McCain staffer slams Dungeons and Dragons players

Jimmy sez, "Michael Goldfarb of the John McCain campaign oddly disses gamers in his post yesterday on the John McCain blog."
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.
Smears the Left Can Fight For (Thanks, Jimmy!)


  1. Remember, John McCain is running for President of the Past.

    To him, gaming is pen and paper nerds in basements. Brings him up to about, oh, 1975 or so. Which, to his credit, is “teh future” for McCain.

  2. They don’t like DnD players because we are all satan worshiping extremists who steal children in the night for our dark rituals.

  3. Piss off the geeks who control the world’s informational backbone. I’m sure that’s a great vote grabbing move for a presidential candidate.

  4. “… most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others.” Like Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay?

    I want my Bill of Rights back, /you son of a bitch/.

  5. Ah, he’s inferring that you have to have done something (gone to war as opposed to having experienced adventure vicariously through D&D) in order to criticise it.

    I assume McCain’s tried every narcotic available in order to assess its effects on individuals and society?

  6. I’m willing to wager that a double-digit percentage of McCain’s support base have Advanced Squad Leader rulebooks in their closets. Bad move, dude.

  7. This is why the clowns running McCain’s campaign don’t understand strategy. They never played board games.

  8. How telling that the “Truth. Honor. McCain” blog doesn’t allow comments. Do any of his handlers have a clue how badly he’s botched the whole 21st technology thing?

  9. Basically, people on the web brought McCain’s religious pandering to a halt by revealing that it was probably all made up, so he struck back by calling names as if he were in the 6th grade.
    Yeah, this guy would make a great President.

  10. ‘war…’..blah blah ‘fallen heros…’…blah blah ‘freedom’ blah blah.

    What a warmongering geriatric! How dare you tell me like it is, you fantasist.

  11. Think the country’s hurting now? Just think what McPain can do for us. Someone with a Dark Ages mentality is dissing D&D? How funny.

  12. “I assume McCain’s tried every narcotic available in order to assess its effects on individuals and society?”

    No, but Cindy probably has.

    Oh yes. I went there.

  13. As long as he’s not using Bucknard’s Everful Purse to get past his own atrocious campaign finance rules, I guess I’ll let this slide.

  14. yes, far be it from Republicans to disparage someone’s war record.

    shades of “in the 21st Century, nations don’t invade other nations.”..

  15. Do they think that enough of their base will be like, “Yeah, screw those D&D playing nerds! Damn right, McCain!” to make this a good strategy? How does this not alienate more people than it appeases?

    And weren’t people who felt like that already McCain supporters? Why the need to pander to them publicly?

  16. Actually, I think this is a potshot aimed primarily at bloggers (pretty much the only people writing about the “issue” in question), and that the gaming bit was just added as a little extra nerd-baggage that dovetails smoothly with the traditional “working from mom’s basement” line that is trotted out against both groups. This isn’t necessarily any better, mind you, since it illustrates the persistent belief that merely associating someone with D&D counts as a slam. In other words gamers weren’t being targeted by this particular quote, they had already been dismissed as ludicrous/pathetic before the statement had been made.

  17. Wait. Weren’t we talking someone who reads Russian literature?

    In that case, “Commie” is the appropriate 1980s epithet. C’mon, McCain staffers! You are like, so out of it!

  18. McCain rolls a Nat 1 on his campaign for president.

    “you lose the election and your bowstring snaps, giving the hulking orc an attack of opportunity on you.”

  19. As a military vet that loves RPGs, I find this comment offensive in the extreme. Of course, I find McCain and Obama offensive as well. Too bad Ron Paul isn’t going to make it. But a vote for him won’t make my conscience pack up and leave either.

  20. What about liberal D&D playing Combat Vets?

    Do we have a place in McCain land?

    Oh and 4th edition sucks.

  21. McCain must be sitting on that card from the Deck of Many Things that basically amounts to a Wish-type one-off. You know, the one that lets you re-do one critical moment in the past? He’ll run the election, wait a few years, then re-do everything from the point where he could win. And we’ll never any of us be aware of the jump in continuity.


  22. No, you guys got it all wrong. He’s not dissing D&D players all together, just the pro-Obama ones. These are your typical 4e embracing pro “change” players. I am a D&D player pro-McCain, a DM in fact, and the most change I will allow in my campaign is Unearthed Arcana from 1988. I’ve been running this really cool campaign for about 5 years called “Endless Police Action on the Borderlands”. It’s a real hit with us pro-McCain gamers. I’m gonna start a concurrent group on a campaign path we call “Return to the Temple of Elemental Cold War Evil”. I think that’s gonna be a hit with the pro-McCain crowd too.

  23. Thomas Schaller, writing in the War Room section of, puts a “I was a POW, so I have immunity from all criticism” twist on the statement:

    Subject, verb, POW

    It is increasingly clear that John McCain and his campaign view his prisoner-of-war status as an unlimited immunity card. We have already heard a spokeswoman, while expressing outrage that anyone might imply that McCain broke the “cone of silence” debate rules Saturday, adding, midsentence, that McCain was a prisoner of war.

    And now his campaign, complete with an insult about how Barack Obama blog supporters are a bunch of “Dungeons and Dragons” types, has issued a statement that, you guessed it, once again plays the POW card while scoffing at — but not quite denying — the McCain story of how one of his Vietnamese captors apparently duplicated an act of kindness that one of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s captors did in Russia. Get a load of this:

    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.

    Frank Nitti-style, McCain is going to flash his get-of-out-trouble-free POW card every time anybody challenges anything he says. Obama had better have an answer for this, and he would be wise to pick a vice-presidential nominee to raise some objections to McCain’s annoying habit. Given Joe Biden’s famous “subject-verb-9/11” barb about Rudy Giuliani, the Delaware senator is looking better and better.

  24. Apparently an apology has been issued:

    “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

    I assume it’s authentic, though it seems a little to amusing to actually be from the McCain campaign.

  25. BuffaloGal @12:

    How telling that the “Truth. Honor. McCain” blog doesn’t allow comments. Do any of his handlers have a clue how badly he’s botched the whole 21st technology thing?

    I’m pretty sure they don’t. Back at the beginning of July, I was startled to find that McCain’s official campaign site was still soliciting paid comment spam, weeks after they’d announced the program and gotten practically unanimous negative reactions to it. What prompted me to write about it, though, was that not only was the offending page still up, but it was still unfinished.

    I checked it again today. The page is still there, it’s still soliciting comment spam, and it’s still unfinished! The only difference I can see is one of the program’s spoon-fed talking point that previously said “The Issue: Time for Solutions” now says “The Issue: Jobs for America.”

