Anyone who can be trusted in little matters can also be trusted in important matters. But anyone who is dishonest in little matters will be dishonest in important matters.

This cautionary video clip, brought to you in 1993 by The 700 Club, has been making the rounds:

(More info here.)

Mocking Pat Robertson, and more specifically the anti-D&D hysteria of the 80s and early 90s, is a bit too easy at this point, so I won’t bother. But I do want to point out a few things about this video, which aims to scare people away from Dungeons and Dragons by suggesting that playing the game leads to child sacrifice and the wearing of terrible homemade wizard/KKK robes.

The most obvious thing is that nothing at all in this video remotely resembles anything that ever would be said, seen, done, or heard at a Dungeons and Dragons game. The “game” that they’re playing, which looks like a homebrew Candyland variant, bears no resemblance to D&D.

No big surprise there; few anti-D&D attacks like this showed signs that their creators had ever seen or read D&D, or talked to people who did. But look at the date this video was released: 1993, almost twenty years after D&D was first created! It’s even ten years later than Jack Chick’s infamous Dark Dungeons tract. In those two decades, nobody at The 700 Club had so much as flipped through a D&D rulebook at Toys ‘R’ Us. That graduates it well into “willful ignorance” territory.

And for somebody trying to warn of the dangers of pop culture trends, Pat Robertson has completely missed the boat here; by 1993 D&D’s heyday of popularity was well behind it. A little card game called Magic: the Gathering was just about to explode onto the scene, and as far as evil roleplaying games went, Vampire: The Masquerade and its sister games had decisively eclipsed D&D as the Shock Your Parents™ games of choice. In 1993, D&D was quaint.

Consider what this video says about Robertson’s intended audience. Anybody who had actually played D&D would immediately dismiss it as being insulting, slanderous, and irrelevent; so it clearly wasn’t bothering to address people actually playing the game. This video is talking only to people who had no clue what D&D was about, and who could be relied upon to never try to find out. Despite either laughable ignorance or simple contempt for truth, Robertson was asking people to respect his judgment about a topic they knew little about.

Ah, well. If you want to know what really goes on in the dark basements of D&D players, this remains the best source.

(Bible quote is from the Contemporary English Version.)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

One Comment

  1. Ed Heil says:

    I thought maybe this was a critique of the Anselmian soteriology of substitutional atonement, the way it creepily outlines the idea of seeking out an innocent’s blood as a sacrifice to avoid punishment….

Leave a Reply