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Monday, February 13, 2017


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I find it rather ironic how conservatives have suddenly started holding tight to this "companies should stay out of politics" line when only a few years ago those same conservatives fought for (and won) companies' rights to spend unlimited amounts of money on political activities (see: Citizens United).

Hypocrisy in action.

Dartagan Shepherd

Ugg, didn't mean to sound quite so angry if it came across that way, it's just a stand that extreme opinions force on people. Without trying to write a book, let me try some perspective.

I voted for Obama first term. His second term I didn't because the policies were flawed. I chose Trump from the beginning because his policies were sound. Hillary I couldn't support, because she basically had no policy to speak of, but lots of rhetoric about the "irredeemable deplorables".

In any community, virtual or not, the strongest bond is to share a common enemy. The more you demonize your enemy, the stronger the community. I get that. I also don't support it because it's the weakest way to build a community in the long term. It's exhausting and no one wants to be "outraged" forever.

All the people in my life aren't far-right. But we're more concerned about taxes and jobs and improving our nation than they are about abortions (no matter what they feel about abortions, it's not a revolving door or a daily issue), or LGBT (Trump is actually pro-LGBT) or whether we try to be safer with immigration. Rhetoric aside, the admittedly clunky rollout of the immigration ban was only temporary (30-90 days).

I've got two c-corps and I "really" care about dropping corporation tax down 15%. It would let us provide more jobs. LL should care about that too.

My friends have businesses that care more about being able to feed their families than transgender bathrooms that affect a tiny percent of the population.

I care that my employees and my friends employees will be better off with a simplified tax bracket that puts them ahead by about $4,000 more in their pockets every year. LL should care about this too.

But what conservatives don't do is to go nuts with protests and rhetoric like Madonna and Ashley Judd and inspire anarchy groups to burn cars. Instead we support people by vote, with our wallets, etc.

Finances and companies like LL force our choices by pushing their rhetoric on us.

Here's an economic for-instance. The left tried to squash Ivanka Trumps line financially. That's shameful to me, but forces my hand to play this particular game.

What did we do? We supported Joy Villa last night at the awards for wearing a dress that supported our current president and shot her sales through the roof and to the top of the music charts in the span of 12 hours.

You've got buying power, we've got buying power. If that's the way the game is going to be played by rhetoric wars and boycotts and companies dividing people along political lines, so be it, more business opportunities for me.

But we're not the devil, not the enemy and certainly not scapegoats every time the left wants to cry bigot, racist, homophobe, transphobe and whatever other identity politics term they want to spew forth. I'm none of those and my family and friends who support Trump arent' either.

We voted no to identity politics that divides people along groups. Identity politics is a piecemeal approach that doesn't actually solve the problems. Policy geared toward everyone equally however, can solve many problems.

Sorry for the TLDR; ... just wanted to clarify.


I think Dartagan made well put and valid points in his post.

If LL did the right thing or not? We know what happened to Uber when they did not fall in line fast enough.
(https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/01/deleteuber-company-automates-account-removal-due-to-demand)so who knows, this might have been their only option at the time.

What I noticed when following group chats inworld, is that the election is still a very touchy subject, and that Trump supporters seem to be more quiet - where Hillary supporters seem to go though the Kübler-Ross model for the five stages of grief in a more outspoken way. So one should not be fooled by the amount of buzz only.


Dartagan is either a knave or a fool. The Orange Sh1tgibbon is a fascist, and at some point (a point at which we are well beyond with him), silence is not neutrality. It is tacit support.

Better then Ezra

I think the other half who are overseas only 15% are just an overly vocal west European minority who live in "nanny socialist states" who see it there jobs to be overly vocal at times, sometimes with great reason I might add I'm not dismissing that group Contradictions TO sl, but the reality is the east Europeans,Turks,Brazilians,Spaniards,Mexicans make up a bulk of the rest..real Asian participation has been declining for years due to linden lab letting go of valuable markets like eastern Asia(Closed the Sydney Office) regulating SL as a western nits thing. also the disasters that hit japan in the last 10 years likely resulted in a huge number having gone missing.(Many chatting to friends in SL one minute found themselves floating in the ocean the next minute.

What Ebbe Statement did is nothing compared to the amount of damage the NSA did in second life running off near anyone from the middle east/north Africa with linden lab's blessing but admittedly that was started before E-Bert got hired..
So what was worst? ..the government discriminating against those from the middle east with linden lab against it..OR.. linden lab allowing NSA agents to spy on and harass the whole Arab community to it collapsed out of fear and died?

