October 21st, 2005

There are definitely times when putting your fingers in your ears and humming a little tune just isn’t the appropriate response. Take, for example, the Holocaust – or, perhaps something a little less earth-shattering, like a termite infestation. Other times though, the most mature option is to do like the moneys: covers your ears with your cute, furry hands and hear no evil.

For us gamers, this is one of those times. We need to ignore Jack Thompson.

Luckily, the craziness of his antics is being revealed to the world now more than ever. Still, he’s getting publicity like mad. Even if it’s bad publicity, hype is the last thing Thompson needs, especially since that’s all he is in the first place.

Sure, gamers are fuming at him (Dude, you just don’t mess with Penny Arcade.), his friends have disowned him, and the government’s none too pleased with him. He evens seems to be calling for something of a truce. But this man is not to be trusted.

He thrives off making a scene. His power (obviously) isn’t in intelligent discourse; it’s in spreading his word and his name. And our obsessive hatred is only giving him more power.

Jack Thompson is not worth our time or our worries – especially from those among us who are actually working to improve the lives of others and spread general happiness. He’s smoke and mirrors, and a lot of hot air. If we stop listening, he will disappear.

Tags: Blog

9 Responses to “Just Stop Listening”

  1. Bonnie Says:

    Yes, I am aware that even this little post about Jack Thompson is a form of publicity, and that talking about not talking about him is in itself contradictory and hypocritical. So, having said what I have to say, I hearby vow to shut my mouth. May he vanish in a puff of smoke. Amen.

  2. Brinstar Says:

    As Gabe touched upon in one of his News posts on Penny Arcade, let’s just hope that someone who’s more sane doesn’t rise up to take his place. However, I think that discrediting him would do us all a lot of good. He’s doing that nicely on his own, but it would be nice if he got a little push.

  3. Bonnie Says:

    I don’t know, I feel like discrediting him doesn’t do as much good as it should – because, really, who was buying into his bs in the first place? People who aren’t going to listen to gamers, no matter how much sense we make.

  4. Dexanth Says:

    The thing is, and I think Gabe said it best: Jack Thompson for now is the spokesperson for the anti-violence in gaming crowd, and he is simply filling a role that if he were to fade away, someone else would inevitably pick up. And, unlike Mr. Thompson, this new person might actually be competent.

    I’d rather keep the blustery windbag who we know can’t hurt us, as opposed to replacing him with the Bill Clinton of anti-game violence.

  5. Bonnie Says:

    I don’t know – I think it takes someone a bit off their rocker to think such ridiculous things about games in the first place. I’d like to believe that if someone more sane and competent took his place – well, there wouldn’t be a place to take, because sanity and fanatical anti-game rhetoric just don’t go together.

    I also begin to wonder if we don’t have a sort of love/hate relationship with Jack Thompson. I mean, I know we hate him, but it seems we love to hate him. Which, in some ways, is all well and good, except that I can’t help but think we love to hate him because he’s just so crazy (and by that I mean, please, someone, lock up this man). If we were faced with someone who could actually, intelligently contest our views about gaming, would we really give a damn?

  6. Dexanth Says:

    Arguably, yes, because someone who could do such a thing would be much more likely to actually be able to get positive media attention for his case, and history has shown Congress loves to go on about how we need to limit game sex/violence; if someone eloquent because the face of that campaign, then it could take off to much greater heights.

    I mean, I don’t think it would take much; someone quiet and soft-spoken, yet persuasive, who goes out and gets statistics and evidence to support every claim made. Then, of course, start with something reasonable; as is, is it such a leap to make that perhaps M games should be required to be in a locked display case? And then it could domino downward from there.

    Whereas Mr. Thompson, who I agree gamers love to hate, goes ahead and calls for an outright ban, which is far enough away from what’s in place now that it’s a completely unrealistic goal.

    This is an enemy we know, and we know it’s an impotent one.

  7. Bonnie Says:

    Okay, but let’s say you had an eloquent, intelligent enemy who, like you say, backed up all his rational anti-gaming arguments with statistics and clear thinking. Wouldn’t that make him, well, right? What we’ve got now is ridiculous because it’s redhunting – which, impotent as it should be, still has a lot of power in America, as it has in the past. But a sensible, thoughtful opponent who wasn’t out for our heads, but actually out for our safety might have good things to say. Or he might just not say anything, because statistics and reason show that things are fine as they are.

  8. Dexanth Says:

    The problem is that far more often than not, statistics can be influenced or interpreted differently by whoever is researching/advocating them at the time.

    The thing is, perhaps the biggest game violence fallout occured post-Columbine, where I will admit the hysteria did have far-reaching side effects, yet nonetheless, years later, how much did it change things? By comparison, the Hot Coffee fallout was barely a blip on the radar.

    Everything I read/see on the opponent’s side inevitably seems to be talk to generate good PR or get their names in the papers. Until they prove themselves competent, I suppose I am content to let them rail on as much as they want, because it is no threat to me, yet it provides so much comedy.

  9. Bonnie Says:

    I see what you’re saying. I guess, for me, the comedy strikes too close to home. I’m happier to see Thompson head for the hills, just in case he actually converts someone important.

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