December 2006

Monthly Archive

We here at Hesitating have a special fascination with the emergence of online worlds — brightly colored simulacrums of human experience that take place in fantastic settings. Arguably the most popular, World of Warcraft has generally been omitted from some of the headline grabbing developments in the online community. This is probably due to its core gameplay and straightforward goals that keep players distracted from silly social experimentation. Second Life, perhaps the game most covered by the media, is more a hotbed of real meets virtual clashes and experiments since its in-game economy can be transferred into real currency.

This year, however, a real death mourned online in WoW sparked a fair amount of controversy. It started in a forum when a ‘friend’ of the deceased announced a funeral for March 4th at 5:30 server time. The girl who had died apparently had a stroke, and the forum was filled with half heart-felt condolences such as, “death is never fun” and “Are you fucking serious? Dude….I was in a guild with her… /cry,” along with a smattering of frowny-face icons.

One prescient post bet money on the funeral being disrupted by someone in the game. The following is a video made by the guild Serenity, who did in fact crash the procession. It’s a little long, so be patient.

My first reaction – before even seeing the video – was: “That’s fucked up.” But I was already chuckling in spite of myself. The lackluster sympathy on the original forum already demonstrates the structural holes in anonymity when it tries to support a weighty topic such as death.

Also, in a game where you were pretending to be in a different world, with different creatures and rules, who’s to say that a funeral slaughter is disrespectful? Maybe a precedent has been set and from now on it will be a sign of respect to the dead to hack all their mourners to pieces. Once the knee-jerk reaction towards offense wears off, it all seems strangely appropriate. If someone was a big enough fan of the game to have friends put on an online funeral, then that person would probably appreciate this type of event were they still alive.

To me, online worlds are exciting not because of the graphics or worlds you can explore, but because common human events such as funerals, weddings, sex, commerce, etc. are being conducted for the first time in these electronic petri dishes. There is no precedent or guidelines to follow in these online firsts, and the things that people choose to keep or throw away from the real-world counterparts is thought provoking. And in these decisions, precedents are being set. What if twenty years from now, when we go to the funeral of a friend online, we feel a sense of closer as the death squads flank us and we are forced to fight for our lives?

What say you, oh loyal readers?

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Not to ear-hustle but the sudden introduction of a phone conversation proved too intrusive to allow my attention’s dedication to breakfast and the news… My future former roommate is sharing what is the cost of viagra the latest gossip with her mother concerning one of the girls she will be living with and her current roommates… Got that? As I understood events, these two unnamed people decided to spend an afternoon in a suitable roommate bonding excursion: shooting guns at the range… The girl excuses herself to get a soda, returns, then wordlessly pumps a round into her skull… A couple of days later my selection for the stereo is “No New York” which elicits the interest of a co-worker who begins thumbing through the booklet… He asks me about Adele Bertai which isn’t much of a surprise– a picture of her in an old “Search and Destroy” is what got me to check out The Contortions, and subsequently the no-wave scene, in the first place… Unfortunately pictures are almost the extant of my knowledge, tho she did has something of a solo career singing in the 80’s which seems to have culminated in a regretable album smeared with Prince’s fingerprints… Oh yeah… She lived with Peter Laughner back in Cleveland– but this requires explanation… The original guitarist of Rocket From the Tombs and Pere Ubu… She’s the one that found him… How’d he die? Pills… My herbal pills like viagra co-worker wants to know what’s up with all these quiet little suicides, all these people killing themselves alone… Immediately I think of the overheard conversation, of monks setting themselves on fire, but I let him continue unabated… I’m not talking about fuckin’ Hale-Bopp shit– why doesn’t anyone ride the nuclear bomb into congress? Now that’s a pretty good question… Obviously most suicides occur when people are alone because miserable solitude is a contributing factor to their demise… People in the bathtub digging the razor in don’t often find a friend sitting

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on the toilet saying, ‘fer Chrissake, let’s not get all dramatic here… Put that thing down and we’ll talk about it.” The acts tends to be the result of opportunity and india pharmacy circumstances holding hands and catching impulse between them in a game of red rover… Everyone has their low points of existence and everyone has had the means to remove themselves from themselves

but not

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everyone who walks along the edge of a roof or picks up a gun or who drives along the low rails along a cliff feels that spark, that invisible push, that whatever it takes to propel them towards oblivion… Just standing there thinking about how easy it would be doesn’t mean you actually do it… So, in fact, the act of public suicide would require a combination of misery and disgust most people have never experienced or, as has lately become all the rage, an unbelieveable dedication to some diety or self-annointed voice of said diety… Bribery, however, is a little pathetic to me– taking the fast track to eternal paradise as a martyr sounds like a different barrel of monkeys than a Buddist monk dousing themselves with gasoline to protest a war… People have a history of self-sacrifice when drawing attention to an unjust matter but traditionally this entails imprisonment or, in less wishy-washy countries, having your teeth extracted with pliers and having your testicles electrocuted… Regardless of the severity of punishment most people choose to take it from some representative of power, not from their own hand… Actually most people just shake their heads when they read the newspaper and, when they can stand the excitement, they’ll let out a quiet, “oh that’s terrible”…

