In more amusing than average news, recently disabarred attorney Jack Thompson has shared his view that God has caused Take-Two Interactive’s stock to plummet to all time lows in the wake of EA’s abandonment of acquisition talks. Take-Two, as you know, published Grand Theft Auto – among other games, though Thompson neither knows nor cares about that, he’s very single-minded – and therefore have earned the ire of the almighty.
The full email exchange with GamePolitics honcho Dennis McCauley is here for your enjoyment. Thompson follows his usual routine, starting the religious hoodoo before moving on to personal insults, Scripture quoting, attacks on non-Christians, and a complete breakdown of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
As I and others have indicated in the past, Thompson’s disbarment is by no means the last we’ll hear of him. Yes, he’s certainly weakened on the credibility front, but that has never halted other crazies.
I am not a religious guy, though I know and respect people who are. Indeed, I have no problem with the concepts of God or faith. I don’t mind religiousness. – it’s religion I dislike, because “religion” implies an organization of people, and people, especially when structured into a hierarchy, are complete retards. Mix in faith and the conviction of human infallibility and you’ve got a recipe for stake-burnings and suicide bombs.
Has anyone ever stopped to consider how much Jack Thompson sounds like Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar? Even as U.S. troops were taking apart his country, the dude was promising the imminent destruction of the west. Now, as it happens, we took apart his country but didn’t put it back together very well, so old Omar may well have another shot at the top job. But that’s beside the point. The point is that even in defeat and disgrace, crazy people – particularly those who use religion to justify their crazy – remain perfectly convinced of their eventual domination on account of God having their back. Even as they’re getting their asses handed to them, they smile and say it’s all part of the plan.
There’s a scene in I, Claudius in which Claudius has a sort of waking dream, and sees all the emperors that came before him. Each gives him a little speech. Finally it’s the Emperor Gaius’s turn (you likely know him as Caligula, but my Roman History degree prevents me from calling him that). He looks at Claudius with a puzzled expression, and you know what he says?
GAIUS: Uncle, guess what. I’m not a god after all. Can you believe it? Could have knocked me over with a feather when they told me.
It must be nice, to go through life in such blissful conviction that all is right and all will be well. Me, I go through life in gloomy conviction that all is suck and all will continue to be suck. I’d like to say that this attitude keeps me alive, but I don’t really deal in high-risk enterprises, so a more optimistic one would probably work just as well. What can I say, I’m a curmudgeon. Doubtless someone will comment on this post saying that if I’d just find God, I could have the same peace of mind as Jack Thompson and Mohammed Omar.
To which I’d reply, correctly: “Yes, but Oxycontin would allow the same thing… and let me keep my Sundays free.”
God did not strike down Take-Two. I highly doubt God takes a personal and direct interest in the machinations of the American stock market and manipulation of any popular stock picking newsletter, given that God has a very important job that likely keeps him (or her) busy all day. It takes a lot of concentration to keep gravity and stuff working.
Take-Two is in trouble, certainly. It’s not a stretch to say that Strauss Zelnick and his team may well be ousted at the next shareholders meeting (though I guarantee Jack Thompson will not lead the charge); ironic since Zelnick rose to power in the beleaguered publisher by driving away the previous corruption-riddled administration. Take-Two is short on cash, heavily dependent on only a couple of franchises, and must pay ridiculously high star-power salaries to people like the Houser Brothers if it hopes to keep them. Meanwhile, the publisher is large enough to be a legitimate thorn in the side of the megapublishers – EA and Activision/Blizzard – both of which have much more money and segment dominance than Take-Two does. The company desperately needs to launch a couple of successful new IPs that secure a strong cash flow unconnected to GTA, and it needs to look seriously at an alliance or merger with one of the smaller publishers out there (Codemasters or Deep Silver might be a nice starting point, unless Take-Two is hoping to be snapped up by Ubisoft) to shore up both companies’ finances and to make the overall organization a little richer in total IP.
Take-Two fought off the EA buyout because Zelnick and his people believed it would hurt the company in the long run. They fought it off despite the fact that the buyout offer was extremely generous. To most investors this was viewed as a mistake; Take-Two stock has plummeted, and despite major layoffs at EA, that publisher appears to be boldly reinventing itself into something we might want to have around. Regardless of that possibility, though, the fact is an EA buyout of Take-Two would have meant worse games with more draconian DRM sold by ever-larger publishers with ever-less reason to pay attention to consumer wishes or try new game designs. To be blunt, if God had anything to do with this at all, he/she exercised his/her miracle power to prevent the merger from happening in the first place. No smiting went on.
After all, God is a gamer. And I say that with absolute conviction. What is the universe, if not a hardcore sim? Somewhere beyond the sky, someone’s clicking a mouse and having a good time with it. It seems likely, therefore, that any divine intervention we’re likely to see will be in support of games, not to punish those who make them.