What constitutes a stereotype?

cosmicmangobear

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Over on the Canada thread, many are unhappy with the uniques the civ was given (i.e. hockey rink, mounties, diplomatic bonuses) because they believe it represents a cliché version of the country. However, is this really much different from America being given a film studio, or Japan being given a samurai. At what point does cultural ubiquity cross the line into stereotype? What other civs have “stereotypical” representations and what could Firaxis do differently?
 

Red_warning

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Perhaps some Canadians feel like their nation isn't taken seriously by the devs. Mounties (as a military unit) and hockey might potentially be seen as a bit silly while cinema and the samurai hold a more respectable position in cultural consciousness. Kinda reminds me of the Emu empire (fascists Australia) in HoI4.

Edit: Imagine if America get a McDonal's restaurant as a unique building :p
 
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Ziad

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The USA has pretty much defined cultural perspectives on the English-speaking modern media, and since they interpret Canada as a meme in many ways, it's only natural that Canadians rebuff anything that the Americans might associate with memery.. including mounties and hockey (also politeness, apparently).

As someone who grew up in Lebanon and only recently moved to the USA, I don't view hockey and mounties as stereotypical at all because I don't have preconceived biases. Ice Hockey is no more stereotypical than a Chateux or a Ziggurat.
 

steveg700

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I think the Canada issue isn't just that stereotypes are delved into, it's that they portray the civilization as something of a joke, a caricature.

While I'm sure mounties have some military reserve status in times of domestic emergency, the "P" in RCMP is not for "paramilitary". It's like giving America an FBI or SWAT team UU to send across the ocean to invade other countries. A military unit that creates parks? Oh, how adorable. Dudley Do-Right & hockey, that's Canada, eh? LOLZ.

We tend to call a trope a "stereotype" when it comes across as kneejerk, sloppy, thoughtless, patronizing, hackneyed. A clutching of low-hanging-fruit. As in "is that the best you could think of?"

Why not something that gels mechanically? You want Canada to go get involved in emergencies, why then give them a park ranger as a UU? Go with a peacekeeping force like the Van Doo's. Give them a bonus for use with taking a lead during emergencies, or against civ's with lots of grievances. If they wanted a Canadian UU that evokes the RCMP, then go with the Royal Dragoons.
 
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Nimbit

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My Canadian friends love the hockey rink but haven't said anything about the Mountie. Only one mentioned the leader and she was happy with the choice.

I think Civ can't avoid it for the most part. They can do everything in good faith and as right as right may be able to be and it will still bug someone.
 
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Denkt

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India in Civilization V is probably the worst case with their unique ability being called population growth which is a direct reference to overpopulation.

Civilization VI play around alot with stereotypes, see for example the representation of the spanish civilization in civilization VI but I don't think anything is as offensive as the Indian one in civilization V but that is subjective.
 

Karmah

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If the naive set of eyes can help, as a non-american and non-canadian , I don't look at canada in civ and find them ridiculous or reduced. Stereotypes ? yes sure but then all civs are built on stereotypes. I get from this thread that US jokes on Canada can be heavily annoying. I just don't see this implementation being one. Just saying from an outside perspective.
 

Depravo

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When you have a game that presents 'civilisations' as immutable entities that can be defined by a handful of traits, and when for gameplay's sake you have to give each one a distinct skill set, and sell the result to the mass market, you are going to be reaching for the stereotypes.

Strangely, because the tide of polite opinion seems to have been running the other way all this time, this applies less to earlier versions of Civ where the leaderhead and city list were the main distinguishing features of a civ.
 

rattatatouille

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It's an odd thing about the last two civ games in general; they've been vacillating between stereotypical treatments of civs and more respectful treatments of other civs. The latter's more likely to happen when representatives of said civ are likely to cause outcry, so I guess Firaxis feels that Canadians won't be that offended by their portrayal in Civ VI.
(A part of me thinks their inclusion was a monkey's paw thing anyway).
 

Thormodr

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Meh. Canadians, in general, are hockey mad. The hockey rink is fine.

