Friday, August 22, 2008

Dungeons & Democracy

On 8/18/2008, deputy communications director for the McCain campaign Michael Goldfarb raised the hackles of gamers everywhere with the following blog post:
It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman's memory of war from the comfort of mom's basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others.

I beg to differ with Mr. Goldfarb. To me, my memories of "Dungeons & Dragons" go hand in hand with national service. It was, after all, as a Civil Air Patrol cadet at an encampment at Hunter Army Air Field that I threw my first d-anything. My two best friends from Basic were gamers. I played my first game of Twilight 2000 while attending the Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, and the last epic tabletop campaign I was in was actually a continuation of a one that my DM brought back with him from his time serving as a paratrooper in Panama. Granted, my short time in uniform spent keeping the "gentlemen's clubs" on Victory Drive free from Ivan pales in comparison to McCain's half-decade in the Hanoi Hilton, but, while keeping the Russkies out of the Fulda Gap (from thousands of miles away, mind you), I found that some of the best gamers were soldiers and vice versa.

With that said, though, I get Goldfarb's point. One's criticism of a man who has flown an A4 Skyhawk through SAM Alley seems rather weak coming from a guy whose greatest feat is the sacking of the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth while dining on Mountain Dew and Funions. The same could be said of a second-rate disc jockey who sepnds three solid minutes of air-time mocking a Vietnam veteran's Purple Hearts.

If nothing else, Goldfarb should be awarded a few XPs for his clever apology:
"If my comments caused any harm or hurt to the hard working Americans who play Dungeons & Dragons, I apologize. This campaign is committed to increasing the strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma scores of every American."

Most of the comments over at Boing Boing prove that all of the years most colleges spend teaching young people to be offended have paid off in spades.

Over at Charlie's Diary, they have a set of D&D stats for McCain and describe him a la Monster Manual thusly:
A huge, ancient, carnivorous dinosaur from the swamps at the heart of Republican country, not unlike Godzilla in appearance and wrinkled integument, McCain has seen better years. Nevertheless he can breathe fire and threaten to stomp flat the capital city of any country that Fox News disapproves of with the best of them.

Hell, with credentials like that, I'd vote for him in a heartbeat!

And, speaking of war, today, one of my new favorite blogs, Today's Inspiration, featured Noel Sickles & The Art of War, a great collection of historical illustration.

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