Friday, November 30, 2007

Warning Danger! Broken as Designed!

REminder, keep video checked off in preferences in any sim that has a land owner you do not trust.

This is because llSetParcelMediaCommandList is not restricted to the parcel that it sits on, but can alter any av anywhere in the same sim.

This gets me back to one of my pet peeves: 16M parcels. There is no reason for them except land griefing, they are a security problem. LL should institute something rather simple on mainland: minimum parcel sizes. That way if people want to put up with the visual noise and security risk of 16M parcels, they can, and buy land for less because it will have a lower value.

LL claims this is not their fault, this is not true. Apple's Quicktime has a bug, but LL's video streaming system is Broken by Design and their land system is Intentionally a security risk. And they make money from this.

Fake Teenage Romance leads to murder.

Man kills another over fake teen romance.

Two people both pretended to be teenagers. Both were middle age. The man's wife caught him and revealed his identity to the woman, who was also faking it with her daughter's photographs. The man then killed a romantic rival, only to find out that the woman was not 18.

My, what interesting modern times we live in.

New Clock at Yedo

We've installed an analog clock at Yedo. Of course writing the scripts is trivial, so long as the asset server isn't ahem having the hiccups.

There are some surprises coming.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Una Ewing Update

Some time ago Una Ewing and I had harsh words over sex workers and modeling. Well, over the weekend she came to me and wanted to talk about patching things up and going forward. This, in a world where many people would rather dump their land at a loss and run, rather than be reasonable, is a major kudos thing. We had a really great chat about things, about the barriers to success, about the things we wanted to do. She's big into promoting new talent (more on this later), which you can see on her blog.

The heart of our discussion however, turned on avenues out for virtual sex work in second life. The source of the original span was when she put out a cattle call on a fashion show, and then snubbed coverage from this blog because it was, and is, a sex blog written by someone who was, and is, an escort on second life. It is still very much written from that point of view, because no matter what else I do here, it is that that opened the door for it. She was kind enough to invite me to speak today, and unfortunately rl work commitments held me in rl.

But the topic, and Una' commitment to offering exactly that: ways up and out. Is real. I think this place changes people, and their perceptions. You can't be on second life for this long, without coming to realize that young women coming into SL, who do not have a base of rl income to draw from, are drawn into escorting. If for no other reason than to raise enough funds to get the basics of beauty. Having seen that, and being a clear sighted and practical person, Una has decided to make it one of her priorities.

Coming to make peace alone is enough to set her apart. That takes courage, and grace, and those are always qualities to be applauded. But I've heard that talk is cheap, because supply greatly exceeds demand. Una is doing things and putting her weight behind giving women a way out of the esteem trap that is escorting for most of them. Yes a few of us do really well at it. Too well. (frumples lips. Sigh) But most don't, and even regular dancing can be a soul crushing experience and people come in and experience the corrosive misogyny that so much of the virtual sex industry on second life entails.

I can't tell you how grateful I am to Una for coming and talking. I know my original words were very harsh, because this is a harsh world we second live in. For that reason I am trying, though without as much success as I would like, to make my words of appreciation for what she is doing equally profound. The thing, I think, to do, is what I offered originally, and wanted to do genuinely: cover her shows from the point of view of those of us who use fashion as our working capital, and therefore have a different relationship with it than women who are consumers of fashion, or use it as an accessory to their business. We are numerous, and we are a large part of the demand for fashion. Our tastes and needs are reflected in a thousand ways in fashion. Many fashion houses advertise "escort" in their descriptions, even as they would not dare mention that actual escorts wear their fashions. Exceptions to this silence, like June Dion of Bare Rose Tokyo, generate a huge degree of loyalty from those inside the virtual sex trade.

I'm very glad, more than can easily be poured into meager writing, that Una has been clear eyed enough to realize that there is a need for fashion to both speak to the escorting community, and as importantly, maybe more, to offer a road up and out of that world for the many women who want to be treated with greater respect, and be more attached to making things of permanent value for second life.

Thank Una. Thank you in words as strong as my earlier ones were harsh.

Thank you.

Ohhh... nice... does it have sensors to capture boob and hip giggle?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thoughts in the flashes

Better broad belts, rope sandals, the need for a better catwalk animation, the utter must of a flexy that bounces up better and the ability ot have more control over the dress shape.

These things come through the talking head thing... there there are new worlds of style for sl.

10 Things I Hate About SL

1. Crashes. Of Course.

2. DP with heels. If I were in charge of programming in Second Life, this would be the top of the bug list.

3. Blue dialog boxes. Stack of ugly things in the corner interuptting everything. What would I do? I would have a window that has a "drawer" effect list of dialogs, small ones would have the yes no cancel options visible at a click or with check boxes to deal with several all at once, larger ones would, on mouse over, slide out, you could resize the space so that when you want very long dialog boxes would be visible. That or a wheel window would pop up with options or "more."

4. Pose balls. All right thinking avatars hate ball sprawl. What would I do? At the very least hide them. Better would be to make it so that more would position avatars above them, and appear as spots on the ground. I may do a demo of what I mean.

5. Lack of ability to create facial animations.

6. No joins on hands for our skeletons BVH files.

7. Slugly architecture. This is too big for a fix, but one major improvement would be to actually support huge prims. Another would be to have guides to better building published.

8. The Have/Have not economy. Too big for a single fix. But one large thing would be to make information easier to find. Traffic is a killer of information. It is meant to be. Get rid of it.

9. Ad farms. And all the things LL deliberately does to make them possible. Simple fix would be to zone mainland sims in advance by the minimum parcel that can be created and minimum width. Never create any more Governor Linden strips that create jagged edges whose sole use is for ad farm creation. That way, if people want to buy into ad farmy sims, and put up with the clutter, they can. Presumably at lower cost, since many will not want to be there. Right now everyone everywhere on mainland is always at the risk of slumification.

10. Its state religion.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

We need more dresses like this

The balance of the shoulders against the handling if the waist are classic combined with this fabric weight and pattern. Whole ensemble on the perfect rl model....

Now look at this from sl... There is nothing here that can't be done in sl. Now why don't we have a hairstyle like that one? Why are there so many loop rez knock offs?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

*snort giggle*

Tiessa gives us another not coffee safe link.

Meaning don't click on this link and take a sip of coffee while you wait for it to load...

She Calls It The London:
Adult age play's real problem in Second Life

Mean girls wants to talk harsh reality of age play. But while they are being harsh, I can say that they aren't being as real here as they could be. They need to get out more, or maybe get in more. To be really harsh, means seeing some of the darker corners of SL.

Let me be really harsh here. I am an escort on second life. A pixel prostitute. I do interactive pornography for money. Often. I am also pretty well known for being a no limits cyber escort. I will do anything that won't get me banned in Second Life, provided my fees are paid.

I've been asked for snuff, bang bang, dolcett, incest, gang bangs, kidnapping, rape. I've done each of those things for a client at least once, and often more than once. I've never been asked for age play. Not once. This does not mean it is not out there, and I do run into the boundaries of it, but age play, qua age play, isn't really the problem.

