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Monday, March 07, 2005

ante thompsian

Thanks to Tony over at, I'm aware of 60 Minutes doing a piece on Jack's latest work. I haven't seen it yet, so if you're reading this, head over to his place for an analysis, and don't miss the link to the Video Games Ombudsman he notes either, who really gives a blow by blow.

Sadly, I'm not full of confidence. It sounds like CBS really white washed the issue and pandered to the knee jerk crowd. It seems the gamer's ardent defender was Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA and whom Jack Thompson has likened to Nazi propagandist Joeseph Goebbels. So, you know it's going to be a classy discussion when it's mostly between a fanatic and his form of the devil. And as the ombudsman points out, Thompson can talk about the case all he wants since he's involved in the litigation (though, um, ethically - should he?) and Doug is just an outside observer.

So mostly it sounds like 60 Minutes gave Thompson an open mic. I'll reserve judgment for when I see it of course. But when I first saw CBS's page I noticed their sidebar was touting other features:

Sept. 11 And Since

America on Guard

Postwar Iraq

Here is the text intros to the top two stories as I write this:

The United States reacted warily Monday to word that Syria will pull back its troops to the eastern part of Lebanon and would work toward a complete troop withdrawal soon.

Italy has honoured the secret service agent killed by US gunfire in Iraq with a state funeral in Rome. Nicola Calipari was killed by US troops as he ushered a released hostage, journalist Giuliana Sgrena, to freedom.

And I wonder why the idea of art imitating life is so hard to grasp for people here. Fact is, I don't think that 60 Minutes is terribly interesting in offering a fair an biased debate on the issue. If it bleeds, it leads, right? And if the video game industry doesn't get on the hook for desensitizing our youth, then the television industry might have to cop to it.

So the foxes are watching the henhouse. And we're the henhouse. Jack Thompson doesn't get on television because he's intelligent or because he's teaching us about the impact of video games on culture - he's on because he's crazy and crazy makes for good television. Seriously, if I could clean up the raving bum on the corner of Halsted and Belmont, put a coat and tie on him and shove him in front of a camera - I'd probably make millions.

Eventually, though - people will tire of Thompson. It's not like he's going to win any cases. The real harm would be if Take Two or Rockstar blinks and actually pays him anything. A settlement is Jack's best hope, and if he's robbed of that - he'll eventually go away. As my dad is fond of saying - this too shall pass. We'll just have to suffer the fools for a while.

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