I know it’s unkind of me, but ever since I saw that video of John Edwards preening to improve his pretty-boy self, I think of him as a sort of Barbie doll — or, maybe, I should say a Ken doll. That’s why I found it exquisitely funny that this plastic candidate is complaining about an act of vandalism against his headquarters in a virtual reality world. No, you’re not misreading. As Texas Rainmaker explains:
We’re not talking actual, real-life vandalism… heck, we’re not even talking about website hacking… the Edwards camp is actually complaining that some video game players virtually vandalized a pretend John Edwards Headquarters.
The following is Edwards’ campaign’s original whine, which explains what happened:
Shortly before midnight (CST) on Monday, February 26, a group of republican Second Life users, some sporting “Bush ’08” tags, vandalized the John Edwards Second Life HQ. They plastered the area with Marxist/Lenninist posters and slogans, a feces spewing obsenity, and a photoshopped picture of John in blackface, all the while harrassing visitors with right-wing nonsense and obsenity-laden abuse of Democrats in general and John in particular.
I witnessed this event, taking names and photos, including the owners of the pictures. I also kept and saved a copy of the chat log. I have filed an abuse report with Linden Labs, and am awaiting their investigation.
To make things a bit more clear, I’d better fill you in on Second Life. This is a virtual world in which people try to replicate the real world, whether their world as it is, as they wish it to be, or as they wish others to believe it to be.
Second Life’s entirely imaginary nature, of course, exposes a fatal flaw in the Edwards’ campaign’s assured (albeit misspelled) assertion that the “obsenity” writers are, in fact, Republicans. The reality of Second Life (if that phrase isn’t an oxymoron) is that, after you set up an account, you create a virtual character that can either reflect you with a fair degree of accuracy, or that can be entirely different from you. There is no policing to make sure that people create characters that are identical to their real life alter egos. This means that the vandals could well have been political partisans who are not Republicans, but merely wish to smear Republicans by committing a crime in their name. There’s nothing like a trail of red herrings to liven up political debate.
It seems to me rather irresponsible to start hurling around ad hominem attacks when there’s absolutely no way, given the virtual reality of the situation (or, rather, the hallucinatory unreality), to know with any assurance who the malfeasors’ actually are. And just to keep the pot stirred, let me remind everyone that, lately, in cyberspace it’s been the Democrats who have been having fun with blackface.
Hat tip: Ymarsakar