Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Conversation with Michael Witwer about Gary Gygax and the History of the Role-playing Game Known as "Dungeons and Dragons"

I would like to thank the very kind and generous folks who donated to the December annual fundraiser yesterday. There are some really cool and giving folks out there who will be receiving their thank you notes very soon. There was a very nice donation on Thursday night. I am very moved by that kind gesture. So wonderful. I am now just 200 80 dollars away from the goal for the December annual fundraiser. The monies, as you know, will go towards the video podcast next year and following through on some of the great opportunities that are being finalized for my online and other work.

The sooner we reach that goal the faster I can pull back in the begging bowl and get back to business as usual. As always, if after having taken care of your human and animal family members, yourself, and other obligations, throw some love in the donation bucket so that I/we can continue to grow the site and get our video podcast up and running next year.


This episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show features two great guests.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is taking the world by storm. The Chauncey DeVega Show has done several special episodes with friend of the site Bill the Lizard about the new series of Star Wars films. Chauncey and Bill the Lizard have finally seen the new movie. They originally intended to talk for only 20 minutes, but instead ended up with an almost hour long deconstruction of the film, the future of the franchise, and other matters about the (for all intents and purposes) rebooted/remixed J.J. Abrams Star Wars universe. 

This week's episode features 20 or so minutes of that conversation. It will be posted next week as an end of year full episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show.

The main guest on this week's installment of The Chauncey DeVega Show is Michael Witwer. He is the author of the great new book Empire of Imagination.

Popular culture is social history. In this wonderful conversation Michael Witwer and Chauncey talk about the history of pen and paper and dice role-playing games in the United States, the history of Dungeons and Dragons, share some great stories about its primary inventor Gary Gygax, laugh about how the U.S. military infiltrated Gygax's role-playing group, and explore the legacy of Dungeons and Dragons as one of the great influences on a whole generation of Hollywood filmmakers, video game creators, and authors. 

Michael Witwer and Chauncey also discuss questions of "inclusion" around race and gender in role-playing fandom and events such as Gencon and the subgenre known as "swine gaming" that features "games" about the Holocaust, the genocide of First Nations peoples, and white on black chattel slavery in the New World.

Michael Witwer also surprises Chauncey with his in depth knowledge of Star Wars and how his brother does voice-over work for Star Wars video games and animated series.

In addition to the great teaching done by Michael Witwer and Bill the Lizard, Chauncey talks about Donald Trump's use of the phrase "schlonged", reflects on the death of Sandra Bland, offers up his Festivus grievances, tells folks about his iron skillet troubles, continues to thank the kind folks who donated to the fundraiser, and shares why he is happy and more or less content this holiday season.

This episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here. It can also be "watched" on Youtube at this link.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes and at Stitcher as well.

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