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Hogwarts Legacy Controversy Let's talk about it

#41 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 09 March 2023 - 05:02 PM

 Cause, on 09 March 2023 - 04:46 PM, said:

My other thought on the games controversy is for the Goblins are Jewish criticism. I never made the connection myself but can understand it now that is been brought up. However I wonder if its a case of purposeful cruelty by JK Rowling, subconscious bias or possibly worst of all there was no connection at all but people are primed to connect money grubbing bankers with jews without any prompting. Why do Goblins control the banks in harry potter, I dont really know, but golbins are ugly and in any modern depiction I can think of will have large noses or some other horrible feature. Is large noses and works with gold automatically Jewish?

I never saw dwarves in Tolkiens world as supposedly being jewish either but he stated they were. However its a compliment (sorta?). The dwarves can be overcome with a gold lust, in part due to the effect of the 7 rings, but the Dwarves are otherwise highly resistant to evil, masters of their craft etc. Again Tolkien may have some subconcious thoughts but I think a reader could leave with a good or bad impression from the text based on their own pre-existing bias.


There's also the shofar look-alike in the game... though since it's made from a ram's horn I'm not sure how specifically Jewish a horn that looks like that necessarily is.

Quote

'antisemitism is growing among the young in Britain. Unlike other forms of racism, antisemitism rises as you move down the generations. Those under 25 are “the least likely to say they are just as open to having Jewish friends as they are to having friends from other sections of British society”. More than a quarter of young people agree that “Jews have disproportionate control of powerful institutions, and use that power for their own benefit and against the good of the general population”, compared with just 6% of those over 65.

[...] line that he draws from historical antisemitism to the crazy conspiracy theories of today. These theories, which put Jewish bankers at the heart of an oppressive global elite, are not only threatening Jews – they are threatening everyone’s hope of making progress towards a more sustainable and equal world. A quick search on social media [...] told me, for instance, that Greta Thunberg is descended from the Rothschilds and that billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros is behind the plan to confine everyone to 15-minute cities. Lies, of course, but lies with legs on social media.'

Everyday Hate review – how antisemitism is built into our world




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#42 User is online   Cause 

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Posted 09 March 2023 - 07:08 PM

I heard about the shofar in the game but cant find an image or the actual description used in the game. Again I can see the connection once its pointed out but the connectiont to the uprsiing of 1612, its not a particular famous example that I am aware.

Every Jew will know about the holocaust, the big wars in Israel, that the jews were persecuted by the romans and in medieval Europe etc. The destruction of the temples is common knowledge, the expulsion of the jews from israel is common knowledge. You might be able to say the jews were expelled from spain or England. However only a student of history is likely to know about the 1612 rebellion. I had to read about in wikipedia and it wasnt a rebellion by jews. It was a rebellion by germans against the jews for what they saw as them having special privlidges. So it doesnt seem to fit very well at all.
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#43 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 09 March 2023 - 07:32 PM

 Cause, on 09 March 2023 - 07:08 PM, said:

I heard about the shofar in the game but cant find an image or the actual description used in the game. Again I can see the connection once its pointed out but the connectiont to the uprsiing of 1612, its not a particular famous example that I am aware.

Every Jew will know about the holocaust, the big wars in Israel, that the jews were persecuted by the romans and in medieval Europe etc. The destruction of the temples is common knowledge, the expulsion of the jews from israel is common knowledge. You might be able to say the jews were expelled from spain or England. However only a student of history is likely to know about the 1612 rebellion. I had to read about in wikipedia and it wasnt a rebellion by jews. It was a rebellion by germans against the jews for what they saw as them having special privlidges. So it doesnt seem to fit very well at all.


Posted Image


game screenshot of horn + most of description

I think I was wrong, it doesn't look like a ram's horn shofar:

Posted Image



Quote

two species are generally used: the Ashkenazi and Sefardi shofar is made from the horn of a domestic ram, while a Yemeni shofar is made from the horn of a kudu. A Moroccan shofar is flat, with a single, broad curve. [...] A shofar may not be painted in colors, but it may be carved with artistic designs.


