Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bruno Faidutti, designer of Waka Tanka

I recently asked Mr. Bruno Faidutti for an interview, and sent him some questions concerning Waka Tanka, the "controversy" over the box art, and cultural differences between USA and France/EU. While he did not like the manner of questions I asked, he still graciously provided a statement. Commentary will begin after the statement.

From Bruno Faidutti:

As I have said in my article about this issue, I think the problem with the graphics in Waka Tanka comes from a difference in the codes of racism in the US and in Europe, and the reverse can also happen, with things which would be problematic here and not in the US. That’s why I finally approved the change in the Waka Tanka cover (while I still disapprove of the fakir / slave change in Five Tribes, which is literary revisionism). That’s why also the angry reactions to these graphics came only from the US. Neither the designer, me, nor the illustrator, nor the French and Italo-Brazilian publisher saw any problem with the graphics, and actually I don’t think anyone who is not very well acquainted with US culture and politics could see the problem here. On the other hand, once it had been explained to us, we understood it well and agreed to change the graphics. 

I’ve nothing against social justice warriors, and as a marxist I can be one sometimes. I simply regret that they seem, more and more often, to pick the wrong ennemies. Specifically, I think that race and racism are now mostly a capitalist trick to simultaneously divide and essentialize the working class, which is why it is very important for me not to take race issues too seriously - which I tried to do in my points about the graphics in Waka Tanka.

I am extremely weary of political correctness, especially when it deals with language and representation, but not because it  oppresses opposite views, which are usually not very commendable. I am opposed to it because I think it’s a strategic mistake (which can probably be traced back to Orwell’s theories of language which are now prevalent in most of the western left). It’s putting the cart before the horse - it’s the social reality which must be changed, not the way we describe it. In the end, PC euphemization of descriptions and languages probably prevents actual social change.

Unfortunately, and this is probably the only point on which we will agree, this trend is becoming stronger and stronger, and Europe seems now to be following the US in it.
Injustice Gamer commentary:
 Once again, I'd like to thank Bruno Faidutti for his cooperation and words.
 Bruno is a designer of many games of good reputation, as evidenced on his boardgamegeek page. Some of these games I rather enjoy, others not.  My only personal criticism from my brief interaction with him is the fact that it is intellectually inconsistent for a Marxist to make boardgames, for a company to profit. Onto other commentary, that of content, I found the man to be a gentleman and fair.

Personally, I preferred the original box art:
Here is the replacement art:
My opinion is that while the two are cartoonish, the first is more light hearted, and the second feels darker and not quite right for a 20-30 minute game.  Both have most of the same stereotypes in fact: the red Indian being the only real difference. 

Bruno mentions the Five Tribes change, which I covered here. He states that he is unhappy with the literary revisionism, good and well. Marxists of all stripes have engaged in historical revisionism frequently. The Communist Party in Russia not only disappeared people, but removed them from photographs. ESPN has recently removed Curt Schilling from their Red Sox documentary, after firing him for making statements far less harsh than some they continue to employ; he was simply stating illiberal opinions.

If race and racism are a capitalist trick, I must ask why it is that it's liberals that fixate on it. The fact is that genetic biodiversity states that intelligence is linked to genetics heavily, and scientists have been denied funding to continue the research. Even the SAT shows a gap that is growing.

SJWs are indeed picking the wrong enemies. Perhaps this is because they have picked the wrong causes to begin with. Dividing people and promoting victimhood exposes itself for lazy greed eventually. 

On PC culture, we agree, but not for the same reason. It is a movement to restrict free speech, association, and eventually thought. This restriction does not benefit man, as we grow best through rivalry and competition.

Update: Mr. Faidutti has informed me that being a Marxist does not necessitate being a leninist or communist. He believes that the class struggle is "motor of history". Of course, I think he might struggle withe the differences between an American far right conservative, a libertarian, and a minarchist. He also mentions Mr. Sanders as not playing the race card in politics. On this we disagree; I believe he's doing it more subtly by promising college, and high wages for unskilled work.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

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