Little Big Delays (And I Dance Around The Issue)

17 10 2008

LittleBigPlanet gets delayed because one of the background songs contains two lines from the Qur’an. …now I need to find a way to express how I feel about this without coming off like some raging dickwad.

And that’s the core problem, right there — even DISCUSSING issues surrounding Islam is hot-potato, avoid-at-all-costs nowadays at a level above and beyond political correctness. (Same goes for religion in general, and the fact that I cited islam before ‘religion in general’ shows how easy it is to offend even when you’re trying to talk about how something is offending to discuss the offensive nature of the offense.)

I will say, though, that I commend the original letter of complaint for being quite level headed about the problem and suggesting that Sony just patch the game, because they actually really wanna play it despite the offense to their religion.

No, I put the blame for this messy reaction solely on Sony, suffering from the abovementioned problem that anything dealing with Islam is radioactive and they don’t want to risk even one disc going on sale for fear of some conservative watchdog and/or islamic extremist tearing them a new asshole. They’re gonna get that ANYWAY, of course, and get it from all sides. It’d just be worse if they went ahead with sales. Worse for THEM, that is… not worse for us gamers. Worse for us gamers is to delay the thing another few weeks. Y’know, like they’re doing. Yay.

Either way… no happy, lighthearted, peaceful and fun sackboy next week because somehow he wandered into the War on Terror and didn’t have enough lives left after passing the latest level checkpoint. :( Sadface.

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20 responses

17 10 2008
jengagne

I wonder what genius decided to use those soundbites in the music anyway?

17 10 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

This stuff happens quite frequently, actually. Same thing happened in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
The problem is that samples of “generic chanting” appear in sample libraries, sample libraries are sold for $50, music producers creating music for games that don’t speak one word of the language hear pretty sounding chanting sounds and put it in music, game gets published, someone who DOES speak the language hears, gets irate, mayhem ensues.
The question is, if this was hebrew chanting, or latin chanting, would there have been a recall issued?

17 10 2008
shadrad

The question is, if this was hebrew chanting, or latin chanting, would there have been a recall issued?
Highly unlikely, as while the text of the Torah and Bible respectively are sacred, in our modern world their sacred status has become somewhat diffuse– it’s a definitive difference in religious culture, where even modern Islam strives to keep their holy words as sacred, holy, and separate from the rest of the secular world as they can. Not to hide it away, but to keep it from just dissolving into something that is, to many people, meaningless.
Part of respecting Islam is to respect that part of it– something wholly separate from the rest of the insanity we’re dealing with on a global scale. This was a mistake that was made, and the guy who wrote the letter seemed to understand that it was not /meant/ to be offensive– however, it was.
This was an unfortunate goof on Sony’s end, and while I think the total recall was a bit severe (as that was not what the letter requested), at the same time I’m kind of wringing my hands and extremely uncomfortable at the reaction of the gamers who are butthurt and saying ignorant, offensive things about Islam as a result.
I know people are disappointed, but holy crap there’s more out there than a vidja game, and it’s these young people that need to be at the forefront of a religious and racial tolerance movement, not the ones sitting and bitching and perpetuating ignorance.

17 10 2008
mtws

If it were Hebrew chanting or Latin chanting the issue would have been moot to start with because neither Judaism nor (Catholic) Christianity have any associated widespread cultural or religious injunction against using religious texts in musical settings. Very nearly the opposite, in fact. I can see why Sony did what it did, although I think taking the suggestion offered would have been smarter all around and created far less of a PR crapstorm than this certainly will (to say nothing of prompting every slackjaw on the internet to give voice to illiterate, mispunctuated ululations).
However, I did cancel my preorder with Gamestop because a) I don’t really like giving them money if I can easily avoid it and b) guaranteed release-date delivery with overnight shipping is not worth the extra price if the release date is a moving goalpost. I plan to detour after work today and see if my local Best Buy is one of the ones staffed by slackasses who can’t be bothered to check street dates when stocking.

17 10 2008
jengagne

Right, what mtws said RE: Quran + music = a no-no.
The only Hebrew badness I can think of is spelling out YHWH (in Hebrew) maybe? I can’t think of one for Latin.
My smirkier side makes me wonder if Sony is welcoming the PR crapstorm this ensues; it’s win-win for them because it generates more buzz and they can say they were as considerate of the religion as possible (rather than release + patch)

17 10 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

My initial NERD RAGE has calmed somewhat, fortunately.
I was never upset that a muslim called for the music to be changed. That’s fine. It’s the sort of thing music producers need to keep an eye out for; “Sounds Pretty” is not enough justification to drop something in without doing the research. It’s like Engrish taken to a blasphemous level, and there’s no call for that kind of laziness. And I am pleased to see the original letter suggested patching, not a massive, worldwide recall and game delay.
But Sony bungled here. In the name of avoiding a media frenzy (which is unavoidable) they’re reprinting every disc of the game and delaying a week or two. C’mon, guys. Patch, dammit. That should be enough to take care of the issue.
And yeah, a lot of the fans are being complete dicks about it, and showing their racist colors quite proudly as a result. Fortunately there’s just as many who have no problems with the music being changed and are instead upset at the way Sony approached it, like me.

17 10 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

If you can’t find someone willing to break street date, go with amazon.com. They’re offering release day shipping. GameStop is never a good solution, as every dollar spent there encourages a hideous business model that’s destroying the industry and exploiting everyone from gamers to store employees, all up and down the food chain, and must be purged with a cleansing fire forged from the heart of a white dwarf star in order to ensure its nefarious taint never again touches the souls of the living. …yeah, I kinda don’t like GameStop.

