[EZG] Miscellaneous Musings: My Stance on the Depiction of Nazis in Gaming


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The Exchange

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Endzeitgeist wrote:
I only truly could grasp the extent of conformity pressure after living in other countries for a prolonged amount of time. The general level of acceptance and overt tolerance exists, that may be correct; however, when it comes to jobs, interactions with people and how you are treated, the differences between Germany and Scandinavia or the US are pretty pronounced. The German pressure to conform and longing for normality may not seem stifling to you, but they do exist and are deeply ingrained; if you had never felt comfortable with the general normalcy eschewed by mainstream society, you would have felt the sting of the lack of true tolerance in that regard quite harshly.

Well, maybe. I certainly don't have the same amount of experiences with other nations and cultures, so my thoughts about it are mostly influenced by what I read or watch (books, TV, even messageboards like this one). My disconnect with what you said about this topic has for example to do with a whole thread for the LGBTQ community, and other heated discussions about homosexual, transgender or female heroes/NPCs in the game. To see those discussions, read about the experiences of the board members and than compare it to what I see here at home regarding the same topics, I can't help but think that we have progressed very nicely compared to other countries in this world and have become much more tolerant than those. I mean I live in a very catholic, conservative region and being part of the LGBTQ comm would never cause the same bad experiences here I have heard other people experience (and by that, I'm in no way saying that all is perfect here).

I also never thought about myself as conformist, but while this led to some problems, I may have really been lucky compared to what other people have experienced. So while I felt this pressure for mormalcy, I found it rather easy to ignore. On the other hand, I have ever been a very self-sufficient kinda guy, so not having any friends at times didn't bother me too much, and not belonging to the cool guys didn't bother me either. So while I was the outsider, it was very much a self-chosen role, and it certainly helped that the people around me, while openly rolling their eyes all the time, just let me be and I didn't even got openly shunned for it. We would probably have to go into details about what you mean with "pressure of conformity", so that I could get a better understanding of what you actually mean with it.

Just one more thing: I didn't want to come across as thinking about Europe as being superior to other developed parts of the world. And I also would have to specify for certain parts of Europe, including for example the scandinavian countries (and if I hadn't three children I would have to leave for it, I'd already moved to Sweden or Finland for sure, because I love those countries, and working as a nurse, I'm quite aware of Germany being quite underdeveloped regarding my profession).

So what I tried to say is that I consider myself to be happy to be born and grown up in a country where "Soziale Marktwirtschaft" is still a thing, where you have a (mostly) functioning health care system and no one thinks that this is a symptom of communism, basically where even the poor people (and it's a shame that a country as wealthy as Germany still has poor people) can live a life worth living (compared to how their life would probably look like if they lived in many other countries).


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@Kirth: I am saddened to hear that you had to go through such vicious discrimination. I have experienced my fair share of discrimination as well, though admittedly based on how I chose to look and my health. It's not nice.

@Wormy: I did NOT wish to imply that you had no sufficient understanding of discrimination or tolerance or the requirements of conformity; I simply wanted to clarify my statements and experiences. I am happy that you never experienced the same amount of disappointment I have.

While I am a very self-sufficient character, I had to become one; I was a very sick child and spent two years of my life in basically a nigh-perpetual near-death fever-state due to a series of horrific misdiagnoses. This led, ultimately, to becoming extremely obese, having atrophied muscles, etc. I couldn't go outside and, even better, I grew up in very rural surroundings where you get beaten up for knowing words with more than 3 syllables and using them in conversation. Heck, my so-called childhood friends didn't want to be seen in public with me and asked me to change street-sides when other kids approached. I know a bit about not belonging, about being ostracized. And yes, I tried to fit in. Even when my health got better, when I trained to get my muscles back (I really wanted to stop gasping and sweating after 5 stairs...) and in the aftermath, when I began actually looking pretty good, I never really managed to fit in - no matter which group I tried.
This wonderful sequence of events continued pretty much throughout the majority of the first 20 years of my life. I very much embraced my outsider status, sure; and I actually found people who'd consider me cool etc. - but this never changed the disconnect with pretty much the majority of folks; this never changed how, time and again, I encountered serious blowback for my looks, taste, lifestyle, life choices...The first places I felt at least a remote kinship were subcultures and, more pronounced, university.

So yes, I thankfully did not have as bad a time as many folks in the LGBTQ-community. You're absolutely correct in stating that, in that regard, Germany is amazing and more progressive than in many other countries - also due to the relative lack of religious fundamentalists and relatively pronounced secularization here. For my friends in that community, I'm happy that they have a comparatively less stressful life round here, though I have had to defend a gay friend of mine.

Thing is, that does not necessarily have something to do with the norm-core theme; you can be gay and openly kiss in public, and not violate the eschewed concept of normality here in Germany. That is amazing, yes. Sexuality simply is less of a topic around here, but that ties in with another topic, namely cultural taboos regarding eros and thanatos - The US taboo is eros, the German one thanatos...but that as an aside.

That does not change that the pressure to be part of a general perceived normalcy is pronounced. It just has different manifestations.

But yeah, even though I'm pretty much "akademisches Prekariat", in Georg Schramm's words, I'm pretty happy that we have a functioning "Soziale Marktwirtschaft" - at least for now!

The Exchange

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Endzeitgeist wrote:
While I am a very self-sufficient character, I had to become one; I was a very sick child and spent two years of my life in basically a nigh-perpetual near-death fever-state due to a series of horrific misdiagnoses. This led, ultimately, to becoming extremely obese, having atrophied muscles, etc. I couldn't go outside and, even better, I grew up in very rural surroundings where you get beaten up for knowing words with more than 3 syllables and using them in conversation.

