Image: Nick Wanserski

It happens at parties, at friends of friends’ gatherings that are too small for people to spread themselves throughout the house, but too big to have everyone sit and contribute to a single, unified conversation: Someone breaks out Cards Against Humanity. Since 2011, the self-declared “party game for horrible people” has been steadily popping up in the homes of young urban professionals, and writer Dan Brooks thinks it should stop.

In today’s New York Times, Brooks, a writer from Montana, reveals the contradictions and hypocrisy at the heart of what is essentially the dirty, nay filthy, version of Apples To Apples, going into detail about the so-called transgressive game’s actual lack of transgression. “Like America’s most successful brands, Cards Against Humanity positions itself against the masses, when in fact it is mass taste distilled,” he says. “It is the product of a culture in which transgressing social norms has become an agreed-on social norm.”

Players feel the “thrill of transgression with none of the responsibility,” Brooks goes on. (They’re just playing the game; they don’t really want to have sex with a dolphin!) He worries, however, that criticizing the game can make a person come off like a jerk, when the company has done a number of positive things, including donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity (and, most recently, creating an anti-Donald Trump website and anti-Trump billboards).

The real worry is objecting to playing the game entirely, he says, especially in ice-breaker situations, in which it’s more awkward to say no: “Who doesn’t think of themselves and their friends as secret degenerates? No one—and therein lies the problem.”

[via New York Times]

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