Aug 282016

I played Cards Against Humanity (“a party game for horrible people”) for the first time last night at my friend Beth’s birthday party. I knew in passing that it was pretty depraved, but not much else. Basically you’re asked a question, or occasionally to fill in a blank or two, and you answer with the best card(s) in your hand.

Sometimes the depravity is on the cards already, and you just have to find the best place to plug it in. (There’s not much innocuous to be done with “necrophilia” or “micropenis.”) Other times the depravity is left for you to construct. (I noticed that the pairings including a little invention consistently did well. God bless creativity, even in degenerate cesspools.)

Now I’ve realized for quite some time that I’m a lot of folks’ “tacky friend.” I’m almost always loud. I’m frequently a little too direct. Sometimes I’m a little too quick to tiptoe into the gutter, just to see if you’ll come with me. If you do, then we’ll walk farther—and faster! Ha! Bottom line is that I’m quite certain the word “obnoxious” has been hung on me, both to my face and behind my back, for decades.

And I’m OK with that.

Something that occurs to me about this game, though, is that it’s not necessarily everyone’s “tacky friend” playing this game. We’re just walkin’ around folks playing it together, for the most part. We’re friends from school, or work, or church, or more than one of the above. We’re not bad people.

But, demonstrably, we can draw on one hellaciously deep reserve of vulgarity and otherwise wanton inappropriateness for laughs.

So here’s the big question I’m chewing on. How can we, societally, make something like Cards Against Humanity the gigantic success it is during our nights, while actively cultivating hair-trigger sensitivity to anything and everything that might possibly offend someone somewhere during our days?

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 Posted by at 5:04 pm

  6 Responses to “The question I asked after playing Cards Against Humanity”

  1. Good question. My first thought is that it all has to do with your audience.

  2. The simple answer: it’s not the same people.

    Support for CAH is divided among my friends. Some like it, because it’s within a like-minded audience. (Ie: they may be vulgar, but everyone is one the same page about what is definitely NOT okay.) And some do not because it crosses lines that they feel are inappropriate.

    FWIW, there actually has been analysis written about CAH. I recall there being much discussion about their reliance on rape jokes. A quick google search shows plenty of pieces.

    I’ve not played it. My friends that do play it burned out on it pretty quick (once you’ve seen all the cards, it’s not as fun), I’ve played Apples to Applies (which CAH basically copied and made vulgar) and my gaming group usually has more interesting stuff on the docket. Based on what I’ve read/heard about it, I don’t really care to. Though the company does do some interesting things with their fame, which tend to sit better with me.

    Boxes of bullshit for Black Friday:
    Women in STEM scholarships:
    Puzzle Hunt:
    Humanity Hates Trump:

  3. That’s an interesting question. I think generally people try to be polite or politically correct in dealing with people around them, for most part of their days that is. Maybe it’s an outlet for thoughts running around in our head that we can never articulate. Maybe.

  4. Because we need an excuse to say outrageous things without being overwhelmingly shamed by the judgement police.

  5. Best game ever! Let me know when you want to have great time with a very warped and hilarious family!

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