Welcome to Up-Is-Down world, where “Free Speech” doesn’t mean what you think it means


It’s a sad day in America, when a movie review site has been seized in a fascist coup and is denying people their free speech rights. The people are shrieking through their ball gags on Twitter about this criminal assault on democracy.

You might be wondering how they did it, and what they did. Rotten Tomatoes noticed that movies that hadn’t been released yet, that no one had even seen, were being swarmed by people downvoting them, making their reviews unreliable and even more biased than usual. So they made a rule: you don’t get to rate a movie until after it has been released. This, of course, is a colossal threat to democracy!

What triggered these people is that next week, Marvel is releasing another super-hero movie, titled Captain Marvel. The hero is a…a…a WOMAN. The usual delicate little flowers have been raging about this atrocity for months, howling that it has to be a really bad movie (it might be, I’m feeling considerable super-hero fatigue myself), and organizing brigades of angry keyboard warriors to downvote it, sight unseen. The sleazy underbelly of YouTube is full of angry man-children who have been bellowing about a movie with a woman in the lead for months, and it’s just ridiculous. The movie is going to be playing at the Morris Theater next week (in time for my birthday! Maybe my wife will take me there on a date!), and I’ll watch it, and you know me, I’ll probably complain about it on the blog afterwards. It’s OK. But these nuts…

One of the leaders of the anti-woman mob is mentioned above: Ethan Van Sciver. He’s a Mormon comic book artist who has apparently alienated all the big publishers and is reduced to begging for money on the internet, and has found the kind of red meat that draws in gullible young men to donate. His secret ingredient is raging misogyny. And stupidity.

That’s brilliantly idiotic. We’re all Captain Marvel obsessive SJW bullies, which is a peculiar way to describe people who are just fannishly interested in seeing a movie, and we shouldn’t be permitted to push normal people, who don’t want to see the movie, around. Gosh, I agree. If you don’t want to see a movie, don’t see the movie. There is no campaign to gather up Van Sciver fanboys and strap them into theater seats. There is no scheme to disallow negative reviews (just look on YouTube, there are already heaps of negative reviews from people who haven’t seen it). Once it has been released, even Rotten Tomatoes will allow the brigading twits to charge forward and click a button to give it zero stars.

It’s kind of creepy how one small, loud segment of the internet has become a hate-filled clique that feeds on their own rage.

Comments

  1. madtom1999 says

    Come the revolution and we need to get rid of these people I now know how to get them to reveal themselves. In droves.

  2. Oggie. My Favourite Colour is MediOchre says

    It’s kind of creepy how one small, loud segment of the internet has become a hate-filled clique that feeds on their own rage.

    This is normal. Well, the new normal. Well, the normal for my lifetime.

    The GOP is a ‘hate-filled clique that feeds on [its] own rage.’

    The jocks in high school were a ‘hate-filled clique that feeds on their own rage.’

    Organized atheism is a ‘hate-filled clique that feeds on [its] own rage.’

    Talk radio is a ‘hate-filled clique that feeds on [its] own rage.’

    Fox News is a ‘hate-filled clique that feeds on [its] own rage.’

    The evangelical Christians have become a ‘hate-filled clique that feeds on [its] own rage.’

    Just about every contact I have, whether in person or online or on tele, with anything on the regressive reactionary conservative side leads, eventually, to a ‘hate-filled clique that feeds on [its] own rage.’

  3. JoeBuddha says

    Looks like the precious snowflakes have been triggered again. I’m sure someone’s mother is yelling down the stairs for them to, “Keep it down, down there!”

  4. raven says

    He’s a Mormon comic book artist who has apparently
    alienated all the big publishers …

    That is hard to do.
    Normally, all they want are…good artists who can draw and color.

    He must have a really ugly personality.

  5. microraptor says

    This is the same crowd who freaked out about Rey and Rose in The Last Jedi. How DARE those women be as capable of doing heroic things as the men!

    It’s one of the reasons I’ve more or less stopped using Youtube, since the site inexplicably thinks I want to watch the videos these tools keep making.