    I pulled a search string out of the new talking point (millions of good American jobs, ensure our nation’s energy security), ran it through Google, and learned two amusing things. One is that that search string is indeed turning up around the web — for instance, in forums, on a free-for-all document-sharing site, and in someone’s op-ed letter. Unfortunately, none of these sites are eligible for McCain Online Action Center points.

    The other amusing thing is that sites that picked up on the story more than a month after my own writeup included SlashDot, Ezra Klein in The American Prospect, Comedy Central’s Indecision 2008, Kevin Drum’s Political Animal, and InterTube Guy on Daily Kos. Whoopee! (When you’re a very minor political blogger, you have to get your jollies where you find them.)

  26. John McCain Random Encounter Table

    01-10: Rush Limbaugh, fresh from the bath
    11-25: Sean Hannity, fresh from Rush Limbaugh’s bath
    26-35: The Ghost of Richard Nixon
    36-50: Iraq Veterans Against the War
    51-65: Raagan Homunculi
    66-75: A Dancing Ellen Generes
    76-85: Jon Stewart/Bill Maher/Stephen Colbert Hydra
    86-90: Zombie Abraham Lincoln
    91-95: A High shelf
    95-98: Fred Thompson in full battle armor
    99-00: Victory in November (Fail, roll again)

  27. David Guerrero @30, that’d be the campaign that’s scheduled to still be running a century from now?

  28. “most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others.”

    My grandfather has plenty of inspiring stories from his service in the armed forces. That doesn’t qualify him to be President.

  29. “strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma scores of every American. ”

    He obviously has no idea what he’s talking about, since those stats are in 4th edition order and not traditional D&D order. Completely cribbed from some modern source and not a gamer.

    I play 4th, but never forget it was S-D-C-I-W-C not S-C-D-I-W-C

  30. MGFarrelly @39, you rock like unto a mighty rocking thing.

    Will falafel repel any of those guys?

  31. I was going to speculate on McCain’s character class, but then I realized he has neither. *hits drums*

  32. This is the same Michael Goldfarb who is an editor for Weekly Standard (, I’m pretty sure. It isn’t the D&D comment that pisses me off, it’s the fact that most of these conservative/neo-conservatives who go on and on about military might have never, ever worn a uniform in their collective, pathetic lives (I have, even though my Army career was cut short due to an injury). And then they have the unmitigated gall to make such statements. Pigs.

  33. Someone rolled a natural 1 on his diplomacy check. Though the apology is humorous, the hateful scorn shown in the original post is not going to just disappear. My particular D&D group includes a few business owners and an elementary school principal, none of whom live in their mother’s basement. Actually, one of them is an extremely right-wing Republican who is going to vote for McCain…wonder what he will make of this remark?

  34. I like this idea that Obama is of the left.

    I can assure you, that Obama is in no way left wing.

    America has no idea what the left wing is.

    Your politica spectrum runs from cenrtre right to ludicrously right wing.

  35. It’s the classic situation where a 1st level blogger attacks high level multi-classed gamer/Americans. Whether you are for McCain, Obama, or Cthulhu, tis a bad choice of foes. Doesn’t he know that most gamers get “Dice Smite” as a feat?

  36. I always used to go


    …wait a minute…got mixed up there.

  37. McCain’s people should really check their facts before they spout off. Does John McCain have no idea how many GIs play D&D? Wizards of the Coast (the makers of D&D) has sent care packages to the troops on many many occasions, providing free gaming supplies in support of our men and women serving the country overseas to help them decompress after hours.

    Perhaps all of these D&D playing troops should vote for Obama from their bombed out basements in Iraq, since John McCain obviously has no respect for their hobby of choice.

    A cheap shot from McCain, and pretty ironic since he’s railing against Obama’s lack of military knowledge. McCain should spend some time finding out more about today’s army and less time tossing rhetoric around.

  38. I think this Michael Goldfarb fellow may be a closeted D&D player himself. I think’ith soooo…

  39. I was totally apathetic about this campaign. Now, my vote will go to the candidate who I’d most like to throw dice with.

    None of the other candidates scream “lightning bolt, lightning bolt, lightning bolt…” like Ralph Nader. Plus, I bet he looks awesome in a wizard hat.

  40. Error404: I keep saying that, but no one believes me. I think it was Charlie Stross who said that America is dominated by two parties, one conservative and pro-business, and one VERY conservative and VERY pro-business.

  41. @44 TNH:

    No, but the dread “Macaca” can steal all your party’s willpower. An the less said of the Loufa beast from the lands of Oh-Rie-Lee the better.

  42. Yeah, well all I can say about this is that I was working in a bar one night when the Obama campaigners came out. They filled the place up, drank lots of water and didn’t leave tips. Just like the guys that come in to play Magic. F’n aggravating.. “um.. may I have a half pint of Stella and 4 waters?”

    If I owned the place I’d have thrown them out. Of course, this was after I voted for the guy.

  43. This offends the living shit out of me. As a veteran AND a person that played D&D, I felt it was my duty to write him a nastygram, which I did. Even though I’m sure he won’t understand many of the large words, I hope he understands the general feel that he’s a douche bag that brings shame to everyone around him.

  44. I’m a conservative who plays D&D. Sadly, McCain is one of the conservatives who listens to people like Jack Chick and Jack Thompson who blames video games.

  45. #9: “I assume McCain’s tried every narcotic available in order to assess its effects on individuals and society?”

    that is his wife’s job!

    As a decorated Veteran and avid gamer, I’ve now got two reasons to abhor McCain.

  46. It’s one thing to disapprove, but that blog post was just out right school yard bullying tactics. I’m astonished presidential candidates (and their staff) have such little control of themselves.

  47. What…the…hell? Even though I’m starting a “old-is-new” 1st edition AD&D campaign this weekend (maybe we’ll go down to the basement, even!), I’m not offended so much as bemused. What an odd attempt at an insult. *shrug* What’s this guy got against gamers, anyway? Did a bunch beat him up when he was a kid or something?

  48. #68: yeah, or manage your servers, online banking, your website, your voting machines…OH WAIT. nevermind. :D

  49. In McCains defense (I know… dangerous words),

    There’s a lot of hate being directed towards our troops all around. And these are the last people on earth who deserve it. It’s a good idea when it comes to things like “war” to listen to those that have been there. Arm chair quarterbacking and pretending to be an expert is exactly what forum trolls, and gamers are renowned for. So ignoring being directly critical of McCain the man has a point.

    There are a lot of damned near extremist views held by gamers. I mean I know that sounds like a load of WMDs… but I used to be semi-pro in UT2004… and some of the political opinions loudly voiced by folks in that community were well beyond absurd and obscene (and I don’t mean goatse). It would be nice if media and people in general wouldn’t just up and accept the authoritative opinions of random people on the internet, and instead went to primary sources for information. Such as the veterans of such wars as Iraq.

    Additionally, regardless of the war, there’s not excuse for not cutting some slack to the people who have served. That’s a tremendous sacrifice and it’s not something they are justly compensated for. We all know it.

