A Plea For Parody

Games Workshop needs to take 40K back to its roots- it’s stupid, ridiculous, mocking roots; let me tell you why.

40K used to be fun.

I don’t mean that in a whiney “waaaaaah geedubya ruined my game” sort of way. I mean it in a more literal sense, in that the 40K universe used to have humor as a central aspect of it and was often downright goofy. Your Space Marine could get eaten by a giant clam. Your hero could die from having a snotling teleported into their brain. You could legally field a unit named Obiwan Sherlock Clousseau. It wasn’t something you were supposed to take seriously, because the game wasn’t serious- it was a parody.

This parody element of the game was critical to understanding the Imperium and the 40K universe at large- none of it really made sense, because it was never really supposed to make sense. The Imperium weren’t the good guys, because there were no good guys- everyone was bad and wrong, and everything was grim and edgy and over-the-top, because the world was designed to be a joke aimed at fascist authoritarian governments. The Imperium’s heavy-handed tactics and absurd waste weren’t “doing what was necessary,” they were the obvious bumblings of a regime that was both evil and stupid. Blowing up an entire planet because someone pronounced the name of one of the Holy Martyrs wrong is something that is written as a joke about how ridiculous and unreasonable the Imperium is, not a lesson in the necessities of good governance.

The problem is, parody (even gonzo parody) can easily be taken the wrong way, and people can sometimes look at it as sincere adoration. As the setting evolved, it slowly became less absurd and the Imperium morphed from being a comedic portrayal of fascism to just… fascism. Which would be fine, except for a couple things: first, that they are still being portrayed as the heroes (albeit no longer ironically) and second, that actual fascists are on the rise in our world. When you have people giving completely-sincere sieg heils in the world around you, I think it makes uncritical portrayals of fascism in a game a lot more… questionable, to say the very least.

But the answer here isn’t to “fix” the Imperium; I don’t think we need to add more nuance or realism to the game, because that’s not what 40K excels at. The Warhammer 40K universe succeeds because it is silly and overblown. Ask anyone who doesn’t participate in the hobby what they know about it: giant men with rocket-cannons, exploding planets, traveling through Hell to deliver the mail, and everyone is fighting everyone constantly all the time. None of that is subtle; none of it is nuanced. The game is renowned for its absurd spectacle, and even coined the term “grimdark” to describe the ridiculous extremes that the narrative often goes to. 40K without exaggeration and parody is just badly-written Dune, and it can be so much more than that.

We can speculate as to the reasons why this shift occurred- people got acclimated to the absurd aspects, or grew genuine emotional attachments to a world that once was just humorous, or the subtler commentary was lost on younger players that accepted it at face value, or whatever other thing you might believe occurred. But Games Workshop has clearly leaned into this more-serious and sincere version of the game, because in the latest editions the parodical aspects are all but gone. The Space Marines are heroes rather than genocidists. The Imperium are the good guys rather than deluded failures. Virtually all of the jokes, and references, and strangeness have been cut out of the game, depriving it of one of its most central aspects.

Now, we can’t force Games Workshop to change any of this- no letter-writing campaign or change.org petition is going to reverse things. But we can work to restore these elements of parody as players- and the company, being dutifully-interested in catering to whatever the players like most, will thus also follow in their official materials. So what’s the path?

So the first and easiest way is to support the existing parodical parts of the game. Gaunt’s Ghosts still knows how silly the Imperium is, and how shitty, and so do a handful of others. When GW reaches out to ask you what you like about the game, make sure you put these front and center. Despite what I said earlier, there are still humorous and parodical aspects to the game, such as Regimental Standard or any of the comics posted through the Community website.

Second, emphasize the parody elements in discussions and devalue the serious ones. Don’t treat the Imperium like heroes or good guys when you’re talking about them, and make sure people remember that the castrated space monks will probably murder every single one of the civilians that they “saved” for consorting with the enemy. Games Workshops’ properties have a place in the broad public consciousness, but a lot of that comes from the presentation from the player side, not from the company side; if we change how players present and talk about the game, it changes what the game is, in the minds of most people.

