Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rant alert. Botgirl's new rules for virtual identity

DISCLAIMER: The events depicted in this rant are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental. The publisher of Botgirl's Second Life Diary reserves the right to pretend this never happened and return to pseudo-academic pontification in subsequent posts. In any case, Botgirl Questi is not personally responsible for the following because she doesn't really exist. Or does she?
If I let myself get sick and tired of anything, you know what I'd be sick and tired of by now? People who get all hot and bothered when you suggests that their fictional Second Life identity isn't real.

Give me a fucking break! Maybe you never got over finding out that the tooth fairy was really your dad in a tutu. Perhaps some crucial early developmental period was interrupted. Could be you were abducted by aliens and have PTSD. Gosh, I don't really know. But let me tell you a secret. Come here for a sec. Come close. Closer. Good. Listening?????

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE. Oh. You can't smell virtual coffee, can you? BECAUSE IT ISN'T REAL.

Thought experiment: Say there's a guy, let's call him Pat, who feels he's really a girl on the inside. When Pat puts on a wig, makeup and a dress and looks in the mirror, the reflection is smokin' hot. No problem yet. But wait. Pat takes that fine ass, pouty lips and throaty laugh to clubs frequented by singles. Dances all night long. Still no harm done. Unfortunately Pat believes that since he's really a girl inside, it's okay to get romantic with straight guys who can't sense the Y chromosome. Some poor schmuck falls in love with Pat, all blinded by a warm, wet mouth and a saving-it-for-marriage-hands-off-my-camel-toe story.

Anyone have any ethical issues with Pat's don't-ask-don't-tell romantic adventures?

Alright. I hear you. Keep your Armidi shirt on. Don't muss your prim hair. You're right. Everyone knows there's a difference between the avatar and the human. We're all just experimenting together at the edge of the singularity. That's it! We're explorers. Amazing, creative, tech-drenched pioneers. Our avatar identities are like visitors from the future, making homes in our meat. Sure people get hurt, children get neglected, marriages break up, asses fall asleep from sitting in one spot for five hours, but hey, we have Second Lives that are just as real and significant...maybe MORE real and significant...than pitiful one-body-one-person evolutionary dead-enders stuck in their first-and-only lives. (If you're nodding along I suggest you look closely at the phrase "science fiction" focus on the second word and then look it up in a dictionary.)

Here are Botgirl's New Rules for virtual identity:
  1. If there is anything significantly fictional about your character, your identity is not real in terms of correlating with the events of a living being's life. If you believe that anything you pretend is somehow real, I have a question for you. Would you let a third grader playing doctor give you an appendectomy?
  2. You don't have two lives. You spend part of your one life pretending you have two lives. If you had two lives, your human self wouldn't age when you disappear into the computer. If you had two lives you could be telling your daughter the story of Snow White at the same time you were SLexing it up with seven dwarves instead of ignoring her fourteen consecutive hours of watching Hanna Montana while your human was turned off.
  3. Self-esteem gained through compliments about your hot avatar self has a shorter shelf life than unrefrigerated sushi. That's why you can never get enough of it. Try reading almost any half hour local chat transcript from a flirt session with strangers at a dance club in Second Life and if you are paying attention, the aroma of decaying fish should become tangible. Oh my. We're so hot. HHHHoooooTTTTT! Oh ya. Smoking.
  4. Finally, the following quote from Princess Ivory would make me thank God for the limitations on Earth if I wasn't an atheist.
The only difference [between RL and SL] is that we can display ourselves and our personalities visually with different avatars. Avatars that might not even look human. That is not possible to do in RL. The most we can do is change our makeup, hair and our clothing. From a comment by Princess Ivory


R. said...

self-esteem through an avatar's appearance is fleeting, but pride from the craftsmanship and detailwork is lasting, i believe.

especially for non-immersives.

Dale Innis said...

/me is glad she looked at the tags before commenting. :)

Dale Innis said...

This is very well done, though; I think you've nicely captured the thought-processes of alot of people who see the world in one very particular way, and are both somewhat frightened by the suggestion that it might be otherwise, and somewhat incredulous that anyone could really think it might be otherwise. And therefore sometimes descend into diction that appeals more to emotion than to reason when discussing the subject.

I of course never do stuff like that myself. :)

Botgirl Questi said...

mister crap: Oh yeah! I totally agree. Feeding the ego by identifying with what you buy is a very different process than appreciating one's ability to create.

dale: I'm so jazzed that you noticed the tags! My little post today confirms your observation that the rant was not exactly what it appeared to be.