silly social movements #5: the anti-dungeons and dragons movement
The website io9 has an article on the anti-D&D panic of the 1980s and the pro-gamer activists who fought them. From Annalee Newitz:
Thirty years ago, a war raged between the dorks who played Dungeons & Dragons, and the conservative parent groups who believed that gaming was debauched at best and Satanic at worst. Lives were ruined. People died. And now that war is over. I still can’t believe we won.
We heard rumors about how some kids weren’t allowed to play D&D. There was a pretty big evangelical Christian community where I grew up, and it wasn’t uncommon for other kids to point out that we were probably worshiping the devil. Which — I think one of my friends was a lawful evil cleric, so maybe there was some devil appreciation when a spell went right. But I classed these accusations in the same category as my friend’s evil cleric status. They were fantasies.
Still, unlike my fantasy of being a hot half-elf, the Christians actually had some control over our lives. My best friend got kicked out of Catholic school for playing D&D, which we counted as a win because it meant she could come to our shitty public school and play D&D with us. Outside our southern California town, however, D&D players weren’t getting off so easily. They were ostracized by their peers, kicked out of public schools, and sent to glorified reeducation camps by parents who feared their children were about to start sacrificing babies to Lolth the spider demon.
Fortunately, geeks won out – D&D is now just a hobby. There is also an archive site with anti-D&D literature. I actually know Newitz from way back. If I had known of here gamer side, I would have invited her to geek out!
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