Sunday, 31 May 2009

Exploring Apache land in Second Life

Red Canyon Apache Land - New Mexico

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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How the West was built in Second Life

Santa Fe - New Mexico

Adjusting the sky for the right photo, the CC Fist Fighter is a HUD, which only I see. When I click on it I am ready to fight. The space of the Wild West is a strange open frontier in Second Life. Few places have been as worked over in media as the Wild West, and that is remarkable for the fact that it was very small very brief event in history last about one generation in some states of America with very low populations. But Hollywood has turned the west in to a icon where the core values of America come in and fight it out.

Should the west be seen as a place for celebration of native culture, or a place of America manifest destiny? Was it a wild fun place, or a sad tragic one. Issues and ideas of the west are so confused for Americans that Second Life has produced different virtual simulations of the west based on different sets of values and concepts of the Other. Santa Fe - New Mexico celebrates the native experience, while a place like Deadwood won't even allow mountain men avatars to wear native clothing (I know I tried it)

The thing that everyone should remember is that there is no objective value free history. When Deadwood established that history could not include a white man in native outfit he traded for they were not making a best judgement about the past, but asserting a political position about today. Most history is justifications for current political power, and they can get kind of strange. Deadwood, I was told, can not allow native dress out of respect for the Indians who were brutally massacred by the natives of the town of Deadwood. One can wonder why anyone would one to role play a pack of mass murders and then deny their victims out of respect? The same issue could be raised with SIMS that aim to RP America 1920s of Victorianism: would blacks or South Asians be allowed?

History always has been one of the favorite majors of neo-nazis and hardcore racists, and it sadly always will be. The sad thing about our culture is prejudice can find its own reality. I have meet people in Second Life who spend hours in historical SIMs they admin, then hours on Last.Fm listening to Rush Limbaugh. What kind of "reality" could come from such a media saturation? Political hatred could easily just become reality.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Saturday, 30 May 2009

Second Life Democracy: Maybe this thing will work?

After being kicked out of Deadwood Wild West SIM for refusing to take off native American clothing, and being told that the SIM could not allow either native Americans or individuals role playing people who traded with native Americans out of "respect for history"; I was felling like I often feel in Second Life.

Overall I have become pretty hopeless that SL or the Internet can have any positive effect, and the ability to control reality in SIMs promotes imagined realities that promote racism and prejudice. I have become specifically concerned about steampunk and Neo-Victorianism which I think is an effort to re-establish white western world domination in imagination.

And then I followed an invite to a Pow Pow, wear a pray was offered to Native American Vets and we joined an animated circle and moved to native music. It was very moving, and there were way more Indians than I saw at that event at Deadwood. Maybe this Second Life thing will work.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Pow wow circle forms in Second Life

Pow wow at Sukelu

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Pow Pow respect vets

Pow Wow members facing vets who are being honoured.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Second Life Pow Wow

Pow Wow Pray for native American veterans

[14:08] Redtail Magic: We come together today as a way to honor all the veterans of past wars. All our veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Bosnia, The Falklands, Iran, Balkans. Worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect their country.
[14:08] Redtail Magic: We respect them, we thank them, we honor them, we are proud of them, and we pray that Tunkasila, Great Spirit Grandfather will watch over these special people and bless them with peace and happiness.
[14:09] Redtail Magic: Tunkasila, Great Spirit Grandfather, I send these words to you. Hear me, I am small and weak.. To Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, to all of my relations, to Mother Earth, and to the Four Winds The Sacred Seasons of Life.
[14:09] Redtail Magic: We pray that you will bless them, Tunkasila, for their unselfish service in the continual struggle to preserve our freedoms, our safety, and our country’s heritage.... for all of us. Bless them abundantly for the hardships they faced, and for the sacrifices they made by their many different contributions.
[14:10] Redtail Magic: We ask for healing for the veterans whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war, whose nights are haunted by memories too painful for the light of day. We pray especially for the young men and women, in the thousands, who are coming home with injured bodies and traumatized spirits. Bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in. Bring solace to them Grandfather, may we pray for them when they cannot pray.
[14:10] Redtail Magic: We pray for the men and women currently serving in our armed forces, especially for those in harm's way, shield them from danger and bring them home. May they be mentally and physically strong when required to face the challenges of combat. Undergird them with Your Holy Spirit and might when they are called upon to endure the hardships of battle. Enrich them spiritually that they may cope with life and death situations on the field of battle.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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In Second Life the Indians win

