While cooped up in a rental house on an ill fated vacation recently, we found ourselves playing Monopoly and someone drew the Chance card
“Pay Poor Tax of $15.”
My son Rafael burst out laughing. The card appealed to his grim sense of humor: you got taxed for being poor? How wrong is that? Hilarious!
I hadn’t ever given it much thought, but I wondered aloud if maybe it was the exact opposite, that what the card really meant was that middle class people had to pay $15 toward government aid programs for the poor.
I don’t think this is an unreasonable conjecture: the Parker Brothers version of Monopoly we all grew up on was invented in 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, when FDR was pushing through his alphabet soup of safety net programs like Social Security, the CCC, and the WPA .
And the image on the card is ambiguous: even though the man has his pockets pulled out, to show he doesn’t have the money, he’s dressed nicely.
Incidentally, the poor tax back in 1935 was $12, not $15.
Again, look at the suit and hat. I know everyone back then wore a suit and hat, but if the intention was to distinguish him as poor, why not throw in some stubble, or stains on the jacket, or a hole in the hat?
So who is being taxed here, the poor, or those with enough to help the poor?
This is the pervert part. While sitting at the Ruby Room having a drink with Jeremy, one of our regulars, the subject of Boy Scout leaders and sexual abuse came up. I think we had been discussing contrasting things that go together well, like peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, oil and vinegar, scout mastery and pedophilia.
I wondered aloud if, in the post Forrest Gump era of computer imagery which can completely fool the eye, simulated child porn could get you in trouble.
Is it illegal to possess virtual child porn, which looks exactly like real child porn, but is composed only of computer generated images?
Jeremy thought no, since no real child is harmed in this scenario.
I wasn’t so sure, and thought it might depend on what the viewer believes he or she is watching. If someone pulled a virtual child porn image off the net and thought it was real, could that person be considered guilty of an attempted felony, or whatever class of crime possession of child porn falls under, if they thought they were getting the real deal?
What is most relevant here, the reality of the image, or the reality of the viewer’s intentions and assumptions?
And now, dear readers, I will excuse myself to take a few showers and watch The Sound of Music until the ick of my own question runs off me.