I realize it is all in fun, but it is nevertheless unfortunate to say the least. In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell video game series, we have another case of popular culture skewing John Brown the abolitionist. In decades gone by, the slurring of Brown's persona for entertainment purposes has largely been accomplished by film makers and novelists. While notable historians have done significantly more to harm Brown's reputation in the academy, popular art has gone a long way in sustaining the notion of a violent, crazy John Brown in the mind of many people in the United States.
While Clancy's Dufraisne is not a replica of John Brown the abolitionist, the fact that his organization is named "John Brown's Army" is strongly suggestive that any such "terrorist organization" in the U.S. must be ideologically linked to the real John Brown's legacy. Certainly Clancy thinks so.
Unfortunately, Clancy's fictional JBA will further add to the bias and misinformation that abounds in popular culture with respect to John Brown's legacy. Our John Brown was no "domestic terrorist." If anything, he was a counter-terrorist who protected his family and struck hard at the pro-slavery thuggery that abounded in Kansas in the mid-1850s. Clancy's JBA is a criminal organization, the fact of which will exacerbate older negative associations in the minds of young people and adults who know little or nothing about the abolitionist.
I wish someone would do a Play Station game about John Brown the abolitionist--you know, where he's the good guy for a change. He could be armed with a Colt revolver, a Sharp's rifle, and a pike. He could kick pro-slavery butt and bring an end to the racist regime by establishing a truly reformed U.S. democracy--a real one, based on egalitarian principle, not capitalism and pigmentocracy like the nation in which we live. That's a game I would buy.--LD