The president's recent statements on the possibility of war have spread fear and concern throughout the world, but one possible reference within those comments might indicate that the American people have even more to worry about than they thought. Are President Trump's threats to North Korea referencing World of Warcraft, the multiplayer online role-playing game? If his "fire and fury" and "locked and loaded" warnings sound familiar to World of Warcraft players, that may not be a total coincidence.
Earlier this week, Trump told reporters that North Korea "will be met with fire and fury" if it doesn't stop making threats to the United States, sparking increased fear that a nuclear war between the two countries could well happen soon. GQ special correspondent Keith Olbermann pointed out on Twitter Thursday morning that "fire and fury" may be a reference to World of Warcraft. It's the name of a mission within the game, wherein players have to rescue slaves from a mine.
Now, one could argue that the overlap between Trump's statements and the game are coincidental, were it not for one compelling fact. The POLITICO Playbook podcast from Thursday pointed out that Steve Bannon, the shadowy presidential adviser with deep business ties, was once the CEO of the game's parent company. Bannon reportedly convinced his former employer Goldman Sachs to sink $60 million in the game, which supports a functioning economy by letting players trade virtual goods for real money. After a lawsuit forced the company to rebrand, the original owners brought Bannon on as CEO the new company, Affinity Media, where he worked until he joined the alt-right media website Breitbart.
On Friday morning, Trump tweeted:
Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!
A brief search on Google showed that it appears to be the name of a skill level in World of Warcraft (though it's certainly a more tenuous connection). "Locked and loaded" could also come from a variety of other sources — it's popular in war and action movies in Hollywood, including The Dark Knight, Saving Private Ryan, Full Metal Jacket, and Independence Day.
Whether the World of Warcraft connection to Trump's threats towards North Korea is substantial or not, the president's rhetoric has called into question the administration's understanding of the realities of war. If the United States is going into armed conflict with North Korea, it shouldn't be caused by any misguided beliefs about the nature of good and evil or peace and war instilled by a computer game.