“The Greeks” by Is Tropical

WARNING: Extreme, toonish violence involving children.

I suppose that, on some level, I should be completely appalled by the video for Is Tropical’s debut single, “The Greeks”. It could be argued that one should not encourage the use of violence by children. That said, I love the absolutely crazed carnage of Megaforce’s video. With the help of animation by Seven, they’ve taken the Nerf gun battles of my youth and brought the imagined destruction to life. What follows is a series of firefights and faux drug deals gone bad, set to a frenetic dance club beat — a blood soaked crime spree in a world populated by kids who know that cool guys don’t look at explosions.

via Super Punch

15 Responses to ““The Greeks” by Is Tropical”

  1. papercup mixmaster Says:

    Oh man! You guys always bring me the very best violence. All of my childhood neighborhood-wandering Nerf battles were totally this cool in our heads. Our guns cocked with those sounds, and the big ones definitely fired grenades.

    Though, now I kinda want to see the kids-actually-having-a-Nerfwar version. The one where the kids all go “tschk-tschk” when they load, and “bffwoooozzhhh” when stuff blows up.

  2. Darmin Says:

    You’re kidding me right? Ross, you’ve got to take that down or post some kind of warning. That video was offensive on so many levels. This is coming from someone who lives in El Paso. There really is a drug war going on across the border, and people are being killed. I love Coilhouse. I even love the FAM, but please, you’ve got to reconsider this post.

  3. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    Darmin, I took the liberty of adding a warning on behalf of anyone offended by extreme, slapstick violence involving children, but there’s no need for Ross to reconsider, in my opinion. Culturally speaking, this is as relevant as anything posted here recently.

  4. Tertiary Says:

    Do kids these days play Islamo-Terrorist and Soldier? Hmm.

    The kids looked like they were having a great time, though. Especially the ones making drugs and explosives.

  5. Darmin Says:

    Children slitting throats, killing Arabs, making drugs, and imitating torture. If this was intended as a social commentary I can find no evidence of it. This was gratuitous, and everyone knows it. ‘Slapstick’ involves harmless humor, but there is nothing harmless about this.

    You must realize that it was an adult who was filming, editing, and encouraging them to do this – an adult who was keen on staying out of the picture. Do you really think that was morally responsible?

  6. EdGrey Says:

    It may be wrong to say this and an example of some of the issues with the world today, but I found this to be hysterical. It is a parody of what is going on right now in our society and also using children illustrates how desensitized we are becoming to violence. Anyone who is so offended by this has not seen a video game in the last 10 years. Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto ring a bell? If anything using children should help bring attention and focus to a general attitude of ambivalence that is spiraling out of control. I would suggest taking the negative energy that anyone may feel because of this video and using it to make things better. Protest violent games with a letter writing campaign, same for Television shows and movies, support government officials who share your views on world politics and local enforcement. Support the police department in your area, join neighborhood watch, and in short do something with these feelings other than bash the author.

  7. Tertiary Says:


    Morally responsible? Sure. It’s not grossly different from the war games I played as a kid, and exceptionally less extreme than the imagined violence of the games I played a few years later as a teen (both electronic and tabletop). The kids know it’s not real. You know it’s not real. It’s cartoony ultraviolence between friends. The fact that it shocks some (even I was a bit taken a back by the terrorist throat cutting, initially) while the kids themselves clearly see it as play is perhaps the point.

    I’ve no idea how many times I shot my cousins or friends as a child, and yet I’ve grown up to not even own a gun. I think it’s quite likely these children will turn out very similar. Particularly in a society that is less tolerant of real violence than the US.

  8. Darmin Says:

    EdGrey assumes you ‘can’ safely talk to your government (and the default government is U.S.), and Tertiary thinks tabletop gaming is “extreme” and “violent” (because he imagined it that way). I am not white. My worldview is quite different.

    Admittedly, Ross’ post was neutral at best, praising the visuals, not the content. This is your blog, but recognizing how content like that would hurt people who come here looking for a kind of safe haven from the kind of things EdGrey finds “hysterical” should have been a higher priority, unless i completely misunderstand the purpose of a “coilhouse.”

    I won’t comment on this topic anymore. I just really needed to say something.

  9. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    Darmin, your reaction is valid. I can see how this would be upsetting to you.

    At your suggestion, a warning has been posted for others who might, like you, find the broad, atavistic “Lord of the Flies” style social commentary of a piece like this offensive or off-putting (for understandable reasons). But, respectfully, I do not wish to pull it, or censor Ross.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain your anger; it is understandable and I’m very sorry this post has affected you so deeply. Your complaints have been heard and taken into consideration. I hope you can continue to enjoy the diverse array of stuff we post here, but if not, I understand and respect that, too. Take care.

  10. ST. Says:

    slapstick can be defined as “comedy involving exaggerated violence and activities which may exceed the boundaries of common sense”. critics & analysts have used that term to describe everything from “Pulp Fiction” to “Evil Dead” to “The Passion of the Christ” – three films which many would argue aren’t exactly harmless.