Third, emphasize the silliness in your own army. If you play Orks or Nurgle you are already succeeding at this without even needing to try, but other factions can as well. When you write your fluff (either literally or in your own head), make sure it is absurd in a way that fits with the 40K universe. Don’t make your Imperial Guard regiment storied heroes of a great battle, have them be the desperate and struggling remains of a bureaucratic fuckup. Make your Chaos or Necrons be Saturday morning cartoon-level cackling bad guys with dumb names and dumber plans. Turn your Eldar into the absolute snootiest exclusionary motherfuckers that the world has ever seen. Be the absurdity you want to see in the world. Games Workshop can write all of the dark-and-serious fluff that it wants, but if what people see is absurd, Brazil-esque incompetent authoritarians when they go to a tournament, that’s what the game becomes about.

As always, remember that you can get your wargaming supplies at great discounts every day from the Frontline Gaming store, whether you’re looking to start a new army or expand an existing one.


About abusepuppy

AbusePuppy is the one who has been ruining 40K for everyone this whole time. He is also searching for the six-fingered man and is one of the three people who know the secret recipe for coke (not the soda, the illegal drug.)

20 Responses to “A Plea For Parody”

  1. Avatar
    kaixaukyr January 27, 2021 8:33 am #

    today we’re the roadies for a Water Caste Tpop band

  2. Avatar
    Ohlmann January 27, 2021 3:32 pm #

    The number of people that see the Imperium as an unconditionally good outcome do indeed frighten me. Especially since I have the impression GW cater to them.

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    Malaconia January 27, 2021 4:34 pm #

    Not everything needs to be a *wink* *wink* joke. 40k has evolved in to a fairly interesting sci-fi fantasy setting. Parody is common. There is only one 40k. People need a modicum of immersion to keep interested in things. Change something to a complete joke. It may amuse for a while, but it won’t be long lasting.

    In general parody doesn’t sell well. If GW changed 40k back to pure parody, I am willing to bet they’d a have the same size player base as they did in the 80’s. That would be a terrible business decision.

    Lastly seeing heroism in 40k is a long way from seeing the nightmare Imperium as something desirable in the real world. Only a complete lunatic would think so and despite claims to otherwise, I am willing to bet such insanity is not widespread enough to be something one needs to be worried about. Paranoia though, that seems to be on the rise these days. Because finding an actual neonazi or skinhead to play 40k with, that is as likely as running in to an extinct species during your morning jog in the woods.

    Changing fiction because of real world concerns, grounded in reality or not, is only done in totalitarian regimes. Want to make Imperium a reality in our world? Start with claiming that fiction is dangerous or questionable and should be changed because of it.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy January 27, 2021 7:18 pm #

      > in general, parody doesn’t sell well

      Are you aware of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, one of the most well-known films of all time? Or any of the rest of their body of work? Or Saturday Night Live? Parody can do _extremely_ well, when done right.

      I’m not saying that the game needs to be purely parody, as there’s room in the fiction for other things as well- especially in the novels, where the writers have more room to engage with complex ideas. I think the Horus Heresy novels in particular exist in a space where they can write about a lot of interesting and complex subjects and really explore what the roots of the Imperium are and how it came to be and the way that individual personalities influenced that (and each other.)

      >I am willing to bet such insanity is not widespread enough to be something one needs to be worried about

      Are you familiar with the “God-Emperor Trump” memes? There are quite a lot of people who unironically believe in authoritarian government. Nazis and skinheads are not the only types of authoritarians in the world, and we should be just as concerned about someone who is one step down the road to fascism as we should someone who is thirty or a hundred steps.

      Fiction always reflects real-world concerns, that’s why we right it- but it’s not just because of real-world concerns that I think we should make the push back towards parody. As I said in the article, 40K without parody is just poorly-written Dune.