    So in general… yeah it’s political posturing, and McCain is still crazy as all hell… but in this specific case… he does have a valid point IMHO.

  50. Holy F*CK some of those D&D posts are hilarious.

    As for…

    “but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others.”

    Let’s put in another level of detail here:

    but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who went overseas to attack and bomb a country that never attacked the US and then launched a nostalgia war so that a new generation could experience the same pleasure.


    but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who were tortured by the Vietcong and then decided to start torturing anyone captured overseas and suspected of anti-American activities.

  51. I read lots of insults towards McCain because he is old.

    Discrimination Laws protects people from Race, Sex and Age.

    If you fault McCain because of his age, you are just as intellectually flaccid as someone who faults
    Hilary’s sex, or Obama’s race.

  52. That campaign better be more careful. It’s not a good idea to anger such a large voting block, especially one who was firmly behind you to begin with.

  53. If you fault McCain because of his age, you are just as intellectually flaccid as someone who faults
    Hilary’s sex, or Obama’s race.

    Actually, no.

    See, it’s not his physical age so much as it is his mindset. He presents himself in the most crotchety way possible. Just look at his advertisements; Shaking his fist at celebrities, talking about the 60’s. Now one of his spokes-critters is out there nerd-baiting a 30 year old game.

    He’s a man facing backwards, and nothing makes you look less vital, less lively, less…young, than dwelling on the past.

  54. #10: “I’m willing to wager that a double-digit percentage of McCain’s support base have Advanced Squad Leader rulebooks in their closets.”

    Yes. In their closets. Along with all the other complicated games they could never figure out.

  55. #73: I fault him because he is painfully out of touch. Some old guys still use the “n-word” too…should be just hand-wave that, too?

  56. I swear! If he wins, I AM DEFINANTLY moving to Canada. As soon as I can, I am out of here if he wins. I just hope central Ontario or BC is far enough from the blast sites and not in the fallout plane.

  57. “but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who were tortured…”

    I respect some things about McCain, but that doesn’t mean I buy into his vision of or for America. He is a product of his generation and as such is most likely limited by some very hard-to-change mindsets. His pro-life nut-talk should make people listen closely. So, white, rich, America, whose daughter gets to have a back-alley abortion after the Supremes go extra neo-con? So, should we go to war with China to save all those murdered fetuses? Doesn’t good ol’fashioned-family-values America go to war to stop genocide? If America becomes crazy pro-life legislated, the government will have to judge all other governments that allow abortion to be guilty of genocide. The Government won’t allow ust to travel to these places. We’ll be trapped like lemmings. Trapped I say!

    Too much coffee.

  58. Jeff:

    Now, now – it’s misleading to call them “pro-life”, because they do after all feel no remorse for the tens of thousands of dead in Iraq.

    It is entirely accurate to call them “anti-choice”.

  59. John McCain’s military experience give him fewer points with me than John Kerry’s did. My Oregon neighbor, Jim Rassman, is the Green Beret captain that Kerry fished out of the river while under fire; and Jim gives a pretty convincing assessment of JK’s character, one that it would be hard to disbelieve; but disbelieve it millions of Americans did, after those evil ”swiftboat” motherfuckers got through with him. What they’re going to do with Obama, you can rest assured, will make the character assassination of John Kerry look like high praise.

    Obama has an outside chance of winning, but only if he selects Wes Clark as his VP. Clark can laugh at McCain and ridicule his pretensions and foreign policy ignorance. I know that the MSM lineup of pundits eager to have McCain’s baby is a long one, but there will be far fewer after Clark works him over.

    I’m an American veteran with boots on the ground experience, and I know the real thing when I see it. Although I respect McCain’s guts as a POW, it says nothing of his leadership abilities; I would soldier under Wes Clark and run like hell from John McCain.

    Obama is doomed without Clark; with him there’s at least a fighting chance.

  60. McSame Speak:

    My Friends POW 911 Surge Petraus My Friends POW 911 Surge Petraus My Friends POW 911 Surge Petraus My Friends POW 911 Surge Petraus My Friends POW 911 Surge Petraus. I’m not old!

  61. It is entirely accurate to call them “anti-choice”.

    How about we call it even at Chaotic Evil?

    (All this gaming talk, must get clean, pure again, must…soak…brain…in lye.)

  62. The McCain campaign keeps reminding us that he was a POW. What it causes me to remember is that American pilots shot down 11 Vietnamese for every American pilot shot down. It doesn’t speak well for McCain’s competence as a pilot that he was shot down. And he seems to have carried on the rest of his life at about the same level.

  63. I don’t think McCain wants to open up this can of worms – I’d bet he wishes it would all go away!

    It appears that the “cross in the sand” story only showed up in 1999 when he was running for president against GWB. Before that and in his book, he made reference to the Xmas day conversation he had with a guard with no mention of a cross. Wouldn’t the cross in the sand story be included in the book if it happened?

    This isn’t a big story unless the McCain wants to make out like we are all a bunch of idiots for not believing him…..because there are enough people out there that will rip his story to shreds!

  64. @88:

    Wait…wait are you saying that a politician may have lied? About a self-agrandizing (not to mention completely unverifiable) story to curry favor with a demographic he has had trouble connecting to?

    This is big. Woodward and Bernstein in a parking garage big.

  65. I have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of politicians.

  66. Look, this comment was made by a stupid staffer, not by John McCain. I know that on a personal level, I often have a different opinion than that of my employer, but people don’t get mad at my employer because of it.

  67. As a veteran (US Army infantry) and a former-veteran (D&D 1st level fighter), my suggestion is:

    Save Versus McCain.

    — SCAM

  68. @#91 Why?

    Because Barack Obama (insert invective here).

    McCain could be running on the Sunshine and Lollipops campaign but his message mainly consists of how (bad adjective/adverb) Obama is. He’s defined by absence. A shadow creature.

  69. #71: “There’s a lot of hate being directed towards our troops all around.”

    Hold on there cowboy… Criticism of the administration and those parroting the company line (even if they wear the uniform) is not “hate being directed towards our troops..” I think it is correct to say the disgust is aimed towards the carpenter, not the hammer.

  70. #88 you brought up what I was going to – and if memory serves, this is the third time that story has changed.

    Not only that, but this time it sounded eerily familiar to what Solzhenitsyn wrote in The Gulag Archipelago.

  71. #93- I agree with you that it’s unfair of anyone to attribute these specific words to McCain. But they are consistent with McCain’s attitude towards, well, the modern technological world.

    #94- Nice to see you in comments other than on Eric Zorn’s blog! Always enjoy your posts there, and your blog. Could you clarify what “Save versus McCain” means? I’m probably an idiot for not understanding it, but…

  72. I understand the Obama campaign is preparing a counter-attack on the pro-McCain model railroaders.

  73. Is McCain humble and grateful enough to remember and learn from our suffering in the past 8 years?

    And what, no women suffered?

