Friday, 19 November 2021

Warhammer is a Satire Now

 If you are a dorky, low status white man, at some point in your life you look around to see that you are surrounded by other, dorky, low status (probably fat), white men. 

And you either say to yourself; "Well, here we are then." Or something else happens inside you and you cringe because you being here, in this place, with these people, is a sign of moral failing.


.....................


So Warhammer is officially a Satire now. No longer just a midwit take on r/40klore, 'tis the gospel truth as proclaimed from the Warhammer Community Itself.

The provocation in this case is a situation in Spain where someone wearing outright Fascist gear entered a tournament and the organisers refused to eject him. Warhammer Community don't dare to name the Tournament, the circumstances or the individual. Instead they take refuge in this... 

It would be too far to call it a lie, especially an intentional one. Its more like a feverishly-held half-truth, directly said, in the companies voice; "Warhammer is a Satire", which it largely is not.

40k doesn't have a singular message. Its a a paracosm, not a story, and any game, project, book, animation, paint job or whatever can have any one of a billion different interpretations depending on who is playing and how.

Secondly, hypermasculine ultra dark Nietzschean gothic tragedy has been a core component of 40k from the very start. Not the only component. Yes there was stuff like Obiwan Sherlock Clouseaau and lots of silly stuff, but even in the Rogue Trader, mixed in with it, there is a lot of extremely powerful, dark, emotive stuff which while it is sad and doomed is very definitely and very obviously NOT SATIRICAL, at least not in any way that a normal person uses the term.

And all of this is and has been largely fine. 99.9999999 per cent of people playing and interacting in the "ccuuuhhhmunityyyy"  have managed to access these dork, powerful and complex emotions on their own terms and have not actually become Fascist.

Access to dark and powerful emotions is important. Especially if you actually have  adult emotions and not just "positions". 

How will an alienated teenage boy, a nerdy guy in his 20s, and a lumbering middle aged man, the same person, but separated by time, respond to 40k? It will be different each time, and that relationship, that synthesis and push and pull between these quite deep dark and powerful emotions, will shift and alter in a PROCESS OF FUCKING GROWTH. A process of growth and change which can only really happen if they are allowed to relate to the subject in a free way, now serious, now ridiculous, now detailed, now vague, now deeply involved, now from a distance, literally taking on the point of view of one side then another.

A process that cannot now take place because "Warhammer is a Satire". There is one approved and intended moral axis and intended moral resolution to EVERYTHING that happens in the imaginary 41st Millennium.

That this is a delusion is utterly evident by almost every game of Warhammer, in which people occupy and embody varied and changing assumed points of view from moment to moment, and that's even taking into account GWs new, foolishly extended and non representative version of what "satire" means. Its word games pursued to escape the dark and dangerous business of dealing with the paradox at the core of the imagined world.

Its a vague, and ultimately destructive, because false and deceptive, statement of "values" which carefully avoids mentioning the exact circumstances of even the particular incident that triggered it because to do so would be to take a legal and social risk. The kind of risk you would think anti-fascists would be eager to leap into.

It doesn't get you off the hook you fucking cowards, you fools, it puts you deeper in.

So now you are going to be sitting in a room with Disney, or Amazon or Henry Cavils agents, and talking about how the Hero of this series isn't really actually a hero, I mean yes they are the main vector of action, do all the main things, are the most powerful and dynamic person and the main subject of identification with the largely male audience, but they aren't like a "hero" hero. Because Warhammer is a satire. And no this particular story isn't funny no, but actually we meant satire on a technical sense, look see this definition here. An yes the enemy are literal rape demons and the Empire in this series is bad but better than rape demons, but its still a satire you see...

Oh and get this;

WE CAN'T PROVE THAT ANYTHING THE EMPEROR EVER DID WAS WRONG

Firstly because he's FUCKING IMAGINARY.

Secondly its an entire cosmos specifically created to make horrific structures and actions taken to resist it seem reasonable. A reality where if you think about the wrong magic symbol too hard a rape demon comes out of you.