      • Avatar
        Malaconia January 27, 2021 8:47 pm #

        I have all Monty Python movies and every episode of their series, but I wouldn’t really classify their type of humour as parody. It’s more on the absurd side. But that is beside the point.

        I stand by the claim that in general parody doesn’t sell well. Vast majority of games and movies that bring in money are not parodies. Just as an example, there was a time in comics industry, when superhero parodies that people submitted were thrown straight in to the trashbin without any consideration, because they sold that badly and they still do.

        Also authorianism does not equal fascism. 40k is mostly derived from middle ages papal authorianism, which predates fascists by several centuries. A nightmare theocracy with it’s inquisitors, space nuns and crusading space knights.

        There are bits in the imperial guard lore that could be classified as communism. The absolute disregard for human life, with waves of human bodies thrown at the enemy, is very much how soviets fought in the world war 2. Commissars also come from that background. I can’t find examples of actual fascism from the 40k lore. Even Death Korps are derived from WWI germany, not nazi Germany. Chaos and alien races are, of course, mostly various tropes from countless other fictions.

        I suppose I am just tired of the misuse of the term fascism. Fascism was an ideology that existed in Germany, Italy and some other countries at a very specific time in history. It stopped being a credible force in the world in the 40’s. Pretty much only neonazis and skinheads can be classified as adherents of fascist ideology today.

        As for the memes. I am from Europe so I don’t have any stake in the matter, but the few I saw, I found them to be outrageous enough to be funny. I did not assume whoever made them was serious. Maybe they were Trump supporters. I don’t know. Either way that in itself hardly means that they were made in a serious mindset, nor does it make anyone an authoritarian.

        I don’t want to debate politics. I am apolitical. So, I’ll just leave it at this. Nationalism is not fascism. Social Democracy is not communism. Authorianism exists on the whole political spectrum from left to right. Vast majority of people be they conservatives or liberals are not authoritarians. In any case, I don’t feel that 40k represents real world in any meaningful way. Also, it is not that much like Dune.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy January 27, 2021 10:03 pm #

          > but I wouldn’t really classify their type of humour as parody. It’s more on the absurd side

          It’s absurdist for sure, but it is also (in many cases) parody. Holy Grail in particular is explicitly about breaking down film conventions and tropes in order to deconstruct the medium and Flying Circus steered into the realm of parody quite often.

          >Vast majority of games and movies that bring in money are not parodies.

          Well, no. By number parodies are in the minority of media, so they naturally are also going to be in the minority of successful media. But if you’re making the claim that parodies are, on average, _less_ successful than would be expected by their raw numbers, I think you’re going to need to back that up somehow because many of the most beloved movies of all time are parodies. I mean, hell, look at Leslie Nielsen’s career.

          >Also authorianism does not equal fascism

          Didn’t say it was. Fascism is a kind of authoritarianism, one that is explicitly about worship of a central figurehead (check), an obsession with strength and power (check), paranoia about internal and external enemies (check), a belief that foes are both omnipresent, powerful, and weak at the same time (check), an adoration of an imagined past (check), and proliferation of an eternal state of war with one’s enemies (check.) The Imperium also uses elements of religious extremism, but so have other kinds of fascism such as Francisco Franco’s variety.

          >The absolute disregard for human life, with waves of human bodies thrown at the enemy, is very much how soviets fought in the world war 2

          This isn’t true. You should probably do some research into the actual history of WW2, rather than the one portrayed in the movies and games.

          >I suppose I am just tired of the misuse of the term fascism… It stopped being a credible force in the world in the 40’s

          While I don’t disagree that fascism is often misused as a term (as people conflate it with authoritarianism, or sometimes just “anything I don’t like”), I am using it in a much more precise fashion here. If you haven’t already, read Umberto Eco’s essay on ur-fascism; it’s very enlightening in terms of explaining the core tenets of what fascism is and what characterizes it, and the Imperium ticks virtually all of the boxes.

