Monday, November 27, 2006

Cthulhu sighting in our North Atlantic

So. We have a blob at the bottom of our ocean. At least we know we're 'not alone.' I shall name it Cthulhu.

Indeed, we are not alone. You see, I take pride in making my life's work about... well... life in the real world of the nitty gritty. The grassroots. The 'people.' Typing whilst having a finger on the pulse of humanity. Telling it like it is, and other such trite things people say by the fire. I'm an anthropologist/ethnographer/insert soul-seeking term which is current.. whatever you want to call it. As one of these 'thingified' people, I concern myself with the everyday affairs of life in order to explain, clumsily at best, what is "actually going on in [land of nod]." In order to do this, one must take into account a myriad of factors rather than discrete variables. Makes life difficult, but that's... well... life, n'est-ce pas?

A debate I wish would 'get solved so we can move on with our lives'^tm, is that of "virtual" worlds versus "real" world. Of real and consequential versus fantasy and escapism. It simply ain't that simple. My book chapter in Gaming as Culture (McFarland Pub) with Vieta and Smith published earlier this year talks about identity as existing in a unified Self, as opposed to being fragmented and removed (as has often been the perception of gaming).
Things are related to one another as a whole. Even the term "Second Life," something that's being written about quite frequently to the point of absurdity (as Ren from TN points out) is somewhat misleading. I think all the hoo-ha has been a mere case of 'new media-itis.' You know, kind of like how people through time have thought that print, audio, and visual media of all types have been the devil's work at one time or another. Identities in Second Life are about as much removed as a "second job" might be. For example, I'm an academic. I'm also an actor. Am I still.... me?? Hellz ya. But, you know... I might lay off the critical theory now and again when people ask me what I'm reading on set. I think it's absolutely fabulous and about time that we're beginning to take advantage of the possibilities afforded by technologies in transcending space and time and all the things that come with it, but it is what it is... an affordance. I'd get really -really- excited if they could actually transport me Star Trek style without killing me, or let me see a ME in a parallel universe (how facking kewl would that be). But alas, much hand waving to be done about this paradigm shift. I know. I know. The fact that things are called 'games' makes it really ~weird~ and the fact that real money is essentially being traded (RMT) through these venues have people thinking of ways to launder money, and commit crimes with money. These are all issues. Yes. We need to think of ways to fold this behaviour into our everyday consciousness. For me, personally... I find it as shocking as online banking.
I guess that's the job in my job... to boldly go where people think they have gone before....?

Technorati Tags: Cthulhu, anthropology, virtual, real, Second Life, Star Trek, RMT


Post a Comment

<< Home