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A View from Brad King

Henry Jenkins on Video Games

MIT professor Henry Jenkins and anti-game crusader Jack Thompson have an interesting side-by-side Q&A over at 1up.com. These two have squared off several times over the effects of video games on the nation’s youth. My own feelings about Thompson are…

  • June 6, 2005

MIT professor Henry Jenkins and anti-game crusader Jack Thompson have an interesting side-by-side Q&A over at 1up.com. These two have squared off several times over the effects of video games on the nation’s youth.

My own feelings about Thompson are well known in game circles, but it’s fair to say that I find his stance to be, almost without question, completely without merit, and, quite often, loosely based on facts. In this particular piece, he claims that judges are, by and large, left leaning – although the reality is that a majority of those on the S.C., Circuit Courts, and Appeals Courts (if I’ve found my information correctly) were appointed by Republicans.

In other words, when his argument fails (as it has failed in court on several occasions), he doesn’t correct his argument – he simply says that liberals: 1) aren’t smart enough to understand the effects of technology, 2) don’t care about the nation’s youth, and 3) have only economic interests in mind.

One of Thompson’s “better” quotes from the article:

EGM: You once compared Doug Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association, to Saddam Hussein.

JT: If I did, I want to apologize to Saddam Hussein. Doug is a propagandist to whom the facts don’t matter. He’s paid to lie and he does it very well.

(In the interest of full disclosure, my writing partner and I wrote a chapter in our book, Dungeons and Dreamers, about Jenkins – and Henry is a contributor to TechnologyReview.com and its blog.)

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