Playing at Hate: War Games, the Aryan World
Congress, and the American Psyche
“… You know about the Minnesota Rangers?”
“The militia guys?”
“Yeah. Skinheads. Some old Vietnam veterans, Gulf War veterans, bikers. They
go around in long black coats, like in that Matrix movie. Even in the summer.
Shave their heads… .”
“… I went out to see Dick Worley, he's the leader out there at their war
“What are the war grounds?” Lucas asked.
“One of those paint-ball places. They play capture the flag, and all that. War
John Sandford, Hidden Prey
In the fictionalized world of Lucas Davenport, the veteran Twin Cities' cop of John Sandford's “Prey” novels, the rise of hate groups, undercover militias, and deviant memberships is neatly and slickly aligned with practices like war games, capture-the-flag, and paint-ball. The alignment between leisure activities such as paint-ball and groups professing a variety of anti-government and anti-dominant-society beliefs may or may not exist in real terms; however, the belief system that makes Sandford's “Prey” novels so successful sees such an alignment as plausible, if not credible.
In fact, popular culture texts such as mystery and thriller novels comprise an archipelago of artefacts that, together, are both based upon “reality” or fiction and create realities and fiction. As Denzin writes of the “mainstream Hollywood cinema,” so too might popular novels and popular texts serve to “dramaturgically enact the epiphanal moments of postmodernism” (1991: 63). These texts may be based on reality or not; urban legends blend with fiction, fiction blends with and borrows from factual cases. As Blackshaw and Crabbe (2004: 178) point out, discussing the influence of media practices upon Crabbe's concept of “moral panic” in terms of, particularly, the gang bang/gang rape (“spit-roasting”) of one female by various members of a football club in the United Kingdom, “… as the assertion of