greg (grysar) wrote,

My God, it's full of furries

Michael Gerson, former Bush speech writer now Washington Post columnist, has a column up comparing Second Life and the Tolkein MMRPG.

Some of the appeal of [WoW and the Tolkein MMRPG] is the controlled release of aggression -- cheerful orc killing. But they also represent a conservative longing for medieval ideals of chivalry -- for a recovery of honor and adventure in an age dominated by choice and consumption....

And what do people choose? Well, there is some good live music, philanthropic fund-raising, even a few virtual churches and synagogues. But the main result is the breakdown of inhibition. Second Life, as you'd expect, is highly sexualized in ways that have little to do with respect or romance. There are frequent outbreaks of terrorism, committed by online anarchists who interrupt events, assassinate speakers (who quickly reboot from the dead) and vandalize buildings. There are strip malls everywhere, pushing a relentless consumerism. And there seems to be an inordinate number of vampires, generally not a sign of community health...

G.K. Chesterton wrote that when people are "really wild with freedom and invention" they create institutions, such as marriages and constitutions; but "when men are weary they fall into anarchy." In that anarchy, life tends to be nasty, brutish, short -- and furry.

I found his argument fairly amusing, although I'd suspect his Middle Earth utopia has some downsides he isn't mentioning. I can definitely see some conservative appeal in WoW though. Nothing like getting together in vast raids to go out and attack towns occupied by other races.

His gripes about second life make me wonder what he'd think of sandbox gaming. I wonder if he'd be able to handle making your own choices even when it wasn't highly sexualized.
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