There are, however, some topics that I tend to avoid, not so much because they cross some imaginary line or are a little too sensitive to grace these pages, but rather because I have very little interest, per se, in them.
You will, for example, see relatively few posts about fashion, SL or otherwise, neither do I tend to talk much about the ‘adult’ side of virtual life, (stop sniggering at the back!), that’s not to say I don’t have an interest in rumpy pumpy, but I prefer my kinky exploits to take place in the real world as opposed to getting my rocks off watching a couple of cartoon people bump and grind on screen. The other topics that I don’t think I’ve ever covered are politics and religion; again, not because I have nothing to say about either topic, but mainly – and this will no doubt sound terribly wrong to some of you – because saying anything in particular about them simply doesn’t interest me.
I’m sure that if there’s anything pressing I feel compelled to vent about concerning either faith issues or the political climate, you’ll be the first to know, and you’ll be getting both barrels too; however don’t go holding your breath because I can’t see it occurring any time soon.
I know that amongst those reading, some of you will be horrified that I can’t whip up any enthusiasm for such important topics. I know that a large number of you hale from across the pond and are very switched on to political and religious debate, whilst my compatriots from closer to home will probably relate more readily to my stance… It’s likely very much a Brit thing.
Part of that Brit thing is the knowledge that such topics are inherently divisive, as is pointedly evident at a club I regularly frequent. This is a place where there is a distinct absence of ‘rules’ – conversation can, and frequently does, pursue a path that not only crosses the line but leaves it trampled over, barely discernible and distant on the horizon. Nobody there ever really intends to be overtly offensive or politically incorrect, but the general view is that taboos are meant to be broken – we’re all grown-ups and we take it in our stride with good humour and more than a decent pinch of salt. To give you some idea of a typical night’s conversation, some of the more eyebrow-raising discussions have covered toilet habits, petrol-driven vibrators, dwarf throwing, the biscuit game and butthole waxing – so pretty much anything goes you’d imagine. Wrong – venture even remotely into the political or religious arena and you’ll incur the profound wrath of everyone present. In simple terms, these are subjects where you can almost guarantee that somebody will get offended beyond what is reasonable, and you can bet your bottom linden that within moments any fun, enjoyment and bonhomie will have been drained from the proceedings, leaving only ire, vituperation and frostiness.
I’ve seen it happen so many times in SL – which, unlike RL, is so reliant upon communicating by way of simple text without the moderating influence of body language, tone and eye-contact, and so can even more rapidly than RL, descend into a complete slanging match as misunderstanding escalates into alienation and conflict. Even with close friends, I’d be careful expressing any point of view inworld about these subjects – they are matters that people do tend to feel strongly about, with deeply held beliefs and affiliations: come across as attacking those and it amounts to an attack on the person, whether or not that’s what you intended.
In the run up to the general election in the UK, it would be naive to imagine that people won’t want to express their opinions, even if only in a humorous manner, however in the interests of virtual peace I’d counsel caution if you want to enter into a political debate inworld – don’t say I didn’t warn you.
That aside, there’s far too much intolerance, aggravation and disharmony in the real world that has at its source religious or political motivation and agenda and, to be absolutely honest with you, it can stay in the real world as far as I’m concerned – I’d rather it didn’t find its way into SL, thank you very much.
Avoiding the issue? Maybe… And I’m happy to talk it through with you – my email is in the sidebar – but definitely not in SL!
Oh this is an old story that’s rarely ever told
the raping of the country, of the valley
the men who came to reap with a musket and a bible
they wanted to take the valley
The Men They Couldn’t Hang – The Ironmasters