17 10 2008
grizzygriswold

As a Christian who finds this Saw V trailer offensive for obvious reasons, I definitely understand. Its important to be respectful of other’s beliefs which Sony appears to be doing. I have a feeling the folks who made Saw V were hoping to be offensive though, while Sonys was just an honest mistake. I’m not pissed off enough to write to the movie studio to find out though.
I kind of have a problem with the very existence of the Saw movies in general, because I think they are an exercise in sadism and bloodlust…. and I’m a big fan of horror movies. Its no so much the gore (I don’t have a problem with gore when used in certain ways) as the content and the makeup of the movies. I got halfway through the first one and put it back in the case and took the DVD back to blockbuster.

17 10 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Saw is stupidity incarnate. It has two gimmicks going for it: endless gore and endless Xanatos Roulettes. I like horror movies too, but I wouldn’t give this crap time of day.

17 10 2008
lirazel

Like , I have an issue–not with sacred texts set to music, but with sacred texts used to sell stuff. If I have to hear the Hallelujah Chorus being used in praise of (1) an airline (2) a car (3) a soft drink (4) anti-perspirant (5) Some other trash (Pick all that apply) again, I’ll… I’ll…
I’ll do nothing. Because it’s not the words or the music that makes the Holy, it’s the God that allows the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike. But it still offends me, so I get my revenge the Western capitalist way–I don’t buy the product.
(This reminds me of a terrible, terrible car commercial from 1977 or so, put out by Datsun (now Nissan). It had a car descending in rays of light from On High, with happy voices singing, “Someday it’s going to dawn on you… Datsun SAVES!” They kept it on the air for nearly a month, too. See what the instant responsiveness of the Internet now prevents?)

17 10 2008
raigne

Not just that particular name, btw. God must be spelled G-d, and Lord L-rd, etc. Any name referring to the Jewish almighty, although that isn’t always recognized by people who aren’t orthodox. In addition, I know that a Sefer Torah has incredibly strict guidelines for production. If even one letter is miscopied the whole scroll must be destroyed and the scribe has to start over.
Latin is just a language. There is nothing sacred that way in Catholicism, that I can think of. My religion teacher in Jr. High (Catholic school… no wonder I’ve lapsed, right?) was very strict about not putting our study bibles on the floor, but this was just a personal preference that she passed on. Bibles are mass produced, and outside of the clergy there isn’t much veneration of the text itself. I know this is on purpose for some sects, because it would be considered a form of idol worship.
For my own part, I still take great care not to let my copies of the bible touch the floor. Even when my bedroom was a wreck and stuff was everywhere, my bible was still perched on one of the shelves of my nightstand, and this was after I became agnostic.

17 10 2008
raigne

Just a note. When I say nothing sacred, I mean in terms of language or physical objects etc. Protecting the ideals they represent is important, but I think that’s true with every religion.

17 10 2008
mac1235

What’s latin for “Xenu be praised”?

17 10 2008
shadrad

I think it’s less a matter of it being sacred and more a matter of being respectful– that’s what I’ve felt.
Like, in synagogue (mine was conservative), if your kepah (head covering) fell on the floor, you picked it up and gave it a kiss. It’s not like the kepah is in any way holy or sacred, but its meaning is, and so you want to apologize for an honest mistake (letting it hit the floor) and a kiss symbolizes that.
There may also be a prayer for that (there is a prayer for everything, I swear), but I think most of us just make due with kissing.

18 10 2008
lirazel

“Laudamus te, Xenu.” We praise (laud) thee, Xenu.

19 10 2008
vulpisfoxfire

Just on a side note–this issue is something of a double suck. There’s the issue of the reaction to Islamic religious text being quoted (which is suck on the part of Sony and anti-Islam fanatics)…but there’s also a problem with what those lines reportedly *translate* into–“Every soul shall have the taste of death” and “All that is on earth will perish.” if http://www.gamespot.com/news/6199562.html is to be trusted.

19 10 2008
raigne

Personally, I’d like to know what the context of those lines is in the Qur’an. This would be easy for me to figure out if I was in touch with some of my friends from high school, but one of them wouldn’t know, and the other went back to Egypt to become a religious scholar. And of course, there really isn’t a direct English translation of the whole book. AFAIK, you can only paraphrase when you translate it, both because of the sacred status of the words, and the integrity of their meaning, which might not make sense to someone from another culture.
Times like these I wish I knew Arabic. Of course. I’d learn Greek and Hebrew to read the bible if I could. As it is, when I decided I wanted to read it, I had to buy three versions used by different sects so I could cross reference the translations between them. I’m too curious for my own good.

19 10 2008
mtws

*shrug* It’d take about thirty seconds with a concordance to find similar passages in the Bible. All flesh is as grass, etc. Anyone shocked by a religion pointing out that people die and the world is transient is probably in for an awful lot of surprises, most of them unpleasant.

19 10 2008
vulpisfoxfire

*nod* The ‘suck’ part is that those *particular* lines were put into the music used for a light-hearted kids game. Now if it had been Brutal Legend or a GTA, might as well keep them. But this is like using passages from Revelations in a version of the Tiny Toons theme song. ;-)

20 10 2008
Anonymous

And really…
>modern Islam strives to keep their holy words as sacred, holy, and separate from the rest of the secular world as they can. Not to hide it away, but to keep it from just dissolving into something that is, to many people, meaningless.
Sometimes I wonder, am I the only one to find this, as well as the Koran only being valid in the original language, a completely sensible way to help preserve its meaning and sanctity?
Seriously, with the sorts of things that have happened due to mistranslations in the Bible, this really seems like one of the most logical religious restrictions I’ve ever heard.
-NeoVid

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