Monday, November 12, 2012

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Does SL Roleplay Lean Right Wing? (Comment of the Week)

Pussycat Catnap blogger

New World Notes readers (and by extension, Second Life users in general) overwhelmingly support Obama, but during last week's post-election commentary, SLer PussyCat Catnap (who blogs here), had some very interesting and provocative insights on the prevalence of roleplay in Second Life which seems to be politically right wing in nature -- most especially, the very popular Gorean roleplayers of SL, whose activity is based on a fantasy book series that has an explicitly anti-feminist, anti-egalitarian ideology:

"Online gamers tend to be a rather conservative racist sexist bunch. One does not have to look far to see this.

"It's all over SL too.

"But it doesn't control everything here like it can in other online more gamer focused worlds.

"Here you just find the odd Dixie flag, or a 'black man on white women' XXX-sim, one or two racially charged biker groups (mixed in with others so its really hard to figure out which and who - and most are not).

"And then the whole Gorean/slave thing as sort of a 'virtual war on women' concept that baffles the heck out of me.

"These are all groups that lean heavy on conservative norms, though they come here for the things they can't express in open RL society...

"Yet while they stand out pretty strongly, and dominate some genres (Gor pretty much owns the 'adult fantasy' experience in SL, despite being extremely obscure outside of SL).

"I usually can't go more than a few days in SL without hearing or reading someone on a libertarian rant, thinly hiding their disdain for 'colored people and civil rights' (whereas in almost any MMO, this is an occurrence every 5 minutes in whatever amounts to the global chat system).

"So I personally expected SL to lean more for Romney.

"But I guess the international crowd that I encounter less on forums and English-language in-world communities, is more prevalent reading here."

Interesting perspective. (And for what it's worth, I personally know people into Gorean roleplay who are left-leaning in their real life political views, which suggests another fascinating level of roleplay.) Related to all this, it's worth noting the many military roleplaying groups of Second Life, which tend to focus not on celebrating democratic/anti-authoritarian militaries in real life and in fiction, but on right wing/authoritarian strains of militarism in particular.

For instance, watch this SL military propaganda video, which I once noted "looks a bit like something Leni Riefenstahl would make, if the Axis was largely comprised of furries."

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Eddi Haskell

I do not think online gamers are a conservative racist bunch. If anything, the ones I know are fairly progressive in outlook. Sorry where is the proof? What independent research can be pointed to? This is gross slander, and frankly, unless some hard evidence can be shown to support this ridiculous claim, does not deserve the attention given to it in this widely read web site.

Revolution

Little RP groups ((like sci-fi ship crews)) tend to be anything but Right Wing.

Seems like right wing groups tend to grow larger because they love power and large hierachical structures and there's a stink of fascism at them, and that attracts bigots. Hence, they are more notorious than small RP groups

Will Szymborska

So, the point of this article is to claim that roleplay groups in SL lean right-wing and that this is also evidence person's with conservative points of view who may belong to the Republican or Libertarian parties are perverted confederate racists who hate women?

I'm sorry but this is a bit of a cheap shot. Not that I condone the ridiculousness of Gorean role-play or fake virtual biker gangs but to assume that because these groups exist 'confirms' these person's political affiliation, and then trash it is really tasteless. Also embedding the Ordo video makes no sense at all.

This is something perhaps I would assume to find on some trashy SL Tabloid but not a respectable blog such as New World Notes. This really has surprised and worried me. I can't believe this is real.

Snow

Really? This is incredibly misleading and borderline offensive.

This blogger obviously has no experience in politics. There is a difference between social and fiscal conservatism, and it does matter here on the internet.

Most internet gamers are socially liberal. They accept and tolerate most things, and are largely non-religious (or if they aren't, they are not obnoxiously so). Most of "the internet" supported either Obama, Johnson, or Paul (Ron, not Ryan) because of the socially conservative viewpoints of Romney. On the other hand, being racist, sexist, etc. is acceptable on the internet, since it is generally anonymous and you don't have the social tension of saying such things in real life.

On the contrary, internet users do not have a defined stance between fiscal conservatism and liberalism. This is where the disconnect is between democrats and libertarians, which compose the majority of internet-ites. Democrats are fiscally liberal (e.g. they want a "nanny state" government), whereas libertarians are fiscally conservative ("limited" government). There are a lot of little details, and this comparison is by no means exact, but there is more than just the "right-wing" and "left-wing" sides of politics. There's the nose, the tail, the landing gears, the lavatories, and everything in between.

