Scylla Rhiadra

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About Scylla Rhiadra

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  1. Race Play

    Again, a straw man argument. No one is contesting your right to free speech (or free RP). Go for it! What we are contesting is your intelligence, for wasting such an important right to spread vile and easily disproved racist nonsense.
  2. Race Play

    Most of what you say here, defending the right of people to say truly awful racist things, is a great deal of sound and fury signifying nothing. It's a straw man argument. Nobody is contesting your right to be racist, or even engage in racist RP. (See the first bullet point in my post above, in response to James.) No one has called for a ban of this. But If we grant you the right to engage in racist behaviours, then you too must reciprocate, and grant that we have the right to criticize you for it. Having the right to do something does not exempt you from that, nor from the natural consequences of your free choice. One of those consequences is that people are going to see that you are racists, and call you out for it.
  3. Race Play

    So, let's break this down. You are defending racist role play because, you say, it "mirrors the actual dynamic tensions in society," correct? In other words, you are defending a racist understanding of motivations and identity because you think that These accurately represent -- "mirror," in your words -- the real world. So . . . the racism in your RP is no longer about story arc or narrative. Your RP is racist because . . . well, because you are? I am very well aware that RP is often used -- in controlled contexts and under expert supervision -- to deal with PTSD. Arguing that it is only therapeutic If it is reductive, falsifying, and, yes, racist is sheer and utter nonsense. This is the familiar "we're paying for the privilege of being racist (or misogynist or homophobic or transphobic), and that gives us the right to be as objectionably mendacious and idiotic as we want!" Well, sure, maybe. I'm delighted to observe, however, that my even more secure right to call you out as a racist costs me exactly nothing. I think I'm getting much the better deal.
  4. Race Play

    With the greatest respect, Amanda -- and I find your argument an interesting, if deeply flawed one -- let me pose you my own question: "How much respect for or enjoyment of an action movie would we have if the foundation of the conflict were entirely built upon unpleasant and socially dangerous racist stereotypes?" I teach English literature: I get that any story lines needs a narrative arc that is built upon conflict, and that that conflict is often between protagonist(s) and antagonist(s). There is certainly nothing "wrong" with employing people who do "Bad Things" as antagonists: what is wrong is premising the performance of those "Bad Things" not upon character or circumstance, but rather upon crudely racist stereotypes. If the sole reason that your Big Bad Black Drug Dealer is Big, Bad and Deals Drugs is that he is Black, then, yeah, that's unacceptably racist, because the only motivation, the only "character" that he possesses is your utterly repugnant stereotype about what it means to be "black." The best movies -- or plays, or novels, or whatever -- don't rely for their antagonists upon racist stereotypes or cardboard figures who are mere stand-ins for racist assumptions: they employ fully-realized, complex villains who have a personal history and discernible depth of character that helps explain their motivation and makes the conflict with the protagonist more interesting and meaningful. And even the crappiest action movies can no longer get away with simplistic racist stereotypes. You want your thug or drug dealer to be black (or some other non-white ethnicity)? Fine. But make him an individual. It's lazy, ignorant, dangerous, and deeply offensive to make him representative of awful and outdated racist stereotypes. And you know what? I guarantee your RP will be more interesting, engaging, and exciting. You might actually find people want to play the villain! And you won't be contributing a social blight in the process. It's win win win!
  5. Race Play

    If you promise to poke me in the ribs whenever I appear to be too blasé or unfeeling about the travails and hardships of our juniors, I'll promise to do the same to you. (Unless there's somewhere else you'd prefer to be poked, of course.) Deal?
  6. Abusive content/group/sims in Second Life

    The government is an illusion, as you'll see if you just take this red pill. All there really is, is Maddy. Everywhere. All the time.
  7. Abusive content/group/sims in Second Life

