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Thompson Declines PAX Debate, Blames Penny Arcade

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the how-dare-you-invite-me dept.

Games 101

GamePolitics is reporting that Jack Thompson, who was invited to debate at this year's Penny Arcade Expo is now blaming the PA gents because he turned down the debate. Essentially, PAX organizers were aiming to keep the debate a secret until the event actually happened. When Thompson declined the invitation, he did so in a public forum, revealing their intentions. He now claims that he turned it down because PAX wanted to use the event as a publicity stunt ... somehow. From Jack's letter to GP: "What GamePolitics or others need to do is get to the bottom of why they really wanted to announce the debate one hour before it occurs. Now THAT would cause a stampede that would not allow them to have passes in the hands of those who want to go. I'm surprised, Dennis, frankly, that you have so naively taking this dodge. I believe what happened is that they thought I would never accept the debate offer, and they planned to use that for p.r. purposes."

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Inviting him to PAX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416089)

Would be like inviting GW to a moveon meetup. It'll never happen.

There goes my PAX booth (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416371)

I was going to set up a FREE BRICKS booth at PAX. but I guess that's down the crapper now

Re:There goes my PAX booth (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425391)

You can still use those bricks for a "dedicate a brick" booth, and offer to hand deliver them on everyone's behalf.

Say What? (5, Funny)

Cinnibar CP (551376) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416095)

Worried that PA would receive publicity over this incident, Jack Thompson provided... er.. free publicity.

Re:Say What? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416137)

Does JT ever do anything that doesn't make him look like a douche?

Re:Say What? (4, Funny)

doombringerltx (1109389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416171)

Does JT ever do anything that doesn't make him look like a douche?
There was that one time.... oh wait, no

Re:Say What? (1)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417147)

Well, his album 'Sweet Baby James' was phenomenal... oh wait, Jack Thompson, you're right, no.

Re:Say What? (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 7 years ago | (#19422503)

He could try "just for men", and possibly have surgery to get both his eyes to point in the same direction.

Re:Say What? (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#19422375)

Does JT ever do anything that doesn't make him look like a douche?
If ignorance is bliss he must be the happiest mo-fo on the planet.

Re:Say What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19429367)

Does JT ever do anything that doesn't make him look like a douche?

One time a while ago he took part in a campaign to educate young women about proper vaginal hygiene.

He used his mouth to spray water on and into a giant model of labia and a vagina as part of a demonstration

That was pretty nice of him. Think of all the young ladies he helped.

It is worth noticing that... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416329)

...not of word of this can be found on Penny Arcade's site. This tells volumes about the real media whore in this story, i.e Thompson.

I always found PA to be upright about things and there again. Besides these guys are involved in more than just games thru the likes of their annual toy drive.

Re:It is worth noticing that... (4, Informative)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417137)

The PA folks posted they refuse to talk about "him" anymore and encourage the rest of the media to do the same.

Without the national media attention, hopefully "he" will just shut up and go away.

Re:It is worth noticing that... (1)

StingRay02 (640085) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417755)

"He" will likely never go away. He's the very definition of a tool. Add to that, anyone with half a brain understand why they were keeping the debate a secret. The slightest provocation would cause "him" to cancel anyway, so there's no point announcing until you can be reasonably assured that he'll show up, such as, an hour before the debate when his asshat self is in the building already. Of course, even that is no guarantee.

Re:It is worth noticing that... (-1, Troll)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418443)

Let me take this moment to say that penny arcade isn't funny and gabe and tonka are morons. Sadly in this situation jack thompson comes out on top of someone. Those guys need to stfu and stop making him look good.

Re:It is worth noticing that... (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 7 years ago | (#19420043)

The PA folks posted they refuse to talk about "him" anymore and encourage the rest of the media to do the same.

Like Slashdot? Please?? Pretty please???

There is no point in reporting on this guy's every utterance. If and when he actually does some newsworthy (I know, a long shot), fine, report. All this grandstanding is meaningless and is not news.

Stop making this guy relevant, he is NOT.

Re:It is worth noticing that... (2, Insightful)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19422103)

Sadly, you are mistaken. He is relevant, but not because anything he says is accurate or valuable. It is rather because policy-makers take his statements (heck, sometimes solicit his statements) at face value and use them as justification for public policies. Whether we know he's an asshat is irrelevant; the sad part is he can get on a CNN talkshow or in a meeting with a mid-to-high level bureaucrat and the vast majority of sheeple nod compliantly along with his screed. As much as it pains you and me, he does need to be reported on, argued with, and neutralized. The whole ostrich strategy just doesn't seem to work well at that level; as much as replying to his arguments plays into his hand, not replying plays even more.

It would be nice if the media were capable of screening for asshats, but sad fact is even if they were capable they would not be willing as asshat-screed sells newspapers and ad space better than dispassionate, reasoned, and evidenced policy debate.

