Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect The Punk Effect. Thank you for your understanding.
There’s so much a man can tolerate. A crying child in a movie theater. Being stiffed on a tip multiple times in a row. Even being called something that one is particularly not. Still, there’s a famous quote that goes: “Even Buddha gets angry after being struck three times”. Well my friends, when it came to video games intermixing with politics, I think I and many others in my position have been struck a third, fourth, fifth, and likely the eleven billionth time. I refer to the recent news of the storyline for the upcoming Battlefield Hardline.
Before I go into further detail, a little background. If you gotten to know me over the few years through social media or have noticed the hints in my articles, I am a conservative with libertarian leanings. I’m also a proud supporter of the Tea Party movement and a member of the Scottsdale Tea Party. In addition, like a large percentage of the Tea Party’s members, I come from an ethnic background. Also I’m an avid gamer who enjoys spending his free time talking about, writing about, and playing video games.
Still something struck a chord after hearing the news coming from Gamescom in Germany this past weekend. The featured antagonists in the upcoming Battlefield Hardline is to be extremists Tea Party members who are also racists. At first glance I was like “wut” and “this can’t be true”. But knowing my curiosity of it all, I had to find out myself. Sadly it was true. I couldn’t believe it, Battlefield, one of the first games that got me into PC gaming, decided to “go full Family Guy” and label a peaceful political organization with many multicultural members as a mix of white-supremacist anti-government terrorists.
Why does he look like that nutbar Alex Jones?
Then I thought “oh great, this will be all over the video game journalism websites”. Lo and behold, as of August 17th, 2014, not one peep about this from the likes of IGN, Destructoid, or Kotaku (which is a really big surprise to me since Kotaku loves bashing the right at a drop of the dime). I wonder why? Maybe because they don’t care for the single player campaign? (nope) Maybe they haven’t fully dove into the Hardline’s storyline (nope, they saw it all and liked it). Maybe these websites like to stay out of political issues (Gawker-backed Kotaku is enough evidence right there).
I was enraged, shaking my head, and confused at the same time. I had to do something. I’m no the type of guy who lets bullshit pass me by and shake it off like it was nothing. I had to write. But I was so used to my light-hearted articles about everyday-life and weekly League of Legends articles, writing about something that is serious and dear to my heart and beliefs brought me great pain. My mind was torn between two thoughts:
“Geron, if you write about this, you’ll probably get a lot of backlash and hurtful criticism”
“Geron if you don’t write about this, you’ll regret it down the line and miss your chance to stand up for your beliefs”
After thinking about this and discussing this with various outside sources, I decided to write this article and defend not only my beliefs but the Tea Party’s beliefs/reputation in video game culture. However, I’m not here to be Alex Jones and yell and scream until the readers of this article are converted by force. I’m here to defend and support an organization that has been unfairly demonized for far too long while also giving a counter-argument/alternatives. I thank you readers in advance for reading and your understanding.
I. In Defense of the Tea Party / Addressing the Elephant in the Room
EA went the Family Guy route and demonized a friendly non-violent group.
You have no idea how much anger this episode stirred in me and other Tea Party members.
Now think about the same line of thought and put it in a video game.
In May of 2012, Family Guy released an episode called “Tea Peter” where basically was one 30-minute gigantic middle finger to the Tea Party from the liberal minds of Seth Macfarlane, littered with falsities and stereotypes of the Tea Party. I really don’t know how liberal-minded people passing themselves as “script writers” translated a group of people of different origins and backgrounds who wish for smaller government into a group of violent full-on anti-government racists that are unknowningly the puppets of “big evil corporations”. As much anger and frustration was building up inside of me (with the other reasons why I hate the series), I suppressed myself and didn’t resort to any sort of lashing out. I just let the frustration ball up inside of me, hoping it would go away. But like a wart sticking to one’s buttcheeks, it doesn’t go away if you ignore it.
Time passed and while there were a few bumps towards the Tea Party, nothing big made an impact popular culture-wise. Then came this Battlefield Hardline news. It was like the “Tea Peter” episode all over again. Once again through the use of pop culture (this time video games), the Tea Party was demonized into being full of racist, violent, anti-government extremists who hate “That there’s a black guy in the office”. EA and DICE pulled a page out of Seth’s book and instead of making a very intriguing storyline/background for their antagonists, they’d go for pure shock value via the use of falsities and stereotypes of a peaceful organization and its people. Bravo, developers and writers, you basically turned a FPS plotline into an episode of Family Guy.
Proving the Tea Party isn’t racist.
While this game and “popular” celebrities and organizations make claims that the Tea Party are racists, very few get the spotlight to fight back this horrid stereotype. And when they do they get jeered or laughed at. It saddens me really. It also saddens and offends those who belong to the Tea Party who are of a ethnic background.
People like: Ted Cruz (Cuban-American, Senator from Texas), Allen West (former US Representative, retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel), Alfonzo Rachel (African-American – Online Personality/Political Commentator of PJ Media), Kevin Jackson (African-American – Political Commentator/Owner of The Black Sphere Website), and many others. The list goes on. It just proves that the Tea Party isn’t racist. We welcome everyone of different backgrounds who are willing to stand up to big government. While there might be one or two people who might set the wrong example, the majority of good eliminates the element of bad.
Proving the Tea Party isn’t violent.