  6. doubtthat says

    Great. There is no greater danger to the free and open internet than the fuckwads who use it.
    Just imagine being that obsessed about the Captain Marvel movie. I’m generally a fan of these movies, in the sense that I kind of enjoy them and compared to the crap we had in the past, they’re pretty good. I am worried that they’ve created a world where these are the only movies that get funded, but all in all, yeah, ok, I like them.
    But CARING SO MUCH that I felt the need to warp the reviews…
    Wonder how the crowd down-voting a movie they’ve never seen crosses over with the “THIS IS ALL ABOUT ETHICS IN GAMING JOURNALISM”…

  7. says

    Yeah, these Captain Marvel obsessive SJW bullies shouldn’t be permitted to push normal people, who don’t want to see the movie, around.

    Never mind that it’s them that is pushing people around. The only purpose to downvote a movie you don’t want to see and in fact haven’t yet seen is to make sure others see the low score and so won’t go and see it. Well, that, and making sure the movie studios will stop making movies like it. So yeah, as usual, it’s all projection.

  8. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    we know the First Amendment doesn’t apply here. Rotten Tomatoes is not a government agency. The Constitution is the rules the Government has to follow, and doesn’t directly apply to citizens, only in how the government is to treat the citizens, not how citizens must treat each other.
    It is amazing how they always show how they are not valid by always bringing up the 1st Amendment as their key argument.

  9. zetopan says

    The willfully ignorant fools screaming about how their First Amendment rights are being taken away are demonstrating that they don’t even know what the First Amendment says! This is Dunning-Kruger in a major way. et them scream about not getting ice cream, they are incapable of understanding the actual constitution.

  10. acroyear says

    One article on this said that Black Panther got a similar large wave of pre-release negative treatment (gee, I’ll guess many of the same assholes doing it), and as we know, still went on to make a billion dollars and a bunch of Oscar nominations.

  11. says

    It is somehow being lost that the assholes kicked this up notch when Larson, in essence, said she didn’t want to be interviewed about the movie only by white men. (She held a second presser for POC, women, etc.). That SOMEHOW got transmuted into Larson doesn’t want any white men to see the film.

    Even by the low, low, low standards of the MRA/Alt Right crowd that is staggeringly stupid and such fucking obvious bad faith.

  12. anthrosciguy says

    I’m so old I remember when young men who didn’t have sex all that often flocked to see the likes of Brie Larson in form-fitting Superhero lycra-spandex.

  13. Ragutis says

    One would think a bunch of misogynists would be happier about a chance to watch Brie Larson in a skintight suit for 100-some minutes, or is this just a continuation of their hissy-fit that they didn’t use one of Captain/Ms. Marvel’s skimpier outfits?

  14. microraptor says

    doubtthat @7:

    Wonder how the crowd down-voting a movie they’ve never seen crosses over with the “THIS IS ALL ABOUT ETHICS IN GAMING JOURNALISM”…

    The Venn Diagram is probably a circle.

  15. Akira MacKenzie says

    Slight tangent: “2nd Lost Primarch”

    What is it with Warhammer 40K gamers and the alt.right?

  16. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ anthrosciguy & Ragutis

    No doubt they object to the outfit because it doesn’t have a Power Girl “boob window” and you can’t see her “vagina bones.”

  17. ridana says

    16 anthrosciguy said

    I’m so old I remember when young men who didn’t have sex all that often flocked to see the likes of Brie Larson in form-fitting Superhero lycra-spandex.

    You think none of them will be flocking to see it on the sly, while still publicly raging about how they won’t go see it?

    “vagina bones”? oO

  18. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Akira MacKenzie @ 19:

    What is it with Warhammer 40K gamers and the alt.right?

    The gamers forgot the joke and jokes go right over the heads of the alt-right. In fairness, I think GW has largely forgot the joke too when it comes to 40K.

  19. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Look, I think everyone is overlooking that the real problem here is these obvious free-speech warriors are being denied free and open access to various forms of media so they can push their agenda to deny the evil SJWs from pushing their agenda through free and open access to various forms of media.

  20. lanir says

    ((carefully ignores 1st amendment idiocy because facts don’t matter and truth isn’t truth))

    The character of Carol Danvers first showed up in 1968 according to Wikipedia. That even predates the Reagan years regressives hyperventilate over. So tag this one with “tradition” and “magical halcyon days of yore.” Regressives owned, send in the next manufactured shitstorm to be trivially dismissed using their own logic and buzzwords.

