Fascism gets a bad rap. It should. It is a rather oppressive form of government, one that favors militarization and has inherent in its existence a sense of racial/national superiority (given that there doesn't seem to be any objective reason to support racial/national superiority, the latter component is just irrational). The only benefit Fascism has as a government type in Civ III is that it allows for endless war without losing the support of the people. War sure seems like fun when it is other people's lives, fake people. People who exist only in terms of numbers, or solely on film or in print. A war that goes on forever should be looked upon as something that, if not bad, is likely far from good.
I made up a batch of "Vote Fascist" buttons back in 2003 or 2004. I had borrowed a button maker from a co-worker (who in turn borrowed it from his soon-to-be fiancée) to make silly little buttons and button shaped magnets for things vaguely related to Living Arcanis. I still have a few of those, sadly. The idea of the Fascist Party encouraging active voting seemed to me – at the time – the height of irony. It isn't, of course, but I do think there is some commentary to be grafted onto something so simple as a button that reads "Vote Fascist".
Around Chicago, the "Vote Fascist" button got a few raised eyebrows, but mostly sly nods as though whoever read it was in on the same joke. People on the far Right saw it as a message critiquing the Left, and the far Left saw it as a simple explanation of where the far (Christian) Right wanted to go. It isn't as though either major party candidate in '04 could have been proud to think that a supporter was getting the message out by saying that 'We, the American people, should vote our rights away and install a militaristic regime that will take control of our lives in ways we never dared imagine a generation earlier.' Of course now I think the moderates on both sides try to make that argument about the opposition.
Down in Florida, fifty nine years after World War II came to an end – and with a sizable contingent of folks who actually fought against Fascists living there – the button was seen as the ultimate slap in the face of men whose service and sacrifice (it was entirely men who had a savage reaction to it) ended Mussolini's and Hitler's respective reigns. The Greatest Generation didn't earn that monicker for a deep and abiding love of irony. Things were (and I suppose are, to those still living) supposed to be straight forward and as honest as circumstances politely allowed. I don't think that is better, since that generation also had some pretty strong support for racial segregation, not exposing child molestation, and holding a worldview where there is something inherent in the American character that makes he or she better than any other kind of person. A soft bigotry, sure, but bigotry nonetheless.
Anyway, I am getting a little upset that I haven't posting anything in a short while. I have a couple of movies that just didn't sit right with me (one felt rushed, the other was just...what is the right way to describe something that is a failure on every level except for lighting?) and some books that I haven't addressed. But mostly I have been spending too much time mucking around with a game that is only supposed to be enjoyed on brief spurts (and when all other work is done).
Real posts are coming. I promise.
|The last surviving "Vote Fascist" button. Might move it to one of the hats so I can sport it around town this summer. Wonder what kind of reaction it would get almost ten years later.|