Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bow Your Heads

It's not every day the creator of an entire culture leaves us. And so, in respect, some Auden:

He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the Bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed,
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Recommended post by Sgt. Shiv @ http://donwood.blogspot.com/2008/03/no-puns-just-death-of-giant.html


Scott said...

holy shit!
At first I thought "Wow, there's a name I haven't heard in forever," and thought someone was trying to rip on him because of D&D release 4. I didn't think you meant R.I.P.

This takes me back because of a lot of my professional life has been tied to D&D.
I played D&D in college for the first time and really liked it. I had some mixed friends, Christians and, well, anti-Christians who would get together and play every week. Once we walked into a dungeon and had to fight Satan, and me being me (and riffing off the Exorcist) I told him that his mother .... did things.... in Heaven. That's when I found out who the Christians were in the group. They were the ones not laughing. I guess people don't do that sort of thing in their Heaven. In mine, it's a way of saying hello.
Years later, my first job out of college was working for a company called Mayfair Games, as an editor of a system called Role Aids, which were unauthorized game modules that were compatible with D&D. My work with that company and later, with FASA creating Role Playing Games (back when they were on paper) made me a minor celebrity in the gaming circuit. That notoriety was what made it possible to get out to California as I had fans in Silicon Valley who took me in and got me work and ultimately brought me here to Los Angeles.

I owe a lot to Gary's creation. It's a sad day to see him go.
I hope he's in the right Heaven.


Anonymous said...

You didn't mention who the icon was.

dwiff said...

Sorry for any confusion, but all sublit headlines are active links back to the source.

Clicking on "Bow Your Heads" will take you to an obit in Wired for Gary Gygax, the father of Role Playing Games.

I am just here to point you to the source.

Like a supporting character in Kirby's 4th World.

Don said...

Yeah, Melissa is home and keeps CNN's site open all the time.
She said "Oh, the creator of D&D died"
"Gary Gygax died?"
"Uh.....let me see....yeah. Wow, You *are* a nerd."

Now there's a guy I would argue saw what he started get bigger than almost anything else, entertainment-wise. Walt Disney is huge here, but Role Playing Games are monsters (excuse the pun) in whole regions of the earth, (asia) where Disney is hardly well represented.

dwiff said...

nice post by don @ http://donwood.blogspot.com/2008/03/no-puns-just-death-of-giant.html

i recommend checking it out.

The Catskills Toucher said...

Nicely said, gentlemen. Far more so than the obit on Attack of the Show (which was pathetic and awkward). I tip my Helm of Teleportation to you. It's very sad. Who's next? Erol Otis?

I'm not going to put anything on my site, since I stopped commenting on pop culture there a while ago. I struggled with posting an obit for Ben Chapman (The Creature From the Black Lagoon) who died recently, but decided against it. I don't think I could come close to what you have already said anyway.

I will share this little anecdote with you:

About two weeks ago, the guy who works as a production manager at our Glass Eye Pix office (we'll call him "Brent") read the script for our newest film, "Satan Hates You" which (as Don knows) contains two scenes with a group of guys playing D&D.

Brent says to me, "You should change that. Dungeons and Dragons is so dated."

I asked, "Did you play D&D?"

"Of course. I was obsessed with it as a kid." he replied.

"As was I." I said. "And I'm fifteen years older than you -- an entirely different generation. And every Wednesday when I go to pick up my new comic books at the local shop (The Bearded Dragon -- seriously), the back room is filled with kids playing D&D or rolling the 20-sided for some other RPG inspired by D&D. That isn't my idea of something that's dated, that's what I call timeless-- a classic."

He agreed.

Yeah, I know that people are more inclined to play World of Warcraft these days (and I'll admit to having a WOW account where I'm grooming a certain orc named Rimfrost for battle in realm of Icecrown), but the fact that there are two stores in the nearby town (which doesn't even have a Kinko's or FedEx store) that sell traditional RPG gaming supplies mean that the stacks of hardbound manuals and multi-sided dice are still relevant to the kids these days that have so many other things competing for their attention.

The guys hanging out in these shops are so nerdy it's PAINFUL (and that's coming from me). But in the end who's going to go out into the world and contribute more to society -- the kids that are using their imaginations and interacting face-to-face with others, or some kid who sits alone in the dark for hours playing Halo? (Not that I have anything against Halo)
Okay, it's probably the kid who stays home and only uses a computer to do his homework, but I'd never want to hang out with that asshole.

Rest in Peace, Gary Gygax. You can now take your rightful place amongst the other Deities & Demigods.

GenCon won't be the same without you.