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Jack Thompson Attacks DoD, ESA, GTA With Utah Bill 235

eldavojohn writes "Delusional disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson claims to have a bill in the state of Utah that targets retailers and entire industries with the Truth in Advertising Law. The best part of his rant: 'Our military appropriately uses violent video games a) to suppress the inhibition to kill of new recruits, and b) to teach killing scenarios. Games have the same effect on civilian teens.' While GamePolitics couldn't find the bill on Utah's state site, they did receive a response from him claiming 'I have a sponsor and a bill, and [the video game] industry is in trouble.' For 2009 bills, there seems to be merely a bill enhancing the Truth in Advertising Law but does not contain any of Thompson's verbiage. Good 'ole Jack — always good for some laughs, but really he needs to give it up one of these days."
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Jack Thompson Attacks DoD, ESA, GTA With Utah Bill

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  • Never (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:18PM (#26714971)
    He will never give up. The reason is simple - every time he goes off on one of his insane ramblings, news sites and services cover it and give his voice an audience. Until people stop caring what he has to say, he'll keep saying things. Unfortunately.
  • Jack Thompson? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JesseL ( 107722 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:28PM (#26715181) Homepage Journal

    I can't believe he hasn't been found in a cheap motel room; dead from autoerotic asphyxiation, wearing a gimp suit and a dildo in his ass.

  • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:32PM (#26715255)

    Playing devil's advocate... you're probably being somewhat sarcastic/facetious, but you are making a point. Being a proper devil's advocate, I thought I would point out that I don't know that most people believing in the games-cause-violence idea would say that games make people want to commit random acts of murder. Rather, that when tension builds/anger occurs, violence as an action comes more naturally than before the video-game-"conditioning." In other words, the fact that your reaction to J.T. is "kill Jack!" proves that the violent video games did have an effect - that is, they are affecting your reaction to something that displeases you.

    Note: I'm not arguing for the position.

  • by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:35PM (#26715305)

    That's the stupidist argument I've ever heard. Building tension / anger has lead to violence long before video games were ever created.

  • Re:Never (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chabo ( 880571 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:43PM (#26715449) Homepage Journal

    I think it was Tycho from Penny Arcade who said something like this, though I can't find the quote:

    "I'm glad we have Jack Thompson as the spokesman for the anti-videogames movement, lest we have someone more competent to take his place."

  • Re:Never (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:46PM (#26715501)

    The reason is simple - every time he goes off on one of his insane ramblings, news sites and services cover it and give his voice an audience. Until people stop caring what he has to say, he'll keep saying things. Unfortunately.

    And how is that working out for him, so far?

    Sure, he's been disbarred, he's trashed his livelihood and his reputation, and he has become the laughingstock of both the legal and entertainment industries -- but since someone is still printing his NAME on a WEB SITE, he must be WINNING!

  • by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:51PM (#26715599)

    I think their problem is that games are treated more like movies, and less like cigarettes and alcohol. And to them that seems like a bad thing.

    An easy-going cashier might sell a violent game to some 8-year-old without a care in the world. I've seen it happen with films at the theater, rentals at a BlockBuster, and games at a GameStop.

    As with most things, video games shouldn't be a federal matter but a family one. Parents need to take an active role in their kids lives and not just hand over wads of cash or buy something because they want it.

    • Parents should be vigilant about what they're buying for their kids: a box with dismembered corpses on the cover might require a millisecond of thought when buying for a 5-year-old.
    • Parents should keep track of what their kids are doing with their money. Personally when I was a kid I didn't have access to a lot of disposable income
    • etc

    I've mentioned it in the past, but my favorite anecdote about this whole thing took place while waiting in line at a GameStop. Some mother was asking the cashier if he thinks she should buy DeadRising for her really young kid. He told her about the ratings and described the game, but she STILL didn't want the responsibility of making the decision herself and kept asking for him to make the decision..

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @04:00PM (#26715741) Journal

    I find it interesting that the rants here are about not stopping violent video games, while on the Superbowl Ad thread [] Slashdot users bemoan the fact that ads that are sexually suggestive are censored, while the violent commercials are not

    I would posit that the difference between the two is that you have a choice over which video games your kids play. You don't have a choice over which commercials play during the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl is typically regarded as something that the whole family can watch.

  • Re:Slashdot... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fujisawa Sensei ( 207127 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @04:04PM (#26715825) Journal

    News for nerds, rantings of crazy people?

    Jack has no authority anymore. Until such a time as he actually gets some, please ignore him.

    What do you mean "anymore"?

    I don't believe that he ever actually had any.

  • Re:But it's UTAH.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mercution ( 1247442 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @04:05PM (#26715863)
    On the contrary... we Mormon kids aren't allows to do anything illegal. So video games are a great outlet.

    GTA4 is a great outlet. Except for a crappy story line (in my opinion).
  • by pmbasehore ( 1198857 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @04:16PM (#26716069)
    Or, has the rise of MMORPGs like WoW and the like led to the rise of teenage witchcraft and mythical, fell creatures?

    Seems like similar logic to me.
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @04:22PM (#26716173)

    Video game violence and situation comedies are obviously ruining this nation.

    This is why we have so many random acts of violence and comedy in the streets.

    Wait. I guess kids aren't the mindless copy-drones they're made out to be.

    Never mind.

    -- Terry

  • Re:Hahahah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull ( 905905 ) <marc,paradise&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @04:34PM (#26716369) Homepage Journal

    Kick & scream all you want pig, you lose

    I think that's a dangerous attitude to take. There are a lot of people out there who don't know any better who will take seriously whoever is shouting loudest. For many years now, that person has been Jack Thompson.