It looks a little bit like a a kudu shofar, but with only one twist:

Posted Image


Then again IDK if this one is a ram or a kudu or something else:

Posted Image


Closest I found was a 'large antique shofar' on Etsy, not sure if it's authentic:

Posted Image

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#44 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 09 March 2023 - 07:37 PM

Would it not be exceptionally weird for JKR to have her bad guy wizards be literal Nazi allegories who seek to align with those of pure blood and extinguish those not...in the same story where she supposedly put in anti-Semitic dog whistle goblins?

Also, horns used for making sounds and whatnot exist in almost every culture that had access to animal horns...trying to paint one from a video game as a particular Jewish one is....reaching. But that's where we are, we've reached the "comb the game for anything to rip on it about and connect it to the 'HP is racist'" notion apparently.
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#45 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 09 March 2023 - 07:58 PM

 QuickTidal, on 09 March 2023 - 07:37 PM, said:

Would it not be exceptionally weird for JKR to have her bad guy wizards be literal Nazi allegories who seek to align with those of pure blood and extinguish those not...in the same story where she supposedly put in anti-Semitic dog whistle goblins?



Not hard to imagine a 'moderately' anti-semitic person still thinking the Holocaust was terrible---if anything that seems to be how most anti-semites in the UK and the US felt when it first became widely known.

And of course the villains' French names (Voldemort, Malfoy) allude to the descendants of England's Norman conquerors who make up the traditional aristocratic 'upper class' in the UK....

This post has been edited by Azath Vitr (D'ivers: 09 March 2023 - 08:40 PM

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#46 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 09 March 2023 - 09:21 PM

 QuickTidal, on 09 March 2023 - 07:37 PM, said:

Also, horns used for making sounds and whatnot exist in almost every culture that had access to animal horns...trying to paint one from a video game as a particular Jewish one is....reaching. But that's where we are, we've reached the "comb the game for anything to rip on it about and connect it to the 'HP is racist'" notion apparently.


These seem like pretty close matches:

Posted Image


Posted Image

... so maybe the goblins are Vikings?

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#47 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 10 March 2023 - 12:51 PM

Quote

'in Europe[... t]he game has become the fastest-selling non-FIFA game since 2017. [...] beating out heavy hitters such as Elden Ring'

Hogwarts Legacy Is Now The Fastest-Selling Non-FIFA Game


... despite the goblins clearly being Scandinavian....

The Harry Potter Holocaust analogy doesn't seem to extend very far: Voldemort doesn't want to eliminate or imprison muggles, only mudbloods; there's nothing else linking mudbloods to Jewish people. Arguably she's 'erasing' Jews from the Holocaust. And replacing the Nazis with the aristocracy, trying to purge the ranks of those with power ('wizards') of those who don't have enough 'aristocratic blood' (Norman or otherwise).

The goblins (Jewish people) don't need to be slaughtered so long as they know their place and don't try to rebel. A fantasy in which Jewish people are a separate species that can't even interbreed with humans.

On the 'shofar'---a music professor at RISD posted about this as if it were the smoking gun (smoking shofar?), but as far as I can tell they have no significant background in the pre-20th century history of musical instruments.

OTOH:

Quote

Yonah Gerber, a video game archivist, said [... t]he game includes a [...] horn that resembles a shofar[...] "Even if these are coincidences, had the development team made a point to avoid antisemitic caricatures and educated themselves on that history, this wouldn't have happened. They chose not to care. And that's not much better, really."


Gerber, who is Jewish, said, "it sucks" that so many people are playing the game.

"I can't do anything about the fact that people care more about entertainment than actual people [he seems to be referring to Jewish people] harmed by said entertainment,"'

'[JKR] has repeatedly condemned antisemitism publicly, particularly among supporters of former British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

[...] the UK's Campaign Against Antisemitism said in a statement that "the portrayal of the goblins in the Harry Potter series is of a piece with their portrayal in Western literature as a whole" and "is a testament more to centuries of Christendom's antisemitism than it is to malice by contemporary artists. So it is with JK Rowling, who has proven herself over recent years to be a tireless defender of the Jewish community."'

The Times of Israel

This post has been edited by Azath Vitr (D'ivers: 10 March 2023 - 01:29 PM

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#48 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 10 March 2023 - 03:17 PM

Quote

'While goblins are often depicted in fantasy fiction as [...] greedy[...] Rowling depicted them [...] as a secretive cabal of hook-nosed bankers'

The ‘Harry Potter’ Anti-Semitism Controversy, Explained


How many folktales or fantasy universes have goblins as bankers (pre-Rowling)?

Quote

'Typical features of goblins in modern fantasy include[...] either a flat or long and hooked nose'


So no 'need' to go with the hooked nose....

Quote

'“They appear to run the entire wizarding economy, and trust no one but their own kind. It’s suggested that secret cabals of goblins work to undermine the wizard government.”' The Antisemitic History of Goblins


Quote

'Though the Nazis did not create the myth of the Jewish nose (the antisemitic connection goes back as far as the 13th Century), they played a vital role in making it mainstream. [...]

[...] the “Jewish nose” stereotype persisted—becoming an image that was both seen as distinctly Jewish, and distinctly negative, particularly in entertainment circles.'

Understanding the Antisemitic History of the “Hooked Nose” Stereotype


Grotesque images tend to exaggerate facial features, though 'hooked nose' is a bit more specific than 'big nose'. The Nazis went further:

Quote

'“One can most easily tell a Jew by his nose. [...] Many Gentiles also have bent noses. But their noses bend upwards, not downwards. Such a nose is a hook nose or an eagle nose. It is not at all like a Jewish nose.”'



Like many Jewish women around the same time, my (Jewish) father had a nose job. He married my (non-Jewish) mother in part because of her nose. Once, when she was a nurse, a Jewish doctor stopped in the hospital hallway to display her nose to the residents. 'She has a perfect nose,' he said. My father likes to go on about how my nose has obviously never been broken, as if he'd like to break it himself....
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#49 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 10 March 2023 - 03:42 PM

Isn't there a horn like that in like every RPG ever?
/half joke

Loosely been following the thread, have no following or knowledge of it in the real, sort of on the cause level there, we're all equal so stop being dicks, anti hate page. Also, like him, aware this alas isn't the case.

One thing I will pick upon, the Seamus Finnegan blowing things up IRA connection is definitely reaching for something to gripe at. He blows shit up because he's Irish and incompetent, the IRA were very good at blowing shit up on purpose. Like it's a stupid paddy joke yeah, but that's really a reverse joke on the world.


Back to serious times, I do think there is elements of pre installed bias in the writing that is basically classism and racism in places, but also an awful load of shit has been unpacked that wasn't in the box to start with. Give me any book and I can draw a real world allegory to the negative, most will be stretches, but that's also what has happened here in some cases.

Regards the trans issues, don't know what she said, not on twitter or the social spheres don't know
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Posted 10 March 2023 - 03:45 PM

Airport WiFi cross post.

Goblins in the Potter verse are the dwarves of the Tolkien. A straight up allegory for Jewish banking in Europe...... In my opinion. But written by someone with like..... No, zero knowledge of the history of it
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#51 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 10 March 2023 - 04:41 PM

Quote

'Blood libels were false allegations that Jews used the blood of non-Jewish children in rituals.' Blood Libel | Holocaust Encyclopedia


Quote

'The main scheme of the primary antagonist is
Spoiler
Sounds a whole lot like blood libel to me.' The Antisemitic History of Goblins


Put it all together (maybe minus the dubious 'shofar') and the game seems to be very clearly drawing on anti-semitic tropes... whether it primes children (or other people) to be more receptive to (or reinforces belief in) anti-semitic tropes and conspiracy theories specifically aimed at Jewish people is an empirical question that can be studied (if any institutional review board is reckless enough to permit experimenting on people in this way... who knows how many baby Hitlers they may spawn, eh?).

This post has been edited by Azath Vitr (D'ivers: 10 March 2023 - 04:43 PM

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#52 User is online   Tsundoku 

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Posted 10 March 2023 - 04:44 PM

I think a lot of this is a case of if you look hard enough for something, you'll find it.

Feeling insulted because some video game developers weren't aware of some obscure horn design? Yup, that's a case of the above and being overly-sensitive. Me not knowing that isnt anti-semitic, it's just benign ignorance because that field doesn't interest me. It's not racist to not be aware of every bloody thing about every other race, ever, it's just prioritising what I take in. I'm aware of the big ticket items and some minor stuff that interests me, or I just happen to retain because my brain went "huh, there you go", the rest I leave up to the experts and those with an interest in that field. There's too much info out there for any one person to take in to a meaningful degree. And as far as someone saying "well then, you need to educate yourself" Uh, no, I don't. Not if it isn't relevant to my world, important to me or interesting to me or to those I care about. And you can fuck off telling me what should be important to me. That's YOUR priority, not mine. I don't tell you what (I think) should be important to you, kindly extend the same courtesy to me.

