South Carolina Massacre Results In Apple Going Flag-Stupid In The App Store

from the sigh dept

It’s been mere days since Dylann Roof forced his name into our lives by walking into an historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, praying with several black members of the church, and then brutally shooting most of them to death. As you can imagine, whenever a tragedy such as this occurs, the country enters into a rare moment of somber seriousness, finally choosing to discuss difficult topics that we’ve been otherwise avoiding and coming together united to build a better life for our collective futures.

Just kidding, we’re talking about flags, y’all! With only the briefest respite provided by some in the media choosing to inject video games into this tragedy for no reason at all, most of our time has been spent discussing the Confederate battle flag. In case you’re not sure, yes, this is indeed crazy. Not that the idea that a treasonous symbol of failure like the Confederate Navy Jack flying over the capital of a state in Lincoln’s union isn’t absolutely asinine. It most certainly is. But for our attention to be diverted from the deaths of living people to a stupid symbol from a war won long ago while the bloodstains have barely dried in that church makes absolutely no sense at all.

And just when you think this couldn’t get any more stupid, Apple gallops to the rescue by losing its mind in its own App Store.

Many large US companies, like Walmart and Amazon, have already banned the sale of any Confederate flag merchandise as a reaction to the recent events. Now, it appears that Apple has decided to join them by pulling many Civil War wargames from the App Store. As of the writing of this story, games like Ultimate General: Gettysburg and all the Hunted Cow Civil War games are nowhere to be found. Apple is famous for reaching for the axe rather than the scalpel when it comes to political issues (like rejecting Hunted Cow’s Tank Battle 1942 for depicting Germans and Russians as enemies), so this move doesn’t come as a great surprise.

Just so I have this straight, because a racist killer murdered nine people in South Carolina, I, here in Chicago, can’t play a Civil War simluation and kill Confederate soldiers? How does that make any sense? Well, it’s likely that Apple didn’t bother to think any steps beyond noticing that the Confederate battle flag was included in the game, therefore the ban-hammer was brought down. In fact, Apple has told game developers as much when communicating with them about the ban.

It’s looking like Apple has pulled everything from the App Store that features a Confederate flag, regardless of context. The reasoning Apple is sending developers is “…because it includes images of the confederate flag used in offensive and mean-spirited ways.”

No, it didn’t, you dolts. It’s history. That flag actually did exist in the context of the time period of the game. And the result is predictable: everyone is mocking the hell out of Apple as we speak. Popehat was helpful, as always:

While others tried to helpfully show Apple how this has been handled by others far, far better:

In other words, we’re all adults here, or close enough, so let’s not simply try to pretend the bad thing from history never happened. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t do nuance, so instead we end up with two banned historical games that were simply too accurate for the iOS platform.

Bet you they’re still available for Android, though.

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Comments on “South Carolina Massacre Results In Apple Going Flag-Stupid In The App Store”

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Charles says:

Re: Re: People were killed?

Isn’t there someone running for president that has that same hairstyle?
Seriously though, about the flag. I live in SC, I support the flag, and personally I’m tired of people telling ME why the flag is so horrible, so racist, why I’m such a horrible human for supporting such a thing, getting their facts wrong, and telling ME what I should be doing or believing in. Let me put it this way, I’m not racist, I love and hate everyone equally, so that makes me human, I guess, but not equal in THEIR eyes, sounds familiar right? And the strange thing is, its justified for some reason. The flag is a symbol of southern pride, not southern prejudice. Nothing more, nothing less, about the closest thing I can relate it to is possibly someone being proud of the American flag, or perhaps a going overboard with a favorite teams flag, or a school. Not really good comparisons, I know, but either you get it or you don’t. The build up here, or the point I wish to make, is simply this: pick something, the cross, a symbol, something, anything, that is part of your life, your heritage, and now have everyone tell you it has to go, your horrible for supporting it, whatever…sounds crazy, but, imagine a school expelling all kids for wearing a Christian cross, or a Jewish star, etc..yes, I know, bad examples, religious symbols compared to a flag but I’m trying to make a point. How would you feel? I’m not a flag carrying teeth missing ignorant southern inbred, I have a few degrees, actually have my hands in several patents that everyone here and elsewhere uses or sees on a daily basis. I do not carry around the flag, or fly it, sport it, wear it, in fact no one would ever guess I support it, but when people slander my state, my heritage, my flag, without even knowing basic historical facts, and I stand to correct and protect, why, I’m a monster! Again, pick something near and dear, have someone try and take it away, think that’s what this sight likes to point out quite a bit, and see how you respond. You might have an idea.

Dingledore the Flabberghaster says:

Re: Re: Re: People were killed?

With all due respect, “supporting” any flag is ridiculous.

