Sunday, September 9, 2007

I Was Raped By A Giant Digital Unicorn

Maybe you saw the headline over on Boing-Boing:

Baby Unicorns in Second-Life -- via Interspecies Sex

Evidently, you go somewhere in SL, and a giant digital unicorn has sex with you. Later you give birth to an adorable baby unicorn that you can hold and pet to your heart's content. I think you have to be female, but I'm not sure.

At the original blog post here, there are some NSFW pictures and an interesting discussion.

Also there are a lot of comments. Commenters mostly feel very strongly in one of three directions: first, this is bestiality and is sick; second, these are pixels so who on earth cares; and third, could you all please shut the f**k up and let us get back to our lives?

Mostly I'm with "two": these are pixels; knock yourselves out! But what do I know? I'm seriously ignorant about Second Life.

In The New York Times today, there's a long, fascinating story about the economics of SL. The upshot is: you know how in "first life" people are greedy consumers trying to keep up with the Joneses? The Times story says that in Second Life, people are greedy consumers trying to keep up with the Joneses.

And they don't just buy up SL ("Linden") dollars on their credit cards, even though the exchange rate is really favorable (about 270 LD to 1 USD). They get jobs. They sell stuff.

They buy houses, keep up the lawn, hang out at the mall. The main differences between RL and SL, according to The Times, seem to be that in SL, lots of women have really big boobs and lots of men have really big muscles.

I guess if you see SL as your community, you might be more likely to be upset about unicorn sex. Some comments on the blog post suggest this line of thought, calling attention to the differences between mere games, such as Grand Theft Auto, and Second Life, where a person lives out an entire existence.

I can see this. At the same time, thinking of the ways SL is so much like RL makes me sympathetic to any project like the unicorn sex project. Real life is so limited; isn't it kind of exciting to imagine things that are really really different?

I suppose you might question, though, whether unicorn sex is different in an interesting way. I see the pictures, and I think, wow, kind of weird and cool. But if it's just a fancy way of narrating the weirdo-knocks-up-girl story, with a girl-has-baby-weirdo ending, I have to admit, that's not really so different from real life after all.

As the creator of the unicorn chaser says, it's only a matter of time before we have the shirts: "i was raped by a giant digital unicorn and all i got was this tiny digital baby unicorn".


Captain Colossal said...

I thought the whole "rape" discussion is interesting there. I mean, I understand that these statutes seemingly grab you if you stand too close, so there's a coercion element, but it seems as though the avatars are choosing to position themselves accordingly and have sex with the unicorns. Making it only rape in a rape-fantasy kind of way, I would think.

But are the unicorns being raped? I mean, I always thought one of the major issues with bestiality is the impossibility of meaningful animal consent; like very drunk people animals just lack the wherewithal to consent. So does that same issue apply to pixels?

Noko Marie said...

Right, that is weird, the rape thing. I guess if you didn't know what was going on and you wandered in, and the statue had sex with you, this would be like rape. I don't know enough about SL to know whether that is likely.

With respect to bestiality and consent, some of the commenters seemed to be saying that if you have sex with digital unicorns you might be more likely to have sex with, say, a real life dog. Or something. That sick behavior on SL indicated, encouraged, sick behavior in RL. As far as I know we lack any good evidence. But I don't know much.

Captain Colossal said...

So there's also an article at the original site about Dutch attempts to bust Second Life on the grounds that representations of child sex are illegal even if there are no actual children involved.

The Secretary said...

A very good question. Can you rape Pac-Man? Hmm.