I am always fascinated by how people think of and describe Second Life. Some people say it’s a game and some say a virtual form of social media. I think of it as a community center with infinite rooms for infinite communities to grow and develop. It’s like yeast, fermenting creativity and community.Continue reading
Russia recently banned this meme of Putin in makeup that many were using to advocate for gay rights. In recent years, while the LGTBIQ community in the United States have seen some victories while still facing challenges and efforts to roll back their rights, sexual minorities have been experiencing ever-increasing oppression in such disparate places as Uganda and Russia. This is not a coincidence. As the Christianists have lost ground in the United States, they have exported their anti-gay agenda.
This week, news came out about concentration camps in Chechnya–think about that. Russia has passed legislation against gays, Uganda criminalized homosexuality and nearly passed a death penalty for homosexuality though we held off by pressure from Europe and the United States. Scott Lively is currently being sued for crimes against humanity for his role in advocating the repressive Ugandan actions, including advocating the death penalty for gays. He was also active in advocating for anti-gay legislation in Russia. National Organizations for Marriage president Brian Brown went to Russia to advocate a ban on gay adoptions and taking biological children away from gay parents. Brown is also trying to export his virulent anti-gay hatred to France, colluding with French far right political groups such as Dies Irae. Jack Hanick of FOX News is another anti-gay evangelist who has traveled to Russia to spread his homophobia, but also wants to import Russia’s authoritarianism to the US.
So what can we do now that our fellow Americans have traveled the globe to export their brand of hatred? We can support the organizations who fight them such as Sexual Minorities Uganda, the LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey, the Russian LGBT Network, or more generally, supporting the work of Human Rights Watch. You can do things like playing around with this image of Putin, mixing it up and making your own meme against homophobia. You can show support by making no place safe for the hate-mongers, not even fashion posts. Continue reading
Our imagination is the only true freedom we have. Before you decide that is depressing and melodramatic, consider this. What really impinges on our freedom more than anything? Is it the government or is it the mores and expectations of friends, family, and community? What stops us from pursuing our dreams, the police or our fears? There are many things that hold us back, health, financial limitations, even time, but for those of us who live in a relatively free society, we are the ones who limit our freedom.
As a white woman in the United States, I am relatively free of governmental repression. Of course, there are many cultural limits on women’s freedom and if some get their way, there will be governmental restrictions as well. But given the continuum of freedom in the world, I am comfortably situated on the relatively free section.
I have been arrested a few times for my political activities and always released with an apology. For people who are not white, police encounters are more dangerous. In fact, over-policing and police impunity are repressive, a form of unofficially sanctioned terrorism to set the limits on the movements and aspirations of people of color. Nonetheless compared to many places in the world, we continue to enjoy a relatively high degree of political freedom–for the moment. That may change, as some states are trying to criminalize protest and political activity.
The idea that our imagination is our only true freedom makes me think of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.” This is real freedom. That is why we are the ones who keep us unfree and we are the only ones who can liberate us.
Epictetus said we had the freedom of choice whether we stand at the podium or in a prison. I think of Epictetus when I think about Donald Trump. He may be the “leader of the free world” but he is one of the least free beings I can think of. He is a prisoner of his desperate need for approval and praise. He is a prisoner of rage, it clouds his judgment and incapacitates his reason. He will never be content, not to mention happy, because he is a prisoner of fear. No matter how many podia he speaks from, he will never be free.
Real freedom is in peace of mind, in being able to make your choices without fear or anger. Real freedom is when your mind is free of emotional traps, societal limitations and cultural prisons. So, yes, our imagination is the only true freedom we have…if we dare to grasp it.
Some of us are dipped in flat,
some in satin,
some in glass,
but every once in a while,
you find someone who’s
And once you do,
nothing will ever compare.
Wendelin Van Dramen, Flipped
Collabor88 opened at midnight with an exciting and fun new theme–Holographic! So their catalog is filled with opalescence, iridescence, and opulent fabrics. Blueberry released a top and belted shorts. They come with HUDs to offer an amazing range of options.
I went to Misfit Ghetto last night and saw this sign. It comes from Robert Lowell who said “The light at the end of the tunnel is just the light of an oncoming train.” Robert Lowell has been a favorite since I first discovered him in 7th grade. I was shy, a mumbler, constantly admonished to speak louder and my mother made me join the speech team. She believed in meeting challenges head on. I chose Extemporaneous Poetry as my specialty since I loved poetry and my mom made me memorize a poem a week. I figured I could get two for one out of the way.
