Friday, June 13, 2008

I wish I had a river I could skate away on

*flicks on a bare bulb, kicks a soapbox crate under the spot, and stands on it, glaring*

Massively covers the SL5B debacle again; yes, I'm upgrading it from "shambles" to "debacle" deliberately, because Phaylen Fairchild makes the third of three named organizers to the position in the all of three weeks the position has existed, and Fairchild herself is about to walk off the job.

And now we have the latest in the long serious of ridiculous edicts--this one even more specious than the rest: that no child avatar can be depicted standing next to an adult--or, gods help us all, standing next to a bed, even if not in use--for fear of unspecified litigation.

I will state this plainly and blatantly: I don't care who you are, how religiously or morally conservative you are--NO. ONE. on this whole blighted grid will see a child avatar, and an adult avatar, standing quietly together and think immediately that they are having sex--UNLESS THEY HAVE THOSE THOUGHTS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

I'm dead serious. NOBODY automatically leaps to child sexual abuse by adults, when nothing sexual is happening, UNLESS they're thinking about it.

Have we lost all ability to tell fantasy from reality? Do we as a culture honestly believe in our heart of hearts that no adult can have any level of interaction with a child without making of it something to be only confessed haltingly, years later, to therapist or priest? And where does this leave parents of children, parents who--because they are PARENTS--have cared for, bathed, changed, and touched those children on a daily basis, as they grew up? Is any of that, wrong, horrifying or shameful?

And these aren't even real children, in the flesh and blood sense! These are, by and large, adults, who for a myriad of reasons--everything from, they wished to explore the dynamic of childhood again, to recapture that sense of innocence, all the way down to their own childhoods were impaired, through an overheaping of familial responsibility, irresponsible parents, or yes, if we're being absolutely honest here, traumatic abuse themselves.

Each of them, every one of them, have their own reasons, and nine out of ten times very good reasons, and in large part very understandable reasons, for portraying a child on the grid. No, not every child is a creature of pure innocence and light, just as not every adult is noble and steadfast, but it is, all things considered, the actions of a marked minority that drew Germany's attention in the first place.

And what happened after that story broke? Yes, there was fallout, over a lot of communities there shouldn't have been fallout in. Yes, the child avatar community was slandered. Yes, the dolls were tarred with the same brush. The babyfurs, gods, they nearly got roasted alive, and they weren't well-liked and well-tolerated outside of their own community, before that!

And yeah, some merchants who'd tailored their wares to specific audiences took a hard hit as well, whether they had any connection to the issue or not. Makers of Lolita fashions are still struggling under the search term ban, and they were only the tip of the iceberg.

But what else happened? Charley's Castle went away, I remember that. I remember that because one client, very long ago, had asked me to meet him there, so I saw the place. After that abortive assignation, I put age restrictions in my escort bio for several months--that I'd 'play' no younger than eighteen, thank you kindly.

I am not saying that kids aren't getting hurt--real kids, real situations, it is a very real problem. And I'm not saying there aren't dangerous places on the grid.

But just as Second Life will never be used as a staging platform for virtual terrorist training, "kiddie sex" camps were not scattered everywhere on the grid. When the problem was noticed, steps were taken. And though they went overboard--just like they're doing now--people were already beginning to sit up and notice and speak out, before the story broke in the first place.

It sickens me that we're back here, to a place where I can't stand next to a child avatar without someone Linden-shaped thinking oh-noes-teh-sex. It infuriates me that an artist like Stephen Venkman, who was part of last year's celebration, is not allowed to exhibit his family-centered body of art--simply because he and his SL wife are seen standing next to, or sitting next to, his SL daughters. How ridiculous is that??

Have some personal goddamn accountability, guys. Either realize how stupid this all is, apologize, and get on with things already, or stand back and hold to your indefensible shifting 'high ground'--roughly equivalent to sand being gathered by the hurricane--and watch it all go down in flames.

Your choice.

*flicks off light, kicks the soapbox into the corner, and stalks off*

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