Indian Pow Pow vs handful in Wild West SIM, Native culture beats the cowboys in SL

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Pow Pow

Sukelu-Home of Many Nations

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Sukelu-Home of Many Nations POW WOW POWER

Sukelu (trading post) & Sukelu Sea,

A pow wow with native music, story telling, and wear people in native clothing. An amazing show of respect for native culture.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Out of respect for history, not native Americans allowed in Deadwood SIM

-- Instant message logging enabled --
[13:23] Addison Leigh: Hi robert, welcome to Deadwood - we are an emmersive roleplay sim for 1878, your outfit is very nice but im not sure it fits the theme. What kind of a character are you?
[13:25] Rober1236 Jua: I am a mountain man, lived off the land and have stumbled in to town
[13:25] Rober1236 Jua: my motives are a mystery
[13:25] Rober1236 Jua: perhas I just need a whore
[13:25] Rober1236 Jua: perhaps I am someones son
[13:25] Addison Leigh: ok, but your outfit is too fantasy, you will need to change it
[13:25] Addison Leigh: to something more american old west, we have a free one in the welcome are
[13:25] Addison Leigh: area*
[13:26] Rober1236 Jua: Okay how about this native outfit
[13:26] Rober1236 Jua: are you going to say this is not the old west
[13:26] Rober1236 Jua: ????????????
[13:26] Addison Leigh: well you might get trouble, Deadwood didnt allow indians in the town, we are based on historical accuracy
[13:26] Addison Leigh: and with the midriff id say no, but
[13:26] Rober1236 Jua: I'm not an indian
[13:26] Addison Leigh: you could mix it with old west stuff
[13:27] Rober1236 Jua: I am a mountain man
[13:27] Addison Leigh: i would just make that more obvious or you could be shot on sight
[13:27] Addison Leigh: do you have a cowboy hat or something?
[13:27] Addison Leigh: and jeans
[13:28] Rober1236 Jua: Excuse me, I have just been living off the land in the wild west of the 1870s
[13:28] Rober1236 Jua: I have been living and trading by myself outside of this town
[13:28] Rober1236 Jua: how else would I look
[13:28] Addison Leigh: i understand, but the outfit has to be plausible
[13:28] Addison Leigh: no white man would go around in full indian dress at this time
[13:28] Rober1236 Jua: This outfit is plausable
[13:28] Addison Leigh: for an indian
[13:28] Addison Leigh: thre was extreme hostility at this time
[13:29] Addison Leigh: most were chased out except a few renegades
[13:29] Rober1236 Jua: Excuse me, do you claim to be an expert on American history of this time?
[13:29] Addison Leigh: I enforce the rules of the sim
[13:29] Addison Leigh: we are strict on dress and require plausible clothing
[13:30] Addison Leigh: i think the top would be ok, with wesztern style plants or something
[13:30] Addison Leigh: you do need to change that at least
[13:31] Rober1236 Jua:
[13:31] Rober1236 Jua: My outfit is far more plausable than the young lady next to me
[13:31] Addison Leigh: im not interested in aruging
[13:32] Rober1236 Jua: what is your interest?
[13:32] Addison Leigh: you can request to come back
[13:32] Addison Leigh: at which time you can read the rules
[13:32] Addison Leigh: and agree to fit the theme of the sim
[13:32] Rober1236 Jua: You are another typical racist in Second Life
[13:33] Rober1236 Jua: You kicked someone out for having on Indian clothing