Virtual worlds as we know them today still have many users who see it as a way to get away from the madness of real life.

In the virtual world I can be anyone or anything I ever wanted to be, while creating anything I can imagine, my real life is a living hell here in America, It has been long before trump(those overseas have no idea), they are all evil men/women at the top/state/local government..the are so corrupt filled with desires for power and rich's blind to the fact no one makes it out of life alive, so is taking away the last peaceful refugee online that important to these monsters, that chains on us in real life is not enough but chains in our minds as well?

You're of course within your right to blog however you see fit hamlet that's understandable but for the "minority" of us it is just a dull reminder abet a hurtful one of the siege against those trying to resist the constant onslaught by faceless people who want to control our lives even online.

Are you trying to get more readers, have you tried using your past linden status to offer reviews of places in-world with awards and maybe getting them to sponsor you or put up good signs to guests with links to here? you gotta consider gurallia marketing in-world and use your past experience and linden affiliation to your advantage.

You have had this blog many years, people change as we gain experiences and adjust ourselves, how we see ourselves here, for the time we have. maybe blogging is your way of being heard in these pressing times, that's understandable but have you thought about going all the way with a sister blog? to be more entrenched in those discussions, with link back here to those stories..Look at SLU they have section for Political RL Drama then they have a section for Immersive SL Dramafest's ..maybe create a full fledged you-tube channel?(You could make ad revenue! ) with ties to your blogs..maybe instead of being satisfied with what your doing now, you need more to grow bigger in terms of how you do things online..


@Taylor - I want companies to have freedom of speech so I can learn which companies have incompatible values with the society I wish to see, and so that I can boycott them.

Sunlight is a great disinfectant.

Chic Aeon

We both know that I don't always agree with what you say (sometimes because you don't check your facts -- it's not a personal point of view thing :D). That said, this is your blog and I do not feel that you need (or should) censor yourself.

Say what you want to say. Print what you want to print. Let the folks that don't agree read somewhere else.

It isn't just about the numbers -- at least it shouldn't be.


Just as I wanted to congratulate Hamlet for using his blog to take a position against authoritarianism [which unfortunately is creeping up all over Europe as well], Mr. Sheperd outs himself as belonging to the "let's all calm down and see what he does/we all have differing opinions" crowd.

Wow...I really did not anticipate this level of naiveté! But then again: I see it everywhere in my own social networks. This is fascinating and terrifying to see how easy it is for fascism to come to the fore: people just roll over and go with the program. Unless of course they must fear for their lives/livelihood [LGBT folks, undocumented immigrants, the other non-white middle class people]

I am not going to compare Trump to Hitler [he lacks that evil focused intelligence for one!] but I would like to ask Mr. Shepered what he had recommended the Jews in my home country do back then? Pre 1933 and then after Hitler took power? Sit down to tea and discuss differing political opinions? Or get packing like the ones who survived did!

As we can see with these mad first few weeks sometimes it is good to take a crazy lunatic by his word!

And yes: Trump is a mentally unstable toddler but the folks trying to control his strings are focused and are not out to do good [well, unless you are upper middle class white heterosexual male]


"...Trump's policies are sound" is the kind of passive agressive delusional me first always and to hell with everyone else who is not like me arrogant and selfish bullshit that has us in the current free fall down the rabbit hole of a 70 year old narcissicist's dementia populated with white supremacists, christianist doninionists, teabaggers and hypocritical conservatives who would fuck chickens on live tv while selling the country to the highest bidder just so they could make one more dollar to put in their off shore accounts then deny it ever happened. This is our reality. Alternative facts (aka lies) delivered hourly by SCROTUS's morally and ethically bankrupt sycophants. A thin skinned mentally deranged POTUS who spews Twitterrhea like a middle school mean girl. The glorification of ignorance in an anti-intellectual administration and political landscape. The absolute corruption of power and abuse of the office of POTUS. The ripping apart of our multicultural fabric by racists and xenophobes and bigots of all stripes. Just another dayin Trumpworld.

I have no compulsion to ever normalize any of this nor be nice or civil to those who elected this destructive fascist regime. The gloves are off. Fuck you into oblivion.

sirhc deSantis

Quite amusing to see Dartagain attempt to play the 'community' card as the word 'gated' just springs to mind. Well if its comments about, oh for example, at random : abortion are an example of the attitudes of its friends then we can conclude that they are all straight white blokes - the ones who have opinions that count. Of course..

This side of the pond it would be almost funny watching in a dark humour/schadenfreude way apart from the unfortunate fact that the Trumpanzee is fawned over (Nod to Draxtor and apologies to chimps but genus Pongo I can't bring myself to slander so glad that one seems to be fading).

