Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.

Here's a mystic truth for you: Second Life fucking sucks.

I've been on it for about a week now, and I'm trying to plot exactly when it was that it totally lost its appeal for me.

Days one and two, I was completely enthralled. I felt I was standing on the edge of the universe, peeking into the great unknown. It was amazing! Look at all the things you could do! And look at all the things everyone had built! Incredible!

By day three, I was settling into my SL routine. I was tracking cool places to hang out at and interesting people to meet. I would be methodical, and in doing so, truly create for myself a second life.

By day four, it dawned on me that there simply were no cool places or interesting people to be found. Totally bored, I tried to get my avatar a job.

By day five, truly the only option available to me (the only option in that, it's the only thing that perhaps would keep my eyes from bleeding from utter boredom) appeared to be to whore out my avatar. This turned out to be a far more bureaucratic and irritating process than the simple selling of virtual flesh for Linden dollars should be. I lost interest.

Day six I wandered around aimlessly, in a funk. I tried to join up with a church group there, but my timing was all off. Sad and alone, I wandered for miles speaking to no one.

Day seven... well, I logged on and discovered I had 50 more Linden dollars and for a moment I was happy. And then it occurred to me how horribly boring this whole thing was.

Here. On the train ride into NYC today, I wrote a really shitty poem about how much Second Life sucks:

Oh Second Life,
I find you just like real life
Only 100000x more lame

Your art galleries are dreadful(1)
Your sex parties put me to sleep
Your architecture is somewhat interesting
But the decor makes me weep...(2)

You'd think in a place
Where you can be anything you like
Maybe, just maybe, not everyone would be the same...(3)

I suppose a world built by nerds for nerds
Is truly bound to be boring
But could someone please show me
Where to purchase the gesture for snoring?

Ha ha. See how much this poem fucking sucks ass? Second Life sucks about ten times more.

There's a guy who I often see in the waiting room at my therapist's office. He's not at all what you would think of as conventionally good looking - he's over 40 (at least), overweight, wears big unfashionable glasses, stringy hair, and is a terrible dresser. He's a "character" - he looks like the type that reads a lot. One day as I was going into the therapist's office, he was coming in the door too and the totebag that he had on his shoulder slipped to his arm as he reached to hold open the door. That moment - that gesture - was so incredible to me. He became human, sexy, interesting - all in a moment, just by accident, by fumbling and by fumbling the way I have so many times it's impossible to count. It was this weird moment where I just felt this connection to this guy; I'd looked down my nose at him so many times before because he was all those things I listed - overweight, ugly glasses, etc - but this stupid little fumble opened up this door where I really saw him as a human being, a fellow traveller. For like two seconds, he was really fucking hot.

Moments like that, as far as I can tell, don't happen in SL. Everybody's perfect. Everybody's living their boring fantasy. All the girls at the strip club look just as plastic and fake as all the girls you'd see at any real strip club. All the conversation is more or less what you'd hear around the watercooler at any large office. What's the point?

I'm going to investigate some more, but I'm really losing my patience.

*** footnotes:
1. I haven't checked out Jay's friend's gallery yet, so it may be incredible. I can't say. I'll check it out soon.
2. Seriously: it's like South Beach only the people are even more boring. And you won't get a tan sitting in front of your computer.
3. For real. I mean: you'd think. I've only seen maybe two seriously bizarre and interesting avatars; everyone else I've encountered is some takeoff on Paris Hilton/Barbie/Ken/GI Joe/GQ crapola.

Postscript [8/24/06]:

Ah... yes. Second Life. I changed my mind.

I changed my mind and, unfortunately, folks googling me would only find this post and not subsequent posts where I tried to make it clear that I'd changed my mind.

So let me be straightforward: I have totally, completely changed my mind about Second Life.

Why, you ask? Because, like real life, the good or bad vibe that you get about a place is pretty much 90% based on the people you hang out with. For the longest, I got stuck in the Slingo/sex party ghetto, and was convinced that's all there was. Now that I've actually met smart, creative people who are excited about doing stuff with the technology other than simply gambling and fucking, I realize its potential.

I suppose basing an opinion on SL on this small cross-section of people was a little like judging blogging purely by pro-ana blogs. If that's all I'd seen of blogs, I would be forced to think that blogs, too, suck - that they were simply for the venting of starving 16-year-olds frustrations and low blood sugar rages, and I would lack the perspective to see how the technology of blogging can actually be put to really good use. The idea that extremely skinny teenagers could affect the newscycle or elections would be horrifying to me, because I wouldn't realize that actually bloggers come from all walks of life and are a pretty diverse group. I think I'm wearing this metaphor into the ground, but you get my drift.

Anyway, I'm now playing around with SL and trying to see if there's any way I can incorporate it into my teaching of art history, which is sort of an interesting and weird idea (and also ethically murky - since it means the appropriation and recreation of famous works of art - but that's what's to like about it). I have no idea if this will work, but it's been a fun thing to try. And also, I've met some really decent people.

And so, I apologize. SL doesn't suck, nor does it blow. It actually has tons of potential and is pretty cool. So, yeah.


At 10:28 PM, Blogger earlyadopter said...

wow! Clearly i need to spend more time there to find out if it find out the same thing that you found out. The second day i was there i found some kind of Submisive / Dominant island where people were telling each other to do really wierd things... That was kind of interesting but i can't say i stayed there very long- maybe it would have gotten dull if i'd stayed. I love the poem! I think there should be a poetry contest to write poems about second life. Valerie are you listening? This is a challenge for you. Alisha? Dan? Second Life. Discover it. Live it. Poem it. Comeon. I will if you will...


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