Freak show

freakshowRoll up, roll up to see the greatest show on earth… Sights that will give you nightmares, the strange and the deformed, the weird and the wonderful. Gaze upon these perversions of nature and marvel at the freaks that lie within…

Do you ever get the feeling that society views those of us who indulge in virtual worlds with a degree of suspicion, perhaps mixed with a certain element of revulsion? Sometimes it feels like there’s almost a stigma attached to logging in to an alternative reality, and indeed, many of us who do are pretty reticent about shouting about it to the world in general. Take me, for example: Whilst I have intimated to friends and colleagues outside SL that I write for pleasure, and I’ve even shown some of my pieces to good friends, there’s just no way I’d ever point them to this blog, simply because the subject matter is SL.

Even amongst virtual world aficionados, we who inhabit SL tend to be considered a bit freakish, a reputation that’s hardly deserved, but tends to be believed anyway.

freakshow_001But I’m speaking as an insider – SL and its ways are my bread and butter, I take them for granted and often forget just how different from reality the virtual world can be. In truth, I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe, the places, the people… The… Other people! Yes, frankly some of the people are, to put it mildly, a little bit odd. Our virtual world, when compared to the real world, is chock full of freaks, I’m sorry to say… Freakishly tall, massively endowed, bandy-legged, weirdos – and that’s just the normal people!

Throw in a decent helping of vampires, zombies, tinies, furries, demons, fairies, mermaids, beasties, petites and whatever else body form you care to consider, and all we’re missing is a bearded lady – and I’m pretty sure that there’ll be a few of them lurking inworld too! Then there’s all the freakish behaviours that people exhibit inworld – everything from the mildly subversive to the utterly bizarre, and beyond – it’s as far removed from the real world as it’s possible to be.

freakshow2_001It’s almost as if there’s some some of viral infection that we pick up when first we log in to SL – over time it turns the mild-mannered into raving lunatics and the sensible into strange. What other explanation can there be for the average, normal, fairly well-adjusted personality to suddenly decide to ditch their shape, skin and character in order to revert to a miniature monkey, bounding around the room, triumphantly wielding a pair of cymbals? It happens – I’ve seen it! In fact, I’ve seen dancing dogs, singing dragons, people who explode into pieces at the slightest touch, skin hues that run from pink to sky blue, combustible bodies and people with multiple heads – and not one of us is at all phased by any of this.

It’s always struck me that there is something inherently illogical about human nature. It’s that part of us that causes us to be fascinated by the weird and perverse, the almost instinctual need to peer inside the tent at the freakshow, or rubberneck as we drive past the car accident – no matter how much we may tell ourselves ‘don’t look’, there’s something inside us that compels us to do so, and I suppose that SL takes this a stage further. Why simply look, when you can actively be a part of the strangeness? Why be normal, when normal is not the norm? And what’s so wrong about it anyway?

Both the human mind and society in general are peculiar things – the way in which right or wrong, normal or aberrant is defined is in constant flux. Things that were once acceptable are now anathema, whilst what was once intolerable now scarcely raises an eyebrow – and these will change again over time. In the same way, for the initiated, there is nothing remarkable, obtuse or perverse about SL, it is simply business as usual; however, the observer looking, or listening in from the outside may find the virtual world a very strange place indeed – it’s a question of culture and familiarity, whereas for others it’s a straightforward case of finding your own particular niche.

Which is it for you?

Oh, and as freaks go… I’m the freakiest of the lot!

freakshow10_001

s. x

You’re such a beautiful freak
I wish there were more just like you
You’re not like all of the others
Eels – Beautiful Freak

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