Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Batman Complex

Probably closer to Batfink than Batman, but there we go

As I wrote on Tuesday, the Fashion for Life event has been going on in SL, raising money for the American Cancer Society. I was a little late to the party with my blog post, though I had been trekking around the mammoth sims for a few days beforehand. As the event drew to a close on Tuesday/Wednesday, everything seemed to be going smoothly. No drama like the one I mentioned in my post. No mess, no fuss. Well, it would appear that I spoke too soon.

On Wednesday, 'The Fashion for Life 2012 Blogger Hall of Shame' appeared, courtesy of one Nave Fall, on the website of the Associated SL Press which is affliated with the Best of Second Life Magazine website. I confess, I hadn't heard of Fall, Associated SL Press, or the BOSL until yesterday, so if you are reading that list of names and feeling a little nonplussed, don't worry about it. Or, at least, we can sit and feel bad together. 

Anyway: the actual body of the '...Blogger Hall of Shame' post seems a little confused, and Fall seems to be both excusing himself and being a bit mean to someone called Rusalka (again, not a clue), but he eventually comes to his 'Hall of Shame' - a list of all the names of the bloggers who had been sent free gifts by the Fashion for Life event, but had posted nothing about them or the event to their blogs.

Okay, so at first you might be thinking 'Well, it serves them right!' - but gotcha! The bloggers didn't necessarily ask to receive these gifts from the Fashion for Life event, and even if they did, they were at no time under any obligation to blog about what they were given. Whilst it might have been nice and kind and polite to make a post promoting the event and what it was selling, there are a thousand and one reasons why they might not have been able to, and I do not think it fair for this Fall guy (whoever the Hell he is) to go around calling them out. 

His post was followed up by a comment from one of the founders/administrators of the Fashion for Life event, saying that they did not support Fall's post, nor the sentiments within it. It would appear, too, that this is not the view shared by the general inhabitants of SL. After what promised to be a rousing speech from the owner of the BOSL about freedom of speech, questioning the need for censorship on the Associated SL Press website, said-owner Frolic Mills removed the list of 'shamed' bloggers earlier today. So much for 'Should it dilute the opinions of other writers and restrict freedom of speech, or should it be an open platform to seek, receive and impart information even if it’s tactless and a call out to the alleged wrong doings of others?'. I think his phraseology makes it clear which side of the fence he is on there - and, just in case it isn't, I don't think he's on the side of 'dilution'.

But that's where we 'get' Mills, too, because there is a large, gaping difference between expressing an opinion and tactlessly calling people out. Apparently, he was either bombarded with this opinion from others, or came to see it for himself, because he has taken the list down but left the body of the post intact. 

Obligation. I think it comes down to a matter of obligation. As I have said, at no point were those bloggers obligated to blog anything. Whether they blogged about the Fashion for Life event or not has absolutely zero reflection on them as moral people, and it says diddly-squat, as my mum would say, about their personalities when it comes to promoting and giving to charity. 

There is an obligation I think, however, when it comes to writing about charity events like this. They have aims and intentions that are, at the very least, rooted in goodness and it isn't right nor fair to simply slander them, or those who chose to be involved, or those who chose not to be involved. Creating bad publicity for an event does nothing but ruin the prospects for next year's turn-out, and it is now possible that Nave Fall's name will become synonymous with this event, detracting from the cause at the heart of it - those people that I mentioned in my previous post that are being diagnosed with cancer right this second, two minutes ago, two minutes from now...

If you are disappointed with a turn-out, fine - say 'I was disappointed by the turn-out!'. If it is a question, as Mills seems to be trying to make it, of why people only post comments about negative things, then fine - say 'I wonder why people only seem to post comments about negative things? Why don't they support the good, too?'. My question after reading his post was why is a comment saying 'well done' necessary? Why is starting a debate better than a thank-you note? Surely, the debate should have gone on before the cause was started, and a thank-you note is what is appropriate after people have clubbed together and raised all that money. If the debate about negativity, and even about censorship, needs to be had, why does it have to be in conjunction with something like the Fashion for Life event? 

Finally, we come to the Batman Complex. I doubt that that phrase really stands up to scrutiny, but I think you understand where I'm going with it. The bloggers listed in Fall's 'Hall of Shame' were being called out because they didn't make a blog post about the cause. But what about all of the other causes they aren't making posts about? What about the fact that Fall is spending his time calling out other bloggers and not blogging about all the other causes himself? Is he using every faculty in his power to solve everything? Somebody ought to call him out, and if he wasn't 'out of town', as Mills suggests, I might just have done so.

We cannot write, blog, protest and debate everything. Maybe we are physically and economically capable, but we aren't necessarily mentally able to run around and fix the world. We don't have all the answers. We don't really claim to. Does that mean that we shouldn't try? Of course not. But even Batman has to make decisions sometimes about who to save and who not to save, and there are always causes that we feel more akin to us for whatever reason (I mean, don't you want to wipe the smile off Heath Ledger's face in that movie? I sure do!). We ought to respect each other, and each other's decisions, and if we don't think somebody is pulling their weight, fine. Say so. But be respectful about it, and remember that you know Hell-all about what that person does for charity in their first life. You know Hell-all about that person at all. 

Also, somebody ought to call him out on his musical choices. 'Boom Boom Pow'? Really? Was that really the most appropriate song he could think to list? I know, I know. I'm pushing it now. I have said enough.

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