To class all roleplayers in SL as right-wing bigots is a serious accusation, and is ultimately grossly incorrect. There is more than just Gorean and military roleplay.

Alia Baroque

This is like saying that all Actors leading villain roles are criminals.

I just can't agree more with all said in the comments till now. I realise this is mainly a provocation, but comes from a very superficial analysis without any fundament at all. I am european, so will not get into the election debate, but been a roleplayer in basically any platform and variety of worlds, included gorean, so all I can say is: it's simply untrue.

Roleplayers, and not lifestylers, are free minds and creative ones that are much more associated with artistic traits of a liberal line.
But good shot Hamlet, pushed me to comment ;)

Orca Flotta

@ Snow: Let's not forget the international differences here. Regardless of RP or not, what Americans call socialist/communist is still extremely right wing for most Europeans and other parts of the world.

We don't think in categories such as "nanny state" and "limited government", since we created and accept as state as what it is - it's WE!
Americans tend to differ between the state and the citizens, in the rest of the world the state IS the citizens. We see the employees of a state (politicians, military, departments ...) as service providers, not just as military and security powerhouse.

In so far Pussycat's commentary as well as the answers here in forum seem rather amusing and naiive in my eyes. It's exactly what one would expect to see in some 3rd world banana republic website.

NO ONE

My name is irrelevant, I am the right wing overlord of all of Linden Lab. We have been brainwashing people using our software to think in more conservative ways; this is just proof that our master plan is working, and now we reveal the truth. Yes we are building an army of right wing dorks who like to pretend they are firemen to take out the CPUSA once and forever.

Iggy

Aren't we being a bit Yankee-centric? @Orca, like you, I can't forget the international differences.

I've limited experience with SL RP, but most of my fellow players are Euros, not Americans.

Different politics there, to be sure, but what we call "liberalism" in the US would look very conservative to the Spaniards I knew when I lived in Madrid.

Pussycat is riding this anti-Gor hobbyhorse at times, to judge from her comments at NWN. Gor does nothing for me, and while John Norman was certainly an anti-feminist, his world is not always "BTB" in SL. In any case, RP in SL is not all Gorean.

Carl Metropolitan

I voted for Romney and have spent most of my time in SL working on non-profit community help groups. So what should we deduce from that?

Nothing.

People's roleplay (or SL lives in general) don't really correlate well with RL politics. It's hard enough trying to guess what someone believes about politics from how they actually voted, let alone from what they do in a virtual world.

Hitomi Tiponi

As a couple of other respondents have suggested, sexism and racism are not associated with 'right-wing' in most parts of the world. Instead they can be associated with people from all over the political spectrum.

Carl Metropolitan

Also, Hamlet's statement that "New World Notes readers (and by extension, Second Life users in general) overwhelmingly support Obama" is flawed.

His survey used self-selected respondents which don't make for any sort of random sample. Even if his survey did accurately reflect NWN's audience, there's not really any evidence that NWN's audience reflects the views of average SL resident.

Such a statement would be like saying that the readership of the New York Times (or the viewers of Fox News) reflects the views of average American.

Alberik Rotaru

@Carl

Did not Romney just lose an election because his Project ORCA was 'corrected' to avoid the exact same sampling errors and biases you accuse Pussycat of having? I would have thought you'd be at least a bit reluctant to relate the same error.

Moreover just declaring that there is no correlation between SL life and RL politics, without any evidence, is the exact analogy to all those journalists who 'knew' Nate Silver's projections were wrong because they had a feeling in their gut.

Most of the world does not see any great difference between US libertarians and US conservatives. Both follow a fiscal myth that has been the subject of experimental testing since Reagan was president and has never ever delivered. While libertarians claim to be social liberals they somehow always end up in the Republican camp and somehow end up supporting the same illiberalism (if with a touch of reluctance) as their more conventional conservative allies. Like Carl, for example, they vote Romney despite his deeply illiberal social policies and his spruiking impossible fiscal nonsense.

I suspect gamers as a whole are more likely to be right-wing, but I suspect (I'm only speaking from my own experience) the right is more likely to be found in explicitly military MMOs like Eve Online than SL.

Carl Metropolitan

I think you are confused. In my second post I was commenting on Hamlet's pre-election poll, not the blog post by Pussycat that he excerpted above.

