Late Night Open Thread: Doubling Down

When life gives you a new version of an old Nazi-punching video game to market… own the fuck out of your Nazi-punching.

Thereby chafing the highly refined sensitivities of a group that usually delights in screaming snowflake! and flaunting FUCK YOUR FEELINGS t-shirts…

Critics aren’t exactly arguing that the Nazis were nice, decent folks, but they say that in co-opting the president’s tagline, the video game company is quietly equating Trump supporters with Nazis.

Others claimed that the video game — or at least its marketing — is simply parroting the aims of the antifa, a loosely affiliated group of mostly communists, socialists and anarchists who aim to stop the advance of white supremacy, sometimes violently.

Is it good to give people in that group tacit justification to attack people who fit an ever-expanding definition of Nazis?…

The definition is hardly “ever-expanding”; marching with Nazi flags and screaming Jews will not replace us! has fit the parameters ever since the 1930s. It’s just that you didn’t used to see them mobbing around American college campuses, at least not with their faces unmasked.


When this kerfuffle first popped up a couple weeks ago, commentor dmsilev linked to an article in Ars Technica:

Bethesda, publisher of the upcoming shooting game Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, has issued a formal response to decidedly informal (and largely anonymous) criticisms surrounding the anti-Nazi game. In doing so, however, the company has made the curious decision to try to absolve itself of particularly political overtones…

After explaining the series’ premise to the uninitiated—that gamers control one soldier, BJ Blazkowicz, as a one-man-army against a rising Nazi order—Hines tried to dance around the series’ inherently charged subject matter. “Bethesda doesn’t develop games to make specific statements or incite political discussions,” he said to Games Industry. “We make games that we think are fun, meaningful, and immersive for a mature audience.”

Unfortunately for Hines’ argument, it’s hard to imagine any American era in which a violent, gun-loaded battle against a violent, anti-Semitic culture wouldn’t reverberate in a political way. Bethesda may simply be astonished that one of the media world’s longtime easy-target villains, the freaking Hitler-led Nazis, would ever attract anything that approaches “defenders.” Hines admitted this to GI to some extent: “In Wolfenstein‘s case, it’s pure coincidence that Nazis are marching in the streets of America this year. And it’s disturbing that the game can be considered a controversial political statement at all.”…

Looks like Bethesda has decided there’s no percentage in trying to soothe Nazi-sympathizing fee-fees. Given the responses to the top tweet (“I don’t even game and I might buy this fucking thing”), this may have been the better choice!






108 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Fuck the fucking Nazis.

  2. 2
    Mike J says:

    Today was a good day for a meetup because it was a bye week for the Seahawks. People who care didn’t miss the game, and people who didn’t care didn’t have to sit in a barroom full of people watching the foosball game.

  3. 3
    Yutsano says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: You know, for us folks who are out of fucks to give, we sure are giving out a lot of Fuck The recently.

  4. 4
    khead says:

    Looks like Bethesda has decided there’s no percentage in trying to soothe Nazi-sympathizing fee-fees.

    Whole bunch of other folks need to do this. I don’t understand the logic behind “Hey, let’s suck up to a bunch of folks who are gonna shit on us anyway!”

  5. 5
    Duane says:

    The Nazis can shove their freedom of speech up their Nazi ass.

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    I remember playing the original Castle Wolfenstein. Even in the 1980s, back in the Apple II era, it was about about killing Nazis. I don’t remember punching being an option back then, though.

  7. 7
    Mike J says:

    @Duane: Ask MLK about it

    We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.”

  8. 8
  9. 9

    The definition is hardly “ever-expanding”; marching with Nazi flags and screaming Jews will not replace us! has fit the parameters ever since the 1930s. It’s just that you didn’t used to see them mobbing around American college campuses, at least not with their faces unmasked.

    The WaPo author used dumb language, but it is true that some of the antifa folks think all speech to the right of arguing over the right day during which to seize the means of production is unacceptable discourse that may be stopped with violence.

  10. 10
    SFAW says:

    @Yutsano:

    You know, for us folks who are out of fucks to give, we sure are giving out a lot of Fuck The recently.

    That’s because there’s no “quit” in this team. And we’re ready to give 110 percent. And on any given Sunday etc., etc.

