Friday, July 29, 2005

Jeff Brown Goes Yard

I was in the break room at work yesterday and saw a story about Internet porn. It seems that Congress is, shockingly, coming to the conclusion that underage kids might be viewing pornography via the Internet.

Stop the presses!

Apparently, yet another "study" says that every child old enough to walk is viewing porn. Or something like that.

I’m mentioning this because of an interview they ran with the president of Vivid Entertainment--Mayor McPorn, in other words. Just like Rockstar, it’s the textbook way to throw gasoline on a fire. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) “We don’t think kids are interested in things they aren’t doing yet,” then went on to say that a recent survey of 13-14 year olds revealed that 90% of them hadn’t had sex yet. He also mentioned that the industry had effective security, because a credit card was necessary to purchase.

Two words, Mayor McPorn: free preview. Twelve-year olds and anyone else can view all the porn they want, absolutely free. And I don’t think that “click here to verify that you’re over eighteen” is really that effective.

Of course, the statement that kids aren’t interested in watching explicit sex because they’re not having it yet is, well, stupid. And throwing in a dubious survey that means absolutely nothing is a nifty sleight-of-hand that goes nowhere.

So instead of addressing the issue, McPorn creates another one, or two, or three. In other words, his response is not only totally ineffective, but it actually causes further damage.

This reminds so much of how Rockstar handled the hot coffee controversy. Their initial statement was so cryptically worded that I knew immediately that they were lying (and said so, in this very space).

The way to address a controversy is to address the controversy. That doesn’t seem so complicated. And if you can’t address it directly, then what’s being alleged is probably true.

Here’s an example of how to do it the right way. Mall lawyer Jack Thompson made that totally ridiculous statement about the Sims 2 this week (already covered in a previous column), and here was EA’s response (from Blue's News via

“This is nonsense,” said Jeff Brown, spokesman for EA. “Reasonable people understand there is nothing improper in the game. Reasonable people recognize what mods are. A consumer who chooses to use a mod does so without any kind of agreement with the company. There is no nudity. There is nothing improper or vulgar in the Sims 2.”

Brown continue, “Reasonable people understand the San Jose Mercury News is not responsible for vulgar things that people doodle into the margins of the paper.”

As the world’s worst sportscaster would say: BOOM goes the dynamite.

He didn’t even need all twenty-six letters for that ass-kicking. He still had the “z” in reserve.

Short, clear sentences. Boom. Boom. Boom. Concluded perfectly by a brilliant summation.

Thus ends the Sims 2 controversy. There’s no way it can possibly get any traction, because EA responded in a clear statement with absolutely no ambiguity

Rockstar, meanwhile, has created an uncontrolled chain reaction.

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