The problem with the NWN poll was that it was not a random sample--of either his readers or of SL residents in general.

The first problem was self-selection bias. When you have a poll on the internet that asks a large group of people to respond you invariably get some level of "self-selection bias".

What is self-selection bias? I'm going to steal the Wikipedia definition here, "In statistics, self-selection bias arises in any situation in which individuals select themselves into a group, causing a biased sample with nonprobability sampling. It is commonly used to describe situations where the characteristics of the people which cause them to select themselves in the group create abnormal or undesirable conditions in the group."

Because of this bias, the NWN poll is of limited use in determining the true politics of Hamlet's readers.

The second problem is that generalizing a poll of NWN readers to all Second Life residents, also adds another layer of self-selection bias on top of the first. If I were to take a poll of Fox News viewers and find they were 70% Republican, it would not tell me anything about the true party affiliation of the American public. Likewise, if I were to take a poll of only New York Times readers, and find they were 70% Democratic, it would give no useful information about the general electorate, either.

The Romney campaign's ORCA was an (insufficiently tested) software system for organizing volunteer get-out-the-vote efforts that crashed on election day, and not any sort of system to analyzing poll data. I also seriously doubt it cost him the election. I suspect what cost him the election was the perception on the part of much of the electorate that Romney would be social conservative on such issues as abortion and gay marriage.

As to whether there is any correlation between people's SL activities and their RL politics, I believe there is little or none. You are correct that I have no evidence (beyond the anecdotal) for that belief. I'm not very familiar with Nate Silver's work, beyond knowing he was very close in his predictions for the 2012 presidential election. However, since he was indeed that very close in his predictions, I would assume he was working from a sound statistical model with as close to unbiased data as possible.

Why I voted for who I voted for is really getting way off-topic here. If you are really interested in discussing it, you are welcome to email me.

Cake

I'm going to word this so it doesn't sound like a personal attack--are there ANY other black users you guys can post sound bites from? Why use Miss Catnip? You might as well get Roland Martin to give an opinion instead.

As a black/french-creole player, I too get tired of the stereotypes races are reduced to in sex sims. Can I just say that again--SEX SIMS. Not roleplay sims. Please, let's make a clear distinction here. There are a lot of idiots in Second Life who will either dress their av as a race they are quite ignorant about, and don't care to know anything about, in order to act out some fantasy. But that's not everyone in Second Life, even though that scenario is very sad.

In a real roleplay sim, one where people do honestly gather to roleplay and not just have sex (although some rp sims do have that too), you'll find a gamut of political parties, religions, and countries represented. The last place I rp'd in was owned by someone from France. I have a longtime rp friend who hails from Alabama, that despite a group of racists living right around the corner from her, do not affect her view of a diverse environment where other cultures are respected and appreciated.

To address Gorean sims: it's a sexual fantasy. All kinds of people like bondage. It doesn't stem from colonialism or white privilege.

Based on what's quoted in the post, I feel Miss Catnip's views are biased by both the company she keeps, and a lack of understanding who who gamers are and where they come from. Please, don't practice armchair philosophy, especially when you're dealing with a limited view of online gamers.

Khannea Suntzu

It's called "slumming" :)

Rin Tae

Interesting assumption, but one that I have no idea where it might have come from. At least it is not supported by what I have seen myself.
I RP in SL since more or less 6 years, went through many sims, many groups and met many people (not Gor however)and all I can say is, that I would rather say, that the majority would not lean towards anything right-wing.

I might be biased since it is easier to get to be friends with people who share some ideas and beleives, but those that I get to knew well enough talk about such things, mostly tend towards left wing views (and I mean real left-wing and not what is beleived to be left in the US). And this includes people who RP in Gor and Military groups.

There are many right-wing groups and also 'lifestylers' in Gor, but neither of them would be anywhere close to RP, as they would blend the IC/OOC difference that is very very important in RP. I knew some who have played wonderfully far-right-wing characters, but have entirly opposite viewes personally too.

I don't know much about other online games but I have read many foruum posts where the sexual preferences of Sylvari in Guild Wars 2 have been discussed and the overwhelming majority of people have commented how great it is that same-sex relationships are presented as such a normal thing. So either the 'conservative racist sexist bunch' don't post or they have their own forums (what they most likely have since I would not be surprised if they would have a hard time to represent their ideas on normal forums where normal people post).