The only possible value in any idol is it’s symbolic value: That flag is the symbol of the confederacy of states that went to war to preserve slavery. That people may choose to identify the southern states with other, more appealing traits is neither here nor there; “Southern Pride” was not why the states seceded – slavery was.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: People were killed?

pick something, the cross, a symbol, something, anything, that is part of your life, your heritage, and now have everyone tell you it has to go, your horrible for supporting it, whatever…

I am largely of German ancestry, and if someone told me the air base in my town was being forced to take the iron cross off their planes, my reaction would not be “hey that’s a symbol of German pride!” it would be more like “wtf was that doing there to begin with?” Sorry, your example fails.

Also, what other people said to you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: People were killed?

I understand where you’re coming from. I’m a southerner. I grew up being told I was descended from Robert E. Lee (though that seems unlikely according to the number of people who claim that vs. how many verified descendants Lee actually has). I studied the Civil War and Reconstruction a lot. I read Lee’s memoirs. I visited the battlegrounds. I focused on the fact that my supposed ancestor called slavery “a moral and political evil.” I loathed the rednecks in my schools who acted like ignorant, racist assholes but who also celebrated the same history that I celebrated.

All that being said, the flag belongs in a museum. It’s no longer a symbol of the south but of reactionary politics and culture. Feel free to pull it out if you go to a reenactment. Apple pulling historical games because of it is just stupid. But you don’t need to fly a flag to feel like you’ve honored the history of your family or region. You don’t need a symbol to evoke that and you especially don’t need it flying over or near the capital building in your state.

Your example of the cross or a Jewish star are not bad examples because the flag is treated like a part of a religion in many parts of the south, as much as football is. The Christian cross has been burnt on the lawns of black people as a symbol of hate. The Jewish star means something significantly different for Palestinians. Every symbol can be a symbol of hate and shameful to someone else.

You’re not a monster because you support the flag. You’re just focusing too much on your own fixation with the flag and conveniently ignoring the meaning of the flag to other people. You couldn’t be blamed for inviting friends over to an afternoon barbecue party only to find out that one of your friends’ father died in a freak grilling accident and the sight of a grill brings them to tears. But you should be well aware of what the confederate flag means to a significant number of your neighbors for its very real history of being used by people who fought, among other reasons, to keep their ancestors as slaves, and by racist Klansmen to terrorize black people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s a throwback to British people dropping the H consonant sound likely because in Old English the preceding H in many words was a aspirated consonant that eventually got dropped for being linguistically unnecessary. For example, the OE words for ring and raven were hring and hræfn and the Hs were pronounced.

It’s also why there’s an unwritten preceding aspiration in the way some (posh?) people pronounce certain words like whether. Hs preceded Ws in older versions of modern words that start with WH. The Old English version of whether was hwether.

“In ‘Ertford, ‘Ereford, and ‘Ampshire, ‘urricanes ‘ardly hever ‘appen.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

But it only takes an hour to learn this correctly.

It’s not the letter so much as the sound (or lack thereof that it makes). Remember, English is a spoken language first and written second so the written rules bend to the sway of the spoken.

As for ‘an historic’, I’ve heard people say the word historic like the ‘h’ is silent. I think they are uneducated when the do it, but it happens.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Remember, English is a spoken language first and written second so the written rules bend to the sway of the spoken.

…which is bloody annoying for people like us who learn English as a second or third language, and who mostly learn new words by reading them on books or Internet sites.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I see what you did there 😀

And yeah; the traditional rule for an H is that it has no voice of its own — so you treat any word beginning with an H as if it began with the next letter. This coincides with the pronunciation of the H in many English dialects — totally silent. In US English, this rule has for the most part been dropped, so “a historic” is now accepted, but the traditionally accepted form is “an historic” or “an horse” or “an heart” — pronounced, of course, as “an ‘istoric” “an ‘orse” and “an ‘eart.”

Blame Samuel Johnson — this is one of the bits of his original dictionary that was preserved by Oxford.

Dingledore the Flabberghaster says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not really true, or, at least, not accurate. A or An has nothing to do with individual letters, and everything to do with the sound. So it’s “an hour” because hour has an “ow” sound ant the start. And it’s typically “a historic” because historic has an “yss” as it’s first sound for most accents. But if your accent pronounces historic with an initial vowel sound, then it’s fine to use “an historic”. Most don’t.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

… an historic

Argh! H is not a vowel!

An travesty, it is. Don’t you have anything better to do? Here, play with this: aneroebic.

Note some English words come from Greek (who knew?) while many others come from Latin, and the Greeks and Romans seldom agreed on anything (if they didn’t have to).

It might be helpful to remember “our language” is inherited, and languages tend to evolve. You know, K&R C vs. ANSI Standard C.

“I before C except after E” works on Latin derived words, not Greek derived. Cf. “seismic.”

Have a marvy day.

