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Jack Thompson's Letter To Take-Two Exec's Mother 351

Posted by timothy
from the an-insult-to-actual-slime-molds-everywhere dept.
debatem1 writes "Apparently, anti-violent-video-games crusader Jack Thompson is at it again, this time writing a letter to the mother of Strauss Zelnick, Chairman of Take-Two, the company that produces the GTA series of video games. In it he compares Zelnick to a member of the Hitler Youth, advocates beating the young Zelnick, and contemplates the existence of a Ted Bundy merit badge for boy scouts."
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Jack Thompson's Letter To Take-Two Exec's Mother

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  • Like herpes (Score:5, Funny)

    by mikesd81 (518581) <mikesd1&verizon,net> on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:01PM (#23294370) Homepage
    He's like herpes. The symptoms go away, but it really never goes away.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:01PM (#23294372)

    and see how they feel about their dads conduct

    fairs fair right ?
  • I hope (Score:4, Funny)

    by Idiot with a gun (1081749) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:02PM (#23294384)
    Strauss Zelnick presses charges against Jack Thompson, claiming this was a threat. Mostly because it would entertain me.
    • Re:I hope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Akaihiryuu (786040) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:04PM (#23294398)
      The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that Jack Thompson is on Take 2's payroll. He's the best advertising they could possibly ask for.
      • Re:I hope (Score:5, Informative)

        by Faylone (880739) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:42PM (#23294716)
        • Re:I hope (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Lord Ender (156273) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @05:32PM (#23295030) Homepage
          That's interesting. As you know, no publicity is bad publicity. Jack is just trying to keep his company in the news so his share prices rise! Clever man...
      • Re:I hope (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DiEx-15 (959602) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @11:02PM (#23297124)
        I have to agree. Wasn't the agreement [gamealmighty.com] he had with Take-Two and such tell him not to do this stupid shit again? If I were Strauss Zelnick I would sue the bejesus out of Jack. I guess since Jack can't do legal stuff now (because of the sanctions) and maybe forever (because of the disbarment), I shouldn't be surprised that Jack Ass can't do much except write the mother of Strauss Zelnick.
    • Re:I hope (Score:4, Insightful)

      by FuturePastNow (836765) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @05:12PM (#23294910)
      If the letter is at all threatening (I'm not going to read it), he should certainly be able to get an order of protection preventing Thompson from contacting his family again.
    • by n dot l (1099033) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @09:40PM (#23296622)
      No. Thompson is a rare resource. Despite his borderline insanity, he still ends up on the news - people know his name. That fame, coupled with the hate he spews every now and again, should not be wasted. It should be harnessed.

      Zelnick should take the letter and auction it off. He should then give the proceeds to Child's Play (or some equally ironic charity), in Thompson's name, of course. Because much as I'd like yet another quiet suit against Thompson, watching him fume helplessly as his attacks are turned against him - again - would be pure poetic justice, and that's just pure win.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:04PM (#23294392)
    Behave yourself or I'll tell your mom on you!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Akaihiryuu (786040)
      This is so absolutely utterly ridiculous that there are only 2 possibilities: 1) Jack Thompson is dangerously insane, like he needs to be put in a room with padded walls and a straight jacket YESTERDAY, or 2) He's on Take Two's payroll, and this is just another method of advertising for them. I'm really leaning toward #2, more and more as time goes on. It's the only thing that really makes sense...he's the best advertising they could ever ask for.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Samari711 (521187)
        Given his track record doing the same kind of stuff to Howard Stern and Janet Reno among others it's a safe bet that the guy should have been locked up 20 years ago
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          According to Wikipedia, some of the stuff he was doing in florida resulted in him being ordered to have his sanity officially evaluated. He was found to be sane.
  • by nyet (19118) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:05PM (#23294402) Homepage
    Hey, Jack. I'm fairly certain the Hitler Youth would not approve of violence against the authorities. In fact, they would more likely be on the side of authority, decrying any subversive activities that advocate violence against a police state.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wasn't the Hitler Youth basically just pre-war Germany's version of the Boy Scouts anyway? Pretty much every kid was in the Hitler Youth.
      • Wasn't the Hitler Youth basically just pre-war Germany's version of the Boy Scouts anyway? Pretty much every kid was in the Hitler Youth.

        ... including, apparently, the Pope.

        Go figure.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:44PM (#23294738)
          ... including, apparently, the Pope.

          Did he have a choice? And was there really anything fundamentally wrong with the group that would be obvious to a 14 year old child at the time? At the time, Hitler wasn't considered all that bad in Germany. Until the late 1930's he wasn't considered too bad by most of the world.

