Recently Kotaku, a gaming news website, published an article titled “Call of duty trailer recklessly promotes far-right conspiracy theory” by a chap named Ian. And this is my response to it, since it has many factual errors and obvious search engine optimization integrations (buzzwords). You can find the actual article here.
The article will be presented in italics.
My response will be non-italicized.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s debut trailer—which has already attracted controversy—gives a lot of airtime to Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov and his views. Views which have, in recent years, become a dangerous rallying cry for far-right conspiracy theories and the people who peddle them.
It’s funny how much these people project. The very fact that he insists this theory is “dangerous” shows how much of a believer he is. He has been taken hook line and sinker by the Soviets 30 years after the USSR fell. But, I digress. Let’s continue.
The teaser, which was released last week to hype up the more recent reveal, intersperses stock footage of major world events with a 1984 interview of Bezmenov, who claimed to have been an informant for the KGB before defecting to the United States. During the interview, he describes the Soviet Union’s alleged use of “active measures” that, in theory, are meant to destabilize opponents without direct military conflict by way of changing a society’s power structure and economy. In short, Bezmenov’s suggestion in the full interview is that extending equality to the United States’ non-white, non-male population made it ripe for Soviet invasion.
Now, Ian here has it correct right until the last sentence. Bezmenov never suggested anything about “extending equality”. The very fact he uses the word equality exposes his lack of understanding the subject at hand. The Soviets never saw equality as a bad thing – that was the point. Communists are fervent believers in the concept of social equality. It’s a cornerstone to the pyramid sche- I mean, ideology. The tactics of active measures were not used to subvert equality and keep said country “white and straight” (kind of racist and heterophobic, huh Ian?), they were used to slowly change the social fabric of a society. Here. I’ll break it down for Ian since it seems he didn’t even watch the interview.
The crux of all of this begins at what is called Critical Theory. What is Critical Theory? Well, Critical Theory has a narrow yet broad meaning in philosophy and in the history of the social sciences. “Critical Theory” in the narrow sense designates several generations of German philosophers and social theorists in the Western European Marxist tradition known as the Frankfurt School. According to these theorists, a “critical” theory may be distinguished from a “traditional” theory according to a specific practical purpose: a theory is critical to the extent that it seeks human “emancipation from slavery”, acts as a “liberating … influence”, and works “to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers” of human beings (Horkheimer 1972, 246). Because such theories aim to explain and transform all the circumstances that enslave human beings, many “critical theories” in the broader sense have been developed. They have been the basis for many social movements and is responsible for the current degradation of academia.
Since the global revolution that Marx predicted never came to fruition, communist thought leaders and intellectuals began the Frankfurt School, otherwise known as the Institute for Social Research, in Germany. The ideas that came from this institution helped shape the Nazi’s ideology, as well as the Communist ideology currently ruling over China. It is also where the term “Politically Correct” was coined, and where the ideologies behind Bezmenov’s warning were gestated. As the Soviets grew in power, so did the ideology itself. But there was a problem. Usually, a healthy society isn’t going to be politically homogenous. This is because, as many could argue, a healthy society thrives on freedom. And with freedom of the individual, ideas and politics like Communism or Marxism are just not compatible. This is why it is always implemented by force and reeducation. A low trust in your fellow citizen will produce an ample environment to keep the populace in line, as no one wants to go to the gulag for questioning the current state.
The Soviets had enough time to develop social control methods and ideological subversive tactics. It’s what led China to fall for such simple reductive ideas. The methods used were the same one’s the Soviets used. Only Mao ramped them up past 11, with increasing the intensity of the Struggle Session, otherwise known today as being Canceled.
I can see this is a lot to try and understand, but you can tell already that this has nothing to do with his simple answer of “extending equality to the United States’ non-white, non-male population”. His entire premise from the first paragraph is already a poisoned well.
The official Call of Duty trailer refers to Bezmenov’s claims as a “chilling warning,” and implores viewers to “know your history,” which sure feels like a tacit endorsement of the man’s deeply flawed ideology.
As I have explained, it is imperative to actually know your history. Otherwise you think a communist defector is endorsing the “far-right”. I honestly think he’s just using the current accepted tactic used to shut down any decent or skepticism. Fear of the spooky far right.
The person interviewing Bezmenov in the footage is far-right conspiracy theorist G. Edward Griffin, who has since made a name for himself in HIV/AIDS denialism and alt-right recruitment. As a member of the John Birch Society, a famously anti-Communist organization focused on establishing a more conservative government in the United States, it makes sense that Griffin would peddle Bezmenov’s claims about Soviet interference by way of social progress without any critical analysis. In the Call of Duty trailer, Activision presents Bezmenov’s words bereft of this important context.