Anonymous Coward says:

I am SO SICK of hearing about this hysteria.
No one is going to care about flag panic in a month, barely anyone will remember in a year.

At the very least I wish the media would shut up about it. Because I could not care any less about a sheet of fabric that represents a political entity that existed two hundred years ago. I am yet to find anyone to convince me otherwise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

And yet, people still think that the correct answer is to throw a fit over the flag. Like somehow being as reactionary as possible will somehow make it better.

Here’s an idea: quit caring about a 200 year old symbol. If some people use it as the symbol of their movement, so what? How does that affect you and how does removing to affect that movement?

Sorry, did this ancient emblem somehow create confederate soldiers out of thin air because they saw it on the Apple store?

Basically anyone who thinks a flag is what caused/helped/represented the shooting and that if they could only remove this one symbol then the whole thing would have never happened and all the racists will disappear is lying to themselves or have an axe to grind. Or, as of late, are trying to gain political brownie points.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It’s a 154-year-old symbol of the Army of Northern Virginia. Where you guys are getting 175 and 200 years is beyond me; the Confederacy didn’t exist until 1861.

That’s it. That’s all the meaning the flag actually has…it’s the flag of the Confederate Army’s main fighting force.

You are free to disagree with slavery and the principles of the Confederate States of America. I sure do; I believe slavery was a reprehensible, disgusting practice, but I also recognize that it was practiced worldwide around the time that the American Civil War was fought, and existed in many places after. This includes New Jersey and New Hampshire until 1865…technically, per the executive order of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Confederacy “ended” slavery two years earlier than the Union.

It’s easy to be judgmental and look back at the “barbaric” past with a modern viewpoint. People will do the same to us (cough how did you justify extrajudicial drone killings? cough).

But the flag isn’t the problem. There will probably be many people who do terrible things because they’re racists and bigots who live in a black-and-white world filled with nothing but ignorance and hate. They were that way without an old army’s flag, and hiding the flag away won’t solve the problem.

This is simply an example of America in denial. We don’t want to address the real problem…that racism, sexism, and bigotry are very much alive in our culture and that we may have to take a hard look at our own behavior. Instead we attack things we don’t understand, like video games, music, the internet, and flags.

Ironically, that reaction is exactly what drives the very same bigots everyone here claims to be so disgusted with…ignorance. We tend to hate what we don’t understand. Bigots exist because they have decided that it’s “us vs. them” and categorized the “others” into something they don’t understand and therefore would be better without. The way to solve this is to gain a better understanding of other people; of other races, genders, cultures, and beliefs.

So the next time you go on a crusade against this new “thing” that is “evil” try and remember that you’re doing exactly the same thing racist fanatics do. Terrorists have labeled the U.S. (and other countries) as evil, the police have labeled minorities as evil, the list goes on and on. Think carefully before doing the same thing yourself. Nobody is immune to bias, and it’s always harder to recognize your own bias than someone else’s.

Something to think about.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

But its history is different from its symbolism. Its history is fact. Its symbolism is opinion. And the latter differs from person to person.

To you the flag may symbolize hatred, racial prejudice, treason, and slavery. To someone else it may represent state vs. federal rights, oppression from government, freedom of speech, military and cultural pride, and state history. The slavery and racial aspect may not even be something that occurs to them.

I could make the same argument about the American flag. How dare you fly this symbol of racism, violence, and hatred! The U.S. practically wiped out an entire continent of people, has killed more foreigners per year on average than any other country in the world, is the only country to ever use atomic weapons in combat, and did so against civilian targets, and is currently killing children in foreign countries with drone strikes. Take down the flag!

See how silly that sounds? How it takes all the bad in a country’s history and applies it to their flag? Every country in the world has things in their history they aren’t proud of. That doesn’t mean you have to erase the symbol of that country from the history books.

Keep in mind you’re viewing the Civil War with a modern bias. For many people, especially in the southern United States, the issue has little to do with slavery and everything to do with whether or not the government can define your morals and override the social decisions of the states. From a modern perspective, the answer to this question is “Yes, of course they can,” but for many people this is a major political issue that has virtually nothing to do with racism.

Switch this around. What if the Civil War was fought over the right to smoke Marijuana? What if we had “Weed” states in the South and “Clean” states in the North?

I’m not trying to minimize the horror of slavery, but that’s only because I’m looking at it from modern eyes. The point is that the issue itself was secondary, and it was secondary for Lincoln. I’m sure Lincoln was anti-slavery (and he said as much elsewhere) but he would have abandoned abolition to prevent secession.

And that’s what the fight was really about. Secession, and where the power lies. In the opinion of the North, the federal government ruled. In the opinion of the South, the states ruled, and the federal government broke ties. You can argue all day which is right and which is wrong but that’s ultimately why over 620,000 men died in the Civil War; they were fighting for their “country” whether that was the Union or the Confederacy.

