Sideswipes: Media Becomes The Newest Target Of A Dictator

Manuel Noriega, a real former dictator, is suing prominent video game company Activision over its fake portrayal of him in the real video game "Call of Duty: Black Ops II."

It gets better.

The former dictator found out about his fake-self when his grandchildren asked the dictator why the fake-him was a villain in the video game.

This is a case of real and fake worlds sideswiping one another at the intersection of storytelling.

Storytelling sideswipes will become commonplace as media speeds breakneck into content, because content requires characters, and characters require creation from scratch, or require recreation from history.

So here's the question at the heart of the Noriega lawsuit, actually — does media get the right to control history in order to create good characters and stories?



Look — it wouldn't even really matter that Activision recreated history if anyone picked up a history book anymore, but nobody does. This means content creators in genres from video games to original series to reality shows have more influence over people's understanding of history than any history book ever could.

That's power.

That's the power to use history — along with fantasy or contemporary events or legends or myths or biographies or folklore — to craft stories that capture an enormous audience.

So do we care if these stories are fake?

And frankly, if they are fake — are we going to let someone like Noriega tell us we can't have the fake stories we love?

It looks like Noriega wants to push the issue.

Opinions on whether the suit is beneficial to media are all over the place -- see this opinion the case will help: define the use of historical figures from celebrities, or this opinion: Noriega is just nuts.

But clearly the lawsuit shows media it can't just bust into storytelling without thinking through some position on playing with history in order to spin a good tale.

Next story loading loading..