I never thought of the goblins being semitic either. Never occurred to me. You could probably make just as good an argument that it's anti-short people.

And don't feel insulted, I remember more obscure trivia and nerdy shit than I do about my job. :p

People really need to remember that the vast majority of other people do not sit around all day thinking up ways to fuck them over. Never ascribe to malice that which may simply be incompetence or ignorance. Also, just because I may not actively care about you or your thing doesn't necessarily mean I hate you or that subject, more that I'm neutral.

This post has been edited by Tsundoku: 10 March 2023 - 04:46 PM

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#53 User is offline   QuickTidal 

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Posted 10 March 2023 - 05:01 PM

 Tsundoku, on 10 March 2023 - 04:44 PM, said:

I think a lot of this is a case of if you look hard enough for something, you'll find it.

Feeling insulted because some video game developers weren't aware of some obscure horn design? Yup, that's a case of the above and being overly-sensitive. Me not knowing that isnt anti-semitic, it's just benign ignorance because that field doesn't interest me. It's not racist to not be aware of every bloody thing about every other race, ever, it's just prioritising what I take in. I'm aware of the big ticket items and some minor stuff that interests me, or I just happen to retain because my brain went "huh, there you go", the rest I leave up to the experts and those with an interest in that field. There's too much info out there for any one person to take in to a meaningful degree. And as far as someone saying "well then, you need to educate yourself" Uh, no, I don't. Not if it isn't relevant to my world, important to me or interesting to me or to those I care about. And you can fuck off telling me what should be important to me. That's YOUR priority, not mine. I don't tell you what (I think) should be important to you, kindly extend the same courtesy to me.


Well said. Succinct, and to the point. I agree.

 Tsundoku, on 10 March 2023 - 04:44 PM, said:

I never thought of the goblins being semitic either. Never occurred to me. You could probably make just as good an argument that it's anti-short people.


Or really a parallel to "bankers" in general being selfish and insular.

Are we also meant to see the dragon kept by the goblins in the depths of Gringott's to be a Palestinian in the West Bank allegory?

 Tsundoku, on 10 March 2023 - 04:44 PM, said:

People really need to remember that the vast majority of other people do not sit around all day thinking up ways to fuck them over. Never ascribe to malice that which may simply be incompetence or ignorance. Also, just because I may not actively care about you or your thing doesn't necessarily mean I hate you or that subject, more that I'm neutral.


Yep, most of the takes are what I've seen called "perpetually online" takes...which don't represent reality.
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#54 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 10 March 2023 - 07:07 PM

Quote

'"When people said it was Blood Libel: The Game they weren't exaggerating! At all!!"' Hogwarts Legacy's goblin plot called out for antisemitism


Quote

'this subreddit is about to become a shitshow of people asking if it's okay to buy Blood Libel: The Video Game' Regarding All Hogwarts Legacy Posts / Content : ShouldIbuythisgame




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#55 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 11 March 2023 - 01:39 PM

To be fair, I don't think many present-day anti-semites still believe that the Jewish religion requires people to kidnap children to harvest their blood for rituals.

What that turned into is QAnon and kidnapping children to harvest for their blood for andrenochrome. And eat them, of course. On pizza on otherwise. And while the focus has shifted to 'liberal elites' and 'globalists' more generally, there are still plenty of Jewish targets (Soros, Hollywood, etc.).

Around the time Harry Potter was written, most people I knew personally were Jewish, and a lot of them thought these sorts of old-timey anti-semitic stereotypes were hilarious. That antisemitism in 'Western' nations was almost completely a thing of the past, except for a vanishingly small % of deranged Neo-Nazi holdouts or relatively harmless rednecks or Christian bigots etc. That was before the mass shootings started. Some of my Jewish relatives in Pittsburgh are fortunate they never go to synagogue. And the random physical assaults on the street and in parks by people shouting anti-semitic slurs and slogans. My elderly father still looks very Jewish despite his nose job---the older he gets the more he looks like Larry David it seems. Though I guess that if Hogwarts Legacy is reinforcing the old Nazi idea that 'you can tell a Jew by his nose' it could actually help my father, since he did get his nose 'fixed'... but no, he still looks very Jewish. In reality it's more about the face than the nose.

