppose the real craft of Wolfenstein II is that, in a game in which you can ride a fire-breathing cybernetic steed, the creative team has also managed to present Nazis in a way that simultaneously reflects the Nazi self-image and the lived experience of the barbarism they impose on others. The trailer likewise projects separate, grandiose narratives of horror and hope to the conflicting ideologies of the heroes and the villains. To the Nazi mind, the fear of fellow whites or Aryans applying their skills, knowledge and white privilege to aid the oppressed in annihilating them is paramount. But multi-class racial solidarity is the dream of the game. It's my dream, too. I believe in fighting, to the death if needed, for the rights of immigrants, people of color, indigenous people, LGBT people and disabled people to live in our neighborhoods regardless of their documentation status or productivity under capitalism. I fight for human rights, because I'm human, bringing with me all the pain, contempt and anger that comes with that condition."• The Surprising Importance of 'Wolfenstein: The New Order' [War is Boring]
"Video games such as Wolfenstein are important because we've begun to lose ideological arguments with the current crop of extremist assholes. Racism, genocide and all the other bits of awful that make up Nazi ideology are bad, but we've long taken that for granted. Part of the reason the alt-right and the new white nationalists are resurgent is because we've forgotten how to win arguments against them. For decades, most people understood that Nazi ideology was bad. We were close enough to the history that we didn't need to have anyone explain it to us. Too often, when we engage in arguments with extremists who talk of racial purity, we falter to explain our side. Instead, we punch them and tell them "because." To be clear, sometimes the only way to win against a Nazi is to punch them. But we also need to understand and be ready to explain the reasons why racism, genocide and white nationalism are bad. This may seem simplistic and rudimentary, it may even make you angry, but we must be ready to explain to young people why these ideas are so poisonous. It is no longer enough to just point at the history and say "because.""• Wolfenstein: New Order and Nazis in videogames [Den of Geek]
"But what if someone created a game about a young Nazi recruit drafted into the Warsaw Ghetto, where the atrocities happening around your character leads him to question the Nazi cause and help with an alt-history version of the Warsaw Rising? Maybe that would also be too raw a topic for Germany to tackle at this point, but it would certainly challenge the gaming norm, and convey the message that videogames are capable of being 'art' as well as big kids' toys. Just as there will always be room for Inglorious Basterds in cinema, there will always be room for carefree Nazicide in videogames. However, cinema has its Schindler's List, The Pianist, Stalingrad (1993), and countless other films that show some humanity amid the atrocities of World War II. The fascinating, harrowing topic of Nazism is just one of many that videogames need to tackle in a thoughtful way if they're to mature. The problem, as New Order shows, is that there is no more satisfying videogame enemy to kill than a Nazi."• Who's Afraid of the Swastika? Nazi Symbols in Video Games [Game Pressure]
"Treating games as "second class citizens" has serious implications for developers, putting them against a tough choice: whether to leave Nazi symbols in the game and create a separate edition specially for German players, lose potential customers in this 80 million people country, or spare themselves extra work at the cost of realism. This is not a new problem – as early as in 1989 the creators of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (a game based on the film mentioned in the previous paragraph) had to cover all swastikas in order to prevent the game from being banned in Germany. The result? Red flags with white circle and an awkward black square in the middle. In turn, Call of Duty series replaced Nazi emblems with the Iron Cross, a symbol used back in the times of Prussia. Even in the last year section 86a caused problems for game developers in at least two cases. Ubisoft had to delay the release date of South Park: The Stick of Truth in Germany, after a sole swastika was found in the game after it was cleared off Nazi emblems. However, that was nothing compared to Wolfenstein: The New Order, whose distributor, Bethesda Softworks company, had to create a separate version of the official website for Germany (only the international version contained playable Wolfenstein 3D, which was full of forbidden symbols) and replace every single emblem unwanted in Germany with a made up symbol – which was quite troublesome, as the game was set in the universe crawling with the Nazis."• We shall fight them on the Xbox: a short history of Nazi-shooting video games [The Guardian]
"This summer will deliver the first second-world-war blockbuster in many years in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk. Nazis, in the form of exaggerated caricatures, zombie monsters, or historical figures ripe for assassination, are in vogue again. They offer us uncomplicated, centrally organised bad guys, a simplistic antidote to today's dispersed, incognito pariahs. The Nazi invasion will surely soon spread from Hollywood into video games. Sniper Elite 4, a British-made game released last month, in which you play as an agent of the US Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner of the CIA) fighting fascists in 1943 Italy, leads the charge. Time slows to a crawl when you fire a shot from your sniper rifle. The camera tracks the bullet as it spins through air, then cloth, then flesh and bone. It's grimly pornographic, at once satisfying and icky. Perhaps we will never tire of this black-and-white conflict, on to which we can project our fears and anger, and feel the self-satisfaction of knowing that we were on the winning side."• 20 Years of Killin' Nazis: A Retrospective [IGN]
"Wolfenstein 3D didn't just kickstart a genre. It started a sub-genre while it was at it: WWII shooters. Many developers have since turned their attention to the Second World War era, and why not? It was the largest and most devastating conflict in human history. Unfortunately, so many developers did so that World War II shooters became cliche, stigmatised by vocal detractors as ubiquitous and unoriginal. Today, however, as our increasingly homogenised shooters refuse to budge from their bleeding-edge contemporary (or near-future) backdrops perhaps a return to 1939-1945 could be a surprisingly fresh approach? "
...the effects of the intervention became self-reinforcing.