Tuesday, May 8, 2012

here I go again, slipping further away

[17:01] Bxxxxx Exxxxxxxx: SL will be taking a short break and enjoying the yummy pills and interesting jacket

Pretty much. The instability will be televised. Or, put another way, for tonight, tomorrow, and the next day--Tuesday through Thursday, essentially--starting at six pm SLT, and going until two am SLT each night, there will be live maintenance. Expect rollbacks, expect unstable sims, expect random restarts, expect a total lack of expected functionality. The usual cautions apply--don't buy anything, don't build anything, don't rez out anything; in fact, try not to be in world if you can at all avoid it.

And now, a bit of relevant conversation from late last night:

[02:49] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: i wonder.. if we should rp victorian more seriously?
[02:50] Mxxx Mxxxxxxx: more comically, I think :)
[02:50] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: i was just looking at [someone's elaborate [victorian] home..
[02:50] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: they came here expecting to live in [victorian] times.
[02:50] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: or maybe [hoping] too.
[02:51] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: and here we are not doing the rp

Oh, how this takes me back. It seems like only decades ago, I was discussing this very issue on the blog--and wondering aloud how we went from polite, courteous neo-Victorians to the current state of lolpeople-conversation day by day. The strange thing is that the blog entry I'm pulling as an example isn't close to the first time I mentioned manners and etiquette on the blog--but even knowing that, it still goes back to mid-June of 2009.

Nearly three years ago at this point. I was still working for Radio Riel. Hells, I was still living in Caledon. It's bizarre.

[02:54] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: i was feeling bad for breaking their victorian mood.
[02:56] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: I don't RP. I might not be [in a given occupation] in RL, but I am as you find here.
[02:57] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: but maybe we should?
[02:57] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: at least a little...
[02:57] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: i wonder how hard that would be?
[02:57] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: hmm cheerio?

I am genuinely torn between wanting to weep for the future of civility, and wanting to rampantly encourage any effort towards Victorian/steampunk presentation. I think the weeping is that this gentle seems rather woefully lost in terms of Victorian RP at all, and it occurs to me--far from the first time--to wonder how are people finding Caledon, wanting to move and live in that environment, if they know nothing of Victorian culture?

[02:57] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: That would depend how much you know about the world you're portraying
[02:57] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: i dont know what victorians would say?
[02:58] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: not much... actually i should take it as a learning experience and do research on them.

It is never a bad idea to research just about anything. If one has an interest, one should pursue that interest. I consider adult life to be one long learning experience, but then, I enjoy looking things up, reading for pleasure, and finding out new things. Some people don't.

[02:58] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Which ones? I knew relatives who'd been alive during the Victorian times and apart from my country burr, they spoke much as I do.
[02:58] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: did they have a more strict code of behavior thought? and more codified ... speech?
[02:58] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Although I do remember my grandmother and her sister pronouncing "off" as "orf"
[02:59] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: like rules?
[02:59] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: They took great care with their manners in public, if that's what you mean.
[02:59] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: yes!
[02:59] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: that is it.
[02:59] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: hmm like only talk about the weather?

What slightly pained me about watching this conversation unfold last night was her wholly innocent bewilderment about the entire topic under discussion. Remember, this is a resident who chose to move to Caledon, over other estates. She wanted to be a part of the culture, the land, the people. While that's laudable--and believe me, Caledon needs every resident she can get, in these frightening times--it's also still confusing.

Think of it like...someone who moved to a trailer park that was devoted to southern Florida's early 1960s culture, in both presentation, lawn decoration, and age of residents, yet prior to this they had only lived in a Manhattan high-rise.

