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Saving America with Cards Against Humanity: While We’re Waiting

Cards Against Humanity Saves America

It was early evening in mid-November when I saw the tweet.

Cards Against Humanity, the vulgar and raunchy and hilarious and loveable and cringe-inducing card game had announced on Twitter that it was giving its fans and followers the opportunity to help it “save America.” The tweet drove to a website that offered a little more—though not much—information on the initiative.

The premise was vague but simple: send Cards Against Humanity $15, and they’d send you six “America-saving” surprises throughout the month of December.

Why were they doing this? Because, according to the folks at Cards Against Humanity, the “government is being run by a toilet.”

The catch? Only the first 150,000 people to fork over the $15 would be allowed to participate. The site, particularly the FAQ section, made me laugh out loud more times than an episode of Parks and Rec. I was curious and not in complete disagreement with Cards Against Humanity’s displeasure with our country’s current administration. I was in.

The checkout process included a random but detailed survey, asking typical thing like level of education and yearly income, and plenty of not-so typical things, like… this.

A real-time tracker logged how many of the 150,000 spots remained. By the time I signed up around 9 p.m., just under 30,000 were left. The next morning, they were gone.

Day 1

The first surprise, mailed inside a red, white and blue, star-spangled envelope, arrived on the final day of November.

Inside, a letter from Cards Against Humanity explained that it had used a portion of the $2.25 million dollars it raised to purchase a plot of vacant land along the U.S.-Mexico border—and retained a law firm specializing in eminent domain to make it as time-consuming and expensive as possible for President Trump to build a wall between the nations. Each person who participated, the mailing explained, helped Cards Against Humanity purchase 0.000667 percent of the parcel of land.

Also included in the mailing was an illustrated map of the land, a certificate of their promise to fight the wall, a statement from the lawyers retained, and six bonus Cards Against Humanity cards (to be added to a full game deck) with content themed around the surprise.

Day 2

Arriving about a week later, the Day 2 envelope was branded the same, though much slimmer. It included a letter that explained in order to combat the barrage of stress-inducing bad news most Americans hear every day, Cards Against Humanity was launching The Good News Podcast. Thanks to participants’ support, the daily podcast would be funded for a full year, ad-free.

Also included in the mailing were additional Cards Against Humanity cards, and a variety of laptop stickers featuring fun facts and “good news,” including one that simply says, “ There’s Always Dogs.” (And they’re right.)

Day 3

The third surprise was, for me, the most unexpected. From Cards Against Humanity’s Day 3 letter:

“In order to deliver on our promise to save America, we knew we needed to tackle our country’s biggest issue: wealth inequality. The richest 0.1% of Americans have as much wealth as the bottom 90%.

Using the survey you filled out when you signed up, we identified the 100 poorest recipients and sent them each a check for $1,000. The next 10,000 poorest recipients got a $15 refund check.

You got nothing. And if you don’t like it, tough titties.”

I wasn’t mad about it, and you can read stories about how the money impacted recipients lives here.

Day 4

The fourth Cards Against Humanity surprise tackled the subject of homework head-on. One of the more profanity-laden letters of the six I’d receive explained that homework “Alienates students from their families and communities and stifles creativity from a young age.”

To “destroy homework once and for all,” Cards Against Humanity partnered with DonorsChoose.org to support teachers who are creating engaging alternatives to traditional homework, including things like field trips to museums, making slime, reading with families, and playing board games.

Cards Against Humanity would match any donation to support these teachers up to $100,000.

Also included in the mailing were several thank-you notes from children, including a drawing of Malala that was so good I started crying.

Day 5

In its fifth surprise, Cards Against Humanity announced that it was launching a public opinion poll called Pulse of the Nation. Each month of 2018, the letter explained, they’ll ask Americans a variety of interesting and important questions, analyze and publish the results—using funding raised through the initiative.

Enclosed with the letter was a mini magazine of the first two months’ of results (they started polling early), asking tough questions like “Do you support White Nationalism?” and “Do you think it’s OK to pee in the shower?”

