Interview with the Avatar: I was talking to Scarlett yesterday…
[11:27] ѕcaʀʟɛтт ʟuv (scarlett.luv): i just realized i know nothin of you at all
[11:28] ѕcaʀʟɛтт ʟuv (scarlett.luv): where do you live? what color do you like best? whats your favorite food? are you married? have any kids? bilingual? have any vices?
And so, 10 Questions with Scarlett Luv! was born!
Here are Scarlett’s questions:
PART 1. BITCHES, FEMINISM & PUSSYPOWER (redux)
(scarlett.luv): 1. You change your display name quite often. Is there a reason behind this?
(scarlett.luv): 2. What is your favorite curse word?
PART 2. OF MERMAIDS & PISSANTS
(scarlett.luv): 3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
(scarlett.luv): 4. Who is the most important person in Second Life?
PART 3. WHEREIN THE ATHEIST VEGAN GETS A DIVORCE
(scarlett.luv): 5. Where do you live?
(scarlett.luv): 6. Are you married?
(scarlett.luv): 7. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
(scarlett.luv): 8. Whats your favorite food?
(scarlett.luv): 9. What sound or noise do you love?
(scarlett.luv): 10. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally or otherwise?
I’ll post my answers to 1 & 2 today, 3 & 4 tomorrow, and finish with the last 6 on Friday. Here’s 1 & 2:
Interview with the Avatar
1. You change your display name quite often. Is there a reason behind this?
You know Scarlett, it never occurred to me how Interesting / Annoying people would find it when I change my Avatar “Display Name” every week or two. It’s been fun. There was never a conscious decision to change my name on a regular basis, it just happened and felt very right. I think for me it’s become a little like Blogging or RPG. So just as you might do a new blog post every week or so, I put on a new name every week or so. For me avatars and virtual worlds are “real” if we invest enough in the narratives. And I think that’s probably true of anything. If you think of some job you used to have, or some guy you used to date, where you “didn’t invest in the narrative,” was that real? Maybe it wasn’t. It may be a fact that you punched a clock at some jobsite or that you had dinner at some restaurant. But fact doesn’t make it real. True doesn’t make it Truth.
I’m not sure people actually understand the way I exist in this world. A lot of what I say is in fact “factual,” a lot is not, and a lot is an amalgam of different facts, events, and experiences. I don’t tend to label this is fact or this is fiction because I don’t care. If something is factual, but doesn’t contain powerful truth, then it’s meaningless to me. Conversely, if something is fiction but it does contain real truth, then it’s enormously important to me. I think we get hung up on factual, Is it true? Is it real? when what we really want is truth.
Think about 2 books. Windows 7 User’s Manual. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Win 7 User’s is filled with facts. Page after page of facts. But it doesn’t contain any truth at all. It is true but it is not the deep, human truth that our souls yearn for. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark doesn’t contain any facts at all. It’s just a bunch of shit Shakespeare made up. But it contains some of the most powerful human truth I have ever encountered.
My display names are not that profound. But they are a tiny way for me to be in the moment, whatever that may be. To be just a little more fully present in whatever moment this is, whether silly or sublime.
2. What is your favorite curse word?
For sure the most interesting word is Bitch. From Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up to Bitch Media’s Bitch Magazine, it’s been a powerful and problematic word in our culture. I hate that Smack My Bitch Up happens to be such an awesome dance track, because the lyrics are so painful and difficult for me to listen to. Welcome to our world. Which is why I love Bitch Media’s perspective so much:
If being an outspoken woman means being a bitch, we’ll take that as a compliment.
For as long as we’ve been publishing Bitch, there’s one question that gets asked over and over. And over. “Why did you choose that word as the name of your magazine?” While we’re aware that the magazine’s title, and the organization’s name, is off-putting to some people, we think it’s worth it. And here’s why. The writer Rebecca West said, “People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” We’d argue that the word “bitch” is usually deployed for the same purpose. When it’s being used as an insult, “bitch” is an epithet hurled at women who speak their minds, who have opinions and don’t shy away from expressing them, and who don’t sit by and smile uncomfortably if they’re bothered or offended. If being an outspoken woman means being a bitch, we’ll take that as a compliment. We know that not everyone’s down with the term. Believe us, we’ve heard all about it. But we stand firm in our belief that if we choose to reappropriate the word, it loses its power to hurt us. And if we can get people thinking about what they’re saying when they use the word, that’s even better. Bitch. It’s a noun. It’s a verb. It’s a magazine. It’s a feminist media organization.
Whenever someone else uses a term to define your identity, it’s an act of oppression. When you use a term for yourself, it’s an act of empowerment. I think Bitch Media is exactly right, let’s take a term of oppression and rehabilitate it into a term of empowerment.
There’s also a smaller, more personal way I like the word. In a funny way, it can be a term of understanding, or even endearment. I’ve known gay guys who call each other “faggot.” Coming from anyone external to the community, this is an offensive term of oppression. But between friends it becomes an unexpectedly familiar term of connection. Of knowing. Of a shared history of not being appreciated, of being marginalized. In a narrow context it can be a term of real human connection.
So if we were stripping the textures off 15,000 prims at LEA11 and I didn’t think Moni was working fast enough, I would NOT say “clean faster bitch!”
But if Moni decided to dance instead of clean, I might say:
[Vanessa Blaylock shouts]: Moni you are the world’s greatest dancer!
[Vanessa Blaylock whispers]: Bitch!
L i n k y . L i n k y
All images by Monerda Skute, 2013, except the selenium-toned image of Vanessa Blaylock walking down the street in The Hague, by Louis Andriessen, 2001.