Ever since it’s formation in 2009, many rallies/events have been created and carried out across the nation. There has been no report of a rally every going violent. Sure there may have been a confrontation or two, but usually those end up being shouting matches between two oppositions, which is common when two organizations of differing beliefs are in the same space. However there have been virtually no reports of Tea Party rallies/events turning violent. I mean even the opposition admits that the Tea Party movement is non-violent (even though after saying that Harry Reid went back to putting his shoe in his mouth).
Anyway, I really don’t know where this notion/idea that the Tea Party is violent. I guess it was something thought up to demonize a practically non-violent organization. This is just proof that while the Tea Party is for gun rights and government overreach, they are against inciting violence amongst their fellow man.
The Gadsden Flag is a Symbol of Freedom, Not a Symbol of Hate
Adopted by the Tea Party, the famous Gadsden Flag (aka the “Don’t Tread on Me” Flag) serves as a symbol of liberty and freedom from an overreaching government. However through the years, in pop culture and in Hardline, they interpret as a some kind of war banner for violent anti-government extremists. I suggest whoever believes of this/came up with this false concept should read the history behind the flag.
II. Alternative Choices of Antagonists
Now that I have addressed the issues and defended the Tea Party, I want to state that I can’t change EA/DICE/VISCERAL’S establish storyline, as it’s already set in stone. I mean you know how much money it would cost to change everything in a video game these days? (despite the fact that EA has more money than God) I just think that they could have found some better alternatives to “evil racist anti-government Teabaggers with guns”. Why didn’t the developers/writers think of that? Was it because they dropped the ball on the subject? Was it because they ran out of ideas? Or was it because they wanted to go full shock and basically take ideas from their backlog of Law & Order SVU DVD boxsets? Who knows?
Still…there’s so many organizations out there that have had a history of using violence to get their point across. Here’s a few:
A. ECOTERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS (Earth Liberation Front, Animal Liberation Front)
You know, I haven’t seen many games where the main antagonists were ecoterrorist organization. The only one I can recall is AVALANCE from Final Fantasy VII (which when writing this article, I find it ironic that its one of my favorite games of all time). Still, why hasn’t there been many FPS games that deal with ecoterrorists, which have had a history of using violence to get their message across? (as seen here, here, and here). I think it would be an interesting plotline and set of antagonists, since we’ve all heard of such acts at least one time in our lifetime.
B. OCCUPY WALLSTREET
Okay, I’m likely gonna get some crap for this, but while we never heard of Tea Party movement ever being violent, we’ve heard of the many, many, many violent events that have gone on during the Occupy Wallstreet movement. With the amount of damage the movement has done and the reports of how violent the gatherings have gotten, if EA/DICE wanted to go for pure shock…why didn’t they look at one of the most obvious sources for politically-driven violence?
Which turns me to something else. There was going to be a game along these lines: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Patriots. I was actually really looking forward to that game (being a fan of Tom Clancy games and also it had a pretty good storyline), it’s a shame that it was scrapped so that resources could be made for Siege. Oh well, they might come back to that storyline. Or maybe…another company can pick up that storyline *wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more*.
C. CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS WITHOUT ANY POLITICAL AFFILIATION – MAFIA, CARTEL, ETC.
As we all know, Hardline’s single player campaign takes us away from the theater of war and into the shoes of a SWAT team member who is involved in taking out criminal activity. Then why on God’s green earth did they not go for something along the lines of criminal activity?! They could have gone with a cartel/mafia-based storyline and made a very elaborate, intriguing story for their single player campaign. Here I’ll try one out.
A SWAT team member finds out that instead of narcotics they intercepted from a Brazilian-based fishing ship being disposed of properly, it’s being wildly distributed in the streets and back alleys of New York and Long Island. He then finds out that there’s a set of moles in the SWAT team who happens to be working for the Columbian Cartel. Now he has to find the moles in his team, find out who’s been pulling the strings all this time, and find out the mastermind of this scheme (spoiler alert: it was the district attorney!).
Not so hard is it?
III. “It’s Just a Game” – Response and Closing Statements
Now, most likely the responses I’ll be getting from this article is that “it’s just a game”. Yes. I understand it’s a game. But it can still have an influence on the uninformed or those who blindly accept something displayed in front of them without making any effort of looking things up. In some way, the game subtly indoctrinates people with the false belief that the Tea Party is full of angry white racists who turn to violence because the president is black and not because of his policies. That’s what worries me, I’m not worried about the grown ups who actually think for themselves.
Another response I’ll be getting is “Geron, what about all those FPS where the main villains are always Russians or extreme Jihadists? Shouldn’t we allow to fight extremist right-wing racists?” Well, here’s the thing, if it was something like the Aryan nation, then yes I’m all for it, go crazy with the in-game M-16. But the Tea Party isn’t the Aryan nation or affiliated with any extremist right-wing group. Also, like before, I know the difference between the nice friendly Russians (like the family of barbers that cut my dad’s hair) and the violent Russian terrorists that want Eastern Europe to go back to the days of Hammer & Sickle.
In closing, I just want to say that I’m very disappointed with EA and DICE with this decision of antagonists for Hardline’s storyline. Instead of thinking creatively when it came to it, they simply just want to push a political belief based on falsities. That’s something I would have excepted out of cartoons aimed for older audiences or Capcom.
Anyway, thank you for reading. And I promise you I’ll be writing more Overthinking It articles, with “brighter” and “light-hearted” subjects.