pb783
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Apple removes games with Confederate battle flag from iTunes

Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:26 am

Reuters, The Hill and other news outlets are reporting that Apple has removed games from its iTunes store that feature the Confederate battle flag. Games include 'Ultimate General: Gettysburg' by Game-Labs, HexWar Games and several games by Hunted Cow.
"We're in no way sympathetic to the use of the flag in an offensive way, we used it purely because historically that was the flag that was used at the time," Andrew of HexWar Games told Touch Arcade. Touch Arcade said in its report that some developers plan to resubmit their games with the Stars and Bars, the first national flag of the Confederacy. But that the game companies were not sure if this change would meet Apple's new policy.
Apple submitted a statement saying it has removed games that feature the flag in an offensive or mean-spirited way. Apple says it is reaching out to developers affected by the change to resolve the issue. “We are not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses,” an Apple spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
"We are not going to amend the game's content and Ultimate General: Gettysburg will no longer be available on AppStore," a statement to Touch Arcade from Game-Labs says, "We really hope that Apple’s decision will achieve the desired results. We can’t change history, but we can change the future."
The change in policy follows a period of rising racial tension in the U.S. On June 17, nine people were killed at a prayer service in the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Among those killed was South Carolina State Senator Pastor Clementa C Pinkney.
Dylann Roof, a 21 year-old white supremacist was accused of the crime. Roof's social media was found to contain symbols of white supremacy including the battle flag of the Confederate States.
In South Carolina, flags were raised to half mast in honor of the dead. A notable exception was the battle flag of the Confederate States located on the grounds of the state capitol building.
Thousands demanded the flag be removed from government grounds. Calls included US President Barack Obama and several candidates for the US Presidency, the governor of South Carolina and its two US Senators. The South Carolina house voted to remove the flag while in special session.
Retailers joined the movement to remove the flag from sale, notably WalMart, Sears, KMart, Amazon and eBay. Warner Brothers announced a toy car from the television series The Dukes of Hazzard would be withdrawn from sale. The 'General Lee' toy prominently displayed a battle flag on its roof.
Several states associated with the Confederate States have joined the movement too. In Alabama a Confederate Blood Stained Banner was removed from state government grounds by order of the Alabama governor. In several other states moves were made to end the sale of vehicle license plates that feature Confederate flags. In Texas a decision to refuse to sell Confederate flag license plates predated the killings. The U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the state's decision on June 18.

Update 1>> June 26, 2015 at 11.30A UTDS to reflect BuzzFeedNews quote from Apple spokesperson. (Thank you to B0rn_C0nfused).

submitted by Patrick Boylan as pb783 based on media reports.

pb783
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:28 am

This could get heated. Please try to control your worst tendencies. I have written this using my real name and using a journalistic style. If it needs to be moved, I will not argue. However it is something I was discussing with another gamer earlier today.

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tripax
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:42 am

Is CW2 affected, was it for sale on itunes? Is itunes the same as the apple app store?

Edit: My question isn't meant to be a comment on the story itself, I just don't like apple products much and itunes for windows in particular and don't really know the answer to these questions.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:49 am

tripax wrote:Is CW2 affected, was it for sale on itunes? Is itunes the same as the apple app store?


No, ACW2 is not affected. It is available for download to PC. Slitherine sells a number of games on the iTunes store, but there are no Civil War titles. The terms iTunes and AppStore, in this story, are the same.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:56 am

I remember when they decided to go with the Stars & Bars, the original flag
of the CSA. Smart decision. Most of the "Confederate" flag sympathizers
don't even know it's the battle flag, and was never officially the flag of the
CSA. It was used as a part of it, but not the whole thing, and for only the
last year or so of the war (The Stainless Banner). Having grown up in the
South and seen it used as a symbol of hate I am happy to see CW2 use
the Stars & Bars.
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BattleVonWar
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:56 am

Patrick, I tend to ponder if removal of the symbol will actually change things. I think that people are overly focused on a symbol rather than the actual problem at hand. While I watched McFarland USA, I could not help but feel very cheated in that at the precise time and place of the movie(I was a short drive away) I was facing in school racism, the School Board refused to address and never did from Staff and Students.
I received an apology from one of the individuals I went to school with some months later but never the actual staff. No symbol was needed but forevermore I was left with a feeling that Racism is at the heart of America. Been here from the beginning and will be an issue for many generations to come. No actions of discipline or correction were ever taken place for that wrong nor will ever be taken. (this story can be repeated thousands of times over everywhere and to much more severe degrees)

Furthermore, in Germany the Swatika is illegal. Though it's protected here as well as the Rebel flag. Usually in most war games an Iron Cross will replace a Swatika except one or two I've played. They've slipped beneath the radar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post%E2%80%93World_War_II_legality_of_Nazi_flags#United_States