    The thing that makes him most dangerous is that there's an element of truth to his arguments. There's a minimal amount in there that makes the things he says plausible to those people who don't/can't educate themselves.

  • by dogmatixpsych ( 786818 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @04:35PM (#26716377) Journal
    Spurious comparison. Witchcraft and mythical creatures are not real (I know some would argue they are but we'll go with the assumption they are not). Violence is real though so your argument is invalid. You can't disprove a logical argument by constructing a similar argument using unreal elements.
  • by EastCoastSurfer ( 310758 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @04:36PM (#26716393)

    It's probably had a hand in teenage obesity.

    To think that people are not affected by their environment at all is just as bad as thinking every violent act leads back to a video game.

    To use your logic kids with abusive parents should never have any problems later in life if what they experience every day has no long lasting affect on them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @05:40PM (#26717395)

    This is a serious subject and requires serious research and serious proof.

    No, no it doesn't. It's not a serious subject and it's not a difficult concept to grasp.

    Games easily and verifiability cause behavioral changes. You get pissed if something goes bad or and happy when something goes right. That's a behavior change. I have the same behavior change from the weather.

    But I'm not going to go out and buy a gun and kill all my co-workers because I'm pissed that it's -20F this morning. And I'm not going to go out and buy a gun and kill people because someone camped my body in a FPS game.

    Also, the ascertain that people will have negative behavior changes and gain skill from FPS games (as an example) makes no sense. If they're pissed off from playing FPS games, it's probably because they suck. If they suck, they must not have very good skills. If they have shitty skills, they clearly didn't learn how to fire weapons from the video game.

    Likewise, if they DID gain skills from video games, they're probably really good and probably are pretty happy when playing games. Making them a much happier person, nes'pas?

    Fuck research. Lets have some common sense. Do we have a rash of 5-year-old killers because they played too many "Cops & Robbers" or "Cowboys & Indians" or "Military Men"?

  • by orclevegam ( 940336 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @06:12PM (#26717923) Journal

    No, but to think that people (not just kids) aren't affected by the stuff they experience in their daily environment is just as short-sighted.

    People are affected by everything they experience, daily or otherwise, but how that experience affects them is non-obvious and varies massively from person to person. As such, trying to lay the blame for anything at the feet of one particular source (be it music, game, show, movie, book, or person) is to ignore the real problem. People do things for a variety of highly complex reasons, sometimes physical in nature (chemical imbalance), other times psychological (PTS, indoctrination of various kinds, various abuses [somewhat related to PTS], poor reasoning skills). You cannot legislate away crazy, immoral, illegal, or just plain stupid behavior, there will always be those that do bad things, no matter what they are or aren't exposed to, and what is and isn't illegal, to believe otherwise is to believe a fiction, and those that operate in ignorance of reality do so at their own peril.

  • People used to blame comic books for the moral decay of the youth, now they're glad if they'll even bother to read comics.

    Kids play all kinds of violent games, and they (most of them, anyway) know they're not real. Have you ever watched any cartoons? Those are ultra-violent killing instructions! Oh noes!

    And of course the pinko liberals forget that before there were comics and rock music, there simply was no violence. At all.

  • Re:Hahahah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by redcaboodle ( 622288 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:06PM (#26719207)

    Nobody's going to listen to the talking head introduced as "Jack Thompson: Disbarred Lawyer" who wasn't already convinced that video games are evil incarnate.

    Except for those who believe he was disbarred to silence him for annoying [important_group].

  • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:39PM (#26719509)

    There's a reason that we don't have humans fighting to the death in giant amphitheaters, we've become more civilized.

    What's the reason? What is "civilized"?

    Considering the fact that some of the most "civilized" people can end up raping and murdering, I fail to see how being civilized has anything to do with it. with regard to the Puritans enjoying violence more so than the Romans, I still find that very dubious, especially if one reads actual Puritan writings.

    As to civlization, between 150 and 50 years ago we had things such as eugenics and sterilization, Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, Stalin, Mussolini, the Vietnam guy (can't remember his name), etc. Civilized, you say? IMO, there is no difference as far as humans are concerned between the 1st century AD and now, except that certain societies, because of various influences, have had different - dare I say it - moral standards and influences, while others have not. Rome's influences (moral, religious, philosophical, etc) were different from America's, at least at the beginning.

    However, the entertainment venues of a society often portray what the society is "really" like. "Civilized" often means "nicely clothed" and ignores what the society (or person) really is. So the question still remains, do violent video games reflect society, affect society, or some other option?

  • Re:Hahahah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:48PM (#26719579) Homepage Journal

    Or those who don't know he was disbarred, and he says "I'm Jack Thompson. I have a XXX law degree." or some other weasel verbiage that makes it sound like he's a lawyer without actually saying he's a lawyer.

    Or heck, he could still be introducing himself as a lawyer, too. Wouldn't put it past him.

  • Re:Hahahah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WNight ( 23683 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @06:00AM (#26722775) Homepage

    Really though, he IS a lawyer in all but technicality. (For what little that's worth.) An insane one maybe, but the government merely took his license to practice, not his lifetime knowledge. As long as he's not offering to take a case for you...

    It's not like the government is who I listen to in choosing who has the most accurate technical opinion in any given area. His credibility, IMHO, is right where it was before. (Zero, but for other reasons...)

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