  11. 11
    randy khan says:

    If I’d been Bethesda, I would have embraced the moment, rather than making believe it was purely a game design decision. I’d have said, “Sure, we’re against Nazis. And we’re really against stupid Nazis – if we’d had time we would have added some characters marching with tiki torches.”

  12. 12
    JGabriel says:

    Make America Nazi-Free Again. #NoMoreNazis #Wolf2

    The twitter thread that follows that tweet is pure joy.

  13. 13
    Omnes Ominbus says:

    @Yutsano: Will this help?

  14. 14
    MoxieM says:

    Personal favorites is the Nazi Snowflake (already is that a thing?) who complains that “Lefties are making Nazi synonymous (his word) with deplorable.”

    Ya think? Nazi = deplorable since 193x, idiot.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Yutsano says:

    @Omnes Ominbus: The B-52s make up for a variety of sins. Needs moar fucks tho.

  17. 17

    So is it a good game though?

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:

    Critics aren’t exactly arguing that the Nazis were nice, decent folks, but they say that in co-opting the president’s tagline, the video game company is quietly equating Trump supporters with Nazis.

    Ya think? Gosh, I can’t imagine why they would associate Trump with Nazis when Nazis are cosplaying as Trump and marching around with fucking tiki torches.

    Fair warning: I am in a bit of a mood tonight. Bring it on, Nazi whiners.

  19. 19
    dmsilev says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I don’t think it’s actually out yet, so no reviews or anything. Not my cup of tea anyway; it’s been a long time since I’ve been into the first-person-shooter type games.

  20. 20
    Omnes Ominbus says:

    @Yutsano: I have had a day. Closer to this.

    ETA: I let my nephew touch the clutch on Ingrid. He is just turning 16, but he loves cars.

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    It’s a game where you run around punching and killing Nazis, so …
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  22. 22
    sharl says:

    @JGabriel: Yep, that’s some good twitter-fightin’.
    Someone used a clip from Lawnmower Dreams in a way that I would normally consider crass and disrespectful of its spiritual essence, but the tweeter appears to be on the side of the angels, so I’ll let it slide.

  23. 23
    hellslittlestangel says:

    The Nazis in Castle Wolfenstein all had permits to be there. Can BJ Blazkowicz say the same?

  24. 24
    jl says:

    I’m tired of radically distorted,revisionist liberal histories where the Union won the US Civil War, and modern mixed economy democracies were on the winning side of WWII. And the Cold War too. I’m just fed up. I want to shout with rage and emit weepy pleas for pity and understanding on the TV. Or at least a GOP focus group.

  25. 25
    JGabriel says:

    Me (JGabriel), Two Months Ago:

    @Baud:

    Have young people not seen Raiders of the Lost Ark?

    Or played *any* of the Wolfenstein games?

  26. 26
    jl says:

    And to think about it, isn’t opposing something a always a form of hate? And isn’t it hypocritical to hate the hater of one is not all about hate to begin with in the first place?

    Well, that bilge makes slightly more sense than the ravings of little Dicky Spencer. I feel like I should take his job, but he needs a safe space to properly demonstrate his devastating superiority.

  27. 27
    Omnes Ominbus says:

    @jl: Weren’t you a proud Bernie mega-donor?

  28. 28
    Mike J says:

    @Omnes Ominbus: When it came on the bar’s music system, I was telling [Ph|F]ilbert how much I loved the drums on this song. Copeland always tuned his heads super tight, like on the verge on breaking and they just POPPOPPOP.

  29. 29
    Suzanne says:

    Aaaaahhhhhhh. Spawn the Elder cut herself again tonight. She told me that she took apart a pencil sharpener to get to the blade. Fuck. I really want to smoke some weed right now.

  30. 30

    @Omnes Ominbus: even if true, what’s that got to do with the price of eggs?

  31. 31
    Mike J says:

    @Suzanne: If you decide fall is the bast time of year to visit the PNW we have numerous commenters who will escort you around to their favorite stores that take care of the weed part.

    In the meantime, hang tough, Sucks to be a teenager or parent.

  32. 32
    Omnes Ominbus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Read in context.

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JGabriel:

    My other favorite tweet from that thread:

    VanessaMagick‏ @VanessaMagick 6h6 hours ago

    “This marketing campaign is drawing some controversy, should we cool it off a bit?”
    “Nah, fuck Nazis. Double down on that shit.”