  21. cartomancer says

    Akira McKenzie, #19

    I can’t say I’ve ever noticed any connection in my 27 year love affair with all things Warhammer. If anything the opposite – most of my gaming friends are far to the left of the political spectrum. Though I can see how a very British pastiche of ironic exaggeration such as 40k might not be received with the same wry amusement outside the UK. My lot mainly play the original though – Warhammer itself – rather than the sci-fi spin-off 40k.

  22. Gregory Greenwood says

    So, ranting MRAs still don’t grasp the concepts of free speech and censorship? I am, of course, absolutely astounded.

    No, really…

    Since so many of the people ranting the loudest about the horrors of female superheroes and Brie Larson saying things they don’t like are Alt Right types who are profoundly in love with the most toxic expressions of laissez faire capitalism, you would think that they would understand that a business like Rotten Tomatoes is not obligated to offer its platform to whosoever happens along. You have the right to freedom of speech, not a right to demand to be heard. As such you can’t expect automatic access to privately owned platforms so that you can use them as online soap boxes to amplify your (in their case invariably stupid and bigoted message).

    Online review collating sites are not exactly organs of government, so to imply this is a threat to democracy is… rather weird. I am pretty sure even the House of Mouse is still just an entertainment company. Wake me up when Disney starts sending out Mickey themed snatch teams to disappear critics of its movies, or rounds up these angry MRA numpties and starts threatening to geld them unless they sing the praises of Supreme Leader Larson.

  23. microraptor says

    Regarding Warhammer players, I think that really the issue is that it’s such a huge game in terms of popularity that it’s easy to find large groups of people of whatever demographic you like who play it.

    In my area, it’s known for having a pretty toxic crowd (or at least it was back when tabletop wargames were still something you could easily find), but I think that’s more of a reflection of the number of toxic gamers in the area in general.

  24. Gregory Greenwood says

    Akira MacKenzie @ 19;

    Slight tangent: “2nd Lost Primarch”

    What is it with Warhammer 40K gamers and the alt.right?

    Like cartomancer @ 29, my experience with the hobby has overwhelmingly been that the bulk of UK Warhammer and 40K fans are liberal minded and on the political Left if anything, but unfortunately you always get a (loud, foul, and attention grabbing) minority amongst hobbyists who don’t understand that the Warhammer worlds are dripping with very, very unsubtle satire about the dysfunction of tyrannical systems of government, whether Left wing or Right wing, but especially those that hail from the hard Right. As a result, some people are drawn to Games Worskshop’s games, and especially 40K, precisely because they misread it as endorsing the very thing it is critiquing. Such idiots make so much noise that they seem to be more prevalent within the hobby community than they actually are.

    Of course, Poe’s Law holds, and no matter what Games Workshop does some people still manage to miss the memo, which is why you get the obnoxious God Emperor Trump meme put forward without any hint of mockery by some on the Right in the US, even though anyone who pays the slightest attention to the 40K lore knows that the canonical God Emperor was a genocidal, quite possibly psychotic tyrant whose only excuse was that his enemies conspired to be even worse than him.

    In general, I think that non-Brits sometimes forget that Warhammer and 40K are very British properties, and that cultural context is important in understanding the franchises. Remember, the UK is a fallen former ‘great’ power whose period of empire is now a source of immense shame to the majority of especially younger Brits, so a rotting Imperial society whose ruler is essentially a ten millennia old corpse sitting on the ultimate blinged out throne (that is itself breaking down) that is worshipped unthinkingly as a god has very obvious resonances to how many Brits view the less functional aspects of UK society, and none of them are exactly flattering to the hard Right (or people who like the monarchy).

    Jeremy Shaffer @ 23;

    The gamers forgot the joke and jokes go right over the heads of the alt-right. In fairness, I think GW has largely forgot the joke too when it comes to 40K.

    To be fair to Games Workshop, in recent years they have been making ever less subtle attempts to remind everyone that at the core of its games lies a tongue in cheek mockery of tyrannical societies. They set up things like the Regimental Standard website to try to hammer home the point that the comedic aspects of the setting are important, and yet it hasn’t really worked. People who see that the setting is supposed to be funny already get it, but those who think it is some absolutely serious peon to the Alt Right will read an article about how incompetent the Imperium’s government is (something like how its rank and file soldiers are poorly equipped and under provisioned, and rather than make an effort to improve logistics and welfare for its soldiers, or end an untenable campaign, the Imperial High Command instead issues pamphlets instructing its warriors on how best to cook their boots…), laugh, and then totally fail to see how this isn’t just a free floating joke about a fictional setting, but maybe is mocking aspects of real world tyrannies and militaristic societies as well. As you say, the jokes fly right over the heads of the Alt Right, and it seems nothing Games Workshop can do will drill the message through their extra thick (indeed, almost Ork-like) skulls.