Then there are my people who turned self-sacrifice into a weapon by flying their jets into battleships not because it was the only way to secure victory and save the day but because it was the only way that an attack could even take place… Here is the core of the tactical suicide, found in the fervor of a culture which has a ritualistic suicide wherein you slit your stomach open to spill your entrails and quickly flip the sword around to thrust up into your skull to save face, right your wrongs, and die with respect and pride… These people kill themselves for honor… Mostly the Japanese have calmed down a bit and are more known on the international death circuit for working themselves to death in office buildings… Shame can be dismissed by cutting a finger off to present to your yakyza boss if you fucked up and it’s done… Caves full of people who’d committ mass suicide rather that surrender are now a rare occurance… Then you have the internationally esteemed author Yukio Mishima who, after a lengthy and respected career, led an invasion into the Defense Minister’s office, Cialis women took it over and held it as the police and military surrounded cialis do not take with the building, then walked out onto a balcony to address the crowd… He issued a statement decrying Japan’s loss of purity, its attraction to modernized and western ways and it’s loss of self, then committed seppuku… Some less forgiving critics make references to Mishima’s supressed homosexuality but still, here’s someone who’s absolutely disgusted with life and society and tried to do something about it… Interestingly Mishima touches on the topic in one of the books which make up his final testament, “The Sea of Fertility”… A promising young man, well educated and proficient in social, athletic, military and academic life, leads a pack of students and a group of sympathetic soldiers on a small-scale coup de’tat… They wish to remove the taint of western values and capitalism and return Japan to it’s roots of Emperor worship and fuedalism… Sabotage and assassination is a pretty risky endeavour and all participants acknowledge they will die by doing this… When you’ve given up on livfe you really have nothing to lose… May as well use your death well, accomplish in it what you could never hope to achieve without it…

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Thanks to Tim for this great clip. It’s 18 min. but well worth it. Techno music all sounds

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I’ll sit and write a substantial fresh from my ass unsolicited and uneducated opinion at a later time– sorry for all those breathless in anticipation…

At work someone mentioned a website which can track people through their cell phones… Seemed a little unlikely but then we tried it out and, well I guess it’s not unlikely at all… So there’s yet another piece of information out there in the world about each and every one of us (except me) that can be used to track, evaluate and exploit… Check it out:

phonetrace.org

Not sure about the particulars but don’t use dashes between the segments of your number and include the area code… I think it works for all carriers but again I’m not sure…

Also I would suggest using someone else’s number because the site’s free and they gotta be making money somehow… As tasty as the banner ad is it’s probably not quite as

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My peer group – for the most part – is a well-washed mass of royalty. Or, rather, anticipated royalty. Chris Ott at Shallow Rewards puts it best:

Our parents dreamt of doing lots of things and didn’t, dousing their desires to

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better childhood is proving a mistake, if a well-intentioned one. We are a generation embarrassed to have day jobs, embarrassed to work for a living. Embarrassed not to be kings and queens.

Ott acknowledges the myth that this wasn’t basically true of our parents’ generation as well. His implicit solution is to work a tolerable job and save your passion for your free time. Here’s where I disagree. While I appreciate the sentiment and the notion that most kids my age should just get over themselves, I take issue with the one-size-fits-all solution. Some people are legitimately depressed by their 9 to 5 jobs, and it seems like a format for living that better serves fictional economic bodies rather than individuals. I read about a study once that said the average U.S. employee works more hours than anywhere else in

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the world, but the amount of work accomplished with each additional hour was the lowest. In other words, our attitude towards work keeps us at the office longer with the least amount of payoff. When you have an arbitrary standard of 40 hours a week, you get people extending 30 hours of work unnecessarily. And I would wager that the increased employee dissatisfaction plays a role in productivity as well. I can understand why the work week was structured the way it is, but it’s one specific solution to an organizational problem that is perhaps outdated. The drive to maximize one’s earning torque doesn’t work for a lot of people. And for that segment of the population there are socialist pipe dreams. In my view, we should be looking back upon this time a hundred years from now and putting this labor schedule on a level analogous to how we view serfdom now. It’s simply an inefficient system for any civic goals you may have. The only realm in which it makes sense is one driven by bureaucracy rather than populism. And so I think Ott’s solution is flawed. I think that the king syndrome is the product of our fucked up view towards work and leisure, and the problems of polarizing one’s life into those two categories in the first place. We shouldn’t think that we’re special, but we should acknowledge that we are unique. And rather than having a market economy – which is not a level playing field by any stretch of the imagination – create a variety of life paths that so that you can choose how best your talents serve consumers, we should have a system that takes care of economic necessities while allowing for the diversity of human experience. Fruity, I know. But I’m sick of most people getting nothing just so everyone can entertain the illusion that they could have everything.

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