Saturday, August 9, 2008

Operation Dipstick

(ht: Dale of the Ford Report) Seems there's a bit of a brouhaha in the scenario world over wearing Nazi insignia on uniforms at a particular WWII European theater based game hosted by West Point. But this isn't new. Not unreasonably there has been support for West Point's refusal to allow such insignia. There has also been some research into the players at question. I'm not hugely interested in this particular situation except as it pertains to the wider world of paintball. It seems reasonable to conclude from this incident that most folks on the recreational side of the game will draw a line at Nazi paraphernalia. Whoop-de-freakin'-doo!
Frankly, I could make a case that the wearing of any military uniform pursuant to playing a paintball game is both disrespectful and moronic. And this is where the real problem arises. For those in the paintball community concerned about the image we project let me suggest that there is absolutely no way to candy coat or rationalize playing war and shooting people. In America paintball is sufficiently ubiquitous that most people have a passing familiarity with paintball and they DO NOT associate tourney ball with gun violence, paramilitary whackos, skinheads, terrorists, survivalists and every other army wannabe. Sorry, kids, but that image of paintball is the dark side of scenario play, particularly when it is "based" on real war.
And look, if WWII is cool how 'bout a Khe San scenario or a Tora Bora hunt for Bin Laden? Sa-weet! Would you object to that? Why? Or maybe something with Somalian warlords? A Blackhawk Down dealio. Where you gonna draw that line? Is WWII far enough in the past to be okay? Then why not a trench warfare scenario from WWI? Or maybe an Ardennes Forest scenario? Or maybe Gettysburg? Let's pretend at some All-American slaughter, why don't we? We can wear blue and butternut.
I'm not opposed to scenario paintball. I do object to mil-sim type scenario play because it is indefensible to the general public and I happen to believe it is disrespectful of *real* soldiers and *real* sacrifice.
Now please explain to me how your playing war is different from the nazi clowns except as a matter of degree.

No comments: