Wednesday, October 31, 2007

~ slavery in the virtual universe

I've been participating in facebook for about a month now. At first it mystified me. Then it fascinated me. Now it scares me.

Some of the best people I know [in real life] are in there, talented, brilliant people who I can commune with at a touch of the keyboard. That's a good thing. But there's another side I'm suspicious about. In fact, last night, with the help of Robert's THC concentrate, my doubts flared into paranoia ...

I have only one facebook friend who is truly random, with whom I share no other friends. I'll call her Heliotrope. She's South African, owns a racehorse and is 'besotted' with helicopters. She identifies herself with a cute Brat-like cartoon and has become my owner on Human Pets, calling me 'Dr House'.

Human Pets is a cheeky facebook app in which one buys and sells people as pets - and, in some, it brings out the latent slave-trader. I guess because of her sultry photo, Jenny - a snail - is currently priced at 620 points. As for me - an octopus - I am only worth 80 [so far]. Jenny's owners have nearly all been men with many pets, all of them beautiful women.

Heliotrope has been a good owner. She 'pets' me often and has taken me on a trip to Egypt. But her owner is another matter. Heliotrope is now worth 42,000 - and it seems a near war has developed over her ownership. Various men - perhaps the same kind who have owned Jenny, the collectors - have gotten vicious in their efforts to 'possess' her, turning the whole thing quite weird ...

"At first it was fun to be fought over, well let me tell you the fun is over. It has resulted in two men dumping the application saying they are not going to fight over me; worse, some of the others started buying each other's pets so that the person buying me would have to spend points buying their other pets back, and thus be unable to afford me! It's a major blow up with me in the middle!! ...These people have created multiple accounts too and I don't now know who is who... Was warned that being owned is a competitive and emotional thing, now know it to be true!"


"Lol, these men have never met me, have had them telling me they love me, am in love with me, want to marry me, want to get on planes and visit me, you name it!! (Please send airticket, I need a holiday!!!!) Funnily enough it happens to me in real life too, Facebook has become an extension of my real life, cannot tell you why ..."

I ask myself, these men, are they in love with a cartoon? What are they fighting over exactly? Do they know? Is it even real? Is it virtual power-tripping? The whole thing makes me feel like a neophyte. There's something going on here that is beyond my ken. Last night, I realised I knew nothing for certain. Even Heliotrope herself. She certainly seems like a real person, but how can I be sure? Is she even a woman?

Interesting, isn't it?


Late last night, I put on a DVD I'd hired earlier in the day. It was a second choice, as I'm desperate to see Jesus Camp - but the local Blockbuster has decreed that Mt Waverley residents are not interested in the evils of ecclesiastical Christianity. What I picked was Neverwas. I've had really back luck with hiring off the shelf lately, but this time I hit the jackpot.

It affected me as viscerally as Children of Men, but in a wholly different way. I was actually expecting something like The Never Ending Story, instead I got a beautifully weighted film about hope, redemption, self-belief and the power of the imagination... I won't go into the details; I just want to recommend it.

Ian McKellen is the best I've seen him [Yes, superior even to Gandalf]. Aaron Eckhart ... I don't usually go for matinee idol types, but there's something about him. And to his credit, he's almost indistinguishable from Nathan Fillion [SLiTHER, Josh Whedon's Serenity/Firefly series]. He's great in this, as are Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange ... Even Brittany Murphy. I don't know how I missed this movie when it first came out.

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Anonymous said...

That facebook Human Pets relationship seems so suss to me Sam. Heliotrope probably is a fat, ugly, hairy man sitting at his computer getting his rocks off on you and all the others! Be careful, I saw a program from Japan that showed the craze over there with men falling in love and having "virtual relationships" with "Manga-type" cartoon characters on their computers, it was so bizarre and perverted, I couldn't believe it!! Then they get life sized dolls made up of their favourite "cartoon girl/s" and play "happy couple" in their apartment and they even take them out to the park for walks and romantic dinners (and I won't even go into the intimate stuff, blah!!)they really believe these dolls love them and are was SO sick!!!
So beware Sam, there's some creepy folks out there. But keep us posted on further adventures if you dare to keep going ok!
Love Amanda

Sam Sejavka said...

Curiouser and curiouser. You don't recall the name of this programme?

Don't worry. I'm pretty sure all is as it seems, but I'll take care ...

Anonymous said...

It's funny that you should be recommending Neverwas. On my 360 blog we have regular theme days and on Mondays it is Movie Monday. Someone on the latest Movie Monday strenuously recommended Neverwas. She loved it.

I haven't been on Facebook for ages. I am a bit bored with it to tell the trruth, but the tricky thing is that so many people I know are on it. It's actually easier to get in touch with some of these people through facebook than via email or phone.

I was a human pet for a couple of days and then dropped the application. It's a cute idea but, at the same time, I find it quite creepy.

Bon voyage - enjoy your trip.

I have already linked your page to mine but I currently have my links at the bottom of the page and I don't like them there. I think I will move them somewhere more noticeable.

lily was here said...

The Human Pets app wouldnt be a good one for me. I'd probably neglect you once you grew up & lost your cuteness .. the vampire one where you can kick ass is more my idea of fun. Just be careful Sam of how much personal info you store there, apparently identity thieves are becoming a threat in Fays Book. Please dont add any randoms unless you have an inkling of who they might be.

I love it when you strike it lucky with an unknown movie. Your expectations arent raised high leaving you free to get totally lost in the unexpected! Will check Neverwas out when I've finished Shantaram. I joined BigpondMovies so i could get obscure, harder to find movies delivered by mail with free return, often going by reader reviews but by the time they arrive (you never know which one they'll send out) I've forgotten what the movie was about, so its either a gem or a dud and I love a surprise.


Anonymous said...

this is the link to the blog about neverwas. it was written by susan az who seems like a really nice lady.

Susan said...

Forget all the pet stuff, things like that are the reason I try to stay faraway from public performances. any way I am Merediths frined who raved about Neverwas. and now I am just blown away that you actually know who Nathan Fillion is. Eckhart is definitly the type. More rugged and real than a matinee type. Ian McKellen well he is just always fantastic, have you seen "Of Gods and Monsters" anyway. I was as surprised as you when I rented Neverwas, thought it would be a nice romp in the woods. I was blown away. I described it in my blog as a place where delusions are reality and I used that line "sometimes the story finds the story teller". I just love movies (stories) like this but they are so hard to find. Give me the fantastic with a happy ending, sort of like "Children of Men" interesting you should compare the two. Standing up for something so intangible yet so important and a happy ending. I am looking every where for that book, can't believe P.D. James wrote it. Any way I digress. Maybe with our little blogs we have gotten a few more people to go see that movie, that is all we can ask for.