    Those purple hearts he wears on his sleeve hurt when he backhands us like that.

  74. Peacock @73: Discrimination Laws protects people from Race, Sex and Age.

    Wait, so these discrimination laws will keep me from getting older, but only if I also give up sex? Tough choice!

  75. missplace, if you were HIRED to speak ON BEHALF of your company, then made a staement like that on the company blog, it is as though the company were speaking. unless soon thereafter the company fired you and made a loud public “we so sorry”, and then tried to mollify the d&d’ers with free 12 sided dice or something( maybe some free tiregauges!). goldfarb speaks for mcpain. that’s his job. your argument doesn’t hold wawa.

  76. There only invectives here are pointed at McCain. Personally, I’m not a liberal (okay, I am socially). But I’ve had too many accounts killed for posting pro-McCain stuff, to I’m going to stop there.

    And honestly, I think the anti-D&D smear is going to fall on a lot of deaf ears, but good luck with that.

  77. Two of my gaming buddies are in Iraq. A third is in, I dunno, Korea or somewhere, because she can’t get online (or tell us where she is). A fourth is married to a guy posted in Japan.

    Buddy 1 in Iraq said that the brass there actually encourage games like DnD or WoW because they help the troops relax and act socially.

    Clearly, McCain would have benefitted from playin’ some DnD as a child.


  78. @#51
    “It’s the classic situation where a 1st level blogger attacks high level multi-classed gamer/Americans. Whether you are for McCain, Obama, or Cthulhu, tis a bad choice of foes. Doesn’t he know that most gamers get “Dice Smite” as a feat?”

    Cthulhu as write-in candidate? Who’s with me?

  79. “pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd”? “from the comfort of mom’s basement”?

    What? Wouldn’t McCain be happy to get the vote of the forty-something, Republican-leaning, proud D&D playing parents? They are not that rare, after all. Today’s teenagers can even be third generation D&D players!

    And what about all the historical reenactment crowd, especially the Confederates fans? Or the board game generals to try to get Lee to win this time?

    The McCain people should try to know their potential public…

  80. Amazed that no one has quipped “I’m a tenth level Vice-President!” yet…
    What other ones can I pull out?
    Nah I’ve run out for now. Anyone feel up to making up a set of character sheets for the candidates?

    Anyway, as a British person who doesn’t directly benefit or lose out from whoever is elected it’s not really my place. My only observation is that, in my mind, America’s international reputation cannot withstand another Republican term carrying on the Bush family agenda on foreign shores and against a majority of innocent civilians. From what I heard growing up in the Nineties, we were just recovering from the end the Cold War and I remember watching Bill Clinton on TV as a friendly, diplomatic and charismatic man who funded education and other worthwhile causes. Then a glassy eyed, slow brained man with as much command of words as a university student after the exams have finished took the helm.
    Now I read about his terrible speeches, draconian security personnel at airports and how many British soldiers were killed this week in Iraq…

    When I was a kid I was always told of the wonderful ideals that America was built on. Freedom, justice and acceptance. I learned right and wrong from American made super-heroes like Spiderman and Batman. Please don’t let the ideal of the Patriot doing what is right for the people, rather than the politician disappear.

  81. Way to go Mr. Goldfarb! You have helped alienate an entire demographic from your candidates message! Something that might have taken Barack Obama millions of dollars in advertising to do, you did in a few short sentences. As a D&D player of 15 years, and an active voter, you have certainly made it clear to me where your candidate stands on the issues I’m most concerned with. Yessir, with that crack about D&D players commenting from their parents basements? Oh wow. You showed us, mister! That is certainly original.

    Except, it’s not. And it’s not true. You’ve obviously never attended any kind of gaming convention, or you would realize the majority of the people there are middle class adults who own their own basements, work their own jobs, and, Oh Yes! They VOTE! And they are raising the next generation of voters, too. From the looks of things, if you keep writing the way you do, you’d better hope these kids rebel and become Republicans when they grow up: because that’s the only way you’ll end up seeing the inside of the White House for a long time to come.

  82. SonOfKevitivity,

    No sloganeering, please. Also, clever sock puppet name. It would have been easier to just request reinstatement.

  83. I am for Obama but I have been ragging on D&D for over 30 years now. I also rag on Arkham and others of such ilk. The only reason I don’t rag on Memoir 44 is that its good to play with my kid.

    I can tell a good story about McCain’s time in Pensacola sometime also.

  84. BUDDY66@89: Sorry to break it to you, but Hillary is going to be the VP Nominee:

    LORISNJ@93: Not with the media censoring McCain’s egregious mistakes like CBS did recently, and the rest of the “Ministry of Truth” following suit. Swift-boating seems to only work against the Dems, while the real criminals deeds get glossed over. Remember what got Dan Rather to leave See-BS?

  85. #73: There’s a lot of hate being directed towards our troops all around.

    Really? By Americans? Where?

    On the contrary, I’ve seen virtually no criticism of “our troops” in this country during the past 7 years.

    Individual servicemembers involved in crimes and abuses have been criticized — and rightly so. But general “hate” toward “our troops”? The idea that there’s a huge contingent of “troop-haters” in this country is a right-wing media myth.

  86. I respect McCain, but I do not like the people he relies on to be effective. If this is his lead campaigner, just imagine his cabinet.

  87. PHIKUS,

    if so, why send me old news about the fence-mending make-nice nomination gesture already negotiated? Do you know something else, or are you just bullshitting?

    If you’re bullshitting, take it to somebody else; if not . . .

    I gotta call Los Vegas.

  88. Folk should read the entire blog posting rather than the snippet. Also, the D&Ders must have thin skin because there isn’t nary an insult in the whole piece.

  89. the POW-pass card was brought out by Hannity the other day for McCain’s cheating on his wife! even though he was at least 4 years outta incarceration.

    the way the right geared up on Kerry’s military duty was truly a thing of evil beauty to watch. I spent a lot of time on those right wing message boards during this time, and it was massaged in. At first there were a lot of ex-military guys who were p.o.-ed that the anger mob was questioning his service. They didn’t like his politics, but felt you had to respect his service. Slowly, but surely, the big dogs of the board, the super-right attack-leaders, got the sheep in line, and stayed on message — Kerry was a hippie over there on holiday.

    I never thought they would vilify to the extent they did the mom who lost her son in Iraq, but they did. I didn’t think they would turn on Pat Tillman’s family, but they did. Heaven help you if you draw the lottery card of having to say something they don’t want to hear … they can demonize ANYONE. ANYONE. they know that it takes a while sometimes, that telling you to strangle your puppy won’t make it happen right away. just stay on message, and come up with lots of spurious evidence …

  90. RRSafety, you plainly didn’t read even the section quoted, which is itself an insult to D&D players. What the heck are you talking about?

