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D&D gains another critic...
March 6, 2005 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Teens in Israel need to find a new hobby: Incoming recruits to Israel's Defense Forces (Tzahal) who divulge playing Dungeons & Dragons are being flagged with low security clearance and psychological disorders. New guidelines are in place that limit D&D hobbyists from being considered for sensitive army positions such as Sayeret Mat'Kal, one of the most elite designations of Tzahal. Why does the IDF believe the game is so dangerous?: "These people have a tendency to be influenced by external factors which could cloud their judgment, a military official says. "They may be detached from reality or have a weak personality – elements which lower a person's security clearance, allowing them to serve in the army, but not in sensitive positions." Many find this policy inexplicable, and are turning to humor to aleviate the ridiculousness.
posted by naxosaxur (38 comments total)

 
I didn't know that, as the main link states, "many of them are from the former Soviet Union where the game is very popular.". interesting post, thanks. and the "humor" link is funny.

anyway, D&D fans seem the perfect choice to guard the homes of people who think that the Book of Genesis is a legal, binding document
posted by matteo at 11:59 AM on March 6, 2005


Well, do you really want someone in your army running at the enemy, screaming: "Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!"
posted by Krrrlson at 12:02 PM on March 6, 2005


Those are LARPers. They're a whole new level of lame below D&Ders.
posted by keswick at 12:07 PM on March 6, 2005


Does a lower security rating get you out of danger?
posted by Navek Rednam at 12:19 PM on March 6, 2005


Oh, now I'm sad. I feel strongly for the plight of oppressed roleplayers in the Israeli military.

Also, wow, did that article have a lot of weird grammar mistakes, and a few typos. Including "teh army".

I don't think the IDF mean LARPers specifically, keswick, I think it just made the article easier to write.
posted by blacklite at 12:25 PM on March 6, 2005


Does a lower security rating get you out of danger?

One would imagine it does not require much of a security clearance to guard a checkpoint. In other words: no.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:26 PM on March 6, 2005


>>Also, wow, did that article have a lot of weird grammar mistakes, and a few typos. Including "teh army".

The only explaination is that the article is from the very very new English-only version of Yediot Ahronoth (Israel's largest newspaper), and has already been online in a Hebrew-only version for a few years. However, with the article written via an ESL writer, and the English version only being up for a week now, I think they have yet to get everything flawless...
posted by naxosaxur at 12:36 PM on March 6, 2005


Fortunately, I'm sure the army will never run out of uses for people with weak personalities who have a tendency to be influenced by external factors which could cloud their judgment.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:40 PM on March 6, 2005


Hang a piece of foreign spy pussy anywhere near a D&Der and they'll do anything you like...
posted by anthill at 12:58 PM on March 6, 2005


Ridiculosity.
posted by syzygy at 12:59 PM on March 6, 2005


The IDF should at least let them have a saving throw against psychological disorders.
posted by Mick at 1:05 PM on March 6, 2005


No, one of the restrictions of their class is that they can only level up to a certain point.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:15 PM on March 6, 2005


I bet the real reason is none of those D&D types can roll higher than 8 for Charisma.
posted by srboisvert at 1:25 PM on March 6, 2005


I wonder if they're actually talking about D&D or if the LARPers in the photo are calling themselves D&D? Either way, it's still an odd decision to limit their clearance.
posted by The Cardinal at 1:55 PM on March 6, 2005


Hang a piece of foreign spy pussy anywhere near a D&Der and they'll do anything you like...

Yeah, but you can spot the ones aiming for D&Ders by their plate mail bikinis.

One would imagine it does not require much of a security clearance to guard a checkpoint. In other words: no.

Maybe they need a talking to about what constitutes security. If they are going to stick a pasty-faced, weak-willed guy whose only thought is how he's going to defeat the evil mage Kronodemonicusm at a checkpoint...
posted by Navek Rednam at 2:49 PM on March 6, 2005


"New guidelines are in place that limit D&D hobbyists from being considered for sensitive army positions"

But they're shoo-ins for Mossad then, right?