However there is a difference between a RPer and a gamer and as far as SL-RPers are concerned, then I would say they are more on the creative-progressive-left wing side of things or are sane-non-fanatical conservatives. But as I said, it might be a personal bias about what kind of people I usually surround myself with.

B

This is the most ridiculous commentary I've seen on this blog, and I'm seriously finding it hard to stay a reader of NWN.

Wild Cherry

Oh, this came out from Pussycat's keyboard? Tells me all I need to know.

Move along, nothing to see here.

Arcadia Codesmith

Obviously we're diving into some emotionally-charged waters here.

As a devoted life-long gamer, I've encountered racism and sexism, often in a very virulent and aggressive form.

I don't believe, however, that this represents the majority of gamers or even a strong plurality. Rather, the small minority of racist, misogynistic and homophobic haters are given the blanket cover of anonymity to shout their screeds without fear of consequence. They seem much more numerous than they are, simply because they're so LOUD. Take away that cover and they revert to the frightened little boys they really are.

On the flip side, some very liberated people also use anonymity and roleplay to explore subjects that are not at all politically-correct. I'm a feminist who finds the Gorean philosophy ridiculously out of sync with reality. But I might find my pulse quickening on either side of a consensual exchange of power. That's not in conflict with my ideals, rather it's making full use of the freedom I champion.

I don't think there's a neat alignment, but I think gamers in general and Second Life in particular lean hard towards social liberalism. The economic plank seems more evenly balanced and includes strong socialist and strong capitalist sentiments... sometimes in the same player :)

Hamlet Au

I get the impression many readers here aren't familiar with the philosophical background of the Gor novels, so:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Norman#Themes

Norman's Gor series... places emphasis on living in accordance with a Nietzsche-esque natural order, sponsoring a hierarchy of talent, especially strength. Based on this assumed hierarchy, to analyze gender differences, he contends that woman is the submissive natural helper, and figurative slave, of dominant man. His work often takes this observation literally: heroes enslave heroines who, upon being enslaved, revel in the discovery of their natural place. Bondage in the novels and in his Imaginative Sex guide is overtly and completely sexual in nature and while the philosophy presented is unquestionably that of male dominance, the male characters are themselves often temporarily and elaborately enslaved by powerful females. In an interview with Polygraff magazine, Norman stated that he believes that it is obvious that all societies are based on dominance and hierarchy.

Pussycat Catnap

O.o

If I'd have known that comment would get turned into an article, I would have taken more than 2 or 3 minutes to write it and put it together better.

This comment will be a little scatter shot, with a couple of different points.


*************

So, on racism in gaming, there are many blogs and articles on the topic.

Start with some google searches of terms like 'Gamers of Color':
http://gamers-of-color.livejournal.com/
http://kotaku.com/5358562/minority-report-the-non+white-gamers-experience

- This isn't just me. Video games have suffered a problem of stereotyping women and "people of color" for decades.

If someone's found "people of color" in roleplay not getting stereotyped, I'd love to find it. Because I've been looking and getting frustrated for years.
Barring a few exceptions from among what I've found, it is either stereotyped, or not represented.


*************

US Conservative norms do include sexism and racism. So-called "traditional values" intertwined heavily with the courting of the "old south" thanks to Nixon's Southern Strategy.

Libertarian hero Ron Paul goes as far as to say the Civil Rights Act needs to be repealed.
- He couches it in a states rights argument. But that's all about letting each state define privilege for certain elements of its population. The same argument that was being made by colonists against Britain in the years leading up to the revolution. Which was heavy on fear of losing their rights in their slaves, and resentment of treaties Britain had made with the Iroquois and Cherokee to not expand past current borders.
- States rights have historically been wrapped into race wars. Remove strong federal protections for minorities, and we'll be right back in Jim Crowe. Look at flyers carried by people at Tea Party rallies - with monkeys dressed as Obama:
https://www.google.com/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&biw=982&bih=623&q=tea+party+racist+signs&oq=tea+party+racist+signs
- A set of interconnected norms emerges.


*************

Its denial to believe conservatism in the US is about fiscal policy. That's not been the case for decades. The last 'conservative president' had huge war budgets - as far from fiscally conservative as possible. Meanwhile Clinton was almost pro-business, and Obama has been pretty middle of the road.