Instead, as the first part talks about, my observation is that a far larger problem in second life is the quest by a small number of men to exploit adult survivors of sexual trauma. I've seen this first hand, I have to deal with it, on average once a week where a client is clearly interested, not in escorting, nor even in finding an rl girlfriend or co-conspirator in sexual escapades, both of which are more than fine, but with finding a woman whose self-esteem and sense of self-worth have been destroyed by sexual trauma, and exploiting that need for his own profit.

One of my first experiences in second life with this, that I understood as such was when I was working at a club, and another club's owner came to me recuriting escorts for his. Since the club I worked at was not exclusive, I had no problems making referals. He made it clear he was looking, not for escorts but for girls who needed to fuck, for any amount of money. He was going to turn around and mark up their services about 400%. When I refused to cooperate, he said "so long stupid," among other insulting things. After this I realized that several other times I had been confronted with the same thing, but had not understood what was being asked, or rather the subtext of what was being asked.

Not long there afterwards I wandered through the "red Light District" for the first time, and got an even more forceful understanding of what many of the men there were looking for. The tangle of things that made me realize this is hard to explain, but it started with the obsession with verification I found among men unwilling to pay what would have been ordinary tips for stripping in the club I was working. The demand for skype calls, even a "cam peak" before paying even 300L for :30 of sexual activity. Even as a rather beginning escort, I was making far more for :15.

This told me that this was not seen by many of the men picking up girls as a source for interactive pornography and electronic companionship, but as a dating service.

However it was what was being asked for as sexual services that was even more interesting: degradation. Without exception I was asked to perform large blocks of degrading acts for almost no money. Or at least, money that would not support having the kinds of skins, shapes, clothes, and toys that a high quality sexual experience on SL would generally entail.

Now on one hand, I respect desire. All desire, even those which are untenable and unacceptable. The creation of a place where people who have those needs to play them out is part of the reality of virtual reality, and I would not move a finger to remove it nor could it be prevented. While Amsterdam needs to be looked at for various reasons, if people have needs, they have needs.

On the other hand, I also recognize that a close cousin of needful desire is often sickness. We must eroticize children, because the bonding mechanism is there, because they are the ultimate result of the erotic union of a man and a woman, because our sexuality is bound up in the protecting and protection of childhood. To be a healthy sexual adult is to be able to bond with children, to have the sense of our childhood playfulness fulfilled by sexuality, and the ability to protect our loved ones with the saem fiercness we protect children with. These are healthy. Sticking a cock in a 6 month old baby or 9 year old, never is.

One form of proof of desire is the willingness to defy other forms of visceral revulsion or fear in the name of desire. For example, a public display of affection by two people says that they care more for the touch of each other's lips than what on lookers might feel about them. Public humiliation as a sing of devotion to a sports team is so common as to be a cliche. Proposing, in public, on his knees, a man may be making a spectacle of himself, but he is also saying how much love has carried him past concerns for his public image. This is useful when you ask him to go get tampons from the store, because well, you just don't feel like moving at that particular moment.

One kind of revulsion is "disgust," that somewhat primitive, and perhaps universalized, mechanisms to recognize the potency of biologically active fluids. Like infected water, like food that has been sitting out, like excrement. The willingness to play with bodily fluids is a crucial part of showing that the barrier that a person puts up to the world is open. This is an analog of what has to happen for impregnation: the barriers of the immune system that keep out "other," must be lowered for "him."

But a close cousin of this is the break down completely of the ability to say "no." That break down is generally, and some would say almost always, associated with sexual trauma in childhood, and that trauma is then exploited in the survivor adult. On one hand, the only way to live with this kind of trauma is to integrate it: to be able to accept a space in life where the traumatized child comes out to play. I don't mean this in the sense of donning a child avatar and engaging in scenes of child sexual activity, but the wounds of it, and the need to be dominated and overwhelmed b it, but in the context of being able to come up out of that place, and back into the full possession of an adult self. It is like men playing boys games: it is a need, and it is healthy when he can come back up out of it.

The quest for women who are not able to integrate by compartmentalizing, is the real age play problem on second life. It is one that is not amenable to simple banning of search words like "Lolita," or even banning child avatars. It is not bannable, because it is not clearly divisible from what everyone does: play out a mixture of healthy and perverse in a search for equilibrium of spirit.

There is deeper to do into this world, and I will soon do it. But I want to talk, for a moment about one of the victims of age play hysteria and also age play denial: legitimate working through of adolescent traumas, which is a world apart from childhood traumatization. Let's be really honest here, a great deal of the age play hysteria is by people who are hysterical about teenage sex, and know that the best way to make people opposed to teenage sex, is to drop it in the same vat as the rape of children. This is done by equivocation. "Minor," a legal technical term, becomes equated with "child," an emotional term. Teenage sex becomes "sex with children." The grey area is exploited: sex with unmarried 17 year olds is equated with sex with 12 year olds. And so on. Even people who know better play these games. Teenagers need special protections because they are minors and because they are not mature, but also precisely because they are not children. Children seldom seek out sex on their own, as sex, where as almost all teenagers do. I did, and


Consider my story Midnight Eclipse. In this story the main character is practicing late before an audition at the ballet studio. She leaves, begins to shower. Another student, practicing in another room, comes down to the shower. They are both naked, he gets errect. She comes to an understanding of the components of desire, tries to entice him. The don't have sex. Yes, yes, yes it's like a symbolist opera. Nothing happens, then she dies.

However, I think all of us have memories of teenage and people who we wish we could have had sex with at that time. I do, and


We also go the other way, or at least many of us do. We imagine what it would have been like to have met someone in teenage, and been high school sweet hearts and perhaps Romeo and Juliet lovers.

These are both very normal and very healthy parts of an adult libido. Both to look back at moments before we were sexually competent and wish for another chance, and to project back to what it would have been like had we met "the one" only much earlier and had years more happiness with them.

Both of these are completely illegal in second life. They have nothing to do with paedophilia, or even the kind of sexual predatory behavior that adults engage in with teenagers, trying to take advantage of the minor status, inexperience and social inferiority of teenagers to fulfill adult sexual desires. I, to repeat, have never been asked for age play. I have often been asked to juvenilize my personality, my look, my diction, my sex habits, my avatar, for the sexual fulfillment of clients. It's endemic. It is not always healthy.

So we have to realize that bans cut two ways, that they often create problems, as well as solve them, and bans which are a vat of conflicting rationalizations and social engineering, often ban far more good than they prevent evil. But as importantly they make us over look real evils. The exploitation of adult survivors of sexual trauma is endemic in our society. I will never have anything to do in second life with people who are looking for that in me. They just can't offer me enough to expose myself to it. And this is completely overlooked in our debate on age play, or is swept up in a completely hysterical hatred of all playing out of inner darkness in any form. Both of these extremes are unhealthy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Swedish Chef Works for LL: Bork! Bork! Bork! Bork!

One of the three adjoining sims was offline, but the other two were not. I've been getting reports of crashes sims, of people in sims reported offline that are on line.

My advice.

Stay in bed.

And if you want to tp me in, my rate is very reasonable and I'm a great deal more fun than swearing at SL bugs.

Updated: the continent I am on just mega borked:

Rumor has it that there is a competition to see who can crash the most sims. I don't know if I should believe this.

This would sooo work in Second Life

Jennifer Connelly is perfect for this look, and this look is perfect for sl.