I don't know if there is a good reason that either items should be protected, perhaps our constitution is tired and needs revamping. Regardless, I think that people should focus a lot less on symbols(Although that's easier said than done if you were a victim beneath them) after 150 years it's hard to believe there is anyone left alive who can actually recollect such an experience. Why not focus more on mending the community, and holding hands and being supportive of one another. : )
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:16 am

pb783 wrote:Reuters, The Hill and other news outlets are reporting that Apple has removed games from its iTunes store that feature the Confederate battle flag. Games include 'Ultimate General: Gettysburg' by Game-Labs, HexWar Games and several games by Hunted Cow.
"We're in no way sympathetic to the use of the flag in an offensive way, we used it purely because historically that was the flag that was used at the time," Andrew of HexWar Games told Touch Arcade. Touch Arcade said in its report that some developers plan to resubmit their games with the Stars and Bars, the first national flag of the Confederacy. But that the game companys were not sure if this change would meet Apple's new policy.
Apple submitted a statement saying it has removed games that feature the flag in an offensive or mean-spirited way. Apple says it is reaching out to developers affected by the change to resolve the issue.
"We are not going to amend the game's content and Ultimate General: Gettysburg will no longer be available on AppStore," a statement to Touch Arcade from Game-Labs says, "We really hope that Apple’s decision will achieve the desired results. We can’t change history, but we can change the future."
The change in policy follows a period of rising racial tension in the U.S. On June 17, nine people were killed at a prayer service in the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Among those killed was South Carolina State Senator Pastor Clementa C Pinkney.
Dylann Roof, a 21 year-old white supremacist was accused of the crime. Roof's social media was found to contain symbols of white supremacy including the battle flag of the Confederate States.
In South Carolina, flags were raised to half mast in honor of the dead. A notable exception was the battle flag of the Confederate States located on the grounds of the state capitol building.
Thousands demanded the flag be removed from government grounds. Calls included US President Barack Obama and several candidates for the US Presidency, the governor of South Carolina and its two US Senators. The South Carolina house voted to remove the flag while in special session.
Retailers joined the movement to remove the flag from sale, notably WalMart, Sears, KMart, Amazon and eBay. Warner Brothers announced a toy car from the television series The Dukes of Hazzard would be withdrawn from sale. The 'General Lee' toy prominently displayed a battle flag on its roof.
Several states associated with the Confederate States have joined the movement too. In Alabama a Confederate Blood Stained Banner was removed from state government grounds by order of the Alabama governor. In several other states moves were made to end the sale of vehicle license plates that feature Confederate flags. In Texas a decision to refuse to sell Confederate flag license plates predated the killings. The U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the state's decision on June 18.

submitted by Patrick Boylan as pb783 based on media reports.


PB783-This is the full quote from apple, I see you only put part of it in your original post. "We have removed apps from the App Store that use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways, which is in violation of our guidelines,” an Apple spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "We are not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses."

I am not saying I am for or against what apple did. However at least for me, the entire quote posted above is a little different then what I feel your post implied.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:25 am

At another board we also have a discussion about it and in my opinion it's rather silly to remove a game just because of this flag.
A grown up citizen should be mature & smart enough to know the HUGE difference between the a-holes that wave such a flag on a white supremacy demonstration and a bunch of wargamers, participants of reenactments, model builders, etc. that use the flag for pure flavor & authenticity.

And so I just hope the US doesn't follow the course of my own banana republic and simply bans the confederate battle flag completely from public, if so we all can look forward to an reenactment of Pickets charge led by a "My little Pony" flag.

The all the greedy businesses act like this is natural, they fear losses in their pockets so they act, disgusting but typical.
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veji1
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:09 am

In a sense this is an overreaction from Apple, but it alsor mirrors what many companies have done regarding the Swavitska flag, with the difference that in the latter case it is often based on legislation : Hearts of Iron didn't use the nazi flag because in many european countries it would have made selling the game illegal. There are always mods around for those kind of games.

What I find surprising in the Apple statement is that they talk about using the confederate flag in "offensive or mean-spirited way". Surely a plain wargame wouldn't qualify ? This isn't a FPS where you play a slave owner shooting slaves or some other offensive type of use.

Anyway, as always history is written by the victors, no company editor would suggest banning the union jack, the flag of the state who invented concentration camps during the Boer Wars, or the french flag because of the wars of decolonisation in Algeria or Indochina.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:15 am

This is beginning to get ridiculous, nay it got ridiculous long ago, but I have kept quiet. It would have been tasteless to defend the symbols of the Old Southern Confederacy in the close aftermath of what happened in Charleston, even if the racist lunatic in question was misusing them. I did not even particularly care about the potential for the flags to be removed from the State Capitols, as most of them were only put there in response to the civil rights movement, or at least federal attempts to enforce it, and would be quite happy to bury that episode of our history and the behavior of my countrymen during it.