Despite it being "all about the economy" this last election was pretty much decided by two "pro-rape conservatives" and the Coke brothers trying to pull back the Voting Rights act. Two moves that triggered a lot of people to vote Democrat for no more reason than panic at the allies of the other side.

If Conservatives would stop messing with women's bodies, stop messing with voting rights, and stop pandering to a form of immigration that seems to have a curious focus on brown people... they could probably toss the Democrats out of power nationwide.

Yes, we're also fighting about unions and the environment - but liberals like me lack popular support on these issues. People sympathize, but not enough to swing votes.

Romeny's 47%er comment got a lot of backlash, but it didn't generate sheer panic, and by the debates he'd overcome the damage it did to him.

*************

Not sure if it was cut from the original comment, or if I didn't state it in the original comment - but in the MMO world you have quite a lot of rampant racism, sexism, and gay-bashing.

I don't know for Guild Wars 2, but with WoW, they've even gone as far as put up a video of a gay basher for their annual conference:
http://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/blizzard-the-company-behind-world-of-warcraft-takes-open-anti-gay-stance-in-gay-bashing-video-at-blizzcon/
- But the community inside the game, while a diverse spectrum of people, has notable elements that go much further. A day spent in WoW listening to the general chat will expose you to all manner of hate speech - by people who rant on and off for days with moderators doing nothing despite others reporting it in droves.

Pussycat Catnap

"His survey used self-selected respondents which don't make for any sort of random sample. Even if his survey did accurately reflect NWN's audience, there's not really any evidence that NWN's audience reflects the views of average SL resident."

--- That was actually the point I was going for in my comment that was quoted (I think in part) for this article.

My perception is that the average SLer, at least among the US ones, is more conservative than the poll here suggested. I can't be sure the results would flip among the general SL population, but I do suspect Romney would be a lot more supported there than he was in the poll here.

Snow

@ Pussycat Catnap

That was more than a "little" scatter-shot. You basically took the soapbox, climbed Everest, and planted yourself on the summit for your little political rant which had practically nothing to do with your original comment.

The fact remains, there is little to no substantial proof that Second Life roleplayers are right-wing bigots, as you claimed. To judge a group of thousands of people based on the few who abuse the anonymous nature of the internet is a gross misinterpretation, and basically kicks the whole study of statistics square in the gonads.

People are racist and sexist on the internet because they can be, and there is little to no backlash because of it. That's the end of it. It does not imply by any stretch of the imagination that everyone is a paranoid right-wing nutter, nor does it imply anything about any political party. Get over it.

Pussycat Catnap

"People are racist and sexist on the internet because they can be, and there is little to no backlash because of it. "

That's not the end of it.

If that is what they do when not being "socially policed" then that there shows you who they are.

But its not what I encounter from people online in general. I only find it when I start to journey in among gamers.


I still would love to see some counter examples among roleplayers. Its a community I've been wanting to be involved with since coming to SL, but either my search fails me miserably, or there is something weird within it.

- So that's a challenge.


My comment was a bit scattered, but everything in it addressed some comment from above or the article. Since the article is quoting me, I've kind of got the soap box to begin with...

The quote comes from an article about the election, so politics, where people stand, and what the labels mean in the US -IS- relevant still.

Snow

@ Pussycat Catnap

Can you cite any study that can prove internet gamers lean right-wing, besides your own frail assumption that bigotry implies conservatism?

No?

Then assume, until proven otherwise, that bigotry has no relationship with political stance. It may mean that the internet breeds hateful people. Perhaps it means that people are just all innately bigots anyway. Or maybe it means bigots are simply more open on the internet and reserved in public because of social constraints. But as I said, classing all roleplayers as homophobic, sexist, right-wing racists is not a correct assumption, and is offensive to those of us which are not entrenched in hating people for their color, gender, or orientation.

Besides, hating people for their stupidity is easier on the conscience.

Desmond Shang

There's obviously some kind of "suspension of belief" factor involved with online gaming behaviour, which will vary from individual to individual. Let's take a clear, stark example. Yes, I'm heading *straight* for Godwin territory! Willfully and intentionally.

Online flight simulators, for instance. You can often choose WWII Axis aircraft in such games. I bring up this example because I used to play those, and unlike most people... I just couldn't bring myself to play the Axis side aircraft. Not even once. This had a bit to do with personal family history, but obviously to *be involved at all* meant that there was some suspension of disbelief.

