40K: Satire or not Satire


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Is Warhammer 40k a satire, or not?

Poll ended at Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:51 am

Warhammer 40K is a satire.
12
100%
Warhammer 40K is not a satire.
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 12
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Post Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:13 am

Re: 40K: Satire or not Satire

I've been reflecting on Zhu's latest post, and in light of it I think I'll retract my opinion that "40K is satire" (by technical definition).

Instead, I'll say: "40K is a dark, dystopian techno-fantasy setting riddled with parodies and satirical jokes, which have been mostly eroded over the years, and is now (generally speaking) taken more seriously by players than it was at its inception."
Last edited by Stormbringer on Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:34 pm

Re: 40K: Satire or not Satire

Late wrote:
AranaszarSzuur wrote:Wh40k started out pretty much as a weak satire for adults, with some artists not getting the memo and taking it entirely seriously and quickly turned into fascist propaganda for kids.


Yeah right. Please save all of the SJW crap for Fecesbook, thank you.

No.
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Post Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:08 pm

Re: 40K: Satire or not Satire

I am being entirely serious, nobody wants to hear about the delusional worldview of someone born in the late 1990's. You should save it for university parties, might get you laid with some problem glasses girl.
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Post Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:24 pm

Re: 40K: Satire or not Satire

Late wrote:I am being entirely serious, nobody wants to hear about the delusional worldview of someone born in the late 1990's. You should save it for university parties, might get you laid with some problem glasses girl.



:shock: :? :|

Well, that escalated quickly.
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Post Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:21 pm

Re: 40K: Satire or not Satire

Late wrote:I am being entirely serious, nobody wants to hear about the delusional worldview of someone born in the late 1990's. You should save it for university parties, might get you laid with some problem glasses girl.

The only one acting like a SJW here is you. You probably have spent too much time in GamerGate which gave you a Twitter PTSD and now you get triggered every time you see anything reminds you of it.
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Post Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:12 pm

Re: 40K: Satire or not Satire

OK folks,

I'll be nice, and say this in words of no more than two syllables - Play nice or else. I don't want to see any more reports about poor behavior, understood?

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Post Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:19 pm

Re: 40K: Satire or not Satire

AranaszarSzuur wrote:BatF was a freak occurrence because the Crimson Fists fortress monastery was destroyed by a malfunctioning anti-ship missile hitting ammo stores.


You say this as if it makes the Space Marines less like bumbling idiots. :D

Your point about Logans World and the Troubles is well taken - of course if we read Space Marines in this context as the Imperialist British - and the punks as Irish. I'm not sure we see much else to confirm this as intentional, the bus-gangs, Mad Max, the slavers and fetish girls don't seem to reflect on the Troubles at all, the punks are not notably nationalist - there is no Hellsreach Republican Army - it lacks pointedness.

Perhaps at this point it's better to see Empire is being portrayed as a dark mirror for the idea of Imperialism, the Life of Bryan reference (see what I did there) - specifically the soldier stopping a youth in the middle of an act of protest graffiti - echoes Imperial Rome vs the freedom fighters of Judea. Sure the empire might be bringing Law and Order, but on Logans World we don't see them tackling the slave gangs, we don't see them battling the Orcs in the badlands, we see them giving punks a hard time. Its really the same, our sympathy is with the oppressed - we don't see the Space Marines as saviours of humanity, but its oppressor.

weismonsters wrote:Personally I do not have a problem with the ambiguity.


I think it's only a problem if the ambiguity undermines the intent. Judge Dredd / 2000AD are often brought up as examples of dystopian satire - but they are arguably much clearer (and funnier) than 40k in signalling that satirical intent. The thing is the agenda is there anyway.
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Post Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:44 pm

Re: 40K: Satire or not Satire

Zhu Bajie wrote:
AranaszarSzuur wrote:BatF was a freak occurrence because the Crimson Fists fortress monastery was destroyed by a malfunctioning anti-ship missile hitting ammo stores.


