Energy Group Labels Creators Of Video Game As 'Eco-Terrorists'
from the new-lows dept
The fever-pitch from those that claim that violent video games lead to real-life malicious activity is such that it produces some truly dumb diatribes and soundbites. Despite vast evidence that human beings are at least intelligent enough to separate digital violence from real-world violence, and given how rife with error and purposeful obfuscation the opposing research has been, we still get the silliness. Dr. Oz spouts off about the harm video games do to teenagers, forgetting to back it up with anything resembling evidence for his position. Dan Brown was sure video games lead to real-life violence, forgetting apparently that his own novels are stuffed with violent episodes. And Pat Robertson told his addled audiences that killing in a game is no different at all than killing someone in real life, indicating that we are a nation chock full of mass murderers that will be judged harshly by the Lord his god.
But it’s something of a new low to see oil-business advocacy group Energy Builders attempt to label the creator of a video game an “eco-terrorist” because the game includes some mild violence against oil pipelines.
“Thunderbird Strike” is a Windows PC game that allows players to take the form of a thunderbird. The mythological creature, rooted in indigenous culture, flies from the Alberta’s tar sands to the Great Lakes, where environmentalists are currently challenging Enbridge’s Line 5, a 645-mile-long crude oil pipeline. Players use lightning strikes to gain points by destroying pipeline equipment, but they can also revive animal skeletons.
The game sends an obvious message in support of political activism, offering advice on its website for users who want to take action against fossil fuel extraction. That’s not pipeline-advocate Energy Builders’ apparent problem, though. Its issue it has is with users blowing up pipelines, according to a press release. Energy Builders considers this signature move “an act of domestic terrorism.”
First off, it’s been quite nice to not hear form Energy Builders on all the other violent video games out there that allow you to perform actions much more insidious compared with fantasy-striking an oil pipeline with a lightning-bird. I guess all the fictional and virtual murder out there that got Pat Robertson’s sin-detector humming is of no concern to Energy Builders, whereas virtual violence against some metal and plastic is a bridge too far. It’s tempting to wave off these comments as simple oil industry silliness, except that calls for anything resembling eco-activism as terrorism have become a kind of sport for the industry, often with dire consequences at the federal level.
Linking environmentalists with terrorism is becoming a popular way of attacking activists. In Congress, 84 members (including four Texas Democrats) sent Attorney General Jeff Sessions a letter Monday asking him to label environmental activists as terrorists.
They don’t use the term explicitly, but mention 18 U.S. Code 2331, which is all about defining international and domestic terrorism.
It’s quite easy to see how an innocent game-maker might be “accidentally” lumped in with groups far more extreme in their actions. That’s the real danger with an energy group happily throwing around words it knows are irresponsible.
Meanwhile, I imagine the game’s creator might want to send a fruit basket to Energy Builders for propelling the game into the public consciousness with all of this silliness. This kind of Streisand Effect is almost classic in nature, with news coverage of the game so hated by Energy Builder supercharging the attention it is receiving.