Global Citizen vs. Call of Duty: Black Ops

Times like these are one of the main reasons my friends and I created this blog.

After living in foreign countries and learning new languages, you are going to see things quite differently.  You return to your home country and at various moments you believe you might be the only one to hold a certain opinion which nobody else has discussed let alone even considered.

A Global Citizen is one who can understand different cultural mentalities and ideas.  After learning these things, it can sometimes be very trying when certain events occur in the home culture and you wonder if half your own countrymen have gone mad.

Today, I am talking specifically about CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS

This post is directed at my fellow Americans.

My Point:  Would it not be shocking to go into a foreign country and find a war game where you kill American soldiers and try to kill the leader of that country?

*Notice:  In Black Ops there is a mission to kill Fidel Castro.  I cannot write (or say) kill the president of a certain nation in which I reside because then the secret service would be at my house so I have to be careful with the wording.

Answer:  Yes it would.  If it was as popular as Black Ops, there would be complete outrage in America and the government might even protest.  American citizens would be enraged and there would probably be a boycott of that country.

Yet, the same is perfectly acceptable so long as it is American soldiers doing the killing of other nations soldiers.  If this is not hypocrisy at it’s finest, then I do not know what hypocrisy means.

I wrote about this a while back in a post entitled “Call of Duty: Black Ops – War and Pain.”  I have no intention of repeating myself but let me just say in this post, I present my qualifications as a long term gamer and spell out why this game really bothers me.

Now, let us get to mentalities of the involved parties which may explain why a game like this can happen in the USA.

1.  Gamers

- Gamers really do not care about politics.  They simply want to play a really cool game and Call of Duty is certainly very good from a gamer’s perspective.  I understand what my fellow gamers are thinking and it is not *bad* meaning with the intention to really cause anyone any harm.  Most Americans have never been to a foreign country so all they see is a game.

Gamers would not care if you get the play the opposite side and shoot the American soldiers.  They understand any game must have two sides because if there isn’t you just have to play the CPU which isn’t as fun since it’s moves can be learned.  You need an actual person playing the other side to challenge you.  Gamers just want to game.

What they are missing is the events in this game are actual events that caused some very awful pain to very real people.  The only face saving feature in this game is that you also get to kill zombies but this should not absolve the game from it’s shame.

In all honesty, I also played a war game when I was in my teens called “Rambo – First Blood Part Two,” for the Sega Master System.

But this was not based on actual events and no specific countries were mentioned.  (You can assume it is Russia but it is just a guess and there are aspects which were not Russian in the game)

So gamers, I understand your perspective and that you just want a high adrenaline rush coming from a great game.  Put this way, I understand Call of Duty Black Ops can accomplish that.

2.  The US Government

The US Government has nothing to say about this game, EXCEPT when it found out you could play the Taliban and kill American soldiers.  As predicted on July 28th, 2010 in my Call of Duty post, there was a sh*t storm and the ability to play the opposite side was pulled.

It seems the government tried to stay out of it and the main reason that option was taken off is because certain large retailers would not carry the game unless the option was pulled.

However, it is my contention that if the big stores had not protested, the government would have.

3. American Mentality

*Now, I’m speaking to non-Americans

You may wonder why Americans feel no shame in playing such a game and it may bewilder you.  Let me explain.

The purpose of the game is to “contain communism.”  Some of you may live in Communist countries and not understand what the big deal is.  Well, to Americans, the word “Communism” is something to be afraid of.  We have been taught this ever since birth and we equate any country under the system of “Communism” as not being free and oppressing their citizens.  You may laugh at this but some of you may even agree!

The American wishes everyone to be “free” and happy.  They believe every system should be a Democracy where the citizens get to elect their own leaders.  This is perhaps the main reason they believe the USA is such a great country and when they look at “Communist” countries they simply hope that the citizens could gain “freedom” and have a governmental system just like theirs.

To them, it makes complete sense and is the best form of government of all the alternatives.

However, most of them have never been to a Communist country, have never read Marx and do not really have a good understanding of what life is really like in communist countries.  Again, to them Communism = Bad and that’s it!  They really could not have a debate on the specific merits of Communism vs. Democracy other than just a few clichés.

Therefore, when the objective of the game is to “stop Communism” they really see no problem and a game like this can quickly become one of the best sellers of all time.

4. Foreigner Mentality

This is the important point.