  34. 34
    Suzanne says:

    @Mike J: AZ is a medical marijuana state. We have plenty of dispensaries. Not that I don’t want to enjoy some herbal refreshment with y’all.

  35. 35
    some guy says:

    real life Nazis ( R. Spencer) are coming to my town on Thursday. we are all gearing up for the protest.

    wish Wolf II was out, would be fun to play it while protesting.

  36. 36
    Omnes Ominbus says:

    @some guy: So, fight them….

  37. 37
    some guy says:

    @Omnes Ominbus:

    with everything we got. will be driving scores of folks there, and once the fun starts will park and participate.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suzanne:

    Deep breath. At least she told you and isn’t trying to conceal it from you. I’ve seen some people say that it can be an addictive or compulsive behavior, so it’s not entirely within her conscious control.

  39. 39
    khead says:

    I’ve been shooting Nazis for years. Nazi zombies even.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @some guy:

    I hope it goes as well for you as Boston did. That was a beautiful sight post-Charlottesville.

  41. 41
    Suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh, she was trying to conceal it. She got caught and she didn’t lie, but she was being under the radar about it.

    Supposedly the vast majority of kids that do this grow out of it by young adulthood, but we have a ways to go before we get there. ARRRRGH.

  42. 42
    JGabriel says:

    @MoxieM:

    Personal favorites is the Nazi Snowflake (already is that a thing?) who complains that “Lefties are making Nazi synonymous (his word) with deplorable.”

    There’s only one reasonable response to a comment like that: “Fuck your fee-fees, Nazi Snowflake!”

  43. 43

    @Omnes Ominbus: if I could have understood what you meant from context I wouldn’t have asked you why you said it.

  44. 44
    Omnes Ominbus says:

    @some guy: You are a disappointment. You faked caring.

  45. 45
    Yutsano says:

    @Omnes Ominbus: “Yeah, well you’re boring. And you dress like a lawyer.”

  46. 46
    khead says:

    Also, I played the original Wolfenstein on the Atari 800. 5.25 floppy disks. Old school!

  47. 47
    JGabriel says:

    @Mnemosyne, @khead:

    I have been Proudly Killing Nazis Since 1992.

    Hard to believe it’s already been a quarter century of Nazi killing. Time flies when you’re having fun killing Nazis.

  48. 48
    Omnes Ominbus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Hey, go get them Avoid the weirdos. Talk tomorrow?

  49. 49
    JGabriel says:

    @khead:

    Also, I played the original Wolfenstein on the Atari 800. 5.25 floppy disks. Old school!

    I’m a relative latecomer – didn’t start punching & killing Nazis until Wolfenstein 3D came out on PC.

  50. 50
    some guy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    this being a college town, there is so much dissension on tactiocs/strategies on how best to fight the Nazis. Fortunately, the Kids Today are All Right. There will be a vigorous response to these Nazi/Klan scumbags.

  51. 51
    jl says:

    @Omnes Ominbus:
    ” Weren’t you a proud Bernie mega-donor? ”

    Ungrateful old coot wouldn’t do a damn thing I told him to. I’m giving to donate to the alt-righter pols from now on. Wave 27 bucks in their faces and see them jump.

    Edit: and I am talking 27 bucks cash money. I tried to donate that much to Baud 2016! once, but he didn’t understand such large sums. He wanted in sacks of soda-pop cans.

  52. 52
    ruemara says:

    Fuck Nazis! I’m too old and tired for the late night Wolfenstein gaming I used to do. But frankly, it makes more sense to lose myself in that now. Here’s your evening kitten.

  53. 53
    Ruckus says:

    @Suzanne:
    Wish there was some magic phrase or whatever that we could utter that could help. Good luck.

  54. 54
    Ruckus says:

    @ruemara:
    A cutie pie that looks about 5 min past bed time.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    khead says:

    @JGabriel:

    It was so cheesy. Looked a lot like the old Berzerk arcade game. I still have that Atari computer in the garage. I need an old Atari TV adapter to make it work though. Haven’t hooked it up in years…

  57. 57

    @jl:

    He wanted in sacks of soda-pop cans.

    I usually get about $50 when I take in my soda cans; silly jl, Baud is the smart one.

  58. 58

    I went to Venice today and took some pics.

