|Yeah, and my model still sucks too|
Einstürzende Neubauten bang on metal and play with power tools because these are the things that they hear and see. With less than 2% of England's population being black, I don't find it surprising that the 'eavy metal team's idea of the galaxy isn't exactly ethnically diverse (however if you really search, you will find a few models from the past that are in fact black or native American or female). In short there is an unconscious drive in art to 'paint/write/etc what you know' that lies largely out of our hands and shouldn't be construed as racist.
Making a conscious decision to create a character named after the leader of the SS, on the other hand, is not cool at all. I get it, Himmler sent upwards of 9 million Jews, Poles, Russian POWs, Slavs, Romanians, handicapped persons, homosexuals, and even Jehova's Witnesses to their deaths and Kemmler is a necromancer. How bloody fucking clever! A special shoutout goes out to the creators of The Dresden Files who also have a necromancer character named Heinrich Kemmler- way to be plagiarists and dick heads, nice one.
Just to show that I'm not out on a quest to vilify GW, issues of this kind have been brought up regarding other games as well. Infinity has come under fire for using racial and religious stereotypes to create its factions. I don't exactly fall into this line of thinking, but if they ever release a Haqq Islam character named Sodom Hyusseine, I might change my tune. Historical wargames, such as Flames of War, are also problematic. Actively wanting to play any army that was historically in the wrong (and I do play Germans in FoW) could easily be an indication of some significant personality flaws on the part of the player.
The entire institution of wargaming and roleplaying could really be suspect here. This isn't a 'Dungeons and Dragons will make you kill your best friend' type of argument, but something more real and profound- we, as players of most games, are glorifying violence. Depending on one's moral code, this could actually be deemed inexcusable. There is never exactly a moral high ground in war. Even playing on the side of 'good' means that you're participating in a pact of violence and most likely a tradition of covered up, glossed over war crimes. We self-righteous allies seem to forget, for example, that while we were upholding the principles of liberty in Europe and Asia during the Great War we sort of dropped bombs, conventional and nuclear, on a shit load of civilian non-combatants- on purpose.
|dethtron as a gamer, artist's rendering|
But here we are, wandering off track again. It's good, though, I think we've hit on some key issues of the endorsement of immoral behaviors in wargaming. This is a big topic, that I alone could not hope to fully deal with, so I'd like your input HoP readers.
Should GW have changed Heinrich Kemmler's name? Matt Ward certainly has changed fluff in the past, maybe the first necromancer should have gotten a new name.
Is it ok to want to play the villain?
Is the entire act of playing wargames an endorsement of violence?
Only time will tell. I'll see you in the comments.