But this is beyond absurd. If you are offended by the presence of a symbol in its proper historical context, be it a game, reenactment, or a gift shop at a Civil War battlefield (yes the National Park service has stopped selling as well) then tough luck for you. No one has any inherent right not to be offended. Hate speech is banned and rightly so but the various symbols of the Old Southern Confederacy do not constitute hate speech in and of themselves. It is how you use them and not that you use them. Rarely have I been so disgusted by the sheer cowardice shown by people in positions of authority. This is being done not as a genuine and admirable attempt to build a more equitable society, but as a worthless bone thrown to the uncaring masses so as to allay criticism of the fact that nothing is being done against actual and genuine discrimination that occurs to greater and lesser degrees to this day. At best, this craven attempt to win votes amongst certain populations is a nasty symptom of modern politics and the 24 hour news cycle. At worst it represents a petty attempt to cover for any perceived past statements or actions carried out by the politicians, corporations, and agencies involved.

Letting one racist, disgusting, bigoted, and insane mass murderer define what whole symbols mean, and even shape the whole discourse of national politics is beyond appalling. Norway had the good sense not to let Anders Brevik do it, but apparently we lack even that level of common sense here in the United States. A single extremist is used as a caricature of an entire group of people who are in the vast majority kind and well adjusted individuals. Where have we heard that before? This isn't a criticism of the left in particular, although they are the main group in question here. This is a criticism of people in general who tend to represent any out-group as a ridiculous caricature of its worst traits. I have long done my best to defend my Southern brothers and sisters before my peers and the people in the part of the country I have been moved to, but how can I do that if I enter the discourse when the preconception of any pride in being a Southerner is that it represents bigotry?

In the end a flag is just an inanimate object. It is given meaning by those who hold it just as any other object and has no inherent meaning by itself. A gun in the hands of a police officer or a responsible citizen is a comforting symbol and one of protection. A gun in the hands of a criminal or a drunk is a threat and a symbol of danger. So too is it with flags. I doubt anyone here would accuse me of prejudice, I would hope that I have demonstrated to those who know me that I bear no ill will against anyone. And yet I do not shy away from displays of pride in the South and in the valiant conduct of most of the Southern army during the war so long ago. To me it brings images of that bravery, of men fighting for their homes because that is what the plain folk of the old south believed they were fighting for, of that July Day so eloquently remembered in Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust. That is true of most of my countrymen whether they reach my level of fervor or not.

I will not deny that our aristocrats forced the issue of secession so long ago over Slavery. That is what they fought for, but the flags hold different meaning for us now and indeed held then for the vast majority of Southerners. Japan carries the same banners as it did in the darkest hours of its Imperial past, and indeed many Chinese and Koreans are offended by their presence. But no sane commentator insists they carry the same meaning now as they did then and no one calls for their banning from the face of the Earth. Why are the descendants of Imperial Japan, who waged wars of aggression, who murdered tens of millions of people in ways that stretched the limit of human barbarism, who enslaved far more people than the Old South ever held in bondage, and who did so a mere 75 years ago instead of 150 redeemable, but our people and symbols are not? I cannot begin to emphasize the absurdity of this.

In short, almost no one save a few lunatics who bears the flag of my forefathers today bears the selection of awful views that causes this controversy and others like it, and to condemn our symbols whilst letting others who have committed far worse sins in their past go uncommented upon is absurd. So to is letting a single lunatic dictate the discourse of our national politics and the meaning of the symbols of Southern Heritage whilst attempting to use the issue to cleanse ones self of past statements like certain politicians or to win votes cheap votes without doing anything to address the underlying issues which led to this tragedy. I cannot and will not condone the wiping away and suppression of pride in the Southern Heritage and the remarkable level of resistance we put up in our rebellion so long ago for the sake of preventing some from being offended, and certainly not for the far more likely sake of taking distasteful advantage of a tragedy to win votes and nothing more. You want to talk to me about genuine ways to decrease racism in our society and I am happy to listen, but the flags of my fathers do not constitute it.
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:33 am

While I think their decision to pull those titles off their store is an overreaction in some ways, I get why they're doing it. A company is in the business of making money and they will always try to make decisions that will impact their bottom line in a positive manner. IMO, this isn't a case of Apple implementing this because of some new found principle of theirs. This is a case of them seeing a shift in popular opinion due to largely to recent events. Yes, the Rebel flag will always having a polarizing aspect within our country and to a lesser extent outside the USA. And there have always been vocal critics on both sides of this issue. But at least for the present, there seems to a larger wave against the rebel flag. Whether this has a long term staying power or if it is just another 'fad' that the general public will drop after getting bored with it remains to be seen.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:35 am