Then from the article: "Igor says exposing soldiers who play the game could result in the soldiers being sent to a military psychologist or even being kicked out of the army."

Then D&D might be an ever better draft-evasion tactic than the one in "Alice's Restaurant". Spread the word.

Oh, and to back up Steve_at_Linwood: My hunch is that if they do take a D&D/LARP geek, a low security clearance and being flagged as a mental case might well get one marked as expendable -- and thus more likely to get thrown into a world o' shit. What a convenient way to eugenicize weak minds from the breeding pool.
posted by davy at 2:53 PM on March 6, 2005


You actually have to volunteer for combat duties in Israel, so, for once, D&D players are complaining about NOT being put in danger.
posted by blahblahblah at 3:09 PM on March 6, 2005


As blah^3 said, it's actually really hard to get combat in Israel. These kids are most likely folding uniforms somewhere...and playing D&D while on break. Sounds like a good deal for everyone, really. (Well, except for the really ambitious among them...they kind of get screwed.)
posted by amandaudoff at 3:15 PM on March 6, 2005


Is it D&D or RPG's in general?
I learned quite a bit about squad tactics growing up playing Aftermath n' such. Although lotsa teamwork there in D&D - with some pretty antisocial types.
I think this is typical smooth-brained thinking against folks who enjoy fantasy.
Why you wouldn't want people with imagination in your military I don't....wait, strike that.

Why aren't movie buffs singled out like that? I mean do you want a soldier who grew up knowing how to 'leapfrog' with supressive fire or do you want a guy who stands in the middle of the street without taking cover because that's what Schwartzenegger does.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:49 PM on March 6, 2005


The IDF should at least let them have a saving throw against psychological disorders.
posted by Mick at 1:05 PM PST on March 6 [!]


great!
posted by ori at 4:13 PM on March 6, 2005


I love the Hebrew d20. Do they really make those?
posted by bingo at 4:18 PM on March 6, 2005


matteo said: D&D fans seem the perfect choice to guard the homes of people who think that the Book of Genesis is a legal, binding document

Kleptophoria! replies: ZING CONFIRMATION.

No state that was founded on the hilarious concept of Zionism needs to start making fun of D&D fans. That's just too much. And don't get me started on how retarded the Old Testament stuff really is. It's "unclean discharge" this and "kill gays" that for hundreds of pages. (Augustine said "allegory", and that makes more sense to me.)
posted by Kleptophoria! at 4:23 PM on March 6, 2005


Guess they failed their save vs bullshit.
posted by nightchrome at 4:31 PM on March 6, 2005




That all makes perfect sense, it puts

1. geeks with a brain in complex situation, read ..on a field with lotsa variables, including the one you'll die. Being socially inept they'll not question why they were placed there and keep on solving the problems thanks to old trusted mild obsessive-compulsive disorder. Good , here take a spare dice crystals.

2. morons in command..idiots with an high security clearance don't know what to do with the data they have..would you give data to a skillfull talented data thief ? Hell never ! Being socially skillful (gotta compensate for lack of creativity and intelligence) they are less likely to suffer from sexoplitation and are easily directed toward acceptable decision.

Problems come when religious zealots start entering the structure, see U.S but also Israel.
posted by elpapacito at 5:35 PM on March 6, 2005


War lead to wargaming, which lead to Chainmail, which lead to Dungeons & Dragons, which lead to the conclusion that people who play D&D can't be counted on in a war. Maybe the generals just don't want anyone else playing with their miniatures in the war room.
posted by Hildago at 6:48 PM on March 6, 2005


I have worked with some of these people, and as a rule of thumb many of them are wacked out. Be it too much interest in an artificial reality and not enough in the reality of a serious 24/7 mission, or falling asleep at work due to playing games all night long; many of them are dysfunctional at work because of their hobbies.

