Star Trek Online rescinds plan to use controversial audio emote in summer festival

    
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A brief kerfuffle over an emote planned for Star Trek Online’s Risian Lohlunat Festival has already come to an end. As players on Reddit pointed out, PWE and Cryptic had signaled their aim to use a clip from the song Dixie as an audio emote reward in STO, prompting complaints from members of the community who argued the song’s connotations and history stood in contradiction to the Star Trek franchise’s generally egalitarian themes.

Dixie is an extremely well-known but controversial tune, having been associated with blackface minstrelsy and becoming the unofficial national anthem of the Confederacy and by extension the South. The STO clip appeared to be an homage to the obnoxious car horn in vintage TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, which utilized a few notes of the song.

We reached out to PWE for a statement this morning; the studio promptly told us it was removing the emote, and indeed, PWE then posted up a note on Twitter apologizing for any hurt it caused and vowing not to add the song as part of the event. It is not yet clear what might be replacing it.

Source: Reddit, Twitter. With thanks to our tipster.
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Mewmew
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Mewmew

So if this was just them putting in the Dukes of Hazard horn tune, and they immediately removed it as soon as the origins were brought to their attention, people can calm down now :P

Like people are hearing about it and running to Twitter to give them crap after they already changed their minds about adding it. Did it even make it on to the test server or just was listed as something they planned on adding to the game once the festival starts? I do know it never made it to the live game as the festival doesn’t make it to the live game until the start of next month.

So something that didn’t even get added yet, they changed the plan to add it as soon as they heard the background about the tune, and people still are running off to Twitter to give them crap about it as fast as they can.

“I am so smart, I am so smart, S M R T” they sing as they run to Twitter to let them know how wrong it was to briefly think of adding this song and add their hand to the spanking the company is getting for something they already changed their minds about adding.

Ririrawr
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Ririrawr

my only issue with all this is that despite having a very diverse crew among the devs, this thing got thrown in a pre-test build and a dev blog before it had to be pointed out by an external source

it really should not have gotten that far to begin with, however yeah, weird things always slip through the cracks and i don’t particularly blame them as such. especially since they are always quick to apologize and be considerate.

IDIC

and as far as the twitter bs
1) cryptic, so they tend to get dogpiled with way more hate than they deserve (and almost never for the actual stuff they should)
2) bigots will use any excuse to soapbox and wordplay taunt; because they can’t be happy unless others are miserable
3) trolls see a crowd, they gonna party

grumpo casually noted: “champions online is getting some attention; universe, quick, do something!” :P

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Bryan Correll

The following is from an address given by Abraham Lincoln the day after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House..

I propose now closing up by requesting you play a certain piece of music or a tune. I thought “Dixie” one of the best tunes I ever heard … I had heard that our adversaries over the way had attempted to appropriate it. I insisted yesterday that we had fairly captured it … I presented the question to the Attorney-General, and he gave his opinion that it is our lawful prize … I ask the Band to give us a good turn upon it.

My point? History is more complicated than the crib notes that most people can cite.

Putting ‘Dixie’ into STO was a stupid idea to begin with though. Firstly because it doesn’t remotely fit the setting (unless I missed the episode where the Enterprise came across a planet that for reasons unknown was exactly like Earth except for the fact that the entire world has become the Confederate States of Earth.) Second because anyone with half a brain could have seen that it would controversial to put it in and controversial to take it out in response to the first controversy.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Except for Blackface was no big deal back then, it was readily accepted and not even remotely looked at as something offensive or controversial by the entirety of the society pretty much at the time. So they would have thought nothing of it in Lincoln’s time. Today it’s thought of far differently (people take offense to anything that remotely reminds them of it these days).

Ririrawr
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Ririrawr

*applauds*
cryptic… managing to earn a universal facepalm… again
from all sides, really

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Daniel Reasor

The players who are now outraged by the racist song’s removal certainly aren’t racist themselves. Just ask them. They all have that one black friend.

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McGuffn

At best they have a friend that’s black on one side of their body and white on the other.

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mysecretid

Extra points to you for thatone, McGuffn! :-)

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

Or they just liked The Dukes of Hazzard and may not have even heard the full song Dixie, or even knew of its existence.

Get ’em Flash!

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Bullet Teeth

If some people are offended by the horn, just wait until they realize the context of the Ice Cream Truck song….

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Neurotic

I’m glad it’s out, simply because it would be too incongruous. Another ‘Beastie Boys’ moment, which Star Trek really does not need.

Edit: Big fan of the Beasties here, love ’em to bits, just not in ‘my’ Star Trek!