    Well, arguably "feelings" are pretty much the main appeal and point of a virtual world like Second Life, no? And if our experiences of those didn't feel very "real" indeed, none of us would likely be here at all. But yes, thank you for the reminder: no one is actually being dismembered at the neighbourhood dolcet sim. I don't mean to pick on you, James: your response is actually a fairly moderate and reasonable one, and I apologize if I seem to be singling you out. But I find it odd how the moral panic that sometimes seems to arise when anyone critiques the ethical implications or social impact of content in SL (and most especially sexual content) invariably takes three forms: A reminder that what we see in SL "isn't real," which is often framed in terms such as "You can't actually be raped in SL, you know!" Well, duh. The suggestion that really it would be much better for everyone if we just ignored the stuff we found problematic here because . . . well, just because. But for god's sake, stop talking about it where people may read it. The accusation that what any critique is really trying to achieve is a sort of puritanical or PC censorship of all those precious rape sims out there. And yet, no one here is suggesting any such thing. Chill, people. We're not stupid: we know the difference between "real" and "virtual." And we're not trying to take away your toys. We're just discussing the implications and meanings of these things. You're welcome to join in and disagree: in fact, I've learned heaps over the years from people who did just that/ (Tolya, where are you when I need you!!). But let's all start from the assumption that we are all reasonably intelligent, open-minded people who are exploring the many bizarre facets of this weird new thing, virtual worlds, together.
  8. Abusive content/group/sims in Second Life

    Who are you going to believe, Maddy or Wikileaks? Or you could just wait until Robert Mueller has published the full results of his inquiry.
  9. Abusive content/group/sims in Second Life

    Hmmm. Szavanna isn't ringing any bells (although maybe it should), but I certainly knew Medora and Junivers, although not especially well. I worked most with millay Freschi, and a bit with Trill Zapatero and Any1 Gynoid as well, but I was really only on the periphery of Four Bridges and that community. They did host an information centre about sexual abuse that I built, and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence that I helped organize in 2010 (almost exactly 7 years ago. YEESH!). Mostly I helped run two feminist groups, and a socialist umbrella group called the SLLU. Oh, and I owned and operated a woman's bookstore in-world for about 4 years. I ended my activism (and indeed most of my activity in-world) about 6 years ago though. I got kind of burned out, and RL started getting very busy at the same time. Cool, though, that we were running in more-or-less the same circles. Perhaps we were at a party together and even chatted briefly!
  10. Abusive content/group/sims in Second Life

    I've written and spoken a fair bit in my time about representations of sexual violence in SL, but I'll admit I've never thought of this particular issue before. Trigger warnings for extreme content are pretty important, and not infrequently used, but that's usually with people who are themselves victims of violence in mind. When I was in my 20s, a good friend of mine killed himself in a particularly nasty way. It was at least a year before I could watch a movie with anything like graphic violence in it without feeling physically ill, so I get where your panic was coming from. I'm so very sorry you experienced that! I think that forums and bulletin boards -- and sometimes even simple social media platforms -- can encourage a certain kind of aggressiveness, particularly where there is a strong sense of "community" or "coterie" that seems to license aggressive behaviour. There were times when I frequented this place, a number of years ago, when it was largely unpoliced by mods, and could get very nasty, especially to newcomers. In such cases, it doesn't matter how calm and collected you are: until you are seen as a "participant" or even "member," rather than as an interloper: there's a likelihood that a few, at least, will take issue to your entrance upon the scene. So don't blame yourself: I thought you sounded very calm and reasoned. This is very cool (as is the rest of your story)! I was working with a few inline NPGs like Amnesty International Online and Four Bridges Project at about that time and after. I wonder if we had overlapping circles of friends and colleagues? And if she invites you to join her Top Secret Society, "The Ladies Who Lunch," be especially wary! They were responsible for all sorts of mischief, including the Kennedy assassination, the faked moon landings, 9/11, and Donald Trump.
  11. Race Play