Oh and yes was happy the Lab took their stance. So yes ahem voting with my purse indeed.

Dartagan Shepherd

@Chick Aeon: Agreed. Hamlet should write about whatever he wants to write about and not base it on me or anyone elses opinions. And he may be right that SL is predominantly left-leaning.

To others bandying the word fascism about: Really? Our system of government in the U.S. is simply not conducive to true fascism. That's not going to happen with our checks and balances, which is why I say the issues are to a large extent an exercise in hyperbole.

I simply care more about policy that affects everyone (education, economy, safety, enforcing existing laws). These issues apply to improving lives of gays, straights, blacks, whites, Hispanics and so on.

This is the way you solve problems, by improving economic conditions for minorities, improving education for all children.

Years of billions and billions of dollars thrown at special interests (which gets politicians and activists rich) have not solved these problems. It's good money after bad.

I mentioned that we supported Joy Villa, a beautiful black artist with a gay fashion designer. If that doesn't give some people pause that we're not evil racist anti-gay fascists then nothing probably will.

I care about solutions that work, not who screams the loudest.


In response to Dartagan's 05.43 post: "I simply care more about policy that affects everyone (education, economy, safety, enforcing existing laws). These issues apply to improving lives of gays, straights, blacks, whites, Hispanics and so on"

Education: he appointed de Vos; this is not likely to improve the education system in the US. Economy: he has an appalling economic track record and worrying potential ties to foreign powers, and he wants to spend $21bn on a wall. Safety: he takes highly confidential calls in public places (well, if you can afford the $200k membership), the foreign power link again, he is alienating a large number of countries and people through his divisive policies with amateur botched delivery. His first international anti-terrorist action resulted in deaths of innocents and US military, due to his inability to be circumspect from reports. Oh and his appointed security advisor had to resign because...foreign powers?

My favourite quote from your first post was "Hillary I couldn't support, because she basically had no policy to speak of". I suspected when I read this that you didn't listen to her debate topics, read her policy documents or understand anything that happens. Maybe the screams of "lock her up" were getting in the way of your hearing.

But you seem intelligent, you write well, you sound successful. This concerns me. When someone like you can be so pro-Trump based on your personal financial gain so that you tolerate who he is and what he does, accept the people who he has appointed with their long history of far right-wing beliefs and behaviour, it worries me that there are enough of you for this to continue.

You talk of checks and balances - listen to the WH spokesmen, look at how Trump writes on Twitter - he would like nothing more than to negate these checks and balances of the judicial system so that he can dictate what happens.

Try to think a little - I'm not calling you a facist, but I think you are naive at best. This is a SL blog. None of this is real but as someone who is trying to feel I am doing the right thing, I am going to call out what I see as misleading opinion commentary wherever it's posted.

PS One for All and All for One! (although I think there's an "n" missing so I am probably throwing in a random non-sequitur)

Argo Nurmi

...Our system of government in the U.S. is simply not conducive to true fascism. That's not going to happen with our checks and balances, which is why I say the issues are to a large extent an exercise in hyperbole.

I think this recent election demonstrated that checks and balances we heard about since we were in grade school are paper thin. Its really a shock to discover that nothing: political parties, congress, the church, or the so called fourth estate, the press, that both enflames and sustains the populist mobs, electronic or otherwise, are incapable of resisting. As for "true fascism," can I suggest you take a look at David Frum's article in the Atlantic, " How to Build An Autocracy" to see what fascism looks like today. Yes, we are in trouble.

Does Hamlet have a right to write what he wants. Indeed, he does. But, I can choose to read or not as well.
I thought the breathless reporting on activities inside and outside of SL on the Arab Spring carried in this blog went overboard. But Hamlet has a right to write it and publish it. Over the years this blog has carried articles that I though wrong. But the blog also had great articles and good writing (which I see peak out every so often). That said, Hamlet should keep in mind what happened to the Alphaville Herald whose editors veered off, full blow, into activism.

Reading the NYT, WaPo the WSJ and see the chaos running through our country is very sad indeed. An SL friend from EU asked me yesterday, "What will happen?" I could only reply, "I do not know"


..and above illustrates why mixing political views with your business, if its providing a virtual world or a news blog is a bad idea. On a positive side the next step in the grief process is depression, maybe things will calm down.

Clara Seller

I wish we were at a place that wasn't so divisive and I know that sounds so rainbows and unicorns. I don't agree much with Dartagan's political perspective, but he makes rational presentations and does it in a kind manner. At the core of his arguments is a genuine desire for something all of us want... the ability to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I find something to work with here.