For my first competition I drew “For the Union Dead” by Robert Lowell. The imagery bowled me over and I fell in love with his way of writing, though the poem was not without its problems for my 7th grade self. It used the n-word once, in quotes to indicate that was not a word Lowell would have used. It was a word I had never used and was certainly not acceptable. I had thirty minutes to prepare an introduction and decide how to address this dilemma. I punted and inserted the word soldiers instead. You know, as an adult, I think the person who picked the poems that day probably had not read them.
But also, from hindsight, I don’t mind, because that poem was thrilling to me. If you have seen the film Glory, you know the story memorialized in the statue he describes. But it was not the story, it was the images from phrases like his nose crawling like a snail on the aquarium glass and the yellow dinosaur steamshovels grunting as they work. Most of the poetry I had read (or my mom had chosen for me) had been prettier. She was a big Longfellow, Shelley and Shakespeare fan. Lowell was my introduction to a more robust kind of poetry. He felt rebellious and fierce and I gobbled him up. And yes, he was also bleak and grim and depressive – perfect for adolescence.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, it to infiltrate The Arcade and capture one of the Tentacio synths and bring it back for study. The stasis net will come down at midnight, allowing the most intrepid and lucky to teleport into the complex. There will be many distractions, doing their best to draw you away from your assigned task. Do not waver.
Initial reports from our reconnaissance missions are available disguised as a shopping guide. Do not be fooled by its benign appearance, it is produced at considerable risk by deep cover operatives working within the system.
Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate….J.R.R.R. Tolkien
I stopped by Faster Pussycat today and saw that Honey Bender-Auer had opened a new store across the plaza called BENDER. Featuring all original mesh and textures, it still has the rock superstar aesthetic that animates Faster Pussycat married to sleek and minimalist silhouettes. This Kyo dress was a must for me. I love how it echoes 18th century silhouettes that we are used to seeing in rich prints and maximal embellishment and here we see it in a solid silver, without visible seams or lines and not a trace of embellishment. It is a celebration of form and it is exquisite. I only have one quibble and it is minor. Since it is sleeveless it was not rigged to the arms or shoulders and so it is not very flexible when moving, It works well with most straightforward poses but if you raise your arms…well, just don’t do that. Thankfully, most of us do not run around SL with our arms raised.
I used Flair’s Maitreya Fingernails °5 as the inspiration for the rest of my styling options including lipstick shade and shoes.
Our Lady of the Bugs was the first hairdo I purchased from The Stringer Mausoleum, long ago for Halloween 2008. Her work is instantly recognizable because it is wild and exuberantly creative, full of wit and a dollop of kookiness. It entertains as well as adorns.
It’s Only Fashion: What’s the craziest thing you ever did in Second Life®? Most exciting? Silliest? Is there a story you can share that captures your Second Life experience?
Helena Stringer: The Craziest Thing I have ever done in SL® would probably be taking the reigns of Media Manager for a rather large event, 2 weeks before it was to open. I learned a lot, and was rather successful at it. There was over 200 designers in that event, and I managed to get each of them covered at least 2 times, by a team of 60 bloggers. I did this while being in 13 Events/Hunts/Rounds myself for my own store as well as running the Main Site for the Event, which had a tem and daily postings. Would I do it again? Probably, I am crazy like that, haha. Continue reading
With Halloween coming, scary pictures are starting to take over Flickr and there are several in this week’s gallery of my favorites. They aren’t all scary though. There are also pictures celebrating the seasons of Second Life, the fashions, the quirkiness as well as some that are just slices of life.
Candela Kira’s Kayako is inspired by Kayako Saeki from the movie Ju-On and The Grudge. I have not seen either one, but I assume they are terrifying as is this wonderfully scary picture. There is a lot of artistry at work making this such a scary picture. As you can see, she used the Rule of Thirds to put the focus on that outstretched hand. By centering her subject in the long hallway, the natural lines of the architecture create sight lines leading to her subject. She also used any eye control HUD to cross her eyes, giving them a spooky intensity. I don’t know if that hand is available in SL or a morph, but if it is a morph, it is the most successful one I have seen. It is out of focus, making its reach for you even more frightening because it adds depth and motion. This is a great photo that does exactly what she wants it to do. I was startled when it came on my stream – a small jolt of fear. What more can you ask for? Continue reading