I just read an article about the myths that seem to linger around D&D like a bad smell. Since the dawn of time (well the 70's which is close enough) there have been certain myths about the first and best roleplaying game that just won't die - even when hit repeatedly with a +5 Vorpal Sword.
Some evangelical Christians for instance, consider D&D a breeding ground of evil and think of the rulebooks as literal guides to satanism.
"Dungeons and Dragons is a tragic and tangled subject. It is essentially a
feeding program for occultism and witchcraft." (Source: http://www.chick.com/)
One of the classic examples of this warped thinking is the comic strip Dark Dungeons. As a relatively normal person and a life long D&D player I found it hard not to laugh myself into a coma when I read this strip. But when you take a step back and look at this as a piece of religious propaganda it takes on a much more chilling aspect. One of the best rebuttals of this sort of garbage that I have read is on the lilith ezine website.
Another propagated myth is that D&D players are more likely to turn into deranged killers unable to tell the game from reality. This myth almost certainly stems from the by now famous case of James Dallas Egbert III who went missing in the steam tunnels below the campus of Michigan State University. Much of the press reports at the time suggested that Egbert was "lost in the game" and attributed his suicide attempts (eventually successful) to the influence of D&D. The 1982 film Mazes & Monsters starring Tom Hanks was largely based on this inaccurate and sensationalist reporting. The truth however was much less glamorous and involved a troubled youth and an overbearing farther. Two excellent reviews of this case can be found here and here. I'd also recommend reading this essay.
But surely these sort of ill informed attacks against a game loved and played by millions worldwide are a thing of the past? Unfortunately not so. Only last year there was uproar in the Roleplaying community when a member of John McCains election staff took a side swipe at D&D players. Portraying gamers as socially guileless nerds is still popular it seems, despite that fact that D&D has some illustrious players - Stephen Colbert, Ben Afflek, Judy Dench, Robin Williams, Moby, Mike Myers, Mat Damon, Wil Wheaton, Vin Diesel, Joss Whedon and Jack Black to name but a few.
Rest easy folks, were in seriously cool company!