In conversations with a love this evening, I've had something pointed out to me, and frankly, it's something I should have, given time and thought, seen on my own.
That I didn't is more a failure on my part, along with the resurgence of 'we-have-rights' style of thinking.
(Because, let's face it, it's quite true--we don't have rights, it's their world, their game, and if they decide one day to pack the grid up and deny us all access? They can, it's their platform. We have only those 'rights' they choose to give us, and I've said this before.)
The point made was--Linden Labs is not, necessarily, the bad guy in this.
And I'm thinking, having had this discussion, they may well be right. And I may have been wrong.
Oh, but let me tell you why.
What's been our point all along? That the Labs are wrong, inherently and ethically, by banning the child avatars of SL from having exhibit space at the fifth birthday celebration.
And why have we been saying they're wrong? Well, I can't speak for others, and I won't, but for me, it's been that impression from the Labs--my impression of the actions of the Labs--that what they truly fear is another German crisis--some news agency, from somewhere, catching a shot of a child avatar, an adult avatar, and a bed, and spinning it towards fetishistic pedophilia, saying how bad, wrong and evil Linden Labs and Second Life is.
And I think that's valid, really, that perception--I think it's wrong to cave to special interests and let the religious zealots of any world run roughshod over our rights, our responsibilities, and our ethics--but again, as it was pointed out to me, that's missing the point.
This is the point--Linden Labs does not mind, per se, any individual user of Second Life building at the fifth birthday event. What they mind, what they don't want the world to see, is the Second Life childrens' community building a conjoined exhibit, in the manner of Caledon and other large communities.
So...why wouldn't they want this? Solidarity, exploration, exchange of ideas, cultural expansion...why aren't these good things?
Well, we're asking the wrong questions. The Labs, you see...what they don't want seen, what they want even more earnestly than to never again see "child sex" and "Linden Labs" connected in the same sentence...is to be known as the next Gaia.
Follow this through--because it's not a bad theory. The Labs do not want children, child avatars, being shown in accepting, positive, flourishing lights, because to do so might, and well could, convince some mother with a short attention span that SL is the next perfect place for her little darlings to romp about in.
Why is that a bad idea? Because Second Life is not a kids' game. And isn't that what we've been saying all along? Isn't that, in fact, why Linden Labs divided the grid between the teens and the adults in the first place? Isn't that what we've been insisting, in forums and IMs and emails and blog entries? That Second Life is designed for adults, that it shouldn't be sanitized, that it does contain innapropriate content for children? Real children?
So yes, they went about it tragically, and they made mistakes saying so, but if that was their main point...well, cumbersome and awkward as it was, they've held to it.
And maybe that's why they're not, per se, restricting non-PG content with the same aggressiveness--because non-PG content is less of a potential nightmare, for the celebration, than some journalist winging their way home and writing the glowing report about how perfect Second Life could be for the thirteen-to-seventeen set.