Friday, May 18, 2007
hillbilly in cyberspace?
Pappy's 'camp' on UR Island -
One of the most interesting characters i've run into in SL seems to have set up his hillbilly camp on UR island. Pappy Enoch is a tall, mean-looking, pot-bellied guy with shaggy black hair and beard in "seasoned" overalls. Though he looks mean, he's actually quite friendly and seems to have accidentally collected some fans.
If you have a Second Life avatar, you can visit Pappy's camp.
What makes Pappy unique in SL is that he is an "imperfect" character, one that includes many traits that we "wise moderns" have rejected as inferior or incorrect. For example, Pappy speaks in a kind of dialect, he seems to invent it rather than mimic an currently used dialect - not 'correct' but nevertheless communicative and engaging for others.
Pappy has a junk-strewn, overgrown area on UR Island where he has an old dog named Dixie Moonshine and he's a friendly guy in spite of his menacing, paunchy exterior (and that smell).
Recently Pappy had a contest to name the dog, and quite a few folks submitted ideas - in hillbilly!
It may be that Pappy's popularity is an indication of homogenization in SL and our human thirst for diversity and "imperfection". Or it cold be that Pappy represents an older set of values more focused on self-reliance, basic hospitality & civility and celebration of life.
(hence the moonshine still)
Or perhaps people are just having fun catching on to Pappy's playful hillbillisms...and PLAY is the key here. Pappy was clearly created for playful purposes and this seems to be a big part of his appeal. In fancypants academic terms this is the realm of the "ludic" from latin 'ludere' or to play - spontaneous, joyful creativity.
NOT purposeless, NOT a waste of time, but a key ingredient to intellectual growth and learning - not to mention pleasure!
Another interesting side to Pappy is his echoes of the Foxfire books that captured the fading 'low-tech' ways of mountain people in Georgia. These books contain techniques for self-reliance and independence that most of us have already lost, but which are likely to be damn handy in the future.
You didn't think the supply of electricity was going to be endless did you? That's what we hope, but it's not very likely. Between unchecked Enronian corruption to the serious changes in the weather that we're experiencing, it seems a bit naive for us to assume an uninterrupted, affordable flow.
Pappy and folks like him (those few left) will do just fine with their hillbilly ways, but what about the most techno-laden of us?
As was demonstrated recently in a 'blackberry blackout' many of us are quite vulnerable and useless without our techno-toys.
Doesn't sound like evolution to me.