Although he is regularly covered here and is a frequent source of GP news items, anti-game attorney Jack Thompson has had a contentious relationship with GamePolitics over the years.
Last Thursday PopZart published an interview with Thompson in which GamePolitics was the primary target of the controversial attorney’s spew.
I was given the opportunity to participate, but declined when I realized the author was after a mano-a-mano feature pitting Thompson and GP. That tale is too complex to be left in the hands of a writer with whom I have no prior acquaintance. Reading the final product convinces me it was the right call.
In the article, the vitriolic attorney also takes off after Kotaku’s Brian Crecente, Take Two Interactive boss Strauss Zelnick, the Penny Arcade crew and a few others. Here are some of his comments relating to GamePolitics as well as my responses.
JT: People tend to demonize their opponents in order better to try to marginalize them. I am sure I have been guilty of that at times, and I apologize.
GP: Damn straight you’ve been guilty of that. Apology accepted. Also, check with the Attorney Generals of Louisiana and Utah on that whole demonization issue. Check with former ESA boss Doug Lowenstein, who you compared unfavorably to Saddam Hussein.
In relation to this, I’ve often wondered why Thompson believes that demonizing people helps his cause? Likening Doug Lowenstein to Saddam, for example, is not only inflammatory, but ultimately a distraction from the issue at hand.
When this question has been posed, Jack typically spouts some nonsense about Jesus calling out the pharisees as the whited sepulchre. Maybe so, but I don’t recall Jesus being so downright nasty about it. And what of the concept that men of good will may disagree? Not operative, it would seem, in this case. Finally, Thompson apparently doesn’t care that his rancor has cost him dear among potential allies. But he should, his crusade would be far more effective with influential support.
JT: I was interviewed… by a major newspaper in the UK about the Manhunt 2 victory… They know over there that I was in the middle of this effort. Industry lapdog “news sites” like GamePolitics won’t acknowledge that because now Dennis McCauley of GamePolitics has totally sold out. He is part of ECA, an industry entity.
GP: The truth is, we write about Thompson so much on GamePolitics that some readers complain about it. Jack, on the other hand, seems to feel that if we don’t print the precise story he would like to see, that we’re trying to hide his activism.
However, if you search GP for “Thompson” and “Manhunt” you’ll find at least a dozen recent articles containing those two terms. Most of them clearly delineate Thompson’s activities, including this one, which explicitly lays out Thompson’s key role in drawing the Florida Attorney General into the Manhunt 2 debate.
We didn’t cover Thompson’s interview? So what? Time is limited and so is space. There are a lot of things we don’t cover every day. When Thompson gets to be GP editor, he can make those decisions. Until then…
JT: That [UK] story would have proven I am reasonable, which the likes of Dennis McCauley do not want because to demonize Jack Thompson is to demonize all opponents of the sale of adult-themed video games to children. These people don’t report the truth, because the truth is not in them.
GP: So the issue of whether Jack Thompson is “reasonable” hinges on a single article? That’s pretty sad. What’s more, by Thompson’s logic, I guess I’m demonizing myself, too, because I don’t want adult-themed games sold to children, either. I’m on record, for example, as supporting the AO rating assigned to Manhunt 2 by the ESRB.
The issue, as Thompson well knows, is whether or not game content should be legislated. Personally, I don’t believe so, but you’re welcome to disagree. I may take issue, but promise not to call you either a whited sepulcher or a Saddam Hussein clone.
An explanation for Thompson’s penchant for attack may lie in his 2005 book, Out of Harm’s Way. In a chapter offering tips to would-be culture warriors, Thompson writes:
Be mean… Trust no one… Use the media to your advantage… Take the offensive…
I’m not sure, however, that he read this part of his own book, which says:
Remember, it’s not about you…
GP: Thompson’s attack on GamePolitics was extensive. So is our reply. Look for Part 2 soon…