          As for fascism disappearing in the 40s, you seem to have missed the fact that exlicitly-fascist parties have gained significant power in several European governments in the past decade. Fascism is not gone, and in fact is on the rise again in many countries across the world.

          You are entirely correct- nationalism is not fascism. Authoritarianism is not fascism. Totalitarianism is not fascism. All of those things are distinct concepts and types of government and ideologies. I am talking very specifically about fascism, and the Imperium is fascist.

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            Malaconia January 27, 2021 11:15 pm

            I have read history. There are many parts in the imperial guard lore that can be seen as taken from the Soviet way of war. Real or perceived. That is what I said.

            Soviet Union did not fight solely by overwhelming the enemy with bodies of men, but they did do that. Several times.

            Stalin had his top generals killed. Soviet union suffered under inefficient bureaucracy. Red Army was ill equipped. There were times when they had more men than rifles. In the battle of Stalingrad civilians were press-ganged and thrown at the enemy. Any who retreated were shot by their own. Soviet Union is known for their total disregard for the lives of their own citizens. Just check how many of their soldiers died in WW2 compared to any other country and how much of their own people they killed in the years that followed. To me, Soviet Union is the closest real life counterpart to 40k’s Imperium. Except they were atheists, so that part doesn’t match. Imperium is a theocracy.

            As for your statement about Imperium’s fascism. As I said, real world fascism as it literally existed does not exist in the 40k lore. Neither do any other real world counterpart like communism.

            As to most of your examples. Sure they are part of fascism. But they have existed in various other forms tyranny as well.

            Central figure head. Any dictatorship really, see North Korea or Soviet Union. Paranoia about internal and external enemies. Communism. Though one can argue that in 40k internal and external enemies are very real. A belief about foes. Again also communism. Adoration of imagined past. I suppose that is not communism, since they only adored imagined present. Still imagined past and it’s adoration can be found from most cultures. My point being. Hardly any of your examples are exclusive to fascism.

            There have been rise of nationalism in europe and nationalists have gained power in some countries, though not that significantly. But actual neo fascist parties. They have pretty much zero seats in any government. There might be one party in Slovakia that has a couple of seats. I’d hardly call that a significant rise.

            Finally the parody aspect. I don’t speak of popularity of any specific movie, nor it’s quality or how well it is liked. I am simply speaking about money made. Highest grossing entertainment in any field is never a parody, not even close. I am assuming GW wants to make as much money as possible. From that perspective changing from “serious” fiction to a more “jokey” one wouldn’t be a good move.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy January 29, 2021 8:42 am

            >As to most of your examples. Sure they are part of fascism. But they have existed in various other forms tyranny as well

            The difference is, those are all _definitional_ to fascism. Fascism without a figurehead… isn’t fascism. Fascism that doesn’t focus on reversion to an imagined ideal of the past also isn’t fascism. Those are all defining qualities of fascism- and yes, they are present in other systems of government or ideology, but they exemplify fascisms beliefs and systems, the hows and whys of its functionality. Many tyrants invoke paranoia of the other, but fascism defines itself by opposition to a specific enemy in almost all cases.

            >My point being. Hardly any of your examples are exclusive to fascism.

            Yes, but the combination of all of them IS, that is my whole point. That’s why they are the defining characteristics of fascism. The Soviet Union under Stalin did, in fact, have a paranoia about internal and external enemies (specifically capitalists and “anti-revolutionaries”) and had a strong figurehead, but it did not have an obsessive belief about the strength of its enemies, did not have an adoration of an imagined past, and did not see itself in a state of eternal warfare- that’s why it was merely authoritarian, not fascist.

            >Highest grossing entertainment in any field is never a parody, not even close

            That is true, but largely because parody (like all comedy) is time-sensitive. And it also presumes that GW has any chance of ever growing to be the biggest dog in its field, which seems immensely unlikely- MtG and similar games are bigger than it by entire orders of magnitude, despite having come to market after it. GW is never going to be the biggest game around, and it’s comical to even think of trying.