Re:It is worth noticing that... (4, Insightful)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 7 years ago | (#19422631)

I do think that it is a shame he won't be debating a real gaming lawyer, that's something I've been wanting for years, that's something that really needs to happen. But otherwise, I can't really agree with you. The gaming press basically doesn't matter. If he gets on CNN, how is the gaming press going to make a difference. Is Adam Sessler going to counter his points on national TV? God, I hope not. The truth is, the majority of the gaming press do more harm than good. These "journalists" are bloggers with woefully vocal sycophantic nitwit commentators that do everything to reinforce the image that gamers are unstable geeks. Fortunately, the only people who read these blogs are other gamers.

JT's worst enemy is himself. Anytime he shows up in the mainstream press (which is actually extremely rare) he makes a fool of himself. That's good, that is something that I approve of. His arguments, if you can call them that, are patently absurd. I think the most recent time he hit the mainstream press was right after the VTech shootings. He and Dr. Phil both tried to play the odds and pin the killer down as a gamer, something that was unsubstantiated and shown not to be true. That might not phase JT, but Dr. Phil won't be making that mistake again. And even if it was true, guess what, most people play videogames. Correlation does not equal causation, and people are more than willing to entertain the idea that a seriously unstable person might enjoy playing a game were you kill people, knowing full well that it wasn't the game that made them unstable. Yeah, the media will continue to talk to JT when something extreme like this happens because he's an entertaining asshat. That doesn't make him relevant.

People aren't as dumb as you seem to think, they see right through JT. And even if they don't, it doesn't matter, because people don't decide policy. However, any time he shills a new law, and that law gets passed because some populist governor wants to make the news doing something "for the children", what happens? The ESA smacks that law right down. It's only then that JT has any semblance of relevance, the only time anyone needs to pay attention to him. Unfortunately, it looks like that needs to continue for a little longer so that other governments will finally wise up to his antics and stop costing their tax-paying constituents hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. When one of these laws fails it is an embarrassment to all those involved in its passage. Whatever public policy you are referring to doesn't exist, or at least not for more than a couple of days. We have the ESA to thank for that, not the fringe press. JT will never be able to overturn the constitution, and there is no constitutional way he can hurt gaming. He is not as big a threat as everyone seems to think.

Re:It is worth noticing that... (2, Insightful)

sYkSh0n3 (722238) | more than 7 years ago | (#19422765)

Do you really need to hear it? It would go something like this:

JT: Video Games are destroying our youth and corrupting young minds!
GL: Actually, games can be quite educational and improve hand-eye coordination. Studies even show that doctors who play video games make fewer mistakes and perform surgeries faster.
JT: SHUT UP! YOU F*CKING LIE! STOP HARASSING ME OR I'LL SUE! I'M GONNA SUE ANYWAY! THAT WAS DEFAMATORY!! I'LL KILL YOUR FAMILY IF YOU DON'T LEAVE ME ALONE! I DIDN'T ASK YOU TO TALK TO ME!!!!!!

Re:It is worth noticing that... (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19423129)

Jack Thompson? I have utterly no clue who you are talking about. Is this some type of cultural isomorphism local to the US or to commercial television content? I am not current with either, I'm afraid.

But from the context of this thread, please don't enlighten me.

Re:It is worth noticing that... (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19423275)

Jack Thompson? I have utterly no clue who you are talking about. Is this some type of cultural isomorphism local to the US or to commercial television content? I am not current with either, I'm afraid.

I am not sure if you are being serious or not, but then, if you're not that much into gaming and tech news, it could be possible that you never heard of him yet.

But from the context of this thread, please don't enlighten me.

In that case, don't follow this link [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It is worth noticing that... (1)

ReptilianSamurai (1042564) | more than 7 years ago | (#19422627)

Agreed. He's like a toddler looking for attention. He doesn't deserve even a passing thought from us. I'm amazed he hasn't been disbarred yet, because he is certainly a nutjob.

Re:It is worth noticing that... (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424925)

I believe he's already been disbarred from one state, but is still allowed to practice law in Florida, which is where he's launching his current lawsuits from.

I figure it's only a matter of time before even Florida grows tired of him and disbars him, at which point he'll simply find another lawyer as kooky (or worse) than himself to handle the lawsuits while the former lawyer continues making his rounds on the talk show circuit. After all he'll need the money. Lawyers aren't cheap you know ;-)

Of course, my wife pointed out that maybe this is all just an elaborate scam on his part. Think about it, his blathering about GTA and ManHunt has done nothing but generate tons of publicity for those titles and their publisher. Who's to say these companies aren't just paying him to sue them? He files the lawsuit ($300), goes on FOX News for a bit, gets a few press releases, then "settles out of court". Now he can go onto his next client. He's nothing more than a character actor who's convinced the media to take him halfway serious.

There is no Jack Thompson (5, Funny)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417395)

I'm surprised nobody's figured it out yet - the whole character of "Jack Thompson" is a Penny Arcade publicity stunt. The "John Smith" style name and the bitingly satirical parody of "think of the children" paranoia should have been enough to make everyone suspicious, but even if that wasn't enough, the whole scam should have been obvious after they hired that ranting homeless guy to play "Jack" on TV. I guess all you have to do is dress a crazy guy up in a suit and the news media figures he must deserve a microphone too.