  91. Well, no one with any brains is going to say that this came from McCain, after all, it was stated by a staffer. Staff have opinions too, this one’s opinion is dead wrong. Just remember it is not a reflection of McCain, and whether you do or do not like McCain you can’t honestly or legitimately blame him for this.
    Nw tht sd, my nt gr wth vrythng McCn thnks r sys r ds–tht h s rspnsbl fr, bt d knw tht f th tw mjr cnddts ths yr h s th nly chc fr frdm nd th cnstttn. ny vt fr bm wll, f h wns, hlp tppl th cnstttn r frfthrs blt fr s. bm s n ptrt. Frnkly, h scrs th crp t f m!

  92. D&D player for McCain here. Just because some stupid staffer dissed me, doesn’t mean I abandon my candidate.

  93. CinHil, I would agree with you…if you swapped the names of the two candidates. And I don’t see any reason we can’t blame him for this. People are blaming Obama for Rev. Wright, after all. Has McCain denounced this staffer and severed all ties with him? By the standards of what his campaign has been saying about Obama, that’s what’s required for him not to be held responsible for this bozo.

  94. In fact, if the Dems were as dirty as the Rethuglicans, they’d be recruiting a group of “POW Camp Survivors for Truth” to claim that McCain collaborated with the VC for better treatment, ratted out the other prisoners’ escape plans, or even ate some of them.

    But the good guys don’t play that way, and our side doesn’t have a scumbag like T. Boone Pickins to foot the bill.

  95. As a gamer, veteran, and Independent undecided voter, I feel impugned myself. My desire to vote McCain also took a hit.

    I Googled the apology, and cannot find it outside of a handful of blogs.

  96. “Any vote for Obama will, if he wins, help topple the constitution…”

    Whoever wins won’t have to push very hard after Bush, Cheney, DHS, TSA, et al have started it rocking so well.

  97. I’m sure that all the folks saying that this was “just a blogger” and therefore not McCain’s responsibility were as vigorously defending Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan when the Edwards campaign started getting flak for things they’d written on non-campaign blogs.


    Sure, some gamers live in their parents’ basements; is that better or worse than living in your rich second wife’s multiple houses?

  98. No, Jake, you forget all the shit that’s on it from them wiping their dirty asses with it. Could help stick it in place.

  99. Jake0748:

    “Any vote for Obama will, if he wins, help topple the constitution…”

    Goodness gracious me! Has anyone used rhetoric like that against a candidate since 1860?

  100. Teresa, I was quoting somebody else, #129, (who was later disemvowelled). Please don’t think I would ever utter such a thing. Look at the second part of my comment, that’s what I really wanted to say.

  101. As an avid D&D player over the age of 60 and a political atheist, I find the statement merely stupid. As a Viet Nam vet, I find Mr. McCain to have been a poor Naval officer. By his votes against care for veterans of Iraq, I find he is a poor man. Respect in this case need not be earned, but it can be lost. Mr. McCain has lost mine.

  102. r y gys srs? Y’r dssng gy fr syng smthng ttlly rsnbl. Ppl (lk mst f y’ll) wh hv bsltly n cl wht wr s lk bynd vd gms, shldn’t b syng tht McCn s n dt nd dsn’t knw wht h’s tlkng bt.

    Y’r prvng hs pnt PRFCTLY wth ll yr nn, rrgnt cmmnts. Thnk bt t.

  103. ABarkett – Yes we’re serious, and no it’s not totally reasonable. He was insulting people who play D&D and bloggers by saying we all live in our mother’s basement. How is that at all reasonable?

    We say he’s an idiot and doesn’t know what he’s talking about only when it comes to policies we disagree with and his approach to interacting with anyone under the age of 60. No one ever EVER said he didn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to war. We all respect his service, but it doesn’t get him a free pass, and neither does being held as a POW. That was an awful thing, and no one deserves to go through that, but it doesn’t mean he’ll be a good president, and it doesn’t mean he can’t make up stories (whether intentional or not, and it’s impossible to prove if it’s true or not).

    Inane arrogant comments? Have you read them? Many current and past service people have commented that it’s insulting. I think maybe they know what they’re talking about.

  104. bardfinn wrote:
    I want my Bill of Rights back, /you son of a bitch/.

    Now THAT is the T-shirt I want. Hilariously on-topic, with a full nod to Inigo Montoya…

  105. @ #73 matt joyce

    “There’s a lot of hate being directed towards our troops all around.”

    NOw THAT is a lot of sh*t and you know it.

    This simplistic binary mind set is just infantile.

    Are you infavour of the war? No. Oh so you hate our troops then!!!!

    What sort of remedial reasoning is that?

    has it never struck any of you mouth breathers who trot out this line of tripe that the beest wat yo support the troops is to not spend their lives and their limbs like pocket change?

    You can be ANTI the war but pro troops.

    It’d be nice to see some of the “pro war” politicians actually show that they are in any way pro TROOPS.

    McCain has blocked and stymied improved veterans medical funding and assistance at EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY.

    It seems that the 2 positions are in fact Anti War but Pro Troops, while the Govt is rabidly Pro War but anti troops.

    for the love of f*ck, get your head straightened out.

  106. Incidentally.

    Have you actually read up on McCains service?

    Graduated dead BOTTOM of his class in Annapolis, 845th out of a class of 849.

    Such a no hoper that there was no way he’d get a fighter assignment.

    He got one, maybe because his dad and gran dad were both ADMIRALS?

    He crashed 5 planes.

    Anyone who crashed 2 would be veiwed as a poor bet and rotated out to lighter duties.

    When he was caught bythe VC, he was damaged in the crash, thus the arms, but he made 30 taped interviews encouraging US troops to surrender and lived in a fancy apartment.

    It was not the movie The Deer Hunter.

    But he says Obama is the elitist child of priviledge?

  107. I wish there was a tag of some sort so we know the reason for disemvowelled posts, some of these (hard to read through the disemvowelling) somewhat appear to just be for being pro McCain. I don’t like McCain at all (or Obama) but it makes the discussion hard to follow.

  108. Wait, this is actually a real post on the real, official blog? I used to actually take John McCain seriously, and quite respect him in fact, but it just erodes more and more with each passing day.

  109. Mr. McCain, i wish to inform you that we have informed MUCH HIGHER POWER about your ranting. They are not happy.


    The secret circle of “Call of Cthulhu” Players

  110. I always thought it was:


    I think that goes pretty old school though. As for McCain, whatever. I’m sure Obama thinks were losers to, he (or his minions) are just smarter than to call anybody a loser to their face.

  111. Jake0748 @139: I know that wasn’t your line; that’s why there’s two sets of quotemarks on it. I see now that that wasn’t sufficient. Sorry about that. I was just addressing the question to you.

