The boys have been playing Monopoly. It’s gladdening to see them moving top hat and iron, rather than goggling at a computer screen, although I’m not sure they’ve quite got the idea.
Monopoly is a heartless game: a paradigm of the capitalist system, its object is to purge the inefficiencies of the unfortunate or clueless player, who, once on the slide, is doomed to painful extinction. Letting your brother off the payment of a crippling rent because he would otherwise be ruined doesn’t show the right attitude. Go out into the jungle, I tell them. Be lions. Kill.
Monopoly was first produced in the 1930s not, seemingly, a propitious time for a game based on property. The Depression was followed by 1939, when it was thought London would be annihilated by enemy bombing and houses went for a song. But greed, on which Monopoly depends, remains universal, whatever the state of the economy.
However, I notice some disturbing developments since last rolling the dice. In the boys’ game, players can take out loans. My sons haven’t mastered the finer points of the system, such as the need eventually to pay loans back. Or perhaps that’s the modern way. Can Aslet, Aslet and Aslet be the next Candy & Candy?