That's harsh, and I'm really glad to see that you have found a place in life where what you're doing is really appreciated for the effort you put into it (and I sincerely hope that this doesn't only hold for your reviews).

Quote:
The first places I felt at least a remote kinship were subcultures and, more pronounced, university.

That's something I can relate to. At least for the three or four people I got to know there that I could honestly call my friends. Subcultures is a different thing, though, because that's where I see the wish for conformity even more pronounced than in the general population. I found a lot of them only pretend to be individualistic or tolerant and most of them actually don't follow the famous words of Voltaire you quoted as soon as your opinion slightly differs from theirs.

But to go back to the topic: While I have an idea about you referring to the concepts of eros and thanatos, would you care to explain what you see as german taboos regarding thanatos? I'm not terribly well-versed with Freud so I'm not sure if I understand the concept perfectly or where it applies regarding the taboos you're talking about.


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Wormy, you bring up a fascinating observation: The conformity pressure in subcultures is indeed something peculiar; it's why I spoke of remote kinship, and not of belonging. You see, I don't fit in with the hiphop-crowd, since aesthetics don't match; punks consider me too establishment and stuck-up; stuck-up folks consider me too far out there; the goth folks consider me to be too metal; the metal-heads consider me to be too goth...ad infinitum. A same observation can be made for various specialists in diverse academic fields; to an extent, I always empathize and can find a sense of kinship in the experience of refuting the conventions of normalcy; in such a manner, subcultures indeed provide solace; but they never provided a sense of belonging. Just to reiterate and confirm your thesis from a quasi-insider's point of view.

Regarding the clarification you requested: While the terms indeed come from Freud, a bit of a preamble: I'm no Freudian. I have A LOT of issues with Freud and the terms Eros and Thanatos, while derived from his work, have since been reappropriated as concepts to describe how taboos work in a given society. there is so far a thesis that has not been concisely refuted, wherein each given culture either condemns or obsessively fetishizes (or at least normalizes) one or the other - you either exhibit all kinds of tolerance on a cultural scale to the uncensored depiction of death and violence, or you do the same with sex and lust. I am not aware of a single culture that does both. The US tends to be very prude regarding cultural conventions regarding sexuality; on the other end of the spectrum, Germany has an imho unhealthy relationship with death and violence/censorship thereof. Granted, it got better in the last couple of years, but yeah. It's a simplification, but a dichotomy that provides a nice starting point for the analysis of aspects of a given culture.

On a personal sidenote, I consider Jung, in spite of the somewhat esoteric leanings, to e the more rewarding base model for complex analysis of psychological tendencies, though that requires much more detailed and extensive explanations and can be reduced less succinctly to single punchline-words.

On another note: I love this discussion!!

The Exchange

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Wormy, you bring up a fascinating observation: The conformity pressure in subcultures is indeed something peculiar; it's why I spoke of remote kinship, and not of belonging. You see, I don't fit in with the hiphop-crowd, since aesthetics don't match; punks consider me too establishment and stuck-up; stuck-up folks consider me too far out there; the goth folks consider me to be too metal; the metal-heads consider me to be too goth...ad infinitum. A same observation can be made for various specialists in diverse academic fields; to an extent, I always empathize and can find a sense of kinship in the experience of refuting the conventions of normalcy; in such a manner, subcultures indeed provide solace; but they never provided a sense of belonging. Just to reiterate and confirm your thesis from a quasi-insider's point of view.

That's something I can really relate to, as it is basically the same with me. I mean I was basically there when the whole NWoBHM started over thirty years ago(I'm a bit to young to have been there when Sabbath started the whole Heavy Metal thing), so if anyone could be called a metalhead, it's me. Problem is that the metal scene has become so fragmented over time, that no matter what I state I like, there's someone telling me that I'm not metal enough because of it. And quite often this someone hasn't listened to this type of music for even half the time I do. On the other hand, there's those old grognards who simply can't enjoy anything that came after [insert any point of time] and if you like bands growing and developing their style (or bands experimenting and creating new styles), then obviously you can't be metal either.

And that's only part of me, because I'm also part punk, part goth, even part pop (the last within limits ^^), so this makes it even more impossible to belong. Luckily I stopped caring about that.

Quote:
on the other end of the spectrum, Germany has an imho unhealthy relationship with death and violence/censorship thereof. Granted, it got better in the last couple of years, but yeah.

Thought you might refer to that topic, but I'll have to admit that I can't agree on that <edit: regarding violence, that is, death is another topic>, as I don't see anything unhealthy about the way we handle things. Especially as real censorship only happens in specific cases and in all other cases, it's mostly about protecting younger people. And please don't misunderstand that as me advocating for the idiocy that playing Counterstrike makes someone into a terrorist, that's just stupid bs. On the other hand, I don't think that a ten year old boy or girl should have easy access to something like Saw. another discussion, but just to give you an idea about where I stand on that front. (On the other hand, while I agree that the U.S tends to be a bit too prudish regarding sexuality, I also don't think that it is very healthy if every product in german advertisments is presented by half-naked woman, and if animated series like the Winx stuff my daugher loves so much present girls and women in a highly sexualized way.

And while I think that Germany used to have those taboos about death and violence (and regarding death, I really agree that it it still does and actually damages peoples' abilty to cope with it), in the meantime I think it's on is way to go to the other extreme regarding violence, and I do not consider that a good development.

Basically I think that Aristoteles' teachings of Mesotes, the middle way between extremes applies in most of those cases, and I'm not buying into the thought that freedom should be unlimited, as I'm basically very sceptical about the ability of human beings to restrain themselves and not to abuse it.

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Locking. After some review and discussion, we don't feel that paizo.com is the appropriate host for this particular topic/personal essay.

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