7th on Sale: HIV Benefit

Is anyone in second life participating in this?

Facebook Ruins Christmas

Facebook publishes people's purchases in their newsfeed.

This is very disturbing.

She Calls It The London

She calls it the London because it's hers.
From up out of all of the aching years,
burned by memories of her arching fears.
Form up out of where her life began,
smuggled out of Pakistan,
sold to a twisted needy man,
to feed his ugly depredations,
fed to the lusts of many nations,
turned and tapered to shapes that adult lovers cannot know
a tiny vessel into which their sewage flowed.

To be that age and carry his seed inside,
to be at nine a hallowed concubine,
and then again, again at ten,
his pixie sparkly little bride.

And then escaped at twelve you see,
away from debauched fantasies,
and wandering streets like a Dickens urchin
stealing her food from shop stall merchants,
and caught one day her hand around an apple grasped.
Her wrist like bondage by his fingers clasped.

From out of this moment her expectations
where unhindered by ordinary hesitations,
but found, instead another path begun,
than left the other, older one.

Now she sits haughty, elbows like knees on the table,
a cigarette dangles, her neck is arched,
and wide dark eyes bore into me as I ask
how she now sets herself about the task
of courting men to pay for favors,
and all the debauchery in many flavors.

With an edge and air regal of one regaled,
she tells me of the city's darker tales.
Desire transformed be angry ego into rape,
while other weaker egos gape.

Of rooms of squirming bodies and shaken souls,
of masters slaves and their roles,
it leaves me reeling in the mind,
my pity eaten to a rind, and left
instead a cold wonder for this queen of night,
who treads soft footfalls beyond wrong and right,
to ease a sickness in its plight,
by catering to sweet neurotic flight.

Up and in to other lands,
taken and caressed by many hands,
to sleep upon the entire day,
it is wrong, but she knows no other way.

The smoke it plumes from her lips as she explains,
the daily agony and eternal pains.
The crooked path to self-redemption,
set forth on that darkened mountain path
was stolen by cruel intentions.

The white boa around her shoulders draped
was bought by the profits of many rapes.
But corroded away that innocence of dawn -
once taken it is forever gone -
is replaced by some strange self-possession,
which no mere physicality can exorcise.

I can see it, see it, see it in her eyes,
beyond her bluntness, and candid lies.

She calls it the London because it is hers,
and at its dark heart, her shiny mind and body

At the heart of Second Life's direct sex industry is human need, human fantasy, and often, human carnage. Many of the people who are escorts are escorts because of dark fantasies of being abused and treated like garbage, of the people who have this fantasy, many, too many, are survivors, or victims, of childhood sexual trauma or emotional trauma. By no means all. But far far too many.

And in the community of second life, there are a small number of men who seek to exploit this. This is not only because those who do something out of need will do "anything with anyone for any amount of money," a phrase I heard from someone who is most decidedly not in this category, but whose description of the mindset is better than any phrase that I could coin, but also because it creates the expectation, the hope, of finding that diamond of sl escorting, the rl woman who wants to be treated like garbage rl. It is for her that more than a few men prowl are darker corners. The others, are merely the cost of searching for the her that they seek to own. The woman who will not only whore herself for linden virtually for them, though this is good, but the woman whose expression of these traits on Second Life is a cry to have them taken into real life. They look for the woman who will whore her real body for real money.

In my time on second life I have gotten offers to become an rl sex worker. I know escorts on second life who are rl sex workers, some trying to leave, others merely on hiatus or looking for ways of contacting additional clients through second life. It is a minority of the sisterhood, but not an inconsequential one. Similarly most of the men, even those seeking the most perverse of fantasies, are not interested in recruiting escorts for rl. More men want me to be a real life girlfriend, than be a real life call girl.

However, this rumbling undercurrent can intrude like a shock, when a conversation with a colleague turns to her experience of incest, when a client or potential client makes it clear that he isn't really interested in an sl escort, but only in the potential to take control of my rl.

The direct sex industry on second life is a fragile ecosystem. I am at pains to remind people that most of the sex that goes on in association with second life is not in the direct sex industry, but arises out of relationships. Escorting and orgy rooms are visible, because they have to be, they are not the middle range of expression of sexuality, nor the permanent one for most people. Thus it is not enough to "report" someone, because it is easy enough to slither away having been "mis read," and then to turn and reek revenge on the escort who was foolish enough to say anything.

This delicacy comes ut of the fundamental unfairness of the escorting reality. There is not enough work on second life for everyone who wants to work here. In fact, I would estimate that more than half of the active population of second life is here to learn this technology, and to build and grow with it, rather than to directly and immediately make money in second life. My own path is not abnormal: escort to get the basic capital and connections to try and spread wings and fly. Whether it works in my case I don't know. But if it does, I am not the first.

I publish this now as both a warning to those who work in the darker regions of the sl sex world, to be very careful about exposure of your rl, because the tactic is to get something which could be used to compromise your rl, and as a beginning of the exploration of how the aftershocks of rl trauma play themselves out in second life.

There are some stories, and it is time for me to tell some of them.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Midnight Eclipse Pas de Deux

Another section of my novel.

Of course there is a reason to post this today. I will talk about that tomorrow, because doing so now would entail a spoiler.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I, We, Thee, Us

I take a finger and twirl my hair
and feel the pulling on my skin,
it is a welling from within,
a wish for your fingers to run through my locks,
and caress away the wounds of life unfair,
dreams broken on the days hard rocks.

I take my hands and make a braid
while I fume at was left unsaid.
It makes my features more severe
and hides that gnawing inner fear.
It presents a face to open air,
that I wish you could boldly kiss,
but you are not there.

It is your eyes gazing on me that I miss,
your absence makes my world remiss.

I take the scissors and cut away,
the straight strands that I bound today,
and expose my neck to other eyes.
Inviting those forward looking spies,
to invade this surface that you once mapped.

I wash my head of all my sin,
I know as we argued my ear was of tin.
I did not hear your cries of need,
to save hearts that now alone bleed,
and in our cages of sullen pride are trapped.

I walk into the teaming crowd,
wishing I could swoon for you aloud,
rather then repent and let you go.

I pray to angels who cannot be,
to take the and I back into we.
I pray to imagined gods up above,
that I without you can find my place in love.

[And two others on raise the red lantern:
Whoregasm and The Dance of Three.. It isn't that I am feeling bad about men right now, in fact two of these poems were started some time ago, it has just been a day for getting things finished....]

Why Proky Neva should not be considered a reliable source of information

Although not a legally recognised offence, paedophilia (sexual attraction toward children) invariably involves the commission of crimes such as sexual assault, indecency and offences relating to child pornography. Paedophilia may be dealt with either by adopting a medical model in which treatment is provided with a view to preventing the occurrence of further undesirable conduct, or by punishing individuals through the use of the courts. James examines many issues of relevance to the debate on paedophilia.

Adam Graycar in the introduction to Marianne James' Paedophilia.

Prokofy "Proky" Neva is justifiably one of the most detested individuals in second life. A long track record of angry rants, smears, lies, disinformation presented in an arrogant and pseudo-authoritative way, combined with the incessant presentation of her as something of a source of information are a very good way of making someone disliked. In reality she is just an oldbie land baron who vents and rants because she's never actually done anything but insult people and self-promote. She is a representative of a very small group of people who make money by holding Second Life back.