"Something doesn’t have to be wacky or laugh-out-loud funny to be satire. The derision is in the setting’s amplification of a tyrannical, genocidal regime, turned up to 11."

Of course, the cosmos you are talking about is one specifically created to make that tyrannical genocide potentially necessary.

The Fascists dream of infinite corruptive enemies, insidious perverting ideologies, a nightmarish other which desires nothing but your annihilation and the necessity of a cult of heroic sacrifice is actually verifiably true in the imaginary 41s Millennium.

"Hey guys, I wrote an extended multi-book, multi-medium fanfiction about World War Two in which the Jews really do have psychic powers and really are running an illuminati SUPER CONSPIRACY to dominate the world! Its a satire."

The cults are real. The demon gods are real. Most of the Aliens do genuinely want to destroy you. The society itself is monstrous and corrupt, but we can't really call it evil since it has better, actual reasons for being so than any human society that has ever existed in the real world.

So how is it a satire when the Empire genocides a planet? Or does any one of a thousand other things to stop the, in this reality, actual and real existential threat?

It might be a tragedy. It isn't a satire. And now you will have to sit in a room with neat little men wearing suits and explain half-truths and lies to get advertising money.

"An examination of a dark reality?" nope

"A tragic investigation of how much of humanity survives when the only way to survive is to gradually slice off more and more humanity?" Nope not that.

"A shameless explosive aesthetic deep dive into the staggering emotional and visceral charge of gothic art and doomed male hypermasculine identification taken to the n'th degree but its ok because art is made up and maybe somehow this will be useful to humanity in ways we can't easily put in a spreadsheet, or maybe its not even useful in any way but fuck it lets d Human Expression in art because do do so is to embody Humanity?"

No not that either.

Instead; "Warhammer is a Satire". 

Lies lies lies. Convenient midwit bullshit that gets you out of the moral jam of defending the very thing that gives you all jobs to an unsympathetic audience you SO DESPERATELY wish looked at you with respect.

"Isn't Eisenhorn the hero here?"

"Well yes but then he GOES TOO FAR"

"But then isn't Ravenor the hero?"

"Yes but"

"And how many people has he tortured and murdered?"

"Oh lots, but offscreen. And then Bequin is the Hero! Female representation! Diversity!"

"And does she torture and murder?"

"Well to start she works for a eugenicist crime cult.."

"I see.."

"But then she gets pulled into the orbit of a guy who hangs out with a fucking demon."

"And this is a satire how?"

"Oh its bad. Its all very very bad yes. (But very enjoyable if you watch it on Amazon Prime, really great entertainment)"

"And its ok to identify with the agents of this theocratic genocidal fascist state for entertainment because its satire?"

"Yes yes, Fascism bad! We put a little message at the front!"


......................


It wouldn't be anywhere near as bad, it wouldn't be bad at all, if they had just said; "Actual Fascists Not Welcome" instead of linking it to this stupid, fucking double-digit IQ take. The two points now tied irrevocably together.

Stupidity? Liberal midwitsism? Or actual deliberate falsity in which a foolish piece of nice-sounding ideology is hidden beneath the soft cloth of "Racists Bad", so that now anyone who sees the strange stinking lump beneath that cloth...?

"What do you have under there Games Workshop? It stinks to high heaven."

"Oh but Racists Bad."

"Yes that is written on the silken cloth which you use to cover what looks and smells like a lump of shit,  but what is beneath.."

"RACISTS BAD! RACISTS BAD! RACISTS BAAAAAAD! EVERYONE SHOULD BE FUCKING NICE OK???? WARHAMMER IS FOR EVERYONE!!!!!!!"


......................


Well, its an indefensible position and gets worse the more seriously you take it, but since its telling a society exactly what it wants to hear very possibly it will work, and anyway, Racists Bad hmmm? Who would disagree except autistic low-status men who get pissed off about whether anything you are saying makes actual sense. And do we really need those People? All they had to do was agree after all? And why wouldn't they? Doesn't is all look.. a bit suspicious? Kind of a bad look? I mean read the room right? Maybe its time for the moral prophylactic of a reblogged Randall Munroe comic...