          Actually, it's claimed that Ratzinger was pretty defiant and avoided going to meetings, but I suspect that's something made up by the Vatican's PR people.
          • by christurkel (520220) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @06:32PM (#23295430) Homepage Journal
            By the time Ratzinger was in the Nazi Youth, it was mandatory. He even had to man an anti aircraft gun, but couldn't because of an infected finger. Ratzinger has been a priest, devoted to serving God, for over a half century. If this doesn't prove his non-Nazi creds, nothing will.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cp.tar (871488)

            Actually, it's claimed that Ratzinger was pretty defiant and avoided going to meetings, but I suspect that's something made up by the Vatican's PR people.

            I'm quite certain of it.
            When Croatia proclaimed independence from Yugoslavia, many (if not all) of our new leaders were ex-members of the Communist Party. However, since communism became a snarl word much like in the USA some 50 years ago, they all started explaining how they had been defiant and subversive and always fought for a national state of Croats. Some even wrote books on the subject. Lengthy, boring ones.
            I don't think I need to point out all the similarities.

            Now, bullshitting is what politics

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dr_d_19 (206418)
            At the time, Hitler wasn't considered all that bad in Germany. Until the late 1930's he wasn't considered too bad by most of the world.

            One member of Swedish Parliament even thought Hitler deserved the nobel peace price [nobelprize.org]! For some reason the same MP member withdrew his nomination sometime in 1939 :)
        • by clichescreenname (1220316) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:49PM (#23294766)

          Wasn't the Hitler Youth basically just pre-war Germany's version of the Boy Scouts anyway? Pretty much every kid was in the Hitler Youth.

          ... including, apparently, the Pope.


          Go figure.

          Listen; I'm an atheist, and I understand why people hate the pope. After all, he's probably responsible for a hell of a lot children being molested and teenagers giving birth to unwanted children.

          That being said, the Nazi deal just doesn't stick. He was basically forced into the Hitler Youth, and he ran away when they tried to enlist him in the army.

          So please, can we just stay on target and let this stupid argument die here?
          • by cp.tar (871488)

            Listen; I'm an atheist, and I understand why people hate the pope. After all, he's probably responsible for a hell of a lot children being molested and teenagers giving birth to unwanted children. That being said, the Nazi deal just doesn't stick. He was basically forced into the Hitler Youth, and he ran away when they tried to enlist him in the army. So please, can we just stay on target and let this stupid argument die here?

            Oh, my.

            Really, I just wanted to add him to the list like the cherry on top of a sundae, with no real intent to troll.

            Though OTOH, living in a very Catholic country, I despise the guy and the organization under his rule one iota more than the average Muslim terrorist.
            This, however, has very little to do with Hitlerjugend.

          • by iamacat (583406) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @06:33PM (#23295436)

            That being said, the Nazi deal just doesn't stick. He was basically forced into the Hitler Youth, and he ran away when they tried to enlist him in the army.
            Yes, while thousands of young people of the time, including Jehovah's Witnesses, gave their life or were forced into concentration camps for refusing to have anything to do with fascism. And that he encourages people in places like China and Iran to practice forbidden religion. I guess the Pope did nothing wrong as an ordinary German citizen, but he just doesn't measure up as the leading follower of Jesus Christ in the world. As it shows in his actions.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by halber_mensch (851834)

              That being said, the Nazi deal just doesn't stick. He was basically forced into the Hitler Youth, and he ran away when they tried to enlist him in the army.

              Yes, while thousands of young people of the time, including Jehovah's Witnesses, gave their life or were forced into concentration camps for refusing to have anything to do with fascism.

              Now, I'm not a pope fan, nor even a fan of most religion, but this is an absurd remark. I find it in extremely poor taste to fault Ratzinger at age 14 in a highly subversive state because he (along with all German boys at that age) was put into the Hitler Youth; and then later adopted a spiritual life and became Pope. I'm sure you never faltered in your moral direction when you were an adolescent, right? Because, I mean, you're pretty much a functional, adjusted adult a year after you hit puberty, yes? Wit

        • by Jarik_Tentsu (1065748) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @07:00PM (#23295648)
          To be fair, the Hitler Youth was a bit more than just Boy Scouts. They did similar *things* to Boy Scouts, but the Hitler Youth was a way of turning a whole generation of Germans into good Nazi's. It was the best propoganda machine Hitler had because it recruited complete loyalty and subscription to Nazism from a very young age. Kids would even betray their parents if they found out their Mummies and Daddies were anti-Hitler. IMO, the Hitler Youth was one of the main ways Hitler managed to keep loyalty among his troops - even after all his war crimes.

