Warhammer 40k an in depth analysis: Part 1, EoM: part 1, Manifest destiny.

This begins a series of looks into the vast number of topics concerning humanity in the 40k universe. We start with the Empire of mankind (EoM), for a number of reasons, firstly they represent humanity, and is as a result easiest to explain without further context, Secondly the EoM is, at least to some degree a part of in what happens in the rest of the narrative, and as a result, The EoM has by far the most material written about it.

These first chapters will be dedicated to a broad overview of the EoM, as well as to contrast it with some potential real world concepts. In the first part will we discuss how we can find similarities between the EoM and Colonial Great Britain, more specifically their colonialism and nationalism. The Empire of Mankind can be seen as a glorification as well as a stark criticism of imperialism and colonialism. 1

The empire is described in their related texts as the “universe sole and rightful ruler” .J.D. (2016) The Empire of Mankind’s is presented as being ruled by an absent ruler (Se EoM: 3 The God Emperor), in his place is an unimaginable large governmental body of scribes, bureaucrats, rule makers and statesmen. This organisation, just like Colonial Britain is centrally controlled. In the case of the EoM this entity is known as the High Lords of Terra (Hill 2016). This can be compared to the central rule of the British control of their colonies. In reality the rule was in fact quite localized due to distance between Britain and her colonies. Greater decisions, and of course the restitution of profits was left to the ruler “at home”. This is true of the EoM as well, only on a mind bogglingly large scale. Despite these long distances and independent rule, these planets and spaces stations under mankind’s control, still expected to pay large amount of taxes as well as to stay true to the “true Imperial values”. This again, can be linked to how great Britain ruled their colonies (Pennycook 1998).

To further cement the allegory to the British colonies are the rulers of Imperial planets named “planetary governors”, not unlike the title colonial governor given to the rulers of British colonies.

It is said that said that amongst all of the colonial powers, Britain was most eager to spread their culture to their colonies (Pennycook 1998). For example they stared cricket leagues in several of their colonies, and it’s said that while Germans built railroads, Brits made horse racing tracks. Likewise does the EoM bring their creed, customs and religion to each planet they “liberate”, like with the colonial counterparts, some cultures and people encountered became what was called “sanctioned aliens”, many others were destroyed (Hill 2016).  For example the British used the implementation of cricket to strengthen their hold of their colonies and form a feeling of unification. Kulkarni, Tapas.

This leads us in the the most controversial and difficult topic of this comparison, how the EoM sees “the other” and how it compares to their real life contemporaries.

The British Empire as well as the other colonial powers has a well documented and bloody history with what they saw as “the local savages”, as mentioned before the “best” outcome usually to become a sanctioned alien to one of these powers, slaves in costume if not in name, always the “lesser”. But to understand how the British colonial power saw the other, we must first discuss how it saw itself. The empire is always described as the cultivated one, the intelligent, mature and masculine. In comparison the “other” is seen as lesser, savage, childish and feminine (Pennycook, A. 1998). As you can see, does the British empire need others to define itself as superior.

The Empire of Mankind is the same ideology, expanded on a galactic scale, and against not just humans, but different sentient species as well. The EoM has several “others” to use to distinguish itself with, alien species, “heretics” and mutants are always something that the EoM can identify itself as “better” then. The virtuous do differ slightly between the two , but, some values, such as strength, civilisation, and purity, seems to exists within both values. Other species being “pacified” or exterminated to the last individual, all in the name of the survival of the Empire of Mankind (Hill 2016).

Lastly I will discuss how these two colonial powers justify their conquests and exterminations. Part of the strategy of colonial England was to paint the colonization effort as a great adventure, where great men went on journeys of grand discoveries, slaying monsters, and (hopefully for the rulers), died som heroic death somewhere.  The actual reasons can more concisely be narrowed down to economical and political reasons, as well as a need to “educate and help” the local population. (Pennycook, A. 1998). In the Warhammer universe there is a similar comparison to the wanderlust in the “rogue traders”, that will be explored in a later chapter.  The Empire of Mankind is on the other hand described as to follow a sort of “divine plan”. It was their the will of their Immortal God Emperor that humanity would rule the stars. And as their god commands, so shall it be. In other word, a literal form of divine destiny (Hill. 2016).

In conclusion can we se several ties between the fictional Empire of Mankind and the real colonial powers, and Britain in particular. This chapter has been but a small taste of our further discussion in order to familiarize the reader with my arguments and the topics we will discuss, we will return to the EoM later in our discussion topic. Next chapter will dive into how the Empire itself is described and the military focused stories that it lives within.

1 My choice to compare the EoM with just the franchise creators Games Workshop is based in Great Britain, and as will get more and more apparent, they use a lot of inspiration from their homeland in their work.

Referensers:

Hill, J.D. (2016). Astra militarum. Games Workshop.

Kulkarni, Tapas. Deliberate export. Retrieved 2017-11- 19 from https://spreadofcricket.weebly.com/sources.html

Pennycook, A. (1998). English and the discourses of colonialism [Elektronisk resurs]. London: Routledge.

Warhammer 40k an in depth analysis: Introduction

This series will contain an in depth analysis of the major concepts, factions and themes of the Warhammer 40k universe created by Games Workshop UK. We will start with analysing each faction, theme etc individually. Later we will  compare and contrast these different parts.