The letter promised that Cards Against Humanity would continue publishing results every month online, and closed with the sentence, “Nate Silver, retire bitch.”

Day 6

Moving in a completely different direction, with its sixth surprise Cards Against Humanity set out to save baseball, because “let’s face it: baseball is boring,” which were their words, not mine.

The final letter, arriving just before New Year’s Eve, explained that Cards Against Humanity had purchased the naming rights to a minor-league baseball stadium in Joliet, Illinois. The home of the “loveable underdog” Joliet Slammers would henceforth be knows as The Cards Against Humanity Baseball Place.

Including in the envelope was one ticket to any Slammers game this spring, a poster of the stadium, and a pack of custom baseball cards featuring Slammers players. The cards, of course, featured stats like “Nipple Diameter” and “Number of Teeth,” because why not?

**

In the end, I found Cards Against Humanity Saves America to be fun and full of surprises. Besides Day 1, the initiative was not nearly as politically themed as I had originally expected, and it ended up being an easy way for me to contribute to a few charitable movements, fund a few worthwhile programs, and laugh a lot along the way. It was the perfect way to close out a turbulent year.

Happy Thursday, you guys. Get out there and save America.

  • tigersbrowns2

    I’ve never played Cards Against Humanity … but I do know that several people people got fired at a Toledo news station for playing it during their break … someone found it extremely offensive & turned them in.

    I have no problem with it as I have to worry about the Browns first …

  • mgbode

    “vulgar and raunchy and hilarious and loveable and cringe-inducing” – sounds like the American political system

    Also, Day 4 is one of the reasons for either home schooling or *gasp* (given CAH political affiliations) the voucher system that allows parents the opportunity to put their children in systems that do exactly what they suggest. Teaching to tests and over-burdensome homework are definitive problems in our public education system.

  • BenRM

    It’s totally offensive. But that’s the fun of it. 🙂

  • BenRM

    Wait? We are anti-homework now?

  • scripty

    I used to think that was odd but there’s some good data behind it.

    If you work in a poor or metro school district, where kids are facing extreme poverty and their parents are low-ed, the homework doesn’t get done or the kids can’t get the help they need to do the homework. And if the homework was a large piece of grades, you’d have to fail 90-95% of the class. Seen it personally from my wife in CMSD.

  • JM85

    I love that game.

  • BenRM

    I suppose that makes some sense. But saying that homework “Alienates students from their families and communities and stifles creativity from a young age” feels extreme to me.

  • scripty

    90% of inventions are from 1st or 2nd generation Americans. That’s not a complete condemnation of the American way of teaching, but I think it reflects in part that old-school ideas of education aren’t flawless in terms of bolstering creativity

  • BenRM

    Oh! Good factoid! I did not know that.

    I agree that old-school American education can certainly be improved. (I actually don’t hate the idea behind common core math.) I just feel like that rhetoric is hyperbolic to a degree that it undermines the message.

    But, what are ya gonna do?

  • scripty

    But, what are ya gonna do?
    – Invest as a nation in more EDU pre-K
    – More federally and state-funded after school options for those that want it
    – Push more language teaching to give all kids skills in speaking different languages and challenges the mind – starting earlier the better
    – Continue advances made in pushing STEM as priorities
    – Slowly retreat from traditional school calendar
    – Stop shoving low performers in trades
    – Change guidelines in how states’ allow schools to treat those with learning disabilities
    etc

    There’s states that are demanding we go to teaching penmanship as mandatory. There’s people who send their kids to Kindergarten that don’t know ABC or #’s.

  • mgbode

    More anti-waste of time for the sake of wasting time. Productive homework can be great. Busy work homework for the sake of busy work or worse pushing off things that weren’t done during the school day for the sake of all the things time is wasted on there… well, not good.

  • Steve

    But the solution to fixing the public education system is not pulling out the parents who are the most active in their children’s education, which home-schooling and vouchers do. That might fix the issue for your own child, but leaves the education system in shambles.

