Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn Hates Video Games

It’s fitting that we get to end 2011 with a last minute VIDEO GAMES ARE BAD attack. After all, we’ve spent the year blaming them for everything from riots to terrorist violence. So what now? They’re apparently responsible for horrible, horrible wasteful government spending.

The shocking news comes courtesy of Oklahoma Senator Tom Comburn, a notorious right wing prig with a stick so far up his ass he can taste wood*. No, seriously, the man thinks the nudity in Schindler’s List is pornographic. Anyway, enough about how creepy it is that he thinks the victims of Hitler’s regime are in any way sexually titilating. Tom, you see, is yet another embittered old man who sees government waste everywhere except where it actually exists, and in accordance with SOP for such people, he especially sees it in things he has little understanding of.

You see, much like Bobby Jindal’s hilarious idea that “something called volcano monitoring” is stupid, Tom seems to think that keeping a record of one of our culture’s most vital economic and creative fields is bad. Included in his annual list of things grumpy, racist white men wish would go away so they can go back to bombing brown people and stealing their resources wasteful government spending, there lies outrage, OUTRAGE at the idea of federal dollars being directed to video game preservation. But why belabor the point. I’ll just let the old guy speak for himself:

The International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) received over $100,000 in federal funds for video game preservation.

According to the organization‘s website, it collects, studies, and interprets video games, other electronic games, and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography.

The center‘s collection includes over 35,000 video games and a wide variety of items related to the history of electronic games. Examples of arcade video games in the collection include Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong. The video game compilation also includes Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, and Doom.

According to the grant notification, the $113,277 in federal funds will be used to ―conduct a detailed conservation survey of approximately 6,900 of the 17,000 e-games in [the museum‘s] collection to determine the current condition of both the physical artifacts and their virtual content. The study is designed to ―better position the museum to make its International Center for the History of Electronic Games collection available to visitors, researchers, and a broad public audience by providing images, videos of e-game play, and interpretation of the collection via exhibits and the Online Collections feature of its Web site. Admission to the museum costs an adult $13.

First of all, let’s try not to laugh at the idea of a pathetically small “$113,277 in federal funds” as somehow a gigantic waste of government spending. This is literally chump change for a government whose yearly tax intake measures in the trillions. And let’s ignore how odious it is, as Alyssa Rosenberg points out on Think Progress, that he sees to be against basic museum funding. And, ok, let’s try not to focus on the fact that Coburn has the worst website ever designed. Even though, seriously, it’s really terrible. GeoCities terrible.

What I find disturbing about this is how it illustrates yet again the very real danger Americans are under due to the fact that the vast majority of people actually governing us have literally no idea whatsoever what it is we actually do. To illustrate, here are the graphics accompanying Grandpa Coburn’s angry screed:


That’s an Atari 2600 and an image of Pac-Man as he existed during Reagan’s first term.

This is the reason that, despite popular opposition and the ruinous effects it would have on our culture and our economy, our legislature attempts to push censorious and competition-killing nonsense like SOPA every few years. Our insistence on perpetuating the idea the only real Americans are people who obstinately refuse to participate in American culture is killing our political life.

But that aside, Oklahoman gamers have been warned: The old men are scoring political points by attacking that bloopity bleepity thing the kids like. I wish you the best as you endure annoying holiday political arguments. In the meantime, I think that Americans of all political stripes can agree on one thing: Tom Coburn has a terrible website.

Via Think Progress.

*YOW! I’ll be here all week.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

8 Comments on Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn Hates Video Games

Jonah Falcon

On December 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I’m sure Comburn jerks off to Schindler’s List – when the Jews are being gassed.


On December 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Can I work at that place?


On December 29, 2011 at 5:19 am



On December 29, 2011 at 11:23 am

Its too bad that no one understands the financial severity our country is in right now.

Ross Lincoln

On December 29, 2011 at 11:29 am

It’s too bad that a paltry 100 grand for maintenance of a museum dedicated to one of the most important cultural developments in recent history is a red herring obfuscating actual ‘financial severity’.


On December 29, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I bet he hates the mirror in his bathroom too. Every time he steps into or out of his shower he see’s his saggy nude body, he wants to sue the manufacturer of the mirror.


On January 2, 2012 at 12:28 am

I love video games and 100 grand isn’t really that much, but to be honest, there are SO MANY GAMES. It seems almost a worthless effort to collect so many games unless the end goal is to sell them. I cannot imagine a museum of games ever being successful. WTF!! It seems so pointless and stupid, and each individual game is so truly a hollow object, with little to no value other than entertainment. Mind you I don’t necessarily like museums in the first place, since I have never much valued the documentation of culture, but I understand museums which document something that is directly significant. Some appear to argue that video games would fit that description, but they don’t. I play games for fun and to kill time (lots of it), and when I’m not playing games I actually get things done. I agree this Senator is pretty d*** ignorant, but if he had come with any sort of argument prepared, I probably would back him.

Ross Lincoln

On January 2, 2012 at 12:35 am

Point well made, but I think the counterpoint is that the games collected are pretty damn significant.

“Examples of arcade video games in the collection include Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong. The video game compilation also includes Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, and Doom.”

It isn’t like the Minesweeper and Fester’s Quest museum.