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mysecretid

As somebody said to me — why would a ten-year-old Jim Kirk choose a roughly two-hundred year old song as his rebellion anthem?

It would be the equivalent of some kid today choosing a song from 1819 to listen to wheile he steals his mean step-dad’s car.

Just not good for the suspension-of-disbelief required by science-fiction. :-)

Although, if the proposed Quentin Tarantino JJ Trek movie actually gets made, I expect suspension-of-disbelief will be one of the first things to die in a hail of bullets, blood, and somebody saying motherf#cker a lot …

Don’t get me wrong … I think Quentin Tarantino makes excellent Quentin Tarantino movies — but any Trek movie he makes will be more Tarantino than Trek. He gains nothing for his auteur reputation from making an actual Star Trek film.

My opinions, anyway,

Cheers,

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Bryan Correll

Still better than Into Darkness.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Except for that fact that they sort of make music in the future get more tame in these sci-fi shows. So if the only thing that existed in your time was tame non offensive music, you might go looking for something with a harder beat from the past.

We certainly do listen to a lot of great music from the 70s and 80s as long as the beat and all feels right to us.

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McGuffn

Tame? Non-offensive? If you want hard beats Neela and The Cap will bring it.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

Well, it would be like you or me choosing Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony as our song. ;)

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Schlag Sweetleaf
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mysecretid

Please don’t ask anyone to “squeal like a sehlat’, okay Schlag? :-)

Good to see you here, my friend, with art in hand or otherwise.

Hope all is well!

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Schlag Sweetleaf

nice to see you as well :) glad you are feeling better,you were alche-missed;p

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cursedseishi

I’m of two sides to this… And, also, have zero dogs in this particular race as I’m not what many would call an ‘avid’ STO player…

The song is racist. It was born out of a racially-motivated bit of make-up to create an absurd caricature of people and performed by people who used that for spectacle. Yet it’s also been parodied and twisted fifty ways from here to Florida–even in its inception. What’s come after? Both sides of the Civil War had their own versions. It’s been thrown about, beaten down and been all over more times than Justin Beiber abused the word ‘baby’ in his song I refuse to reference any further.

And what do most people know of it? Unless you’re from the South, likely little more than Foghorn Leghorn had a fraction of it as a diddy. Or that the Dukes of Hazard used the first twelve notes as a car horn. Or Family Guy had it in an episode or two.

I’m glad Cryptic changed course on this. Ultimately? You’d have had a few trolls take the emote too far, use it to harass and spam others as I’m assuming everyone can hear it and not just the user of it. At which point Cryptic likely would have removed it after the fact and more people would be angry.

But it does suck. I’m not going to try and draw straight parallels, but at some point I feel as though elements of media or entertainment divest themselves from the artists or names who created them. There’ll be bad actors abusing it and weaponizing it against others, but at some point a car horn is simply a car horn. You look at Micheal Jackson’s music, and for all the allegations and charges levied? I’m still a sucker for Smooth Criminal. Bill Cosby? Horrid, horrible and disgusting… but a part of me was sad when The Cosby show got pulled off the air–understandable as it was.

It’d be like (very slightly) if we all got excited for Shadowbringers, started up Early Access and were happily playing… And then it comes out that Yoshi-P’s success comes from his personal belief that he can make successful games so long as he goes out and removes 1 foot from fifty pigeons a day. Would Eliot have to find some way of turning that into a possible monkey-paw joke? Probably. Would any of us excuse that behavior? Definitely not. But it’d be wrong to take it out on the game or projects he has had a hand in, even if it does come to light that ‘Pigeon Toestones’ were meant to be the next end-game currency after the already announced 2 tomestones we’ll be getting.

That twelve-note horn is likely the most that anyone would ever know about ‘Dixie’. And it’s off a show that itself seems more like a caricature of 2 poor off southern guys than any actual realistic approach. That the flag was painted on their car is about the closest bit of realism that show likely ever struck too at the time. And there hadn’t been any noticeable, harsh pushback against it until someone took the imagery of the flag too far–and as a result the show was pulled off the air.

It just simply sucks that, rather than address the problems meaningfully, people would rather sweep something out of the public view. And I’m probably ranting a bit here on this because it ended up well longer than I meant it to be. There are moments where you can make something teachable and try to correct the course some that you simply lose out on when you dump the baby out with the bath water.

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A Dad Supreme

I’d say it’s a good call, although there must not be anyone working at Cryptic that’s older than 30 to not know this ahead of time.

If anyone’s confused about why this song upsets people, just read the lyrics and it should become crystal-clear as to why it was a bad choice.

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mysecretid

I was thinking the same thing — young devs, who only know the song from a few notes on a car horn in “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV show when they were little kids.