Imagine how a foreigner would feel coming over to the USA and finding a game where American soldiers are killing citizens of his own country.

They might feel a little anger no?

The American public has not even considered this question.

What the American public has also not considered is that the foreigner’s fathers and grandfathers might have fought on the opposite sides and these were/are very real wars!

I really need make no further points on this subject as this is the main thing I really cannot understand and am shocked by.  In my points above, I understand the mentalities but as one who considers himself a “Global Citizen,” I have a very big problem with this game and am really shocked to see just how popular it has become with absolutely no discussion on how foreigners might feel about this.

Again, this is what “international” people think about and sometimes we feel very lonely as though we are the only ones to hold these types of opinions.  There has been absolutely ZERO discussion in the media about it, so I really do believe I may be just one of a handful of Americans who even have asked this question.

To me, people who pose these questions are true Global Citizens and it would seem that there are very few of us and none of them in the mainstream media or US Government.

5 thoughts on “Global Citizen vs. Call of Duty: Black Ops”

  1. If you don't like it, then don't buy it. Strange aspect of a free market system – you get to make your own choices with your own money/means. Why does that piss some people off so badly?

    What have you done for others that has ever put your own life at serious risk? Cetainly not blogging, so have you ever served in the military? How about as a firefighter or police officer? Unless you can answer yes to one of these, then who are you to criticize those that protect you? Sorry, but your attitudes seem rather hypocritical. Do you derive your "international experience" from vists to Englnad, China, France, or Australia? Or have you derived it from Iraq, Afganistan, Somalia, the Congo, the Columbian jungles, or maybe North Africa? If not, then perhaps a good long visit to one of these regions may improve the diversity your experience.

    One last point – the more "interntional experience" I gain, the happier I am to come home. And – the more inclined I am to protect my home and our national hertitage with my life. I love my country and I will protect it, as my family has before me.

  2. Thank you for your comment Ferdinand. I appreciate your experience of feeling more and more grateful when coming home after each international experience. I think that one point where Matt and I agree concerning the value of international experiences is exactly in the deeper understanding of what goes on around you in daily life that those experiences give you. I certainly do not subscribe to the idea that all international experience will make you happier, at peace with the world or even more satisfied. Ignorance can truly be bliss. I only want to say that I consider more international experiences likely to make my life more multi-faceted and, to the extent that I am able to live comfortably with the increased complexity, I think that my life thereby becomes a richer life.
    My purpose with travelling and writing about international affairs is not to pile more concerns, guilt, praise, bragging or even just data onto the internet in the form of this blog. My purpose is to 1) arrange my thoughts clearly, and 2) shine a light on areas of public debate that I think are poorly informed.
    I have to disagree with you, Ferdinand, on the point where you imply that it is improper to write on or comment on issues that you haven’t experienced yourself. And the idea that having a certain profession such as being in the military or being a firefighter give increased value to that person’s voice. There are other ways to experience and learn from the world than to put yourself (and others) in harm’s way.
    The quality of blogging should be judged on the basis of writing skills and stringency of the logic the writer applies, not on the resume of the writer.

  3. Ferdinand

    Thanks for your comment. Here are my replies to your main points

    1. If you don't like it, don't buy it. – I have no trouble with the game being on the market. I just want to point out that, should the reverse be true in another country, many Americans would be very upset. There are two sides to every conflict and I want others to be able to see the viewpoints of non-Americans. As I said, we would probably be upset if we saw the situation reversed when in another country.

    2. I am not criticizing the military. I am criticizing the government and the stores who pulled the option to play the opposite side. As for "protecting me" my opinions are too long to write here, but in short, recent wars have been more about geopolitics and furthering American interests. Much less than protecting it's citizens.

    – As for where I got my "international experience," I lived in Vietnam. I think that one qualifies as a place where American policy was seriously misguided. (Big Mistake) I saw what happens when America goes to war without good reason. It is not pretty.

    3. Coming Home – This is honorable. Yet, the point of this blog is to help people see other points of view rather than just the American one. Sounds like you spent some time in bad parts of the world. There are many other very good countries whose opinions differ greatly from that of those in the USA and it is those viewpoints that I'm trying to express here.

    Imagine if you were Vietnamese, came to America (and thought positively about America which many do) then found a game where Americans were killing your countrymen. The opinion would most likely be negative no?

    But your views are also valid and thank you for commenting.

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