Heroes don’t do it for me at all – i’m far more a fan of the anti-hero, particularly the sort who has absolutely no interest in saving the world, hasn’t the slightest clue what’s going on and consistently makes the sort of cock-ups that would leave a real hero shaking their head in dismay. So spare me your Superman and Schwartzeneggers – i can more easily relate to the Bilbo Bagginses, Arthur Dents and Thomas Covenants.
It’s the same with stories: i just don’t get on with happy endings, neat conclusions to the plot and nicely tied-up loose ends – it’s one of the reasons i prefer Asian movies – particularly Chinese – over their Western counterparts… they resonate far more easily with me. Heroes die, tragedy wins the day and so many questions are left unanswered. Perhaps i’m just morbid, but then again, it could be that i’m a staunch realist who knows that idols, all too often, have feet of clay, that car chases never take place through the crowded streets of Paris or Prague and that if superheroes really existed, they’d probably be morose and antisocial characters with drug and drink problems and a tawdry past.
There’s a temptation when writing about sl to slip into one of two distinct patterns – either the ‘SL is horribly borked and makes me want to scream’ diatribe, or the gushing ‘SL is a truly magical place where dreams come true and unicorns poo golden nuggets’… To a certain extent, both can be true to some degree and those familiar with these jottings will be aware that i’ve pursued both pathways as i disgorge upon these pages the verbal detritus that accumulates whilst exploring the virtual world. Neither is necessarily correct or, for that matter, to be avoided – there’s nothing particularly wrong with flatulent gushing to the end of time, if gush you must, although if we consider the other extreme, even the most stridently opinionated naysayer can eventually tire of a non-stop nitpicking of everything that it’s possible to gripe against when it comes to sl. That’s always a useful thing to remember, if you want to hang on to your readers!
So, is there a middle ground? Well, of course there is, it’s just that for some reason, we bloggists tend not to dwell upon it too much. Headlines and attention-grabbing are, of course, a blog’s sales pitch to the world and, as long as you’re able to come up with plenty of posts that fit into the ‘Check out this new unicorn and candyfloss-themed Sim i found recently – it’s bee-yoo-ti-ful!’, or, ‘Arrgh!!! Linden Lab does it again… Now you can only TP to destinations with an ‘F’ in the name. I just want to stab Rodvik in the eyes with lollipop sticks!!!’, varieties then you’re always assured of a readership. i grant you – there’s more than enough to be found around sl to feed the monster of the headline-grabbing genre until we all grow very old indeed, but for me there’s an element of sl that is far more low key than any of this heroic, in-your-face, attention-seeking-whore of a virtual world tends to proffer – it’s a part of sl that i couldn’t do without, although it seldom even registers a ‘1’ on the Seren Scale™
It’s that whole, anti-heroic, bumbling-about, not really understanding what is going on kind of shambolic Second Life that a great many of us fill a great deal of our time with, yet don’t even realise that it’s going on. That somnolent haze in which we wander around for hours on end, only to respond when asked what we’ve been up to, “erm, dunno… stuff and things”. It is the complete antithesis to what most people imagine a virtual world should be – it’s not dynamic, exciting or awesomely amazing; nobody ever gets shot, there are no ravening beasts to tear our heads off and – likely, as not – we will singularly fail to be blown away by our surroundings, which will either be dull, flat and badly rezzed, or we simply won’t notice. This is the sl that i seem to spend rather a lot of my time in – a place where i’ll potter around, sit or stand doing pretty much nothing, other than to fiddle with the mini-map, or do a spot of virtual pacing around aimlessly: The sl equivalent of flicking TV channels, only to watch more adverts, or clicking ‘interesting’ hyperlinks to things that we have no real interest in, (oh, no! i’m in the weird part of Youtube again!).
This sort of rambling shambles is pretty much an accurate summation of life in general – whilst we may spend what feels a pretty significant amount of time throwing ourselves out of aeroplanes, discovering buried treasure and fighting off screaming fans at book signings, when you examine the detail, there’s an awful lot of our lives spent sitting around, twiddling our fingers. Yeah, there’s excitement and adventure and really wild things, but there’s a heck of a lot of boring driving on motorways, waiting for buses, queueing at checkouts, waiting for kettles to boil, re-tuning guitars, ironing tablecloths…. need i go on? You get the general idea.
Life can be a little anti-climactic – and so, despite all the unicorn poo and whatnot, can sl too. Personally, i think that’s a good thing – of course, surviving a zombie apocalypse where your expected lifespan is all of 3 hours, can be good fun… but if life or SLife was like that all the time, i’d be even more exhausted than i already am.
Call me boring, but i kinda like mediocre.
Sometimes when Supe was stopping crimes
I’ll bet that he was tempted to just quit and turn his back
On man, join Tarzan in the forest
But he stayed in the city, and kept on changing clothes
In dirty old phonebooths till his work was through
And nothing to do but go on home
Crash Test Dummies – Superman Song