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Wolfenstein Parody Thoughtfully Examines The Ethics Of Violence Against Nazis

You round a corner, finger wrapped around the trigger like a child clinging to a safety blanket. A nazi appears. You try to fire, but a mysterious force prevents you. Nazi magic? No, something much more sinister. You hear a voice: “Is it really OK to deny fascism a platform?” “Oh no,” you whisper. Then you die.

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That’s the basic setup of Dialogue 3D, a gag game made by Ramsey Nasser from the open source version of Wolfenstein. Any time you try to fight a nazi, dialogue boxes with some variation on, “Is punching nazis really alright?” pop up. If you hit “yes” or “no” in time, you shoot. If not, you die. Even if you do manage to fire your gun before dying, you’ll take a lot of damage while struggling against wishy-washy Discourse Demons.

It’s almost like the game is trying to say that when Good Liberals spend their time infighting over whether it’s OK to slug somebody who’s in favor of ethnic fucking cleansing (a historically effective tactic for preventing racist dickheads from overtaking communities), they’re standing still. Naturally, people playing by a completely different set of rules will take advantage of this, and you’ll suffer.

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Dialogue 3D is not exactly subtle! Nor is it entirely novel, given the number of memes going around about characters like Captain America and Indiana Jones punching nazis. Still, it’s a funny take on an exasperating subject, and goddamn could we all use a laugh right about now.

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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DISCUSSION

I wonder how many folks will take a swing at this and miss the implicit message; my guess is that the number will be fairly low, given that the initial audience is likely to be comprised primarily of folks who were already on board with the message the parody is trying to send—but still.

As for the existential questions of whether or not it is permissible to deny fascism a platform, or to punch Nazis, the answers are: Yes, and FUCK YES.

Not all ideas are equal, and not all deserve equal play. We teach (and I often have to deal with the products of said teaching) that all opinions matter, and that all views and values hold equal shrift—at least in the public school system. This is an outgrowth of the self-esteem coddling movement that permeated public schooling throughout the 90's and 00's, and continues today—and all it has done is created an environment in which every individual who’s ever thought, “Hey, I know better than all of history and political thought” believes they have just as much right to a public, wide-distribution platform as the person who’s actually trying to fucking help.

Bullshit.

I taught Rhet/Comp for ten years at the college level. In the beginning, most of my students would take the time to do careful research, pull from multiple sources, and form views and arguments based upon that research and those sources.

...toward the end, I got an awful lot of, “Well, this is what I feel,” and it became an exercise in titanic self-restraint to not say, “Feelings are not facts, snowflake; kindly familiarize yourself with a few well-vetted, thoroughly reviewed sources, and stop diving on the first thing that salves your personal confirmation bias.”

In the end, I walked away, and did something else with my life, as a stress-induced aneurysm in my mid-30's was not how I wanted to go out.

...but god damn, we’ve actually reached a point where people are saying, “We have to give folks espousing fascistic ideas equal time!”

The fuck we do. We did that already—actually, we’ve done it several times in our collective history as a species—and it has never turned out well.

Every now and then, it’s okay to look at past events as predictors of future outcomes—you don’t have to repeatedly test a broken ideology just to figure out that it’s fractured, fallacious, and all kinds of fucked-up.