Project Pasha, I understand your point but I think a distinction that could be made with the flags of Japan or, as i said in my post the UK (inventors of concentration camps in the Boer War) or France (decolonisation wars in Algeria or Indochina) is that those flags are symbols of a lot more because they predated those ghastly episodes of their history. So the Union Jack is a flag of a bigger history since the act of union, and the French flag was also the flag of freedom and democracy and the french revolution;

the fact is that the CSA existed for merely 4 years, as an entity that declared independence to maintain slavery and was dissolved as it was defeated, so even though for many people in the south it has meant a lot more than that and at some periods of time it was seen as a symbol of a form of freedom / carefree(ness) etc, it remains at its heart the symbol of one single episode of history : that war to maintain slavery.

I am not condoning the overreactions, but I think this is a significant difference.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:54 am

I mean we all know this kind of conversation topic can be extremely flamable and I am very happy we are all being very civil so far, but it is a complicated and touchy matter and sometimes we forget what symbols can mean when they don't impact us.

I am french, I know american history quite well from a "theoretical" point of view but I am not american, this isn't in my bones, this isn't my land and its history isn't mine. But to be honest with you when I watch the video of a black guy being shot by the police in the back while he runs away because he doesn't want to go to jail for missed alimony, when you read all what happened to that Gray kid in Baltimore, when you then just look at the stats of how many young black men are "missing" because they are in jail sometimes for a very long time because of petty drug offenses, well I imagine what if I was a young black man living in Charleston ? What if even though my parents took good care of me, even if I have gone to a good university and have a nice job, I had the feeling that if I am riding in my old grandma's car with my friends odds are so much higher the police is going to control me than if I weren't black ? etc...

Well if we look at how much that racial issue still impacts the way black people are treated and represented, not because the majority of people or the police would be racist, but more because subconscious prejudice is just so deeply ingrained, well with that in mind isn't that flag the symbol of something that is still hurting the US today ?

There is no easy answer.

To go back to game playing experience, I remember playig Hearts of Iron a few years back and I had the opportunity of visiting a concentration camp in the former east Germany, and read more about Sobibor, etc.. Well I just could'nt play it anymore for awhile. I had been innocently playing with my Rommel led tank columns roaming the Ukrainien countryside when history came back with a bang and I remembered the ersatztruppen, Babi Yar, Sobibor, the Warsaw ghetto, etc... And it took me awhile to just forget all this and start playing wargames "innocently" again.

Anyway. didn't mean to sidetrack the conversation, but It really is a tough issue. What Apple does isn't driven by morals in anyway, just a matter of bottom line, but the overall issue remains. If life in the US was the same for a black or white kid, if young black men didn't have 1 chance in 7 of serving time in jail, if if if, then the issue probably wouldn't exist, this flag would be consigned in history, devoid of much meaning today and be largely a non issue. But the issue remains and so the flag that embodies it is whether we want it or not a source of discomfort to many.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:47 am

B0rn_C0nfused wrote:PB783-This is the full quote from apple, I see you only put part of it in your original post. "We have removed apps from the App Store that use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways, which is in violation of our guidelines,” an Apple spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "We are not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses."

I am not saying I am for or against what apple did. However at least for me, the entire quote posted above is a little different then what I feel your post implied.


Noted and updated. Thanks.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:22 pm

Confederate flag on a pickup truck in Pennsylvania = racist
Confederate flag in a video game about the civil war = not racist

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:30 pm

pb783 wrote:Noted and updated. Thanks.


That is indeed what Apple says. However, it has removed Ultimate General: Gettysburg from the App Store. Whether this is temporary, or the game got caught up in an indiscriminate sweep, remains to be seen.

While I believe there is room for discussion about the removal of the flag from statehouses and statehouse grounds, the overreaction of retailers is alarming. To my knowledge there have been no polls showing a shift in public opinion regarding the sale of the flag, and indeed there couldn't have been when Walmart, who was the first retailer to announce they would stop selling the flag, did so. Instead, I suspect activists have contacted these retailers and either pressured or threatened these large retailers to remove these items or face boycotts and protests. At the very least there are organized anti-flag campaigns on social media, which are creating an impression of public opinion but, I would argue, are not an accurate reflection of it. In fact, sales have of flag items have increased since this controversy began. Further, the National Park Service has asked asked its bookstore partners to pull stand-alone flag items from shelves, which demonstrates the federal government is exerting pressure as well.