[13:33] Addison Leigh: no I am not a racist, i am enforcing the rules of the sim
[13:33] Addison Leigh: it would be racist to implay
[13:33] Addison Leigh: that history was different than it was
[13:33] Addison Leigh: indians were treated horribly in this era
[13:33] Addison Leigh: they were run out
[13:33] Addison Leigh: it is insulting to pretend that history didnt happen as it did
[13:33] Addison Leigh: that is like denying the holicost
[13:34] Addison Leigh: we are trying to portray that here, not goofing off treating them with disrespect for some hackneyed indian fantasy
[13:37] Rober1236 Jua: What
[13:37] Rober1236 Jua: you are an idiot
[13:37] Rober1236 Jua: Thosuands of men lived in the west during the gold rush trading with Native Americans
[13:37] Addison Leigh: you are banned, i suggest reading the rules and spending some time aclimating yourself before coming into a sim
[13:37] Rober1236 Jua: their is an extensive history of them, including photos and images
[13:38] Addison Leigh: not in Deadwood South Dakota on May 30th 1878
[13:38] Rober1236 Jua: and novels as well
[13:38] Addison Leigh: you have no knowledge of this time
[13:38] Rober1236 Jua: Yes in South Kokata
[13:38] Addison Leigh: and place
[13:38] Rober1236 Jua: No you have no knowledge of the time or place
[13:38] Rober1236 Jua: you just hate Indians
[13:38] Addison Leigh: I am done, you are clueless, you made no effort to read anyuthing
[13:38] Rober1236 Jua: White males living with natives at the time would have been common
[13:38] Addison Leigh: I now consider you harrassment
[13:38] Addison Leigh: and you will not be allowed to return
[13:38] Rober1236 Jua: I now consider you a rasist pig
[13:39] Addison Leigh: we have indians, they know something about history and read rules
[13:39] Rober1236 Jua: Oh boy I don't get to play with the Aryan nation
[13:39] Addison Leigh: i will re[port you to linden for harrassment and slander if you continue
[13:39] Rober1236 Jua: Go ahead
[13:39] Addison Leigh: conversation over
[13:39] Addison Leigh: you are muted
[13:39] Rober1236 Jua: Racist

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Racism in Second Life

I am kicked out of Deadwood RP in Second Life for wearing Indian Clothing

There was an event in Deadwood, another RP community in Second Life. Deadwood claims to be a wild west RP community. So I decided to come in to the community as a mountain man, dressed in clothing he would have traded with native Indians in the west. Historically an American western town of the late gold rush would have been more likely to see a white man dressed in Indian clothing than say a woman unescorted in the company of men. A white woman who joined men when drinking took place would only have been a prostitute, but history is all about prejudice in Second Life, and Neo-Victorianism is generally about the assertion of white western domination through fantasy.

But Second Life historical RP is generally more about current prejudices and racism, and in this case the racism of Addison Leigh who became obsessed with the idiotic idea that a white man could not, or would not possibly have worn clothing traded with Indians in the west. My wearing Indian clothing in Second Life really pissed his little Aryan off something terrible. When I tried to explain that I was playing a mountain man who had lived in the wild for years and traded with the Indians she claimed this never happened, that South Dakota in 1870s would have had no such mountain men.

This is a sad example of what Second Life RP so often is. People claim to be playing history, but their re-enactment of fantasies more often then not enact ideological racism from the current age. And Miss Addison Leigh kicked me out of her little Aryan colony.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Art show in Second Life

Unique Protected Old World - Gallery Zeusdinne

Second Life is a very vital hub for artists in Second Life

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Medieval RP Village

Felsham Village

Medieval RP Village, churches are one of the most popular genre of objects constructed in Second Life believe it or not.

Remember the rule of Second Life, if you are not sure what it is its probably a store.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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After Second Life

RURU CLUB Lovelock

Don't get me wrong, I don't see Second Life as a failure. This is not only because it is where I collect my social theory data, but the clear indicators of number of people online, loyalty of key joiners and continued growth of both economy, users and size prove that Second Life will be a critical shaper of virtual reality for some time to come.

But the shape it is taking is not impressing me right now. I see a landscape of walls, castles, private weather systems and malls in an isolated set of mismatches. As a "place" as a land or world it is not forming in to a meaningful thing. Rather it is just a random collection of things linked by social networks. The land of Second Life is just data storage, things are placed here or there and linked via networks that do not mean anything in the land.

This means the concept of large Island, continent, nation, place are all lost for the most part. The fact that I am next to something means really nothing in Second Life, its all just sprawl. Only in the themed SIMs or LL public land do large spaces come together to form something with meaning.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Killing virtual bugs

West of Ireland Glens na hEireann, The Glen

Electric bug zapper in Second Life, with real sounds. There are no bugs in Second Life, but the zapper is here. This was created by Magnus Boomhauer, Magnus, according to his profile, is in to hillbilly and bluegrass music and culture and asks you "Come visit the Hillbilly Outfitters Bluegrass Hideaway at Lovelock (180,80,112)". Warning its most certainly a store.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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Official Linden Blog