And what of those who did play the 'bad guys' side? 99% of the time, these were simply gamers looking for a 'zoom zoom' online experience and challenge. Just gamers, not fascist freaks. People flew this or that airplane because they felt like it that day, or it matched their flying style, or whatever.

Anecdotal? Yes. Accurate? Absolutely. Far better than any overworked, ethically overthought, professionally neutered survey could ever be. If you want ground truth, you get information from lots of people who were there ~ be it 1960's Paris, or the current Syrian conflict, or from people participating online.

If there was a nutcase in the online game air wing, he (invariably it was a he, and rather young, what few times I've seen it) ~ they would be spotted instantly. Nobody needed a trained psychologist to see it. "Dude, take a chill pill, we just don't want to fly with you until you get your head screwed on straight." That was the reaction. It was exactly that simple. Edge cases either grew up and straightened out fast, or went off to find the likeminded; the internet has plenty of places available for the truly hateful.

More to the matter at hand, do 'pretend' cultures serve merely as props to a sort of individual online theatre experience, or is the the very questionable cultural stereotyping a complete showstopper? A very good question.

Consider other entertainment ~ the highly successful movie Avatar, which was either a brilliant movie... or the worst cultural stereotyping ever, with blueface as a stand~in for something far, far worse. Jar Jar Binks, writ large with a dose of gravitas? If I recall correctly, Avatar was shown to an actual indigenous tribe somewhere, whose people found it deplorable as the only resolution to the story's conflict was through violence. Are people 'into' Avatar bad somehow? Certainly there's an argument for that, but actual *intent* ~ the real reason why people are into it, is known only to themselves. To make an argument as to another person's intent, externally, is quite parallel to the stereotyping one might accuse them of. *Very* iffy territory, unless you have statements from participants confirming suppositions.

What of TV shows such as "CSI" ~ it's got lots of gory dead bodies in it, which is literally, immediately nauseating (to me at least). Yet most people have no issue with it. Or perhaps those millions of fans really *do* have a freakish, fetishistic fascination with death, so much so that they return to stare at morgue scenes week after week? Yes, to watch CSI regularly is to *willfully choose* to do that. Imagine what that tv show's popularity will say about our culture, 1000 years from now in anthropology 101. Facts being what they are, how does anyone watch gory tv and yet say "Nah, I was watching it for the rom~com drama and occasional laughs?" And yet, that's probably why people really watch it.

I'm loathe to take people's personal forms of entertainment *too* seriously. Without a doubt, our real life doctors might have fantasies of being little ponies, our banker might be someone's submissive bondage slave after 10pm Eastern, and for all I know, there are hordes of schoolteachers educating our children that are fantasy pirates. Yet somehow I'm not afraid that my mustang is going to be boarded and plundered when I pick up the kids.

Pussycat Catnap

The original quote in the article is nowhere near to one of my better expressions on the topic. It -was- a reply to the article on who SLers supported more, Romney or Obama. Out of that context, its less than ideal.

Shifting it from one context to another leaves a comment that is not well argued.

I've been having bitter experiences with stereotyping in gaming since before there was a web...

Originally came to SL thinking it would be the ideal place to move past all of that. This is after all, the place where we write the stories, not studios in Silicon Valley who supposedly "don't represent us."

But over time I found that as my avatar gained a deeper complexion, the friendliness of people I'd never met before grew less and less common. Perhaps just a growing awareness of chat-bots, but I'm not so sure. And then some dramatic run-ins in a few places - have left their taint on my perception.

I would -LOVE- to find some liberal minded people in SL roleplay. Or just in general in SL - beyond just the people currently on my friends list.

But when I search for roleplay, the Gorean like stuff, sims with themes akin to it, and [...]-plotation themes -IS- what dominates search. Followed by depictions of eras where people of my heritage had no voice.

If that is a misrepresentation of SL roleplay, where is the other stuff?

Give me something good to write about for a change on this topic.

Snow

@ Pussycat Catnap

All I can say is you're not looking hard enough. Sex and Gor sims are apparently your only experience in roleplay, and there is far, far more than that. If you are really desperate, the Destination Guide even has places to visit.

Pep

Most of the Gorean men in sl are rl women with inferiority complexes desperately trying to get some value from the money they spent on assertive classes.