I have a lot of intuitions about this, the people involved, what it means for culture and my place in that culture. Either you can probably guess what most of them are, and if not explaining them would be fruitless.

A healthier response would be to leave and re-focus on something I can actually change.

I will *try* to take one of my intermittent breaks from Warhammer and see *this time* how long I can stay off the Plastic Crack.

I will see if I can replace the energy dump with working on my own stuff, maybe going back into Eclipse Knights and doing everything I can to keep it very much NOT a satire.

Maybe actually learning to draw! We will see.....

37 comments:

  1. From my perspective WH40k has always been morally questionable at best, but I've never been too bothered by it because it has always been clearly fictional and never tried to comment on the real world. As you say, these thoroughly unpleasant conceits are necessary to make the grim darkness of it all seem legitimate. And I agree the vast majority of the hobbyists do not take it as serious social commentary but just a big excuse to spend lots of money on toy soldiers, play games and read novels of variable quality. As for those who do not maintain that clear demarcation, I'm fairly sure they are confused and messed up enough that if it wasn't WH40k, they would find something even less pleasant to fixate on. Another aspect is who they wargame with. Impressionable boys may well take cues from older gamers, hopefully those who do not take the politics and philosophy of the 41st millenium seriously.

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    1. Our cultures darkest secret is that men can usually work out how to handle their emotions.

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  2. Counterpoint: Rogue Trader was designed in such a way that the Imperium was clearly the central villain and nothing whatsoever justified their brutality or made it necessary; indeed, it was self-defeating, spawning a nigh-endless series of rebellions on countless worlds that their forces were constantly swatting.
    GW compromised all that by taking this decent idea they had just had for their fantasy wargame/RPG setting, called "Chaos", and wedging it into 40k in the most awkward possible way, thereby disrupting the setting and creating justification for the Imperium's actions, while simultaneously removing all blame from the Emperor by taking him from a sinister rotting old man ruling his empire from a life support system to a mythic figure who has lied in a comatose/dead state ever since this Really Stupid Story called "The Horus Heresy" and therefore can't be blamed for any of the Imperium's failings.
    40k was originally a satire, among many other more complicated things, but all of that complexity was lost, first to One Terrible Decision and then to a slow erosion over time.
    ...40k's been dead for a long time. Those of us who discovered it long after that death, like I did and like I assume you also did based on this post, have just been playing with its bones.
    Warhammer is nothing now. It has been for a long time.
    GW cannot and will not solve this problem, because the problem is THEM.
    There is no happy way out of this; 40k will always be popular because most nerds will simply mindless buy anything that reminds them of their precious eighties, and it will always suck because GW has been too committed to this road for too long to change course now.
    There is no hope for a comparable alternate setting, because Warhammer 40k was the product of a very specific Moment in science-fiction; a Moment which is now long gone. If you want to see the mediocre and disappointing results of trying to recreate that moment, look no farther than Mantic's Warpath setting.
    There's no hope for a new setting that is an equally-brilliant product of the current Moment in science fiction because there IS no current Moment in science fiction; the broader culture has given up on dreams of a future that looks any different from today. The closest you can get is the admittedly brilliant Beyond the Gates of Antares, a product of the deeply niche "neo-pulp Sci-Fi" movement.
    There is nothing that can be done for the broader culture, but there is something that can be done for you. You can choose to forget; to forget everything you know about wargames and about warhammer 40,000, to grab a PDF of the original Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, and to read it with wide eyes and an open mind. And, with any luck, you can find some friends who are interested in giving it a shot with you.
    I wish you all the best.

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    1. hell yeah brother.

      i hear you and im with you. whether or not peoples nostalgia os aimed at the 80s im less sure about but there def needs to be a greater ability of the fanbase (hell ANY fanbase) to call a duck a duck and figure out exactly why they like something, and if the message of the thing they like aligns with their moral and ethical outlook or not.

      theres so much inertia in EVERYTHING nowadays it seems, especially anything geek adjacent, tho that its hard for me to believe that any sort of general course correction is incoming. cest la vie

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    2. aww dammit the copy of my comment that I thought got eaten by blogger's terrible comment system got posted.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, I pick on 80s nostalgia because I hate it with the firey passion that only someone born in 1991 can have, but geek nostalgia in general is a cesspool. I kinda thought the OSR was, uh, relatively immune to this sorta thing, since it's very much a "creative fandom" movement, as opposed to corporate-approved "curative fandom", but I guess not. *shrug*

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    4. Huh? The OSR was literally about reviving one of the much neglected playstyles of the 70s and 80s.