  59. 59
    The Lodger says:

    @Omnes Ominbus: What the hell is an Ominbus?

  60. 60
    NotMax says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA

    Based upon the frequency of my soda consumption, it would take until roughly the year the protagonist in The Time Machine ended up to gather together enough containers to get $10 back, much less $50.

  61. 61
    NotMax says:

    @The Lodger

    A shuttle for dyslexic commuters?

  62. 62
  63. 63
    Fair Economist says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Looks like Monet should paint it.

    I was a initially taken aback because I was thinking “that doesn’t look like Venice” until I realized of course you meant Venice *California*. I live here too – I should know better.

  64. 64

    @NotMax: Obviously, you need to up your game. Baud is counting on you.

  65. 65
  66. 66

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Oh, jeez, is this OO a parody commenter or something? Didn’t notice the typo.

  67. 67
    Redshift says:

    @dmsilev:

    Not my cup of tea anyway; it’s been a long time since I’ve been into the first-person-shooter type games.

    I think Wolfenstein 3D was the last one I played much of. It was fun, and a big novelty at the time.

  68. 68
    Fair Economist says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: How does that IR camera determine colors? Does it stretch the spectrum – green becomes yellow, etc?

  69. 69
    NotMax says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA

    Do liquor bottles count?

    If so, I’m home free. ;)

  70. 70
    ruemara says:

    @Suzanne: I’m sorry to hear that. These things go around in a circle of good and then bad days. She told you because she needs you.

    @Ruckus: that image is a lie. He’s been sleeping on me for up to 2 hours at a time since 2 pm.

  71. 71
  72. 72

    @Fair Economist: No, first I was using a setting that gets rid of all wave lengths under 590nm. The camera captures IR, so from about 700-1400nm. Vegetation reflects IR so it shows up as white, but since I was allowing some visible light in, they get a reddish tint.

  73. 73

    @NotMax: Sure, bottles are recyclable.

  74. 74
    NotMax says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA

    Sadly, liquor or wine bottles cannot be turned in for recycling here.

    I blame Putin.

  75. 75
    jl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Doesn’t make any difference, We blew it on lotto.

  76. 76
    JDM says:

    I was born after WWII, but I still get to live in an era where fighting Nazis is “inherently charged subject matter”. Lucky me.

    The Firesign Theater was right: everything you know IS wrong.

  77. 77
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Charlottesville police have arrested two Black anti-Nazi protesters: the guy with the blowtorch and the one who was so viciously attacked that he was hospitalized. Don’t give a damn about Nazi feelings but seems like others in power certainly do.

  78. 78
    Honus says:

    @Patricia Kayden: the police didn’t arrest DeAndre Harris, a Nazi swore a warrant in front of a magistrate. Harris turned himself in and was released on personal recognizance. The blowtorch guy was arrested, because blowtorch in a crowd is a crime, but is also out on bond. Meanwhile, about a half dozen of Harris’ attackers have been extradited from out of state and being held without bond. So the white supremacists arent exactly being treated with kid gloves.

  79. 79
    Amir Khalid says:

    I’ve just found a glaring error in my reference book of guitar chords and scales*: according to its scale fingering charts, there is only a semitone between the subtonic and tonic of the natural minor scale. Every other reference I’ve looked up, online and off, says there is a whole tone. All the book’s minor-scale charts are wrong. Gah.

    * Guitar Chords and Scales: A New Approach to Guitar Chord Manual and Scale [sic] by Raymond Teoh. Malaysian publisher. Probably not sold in the US.

  80. 80
    sharl says:

    @Amir Khalid: LOL, going from the price in the Amazon.com US listing, it must be an awesome book! Or maybe a collector’s item.

    Guitar Chords and Scales 1985
    by Raymond Teoh
    Paperback
    $369.54 (1 used & new offers)

    ETA: It’s a used paperback, and the listing shows no reviews.

  81. 81
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @Amir Khalid: There is definitely a whole tone. Natural minor goes tone-semitone-tone-tone-semitone-tone-tone. It is basically the major scale but with the 6th note as its tonal centre. So, for example, C major’s related minor scale starts on A but has all the same notes as the C major scale.

    Now, you can create the harmonic minor scale by promoting that flat seventh to natural; this will result in a tone and a half from the harmonic minor scale’s sixth to its seventh note. Was the book written in a language other than English? Could be a translation error….

