I’m not sure what to make of this! On the one hand, I’ve been around this property pretty much my entire conscious…

I’m not sure what to make of this! On the one hand, I’ve been around this property pretty much my entire conscious gaming life. I would in no way consider any aspect of sexuality to be part of it; except for some minor references in some shitty novels the WH40K universe is entirely sexless. But the author makes a compelling argument that a confluence of aesthetics makes WH40K fabulously queer. The intentionality of this is left to the reader to decide.

And then there’s the worrying celebration of cartoon fascism baked into the property, which I think is sometimes reflected by its fans. Not always! But I’ve met my share of infantile bodybuilder-gamers who are, essentially, perpetual Space Marine cosplayers and have grown up to become infantile alt-right supporters. I’ll leave analysis of their stunning lack of awareness of the homoerotic (sub?)text to other armchair psychologists.

Shit gets so weird when adults project adult values onto properties for children (created by adults). The central creators of the 40K universe might actually be cryptofascists! Or they may just be perpetual man-children tapping into the same power fantasy palette as their man-child cryptofascist fans.

Anyway, these aren’t even the points really brought up in the article. I think there’s a call for gamers with progressive/queer values to express their engagement with these properties on their own terms. I can totally get behind that.


0 thoughts on “I’m not sure what to make of this! On the one hand, I’ve been around this property pretty much my entire conscious…”

  1. “The galaxy’s first line of defense is an army of oily muscle men.” That’s maybe the best line ever. I would be totally unsurprised to hear it spoken through gritted teeth (perhaps by Clancy Brown, or whoever Clancy Brown’s current equivalent is. Timothy Olyphant?) in a WH4K film directed by Paul Verhoeven.

  2. The idea that homosexuality = fascism is an old theme of the old left, and it was probably my sensitivity to that theme that made me lose interest in the article when I read a chunk of it over breakfast.

  3. I’m pretty sure that the original group of core creators were much less cryptofascist, and much more “Judge Dredd is awesome, and space knights are also awesome. And Heavy Metal magazine is awesome, as are heavy metal album covers, and punk is awesome, and football hooligans are dumb, and fetish nuns are hot. Let’s thow all that shit in a blender!”

    The present core group… I have no clue, beyond “They’re people who think 40k is cool.”. But, yeah, some of them are prolly just a biiiiiiit too into the fascism?

  4. Oh, I reread the article over lunch, and while that may not be its purpose, the former theme was a condition for its possibility. The author also seems to universalize certain extreme body types as THE gay erotic ideal, which is…quaint – and a bit oppressive. This may be a thing where being older also brings up different connotations.

  5. I also don’t want to be contentious here. I realize that the article is something of a send up. And I have male friends who prefer to roll pink dice too. Nothing wrong with that! 🙄

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