THE HITLER COMPUTER
ANNOTATED MAGIC DECK

"It seems a bit elusive, the time that is supported by mechanical resources... It's not you, it's society!"
-X-Ray Spex, "Art-I-Ficial"

INCARNATIONS

The Hitler Computer is a primary way I conceptualize my "Anger Years" nemesis. It is an evil, authoritarian entity that oppresses Love and everything good. You can imagine it like the giant evil brain at the end of A Wrinkle in Time*, except that it is mechanical, like some kind of horrible steampunk computerized mind. The Hitler Computer manifests in one of four robotic incarnations, represented by the Dragon Engine, Triskelion, Diabolic Machine, and Colossus of Sardia.

The adorable first form represents the temptation of a such a system, whatever promise you might see in submitting to this ultimately diabolical and disgusting way of things. The second form represents the human fallibility that hides behind it; the third form is the purest manifestation of the system; while the fourth is symbolic of its destructive wordly power.

* I recently re-read the book, and the brain wasn't quite as giant as I remembered it. Imagine it a lot bigger, at least the size of a small car if not larger.

PROMINENT COLORS

White: White can represent a variety of themes in the game of Magic, including purity, virtue, Love, etc. But it also represents authority, order, the establishment, etc., and these are the themes that reflect its inclusion here.

Black: Evil

Red: War, conflict, strife, etc.

ABSENT COLORS

Blue: As a computer, it lacks the true wisdom necessary to employ Blue magic.

Green: The Hitler Computer is an enemy of Mother Gaia, nature, small cuddly animals, etc. It could never employ Green magic.

ARTIFACTS

Of course, the Hitler Computer itself (uniquely) incarnates as artifact creatures. But, lacking a truly human form, it is not able to wield 'Magical objects' as e.g. a wizard or witch typically might. These magical persons necessarily possess some mastery over the forces of Time, allowing them an existence in some sense 'disparate over time'; the Hitler Computer is ruled by linear processes, yet is not confined to a finite body and instead exists 'disparate over space.' Because of this, it can exercise a vast, alarming influence over great areas, and manipute structures of the built landscape toward magical purposes by means of the energy fields it generates, a feat impossible or impractical for a conventional, "spatially-bounded" individual.




TENANTS OF FAITH

The Hitler Computer heads and wields its influence through a cultish religion rooted in fascist ideology. This religion, and the Hitler Computer's place at its head, are founded on four mystical powers attributed to it. First, it holds the secret of the Armageddon Clock, and therefore, possesses the ability to toll End Times. Second, it purportedly has the ability to grant Resurrection. Third, it can call a Meteor Strike [card text: Bonfire of the Damned, less 'Miracle'] from Heaven (an awesome display of cosmic power, also meant to represent "dropping of bombs"). Finally, it controls the magic of the Gravity Sphere, which can bring even the proudest and highest-flying dragon tumbling to the Earth.



APPARATUS OF FAITH

The Hitler Computer's hate-religion is disseminated through a combination of ruthless, deceitful Preachers and magical Brainwash*ing. Its hate-curriculum is devoutly kept by the Order of Derelor [text: Blightspeaker, mostly], with key verses inscribed on the Copper Tablet. The Sol Grail [text: Copper Tablet] is a vessel that contains a soupçon of the Hitler Computer's essence.

* Originally the deck had three of this card, to really make the point; but for now I've eliminated one copy, so that the deck plays a little better. I've included this explanatory note as a compromise.

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SPIRITS OF APOCALYPSE

As the Armageddon Clock chimes the End Times, the Hitler Computer summons forth its harbingers in the form of the four horsemen of prophecy

WAR

"I don't want no fight and I haven't got a lot of time"
-Cat Stevens, "Trouble"


The Keldon Warlord represents the first horseman, the Horseman of War. He is a spirit, not a man, the spirit of conflict, antagonism, etc., as well as the literal battlefield. I was prepared to Photoshop a horse into the picture, because I could not remember if the original card art had one or not (but, evidently, it did).