          ~Jarik
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JMandingo (325160)
        The Hitler Youth fought the Canadians and British to a standstill for many days following D-Day outside of Caen. Not bad for a bunch of Boy Scouts facing naval guns and superior infantry numbers and air power.

        The Pope can choose whether to save or planten booten to your arse :-)
    • by p0tat03 (985078)
      You were under the impression that Jack Thompson makes sense?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The Hitler Youth probably would have been against drunk driving, too. Does advocating safe rides home make you a Nazi?
    • What's more... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd (1658)
      I'm fairly certain that authoritarian, despotic organizations would ALSO advocate beating children. Are we to assume from the lack of a contemporary reference that Jack Thompson feels safer using historical references most people never experienced - and those that did would barely remember? That references to, oh, any of the truly major world-horrifying cases of true, ultra-pure evil in Austria or Belgium would be too risky owing to the similarity between advocated mindset and the truly monsterous? That any
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you had the power to go back in time and beat Strauss Zelnick in front of his mother, would you?

  • Chutzpah (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ian Alexander (997430) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:07PM (#23294414)

    The pornography and violence that your son trafficks in is the kind of stuff that most mothers would be ashamed to see their son putting into the hands of other mothers' children, but, hey, your son Strauss has recently assured the world that he is "a Boy Scout, everybody knows that." I'd love to see the merit badges that Scout Troop handed out. Is there a Ted Bundy merit badge? If so, your loving son deserves one now. It should be red and green, for obvious reasons.
    This guy's got some fucking chutzpah, and not the good kind. This is out-and-out harassment.
  • tattletale (Score:2, Informative)

    by shadylookin (1209874)
    Shouldn't he have stopped trying to tattle on people to their mother a few decades ago? It's kind of funny when their little, but once you become a grown man it's kind of childish
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:09PM (#23294430)
    Please stop submitting Jack Thompson stories. He's got nothing if you ignore him. Leave it to Shacknews, keep it off Slashdot.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Why? It's fun documenting the downfall of a deranged sociopath!
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @06:07PM (#23295286)
      Why? Imagine the guy dies and we won't know when to start playing "Ding Dong the witch is dead".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ZiakII (829432)
      Please stop submitting Jack Thompson stories. He's got nothing if you ignore him. Leave it to Shacknews, keep it off Slashdot.

      Do you really want someone intelligent taking over his spot? As it stands right now he will never get anything done, which is how I like it personally.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nuzak (959558)
        > Do you really want someone intelligent taking over his spot?

        It's not a zero-sum game here -- if he's gone, there's no sign anyone else is going to take his place. It's not as if the moral crusaders of the world have been holding back and waiting for him to vacate the spot.
  • Glory Hole (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:11PM (#23294450)
    No one really cares abount Jack Thompson anymore. No one that counts. The only reason Jack Thompson does what he does is because he likes to watch the stink that get's made at sites like Slashdot. The lesson here is to not allow Jack Thompson to get his glory here. This is done by IGNORING Jack Thompson.
    • by Akaihiryuu (786040) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:17PM (#23294518)
      He is seen as the de-facto "spokesperson" of the anti-videogame agenda. And he's dangerously insane, to the point that noone takes him seriously at all. The plus of having such a buffoon "in charge" of the anti-videogame agenda is that no sane person would dare speak up on his side, for fear of being associated with him.
    • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:24PM (#23294588)
      I find him useful.
      Jack personifies the sort of person who objects to video games in the way that Fred Phelps personifies hardcore Christianity.

      We need people like them to remind us of what people who want to micromanage our personal behaviors are really like.
    • Re:Glory Hole (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@@@wumpus-cave...net> on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:34PM (#23294650)

      He still gets on Fox News/CNN/60 Minutes/etc. People around here have heard of him, sure, but to the world at large, he's just another guy being quoted as an expert on TV. Ignoring him won't discredit his semi-regular TV appearances.

