Somehow it took two days for this Nicolas Carter post about being institutionalized by Cards Against Humanity to come to my attention. The bill of particulars in the Polygon article were bad enough but this? Since I’ve been arguing tonight about cancel culture (more on that later), it’s time to cancel Cards Against Humanity. Tear it all the way the fuck down.
We spend our lives turning our silence into power with yoga and mindfulness, when maybe the problems we have with the world are because it’s unfair. Maybe it makes us sad or anxious to see the homeless people on the streets every day as we go to work for millionaire capitalists who don’t know our names and wouldn’t remember them if they did. Maybe knowing that I could be killed at any moment by state forces, or feeling like even when I said my opinion- even as a writer whose job it was to do that- it was inevitably stifled and suppressed, had made me mad.
Nicole Carpenter at Polygon lays out the charges of a racist and sexist culture at Cards Against Humanity. Someday I’d like a fuller explanation of how the company’s leadership could claim, repeatedly, to have a comedic culture of “punching up”.
Cards Against Humanity, I once said, was “the Donald Trump of game companies, in that they are both cynical ploys to leverage the worst about people into piles of cash”. MetaFilter today offers a roundup of “the company’s toxic work environment” as related by former employees and supporters.
In this edition: city streets, pricing by algorithm, barbershops, NASA’s ventilator, brutal numbers, old movies, NPCs, llamas, excess deaths, mariachis, coffee history, Muggletonians, air pollution, and the political conversation.
This morning someone asked me if I wanted an old Xbox 360, and this afternoon I realized why, exactly, it was that I did not: in all my life, I’ve never solved or completed a game. Not once.
The games I played the most when I was younger, for example, were not videogames but Infocom text adventures and I never finished one without resorting to reading a walk-through.
Games are distilled frustration.
Life itself already is a series and sequence of environments and situations which I’ve never been able to solve or complete. Sitting down to “play” more of the same isn’t entertainment; it’s torture. I wish I’d understood, back then, what this was telling me about myself.
Post-diagnosis, my life has been about trying to suppress complication and incite predictability. There’s little question that I’m simply not a puzzle person. I don’t want to have to be responsible for a story — and I’m using “story” broadly here to encompass anything which, in a game context, requires “figuring out”.
I’m fine simply giving myself over to being told one.
On today’s briefer walk around downtown St. Johns, I spotted the two old guys who tend to play chess outside The Great North coffeeshop, which is closed (and not pictured), instead playing at the built-in tables outside the dive bar Slim’s, also closed.
Despite its blithe dismissal, I think the explanation below (via Paul Bausch) is exactly why nothing akin to tabletop roleplaying games (notwithstanding Kriegsspiel) appeared before the modern era. Most of history is forgotten, and surely a historian would know this.
An interesting variant of the argument, suggested by Matt Clancy, is that in fact tabletop role-playing games have been invented and re-invented many times, all over the world, but because of the lack of printing and low population densities, they have become lost and forgotten. Perhaps. Though I find it hard to believe that an activity so fun would never have been mentioned.