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March 09, 2005

And Now They're Persecuting Me

Okay, now Israel is really pissing me off.

The IDF (Israeli Army) routinely discriminates against recruits who admit they... play Dungeons and Dragons.

Army frowns on Dungeons and Dragons

IDF says players are detached from reality and automatically given a low security clearance

By Hanan Greenberg

Does the Israel Defense Forces believe incoming recruits and soldiers who play Dungeons and Dragons are unfit for elite units? Ynetnews has learned that 18-year-olds who tell recruiters they play the popular fantasy game are automatically given low security clearance.

“They're detached from reality and suscepitble to influence,” the army says.

How dare they. Does this look like "detached from reality" to you?

Don't you see how the ogre crumbles from the power of my lightning bolt?

And as far as "susceptible to influence" -- well, that's why I wear a Talisman of Free Will. Duh.

.... now the army has confirmed that it has a negative image of teens who play the game and labels them as problematic in regard to their draft status.

This seems like a counter-productive policy to me. In the past, those who wished to evade the draft had to feign a back injury or, pace Jamie Farr, wear a dress.

Now they just need to roll four six-sided dice and then go to the local smithy to buy barding for their warhorse.

So if you like fantasy games, go see the military psychologist.

Positively Stalinist. Isn't this why we fought Communism for fifty years?

I'm pretty sure it was one of the reasons, at least. Didn't Reagan mention Tunnels and Trolls in his Evil Empire speech?

...

Game enthusiasts are aware of their problematic image in the army and prefer to maintain their anonymity. Many of them are from the former Soviet Union where the game is very popular.

Who knew? But don't take much solace in that; remember that awful Russian band "Autograf" at LiveAid? They were popular in the USSR, too.

... "It's not a game of winners and losers," Matan says, "but rather entry into another world with stories and plot changes."

Ummm.... let's be honest. Let's just say it's not a game of winners and leave it at that.

The army is not indifferent to the unique hobby and is trying to locate soldiers who in their free time dress up as witches and play in forests.

Oh, well, then: that's different. Witches are Chaotic Evil and ought not be trusted.

...

"One of the tests we do, either by asking soldiers directly or through information provided us, is to ask whether they take part in the game," he says. "If a soldier answers in the affirmative, he is sent to a professional for an evaluation, usually a psychologist."

...

Matan says he has personally met soldiers whose military career was harmed due to their connection to the game. Most soldiers who play Dungeons and Dragons simply do not admit to it while they are in teh army, he says.

I think that's the wisest course of action for pretty much anyone, whether in the army or not.

Hell, 75% of the reason I keep my anonymity is my fear that my "checkered past" -- and let's face it, this is slightly more embarassing than having possibly been a gay escort -- will be used against me.

"Many people who play served in the most classified units," David says. "They are intelligent and any attempt to label them as 'weird' is incorrect and unfair."

Ehhhhh... again, let's not quibble over semantics.

Bloggers, we cannot let this misguided policy stand. It reminds me of the famous admonition:

When they came for the Star Trek conventioneers, I said nothing, because I never bothered to pick up even a coversational-level of Klingon.

And when they came for the model railroad enthusiasts, still I kept silent, because I just never felt like dealing with all that glue and cotton-swabs.

And when they came for the massively-multiplayer on-line role-playing gamers, I yet held my tongue, because it's difficult to remain IC ("in character") when you're dealing with horny fourteen-year-old boys who keep asking you "where the whorehouse is" and "Doth thee know of any fair maidens who wisheth to cyber?"

And then when they came for me, no one said anything, because there were no geeks, nerds, dorkwads or gaywads left to cry out.

Or, as the great Justice Louis Brandeis said in the landmark privacy case U.S. Versus Asmodeous, Baalzebul, Jubilex, et al., "What a man chooses to do in the privacy of his own home with graph paper and miniature mind-flayers is no one's business but his own."

Thanks, I think, to "Blackjack" at The Hole Card. I think it was he who tipped me, at least; the email seemed to have been sent before it was finished.

Or maybe the IDF intercepted it. Hard to know.

Where is Cedarford when you most need him?


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posted by Ace at 02:16 PM

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