geoffrey gauchet

Jack Thompson and Grand Theft Auto IV

Wired has a story about Jack Thompson . Jack wrote a letter to Strauss Zelnick's, Chairman of Take-Two Interactive, mother. Take-Two produces the Grand Theft Auto series of video games. A brief history about John "Jack" Thompson. He's done everything he can to try and rid America of obscene and indecent material. Like Howard Stern, rap music, and most recently, video games. What his problem is is that he rarely has everplayedthe games he complains about and only goes off of the hearsay and other word-of-mouth details of the game and uses that as an argument against the games. Not only that, but he rarely, if ever, has a valid argument other than inflated opinions of himself and the games. So, as I mentioned, he recently wrote a letter to TTI's chairman's mother. The letter essentially says she did a shit job raising her son and that her son is not so much a Boy Scout, but "more like the Hitler Youth." Real classy guy.

Your son last week was reported to have said the following about Grand Theft Auto IV, due to be released Tuesday, April 29: "We’ve already received numerous [GTA IV] reviews, and to a one, they are perfect scores. My mom couldn’t write better reviews…" Taking your son’s thought, I would encourage you either to play this game or have an adroit video gamer play it for you. Some of the latter gamers are on death row, so try to find one out in the civilian population who hasn’t killed someone yet.
The bulk of my friends are "adroit video gamers," myself included. None of us has ever commited a crime much more than maybe a lane change without using a signal. Which, I guess since you can do that in GTA, maybe we learned it from that. Or the thousands of other drivers that do the same. They probably play GTA though. To say that the majority of gamers are criminal hoodlums is (and pardon my French, Mom, but I've played GTA… ) fucking stupid, to put it bluntly. The absorption ofvirtualviolent material does not make one a violent person. To say that is to completely reverse many psychological and scientific studies regarding environmental and parental involvement in the growth of a human being. My parents have been fantastic parents my whole life. They've been loving, nurturing, and have taught many things about life and the treatment of my fellow man. They never hit me or my sister because we were bad. They never disowned us because of choices or decisions we've made. They've always brought us up has kids that were respectful of all people. And as a result, I can watch movies and TV shows and play video games riddled with violence and sex and foul language and drug use and know that it is all fake and not real. I know that just because I can make my character kill someone in a video game doesn't mean I can do that in real life and not suffer consequences. I know that because Ewan McGregor shoots up inTrainspottingdoesn't mean I can go buy some smack and get going. And just because Quagmire sleeps with dozens of women in "Family Guy" doens't mean I can just go and hump anything that moves. I know this because my parents taught me how to live my life properly. I know this because I know the difference between fantasy and reality. And when I was a kid and they didn't want me watching somehting like "Beavis & Butthead," they turned it off. They told us that. And a couple years later when we could handle the fact that lighting stuff on fire wasn't cool, we were able to watch it.
Mrs. Zelnick, did you train up your son, Strauss, to make millions of dollars by pushing Mature-rated video games to children? Any kid can go right to little Strauss’ corporate web site and buy GTA IV with no age verification.
"Any kid?" I'd say any kid that is allowed to surf the web by himself and then has access to a credit card to pay for the video game on the website is probably mature enough to handle a video game like GTA. Yeah, sure, kids can click through the website and add the item to their cart, but, where are they getting $60 from? Where are they getting credit cards from? If you are a parent that's dumb enough to let your young kid roam about the internet unsupervised and let them use a credit card without you first checking to see what they're buying a suitable for them, then you hearby fail as a parent and your children should be stripped from your "care" and be given to parents who know what the hell they're doing. When I was 12, I didn't have $60 bucks. Hell, I'm lucky if I have $60now. And I certainly didn't have a credit card when I was 12. And my parents had internet access locked by password so I could only use it when they said I could. No NetNanny software. Nothing fancy. Just good ol' run-of-the-mill parenting. And it worked. So while Mr. Thompson is blaming the mother of the producer ofGrand Theft Autohe fails to realize therealparents that he should be blaming are those of the kids who killed a cop in Alabama. Video games didn't kill that cop. Those kids did because they were never taught the difference between right and wrong and fantasy and reality. GTA and other games get slapped with an M rating for a reason—they're for gamers 17+ years old. Parents obey movie ratings so heavily, but won't pay attention to the ESRB ratings on video games. Game producers and publishers and the ESRB have done and are doing everything they can to keep games in the hands of only those who should be playing them. If you're a shitty parent and your kid plays GTA and then shoots someone, then it's your fault and you should be thrown in jail for being an idiot and worthless parent. Don't push blame on other things when your kid fucks up. Blame the kid. Blame yourself. No one killed anyone because ofMortal Kombatin the mid-90s. Why? Because our parents were better. You 30-something parents better get your shit together or your kids are going to keep stealing cars and shooting up their schools. And, Jack, figure out how things work before you complain about them. You're a lawyer. (Or are you still unable to practice law?) Maybe do some research like you were taught in school and stop believeing the lies you keep spewing. Don't make me write your mother a scathing letter.

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