The Mountie as a military unit is fine, as well.

Canada is well known for its diplomacy. That fits fine.

All in all, I'm happy.
 

Icicle

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I think it crosses the line between nod and eye roll when it shows that the people making the calls didn't do their homework and are using what is either a misrepresentation or what is generally acknowledged as the only thing people from outside that culture know about it, especially if that thing is a joke.

GS Mounties are pretty much the worst of everything in these regards.
 
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My personal disappointment with hockey rinks and mounties were fourfold.

First, there's no natural fit between these and Civ gameplay. So as a result, as I feared, the dev team created some bonuses and then called them "hockey rink" and "Mountie". We want Canada to get more food and production from tundras: call that "hockey rink". We want Canada to be able to get national parks more cheaply: call that "mounties".

Second, the opportunity cost for that is it means other uniques that Canada could have had, that fit more naturally into Civ gameplay, get dropped. Fur Trading Posts as a unique improvement and Coureurs des bois as a unique unit fit very well in a game about exploration and settlement of new lands. Or any of about a dozen other suggestions from the Canada thread.

Third, Civ is an opportunity to explore an interesting aspect of a civ's history. There's a lot of interesting parts to Canada's history that would fit well in Civ: the exploration and settlement of a new continent, the opening up of that continent through the development of the railway and settlement of the west, the development of UN peacekeeping missions, etc. Hockey rinks don't tie into any of those, and mounties only tie into the railroad and settlement of the west (which is why I argued a Mountie Fort could be a good unique improvement, even though a mountie unique unit was likely to be a poor fit). So we don't get any of that. Instead we get Canada as a tundra civ, a role Russia already filled.

Fourth, Civ 6 is on it's second expansion, and at this point in the cycle, a new civ really needs to offer some interesting and unique gameplay opportunities, something different than you can get from playing other civs that are already in the game. Unfortunately, hockey rinks and mounties as portrayed in Civ 6 don't contribute to that. Other than the "no surprise war" thing, this Canada civ seems like a waste of a civ slot compared to what could have been done with Canada. And the main reason for that, it seems to me, is the dev team was set on including hockey rinks and mounties, preventing them from seeking out more interesting things that could have been done with the civ.
 

Thormodr

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My personal disappointment with hockey rinks and mounties were fourfold.

First, there's no natural fit between these and Civ gameplay. So as a result, as I feared, the dev team created some bonuses and then called them "hockey rink" and "Mountie". We want Canada to get more food and production from tundras: call that "hockey rink". We want Canada to be able to get national parks more cheaply: call that "mounties".

Second, the opportunity cost for that is it means other uniques that Canada could have had, that fit more naturally into Civ gameplay, get dropped. Fur Trading Posts as a unique improvement and Coureurs des bois as a unique unit fit very well in a game about exploration and settlement of new lands. Or any of about a dozen other suggestions from the Canada thread.

Third, Civ is an opportunity to explore an interesting aspect of a civ's history. There's a lot of interesting parts to Canada's history that would fit well in Civ: the exploration and settlement of a new continent, the opening up of that continent through the development of the railway and settlement of the west, the development of UN peacekeeping missions, etc. Hockey rinks don't tie into any of those, and mounties only tie into the railroad and settlement of the west (which is why I argued a Mountie Fort could be a good unique improvement, even though a mountie unique unit was likely to be a poor fit). So we don't get any of that. Instead we get Canada as a tundra civ, a role Russia already filled.

Fourth, Civ 6 is on it's second expansion, and at this point in the cycle, a new civ really needs to offer some interesting and unique gameplay opportunities, something different than you can get from playing other civs that are already in the game. Unfortunately, hockey rinks and mounties as portrayed in Civ 6 don't contribute to that. Other than the "no surprise war" thing, this Canada civ seems like a waste of a civ slot compared to what could have been done with Canada. And the main reason for that, it seems to me, is the dev team was set on including hockey rinks and mounties, preventing them from seeking out more interesting things that could have been done with the civ.

