I had never really thought about the propaganda value of video games until recently. For instance, I didn’t know that the original version of Monopoly, “The Landlord’s Game”, was designed to show that the current economic system led to inequality and bankruptcy. I found that out on a really interesting blog this week, which was about a board game called “Blacks and Whites”:
In 1970 Psychology Today published a board game where players were divided into white and black, and had to make economic progress while competing with each other. Based on Monopoly, the idea was to demonstrate how the odds were stacked against black people in society by having different rules for each race in the game.
Whites started out with $1 million, blacks with $10,000 and each race had different opportunity decks. While whites could buy property in any part of the board, blacks were limited to certain areas until they had accumulated at least $100,000 and were outright banned from property in the ‘suburban zone’.
Needless to say, it turned out to be one of the most controversial board games of all time and even merited an article in Time magazine…
For my birthday a very dear friend bought me a board game called “Hypocrisy”, which was produced by Conservative Central Office in 1996.
In Hypocrisy, between 2 and 6 players are Labour politicians. Players go round a board and can gain points for Hypocrisy:
You claim to share the Conservative Party’s desire to stamp out benefit fraud so why did you oppose recent measures which will close loopholes on benefits for bogus asylum seekers? COLLECT 2 POINTS FOR HYPOCRISY!
Or political correctness:
Support Labour-controlled Birmingham Council, which has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years on politically-correct schemes. COLLECT ONE POINT FOR POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!
You collect points from cards from “Town Hall” or “Hypocrite!” piles, a bit like you would pick up Community Chest or Chance cards in Monopoly.
A recurring theme in the game is saying that Labour – a Labour Party led by Tony Blair, for goodness sake – is in thrall to the unions. Mind you, such a simplistic line of attack would never work now, would it?
All this, although it’s interesting, is merely a preamble to today’s Funny Clip: Stewart Lee on Political Correctness. I don’t want to write much about it – there’s not much to add, apart from it’s one of the best political polemics I’ve seen, never mind bits of stand up comedy, and it’s hilarious:
Enjoy it, and have a really good weekend.