Thursday, August 03, 2006

a good old-fashioned space opera

"rally 'round me boys, we have the heretic on the run!"

this coming tuesday, a long-anticipated, closely-watched and hotly debated showdown will climax in connecticut, deciding not only the democratic nominee for senate (and the de facto next senator of the blue state), but also (in the words of one breathless pundit) for "the soul of the democratic party — and possibly the future of civility in american politics", as well as for the continued relevance of the "netroots", who have invested a great deal of political and emotional capital in the race.

of all the intense coverage of the impending shootout, the most entertaining analysis is being delivered by steve gilliard, who for the past month has been staging the unfolding drama in the brightly painted miniverse of the warhammer 40,000 fantasy wargame:


so why use this?

because of a few reasons.

one, the figures are widely available online, usually well painted, which makes great illustrations.

two, it seems enough people are familiar with the back story so that using it as an allegory to describe joe lieberman's troubles makes sense. it may seem like gibberish to some, but it's really effective. the horus heresy, which has betrayal at it's [sic] core, seems to describe lieberman's predicament pretty well.

three, there is no historical or social bias to the w40k world. if you use historical figures, all kinds of meanings can be inferred where there aren't any. so to depict lieberman as a ultramarine and lamont as a blood angel, with various other participants as members of space marine chapters is a wonderful way to take a lighthearted look at the politics of the connecticut race and not feed the need for lieberman's people to infer some insane bias against him.

sure, there's geekdom involved, which is no handicap here, especially when jen painted a ton of ad&d figures, but it's also a way to express issues of loyalty and opposition in a fictional world where those are the defining characters.

more than any other fictional setting, warhammer 40k is about the duty of citizens to the state and to each other and the value of loyalty.


while not myself familiar with warhammer, only someone who's never seen star wars or lord of the rings could be stumped its simple dynamics, which pit the loyal forces of the imperium (progressive democrats) against the corrupt gods of chaos (republicans and their enablers like the traitorous lieberman).

"defend the leader at all costs!"

the series thus far:

august 3
betrayal
"chaos marines, follow me"
august 2
chaos space marines to the front
july 30
so what does the times endorsement mean?
"boys, the imperium is with us, attack, attack, attack!!!!!!"
ned lamont for senate: ny times
"ned lamont. in his non blood angels uniform"
july 29
lamont to get times endorsement
"rally 'round me boys, we have the heretic on the run"
july 23
about the lamont race
"once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, or close the wall up with our blood angel dead"
july 22
the last, desperate gasp
"join us and fight the joerus heresy"
defend joe
"how dare anyone challenge the commander? if he makes an alliance with the chaos space marines, it is for our benefit."
july 20
lamont in the lead
"rally to me boys, rally to me. we have the heretic joerus on the run"
chaos space marines for lieberman
"we're for joe, why not you? chaos space marines for lieberman"
july 19
all hail the joerus legacy
"see how the robes feel, commander, come join the chaos marines, you want to be one of us, forget the imperium, come join us."
joe's problem
"who will stand with the commander?"
july 17
nobody loves the commander any more
"poor commander lieberman"
july 15
about warhammer 40k and the space marines
"blood angels for lamont"
"ultramarine legion of lieberman"
july 14
defend commander lieberman
"commander lieberman"
hosanna, someone gets it
"ned's army of gentically mutated blood angel warrior-volunteers on the march"
july 12
joe's problem
"defend the commander at all costs"
july 11
lieberman to form own space marine legion
"so we fight with chaos space marines, we're still loyal"
july 9
the fear of losing joe
"the only people lieberman can trust, his legion of space marines"
july 7
the lieberman lie
"defend the leader at all costs"
july 6
the lieberman conundrum
"a party at war"

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