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PJ Media
PJ Media
9 Sep 2023
Lincoln Brown


NextImg:Weekend Parting Shot: Dungeons & Dragons & Poverty

Happy Weekend, Gentle Readers,

I hope this missive finds you well. I actually have a weekend off to work on my book. Of course I’m working on a book. Every writer is working on a book. It’s a prerequisite for the job. You may even get to read it someday, if I can find someone to publish it without me selling my soul to the devil or chaining myself to an editor’s desk for a hunger strike.

LARPing your way to a better social credit score

When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a re-enactor. My state was not the scene of any Civil War battles but had seen some action before and after the American Revolution. So we had 18th-century re-enactors. I always thought it would be cool to hang out in the forest wearing a tri-cornered hat and carrying a musket. But then, that is something I probably would have done anyway, and being a re-enactor would have just given me an excuse.

And then there were the kids who started a chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism in a town I lived in. But in rural Utah, arms and armor are a bit hard to come by, and much of their gear was crafted of items from the hardware store. They would occasionally gather on the field of battle at the local park. They were affectionately known around town as “The Lords of Duct Tape.” But we also admired them for their effort and creativity.

I’ve also had an appreciation for people who cosplay. I’ve been to a couple of Star Trek conventions but never a ComicCon-type event. I have the distinct impression that those people could smell a conservative from a mile off, and I have no desire to be beaten to death with a hundred plastic lightsabers.

You don’t hear much about LARPing these days, although I suppose some people still do it.* The Post Millennial reports that one group of people who planned to try LARPing and likely would have failed miserably were the residents of the tony Chicago suburb of Highland Park. The city government decided that it was time for the town’s well-heeled residents to learn a little bit about how impoverished people live. To do that, the city planned a “poverty simulation event” for this coming Saturday. Yes, rich people were planning on spending a Saturday pretending to be poor. The announcement included the following:

Participants in this immersive experience will begin to experience what a “month” in poverty feels like. Participants are put into situations in which they do not have enough resources and are forced to make difficult choices that can negatively impact them and their families. The outcome is increased awareness of the need for resources to support those living in poverty to create a more resilient health, human, and education in our local area. Participation is free, but registration is required.

And where was this even going to be held? The Highland Park Country Club. What better venue?

Oh, it gets better.

The poverty simulation was going to be conducted using a kit from a company that is aptly named “The Poverty Simulation.” I tell you no lies – that is the name of the company. Group. Firm. Whatever. On its website (and yes, there is a website), the group states:

Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families. But unless you’ve experienced poverty, it’s difficult to truly understand. The Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) bridges that gap from misconception to understanding. CAPS is an interactive immersion experience. It sensitizes community participants to the realities of poverty.

CAPS is not a game. It is based on real Community Action clients and their lives.

But wait! There’s more! You can purchase the poverty simulation kit for your church, school, or country club for the low low price of $3,500. Plus $150 shipping and handling. Call now! Operators are standing by! The first ten callers will also receive a Ginsu Knife and a Pocket Fisherman! I do not have the ability to describe the header photograph on the purchase page. And I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to try. Click here to see the picture for yourself. Trust me, it is worth the click.

I don’t know what is more pathetic: the fact that rich suburbanites are getting their rocks off, salving their consciences, and telling themselves they are making a difference by playing “poor” for a day; or the fact that some company is charging $3500 (plus $150 shipping and handling) selling these kits. Poverty is not “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Poverty should not be reduced to a boat ride through “Poor People of Cook County.” It would be far better if these fluty-voiced, overdressed jackanapes devoted themselves to relieving actual poverty, which is just up the road in Chicago. That certainly beats playing with pretend money and fake food stamps for a day. Of course, the Virtue Signal won’t power itself.

The Post Millennial noted that social media users had a few thoughts to express:

“Why don’t y’all teach the impoverished how to be wealthy. Seems like a win win rather than this boneheaded lose lose.” (sic)

“Tone deaf doesn’t even start to describe how absolutely embarrassing this is.”

“I have a better idea. Give them $5, take away their cell phones, and drop them off in a homeless camp. They can spend a month there. Or let them live in the apartment/home of someone with little income and they have to live on the same amount that the poor person lives on. Make sure there’s no food in the fridge when the month starts.”

Did I mention the event was canceled?

Related: Weekend Parting Shot: Cocaine Raccoons

Wine Recommendation: Because probably sooner rather than later, we all really will be broke. So enjoy life while you can.

So we’re back to the reds this week. I decided to try another Spanish wine and found the El Coto 2018 Crianza Rioja.

I was not disappointed. This is a medium-dark and drinkable Rioja (Tempranillo) with a hint of cherries and currants. There is also a little bit of raspberry as well as a dash of dark chocolate and a little vanilla, but just a hint. Before bottling, the wine is aged in oak barrels for ten months, giving it a very nice but very subtle woody and smoky flavor. It engages all of the taste buds and finishes extremely well. It leans a little to the acidic side and higher on the tannins. This wine stands well on its own as a good nightcap at the end of the day, but one of its nicer features is that you can pair it with beef, lamb, or poultry. Or it might even go well with smoked ham.

That’s it for me. Have a restful weekend, and I’ll see you next week.

*If you want to watch a fun documentary about LARPing, I suggest “Darkon.” It is a 2006 indie film that chronicles the adventures of actual LARPers in Baltimore. It’s a good way to kill a snowy Saturday afternoon. “Monster Camp” is another fun offering.