Ain’t No Time to Hate

I have been thinking about my time in Second Life as a kid avatar. This has become a contentious issue, and I see it as more than just a SL issue about avatars, but as a watershed issue about freedom and tolerance in our collective cultures as we adapt to new technologies.

I hope to create a couple essays here to add to other entries where I describe being a kid or putting perspective on the intolerance and ignorance of others.

Today’s title is taken from a line from a Grateful Dead song – I remember a t-shirt that combined the pink triangle symbol and the Dead’s “Steal your face” logo.

Ain\'t No Time to Hate

I remember someone explaining to me what the logo meant – how it was to remind people to be tolerant of others, in this case people who were gay.

The first time I saw raw hate in SL was in the first week of Pais’ existence. I had found a place called “Nemo Beach” that was (and still is) a hangout for kids. I remember I was having a fun time trying out my new kid avatar and joining in the chat with the other kids there. Suddenly a couple of adult avatars appeared.. one was a bulky, huge, bald guy that looked kind of like those fake wrestlers on TV. The other was a female shape with huge gazongas hanging out of her (presumably) sexy leather outfit. In short order she brandished a shotgun and blasted a kid right in front of me, and since damage was enabled on that sim, he was killed and disappeared. At that point I had not seen any fighting/killing in SL, let along griefing, and was also unaware that some people took exception to people having kid avatars.

My first reaction was shock… one minute it was a sunny day with kids chatting and joking on a sunny beach… the next I saw a sweet kid get violently murdered. The adult avatars chatted to each other and laughed. I tried to ask why they did that, but only got confusing gibberish from them.

One of the first people I had met at Nemo was Koffee, and I IMed him, told him what I saw and asked for help. Kids started appearing from everywhere, most dressed in Loki’s kid pirate kid (wooden sword, tin pan hat, and garbage can lid shield, like in the image below)

Seeing all those kid avatars attacking the griefers with wooden swords, bows & arrows, and such was such a funny scene and endeared me to SL and being a kid more than ever. (Meanwhile, Koffee showed up brandishing guns in both hands and blasted the creeps off the sim).

Since that incident, I have seen griefing many other times and it is sad that these incidents of hate and other negative aspects of human behavior find their way to SL. Loki has a link to a video done buy some jerks another time I was at Nemo, they were dressed as some sort of Sparta motif (shortly after that movie was out) and I remember that time my buddy Nefu was showing us his experiments with prims and these guys come running out to grief us. We just stood, letting our ‘no push’ tools do the work for us, as they shouted things like “pedophiles” (apparently telling us their inner fears about themselves). (It is really only one scene of this around 1:26 minutes into it, Nef and me are standing passively next to the big prim he was working on). I can’t see how this kind of behavior, even going to the effort to film and post it, causes satisfaction in these people.

The pink triangle in the “Ain’t No Time to Hate” logo reminds us of how the Nazis marked gays. It seems that humanity is not learning any lessons, as hate continues motivate people to act out against others who are different from themselves.

Well, life is too short for hate. Like the song says, “let me know your mind… what I want to know is are you kind?”

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