      Delete
  3. GW's just too much of a coward to recognize the ACTUAL heroes of the 40k setting. it's the Tyranids. put the whole goddam galaxy out of its misery. it's really just a mercy killing.

    also I love that this post comes after a series of posts where you went and read the whole goddam Horse Heresy. life hits you fast lmao

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  4. ah ha, but saying "warhammer is satire" is *also* satire. they gotcha there pal!!

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  5. Like that's the joke! The Imperium is actively feeding Chaos while trying to fight it by being such a miserable fuckshow! Khorne doesn't care if the Imperium is spilling blood in his name, he gets a stiffy every time they wipe out another xenos civilization regardless.

    Nurgle loves the misery the Imperium inflicts on its citizens. The Imperium says you need to suffer, and Nurgle smiles in glee and gives out his 'blessings'. The stagnancy and decay of the Imperium is Nurgle's greatest triumph, and not even Guilliman's return can staunch the flow of pus and rotted blood.

    Tzeentch loves watching Inquisitors jump through hoops for that one possible scrap of knowledge to defeat the Big Evil Thing and likes to see nobles scheme around each other.

    The Imperium seeks to maintain the 'perfection' of man, the nobles and higher echelons seek pleasures to while away their long drug-treated lives, the poor seek mind-erasing bliss of some form in order to escape the horrors of the life the Imperium tells them they deserve. This all feeds Slaanesh.

    The Imperium sits and tells itself everything it does is necessary, and that they're the real victims, because to do otherwise would mean facing the terrifying truth that the Emperor himself was wrong in some way. When your entire government depends on everyone accepting that one near-dead authoritarian's decisions were all the correct ones, accepting he was ever wrong immediately pulls the rug out from under you.

    Angry Ron and the Khan both had it right, and humanity pays for the Emperor's hubris and the Imperium's desperate attempt to keep itself alive as a polity. Humans don't need the Imperium to survive, the Imperium needs humans to survive.


    Of course this kind of nuance about plastic thumb-men and space elves gets in the way of chest thumping about "My dudes are better than your dudes!". It's a bit hard to be chuffed about Blood Angels when you remember they think keeping their home a radioactive wasteland is a good idea even though the process of turning into an astartes renders all of that stuff moot, and it's pointed out astartes made from recruits who don't come from horrible death worlds are no less capable than the Blood Angels. So it's best to not focus on that so much and more on the heroics.

    At least Lukas noted how fucked up the Imperium is in allowing space wolves to keep Fenris a horrible place when it's completely within the Imperium's power to make it a better place.

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    1. "Humans don't need the Imperium to survive, the Imperium needs humans to survive." - can you prove it?

      Delete
    2. Canonically, the Imperium continues to find planets full of humans who have never even heard of it who are doing totally fine or who have lost contact with the Imperium for thousands of years and came to assume they were the only parts of humanity left and/or the Imperium had abandoned them. This means that there's an unknown amount of human inhabited planets out there who have survived the Age of Strife and beyond without the help of the Imperium.

      The Ecclesiarchy even has an entire subbranch (the Mission Galaxia if I remember right) devoted to going to these worlds and preparing them to be brought into the Imperium's fold.

      It's sort of like how we're told the Craftworlders are a dying species and that there's only a handful of Craftworlds, but somehow there's always another Craftworld available to be dramatically destroyed so we understand that the Craftworlders are a dying species. Just in case GW thought we forgot.

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  6. Hi Patrick,

    There’s no link so I don’t know if you’re critiquing something specific. I’m also not as versed in the GW / W40K oeuvre as you it’s safe to say. But in the general case any story that involves a man solving a problem using violence is pretty well on its way to being “fascist”. Including capeshit, including all RPGs and their source material, etc.

