The people behind loved and loathed party game Cards Against Humanity have proven themselves adept trolls. Their latest stunt, which involves building a giant catapult to destroy Trump’s border wall, is no different.
Since his election, Cards Against Humanity have set their sights on Donald Trump, launching a site called Cards Against Humanity Saves America, and a separate site, Cards Against Humanity Stops The Wall. Their first stunt involved a crowdfunded campaign to buy land where Trump’s wall would be built, to force the American government into a court battle over eminent domain. Fun as the idea is, it probably won’t work (but anyone who buys into the campaign gets a certificate of “ownership,” a map of the region, a copy of a statement of intent from Cards Against Humanity’s lawyers, and two limited edition cards for the game itself).
Their newest stunt involves the building of a real, actual catapult. Or, really: a trebuchet. As they explain it:
Since the Trump administration is committed to using 12th-century military technology to protect our country from Mexican invaders, we have responded in kind by building a 30-foot trebuchet, a medieval catapult designed to destroy walls. We paid 300 gold to increase its attack damage, so it’s very powerful.
Furthermore, addressing the question of whether or not they’re threatening the American government, they explain:
ARE YOU GOING TO KNOCK DOWN THE WALL WITH YOUR TREBUCHET?
For legal reasons, we are not threatening to destroy U.S. government property with our glorious medieval siege engine. We cannot possibly overstate that we are not going to crush Trump’s twenty-billion-dollar wall with our totally badass trebuchet. But if we wanted to, we could. But we won’t. But we could.
You can see the trebuchet in action here.
The proper way to process any of this nonsense—whether it’s buying land that wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell in an eminent domain case, or building a giant catapult—is: These are marketing stunts. They are meant to endear people to Cards Against Humanity, a brand in the Era of Wokeness. And a brand that plenty of supposedly woke people have found to fall short of their standard for how woke a party game should supposedly be.
– Letter of Complaint: Cards Against Humanity [The NY Times Magazine]
– Can You Please Stop With Cards Against Humanity? [BoingBoing]
– Why I Quit Playing Cards Against Humanity [The Daily Dot]
And so on (also worth reading is Spin‘s Jeremy Gordon offense on Cards Against Humanity haters: that your friends are the problematic lames, not the game itself).
But that doesn’t necessarily render these marketing stunts as inherently bad things. Sure, the intention might be (like Cards Against Humanity) pretty crass. But people might get a laugh thinking of Trump’s border wall being leveled by a 12th-century catapult (let alone the fact that these people actually built one). It doesn’t seem overly folksy or naive to say that people need whatever laughs they can get in 2017. They will also learn what a trebuchet even is.
And to the credit of Cards Against Humanity, they’re not such myopic cynics as to try to sell people on the idea that these stunts represent anything truly meaningful, or not drive readers to charities like…
..which they did. Surely there’s an argument to made that all of this—the money spent building the catapult, the money spent buying the land, the time and effort any of this took—could be directed elsewhere. But getting upset over things like this, that draw attention to worthwhile causes, even if they do them through stunts like this? It’s about as killjoy a stance as getting upset over a card game played at dumb, drunk dinner parties. There are worse things in the world. This is fine.
Furthermore, on the FAQ for their recent Trump-related stunts, the brand explains:
I DON’T LIKE THAT YOU’RE GETTING POLITICAL. WHY DON’T YOU JUST STICK TO CARD GAMES?
Why don’t you stick to seeing how many Hot Wheels cars you can fit up your asshole?
IS CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY BEING POLITICALLY CORRECT NOW?
We’re just being regular correct.
If nothing else, even if it is nothing more than brilliant marketing,
(A) A brand like Cards Against Humanity drawing a line in the sand on ideals of decency being hyperbolically conflated with “political correctness” is a good thing,
(B) This isn’t, say, a multinational conglomerate producing an ad that attempts to capitalize on wokeness with a nonsensical, tone-deaf message delivered by the most apolitical blank-slate of a celebrity they could find.
Here we have a brand willing to alienate potential customers when taking a stand by telling said customers to forcefully lodge several plastic toy cars up their own rectum. It’s, in all fairness, the kind of statement from a brand that makes it very, very difficult to dislike them. And it’s also, in an ideal world, a brand others would take a hint from.