You say this as if it makes the Space Marines less like bumbling idiots. :D

Well, they are way too self-confident and negligent in preparation, possibly undisciplined like stereotypical medieval knights.
Doesn't make them any less fearsome opponents as individual fighters.

I think it was shown quite interestingly in Ian Watson's Space Marine.

Zhu Bajie wrote:Your point about Logans World and the Troubles is well taken - of course if we read Space Marines in this context as the Imperialist British - and the punks as Irish. I'm not sure we see much else to confirm this as intentional, the bus-gangs, Mad Max, the slavers and fetish girls don't seem to reflect on the Troubles at all, the punks are not notably nationalist - there is no Hellsreach Republican Army - it lacks pointedness.

These aren't punks. Look at the Helsreach faction list. Punks aren't huge guys with mohawks. Bandits and mercenaries are. The guys Marines harass and fight against are an equivalent of Necromunda's gangers. Huge, tough, armed and dangerous.
Helsreach punks are weak guys with clubs and FABULOUS hair.

Helsreach setting is in a way, a prototype of Necromunda.

There's no Hellsreach Republican Army, but there are local power structures - gangs, bandits, slavers, etc. that don't like the presence of Imperial authority.

I don't mean that Hellsreach is Ireland. I mean that Ireland was basically the most familiar imagery of occupation and resistance to the authors.

Zhu Bajie wrote:Perhaps at this point it's better to see Empire is being portrayed as a dark mirror for the idea of Imperialism, the Life of Bryan reference (see what I did there) - specifically the soldier stopping a youth in the middle of an act of protest graffiti - echoes Imperial Rome vs the freedom fighters of Judea. Sure the empire might be bringing Law and Order, but on Logans World we don't see them tackling the slave gangs, we don't see them battling the Orcs in the badlands, we see them giving punks a hard time. Its really the same, our sympathy is with the oppressed - we don't see the Space Marines as saviours of humanity, but its oppressor.

There is nothing that indicates that it's a reference to Life of Bryan.
You're often making loose associations without carefully examining source material ^^ .

Life of Brian:
-Bryan is just ordinary dude.
-The graffiti says "Romans Go Home" with gramatical error.
-The graffiti is finished when he's caught.
-The Roman officer who caught him teaches him spelling and makes him write it 100 times.

Rogue Trader illustration:
-Arrested dude is a huge muscular bandit/mercenary with a handgun.
-The graffiti says "Marines Ou".
-The graffiti is unfinished.
-It's a straightforward arrest scene.

There's an obvious parallel between "Brits Out" and "Marines Out" and large threatening men in balaclavas and huge muscular dude with a mohawk.

It suggests that former powers that be of Hellsreach are resisting Imperial occupation using terrorist tactics. We can imagine shots from behind corners, car bombs going off, grenade/rocket launcher attacks, perhaps Space Marines/loyalist forces organizing massacres of separatists, separatists massacring loyalists, etc.

Zhu Bajie wrote:
weismonsters wrote:Personally I do not have a problem with the ambiguity.


I think it's only a problem if the ambiguity undermines the intent. Judge Dredd / 2000AD are often brought up as examples of dystopian satire - but they are arguably much clearer (and funnier) than 40k in signalling that satirical intent. The thing is the agenda is there anyway.

Judge Dredd was still too ambiguous for many :P .
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Post Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:28 pm

Re: 40K: Satire or not Satire

AranaszarSzuur wrote:Helsreach setting is in a way, a prototype of Necromunda.


I think that a big part of why people misunderstand Rogue Trader is reading in later developments, or looking at it as an embryonic form of what came later rather than looking at it for what it actually is. Helsreach is as Rogue Trader as it gets.

AranaszarSzuur wrote:There is nothing that indicates that it's a reference to Life of Bryan.


