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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Gabe, Make Up Your Mind

First, you tell us to not ignore Thompson:

Some people have suggested that it might be time to start ignoring the guy and honestly that’s what we had decided to do. However, that was before he tried to have us arrested. Jack is not scary, if you speak to him for even a couple minutes you realize that. What’s scary is that people in the mainstream media listen to him. I don’t think we can just ignore him anymore.
-- Penny Arcade, 10-17-2005

Now today,

You can certainly mail the networks he appears on. You can even send letters to their advertisers. You can contact the senators he speaks with and demand they ignore him. If enough of us do that sort of thing and we do it long enough they will eventually get the message and drop him just like the National Institute on Media and the Family did. Would that be a good thing? I’m not sure.

Jack is not special. He is not a unique snow flake as they say. He is just the latest vocal opponent of whatever is "corrupting" our youth at the moment. When my dad was growing up it was rock and roll devil music. Then it was comic books then movies and rap music. Today it’s videogames. If we were to succeed in getting Jack blacklisted from the major news outlets someone else would simply take his place. Imagine him as an actor playing a part in a play. The point is that Jack Thompson is not important. If he were to be fired a new actor would simply take up the role. The same lines would still be delivered in the same way and the same audience would pay to see it. We are actually fortunate that the current actor is so impotent in his role. Imagine what might happen if some charming, efficacious attorney took his place. The more I consider it the more I think we may be lucky to have Jack playing the part of the alarmist. The alternative might be someone who is actually capable.
-- Penny Arcade 10-19-2005

I gotta disagree. Heartedly.

Look, there's only two explanations as to why media outlets would continue to book Thompson.

Either A) They know he makes up stuff, exaggerates, has paranoid delusions about Nazis, holds a God complex, etc. And don't care.

Or B) They think he's an expert on the subject.

If A is true, we've got nothing to lose, because they don't care the guy is insane. They might, however, still care if people stop watching. If B is true, we only have everything to gain by making Jack's own track record as public as possible. Make Jack's reputation part of the reputation of the media who wants to air him, so that they'll know it's wrong.

The problem is ... there are better spokesmen for the "anti-game" crowd out there. They make more sense and have better facts. However, they don't get the same kind of time on stage because they're too credible to say things like "cranial menus" or "Manchurian children" or "Columbine Times Ten". Media loves that sensationalism ... and it's only our apathy which will let it continue.

Everyone in this debate, from the gamers to the researchers to the parents, have something to gain from removing Jack from his podium. We can all stop discussing insanity and start talking rationally. Thompson is the equivalent of the screaming child in the corner of a classroom, keeping the rest of the kids from having a normal schoolday. How many gamers have heard of Dr. Walsh or Dr. Anderson, compared to Jack?

I don't believe there is a roster of Proto-BatJacks waiting to take his place. And even if they were, they would be just as inflated blowhards who exist only because the media breathes life in to them. They could be dealt with in precisely the same way.


Corvus said...

I'd have to agree with you on this one, Josh.

Brinstar said...

Josh, check it out:

Josh said...

Thanks, Corvus. And from Brinstar's link it seem we're not alone. FactCheck is a great idea. MediaWatch might be another outlet.

All of this I might elucidate on in a larger post ... but right now my sinuses ... they are attacking. Achooo and owie.

CtrlAltDelete said...

Well said!

I think you pretty much nailed why the media does continue to book Thompson. I give them more credit them simply "they think he's an expert," and certainly lean towards the more "sensationalism = great tv" theory.