War represents "theft of time." The soul cannot find peace while it is at war; we all die in the end, but it is the Horseman of War who steals our best years to stupid, futile warfare. George Orwell writes of Perpetual War, the dystopian policy that distracts the populace from both solving the real problems of life, as well as appreciating its pleasures. War steals the innocence of the youth, their able bodies and vibrant spirits, and sends them home broken old men, or in coffins. He is the Horseman of antagonism and senseless distraction and pointless struggle and tests for sake of tests and ordeals for sake of ordeals and blow-it-up-so-you-can-make-money-rebuilding-it and Sisyphean tasks that amount to nothing but replace LIFE as it SHOULD BE, that replaces the PASSION for LIFE, that ages us as some horrible tax imposed by jealous fucking evil Snow-White queens, "making war just for fun," so you can mind-fuck us into "19-years later," so you can teach us what it is to be old and cold and settled in our ways...

The savvy oppressor knows that rather than fight your enemy, it is better to have your enemy fight among themselves.

DEATH

"And before I'll be a slave, I'll be buried in my grave"
-Hymn


The Black Carriage [text: Eater of the Dead] represents the second horseman, the Horseman of Death. I equate death to "theft of self-determination." The Black Carriage literally delivers its victims down a linear, unyielding path, the proverbial "slow train to Auschwitz." In a magical environment of resurrection, regeneration, reanimation, raising the dead, time travel, spirit communion, travel back and forth among Heaven & Hell dimensions and other cosmic realms, etc., the Horseman of Death threatens to ferry the soul to a non-existence more total than mere mortal demise. Though it has a distinct identity, it is eerily reminiscent of an incarnation of the Hitler Computer, being mechanical rather than biologically-inspired, and thereby emphasizing the link between the unliving/unnatural and a deterministic path, devoid of agency or spontaneity or personal preferences or convictions of the heart.

I make a pan-(North)American argument for my equation of death to loss of self-determination. The Battle of Antietam, fought in 1862, was the bloodiest day in American history, killing almost 23,000 soldiers, as part of a conflict that was ultimately rooted in the cause of ending systematic black slavery in the American South; the nation of Haiti is the only country in the world that was founded, in 1800, as the result of a successful slave revolt; the state of New Hampshire has the state motto, "Live free or die"; while the national bird of Guatemala is the quetzal, a symbol of independence, because it is a beautiful bird but it must live free -- it will die if kept in captivity.

These are examples that support the notion, that to be truly alive is to be free, and that many are willing to give up their lives and suffer profound upheaval in the cause of freedom. The 'zombie apocalypse' genre similarly equates a loss of self-determination -- often to 'ideological slavery,' conveyed cinematically by means of metaphorical cultural criticisms -- to being an unthinking, unliving, dead thing, that is, a zombie.

FAMINE

"I need new clothes, I need a place to stay... but without all of these things I can do... Without your love, I won't make it through"
-The Clash, "Train in Vain"


Ishan's Shade AKA the Hate Shade represents the third horseman, the Horseman of Famine. Famine represents "theft of the sanctity of Love." The color White represents Love in the context of this card text, i.e. 'protection from white.' The Hate Shade is powerful and cruel, unshackled by the constraints of caring for anything other than its own diabolical purposes. Apathy is the opposite of Love in one sense, but Love will generally defeat apathy; it is Hate that is truly the enemy of Love, and it is only Hate that has the power to oppress and destroy Love.

Famine represents the oppression or absence of Love because it is Love that sustains us. In its simplest conceptualization, Love is a force that draws us together; to oppose this force is analogous to keeping a hungry person from food. (Author J.K. Rowling takes the metaphor further, equating it to deprivation of oxygen in Harry Potter's second task, book 4.)

The Hate Shade is not merely content to keep Lovers apart in Romeo-and-Juliet-esque manner. His unspeakably cruelty goes further. He attacks Love itself. He destroys expressions and appreciations of Love, he works to erode its comforts, and to create a world where Love is dysfunctional, de-elevated, insecure, closeted, uncelebrated, externally re-defined, treated without dignity, etc.

