Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Maybe I'm a luddite

Somebody recommended to me that I check out that virtual reality site, Second Life. I hate to give them any kind of mention. Wasn't it Goebbels who said that bad publicity is better than no publicity? But I need to share with you my utter disappointment at this thing. When my friend, who had not been to Second Life, told me about it, it sounded like you could create a fun, imaginative character and dream of an interesting life in the web. I imagined myself being a fabulous film director, winning Oscars, living a life of creativity and glamour. So I downloaded the software and somehow became an anime character standing in the middle of a horrid snowy field. 1. I do not wish to join a community located in the woods. I imagined in my head it would be a really cool city, with all the best of Paris, NY and LA, rolled into one, not something that looked like a summer camp in the Ukraine. 2. It was incredibly time consuming and not really fun to choose and change the avatar -- which is why I ended being a stupid Japanese girl with weird hair. I was psyched by the fact that most of the available last names belong to film directors. I chose Pietro Germi's, but if I was a dead director, I'd come back from the grave and sue these people's ass for misusing my last name.
So there I am, trying to walk in the snow towards a cabin, which is not my idea of improved reality, let alone virtual reality. And I see some chats appear in my window that make the language of Borat and Ali G seem like Shakespearean English. That is, it wasn't anything you could recognize as language. It was like grunting.
After like one hour of flying back and forth and getting nowhere, except casinos and places deemed "mature", and private properties where I was not welcome, I decided to dump the entire thing in the trash. The place looks and feels and is horrible. And here I was thinking that there would be great movie palaces and museums and gardens and libraries where you could learn cool things.
I'd rather live in Knott's Berry Farm.
So I don't see the point of joining a virtual world that is actually much uglier, stupider and coarser than the real one. Perhaps the best thing about Second Life is that it makes you appreciate the world you live in, warts and all.

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