Osprey watches the best stuff (I’ll forgive her not liking Inception 😉 ) and she tweeted a link to this great documentary I’d not heard of called Starsuckers, a film all about how the world of media manipulates our base monkey instincts and wide-open childhood innocence to make us go gaga over celebs so we will buy shit. Any shit. Piles of shit. Mountains of shit. Enough shit to bury us all under again and again and again. Watch this and weep. Then punch an advertising executive or reality TV booker square in the space where their soul used to be, the bastards.
A few things occurred to me through this film. First off, as a child of the 70’s I feel I might be one of the last generation to have escaped the deliberate and cynical targeting of children as consumers. Not completely, but enough. I think you’d have to look at my dad’s generation to see people who don’t see shiny things and start to drool, but all in all I seem to have come through nearly unscathed. Of course I have just bought a netbook I don’t need but merely want, but I didn’t buy it because Scarlett Johansson was draped across a picture of it on telly.
Which neatly brings me to my second point. Monkey arses. If you haven’t watched the film yet, jump to around 42 mins in and have a looksee. Back? Good. So, monkey arses. I couldn’t care less about celebs – their choice of clothes, watches, cars, body odour masks, their desire to eat at gastro pub X and dance at nightclub Y just don’t figure in my life. It’s like watching the news and getting to the sport – my mind switches off and before I know it the weather girl is on and my interest perks up again. Sport boring, weather lady in tight top interesting. Celeb lifestyle duller than dull, beautiful celeb ladies in high heels Hello New York! I am naught but a monkey missing a slurp of my Juicy Juice for a snatch (no pun intended) of monkey bum. I have a vague feeling that this should make me feel bad but it doesn’t. I like monkey bums and that’s all there is to say. Mmmmmm, monkey bums.
There was a third point, but the images of Miss Johansson’s lovely curves in my mind forced it out for a while. It was something to do with God. God and SL. Oh, that was it! At 40 mins into the film, some fella talks about para-social relationships and I got to thinking about how my life & friends in SL fitted into what he was saying. After all, do I just choose my SL friends based on their looks or perceived influence? After much thought, I can say with a high level of confidence that no, no I don’t. I don’t do that in RL so it’s no surprise I don’t do it in SL. I think I have a very healthy, balanced approach in that I have several levels of interaction that seems to come naturally:
- Upon meeting new people who aren’t in character I tend to be friendly and naturally not in character myself. If there is time and a connection, and if real life information is shared, then here’s a good possibility these folks will slowly become my friends and even my mates. If not, then they will stay an acquaintance before more than likely drifting off and being forgotten.
- If a connection has been made and real life chat is shared, these guys become my mates both in SL and out of SL in emails, IMs, tweets, etc. I’m not going to name names but you guys know who you are 🙂
- If folks are entirely in-character and nice then we may well become friends in SL but the connection doesn’t go beyond that really – I mean, how can it? Real life is rarely mentioned and without that, well I can’t talk about a made-up world forever. This is fine, this is normal and healthy – not everyone you meet in RL is your friend, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t friendly. Think of that lass from sales you see in the kitchen, one repeating conversation about the latest phones or last night’s telly once a day and a brief nod & smile in the corridor is the top and bottom of it.
- With the folks who are in- or out-of-character but are just plain unfriendly, well I keep away from them and almost never engage them. Why would I? That aggressive bully from accounting, you don’t seek him out for a chat about last night’s match do you? No, you stay the fuck away from the dickhead. Same in SL.
Out of all my friends I haven’t linked to any of them because of their look or position in whatever eco-system they inhabit, I became friends with them because I asked myself “are they nice?” and “do they share more than their avatar?”. If both answers were yes, they’ve more than likely become a mate, if it was a yes & no then they’re a friend or acquaintance. I’m simple fella (as I think can be deduced from the monkey bums paragraph above) but a happy one.