  82. 82
    AnonPhenom says:

    Speaking of ever-expanding…

    simply parroting the aims of the antifa, a loosely affiliated group of mostly communists, socialists and anarchists

    …and feminists, SJWs, yada, yada…

    And I’m fine with that if we get to add KKK neo-confederates, know-nothing Nativists and the Talibangelists to their side of the scale.

  83. 83
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Well, it does say it’s a “new approach” right there in the subtitle.

    And thanks, now I’m getting PTSD from programming books back in the ’90s that had errors in the included source code.

  84. 84
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    I’ve noticed Bethesda likes flavoring their games with current political subtext; in the game Skyrim one side of the civil war that is part of the game’s plot are the “Stormcoaks” (purely a coincidence it sounds like storm troopers) that want to ethnically cleanse Skyrim of the non nordics. Ulfric, the leader of the stormcloaks, motivation for this is during the war between the evil elves and the humans he spend the whole time in the private dungeon of some She-Elf who was playing dominatrix on him and he’s doing this revolt out of sense of guilt. Quite a few people have commented how the game anticipated Trumpism.

  85. 85
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @hellslittlestangel:

    The Nazis in Castle Wolfenstein all had permits to be there. Can BJ Blazkowicz say the same?

    The is one part of the game were you can here to SS stormtroopers talking and denouncing the freedom fighters as terrorist and how violence never solves anything.

  86. 86
    AMinNC says:

    @Suzanne: Some friends of ours have a daughter who struggled with cutting and anxiety, and they had good luck with DBT (dialectical based therapy). It was an intensive program, meeting a couple of times a week, very behavioral-focused, and it really helped. When nothing else seemed to.

  87. 87
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Fuck the fucking Nazis.

    Wipe them out? All of them?

  88. 88
    Chris says:

    @khead:

    Whole bunch of other folks need to do this. I don’t understand the logic behind “Hey, let’s suck up to a bunch of folks who are gonna shit on us anyway!”

    That is the mainstream media’s gospel creed, for one.

  89. 89
    Chris says:

    @MoxieM:

    Personal favorites is the Nazi Snowflake (already is that a thing?) who complains that “Lefties are making Nazi synonymous (his word) with deplorable.”

    Once again, I love the fact that when Nazis complain of being unjustly persecuted, the way they identify their opponents is “lefties.”

    I mean, obviously yes. But I’d kind of love for somebody to make a complilation of every time these guys have identified their enemies as “the left” or themselves as “the right” and mail it to Jonah Goldberg or another one of these clowns.

  90. 90
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    I never play video games, but I sometimes see ads for them, and the latest version of Call of Duty is set in WW II. You get to be an American G.I. Gee, I wonder who the enemy is?

  91. 91
    Amir Khalid says:

    @sharl:
    US$369.54? That’s RM1,558.52; RM100 more than The Girl and a baby amp from Fender cost me. The book cost RM16 RM12 — less than four three American bucks — through Lazada.com.my (local operation of a German online vendor).

  92. 92
    Amir Khalid says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch:
    The book’s in English. The publisher puts out a whole bunch of other books for guitar players, which I now don’t feel confident about buying.

  93. 93
    J R in WV says:

    @Honus:

    That’s good to hear, that they’ve rounded up all the Nazis they could ID and extradited them back to face charges. While I’m disappointed that they need to arrest and charge the guy with the hair spray blow-torch, it’s understandable. He could have hurt someone. (I don’t know if it was hair-spray, but I have seen hair-spray ignited. It WAS just some consumer stuff in a spray can.)

    In his defense, he was using it in his defense! So perhaps will get off on that technicality.

  94. 94
    Jinchi says:

    Some have taken issue with the new game’s anti-Nazi stance, and particularly the tagline used in marketing materials: “Make America Nazi-free again.”

    If the slogan had been “Make America Free Again” they would have embraced it as a pro-Trump slogan. The only reason adding “Nazi-” makes it an anti-Trump slogan is because he has literally embraced the right of armed racists to walk down main street waving Nazi flags and shouting threats at the local population.

  95. 95
    No One You Know says:

    @Mike J: @Yutsano: MikeJ, it was great to meet you! Yutsano, I am so sorry we missed you. We got lost in traffic ourselves and were late.

