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Ghettopoly- hilarious fun for the whole family

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So this Asian-American has come up with a clever little parody of the classic Monopoly game called “Ghettopoly” which features a lot of pimpin’ and dope and such. Naturally, the perpetually aggrieved are, not suprisingly, aggrieved, hollering about this game promoting racism and such.

As Sgt. Hulka said to Psycho in Stripes, “Lighten up, Francis.”

Naturally Hasbro doesn’t appreciate the association and they’re suing. I can understand their position, but Ghettopoly can reasonably be seen as a legitimate parody of this most iconic American game, and how those capitalist ideas play out in the cheap seats.

There’s more than one way to take something like this Ghettopoly. Some professionally agitated black folk will insist on taking it as belittling your race, as if the intent was to foment hate against black folk. It’s part of the conspiracy to repress the colored races.

That likely is not the intent of the creator, nor how it will mostly be taken. A white person who really dislikes black people as a group would be unlikely to be interested in this game. I would guess that in fact black folk will be the top market.

These stereotypes are based on some actual truth on the ground, but get overgeneralized and exaggerated. That’s how stereotypes generally work. They’re insidious because they often have enough truth under them to make it easy to fall into unfairly painting whole bunches of people with a broad brush.

Ghettopoly could be taken as a satire of stereotypes. They’re blowing them up. They’re distilling and exagerrating black ghetto stereotypes to the point of absurdity.

Is anyone going to see this game, and then decide on that basis that this is how black folks really are? I doubt it. Was such even the intention of the creator? I doubt that too.

I would really dig a game of Cracker-opoly, with monster truck rallies and trailer park properties. It’d be a hoot. Doubtless it would be quite popular with the crackers. It would be a great follow-up to Ghettopoly- and he wouldn’t get a bunch of whiny butts protesting their victimhood in response.

Ah, I see from his website that the creator of Ghettopoly is working on a game of “Redneckopoly”- and asking for suggestions. Go ahead, help him out.

Oh, and us country boys still dig Hee-Haw and The Beverly Hillbillies.

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  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    Some people just need to learn to keep or put a little humor in their lives. I’m a geek and I’m all for Geekopoly. The first thing too many people think about these days is sue, sue, sue when they feel they are wronged. Lighten up, is right, Al.

    Hasbro probably sued to get publicity, but I bet if you talk to them they probably even laughed over this game and didn’t feel that it was truly infringing. My guess is that they’ll lose the suit because it is so obviously a parody and parodies have additional protections.

    It’s a GAME for pete’s sake. C’mon.

  • Dan

    Hasbro should lose, but in the current PC environment of ethnic double standards, who knows.

    Methinks people who whine about “bigoted” negative stereotypes doth protest too much. I read that the Asian creator of the game did include, as a character, an Asian restauranteur that featured dog on the menu.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    On what basis do you all believe Hasbro is in the wrong? I suspect it is because bigots tend to be too stupid to know the First Amendment does not apply to a case like this. The requirement that the government be involved is just too profound for a Barger, TDavid or Dan to grasp.

  • Ra’Nay

    I think Hasbro should just let it go. It’s just a game, and I bet if they would have thought about the idea first they would have made the game and thought nothing of it. I guess their just mad because if this game does come out and people start buying it then they think it’s taking away their profit. Hopefully the game comes out because if it does, I’m first in line lol.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    [holds up three fingers to Mac Diva and says: “read between the lines”]

    Mac Diva writes: I suspect it is because bigots tend to be too stupid to know the First Amendment does not apply to a case like this. The requirement that the government be involved is just too profound for a Barger, TDavid or Dan to grasp.

    “for a”? Give me a break! If that isn’t a label, I don’t know what is. You are an incredibly good example of a hypocrite, Mac Diva. Anybody who disagrees with you, no matter how logical, humorous, playful, whatever they try to be, is called a bigot.

    Isn’t it possible, just once, that somebody else could take a joke and disagree with your point of view and not be a racist?

