Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wired Wednesday

As I have previously noted, the demands of my "real" job at times interfere with Holy Prepuce's core mission to provide complex analysis of the issues that define our age. This week is such a time.

In the limited time available to me, I will present a brief feature entitled "Holy Prepuce! Wired Wednesday," in which I update you on the latest advances in Internet culture and technology.

First, as I am neither under 25 nor Mark Foley, I do not maintain a account. As a result, I am generally unaware of the social customs peculiar to that site. But one cultural norm that has come to my attention is the prohibition against appearing on somebody else's boyfriend's page. In the sacred traditions of Myspace, this infraction is in fact punishable by death--as demonstrated by the recent behavior of one Heather Michelle Kane.

When the 22-year-old Mesa, Arizona resident discovered another woman's photograph on her boyfriend's page, she reacted as any self-respecting netizen might: she offered a neighbor $1000 to kill the encroacher. The neighbor informed a police detective, who posed as the neighbor's hitman buddy and asked Kane for a picture of the victim and a $500 deposit. Coming up with the picture was a snap--Kane just downloaded one from Myspace. The money was a bit trickier; Kane had only $400. After bargaining the detective down to $500 total, Kane handed over the $400 as a deposit and was promptly arrested. The moral of the story is clear: never trust a $500 hitman.

We turn next to an item from Northern Virginia. Critics frequently charge that online social interactions are divorced from reality--a detrimental crutch for those unwilling to engage in the emotional work that face-to-face relationships demand. Such theories are handily disproved by a 17-year-old Arlington resident and an 18-year-old from Centreville. (As of yet, their names have not been released by police.)

Apparantly the two met while playing an online game, and fell into an argument. Unsatisfied with electronic sparring, the young men agreed to meet in person and fight it out. The 17-year-old provided the 18-year-old with his address, and the latter drove the twenty miles to Arlington. The evening ended with the Arlington teen stabbing the Centreville teen three times in the chest. So let's not hear any more of this talk about online gamers' lack of real-world problem solving skills.

Finally, many of you may be familiar with such Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) as Everquest and World of Warcraft. In such fora, players around the world join together online in fantastical environments to slay dragons, form guilds, and develop parallel economies dependent on Chinese gaming sweatshops hawking virtual gold on eBay.

The latest trend appears to be free-form, user-defined environments not connected to "traditional" (e.g. Dungeons & Dragons-like) game elements. Second Life, the most popular entity in this sub-genre, is not even a game in the traditional sense, but rather a virtual world complete with nightclubs, shopping malls, and events hosted by such real-world entities as MTV, Major League Baseball, and the American Cancer Society.

And, it had to happen: Utherverse, Inc. has introduced Red Light Center, a pornographic MMORPG. The good news? Basic membership is free! But don't get too excited. As the FAQs explain:

Basic users have limited abilities and access in Red Light Center. They can choose a clothed avatar and roam the streets. However, they are barred from many buildings which are designated as VIP only areas.

VIP membership will set you back $20/month, but seems well worth it:

What are the advantages of VIP?

First and foremost, as a VIP, you are able to choose a naked avatar, which gives a whole new level of fun to the Red Light Center. Those avatars can have sex with other avatars and there are lots of positions to choose from.

In summary, online life is rich in its diversity, and offers many advantages. With our computers and sinulators, we may enjoy in our own homes opportunities about which our forebears only could have dreamed. Unfortunately, certain traditional diversions, such as hiring cut-rate contract killers or just stabbing people directly, still require forays into the real world. But by working together, we can ensure that technology will provide a brighter future for all mankind.

This has been Holy Prepuce! Wired Wednesday.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, you really need to get a myspace page. It's sooo cooool.

    Well, not really, but I just recently set one up and was able to locate an old friend from High School I'd occasionally wondered about. It's got its uses.

    Oh, and you forgot to mention that World of Warcraft is great for staging musicals.


(You can comment here, or on the Holy Prepuce! Facebook page.)