There are a ton of things to pick up in Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, ranging from postcards and vinyl albums to newspaper clippings. Most of them are simply there to build out the game’s Nazi-ruled America, but one in particular makes fun of the magazine Mother Jones for a profile of Richard Spencer it ran exactly a year ago.
The article in question ran on October 27, 2016 and was titled “Meet The Dapper White Nationalist Who Wins Even If Trump Loses.” The fawning overview of one of the burgeoning alt-right’s self-identified leaders, Richard Spencer, tried to play up the apparent dissonance of a bigoted racist owning a suit and combing his hair. “An articulate and well-dressed former football player with prom-king good looks and a “fashy” (as in fascism) haircut—long on top, buzzed on the sides—Spencer has managed to seize on an extraordinary presidential election to give overt racism a new veneer of radical chic,” wrote Josh Harkinson, the piece’s author.
Then, nearly a month after the piece had originally been published and there was renewed interest in the far right forces that helped sweep Trump unexpectedly into office, Mother Jones tweeted the article out again:
The tweet blew up, drew outrage, and was promptly (and quietly) deleted by the magazine, which also went on to change the headline of the article to remove the reference to “dapper.” Many on the Internet still haven’t forgotten, and apparently some of the designers at MachineGames haven’t either.
Without going into spoilers, there’s a nuclear bunker in Manhattan that you travel to at one point in the game in search of a dossier (no, not that one). Down one of the bunker’s corridors are a few crates with some armor and ammunition around them. There’s also an edition of the newspaper Die Neue Wahrheit, which is German for “The New Truth.”
“Meet The Dapper Young KKK Leader With A Message Of Hope,” reads the headline. Some took it as a dig at Spencer, the man who most people probably only know for getting punched in the face. But it’s much more clearly a shot at Mother Jones and any other media outlet who decides to start getting cutesy about white supremacy. Mother Jones might have been first, but it was by no means the last. The L.A. Times, Washington Post, CNN, and even Out have all peddled similar stories at one time or another.
Wolfenstein 2 is a sci-fi horror shooter that uses “what if the Nazis won” to meditate on the United State’s own legacy of genocide the Nazi sympathies which bubbled up during World War II. Of course, those sympathies, and in some cases, violent enthusiasm, persist to this day. That’s why Mother Jones got dragged on social media for feeding into the cult of personality around Spencer last year and why, months after Heather Heyer was killed during the Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally last summer and the President of the United States continued to try and obfuscate the tragedy, it’s surreal to see a caricature of the magazine’s article fit so seamlessly into the grim world portrayed in the game.
The easter egg, after all, was ripped almost literally from the headlines.