    Too profound? The reason Hasbro is involved has nothing to do with things being “profound” or not, it has to do with money and promotion. If you can’t “grasp” that, then I don’t know what other proof is necessary. They sell a product and the product is getting promotion — good and bad — by this lawsuit!

    The worst type of advertising is none at all.

    Hasbro is going to milk this cow until the last drop is there and I don’t blame them one iota. If Hasbro were my company then I’d do the same thing — and I have already said I found the GAME to be tongue-in-cheek, not offensive. If folks don’t protect their copyrights, patents, etc, then they can put them at risk.

    Eric is wrong (sorry dude) or trying to just placate this situation in posting that you are getting a raw deal “this time” (did you miss him saying that, Mac Diva), because the reality is sadly, you run around Blogcritics most of the time, writing practically about anything, everyone and everything as being a modern day example of racism. Throw that hook out enough and you will catch a few fish, sure, but you can only piss in the stream so many times before nobody will want to fish near you any more.

    My question is: why? Is this your singular mission in life or what? Can’t you construct an argument or point of view on this subject without stooping down and resorting to typing people yourself?

    I think you need to read the book: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

    Some might argue that the boy in that story got a raw deal too. Some might be even offended by the joke and thus wouldn’t take him seriously any more.

    That’s right, you are #1, Mac Diva, except that I’m holding up the wrong finger.

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    What’s totally missing from both of these threads is why Hasbro is suing.

    It isn’t about stereotypes, it isn’t about social issues. It is about trademark dilution.

    Unlike a copyright or patent, a trademark has to be actively defended to prevent it from falling into the public domain. If you own a trademark, and allow the public to use it freely and don’t prevent that free use, then you lose the trademark.

    Hasbro doesn’t give a shit about the subject of any board game, they only care about the name.

    You can be a Vegetable-Headed American, but you can’t call yourself Mr. Potato Head because that’s a Hasbro trademark.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    I agree with you, Jim, but actually I said in #5: If folks don’t protect their copyrights, patents, etc, then they can put them at risk. — so technically it’s not “totally missing” from these two threads. I already raised this point.

    But both of us, I think, are talking to the same set of deaf ears on this particular issue, so why bother?

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Double duh.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    I can understand Hasbro wanting to sue, even expecting to lose. Just suing reiterates their claim to the game, battling dilution, as Mr. Carruthers properly points out. Also, they want to make good and clear that this controversial game is not their doing.

    Diva, “profound” seems like a curious word to use in this context. I see nothing inherently deep, meaningful, or philosophically profound in sending out [government] thugs with guns to enforce your standards on other people. It may be appropriate if there are legitimate copyright or trademark issues involved, which may be possible in this case.

    It would be something else entirely, however, to call out the thugs on the grounds of combatting things that you subjectively choose to describe as “bigoted.” That would simply be censorship, and it is “profound” only in the sense of being profoundly un-American.

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    At the mall the other day and noticed that they have a Make Your Own Monopoly Game for those who want to make their own PC version of this game might find this interesting.

  • thought

    Hi there,

    I hate to be the dissenting African-American voice, but it seems that the outraged people that have been calling for a ban of this game need a lesson again. If you want the truth, David Chang isn’t doing nearly as much to sell this game as all of the people creating the controversy around it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Madonna, Marilyn Manson, Ozzy Osbourne, Ludicris, Eminem, or any other person in the greater media, controversy sells, sex sells, and violence sells. You will never be able to stop people from being drawn to these primal forces in our lives. In America we are seen by most of the world as a dichotomy of faux-puritanical and conservative beliefs, and yet we abuse almost everything prurient and taboo. Moreover, people will always want what they are told they can’t have or can’t do.

    If all of you people were so interested in hurting the sales of Ghettopoly, instead of trying to damage the First Amendment (remember that thing. It gives you the freedom to complain about stuff, etc) then you would realize that as soon as the controversy goes away, so will the sales of something so obviously a gimmick and a fad. Do you honestly think that if you succeeded in banning this game, racism would magically disappear in this country. Please.