The South lost, a bunch of amendments were passed to solidify the power of the federal government, and today we have five unelected people determining a national social issue based on those amendments. Love it, hate it…that’s the history, and that’s the reality, and our current government is the result.

I get it. I hate racism and I believe homosexuals should be allowed to marry. But there are consequences when these things are resolved in the wrong way. I disagree with federal spying, extrajudicial drone killings, federal copyright law, civil asset forfeiture, police militarization…the list goes on and on. And if I want to move somewhere that doesn’t have these rules or allow them my only option is to leave my country entirely. I can’t just go to a state that fits my values because the federal government controls these policies for everyone.

So to actually answer your question, no, I don’t believe it’s appropriate for a state government to fly the Confederate flag. But I believe that they should have the right to choose whether or not they want to do so, and I reserve my right to ignore them. I don’t believe in forcing my values on others, even when I find them awful.

That flag didn’t kill anyone. Some psycho did, and there are plenty of psychos out there itching for a reason to kill. Label them as racists, label them as terrorists, they’re all fundamentally the same…they’re murderers, and we have ways to deal with them using our existing rules.

I don’t know how to cure “murder.” It probably isn’t possible. But I do know what won’t solve the problem…removing a flag from a statehouse. All you’re doing is making more people angry and giving the symbol more meaning.

Seriously, for a site that spends so much time promoting free speech, no matter how awful, I’m honestly surprised that so many people want the flags taken down.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

And that’s what the fight was really about.

If you believe that, I doubt we’re going to get anywhere.

Seriously, for a site that spends so much time promoting free speech, no matter how awful, I’m honestly surprised that so many people want the flags taken down.

Keep in mind that this is not about making private citizens or businesses do anything, it’s about whether the flag should fly over a government building. I don’t see that as a free speech issue.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

If you believe that, I doubt we’re going to get anywhere.

My position is based on the work of contemporary historians, but hey, you’re free to believe whatever you want. The South seceded because they wanted to preserve slavery; this is absolutely true. The war, however, was fought to end the secession, not to end slavery. If it were fought to end slavery, then slavery would have ended in the Union in 1861, when the war started and there wasn’t a political reason to preserve it, rather than in 1865, when it actually ended.

So yes, slavery was certainly the primary factor leading to the civil war (along with conflicts over westward expansion) because that’s the factor that led the south to secede, but Lincoln didn’t start a war because the South had slaves, he started it because they quit the club. It was a war over control; the South wanted to control human beings, and wanted to keep their “traditional values” (no matter how sick those values), and the North wanted control over the “Union” and was willing to kill to preserve their power. Everyone has an ideology they use as an excuse, but it’s naïve to think America fought against itself for anything other than power, plain and simple.

The North didn’t have to fight; they could have abandoned the Southern states, let them secede, and gone on with their day. Everyone acts like it was inevitable, that the South forced the North to act. Bull. They could have let it go, and after a few years and a few inventions, plus a lot of education, slavery most likely would have died off in the South like it had been doing everywhere else in the civilized world. Instead, we fought a bloody war that has people divided over it 150 years later.

I’m not really defending the South. They could have avoided the war too by not freaking out when Lincoln became president, especially when he had said multiple times during his campaign that he didn’t intend to end slavery. “Lost Cause” proponents tend to forget that the South didn’t have to seceded…they chose to. But there’s two sides to any fight and this was not a “good vs. evil” conflict as much as we’d like to villainize the Confederacy today.

Keep in mind that this is not about making private citizens or businesses do anything, it’s about whether the flag should fly over a government building. I don’t see that as a free speech issue.

But that’s the conflict. It’s a state building, and if the elected leaders of the state are following the intent of those they represent, that’s exactly what a republic is designed to do. It’s when the minority dictates what the majority can do that the basic principle of democracy breaks down. If you don’t like it, move there and vote against the leaders who put up that flag. Otherwise, that’s their business.

Sure, the majority isn’t always right. But I trust the majority to generally follow the values of the people more than special interest groups with their own agendas. Sure, I like some of those agendas, but I don’t like others, and I’d rather my vote actually mean something rather than be a “well, you voted, but this small group of people is going to override you because they say you’re wrong.”

Be careful what you wish for, because the interest groups’ designs may align with you today, but when they don’t (cough TPP cough), and you wonder why the government is ignoring the will of the people, well, now you know. It’s because they know what’s in your “best interest,” your opinion be damned.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The page is titled that because:

A) TVTropes is very American-centric.


B) Despite glorifying wars and guns so much, the US has a tiny reference pool when it comes to actual wars, so the same ones will always be referenced: American Civil War, WWII, and sometimes Vietnam or Iraq if the creator is feeling politically edgy.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You must be white (caucasian). I’ve read many screeds from blacks who scream its retirement is long past due.

