Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Features

January 15, 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
Features
  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 17, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

  • DayCareCosts.jpg Day care's cost can exceed college tuition in some states

    Most parents will deal with an even larger kid-related expense long before college, and it's a cost that very few of them are as prepared for: day care.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boston doctors can now prescribe you a bike

    The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that's whimsically known as "Prescribe-a-Bike." Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write "prescriptions" for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city's bike-share system, for only $5.

    April 10, 2014

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 9, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 9, 2014

  • news_twitter.jpg Travelers fly on Air Twitter

    The enlightened age of social media has dawned over the airline industry, casting shadows over telephone call centers and on-site agents. Facebook and Twitter are racking up the friends and followers while the hold music plays on.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.