In any event, what we are enacting is form of self-censorship which is both foolish and dangerous. Foolish because the General Lee (a car with a Stars and Bar flag on its roof from a cheesy 1970s TV show) is no longer for sale, while Nazi, New Black Panther, and other racist organizations have memorabilia and material available for purchase from some of the very same retailers. Dangerous because the discussion is already moving into what book covers authors might be able to use on Amazon in the future and how video game developers will be able produce or market their products, even when the flag is being used in an historical context. I consider this a circumvention of the First Amendment. Further, it's dangerous because individuals are pushing the discussion beyond the flag to monuments, several of which have experienced vandalism in the last few days, and even to other historical objects which have no connection to the flag but which some might consider offensive. Scrubbing history is a dangerous process to start, and is not easily stopped.

And all this is because a mentally unstable, drug-addled felon who illegally possessed a firearm posed with a Star-and-Bars before horrifically massacring nine people. I really wish we Americans were still capable of rationally discussing the underlying issues fueling such events rather than reacting out of emotional hysteria.
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 3:00 pm

Utterly and completely ludicrous. There is a tsunami going on here in the United States. The dominoes are falling. I would say that the end game is to remove all traces that there ever was a Confederacy; however, the forces at work here have no end-game. They are constantly pushing everything further & further left. It will never end for them. I am sickened by what I see going on in America.

I hope that Ageod will stay true to historical gaming.
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:16 pm

Idiotic decision by Apple, no doubt about it.

Nevertheless, I would like to add a couple of thoughts and/or reflections

- I will refrain from the Apple hater vs fanboy debate. I happily use Apple products both for work and entertainment (iPhone, iPad, iMac). But for more than 20 years I was a PC/Windows user, and actually built almost from scratch my last PC before buying a 2011 iMac. It was fun, but in the end now I have better things to do than screwing bolts and updating drivers. OSx is a delight to work with, and I only use Windows (in dual boot) for playing games, really.

- We must remember that war-games are irrelevant to Apple, the same way as unfortunately Apple is irrelevant for war-games and war-gamers. The market of true war-games for OSx is simply non-existent, much to the responsibility of game developers and wargamers alike. But this being a niche market, it is understandable. Nevertheless, the issue for Apple are not war-games, for sure, it is just a matter of business.

- Apple may be just the start. It is more than likely that other companies will follow through with the CSA flag ban. Let's wait what will happen if/when Steam also bans games with the CSA battle flag on it...

Nevertheless, in all this a huge amount of hypocrisy is evident IMHO, in much more than one way:

- Racism is very much a reality, but not only in the southern USA; in the whole world the racist trait of humanity is present, we can only pretend it is not. I am not condoning in either way racism, on the contrary, we just have to remember that the fight to become a better society is never ended, and will never be if we just pretend everything is ok. and banning the CSA flag will not solve it.

- Of course the CSA flag (anyone of them), being part of American history, is nevertheless a symbol of a state/ideology that defended, like many others before and after it, the horrible (but inherent to all history of mankind until today) institution of slavery. And one thing is playing a game with little sprites or counters with it, another is to fly it over a state capitol (I honestly did not know this was the case ! :bonk :) .

- But we, historical war-gamers or strategy gamers, are also a bit hypocrite, IMHO. Of course, playing as german in a war-game, even with waffen-SS units well depicted does not equal in any way that a player is a neo-nazi !! But we happily replay the vast history of humanity wars, forgetting or discarding the terrible atrocities that all wars, more or less, always imply. We may love to play as imperial Rome against Spartacus rebellion, but do not think about the 6000 slaves crucified between Capua and Rome after their defeat. We can play as Mithridates against the evil romans, and not even know that by his orders more than 80.000 italian civilians, including women and children were butchered in Asia Minor cities. We happily play as germans in Barbarossa campaign or a Japanese in the Pacific war, maybe even worrying about the fate of each and every airforce pilot that existed, but do not care about Sobibor of the Nanking massacre. And even if we just "care" about battles, we happily enjoy checking the butcher´s bill of our battles, not remembering for the most partthat in the real Gettysburg (or Waterloo, or Pharsalus, etc), thousands of real young men lost their lives in horrible ways.

Are we, then, inherently evil or perverse people ? Are war-games "offensive or mean-spirited" ?
I do not think so, of course not. But IMHO, wargaming, or even most forms of gaming in general that depict, one way or another, violent facets of our history or personality, are an evolved, innocent and highly civilised way of sublimation of humanity inherently violent streak - at least much better than watching gladiatorial fights :)
But we must not forget the reality we are roleplaying or that surrounds us...


Sorry for a bit of rambling.