You’re joking right? But just in case you’re being sincere, I’ll try to explain some of the basics here :D

Firstly, gamers are famous for their constant quoting of Monty Python, it’s a massive part of the subculture, like Red Dwarf or Hitchhikers. Life of Brian is rightfully recognised as one of the top 10 Comedy Films of all time, as famous for it’s silly songs (which reached #3 in the pop charts, and was sung at the 2012 London olympics) as it is for it’s controversial satire at the time. It also has alien spaceships in it. “Romani ite domum” is one of the most famous scenes in British comedy, it even has it’s own Wikipedia page it’s hugely improbable that Carl Critchlow wasn’t aware of this scene, or that the audience (nerdy students in 1987) wouldn’t have received a scene of a solider non-violently arresting a graffiti writer it in that context.

Critchlow is probably best known for his creation Thrud the Barbarian - this is a comedic cartoon strip, largely an over muscled, dim-witted parody of Conan the Barbarian, published in White Dwarf magazine throughout the 1980s and often noted for its ‘Pythonesque’ humour, you can see his take on 40k here:

Image

Now I’m not saying Logans World is on the same level, but just showing that Carls work in the 80s is not generally deadly serious stuff of grim seriousness, there’s a significant undercurrent of humour running throughout. In Logans World we can see the mercenary relaxing having a fag next to a wanted poster with his face on it, the Squat in a Batman t-shirt, Acid House / Comedian smileys doing sad faces, clones of Mad Max, boufaunted street kids, etc. etc. It is full of pop-culture references. It’s a real shame if people are missing out on the humorous quality of the work, but the pop-culture melange also underlines an slightly daft (I mean. Batman is still a thing in 40,000 years time, mkay?), tongue-in-cheek attitude that someone who doesn’t share the same cultural background might be missing out on because they’re just not getting all the references.

Finally, Carl in an interview stated “I did enjoy the Python films at the time I created Thrud and when the original strip was running in White Dwarf”. At least one of the Thrud strips (#50) - has almost exactly the same gag as a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail - so we have both textual evidence and testimony so we can be reasonably certain that Carl is influenced by the Pythons.

So that’s just some of the general background.

But what about this particular image?

Image

Consider the infinite images Carl could have drawn to express the Imperials bringing lost worlds to brutal order, he chooses one where a Soldier arrests a young man doing graffiti, - a scene we find specifically in The Life of Brian:

Life of Brian / Helsreach:

+ Soldier: heavily armoured elite troop.
+ Soldier: acting in a law enforcement capacity
+ Soldier: representing occupying forces.
+ Writer: caught in the act at scene of crime
+ Writer: young, male - atavistic of viewer.
+ Writer: representing rebellion against imperial forces
+ Composition: soldier on left, writer on right.
+ Slogan: Romans Go Home / Marines Out expresses the same sentiment.
+ Scene: Solider arresting graffiti writer.
+ Joke: elite forces clamping down on petty crime.

The reference is clear and obvious and of course it’s transformative and not a direct copy, but there’s enough context and similarity.

AranaszarSzuur wrote:There's an obvious parallel between "Brits Out" and "Marines Out" and large threatening men in balaclavas and huge muscular dude with a mohawk.


"XXX Out" is a commonly seen piece of graffiti, it's not singularly tied to the Troubles in Northern Ireland, although it is used in that context. It’s pretty weak evidence to hang an entire argument on.

However, the detail you’ve completely missed, I don’t know whether its due to unfamiliarity with Northern Ireland or because you didn’t really look at the picture. If you look closely you'll see a slogan that says "Home Rule for Mutants", which I'm going to argue is a direct reference to Northern Ireland, as "Home Rule for Ireland" is a well known slogan, going back to at least the 1800s. However, none of this plays out in the rest of Helsreach, the Punk is not a Mutie etc. etc. it’s not a satire on the Troubles, the Space Marines aren’t cast as Brits, not the Punks as Irish - its use is quite incidental and easily overlooked detail- not the basis of the entire scene.