I'm not one to say that an interest group should not rally around their representatives. In fact, if the people they rally around are unpleasant and unreliable, that is a very good way for others to realize that the interest group is suspect. Nasty people elect or select other nasty people to represent them. In the end this is why the old Republican Congress collapsed, because it represented interests who selected Tom Delay, Mark Foley, and others, who engaged in illegal and immoral conduct as their leaders.

Proky Neva's method, or schtick, if you like, is to gain attention through trying to exploit sensationalism. It worked on Electronic Art's Sims Online, and has, to a lesser extent here. She is also a representative of a certain slice of people trying to make money in Second Life, and attacks Linden Labs from that angle. However, simply because LL has made mistakes, and engaged in actions which are deserving of censure, as even many LL supporters admit, does not mean that every ranting critic of LL is worthy of attention. For every symptom, there are dozens of false cures, in addition to appropriate courses of treatment. Proky peddles false cures, often for illnesses that don't exist.

An excellent example is her misguided position on the new search feature. Recently she was seen ranting that she "predicted perfectly" the problems with the new search. An examination of her argument shows that first her statement is self-serving: she predicted she wasn't going to like the new search, which is rather like me predicting that I will not like a meal at Taco Bell. While people like Vint Falken have been doing careful investigative work about real problems with the new search, including permissions problems, Prokofy is busy telling us that the camping farms are going to dislike a search that reduces, but by no means eliminates, the power of camping. If this were merely offered as an opinion, then well, Proky and everyone are entitled to opinions. But phrasing them as circular arguments is not a way to present those opinions credible.

But the difference between an opinion and a bias is the grounding in facts. It is one of the most important points made about public discussion, from Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, that while we are all entitled to our own opinions, we are not entitled to our own facts. Consistently, Proky wants her own facts. In the case of the search function she falsely proclaimed that camping only effected "a few" sites. This is simply not a statement that withstands scrutiny in any objective way.

The proof of this can be had in old search on almost any popular term. In fact, search on popular places, both mature and not, is as good a place to start as any. At this point following up with searches on "hair" or 'skin" and even relatively specific terms, should be enough to convince anyone that camping dominates the top 10 of almost any common search. Traffic as a warped metric for search is widely recognized by almost everyone who isn't part of the traffic system. Recently, in my world the major clubs have more or less given up on it, and have taken the hit to both search and visibility that this brings. But non one is really happy about it, it is just that it was impossible to supply content and camping. As a result, early searches for content lead to places that overcharge for free or close to free items.

Another example is Proky's position on huge prims, which is in opposition. This position is against the interests of almost all active residents of second life. Huge prims are far from the optimal way of implementing larger than 10M building, almost everyone involved in using them would gladly trade the current hacked set for the ability to directly create huge prims which were then integratable into second life and its physics engine. However in the question between yes or no, the quality of second life would be dramatically reduced without them.

Don't believe me, believe the experts, and believe Caledon, one of the most vivid and vibrant user themed continents. Proky's object, if it can be called that is that huge prims don't LOD out as easily, but this cost is more than balanced by the reduction in both client and server lag that having fewer polygons and fewer primitives. If people want a numerical example, they can come to Cecil, where we have hundreds of huge prims in use at Yedo, and check the statistics on the sim: it ranges between 7ms and 11ms, and that is directly dependent on script use or whether there is an event going on at the time. The numbers are very clear, using 10x10 prims to do floor and walls generates more lag than using huge prims, and means there are more objects and textures to deal with.

Again Proky wants her own facts...

... but if Proky were merely a self-interested ranter who grabs on to random bits in support of her self-interest and the self-interests of the very narrow range of people who are like her, then it would not be very interesting to write about her, and I wouldn't spend any time on worry ing about what she writes. Instead it is that Proky combines an excessive visibility with a flagrant disregard for facts as a means of attacking other people.

The most well known example, I think, of Proky's outright paranoia is the so called "Feted Inner Core" hypothesis. In this Proky argued that there were a small group of people who had friend inside of LL, and they pushed out everyone else in a zero sum game. It isn't that LL has not shown favoritism, but as a sweeping explanation for why Proky herself isn't more important, it fails almost every rational test, starting with looking at who has been successful. Yes, some have been successful by working LL contacts, often wildly so. But there are clear problems with FIC.

One obvious contradiction in Proky's …hmmm reasoning is too strong a word, let's call it chain of assertions… is cause and effect: did LL make someone successful because they liked that person, or did LL do business with, and favor, certain people over others because those people were already successful and LL had to do business with someone? Proky never disposes of this as a possibility.

Another is that many people, Proky herself included, have become successful despite being on LL's bad side.

I am not even sure that the fundamental assertion that LL picked winners and losers, in particular, could be established by the facts. It is true that LL often does things that favor certain ends over others, and many of its decisions are questionable. That is that Linden Labs distorts the economy, and here I am usign the word in a speicfic way, does not mean that LL arranges for particular winners and losers. Or at least not to the degree that Proky asserts. and Proky nowhere comes up with any kind of data or analysis that would support the hypothesis in its breath-takingly conspiracy theory nut form that she presents.

It is also certainly true that Second Life is not a market economy, simply because LL is not under any pressure to make it, to use some jargon, Pareto Optimal. That is, LL has no incentive to make the total Second Life Economy as large as possible, but instead it has to make it as profitable for Linden Labs as possible. We live in a monarchy, not a democracy, on Second Life, and if LL could make twice the profit by halving the size of the economy, then that is what its business decision makers would do.

The next thing to do is to look at an example of the personal malice and delusion of Proky directed at individuals, and the best one I know of is in relation to someone who is much more important than I am to second life: Siobhan OFlynn. If you like anything about Second Life, then you should thank Siobhan because she, at some personal risk and expense, was there to fight for it.

I have had a falling out with Siobahan over her support for Cristiano and his "throttling" obsession, because I am one of the people that Cristiano wants to drive from second life. Matters of life and death spoil friendships in a hurry. However Proky's characterizations of Siobhan as being "odious and hate filled" are so far from accurate as to be unbelievable. Siobhan, while I disagree with her SL political affiliation, is rather much one of the more easy going people in Second Life. You would be hard pressed to find many people in Second Life who have been here as long, been associated with as many important events, and who have been in the thick of those events, who has fewer personal hatreds than Siobhan. Yes there are people who have rubbed her the wrong way, me included, and who have betrayed her sense of the loyalty due to friends. But that is in many cases, if not most cases, because Siobhan is one of the more generous people in second life, one of the more giving, and one of the most loyal of friends.

Proky's over the top bile towards Siobhan is well known. And is hardly isolated. For example, anyone who knows Vint Falken knows that she is extremely level headed, careful, and reasonable, even rational. I aspire to be as logical and as orderly as Vint, but I can never do it. Proky accused Vint of "rage and temper tantrum." It isn't Vint who is throwing hissy fits every day on her blog, it is Proky. At what people do people wake up and realize this? Not yet obviously, but I think soon.

Now let me frame this in personal terms, because this is a conflict that I am personally involved in. When I had just begun blogging I posted on the age play question. I was clear about my position, and as someone who is paid to write, and regarded as a good writer, I know that I was clear. An author has a duty to be clear to people who are good readers, or even open minded ones, and it is a duty that I work hard to live up to. However, people who are not interested in understanding cannot use their solipsism as proof of an author being unclear.

