With E3 just concluded, it seems only fitting that the video game industry's point man is highlighted. Washington Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas does just that in an excellent profile of Doug Lowenstein.
Calling the ESA president "the Jack Valenti for the PlayStation-Xbox-Nintendo set", Vargas notes that Lowenstein shuns publicity.
"It's not my persona to get in the limelight," the 55-year-old Lowenstein said. "I don't want to be seen as, 'Here's the guy who defends hideous violent games. Here's his story.'"
Speaking of Valenti, the former MPAA boss was complimentary.
"He's got a really tough job to do. But Doug listens, and listens very well. Too many people in Washington think they're the repository of all wisdom. Not Doug."
Representing the video game industry makes Lowenstein somewhat of a controversial figure. Vargas notes that a $500 campaign contribution Lowenstein made to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was returned to him by Obama's staff.
"Stuff happens," was Lowenstein's comment.
Aaron Ruby, co-author of Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution, told Vargas, "If you're a lobbyist for the tobacco industry, people understand the product. But what Doug has to do is explain the industry and explain the medium itself. He's not simply justifying ESA, he's also justifying games themselves."
On the personal side, the Washington Post profile notes that Lowenstein's uncle, Allard Lowenstein (D-NY), a one-time Congressman and civil rights activist, was gunned down by a deranged former student.
"That was very, very extremely traumatic for me," said Lowenstein. Not mentioned in the WaPo piece is the fact that the ESA boss co-authored Lowenstein: Acts of Courage and Belief, a 1983 book about his late uncle.
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