Now add to that the way antisemitism has been growing in the UK, especially among younger generations. But how much has Harry Potter contributed to that? A large part of it seems to be driven by anti-Zionist sentiment as a consequence of the treatment of Palestinians---and Rowling has been vocally opposed to anti-Zionist sentiment, boycotts of Israel, etc.

Quote

Anti-Jewish hate incidents hit record high in UK [February 2022 ...] Biggest surge coincided with bloody conflict between Israel and Palestinians in May 2021 [...] highest volume of university-related hate ever recorded [...] More than a third of all the UK incidents involved language, imagery or behaviour that referenced the conflict in the Middle East or demonstrated anti-Zionist motivation alongside antisemitism.

Anti-Jewish hate incidents hit record high in UK | Antisemitism | The Guardian


But remember:

Quote

More than a quarter of young people agree that "Jews have disproportionate control of powerful institutions, and use that power for their own benefit and against the good of the general population", compared with just 6% of those over 65.

Everyday Hate by Dave Rich review – how antisemitism is built into our world | The Guardian

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#56 User is offline   polishgenius 

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Posted 11 March 2023 - 04:06 PM

I don't think Rowling was being deliberately anti-semitic with the goblin bankers. I think she's unconsciously picked up a few negative stereotypes that exist in our culture because our culture is historically, fundamentally, very anti-semitic in ways we're not clear of even now. And then she's put them together in a package that combines those traits in a way that comes off really badly. It's careless, and I don't think dismissing the discomfort or anger of people who find it uncomfortable or worse as a 'your problem, stop looking for trouble' thing is fair. But it's not deliberate.

I have less patience for the game, if it's as described, because by this stage the concern that the portrayal of goblins is anti-semitic is well established. If you're making a game portraying them, you've gotta be damn careful not to lean into that and make it worse. I don't think the horn is anything other than coincidence, but the blood libel is not an obscure thing. If you've decided to take on a story involving a portrayal you already know has issues around it, it's the minimum expectation that you do enough research to avoid leaning into such a famous racist perception. Carelessness is no longer an excuse.



But on Rowling in general, she has a history of being careless about her portrayal of minorities and non-British culture in general, so I've only got so much patience there too. Sure, I don't think she's deliberately racist in the same way she's a deliberate terf, but she consistently falls into holes that would be avoidable with ten seconds of thought (and occasionally a google).
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Posted 11 March 2023 - 06:05 PM

I don't think its easy to seperate an artist as a person from the artwork itself. Look at lovecraft. Not a great guy, even by the standards of the day, there was alot of 'yikes' behind his narrative sentiments. Lovecraftian horror is good fiction, Fundamental even. A bad person can create good art, they can also inspire better art from artists with decent character. Love craft country is an exceptional example of this.

I appreciate Trans-rights. I think everyone protecting those rights has their heart in the right place, but i think its important to remember support of an artwork is not on par with support of all the artists thoughts, feelings and actions.

The two things can, and should be reviewed on their own merits, particularly when the art in question is the product of multiple hands.

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#58 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 01:18 PM

There is one Jewish character in the Harry Potter books: Goldstein. Because goblins like... oh wait.

Rowling Confirms: Anthony Goldstein, Harry Potter’s Classmate, Is Jewish - Jewish World - Haaretz.com

This post has been edited by Azath Vitr (D'ivers: 12 March 2023 - 01:19 PM

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#59 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 02:04 PM

And she only added Goldstein in book 5, after having been roundly criticized for naming the Black kid 'Shacklebolt', the East Asian kid 'Cho Chang' (which is very close to one of the most common anti-Asian slurs), etc. and for basing the goblins on anti-semitic caricatures. Doesn't mean she hates Jewish people, but she clearly likes 'edgy' racial and ethnic humor and was at least thumbing her nose at 'political correctness'. (Wonder if there will ever be a progressive revision of the Harry Potter books---'anti-woke' backlash would probably boost sales for a quick money grab at the least ('which into words no virtue can digest'....))

This post has been edited by Azath Vitr (D'ivers: 12 March 2023 - 02:05 PM

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#60 User is online   Cause 

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Posted 12 March 2023 - 02:32 PM

Goldstein is a very real not uncommon Jewish surname. I never batted an eye at it.
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