    Its a tough road to traverse, how to best balance whats best for your own kid versus the entire community.

  • STEM gets more than enough push as it is, at the expense of the humanities. I get that we need students prepared for the workforce of the 21st century, but it would be nice to prepare them to be more thoughtful members of society as well, and to understand how we’ve gotten to where we are today.

  • mgbode

    Kids learn in different ways. Having a multitude of different systems and organizations and structures to help kids learn in the best way for them is the way to help them the most. Having a cookie cutter set with an explicit goal of just pushing kids over a bare set of a minimum to maximize funding is not.

    Active parents who set goals/priorities for their children is also quite important as they are often the best arbiters of where/how their kids learn. Kids w/o such are at a disadvantage- no real way around it. I disagree though with placing blame on those active parents. It does not leave the education system in shambles, it spreads the education system outwards to more communities.

  • NOPER

    God my mom saw a lot of kids that didn’t have 1-10 and their ABC’s in a well funded suburban area it was stunning.

    Shoving low performers at the trades is…complicated. I was one of those kids had no interest and just slacked my way through school soon as I noticed the system didn’t care anymore. The complication is plenty of people I knew jumped right into those trade opportunities offered and excelled there. Of course a lot followed my route so who the hell knows. Education is a bloody mess.

  • Steve

    “Kids learn in different ways. ”

    Including the kids who don’t ever get the chance to receive high-level education. We have to help them too.

    “Having a multitude of different systems and organizations and structures to help kids learn in the best way for them is the way to help them the most.”

    Sure.

    “Having a cookie cutter set with an explicit goal of just pushing kids over a bare set of a minimum to maximize funding is not.”

    But this is made even worse for everyone else when we pull out the most active parents in the community.

    “I disagree though with placing blame on those active parents”

    No one is blaming those parents.

    “It does not leave the education system in shambles, it spreads the education system outwards to more communities.”

    And obviously, I’m referring to the public education system, which still educates the vast majority of our children. Expanding the opportunities for only a select few does not make for a better society.

    I certainly see your side of this, and am torn on the issue of vouchers. I’ve seen the successes within the programs. Giving even a small percentage of kids a chance to improve their education is a good thing. But when implemented in the real world, it is near impossible to improve their education without leaving the larger percentage with an even worse education. That’s a problem that can’t simply be ignored when celebrating the successes of voucher programs.

    ” Kids w/o such are at a disadvantage- no real way around it.”

    We can address this a lot better than the current plan of “sorry kid, them’s the breaks”.

  • mgbode

    I’m not a “voucher solve everything” advocate by any stretch. I think your last point comes down to breaking outside the current structure. Allowing more mobility within subjects, giving the kids the tools to succeed themselves rather than relying on current systems. More stuff like LeBron’s foundation (which is working within yet outside the public structure)

    then again, we cannot even get heat working in some schools, so who knows which way is up anymore.

  • Steve

    “I think your last point comes down to breaking outside the current structure”

    Agree, but we can’t just go “oh well” at those bad breaks. Which means I absolutely agree that we need more stuff like Lebron’s foundation, as best as I understand it, that seeks out kids who need extra help rather than let families self-select.

  • BenRM

    Are trades a bad thing now? I’m not being sarcastic. It’s just hard to keep up with what I’m supposed to think is good these days.

  • scripty

    Absolutely not. Things I would note pertaining to this:
    – Trades are not for everybody, just the way 4-year university is not for everybody.
    – Not all trades are equal, nor is trade pay and worker safety same by region. (See RTW states)
    – There are a lot of borderline hopeless kids in trades classes, and some teachers spent a lot of time praying these kids dont hurt themselves.
    – Just as I think a lot of people are unrealistic about student loan debt and the true cost of higher education, others are equally blind about the years of low pay and cost of apprenticesship in many trades.

    IMO, Labor needs to pick each other up vs than engage in class warfare.

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