      • Re:Glory Hole (Score:5, Interesting)

        by peipas (809350) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:52PM (#23294786)
        Indeed, he was brought into a discussion about GTA IV on NPR's Talk of the Nation last week. I had never heard him, just read about him. He came off like a total jackass, scoffing at the end, "I'm done?" "Yes, you're done."
        • Re:Glory Hole (Score:5, Informative)

          by LrdDimwit (1133419) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @05:11PM (#23294898)
          Well that's kind of what happens when the interviewer asks you a question, and you respond by saying "I'm not going to tell you that". (I believe it was 'which law enforcement agencies are you working with?') I mean, the whole point of appearing on the show in the first place is to answer the interviewer's questions! You shouldn't be surprised when, after you say you're not answering their questions, they throw you off the show.
  • Bully 2 (Score:3, Funny)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:12PM (#23294460)
    I think for Bully 2 they need to have a hot coffee mode where a young Zelnick beats up on a young JT. That would be sweet justice.
  • Mental Health (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Herkum01 (592704) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:16PM (#23294506)

    I have to seriously wonder, is this man mentally ill? The only reason he receives any attention now was due to his previous work, but as the things he says and does keep getting stranger and stranger I have to wonder.

    In the US, people are only forcibly evaluated for mental illness under the most obvious conditions. If you have a person who is slowly slipping off the edge no one will do anything until he becomes an obvious problem. Even then it is usually be ignored unless he harms someone.

    It is quite possible that Jack Thompson is out of his mind. But no one will step in until after he has practically killed someone.

    • Re:Mental Health (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Akaihiryuu (786040) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:34PM (#23294652)
      Read the letter. There are only two possibilities: 1) He's dangerously insane. As in, he needs to be put in a room with padded walls and a straight jacket, and be drugged up on antipsychotics or 2) He's secretly on Take Two's payroll, and they're having him say/do outlandish things to get them publicity. He really is the best advertising they could ever hope for.
    • I think you've hit the nail on the head. RTFA and at the end you'll see how he compares himself to John the Baptist. The man needs help before HE hurts someone.
  • Whatever (Score:4, Insightful)

    by retro128 (318602) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:16PM (#23294510)
    John the Baptist wasn't a crank who got disbarred for filing frivolous lawsuits. Thompson is delusional. He seems to think that video games, and nothing else, is responsible for all of the world's evils. And when scripture starts getting quoted, you know you're in for some nutjobbery. The Bible verses were just over the top. And going to the mom? What the hell, is he trying to say "Hey Zelnick, I know where your mom lives. Muhahhaa"

    I'm sure there's going to be fallout from this. I eagerly await Zelnick's reply.
    • His mom should send back a picture of her playing GTA4.
    • Re:Whatever (Score:4, Interesting)

      by NTmatter (589153) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @05:03PM (#23294848) Homepage
      For factual reference, Thompson claims to not have sent it directly to the mother:

      "I sent it to Strauss Zelnick's attorney. I would never send it to his mother," Mr. Thompson told me.
      I'll take Thompson at his word that he sent it through the attorney...however, I suspect that this is not good-will, but a byproduct of the plausible notions that he was unable to find the address by any reasonable (eg, non-stalker) means, and that he probably realizes the potential PR nightmare that could be caused by actually sending the letter directly to the said family member.
  • by viking80 (697716) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:24PM (#23294584) Journal
    In GTA, you have free will. You can stay at home, go to work, maybe as a taxi driver?, drive to church on sundays, and never hurt anyone. That Jack Thompson becomes a criminal thug with disregard for the law and life, shows more about him than the game.
  • by copponex (13876) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:27PM (#23294602) Homepage
    Dear Mrs. Bush:

    Your son, as you may know (or maybe you don't know), is the President of the United States, whose most popular foreign policy adventures are killing hundreds of thousand of people. Though they are a different color, I do believe they are still people.

    Your son last week was reported to have said the following about Iran: "A nuclear Iran must not be allowed."

    Taking your son's thought, I would encourage you either to join the Marines, or encourage all of your grand-children to join up, especially Jenna and little Barbara.

    What you will see in the next war, if this iteration of war is anything like its predecessors, is incredible interactive violence aimed at everyone (whom you can shoot in the head and see the blood spray), innocent bystanders (whom you can run over with your Humvee or tank just for the heck of it), and of course the plentiful indigenous female prostitutes you can have sex with and then filet with a knife or stomp with your feet in order to get your money back. Experts note that the recent plethora of killings is caused in whole by your darling son's Administration and philosophical flunkies. There are four thousand dead soldiers in Iraq, and perhaps almost a million dead civilians. No, really - it was on 60 Minutes. I hope Bush has provided you with a flat screen TV to see the grief of the bereaved families that fills the screen. I mean, if reporters were allowed to say such things.

    The violence that your son trafficks in is the kind of stuff that most mothers would be ashamed to see their son putting into the hands of other mothers' children, but, hey, your son Bush has recently assured the world that he is "a Boy Scout, everybody knows that." I'd love to see the merit badges that Scout Troop handed out. Is there a Colonialism merit badge? If so, your loving son deserves one now.