[03:00] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: mr. wxxxxxx? why do you think they were more careful about their interactions?
[03:05] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Infinitely
[03:05] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: everything was said with the deliberate avoidance of giving offence, unless one meant to
[03:06] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Something was not "ugly," it was "interesting"
[03:06] Emilly Orr smiles. And even then, giving offense was deliberate, intentional, and also usually courteous, if savagely so.
[03:06] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: The famous "understatement"
[03:06] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx chuckles @ Miss Orr. The REAL masters were those who could give offense obliquely, so the victim wasn't sure what was meant.
[03:06] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: hmm so when they said something was interesting... they meant ugly?
[03:07] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: It could mean either, Miss Cxxxxxxxxx. Much depended on inflection and body language, which can be hard to bring off here
[03:07] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: ooh yes.. that would be difficult.
[03:07] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: hmm.. i guess they will have to be content with having a victorian house...

I wonder if anyone's ever given thought to offering courses at Oxbridge on correct behavior and deportment. Would that help?

[03:07] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: A diplomatic......... pause was useful, for example.
[03:08] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: ooh effective even here, mr wxxxxxx!
[03:08] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx nods. It tells the listener that "something isn't quite right here."
[03:09] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: do you think the body language was different or more subtle?
[03:09] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Not at all, really
[03:09] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Much depended on the circles in which you moved
[03:09] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: how so?
[03:10] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Well, just as it does now. An east end costermonger would hardly have spoken the same way as, say, a Mayfair hostess
[03:10] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: ooh like my fair lady?
[03:11] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Right.

I will give this young lady full props for this--she's asking the right questions. She seems to genuinely want to learn how to behave in a more Victorian manner, which is the first I've seen of this behavior for far too many months. In its own way, it's refreshing...but I'm enough of a cynic to believe it won't last.

[03:11] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: was it really difficult to change classes?
[03:11] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: in pygmyllion it seemed kind of far fetched..
[03:11] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: The costermonger would have been more blunt; the hostess more florid. Certain expressions were studiously avoided if they alluded to things about which one did not talk. Affectations, in other words.
[03:11] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: *shaw was victorian.
[03:12] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: hmm...
[03:12] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: ...... although he outlived the era by nearly fifty years, yes.
[03:12] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: (1856?-1950)
[03:12] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: i got the impression he carried that over
[03:12] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: he seemed stern and kind of ridged...

I believe she meant "rigid", there. I've corrected some spelling now and again, but that's an entirely different word.

(Oh, and while investigating for examples of accents, I came across this again, which remains delightful, and quite well done. Miss Walker is now teaching particulars in how to master certain accents on her website, and, for collectors of sounds preserved on vinyl, she's put out a pressing priced very reasonably.)

[03:12] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Many did. Our parents spoke much as their parents did, and we learned in turn from them.
[03:13] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: The Victorians were quite judgmental, yes. There was more emphasis on conformity.
[03:14] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: that is really awesome you have met actual victorians.
[03:14] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: is there anything that you noticed that was different... that stood out?
[03:15] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx shudders. Living in an age that prides itself on its "progressiveness," I take great solace in that.
[03:15] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Attention to detail, Miss. Even the "lower orders" wouldn't shout across the room, "Do you take sugar?" They'd have offered you a sugar bowl.
[03:16] Cxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: hmm so manners were more uniform and people actually used them.. unlike now...
[03:17] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx nods. Even the "lower orders" took pride in everyday courtesies.
[03:17] Emilly Orr: There are scattered enclaves where manners are still respected, but in the main, you're correct.
[03:17] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx nods to Miss Orr, trying to remain a proud enclave himself.
[03:18] Emilly Orr fails more than she succeeds, but she does try.

To be fair, I think most of the time, in person (or on the grid), I manage at least snippy tolerance, if not outright civility and restraint; but I've slipped severely on the blog, both in terms of casual address and in terms of cursing. I get frustrated. I admit this. And while I was raised by a parent who forwent harsh language herself, when I hit my early twenties, my friends set was quite given to cursing as a standard of expression. Who we surround ourselves with mold us as adults, as well as as children.