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden @ 24;

    I don’t know, but when I was more involved in gaming – back in my 20s – my various RPG groups included several folks who also played Warhammer.

    Invariably the folks who frequently played Warhammer were also the folks who could be the biggest jerks around the gaming table.

    I have a few things that might amuse you. Currently, Games Workshop is quietly moving the 41st Millennium (and the current Warhammer Fantasy setting called Age of Sigmar) into the 21st century, especially with regard to having more female characters who are wearing full armour and are in combat poses appropriate to a war game, and more background fiction and novels from the settings written by women authors and about the experiences and perspectives of female characters. This is making the dude-bro idiot segment of the hobby community react pretty much exactly as you might expect, with much rage and impotent ranting about ‘feminazi’ conspiracies, even though everyone with any sense considers this new direction a contemporary golden age for the hobby.

    Even better, Games Worshiop is trying to broaden the appeal of its worlds by creating a less dark and violent subset of its fiction aimed at younger fans called Warhammer Adventures that focuses on younger protagonists going adventuring in a (somewhat less extreme) version of these settings. The books’ characters are highly diverse and in many cases use their wits to avoid danger in a universe normally dominated by brute violence in an almost Doctor Who type fashion. I must admit that initially I was worried about whether the authors would be able to keep the nastier aspects of a universe that is full of acts of mass genocide, brain eating alien monsters and Cthulhu Mythos non-euclidean type abominations down to a level that was suitable for the age ranges the series is targeted at, but by all accounts they have done a stellar job, striking a balance neither patronises to the young readers nor includes material that goes too far.

    Of course, the howls of flailing, incoherent outrage from the types of Warhammer and 40K fans you had the misfortune to have to deal with were nothing short of epic and could doubtless be heard throughout the depths of the Warp, and that gives a truly warm glow to my godless heart, as I hope it might to yours.

  25. says

    @lanir: that’s before I was born, but I do remember Carol Danvers in the Avengers during the infamous rape story line. I actually owned that issue (I think it was a double-size annual, IIRC). The story stuck with me, so I have a strong memory of Carol Danvers from before I even hit adolescence. I read Carol Danvers before I ever read a story with the Hulk. Carol Danvers was stuck in my head before Gambit was even created.

    But talking about this “canonical” stuff from childhood is also ignoring all the stuff that’s happened in between. How many times have the major characters died and been resurrected. The X-Factor ret-con of Jean Grey was – in my view – a travesty, but some people started collecting comics around the time when X-Factor started out. For them, Jean Grey was never fully integrated with Phoenix and was never killed on the moon.

    There’s so much contradictory material out there. Carol Danvers has been an important and memorable character for decades, but who she is under DeConnick and who she was under other authors are completely different. I loved Binary, but there’s a completely different attitude cruising through space as a StarJammer than there is as an Avenger or as a hero fighting on her own.

    I just don’t get it.

    Watch the movie, if you like comic movies, and if it turns out it’s a bad adaptation, then it’s a bad adaptation. But faithful/authentic only begs the question: authentic to what?

  26. wcaryk says

    These manbabies must not be dedicated Marvel Comics fans — Carol Danvers has been Captain Marvel since 2014.

  27. cartomancer says

    Gregory Greenwood, #35,

    A perceptive take on the situation, excepting one key point. That abysmal, childish travesty of a thing called “Age of Sigmar” is not and never will be Warhammer. It is a dire, Americanised piece of trash that cannot hold the tiniest of candles to the glories of real Warhammer – a four-page pamphlet of an excuse for a game that replaced something wonderful and sublime that draws on real-world history, Tolkien, Michael Moorcock and the true greats of Fantasy literature. The current age of GW is not a golden age, it is a dark age. An age when real Warhammer lies ignored and forgotten in favour of this insulting crock of technicolour saturday-morning-cartoon rubbish.