I can understand your position. Coureur de bois/Fur traders would have been an excellent choice. :)

I believe 2/3rds of Canadians live within 100 miles (160 km) of the USA border. Very, very few live in the tundra. Probably 60,000 at the very most out of a population of 36 million +. So the tundra bias is a bit odd. Still, with Russia, Canada has a large part of the tundra in the world. Perhaps they wanted a little competition between the two. Maybe a '72 Summit Series? :groucho:

Anyway, Canada will be able to be easily modded and modders can add the more interesting things that you are interested in.

Just happy they are in the Civ series, finally. :woohoo:
 

CultureManiac

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With all due respect for my Canadian compatriots, fur trappers and maple syrup are a very Eastern Canadian meme. As an Alberta boy, I'd feel more at home with a rodeo and prairie oysters. Sure, Mounties and hockey are cliche, but they are also quintessentially Canadian, and represent the whole country, not just a region. They are part of our history and culture, and probably every Canadian has had some contact with either a hockey rink or an RCMP officer at some point --- maybe one due to the other :)
Golf courses and highlanders are not stereotypes? Waltzing Matilda and the outback? Aztecs enslaving enemy warriors ... they still haven't lived that one down.
Canada has some of the biggest national parks in the world.

upload_2018-12-29_22-18-26.png


The largest, Wood Buffalo, at 44,000 sq km is bigger than Switzerland or the Netherlands.

You'll find RCMP detachments in the parks too ...
https://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/dfhd/page_fhbro_eng.aspx?id=3048

And giving Canada double resource extraction ... that's a nod to the role natural resources play in our economy - all of them - not just oil from the west, for example.

I think they went with what Canada is know for internationally. If they had chosen otherwise, the east/west battles would have begun.
 

Janskey

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"All stereotypes turn out to be true. This is a horrifying thing about life. All those things you fought against as a youth: you begin to realize they're stereotypes because they're true." D.Cronenberg
 

Kheznik

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Ultimately they went with the civ design that would appeal to as many Canadians (and non-Canadians) as possible. Doesn't mean they made the right choice.

Even considering the glorified police officers-turned-military units, and the one-per-city hockey rinks but only in the northern extremes of the world where nobody lives and hockey isn't as big a deal, they could have done a faaaaar better job. It just comes off as bland and uninspired. Police officers in general offer very little as far as interesting mechanics go, and they still managed to mess that up. Nothing related to Loyalty or Barbarians? Seriously? Mounties were law enforcers first and foremost, not park rangers. (I'm not even gonna go into the history of Mounties and why I hate them as a choice.)

But if we want to talk about units and such that were important to Canadian history, anyone's lack of knowledge really shows when you pass on the Voyageur (or their Coureurs predecessors). No other unit, not even the Mountie, can compare to how important and under-appreciated Voyageurs were to Canadian history and culture. Canada would literally not exist without the fur trade. Of course, tying an ability/unit to a specific luxury resource isn't ideal, but there was far more to the Voyageur than the fur trade. Logging, trading, exploring. Come on. And they would have been a million times more interesting than Mounties. Have you seen my avatar? Those are Voyageurs in a flying canoe. Do Mounties fly? Didn't think so.

Then we have railroads. I thought for sure that when these things were revealed for GS that Canada would definitely have something to do with them, given how important they were to Canadian history and unity. Laughably, they did not. Now I'm just waiting for the Ottomans to have something to do with them. Lol.

This was a civ purely designed with stereotypes in mind with very little substance. At least the theme sounds great, in spite of being the only civ to use their national anthem because apparently we have no folk songs whatsoever. Kudos to Geoff Knorr and Roland Rizzo! (genuinely, I'm not being sarcastic at this part, they really did do a good job in making the theme sound great. It's my favourite of the GS civs, and I'm looking forward to listening to the ambient themes).

Overall, I'm disappointed. But I've gotten over it. I mean, it's just a game, and mechanically it's not the worst civ ever conceived, plus mods are a thing that exist. But I'm still disappointed in what we could have gotten, but didn't. That being said, I always appreciate Firaxis for the hard work they do, even if their ideas don't always land.
 
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