Use a swastika on Xbox Live and you'll be banned, even if you've read the Wikipedia entry

A strong word of caution for all aspiring symbologists

Usea swastikain your XBL profile, or as yourBlack Ops multiplayer emblem,and Xbox Live will ban you. No exceptions.

"It’s not political correctness, it’s fundamental respect. If you think the swastika symbol should be re-evaluated by societies all over the earth, I think that’s great. Your Xbox LIVE profile or in game logo, which doesn’t have the context to explain your goal, is not the right place to do that," said Xbox Live's Stephen Toulouse on hisblog.

Toulouse has been inundatedwith arguments for allowance of the symbol after being asked on Twitter if it was acceptable to use it in Black Ops. Arguments included that symbolshould be treatedlike theStar of David or the Christian cross. "No educated human on the planet" would honestly believe all those symbols are equal, he says, and he stresses that context is what's important in this matter (e.g. using a swastika as your in-game identity is not the same as writing an essay about its origins).

Whether you think it's justified or not, Microsoft has the right to control its Terms of Use, and it shouldn't be hard to figure out why the company would like to avoid the display of swastikas by users. But more important is Toulouse's rant on the mindset of many of XBL's censorship critics, because it's funny:

"You know the type I mean.They’ve read an article that’s contrarian to some position widely held, or they’ve found some obscure fact that contradicts common interpretation.Some of them claim to have known it as innate fact, others claim it to be widespread common knowledge taught to every single person in elementary school. Of course, usually neither is true at all. Most of them are just contrarians.They would never dare to wear a swastika openly, but they love to argue about how the world has 'misunderstood' this symbol. Or they view any opportunity for human interaction, no matter the appropriateness, to push their point."

What? That never happens on the internet!

Nov 22, 2010

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