It has been interesting writing on the topic of politics in SL. The AvaStar is a tabloid newspaper covering all types of happenings, from style and fashion to how the Linden Lab is doing, to events and business and all else that is of concern to residents. As such, there's room to discuss the issue of politicians swarming on SL in the same way major brands have. In Issue 19 and 21, I wrote about the topic of the French general election, as well as touching on other countries, namely the US, realising the potential for RL campaigns. On a eurocentric level, the French are generally more interested in politics than, say, the British, but the last week and a half have seen the real comedy antics coming from the grid's Spanish residents. People purporting to represent both sides of the political spectrum have been running across the grid making each other's lives hard, griefing and causing all types of 'terrorist' activities, as the Partido Popular was quick to say.
Isn't this all a bit daft? SL residents are not all so thick as to think that their virtual world is not being used by politicians of all sides to further RL ambitions - the point is that it sells RL newspapers (the RL press in Spain have been quite interested), has a quick media impact (although this is cancelled out by the fact the opposition party gets its name in too) but looks, well, pretty damn 'tonto' as the Spanish might say. If only fire breathing dragons were to engulf RL political offices, now that might be worthy of the name terrorism. As it stands, supporters of both major Spanish political parties, as well as smaller ones, have managed to get 'huevo' all their faces. You look great guys, really. Now do something constructive.
Ok, so I'm still a relative newbie in this thing. Alright, granted, a total newbie. Two weeks is not long in a new place. And so, I naturally still make mistakes.
I had an idea for a feature, a hard-hitting piece of investigative journalism - what else? It was necessary for me to do some research for this piece - c'est claire. To do this, I TP'd to a few places, and ended up at a small shop, or rather information centre. This place specialised in a particular political viewpoint - marxism-leninism, in fact.
I like wearing stupid clothes in SL. I don't mean stupid as in the masses of bling, poncy sunglasses and skimpy shirts that pervade the muscle-blessed men present in SL. Because you certainly could argue that this is pretty stupid. Yes, I would be scared to wear that stuff in RL, but not as I don't have the confidence. No, I'd look like a dick. But I would love to wear dumb-arse outfits in RL - if only to make people think twice, to consider other people's viewpoints, to get out of their mental boxes. That's one of the reasons I like SL, and there are a few people like me. But there could certainly be more.
Anyway, the marxist info centre. There was some free stuff on offer. I stocked up my inventory. And when I looked in it, I couldn't resist. I found it pretty damn amusing to wear a red-army guard's uniform and a ghostbuster's T-shirt, a Fez hat, a Kalashnikov on my back and a bazooka by my side. Proper funny. Is that not a refreshing look in these sensitive times? I wasn't planning on blowing anything up, that wasn't the point. We all played dress up as little kids, did we not?
But it seems people don't like certain looks. Ninety per cent of people in the real(developed) world go for a uniform plasticity, we know that. Yet plenty of people claim that SL is free - free in the sense that you can wear what you like without fear of hassle. Or rather, without the hassle of hassle. Someone tell that to the pretty clones in SL. They're everywhere.
Not content with real world promotion for their latest blockbuster, Warner Bros took to Second Life last Friday to publicise the arrival of 300. Taking place on their own sim of Silver Screen Island, the focus of the event was a question and answer session with Frank Miller, creator of the graphic novel from which the film was inspired. As well as that, director and co-writer Zack Snyder, plus leading actors Gerard Butler, Lena Headey and Rodrigo Santoro were on hand to answer questions visitors from the world of SL and RL press had to throw at them. The film itself deals with the battles between the Greeks and the Persians long, long ago in the real world, and as such, is something of a gore-fest. This is reflected in some of the artwork available to see on the island, a sim created by the Picture Production Company on behalf of Warner Brothers. It’s a nice sim, with a central hub, ‘the Auditorium’, acting as the core to the other four smaller islands leading away from it. Exploring the area leads you to four other islands coming off from the auditorium, each unsurprisingly a homage to the magnitude (and budget) of the film. The theatre is a modest affair, with 80 outdoor seats for those that showed up, and a big screen designed for the screenings of the film’s trailer. Most interesting is the gallery of artwork from the film, amongst other things. Nicely done too, is the exhibition of Frank Miller’s original sketchings - probably containing more artistic merit than the film itself.* Another gallery isle features plenty of shots of gruff blokes in gold and red whacking each other silly with steel objects. Cool. Before the event began, there was also the possibility of exploring the 300 Movie Expo, an interactive experience which included a 3-D virtual set. That may be now gone, but some of the great costumes were still recently to be seen milling around the reading room. Designed by Sachi Vixen and Damen Gorilla, plenty of people thought it was a good idea to dress up in these and wonder around. And why not, it's a free world, isn't it?
*Of course, I haven‘t seen it. Or read the book. Whatever.
Well! What a week. That's what you say after a week in a new job, I guess. It's been interesting. The Avastar, for those who don't know, is SL's professional tabloid newspaper, covering, well, all the important stuff that goes on across our world.
I've been writing for some time. I'm a media junky, a news fiend. I love it. Give me a newspaper, you can keep the reality TV - go on, have it. I've been writing for several years (and I'm still young, I guess). On music, politics, technology, media. Now, along with Manta Mesmer, I've been taken on board at the Avastar, as a reporter.
I've not been in SL for so long, but it's been a matter of immersion over the last week. There are some decent folk in SL, I've had some good conversations, met some nice peeps, and added a bunch of friends. There are some tools here, too. That's life, huh? I've moved around plenty, all over the RL world. Same thing there too.
It's not hard to make friends in SL, at least it's not hard to talk to people. Most people are intrigued. Hell, you can walk round in some cracked-out T-shirts with a bushy red beard and bald head, and people barely notice. It seems that plenty of people would argue SL is a tolerant place where you can rock whatever you like, cos it's cool like that, it's democratic, liberal, happy to indulge the fashion tastes of others. But is it really? Ninety per cent of the residents are too blinded by each other's dazzling bling and shiny tanned legs to care less about the imperfect residents. The Avastar led with a story on Barbie SL being boring, and this week freedom of speech is the top topic. Do we want an SL where people can say whatever they like? Cos if people say whatever they like, this by nature includes inciting hatred, violence, and the denial of historical atrocities.
Do we want right-wing extremists in the form of the French Front National around? By the same token, do we want left-wing cyberguerrillas blowing the crap out of sims? Residents have different viewpoints, clearly.
A world created as a utopia for its users, and the problems from RL are slowly being imported in.