Monday, June 21, 2010

what chain reaction, what cause and effect makes you turn around, makes you try to explain?

I suddenly don't feel so bad; I ran over to the blog hosting the Big Bad Blogger Challenge and...that's still the last topic seen. Which I wrote on.

The challenge on the challenge blog hasn't been updated. Does that mean we're all off the hook?

In other news...SL7B. And already major controversy concerning an artist named Misprint Thursday.

I present to you from Joonie's blog (linked above), the start of what I think is a terrifying exchange that actually took place:

SHAWN Masters: you do have pedifiles
Misprint Thursday: that has nothing to do with these pictures

Mr. Masters is a moderator for SL7B. First of all, even with all the controversy and drama, remember last year? SL6B? Where we heard about the upcoming birthday celebration from March on? Off and on, little bits here and there, and then May and BAM, everyone you knew was planning an exhibit?

Or at least me; half my friends applied, it seemed, a third got approved, and there it was.

The seventh anniversary of Second Life? A blip. Didn't even know it had started, frankly, until I logged in a couple days back (before the hard drive bottomed out) and saw a brief mention on the log-in screen. That's how underplayed the whole thing has been.

So this guy who wants to shout his name to all and sundry, because he was too stupid to take his capslock off when he created his avatar that first day, comes up to Thursday and essentially, accuses an artist of encouraging pedophiles (which name he misspells) on the grid.

Let that sink in.

Blondin Linden, by the way? Standing around. Never said a word to Thursday during the whole of the pedophile conversation by report. Not. One. Word. While Masters is haranguing Thursday, likely publically, a Linden who could have been giving out accurate information is...standing around. Silent.

Gosh, doesn't that just sound like the employees that are left.

SHAWN Masters: there are on average....20 pedifiles within a 50 mile square
Misprint Thursday: listen
SHAWN Masters: SL is a breeding ground
Misprint Thursday: that has nothing to do with this

You'd expect to get this sort of reaction from the public, who never bother to come in to SL; especially from the Germans, who've apparently done little else but news blurbs since "The Incident" pondering if SL has changed from being that horrible little place that did those horrible little things to those virtual children...

...but from someone who's gained enough power and trust to be a moderator for SL7B? You'd like to think those people have more than two braincells to smash together, wouldn't you?

Mr. Masters, not that I expect you to know how to web-surf from this, but if you do happen to trip over this blog entry, I would be remiss ("re·miss", it means 'failing to do your duty) if I didn't tell you a few things. Namely:

1. It's more properly spelt "pedophiles", taken from "pedophilia", id est, from the Greek "παιδοφιλια" or paidophilia; most precisely it refers to the love for boy children, but it's been expanded upon being named a mental disorder to mean any love or adoration (sexual or emotional) for underage partners, typically children. It is not, and never has been, "pedifiles".

2. A naked image of a Barbie (TM) doll is nothing most children (of at least Western industrialized countries) have not already been exposed to; lacking nipples, genital definition and even a belly-button, she can't be said to be an adult image, in any sense of the word. Period. End of discussion.

Now, can Barbies (TM) be made to be adult images? Oh, sure. It's all in the poses, really (though that's not a doll, that's a digitally altered human made to resemble a doll...obviously). And it's not like even most of those feature really outre subject matter, for the most part. Remove the adult understanding of the sexual component and what are you left with? The little girl who makes her dolls kiss. The children who undress their dolls before bed, bathe them, then dress them in night clothes. Without context, where is the problem?

In other words, Mr. Masters, if you're not obsessing about pedophilia, thinking about it, to the exclusion of all wouldn't have seen that as harmful, I think.

Now, I do know the Lindens are insisting--foolishly--on the PG rating for the whole of the birthday sims; it was stupid when it was first introduced, it's stupid now, it's not going to change; I get that, fine. And considering avatars can have extremely realistic--in fact, even sculpted and primmed out carefully--sexual characteristics, I get that some things would automatically be considered beyond the pale.

In fact, I'd be willing to argue the point that the Susa Bubble art installation might be beyond that line, because it deals with avatar nudity, which is the state of affairs the Lindens are trying to push to the side.

But a flat-prim picture of a naked Barbie (TM)? Seriously? That was considered so shocking, so horrifying, that the artist was bounced from the sim, bounced from the exhibitors' group, and not allowed to return to pick up what remained of her installation?

I don't know if the Lindens actually realize this, but that rather is the textbook definition of artistic censorship--agreeing to host a work of art, then removing the bits one doesn't approve of, and showing it anyway. And that is why museums and galleries who engage in such practices are so universally loathed as the Quislings they are.

The entirety of the Susa Bubble installation, as I understand it, was returned, or never allowed in in the first place; I can't argue with that, per se, because of that whole PG rating, and how narrowly the Lindens define "PG".

But the single texture of the naked Barbie (TM) doll? Seriously? THAT image. That image made Blondin Linden ban her from the SL7B sims.

Linden Labs have lost their minds. I know, I seem to say that a great deal, but this time? I can't see any other way to take this decision.

Oh, and Philip Linden also made a speech, wherein he said that SL wasn't becoming the next FaceBook, just the next MySpace. And that SL is a medieval town and we need to attack the fortifications until there are no walls and everyone can just walk right in and enjoy the magnificence and creative freedom that is SL.

Yeah. Unless, you know, you want to do art that's not completely and totally safe, that challenges no existing status quo.

I guess it's all in what the Labs want. Because, you know the saying...Their world. Their imagination.


Rhianon Jameson said...

I really love a blog that says id est. :)

And pedifile surely is a real word that means, uh, something used to get rid of those rough skin spots on one's feet, right?

I would also add to your point about context that it's not clear why one would think of a naked [trademarked doll name] to encourage prevert-philiacs. As I understand the concept, one needs an adult commiting an indecent act, plus a child. As you note, the [trademarked doll name] clearly lacks adult characteristics (indeed, lacks human characteristics, e.g., the belly button - wasn't that the identifying mark or lack thereof in some recent science fiction TV series?). At the same time, the doll is even more clearly not a representation of a child (c.f., gravity-defying boobs). All SL residents, perverted or otherwise, are supposed to be adults. There's just no child in the equation.

Emilly Orr said...

Well, see, this is the problem.

There are underage residents on SL that are not confined to the Teen Grid. Most of them fall generally into one of two camps:

* Stupid kids (and this is the more rare of the two camps) that want to be hired as strippers and date (girls) or want to try out all the poseballs in the free sex areas (boys); generally these kids advertise their age, people turn them in, and off they go.

* Smart kids (far more prevalent) who stay out of the free sex areas and the stripper palaces and keep their heads down and just want to be left alone, for the most part--they want friends, they want to hang out on SL and dance and build and shop and socialize, but they don't go out of their way to scream "I'm fifteen!" at the top of their texting lungs.

But they are there.

In general, the things you will see actual thirteen-to-seventeen-year-old smart kids doing on SL: building. Scripting. Dancing--fully clothed. DJing on occasion (at least, until the advent of voice). Playing in those areas on SL that are more like the other online games--so shooting zombies, racing cars, casting spells...These kids generally stay out of trouble, and they don't want to do anything other than quietly reach eighteen and disappear into the legal adult population.

All SL residents are supposed to be adults, yes. Some are not--legally. But most of the non-adults on SL act more adult than the presumed adults do.

And you're right--even with the ones that slip over from Teen Grid (or who never bothered to sign up for Teen Grid in the first place), there's still no child in the equation, because the youngest I've ever found is twelve, and he said he was twelve, it was his first day on the grid, and he got reported. (That's generally what happens.)