    Obviously the 40K stuff is quite open about the fascist iconography, although you could as easily call it the “heavy metal” iconography given the degree of overlap. I think GW probably deserve credit for at least acknowledging the fascist nature of the “good guys” of their setting — they put it right up front.

    Anyway don’t want to stray too far from my main point which is: about 80% of the media consumed by men and boys in our culture celebrates violence and hypermasculinity, which is to say, it’s at the very least fascist-lite. All the, very nice people with very correct political opinions designing products for D&D — a game about solving problems by murdering people — are contributing to this “fascist” medium every bit as much as GW. I really do believe the distinction you’re making is a fine one. Unless I’ve missed something?

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    1. "But in the general case any story that involves a man solving a problem using violence is pretty well on its way to being “fascist”." I disagree with this.

      I also have no problem with fictional violence and fictional hypermasclinity. Sometimes I enjoy it. Sometimes is tragic horror. Sometimes its ridiculous fun.

      Delete
  7. Hey, you seem to be having a rough time of it. I tried to write this comment earlier, but the beginning came off harsher than I intended and also I completely forgot how blogger comments and accounts work because I haven't used it in so long.
    Sorry this is so rambling and unfocused; I wrote it over a long period of time and my thoughts and emotions kind of wandered around a lot.
    I'm gonna start off with some history: Rogue Trader was designed in such a way that the Imperium was clearly the central villain and nothing whatsoever justified their brutality or made it necessary; indeed, it was self-defeating, spawning a nigh-endless series of rebellions on countless worlds that their forces were constantly swatting.
    GW compromised all that by taking this decent idea they had just had for their fantasy wargame/RPG setting, called "Chaos", and wedging it into 40k in the most awkward possible way, thereby disrupting the setting and creating justification for the Imperium's actions, while simultaneously removing all blame from the Emperor by taking him from a sinister rotting old man ruling his empire from a life support system to a mythic figure who has lied in a comatose/dead state ever since this Really Stupid Story called "The Horus Heresy" and therefore can't be blamed for any of the Imperium's failings.
    40k was originally a satire, among many other more complicated things, but all of that complexity was lost, first to One Terrible Decision and then to a slow erosion over time.
    ...40k's been dead for a long time. Those of us who discovered it long after that death, like I did and like I assume you also did based on this post, have just been playing with its bones.
    Warhammer means nothing now. It hasn't meant anything for a long time.
    GW cannot and will not solve this problem, because the problem is THEM.
    There is no happy way out of this; 40k will always be popular because most nerds will simply mindless buy anything that reminds them of their precious eighties, and it will always suck because GW has been too committed to this road for too long to change course now.
    There is no hope for a comparable alternate setting, because Warhammer 40k was the product of a very specific Moment in science-fiction; a Moment which is now long gone. If you want to see the mediocre and disappointing results of trying to recreate that lost moment, look no farther than Mantic's Warpath setting.
    There's no hope for a new setting that is an equally-brilliant product of the current Moment in science fiction because there IS no current Moment in science fiction; the broader culture has given up on dreams of a future that looks any different from today. The closest you can get is the admittedly brilliant Beyond the Gates of Antares, a product of the deeply niche "neo-pulp Sci-Fi" movement.
    There is nothing that can be done for the broader culture, but there is something that can be done for you. You can choose to forget; to forget everything you know about wargames and about warhammer 40,000, to grab a PDF of the original Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, and to read it with wide eyes and an open mind. And, with any luck, you can find some friends who are interested in giving it a shot with you.

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    1. I have a physical copy of Rogue Trader. I also don't think there is anything wrong with Warhammer 40k so you are preaching to the wrong audience here.

      Delete
    2. It’s almost like fiction requires being able to inhabit conflicting moral perspectives without internalizing them into your own life and confusing them with reality, wild

      Delete
    3. I should probably just have made that the post.

