Daily Illuminator

October 22, 2007: Blurring The Line Between Reality And Stick Figures

As previously noted, John Nephew of Atlas Games is running for Maplewood City Council. Someone opposing his bid for election has circulated fliers claiming John is an unworthy candidate because he publishes Let's Kill and Corruption. Twincities.com has the story.

I originally took a humorous approach to this issue, pointing out that Minnesota elected former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura governor in 1998. But the more I think on it, the less funny it seems. John Nephew is a smart, successful businessman; Atlas Games has been a notable brand for 15 years, in an industry known for its turnover. He's a concerned citizen. During the d20 craze, he frequently and openly discussed the hard numbers of publishing, guiding many d20 basement operations -- his competitors! -- away from bankruptcy. And he's a hard worker: he writes, he edits, he packs boxes in the warehouse, often all in the same day.

I don't care about his politics; he's the sort of guy a political race needs just to keep the other candidates honest. His opponents should welcome the opportunity to meet his challenges on real issues, as although you may disagree with him, your positions can only be strengthened by a thorough debate. And that's what John will give you.

All this just makes it more frustrating that someone, anyone would attempt to smear his character by pointing out that some of the games he publishes aren't suitable for some people. We should, as a civilization, be at the point where we can recognize that senses of humor are not universal, and that "games" don't automatically mean "for children."

I really hope this mudslinging is coming from a group unrelated to the opposing candidates; otherwise, Maplewood is in even more trouble than previously thought.
-- Paul Chapman

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