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by Mike Schiller

11 Jun 2008

“‘I strenuously object?’ Is that how it works? Hm? ‘Objection.’ ‘Overruled.’ ‘Oh, no, no, no. No, I STRENUOUSLY object.’ ‘Oh. Well, if you strenuously object then I should take some time to reconsider.’”
-Lt. Sam Weinberg (Kevin Pollak) to Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore) in A Few Good Men

For the last day or so, it’s been a little bit difficult to avoid coverage of the disciplinary “hearing” that Jack Thompson took part in last week to determine what sort of punishment he would undergo as a result of his being found guilty of professional misconduct.  Of course, I use the scare quotes around the word “hearing” because it wasn’t really a hearing at all, in that Thompson had no part in it except to fiddle with the podium, berate the judge, antagonize a couple of members of the press, and stomp off in a huff.  As a result, in addition to the case against Mr. Thompson, the prosecutor was also left to offer mitigations, actually helping his case to an extent in, as best as I can tell, the interest of fairness.

They strenuously object.

They strenuously object.

In the midst of his belittling of Judge Dava Tunis, Thompson even managed to forget the lesson offered by the above exchange in A Few Good Men, telling Judge Tunis that he “[objects] strenuously...to the very notion that this proceeding can even occur on various grounds.”

The excellent GamePolitics.com has a transcript of the entire exchange, while the Daily Business Review has the audio.  The audio is particularly revelatory, because Thompson sounds just as unreasonable and as belligerent as the common gamer perception of him dictates.  Is this how Thompson has always been, or has he simply been blasted by so much legal failure and so much internet hate that he’s become the caricature of himself that we’ve been led to believe is an actual portrait of the man?

I believe that, at least at the start, Thompson had good intentions, that he was truly determined to make a difference.  I know that having kids (or a close family connection of any kind, really) can make you want to make the world a better place in the worst way, I know that faith can drive someone as well, and it’s hard for me to believe that Jack Thompson was always a self-aggrandizing propagandist with an agenda, unwilling to hear two sides of an argument.  He has gone on crusades for the causes of censoring the lyrics of rap music, he has taken on morning talk radio, and he most famously espouses the evils of violent video games.  And maybe the man has a point—while violence in video games can contribute to the visceral thrill of the play experience, some would certainly argue that it occasionally has the propensity to get a bit over the top and gratuitous.

A sudden change of heart, or his next greatest foe?(Image courtesy of Kotaku)

A sudden change of heart, or his next greatest foe?
(Image courtesy of Kotaku)

Still, what once manifested itself as legal maneuvering has turned into a glorified ambulance chase.  Thompson has no issue with linking games to major tragedies involving high school and college students, regardless of whether those responsible actually played the games.  He comes off as bossy, ruthless, and a blowhard; obviously, something in him snapped somewhere along the way, and he lost the will to make the world a better place, a drive replaced by the undying need to be right.

It is this need that manifested itself in Thompson’s tantrum in court, and it is this need that bubbled up so far as to not even allow himself to hear any argument that might discredit his opinion.  Now, he’s set to be disbarred for the next ten years.  For a little perspective, that means he won’t be able to practice again until he’s 67 years old.  It’s a sad fate for the man, but perhaps it’s what he will need to regain perspective, and some sense of the honor that he left behind long ago.  I’d like to believe it’s still in him somewhere, that the parasitic brand of self-promotion he has offered can be fixed.  Of course, the next time he appears on a news program after a school shooting as an “expert” in the link between gaming violence and real-life violence, well…perhaps my optimism will be tempered.

by Jason Gross

11 Jun 2008

I don’t often cross-post but I’ll make an exception with Blurt Magazine here.  See my Ye Wei blog for details about the magazine launch.  Yep, I write for ‘em and yes, I’d be a fan anyway even if I didn’t.

by tjmHolden

11 Jun 2008


In Santa Monica you get your coffee from The coolest places on the promenade Where people dress just so Beauty so unavoidable everywhere you turn It’s there I sit and wonder what am I doing here?

Savage Garden, Santa Monica



There are three things that make up any human outcome: time, place and circumstance. Sometimes this last element gets amended (by the Donald Trumps and Sun Tzus of the world) as “opportunity”.

In June I find myself in Southern California, USA. A stone’s throw—or at least a freeway hop (which amounts to the metaphysical equivalent)—away from the beaches. So, you got your time, you got your place. And, given that I find myself with a car (an indispensible item if one is to do anything of substance in the City of the Angels), you got your opportunity. Sure, it costs four bucks a gallon now, but the drive’ll cost me, at best, six-fifty. So, we’re talking a bargain—I mean, if you consider what you get in exchange . . .

A lifestyle.


by PopMatters Staff

11 Jun 2008

Calexico
Crystal Frontier [MP3]
     

Matt Bauer
Don’t Let Me Out [MP3] Feat. guest musicians Angel Deradoorian (Dirty Projectors), Alela Diane, Mariee Sioux, Greg McMullen (Chris Whitley) and more.
     

Dr. Dog
The Old Days [MP3]
     

Ben Sollee
A Change Is Gonna Come [MP3]
     

Lexie Mountain Boys
Sweet Potato Sugar Tot [MP3]
     

Black Diamond Heavies
Bidin’ My Time [MP3]
     

by Terry Sawyer

11 Jun 2008

Okay, so the title is both an exaggeration and a reversal of proper chronology.  Wanda Jackson is a huge Elvis fan, as evidenced by her one of her most recent releases, I Remember Elvis, but I couldn’t resist the quip since nearly all writing about Wanda Jackson contains the diminishing compliment, “the female Elvis”. 

Personally, I listen to her more and get much more enjoyment from her sound than I do Elvis’ oeuvre. (Also, please note that she could really play the guitar from the very beginning of her career.) The comparison also misses the deeper country and western influence, nowhere more evident than on the song, “I Gotta Know” which almost comically accents the twang on “thang” and “rang” (ring). 

She’s still touring; I guess that’s one of the benefits of being a hard working musician over a worldwide icon.  Try to sit still through the song’s bounce and her tight little jig around the stage.  Granted, she doesn’t have the smoldering sexy that pre-Rx bloat Elvis had, but her pin-up beauty and spitfire confidence go a long way in cultivating a wholly different brand of star presence.  She should have garnered bigger fame in her time, but has to instead settle for a devoted following and a belated critical resurrection.

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