I've been a Democrat all my life, mainly because there's been no representation for my political leaning. I'm looking at the American left in horror right now as they are taking pictures of themselves bathing in and slinging their own blood and thinking this is productive. You can't fight Trump if you have nothing to fight with and the post-Hillary Democratic party is morally and strategically bankrupt. So I don't think that Trump is the first fight. I think the first fight is with ourselves.


I do not care what political leanings company a has, sportstar b has, or musician c has. I come to vr to escape the banal screeching of all the idiots who think their droppings dont stink. People who try to cram politics into everything get ignored or actively avoided.

It is a great big wonderous world out there. I dont think much of most people within it. And if your life has nothing more important in it than forcing others to admit their pooh flinging monkey is inferior to your pooh flinging monkey, then i wont think much of you either. Ill still buy your stuff and talk civilly with you so long as you can be civil back. But even if i agree with your politics, i have more important things to worry about than what pooh flinging monkeys we have chosen to rule over us.

Da Hayward

Dartagan, a little secret I have discovered. The ONLY people not having fun in these sort of things are the ones on forums, G+ and Disqus. Smart people either stay away from them or come for a little comic relief. It is exactly the same on the forums of another Virtual world I inhabit. Once in a while I get a bit bored and go visit the forums. Within a couple hours of reading I am ready to slit my wrists of both myself and my avi's. Doom and gloom, the end is nigh, the game is being ruined by developers, creators, users, the government and anyone else they can drag into the picture. Been like that for well over 10 years but the world keeps plodding on oblivious to the numerous opinions of all the naysayers. Developers come and go, creators come and go and make room for new ones and its all good. Eat, drink and cyber for tommorrow our virtual sky will NOT fall ^_^

Bixyl Shuftan

As "Fox News" in Second Life, I guess as the closest thing to a competitor, or someone who can cover what he can't, depending on one's point of view, that Hamlet has, any comments of mine get a special note.

I have an ideology, but since writing about Second Life as a journalist, I've tried to put a lid on opinionating and aimed for more of a balanced approach. Partially it's because I've long learned my side doesn't have all the answers and the opposition raises some valid points (I still prefer mine to theirs, though). Partially it's because friends and relatives of mine in real life have long complained about bias in the media. So when it was my turn to pick up the pen, here was my chance to do something about it in my own way. How well I've done, it's my impression the biggest complaint I've gotten is bringing up politics at all, so maybe I'm doing something right.

Of Linden Lab's statement on February 2, in my opinion it was unnecessarily inflammatory. Using terms like "racism, intolerance, and xenophobia" are not the way for constructive political dialogue between two sides, but a call to arms towards at like-minded supporters to get ready for a fight and to those who support the policies they're against to either step aside or fight. The conservatives I know are in no mood to step aside, and are very much willing to make their own accusations.

On that note, the 2016 Presidential election was the closest I've ever been to being a true neutral and I seriously considered voting for the Libertarian candidate (as the son of a farmer and a small townsfolk, I don't do Green Party). I had been hoping Scott Walker of Marco Rubio would win the Republican nomination and Jim Webb to Democrats. But of course it was not to be. I won't say who I voted for in November, only that someone else got it in the primaries. Mrs. Clinton struck me as shady, ruthless, and not caring about the public's needs. Trump, well, in layman's terms I found him to be an ego case and completely lacking in any experience in public office. I never expected him to get very far, and was surprised that he lasted more than a few weeks, let alone dominate the primaries and eventually get the nomination and Presidency. In hindsight, the public's anger led them to look for an alternative from neoliberals and the Republican "Old Guard," and Trump's high profile status as a media celebrity, in the words of one man "sucked the oxygen from the other candidates." As there has never been a major party nominating someone other than a senator or governor for almost a century, aside from one five star general, I imagine no one saw the need for an "Eddie the Eagle" rule for Presidential politics.

I guess I fall into the category of "let's calm down and see how it goes." The reactions of the left vary from a vocal faction howling at the top of their lungs, to bitter Sander supporters muttering "we told you so," to another holding on to the belief this is the "last stand" of the Far Right before an inevitable pratfall that will result in their side dominating politics, at least for a generation or two. Conservatives are also divided, the discredited neoconservatives expressing some alarm at some of Trump's statements and moves and crossing their fingers, and the Tea Party faction whom on one hand are happy to see their champion in power and on the other recalling they've been disappointed before and so keeping an eye on him. Those in the middle are unhappy to see political dialogue turn to, as Shockwave put it, degenerate into the intellectual level of "flinging of poo," and are worried by news stories of riots and calls in California to break away from the Union. I've had to tell friends not to worry, too much, "This isn't Fort Sumter, yet."

