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Roleplayers for Obama? Saving Throw for McCain? 
22nd-Aug-2008 03:18 am
This posting in German: Rollenspieler für Obama? Schutzwurf für McCain

Dorktower: The candidates as gamersWhile many dungeon_masters might be aware of it, fantasy_scifi gamers and readers might have missed the newest development:

Fantasy roleplaying gamers, a classic enemy stereotype of evangelical US-preachers, have been discovered as a voting demographic in the new presidential election. How so? I'll tell you. With the cliché imagery of the 80s for depicting the 'liberal enemy'.

Pro-democratic Blog DailyKos had cast doubt on one of John McCains overly moralistic memories which he had recounted in the evangelical Saddleback Church these days, as stolen from “The Gulag Archipelago” by the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn . The McCain campaign reacted fiercely, hitting on liberal bloggers in general and -to everyone's astonishment- on dndfanz as fantasy gamers specifically. (Cultural reference: Dungeons & Dragons is to fantasy gaming what kleenex is to paper handkerchiefs. It is what the kids play at the start of E.T. and it's been around as long as the greenparty in Germany. The McCain campaign attac logic seems to be: Bloggers = Nerds = D&D-Gamers? Quote from McCain's website:

It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons &Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman’s memory of war from thecomfort of mom’s basement, but most Americans have the humility andgratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered onbehalf of others. (Source)

The blogging world was not enthusiastic about this, even less so if you took those actively or formerly from the "Dungeons&Dragons Crowd", of which some claimed they were "undecided before these attacs". John Kovalic (muskrat_john of DorkTower fame (dorktowerfeed), LJ blogger and game designer ("Munchkin" is qquite a good parody of the RPG hobby) correctly wrote: “What an…odd (yes, odd - “odd” is definitely the word) thing to bring into the national political discourse…”

It was the second time in a few weeks, that Goldfarb had, for the McCain campaign... attacked D&D-gamers (maybe Warhamster with a ruler was more his thing?) and afterwards, as Ben Smith in the Politico-blog reminds us, had send this tongue-in-cheek apology:

If my comments caused any harm or hurt to the hardworking Americans who play Dungeons & Dragons, I apologize. This campaign is committed to iincreasing the strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma scores of every American (Source)

Mccain_ddA saving-throw against nerd-bloggers, so to speak - and successfull the first time around, as he uses the vocabulary, the gaming stats of a D&D gamer. Hitting in the same direction again, only harder, seems to be a less than wise mobve, considering the reactions his last anti-D&D diatribe had provoked. Nowadays even staunch republicans doubt the honesty of the first apology.

Kevin Paulsen treated it in a humourous fashion in WIRED: Which of the d20_monstersdoes a “McCainculus” resemble? Others, right and left did not take this in so humourous a fashon. “Is McCain so sure of the outcome”, some ask,“that he thinks he can safely estrange about a million possible voters in the US”?Some threaten like at the in RPG Digest, as right wingnuts not to wait for McCain as long as Goldfarb is still on the McCain team.

For a final touch: Robert Mackey in the Huffington Post.

(X-posted from the irascignavojo LiveJournal to D&D communities.)
22nd-Aug-2008 02:06 am (UTC)

The criticism of the "cross in the sand" story is most likely bogus. It turns out that this story does not appear anywhere in "Gulag Archipelago," several people have some forward to confirm that they heard the story in the early 70's from McCain . Anyway, secretive signs of the fish or the cross among persecuted Christians are as old as the faith itself.

I thought the apology was funny. It's much better in any case than the standard "I'm sorry you misunderstood me" non-apologies.

In any case, it's just a game. If you can't laugh at yourself, every else will.
23rd-Aug-2008 01:38 am (UTC)
I'd concede that the apology was funny - the *first* time, when Goldfarb attacked D&Ders the first time around.

If a few weeks (i.e. 2-3) after that funny apology Goldfarb slams against DnD-gamers again... that's not funny anymore. And, by the way, I never lived in mum's basement. And my parents moved out from me before I started playing D&D... ;)
22nd-Aug-2008 07:03 am (UTC)
Astoundingly, discussion of this comment was deleted by the moderator on roleplayers because it was too political. *shakes head*
22nd-Aug-2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
I gotta say, though I'm used to name-calling as a political tactic, this one was not expected.

I'm sure there's at least 2% of America's liberals who happen to be basement-dwelling undersocialized gamers. But it's just so unlikely - it's like slamming the hundreds of thousands of my conservative fellow citizens as being only elderly Baptists living very specifically in Dayton, OH.

And it's especially weird when you consider that, if you were going to stereotype gamers, "bored military types" is at least as much a stereotypical group of D&D enthusiasts as "basement dwellers."
23rd-Aug-2008 01:39 am (UTC)
Most US gamers I know, with D&D as with the reenactment scene (SCA and all that) either are or were serving in the US military. Unlike Goldfarb.
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