My position then, as now, is that the problem with the age play question is that the current legal structure of banning play under the age of 18 conflates several things which are different things. In legal terms there is simulation of sexual activity with underage people that is malum in se, or bad in itself, and simulation of sexual activity which is malum prohibitum, or illegal because of the need to regulate. Sex itself isn't bad, but some kinds are, and some kinds are problematic enough to have rules about. The distinction is something that anyone who is writing about legal issues, which is virtually all of politics, should "get." Even Reese Witherspoon could get this.

Age play, like the acts that it matches to irl, has parts that are evils in themselves, and parts that are regulations that have a degree of arbitrariness to them.

The first kind is sexual acts with infants and children. I think we can all agree that using a baby as a sex toy is a sign of illness, and that that seduction, coercion or enticement into sexual activity of children who are not sexually mature or emotionally mature is wrong. It is a problem that has erupted into public scandal, but has been with us for a very long time. The sexualization of children is recorded in cultures around the world, and in places that were both uncivilized and highly cultured. Acts depicting children involved in sex can be found in a variety of texts. This is because the direction of libido at children is a variation present in human beings, but one with which we cannot permit its expression because of the damage that it causes.

This is true not because children are asexual beings, but because many of the components of sexuality, including the ability to form deep attachments, reach orgasm and direct affection, are present in children. We do not want to have the development of the psyches of children corrupted by the imposition of adult sexual needs upon them. Use of children as sex objects, or as sexual partners, is wrong in itself. We ban the use of literature, pictures and simulation because we do not want to give people who have this illness, or those who would use this illness for their own profit, a way of connecting and there by causing more damage. Whether our law enforcement methods are good or not, whether our laws are good or not, whether our protections for children are effective or not is a matter of public and expert debate. It is not something that will be solved in second life, or in a blog written by a pixel prostitute, or in any way but broad debate through political means.

That part of the question, like many, belongs in courts, in the major organs of public discussion, guided by the results of rigor and analysis. Just recently the FBI had a forensic test thrown out, with far reaching effects, including the potential to overturn major convictions. Just because we need law enforcement, and we are grateful for the more orderly society that law enforcement makes possible, does not mean that we can suspend critical thinking. Not only was this test invalid, but the FBI failed to notify defendants that their cases had been tainted by its use. The same lesson applies to our efforts to prevent predation on children: we all agree that paedophilia is an evil, however that doe snot mean we can then abandon all reasoning attempting to limit that evil.

However the second range of under 18 sex play is more problematic. People from the age of sexual maturity and the age of 18 are capable of a range of decision making, and in real life, the age of consent is almost always lower than 18. Not all minors are children, even though all children are minors. It is a logical rule that you get taught in school, and almost any one intent on stirring up trouble tries to forget: all A's are B, does not in imply that all B's are A.
We prohibit people from role playing or present acts which are, themselves, legal, or from enacting texts which are, themselves, legal. Consider the famous Romeo and Juliet example. Both Romeo and Juliet are under 18. Juliet is not even 14.

Thus it would be against the ToS, and the law as currently exists in the US, to roleplay Romeo and Juliet, and include the night together that they spend.

It would also be against the ToS and the law as it currently stands to roleplay the following:

"I had a girl that I had a major crush on when we were both 17. I want to roleplay going to the junior prom, taking her out dancing, and then have sex in the back of a limo." Age play, even though the act itself is legal, and the imagining of sexual experiences from teenage is a very common thing based on clinical data. Sexualized situations are common in television and movies, and have been for a very long time. Historically and practically speaking, 18 is late to prohibit all sexual activity.

My position then, and now, clearly stated, is that while sexualization is a question for law enforcement, are we effectively protecting people from an evil that is almost universally admitted to as an evil, sexual activities involving adolescents are not universally admitted to as an evil, and the present law forbids people from pretending to do things that are actually legal to do, and is a more complex question, and one where our current legal frame work is in contradiction with itself, with art and culture, and with practical reality. I am perfectly willing to say that roleplay of sexual activity involving infants and children is something that should be left to clinical and law enforcement situations under closer scrutiny and supervision. I am not willing to admit that the legal hysteria over simulated sex with teenagers is a good thing, nor that our present set of rules makes any actual sense.

On one hand we ant to prevent adults from preying on teenages. On the other hand, while ther are some people who want to ban all sex before marriage, that is not the general social norm we live in, an d it is not a healthy one, if the actual data on abstinence only sex education means anything at all.

However, the problems with simulation of sexual activity between teenagers, or involving a teenager, are not the fault of Linden Labs, but rooted in the legal framework itself. I'm far from alone in seeing this, and my position is solidly mainstream: no sex with children, no sex based on coercion, but anti-sex obsession is far to enshrined in our current legal system and is often picked up in our media system.

Proky Neva of course, has ridden, with handle bars attached to the four poster bed, this hysteria. And in an email exchange dating from the time of that first post accused me of wanting to engage in age play acts. This is a very serious accusation, one that absolutely cannot be drawn from what I do or what I said. Yes I have written about teenage sex, but because it is a formative experience, not because I have an obsession with teenage boys.

Such an accusation, that I have the illness of paedophilia simply because I don't share Proky Neva's confused reading of the legal problems, and her interest in promoting age play hysteria, is not to be taken lightly. People have their lives ruined by these kinds of accusations. If you genuinely believe that someone has the proclivity to engage in sexual acts with children, at the very least, that person should be watched carefully, and if you have any evidence, watched by the authorities. It only takes one victim to be too many.

Go and read the criminal justice report, paedophilia is invariably associated with crimes. Invariably. People should be careful before throwing those kinds of accusations around. Proky is not careful, or to be blunter, she has a willful disregard for the truth.

Proky Neva's trail of hate is not alone in having passed by my door. I am sure there are many people who can come up with more direct examples and longer campaigns of her bile and vitriol. I am also sure that people who are actual prokicologists can build a better case against Prokofy Neva than I can. I simply don't read her nonsense often enough, and it would take a stipend and the promise of a tenure track position to get me to do it.

So the bottom line is that if you want to know what is really going on, read Virtually Blind (who has this to say about Prokofy Neva, or Vint, or Tateru Nino a dozen other excellent bloggers in SL, bloggers who can get by in this world without Proky's insanely jealous vitriolic at everyone more talented at genuine accomplishment than she is.

If you are going to start your day with reporting on second life, then it should be New World Notes, not Second Thoughtless, that should be your first stop. Hamlet, stop me if you have heard this, is a reporter with real skills at balancing and searching for facts. He doesn't hide his interests and biases beyond a fog of noise. And well... shhh.... he can write, and in a clean crisp style that isn't tripping over inaccurate adjectives at every turn.

In fact, I think my very next post should be on the anti-Proky of Second Life, Gwyneth Llewlyn.

Looks like Proky is going to have to accuse me of age play again.

get real

I mean people below 18 years old shouldn't even know what this blog is talking about. But even worse is Raise the Red Lantern:

get real

Friday, November 16, 2007

Last Lecture: VR Expert on achieving your dreams

VR expert and professor is dying of cancer. He spends time talking about achieving dreams, virtual reality and having a sense of humor.