You got it! (4, Funny)

nege (263655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416121)

" I believe what happened is that they thought I would never accept the debate offer, and they planned to use that for p.r. purposes."

And then you didn't. And now they will. GG Jack!

Re:You got it! (2, Informative)

Kopiok (898028) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416225)

If that's what he thinks they wanted... then declining the debate and then complaining about it is giving them exactly what they would want. Jack's logic defeats its self.

Re:You got it! (1)

StingRay02 (640085) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417709)

Logic? You honestly think JT has any sort of logical atom in his brain? I'd laugh at the thought, but I'm afraid I wouldn't stop.

Re:You got it! (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 7 years ago | (#19421187)

You honestly think JT has any sort of logical atom in his brain?

Logical Atoms? Yes. Any more complicated structure of which these are comprised? No.

Jack Thompson == genius tactician (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416377)

Yes, he's playing directly into their plans! He knew PA would expect him to decline the offer, and thus he declined. He knew they would expect him to make a hystrionic claim that PA was once again conspiring against him, and thus he did. The goal is to make PA think that they completely understand Thompson and can predict his every move. Thompson will continue to play into this belief until they invite him to a private chat at their home to discuss the issues of violence in media. Again, exactly as they will be expecting, Thompson will suggest a game of his own to "break the ice". Two cups of tea, one spiked with iocane powder, which is tasteless, odorless, dissolves instantly in water, and is one of the deadlier poisons known to man. The PA crew must pick a cup and both drink from it, while Thompson drinks from the other. Then while they debate which to drink from, Thompson plays his card and does the unexpected -- he cries "what's that?!" and points, and while they aren't looking, he switches the cups. As they drink, he cackles and reveals his nefarious scheme!

Except before it is revealed who will fall victim to the poison, ninjas attack and behead all three of them. The last one to leave steals the Pac-Man watch.

At least, that's what the comic I drew while I was high said.

Re:Jack Thompson == genius tactician (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416807)

Yes, he's playing directly into their plans! He knew PA would expect him to decline the offer, and thus he declined. He knew they would expect him to make a hystrionic claim that PA was once again conspiring against him, and thus he did. The goal is to make PA think that they completely understand Thompson and can predict his every move. Thompson will continue to play into this belief until they invite him to a private chat at their home to discuss the issues of violence in media. Again, exactly as they will be expecting, Thompson will suggest a game of his own to "break the ice". Two cups of tea, one spiked with iocane powder, which is tasteless, odorless, dissolves instantly in water, and is one of the deadlier poisons known to man. The PA crew must pick a cup and both drink from it, while Thompson drinks from the other. Then while they debate which to drink from, Thompson plays his card and does the unexpected -- he cries "what's that?!" and points, and while they aren't looking, he switches the cups. As they drink, he cackles and reveals his nefarious scheme!

Except before it is revealed who will fall victim to the poison, ninjas attack and behead all three of them. The last one to leave steals the Pac-Man watch.

At least, that's what the comic I drew while I was high said.
Inconceiva--no, can't do it, too easy. I'll do something with class like a "soviet beowulf running new here linux" instead.

Re:Jack Thompson == genius tactician (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#19421411)

You forgot ", hot grits confirms it".

Re:Jack Thompson == genius tactician (1)

fair_n_hite_451 (712393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424805)

AND something about old South Korean peoples...

Re:Jack Thompson == genius tactician (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427073)

Hm, I don't know. Do you think it would be tacky to start using "At least, that's what the comic I drew while I was high said will happen" as my catch phrase?

Re:Jack Thompson == genius tactician (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427905)

Hm, I don't know. Do you think it would be tacky to start using "At least, that's what the comic I drew while I was high said will happen" as my catch phrase?

No, but it does risk having your home raided by the police, you confessed drug user, you.

In Soviet Russia, drugs use you !

Re:Jack Thompson == genius tactician (1)

MacroRex (548024) | more than 7 years ago | (#19420697)

Two cups of tea, one spiked with iocane powder, which is tasteless, odorless, dissolves instantly in water, and is one of the deadlier poisons known to man. The PA crew must pick a cup and both drink from it, while Thompson drinks from the other. Then while they debate which to drink from, Thompson plays his card and does the unexpected -- he cries "what's that?!" and points, and while they aren't looking, he switches the cups. As they drink, he cackles and reveals his nefarious scheme!

But he's been taking the poison for years in small doses, building up an immunity? Inconceivable!

Re:Jack Thompson == genius tactician (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19428955)

The genius tacticians here are Penny Arcade.

They invite Jack Thompson to a PAX event at the last minute. Not only does Jack have very little time to prepare himself, but the event itself will be full of people who hate his guts, and any reasonable discourse pretty much cannot be expected. It's like walking blindfolded into a room full of your worst enemies. In the case of Julius Caesar, that didn't go over too well.