            Lots of humorous movies still make immense amounts of money and are incredibly successful. There are entire industries based around humor. To discard humor and parody as things that can’t be successful is, I think, an incredibly flawed viewpoint.

          • Avatar
            Malaconia January 29, 2021 11:55 am

            Let’s put it this way. What I meant by saying something isn’t exclusive to fascism, I meant the fiction of 40k Imperium. You chose to apply your definition (I know it’s not literally yours) of fascism to prove that Imperium is fascist and thus 40k began as a parody of fascism. Fair enough. Let’s say Imperium is fascist. It is also a theocracy, which by definition is not part of fascism. It is also a communist dystopia, which again is not defined as fascism.

            What I am saying here is, if we accept the claim that 40k began as a parody, which I don’t dispute, then it is certainly not meant as a parody of fascism. If it was a parody of fascism then the Imperium would resemble a Sith Empire from Star Wars a far more than the religiously fanatic inefficient warmachine that it is.

            40k began first and foremost as a parody of middle ages under the rule of pope. This is obvious in the 40k lore. I assume I don’t have to give examples for this. Also 40k can be seen as a parody of communism. This is also clearly supported by the 40k lore. Administratum. Excessive Bureaucracy. Planned economy. Badly designed production. Inefficient chain of command. I could go on. 40k lore checks way more boxes from how communism works. So is it a parody of communism? I think it is, among other things. So, you see, I only argue that 40k is not mainly and certainly not exclusively a parody of fascism, if it is that at all. Certainly there is room for that sort of parody too, if you choose to see it that way, but you’ll find way less examples from 40k lore that are similar to nazi Germany or Italy under Mussolini. If something is a parody of nearly everything totalitarian, why define it by single example of totalitarism as if that is the dominant?

            Anyway, I think best part of 40k today is it’s description of the dark side of humanity. It was inspired by history, thus it’s description of humanity is actually more realistic than say Star Wars, which is way too optimistic and fantastical. Now, 40k fiction itself is outrageous and ridiculous to the extreme, but the psychological aspect of humanity behind it, is actually pretty realistic. I think this is the reason many like 40k fiction, whether they think about it in these terms or not. So, why dilute it with parody?

            This all comes to personal preference. I don’t miss the days of outrageous parody. I can read Judge Dredd if I want that. Many people, most people I’d wager, like 40k as it is today. Why the need for change? You are only projecting your personal preference here, don’t make it in to anything else.

            Lastly, I was under the impression that 40k is the biggest miniature game in the market. Why take the risk and change something that isn’t broken? Parody can be successful, but in general, it isn’t as successful as the alternative. There is a reason why 40k chose the more serious route to begin with.

            Also, I really, really, don’t like the talk of needing to “right” fiction. GTA games don’t create thieves and murderers. 40k certainly doesn’t breed fascists.

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            Malaconia January 29, 2021 3:57 pm

            There is one last thing. I made clear my position that I don’t see the facts supporting any kind of significant rise in fascism in the western world. I see a lot of hysteria, especially in the press, but that is all. You probably disagree. I don’t want to debate this matter. This isn’t about that.

            But there is a question. What if every neonazi, skinhead, white supremacist, aryan brotherhood member and KKK guy played 40k? What is it to you? What is it taking away from you? Certainly playing a game of miniatures wouldn’t make them any worse and it wouldn’t affect the game itself in any way.

            This is what I’ve been wondering. Because I don’t understand the need to change fiction. Is it spite? A desire to destroy someone else’s enjoyment of the game? Perhaps a fictional opponent that doesn’t deserve the game? Perhaps it is someone you don’t like that you want to deprive of enjoyment?