Libertarians believe Lincoln and The Union were wrong in forcing the Confederates to remain in The Union. I abhor slavery, but I do believe states should have the right to seceed from the Union. I’m not in favor of forced marriages.

Dingledore the Flabberghaster says:

Re: Re: Re:

That is a bit along the lines of “I don’t agree with murder but I believe that someone who does believe murder is reasonable should be allowed to define their own country in order to murder people”.

I presume that belief wouldn’t be so strong if the land being used to create Murdipublica was the believer’s back yard.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

A significant part of the reason for secession was that the rich planters and traders in the South wanted to trade with the UK (and less, but still importantly, France) who could pay higher prices for their product and sell finished goods at lower prices than the northern industries.

Slavery was relatively unimportant to them: the more intelligent among them realised that they could keep their slaves tied to them anyway,but it was a way to get popular support. On the other side, it was a way for Lincoln to keep Britain and France from supporting the CSA, because their governments were under competing pressures from the cotton and tobacco industries (who wanted to buy raw materials in North America rather than in the East) and the abolitionists (and those with interests in the East who liked US protectionism).

Erik (profile) says:

Anti-trust or monopolistic behavior?

Does this type of activity ever rise to a level or anti-trust, or other such behavior that starts to violate federal law? Given Apple’s market share that is quite the sword to wield against software developers. It isn’t like they have a lot of choices for mobile app development. If you want to make any money it’s Apple, Android or nothing.

Hmm, I’m seeing Hunted Cow somehow using TPP or some such agreement to drain money from Apple (or the US) now…

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Same Issue, Different Context

I, here in Chicago, can’t play a Civil War simluation and kill Confederate soldiers?

Imagine that I wrote a War of 1812 simulation from the Canadian point of view, where you kill American soldiers and burn American cities and towns.

Imagine the uproar if Apple approved the app. They’d have found a reason to reject it, even before the Charleston massacre.

“As you are a Canadian we would normally approve your app as reflecting Canadian history. However we note that you have recently relocated to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba….”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Same Issue, Different Context

Why do you assume this? I, as an American, used to play the Secrets of the Luftwaffe and fly as a German and shoot down B-17s. Not because I hate America, I love it actually, but because it was fun. But then again I know the difference between reality and pretend.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Same Issue, Different Context

Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe was released a decade BEFORE 9/11. Before Jack Thompson made headlines linking video games to real world violence. (Even this week, talking heads at Fox News blamed the Charleston Massacre on video games.) It also helps that it takes place comfortably overseas, rather than with the player attacking American soil.

More importantly it wasn’t distributed through the Apple Store. Which bans apps for countless reasons and is constantly adding new reasons in an effort to be family friendly and non-offending.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Same Issue, Different Context

Imagine that I wrote a War of 1812 simulation from the Canadian point of view, where you kill American soldiers and burn American cities and towns.

Imagine the uproar if Apple approved the app.

Why would there be uproar about that? Maybe a few idiots complaining, but I would think the overall reaction would be somewhere between nothing and “of all the wars to make a game about, you picked 1812?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Let's ban the skull and crossbones from the stores

For that matter, any references to war out of respect for those who died in war or due to war crimes and atrocities. And murder happens at the hands of agents of national governments, so we should ban all national flags too. And people are the ones who kill others unjustly, so we should ban games with people in them.

“This just in: Apple announces that it is banning Pong from the App Store because the game is a metaphor for nuclear war!”

CSMcDonald (profile) says:

I am still thinking that this very stupid act is going to turn out to giving subcontractors who are possibly not from this country vague instructions on removing “offensive uses” (the term used in the e-mail set to developers affected) and the typically stupid Apple non responding to any inquiries at all.

These apps will likely return after enough ridicule has been heaped on Apple for yet another idiotic problem with app store rejections.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Dukes of Hazard

Arthur C Clarke’s 1990 book The Ghost from the Grand Banks – set around now – featured a protagonist who had made a fortune writing software to sanitize classic films of offending imagery. Not confederate flags, but smoking.

Star Wars, Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation have been re-mastered with new effects, sound and whatnot. No doubt someone will find it worth the investment to use CGI to edit out the confederate flags in the Dukes of Hazard.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Dukes of Hazard

I just hope they don’t ban Dukes of Hazard
> because of the car…

If you take the VIP studio tour at Warner Bros. Studios, one of the stops is a display of various picture cars used in movies and TV shows over the years– everything from the many incarnations of the Batmobile, to the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine and Austin Powers’ Mini Cooper. Last time I was there, they had one of the original DUKES OF HAZZARD hero car General Lees on display, but with no Confederate flag on the roof, which prompted one of the other guests to doubt its authenticity. The tour guide replied that they chose to deface this piece of television history by painting over the flag after someone on the tour complained about being offended by it.