      Delete
  8. Sorry if I’m misinterpreting you here, but I’m surprised you think this statement will change anything at GW in terms of content going forward. Surely it’s just a corporate PR statement (however cowardly and inaccurate). I don’t see that this will change the way any of the BL writers write, or the miniature designers design miniatures (or even how their licensing division speaks to Disney!) Surely they’re just saying what they feel they need to say to cause the controversy to blow over but it’ll otherwise be business as usual? (with the hopeful addition that partner tournaments stop allowing open fascists to participate!) I have a selfish motive here as I love your writing about 40k and would miss it if you stopped (especially your HH posts)!

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    1. I think it won't immediately but probably will in the long run. I'm sure a bunch of people in marketing are just "say whatever to make the problem go away", but equally sure that many others very strongly believe what they just said and the public statement is, well its a clear public statement.

      I'm very much guessing but I don't think things will change immediately but probably over time.

      This game out today https://gizmodo.com/warhammer-40k-s-creators-needed-to-renounce-real-monste-1848090547

      "Whether or not the plain nature of that monstrousness is read as intended, however, is a different question—no matter how clearly Games Workshop states its satirical intent."
      ...
      "Yet, by its very nature as a brand, Games Workshop has presented it all as marketable and approachable by kids and adults alike for decades. The Space Marines are a horrifyingly evil concept, but they are the public face of Games Workshop and Warhammer. They are the stars of video games, the imagery in the windows of every Games Workshop store inviting newcomers to play, in action figures and Funko Pops. There are libraries of novels and comics written from their perspective as protagonists, they are the thing Games Workshop has pushed as they try to bring Warhammer to audiences beyond their dedicated tabletop players, appearing in short films, and at the forefront of their biggest transmedia projects."

      They are *in* the argument now and they will face specific and driven criticism, more than they did before, on exactly this issue. I don't think its going to go away.

      As their shield against this they have chosen "its a satire". They will have to actually stand by that argument, and so changes will set in, or fail to uphold it, in which case they will be crushed for not standing by their own excuses.

      Next time you are dealing with anything related to 40k ask yourself "How, exactly, is this satirical?" because somebody somewhere is asking the same thing.

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  9. The sorts of people who sincerely make these statements like "Warhammer 40k is fascism" or "fantastical violence is fascism" seem to have an understanding of fascism that is essentially magical - that is to say that they seem to believe fascism is not a description of several political movements & governments that came into existence in history due to complex, particular, contingent factors including many people, economic conditions, development of existing ideas and attitudes, etc., but rather that fascism is a corrupting abstraction, a set of symbols existing outside space and time yet infiltrating countless points within them. If you listen to the wrong album or play too much with the little plastic men without suppressing or defusing these symbols, you'll find yourself suddenly blitzing the wrong way across the Maginot Line.

    On a different note, I recently found an extremely Veins of the Earthy manhwa, which even has art a bit like Scrap Princess's, called Distant Sky. It's available legally & free on webtoons dot com, and is a recommend from me, the asiatic picture book expert.

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    1. 1. The Cult of Tradition: Do I even need to explain how the Imperium fits this concept to a T?
      2. The rejection of modernism: the Imperium is literally neo-feudal.
      3. The cult of action for action's sake: The Imperium absolutely does glorify acting without thinking
      4. Disagreement is Treason: Um, the inquisition much?
      5. fear of difference: the imperium annihilates aliens, mutants, and even other human civilizations whenever it can.
      8. The enemy is both strong and weak: Yeah, that's why there's so much propaganda about how Orks are small and guardsmen can totally take them in a fight.
      9. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy: does the imperium tolerate pacifists? it sure doesn't!
      10. Contempt for the weak: Yep.
      11. Everbody is educated to become a hero: Yeah, that's why that one guardsman who got run through by Horus is so lionized.
      12. Machismo and weaponry: Do I even need to EXPLAIN this one?
      14. Newspeak: yeah, the Imperium does talk about the world in a simplified way that makes it harder for its citizens to think critically about the world.
      That's 11 out of Umberto Eco's 14 typical features of fascism. Please keep in mind that even a single one is enough for a fascist ideology to coalesce around.
      So the Imperium is absolutely fascist. And, yeah, it turns out if you lionize fictional fascists enough and go on and on about how they're necessary and good, you embolden real fascists. Can you CREATE fascists that way? Probably not. But convincing the ones that already exist that The Culture is totally behind them and giving them things to rally around still creates violence and threats of violence that wouldn't have existed otherwise. It's almost like media affects people, as Patrick himself demonstrates by getting this upset about 40k.

