A depressing kind of summer…

Away from SL I’m a bit of a news/politics junkie. This was the reason we’ve previously tried to do ‘political’ issues of SLN (and subsequently not published them). SL is largely politics free, on one level. To me, many avatars are living a hedonistic, bucolic existence, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, and we all know that there are good causes -all manner of ‘pink ribbon’ campaigns, wigs for kids at the Hair Fairs, etc- that we support with our purchases, and in that respect there will be certain small ‘p’ political acts going on. Our ‘politics’ are that we want an end to breast cancer. Humanitarian politics, in other words.

But SL generally rolls on as a kind of political-free zone.

japan sim

I’m stepping back into the editorial role a bit early, my hand forced by Pookes’ unfortunate holiday lack of wifi and inability to post.

But before I do, and turn my attention to the next full issue of SLN, I couldn’t not mention the rather depressing state of world affairs over the past summer, a real world, and real world politics, that make me yearn for the occasional hour away in (naturist reference coming up) our own virtual garden of Eden.

The downing of a Malaysian airline over the Ukraine, ongoing events in the Ukraine itself, continuing bloodshed between Israel & Gaza, ISIS and their cold-blooded murder of James Foley, Vladimir Putin’s sabre-rattling, the threat of an Ebola pandemic, an Icelandic volcano threatening to erupt and possibly disrupt flights over the north Atlantic (and further afield?) and today, reports of an earthquake in California…the list of a world in turmoil goes on.

OK, the last couple are natural phenomena that could happen at any time, over which we have zero control, so there’s little we can do in that respect, but the remainder are mile-posts in a summer where there’s been a headlong rush to undertake ever more vile acts for no great purpose. Yes, I understand that Israel will say it’s protecting itself, yes, I understand ISIS want an Islamic state, yes I understand Putin is more imperialist than communist, wishing to glue the bits of the former Soviet Union back together again but, really, is it worth the mounting pile of corpses? No. Never. We get to share a bit of time on earth together, and we should really be making more effort to ensure that’s the case before we can claim the bit we’ll have forever…a six foot long by two foot wide grave.

I know geo-politics are complex, and I’m no expert, but surely there has to be something better than this.

It was particularly depressing to hear James Foley’s murderer speak in a British accent. A London (or certainly S.E. English) accent. My town! To grow up in a multi-cultural city, to be educated (in all probability) in a British education system, to be given free medical care at the point of service via our much-maligned but still terrific NHS, National Health Service, and then throw it back in our faces with such hatred and poison? Where did he learn such hatred? Each time this jihadist needed medical care, it was there for him. Britain’s far from perfect, but we can certainly look at our health service as one of the best in the world for everyone, not just those with adequate insurance. When push comes to shove, British values are right there in the NHS. Care and compassion for all. It partly defines we Britons and the values we proudly hold. It’s sickening to think that someone who has grown up with those values and who, if born in Britain, was probably born in an NHS maternity unit, beginning his life under the care of the country of his birth, can throw that back in our faces and value life so lightly.

I’m exceptionally liberal in my outlook. Whether naturism leads me to liberalism, or a naturally liberal outlook led me to naturism, I’m not sure, but I do know that the mindset of people like James Foley’s killer directly threatens me and my values, not just as a naturist but as a woman. And I reject the ‘values’ projected by these zealots outright.

We’re surrounded by news events like this every day. Which is why escape to a relatively politics free zone like SL is sometimes welcome. I do like to hop around the grid (sometimes I even get dressed) to see what’s going on out there. And it’s appalling to find that there are now pockets of division even in SL, nominally Muslim or Islamic sims where notices are displayed that blatantly, idiotically declare that the deaths on 9/11 are somehow inferior to deaths in Gaza. They’re not. In death, there’s no hierarchy. Each death is the same as another. A void for the family left behind, with the same degrees of heartache and suffering. Please, don’t bring those shitty values into SL. Equally, I find groups labelling themselves as ‘Muslim bitches for white guys’. Again, grow up, both in terms of your respect for Muslim women and women in general. There are no ‘bitches’, of any colour or creed. They’re women. They’re mothers, sisters, daughters, the same as your mother, sister, daughter.

I’m old enough (as an avatar) to recall when a neo-Nazi group from Britain set up a sim, and began spreading messages of hate on the grid. I remember, too, that the sim was reported and the activities of those involved investigated until action was taken and the sim was closed.

I suppose my message is that if you see intolerant behaviour on any sim you have a duty to report it to the sim owners and if it’s the sim owners encouraging it, report them to Linden Labs. We need to stand together at times of real world divisions growing deeper to ensure that SL doesn’t, as it does in many aspects of its existence, mirror real life.


Photograph for this posting was taken here.