So to all those who say this isn’t about sanitizing history and the flag is fine if confined to a museum, here’s an example of how even museums are pressured to, and cave to, political correctness.

383bigblock says:

From the "lets up the ante" party

OK…. if all people of color can be offended by the confederate flag because it means something to them that is different than what it means to most other people then as a confirmed Caucasian I demand that Obama or someone in charge reach out to Nabisco and demand the removal of the word “Cracker” from their saltines because people of color refer to caucasians as Crackers. I guess that means Yankee Stadium can no longer sell “Cracker Jacks” nor can we sing the 7th inning stretch song any more.

I’m offended and I demand justice because…….I can’t get past this….uhh..because I’m to F’ing stupid to be able to put anything into context.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: From the "lets up the ante" party

OK…. if all people of color can be offended by the confederate flag because it means something to them that is different than what it means to most other people…

Sounds like an unfounded assumption. Are you sure most whites don’t associate the Confederate flag with slavery and/or bigotry?

Seegras (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yes, Germany banned all representations of Nazi insignia.

And they’re behaving just as stupid as the guys who want to ban the confederate flag. You can’t even kill Nazis in Wolfenstein, they had to change the flag.

The irony is of course, that the whole world is now actively embracing Nazi ideology with mass surveillance and oppressing dissent.

jilocasin (profile) says:

We need to ban it because a mass murderer featured it, so.....

Hmmm, it appears that the rush to can the battle flag of the confederacy is due to the fact that the latest mass murderer incorporated it into his message ( at least that’s what they are claiming ).

[well that and various SJW types have been trying to remove it from the public sphere for years, can’t let any crisis go to waste now I guess]

So, the next time a hate group/mass murderer wraps themselves in ‘old glory’ we’ll be falling over ourselves to remove the stars and stripes as well?

For example, the completely made up (I hope) Montana Minutemen believe that the United Nations in concert with European Socialists and other undesirables is trying to take over the United States. They believe in a literal reading of the Constitution, no gun laws, no central bank, no income taxes. America for the Americans.

They have a web site, a manifesto, and lots of YouTube videos consisting of members either wrapped in the American flag (‘old glory, stars and stripes, etc.), or with the flag displayed prominently behind them and on their materials.

Just last week, their members shot up a Texas Walmart. Sixty-three people killed, including twenty-two children. The YouTube video released moments after the incident explains that this Walmart was going to be used as a detention center by the United States Army, working under the direction of the secretary of the U.N. as a detention center to process U.S. citizens that refused to submit to the new U.N. overlords.

Of course there were several United States flags displayed prominently throughout.

Within hours, the call when up to remove that symbol of hate and oppression from the public sphere. Native American leaders give interviews about how their people were massacred by the thousands under that symbol of hate and oppression.

How can anyone stand to have such a divisive symbol of hated, oppression, and genocide in predominant display?

Apple, Google, and Walmart pull all American flags off the shelves (both digital and actual).

World War II vets and others try to make the case that it’s about history not hate. It’s the flag we hoisted over Okinawa and planted on the moon.

That doesn’t matter. Because some people associate it with hated and oppression, that’s all that counts. It was featured prominently by the group that shot up all those people just last week. Just how insensitive can you be? Are you one of those constitutionalists, those racist terrorists?

You don’t think that could happen? It’s already happening.

What’s next, you’ll need a special permit to purchase subversive books [see: Germany and Mein Kampf]?

So if flags are verboten, what’s next? ‘The Bible’, ‘The Koran’, ‘1984’?

If freedom and the U.S. path of tolerance is to mean anything, I think we shouldn’t be so quick to impoverish the marketplace of ideas. Popular ideas don’t need protection, it’s the currently unpopular ones that do.

Personally I would prefer that racists and others that I disagree with proudly wear their colors and march down our streets. At least I’ll know who they are. The other option is to force them to keep to the shadows, fermenting hate and plotting in secret like a festering wound.

If there’s to be any hope of change, their ideas need to be discussed, debated, examined. To simply outlaw the symbols, trappings, and ideas will only cause them to grow more extreme and dangerous.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: We need to ban it because a mass murderer featured it, so.....

So if flags are verboten, what’s next? ‘The Bible’, ‘The Koran’, ‘1984’?

Books about hyperbole?

As you point out, while there are some dark chapters in America’s history – as with all countries – the American flag stands for many great things to be very proud of. The confederate flag is associated almost exclusively with a fight to continue slavery. There’s no credible comparison.

No-one is outlawing the confederate flag. No-one is requiring “a special permit to purchase” one. It’s not being censored.

Saying “I do not want to be associated with it” is a different matter. Companies are welcome to do that. People are welcome to do that. Governments, responding to the people they serve, are welcome – if not obligated – to do that.

