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Jack Thompson - Out of Harm's Way Review
This cover photo was taken right before he went on a killing spree that resulted in the deaths of 15 people.
By the time I started actually writing this review (I created the index file on February 9th, 2007), my opinion went from finding Jack Thompson an annoying loon to someone I have no interest in whatsoever. I attribute this to how gamers perceive Jack Thompson and the amount of attention they heap on him. Video gamers are some of the most immature people in the world. There's been no big censorship of video games like for comic books or movies or music. Hence why the magnate of the anti-video game movement is a lone loser with obvious mental instability. Shit, Joe Lieberman would be a more imposing foe than Jack fucking Thompson. So when coming into reading Out of Harm's Way, I had more than a little ambivalence. However, despite my low opinion of gamers, I am able to recognize the comedy of the book now that I've read it. It's a hilarious fucking book.
The dramatic arc of Out of Harm's Way takes Jack from carefree libertarian dude to obsessed freak seeking to censor everything that is even possibly objectionable to children. What's most amazing about this arc is the book establishes it on the jacket. The fucking thing literally spells out Jack's Saul into Paul, as though astute (for retards) readers won't understand that anyway. And really, that's all you need to know. I read most of the entire thing and I gleaned not much relevant information from chapter after chapter about Jack chronicling his adventures as a red pen happy fuck. This is essentially Jack's Greatest Hits, his 2 Live Crew, his Howard Stern, his piggybacking on the supposedly nascent trend of school shootings to make a name for himself as an anti-video game nutbar. Everything you need to know about this fuck, you'll find in Out of Harm's Way.
Book starts off fairly dry, but reaches a mountain of hilarity within the first 50 pages, when he finds out about a teen crisis hotline featuring prerecorded messages which, according to him, promote eeeevil. Such messages include "sexual orientation is not a choice", "kids are known to experiment with drugs. Try to stay away from the more dangerous, addictive ones, and whatever you do, don't drive a car while impaired" and "don't let anyone tell you what to believe". Note these quotes come from paraphrasings done by Jack Thompson, which is why I do not cite the tape saying religion is a myth, because Jack claims it "in effect" says it, which to a conservative can fucking mean anything. For all I know, the tape could say "Jews are human beings" and Jack interpreted that as a slam against Christianity. I believe this conquest sums up Jack the best; he gets pissed off about a hotline telling kids that being gay is not a freakish occurrence which must be remedied by a trip to the mental institution and a course in sexual reorientation. And that no one but you can determine your beliefs. These are messages that need to be quashed. There's clearly no way keeping kids in repressive, sheltering environments will backfire, right? Telling gay kids their homosexuality is a sin and a disease surely can't cause them to kill themselves or conduct their homosexuality covertly, thus creating a cycle of shame leading to debilitating sexually transmitted diseases, right? What a dumbass.
This book reaffirmed my hatred of Jack Thompson. He's the very thing America needs less of, not more of: pseudo-moralist censorship advocate who believes media can subvert humanity's free will and turn them into mere automatons for Ice-T and 2 Live Crew to control. His frequent citations of God giving him this calling, to battle the music and pornography and video game industries, grates as well. God doesn't fucking give a shit about that, and not only because he doesn't exist. It's because media has little effect on violent crime rates, on sex crime rates. Copycat syndrome does not actually exist. Here's the formula: opportunist gets on news by denouncing something popular. Opportunist makes money through book and other merchandise and hawks their wares on press appearances and long, pointless PR wars waged against corporations. That's the Jack Thompson model of existence, and it's a sickening one. These people, they aren't human beings, they're worthless parasites.
Shithead doesn't care if businesses manufacture weapons for dictators to use or for the army to use in blowing apart Iraqi children's bodies. As long as those businesses don't corrupt children's minds with violent imagery on the TV or in the multiplex or in sound form, he doesn't care what they do. Dead kids in foreign lands? Okay. Kid listening to NWA? CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. You gotta wonder what Thompson thought was worse - Darfur or the release of Grand Theft Auto III. I'm betting he'd go with the evil video game over the actual fucking human event. See, protesting Darfur won't make you cash whereas protesting a video game will. That's the crux of modern conservatism - follow the money. If you can make money doing it, do it. If you can't, it's a worthless and probably homosexual cause. Therefore, this fuck will advance any cause, using any specious and fallacious reasoning necessary, as long as it means more green in his pocket. Saul Jack learned family values earns the big bucks and became Paul Jack. If some other trend comes about and rakes in green for Republicans, expect him to jump on that too.