Everyone associated with second life needs to read this...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A love letter to Veryon

Veryon looks at her relationships.

I love you Veryon. Not in a romantic way. We will never be lovers or partners or what ever the word that is placed on such unions. But I am filled with longing of you none the less. You are one of the few people on SL that I wish I could be more like, who makes me feel plain and without style when you wander by. When I have to exaplain what the world rezzilicious means, I just send them to your blog. You, dear, get it, and do so with a natural soul that can't be imitated or taught.

I know what it is to be romantically alone, and to look out across the world and wonder if there is anyone who appreciates, who understands. And perhaps to know that at this moment, there isn't and perhaps that it feels like there never can be.

But that's a passing moment, as daylight passes into dark, and low ebb tide passes into to flood. The stars like you will ever shine, to rise, to set, but perpetually returning to shimmer in heavens deep.


Pixel Bailey's series starts

I am looking forward to reading the rest of this.

Lillie's notes on the Mean Girl's guide to escorting

If you say so....

Mistake one... this isn't escorting, it is whoring. Amsterdam is where girls who have a whore fantasy go, so you are not competing with escorts, but with amateurs, and girls so desperate for a few linden to get the basics of getting back in the trade after either a bad run or having to switch alts, that they will "do anything with anyone for any amount of money."

First rule Escorts only go to Amsterdam to rescue newbie girls and amke sure none of their friends are that hard up. Ok maybe we go there to laugh at the newbie jerks. That can be fun.

Now on to the next mistake:

Excitable John: you're a hot little bitch!
Kitty Lalonde: Why thank you!
Excitable John: need to get raped?
Kitty Lalonde: Hehe, I'm still rezzing at the minute, ask me a bit later
Excitable John: ok

Can we talk here about customers One whole category of client are people whose tastes are extreme. They come in two flavors. Those who want to find an rl partner for extreme, and they go to cheap and free places, because they aren't looking for an escort, but an rl woman who has real need to be severely abused. If this is not you, then what are you doing there? The other kind wants to sublimate or fantasize about these desires, and is willing to pay for someone who will play them out.

This means that when someone who wants to do something extreme is a potential customer, and the question is are you willing to do what they want, at a price they are willing pay. So the escorts's strategy is to both up the price and find out what they want.

"How badly do you want to rape me?"

Remember, if he thinks you are an rl pump and dump, then he is not going to pay you anything. OK, maybe the price of a postage stamp.

This will elicit a response which will both make him hornier, and tell you more about what he wants to do.

Mistake three, and the last one:

Kitty darling you are way to hot for what you were trying! No one looks as good as you do, on the rates you were charging. This means that the kind of male that has the money to buy your time figures that... well you aren't doing this because escorting is your usual gig. That means, to him, you just might be a girl with a slut whore fantasy, and if he just holds out, you might give into the heat he imagines is burning between your loins.

For someone as intelligent, as attractive and as desirable as you kitty, the thing to realize is that the man is not paying for you to have sex with him. He's paying for you not to have sex with someone else. The men who pay the best, and most consistently, are the ones who see you as a vision of loveliness, and can't bare the thought of newbie paws all over you, grunting out things like

"Fell you so good. Split you so open. Feel it cunt. Feel it."

Squirt Dick. Squirt!

And the sign off line:

"Anyone want to pay me for sex? My prices start at 5k an hour?"

For vox, that is not out of line. For cam... that is what you would get for :15. For cyber? I've made more... But if you want it, you have to work it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The XX Factor Takes on Ev-Psych

On one hand i think it is undeniable that evolution shapes behavior, on the other hand i have ot agree that the field is cluttered with misogyny and pseudo-science.

People in the field just seem to think a great deal too much about the sexual division of labor.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Last call for last call

Does this make her brain look dead?

this is one of those posts where i don't know where to begin. on one hand the passing of an important designer, pillar of the sl community and decent individual is really not the time to be catty or bitchy. i've been catty and bitchy about ginny's work before, and deservedly so. but that's what you say about someone when you are fighting the wave of street urchin cum 9 to 5 cubicle catastrophe which is the fashion taste of the people who followed her releases. what you say about someone as important and influential, and upstanding and decent, as ginny, once she is gone, is quite another matter: sl has lost one of its best residents, one of its most dedicated people, and one of its centers of ideas. it's a hole that isn't ever going to really close up. in a world of fakes and frauds, ginny was genuine.

this is why the statement that this is like versace passing is incredibly amusing and shows just how little the sl fashion world knows about, well, fashion. versace was trashy, what happened when you too the latest celebutante bit of fluff and throw lots of money at her to make whatever advantages of face and figure she had work. versace's spirit is alive and well on much of sl, but please, ginny was never part of trashdom. ginny may not have been inspired, and often wasn't, but she was never gaudy, tasteless or one to throw pixels and bling at a design problem. ginny made clothes that worked.

instead, ginny was mall retail fashion, couture inspired in an off handed way, for sl. her designs were solidly in the range of abercrombie and fitch, fcuk without the color, bcbg. if her clothes were real then wwd would eat them up. She was never quite as earthy as some, and never really got color. but versace is not at all what she was doing. Instead ginny's clothes were the clothes that people standing in their houses on their lots wore when having their virtual friends over for a virtual talk fest. clothes for a slice of sl which, while it does not attract the sensationalism of direct sex and what i do, nor the glittering plutography of big business come to second life, is a huge part of what is done here.

more over, ginny was consistently first in moving this style and making this style work. her business practices were exemplary, customer service was excellent and prices were, if you wanted what she sold, very reasonable.

for different reasons i take this death as a hard shock, because it is only recently that ginny started making cloths that i would buy. somewhere in this dismal summer, ginny had hit on how to make clothes which were both richly detailed, and which were none the less within the range of her buying public. suddenly you could see her clothes on a young elizabeth tailor in national velvet. i've purchased five of her catwalk collection outfits, and wear them regularly with some good effect. from stolid to solid, from timid to sensible, ginny's work burst upward in quality and detail in a startling short period of time.

and that is what is painful to me: this was a moment when the pieces of sl were becoming more as one, where the quality of work had begun to soar on winds of inspiration, and when it was clear that designers wee no longer fighting with sl, but using its features to make artistic statements. ginny's last release was a landmark, and now, it is to be the last indeed for last call. while there were clear problems with how parts fit together, the texture pieces were inspired, and the integration of sculpties was generally sure handed. if ginny's fans are upset because they have lost their fashion pole star, i am more so, because it was clear that ginny had found a way out of the wilderness of the land of bland and into higher realms.

but oh god is that outfit ensemble hiddeous, my eyes hurt just remembering it. if there is anything that makes me feel the pain of loss of ginny so much as looking at her last work with its promise and exquisite workmanship, it is looking at the fashion audience that she had connected with, and was dressing better and better.

The Lillie Black Purity Test

Not even in the same Time Zone as work safe. Deduct .5 for each "yes" answer. I will probably make a test gadget freebie at some point.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We're... the Creds.

did the credit cards ban gambling?

You know you cheap and sleasy when

1. you've had sl sex with more than one person who was not friended at the time.

2. you've been picked up by more than one person at phats, in a four hour period.

