The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Community News Network

January 14, 2013

Slate: New Monopoly token will ruin game, possibly America

NEW YORK — The board game Monopoly will soon lose a classic token and gain a new one, by way of a public vote on Facebook. It may sound like harmless fun, but is in fact a travesty, though not for the sake of nostalgia or preservational instinct. Notice the four tokens currently winning the vote, and thus most likely to stay "safe" from elimination. They are, as of this writing, the Scottie dog, the race car, the battleship and the top hat. What do they have in common? Accoutrements of the 1 percent. A Scottish terrier champion-line puppy may cost $1,500. A roadster, $50,000. A battleship, $100 million in mid-century dollars. The top hat is as much a sign of the filthy rich as the monocle.

And here are the four losers: the humble thimble, the laceless workboot, the iron (no electric model, this one you had to heat in a stovepipe oven) and the current bottom-feeder, the wheelbarrow. What do they have in common? Labor. Penury. Born, most of them, with the first 1935 edition, when the Great Depression was not an instructive economic case study, but outside your window. The full weight of society was in motion to fix it, and its legacy was a healthy wariness of a super-rich class run amok. When the Scottie and wheelbarrow, the latecomers, were introduced in 1952 — balanced, notice, between one rich token and one poor! — the top marginal income tax rate was 92 percent.

The proposed replacement tokens? An anthropomorphic robot, a diamond ring, a guitar, a cat with sizeable bling on its collar and a bleeping helicopter. Not a one of them symbolic of the laboring class.

Monopoly is a ruthless teacher. To win, you must not merely accumulate wealth; you must bankrupt your opponent, watch as he or she, friend or family member, makes a steady march toward dissolution. Only a roll of the dice determines whether you pass Go or end up in jail, or whether it will be you bankrupted tomorrow. Its zero-sum lesson is, strangely enough, a fair one, in that it is equally unfair. But now that balance is soon to be disrupted in one important way, and yet another bulwark against the dominating perception that the rich life is the only admirable one will be dismantled. I feel sorry for us all. What child now would ever want to set foot on Park Place in hobo footwear? What child would be expected to, as a reminder that society is built on the low ground as much as the high?

Text Only
Community News Network
E-edition
AP Video
US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran
NDN Video
Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man
Must Read