            I don’t get it, because personally I couldn’t care less who else plays the game, what their worldview is or what kind of people they are. Real world is full of terrible things, fiction is always basically harmless, no matter what it is about. If people can’t handle fiction they sure as hell can’t handle the world around them. Tolerating fiction is the very minimum that should be asked of people.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy January 30, 2021 7:39 am

            > It is also a theocracy, which by definition is not part of fascism.

            Okay, but hold on here- just because something is not _definitionally_ a part of fascism doesn’t mean it can’t have elements of that thing. Franco’s fascist regime in Spain was HEAVILY grounded in Catholic theology.

            (You also try to connect the Imperium to communism, which… it isn’t, at all? Communism is about a classless society with communal ownership of the means of production, and the Imperium doesn’t have _any_ of that. It’s an extremely hierarchical, class-based society, which is fundamentally antithical to communism.)

            >then it is certainly not meant as a parody of fascism

            I already explained why the theocratism is not incompatible with parodying fascism. But to expand further: 40K was specifically and explicitly influenced by _British_ views of fascism- and the beliefs of the designers of the game that authoritarianism in Britain could lead to fascism- from the mid/late 1980s. During that specific time, conservative views in Britain were strongly paired with religious doctrine and preaching, which was why the Imperium has a lot of elements of theocracy in it. Most settings are complex and contain multiple ideas, not simple one basic “thing is bad/good” core concept.

            (Note that I’m not necessarily saying that British politics of the 80s had any fascist elements in them, as that’s a whole other argument to have, but that was where the ideas originated at least.)

            >40k began first and foremost as a parody of middle ages under the rule of pope

            I think there’s influence there, but no one parodies institutions that have been gone for living memory for entire centuries. Certainly, the Imperium has a lot of elements of Catholicism in it, but I definitely wouldn’t say it was a _parody_ of Catholicism.

            >Administratum. Excessive Bureaucracy. Planned economy. Badly designed production.

            Those… aren’t elements of communism. To throw your own words back at you, those are all features that can be found in _many_ different kinds of governements that are not communist in any way, shape or form. In fact, I would say that every government in the world has bureaucracy, and in the opinion of most people “excessive” bureaucracy, and planned economies (or more properly command economies) are neither a feature of all communist governments nor are they uncommon to non-communist ones; the United States during WW2 had a command economy, in fact.

            >Lastly, I was under the impression that 40k is the biggest miniature game in the market

            By this argument, why did they change it in the first place? You admit the game was, at one time, parody. I don’t have sales numbers for every year, but I would be shocked if Games Workshop weren’t the primary miniature games retailer for basically every year since, I dunno, 1993 or so? And yet they changed it. So if, by your opinion, it is a mistake to change what works, GW made a mistake in changing the game to no longer be parody.

            >What if every neonazi, skinhead, white supremacist, aryan brotherhood member and KKK guy played 40k? What is it to you?

            I don’t want to share my hobby with those people. Are they literally taking something away from me? No, but spaces that attract Nazis and racists are, you know, Nazi and racist spaces. I don’t want to be part of a hobby that attracts Nazis because there is SOME kind of reason that they are drawn to it, and that seems like it should be a warning signal to anyone else who is part of that hobby. If you let Nazis hang out in your bar every night, pretty soon you are known around town as “the Nazi bar.” If you hobby tolerates Nazis being part of it, pretty soon you play “that Nazi game.”

            Nazis give up their right for people to treat them politely when they declare that they want to use violence and oppression to exterminate their enemies and anyone who disagrees with them. It’s a commonly-known thing called The Parodox of Tolerance, and it’s been discussed at length. There is no hypocrisy in being intolerant towards the intolerant, because they have already violated the social compact of modern society.

            >fiction is always basically harmless, no matter what it is about

            I fundamentally disagree with this. Fiction can absolutely encourage or promote toxic and dangerous ideas. That doesn’t mean we should necessarily censor it (though in some cases, e.g. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion I think there is warrant to do so), but it does mean that we need to consider what our fiction is saying and why. It’s why media critique and analysis matters- because the stories we tell for entertainment both reflect on our culture and also affect it.