Best regards and...happy gaming :)
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elxaime
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 5:46 pm

I support removing Confederate flags from public property, pursuant to the decision of whomever has authority over that, e.g. state, local, federal, executive or legislative. For example, if South Carolina lowers the flag, it will happen through an act of the legislative process. Pro and Anti forces can have it our peacefully in the court of public opinion and battle through ballots.

But I also think the USA must respect its 1st Amendment and allow the freedom of private expression. Private citizens and companies should be able to use and display the Confederate flag as they please. Apple like other companies tries to market to the broadest possible audience. But I think the Confederate flag has a historical meaning that should be respected. How else are we to teach history if we cannot use the emblems of the time? Apple made a bad call, an uninformed call, in my opinion.

I realize countries deal with this differently. In Europe the Swastika is banned. However you can go to Asia today and see it on temples and on symbols around chains on people's necks, since it was a Buddhist symbol before it was appropriated by the Nazis. I am by no means a fan of the Confederate cause. But this is getting out of hand.

Play Universalis IV and you will see many tarnished banners waving. Tamerlane built a mountain of human skulls when he conquered Baghdad - do we ban his banner? Much of the wealth of the Spanish Empire under the Hapsburgs and Bourbons was funded through slavery and the expropriation indigenous property in the Americas. Do we replace their flags in that game? A lot of people think the USA was on the wrong side in 1900 by suppressing the Philippine Insurrection - do we ban the flag of that time (I forget how many stars it had in 1900)? The French overthrew their monarchs - are we offending today's French Republic by allowing the royal banners to wave over the French troops in a wargame of the Seven Years War? Once you start down this road the madness will never end.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:58 pm

In this thread I have read unfounded accusations of conspiracy in distributers removing the "confederate" flag from their product pallet and accusations that those wishing to remove it from the South Carolina state capital (it's now also being discussed about removing it from the state flag of Alabama) do not understand the historical context of the flag. However I have yet to hear anybody mention the actual historical context of the 'confederate' flag in question, the one being displayed wide spread and which actually played very little role in the Confederacy.

The use of the 'confederate' flag in question started to proliferate in the public in the early 60's at a time when the federal government started to support the rights of black Americans and to persecute segregation. It was being used specifically as a symbol of racism and a resistance to the federal government's efforts to abolish government organized racism, and it a symbol of just that in the minds of an overwhelming majority of the public to this day.

We can discuss what the Confederacy was, what it's symbols were and how we should deal with their use, but the context of the 'confederate' flag now being discussed has far less to do with the history of the American Civil War and far more to do the the repression and persecution of American citizens because of the color of their skin up to the present day.
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BigDuke66
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 7:14 pm

Yes one could see these flags that were raised because of taking up a opposite position on the Civil Rights movement differently than those used in the Civil War.
Nonetheless the Civil War flag stands for preserving the South but also the "Institution" and so it shouldn't wonder that a large part of the US society who's ancestors had to bear the unbearable is obviously offended by both flags.

BTW looking at the US state flags I only see Mississippi as problematic, others state flags seem to differ so much from the battle flag that I doubt they should be changed.
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 7:53 pm

Captain_Orso wrote:In this thread I have read unfounded accusations of conspiracy in distributers removing the "confederate" flag from their product pallet and accusations that those wishing to remove it from the South Carolina state capital (it's now also being discussed about removing it from the state flag of Alabama) do not understand the historical context of the flag. However I have yet to hear anybody mention the actual historical context of the 'confederate' flag in question, the one being displayed wide spread and which actually played very little role in the Confederacy.

The use of the 'confederate' flag in question started to proliferate in the public in the early 60's at a time when the federal government started to support the rights of black Americans and to persecute segregation. It was being used specifically as a symbol of racism and a resistance to the federal government's efforts to abolish government organized racism, and it a symbol of just that in the minds of an overwhelming majority of the public to this day.

Anyway in this context Wall mart not selling this flag anymore sounds like a justified move to me, but apple not selling some wargames because the flag is in there.. That sounds bogus.

We can discuss what the Confederacy was, what it's symbols were and how we should deal with their use, but the context of the 'confederate' flag now being discussed has far less to do with the history of the American Civil War and far more to do the the repression and persecution of American citizens because of the color of their skin up to the present day.


True, this is why the confederate flag should stay where it belongs : in the past. In this context the confederate flag in a wargame about the period doesn't sound shocking to me. The confederate flag on a pole in front of a state Senate shouldn't be possible, and on someone's lawn, well I would leave it to the american people to decide, but if I am a black american and I walk past a yard where that flag proudly stands... Well I suppose I wouldn't like it.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:07 pm

Captain_Orso wrote: However I have yet to hear anybody mention the actual historical context of the 'confederate' flag in question, the one being displayed wide spread and which actually played very little role in the Confederacy.

