D&D Co-Creator Gary Gygax Has Passed Away

From Slashdot

Mearlus writes "In the recent past co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons Gary Gygax has worked with Troll Lord Games, a small tabletop RPG publisher. Their forums have up a post noting that Mr. Gygax has apparently passed away. Gygax was known, along with Dave Arneson, as the Father of Roleplaying." Saddened reactions from well-known designers have already begun to appear online. Consider this is an in-memoriam Ask Slashdot question: How has D&D (and tabletop roleplaying) touched/improved your life?

I have to admit that I was one of those geeks that really enjoyed role playing, and continued to play into my mid 20’s (I have friends at work in their late 40’s that continue to play). It’s gaming for the mind rather than the instant visual and aural gratification of today’s video versions.

Thank you Mr. Gygax for enhancing my childhood and my life.

Intellectual Honesty and Why Names Matter (sort of)

Recently, right wing talk radio in general, and Jay Severin on WTKK in particular, has latched onto the fact that Barak Obama’s middle name is Hussein. This is clearly being done as a way to to try and associate Obama with our enemies in the war on terror by emphasizing the Islamic source of the name and implying that he is some sort of crypto-Muslim.

This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst purposefully deceptive.

The idea that Obama is in any way Muslim has been completely debunked, and yet the talk shows keep harping on it.

Let’s examine a hypothetical situation which, I think, clearly illustrates how truly onerous this tactic really is.

Let’s just say that Jay Severin is a pro-casino guy and that he lives in Middleboro, MA (the former perhaps true, but I’m not sure, and the latter demonstrably false, but this is, after all, hypothetical 🙂 ). And let’s just say that he decides he wants to run for town selectman. Imagine the (proper) outrage if his opponents started issuing campaign literature emphasizing the following:

Do you really want Jimmy Serevino on your board of selectmen when the biggest issue of the day is whether or not to allow organized crime into our neighborhoods in the form of a Casino?

The obvious (and abhorrent) implication here is that anyone of Italian ancestry is obviously connected to the mob, and that’s not the kind of person we’d want running our local government with the casino question pending… that would just be inviting the mob into Middleboro.

Is there anything factually wrong with the question being asked? No. Does the question imply something that’s probably (and mostly likely) wrong (that Jay is mobbed up)? Yes. Should we as a thinking electorate stand for such nonsense? Absolutely not.

So, people’s names don’t really matter. What matters is how the names are used. If they are used to identify someone, that’s fine. If they are used to disparage them, or imply untruths, or connections that don’t exist, it is completely unacceptable.