3. you have an alt just to hang out in Amsterdam.

4. you have been banned form an orgy room for having too much sex.

5. you have more than 2000L of items from xcite.

6. one point each:

  1. number of sl sex partners higher than your tier payment (in usd).
  2. number of sl sex partners greater than your bust measurement.
  3. number of sl sex partners greater than your IQ.
  4. number of sl sex partners greater than your weekly income (in usd).
  5. linden.

7. you have more than one favorite nude shape.

8. you have a skin you only wear nude.

9. you have the order of dances on ravanne's pole memorized.

10. you don't have to look to hit:

  1. the xcite cock menus.
  2. the xcite cock and excite cunt menus alternating.
  3. more than one version of a sex gen bed.
  4. the tp button to a free sex area.

11. you have more than 10K of sex beds in inventory because it is not worth rezing them.

12. you have put sex menus on otherwise innocuous objects because you can.

13. you have had rl sex with more than one person you had sl sex with first.

14. you have had rl sex with the SO of someone you first had sl sex with.

15. you've been collared by someone you don't have in your friends list.

16. you have had sl sex with more than 4 people in a 24 hour period, for free.

17. you have had sl sex with more than 2 people at once (e.g. by IM with one person while animating with another.)

18. you have had alts collared by two different people at the same time.

19. you have ever fuck camped.

20. you have ever begged for sex on the free sex groups.

21. you have posted something like this just to know you are not alone.

22. you are wondering where the check boxes are so you can print this out.

23. you are saying "but she forgot..."

It Not Our Day

In thelast 24 hours I've been hit hard by sl bugs. Twice I've simply crashed when moving a script. A particle system that worked in a child prim stopped working unless it was in the root prim, something I very much hope gets fixed given how useful child particle systems are. Dozens of saves have bounced because of lack of asset server. It's been truly awful.

Uthango fundraiser

A bike-a-thon - in second life.


We would like to request your help with [e]bizikile, the first fundraising event of UTHANGO in Second Life, in association with Charitable Hearts.

UTHANGO needs Individuals, organisations, companies, clubs or merchants that is willing to place a vendor at their premises. We plan to sell our unique African bikes to raise awareness and funds for a real-life project. We also want to emphasize the importance of bicycles in African cities and rural towns.


The [e]bizikile fundraising drive starts 15 November, continuing over the upcoming festive Season. The unique wearable, low-prim BICYCLE in four versions is only L$250 each - close to $1. These beautiful bicycles were made exclusively for us by Shukran Fahid of !BooPeRFunK! and will be the only ones that can be used next year in a grid-wide bike-a-thon that we will be organizing.

All vendors will be formally recognised at the Uthango office with a LM to your location.


Uthango Social Investments is a registered South African charity working directly with more than 12400 people living in poverty.
It is also the first African-based company and NGO officially in SL, where it will launch VIRTUAL AFRICA in 2008.

Funds from the [e]bizikile fundraising event will go to one of our real life projects that require resources; an OPPORTUNITY CENTRE based in an impoverished Cape Town community, for unemployed job seekers.

Auditors: Wilder Lockitch
SL separate bookkeeping recording via WilberForce Rau


Any SecondLifer has the opportunity to support us:

(1) by being a vendor;
(2) by spreading this notecard to friends or post it in a group;
(2) by buying one of these virtual Uthango Charitable Bikes or;
(3) by sending donations online via secure payment at our webpage:

Please get involved by joining the [e]bizikile group directly and you will stay in the know. Alternatively, IM Alanagh Recreant.

Thank you!

~Enakai Ultsch~
Erna Sittig, Executive Director
Uthango Social Investments

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Adding epredator to the blog roll.

VR evangelist.

Monday Deadline!

MTV's Real World could have an episode about Second Life... but only if we hurry. Here is in world producer Ben Rosen has given out the following casting call:

"I Live Another Life on the Web"

Do you sometimes feel as if you're living a double life? Are you pretending to be someone you're not? Do you have one identity in your everyday life, but a different one when you're alone and on-line? Does your virtual avatar make you feel confident behind your computer screen? Are you famous online but feel like you're invisible in real life?

Do you have trouble approaching someone for a date in person, but when you're behind the comfort of your computer, do the words just flow? Would you be afraid to be yourself if you were ever to come face-to-face with your online friends or companions? Do you get so caught up in the person you pretend to be on the web that you maintain that persona in person?

If you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 28, and live another life on the web, email us at: with your story.

Please be sure to include your name, location, phone number and a photo, if possible.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The ashes and the roses.

I have for the last time cried for you.
The tear has faded to the air.

I have taken the last flower from your hand.
It's petals crushed in yellowed book.

I have seen your back for the last time,
that you've given me in so many fights.

Oh-yo you knew how to make me pay for wanting you,
by making me want you more.

It was a price, so eager to pay,
that I would open and pay again, and again,
to see if each time the coin would shine as that first
that first time when touch was wire that carried life electric upon it.

When crumbs of your words would make glow,
and droplets of your glance spattered across my face,
would be the coming of florid monsoon.

But it it was shards and shreds that ever you gave,
that ever I took.

And now they are the last oh the last and gone.

But it is a long and lonely ocean that has been crossed,
and there some where to the West,
is the lightning touch of another land.

So it is the last words I write to you,
knowing that they find you dipping in another well,
one that you shall barrel and be gone from,
until she, to, looks lost and wonders,
why this day is the last for her.

But today is not my last day for you.
That sun rose and set,
rose and set on another distant day,
when quietly I stole up,
face still stinging from you slaps,
red from the sharp impact,
and went out the door,
softly to close it behind me,
and bare of anything but dressing gown, wandered the streets.

I was found by waiting strangers, my feet cold from the snow,
burned by the melting frost.
It was dazed isolation that they found me in,
my hand still curled around a rose, that rose,
that now sits pressed in that yonder book.

Friendly arms took me in, and took me to a gate,
I thought that I was come to death, and this was white heavan.
For days I turned sick, half between dreams and death,
as oblivion's henchmen played dice for my soul.

But wakening to a sallow sun,
to this new life I live,
both were left thirsting, for today, that draught of all I am.

I am not all that I was,
my mind pounded upon by your hands is not all their,
like flower petals on the street,
it is strewn in the broken battering bombardment,
laying in bits and pieces in all the rooms we shared.

But I am here, it is enough,
I spend my days ladling out water to the others who come here,
and scrubbing clean the floors,
wiping the grime from the corners,
polishing the silver and the brass.
Making waiting for the next and the next and the next after that.

There are no more tears here in my eyes,
my smile is slight and wane,
but never sets from face.

Would that I could have back all that I was before I met you,
and still have the peace that I now know,
and truly be a free spirit awandering in the fields of love.
Yes, please oh yes.

But I am as you made me, your last sculpture I know.
Because you will never find, so long as I live,
where I burned your hands that night.
The last ash is pressed aside entombed with that last rose.

Lust, Caution: Ang Lee, can we please get over the misogyny yet?

Warning, spoilers. Don't read this if you want to see the film. Better don't read the subtitles, like opera, this film is so much better if you have no idea with what is being said.