[03:18] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Much of it was brought about by circumstances, though; they mended things rather than threw them away, and the family unit was tighter and more coherent then.
[03:18] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Much of it was brought about by circumstances, though; they mended things rather than threw them away, and the family unit was tighter and more coherent then.
[03:19] Emilly Orr: Part of that was due to fewer provisions for divorce, or even annulment.
[03:19] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Miss Orr! I'd hardly have said that YOUR deportment was in any way a failure! (cuts a bow)
[03:19] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Right; until 1857 Divorce in England could only be obtained through an act of parliament.
[03:19] Emilly Orr curtseys and thanks you.
[03:20] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: And with no old age pensions, the old folk were either looked after in the family unit, or consigned to the workhouse - often voluntarily
[03:20] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Children were raised in ways that would seem brutal to today's "progressives," but then children were seen as ambassadors for the parents.
[03:21] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Thus, a wayward child was a disgrace.

This is chief in understanding much of Victorian culture. Work was paramount--even people we'd classify today as homeless, for the most part, avoided begging by any means necessary--selling flowers, matches, stale bread for feeding the birds--whatever, however, they could earn their own sustenance honestly, most gentles did so. Even in an era with such strict class separation, and an immense amount of prejudice on all sides, this stood out. To make one's own way in the world was considered vital, and occasionally above all other considerations--including love (largely discounted), marriage and parenting.

[03:21] Emilly Orr: The age to begin working was also lower.
[03:21] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Ohhh yes
[03:22] Emilly Orr is still not entirely convinced that's a bad idea.
[03:22] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: I've a copy of my great-uncle's medical certificate from 1898, which he needed before starting work at age 13
[03:22] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: I don't believe it is, Miss Orr. They learned responsibility from an early age.
[03:23] Emilly Orr: My grandfather--though anything but Victorian--left home at nine. By eleven, he was working as a cook on a wagon train; by thirteen, he was on a ranch as a cowhand.
[03:23] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx whistles with respect. I would point out that my own background is almost entirely London-centric.
[03:24] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: I don't claim to speak on behalf of any other cultures
[03:25] Axxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Here, the 1870 Education Act made /some/ difference, but kids would still bunk off school to work.

It wasn't that schoolchildren didn't value education--in many cases, in both upper- and lower-classes, they did--but the value of their work towards supporting their families and keeping everyone out of the poorhouse was viewed as a greater priority than learning abstract things they may or may not ever use in their day to day existence.

Overall, I'd say I'm happy to have been logged in last night, to watch this conversation unfold, but there's still more work to be done before the Caledon that was, returns.

(from the scavenging albumn)

I know, I know, they're mannequins, I get that...but this is still creepy.

And while searching down when I first mentioned the diminishing state of Caledonian courtesy, I also ran across this from January 2010: so for more than two years now Caledonian shifts to welcome hubs--when those sims go down--have been shifting to Arapaima Safe Hub, on the Zindra continent. More than two years of solid complaints, and the Lindens still haven't even bothered to look into this.

I mention this now, because with the grid instability to come over the next three days, potentially a great many avatars will be shunted to Arapaima. Good luck, gentles--you may need it.


Rhianon Jameson said...

Ah, the age-old discussion in the Steamlands! I give CR credit for the effort.

By the way, while I enjoy the game of trying to guess the identities of your anonymized conversationalists, and I had pretty much guessed the urbane "AW," I'll note you took the guesswork out of it by leaving his last name in one of CR's lines (at 3:08). Though I'm certain that Mr. W would be far too polite to object. Except perhaps obliquely. :)

Miss D Ember said...

Lovely post.

Miss Orr, I shall be linking and adding some thoughts. I've been slack in helping the social along on the nation's channel.

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Jameson,

Argh! I thought I'd caught all instances of it. You know, it was a lot easier to "reprint" things when I kept the names intact. :p

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Ember,

While at this point I usually do not interact--I have this self-perception of being Caledon's resident evil at this point, so I try to be unobtrusive--some conversations are intriguing enough even reading along. This one went on past this, for a bit, and it did give me hope.

While I was far too rigid in my thinking the last time this came up, the point still stands--why live in neo-Victorian lands if you have no interest in Victorian (and Edwardian) times? It's like wanting to leave in a steampunk sim when you shop exclusively at DV8 and Nebuchadnezzar.

I think it's perfectly fine to want to know more and to ask questions. This is how we learn. But we have to want to ask those questions.