Skip to main content

I've done them all: Vampire: The Masquerade, Dungeons and Dragons, GURPS, Call of Cthulhu Deadlands, Savage Worlds, the occasional LARP. I've been a gamer for a quarter century. So sue me, I'm an incurable geek.

And amazingly enough, I haven't sacrificed any cats to Satan, or drank anyone's blood, or raped anyone, and nobody's taught me how to cast Mind Bondage (boy, that spell would be handy!)

Many thanks to the unintentional humor of Jack Chick.

So, can I ask a favor of you? Yes, I get it. We've got a douchebag teabagger out there who's as hypocritical as hypocrisy gets. He's an anti-gay, misogynistic, fundie gun-bunny who likes to get his freak on. And he's a gamer.

But try to avoid the collateral damage. The vast majority of gamers are not like Jacob Rush. All the role-playing games, LARPs and related games I've played were, and are, good, clean fun. Yes, some of the games I played, and GM'd, come out like Stephen King novels. But understand that when someone's behaving like a freak, like Jacob Rush, the problem isn't with a game, it is with the person.

Jacob Rush is a freaky asshole. But don't take it out on us gamers.

Since I've been gaming for a long time, this isn't my first moral panic. Other industries were also victims of idiotic moral panics, including comic books, rock music, romance novels, and video games. This insanity seems to crop up once every generation.

Back in the 80's, people playing Dungeons and Dragons were accused of worshiping Satan, and encouraging rape and suicide. One of the purveyors of irrationality was Jack Chick, who published the tract Dark Dungeons, pictured and linked above.

Patricia Pulling was probably the biggest anti-RPG activist, who founded the organization Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons (BADD). She came onto the scene after her son committed suicide due to mental illness. Of course, she blamed the game, not the illness, and accused gamers of offenses running the gamut from Satanism to cannibalism to (gasp) homosexuality. She filed several frivolous lawsuits, against her son's school, and against TSR (the publisher of Dungeons and Dragons) at the time, and became a media sensation.

The moral panic was also fueled by movies such as Mazes and Monsters. Eventually, even Democratic idiots, like Tipper Gore, joined the Republicans and fundamentalists in demanding censorship of role-playing games.

Needless to say, her lawsuits all failed, and when the scientific studies came out from groups including the American Association of Suicidology and the Centers for Disease Control, they found absolutely no causal linkage between gaming and suicide.

It took activist gamers like Michael Stackpole to organize pushback against the moral panic, bring some desperately needed sanity to the discussion, and end the demonization of kids and adults playing a game.

The fact is it's just a game.

Oh, people dress up in costume? They do that for movies, anime and manga, Halloween, zombie crawls, twenty million other occasions. People like to play in costume. Get used to it.

The imagery and stories are disturbing? What, you've never watched a horror movie or read a Stephen King novel? If being disturbing in our tastes in fiction was a crime, we'd all be in prison.

If Jacob Rush wasn't behaving like a psycho while playing his vampire LARP, he'd be behaving like a psycho doing something else. The problem isn't with LARPs or role-playing games, or video games, or works of fiction, the problem is with Jacob Rush.

So let's end this Daily Kos moral panic here. It's just a game, folks.

Originally posted to ApostleOfCarlin on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 11:09 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Mark Sumner, maxomai, tsackton, filkertom, Phoenix Woman, LouisMartin, grollen, Pandora, Debby, genethefiend, Charles CurtisStanley, eeff, Pompatus, Bryce in Seattle, delver rootnose, the good witch, Walt starr, nanoboy, hubcap, geordie, themis, BlackSheep1, KMc, ReneeNY, Bronxist, oceanview, Iberian, askyron, Cedwyn, Moody Loner, pat bunny, Virago, defluxion10, Catte Nappe, papercut, frostieb, oortdust, Crazycab214, Bluesee, sandblaster, Simian, SisTwo, Skaje, wesmorgan1, zlankee, chimene, Alice Venturi, arch, Kevskos, eru, Yamara, LucyandByron, FindingMyVoice, Balachan, xaxnar, ThatSinger, raptavio, Dvalkure, ruleoflaw, blueoasis, DarkestHour, The Hindsight Times, novapsyche, ER Doc, Unknown Quantity, doingbusinessas, Tempus Figits, anotherdemocrat, ninkasi23, ColoTim, gloriana, karmsy, wildweasels, Matt Z, shesaid, Transactivist, GeorgeXVIII, Quanta, aseth, GANJA, JayC, VelvetElvis, Marko the Werelynx, Youffraita, SMWalt, mikeconwell, tofumagoo, petulans, oak park progressive, BYw, The Dead Man, JesseCW, fToRrEeEsSt, Birddroppings, Denise Oliver Velez, drbcladd, Munchkn, moviemeister76, sfarkash, kingfishstew, Leftcandid, Lefty Ladig, serendipityisabitch, Susan Grigsby, catwho, ATFILLINOIS, Dingodude, anonevent, dant, nickrud, science nerd, Oh Mary Oh, freesia, Amayi, lupinella, thomask, Prinny Squad, quarkstomper, worldlotus, myrmecia gulosa, blue muon, Simul Iustus et Peccator, dradams, Rashaverak, quill, Whimsical Rapscallion, anodnhajo, DeadHead, MightyMoe, Chrislove, UntyingTheNot, 2thanks, FloridaSNMOM, kirrix, jan4insight, AverageJoe42, greblos, Most Awesome Nana, BobTheHappyDinosaur, jusjtim35, onceasgt, Witgren, Alhambra, BlueEyed In NC, JerryNA, Jon Sitzman, GreenMother, tuesdayschilde, ET3117, duhban, NonEuclidian, Penny GC, The Technomancer, Sir Roderick, TheProgressiveAlien, believeindog, scribblingTiresias, Caittus, BMScott

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site