    There's hundreds of thousands of mothers you would do well to talk to. They have a grief they carry every day that only a mother can know. There are other such mothers in the heartland of Iran whose inhabitants your son simply sees as commercial targets.

    Your son, this very moment, is doing everything he possibly can to sell the new Iran war, to "defend" a country in which your son claims you raised him to be "a Boy Scout." More like the Hitler Youth, I would say.

    Happy Mother's day, Mrs. Bush, which this year is May 11, and who knows how soon until your son or his predecessor unleash actual death and violence upon other mothers' boys. I'm sure you're very proud.
  • Dear Mrs. Thompson,

    I don't know if you've noticed it or not, but your son is a real asshole.

    Also, I believe that he has an object roughly the size of baseball bat crammed up his ass, seeing as this is the only possible way that he could be this fucking annoying. I suggest that you get it removed as soon as possible (if not for his sake, than for for ours).

    I would wish you a happy mothers day, but I think this a probably a time of mourning for you, as you must constantly be reminded of the terrible choice yo
  • Really, so what? Why are you publicising this guy?
  • by gozu (541069) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @04:58PM (#23294820) Journal
    He sent a letter to the mother telling her that her son's game got perfect reviews. I stopped reading the article after that but I can only assume the remainder of the letter were Thompson's heartfelt congratulations and good wishes.

    Sheesh, can't Jack Thompson do nice things every once in a while?
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @05:06PM (#23294864)
    Bluntly, that was the first thing that came to my mind. The question that McCarty was asked by Joseph Welch when he drove his communist witch hunt too far. Have you no shame?

    There are certain limits you don't cross. There are certain things you don't do, no matter what your agenda may be. Writing the mother of one of the people you 'fight' against and likening her son to Baldur von Schirach is one of them.

    If this proves anything, it's not that computer games, no matte what content, are bad, but that Jack Thompson is on a witch hunt. It has become obvious that his agenda isn't anymore to protect anyone. This isn't an attempt to end the sale of violent games. It is a direct attack on a person which isn't even in any way connected to the problem he allegedly has with those games. He claims he tries to protect people from psychologic damage these games allegedly do, but he himself caused psychologic damage to a person who doesn't even partake in the whole process of creating those games.

    So far, I didn't care too much about Jack Thompson. So far, he was a nut that tried to stop games from being sold. So be it. Whether those games exist, I don't really care. Now he is causing emotional harm to people who don't even have a connection with the game industry, except through some relative. Should we start harrassing his kids about their father's witchhunt?

    I wouldn't go down to that level. Punishment for the sins of your kin have been abolished in Germany since... well, given his choice of comparisons, Jack Thompson seems to know since when.
  • The real problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @06:11PM (#23295306)
    I don't fault Jack Thompson for having an opinion, even though I disagree with it and I believe it is utter horseshit.

    What I have a big problem with is the mentality shared by him and anyone else who thinks they know what's good for us: the unstated assumption that I am unable to decide for myself whether playing a video game is in my interests, and the unstated assumption that parents are incapable of deciding on their own whether their children are mature enough to handle the content of a video game. Basically, he's assuming that we are all mindless zombies with no choice but to imitate anything we see on a screen, and he's also trying to tell parents how they should raise their children, implying that they are unable to handle the job without his input. I assure you, no one who wants to do these things has a pure motive.

    The whole thing is an insult. It illustrates yet again the attitude that "it's not good enough that I choose to abstain from something; everybody else must do the same as me." It also assumes that no one is capable of distinguishing a fictional video game from reality, which is ironically more likely if we stop expecting people to know the difference.

    I am very thankful that my parents (within reason, of course) did not try to shelter me from every little objectionable thing in the world. Instead, they explained to me why something was right or wrong and equipped me to deal with an imperfect world that contains many things I might not like. If the Jack Thompsons of the world had their way, no one would be able to actually grow up into an adult human being who can deal with the world the way it is and perhaps try to make it a better place because every potential source of controversy would be censored. What he is advocating is really a form of cowardice, which is generally the motive behind those who would tell you how to live your life.
  • by jesterzog (189797) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @08:52PM (#23296368) Homepage Journal

    There does seem to be a certain irony in writing to Mr Zelnick's mother to complain about his upbringing when Jack Thompson's main argument, as far as I can gather, is that violent media, including video games, are primarily responsible for violence in young people and society.

    If that's the case, why does he expect that she had anything to do with it? Surely she's as much a victim of a free state as all the other parents whose children are running wild and uncontrolled.

That does not compute.

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