The use of the 'confederate' flag in question started to proliferate in the public in the early 60's at a time when the federal government started to support the rights of black Americans and to persecute segregation. It was being used specifically as a symbol of racism and a resistance to the federal government's efforts to abolish government organized racism, and it a symbol of just that in the minds of an overwhelming majority of the public to this day.

We can discuss what the Confederacy was, what it's symbols were and how we should deal with their use, but the context of the 'confederate' flag now being discussed has far less to do with the history of the American Civil War and far more to do the the repression and persecution of American citizens because of the color of their skin up to the present day.


Yes, the flag in question was an outgrowth of the Dixiecrat movement which began after the end of WWII, a movement which promoted racial segregation as a state right and which led to a resurgence of the Klu Klux Klan and its violence. Given that history, I think it is reasonable to have a discussion about removing that flag from public buildings, as display at those buildings can be directly linked to a movement which advocated racial discrimination, abuse, and murder. Personally I support removal.

However, that debate is being conflated to the point that any sale, display, or depiction of this particular flag, even in an historical context, is now inappropriate, which I object to. This has been done because of an alleged public outcry, yet a Google search turns up no polls showing how people feel about Confederate paraphernalia. (The one recent poll I did find showed only 20% of people support keeping the flags above public buildings). A 2011 poll showed "30 percent of Americans reported a negative reaction to seeing the flag on display. But the majority, 58 percent, reported feeling neither positive nor negative." It is possible this has changed significantly in the last five years, especially in light of recent events, but there is no empirical proof that yet. Therefore I conclude that the companies who have removed flag items for sale did so under pressure, or to avoid pressure, especially since sales of such items have increased as this debate has become more heated. The fact these business continue to sell other racially offensive materials also suggests to me this self-censorship has little to do with any new-found moral compunction. At the very least, it shows their removal of flag items is a knee-jerk reaction to a perceived public outcry which has yet to be supported by facts.

As private companies, these businesses have the right to decide what to sell. However, as distributors (and in some cases distributors who have achieved near-monopoly status) of intellectual property such as books, movies, music, artwork, and video games their willingness or unwillingness to sell items has an impact on how people either choose or able to exercise their free speech. Whatever their motivations, I believe their imposition of this soft censorship sets a dangerous precedent for free speech, which ultimately exists to protect unpopular speech. If the "Confederate" flag can be banned due to public opinion, what can't? There's already discussions about removing monuments and other "offensive" symbols associated with the Confederacy.

It may be hard to understand for people who haven't lived in the US, it's hard for some of us who live here to wrap our heads around, but same the "Confederate" flag which some adopted as a symbol of hate and segregation is today used by many as symbol of individual liberty. Being from born in New York and having spent most of my life in the North, I've never used this flag or felt about it in that way. However, having lived in the South at various points of my life I would bet the vast, vast majority of people who display the flag do so in that manner and don't use it in a racial context. This also helps explain why you see the flag so often outside the South. Certainly the racial connotations still exist, and there are some who use this flag in that manner, but it is a decided minority. People committing crimes under this flag should be punished for those crimes. Given the flag's multiple meanings I believe it's inappropriate to have flying on or at public buildings, where it could be construed as government support for illegal policies such as segregation, but it shouldn't be eliminated from public life. The US Constitution protects your right to free speech, it says nothing about being offended.
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:35 pm

BigDuke66 wrote:BTW looking at the US state flags I only see Mississippi as problematic, others state flags seem to differ so much from the battle flag that I doubt they should be changed.


First, I was concerned, when I posted this article (I wrote this BTW) that comments could become heated. They have not, in general. I think if the discussion stays on the topic of toys and games depiction of the flag, and not get personal, the conversation can remain civil. :)

A number of former members of the Confederate States have imagery of their membership in their state flags. It is outside the narrow parameters of depicting the Battle Flag in toys and games. However, it is interesting. The McClatchy Newspaper Group has a good summary of that issue. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/06/24/271055/confederate-flag-imagery-in-state.html

UPDATE: The McCathchy story may have been based on a more extensive report in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/21/how-the-confederacy-lives-on-in-the-flags-of-seven-southern-states/

As a miniature gamer I'm wondering if there will continue to be a market for the battle flag?

