Archive for December 12th, 2006

SeaTac and Wii share a crisis cause

December 12, 2006

SeaTac airport has been much in the news because of their decision to take down their Christmas trees and then put them back up again. Nintendo is also in the news. Despite the phenomenal success of their new Wii video game console, the news isn’t about their rising share price and great sales. It is about the lawsuits they are facing.

(Full disclosure on the Wii. As readers of this blog will know I stood in line in a snowstorm to get my Wii and my wife and I are Wii fanatics. We got over the sore and strained muscles and play tennis, bowling, golf, etc. every chance we get. We’re just unhappy we can’t get extra controllers yet–but we’ve decided not to sue them over it.)

The reason SeaTac took down the trees was because a lone Rabbi objected and threatened a federal lawsuit. The reason Bob Parker, the port’s spokesperson gave for reinstalling the trees was because the Rabbi removed the threat of a lawsuit. Well first of all, does one person threatening a lawsuit determine every action of an organization like the Port of Seattle? And come on, a Christmas tree is hardly a heavily laden faith statement. The tradition dates back to pre-Christian era. The Christians decided to adopt the use of a Christmas tree that was part of pagan celebrations rather than fighting the popular tide. The anti-Christians and rabid secularists of today ought to have such wisdom.

The Wii lawsuits are based on injuries and damage caused by flying Wiis. The newsclip I saw on TV last night showing some of these injuries would be very helpful in Nintendo’s defense because it showed just how incredibly stupid people can be with a game they are having a lot of fun with. One girl featured on an attack website had an incredibly swollen black eye. Another kid was absolutely hurling the Wii controller and it flew out of his hands and into the TV. Nintendo’s lawyers clearly anticipated the legal assaults and have absolutely loaded the game with continual warnings. Warnings to play in an area clear of people and obstacles. And to make sure you have the strap on. They should have put a warning that the game is not to be played by stupid people or those under some toxic influence.

The Economist magazine, coming out of the UK, loves to point out that America’s economy has a huge brake on it and that we would be much stronger in the world’s economy if it were not for this brake. That brake is our absolutely ludicrous tort law system. The rest of the world laughs. I would laugh too at the PR crisis that both SeaTac and Nintendo find themselves in if the consequences were not so serious. And I don’t mean just for these fine organizations. But for all of us.