Jack is backed into a corner. If he refuses the invitation, he has no spine. If he accepts, he gets lambasted and utterly roasted by his opposition. His best bet would've been to return PA's invitation. Tell them they didn't give him enough time to prepare for the PAX event, then spring 'would you be so kind as to come, next month, to my own debate session on CNN?' on them. Now the ball's back in Jack's court. Although PA would have a much easier time of refusing Jack's invitation than Jack has of refusing theirs, at least it helps take the heat off.

Obvious (1)

GWLlosa (800011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416147)

Well shoot... isn't the whole point of a PUBLIC debate to get, I don't know, PUBLICITY?

Re:Obvious (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417671)

I think the point of a public debate is to... wait for it!.... debate in public.

This way you get the debate, and the presence of an audience means that whatever you say has witnesses and becomes public knowledge, limiting the ability of either side to spin things their way afterward. The public is there pretty much to keep the participants honest.

STFUJT (3, Insightful)

guspasho (941623) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416155)

"I believe what happened is that they thought I would never accept the debate offer"

Since you didn't, the world will never know...

Uh, what? (4, Insightful)

ack154 (591432) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416161)

So typically, if PAX wanted to use him as a publicity stunt, wouldn't they make his invite, oh, I don't know... public??

Nice try Jack.

Re:Uh, what? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19419297)

No, they wouldn't. If they wanted to make it a publicity stunt they would announce it early so that people would SHOW UP FOR THE INEVITABLE FUCKING PUBLICITY STUNT.

Seriously, you Penny Arcade motherfuckers need to get a life. The comic isn't even fucking funny, yet you people are so obsessed over it that you're not even talking sense (see above).

You're not doing any favours for the Penny Arcade community by acting like even more of an uneducated douchebag than Thompson is, and if you think you are, you're probably just as die-hard a lamer fan as the rest of the swine.

Re:Uh, what? (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 7 years ago | (#19420467)

Dude, get a 1-Up.

Re:Uh, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19421367)

Jack, is that you?

Fun (5, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416189)

If I were attempting to make as unbiased an environment as possible for such a debate, as held at a games expo, keeping it secret would be the first idea coming to mind. Announcing months before hand is just asked people passionately for/against Thompson to buy up tickets and otherwise destroy the levelheadedness of the crowds. Waiting until the last minute is perfectly understandable.

Unless you're Jack Thompson apparently.

Re:Fun (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416277)

Except the attendees at a games expo (especially one hosted by the guys who write a comic that has been merciless in their criticism of Jack Thompson) are going to be overwhelmingly and passionately against Jack Thompson anyway.

PA wanted to get Jack Thompson in front of their crowd so they could knock him down and make themselves look like heroes in front of their adoring fans. The correct action for Thompson to take would have been to either privately (and politely) turn down the request, or simply ignore it. However, Thompson is apparently not capable of doing anything privately, so he turns them down publicly, hence giving them exactly the publicity he criticizes them for seeking.

The debate was a trap, Thompson was right about that, but the way he handled it was just stupid.

Re:Fun (3, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416457)

I don't know about "trap"...I mean, sure, it's going to be a hostile crowd...No question of that. But he couldn't intelligently expect anything else, and I'd be extremely surprised if it was represented as anything but an opportunity for him to make his case to the people he is supposedly trying to save from the evils of gaming.

I don't know why they bothered to ask him...He's notoriously unable to deal with people disagreeing with him, and it wouldn't make much of a debate to have him screaming at whoever he was supposed to be debating.

Re:Fun (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416757)

PA wanted to get Jack Thompson in front of their crowd so they could knock him down and make themselves look like heroes in front of their adoring fans.

I call Shenanigans. Sure, Tycho and Gabe can be sarky bastards, but I think the real intent was to have Thompson be debated by people who actually have a clue about videogames, something that doesn't happen every time he pops up on network news. That's also the reason he declined. His past tactics and behaviour bear this out. He's a guerrilla figher, sniping from a distance, doing hit-and-run smear pieces, never getting engaged in anything but the slightest and tritest discussions.

One day, somebody will eventually get the chance to poke him hard, and he'll crumble like the house of cards that he is. Looks like he managed a dodge on this one, but it won't be long now.

Re:Fun (3, Funny)

kv9 (697238) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417521)

One day, somebody will eventually get the chance to poke him hard, and he'll crumble like the house of cards that he is.

how many points is a Jack-Thompson-Splatter in Carmageddon?

I'm not sure, (2)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418057)

but I'm pretty sure you get a Cunning Stunt Bonus for it.

Re:I'm not sure, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19419805)

Surely you mean the Stunning Cunt Bonus.

Re:I'm not sure, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19421903)

I'm guessing here, so I may be wrong, but I get the feeling your special purpose in the world is to dismantle any possible humor in a post before someone gets a chance to laugh. Am I right?