  28. says

    @Gregory Greenwood:

    That is indeed welcome news to me, and though I’m quite sure that the audience/player base for Warhammer was never entirely made up of craptastic humans, in my corner of the US growing up it certainly was the douchier crowd that gravitated to Warhammer over D&D or GURPS or Villains & Vigilantes. So, no, I’m not surprised that there are people reacting to this shift in the Warhammer-verse in the same way that douche-bros are reacting to a woman-led movie in the MCU, but it’s got to be a positive development in the long term.

  29. says

    I should have added:

    a rotting Imperial society whose ruler is essentially a ten millennia old corpse sitting on the ultimate blinged out throne (that is itself breaking down) that is worshipped unthinkingly as a god has very obvious resonances to how many Brits view the less functional aspects of UK society, and none of them are exactly flattering to the hard Right (or people who like the monarchy).

    This was very helpful. Although the Warhammer fans in my circle were by no means full-time jerks, they were the most prone to eruptions of jerkitude around the table and were universally the worst role players, so their invitations to play Warhammer were almost uniformly (though gently) ignored or demurred. Thus I don’t actually really know anything very deep about the Warhammer lore or why it is what it is. I think I created all of one character for the Warhammer RPG … and then never played it. I think I played the table-top game twice and was hanging out drinking non-alcoholic ginger beer while others played a couple other times. My knowledge of Warhammer is thus incredibly shallow and while the gluttony for gore came through to me, neither the history of the setting nor its connection with (or implications for) the real world were ever learned by me.

    I probably would have at least appreciated the setting more, had I learned something about it and thought of it in its British (and I mean British) context.

  30. Gregory Greenwood says

    cartomancer @ 38;

    That abysmal, childish travesty of a thing called “Age of Sigmar” is not and never will be Warhammer. It is a dire, Americanised piece of trash that cannot hold the tiniest of candles to the glories of real Warhammer – a four-page pamphlet of an excuse for a game that replaced something wonderful and sublime that draws on real-world history, Tolkien, Michael Moorcock and the true greats of Fantasy literature. The current age of GW is not a golden age, it is a dark age. An age when real Warhammer lies ignored and forgotten in favour of this insulting crock of technicolour saturday-morning-cartoon rubbish.

    So… not an Age of Sigmar fan then, I take it? Fair enough. For myself, it doesn’t bother me overmuch. The setting is new and hasn’t had the decades to grow and develop that the old setting had. Its influences are different then those of the Old World, but that is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. I have noticed that it has more Nordic mythology influence then may initially be obvious. We will just have to wait to see how it develops over time. It is not as though the Old World setting had the most auspicious of starts in life either.

    At the end of the day, Games Workshop is a business, not a charity for war gamers, and the Old World Warhammer setting just wasn’t making money. The hobby community wasn’t supporting it financially, with the situation at its worst being so dire that Games Workshop was making more money selling hobby supplies than it was selling models and rule sets for one of its two principle fictional continuities. That wasn’t sustainable. Something had to change, and Games Workshop was confronted with a stark choice – jettison the Warhammer Fantasy setting altogether, or try to rework it into something that can make money. They chose the latter, and the last I heard the Age of Sigmar setting was accounting for about 30% of Games Workshop’s profits, which is respectable whether you care for the aesthetics of the new setting’s design and stylistic choices or not.

    Best of all, no one is stopping anyone from playing the older editions of Warhamemr, or using the new, more streamlined rules set to play games set in the old continuity. If you are truly yearning for something more akin to the Warhammer that was, might I suggest that you check out the fan made project The 9th Age? It is well regarded in the fan community, and essentially amounts to a means of resurrecting the Old World setting with a more modern rules set.

  31. zenlike says

    Another very British pastiche of ironic exaggeration that gets hilariously misread by a lot of the wrong kind of USAnians: 2000AD and Judge Dredd.