    Error404 @146, I know you feel strongly about this, but fewer one-sentence paragraphs and all-caps words would not diminish your message.

    Rebdav @148: Malarkey, sez I; if you can’t read the disemvowelled comments, you have no idea whether they were zapped “just for being pro McCain.” I resent the allegation, and wouldn’t mind a bit if you backed down on it. Besides, you’ve been around here long enough to know that by far the biggest reason people get disemvowelled is for their manners, not their opinions.

    The reason: Barkett was a drive-by asterisk. He was self-indulgent, rude, and condescending; he made remarks that were offensive to everyone here who has military experience; and he didn’t read the thread before posting his comment.

    If you have trouble inferring vowels, see whether this helps:

    Ae ou u eiou? oue ii a u o ai oei oa eaoae. eoe (ie o o a) o ae aoue o ue a a i ie eo ieo ae, ou e ai a ai i a iio a o o a e ai aou.

    oue oi i oi EE i a ou iae, aoa oe. i aou i.

  112. Ostensibly 149: That’s the order I remember from the real old D&D days, when the only alignments were Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic, and they didn’t have Good or Evil or any hardback books at all. My box set still said Greyhawk on the front. I since gave it to a poorer friend who sold it on Ebay for beaucoup bux.

    Of course, even remembering this stuff dates us. But at my age, nothing else will, so what the heck! *casts Banish Kids From Lawn spell*

    David 152: No, Charisma was last. I remember that, because I rolled a pretty mediocre character once, and then rolled a 17 for Charisma. (No, not a Paladin, he was Chaotic Good. Weird thing our GM made up called an Aldiric that did divine power possession. Killed a Nazgûl that way once. The body drain nearly killed me though, because my Chaotic Good patron (or should that be matron?) goddess decided to STOMP it to death, which took a long, long time…and at 2 hit points per second of possession, I was pretty messed up.)

    Teresa 153: I knew it! You save the vowels in case you need them! Hey, you could donate them in the Kaukasos…some of the languages there only have one (or none, depending on how you analyze them).

  113. Moderator, what’s this about streak-free Windex and bacon? Glasses are on now…never mind.

    You know some of us actually live in the garage, not the basement! Fools.

  114. Teresa 154: Chacon à son goût?

    (Exciting: do I get in before the 100 other people who will post the same thing?)

  115. Isn’t a Strint a bird that drinks blood?

    No, that’s a Strix, never mind. Called a Stirge in some D&D books, because some one dyslexed the plural, Striges.

    And yes, more than one sphynx is a pair of sphynges. This word-nerd nonsense brought to you by PedanTech™, serving all your pedantry needs.

  116. This comment has to come from someone who hasn’t actually been on a military base in the past 25 years. Role-playing games relieve stress, sharpen skills (including tactics and team-building), and improve morale, which is why soldiers in the field, even in forward positions, play games in their downtime. Once you’ve defeated an army of monsters and saved a kingdom, dealing with a few snipers or IEDs is a picnic. I believe that West Point has an annual gaming convention, and I think the other military academies have similar events. Role-playing is an essential tool in strategic threat analysis.

    (Cory will remember the days when I ran a game store in Toronto. I used to sell a lot of games to serving military personnel.)

    to #58 David Guerrero: That made me laugh, thanks.

  117. AVT Tor, is the West Point gaming convention open only to cadets, or is the public invited? I’m asking because I’d like to see how West Point cadets handle some of my scenarios (which involve fighting, but sometimes fighting is the wrong answer, and sometimes you want to fight for the wrong side).

    Also because I have in the past GM’d someone who is now a West Point cadet! His parents met through D&D and he’s been playing since before he could hold dice.

  118. …Jeez, McCain. If you hate D&D so bad, how do you feel about Naval Miniatures?

    Someone get this g00ber a copy of Steve Jackson’s Raid on Iran and see if he thinks it’s a game or a strategic planning utility…

  119. I’ll (try to) save the rant for elsewhere, but, really, on a site that’s so often critical of cops, how have we allowed ourselves to be scared silent about soldiers (I mean, I have had to psych myself into posting this – that’s strange).

    I realize that there are mechanisms of class and power in play, but really, why should we be required to pretend to have such boundless respect for people who decide that they only way they can get ahead in life is to become professional murderers?

    Don’t support “our” troops. Support our citizens. Help them have options besides becoming bloodied cogs in the war machine, help them have an education so they know exactly how unethical putting on that uniform is, support them when they go AWOL, support them when they refuse to follow unlawful orders, support their healing from the massive psychological disorders that come with participating in (mass) murder when they’re out. But enough kowtowing to people who have agreed to kill without question on command. They are a tragedy, but they are no heroes of mine.

  120. That’s a truly pathetic insult. Dungeons & Dragons is awesome. So is Obama. Sounds pretty good to me.

  121. This is like somebody switching to Communism because an American insulted the Cubs.
    “In other words gamers weren’t being targeted by this particular quote, they had already been dismissed as ludicrous/pathetic before the statement had been made. ”
    That is exactly right. As a guy who played D&D in his teens, twenties, and thirties, I was totally unphased by this statement. His comments were rude but it doesn’t make McCain unfit for Presidency.
    f y gys r ths thn sknnd vr cmmnt frm stffr thn y rlly r pthtc nd hv gd rsn t hd n yr bsmnt. The real world is filled with people who will say things that aren’t so great, but give them half a chance and they will turn around and buy you a cup of coffee, or wave you in to get the better parking spot, or offer you a discount at the store, or whatever. t snds lk mst f y lrdy hv md p yr mnd bt McCn nd r jst lttng ths fl th bm-fr brnng wthn y. t’s ky t hv dffrnt pnn n thngs bt lt f y mk t snd lk H RN VR YR PPPY (whch m ssmng h dd nt).
    I love D&D – a great game, but that is all it is. f y r s pst vr ths cmmnt thn t s mr thn gm t y n whch cs – srry – y dsrv t b md fn f.

  122. Re: Ridl @163

    Up until recently, the military didn’t perform “policing” actions. Out of the 200+ year history of American military forces, that’s pretty much brand-spanking-new. That’s why it’s different.

    We all berate those idiots and fools at Abu-Gharib, who acted like bullying cops. And it’s the DUTY of Army Soldiers to disobey Unlawful Orders. It’s also their Duty not to go AWOL. It is, after all, a volunteer military. Until the draft gets reinstated, I have no sympathy for someone who thought they could cut it, and then cut out.

    Is a soldier, on a battlefield, killing another combatant murder? Not so much. But that same soldier killing civilians, is then committing murder. The difference is the choice of violent action. Peace onto the peaceable, death onto the other; or some such.

    As long as their are poor, proud, or macho; there will be recruits going into the military. And before you go generally insulting the military, understand that the nation wouldn’t exist without the efforts of a militia.