There’s no “parallel” between a mohawk and a balaclava. A mohawk is an expression of individual identity, while a balaclava hides identity - they're completely different visually and signify completely different meanings. Nobody is looking at a punk with a mohawk his hands against the wall and thinking ‘terrorist’, nor is he ‘threatening’ his pose is that of someone who has ‘assumed the position’ - a submissive posture, ready to be searched, or prodded with whatever implement that Space Marine is fingering, it’s certainly not a Bolt Gun. The punk is not threatening anyone, he’s entirely passive.

The punk references in Helsreach appear across multiple factions, the ‘Street Punks’ - the Hoverbus Gangers have Anarchy signs on their shirts - the Mercenaries have Anarchy signs on their belt buckles and mohawks - they are punks, overtly carrying the signifiers of punk, explicitly not the signifiers of terrorism or freedom fighters or nationalists, but pop-culture influenced anarchists. If Carl had wanted Helsreach Mercs to be a parallel to a strong-armed underground resistance, then he could have designed them that way, but he didn’t, he designed them as anarcho-punks, as indeed the whole of Helsreach is a place where law and order have been long since replaced with lawlessness and anarchism.

AranaszarSzuur wrote:It suggests that former powers that be of Hellsreach are resisting Imperial occupation using terrorist tactics. We can imagine shots from behind corners, car bombs going off, grenade/rocket launcher attacks, perhaps Space Marines/loyalist forces organizing massacres of separatists, separatists massacring loyalists, etc.


We can imagine all sorts of things going on behind the scenes, but the actual picture and text suggest nothing of the sort. There is no evidence for car bombs or massacres or anything of that kind - what is there is a gag about the fearsome agents of Law and Order being focused on trivial crime and not really being as fearsome as they make out. Space Marines are just another faction thrown into the melting pot, not the central pivot of the whole thing.

Perhaps if Carl had shown the punk shot in the head dead on the floor, the graffiti unfinished, and a smoking barrel of the Marines non-STC weapon, the spraycan rolling out of the punks hand, maybe some laserburn marks or bullet holes in the wall behind him, it might have suggested some of that, would have made the Marines more monstrous and evil, and less like the petty-minded jobsworths they actually are.

AranaszarSzuur wrote:TJudge Dredd was still too ambiguous for many :P .


They literally put Nigel Farage on the cover and called him a hypocrite then had Dredd arrest him for incitement to riot. Its practically Private Eye level stuff.
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Post Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:07 am

Re: 40K: Satire or not Satire

Zhu Bajie wrote:
AranaszarSzuur wrote:Helsreach setting is in a way, a prototype of Necromunda.


I think that a big part of why people misunderstand Rogue Trader is reading in later developments, or looking at it as an embryonic form of what came later rather than looking at it for what it actually is. Helsreach is as Rogue Trader as it gets.

Necromunda had dangerous gang factions with punk aesthetics. Helsreach is the same in that aspect.

Zhu Bajie wrote:
AranaszarSzuur wrote:There is nothing that indicates that it's a reference to Life of Bryan.


You’re joking right? But just in case you’re being sincere, I’ll try to explain some of the basics here :D

I watched lots of Monty Python movies when I was young. Life of Bryan was a parody of Jesus Christ.

Zhu Bajie wrote:
AranaszarSzuur wrote:There's an obvious parallel between "Brits Out" and "Marines Out" and large threatening men in balaclavas and huge muscular dude with a mohawk.


"XXX Out" is a commonly seen piece of graffiti, it's not singularly tied to the Troubles in Northern Ireland, although it is used in that context. It’s pretty weak evidence to hang an entire argument on.

