Anthony Wiener Would Make a Great Dungeon Master

When I say “Dungeon Master” I am not referring to any sort of S&M dominance play thing–although I'm not going to discount the representative from New York’s potential in that arena; for all I know he might be great at the job. He’s certainly got the abs for it. No; instead, I am referring to a far more deviant and misunderstood subculture: people who organize and play Dungeons & Dragons (and sundry other role-playing games).

As we have all been made painfully aware, Anthony Wiener is good at sexting. And at its core, sexting (and its related hobbies--phone sex, etc.) is pretty much the same activity as table-top role playing.

Allow me to unpack that a little. Consider for a moment the games of football* and basketball. These sports are very different on the surface, but the action of the participants is basically the same: people on a team work together to move a ball across the length of the play space, scoring points as they do so. The other team tries to stop this action or take the ball away from them. In the same way, RPGs and sexting are very similar: Participants improvise a story, are responsible for describing their character’s actions, and have some authority over the setting details and other participants' characters.

The difference is principally that sexting is about, well, sex, and D&D is about adventure and magic and orcs (and stuff like that).**

A secondary argument could be made that both of these activities have been lauded by their adherents as a bold future of human interaction, as amazing new ways of enabling people to become closer with each other. At the same time, both RPGs and sexting have been condemned by non-participants as everything from immoral to just plain weird.

I’m not going to make a call on the validity or importance of either D&D or sexting. Both are activities that are just fine for consenting adults to participate in once safely out of sight of minors and puritans. That’s not really the point of this post.

The point is that these two seemingly disparate things are actually both just acts of storytelling--one of the most basic elements of human communication, one that we are all naturally drawn to. Despite differences in how we approach it, it is something we all seek to participate in.

*When I say football I mean the American sport with the not-round ball. That is, I explicitly do NOT mean soccer.
**Although--if you can stomach it--this Facebook exchange shows that the congressman was trying to get into some superhero-fantasy play.

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