Fan Mail!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006, 11:28 PM

If you came here to be entertained, turn off the computer screen and walk away now...

Regular readers may know of an article I posted a little while back about a War On Terror Boardgame forum I was getting hits from. It seems that the gent behind it finally got back to me, and I think it's worth a genuine response. (Find the original comment here, and read along at home!!1!)

Mr Wilbar/TrollGod/James Will/Whatever moniker you'd like to be known as,

Firstly, I think it's important to say that I am on your side. If anything in the world can be found to be funny, it should be laughed at. That includes satirical board games.

But in the interest of simplifying things a little, I think a point-by-point reply to your comment is required. I never was one for formalising matters.

To start off however I must congratulate you on being one of the few who takes the care or time to research their article (this also includes the main media) - as no-one else has even mooted such a theory about 'The Evil Balaclava' Forum.

Well then, thanks very much for the ego stroking, although I'm not surprised about the interests of the mainstream media - as I'm sure we both know, the only thing that the media ever take interest in theorising are the sleeping patterns of the celebrities. You did get it right, though - it was just a theory. And a playful, whimsical one at that.

But please give us a little more credit than to be naive enough to mistakenly create a publicly open nerve centre spin-doctoring control forum !

On the contrary, for all I know, my theorised "nerve centre" may have been publicly accessible by design. What better way to recruit others to help the cause? I'm sure it must be a mammoth task to (alledgedly) overturn the opinions of millions of people single-handedly.

As you say you asked for responses & you got my personal opinion - please do not debase my opinions by simply dismissing my view as me simply having an 'interest' in the game - to do such a thing is as bad as doctoring your contributors entries so that they all mirror your own opinion.

You'll notice that I never attempted to debase your opinion - in fact I readily accepted it. All I did was state fact - that you had visited and commented as a representitive of The Evil Balaclava. I used that information to openly theorise and question your motives. It's no different to a glam mag writing, "We have photos of Brad Pitt and Paris Hilton together... we wonder if they're fucking?"

You will find (regardless of what you wish to believe) is that the Evil Balaclava Forum ( *is* a fan forum

Yes, I did mention that it is the unofficial game forum. Linked to, (therefore, some might say, at the very least condoned) by the official game site and the creators of the game. In fact, the original post concerning my site was even written, commented on and approved by "andrewsheerin" - co-incidently the name of one of the creators.

My interest in the game is simply that it looks to be interesting and I am keen for my copy to be shipped out (when they finally land at TerrorBull HQ)... but until the game is actually shipped and we can start playing it all we have to focus on is the recent main stream media's total mis-representation of the game & thus a threat to it's final production

Worried about the game being released? Now, would that constitute a vested interest?

would your primary reader base be impressed by a media campaign to debase your blog because it contains too much blue? (an over simplification I admit).

The majority of my current reader base are only concerned about a man with three-inch long nipples. I'm sure they won't mind.

The reason for our posting of external comments in Evil Balaclava is simply because there are too many media sources out their with their own financial agendas who have no qualms with blocking any comment that does not suit them - why should they be allowed to escape from being identified as editors of freespeach !?

You know, I had a quick surf through your comments on the "Websites of Hate" section of your forum, and there was no mention of any site, news service, blog or carrier pidgeon blocking or removing any of your pro-game opinions from their site. You'd think something like that would be worth ranting about with your conterparts, wouldn't it?

I think it may be time for me to cite one of the great digital tomes, Wiktionary...

spin doctor

1. (British slang) A person employed to gloss over a poor public image in business and politics, especially after unfavourable results have been achieved.

If you don't mind me saying, sir - the hat fits.

I short there was no conspiracy to dictate your blog, the 'brain child' of anyone who will financially gain from the game (although I'm hoping to be remembered in their wills) and if you still regard this as a huge conspiracy then feel free to have your say in our forum - Looking back at the thread that infuriated you ... yes I can see why throw away comments that point to being something a little more than they are

Trollbar, the article I wrote about your forum was designed with four purposes in mind. First, it was to make the observation that it exists. Secondly, it was to express my disgust at the idea of someone pulling strings behind my back. I simply hate the idea of being manipulated. The third reason was to hopefully get some sort of explanation out of you (mission accomplished), and finally, the article was intended to be amusingly flippant about the idea, which I'll now admit missed the mark somewhat (I would have thought the words "Thank-you and good-night!" would have been a melodramatic hint.)

You see, Couch Culture is essentially a platform for humour, a pedestal from where I have the opportunity to flex my wit, and a forum for lighthearted discussion on Aussie culture. The original article was discussing taboos in humour, using the War On Terror board game as an example only, something which you completely misinterpreted.

It's very possible that you're not one of the creators, as you say - I'm sure the creators of the game would be intelligent enough to recognise that, although there is a market for it, the war on terror remains a controversial and touchy subject, and it's going to make a few people sick to their stomachs. If they didn't consider that, then they are simply being naïve.

I would hope that the creators also recognise that people have a right to feel that way, without having opposing opinions jammed down their throat. Just as I have a right to openly theorise about "The Evil Balaclava". This is, ultimately, a discussion about free speech, isn't it?

The media were always going to take a negative slant on the issue. Since when have the majority of media outlets ever released news articles that were anything less than conservative? That's why many newspapers and news sites have opinion sections, to balance the views of the newspaper. (And have someone to blame if a point-of-view is too controversial.) But considering that the media outlets take their opinions from the percieved opinion of the general public, does it necessarily mean that the position they take on issues are any less relevant?

I honestly can't see why you would bother with this battle of yours. All this attention means the game is getting coverage across the world, and the creators should be thrilled. So why do you bother to leave your pro-game diatribe strewn across the Internet? People are smart enough to decide on their own opinions without your help - especially as satire is a much more intelligent form of humour - and the fact you feel the need to leave a calling card on every mention could be considered an insult to the intelligence of the general public.

But despite all your faults - missing the point of what I have to say, jumping at shadows, spin-doctoring, trolling etc. - I can't fault, whether you have a particular 'interest' in the game or not, your passion to fight for what you believe in.

Enjoy your boardgame, James.

J.Statler, Esq.

P.S. Everyone else: This is the last you'll hear of this. I'm washing my hands of it. Now resuming normal service.

And bonus points for anyone who can make sense of my textual effluent.