      GW was absolutely craven by not just saying "Fascists suck, fuck these TOs, they're all banned, get out of our hobby", but claiming that reading fascism into 40k is magical thinking is just factually wrong, buddy.

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    2. "And, yeah, it turns out if you lionize fictional fascists enough and go on and on about how they're necessary and good, you embolden real fascists."

      Er...can you provide any evidence for this (to my eye, unbelievably histrionic) claim? In what sense is WH40K emboldening actual facists? I want to know the path that goes from A to B, here. Because all I can see so far is: there was some guy at a tournament in Spain wearing fascist kit.

      Where is the violence and threat of violence emerging from people playing WH40K, that wouldn't have existed otherwise? I want you to tell me.

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  10. Don't fret over that statement. It is a tale told by a corporate idiot, full of mendacity and mewling, signifying nothing. I find a delicious irony in the fact that it's a statement of indistinct obeisance meant to mollify actual fascists by denouncing fascism. It will be well received only by those of the internet who believe that morality in 2021 constitutes nothing so great as taking a risky and heroic stand against "the Nazis", who were almost all killed nearly a century ago.

    I say "actual fascists" but I'm talking about the genus, not the species. Fascism per se, as well as National Socialism and Marxism-Leninism are just the more famous species of that larger genus of Socialism (it also includes people like Utopians but nobody cares about them). Surely the Imperium of Man is somewhere within that genus, which proposes that the State owns everyone and everything (either directly or virtually... they vary only minorly in methodology) and people are judged based on their group identity rather than as individuals (nationality, race, class... take your pick).

    Of course, you can probably get away with wearing a t-shirt displaying Che Guevara, Cuba's Himmler and a raving anti-Black racist and homophobe, to any official GW events. So you can still be a fascist, just make sure it's a red one. You can even wear a "I stand against Nazis" button right next to the racist homophobe's iconic visage if you want to go full retard.

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    1. LOL look at this guy who doesn't even know what fascism is. Go on, buddy, find me a formal definition that includes Che.

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  11. Bullshit. Warhammer is the kind of thing you either laugh with or laugh at. Getting the joke is preferable, not getting it and balking is acceptable, but anyone who's ever taken it at face value and ran with it must be an utter fool, and not of the benign kind either.

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  12. You have some talent at writing but whenever you try to engage with real world issues you always come off as a sheltered bubble boy unable to do more then regurgitate hysterical talking points based on outdated social science without any sort of self-reflection or critical thinking.

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    1. Eh, I'd disagree. As someone who doesn't give two shit's about WH it seems that it can be taken as satire or at face value depending on personal preference and the sub-media in question. Looks like he takes things too seriously imo but then I've come to expect corpospeak and the heavy emotional investment some hobbyists have in their passions.

      The Trailing Corposant series has been an interesting dissection a property I'd never look into otherwise and I hope it doesn't stop short on account of this. Mind you there'd probably be other content so it's win/win as far as greedy readers are concerned. Thank goodness for compulsive creatives.

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    2. I understand the pang of loss as yet one more beloved property is gutted by politicized corporatism, I certainly felt it a year or so back, but on what alien planet do you have to live to see any universe that is not precisely ordered according to the lastest Seattle college campus nonsense as some sort of profound moral struggle that must be resolved?

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    3. Critical thinking and self-reflection, like, what you and your lot do, right? I'm laughing my ass of here! =D
      Talking about satire!
      Out-dated social science, the complete opposite of the scientific rigor and sound reasoning PrinceofNothing wields to show the validity of his claims! XD

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  13. I'm not perhaps getting everything intended from this post, but two things strike me.

