I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be quick to elect a mass-murderer bent on ending humanity into a political position of any kind, much less over an entire state. Yet some how, he won the votes of thousands despite his past actions and representations. I’m talking about former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger of course. How could anyone trust someone who willingly acted out the role of someone involved in the ruthless murder of several people? Did the public not know of his scandalous involvement in taking on the role of “The Terminator?”
Of course they did, and it didn’t matter, because Arnold is an actor, and everyone knows that. Taken out of context, Schwarzenegger’s acting career could possibly raise more than a few eyebrows, but acting for the silver screen is a well known profession and everyone knows an actor is just that, an actor. Their characters in no way represent who they are as person outside of the role, despite them taking on the persona for what ever film or theatre character they are portraying.
Larping.org has been following the political hype being raised by Florida Congressman Ted Yoho in trying to derail Congressional Candidate Jake Rush’s position by posting quotes and pictures regarding his involvement in role playing as part of the Mind’s Eye Society. Mind’s Eye Society is a role playing group that acts out scenarios involving vampire and punk culture. Comparing Rush to his Mind’s Eye characters in a political context is really no different than trying to compare Schwarzenegger to the Terminator. Rush was acting, Arnold was acting. It’s as simple as that.
LARPing, by definition, is Live Action Role Playing. One of the beauties of the hobby is the ability to take on the role and persona of someone totally different than yourself. It’s a safe place to explore different fields of emotion and reactions than one would usually be able to experience outside of a role-played scenario. But at the end of the day, it’s just a persona, and once the game is over the characters played remain just that, characters inside a game.
Rush was raised in a family that appreciated and celebrated theater and acting. In a recent press release, he said his father, Robert Rush, produced an off-broadway play about the impact of Elvis called “Elvis People.”
Rush stated “My undergraduate degree is in the classics, and I have been raised with a deep appreciation for theatre, costumes and art.”
“The very definition of acting is expressing ideas and thoughts that are not your own, just like I don’t believe I am MacBeth, which I have played, I am none of the characters,” he continued.
And we couldn’t agree more! We were recently asked by the BBC for a statement regarding LARPers’ opinions on the whole run through the media about Rush’s involvement with LARPing and our own Tom Miller responded by explaining that within the context of a game, actions and conversations can be made that when heard or seen by the general public may seem quite unsettling. This out of context depiction of LARP is one of the leading causes of misconceptions and confusion within general public on the subject of LARP.
Most comments we’ve read regarding the whole fiasco are actually in Rush’s favor, making the attempts at derailing his reputation by bringing up his hobbies almost laughable. Who would have thought a political candidate was a real person, self-proclaimed gamer, LARPer, and actor with hobbies? I actually like his black Scleral full eye contacts myself and kind of want a pair….but that’s beside the point.
In the end, hobbies are hobbies, and politics are politics and we think it best if they were kept that way! Except when it comes to a LARP game involving role playing politicians, of course. And as far as congressional hobbies go, I’d take LARPing over golf any day. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see a congressional candidate in a Flash suit? Game on, Jake Rush, game on.