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            Malaconia January 30, 2021 10:41 am

            >no one parodies institutions that have been gone for living memory for entire centuries.

            Sure they do. Quite often. For example what was Monty Python’s Holy Grail about then?

            >Those… aren’t elements of communism. To throw your own words back at you, those are all features that can be found in _many_ different kinds of governements that are not communist in any way, shape or form.

            Not in the magnitude that is even closely comparable. Every example I gave are instantly regocnizable as the hallmarks of the communist Russia. To anyone who knows the Soviet Union anyway.

            >You also try to connect the Imperium to communism, which… it isn’t, at all?

            Of course it is. Imperium is very much like Soviet Union which is the logical end result of communism. Every single regime that has ever been built according to the ideals of the communism has ended up being a horrible dystopia.

            I am starting to get the feeling you aren’t aware of the bloody history of the communism. Let me put it simple. It is far worse than anything else. No other ideology has killed as many people as communism. None, not even the nazis come close. Read about the atrocities done in the name of communism. It puts the grimdark to shame. Once you know what the real world is like you’ll see that fiction is harmless.

            Fiction is imaginary. If you consciously put idelogy in the fiction with a desire to change the minds of the people to align with it’s ideals it seizes to be fiction and becomes a political tool. But only then. These days most people recognize propaganda when they see it. You can’t honestly suggest that 40k has a political manifesto behind it.

            >So if, by your opinion, it is a mistake to change what works, GW made a mistake in changing the game to no longer be parody.

            No. It is only a mistake when you make something worse than it was before. 40k is now better than when it was a parody. If you don’t accept any other metric then money made is just fine.

            >Nazis give up their right for people to treat them politely when they declare that they want to use violence and oppression to exterminate their enemies and anyone who disagrees with them.

            And what is your definition of a nazi? Because it seems to be quite broad. To me it is the people who committed genocide in the 40’s. Those who admire them and specifically their leader Hitler, technically aren’t the same. Sure one can safely lump them together to a degree, though they haven’t committed the crimes that the nazis are know for. So, by the letter of law and any sane moral principle, they should not be punished for them either. Now, let’s forget nazis for a while because they are a fringe group, if any.

            40k players who, maybe, admire authorianism? They aren’t nazis! First of all you don’t know what people are about, what is humor, to which degree someone is serious etc… How would you know? Do you want a committee at the tournaments who decide who can play and who can’t. Maybe a questionnaire that tries to seperate the virtuous from the unpure, so that you can keep your space clean of any unwanted riff raff. What kind of authority are you anyway? Do you have more right to enjoy a product than someone else who paid for it the same?

            Do you maybe want a moral based economy? So that wrong thinkers are denied products and the right to enjoy them? How far would you be willing to go? Would denying food be acceptable in the end, or is it just hobbies, where people should be exluded?

            >There is no hypocrisy in being intolerant towards the intolerant

            Right now, you are starting to sound kind of intolerant to me. I am sure I am not alone. If everyone followed that ideal, where do you think it would end?

            >we should be just as concerned about someone who is one step down the road to fascism as we should someone who is thirty or a hundred steps

            I agree. But you don’t fight fascism or any other ideology by altering or censoring fiction. Because that would be totalitarims. I am just as concerned about someone who is one step down the road to totalitarism as I am about someone who is thirty or a hundred steps. Anyone who suggests censoring or altering a fictional product has already taken quite a few steps in that direction.

    • Avatar
      MRC January 30, 2021 6:21 am #


      Brilliantly (and insightfully) written here… you strike exactly at the heart of the matter, especially the issue of having to make “right” or “correct” or, dare I say, “politically correct” fiction.

      The tremendous irony of that is trying to convince/persuade/force/shame/require others to use the “right” form of communication is literally the hallmark of totalitarian regimes throughout history, be it fascist Germany, Stalinist USSR, Communist North Korea, theocracratic Medieval societies, the ancient empires of Mesopotamia where people were forced to say that the King was a god, or, dare I say, the modern Progressive movement, that demands the use of certain language as “virtuous,” or else they attack with a fury known only to Chaos Cultists whipped up to a frenzy by the oratory of a Word Bearers Dark Apostle.