    I'm entirely unsurprised, because these things are general throughout our culture. It's impossible not to be infected by them. I know that in my field it's frequently the older, established women who are the least likely to serve as allies or mentors for younger women. It's weird, but probably easily explicable on a psychological level? Oh, I'll never manage to rid myself of it, and I don't really try. Mostly, I just work to ensure that my biases and prejudices aren't expressed in my everyday interactions with people; in that sense, it's nothing more than an extension of my desire to be, well, a "nice person." Feminism asserted a half century ago that "the personal is political," and I believe that's true in this way also: making a "real difference" is most effectively done in treating other people well, regardless of who they are.
  12. Race Play

    Oh, agreed. I don't think it's going to stop me from doing it. Fear is a powerful motivating force. But it does sadden me.
  13. Race Play

    Yes, this, totally. Sometimes I worry that I'm over-solicitous in my sensitivities to discrimination. Not every "victim" wants to be identified as such: in fact, most don't because it's disempowering. I try to be "positive" in response to the garbage I see happening around me, but mostly I'm cautious because I don't think other people want me to tell their stories for them. There's another odd effect too. Like many (most?) women, I can feel nervous or even afraid in certain contexts, and I've occasionally (rarely, but still . . .) done the key-clutching thing at night while crossing dark parking lots and such. I remember on one occasion thinking, as a guy who was walking behind me on the sidewalk passed me hurriedly, that my nervousness and unease was, in some ways, another form of gendered discrimination: I was assuming that the mere fact that he was a male made him at least a potential threat. It made me think about ways in which I was guilty of sexist stereotypes. And wonder if he noticed my discomfort, and felt belittled or insulted or upset by it?
  14. Race Play

    Right now, there may well be someone whose fingers are trembling over the keyboard, itching to type "Libtard," or "PC," or something equally dismissive in response to some of these posts. But your point is exactly right: that's not a tendency that's limited to the Right. I have many progressive friends who will dismiss out of hand pronouncements with which they disagree by labeling the source a "fascist," or "conservative." Identifying a cultural tendency -- Alabama does have a distinctive political culture that is very conservative; progressives sometimes do have a tendency to want to shut down debate through reference to a form of self-defined ethical superiority -- is one thing. Dismissing individuals by simply identifying them as part of cultural stereotype is stupid, lazy, and intellectually dishonest, whether it's coming from the Left or the Right.
  15. Race Play

    I'm not sure that "evil motives" or "racist intent" have much to do with it. The point of culturally-induced racism (or sexism, or homophobia, or whatever) is that it's embedded in the way that we think, and is most frequently unconscious. Someone who clutches her purse a little tighter when a man of colour walks by isn't necessarily responding consciously or with "intent," and certainly not with "evil motives," but it is racist nonetheless. I think, myself, that limiting one's concerns to those with "evil motives or racist intent -- NeoNazis, for instance, or members of the KKK -- is in some ways a form of avoidance, because they are easy and identifiable targets. Most of us don't have to think very hard to condemn outright racists (unless, apparently, one is the President of the US?), and it generally requires, I assume, little in the way of self-reflection. In fact, that kind of "anti-racist" action is very reassuring: we can feel good about ourselves because we don't wear white hoods or have swastikas tattooed on our arms. The most pervasive, insidious, and ultimately dangerous kind of racism isn't signaled by flags, or placards, or memes, or fascist signs: it's unconscious, built into the assumptions we were educated to accept. And it's in all of us (yes, even me). Maybe "virtue" doesn't reside in not "being racist," but rather in KNOWING that one is racist, and consciously correcting that tendency through self-reflection and acts of generosity, kindness, and inclusivity? In that context, some might argue that any kind of "race bending" (or interracial role play) is bound, almost by definition, to be racist, even if that is not the intent, because in representing others we are enacting and reinforcing our own unconscious stereotypes. We are telling others what they are "really" like, in our own minds. That's why we try (or should try) to avoid things like kiddie Hallowe'en costumes that represent stereotypical "Indians," or "Chinese," or "Gypsy." I don't think we worry that the kids wearing these have evil motives or racist intent. But they are reinforcing and imposing upon others racist stereotypes without even knowing it.