    I grew up watching and listening to Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Cheech and Chong, Denis Leary, Chris Rock and George Carlin. Many of these comedians talk about race in a way that many people would, and did, find offensive. These comedians pushed the boundaries of what people thought was appropriate or should be talked about, especially Richard. I personally don’t use the n-word, but I have many African-American friends who do. I don’t like it, but I wasn’t raised using it. I’ve seen young White, Hispanic, and Asian kids calling eachother, “my nigga”. Is it wrong? Perhaps, but where do you think the change needs to occur. We live with so many contradictions about race and race relations, that its hard to believe that anyone can make such black and white sense of it.

    While I do believe that artists, musicians, and movie & television producers need to be more responsible, by the rules set down by our own constitution, they have the freedom to say what they want, and even express their own unpopular sense of humor if that may be the case. And, yes, you and yours have the same right to start a petition and scream to high heaven how wrong it is to make fun of Martin Luther King Jr. Remember Andrew Dice Clay, people stopped talking about him and he disappeared. The same thing seems to be happening to Marilyn Manson after all of the Christian Right groups stopped picketing him, and he doesn’t get the same press. He’ll probably have to do something outlandish to get everyone riled up again. What about gangster rap? Does it breed violence, or is it just a symptom of something that is already there? Probably some of both considering Art imitates Life imitates Art. Can anyone really say the Chicken was before the Egg? I don’t think so. Our entire culture in American is exploitative to some degree. Black exploit the “black-experience” with gangster rap, and it sells. Their using this new-found ill-gotten fame to become CEO’s of corporate entities, and, many give back to the communities that they come from. Is it right? Maybe not, but I can tell you that until there isn’t a demand for this type of product, you will always have the industry there to sell it.

    We live in an age where spin doctors and psychologist work together to create “Reality” television for the masses to enjoy. Is it real? No one cares. They just want to be entertained. Hasbro claiming that Ghettopoly somehow hurts their business and their good name is ridiculous. They’ll learn that when their lawsuit fails. This lesson is proven to us over and over again, and still self-righteous people still help the industries they claim to hate. If I were a manufacturer, it might even make sense to piss some people off, just so they would do the obvious thing, and help me sell more of whatever it was I was selling. Al Franken even said he should have called up his nemesis Bill O’reilly for helping him sell so many books. People need to stop, and really think things through, and realize what the consequences of their actions are. Personally I’d rather hang Jeff Skilling of Enron and all of his corporate cronies from the rafters for ripping off their employees, share-holders, and the entire state of California for that bogus energy crisis. Yet it still seems that people like you would rather go after some nobody with a game that isn’t going to change anyone’s mind about anything.

    Thank you for your time. I hope these words have some meaning for you.

    Christian Powell

    P.S. I don’t own or plan on buying this game, though I think that it would probably be fun for a laugh or two. The reality of racism is grim, and I’ve had to deal with it first hand, but I really don’t think some board game is influencing anybody.

    P.P.S I grew up in an upper middle class family and graduated from college with a B.A. I also lived for a time in the “ghetto” in West Oakland for three years, where I witnessed pimps, prostitutes, drug dealing, and gunshots ringing out most nights. I saw a prostitute beating her 4-year-old son like he was a man, while four men stood by doing nothing but selling drugs and smoking crack. The ghetto is real, painful, and there’s one in almost every town, full of people of all different races. We have to be able to laugh at the things that hurt us sometimes.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Christian- thanks for this very thoughtful contribution to the thread.

    I don’t know what to add to your insights, but I do wish to praise the sophistication of your outlook. Instead of just automatically looking for every possible thing you might decide to be offended by, you’re looking at the bigger picture.

    I particularly appreciate how you seem to give consideration to what actual effects things have in the real world. What good comes from getting offended by something like this?

    Again, thanks for your thoughts.