Saturday, August 30, 2008

Politics and Gaming

I don't intend to discuss my political views on this blog; however, every once in a while something happens in politics that directly relates to the hobbies I do discuss in this blog. I never expected anything to come up during this Presidential campaign, but it did.

Michael Goldfarb, Deputy Communications Director of the McCain campaign, apparently doesn't really know that much about communications. In a blog post made back on the 18th (which was apparently a repeat of comments he made to the New York Times earlier) he talks about some alleged smears coming from far left bloggers, in doing so he makes the comment "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."

His naivete concerning the extent and composition of the RPG community was merely compounded by his "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." This either indicates that Goldfarb has knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons, and chose to use it disparagingly anyways, or asked around the campaign headquarters for someone who knew enough about it to frame a cutesy reply. Either case shows absolutely no remorse for the initial insult, and no respect for gamers.

With increasing awareness of the slight in the gamer community, Hasbro decided a couple of days ago to weigh in on the situation by writing Mr. Goldfarb a letter which they released publicly:

Michael Goldfarb
1235 S. Clark St, Suite M
Arlington, VA 22202

Dear Mr. Goldfarb,

I was disappointed to read the disparaging intent of your comments regarding Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fans, both in your response to New York Times editors, and on the John McCain campaign website.

Dungeons & Dragons is a global game with millions of consumers in the U.S. and abroad. The brand is owned by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc.

For fans, the game is essentially about heroism and therefore it is not surprising to us that thousands of military personnel play and enjoy the game. Hasbro, in turn, supports the U.S. Armed Forces by sending multiple crates of game products, including Dungeons & Dragons, to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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

We would very much appreciate you not making any more condescending comments about D&D -- as it is a great game enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Thank you.

Wayne Charness
Senior Vice President
Hasbro, Inc.

I thought that this was a particularly good response to the issue on the part of Hasbro. As far as I know there has been no response from Mr. Goldfarb or the McCain campaign.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I don't intend to discuss my political views on this blog, but in the interest of saving the effort of anyone trolling blog sites for anti-McCain posts, I'd just like to point out that I don't support either of the two main candidates for President. If I become aware of similar anti-gaming comments from the Obama camp I will discuss them here as well.

I would also like to point out that despite the overall tone of this post, I recognize that in the grand scheme of things this is a pretty minor issue for most people; however, I think that the McCain campaign's refusal to either retract or offer a sincere apology for the statement really is a slap in the face to gamers.

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