Do we really need Scrabble to be more ‘inclusive’?

Political correctness is washing over even the most innocent of pastimes.

Darragh McManus

Topics Culture Identity Politics

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Slagging off the ludicrous excesses of woke is one of the few joys remaining in the dismal vale of tears we call the 2020s. But even I have to draw the line somewhere. So no, the new version of Scrabble doesn’t quite deserve screeches of ‘woke madness’ that it has been getting from hysterical Fox News types.

Still, that is not to say that nothing odd is afoot. The updated game is called Scrabble Together and was announced by Mattel earlier this month, marking the first major change to this classic board game in its 75-year history. It offers players the option to play a more collaborative, less cut-throat version of the classic game.

Essentially, this new iteration has players overcoming spelling-related challenges together, rather than competing against one another for points. Apparently, Gen Zers don’t like competition and so Mattel is trying to appeal to the youth by removing that element. This seems more dreary and pointless than outright horrific. The classic board game is no longer really a game? Gee, that sounds great.

For gung-ho Gen Xers like myself, the vicious edge of competitiveness was precisely what made Scrabble fun. Otherwise, you’re just spelling words, which is like being back in school, only worse. Now you’re not even being forced to do it.

The good news is that Scrabble Together features a double-sided board, so you can still play the classic (ie, proper) version all you like. Still, while there is no reason to get hysterical about it, the direction of travel towards a more ‘inclusive’ Scrabble is something to be wary of. We all know that DEI-infested corporations just can’t help themselves these days. It’s surely only a matter of time before a fully PC version of Scrabble is inflicted on the blameless linguaphiles of the world. The woke have ruined almost everything else in life, why not board games and toys, too?

Maybe a properly woke Scrabble could include a flashing buzzer that sounds anytime someone spells out words the establishment has deemed verboten: women, liberty, free speech, and so on. We could even incorporate something like the electric current from Operation, only now designed to inflict actual pain on wrongthinkers. It’d be for their own good, after all.

Why stop there? We could rework other toys and games to make them more ‘appropriate’ for the sensitivities of modern audiences.

Monopoly might change its name to The People’s Non-Profit Anarcho-Syndicalist Co-Operative. No more buying and selling property, as this only perpetuates the privilege of a parasitic landlord class. And no going to jail, either. In this new version, the prisons and police have been defunded to the point where they no longer exist.

Chess could do with an update, too. In the spirit of equality, the clearly racist black-and-white pieces should be replaced with 32 grey blobs of indeterminate shape. No more kings, knights or bishops. No more white going first.

Connect Four needs to become more inclusive for members of the dyscalculia community. Players should no longer have to count up to four discs in a row. Just count as far as you can. Or don’t bother counting at all. You can instead simply insist that you got four together and that your truth is as valid as anyone else’s.

Fidget spinners must be banned outright on health-and-safety grounds. After all, they revolve so quickly. And they contain metal parts and hard plastic. People must be protected from themselves. (See also: yo-yos, frisbees, swingball and practically all other sporting equipment.)

While we’re at it, the pictures of men and women in Guess Who? are far too binary for my liking. They can be replaced by gender-neutral humanoids.

A woke version of Cluedo could reveal the killer at the very beginning. Then the rest of the game can be dedicated to players writing anguished op-ed columns in liberal broadsheets to explain the social factors leading up to the act. If it was a working-class fella called Dave who bludgeoned Colonel Mustard in the hallway with the wrench, the murder might have been symptomatic of toxic masculinity and white privilege. If it was an Islamist terrorist decapitating Miss Scarlett in the billiards room, you might want to argue that the Muslim community are the real victims here.

Of course, Twister also needs an update. Out of respect for people who are differently abled, have a ‘limb difference’ or are otherwise unwilling to bend into ridiculous shapes, all players should sit quietly around the mat and share their lived experiences.

Obviously, toy soldiers will be completely banned, in a long-overdue move against the military industrial complex. Kiddies can instead enjoy playing with little plastic NGO board members, public-health mandarins, social-media activists and crusading journalists ‘on the ground’ in warzones. (Warzones must be purchased separately.)

That all sounds like great fun, right? And so what if it doesn’t? Today, the purpose of most entertainment products is to deliver moral instructions to the masses, not to actually keep people entertained. Mattel, if you’re reading, you can keep these ideas for free. There’s plenty more where that came from.

Darragh McManus is an author and journalist. Visit his website here

Picture by: Freysteinn G Jonsson.

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Topics Culture Identity Politics


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