We have been following the Confederate flag scandal with bemused detachment, painfully aware for what it is: i) a welcome distraction from the real and very profound problems this country faces and ii) the latest escalation in what has been a relentless attempt to polarize the nation over the past several years, only instead of political ideology, gender, sexual preference, ethnic background, and most certainly wealth, this time the emphasis is on geographic origin and an implied relapse to the days of latent the pre-civil war "racism."
And yet while most such scandals fizzle quickly after the have heat their peak only to be replaced with the next day's watercooler talk as the following projection by Google trends predicts...
... this particular snafu is showing a particular determination to stay at the front pages. What is more surprising, is the apparent willingness of countless third parties, from the media, to retailers, to pundits, to keep this topic front and center in the public's consciousness.
To an extent all of that was expected. However, even we were stunned when we learned moments ago that none other than that ultimate "arbiter" on all things moral and ethical, Apple itself, entered the fray with a decision to remove all Civil War games from its App Store!
According to MacRumors, "Apple has removed seemingly all Civil War games from the App Store for displaying the Confederate Flag in "offensive and mean-spirited ways," our sister website TouchArcade has learned. Apple has sent a removal letter to affected developers to inform them that their app does not comply with Section 19.1 of the App Store Review Guidelines."
"19.1 Apps containing references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence will be rejected."
MacRumors further adds that it did do a spot check of the App Store and can confirm that Apple has removed dozens of Civil War games depicting the Confederate Flag. Most educational or generic Civil War apps remain available on the App Store.
A sampling of the Civil War games removed from the App Store:
- Ultimate General: Gettysburg
- AAA American Civil War Cannon Shooter
- Civil War: Hidden Mysteries
- Civil War The Battle Game
- Civil War Defense
- Civil War Battle Defense
- 1861 A Civil War Rebellion
- Civil War: 1862
- Civil War: 1863
Which begs the question: is the Confederate Flag scandal reaching beyond the ethical implications of last week's Charleston shooting and is it actively become an attempt to rewrite a "shameful" period of US history?
What's next: Amazon "censors" chapters on the US Civil War from history textbooks?
And just why are tech companies getting involved in what is, at its core, a political issue and by implication, censoring free expression and limiting the revenues of those hard working programmers who created the above listed games?
Finally, where does such selective "pre-screening" of what is deemed appropriate for public consumption end and who makes that determination? Because at last check every single nation that imposed such a "filter" to its own history no longer exists.
And in light of this dangerous revisionism, it makes us wonder if the correct term no longer "politically correct" but "political correction"?