That’s because the context isn’t needed. The tactics used to subvert the US were already underway, and took hold elsewhere. Only within the US, it sank its teeth into the academics and intellectuals, corrupting an entire generation of teachers and professors. This leads to a whole generation being influenced and taught with broken toxic ideas. It seems the whole reason we have more censorship and corporate alliance with said censorship is that the people who control large and influential institutions such as the media or education are that generation, my generation. If anything, this whole explanation of who the interviewer is, is just a red herring.
As the name suggests, Black Ops Cold War deals with the decades-long struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, which engaged in various forms of political and proxy warfare as the globe’s prevailing superpowers after World War II. While Bezmenov’s warnings seem like obvious fodder for amping up that conflict in the game, his appearance in the game’s advertisement has functioned as a sort of dog whistle to legions of reactionaries who consider attempts at establishing social equity to be proof of a far-right conspiracy theory known as “Cultural Marxism.”
It amazes me that those who support these kinds of politics always use the words “dog-whistle”, which I honestly think is a dog-whistle in itself. A rallying cry to the far left to cancel whatever they are accusing of said thought crime. As for Cultural Marxism… well, here’s what Ian thinks it is:
Cultural Marxism is a modern spin on the notion of “Cultural Bolshevism,” which was a tactic used by the early Nazi party in Germany to discredit supposed dissidents—usually among the Jewish population, as was its wont—as dangers to so-called “traditional values.” In this way, diversity and societal growth away from prejudice were treated as divisive and insidious, clearing a path for the country’s eventual acceptance of Nazism. The falsehood of Cultural Marxism has been used ever since to embolden a growing white nationalist movement in blaming society’s ills on the fictitious boogeymen of marginalized populations, rather than the people in power who actually exploit the world and its most vulnerable inhabitants.
As you can see, he doesn’t seem to actually grasp the concept very well. Cultural Marxism is precisely what I have been explaining this whole article. The social and cultural subversion of a society. Since the class based revolution never happened, Communists needed an explanation. And that’s exactly what the Frankfurt School did. Philosophers thought that the class based revolution was too narrow. Instead they came up with the idea of a cultural revolution. With these ideas formed current Marxist theory and practice.
“White nationalism is a variegated movement, but most groups see the future of white America as threatened by the liberalizing forces of Cultural Marxism,” write Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, and Kevin Hicks, professor of English at Alabama State University, in Hate Crimes, Volume 1. “Ultimately, this […] has come to embody […] feminists, homosexuals, secular humanists, multiculturalists, sex educators, environmentalists, immigrants, and black nationalists.”
Ok, this paragraph is just a hodgepodge of buzzwords and hashtags. White nationalism, if anything, is the more pressing conspiracy theory that needs to be snuffed out. The dangers of re-racializing a society when it was very close to leaving those toxic ideas behind are staggering and party responsible for the current cultural conflict.
The term more recently gained popularity in gaming circles thanks to (what else) GamerGate. The specter of Cultural Marxism is routinely conjured to decry anything that doesn’t adhere to the straight, white, cis male perspective that has dominated the video game industry for decades, such as the introduction of playable female characters in Battlefield V and LGBTQ+ representation in The Last of Us Part II. Seeing Bezmenov promoted by Call of Duty in such an uncritical way feels like a winking acknowledgement of those bullshit complaints.
GamerGate was not what Ian explains it to be. GamerGate was just the exposure of dishonest and corrupt gaming journalists and gaming developers who used sexual favors as a cheap form of review fixing. The fact that Ian chooses to ignore this exposes his involvement in said activities, either directly or indirectly. This lie peddled by gaming journalists is old and tired and doesn’t need much more explanation.
Activision has given its fans a direct path to Bezmenov’s philosophy while also leaving out crucial contextual details that explain its origins and the dangerous effects it has already had on the modern world.
While never invoking Cultural Marxism by name, Bezmenov’s warnings ran parallel to its core tenets. In his various lectures and interviews, Bezmenov said that any attempt to establish social equity for women, for Black folks, or for the LGBTQ+ community in the United States was merely a Soviet ploy to weaken American society from within. He frequently criticized leftists, feminists, and those involved in the equal rights and anti-war movements as “useful idiots,” or pawns whose demands were an opening for the Soviet Union to destabilize the United States. That term was used in the very same interview from which Activision pulled footage for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War but, again, the trailer glosses over that part of the discussion.
As the useful idiot states, Bezmenov is just a racist. Pure and simple. No actual thought put into it. Maybe, Ian, he was warning morons such as yourself of the dangers of dishonest actors using these groups and causes for their benefit. It’s partly what caused modern feminism to become so unpopular. These dishonest people abused these social movements to their benefit, just as ANTIFA is using BLM to theirs.
The rest of the article just talks about youtubers and other influencers, most likely to generate more clicks. I’d be careful listening to dishonest people such as Ian, and Kotaku as a whole. The complete lack of ethics and honestly are a red flag for being an ideologue. Either way, I would read up on some history, since no one seems to actually read anymore. We are certainly repeating it at the hand of those around us that chose to ignore the lessons taught by history.