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Jack Thompson's Big Week Out
October 18, 2005 10:26 AM   Subscribe

Jack Thompson, well-known anti-videogame violence crusader, recently submitted a modest proposal to the game industry: Make an ultraviolet game of his creation featuring, but not limited to, urinating on the brain stems of slain fictional game industry members, and he will donate $10,000 dollars to charity. Of course people leapt at the chance, and of course, Thompson backed out. So then Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade donated the $10,000 dollars to charity themselves in Thompson's name. Thompson's response? Call the cops! No wonder the National Institute on Media and the Family distanced themselves from him.
posted by robocop is bleeding (78 comments total)

Wow, this must be some kind of record time for completing the slashdot-fark-metafilter trifecta.
posted by localroger at 10:28 AM on October 18, 2005

Is this a triple or quadruple post? Just asking.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:30 AM on October 18, 2005

Hahaha, I love it when people use rage monkey's own rage against them!

Any game where peeing is part of the game is a game I want to play (remember Duke Nukem? Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Hehehe).
posted by fenriq at 10:33 AM on October 18, 2005

i like ultraviolet games but the infrared ones are best...
posted by dawdle at 10:34 AM on October 18, 2005

Ultraviolet game eh? Now, not only are the kids learning to kill in "murder simulators", they'll get skin cancer too.
posted by SirOmega at 10:42 AM on October 18, 2005

When did the link to die? Noticed it was dead this morning when I was reading PA.

Did Thompson C&D them, perhaps?
posted by kableh at 10:52 AM on October 18, 2005

Duke Nukem was fucking awesome. Good times.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:52 AM on October 18, 2005

In the pike Esox lucius, ultraviolet light causes a long-lasting inhibition of the action potential discharge of pineal chromaticity neurons (Falcon and Meissl, 1981), although the implications of this finding for the number of pineal photoreceptor types in this animal are unknown.
posted by eatitlive at 10:52 AM on October 18, 2005

Reporting made-up crimes is in itself illegal, yes?
posted by S.C. at 10:53 AM on October 18, 2005 is acting like Mefi, what with the Server Errors and the like. Getting hammered with traffic from people looking for their response, I wonder?
posted by Bugbread at 10:56 AM on October 18, 2005

Sorry, "". While, like Jack Thompson, I get the URL of Penny Arcade wrong, I assure you that I am not, in fact, Jack Thompson.
posted by Bugbread at 10:57 AM on October 18, 2005

I am not, in fact, Jack Thompson

That warm stream down the back of my neck tells me otherwise.
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:59 AM on October 18, 2005

Clearly, what this world needs is a hardcore anti-videogame crusader murder simulator.
posted by wakko at 11:00 AM on October 18, 2005

Hey localroger... you'd a thunk Boing Boing woulda got in on this too...
posted by AspectRatio at 11:02 AM on October 18, 2005

What this world needs is first person shooter which consists of running around murdering gamers. We could give Jack a copy, and he'd be busy playing for months. If he ever got tired of it, we could just make a sequel where you run around murdering non-gamers who support gamers.

Or, better yet, a MMORPG about killing gamers. He'd have 15 alts and only log off to sleep.
posted by Bugbread at 11:06 AM on October 18, 2005

What I want to know is, when is somebody gonna put out a Slaughterhouse Five FPS/wartime RPG:

"American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new. When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating day and night, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody again."
posted by you just lost the game at 11:13 AM on October 18, 2005

What a fscking nutjob.
posted by clevershark at 11:22 AM on October 18, 2005

Kudos to the guys and Penny Arcade.

Oh, is it just me or does digg beat Slashdot to the punch for just about everything besides /. pet causes?
posted by furtive at 11:27 AM on October 18, 2005

Something that I've never understood about Jack (unless the answer is "he's insane"): He defends people who've killed other people, by saying that it wasn't their fault, it was the games that made them do it. One would suspect, then, that he'd think game makers are evil/greedy, and pity gamers for being manipulated. However, whenever he makes comments about gamers, he comes off as thinking they are themselves evil. If that's the case, why would he defend them, and why if it's evilness that drives these people to game, why would stopping games make any difference?

