Monday, October 20, 2008

Thank God, Allah, Yahweh, the Big Guy Upstairs

This morning I woke to the news that a religious outcry has sparked the recall- or at least a hold-up in release- of the new and much-awaited (not by myself- I don't even own a PlayStation- but throngs of people out there who need a fix) Sony video game LittleBigPlanet.

"What are the damned fundamentalist Christians up to now?" I wondered. (You know a good number are damned; maybe they'll go to some sweet heaven someday where they'll sit on puffy clouds in neverending sunny 70 degree temps, and strum harps in perfect harmony, even if they've never had musical training before, aside from the experience of singing in church on Sundays, but admit it: those folks are pretty much living in hell on earth today when they refuse to enjoy all that's afforded in this life.) But it wasn't them this time.

LBP is a game of several levels of play, with themes based on various real-world-like locations (ie. deserts, city streets, the arctic) and in which players can band together and share their experience creating a global community. Doesn't sound too bad, right? So far no blasphemous utterances or decapitation of people of other colors or creeds or anything like that. Never having played the game, I can't attest to whether these are possibilities in the game world. (Players can slap each other, though; that's a fact.)

So, why was release of LBP delayed?

"Sony pulls its most celebrated title of the year four days before the store date over musical track containing 'potentially offensive' lines from the Qu'ran."---

"The 'social platforming' game is already gathering rave reviews, but it hasn't proven popular with one Muslim group, which issued a complaint to the game's publisher Sony concerning one background music track. Performed by award-winning Malian musician Toumani Diabate, the song quotes two verses from the Qur'an. Many Muslims consider the mixing of music and scripture to be deeply offensive."---Mike Smith for Yahoo!

There you have it: some people might be offended by a bit of the content in a video game, so the company is holding off relesase until the possibly repugnant song can be expunged. The game is packaged and ready to go. But, in the long run, this decision is probably good for the company. Now all those people who are complaining will, I'm sure, go buy it for themselves and add to the profit Sony makes. (Grab yours as soon as it finally gets here- October 27?)
The best part of the whole situation? That people really do respond quickly and decisively to even a few squeaky wheels, whether or not they are constituents. That's progress in the Free World.

1 comment:

robrohr said...

There is a difference between "being offended" and "being gobsmacked by blasphemy".

You and I may not have even the slightest problem with mixing music and quotes from the Qur'an, and at the same time, there are some that have no problem with the amputation of limbs as a reasonable (and divinely directed) punishment for shoplifting.

As long as we say "Be like me, think like me, share my values." and others say the same, we will live and die at loggerheads.

The least we can do is offer to make MINOR changes to our own behavior in the hopes that those who lack mutual understanding with us at least see us as thoughtful, considerate cohabitants of the planet & maybe they will enter into small modifactions of their behavior and worldview as we meet somewhere in the middle.