Jack portrays himself as a hardened warrior fighting for the white to preserve traditional culture. This means he exaggerates and goes all Drama Queen all the time. For example, one of the chapters begins with a letter he wrote to his son where he likens his career struggles to a hurricane. A hurricane? A fucking hurricane? Jesus fucking Christ. At least in the same letter he provides the sole good advice in the entire fucking book: he suggests to John Thompson that he not tell people he's the son of Jack Thompson. That's probably the nicest thing Jack could ever do for his son beyond killing himself. Course, Lovejoy fucks everything up a page later, saying he became a public clown to defend his wife and son, drawing parallels between pornographers and video game makers to abusers. Okay, maybe you can make a case for porn being abusive, but most of those porn actors knew what they were getting into, and it's far better than the alternative of prostitution or sexual slavery. Still. Couching it in defense of your own family, Jack? Come the fuck on. Your wife's not going to be kidnapped and rape by a 2 Live Crew listenin' gang of video gamers sponsored by Bangbus.
Humorously enough, for a staunch moral conservative, Jack comes off as pretty fucking gay in Chapter 10 which recount his experiences with Ollie North and Charlton Heston in, like, totally doing something about Ice-T's song "Cop Killer" (actually it was his band Body Count, but Jack isn't going to waste time on nigger factchecking). His story about first coming into contact with Ollie North seems straight out of a boathouse revelation. He receives a call one day from Col. Ollie North. He keeps on calling him a Colonel even though the asshole's a drug running shithead who disgraced the Marines with his existence. It takes a real dumbass to besmirch the name of Babykillers Inc., by the way. Thompson flatters North in his prose: "I was struck by how incredibly direct and to the point he was. He told me the facts, told me the problem, and asked me what to do. His was a mind trained to formulate an objective and go for it. I understood why he had been a part of a can-do White House." Later on he nicknames him "Col. Can-Do" (which also serves as the chapter's title). When he finally gets off the phone, Jack "had goose bumps all over my arms". Between that and his constant referring to North as a genuine American hero, I think the conclusion any reader can reach is Jack desperately wanted to blow Ollie North.
He gushes over Charlton Heston, calling him Moses multiple times (uh, Jack, he's not heroic for pretending to be a Biblical character for cameras and for profit), but the North fanaticism is far more prevalent. Thompson goes so far as to say the call from North gave him a powerful endorsement for his way of life, of pointlessly pestering corporations about their publishing of black material. "God sent me on a mission - to rid the world of all negroes." Any life including a call from a gunrunning wrapped in the flag fascist like North is a life worth reconsidering. Christ, what next, will he find inspiration from a pep talk given by criminal cum FOX NEWS hack G. Gordon Liddy? Shit, that probably was in the book, one of the parts I skimmed over. Still. Man, this really speaks to the Right's bizarre hero worship of the military. They call liberals a bunch of faggots ready and willing to molest children and yet they turn around and give the most homoerotic portrayals of soldiers I've ever fucking seen. Col. Can-Do? That's fucking straight out of gay pornography. No one without a desire to drink Ollie North's cum would call him that. More like Col. Want-To-Do!
