John McCain’s Presidential campaign took a rather harsh and completely random swipe at RPG fans recently, somehow linking them to questions about a story McCain has told regarding his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
During a talk at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, McCain related a story in which a camp guard approached him one Christmas during his time in captivity, silently drew a cross in the sand with his sandal, and then a minute later rubbed it out and walked away. The story was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience, but has also drawn questions from “the blogosphere,” according to a CNN report, which says critics claim McCain had never mentioned the story prior to his first run at President in 2000. Similarities between McCain’s story and one related by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago, the account of his life in a Soviet labor camp, have also been raised.
In a message posted on the campaign’s web site, McCain aide Michael Goldfarb made it quite clear where he believed these questions were coming from, and what he thought of them, although how he came to this conclusion remains entirely unclear. “It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman’s memory of war from the comfort of mom’s basement,” he said, “but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others.”
Regardless of the veracity of the tale, Goldfarb’s out-of-nowhere cheap shot at D&D players smacks of both a short temper and a certain lack of touch with reality – neither of which are qualities that reflect well on a Presidential hopeful. A video showing McCain at Saddleback Church and comparing his story to that of Solzhenitsyn is available on YouTube.