Re:Fun (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417789)

He's a guerrilla figher, sniping from a distance, doing hit-and-run smear pieces, never getting engaged in anything but the slightest and tritest discussions.

One day, somebody will eventually get the chance to poke him hard, and he'll crumble like the house of cards that he is.


So, if we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominos will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate!

Re:Fun (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19421243)

One day, somebody will eventually get the chance to poke him hard, and he'll crumble like the house of cards that he is. Looks like he managed a dodge on this one, but it won't be long now.

No he won't.
With him, it'd be like those "discussions" you had when you were four; "yes!", "no!", "YES!", "NO!". There are neither losers nor winners in something like that, just stuborn idiots unwilling to even entertain the possibility of tweaking their opinion for any reason.

Re:Fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19423363)

"Preview" is your friend.

Re:Fun (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417845)

Jackie Boy said he wasn't afraid a of a hostile crowd, he says he been in front of bigger "hostile" crowds and that this one didn't phase him in the least. He doesn't give a fuck about a fair debate, hence why he never accepts debates that might have a level ground either.

Re:Fun (1)

n00854180t (866096) | more than 7 years ago | (#19420935)

You fail at life. Trying to construe the PA guys as having some sort of ultimate MASTER SCHEME to ruin Jack Thompson is just hilarious, all things considered. Can anyone say "conspiracy theorist"?

Re:Fun (1)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 7 years ago | (#19423017)

It's a trap allright!

I guess from Jacko's POV, accepting the invitation would be accepting to go talk to a huge bunch of murderers higly trained in various killing, torturing, driving, flying, jumping and mushroom-eating tactics with sophisticated simulators!! Just try to picture that.. a room filled with potential mass murderers, all having expressed their profound hatred towards him..

geez.. get this guy locked up already.

Can't blame him... (4, Funny)

Crasty (1019258) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416221)

The guy is a nutjob (oh damn, I just got sued) but even a total assclown (gah, restraining order!) knows he shouldn't enter a place where everyone there wouldn't mind if he disappeared of the face of the Earth! (No that's not a threat.. Jeez!)

He obviously brought it to media attention because any attention is good attention. The guy has to be the center of controversy whenever possible. (He's a closet gamer, don't let him fool you. He only started throwing lawsuits when Rockstar released GTAIII on PS2 as a temporary exclusive. He only had an X-box, and the rest is history)

Never would have happened in the first place. (1)

Vokkyt (739289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416227)

This never was going to happen. Great idea, real chance to get some fun debate, but never would have happened. One way or another, Thompson would have refused because it wasn't a battle on his terms. He knows, this, as did Gabe/Tycho most likely.

Plus, given the amount of literal death threats given to Thompson, I think that the PA guys did the right thing.

Re:Never would have happened in the first place. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19416813)

Agreed. If they really wanted it to happen, they should have had someone else invite Jack to keynote -- for example -- at "SIGVIDKID 07: Conference for the Special Interest Group on Children and Video Media", a little-known and sparsely attended conference that happens to be co-located with PAX. (This year's theme: "Murder simulators: A good idea, or what?" Paper deadlines are soon -- submit early and often!)

Possible Reasons - Free of Charge (5, Insightful)

Johnny_Law (701208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416235)

I assume there are a few reasons PAX wanted to hold off the announcement.

The first reason would be security, Jack Thompson is a "polarizing" individual, to put it mildly. It would only take one crazy gamer to take any kind of shot at Thompson to make him a martyr. Making the announcement onsite would allow the PAX crew to avoid anyone planning in advance to engage Thompson either with hostility or protest.

Secondly, this would be the huge surprise for the audience. PAX has made it sort of a staple to have some kind of surprise for the show.

Thirdly, pick a smaller reason, but with Jack any reason could balloon overnight. Between now and PAX Jack could go further off the deep end with some of his crusages. Perhaps he would decide to sue PA for something outside the scope of his PAX committments. In either case, PAX would lose the ability to quietly remove Jack.

Any of the three would be enough for me to want to keep Jack on a short lease. However, this could still happen, but I would expect PAX to have greater security at the actual venue.

Re:Possible Reasons - Free of Charge (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416727)

Somehow I doubt Jack would have been in any real danger at PAX. He probably would have slipped in the back a little before the debate started, walked up on stage as a surprise, endurded long rounds of jeers, and then left through that same back door. Gamers aren't actually the gun crazy nuts Jack thinks they are. I think it would have been amusing to hear the gasp when he walks out on stage.

But it's a hostile audience, no doubt. I don't know how hard it would have been to keep them civil (quiet) while he spouted his traditional "games cause people to turn evil" diatribe.

Re:Possible Reasons - Free of Charge (1)

Johnny_Law (701208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416851)

Somehow I doubt Jack would have been in any real danger at PAX. He probably would have slipped in the back a little before the debate started, walked up on stage as a surprise, endurded long rounds of jeers, and then left through that same back door. Gamers aren't actually the gun crazy nuts Jack thinks they are. I think it would have been amusing to hear the gasp when he walks out on stage.

