Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Justify My Post

I've gotten some
pretty good comments lately on my Jack Thompson-themed posts. One I got today kinda struck me.

A commenter going by the name 'The Great Mon' wrote: "It just seems that this whole thing is preaching to the choir, Jack Thompson most obviously does not care that his figures and claims may and/or are wrong."

Good point. Seriously, why did I waste my time? Why should any of us waste our time on that lunatic?

I'm of the opinion that there is always value in refuting the ridiculous statements of public figures, no matter how crazy they may appear. And that any opportunity to delve into the shaky foundations of self-appointed authorities is one that should not be missed.

The fact that I didn't bother contacting Jack Thompson with my findings at least acknowledges that, yeah, I know that he wouldn't care about what I wrote, that he'd just call me a videogame gestapo stooge and shit in his pants.

Sending a letter to Hilary Clinton, as Steven Johnson did, might seem more reasonable, but is it? Hilary is just as rapidly, unapologetically pro-censorship as Jack Thompson, she only appears calm and rational. She's a politician, skilled at manipulating opinion and a master of being a reactionary in moderate's clothing. And she bases her anti-videogame stance on the same gross distortion of data that Jack Thompson uses.

This is not to disparage Steven Johnson's letter. In fact, I praise it. But will it convince Hillary to possibly educate herself? Probably not. I know that I feel that there was an importance to the act nevertheless.

I don't consider an attempt to set the record straight "preaching to the choir." If I say something like "Jack Thompson is a fucking asshole," then that is what I would call preaching to the choir. People on the fence, people that are wary of videogames but don't wholly condemn them aren't likely to listen to the "fucking asshole" statement, but they might read a careful refutation of some of the primary tenets of the censor-violent-media movement.

We have to remember that there isn't just the choir and the heathens - there's the congregation, too, and they're looking for guidance and information and direction.

And a lot of them are rallying around Thompson's pulpit.

Here is another reason I felt it was important. Jack Thompson isn't the only person misrepresenting those studies. Every time a newspaper or tv show interviews him and he cites those same sources, slapping his bogus reasoning on them, that propagates to countless concerned people. Sure, he sounds crazy - to people like me - but the fact is that he sounds like a shocked and outraged individual to other people.

Imagine if the Sims 2 really did contain all the smut Mr. Thompson claimed, nipples, penises, labia and pubic hair, available with a simple code, purposefully placed as hidden, reachable content. I know that even I might be ranting and raving like Mr. Thompson.

Sure, he's lying, but there are a lot of people that don't know he's lying.

And I'm not so egotistical to think that this whole blog isn't an example of preaching to the choir (for the most part). My hits are small, the eyeballs I'm getting are probably people that would heartily agree to the "Fuck Jack Thompson" bumper sticker - but just in case, just in case one concerned parent stumbles upon my little slice of the Internet, looking for something solid, something not sensationalist . . . that would make my day.

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