Lieutenant John Martini: Mazes & Monsters is a far-out game. Swords… poison… spells… battles… maiming… killing!
Daniel: Hey, it’s all imagination!
Lieutenant John Martini: Is it?
–Mazes and Monsters
So people have started noticing the unbelievably bizarre insult being hurled by McCain flak Michael Goldfarb:
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.
The “Pro-Obama Dungeons and Dragons Crowd”? Pardon me, but what the hell is Goldfarb smoking, because I need to get me some of that.
Look, we all know that D&D is likely to make you go insane, seek out the World Trade Center, and try to jump off while casting a spell that will give you superpowers and allow you to avoid making the movie Joe vs. the Volcano1, but frankly, I’m not getting why this is suddenly an insult. At least not in the year 2008.
John Cole has some idea:
Is it to build up McCain’s macho street cred by attacking the nerdy Obama and his supporters? Are the religious nuts still convinced D&D is a tool of satan? Is there some sort of anti-D&D demographic out there that is the new soccer mom? Or is Michael Goldfarb just an idiot and forgot to vary his schoolyard insults?
My guess is that it’s trying to insult Obama for not fighting for his country in Vietnam, when he was twelve, or in a war he could have fought in, like Grenada. Of course, we all know that not fighting in a war disqualifies one from ever criticizing anyone who has fought in a war, on any topic, ever. And nobody would ever question whether an inaccurately retold story about war disqualified someone for the presidency. So this is totally understandable.
And yeah, it probably has something to do with a shout-out to the Christian right, who cling bitterly to the belief that four guys role-playing an attack on a giant spider represents evil Satanism, when what it really represents is America’s best hope for an abstinence-based reproduction program.2
Nevertheless, I don’t think this is an attack that’s going to fly. Look, Jack Chick aside, nobody actually believes D&D is evil anymore, certainly not anyone who would vote for Obama. I mean, the game system is 34 years old at this point. It was last scary around the time Mazes and Monsters came out, which made fear of D&D too hilarious to be taken seriously. There are grandparents out there who played D&D as college students, and a lot of parents who played it as kids. Attacking the D&D-playing Obama campaign is like going after the Yahtzee-playing McCain set — it simply doesn’t make any sense to anybody, anywhere.
Which is why I strongly encourage the McCain campaign to stick with it.