But it's a hostile audience, no doubt. I don't know how hard it would have been to keep them civil (quiet) while he spouted his traditional "games cause people to turn evil" diatribe.

As strickly a surprise guest, you are %100 correct. The audience would gasp, boo, and jeer him until he left.

As a announced guest it is possible, however unlikely, that someone or group could decide to make a spectacle out of the event and protest in a manner that reflects poorly on gamers in general. A worst case senario would be that a deranged person would take a shot at Jack turning him into a martyr.

Re:Possible Reasons - Free of Charge (2, Insightful)

Copid (137416) | more than 7 years ago | (#19419431)

My guess is that the crowd would boo him off the stage and he could declare victory. I'm surprised he didn't see it as a golden opportunity to get some press and make gamers look uncivilized.

Re:Possible Reasons - Free of Charge (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424733)

You're giving Jack Thompson's intelligence way too much credit.

Run the debate anyway (3, Interesting)

dmatos (232892) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416237)

I'm sure this will be redundant by the time I actually finish it and get it posted, but Penny Arcade needs to call Jackie on this right now. "Okay, Mister Thomson. We'll allow publicity before the event. We'll do our best to provide adequate security for the debate. See you at PAX."

If there's one set of online comic writers whose fans will listen to them when they call for moderation, it's Tycho and Gabe. Anyone going to PAX is going to be well aware of how much furor any pie-in-the-face attempt is going to create, and none of them will want to provide more fuel for the anti-gaming fire.

consummate pro (5, Insightful)

syle (638903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416279)

You can tell he's a skilled litigator by the way he manages to look less professional than two dudes who draw a webcomic featuring dirty jokes about video games.

Morisettan irony at its finest... (3, Informative)

spiffyman (949476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416287)

Is it just me, or does the sight of Jack Thompson accusing others of PR [wikipedia.org] stunts [wikipedia.org] set one all a-giggle?

This man can't be serious.

Re:Morisettan irony at its finest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19421831)

No, but the use of phrases like 'Morisettan irony' and 'set one all a-giggle' makes me want to set my fist a-through your smarmy face.

Use it against him (3, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416291)

PA gave him a chance to talk directly to this "evil" generation he seems to hate so much. SO if he truely wants to help people wouldn't be speak to this generation and attempt to get us away fromt hese evil games we play?

The guy could rationally talk and get on the front page of every game site in 1 switch shocking hour or so. Yet instead he declined and proves he doesn't care what we do, just cares for the money and/or fame.

Re:Use it against him (3, Insightful)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417235)

SO if he truely wants to help people wouldn't be speak to this generation and attempt to get us away fromt hese evil games we play?

No, I think he'd rather make your parents paranoid, just like these [wikipedia.org] villainous [wikipedia.org] fuckers [wikipedia.org] tried years ago with a different medium.

Nobody ever went broke by banking on stupid parents.

Publicity for who? (1)

SirAyon (1112425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416489)

The problem with Jack's response is that he is turning down a perfect opportunity to defend his position on video games because supposedly Penny Arcade wants to use it as a "publicity stunt". Now doesnt it sound like him "calling out" Penny Arcade on their evil tactics is just that? My advice Jack, is when deciding when and how to make yourself known dont go for the situations that make yourself look like a brazen coward. So far you are 0-3, Im kinda looking forward to actually hearing you debate, if its even possible for you to "man up" enough to do it.

Too bad... (1)

axia777 (1060818) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416585)

Thompson could use a large helping of public humiliation. I wonder what Penny Arcade had in mind, if anything at all. I wish that fool would go crawl back to the rock he was hatched under. Some one should disbar him for anything that they can get him disbarred for.

Re:Too bad... (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416735)

I'm positive Jack plans to a market a brand of drinking water that contains lots of lead. And he's his own best customer.

Jack Thompson, making gamers look well-adjusted (4, Interesting)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416723)

I'm actually slightly grateful to Jack Thompson. Someone competent could easily convince the majority of people that games like GTA are a bad influence on children. Thompson, on the other hand, is a walking PR disaster- he alienates people with even shreds of intelligence. He manages to consistently lose cases that even Darl McBride could win in court. Not to mention all the publicity he gives Rockstar...

Re:Jack Thompson, making gamers look well-adjusted (1)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418331)

Not to mention all the publicity he gives Rockstar...
Aha! Maybe that's just it! Maybe all along he's secretly been a Rockstar shill sent out to cause a ruckus about their most recent games and therby generate massive ammounts of publicity.

Very sneaky Rockstar.

Marketting Genius (2, Interesting)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416901)

Whoever at PA who thought this up is a pure marketing gennius. For the cost of a long distance call to a lunatic they managed to garner huge amounts of free publicity. No matter what crazy old jack did they would garner publicity. Pure genius.

Jack won't show... (2, Insightful)

Hepneck (876605) | more than 7 years ago | (#19416907)

because he still owes Gabe, Tycho, and Child's Play $10K. Cheapskate or coward, you decide!