  32. cartomancer says

    Gregory Greenwood, #41,

    No, I am not a fan. That’s putting it mildly. It is no great exaggeration to say that Games Workshop’s horrible and inexplicable decision to replace the best game and fantasy world that humanity has ever conceived of with an infantile piece of cartoon rubbish ruined my life. Warhammer – real, glorious, Old World Warhammer – was the beating heart of my entire social and imaginative life from the age of 9. It still is, quite frankly. Warhammer is pretty much the only thing that has got me through an awful lot of loneliness, rejection, misery and unhappiness. These last four horrible, horrible years in the wilderness have been almost unbearable for me. I feel utterly betrayed, stabbed in the back and insulted by the custodians of the only thing that has made my life worth living. My health, both mental and physical, has suffered immensely because of this unnecessary and cruel betrayal. I am a pale shadow of what I used to be now the last good thing in my life has been viciously taken away.

    I still play the game, when I can. I still keep the flame alive. I still collect and paint armies for it. I try to forget the horrors the last four years have inflicted on me. A kind of bitter, teeth-gritted rage against the bastards who did this to me is what keeps me going now – that and the determination that something special and beautiful and wondrous shall not be forgotten, whatever the cynical, evil capitalists who have tried to take it away want. Not a month goes by I don’t write long, hectoring letters to these people demanding the return of how things should be. I don’t need some fan-made “modern” version – the 8th edition rules are sublime and marvellous as they are.

    sic transit gloria mundi. We are in a far thinner and poorer world now.

  33. cartomancer says

    But I wax verbose, and somewhat off-topic. Save perhaps as a demonstration of the kind of devotion and dedication that fictional properties can inspire in us (I do not like the term “fan” – it seems altogether too shallow, anaemic and casual to describe the love I feel for the worlds I adore).

  34. Gregory Greenwood says

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden @ 40 and 41;

    That is indeed welcome news to me, and though I’m quite sure that the audience/player base for Warhammer was never entirely made up of craptastic humans, in my corner of the US growing up it certainly was the douchier crowd that gravitated to Warhammer over D&D or GURPS or Villains & Vigilantes. So, no, I’m not surprised that there are people reacting to this shift in the Warhammer-verse in the same way that douche-bros are reacting to a woman-led movie in the MCU, but it’s got to be a positive development in the long term.

    Indeed – the fact that the bloviating misogynists are having such tantrums seems to be as good a barometer for the health of the Games Workshop properties as it is for any other aspect of geek culture. The angrier the MRAs and dude-bros get the likelier it is that Games Workshop is heading in the right direction.

    The strangest thing is hearing these would be gate keepers complaining about increased focus on factions like the Adpeta Sororitas (the all female organisation of warrior nuns which fights for the Eccelsiarchy, which is the militant state church of the Imperium and is itself a satirical dig at organised religion in general, with special mockery reserved for Catholicism. The hook was that there was a treaty that stopped the Ecclesiarchy specifically from maintaining ‘men under arms’, so instead they set up armies of elite warrior women, thus sidestepping the intent of the treaty while abiding by its sloppy wording) and how supposedly they are undermining the style of 40K and aren’t ‘feminine enough’, even though the Battle Sisters have been an established part of the 40K setting for literally decades, are a fan favourite faction, and have always been fully armoured (they wear powered armoured combat suits) warriors first and foremost. The only difference is that the new range of models Games Workshop are working on for the faction are a bit more sensible (no more powered armour with integrated high heels for instance – yes, that is as weird as it sounds), and the faction is getting fully reworked rules to fit with the current eighth edition rules set, more comprehensive background lore, and a wider range of named special characters. The rage of the usual suspects makes no sense whatsoever, since the faction is as old as the setting itself and has always been this way.

    My knowledge of Warhammer is thus incredibly shallow and while the gluttony for gore came through to me, neither the history of the setting nor its connection with (or implications for) the real world were ever learned by me.

    The Games Worskshop worlds, and 40K in particular, are very violent indeed, but are also surprisingly erudite, being littered with references to history, different cultures, even visual and architectural styles – as an example, the warships of the Imperial Navy, perhaps the most famous element of which is Battlefleet Gothic, are literally space borne cathedral cities complete with Gothic architectural flourishes like flying buttresses. One of my favourite short stories from the setting is set in an earlier epoch of the Imperium (10,000 years before the ‘current’ continuity) and revolves around the character of Malcador the Sigellite (who is essentially the Emperor’s Vizier) sending out a special forces team to recover an artefact that they assume is some sci fi weapon or similar device, but turns out to be a large stone tablet they can’t read.