    Totally worth the effort, though.

  96. 96
    J R in WV says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Amir, in my piano training, minor chords are made by lowering the third note of the chord (flattening it) one half tone. A C Major chord is C, E, and G, and the C Minor chord is C, E-flat and G. So maybe this is just something cross-threaded between one method of description and another. Frets versus piano keys?

    I know a very little about guitar chords, although I do use music with tabulature to play songs on the piano, which always also had B-Flat Minor about the guitar fretting.

    OK, I looked up a Tab chart, and ti does show that going from A to A Minor you move the second string from the right from the second fret to the first fret, lowering that note by one half step. Flating the third note from C sharp to C.

    A Major is the three notes A, C Sharp, and E. A Minor is A, C and E.

    Does this help?

  97. 97
    gocart mozart says:

    @Chris:

    “Our adopted term ‘Socialist’ has nothing to do with Marxian Socialism. Marxism is anti-property; true Socialism is not.”
    – Adolf Hitler, Sunday Express, 28 September 1930; cited. in The Rise of Fascism by F.L. Carsten, p. 137

  98. 98
    J R in WV says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch:

    @Amir Khalid: There is definitely a whole tone. Natural minor goes tone-semitone-tone-tone-semitone-tone-tone. It is basically the major scale but with the 6th note as its tonal centre. So, for example, C major’s related minor scale starts on A but has all the same notes as the C major scale.

    Now, you can create the harmonic minor scale by promoting that flat seventh to natural; this will result in a tone and a half from the harmonic minor scale’s sixth to its seventh note. Was the book written in a language other than English? Could be a translation error…..

    This makes no sense whatsoever to me, and I’ve been playing piano (jazz, broadway, etc mostly) for over 50 years.

    Chords are the first, third and fifth tones of any scale. For C Major, that would be C, E, and G. All minor chords are flatted thirds, so C Minor would be C, E flat, and G.

    The A Major chord is A, C Sharp and E, and the A Minor is A, C and E. Flatted Third note. I have never heard any piano player use the terms tone-semitone. And all variations of C chords start with C. A is the note used (in C chords) to provide the 6th above the 5th which is typically used with the 1st, 3rd, 5th notes to fill out the major (or minor) chords.

    The tone-semitone reference seems a little like talking about doh-re-me, which I heard in 3rd or 4th grade, but never from my piano teacher nor my band director, who taught me to play bass horn. Not from professional musicians, in other words.

  99. 99
    J R in WV says:

    @J R in WV:

    And no offense offered to anyone, we just have different frames of reference. I stopped my study of classical piano music very early and switched to learning enough theory to be able to improvise at the keyboard, with charts of the melody and chords to keep on track. I did way more classical music on bass horn…

  100. 100
    J R in WV says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):

    “And thanks, now I’m getting PTSD from programming books back in the ’90s that had errors in the included source code.”

    Who was the famous computer scientist author who offered a bounty to everyone who found an error in his books? It’ll come to me, he wrote TeX to format his book’s text correcty… Knuth, Don Knuth. Famous guy, writing a series of books, taking him so long for each volume he may not make it to the end he planned. You get a check suitable for framing!

  101. 101
    No One You Know says:

    @Mike J: Amen.

  102. 102
    Amir Khalid says:

    @J R in WV:
    My understanding is that any given chord is the same three notes on any instrument. Like, a triad (three-note chord) is the root note, a third, and a fifth. If the third is major, it’s a major chord. Flatten the third by a semitone, it becomes a minor third and you get a minor chord. A fifth can be perfect; or augmented (raised a semitone) to yield an augmented chord, or diminished (flatted a semitone) to yield a diminished chord. There are also seventh chords, ninth chords, eleventh chords and even 13th chords, but surely no one has enough fingers to play them.

    But the error I found was about the natural minor scale, the mopey sibling of the major scale. The book told you to fret in the wrong place (one fret high i.e. one semitone sharp) to hit that one note. I don’t know, yet, what else it got wrong.

  103. 103
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @J R in WV: He’s talking about scales, not chords. What you see up there are the steps in the natural minor scale. In Am, that’s A B C D E F G A. Take a look at the intervals between those notes and you’ll see that they follow the steps I describe.