While short-term deprivation of Love is like thirst, long-term deprivation is like starvation, the slow erosion of the very soul itself. One response is to become shade-like one's self. Also, this can be seen as a fairly overt reference to The Hunger Games trilogy, which has very interesting allegorical relevance to both "The Anger Years," as I call them, and to their villain, the authoritarian religion/empire/culture of the Hitler Computer which correlates to The Hunger Game's fascist anti-Love Capitol. Romance in The Hunger Games is very cleverly, subtley addressed, but the books' protagonist, Katniss, is undoubtedly driven by a deep, humanist Love, for all people who suffer under the Capitol's horrible oppressive regime.

CONQUEST

"I thought I knew you, what did I know?"
-The Beatles, "I'm Looking Through You"


Lim-Dul's Paladin an evil knight with supernatural/demonic aspect, represents the fourth and final horseman of the Apocalypse, the Horseman of Conquest. Conquest is very literally "the theft of values." He is the spirit of Spanish Conquistadors who subjugate not only their indigenous adversaries, but burn their religious and cultural records as well. He is the spirit of the U.S. policy of Indian-tribe assimilation, which was literally U.S. policy through the administration of President John F. Kennedy (it was not ended until the term of President Nixon) -- systematically thwarting Indians from being educated in their traditional languages, customs, and religious practices. He is the spirit of bigoted authorities, who abuse their power to subjugate opposing ideologies, traditions, practices, and preferences, who change the names of slaves or immigrants to sever them from the traditions they leave behind.

Conquest leads to conformity, while obliterating diversity. It is forcing "round" lives through square-shaped holes. It can be achieved through outright violence, but it is often more-subtley effected. It can be waged in the realm of ideas through means such as deceitful propaganda or the control of media, books, educational systems, etc., or the harassment, marginalization, and imprisonment of political and cultural dissidents. The Horseman of Conquest works not only with the Hitler Computer's apparatus of war, but also in conjunction with its Preachers and Brainwash magic, to errode the spirit of resistance.



MINIONS

Minions symbolize the intellectual basis of the Hitler Computer's hate-empire.

The Two-Headed Giant of Foriys represents the Lich of Shakespeare, incarnated into a giant. The Lich of Shakespeare is the Lich of Dishonesty; he is responsible for the script behind Bad Theatre, and as a spirit of dishonesty, he speciously claims 'Love' though his real purpose is to punish Love. His two heads are Tragedy and Comedy. The Head of Tragedy revels in conflict and heartbreak. (He's the one who invented the idea that every story needs conflict, even though I've come up with dozens of counterexamples; not to mention, you people seem extremely confused about the difference between fiction and real life.) The Head of Comedy is cruel and sarcastic.

The Hasran Ogress is the Lich of Ayn Rand, incarnated into an ogress. She teaches people to lose, suppress, or ignore their compassion. If the Two-Headed Giant represents mind, she represents soul, and Simon Shitler is body; the Lich of Shakespeare writes the theatre, the Lich of Ayn Rand produces, and Simon Shitler directs. He represents the Computer's fascist ideology, i.e., "might makes right," and is responsible for the perverse obedience game "Simon Shitler says." So long as he is in the Hitler Computer's ranks, it will never acknowledge defeat, no matter what the circumstances. Lady Orca is an anachronism of interdimensional travel; she has no symbolism. (Perhaps she is the Hitler Computer's love interest?)



MECHANISMS OF WAR

The aforementioned Meteor Strike symbolically reflects the dropping of bombs, while Chain Lightning [text: Ball Lightning] represents magical, proto-"Gatling-gun-style" artillery. Similarly, Marsh Gas is a magical mustard-gas analog. Together, these five* cards comprise the Hitler Computer's coldly-calculated industrialization of death and warfare.