    When the team leader returns to Malcaor, the Sigellite reveals to him that he is gathering artefacts that contain references to the history and culture of humanity down through the centuries – part of the core character of 40K is that most humans have forgotten much of the history of humanity, having only incomplete and often ludicrously inaccurate fragments of the history of our species that mislead more than they inform. For instance, in the 40K continuity only a handful of people know of Shakespear and his works, but they think he was called ‘Shakespire’ and was a pre-Imperial dramaturge who lived in a fairly high tech interstellar civilisation akin to the Imperium they know – they have no conception of what fifteenth century Earth was actually like. Only people like Malcador and the Primarchs tend to know anything approaching the truth – so that the truth of human history isn’t forgotten by everyone. Malcador shows the soldier some of his collection, including items from fictional future eras and some actual recognisable historical artefacts, and the latest acquisition takes pride of place amongst them. At the end of the story it is revealed that this latest artefact is actually the Rossetta Stone, and Malcador wanted it to be sure that the history of hieroglyphics and their translation wouldn’t be entirely forgotten by future generations of humanity. The whole story is an extended rendition of then old saw that people who forget history’s lessons are doomed to repeat its mistakes… except with more laser rifles.

    Equally, one of the things I enjoy most about the Horus Heresy novels is that they are about a ruler and his (clone) sons fighting over the legacy of his empire (and the fact that the Emperor created his ‘sons’ through genetic engineering and they had no mother is very much part of why they are all so very maladjusted, each in their own different way. The Emperor pretty much wins the ‘galaxy’s worst dad’ award with ease). It is in truth a family drama dressed up as a military sci fi tale, though this being 40K, the family are all genetically enhanced demigods, their conflicts are literally world-shattering, and the sibling rivalries and tensions between father and sons are exploited by extra dimensional Lovecraftian demon monsters that want to enslave and/or eat all of humanity…

  35. Gregory Greenwood says

    zenlike @ 42;

    Another very British pastiche of ironic exaggeration that gets hilariously misread by a lot of the wrong kind of USAnians: 2000AD and Judge Dredd.

    Absolutely true. Countless times I have seen would be petty fascists wax lyrical about Judge Dredd while totally failing to grasp that Dredd is not a hero but instead a walking, talking critique of the kind of over zealous police officer who wishes they could be judge, jury and executioner, and very much feels that they ‘are the law’.

  36. anthrosciguy says

    @32

    These precious little dolls by all means should avoid the French 2002 movie Huit Femmes.
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0283832/?ref_=nv_sr_1

    “Eight women are isolated in a snowbound cottage, there is a corpse with a knife in his back, all of the women are potential suspects, plus six song and dance numbers…. I had also just about given up hope of ever seeing Deneuve and Fanny Ardant rolling around on the floor pulling each other’s hair.” – Roger Ebert

  37. cartomancer says

    Ugh, sometimes I just want to grind the world to powder and end it all. Tonight is one of those nights. They come a lot more frequently now.

  38. Gregory Greenwood says

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden @ 50;

    “brophylactics”

    I love it, and will of course now shamelessly steal it…

  39. numerobis says

    Speaking of powerful female figures, can I give a shout out to Jody Wilson-Raybould? Until recently justice minister (and thus attorney-general) of Canada, fired for refusing to halt a prosecution of a large and totally corrupt company. Somewhat likely to take down the Trudeau government.

    Upon her firing, he tried to send out whispers that she was difficult to work with, perhaps bossy. That seems to have rather backfired.

  40. Ishikiri says

    Especially since I saw a guy admit in a video that he purposefully went out and bought a pair of Nike shoes (i.e. he put his own money on Nike’s balance sheets) so he could burn them to protest the Kaepernick commercial, I’m having a hard time reconciling these internet reactionary types as anything other than childish attention-seekers.

  41. Matt G says

    Pathetic creatures. It’s one thing to review a creationist movie before it comes out (for reasons too obvious to mention), but do these arrested adolescents really not see the weakness of their arguments? Toxic masculinity (and whiteness) perfectly capture their personalities.

