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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Debating BatJack

Apparently Penny Arcade considered it for the next PAX:

Well, let's be frank. He disputed the terms of the debate, which were set by the event organizers. Since he didn't get his way, he preferred to take his ball and go home, so to speak, firing off a tirade of angry emails to a number of gaming media sites. My previous post covers the initial email he sent out. In a subsequent email, Thompson said, "I believe what happened is that they thought I would never accept the debate offer, and they planned to use that for p.r. purposes."

However, Jerry "Tycho" Holkins tells a bit of a different story. In an interview at, when asked if the debate with Thompson could still go forward, Holkins said, "I doubt it. We prefer to work with adults."

Holkins also expressed the thought process behind keeping the event under a media 'blackout.' To show how far PA is from being the sinister, First Amendment snatching demons that Thompson made them out to be, Holkins said, "Before any other concern, it is our deep desire that no person be trampled to death at PAX. Given the human density of last year's show, it seemed as though a Jack Thompson panel would create some dicey situations from a safety perspective. We asked that Jack not discuss the event for these reasons."
-- Penny Arcade Speaks Out On Aborted Jack Thompson Debate [FileFront]

My take is that Thompson is a media whore and putting him on any stage, in front of any mic or near any camera is merely feeding the beast. I can respect the desire to get him out of the soundbite arena and into rational discussion - but the man has shown a repeated disregard for facts and logic. Even when interviewers have gotten him into a relaxed setting - he still refers to game developers as sociopaths and defends grandmothers who buy their nine year old kids Grand Theft Auto (same interview, of course - the Chatterbox one I think).

So even if you managed to beat him on points - which would be hard because the man has no problem researching obscure events and then presenting them just twisted enough to make his point (like saying that a Senate report listed games as a factor in violence while neglecting to mention it says they're a negligible factor) - but even if you did he would simply return the favor by twisting the event itself into a media stunt (just as he has already done here).

The man is not a vehicle for rational debate on the topic. He is a self-serving talking head who makes his living coming up with shocking soundbites for lazy news outlets like Fox.

Try and keep him in the dark for as long as possible and perhaps he'll have to get a real job.

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