The goal of this series of texts is to try and legitimize the analysis and discussion of similar series. I also wish to spread intellectual discussion about the media you are passionate about.

Next time we will start our deep dive in to the The Empire of Mankind, the totalitarian and Gothic description of humanity in year 40.000.

Canon: an introduction

This article will serve as an introductory look in to the term Canon, and how we will use it moving forward.  The term canon is most commonly used to group a series of works together. Usually you discuss  one or two connections. The first is a real world, or para-textual connection such as the canon of an author. a country 1. The second is a fictional, or intertextual connections, like the Star Wars canon, or canon or non canon episodes of fresh prince of Bel Air.

In this series we will mostly focus on the second definition. This is not to say that the other definition is any way lesser of a form of analysis, but this will be what we mostly focus on. More specificity will we will focus on what in considered “true” within the framework of certain pieces of media. It’s equally important for any canonical study to look what isn’t included in a collection, as what is.

1 Culler, Jonathan D., Literary theory: a very short introduction, 2. ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011

The game: a definition

Several definitions of games exists within and without the academic world. With this text I will make the case for one of them. This definition goes as followed, “each games must have an implicit or explicit player”  Furthermore we will define the “player” as “Someone with implicit or explicit control over the actions in a game”.

An observant reader might have noticed that the two definitions is intertwined, there is a point to that we will come to later.  But first let’s break down these two definitions into smaller parts. Let’s begin with the definition of a game, this is a modification of a literary definition. “A text is a text if it has if it has an explicit or implicit reader”. The distinction between explicit and implicit reader is important. This way a text is not only a text if it would be to read, but also if it had the potential to be read. The same logic applies to or definition of a game. A game is still a game, even if no one ever plays it, as long as there is a possibility that someone could play it.

The next step is to define the player that is mentioned in our games definition. It’s important to define the term player for two reasons. First of, the term is not as directly obvious as that of a reader. Secondly, the term player is used in several different scenarios, wish leads to a need for further clarity to avoid confusion.

These definitions clear up two things, a game must not have been played, in order to be discussed or analysed as a game. Finally these definitions together means one very important thing. In order for a game to be considered a game in our discussion, it must have one thing. It must be possible for a player/person to take control over, in other words change something in the game. There must exist an deliberate interaction between the game and the player.

When we in the future will discuss games of any kind, from board games to video games to slot machines, this is the definition I will use.

 

 

 

Pop culture analysis: an introduction

This part of the blog will be dedicated to a critical discussion about popular culture. This is made in a hope of deepening the discussion about the subject and hopefully putting these texts in a broader context. I believe that we can learn much  about our time from the types of media we consume.

In this introduction I will describe what I mean with pop culture, and why I believe its worth studying.

With the term Pop culture or popular culture is in broad terms “bad media”. More specificity everything that inst considered “art” or “high culture”. Part of the mission with these texts are to disprove some of these myths about pop culture.

This segment will contain everything from discussion about theme, writing styles to analysation and discussion about specific works.

Consider a state

Today we will follow up on our earlier discussion about the State. Historicity has states, as defined by Hobbes exist as long as humans has lived in any form of organized tribe.

Today we will tough focus on defining the “modern nation state”. With this term I refer to the unified nations that formed as a result of, and with the explicit help of the rise of European nationalism.

This nationalism can be in part be attributed to the rise of unified nation states in the west. Germany, the UK, France and many more nation went from legalized governance to a more localized form. With this localization came the need for a notion of a complete and uniform national identity. This identity would unify the nations citizens under one banner. This national identity would also legitimize the states rule. This act also help legitimize the states interaction with other states. These interactions includes everything from trade negotiations, to war and colonization.

This nation state is as much defined what it is, as what it inst. What I mean by this statement is the following. When defining who are the citizens of a state (us), one must simultaneously define why is not (them). At the rise of European nationalism this often meant exaggerating some perceived virtue of the nations citizens while exaggerating negative traits of the “others”.

It is true that nationalism has simulair events, discussions etc has evolved in several areas and time frames around the world. The somewhat unfortunate Eurocentric standpoint of the environment this blog is created in, does me that Europe is where our discussion start. With this said, I believe there are some simulates that can be found in most if not al of these events.

The common element that we are going to focus on here is he following: al national identities are by their design, fabricated. What I mean by this is the following:

Al national identities are created by its parent nation, state and most importantly, the people that embody it. Next time we will look closer at what makes up a national identity.

How many raspberries . . .

Inspired by the title of a movie, we will today discuss the properties of raspberries, specificity, how many that exists in the world. A juvenile question at first glance, but one that does pose some interesting follow-up questions.

Firstly it is the question of defining said berry, for this experiment we will keep to the botanical term of, a specific type of berry.

This leads us to the following question, when does a Raspberry begin, or end being a berry, should rotten berries be accounted for, half digested berries, barley formed berries? To further complicate this point, is the fact of the continual change of biological life.

A solution to this would be to only count fully formed, intact raspberries. This state is tough, as previously mentioned, fleeting.

To get an exact reading we will be forced to count said berries instantaneously, for a specific moment in time. This will get us an accurate representation of berries, tough one that is instantly outdated once the moment of reading ends.

As a conclusion, the quantity of raspberries in the world is in constant flux, based on the creation and destruction of said berries.