It’s not the same as the government or anyone else dictating to YOU that YOU can’t associate yourself with it. You’re still welcome to fly the confederate flag, and no-one will stop you. The same goes for your company.

Of course, other people are welcome to express their opinion of it, opinions you might not like. They may refuse to do business with your company. That’s freedom, not a lack of it.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 We need to ban it because a mass murderer featured it, so.....

Yeah companies don’t need to announce policy changes on the news unless they want to make a big hoopla. In Calgary (where this stuff is a stretch to even be called relevant), they had a “big hoopla” on the news interviewing people about how they wanted the cops to make their neighbors take them down, the neighbors saying “F*%K you Rosco” and a bunch of companies about how they were going to boycott it because of the shooting.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: We need to ban it because a mass murderer featured it, so.....

In the case of the civil war it was always – directly or indirectly – about the right to retain and expand slavery.

Like the right for citizens of slave states to take their slaves anywhere in the U.S. and not have them taken away or set free. And the demand that new states and territories be pro-slavery.

Declaring the civil war be about States Rights is about as honest declaring 9/11 to be about Boeing 767 operation.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 We need to ban it because a mass murderer featured it, so.....

And New Jersey and New Hampshire, which were part of the Union yet had legal slaves until 1865, would disagree with you. So would Abraham Lincoln, who said that if keeping slavery would prevent secession, he would keep slavery.

Slavery was certainly a huge factor in the Civil War, but slavery is what caused secession, not war. The war was fought because the South seceded, and the question became whether or not they had the right to do that.

This may seem like a minor distinction but it’s important. Secession, and whether or not a state could choose to leave the United States, is 100% a state’s rights issue. Slavery was the catalyst that forced the answer.

And the Union won, so the answer is that you can’t secede, as the Supreme Court would reaffirm in 1869. But pretending those factors didn’t exist because the Confederacy was pro-slavery and seceded due to slavery is pure fallacy and ignores a massive amount of context for the Civil War.

Seegras (profile) says:

Re: Re: We need to ban it because a mass murderer featured it, so.....

As you point out, while there are some dark chapters in America’s history – as with all countries – the American flag stands for many great things to be very proud of.

I guess the flag does also stand for slaughtering indians?

Or imprisoning people without due process (like, you know, slaves)?

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

The World’s Buddhists & Hindus say “Aw, Diddums!”

Seeing as how a couple of the world’s major religions got an important symbol of theirs (the swastika) forever tainted by association with a bunch of genocidal loons in Europe, it’s hard to feel sympathy for the US South over this taint on a cherished symbol of theirs.

Apple is hardly alone in taking this action. As they say in Real Life™: “Deal with it!”

Jeffrey Nonken (profile) says:

Not only is Ultimate General: Gettysburg available on Android, but it’s showing up on my Steam store Featured List as “Now Available”. I only noticed it because of this article.

Not that I’ll be buying it, it’s not my preferred game type. But I hit “Store” and there it was. Apparently it’s getting pretty good reviews, and only costs $15. You’ve missed the 50% off Summer Sale, though.

Anonymous Coward says:

About time...

Finally! They have come to realize that people don’t kill people – flags kill people.

The hipsters at Apple are so socially inept that they don’t know the flag from a hole in the ground. (What does that mean anyway?)

To me, the confederate flag simply represents failure; social failure, economic failure, strategic failure, educational failure, spiritual failure, etc.

I may be mistaken – but the war did not start simply because of slavery, but because of the desire for southern sovereignty and someone from the north threw in the subject of slavery to gain supporters for the Union. Then – more southern failures ensued. But I could be mistaken. Hiding the flag won’t help enlighten me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: About time...

“I think what happens is that we build up over time the sense of an excuse about why it came,” Burns said. “If you read … South Carolina’s articles of secession in November — after [Abraham] Lincoln’s election of 1860 — they don’t mention states’ rights, they don’t mention nullification. They mention slavery over and over again.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: About time...

I stand corrected. Thank you.

Of note: Symbols are a form of language and as we know, most languages are fluid. My kid likes the Show Supernatural. She has shoes that 50 years ago would have caused riots in the street. They have the demon trap symbol on them. Different times, different meanings.

So, it seems to me, if you take offense at what I’m wearing or what I’m flying, you may well be guilty of petty theft. What Southerns might want to do is a media campaign about any virtue bestowed on the flag as it stands today. Shout out the new definition or help it sink in that today – it means something different. But you’d have to get enough folks to buy in and fewer folks using it the same old bad way.