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:38 pm

Keeler wrote:It may be hard to understand for people who haven't lived in the US, it's hard for some of us who live here to wrap our heads around, but same the "Confederate" flag which some adopted as a symbol of hate and segregation is today used by many as symbol of individual liberty. Being from born in New York and having spent most of my life in the North, I've never used this flag or felt about it in that way. However, having lived in the South at various points of my life I would bet the vast, vast majority of people who display the flag do so in that manner and don't use it in a racial context. This also helps explain why you see the flag so often outside the South. Certainly the racial connotations still exist, and there are some who use this flag in that manner, but it is a decided minority. People committing crimes under this flag should be punished for those crimes. Given the flag's multiple meanings I believe it's inappropriate to have flying on or at public buildings, where it could be construed as government support for illegal policies such as segregation, but it shouldn't be eliminated from public life. The US Constitution protects your right to free speech, it says nothing about being offended.


When I wrote this I tried to consider how non-Americans would understand some issues. I also broke some AP rules so that overseas readers would have a better understanding of how this is playing out in the US.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:01 pm

Apparently Apple has backed off. That is very good news

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Cardinal Ape
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Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:07 pm

It has always bothered me that these racists use the Confederate battle flag as their symbol when they clearly should be using the Stainless Banner.

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Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:01 pm

Captain_Orso wrote:In this thread I have read unfounded accusations of conspiracy in distributers removing the "confederate" flag from their product pallet and accusations that those wishing to remove it from the South Carolina state capital (it's now also being discussed about removing it from the state flag of Alabama) do not understand the historical context of the flag. However I have yet to hear anybody mention the actual historical context of the 'confederate' flag in question, the one being displayed wide spread and which actually played very little role in the Confederacy.

The use of the 'confederate' flag in question started to proliferate in the public in the early 60's at a time when the federal government started to support the rights of black Americans and to persecute segregation. It was being used specifically as a symbol of racism and a resistance to the federal government's efforts to abolish government organized racism, and it a symbol of just that in the minds of an overwhelming majority of the public to this day.

We can discuss what the Confederacy was, what it's symbols were and how we should deal with their use, but the context of the 'confederate' flag now being discussed has far less to do with the history of the American Civil War and far more to do the the repression and persecution of American citizens because of the color of their skin up to the present day.


Well put. In the USA, the Civil War battles themselves may long be over, but the war over its meaning has never ended. And as a modern political symbol, the Confederate Battle Flag is fair game for debate.

You can best understand the full context not just by studying the US Civil War, but also Reconstruction and the Jim Crow laws. The date of 1896 stands out for Plessy v Ferguson, a US Supreme Court decision which allowed state "separate but equal" laws to stand. There is a long history of the post-war use of the Confederate flag not just to remember heritage, but to wave in the face of attempts to end de facto and de jure discrimination. People often looked aside for political reasons - they needed southern votes for an election or the approval of a southern Congressman on a key committee. The tragedy in Charleston has taken on greater meaning because I think the USA is at an inflection point. The power of the good ol' boys isn't what it once was.

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1stvermont
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Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:19 pm

Time to boycott apple for stupidity and political correctness. Given confederates were democrat I am offened by any democrat sigh or flag, I want their imidate removal from all public places.
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Southern solider about northern General Sherman

"Angels went to receive his body from his grave but he was not there, they left very disappointed but upon return to haven, found he had outflanked them and was already there".
Northern newspaper about the death of Stonewall Jackson

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tripax
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Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:46 pm

Cardinal Ape wrote:It has always bothered me that these racists use the Confederate battle flag as their symbol when they clearly should be using the Stainless Banner.


I keep thinking thoughts like this but from a different perspective. Thomas Jefferson, to take an easy example, had some ideas that we find repugnant today. If racists had used two dollar bills and nickles instead of the battle flag, we'd be arguing about changing our currency.

I think that slavery and racism as represented by the Confederacy is horrible and that honor, self-reliance, and perseverance (among many other traits) represented by the confederacy is laudable. When I see a picture of Jefferson I am aware of his repugnant traits, but I think more about his great ones. The same is true when I see a picture of some of my less law abiding relatives. When I see Confederate symbols in a national historic site or a historic video game or movie, it is similar - I am aware of the good and the bad and that to many the symbol is meant to represent the good.

The difference, and it is a big difference, is that Confederate symbols became symbols of white supremacy while pictures of Jefferson became symbols of equality. Jefferson's biggest failures may include a part of his life that many of us take to be the most important, his mistress and his children lived as slaves for much or all of their lives. Very few people praise him for those failures and we can safely use him as a symbol of things that make the US great. The Confederacy's biggest failures were just as fundamental in a way. If people did not praise those failures, we could safely choose to use the Confederacy as a symbol of certain things that make the US great. I see all of this hubbub as the cost people with a historical are heritage based interest in the Confederacy must pay because of the use of the confederacy as a symbol of hate.

All that said, I'm not sure what I think should be happening. My gut feeling is that we are being too sensitive, but also that we are too slow to speak out when we see racism and white supremacy in others.

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