Pep (it's not cultural or political; it's overcompensation, which is a global gender phenomenon)

PS And the rl men who are Gorean men are overcompensating for their inadequacies too.

elizabeth (16)

Pussycat-- "But over time I found that as my avatar gained a deeper complexion, the friendliness of people I'd never met before grew less and less common. Perhaps just a growing awareness of chat-bots, but I'm not so sure. And then some dramatic run-ins in a few places - have left their taint on my perception."

+

it may simply be that bc you quite opinionated and forceful that people turn you off after a time

lots of people just come to play in SL. roleplay fantasy or whatever in the little recreational time they have available to them

+

SL as a channel does have great potential to help change and shape RL attitudes. but if thats all it is ever for then it gets kinda boring after a time. so end up turn it off. same like TV really

Pussycat Catnap

16: I know its hard to believe, but I am rarely vocal in my stances inworld, and was not at all out of world until after conflict approached me. My vocal stance on issues began after the fact. Generally speaking, I'm only seen as "opinionated" by people who are equally so but disagreeing. If you have strong feelings for A, and me for B, and A and B are in opposition - you're going to put that label of 'opinionated' on me. But it then applies to you as well.


On Pep's comment about men of Gor, I've often though that was also true for the Kajiras in reverse. :p


@Snow: Perhaps I am not looking hard enough. That said I am generally PG to M, and rarely bother with the XXX stuff despite "living" on Zindra. If I just put in roleplay in search, I tend to come back with a lot of these things. When I start trying to find genre-RP, the ratio ramps up. But if I'm searching wrong, I'd love a list of places to consider.


Pussycat Catnap

@16 again: Before you think that's just me on the complexion issue, look at these:
http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2006/02/the_skin_youre_.html
http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2003/10/white_like_me.html
- And talk to some people with African avatars. Or make an alt and try one out.

One benefit of having a few alts myself, in a couple of tones, is I have been able to examine that. :p

Iggy

@Desmond, who wrote:

"for all I know, there are hordes of schoolteachers educating our children that are fantasy pirates. Yet somehow I'm not afraid that my mustang is going to be boarded and plundered when I pick up the kids."

It all depends. Come by my school to find out. Modern Mustang GT? Possibly. Modern GT or Fox-body 5.0 convertible? Probably.

Shelby GT or any big-block 'Stang from '67-70? "Avast ye pantywaist! Give me that plunder and watch the earth turn black in me tire-tracks!"

/me burns rubber in a machine-that-must-be-worshipped (until a Chevelle SS or GTO shows).

elizabeth (16)

@Pussycat -- yes true lol. i got an opinion on everything. jejejeje (:

i get turned off tuned out and get my channel switched off by quite a few people. oh! well (:

+

is my own personal experience that if go looking for stuff in an imagination world then we can always find it, if we want it enough. if not made by others then made by ourselves

Dave Bell

1: My impression of Gorean thinking is that it tends to take a what could be a fun scene, a special occasion, and warp it into an ongoing lifestyle. The original books hit the market at the right time, and John Norman was able to blend the sexual fantasy with some solid depictions of the essentially historical. I wonder if the Gorean movement in SL is mostly people old enough that their Avatars are a fantasy of youth, while they recall the books of their teenage years. The quality of their builds has that same solidness that the early books had, but John Norman did get more political. Do real people indulge in long speeches about the rightness of their way of life?

2: There is a fascination about the Germans, and especially the Nazis, in gaming and elsewhere, and a certain willful blindness to what happened in both World Wars. Terrorizing the civilian population was how they expected to maintain order. Plus, they had some rather flash uniforms.

As for American politics...

[Redacted]

Really, when you get down to it, the simple Right-Left classification is worthless, although anyone who had read Marx will, I think, recognise the same features in modern politics that Marx saw over 150 years ago. So much can still be described as exploitation of workers, without the need for lunatic redefinition.

As for myself, I reckon I am an Anarchist.

Boo!

Alazarin

Much to my disappointment I find myself agreeing with Pussycat's premise vis-a-vis roleplay in SL. My guess is that it stems:

1] From the socio-economic class of people who have sufficient time and means to be able to access SL.

2] Political relativism: The largely American millieu surrounding Pussycat due to time-zone segregation. One must remember that views, ideals and politics considered 'liberal' in America would be considered conservative / right-wing in Europe, immoral in the Middle-East and illegal in China.

3] Contemporary computer gaming does not lend itself to sophisitcated critiques and rarely steps outside of simplistic manichean / acquisitive narratives that are the bedrock of 21st century American Conservatism.