Never-the-less, its historical connotation will stand in the minds of folks for many years to come, but it shouldn’t fall victim to censorship. And yet, disfavor will win out for a time. Perhaps, as it should be, until some healing has come to pass. It just shouldn’t be quite so personal. Don’t take offense where none is meant. Don’t be so thin skinned. Attack the attitude not the symbol. Attack the arrogance, or the racism, or ones own ignorance. Learn to manage ones self and not try to control everyone else. It just seems so ham-fisted to squelch every expression of the confederate flag for those who take offense at so many things.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: About time...

Correct, secession was caused by slavery. The Civil War, however, was caused by secession. So saying that the Civil War was caused by slavery is provably false.

Why does that distinction matter? If it was slavery->secession->war isn’t that the same as slavery->war? No, because the war wouldn’t have started without the secession (or at least there’s no evidence it would have). If the South had ignored Lincoln’s election and continued on there would not have been a Civil War. If the North had simply allowed the secession there would not have been a Civil War. The secession was the key; the fact that it was caused by slavery does not make slavery the driving force behind the conflict (also, slavery was not the sole factor that led to secession, as there were also nationalist, political, religious, and expansionist factors; slavery was just the biggest contributing factor).

It may seem like a minor point, but when you have legal slaves in the North up to 1865, it seems that the “the North hated slavery and the South loved it, so they fought” argument falls apart pretty quickly. It also requires ignoring a huge amount of historical accounts, including quotes from Lincoln himself.

Granted, the Civil War wasn’t fought over states’ rights either. But the majority of contemporary historians agree that the spark of the Civil War was the secession of the Southern states and the creation of the Confederacy, regardless of why those states chose to go that route.

John85851 (profile) says:

Yet another distraction from the real issue

You can call me a conspiracy theorist, but why is it that every time there’s a mass shooting, someone or something changes the subject away from the one thing we should be talking about: gun control.

Ever since the Sandy Hook (or maybe before), President Obama has said that mass shootings will not become the “new normal”. Well, guess what, without any real discussions about gun control, this HAS become the “new normal”.
Slate did a piece a while back trying to track all the shootings that occurred after Sandy Hook, but gave up because there were too many.

Now there’s yet another shooting and we’re banning a flag?! Where’s the outrage over guns? How come Wal-Mart hasn’t stepped up to say they’re not going to sell guns any more because the killer used a gun? Oh, right, “2nd amendment rights”.

Why is it not possible to live in a country with 2nd amendment rights AND not have mass shooting all the time? Why aren’t more legitimate gun owners stepping forward to help prevent mass shootings?

Leit says:

Re: Yet another distraction from the real issue

Legitimate gun owners do more to stop mass shooters than gun control types ever have. Don’t take my word for it, just google “shooting stopped by ccw”.

Those stories don’t get signal-boosted, though, because a) they don’t have the mounds of corpses that the media love and b) they don’t fit the media narrative of gun owners being some scary “other”. Much like the fact that these criminals overwhelmingly pick places where others are legally disarmed like, say, schools.

Then go and search for mass shootings outside of the US. Turns out you’re not the only ones who produce these cretins, just the most self-centered. Most other countries don’t approve of turning killers into celebrities the way the US does.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Legitimate gun owners do more to stop mass shooters

Yet more fond gun-lover mythology, totally
> divorced from the facts.

Could you please explain how, if guns are to blame, that the city of Detroit which makes up only 9.8% of Michigan’s total population, somehow accounts for 58% of the murders in the state, where all residents have the same access to firearms and are all subject to the same state and federal gun laws? (Despite neighboring communities literally sharing a border with the city having a murder rate that is only a fraction of Detroit’s?)

Because if guns are to blame, then the murder should be more or less equal throughout the state.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Legitimate gun owners do more to stop mass shooters

Anyone who wants to take a couple of tons of steel and plastic out on the highway at 65 mph has to prove they can even drive.

Asking the same of gun owners shouldn’t be that prohibitive. There’s nothing inherently wrong with expecting people to have actually learned how to safely use the things they take out in public. Innocent bystanders should be allowed to assume they have.

Seegras (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Why is it not possible to live in a country with 2nd amendment rights AND not have mass shooting all the time?”

I really have no idea. Especially if I compare this to other countries with huge amounts of firearms available to people, like Greenland, Canada, Switzerland.

As for shootings in general, there seems to be one big factor, that’s sadly not visible in the statistics: Handguns versus rifles. All the other countries with a high firearm proliferation have very little handguns available. Most of the guns are shotguns and rifles.

But mass shootings? You’d expect them to be mostly done with long guns, and people in the USA don’t have a lot more of those than people in other countries; but mass shootings still are not as common as in the USA. Maybe it’s a cultural thing…

fuunu (profile) says:

ok they are removing it because of the meaning behind the civil war, slavery and such. But what about all the other war apps. WW1 and WW2 it was about genocide. The empire expansion games most of the empires in history had slaves, murdered innocents etc. Hell look at the bible full of god causing genocide and mass murder.

Don’t see them pulling apps related to those

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