How would you feel about a bus driver that stayed up all night playing games in lieu of a few hours of sleep? An airline pilot? What happens when "asleep at the wheel" becomes "asleep on the flight controller console" or "oops, I just rammed my tank into the group of civilians because I confused the view screen in my tank for my monitor at home?"

Israel always seems to be extreme until the rest of the world adopts the same procedures a few years later.
posted by buzzman at 11:21 PM on March 6, 2005


guess they rather have m on dope,
the other way to take a break from reality.....
posted by borq at 2:46 AM on March 7, 2005


buzzman makes a valid point regarding distraction, but it can be applied with equal validity to any hobby whatsoever. Staying up too late playing D&D, playing video games, listening to opera, reading War & Peace, giving the dog a bath, watching "Survivor," masturbating frenetically... all of these have exactly the same result the next morning at work. I fail to understand the specific danger of Dungeons & Dragons.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:36 AM on March 7, 2005


bingo: I love the Hebrew d20. Do they really make those?

Unfortunately its a photoshop job.
posted by Mitheral at 7:30 AM on March 7, 2005


After battling enough dwarfs and mystical pygmies you learn not to underestimate your enemy.

This at least is true. There's nothing like being in a party of name level characters and getting your ass kicked by a couple of skeletons[1] to teach you the need not to judge a book by it's cover.

[1]The shock experienced is roughly equivelent to one you would experience if one was attempting to squash a cockroach under foot and one had the roach return fire with an M60.
posted by Mitheral at 7:49 AM on March 7, 2005


"These people have a tendency to be influenced by external factors which could cloud their judgment" ... "They may be detached from reality or have a weak personality"

I'd like to come to the defense of D&D - but the fact is - as a kid I saw more weirdos and loosers playing it than thoughtful smart types. Maybe it's a generational thing.
posted by wfrgms at 8:33 AM on March 7, 2005


Nothing I love better than people judging other people's hobbies and calling them losers. I know which side I'd rather associate myself with.
posted by Dantien at 8:51 AM on March 7, 2005


Me too wfrgms but on the other hand you rarely hear of rpgers doing the kind of anti social stuff that frats and jocks are known for. When was the last time you heard of someone drinking them self to death or ODing at a game? I'd add when was the last time you heard of a rape at game but, well, the stereotypes of the gender ratio are mostly true.
posted by Mitheral at 9:25 AM on March 7, 2005


"You actually have to volunteer for combat duties in Israel,"

I've never heard of such a thing before. Is Israel the only one?

"so, for once, D&D players are complaining about NOT being put in danger."

That there proves they're mentally unbalanced. Unless shooting rock-throwing teenagers counts as "combat", in which case it's nuts in a different way.

Yes I do think there's something wrong with exposing yourself and others to danger for the sake of one's exploiters. D&D/LARP is better.
posted by davy at 10:17 AM on March 7, 2005


"HELICOPTER ROCKET!" "HELICOPTER ROCKET!" "HELICOPTER ROCKET!"

Hmm.. doesn't have the same ring to it. Do these kids know the Palestinians aren't going to throw ping-pongs?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:23 PM on March 7, 2005


"You actually have to volunteer for combat duties in Israel,"

I've never heard of such a thing before. Is Israel the only one?
Israel has universal conscription (of Jews, at least). However, as with any military, there are a variety of different positions a conscript can fill. In theory, the army has the right to place a conscript in any unit it likes. However, in practice, most more combat-oriented positions (infantry, special forces units, pilots, etc.) have more conscripts volunteering for them than there are slots available. Thus, combat positions are filled with people who, while they did not volunteer to join the military, did volunteer for that specific position.
posted by kickingtheground at 3:30 PM on March 7, 2005


I'd like to come to the defense of D&D - but the fact is - as a kid I saw more weirdos and loosers playing it than thoughtful smart types. Maybe it's a generational thing.

Or maybe you just hung out with losers? My friends and I played quite a bit, and we are all lean toward the thoughtful smart type, IMO. We are now: a mechanical engineer, a materials engineer, a geologist, and a software developer.
posted by Bort at 3:49 PM on March 7, 2005


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