Coverage of Last Night's Jack Thompson - Gerard Jones Debate

April 3, 2009 -

A reported audience of 200 Bridgewater College students attended last night's video game debate between Jack Thompson and author Gerard Jones. 

So far we have found two local news reports of the showdown.

WHSV-3 offers this account:

Thompson believes that content should be regulated more efficiently, especially toward kids, pointing out the violent aspects of the popular game series "Grand Theft Auto." He says, "The problem is mature and adult video games that are very violent, increasingly pornographic, that are still being sold aggressively to young people. Kids literally process these games in the part of the brain that leads to copy-cat violence."

Jones, however, urged people to view video games in the same ways as movies and television, and hoped gamers would be more open to explain why they love to play. He says, "We hear a lot about the fear of what they might do, what might go wrong, but we hear so little about how these games are obviously fitting in to a sane, healthy life for a lot of normal people."

Meanwhile, Rocktown Weekly has this:

Jack Thompson... says that unlike other media, video games have been shown to affect neurological development in adolescents.

Thompson... says violent games desensitize youths and can train them to carry out massacres in real life, particularly if they have violent or sociopathic tendencies...

 

Thompson pointed out that the military uses video games to train new troops and desensitize them, making them more likely to shoot when it counts. [GP: According to John Stossel of ABC News, this is a self-perpetuating myth*]...

But Jones counters that violence existed in society long before video games came along.

For example, Jones said the gunman in a 1970s school shooting told authorities he was inspired by "Patton," a biographical movie about World War II Gen. George Patton.

"I cannot see our culture, our laws, our entertainment industry trying to adjust to" what mentally ill people might do, Jones said.

Thompson... advocates greater government control over the video game industry, especially in legislation that makes it a crime to sell video games rated "mature" to minors.
 

* Stossel tracked down the origin of the military's supposed use of violent games to desensitize recruits in his 2006 book Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity.

86 comments

Jack Thompson Debates Game Violence with Author Tonight

April 2, 2009 -

Fresh off his apparently failed attempt to legislate video game sales in Utah, disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson will debate the video game violence issue tonight with Gerard Jones, author of Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes and Make-Believe Violence.

The debate, which will take place at 7:30 on the campus of Bridgewater College in northwestern Virginia, is free and open to the public. It is unknown whether there will be any local coverage.

GP: Thompson and Jones previously debated in 2007 at a college in Pennsylvania. That debate was marred by a student who behaved rather badly toward Thompson. Such behavior only serves to reinforce negative stereotypes about gamers.

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E. Zachary KnightMatt, So, what is it? Is petitioning Intel to pull ads from Gamasutra "bullying and threatening" or is it justified? You can't have it both ways, especially if petition Target is "bullying and threatening".07/28/2015 - 8:10pm
Andrew EisenWhat this comes across as is "we need to find a way to silence anyone who says something we don't like."07/28/2015 - 8:08pm
Andrew EisenAnd how was Gamasutra not accountable for the opinion piece it published and refused to pull or edit even after advertising had been pulled?07/28/2015 - 8:08pm
Andrew EisenThere are tons of options when it comes to an opinion piece you don't agree with. Stating otherwise is dishonest or shows an extraordinary lack of imagination.07/28/2015 - 8:07pm
Mattsworknamethem acounatble. We just didn't have many opttions at the time07/28/2015 - 8:05pm
MattsworknameEZK:I never said it was justified, I just said that some people felt they didn't have any other means to hold them accountable. Weather it's justifited or not is somethign to debate, but I was never a big fan of it cause I wanted some other way to hold07/28/2015 - 8:04pm
Mattsworknameprice07/28/2015 - 8:03pm
MattsworknameAndrew: Your not wrong andrew, but gamasutra , and others like it , were called to task by the audiance that felt they had turned there backs on them. True or not, in media, you have to know how to reach an audiance, and chosing not to, well, you pay a07/28/2015 - 8:03pm
Andrew EisenAt the end of the day, even when Intel pulled its advertising (albeit, temporarily), Gamasutra showed its journalistic integrity by not removing or editing the opinion piece.07/28/2015 - 8:00pm
Andrew EisenNot liking Gamasutra is fine. The audience is primarily industry folk and it's not a game-focused site so it's probably not targeting you anyway.07/28/2015 - 7:57pm
E. Zachary KnightMAtt, So, an online petition asking Target to stop selling GTAV is "bullying and threatening" but a petition and boycott of Intel to force them to stop advertising on Gamasutra is justified?07/28/2015 - 7:56pm
Andrew EisenTrue or not, what it came across as a bunch of people lashing out at a publication over an opinion piece.07/28/2015 - 7:56pm
MattsworknameTo be honest, I've never liked them, but mostly cause rather then being a game focused site, they felt to political for my taste07/28/2015 - 7:56pm
Andrew EisenAnd in the case of Gamasutra?07/28/2015 - 7:54pm
Mattsworknameour concerns about them were well founded.07/28/2015 - 7:50pm
MattsworknameDepends on who you ask, accountable fto it's audiance, accountablie for lies and half truths, accountible for disengenous statements, everyone had there own reasons for going after them. Although in the case of gawker, recent events seem to indicate that07/28/2015 - 7:50pm
Andrew EisenAccountable for... what, exactly?07/28/2015 - 7:48pm
MattsworknameI think the intent was to force some kind of accountabilty on them. Granted As I said ,i wasn't exactly big on the ideas of attacking advertisers but it's a common and well used tactic. Sadly, theres not many other ways of holding media sites acountable07/28/2015 - 7:47pm
MechaTama31With the goal of...? Getting those media outlets to fire or silence the "scum"? That's shitty.07/28/2015 - 7:44pm
Mattsworknamewarned about the scum there assoicating with. Looking at you GAWKER media07/28/2015 - 7:37pm
 

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