It only took the U.S. one week to move from the horrific actions of a lone racist who killed nine churchgoers in South Carolina to companies banning “Dukes of Hazzard” collectibles and Civil War games. Millions of Americans are, ironically, slaves to the past. They are slaves to an inanimate object. They cower in fear of a flag, even though common sense tells them that symbols can only be infused with meanings we permit.
Kotaku reported June 25:
Today, Apple decided to start yanking games that use the Confederate flag in any way (via TouchArcade). For example, you can now no longer buy the strategy iOS games Civil War: 1862, Civil War: 1863, Civil War: 1864, and Civil War: Gettysburg, which, as you might guess, use the Confederate flag because they’re video games about the Civil War.
Andrew Mulholland, director of these Civil War games, told me this morning that Apple pulled them today without any warning.
“It seems disappointing that they would remove it as they weren’t being used in an offensive way, being that they were historical war games and hence it was the flag used at the time,” Mulholland said in an e-mail. “At the moment we’re reworking the games to replace the flags that are deemed offensive. We’re going to use the Confederate flag from 1861 and 1862 as the one that’s considered offensive wasn’t introduced until late 1862.”
The note Apple sent, according to Mulholland: “We are writing to notify you that your app has been removed from the App Store because it includes images of the Confederate flag used in offensive and mean-spirited ways.”
What is happening here is only a few steps removed from book burning. It is the second cousin of book burning. We have found ourselves in a place where it is permissible to use a tragedy to target goods and services totally unrelated to the event. In an attempt to expunge certain elements of the past from our collective cultural consciousness, Civil War games are now deemed “mean spirited” merely for being about the Civil War.
This behavior indicates that the United States is culturally insane or a slave to its past. Businesses are beholden to the bottom line, and right now the bottom line is that prudence and reason are dangerously unprofitable. When a company looks out at its potential customers and it preemptively engages in absolute lunacy to please them, then red (not Confederate) flags should go up.
The nation would be wise to consider the words of Saint Francis de Sales, who said:
“‘Know thyself’ — that saying so celebrated among the ancients — may be understood as applying to the knowledge of the greatness and excellence of the soul (so that it may not be debased or profaned by things unworthy of its nobility); but it also may be taken to refer to the knowledge of our unworthiness, imperfection, and misery.” — Saint Francis de Sales, The Art of Loving God.
“Know thyself” is not high on America’s priority list these days. To the extent it is, Americans only want to think about their “greatness and excellence.”
Only sad people avoid confrontation with the worst parts of their nature, and only sick and twisted souls seek to live in complete denial of sins past. No matter how you slice it, America is in a pathetic place in 2015 — and it has nothing to do with slavery.