Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Second Life

"My wife is disabled. I got a home and a mortgage, and if this hits the fan, I believe this will affect negatively on my employment," he said. "I do my job, go home watch TV, and go on the internet. I just like riling people up in my spare time." - Reddit Troll and Moderator, Violentacrez

There are a lot of stories about Internet Trolls and people who foment discrimination and insulting slurs on the internet. The pervasiveness of insults is often downplayed as something unusual; Fat, Ugly, or Slutty started as a funny joke blog for women who all knew how frequently we receive dismissals based on our genders online, but the moderators have discussed how people would respond to it with shock that it was so prevalent. Fat, Ugly, or Slutty also combated the false stories that people who made gendered insults like this were teenagers, noting that you can hear their voices many times and they are clearly adults, and were part of the growing awareness that ignoring the trolls actually didn't make them go away. In the wake of watching Lindy West Doesn't Cry Anymore, though, and the recent article about Violentacrez linked above, I'm left with two very unsettling lines of thinking that I'm grapling with.

On the Red Carpet

One is the pervasiveness of minimization and defense of the people doing abusive things in the different stories I linked to above. I'm more than aware that victim blaming and such goes on, but it seems to be broader than that - almost an identification with the abuser with a simultaneous denial of that identification. I'm having difficulty putting my finger on it, so it swirls in the back of my head like a tsunami. The second is a growing sense of pity for the trolls and abusers. The more I learn about the individuals, the more sad and pathetic their lives seem to be; the more their abuse of others seems to be a way of outsourcing their own pain and emptiness so that we are as hurt and pained as they are. My main problem with this line of thinking is that I do not like feeling pity for people - compassion, yes, but pity is a condescending emotion in my opinion - and yet I cannot deny a growing combination of pity and disdain for people whose enjoyment revolves around causing misery in others.

Dynamic Lighting

Tonight, as I was taking pictures, an individual moved his avatar right up on me while I was posing, moving his avatar as if he was humping me. I ignored him, and in short order he went away. The second. lurking nearby and offering me friendship without ever speaking to me, I de-rendered so I could take my shot. A short while back, I was orbited by a stranger in another sim, another form of trolling. I reported him to the sim owner, and he was banned - but even in the immediate, simply facing up to him made him go away remarkably quickly. I've never actually been stalked or harassed, just threatened, but if I ever was there would be still other techniques I would try in an effort to shake the person off, including clear communication and - if necessary - legal actions. I think one of the flaws in how a lot of people view those who act to disturb others in the world for their own amusement is assuming that they have just one motivation, and that there is just one way of responding. I'm glad to see the toolbox of ways to handle trolls expanding, along with the necessary growing public awareness of just how inappropriate the behavior of these people is.


( More pictures here. )


Skin: De La Soul, Aestali - Cream Rose
Eyes: De La Soul, RooMee Eyes - Rainbow
Ears: Illusion, Seelie Ears
Hair: Alice Project, Willow (Cinema)
Eyelashes 1: SLink, Eyelashes
Eyelashes 2: Flugeln Brise, 04-A
Eyeshadow: Mock, Wicked Ways - smog
Lipstick 1: Skinthesis, Liquid Heat - Mercury Rising
Lipstick 2: Mock, Dark Mallow
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Azarelle
Dress: Perception, Bustier-Dress White (Cinema)
Necklace: Donna Flora, Amarcord Diamond Necklace (Cinema)
Hands: SLink, Mesh Hands - Casual and Smoking
Cigarette: Boom, Golightly Cigarette Stem (Cinema)
Shoes: Lassitude & Ennui, Blossom Wedge Sandals (Cinema)

Poses: Adorkable (Cinema)

Location: Cinema Event
Light Settings: AnaLutetia - AvatarOpt whiter

Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping, only

No comments:

Post a Comment