    First, I'm going to assume that you haven't been "pilled" in some way by 4chan and it's frog children despite using its slang. I wish you wouldn't, it makes it hard to know what you mean when you say stuff like "midwit". The term has such vague implications and baggage that my poor soy-soaked brain can't unravel it - presumably you don't mean "people with education who somehow fail to accept that NFTs will fund a violent white nationalist revolution."

    So it's somewhat hard to know what you mean, but these days though that's not rare with a lot of people … I suspect it’s also why the issues you mention are worth thinking about. Humor and satire are a favorite way for adherents of murderous ideology to bring it into the open in a deniable way.

    Second, I suspect we agree that GW's wishy-washy approach to 40K’s very real appeal to fascists is frustrating. As you point out 40K increasingly tends to lionize and justify the awful government of the Imperium of Man. Presumably this helps sell things to younger, more casual, and perhaps more reactionary audiences.

    40K is a weird, dark, grim fandom - maybe even ... grimdark, but it’s also going through consolidation, growth, and popularization as a brand while there’s a global increase in reactionary political ideology.

    What a tightrope for GW to walk.

    The themes and imagery of fascism are at the core of 40K's representation of humanity and GW’s attempts to balance corporate style diversity (at least we get some cool human models that aren't all blocky jawed white guys) with popularization’s demand for simple heroism and uncomplicated morality leads to some predictably farcical/disconcerting moments.

    It’s also not new. I heard one of the early Rogue Trader sculptors interviewed about the female marine models, and how the almost lore free space marines (bprior even to being meth fueled convict punks?) had a number of women in their ranks (25% of models?). The reason lady marines were dropped was vendor complaints - blisters with female marines (1 out of a few white metal monocast marines a blister) were selling slow and customers complained. When GW started trying plastic kits, unpopularity and the difficulty of fitting male and female marine torsos in the RTB01 set (1988's first plastic marines) predictably sealed the fate of Female Warriors Gabs and Jayne.

    My point is that this isn't a new problem for GW, a creepy fandom has been a known issue for decades. 40K attracts some sketchy ass dudes with poisonous ideologies - and it seems like the fandom won't act to keep these guys out of its spaces, which also suggests it doesn't want to. That GW caters to it suggests creeps are a good chunk of the fan base.

    From this I gather that the deep and dark emotions of 40k's "low status white man" fans aren't leading to growth, at least not past the poison in their souls in 1988. Instead it seems that portion of the fandom is stagnant, as emotionally stunted and morally bereft as it always has been, and that the company wants to keep its creepy core fandom happy, mollify its less creepy fandom, but mostly to sell more and more little plastic men and derivative products to as many people as it can. One can envision a world where 40K made an effort to broaden its fan base even if it pissed off reactionary fans - maybe it’s too grimdark an idea for GW.

    If we're folks that dislike fascism but like 40K, perhaps we need to grapple with that. I agree the universe of 40k isn't hard to reconcile as a nihilistic fantasy on a personal level, but I have more trouble reconciling myself to the fan base’s worst parts and the corporate decisions that support it. Still, I don’t see a lesson about masculinity in it, beyond masculinity being an easy thing to market to.

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    1. This is Gus rooting out ' fascists' on dragonsfoot: https://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=71308&start=30

      Your enthusiasm for 40k is fake, as is your performative moral flaunching. Every property that has had this treatment has been sanded down, gutted, and all of its richness and complexity ripped out so it can become consumable for casual audiences. You merely welcome its death.

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  14. I wonder if part of the problem here is that Warhammer 40K is fundamentally a tragedy, but people no longer really understand what "tragedy" means in the literary sense, so they reach for some other concept that they do understand (satire).

    An eternal war against implaccable opponents who want to destroy you will result in a totalising effort that corrupts your civilisation in response. But within that context you can try to be a hero all the same. Corporate PR people think this theme is too complicated.

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    1. Its a sound point. It has tragedy, satire, outright moral-horror, heroic identification, farcical comedy and lots of other themes and ways of seeing in it. Its not an outright singular thing.

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  15. Alright this is about as mental a comments section as I can tolerate without it being a drag on my day so I am closing to new comments.

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