Dear Michael Atkinson,
Last month, some readers wrote me letters to complain about the way you’ve been treating them. You are a man with a mission to keep violent games out of the hands of children by making sure that no one can play them, regardless of their age or maturity level. Not being Australian I was hesitant to become involved; really, it’s not my business, is it? My only qualifications are that we met briefly while touring Thailand and I know that Australia isn’t a country nestled between Germany and Hungary.
It’s been nearly 15 years since we met in the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok but I like to think our friendship has withstood the test of time. After all, your wife sent me that card that said, “Dear Mr./Mrs. Marion Cox, Thank you for your continued support and donations to the Australian Labor party.” Despite her gender neutral greeting, I think it speaks deeply to your character that I have remained on your mailing list over these long years.
Sure, we had our differences; for one, you refused to change out of that bright orange Speedo. I was happy lying on the beach enjoying the hallucinatory effects of some indigenous flora and a tropical cocktail until you ran by my beach chair and the veiny flesh of your pallid buttocks flapped past me. That severely harshed my mellow, man, but I am not going to say that ruined the trip. Even with your weird European ways we managed to meet up again and mend fences over a breakfast of whiskey, caffeine pills and milk.
At the go-go bar in Nana Plaza, I felt like we were the two coolest losers in the place. And I didn’t laugh at you when you unwittingly went off with those two transvestites. Though the sounds that came from your bungalow later, which could only be described as unholy, were disturbing; I didn’t even know that you could rent baby elephants.
But those good times are far behind us now. You’re the Attorney-General of Australia, and I am a divorced, overweight writer with an addiction to peppermint schnapps and candy corn. Clearly our paths have diverged. You’re at the top of your game, like if Jack Thompson that hadn’t gone all bat-shit insane and sent gay porn to Florida law officials, and I’ve just eaten a sandwich comprised of the only edible things in my refrigerator: hot sauce, mayonnaise and ketchup.
Those angry letters I mentioned? I’ve received a lot of them. Australian gamers telling me that you’re trying to censor entertainment Down Under . Like this Australian teen pretending to be a middle-aged parent:
Dear Mr. Cox,
Michael Atkinson is trying to raise my kids. As a parent, it’s my job to take care of my own kids. I had a lot of sex with hot chicks to have my kids and now I have Atkinson telling them that they can’t chop the heads off zombies or spill their intestines over the ground. What’s next? Will you take their rights to watch scrambled pornography in the early morning while their parents are still asleep? Atkinson has no right to protect my children; they can take care of themselves. The government needs to keep its nose out of my children’s business.
He’s got a point Mike, but perhaps there’s another way to deal with this. Do you remember the advice you gave me in Phuket right before we paid 20 dollars to kill that caged shark with dynamite? When the explosive failed to go off you said, “There’s more than one way to plough a barge.” I wasn’t expecting you to wrestle it into submission, but I think that it shows that you are capable of “tackling” difficult issues in a different way.
I’d like to think that there is more than one way to get your political views heard by the uneducated, technology fearing masses. The United States has no government-imposed censorship, and yet we somehow still manage to have a raging debate over whether games are turning our children into drug-addled car-stealing prostitute murderers.
I guess the question then is: How can Australia be more like the US?
Well, for starters, you can choose a political adversary that doesn’t have the right to take political action in your county. Republicans in the U.S. have been successfully using illegal aliens and foreigners in general to attract voters who are afraid that Mexicans are going to take their minimum wage jobs as hotel housekeeping staff and dishwashers. After all, scaring your constituents into voting for your party using their natural fear of blinking lights and strange buttons can only get you so far. As soon as Dad gets an iPhone for Christmas, he’ll start thinking that this technology stuff is not so bad after all and before you know it, he’ll have a level 20 iFarm.
You need a real boogeyman, an Osama or a Saddam. Might I suggest starting a war with New Zealand’s oppressive hippie (some might say communist) regime? Did you know that John Key has been hiding weapons of mass destruction in pig farms and Rugby stadiums across that country? No? Well, now’s the time to hire Scooter Libby and plan your own occupation.
Or not. Maybe I don’t know everything there is to know about this issue. It’s apparent that not all Aussie gamers are up-in-arms over your refusal to classify games Mr. Atkinson. I received a letter from one gamer who has had enough of the spotlight:
Look Mr. Cox,
I don’t bloody care if I can’t play Aliens vs. Predator or see nasty little chunks of blown off zombies bits in Left 4 Dead 2. I want everyone to shut the up about the Australian ratings system already. Yea, it sucks. But you know what sucks more? All the farkin’ jokes at the expense of Australians, mate. Sure, it’s nice to have the bloody support of gamers around the farkin’ world, but If I have to listen to another bodgey joke about Fosters lager or shrimps on me barbie, I am going to take a sickie put on me trackies and bludgeon a yank.
Maybe Mr. Boomerang is right? It’s obvious that I am not really the right person to be lecturing an Australian on Australian politics. As a friend I worry that if you continue down this path, you’ll burn out again. Only this time it won’t be spending your last week in a Thai prison accused of indecent acts with a pachyderm, it’ll be gamers who are bored with playing kiddie games getting off their butts and start voting for the other party.
Mr. (not Mrs.) Marion Cox
As far as he knows, Mr. Marion Cox has never fellated a pachyderm.