I'm totally on Jack's side here. (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417167)

Look, he doesn't trust Penny Arcade. Since they stad for everything he's against, why should he?

Penny Arcade wanted to control all publicity. They wanted everything on their terms. They did not allow Thompson any flexibility. Didn't they consider that Jack might have wanted something out of it as well?

Would it really have killed Pennny Arcade to have announced this debate in advance? Is their security so hopeless that they can't protect a fairly anonymous guy from a crowd of middle class hobbyists? Why not let Jack accept the alleged security risk? While they may have lost out on the big splash of making it a big surprise, they would have still had an excellent item. It seems like a better compromise than what they ended up with.

Re:I'm totally on Jack's side here. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417773)

I agree that he has no reason to trust Penny Arcade, especially looking from his perspective that they (as well as most of the gaming community) are out to get him.

Still, I imagine they were prepared to pay him for his appearance. Also, they're hosting the convention, so it's not that unreasonable for them to set a ground rule like that, seeing as they likely wanted it to be a surprise for the convention goers.

As far as Jack being "fairly anonymous," in the gaming world, nothing could be farther from the truth. Seeing as he's the most outspoken opponent of video games, he's extremely well known among gaming circles. It's not crazy to assume that 99% of PAX's attendees will be gamers. As far as security, it only takes one nutjob to cause a problem, and the last thing Gabe and Tycho (and the rest of the gaming world) want is for Jack Thompson to get attacked at PAX. Considering the damage that would do, it's no wonder they were trying to keep it under wraps. As has been mentioned elsewhere, the man has gotten death threats and that sort of thing has to be taken seriously.

Besides, who knows if they tried to compromise or not? The only source we have on this whole thing is Thompson himself, and I for one don't trust his word. It's entirely possible that PA tried to reach a compromise with him and he turned it down.

Perhaps PA will tell their side of the story when the convention is over, perhaps not. Honestly this whole thing isn't that big a deal, and I imagine that PA will want to keep their distance from Jack after this latest interaction. Unless, of course, they want some free publicity. He throws that stuff from the rooftops.

You don't know Jack (2, Interesting)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#19419505)

PA wanted to control all publicity? Well, no shit. Last thing ANY marketer wants is for two marketing campaigns that contradict each other. Jack Thompson would probably put out ads saying "Come see the horrors of video gaming!", while PA put out ads saying "Come see the friendly community video gaming!"

On their terms? "Their terms" basically were, 1) Keep this secret until 1 hour before the debate and 2) let us handling marketing. Not exactly a gag order there.

Flexibility? This is not an 20-year binding contract, its a contract asking Jack Thompson not to blab about the debate beforehand.

The guy has been demonizing video games for almost a DECADE. The guy has been featured on nearly every major U.S. news network from CNN to Fox News. This is not some "fairly anonymous guy". Anyone who watches/reads about the news has at least heard of this guy at least once. You have to be pretty ignorant to have not heard of him by this point, especially if you're posting in the video games section of a news site.

I hate Jack Thompson... but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19417191)

He has a point, that's a pretty greasy thing for PA to do. They're using it for publicity, nothing more.

Re:I hate Jack Thompson... but (3, Insightful)

Rallion (711805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417367)

Why would you say that? They haven't even mentioned it. Anywhere. Not a single word. All information about this occurrence is from JT.

I do understand Jack Thompson. (1)

d3m0nCr4t (869332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417227)

Imagine, Jack Thompson, surrounded by gamers and geeks, trying to kill him, zombie-style...

Zombies + PS2 (1)

JacksBrokenCode (921041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19419621)

Imagine, Jack Thompson, surrounded by gamers and geeks, trying to kill him, zombie-style...

Doesn't take much imagination. Watch the last scene of Shaun of the Dead.

RE:Imagine, Jack Thompson, surrounded by gamers... (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19423953)

Imagine, Jack Thompson, surrounded by gamers and geeks, trying to kill him, zombie-style...

I'd buy that game...

Re:I do understand Jack Thompson. (1)

lmnfrs (829146) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426163)

Imagine, Jack Thompson, surrounded by gamers and geeks, trying to kill him, zombie-style...

Best. Allusion. Ever.

The only thing he has to fear (2, Interesting)

Steeltalon (734391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19417465)

Is that he'd get proven wrong in an open debate. Security can be handled, and that shouldn't be his concern. Either he's prepared and willing to deal with an open debate where he his opinions have to stand on their merits against the arguments of people (who know what they're talking about), or he's not and he's afraid that he'll get his ass handed to him. I figure that he knew that he'd get destroyed in a debate, but also feared that the PA guys would make the announcement that he bailed. So, rather than let them do something like that, he decided to try to play it up like he had to bail because the whole situation wasn't right. Too bad that he's really not smart or cunning enough to pull off a plan like that.

Tycho's Response (5, Informative)

sandwichtron (1044480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418303)

1up has more information [1up.com] on this deal including a small interview with Tycho regarding it.