I'm not asking about the whole "thing A makes people do act B" issue, because there's no new ground to be broken there. It's just that most "PMRC/music makes people kill/movies make people kill" folks, right or wrong, are usually pretty logically consistent. I remember being told that D&D was an introduction to satanism, and made people kill, but the folks saying it usually also treated D&D players as potentially dangerous but essentially misled sheep at heart, not inherently evil people. But Jack seems to play both sides of the argument, even though they oppose eachother. Is it pure insanity/stupidity, or is there a tortured logic I'm missing?
posted by Bugbread at 11:29 AM on October 18, 2005

Thompson backed out? Colour me surprized. (insert sarcasm tag)
posted by raedyn at 11:36 AM on October 18, 2005

It is a little known fact that most mass murderers in the early twentieth century - like, for example, Stalin - were huge Worlds of Warcraft fans.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:40 AM on October 18, 2005

I heard Hitler was a spawn-camper.
posted by S.C. at 11:41 AM on October 18, 2005

Richard Reid was a noob.
posted by Bugbread at 11:42 AM on October 18, 2005

The offer got him in the news again, backing out gets him back into the news... etc. He is to be ignored.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 11:44 AM on October 18, 2005

Ed Gein couldn't go a day without his fix of Katamari Damacy.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:45 AM on October 18, 2005

I'm sorry, raedyn, I am a gamer and thus unable to understand your satire.
posted by jefgodesky at 11:47 AM on October 18, 2005

"However, it appears Thompson did neglect to send the letter to one very important party. As of 9:55 a.m. PDT, the Seattle Police Department confirmed to GameSpot that it had not received any such fax from Thompson.

Thompson has since e-mailed GameSpot again saying that he has fixed the URL and apparently faxed the letter, saying "they have it now." Thompson added, "That moral midgets like the computer geeks at Penny Arcade think that I am some sort of pixelated pinata in a game. I'm not. Gabe [the in-comic alter-ego of Penny Arcade artist Krahulik] decided to go after me, and he chose the wrong target. I've been at this longer than he has."

posted by Tenuki at 11:48 AM on October 18, 2005

Genghis Khan's final dying regret was not living long enough to play Ico 2.

And Zortwee Qui-joor plays Rez pretty much daily. Y'all may not know his name yet, but you will when his attack saucers start swooping through the streets, shooting school busses while making really cool music.
posted by Bugbread at 11:49 AM on October 18, 2005

Whoops. Wouldn't be a real post from me if I didn't flub a word here or there. Too much Paranoia, Citizen.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:49 AM on October 18, 2005

Oh, is it just me or does digg beat Slashdot to the punch for just about everything besides /. pet causes?

Yea that is true, however the signal/noise ratio at digg is worse than /., but its getting better. You can often see stupid crap on the FP of digg, if they raise the FP threshold to like 75 diggs or so it might get a little better. Its taking off though, I check them for stuff more than /. - however digg's comment system sucks, and its mostly 12 year olds who dont know jack anyways, so I tend to ignore them, lots of "Me Too" posts.
posted by SirOmega at 11:51 AM on October 18, 2005

I am most amused by Jack's choice of target for a pretty clearly insane venture. I mean, the Strawberry Shortcake Penny Arcade lawsuit? Not so insane. Hallmark has boatloads of money, and they might have had a legitimate claim. As such, not everyone and their grandmother would be willing to chip in to some defense fund. But a lone lawyer with a totally loopy claim going against a big-ole site with a bajoolion fans, and, by phrasing things the way he does, also drawing a bajoolion non-fan gamers into it? If PA set up a defense fund, they'd be getting funds from people who don't even like PA who would ally with them against the greater evil (Jack). Something tells me that not only would some sort of legal action fail, it would also cost Jack more money than it would PA.
posted by Bugbread at 11:56 AM on October 18, 2005

I think Jack Thompson should go back to singing his sexy bluesy music that gets the girls all hot and bothered. Oh wait, that's Jack Johnson? Nevermind. Ignore this twit, at least until they release the game where you get bonus points for peeing in his cereal when he's not looking (hey, that's two peeing comments in one thread).
posted by fenriq at 12:03 PM on October 18, 2005

JT on Islam: "The Bible doesn't promote killing innocent people. Grand Theft Auto does. Islam does. ... Islam promotes the killing of innocent people. The Quran requires the infidel, whether Jew or Christian, to be killed. ... That's a core essence of the religion. ... Muhammad was a pirate who killed infidels and who advocated the killing of infidels. Not a nice guy. Osama bin Laden is in keeping with his fine tradition."
posted by danb at 12:06 PM on October 18, 2005

