Parents just have to be better parents.

First off, I never wanted to become a place for political statements, so I will try to refrain from such comments as much as possible. Also, I didn’t want to talk about GTA:SA anymore. I think the game has no redeeming qualities. I respect the opinions of people who think otherwise, but for my money, GTA:SA is a poor game. That said, I really don’t want to beat dead horses (Jack Thompson is an idiot and the GTA scandal) anymore but if you throw in another horse (Hillary Clinton) and I’m game. As it’s been reported, Senator Clinton has thrown her considerable political weight behind an investigation into Rockstar’s peccancies.

Mrs. Clinton asked the commission to determine “the source of this content,” especially since the game can fall into the hands of young people. The game industry’s self-policing unit, the Entertainment Software Rating Board, is investigating whether the maker of the game violated the industry rule requiring “full disclosure of pertinent content.”

Do we really need “federal regulators to investigate” this? Whether this game should have been rated M or AO by the ESRB it should never “fall into the hands of young people.” The NY Times also seems to be sketchy on the rest of the details, but that’s beside the point. It’s troubling that an influential Senator has taken interest in this case, because it gives credence to nut-jobs like Jack Thompson.

In fact, this seems to have been Jack Thompson’s dream come true, as he is literally slobbering in this letter he purportedly sent to everyone in the video game industry.

(On a side note, as a conservative Republican, I am sad to learn that Jack Thompson also belongs to my party. But that is neither here nor there.)

As I read this letter, I had to pause numerous times and pinch myself. Certainly I had drifted into a parallel universe where logic doesn’t exist and saying things crazy-stupid is the norm. As few choice quotes from the letter:

For a month Doug Lowenstein and his ESA pretended that there was no mod, that there was no scandal, that there was no need for any action whatsoever by ESA. How wrong he was.

No, how wrong you are Mr. Thompson! It’s the ESRB, not the ESA, that needs to take action. They rated a game based on content provided to them. It is neither Lowenstein’s nor the ESA’s fault that Rockstar may have held back certain content. This is just hot air.

Doug Lowenstein could have prevented what is going to happen today, but he preferred to shoot the messengers. It is his chronic style.

I wondered if he was trained to do that in Grand Theft Shoot-the-Media. Do you think he has an option of “Shoot the Messenger” in one of his cranial menus?

News organizations don’t trust ESA because Doug Lowenstein is its head. Why should they? He treats them like dirt.

After watching 60 minutes in March, I’d say it was the other way around. They gave whackos like you all the time in the world to spout your nonsense and then gave Doug the equivalent of a couple sound bites.

When Hitler invaded Russia, opening up an Eastern offensive on the eve of winter, Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill noted that “Hitler must have been rather loosely educated, not having learned the lesson of Napoleon’s autumn advance on Moscow.”

Your Doug Lowenstein is similarly “loosely educated” about the United States Constitution.

Whoops, Thompson has “jumped the shark.” When the “Hitler” comparisons are thrown around, it’s time to pick up your things and leave. Nothing to see here. If you made it that far in the article, you can stop there. Does anyone see the similarity between a madman who exterminated millions of people and a man who may have missed a simple bit of content in a video game where NO ONE DIED? I know you, smart buttonmashers, are familiar with history. I won’t belabor the point anymore. You’ve seen the diarrhea pour out of this guys mouth time and time again. There’s more of this garbage, you can read it if you are a glutton for punishment. You can make your own decision about this guy.

There is one nice little gem, though, from Mr. Thompson. It reminded me why I love George W:

The evening in January 2000 that I appeared on NBC Nightly News to talk about the link between violent games and Columbine, Tom Brokaw asked then Governor Bush about that link and what he as President would do about it? George Bush simply said “Parents just have to be better parents.”

Amen, brother! We can write all the legislation in the world, fine stores and their clerks for selling games to minors, whatever. In the end, if the parents will let little Tommy play GTA:Kill ’em All Rampage, who’s to blame, really?

Update: Here are two cents (which are actually worth more) from blogger JKL, in which he refers to Jack Thompson as Thumper. Anyone who would think of that is okay in my book.

Also keep checking out Kotaku for updates. Brian is on this case like white on rice.

Related Posts:
Cranial Menus
GTA should have been rated AO
Parents just have to be better parents


  1. Thompson has now equated Lowenstein to Hitler, Goebbels and Saddam Hussein.

    Actually, he apologized to Saddam Hussein for the comparison.

    I don’t think a single parent takes him seriously. I agree with Jeff Freeman’s take that clearly, the threat of video games isn’t resonating with parents. It’s not that the ESRB is mishandled, it’s that the consumer groups let guys like Thompson speak for them.

    They should learn this lesson. If you let a whack job lead the charge, you might get attention. You probably won’t get respect. And you sure won’t get the results you were after.

  2. Hmm I have to say that in this case Rockstar and ESRA is in the wrong (for subverting the ratings system, and for allowing the system to be subverted respectively). But on the good side hopefully it will make it harder for games to be sold to kids and instead adults will be more of a target for games.

    /was young and stupid once, long ago.

  3. I really don’t see how Rockstar, or especially the ESRB, can be held accountable for this. Regardless of this being a traditional modification or a user-made patch, it introduces content into the final version of the game that was originally not there. Even if there was significant explicit sexual content, it was not in the game until a user broke the EULA and gave access to it; regardless of who created it.

    Other than that, good blog though. 😉

  4. Ya I was Bored with SA after about 20-30 minutes. Nothing exciting over the original, and I eventually quit the original because I got lost and stuck on a level eventually. It sucks when you have to ignore all the graphics for the mini-map, shooting is important but it’s impossible to aim your gun. Why won’t someone remake Deathtrack?

  5. Brent Michael Krupp says

    Jeffool, you’re a, um, fool… or at least plain wrong about this. The sex content was neither a traditional mod nor a user-made patch — it was sex content put in the game by Rockstar — they even had the voice actors that did the rest of the game do specific sexual lines for this content. Yes, it was locked away and inaccessible without special efforts — but you can’t hack console games and someone found cheat codes that gave access to this stuff even on the console version. So this is utterly and completely Rockstar’s fault, at the very least for not supervising their employees sufficiently, and that’s if you don’t suspect they knowingly released this content hoping to get some press buzz, just not this much or this kind.


  1. […] Also, speaking of debates I feel passionately about, Tony seems to agree with me that parents need to start owning up to their responsibilities when it comes to video games. […]

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