Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
With the world’s eyes turned to Normandy as President Obama and European leaders honor the sacrifice of Allied soldiers on June 6, 1944, Internet giant Google chose to honor this 65th anniversary of D-Day by memorializing the birth of a video game.
The search engine’s homepage, often the site of commemorative graphics interwoven with its Google name on special occasions, chose this day to display the multi-colored blocks of the classic game Tetris, which was created by Russian computer programmer Alexey Pajitnov and made playable for the first time on June 6, 1984.
Scrolling over the blocks reveals the words, “Celebrating 25 years of the Tetris Effect – courtesy of Tetris Holding, LLC.”
And while the anniversary of Tetris’ birth finds it unique in popular culture as one of the world’s most popular and enduring video games, Google’s choice to honor it today has nonetheless been met with sharp criticism.
“Today marks the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny, and what does Google do? Instead of putting up an image to honor the sacrifices made and the triumph of good over evil, they honor Tetris?” comments the writer of A Blog for All. “The world owes a debt of honor to the brave men who stormed ashore at Normandy and parachuted in to roll [back] the Nazi conquest of Europe. This is what they came up with for today?”
Don Surber of West Virginia’s Charleston Daily Mail wrote of Google in his blog, “Its owners may be multi-billionaires, but homeless guys show more class.”
Google’s decision to honor Tetris rather than D-Day, however, is only the latest in a string of criticized decisions about how the Internet giant uses its homepage “doodles” to recognize special occasions.
As WND has reported, Google has a history of ignoring major American patriotic and religious holidays, while honoring Remembrance Day in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Halloween and other observances.
Since it was founded in 1999, Google also has a history of commemorating National Teachers Day, Women’s Day, Ray Charles’ birthday, World Water Day and St. George’s Day, while ignoring Christmas, Memorial Day, and – until two years ago – Veteran’s Day.
Google has also been frequently criticized for its content policies and one-sided political slant:
Rejecting an ad for a book critical of Bill and Hillary Clinton while continuing to accept anti-Bush themes
Rejecting ads critical of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., while
continuing to run attack ads against former House Majority Leader Tom
Allowing the communist Chinese government to have the search engine block “objectionable” search terms such as “democracy.”
In addition, the company came under fire for an editorial decision
giving preferential placement to large, elite media outlets such as CNN
and the BBC over independent news sources, such as WND, even if they
are more recent, pertinent and exhaustive in their coverage.
As WND has also reported,
98 percent of all political donations by Google employees from 2000-2004 went to
support Democrats, and Al Gore became a senior
adviser to the Internet company.
When asked in the past about its choices on what occasions to commemorate – including a decade of neglecting Memorial Day – Google has explained that it prefers its doodles to be lighter fare.
“Google’s special logos tend to be lighthearted and often scientific in nature,” spokeswoman Sunny Gettinger told the Los Angeles Times. “We do not believe we can convey the appropriate somber tone through this medium to mark holidays like Memorial Day.”
Nonetheless, as WND reported, Google chose poppies to honor Remembrance Day in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland to honor those nations’ war dead. The poppies became associated with Remembrance Day because of the poem written by Canadian physician and Lt. Col. John McCrae in 1915, “In Flanders Fields.”
In 2007, for the first time, Google also commemorated Veteran’s Day in the U.S.
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