Thursday, May 7, 2015

That Cards Against Humanity Game

My general take on this game:

It's in bad taste, it's simplistic, and kind of dull as a game, other than trying to gauge the depravity of your friends (which can be amusing). I've played it once.

Why is it popular? It's an artifact of our times. We're deeply attached to identity politics, how lacking much else, many people (especially young people, it's argued) have taken their self identities as concrete and irrefutable, looking for offense and hoping to pillory anyone who disagrees, whether it's a web article or a coffee shop that serves the wrong type of bagel.

We live in a culture of perpetual outrage, and increasing fear of giving offense. You can have your business or your job taken from you with the wrong tweet or when someone has been slighted by your employee. Lacking strong cultural ties, we make up new identity constructs, and man, do we grow attached to them. We not only spend all our time immersed in our new identities, but we take great offense when that identity is questioned. 20 years ago, Cards Against Humanity would have gone nowhere. It would have been simply, offensive. 

It's popular because Cards Against Humanity offers up an evening of offensiveness as a way to step back from self identities and closely protected beliefs that are ultimately bullshit and empty of meaning. It's more a therapy tool than an actual game. Personally, I find that kind of boring, but if your life is a rigid, oppressive self identity paradigm, or you've been forced to live within one, it might let you take a step back, possibly providing some empty space to find some much needed humor.

It's hard to explain this game without coming off as an apologist. Does this make light of real oppression? Real racism? Real homophobia? Does it scratch all the isms? Most certainly. Does it justify oppression? I suppose it depends on which of the infinite number of self identities you're bringing to the table. Oh, and I'm not saying your self identity is bullshit. I'm saying all self identities are ultimately full of crap. That glimmer of humor provided by Cards Against Humanity, that brief open space, might just give you a taste of that. 

Or maybe I'm entirely wrong and it's as bad as people say. Maybe I'm standing on a soapbox of privilege, defending an instrument of evil while the world burns. I can't decide. 


  1. I think you went too deep about it. My friends and I enjoy it because it gives us a chuckle. We laugh at anything and everything no matter the "offense" because we understand it's all a great big joke.

  2. It's good for a chuckle, with people you know, and if you don't take anything seriously about it. End of the evening filler at best really. Have a drink, relax, and poke fun at the world.

  3. The more I play it...the les I enjoy friends it

  4. The game has 0 replay value and is so full of unfunny cards you can easily have a full hand of crap. I detest this game a refuse to play it with my friends

  5. This post almost sounds like the people who said D&D led to worshiping the devil.

  6. Like Apples to Apples, it's a terrible game. A fun activity with similar minded people; but as a game? It's terrible. It's like L-C-R but with guilty chuckles. Ok, it's got more decision points than LCR; but not many.

  7. I have found that CaH is best compared to the offensive comedians of a couple decades back...Glbert Godfrey and the Dice man (Andrew Dice Clay), or shock jocks radio announcers. I hated those guys then and did not listen to them, and this card game feels like it dwells in the same operational space. wife loves playing it with her friends during boring moments, and I have a feeling that this sort of humor is needed by some people...or maybe its just a millennial thing.