  42. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Gregory Greenwood @ 35

    I was never too much into Warhammer, either Fantasy or 40K, since it was so cost prohibitive to me when I first got into tabletop gaming in the early 90’s. Still, I knew people who were into it and the settings seemed interesting; enough so that I’ve played more than a few of the video games based on them. I do remember back then it seemed like everyone got the references and the point but, to echo Crip Dyke’s experience, the trend in more recent years the demographics of local gamers who were into Warhammer- more 40K than Fantasy, from what I could tell- were douch-bros with noticeably fashie leanings; particularly the ones who mainly frequent the local GW shop. It isn’t the entire base of Warhammer players, but it’s a good portion and, since it was already a periphery product to me, the admittedly cursory glance I often gave the newer codexes and other source materials made it hard to tell if GW was keeping up the mockery or playing to the direction the games seeming fan base was heading.

    It’s good to hear that GW is still in possession of self-awareness and is going in directions that are a rejection of what I tend to see out the local Warhammer community. This is especially so in light of the route White Wolf seems bound and determined to take with the recent edition of Vampire: the Masquerade. I can’t hold it against them much if a (hopefully) small but vocal portion of their fan base is too dim or blinkered to get the point. I mean, I remember playing many a game of Paranoia with a hard-right libertarian anti-communist who believed Alpha Complex was the ideal society without a hint of irony or recognition of what was right in front of him in black and white.

  43. schweinhundt says

    I have limited experience w/40k but have heard about the toxic element from friends. One day I was in a game shop and some folks came in with tackle boxes full of figs and asked if an apparently empty table was available for open play. We told them that it was. Out of curiosity, I asked “What game are you playing?” They said Warhammer 40K. I quipped “Oh, so you’re assholes.” In response, they all laughed. So, yeah, the brophylactic portion of that fanbase is apparently well known.

  44. logicalcat says

    Literally every time I interacted with the WH40k crowd it was an experience with regressive bullshit. One asshole I had to ask in a stern voice “you need to stop saying that word”. The word was the f-word homophobic slur. Another time it was some d-bag who wanted to convince me that black people are genetically inferior to whites. Dude name dropped Watson, and asked me if I knew better than a Nobel prize winner of biology. I told him yes, on this subject specifically I actually do know better. Me saying that confused the fuck out of him.

    Every single active member of that group I befriended on FaceBook eventually blocked me without understanding the hypocrisy of making fun of others “safe spaces”. This is also where I learned that the phrase “you use SJW style tactics” means “you are using facts and research and critical thinking to enhance your position.” It was a conversation about income inequality. The only two who have not blocked me is one who is genuinely a good guy and a libertarian who is prejudice against Native Americans and supported running over protesters. That last one I do consider a smart man and kept being his friend in the hope that he change. He did. Still a libertarian, but his stances have soften severely. People can be reached and they do change. Its possible.

    At the end of the day even tho most of my interactions with that community was negative, its a small minority who are like that I believe. It does however feel like that minority is bigger because they do tend to be the more active members of that community. At least where I am from.

  45. lanir says

    @Crip Dyke #36:

    All good points. I wasn’t around in 1968 either. To be honest I never really got into reading comic books. I go for stories when I read something and the most well known US comics are just terrible at telling a story. There’s little consistency and their solution to running out of story to tell seems to be to restart from scratch and retell the same story again. Some fans are okay with this but I much prefer stories that develop over time and show character growth. The one time I read through a comic book example of this personally from start to finish, I liked the story… but then it concluded with a very literal reset that conveniently made everything I’d just read into a “what if..?” that never happened.

    With my preferences being what they are, I find the film and tv adaptations of comic book stories suit my tastes better than the originals. They’re a little more grounded visually and sometimes thematically as well as showing a plot that actually progresses.

    I gave a flippant, dismissive comment earlier. I did so because I think we have to be careful about letting throw-away digs and criticisms based on made-up nonsense consume too much of our time. I don’t mind investigating the topic with you more but I probably wouldn’t have thought very deeply about this on my own. The original criticisms are just dishonest nonsense so they aren’t worth bothering with very much.

    For what it’s worth, the real jerks around the gaming tables I’ve run across have been hardcore fans of D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder. I didn’t have much experience with anyone who was into Warhammer. Says nothing much about the games or anyone else who plays them, they’re just fairly complex systems. And that complexity allows a group of jerks to discriminate against anyone who doesn’t navigate it as well as they do, or in the same ways they do (like social butterflies, sometimes they’re just hammering you for not already being part of their in-group).

  46. whitewachtel says

    If people are hating woman in movies so much, how do you explain the success of Alita?

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