Having read my share of history books, I recall the days of Andrew Jackson whom was so different from previous presidents, and having been brought into office by plain folks whom some from the cities considered unfit to cast a ballot. The years he was in power, and the few before and after were part of a change in the political system from one party with a number of factions into a two party system. It may be that both political parties are heading into a time of factionalism with the people once regarded as wingnuts occasionally able to get their man nominated.

Dartagan commented that nothing helps keep a community together like a common enemy. With political discord between liberals and conservatives having gotten so bitter in recent decades, save for a few years after the 9/11 terrorist attack on 2001, the same might apply to our country. In the early years of American history, it was fear of being pushed around by the British that allowed us to form a Federal government. But when fear of the British Empire began to fade, the North and South started to bicker, and eventually they would come to blows. For over a century, the country has been held together by de-facto northern hedgemony and then the Cold War and fear of Communism. Now with the Soviet Union long gone, and industry in the north either having closed or moved south, there's no longer a unifying fear or force strong enough to keep the bickering factions in line.

So what happens next? Difficult to say. It's less than a month into President Trump's term of office, but so far American political news has been all about him, or his most vocal, and scattered, opponents. While a number of my friends are worried, some older family members have told me they've been the happiest they've been about politics in many years. As the old codgers have been right before, perhaps in some ways we'll be better off when this is over. Recalling the Strauss-Howe generational theory and how the biggest crises for America occur roughly 80 years apart (1780, 1860, 1940) though, it does seem like we're in for "interesting times."


First no one is reading the essay comments here--- A private corporation has a right to do as the owner pleases- A public corporation does not-
Organizations that believe opposing an administration is foolish and emotional and not somewhere I would invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into- Linden lab is a niche and will begin to suffer as newer technologies and competition supersede their expense out of date offer-

Iggy 1.0

I respect Dartagan for many things he's written here. I think he makes his case for Trump well, despite my hatred for our bumbling authoritarian President and his Cabinet of Dr. Caligari minions (FWIW, Bannon went to my high school!). But I despised Trump from the 1980s on, when he was a Democrat and many readers here were not not born. He's always been a fast-talking charlatan and has the soul of a torturer.

I'm no Liberal. I'm a gun-owning Leftist of the old 1930s sort, and I mistrust corporate power as much as I do authoritarian governments; lately, I find common cause with many Libertarians. That said, we on the Left should look hard at ourselves, and not concern overmuch with what one company does to support or oppose Trump: this walking disaster would not have entered office had the Left been more united on issues that effect us all, no matter our politics.

It took Obama 7 years to finally begin to get serious about climate change. He turned over health-care reform to the least functional legislative body in any democracy. He should have played hardball with the Rightist goons in the House. He should never have blundered with his "red line" remarks that emboldened the butcher Assad and our common foes, ISIS.

The best thing I can say about Obama is that he holds many opinions I hold, and the economic collapse that began under Bush, one that Bush helped address over the opposition of his own party, could have been a catastrophe had Obama not continued TARP and QE.

All that and certainly the ACA were not enough for the dispossessed of the Upper Midwest who put Trump over the top. Those voters have been kicked in the teeth repeatedly by both GOP and Democrats, since the 1980s. Remember, Ronald Reagan told Flint, MI factory workers to move south for better jobs. Now Trump promises them a return of old manufacturing and the Coal industry.

Won't happen, and they'll get kicked in the teeth again. But I understand why they voted as they did. The glitterati of Hollywood, the technorati of both Coasts, the mandarins of Academia, and the wonks and scoundrels of DC could care less for the struggling white Middle Class. Now they have spoken, and we have their man.

May God help us.


Oh pity the "struggling white middle class". The very same class that held all the power for so many decades by putting all their faith in Capitalism.

The poor "struggling white middle class" with their lazy, self-entitled, pseudo-exceptional mentality that lived for 'today' but never planned for tomorrow.

Throw the whole bunch into the dustbin of history.

Too bad the truth hurts.

metacam oh

I have zero respect for people who put their fiscal interests over moral issues. This used to not really be an issue as political parties are differing opinions to solve a problem, but we find ourselves in a time where one side is completely living in its own reality. If you can overlook that because you may get a tax cut or whatever financial kickback you think a lunatic like Trump could give you, then like I said, you're just as much a problem as the actual racists and xenophobes.

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