McCain blows saving throw in attack on Dungeons & Dragons

I’ve tried to be bipartisan in both my support and bashing of the two presidential contenders but Sen. McCain has just crossed the line. His campaign is trying to say that playing Dungeons & Dragons is a BAD THING!!! In a blog post on McCain’s site some NPC named Michael Goldfarb wrote:

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.

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Nor is this the first time that McCain’s campaign has tried to make D&D the equivalent of being called a “pinko.”

In an earlier post Goldfarb described the editors of the NYTimes as having “all the intelligence and reason of the average Daily Kos diarist sitting at home in his mother’s basement and ranting into the ether between games of dungeons and dragons.

After that first ad hominem attack scads of Wingnuts stood up and proclaimed that they too were out and proud about playing D&D.  Mr. ‘Farb responded to one of them (Ace of Spades) with the following:

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.
–Michael Goldfarb

Not surprisingly Mr. Spades is now doubting the sincerity of that apology.

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I think there is more outing to do here. I think that Mr. Goldfarb is covering for the fact that he, too, is or was a D&D player. This fits into the classic behavior pattern of closeted homosexuals joining with gay bashers in an attempt to deny their own behavior. It is time for some enterprising journalist to get their hands on a copy of Mr. Goldfarb’s high school yearbook and start making some calls! C’mon, doesn’t this look like the face of someone who cried when his 10th level magic user died after failing to check for traps? I find it difficult to believe that this man has NOT spent many Saturday nights playing with his 20-sided dice.

Gotta say Mike, Dungeons & Dragons is not going to be the next “limousine liberal” or “brie-eating” in the political lexicon. This is especially poor timing given that the pale and the (usually) dateless like myself are still mourning the death of Gary Gygax.

Mr. Mencken’s quote was never more apropos: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” I wonder how many attack die that hobgoblin gets?


A moment of silence for one of the greats … Gary Gygax — co-inventor of Dungeons & Dragons

gygaxHe and the game became true badges of nerdidty (that’s him between Stephan Hawking and Nichelle Nichols as part of Al Gore’s uber nerd squad on Futurama). I discovered D&D long enough ago that I once looked suspiciously on the advent of Advance D&D. It was and is a game that managed to be collaborative and competitive. Mostly D&D taught me that games are really just long periods of laughter punctuated by periodic bouts of dice rolling. When I was in high school, Bill Kenower, Peter Kang, Evan Schrier, Dave Gray and the other members of the Birds of Prey even put together a session so my mom could find out what this was all about. I don’t remember if she was an elf or a hobbit, but I do remember she had fun. (I was a half-orc with impressive personality issues. Like you had to ask?) Someone needs to write a cultural history of the impact of D&D, for it is truly huge.

Also at some other time I will tell you the story of how Mrs. Collateral Damage got me to come out of the geek closet. The punch line, though, “How many Friday nights do the you have to spend playing D&D with the guys from Worcester Poly before you admit you’re a nerd?”

In the words of one of my favorite t-shirts: I am not a nerd. I am a 12th level paladin.

Go with grace Gary. You always rolled 20s in my book.

UPDATE: Just because he helped invent D&D doesn’t mean Gygax knew from dice.  BoingBoing has this from an interview with the man:

Q. As far as you know, what was the basic evolution of polyhedral dice? If they existed prior to the creation of Dungeons & Dragons, what were they used for?To the best of my knowledge I introduced them to gaming, en masse, with D&D in 1974. I found sets of the five platonic solids for sale in a school supply catalog back in 1972, and of course ordered them, used them in creating the D&D game.

D20Actually 20-sided dice were being used by the ancient Egyptians. I got a copy of one at the Louvre gift shop.

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