* If you are re-creating this deck for purely symbolic purposes, then the most appropriate count is: 1x Meteor Strike, 2x Chain Lightning, 3x Marsh Gas. Once again, I have adjusted quantities for playability. In a perfect world, I will reconcile the symbolic and functional versions of the deck, but for now, it's a work in progress.





BEASTS OF WAR

The Hitler Computer's fodder of war are the Goblin Kings and Goblin Flotillas, along with its (new!) Goblin Balloon Brigade. The (adorable) Phyrexian Gremlins are sabetaurs, capable of wreaking mischief on the devices of the Computer's enemies; they are also known to haunt the Howling Mines, making them an inhospitable place to adversaries (turn order: untap, upkeep, then draw).




DEFENSES

The Hitler Computer employs a variety of ingenious defenses. It is able to rule its vast empire and territorial holdings from the remote safety of its Iron Tower [text: Ivory Tower], where all its key system components are housed, and from which refuge it is basically free to wait out Apocalypse without fear. But that is not sufficient. It also holds the secret to generating a protective Forcefield, as well as erecting a Wall of Razors (barbed wire on magical steroids) and a mystical Wall of Submission [text: Angelic Wall]; only very power creatures can overcome the mystical Wall's psychologically domineering effects without being turned back, although it is worth pointing out that the Black Knight will not submit to any authority except the demands of his own dark religion. The Relic Barrier protects against competing artifact magic.




MAGICAL STRUCTURES

The Howling Mine is a tap into the soul of the planet itself; a fragment of the World Core [text: Font of Mythos] was excavated from one. The Mana Vault is a mysterious relic, perhaps from outer space. In the Arena of the Ancients [text: Gilded Lotus], the magic from great souls is reaped via futile displays in the guise of entertainment.




BLACK MAGIC

Calling upon a Demonic Tutor supplies the evoker with forbidden knowledge. The spell Torture* is similar to the Cruciatus Curse from Harry Potter (or the vampire Jane's power in Twilight), and it is similarly sick and depraved and horrible and unforgivable. Last but not least, the unmistakable Stench of Evil [text: Shred Memory, kinda] is a frequent sign of much misery to come.

* There had been two, which seems like appropriate proportionality, as well as functionally desirable. Dunno.




UTILITARIAN MAGIC

The Mijae Djinn and Ydwen Efreet are assistiant spirits. The Ashnod's Transmogrant is a grotesque procedure/protocol for changing a biological creature into something artificial. Disenchant is the standard spell for nullifying magical effects; it can draw upon the purity of a greater truth, although just as often, it is a suffocating, cynical banality, that literally disenchants. Giant Strength provides spurious empowerment, while Lightning Bolt reflects the Computer's ability on occasion to generate a targeted bolt of electrical destruction.



MAGICAL COMPONENTS

Generally, a wizard or witch will employ these magical jewels - Mox Jet, Mox Ruby, and Mox Pearl - set into jewelry or on a crown or dangled from a chain around the neck, etc., in order to reap the magical energy contained within. However, lacking all but crudely anthropomorphic form, the Hitler Computer instead incorporates them directly into its circuitry. (Originally the deck fielded all five moxes, but I recently dropped the two off-color ones in favor of two additional "cycling" lands, in an effort to streamline mana production somewhat. Again, consider using all five in a pure-symbolism deck, not for symbolic value but since they look so pretty together --even in white-bordered--, and it's fun to imagine all the fun circuitry you can build!) Similarly, the Sol Ring, once conjured, functions in direct integration with its robotic power system, rather than be drawn upon for power, as a 'natural' magical person would generally do.











TERRITORIAL HOLDINGS

Lands are noticeably devoid of complex, vegetative habitat structure. In contrast to most custom cards which are Photoshopped, Mountain Range [text: Forgotten Cave] is actually a mock-up of the card meant to be painted upon an actual Mountain. The Hitler Computer's minions and other leadership reside in Mountain Strongholds, while a sacrifice to the Diamond Valley [text: Miren, the Moaning Well] helps survive the waining days of Apocalypse. The City of Brass represents the cultural and religious capitol of the Hitler Computer's hate-empire. It vaguely correlates to the physical city known as the Capitol in The Hunger Games (the card represents a different city in each deck where it appears).



