The Prison-Industrial Complex Keeps on Creating Wealth, For Some: Wanna Play “Don’t Drop the Soap”?


It was one of those where you check the URL to make sure you didn’t accidentally end up at The Onion’s site. One of those times when you could only wish you’d been punk’d.

The son of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is peddling a board game titled “Don’t Drop the Soap,” a prison-themed game he created as part of a class project at the Rhode Island School of Design.

John Sebelius, 23, has the backing of his mother and father, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius. …

John Sebelius is selling the game on his Internet site for $34.99, plus packaging, shipping and handling. The contact information on the Web site lists the address of the governor’s mansion. …the address will change when John Sebelius moves.

“Fight your way through 6 different exciting locations in hopes of being granted parole,” the site says. “Escape prison riots in The Yard, slip glass into a mob boss’ lasagna in the Cafeteria, steal painkillers from the nurse’s desk in the Infirmary.”

The game includes five tokens representing a bag of cocaine, a handgun and three characters: wheelchair-using ‘Wheelz,” muscle-flexing “Anferny” and business suit-clad “Sal ‘the Butcher.”‘

How righteous he must feel for invoking Italian-American stereotypes instead of designing corn row and “grill” game pieces and characters named Raheem, 50 Cent and Deonte’Nazarea.

Rest assured that the young entrepreneur has only harmless fun in mind. It’s victimless, no? It in no way reflects on the flaming chasm between the classes (since we don’t have those here): “This game is intended for mature audiences — not children — and is simply intended for entertainment…”.

As were public hangings and chuckling whilst those silly Christians tried to evade those slapstick lions in ancient Rome. Good, clean fun at no one’s expense. Pack a pick-a-nick basket and bring the fam.

Please, please let Colbert have this guy on and force him to play his own game while the world watches. I volunteer to hold the stopwatch and see how long it takes for the young designer to either feel ashamed or let loose with a few choice Freudian slips about how ‘decent’ people really feel about the incarcerated. Disapproving of them is one thing. Dancing on their skulls while they’re buried alive is another.

On a trip to Italy, I was all excited to visit the torture museum at San Gimignano. We thought it would be a big hoot, but a mere five minutes in, we were all silent, horrified and ashamed at having tried to find the fun in torture. Finishing the tour seemed like the only possible penance; I’ve never wanted to escape from anyplace more. Unbelievable, the technology and ingenuity we’ve devoted to maiming one another. Now I feel silly. What a waste of time feeling bad. We should have designed a game based on it. Anybody got a fiddle I can play while Rome burns?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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