    Yes, help their psychological struggle. Yes, give them other alternatives. But don’t imagine that just because they’re soldiers for 1, 2, 4, or 20+ years that they’re contemptible murderers. It’s hard to say anything other than that’s (lacking intelligent rigor and clarity). When there are no wars, there will no longer be a need for soldiers; and “soldiers” will be murderers. Until then, war is part of life on earth. Don’t let idealism blind you to reality.

  123. Reminder for people with short memories:

    Operation Dice Drop and subsequently ZigguratCon last year proved the confluence between tabletop RPG players and Iraq battlefield combatants beyond the shadow of a doubt. So there’s folks in Iraq right now taking flak from both sides of the fence.

    Flinging mud will get us nowhere. Goldfarb clearly failed to realize the ramifications of his recent foot-in-mouth episode, and resurrecting the specter of the D&D moral panic of the 1980s is remarkably silly and needlessly divisive. The reaction of gamers bashing our soldiers in return is equally dumb, since I’ve already pointed out that a fair number of them are ALSO gamers.

    I have happily voted for McCain as Arizona’s senior Senator for years, and this by itself would not change my vote. Unfortunately for him, I also happen to feel that the time for him to have been President was eight years ago, not now.

    So, yeah, I am, in fact, one of that “Obama Dungeons and Dragons crowd”, Mr. Goldfarb. I also worry about my friends in the military and am proud of the job they do, even if I do not agree with their Commander-in-Chief. Last time I checked, dissent is not un-American, and neither is Dungeons and Dragons.

  124. @ 152 Yeah, your right.

    @ 18 Best post here! I get a dexterity of mind bonus.

    I think some disemvowelling here is excessive. But…it’s not my blog.

    I’d say he’s a lawful anal paladin, but i’m guessing thief/illusionist is closer to the truth.

  125. Miwasatoshi 169: I also worry about my friends in the military and am proud of the job they do, even if I do not agree with their Commander-in-Chief. Last time I checked, dissent is not un-American, and neither is Dungeons and Dragons.

    Me too. I guess most of my friends are out now, but I still worry about the ones who WOULD be my friends if I knew them…and now I know there are some.

    If someone uses a hammer to smash up a stranger’s car for no reason, it’s no criticism of the hammer to say they shouldn’t have done it. In fact the hammer has been wronged (if an inanimate object can be wronged) by being misused in that way.

    In the same sense, I feel that our military has been misused by the war in Iraq. No criticism of them: they did the job they were intended to do, exactly as ordered. Their orders come from the Worst President Ever, so the result has been a protracted and bloody conflict; but by and large (leaving out aberrations like Abu Ghraib) their execution has been skillful and their conduct exemplary.

    They have been wrongfully used. I’m angry not at them, but on their behalf. My friend who had to black-tag his best friend in Iraq is out, thank gods, but he’ll never be the same.

    I can only hope there will be a reckoning, and that the right people will be brought to justice.

  126. I sent this to the contact e-mail on the McCain site. I think it should be posted in many more places.

    I am a veteran. Let’s start by saying that. I am also an avid gamer. I know a lot of avid gamers, some veterans and some not. I am quite incensed by the recent comments of a McCain staffer. Michael Goldfarb was quoted as saying, “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 take great offense to this. I treated wounded during desert storm, some of who are/where avid gamers. I myself am a disabled veteran. I am highly offended at the stereotype that this staffer used. It’s stereotypes like this that cause distrust and hatred.
    I know Senator McCain did not make these comments himself, but he should be more careful about who he lets represent him. Alienating these people, who most likely run the computer systems that run the world, is not a good move. A formal apology should be issued, and soon, unless he really does want the gaming community as a whole to go against him. We are a tight group, and we are many, and we have the power of fast communication at our fingertips.

  127. I remember it as: Str Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha, On my 3.5ed Character sheet. (Which I think makes sense since the more combaty and magic/skilly skills are together with the social Cha at the end.)

    Tom H@ 167: Well said, sir.

    I agree this doesn’t exactly make me want to run to another presidential candidate, though it does annoy me.

  128. I’m sure I’ll have to repeat this a bunch of times, but I’m getting real tired of the “soldiers are hired killers” line. I don’t blame the people who use it, because they sure didn’t invent it, but it’s needlessly dumb and divisive.

    Where there is no willingness to use force to defend civilized society, it’s civilized society that goes away, not force.

    Short of that point, though, there are still going to be occasions when you obviously need defensive forces. You’ll have two options. One is to have an established professional military that operates under rules and is answerable to civilian authority. The other is to hire outfits like Blackwater. If you go with the latter option, not only will they be nastier over the short run, but over the long run there’s a good chance they’ll take over your government.

    Some of the more insightful commenters in Boing Boing’s threads are former or serving military. If you can’t tell who I’m referring to, consider the possibility that you don’t know as much about the military as you think you do.

  129. TNH: Again, well said. (Though I admit I have never served in the military, but I admire those with the courage to do so.)

  130. Theresa –

    I still think the word “War” functions as a term for “mass murder” that society has an easier time accepting, just like “soldier” works as an easier-to-swallow name for “hired killer”. I don’t see a way around that. Soldiers get paid. To kill people. Hired killer. I’m sorry if you think that’s dumb, I think it’s honest. And I’m sorry if you think it’s divisive. I think war is divisive. Actually, I think war (state sanctioned and subsidized mass murder) is the greatest threat facing the species, and if we can’t talk honestly about it, what hope do we have? That includes discussing why we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising encouraging our children to become hired killers rather than productive Dungeonmasters.

    Also, I wrote the first post because I’ve seen very little discussion on bb critical of the military… the Iraq War, yes, but not the enlisted themselves… i think it’s telling that you immediately respond with “I hear this all the time, I’m so sick of it…” Imagine how I feel about yellow ribbons.

    Moving on, do you really think civilians in the USA still maintain any kind of real control over the military? Ever heard any debates about scaling it back to save education/welfare/the environment or fund healthcare/guaranteed secondary education/peacecorps/americorps? Has any military answered for the atrocities and vast warcrimes in Fallujah? Do you lose sleep at night worrying about the threat of a peaceful Colombia, or what would happen if we didn’t have immediate strike capabilities over every square inch of the planet, or what the poor White Phosphorous merchants would do without our support? Didn’t think so. Our military has been out of control for as long as our corporations have been… since WWII or earlier. Check out “Addicted to War”, it states the facts well, it’s endorsed by Veterans For Peace, and it’s a comic.

    “Where there is no willingness to use force to defend civilized society, it’s civilized society that goes away, not force.”

    Very pat. But I’m sorry – civilized society is under attack? I missed that – are you talking about Television? Or is it still the hippies?