Jack Thompson and Jack Chick should get together and create an anti-gamer tract. I'm sure their respective qualities would compliment each other.
posted by Tenuki at 12:08 PM on October 18, 2005

It's a wonderful thing to have been watching this develop all day - I suspect this is very much the complete and total meltdown we've all been expecting from Thompson getting properly underway, and the only thing he really stands to achieve is making himself look even more unstable and ridiculous. I just wish there was a way for the average gamer to get involved in showing Thompson up as the attention-grabbing parasite he is.
posted by terpsichoria at 12:09 PM on October 18, 2005

Seriously, though, isn't Thompson opening himself up to action from the police themselves? If I went to the cop shop down the street and complained that some guy had, say, punched me in the mouth when in fact all he had done was scowl at me, I'd expect to get in trouble.

While Holkins and Krahulik would have excellent gronds for some kind of defamation suit, I doubt they'll go there: that $10K cheque indicates a higher level of class than that.
posted by S.C. at 12:09 PM on October 18, 2005

Grounds. Grounds for some kind of suit. Lordy.
posted by S.C. at 12:10 PM on October 18, 2005

You can wear your hatred.
posted by NationalKato at 12:15 PM on October 18, 2005

I wonder how many crank letters you average chief of police gets?
posted by furiousthought at 12:19 PM on October 18, 2005

sigh. I blame S.C. for this contagion.
posted by furiousthought at 12:22 PM on October 18, 2005

whats with eatitlive's response?
posted by lalochezia at 12:23 PM on October 18, 2005

lalochezia : "whats with eatitlive's response?"

Robocop is Bleeding mispelled "ultraviolent" as "ultraviolet" in the post. Eatitlive's response was a joke about that. Why that particular article about ultraviolet light, I don't know, but that may have just been random.
posted by Bugbread at 12:29 PM on October 18, 2005

as a child, osama's frequent mis-playing at river raid tourneys used to get his ass kicked amongst friends, leading to a vicious cycle of violence only a select few recognize as the real impetus to the knee liquifying terror we know today.
posted by ginbiafra at 12:33 PM on October 18, 2005

I wish I had weak little balls like Jack Thompson.

So does anyone else think of Charlie Cheswick or what?

"I want something DONE! I ain't no little kid!"
posted by Smedleyman at 12:34 PM on October 18, 2005

Jack responds to NIMF telling him to fuck off.

Some highlights:

"Dave, I received your letter today. A couple of clarifications, if I'm allowed to do that.
Liberals, like you, love to label things and then think that the labeling has accomplished something. If that had been the case, then Churchill's calling Hitler a Nazi would have ended the war. But no, people like me had to get into the trenches and stop the Nazis.
Dave, it is laughable, it is absurd, that you have copied your email to Bill Gates, of all people. This is a guy whose Halo trained Malvo to kill in D.C.
Regards, Jack Thompson"
posted by iron chef morimoto at 12:34 PM on October 18, 2005

So do the Penny Arcade guys live in Seattle? What if they lived in say Bellevue or some other Puget Sound Municipality.

And furthermore wouldn't this be an interstate crime? Is the charity in Seattle?

I don't see how SPD has any jurisdiction in this much less it being a criminal matter.
posted by aaronscool at 12:38 PM on October 18, 2005

Gabe and Tycho have 10 grand?
posted by solistrato at 12:39 PM on October 18, 2005

Gabe and Tycho have 10 grand?

After today, and the increased traffic from all of this, and the associated ad revenue and merch sales, they'll have a good deal more than that! Jack Thompson, bless his shrill little heart, is the best thing that could have happened to those guys.
posted by gurple at 1:00 PM on October 18, 2005

I wish I had ten thousand dollars that I could just hand over to a charity I liked anytime I felt like it.

No, really. I do wish that. Go, Gabe and Tycho.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:03 PM on October 18, 2005

Gabe and Tycho have a lot of money. Especially after PAX, which was apparently very profitable.
posted by lyam at 1:19 PM on October 18, 2005

Yea, they both own houses now, have wives and Gabe has a kid (named Gabriel).

Money, money, money... Money!
posted by SirOmega at 1:24 PM on October 18, 2005

Gabe and Tycho have a lot of money. Especially after PAX, which was apparently very profitable.