However, the detail you’ve completely missed, I don’t know whether its due to unfamiliarity with Northern Ireland or because you didn’t really look at the picture. If you look closely you'll see a slogan that says "Home Rule for Mutants", which I'm going to argue is a direct reference to Northern Ireland, as "Home Rule for Ireland" is a well known slogan, going back to at least the 1800s. However, none of this plays out in the rest of Helsreach, the Punk is not a Mutie etc. etc. it’s not a satire on the Troubles, the Space Marines aren’t cast as Brits, not the Punks as Irish - its use is quite incidental and easily overlooked detail- not the basis of the entire scene.

So, you see that there are multiple direct references to The Troubles.

Zhu Bajie wrote:There’s no “parallel” between a mohawk and a balaclava. A mohawk is an expression of individual identity, while a balaclava hides identity - they're completely different visually and signify completely different meanings. Nobody is looking at a punk with a mohawk his hands against the wall and thinking ‘terrorist’, nor is he ‘threatening’ his pose is that of someone who has ‘assumed the position’ - a submissive posture, ready to be searched, or prodded with whatever implement that Space Marine is fingering, it’s certainly not a Bolt Gun. The punk is not threatening anyone, he’s entirely passive.

The punk references in Helsreach appear across multiple factions, the ‘Street Punks’ - the Hoverbus Gangers have Anarchy signs on their shirts - the Mercenaries have Anarchy signs on their belt buckles and mohawks - they are punks, overtly carrying the signifiers of punk, explicitly not the signifiers of terrorism or freedom fighters or nationalists, but pop-culture influenced anarchists. If Carl had wanted Helsreach Mercs to be a parallel to a strong-armed underground resistance, then he could have designed them that way, but he didn’t, he designed them as anarcho-punks, as indeed the whole of Helsreach is a place where law and order have been long since replaced with lawlessness and anarchism.

I don't know, punks tend to look the same to me. Punk is probably one of the most de-individualizing subcultures out there when it comes to looks.
Punks have pretty much de-individualised paramilitary look, except that trash. Which makes super-muscular armed punks similar to paramilitary in balaclavas. And balaclavas are also a bandit thing and there are bandits in mohawks

They are still bandits and mercenaries. Not just some kids and the one the picture is heavily muscled and armed.

He isn't threatening anyone because he's being approached by two superhuman special forces dudes in high tech power armour.
He is someone who would be threatening if not being arrested.
It's not exactly uncommon for violent homicidal gangers to get arrested by dozens by SWAT. Doesn't make them any less threatening when free.

Zhu Bajie wrote:
AranaszarSzuur wrote:It suggests that former powers that be of Hellsreach are resisting Imperial occupation using terrorist tactics. We can imagine shots from behind corners, car bombs going off, grenade/rocket launcher attacks, perhaps Space Marines/loyalist forces organizing massacres of separatists, separatists massacring loyalists, etc.


We can imagine all sorts of things going on behind the scenes, but the actual picture and text suggest nothing of the sort. There is no evidence for car bombs or massacres or anything of that kind - what is there is a gag about the fearsome agents of Law and Order being focused on trivial crime and not really being as fearsome as they make out. Space Marines are just another faction thrown into the melting pot, not the central pivot of the whole thing.

Perhaps if Carl had shown the punk shot in the head dead on the floor, the graffiti unfinished, and a smoking barrel of the Marines non-STC weapon, the spraycan rolling out of the punks hand, maybe some laserburn marks or bullet holes in the wall behind him, it might have suggested some of that, would have made the Marines more monstrous and evil, and less like the petty-minded jobsworths they actually are.

I don't think you understand how serious risk it was to challenge imperial authority historically.
Crushing dissent is characteristic for tyranny and the Imperium is supposed to be the bloodiest regime imaginable.
For all we know about the Imperium, the bandit/mercenary is going to end up tortured for info and either executed or put into penal legion. I mean they put people in penal legion for overdue library books and tax mistakes, so there's no reason to assume that they won't do it for challenging imperial authority - though it's more probable that it's a capital crime.
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