It’s not my practice to discuss the wider real world issues on this blog, and rest assured: I don’t intend entering into the boggy mire of RL politics in this post today. I will however be making some observations on a theme that has – for all I know – always been prevalent in SL, but which had become extremely noticeable of late, and as a result I find myself questioning why?
As a rule, SL and the wider metaverse with which it is intertwined, is mostly about two things – having fun and interpersonal conflict (aka ‘drama’). Spend any reasonable amount of time inworld or trawling the blogs, feeds and forums dedicated to SL, and you’ll experience a fair measure of both, the precise make up of which will depend very much on who you mix with inworld and what you choose to peruse elsewhere.
However, the overwhelming majority of this experience will arise from and be based upon the virtual experience, although this will inevitably at times also touch upon the real world lives of those involved. Largely though, even the fiercest debates and most momentous moments will focus upon the virtual world and its influence. Occasionally the real world might creep in, but in almost every regard, it’s superfluous to the SL experience.
Except when it comes to politics – especially American politics, it would seem – and political issues.
If I’ve not said it before, I’ll say it now: I have little interest in politics, particularly the politics in other countries. You are free to tell me that I’m wrong and that I should show an interest, but frankly, I shall take no notice – the subject bores me and, whilst I do have political views and opinions, it’s not something I can usually become sufficiently excited about to want to discuss. So it baffles me when I see people getting embroiled in weighty discussions and arguments inworld, on topics that are far removed from the things that I perceive SL to be about. I fully understand that these things affect people’s lives and that there are those who are far more engaged in such topics than myself, however – in my view – there’s a time and a place, and SL just doesn’t seem to be it as far as I’m concerned.
Similarly, over the course of the past year and beyond, I’ve been bemused by the number of articles and posts I’ve seen on blogs and forums dedicated to all things SL and virtual that have wilfully strayed into territory more suited to serious political journalism. I’m actually quite fed up with blog surveys asking about the political leanings of avatars, articles about how the virtual horizon will shift as a result of Obama/ Trump /Brexit /climate change, and comments following practically any article on any subject that turn into a slanging match of abuse between opposing political factions….
“Those shoes you reviewed are to die for!”
“Well, that’s just the typical response I’d expect from a leftie Trump hating moron, why don’t ya do us all a favour and FOAD?”
Yep, I’ve seen comments like that, frequently.
Even worse is seeing political mud slinging being brought inworld – quite apart from virtual bystanders being unwilling parties to, sometimes furious, inworld arguments and disagreements, there are those who use SL as a vehicle to further their own political ideals: They build inworld campaign headquarters for their political heroes, go on griefing expeditions against their detractors, and actively proselytise and attempt to recruit supporters from amongst the residents. What the hell is all that about? This is a virtual world, for crying out loud, not a vehicle for party politics!
Perhaps that’s why this sort of thing irks me so much. I, like so many others, escape to SL to leave the matters of the real world behind. Whilst I’m enjoying the daft and crazy environment that is our virtual world, the very last thing I want to have to deal with is the reality of real world politics – as far as I’m concerned, such things have no place in any virtual world, unless it’s been created for that specific purpose, and SL is no exception.
Call me shallow, uninformed, ill-advised or an idiot – I don’t care! I just want to forget about the real world when I log in, and have a bit of fun.
And I don’t think that’s much to ask for!
When one voice rules the nation
Just because they’re on top of the pile
Doesn’t mean their vision is the clearest
The voices of the people
Are falling on deaf ears
Our politicians all become careerists
Billy Bragg – Ideology