Yet the crossover moment between Jack and Dave Grossman ranks as the best moment in the book. Dave Grossman, you'll remember, wrote Stop teaching our kids to kill. According to this, Grossman taught Thompson everything he knows about scapegoating. In the chapter "Paducah", Jack starts off as the uninformed POV character, thinking the rash of shootings stems from "increasing lawlessness...among teenagers in particular" and asking questions like "are you going to tell me that [school shooter] Carneal learned how to kill by playing a video game? If you are, Dave, I'm skeptical of that. I don't think a video game can teach you how to kill." A couple pages later, though, he's convinced by the immutable logic of Grossman's argument. See, Michael Carneal apparently ended his killing spree when someone told him to stop (even though that someone testified Carneal ended the spree of his own volition). Grossman's explanation? "Because Michael was acting out the game, and a voice intruded into the 'game' that is not part of the game. Reality invaded the killing, invaded the video game Michael was in." "He was literally trained to kill those girls." Col. Kill establishes Michael as "not pure evil" but only because doing so makes it easier for him to hawk his killology bullshit. Thus, Jack becomes inspired to begin his war on gaming and implicate pornography as well as The Basketball Diaries in his quest to find media to blame the shooting on. In another case, he cites 2 Live Crew in that Central Park gang rape case, since the guys listened to 2 Live Crew while raping the woman. Um, I think guys willing to rape a woman don't rape only when a song comes out and gets them in the mood. I mean, these fuckers didn't begin their lives nebbish bookworms who were transformed into violent rapists upon hearing "Me So Horny". Magical philosophical transformations do not occur due to a song, or a movie, or a video game. Drugs, maybe. Pussy, definitely. Money, of course But not media. Not media.
(By the way, Jack gets a hard on from Grossman too. Apparently chill went down his spine when on the phone with Grossman and after the conversation ends he, again, discovers goose bumps on his arms. I think goose bump is the Christian way of indicating erection. Check this homoerotic line: "I realized that the last time I addressed someone with that title I was addressing Oliver North. [...] I suddenly felt as if maybe God had something in store for me with this colonel as well." The way he italicizes 'this', I'm compelling to believe he's making a subtle allusion to hardcore anal sex with Ollie North.)
This narrative goes on for a while until it finally fucking mercifully ends. I had to skip all the parts about Howard Stern because I think the combination of reading about Jack Thompson and Howard Stern would cause my brain to implode. I wouldn't be able to handle it. Dude namechecks God a few dozen more times, advertises himself, shows off his 'accomplishments' and ends with telling everyone to keep their faith in censorship and litigious assholes who like to waste everybody's time with frivolous lawsuits. Jack compares America to Sodom and believes there's still a righteous ten in America like there were in Sodom. I guess that means everyone else in America will die horrible deaths straight from JAYSIS. The conclusion written in the wake of the 2004 election shows Jack believing America can be saved because in the election moral issues mattered more than, you know, important shit. Asshole even outright states his fight is about "spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ". Fucking born agains, I hate them so.
But the narrative's not the only hilarious thing included in the book. It seems he is on Bill O'Reilly's culture warrior bandwagon (I didn't feel like checking who used the term first; one of them probably snorted it off George Will's or William F. Buckley's ass), identifying his fight as a Culture War between liberal commie Jews and God fearing Americans (he makes repeated references to God, as opposed to O'Reilly who tries to keep things fairly secular to better make money). He includes "25 Culture War Tips From the Trenches" that will "heighten the chances of success". Success at what? Carving a career out of craven cowardice? Anyway, here are some of my favorites of the 25 he goes on to list:
In spite of all the hilarity Jack Thompson brings to the table, this book showed me he's nothing special. Really, he's no different than any other conservative loser who wants to write a book about the wonders of conservatism and God and using the court system to whine your way to getting what you want. Gamers too often focus on the second half of his career when it's apparent his early 90s shenanigans are more loathsome. While maybe not at the epicenter of the PMRC nonsense (though he likes to say he was), he played a role in the encroachment of free speech in favor of yuppie bitches sleeping better at night knowing niggas couldn't get their crack music into Wal-Mart. Gaming's a mere footnote in this book, a racket Thompson got into in the late 90s with the help of sugar daddy Grossman.
Pompous, melodramatic and very poorly written, Out of Harm's Way shows you don't need to be a political ideologue to live up to the supposed virtues of inane conservatism in this country. Moral crusading works just as well. In a just world, Hack Thompson would have a show on FOX NEWS right next to Bill O'Reilly's. And seeing as how he'll likely be disbarred in the next couple of months, and given FOX NEWS' tendency to hire disgraced losers, this might very well become a reality.