Pharmakon

Why not create a poll similar to the election one? You could ask roleplayers to choose how they classify themselves?

CarloAntonio Negulesco

Personally, I find Pussycat's assumptions rather telling. What I take from her assumptions that people who role-play in Second Life are racist bigoted right-wing nut jobs - is that Pussycat has a hard time stepping out of her comfort zone. That she does not find it easy to see an opposite side of view.

I have role-played in many, many places playing a wide variety of characters. I have role-played as cowboys, pirates, space explorers, slavers, rapists, kidnappers, cops and a myriad of other characters. And that last word of the previous sentence is the key "characters."

Role-play is not very different from acting. If one has a mind that is open enough to be able to see the 'other side', they can learn a lot from living the other side.

Of all of the SL slave role-players I have known (and I know lots woman and men who role-play as slaves, Gorean and otherwise) I would say that OOC (that means, "out of character", Pussycat, which is more or less "real life" persona - not the character they are playing) a whopping 99% of them are socially liberal (i.e. pro gay marriage, pro cannabis, pro "live and let live" so to speak). While the majority - I would gather at about 60% - are also big fans of Ayn Rand (you try and figure that out). Sure, this is not a study, this is completely anecdotal, but no more so than Pussycat's assertions.

In fact, none of the female slaves I know in SL actually believe that males are a dominant gender. All of them, in their actual real-life views, are very staunch feminists and believe strongly in gender-equality; many of them are in the military or are police officers in their day jobs. Additionally, none of the male (or female) dominants that I know actually believe that in the real world, women should be subjugated.

Neil Patrick Harris is gay in real life, yet he plays a womanizing cad on the television show "How I Met Your Mother". Nothing about his real-life beliefs can truly be derived by studying the character he plays.

Iggy

@Carlo, it's possible to be politically progressive while admiring Ayn Rand's stances toward the sovereign, Nietschean individual and her repulsion at the mob. Not all Leftists are collectivists. Some of us are Jeffersonian loners.

I wish Rand had not regarded the natural world as a mere resource upon which we work our wills. I'd would have liked her books a whole lot more as a teen, had she not been so crazy when it came to Nature. Yep, capital N Nature even to a deist like me, who thinks God is not dead, merely watching during a multi-billion-year lunch break.

Rand forgot some of Nietzsche's childlike wonder about many things, as she bowdlerized his far more subtle philosophy she called Objectivism. So I'll stick with Nietzsche, even as I think Howard Roark to be one of literature's great protagonists.

CarloAntonio Negulesco

@Iggy
This is true, though many - who do little more than spout the talking points of their political party of choice - can see past the issue that Ayn Rand is the author of choice for quoting by the Tea Party and Libertarians alike. The fact that Libertarians get lumped in with the religious right is evidence enough to me that people don't really know what they are talking about much of the time.

elizabeth (16)

Carlo-- "The fact that Libertarians get lumped in with the religious right is evidence enough to me that people don't really know what they are talking about much of the time."

+

well they do gather in the church of the Republicans

same way the liberals and communists persuasions gather in the church of the Democrats

if you go to the same church, even if only once every 4 years to fight the other church, then the worshippers in the other church not really bother with the fine distinctions

Snow

@ Elizabeth

Libertarians are not Republicans. Obviously you didn't read my comment above.

elizabeth (16)

@Snow - yes did. and i dont see what you said have to do with politics

which is what Carlos is talking about when he mention Tea Party and Libertarians and ask how come they get lumped in together

i think you will find is quite a lot more libertarians in the Republican Party than in the Libertarian Party

same like socialists. more of them in the Dems than in the actual Socialist Party

+

broad churches have more fringe members in them than the fringe organisations themselves

can affect more change that way

is the nature of 2-party left-centre-right politics

within the parties themselves the differences and divisions are quite sharp. but outside looking toward then people (like voters) see the broad division (center left vs center right) in sharper focus and is pretty much good enough for them to act/vote on

asj

You're mixing fantasy with reality. That is, these people may play in environments that seem anti-feminine and misogynist, but that doesn't mean they are like that in RL. It's kinda like people who are powerful leaders and movers in RL who wanna be spanked in their fantasies.

Minty

Thank for this post! I had not seen one that reached so fast the Godwin point for a long time. And nice to see that on the left wing there are some paranoid people too ^^.

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