And you know what? Good for them (not that anyone here is saying otherwise). I don't even like games and I still read their comics every week. Plus, they do many good things for the community (the cheap PAX gaming conference, and the Child's Play charity).
posted by sbutler at 1:25 PM on October 18, 2005

yeah, you can definitely see the evil machinations of their business manager behind this:

increased name recognition (dare I say national?)
increased page views
increased sales of penny arcade shit

I wouldn't be surprised if they're already well on their way to making their money back and then some. But you know what? Good for fucking them. They seem like great guys and apparently their business manager is a genius. "Fuck Me? Oh Yeah, well I'm giving 10K to charity in your name! How you like them apples?"
posted by slapshot57 at 1:56 PM on October 18, 2005

I believe the standard chummy phrase is "good on them," for people who make money in a way you might be inclined to disrespect. </comicbookstoreguy>
posted by fleacircus at 2:34 PM on October 18, 2005

and in the next few weeks, they're going to be kicking in the 2005 Child's Play campaign. Jack's just bought them even MORE publicity for it.

Between the $10K donation that he reneged on, and this year's Child's Play, they haven't just shown themselves better than Jack, but they're trumping something on the order of 99% of his arguments. They're actively bringing gamers (and PA readers who don't game) together to do something good.
posted by mephron at 2:47 PM on October 18, 2005

This guy is either insane or a media/self-promotion genius.

None of his tortured logic makes any reasonable sense.

Note his comment about liberals posted above, and also note the fact that one of his favorite people right now is Hillary Clinton because she jumped on his anti-game bandwagon.

Bugbread: You nailed it. He doesn't want to help gamers, he quite clearly hates them just as much as he does the game companies.

Anyway, in every thread about this guy you must remember that violent crime in the US is currently at a 40 year low.

More violent video games=less real violence. (Yeah yeah, correlation and causation)

All these media violence crusaders depend on everyone having the impression that violence is at an all time high, it's a lie.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:52 PM on October 18, 2005

"Dave, it is laughable, it is absurd, that you have copied your email to Bill Gates, of all people. This is a guy whose Halo trained Malvo to kill in D.C."

Well, I'll be ding-donged - this guy is actually forcing me to like Bill Gates!
posted by spazzm at 2:55 PM on October 18, 2005

"ultraviolent" as "ultraviolet" [...] Why that particular article about ultraviolet light, I don't know, but that may have just been random.

Citizen, the computer does not find your ignorance encouraging. Please activate your next clone and report to the nearest Recycling Center.
posted by freebird at 3:00 PM on October 18, 2005

Is it just me, or does Thompson mention Hitler in every communication? His claim that he fought in WW2 and his footsoldier-in-God's-army comments sure shed a lot of light on his particular brand of extremism. Good for the guys at PA, I know I'd donate to their legal defense (read: bankrupt JT) fund.
posted by plexiwatt at 3:07 PM on October 18, 2005

Yea, they both own houses now

But do they have hats made of money?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 3:19 PM on October 18, 2005

furiousxgeorge: "and also note the fact that one of his favorite people right now is Hillary Clinton because she jumped on his anti-game bandwagon."

Hillary is on his shit list now too,

"I certainly did, however, lose respect for Senator Clinton when she decided, after that, to attend a fundraiser thrown for her by the video game industry and by ESA's Doug Lowenstein. To me, that was a sell-out for campaign cash."
posted by Tenuki at 3:25 PM on October 18, 2005

Is it just me, or does Thompson mention Hitler in every communication?

Godwin! JT's over.

Seriously, big ups to PA. Geek retribution FTW!
posted by ruddhist at 3:58 PM on October 18, 2005

Well, he still has Liebermen on his side.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:08 PM on October 18, 2005

The fact that Thompson believes that GTA and Halo can be used to train people kill OBVIOUSLY shows that he has neither played those games nor fired a gun.
posted by baphomet at 4:14 PM on October 18, 2005

I just remembered this in terms of Grand Theft Auto teaching me to kill.

You know what I really learned? That it's real fucking hard to get away from the cops. And that 90% of the time my ass is gonna get fucking shot. And the only way to surviv is to use the cheat codes to get myself the tank and start blowing away the FBI, but even that only lasts for a half an hour. And I really don't need to slap a hooker that badly.
posted by slapshot57 at 4:59 PM on October 18, 2005

IANAL, but wouldn't Thompson's reference to Penny Arcade as an Extortion Factory be clearly libelous/slanderous?