FIFTEEN-EXTRA CARDS

Stay tuned!



How did the Hitler Computer receive its name? I place this explanation at the document's end, because people are rightfully sensitive to Holocaust metaphors. I figure, at this point, you are ready for one. Essentially, it is a critique of obedience to an uncompromising, unrelenting, unyielding system that happens to conflict with every value I hold most dear. Specifically, it is criticism of those who attempt to deflect moral culpability, from themselves onto such a system. It's as though you bring a Jew before the Hitler Computer, and it goes "beeeep bleeeeep bleeeeep beeep beeep beee-beeep...... Death camp!" And then the next Jew: "Beeep bleeep beeeep bee-beeep..... Forced labor!" Another: "Beeeeeep! Medical research!" Etc. And you say, oh, alas, medical research, no fun! We're so sorry, it's no fun being the Hitler Computer's guinea pig, or its forced labor, or its oven fuel, or whatever it picked for you, it's no fun and we wish we could do something to help but it's not our choice, this is what the Hitler Computer decided. And the idea is, you pretend like it's the Hitler Computer that is deciding, but really it's not, it is a mere illusion of decision-making. Really, it's making a calculation, not a decision, and you surrender to this imagined authority, you obey the Hitler Computer's calculation. Yes, the Hitler Computer is evil, but only you have free will, and thus only you have the capacity for moral culpability. It is evil, but you are to blame, assuming you cooperate with it. Assuming you decide to. And so far, you do.

This is the essence of the metaphor of the Hitler Computer, though it has further implications. I dunno if the metaphor is perfect, i.e., if it's really a protocol, or if you make it up as you go along, but it's enough to put a name and a face to an enemy, and it seems appropriately pejorative no matter what. This document explores: how might we think about it? How might it operate? And we can fantasize about defeating it, perhaps to facilitate its real-world defeat......



FROM HERE

If the Hitler Computer's religion is merely protocol, who did the original programming? Your guess is likely better than mine. On some level, it doesn't matter, it's all fucking sunk cost to me. It's tempting to guess that the system grew up semi-organically, with the primary purpose (so to speak) of stability, since in a war of competing systems, the most-stable will inevitably outlast the others (even if stability is its only virtue). Here, my mere mortal mind falls victim to cognitive dissonance. The system persists, no matter how hard we shake the train car, which seems a testament to the astonishing power of brainwashing, bribery, and technology; and yet, the system seems so undeniably stupid and awful, it's difficult to believe it's held together this long let alone any longer. (Not surprising, then, that the Hitler Computer would co-opt the idea of End Times toward furthering its own purposes.) It's hard to believe it isn't ultimately fragile, and that it doesn't rest on a fragile premise, so that maybe instead of self-assembly, there is indeed some authority you, those who enact and uphold the system today, can point to, as the authoritative basis for what we observe presently. Maybe it is the Lich of Shakespeare himself, he who writes the theater, or else, perhaps it is merely the theatre company that predates yours, oh, dunno, let's call them vampires. Maybe it is impossible to argue with your authorities, because what if they are already dead (literally and/or intellectually)? I worry about this kind of thing endlessly. I worry I am fighting invisible vampires, I worry that the Hitler Computer was programmed by and/or the program is handed down by dickless vampires of profound influence, and you, their enslaved progeny have a fanatical devotion to their vision, maybe more even than to the "visionaries" themselves, such that you are willing to accept whatever outcome ("output") from the process, dare I call it vampirism? I worry endlessly about ancestral vampirism curse

In similar manner to this project, I have sought to conceptualize the dickless* vampires, and while my attempt is appropriately alluring, it doesn't contribute a whole lot intellectually, which is perhaps also appropriate. Mostly I defer to my knowledge of vampire lore, and assume they are hideously ugly.

* I know this is offensive but I never expected to share it publicly (it has no other title than the file name!) and I'm tired of explaining