Ang Lee is a misogynist fatalist. Since women are, I will be the first to admit, imperfect, and because many lives end in painful futility, there is nothing wrong with this as an artistic starting point. Eat, Drink, Man, Woman and Brokeback Mountain were both heart rending and psychologiclaly penetrating. I think that Lust, Caution wants to be a new Last Tango in Paris. Except it isn't.

Let's start with the sex scenes. Yes, you can see the lead's private parts, yes you can see the public hair of the actress. Yes, they engage in light bondage, various sex positions. But like a high restaurant with bad food, there is dollops of sex on the plate, and not enough of anything else to make these meaningful. A lot of Ang Lee's absurdism comes out of a kind of Woman in the Dunes view of the geography of human beings and the things they create as ways of filing emptiness. In the end that is all the main character, played by the brilliantly controlled young actress Tang Wei (汤唯), has left.

It is interesting that one woman has alleged that true events inspired the original story, and that the failure of the mission was a gun jamming. This is the reverse of the accusations of The English Patient which make the hero seem better than he was, not worse.

But these are clutter compared to the real defect of the film: it's ambition is cut through the ice of how sexual intercourse leads to attachment so strong that it will overwhelm good sense. In doesn't do this. As far as anything is concerned, the film is about fucking, and the end, the regret we see is no more than losing your favorite coffee shop to a mall.

There is one moment where Wong Chia Chi, Tang Wei's character admits the corrosion that being a concubine for country means. It is one of only two true moments in the film, the other being the stabbing scene that ends the first half of the film. But there isn't enough of it. We have to see, and we don't, how this transfigures her. We don't get that, and thus the sex scenes are, well well filmed soft core pornography with a very pretty pair of leads.

I know something, I think, about being a concubine for a higher goal. It's not like the film. Instead, the film is about artists selling out for their art, and that's a different kind of concubinage. While people often say that art for commerce is like prostitution, it isn't. It's easy to keep the two apart, because nothing invades your body chemistry in doing illustrations and logo work. Sex, even virtual sex, is different.

That's the exploration this film needs, and does not get. Why does the director fall in love with danger and not with the actress? Why do they all fall in love with failure rather than success? The plot isn't: the first get lucky to be watched by the resistance, and then unlucky to be watched by the collaborationist government. The whole plot could have been filmed in two sequences lasting a few minutes. It's the opposite of Brokeback Mountain where "this thing that comes over us" is a thing, we feel it and understand it. But then Ang Lee doesn't hate men the way he hates women.

Which isn't, in itself, unartistic. A great deal of great art has been made by men who hate women, and admired by women who hate themselves. What's wrong with it here is that the self-loathing of Wong Chia Chi is not made into what it is: an emptiness of the actress. She is bought for a quail egg gem, and is, therefore, uninteresting. The collaborator is merely surviving and taking his pleasure where he can get it. He is also uninterseting. The young director, and the other young actress, are the interesting characters. They have a joy of life, and a passion, that everyone else lacks. A more interesting picture waited watching them tangle and fight and do something, as opposed hang around in nice costumes and get fucked.

It is a delicious bon bon indeed. This is the most gorgeous film imaginable, and so well done it is painful to stare at. But it breaks its own inner rules about what we see and don't, which robs it of ambiguity. What I mean by this is simple. We follow the main characters, and do not see Yee's inner life, or work, until the film maker wants to deliver the closer. The questions that need answering then could have been shown, but were not.

So robbed of its depth, plot robbed of its meaning, all we have left is Ang Lee's staring up at the sky and wondering about the relationships between people and what they mean. He's still in search of the animal. The one who points its four legs at the stars. But here he had nothing to say, except how beautiful all the ugliness can be.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Has anyone else been suffering from logins and teleports to 10,10,10?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Law Suit Filed Against Comcast for blocking Peer to Peer Traffic fraudulently

As the AP reported some time ago, Comcast was using fraudulent messages to break peer to peer connections. Today a law suit was filed against Comcast for this.

Virtual Sex in the Real World

I'm told by people who listen to Howard Stern that he often says that ratings are all about the the lesbians. I've been asked several times if Second Life is "only about the sex." To this I reply, "And the Real World isn't?"

The obsessive focus on the imagined goings on with other people is part of our own projection, the latest example of this comes from the rumors that are running everywhere in the wingnutsphere that Hillar Clinton is having a lesbian affair with a beautiful female aid If this means anything, it probably means that the people writing about it are attracted to the aide in question, which is entirely understandable. It is even understandable that they project that desire on to other people. It's even understandable that they want to turn this into a sex rumor about a Presidential candidate that they abhor.

The obsession with Hillary's sexuality goes well back, by the time I followed politics at all, it was something that the hard core true believer kool-aid on IV drip types would bring up. In their view, any woman who is strong and confident must be a lesbian. It's a double projection. One is their own wish fantasy about what heterosexual women must be like: stupid, submissive with low self-esteem. I think this picture itself tells a great deal about the people who say such things, because that is their estimation of who would want to have sex with them. It's self-loathing turned into a sex narrative. The other form of projection going on here is the projection of how people in power treat sexually attractive women around them. They have sex with them.

Personally, I'm not big on Hillary Clinton. Personally, I don't care what her sexual habits are, so long as it goes on between consenting adults. This looks, to me, like an attempt to distract people's attention from the long train of homosexual men who are well placed in the Republican Party, including Senator Larry Craig, who is currently fighting to worm his way out of a guilty plea for having solicited gay sex. In a bathroom. At an international airport. From a police officer who is much younger. Not just solicit, but repeatedly pressed despite more than a few signs of non-interest. Right now in Washington a Republican State Representative has resigned after admitting to the police:

State Rep. Richard Curtis, R-La Center, admitted to having sex with a man he met at an adult video store in Spokane last week, according to a police report released Tuesday afternoon.

The police report offers a far different version of events from the brief account Curtis gave Monday to The Columbian, one that seems likely to threaten Curtis' political future.

The report is filled with graphic details of an encounter that began at a porn store on a Spokane Valley strip and concluded miles away in Curtis' room at the city's poshest hotel.

The "ewww" factor around people like former Rep. Foley and Senator Craig, combines with the relatively stolid relationships that several serving members of the Republican caucus are engaged in. Relationships that seem to be well known in their own districts, but some how are not reported in the press.

So there it is: the real world, like second life, is not just about sex, but about projections of virtual sex. Lacking the ability to be powerful, lacking the ability to go to bed with someone as attractive, they project both on to a Presidential candidate, and draw from this the conclusion that the media is sitting on a story. I'm told here and there that this rumor has ripped through what is now being called "the Village," meaning the tiny group of people who are inside the bubble of the beltway's echo chamber. The Village People have an obsession with sex scandal, obviously.

If anyone needs an example of how avatars are all over the place, here it is. All over the right wing blogs, people are logging in their minds to someone else's life, and doing what they wish they could do in the flesh.

I just have to ask the question: why does this matter? Well, it matters because many people seem to be politically bisexual: against gay sex when they raise their hand in the legislature, and all for it when they raise a different appendage elsewhere. Am I the only person who thinks that the government doesn't have any need to know about this sort of thing unless there is an actual crime involved? Am I the only person who believes that by making this kind of activity outlawed, it creates more incentive for murder, blackmail, lying to the police and the public and other forms of activity that come from guilt?

Can't we all just get it on?