Gem from Tycho:

We prefer to work with adults.

One Room... (3, Funny)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418759)

All I want is to put a video camera in a room with Jack Thompson, John Dvorak, Bob Cringely, and George W. Bush, and see which one makes the most amount of sense.

Jack "video games will rape your kids" Thompson
John "I support John McCain because he likes Steve Ballmer" Dvorak
Robert "self-proclaimed sex-symbol dorkus" Cringely
George W. "God put sand on this earth so we could nuke it into glass" Bush

Tough call...

Re:One Room... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19419579)

George W. "God put sand on this earth so we could nuke it into glass" Bush

When has Bush ever even suggested using nuclear weapons?

Christ can't you liberals give it a rest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19422351)

Always gotta pull politics in with some off-hand swipe at Bush. I'm SO sorry you hate him so much it keeps you up at night.

PLEASE go somewhere else with your tripe. I, for one, am tired of hearing it from both sides.

I don't know why Slashdot seems to be such a home for comedian wannabes.

Re:Christ can't you liberals give it a rest (1)

Dobeln (853794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19422839)

You just don't want to do what's right for America!

The quote was bad though - Bush would be more like "we... erm, must spead freedom and democracy to the sand. Family values don't stop at the, uh, Tigris."

He's the president, it's par for the course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19422873)

It seems to have escaped your attention, but the current president happens to be Bush. When taking a well-merited swipe at politicians, there is no more appropriate target than the president. And that, whether you like it or not, is Bush.

Just because you happen to like that guy is your problem. And the fact that he's the president is his problem. As president, he'll take whatever criticism he gets for his actions, whether you like it or not.

No surprise (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 7 years ago | (#19418835)

The guys so much of a pussy that he won't support his position in a public forum.

Rat Race put it best: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19420883)

Maybe it's a secret publicity stunt!

Let's look at this from Mr Jack's perspective... (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19422093)

"Hey.. those nice Romans want me to come down to the collesium to talk about Christianity. Sounds like a rousing and obviously level headed forum for debate, don't you think?"

Re:Let's look at this from Mr Jack's perspective.. (1)

Phoenix00017 (1017168) | more than 7 years ago | (#19422427)

Honestly, that's a darned good point. I loathe myself for saying this, but I agree with his decision to turn down the invitation. It wouldn't have mattered how well he argued his point (not that I think he could have), he would have been utterly eviscerated on that stage by the audience. It was a lose-lose situation and he was wise to decline it.

That said, coming up with BS reasons for such a decline was not a great idea. I mean, I RTFA, and after reading his email I kinda had the feeling he might have had a few too many bloody mary's before writing it. Hell's Angels? "I'm surprised, Dennis, frankly, that you have so naively taking this dodge."? He had to know this email would get published - I would think he might try proof-reading it.

The real problem though I don't think is Jack Thompson. He's a waste of our time, a lost cause. He's fanatical, and you can't change that. The problem is that the political world and the American people as a whole haven't figured this out yet. We need to work on educating them, rather than simply humiliating the frontman (which at this point has gotten far too easy). I think Penny Arcade would be awesome to suggest another debate - this time in the Senate. I think it's a fantastic idea to get some people who know about games to talk with him about it in a forum, but let's do it in a place that could actually matter, instead of just preaching to the crowd at PAX. Go get'em boys!!

Re:Let's look at this from Mr Jack's perspective.. (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19423365)

No, privately declining is a good idea. Or even publically declining at the start.

Accepting and then running and whining in public because the PA, apparently, have legit security concerns about the appearance and didn't want it public is just stupid.

He was going to fact a hostile audience no matter what, people who 'support' him, if such people exist in actuality, are not going to purchase tickets to PAX just to see him. He could either face a group of gamers who had no idea he was about to show up, or he could face hostile gamers very opposed to him, which could, indeed, have some nutjobs.

Considering that Jack's whole reality is based around the theory that games can make people dangerous lunatics, it's sorta hard to understand why he'd be willing to show up in front of gamers with advanced warning. I'm not entirely sure that would be a good idea, and I think he's full of crap, but there is a lot of hatred for him, and there are a lot of irrational people out there. There might only be one in one hundred thousand deranged lunatic gamers out there, but they'd almost certainly be in the audience if this was announced publically.

I'm really left with three options, in decreasing probability:

1) He never intended to debate, and thus picked some random reason to back out. If PA was going to announce it, he would have exited because he didn't want them to do so.

2) He was hoping he would be attacked, or met with some sort of protest and protesters that would leave him unable to actually debate, and he could then point at it and say how horrible video games and gamers are, and PA foiled his plans by not actually telling anyone, and he then realized he might actually have to debate someone.

3) He doesn't actually believe the crap he's spewing, and thinks that video games are completely harmless.

Re:Let's look at this from Mr Jack's perspective.. (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19423377)

Oh, and he never proofreads anything. His dribbles are always filled with odd typos and random punctuation and all sorts of crazy-looking unprofessional things.

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