      This is why in the West in general, and in societies whose government and legal system us based on the principles of English Common Law (i.e. the United States and our Constitution being a singular example of this), the right/freedom to say what you want, EVEN if it is unpopular, even if it is wrong/misguided, even if the masses on social media view it as “intolerant” or “unkind” or whatever virtuous, I-have-the-superior-moralitt judgment that they wish to make, is SO important.

      This is why trying to manipulate or pressyre or even force the “right” kind of fiction is such a dangerous, and ultimately destructive, kind of thing.

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        Malaconia January 30, 2021 11:04 am #

        Twenty or even ten years ago talk of altering fiction would have been unthinkable in any circle, except maybe the most hardline christian conservatives who were afraid of games. Nowadays, it is becoming more and more common.

        I am sure there are many reasons for the rise of collectivism over the individualism of the past, but personally I blame social media. In the past people had to face other people essentially alone. They lived in a sphere of various differing ideologies. They stood their ground or saw some sense in the opposition as well. Either way, it was a place where abject intorelance got you nowhere.

        Now, everyone has their buddies in the pocket. What need is there to listen to anyone else? You face ideas that challenge your perception of reality, just take out your phone and you get instant confirmation of the righteousness of your thought from like minded people and that is how tribalism begins. That is how it was thousands of years ago when people lived in closed communites and knew nothing about the people outside and that is where it seems to be going again when people can once more form closed communities.

        I really dislike these times we live in. At least there is still fiction to take your mind of from all of this insanity, but that too is gradually altered and taken away. If people lose enough and tribalism persists, I see a future that is not too bright. Compared to that, worries about fiction seem kind of trivial, not that I’ve ever had any anyway.

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    Yarium January 27, 2021 5:30 pm #

    Honestly, the “silly” aspect of the Genestealer Cult is one of the reasons I love them so much. They’re just so AMPED and so DRIVEN to do something that is essentially suicide with extra steps, and they just don’t know it. It’s hilarious. I do not want named characters for these guys. I do not want “and then they fought off the Hive Mind and they’re totally cool now”. No. These guys… THESE GUYS… they’re not making it. And I want it to stay that way.

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      abusepuppy January 27, 2021 7:20 pm #

      Yeah, I didn’t explicitly call them out but the GSC are actually one of the better examples. They are unequivocally _wrong_ in their beliefs and completely deluded in the best possible way. Also, running over people with a grinder-truck that is throwing dynamite or beating a superhuman soldier to death with a stop sign, that’s fuckin’ rad.

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    Dakkath January 27, 2021 9:15 pm #

    Can I skip the parody if I just want to fill the field with non-riptide battlesuits and recreate the macross missile massacre?

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      abusepuppy January 27, 2021 10:04 pm #

      I am going to say that Macross missile blooms are silly enough to fall into the parody category. You have my permission as the One True Arbiter of What Real 40K Is.

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    MRC January 28, 2021 9:42 am #

    Exceptional points by Malaconia… well articulated, strong evidence given for your arguments, and level-headed in your analysis!

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    AngryPanda February 24, 2021 10:57 am #

    Just all of this. Especially with how things are going in the real world it matters if a setting glorifies fashist nonsense or mocks it. And it felt for a good while like GW wasn’t sure about which way to go, especially with the Horus Heresy. 6 Edition was pretty good about it, mentioning whole worlds being worked to death to produce weapon shipments for wars that are already over, troops delivered to planets with no breathable atmosspehre and just dying as the transport doors open, etc. Of course there is no parody that won’t be taken at face value by a certain percentage of the audience, see all the exciteted comments under Starship Trooper’s”A good way to die” being a an inspiring guard anthem.

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