    So, for example, an Am7 will have an A C E & G in it. Those are the 1st 3rd 5th and 7th notes in that scale. Am delineates the 1 3 5, and the 7 delineates the 7th (G).

    If you have a chord with A C E G# that would be an AmMaj7 chord (A minor major 7th). There would be a lot of dissonance in that chord because of the G# (play one and see!).

    A minor is a mode of the C major scale (C D E F G A B C) that starts on the sixth note of the the major scale (A). Most working musicians refer to it as the minor scale or mode, but the formal name for it is the Aeloian mode.

    The main modes one finds used in pop music are the major (formally known as the Ionian), the minor (Aeloian), the Dorian, and the Mixolydian. The Dorian is a major scale with the third and seventh flattened; in A that would be A B C D E F# G A. This is often called the rock and roll scale because when you hear Chuck Berry nailing all his double stop licks he’s playing in the Dorian mode. The Dorian mode uses the same intervals as the major mode but starting from the 2nd note, so the related Dorian key from C is D (i.e. it’s got the same notes as the C major scale but the tonal centre is D, not C). The Mixolydian mode is the major scale with a flattened 7th (A B C# D E F# G A in the key of A). You hear this mode a lot in bluegrass, rock, and hippy music (grateful dead and assorted jam bands). It is formed from the major mode by having the tonal centred around its fifth, so the related Mixolydian to C is G.

    Chords are formed from diatonic scales by using the first third and fifth, but it’s a little more complicated than that. You create chord scales from scales by using 1 3 5 and then stepping your way up each note in the scale. So, in the key of C, what you’re looking at is like this

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8(1)
    C D E F G A B C

    Cmaj
    1 3 5
    C E G

    Dm
    2 4 6
    D F A

    Em
    3 5 7
    E G B

    Fmaj
    4 6 8
    F A C

    Gmaj
    5 7 9(2)
    G B D

    Am
    6 8(1) 10(3)
    A C E

    B1/2dim (half diminished)
    7 9(2) 11(4)
    B D F

    Hopefully my formatting works.

    There are a lot of games that can be played with this system. This is just the basic diatonic stuff, and doesn’t account for the pentatonic scales (major and minor), nor fun things like augmented or diminished scales (augmented scale has three notes each of which is two tones apart, the diminished (four notes each of which is a tone and a half apart), or hexatonic scale (the blues scale is one; the pentatonic minor with a flat fifth added).

    As for my professional credentials, I played my first paid gig in 1987. My most recent one was nine days ago and my next one is on Thursday. I also mix bands at one of my local establishments three nights a week. In short, I’ve been working professionally in music for thirty years (my 30th anniversary was just a month or so ago; my first gig was at a campus bar in my local uni in the second week of September).

  104. 104
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    Can someone please get my comment explaining modes and chord scales out of moderation? I tried to edit it because I want to have the chord scale rundown in a monospace font, but it got marked as spam. How does one use the tt or code tags on this site? ISTR it used to work.

  105. 105
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @Amir Khalid: Amir, if you can lay your hands on the Heavy Guitar Bible (it’ll have to be used as it’s out of print) you’ll find the appendices explain all this stuff in a fairly straightforward manner. It will also introduce you to the informal language used by the oral tradition in pop music. Basically, it starts out that way and runs you through tons of exercises in the major and minor pentatonic scales as well as the blues scale while discussing song writing and arrangement in the oral tradition, then in the appendices gets you into the actual formal stuff like scales, modes, building chord scales, and so on. It doesn’t get into augmented or diminished scales, because jazz is out of scope for this book.

  106. 106
    J R in WV says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch:

    I understand what you are saying now. I didn’t understand what you said before.

    When I first played in clubs, we had to have a parent attend as we were under age, in the 60s. I will confess I haven’t played professionally in many decades. Thanks for your patient and full explanation.

    I first understood “modes” when I learned to play Dulcimer, and came to understand the instrument would only play songs in the mode the instrument was built to play, in other words, many half-tones (semi-tones?) are just not there on a Dulcimer. I will confess I never tried to know one mode from another.

    Axel, we are on the same page, your book is wrong and we – all of us here – are correct.

  107. 107
    fuckwit says:

    I hate Illinois Nazis.

  108. 108
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @fuckwit: I hate Illinois Nazis too.

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