(presuming Gabe and Tycho aren't actually, y'know, extorting money from people)
posted by FYKshun at 5:00 PM on October 18, 2005

Grand Theft Auto taught me that if I tap instead of hold, I have better stamina and can run farther.
posted by odinsdream at 5:12 PM on October 18, 2005

Grand Theft Auto taught me that skydiving is much easier than driving a taxi.
posted by Bugbread at 5:15 PM on October 18, 2005

Grand Theft Auto taught me that I sound like Ray Liotta phoning in voice work.
posted by cortex at 5:23 PM on October 18, 2005

Grand Theft Auto taught me that Wang Chung had one really good song.
posted by bardic at 5:32 PM on October 18, 2005

If violent video games were even 1/1000th of what Idiot Jack claims they are, someone would have taken a baseball bat to his sorry ass a long time ago. The fact that not only has no one done this, but that he still feels comfortable actively antagonizing people whom he in his rank ignorance claims have been transformed into mindless zombie killers by violent video games, speaks volumes regarding Jack's irrational and most likely downright insane paranoia.

We can hate Thompson all we want -- what he needs is therapy. And lots of it. Clearly he's unable to distinguish between reality and his own sick, twisted, violent fantasies.
posted by clevershark at 5:32 PM on October 18, 2005

You know, it's true. If you actually plat GTA more than 10 mins, and aren't childishly obsessed with hookers, what are the moral lessons? A life of crime will inevitably lead to plunging of some cliff full of machine gun bullets in a burning hot rod, or drowning while cheap thugs laugh at you.

Frankly, I think GTA provides a moral and ethical lesson much needed by the degenerate and directionless youth of today. If these fuckers really cared at all or had any brains, they'd be distributing it in schools and on streetcorners.
posted by freebird at 5:44 PM on October 18, 2005

I bought an "I hate jack thompson" shirt. It's the first time anything related to jack thompson made me happy.

Mad props for the $10,000 donation in his name.

and yes, I have kids, and they'll be playing video games at some point in the future, once they can wrap their teeny little hands around joysticks
posted by davejay at 6:05 PM on October 18, 2005

*awaits Thompsonian rant against the lewd and suggestive possibilities of the Revolution controller*
posted by cortex at 6:30 PM on October 18, 2005

I think you guys are giving Thompson a bum rap. I know that the majority of us are well employed and educated people who don't necessarily have to shill ourselves to any particular cause or company to make a living, but Jack's clearly not that fortunate. He was obviously an average joe struggling to make ends meet when he realized that there was money to be made by advocating against video games. If you were desperately poor, stricken by poverty thanks to your natural lack of talent or appreciable social worth, wouldn't you leap at whatever opportunity presented itself?

and here's another litle nugget for you guys to chew on: consider the nature of the scandal thompson is trying to generate. He's railing against a decades old institution that has singly clawed its way up from a niche product into a billion dollar entertainment meganaut with all the power in the world to lobby its enemies into oblivion. Do you think he really believes that he's going to win this contest? No. Do you think he believes this scandal can even last that long? No. So he's making as big a fuss as possible in order to get as much of the video-game-scandal cash as possible before the issue tires out and dies. It's really a pretty wise financial move.

So is it any surprise that he reneged on the 10 grand donation? Of course not! He's in this for the money, not to make a point! Why would he give up money to make a point, then? Sheer foolishness!

Just kidding. This guy's a dildo. In fact, you know how doonesbury uses icons to represent politicians? I think penny arcade should use the double-headed purple dildo from the police station in gta:sa to represent Jack Thompson in their comic from now on.
posted by shmegegge at 8:15 PM on October 18, 2005

Grand Theft Auto taught me to parallel park.

No, seriously. I never really got the hang of it until I learned to do it at sixty miles an hour in a Corvette with SWAT snipers trying to drill me full of lead. Now I can pull into a space with three inches of clearance.
posted by EarBucket at 8:43 PM on October 18, 2005

I heard Hitler was a spawn-camper.

Awesome. I giggled to myself for five minutes and got weird looks from everyone around me :)
posted by mikeweeney at 9:22 PM on October 18, 2005

Metafilter: that warm stream down the back of my neck.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 10:43 PM on October 18, 2005

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