    In terms of national defense, I believe there are many alternatives to your binary of standing army or mercenary army… including largely unarmed and diplomatic ones. I also kinda think the nation-state will eventually go away… but give it a couple centuries. We’re talking here and now about nationally sanctioned mass murder and the people (I never called them despicable (Tom H @ 168), I just refuse to call them heroes) who get paid (and honored, and exploited) to perform that murder (yes, usually on a battlefield – which is where a bunch of people are trying to murder each other – how is it not murder because there’s a lot of it? I never got that).

    Actually, we’re talking about a kinda sad old presidential candidate pissing off the internerds… cough.

    As for your last paragraph, Teresa… often good people do bad things. Often whole societies do bad things. Denial, groupthink, and centuries, if not millenia, of obfuscating “warrior” ideologies are powerful psychological defenses.

    I think the world needs to get beyond mass murder and hired killers, and that entails an honest discussion of what terms like “war” and “soldier” actually mean, and what they allow “governments” to do. I don’t think we’ll get beyond the need for armed defense (which, as I said, is a far cry from the “overwhelming military superiority” we currently fetishize) any time soon, but I think it’s a good goal to dream about. More concretely, I think the United States Military is a threat to the entire world, and we as a country need to come up with a way to massively scale it back or we will continue to put ourselves, and everybody else, in the gravest danger.

    (Whew. OK. That’s it. Didn’t think I’d write that much. Thanks for reading, goodnight.)

  131. Thanks, Foolster.

    Ridl: War is a nasty business. There’s no denying it. Lots of people wind up dead or maimed, civilians suffer like hell, good stuff gets destroyed, and billions of dollars go down the drain forever. That’s why sane governments do all they can to avoid it; where it can’t be avoided, stave it off for as long as practicable; and when they do go to war, try to maintain human values and the rule of law.

    War used to be worse. Sacking, pillaging, and slavetaking used to be regular procedures. Now they’re war crimes. Distinguishing combatants from noncombatants: big win. The Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners is a major improvement. Same goes for field medics, fast medevac flights, and decent hospitals; ditto, the recognition that soldiers are human beings, and have the right to be treated as such by their superiors. And yet, war is still awful. The difference is, it used to be godawful and then some.

    The trouble with asserting that war is nothing more than state-sponsored mass murder is that the existence of war precedes the existence of states by millennia.

    I’m sorry if you think that’s dumb, I think it’s honest.

    I’m afraid you’re right: I do think it’s dumb. I also think you’re patting yourself on the back a good deal more than is seemly.

    When you assert that people really go to war on account of “denial, groupthink, and … obfuscating ‘warrior’ ideologies,” and psychological defensiveness about same, what you’re saying is that you’re smarter than everyone else. They’re so blinded by their bad mental habits that they can’t see the simple basic truths that are obvious to you.

    Furthermore, millennia of human civilizations have been blinded by those same bad memes. In consequence, they’ve gone to war, even though they knew (as we do not) that they might be the civilians that got murdered, pillaged, and enslaved; ditto, that the loss of manpower away fighting might mean underproduction and semi-starvation at home; ditto, that there’d be neither medics nor anesthesia if they were wounded, and neither help nor pension if they managed to limp home a cripple. Plus all the rest of the plain flat-out godawfulness of war, which a thousand tongues crying out unceasingly for a thousand years were inadequate to utter.

    Do you truly believe they only did that because they’d failed to notice that war has no actual underlying causes, and that if only they’d been able to agree not to have wars any more, wars would have stopped happening?

    Quoting songs is usually Takuan’s riff, but I feel the need to quote a song written by my friend Steve Brust. I’d rather link to his lyrics page, but he’s never put one up on his website.

    War Is Bad
    by Steven Brust

    Last night as I lay in a doze on my bed
    A remarkable notion came into my head
    The most shocking thought that I ever had,
    the realization that war is bad.


    War is bad
    peace is good
    never use plastic if you can use wood.
    Be kind to strangers, give good jobs to vets
    recycle glass bottles, spay/neuter your pets.

    All of those years of bloodshed and pain
    can now can forgotten and washed down the drain.
    Just like the sunshine come out from a cloud
    and all thanks to me, gee whiz am I proud.


    So clear and so simple, my head almost burst
    I wonder why no one else thought of it first.
    We all should stop shooting and be civilized
    I’ll tell all my friends and won’t they be surprised?




    For the record, Steve is neither a political naif, nor a blind supporter of the status quo. Not hardly. Not by half.

    You are of course free to believe that military personnel are nothing more than hired killers. You’re free to say so on your own website, or on other websites where it’s acceptable speech. But I’d very strongly prefer that you not say it here, because IMO it’s offensive, unjustified, and a slur on a good many of Boing Boing’s readers and commenters.

  132. The thing with diplomacy is it only works if the other side wants to listen. That is not always the case. Call me a pessimist, but humans and by extention human nations can be greedy and unreasonable and feel they can get what they want by force. To say a diplomatic army can replace a standard or mercenary one is simply nieve.

  133. The thing with diplomacy is it only works if the other side wants to listen.

    Diplomacy mostly consists of ignoring small infractions in order to give the other side some breathing room to de-escalate. It’s a wise policy. We haven’t seen it in action for almost a decade.

  134. Yes, more deplomacy than now would definitly be good. G.W. in this respect has done a terrible job.

    But the implication seemed by RIDL to be of completely replacing our army with a diplomacy force. As I said, naive.

  135. Like all of us who play D&D I am hurt and angry by the hurtful and irresponsible statement by Goldfarb regarding the game. However, I don’t agree with aggressive and hurtful comments on this thread. Where’s all the anger coming from? I like WOTCs letter. No slurs. No name calling. Just the facts.

    My comment to Goldfarb is he should be careful. A mistake like this can cost your candidate votes. This posture is not very professional in any arena(except perhaps at a professional wrestling match. OK, that wasn’t nice…).

    For the record I’ve been playing D&D for nearly 30 years. I played my first game in 1979. It’s my hobby. I’m am a D&D geek. I have spent and will spend a lot of money on all the stuff. I have 4th and I love it!

  136. Alright McCain, you may have slandered your opponent in the same manner you were slandered in 2000. The republicans may be repressing votes (when they can).

    But dragging Dungeons & Dragons into it? Thats a low blow.

    Your campaign better roll for initiative, since this election’s about to go Vorpal.

  137. As a gamer I have sent books and video games to our troops in Iraq specifically because that is what was asked of me by the various soldiers I know. Unfortunately, I don’t think that even the three Core Rulebooks are thick enough to stop a modern bullet, Cheney. SO YOU START SENDING THEM BODY ARMOR, I’LL KEEP SENDING THEM GAMES. And since when did this douchebag join the BADD-Thompson-Hillary-Tipper panic camp. Jesus. 70 years ago I would have been a Republican. Now there really isn’t a good candidate.

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