Hooray! Nothing livens up a slow news day like another report of the antics of Florida attorney Jack ‘Wacko Jack’ Thompson. And we’re pleased to announce that he’s at it again. Thompson, last seen staking out the Rockstar headquarters in defiance of the controversial developer’s forthcoming Bully game, has hit on a new, creative way of grinding his axe.
We never indulge in amateur psychology, but if we did, we’d be tempted to suggest that Jack’s regular courting of the media limelight points to a repressed artistic spirit deep within him. And we’d go on to point out that nothing better illustrates this creative urge than his latest open letter to the games industry, in which he outlines a proposal for a video game. Thompson is offering to donate $10,000 dollars to the charity of Take 2 boss Paul Eibeler’s choice if anyone has the guts to produce his highly controversial title. The game proposal follows the roaring rampage of revenge embarked upon by one man after his 14 year-old boy is beaten to death with a baseball bat – by a boy who has been playing a game about beating people to death with a baseball bat. A Splatterhouse reference?
Don’t just take our word for it though, read the full letter here:
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The Golden Rule
This writer has been saying for seven years that violent video games can be "murder simulators" that incite as well as train some obsessive teen players to be violent.
I've been on 60 Minutes and in Reader's Digest this year explaining how an Alabama teen, with no criminal record, shot two policemen and a dispatcher in their heads and fled in a police car--a scenario he rehearsed for hundreds of hours on Take-Two/Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto video games.
I have sat with boys in jail cells, their lives over because of murder convictions, after they, with no history of violence, have killed innocents while in a dreamlike state. Said one cop who investigated such a murder in Grand Rapids, Michigan: "The killing was like an extension of the game."
The video game industry, through its lawyers, its spokesmen, and its head lobbyist, Doug Lowenstein, the president of the Entertainment Software Association, all say it is utter nonsense to suggest that what is dumped into a kid's head hour after hour, day after day, year after year, could possibly have behavioral consequences. Cigarette ads can persuade kids to smoke, but interactive simulators in which these same kids punch, hack, bludgeon, and maim affect not a wit their attitudes and behaviors, notwithstanding the findings of the American Psychological Association, published in August 2005.
The video game industry says Sticks and stones can break my bones, but games can never hurt me. Fine. I have a modest proposal for the video game industry. I'll write a check for $10,000 to the favorite charity of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc's chairman, Paul Eibeler - a man Bernard Goldberg ranks as #43 in his book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America - if any video game company will create, manufacture, distribute, and sell a video game in 2006 like the following:
Osaki Kim is the father of a high school boy beaten to death with a baseball bat by a 14-year-old gamer. The killer obsessively played a violent video game in which one of the favored ways of killing is with a bat. The opening scene, before the interactive game play begins, is the Los Angeles courtroom in which the killer is sentenced "only" to life in prison after the judge and the jury have heard experts explain the connection between the game and the murder.
Osaki Kim (O.K.) exits the courtroom swearing revenge upon the video game industry whom he is convinced contributed to his son's murder. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay" he says. And boy, is O.K. not kidding.
O.K. is provided in his virtual reality playpen a panoply of weapons: machetes, Uzis, revolvers, shotguns, sniper rifles, Molotov cocktails, you name it. Even baseball bats. Especially baseball bats.
O.K. first hops a plane from LAX to New York to reach the Long Island home of the CEO of the company (Take This) that made the murder simulator on which his son's killer trained. O.K. gets "justice" by taking out this female CEO, whose name is Paula Eibel, along with her husband and kids. "An eye for an eye," says O.K., as he urinates onto the severed brain stems of the Eibel family victims, just as you do on the decapitated cops in the real video game Postal2.
O.K. then works his way, methodically back to LA by car, but on his way makes a stop at the Philadelphia law firm of Blank, Stare and goes floor by floor to wipe out the lawyers who protect Take This in its wrongful death law suits. "So sue me" O.K. spits, with singer Jackson Brown's 1980's hit Lawyers in Love blaring.
With the FBI now after him, O.K. keeps moving westward, shooting up high-tech video arcades called GameWerks. "Game over," O.K. laughs.
Of course, O.K. makes the obligatory runs to virtual versions of brick and mortar retailers Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, and Wal-Mart to steal supplies and bludgeon store managers and cash register clerks. "You should have checked kids' IDs!"
O.K. pushes on to Los Angeles. He must get there by May 10, 2006. That is the beginning of "E3" -- the Electronic Entertainment Expo -- the Super Bowl of the video game industry. O.K. must get to E3 to massacre all the video game industry execs with one final, monstrously delicious rampage.
How about it, video game industry? I've got the check and you've got the tech. It's all a fantasy, right? No harm can come from such a game, right? Go ahead, video game moguls. Target yourselves as you target others. I dare you.
Ahem. Naturally, as video game-loving psychopaths, we were most titillated by the brain stem urination scene. But our second favourite bit after that is the challenge at the end. That’s right, Jack: the only possible reason anybody could have for not making this game is because they would effectively be signing their own death warrant - within weeks they would die horribly at the hands of someone inspired by it to kill them!
By the same logic, if the evil games industry did want rid of Jack Thompson, they’d simply have to make a game in which the object is to murder publicity-seeking lawyers before they can achieve widespread notoriety. Of course, nobody in games would ever want to knock off Mr Thompson. Not only is he an endless source of slapstick entertainment; you just can’t buy publicity like this.