Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Jack Thompson Saves the World

You guys are sending me a ton of e-mail about Jack Thompson and why I haven't commented on what's happened with him in the last week.

Well, it's hard to keep up. He does more stupid things before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.

A quick review. Last Thursday, Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family sent an open letter to Jack Thompson. In part it said this (from GameDaily.Biz):
Even though we have no formal relationship your use of my name and your inclusion of my name in correspondence have created the impression that we condone these tactics. We do not. The result is that our position and reputation as a research based, non-partisan, solution-focused organization has been jeopardized. Consequently, I ask that you cease using the Institute's or my name in any way that would give the impression that we support your efforts.

In other words: get away from me, bitch.

Here's Thompson's response. I'm not quoting the entire shrill, ranting correspondence--just run around shrieking at the top of your lungs for about five minutes to simulate his letter. Here's the most important paragraph, though (full text here--
Liberals, like you, love to label things and then think that the labeling has accomplished something. If that had been the case, then Churchill's calling Hitler a Nazi would have ended the war. But no, people like me had to get into the trenches and stop the Nazis.

"People like me had to get into the trenches and stop the Nazis." Let's review. Jack Thompson has just claimed that people like him stopped the Nazis.

Now, he didn't actually fight in the war, or stop an actual Nazi, or um, do anything, but if it weren't for "people like him" we'd all be goose-stepping to the supermarket.

People like you stopped the Nazis? Dude, I thought people like you became the Nazis. Fear-mongering, censorship, hysteria--it's a match made in heaven. Maybe you can start a branch of science called "gamegenics" where you argue that anyone who makes a violent video game should be killed for the good of the gene pool.

That's all you need to know about Thompson. He is so desperately self-promotional that he'll wrap himself in any imaginary glory he can find.

I'm sure "people like him" invented fire.

Then he wrote "A Modest Proposal" for a video game. He intended to evoke Jonathan Swift--because without people like Jack Thompson, neither Swift's "A Modest Proposal" or "Gulliver's Travels would ever have been written--but he instead kind of peed his pants.

He proposed a $10,000 donation to charity for any video game company that would" create, manufacture, distribute, and sell a video game "that followed an ultra-violent scenario he created involving a father seeking revenge on the videogame industry for publishing games that influenced his son's killer." It was essentially a gigantic piece of self-promotional masturbation, but unlike Swift, he offered compensation.


Plus, here's another problem: when people think you're crazy, they're not expecting satire. Any kind of batshit press release you put out is taken entirely at face value.

That's when Penny Arcade got involved (comic strip):

Here's Tycho's post about that strip:

This week, when several groups actually did create a game based on Thompson's scenario, and he then refused to honor his agreement, Penny Arcade donated $10,000 in Thompson's name to the Entertainment Software Association Foundation, which has raised over six million dollars for charity since its inception.


Now Thompson is like a terrier frantically chasing its own tail as he tries to not look like a self-promoting loser asshole. Which, of course is difficult--when you're people like him.

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