  11. Tertiary Says:

    @Darmin, I don’t think you stop commenting, if you desire to do continue the discussion. I don’t think anyone is saying you shouldn’t, rather just that our opinions differ. I’m simply attempting to understand your objection.

    I also wonder how this imagined violence here (for it is entirely imagined, pretend violence) is different from other imaginary violence? I have had some game sessions that went to rather dark places in the human spirit, the kind of thing where you never think of the people on the other side of the table quite the same, because of the things their minds were capable of producing. It’s true that those games did not have animated videos to go with them, but that’s likely only because we couldn’t do so easily.

    And how does being white change that? I might not be white, after all (though I am). I have had a number of non-white gamer friends, many of whom were still quite fond of imagined ultraviolence, even though their lives featured plenty of real violence from time to time.

    Perhaps you are suggesting that pretend violence is a white privilege? I wouldn’t disagree much, except to say that is a privilege of class, more than race.

    I’m sure child soldiers around the world would find the thing bizarre, and marvel at the privilege of European children to play at murdering each other (and then having dinner), rather than actually doing so. But does this fact make the violent games played by the European or American children (or ‘enhanced’ depictions of them) morally wrong?

  12. alice Says:

    Depressing. Such knowing precociousness always makes me sad.

  13. Darmin Says:

    I actually check Coilhouse frequently. Ironically, I’ve never posted, but i’ll make it a point to do so in the future. It just occurred to me that when I agree with something, I mentally file it away and keep going. But isn’t that when it’s most important to comment? (It was the post on Klaus Nomi that caught me initially, and I would like a tuxedo like that, thank you.)

    I appreciate your consideration, and I’m sorry I jumped on you for the tabletop gaming (I’ve always wanted to, myself, but can’t tell a D6 from a DC13).

    Okay, so… Frankly, it’s a topical thing here in El Paso, because our neighboring city, Ciudad Juarez, is currently battling the cartels. Earlier today, as of this post, there was an attempted assassination of its police chief. This kind of incident is just one of many. There really are stand-offs, shootings, and executions – unfortunately, all the things depicted in that video. That’s what hurt. I associated it with what’s going on. But without that information on my part, how would you have known?

    Your last question: is a child playing a violent video game morally wrong? It’s a good question. The violence in video games – or in any other simulated play – is indeed the default, but I can’t really say it should be one way or another. I do think conflict as sport is healthy – physically, mentally, or otherwise imagined – but not when such sport is malicious (my sisters and I play Halo, and we are quite close).

    No, what i actually found morally reprehensible about the video was the fact that it was an adult who was portraying underage children and directing them to “hurt” each other. It ceases to be child’s play when a grown man (I’m assuming this from Vimeo) intervenes and helps them build the drug lab and the torture chamber (however intentionally fake), who scrawls the Arabic on the wall and then tells the child, ‘Now, cut his throat,’ as he captures it on camera.

    Desensitized or not, it raises questions. I looked for some kind of written statement by the video’s creator that he was, in fact, making a social commentary, but I couldn’t find it. Perhaps I missed it.

    Funny you should bring up Pulp Fiction. I’ve actually had someone raise a mock gun to me, make the barrel sound, and say, “Oh fuck, I just shot Darmin in the face.” I sorta grimmaced, sorta chuckled. It’s a crazy world when middle-schoolers do it, but what can you do, except get tougher and wear bigger hats and do good by as many people as possible.

    You need a theme song.

  14. Tertiary Says:

    @Darmin. Living next to Juarez has to be somewhat terrible, I’d imagine. I can’t say that I envy you that.

    Objecting to the director (or writer, or what have you) without objecting to the violence per se is an interesting position, and not something I had considered. I’m not sure that I agree with you that it ceases to be play, though. It might be -directed- play, where the kids are given a set, and the toys, and told “okay, now have a running gun battle down this street”. But it really looked like play to me. There’s definitely plenty of hamming for the camera.

    It reminds me a bit of that episode of Spaced where they have the fake gun battle with the thug kids who want to steal Simon Pegg’s weed. In the commentary about this episode, they talked about how they basically told the kids in question “What we want is a pretend John Woo gun battle scene”, and then the kids basically did everything on their own. And it’s -brilliant- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P7dileY9sY (I cannot recommend the show highly enough). Now obviously those boys were a bit older. But these kids are perhaps even more sophisticated in terms of the pool of pretend violence they can draw from, having ‘better’ videogames and all. Which is probably not unproblematic, in it’s way.

    Regardless, I think it’s an interesting problem to think about. I probably wouldn’t have a problem with my kids (assuming I had any) being in the video, though I’d want to have a bit of a talk with them about some of it. They’d probably just roll their eyes at me, tho, and say “Yes, but it’s just pretend!” It’s what I would have done, in their shoes.

    And while perhaps overly simplifying things, that’s basically the crux of my feelings on the matter, I guess.

    And I agree that wearing bigger hats and doing good is an excellent, excellent solution.

  15. valia Says:

    i wonder why he named it “the Greeks”‘probably he has never been to my country to meet the people and the way of thinking !! well we are a little bit psycopaths,xaxax ,but not like that !! too bad !!