We're gonna sit on top of the watertower and pretend we're Batman.

Not for nothing, but.

EDIT: 11:46pm 10/17/10

Based on this post from Jim, I need to modify some of what Ive said here.  I was wrong about the voting part (and I apologize unreservedly about that- I truly thought this was Philip’s call all along.)  I think Jim’s post on this is  quite good.  I don’t agree with all of it- I don’t agree that this was ever a good idea (Oh I see it from a PR standpoint, but I think it was a terrible idea for the very reasons it turned out to be.)   But I think that if you’re going to make an argument based on the contest and PR mechanics, it’s completely valid, and in fact totally correct.  Again, I apologize  for my comments about the voting process and contest mechanics.


That does NOT change my vehement disagreement with those who are *NOT* disputing this over the contest mechanics but are simply criticizing the avatar itself.  My point is about body autonomy, and body politics, not about the contest itself(again, I think the entire contest idea was colossally STUPID and I am amazed that anyone ever agreed to it.). It is a bigger issue than this contest.  Much larger.  And frankly, much more important.

By the way, in design, the only before/after photos that matter are the ones taken at the SAME ANGLES as one another. What Philip ultimately chose (and again, I have no opinion on it aesthetically, as I just don’t give a damn), is the avatar equivalent of that process.  It’s essentially the same visual, but with greatly improved technology.  It shows from a technological standpoint how SL has changed.  It provides the same baseline frame of reference.  As a *design reference*, it is successful.

As a personal expression, I still maintain that choice is his and his alone.

I am leaving the original post below unedited, because I believe in “you wrote it, you leave it.” But I wanted to put this edit at the top so this info is known before hitting that.



So, Philip Linden decided what he wanted his avatar to look like.  For those not paying close attention, he had a little contest whereby people could design his new avatar look.  So here’s the change, from Philip Rosedale IRL, to Philip Linden 1.0 to Philip Linden 2.0

Already, there’s been people bitching.  They don’t like it. They’re criticizing everything, including the fact that he hasn’t changed his outfit.  You know what?

Fuck off.

Don’t we have enough body/fashion policing in real life? Really?  Do we have to bring this trifling shit into SL also?   It’s not bad enough IRL?  Isn’t this one of those things people go into SL to AVOID?

The only person who has to LIKE the avatar is PHILIP.  It’s HIS representation.


I don’t give a shit if he wants to walk around looking like a box of cream cheese. It’s HIS avatar and his virtual body is a dictatorship of ONE.  JUST LIKE IN REAL LIFE. He doesn’t owe anyone jack or shit in regards to how his avatar looks.  Period.

And neither does anyone else. (oh and let me be clear, that IS in fact directed to all of you who pitched a bitch when Dare changed his avatar so it looked like him IRL. You all can fuck off too.)



20 responses

  1. Picking on his clothes is as bad as picking on spelling in a forum argument.

    October 17, 2010 at 11:04 am

    • Personally I think that the new look really shows how far SL has come, but even if I really hated it- you know what? It’s not my avatar, and I can shut the fuck up. The only person who has to be happy with it is him. Period. That’s it. Clearly he likes it- he chose it.

      Far as Im concerned, it’s all good, then.

      I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate this body police bullshit.

      October 17, 2010 at 11:13 am

      • Agreed. If he’s happy with it then who cares.

        October 17, 2010 at 3:58 pm

  2. Well, TOUGH!! he arranged a competiton to find himself a new look, he didn’t do any of the work himself, he’s never been to a mall and he is the CEO…so I couldn’t give a damn what anyone else thinks, he looks like shit.
    My opinion is as worthy as anyone elses…. you can’t censor opinion when he’s put himself out there.

    October 17, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    • First of all youre under the delusion you’re the only one doing this. You’re not. Second- youre right your opinion is exactly worth as much as anyone else’s on this- which is to say, zero. The only person who needs to like it is HIM. Not you, not me, not the next person down the street.

      The competition was for HIM to judge. Not anyone else. It’s his avatar, no one else’s. Again, this is the same body police shit that goes on IRL. It’s not cool there either. The only person who has to be happy with what he looks like is *him*- just like the only person who has to be happy with what you look like is YOU.

      October 17, 2010 at 12:27 pm

      • Jim

        Actually, the competition was for the residents to judge.

        “He’ll choose his top favorites from the images you submit, then we’ll open up the voting for the community to decide a winner.”

        The decision whether to hold the contest was his, and the decision to let the residents pick the winner from his top choices was his, but in the end, like you, he told the judges to fuck off and picked one that didn’t even enter the contest. He just used better language.

        The whole POINT of it was to let the residents judge his avatar. NOW he and you are saying it’s not up to the residents to judge his avatar. So the judges are speaking elsewhere, placing their votes in public, since he removed their opportunity to vote.

        October 18, 2010 at 2:56 am

  3. Wizzy

    ok. yes it’s only his decision to make. nonetheless, this decision indicates philip’s lack of imagination. one of the interesting and fun things about the Second Life experience is the way one’s appearance evolves over time. this evolution is an expression of one’s own personal growth and creativity. mine tends to make a major change every six months or so. philip’s inability to shake his primary appearance seems to me to say loads about what is going on with him.

    October 17, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    • So youre saying if you’re simply happy with what you look like you aren’t evolved? Don’t have imagination? Look around- he created the entire idea. How can he not have imagination.

      Just because he doesn’t feel the need to reinvent himself to someone else’s standards every six months doesn’t say that. It might, however, say he’s pretty happy with who he is.

      October 18, 2010 at 12:15 am

  4. As the CEO of Linden Lab, he’s representing the company that owns Second Life to its customers in Second Life. In a very real sense — one you may not have thought of while ranting — what Philip Rosedale chooses to look like on the extremely rare occasions when he logs in to SL as Philip Linden is his business.

    Get it?

    October 17, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    • I get it. I also don’t agree with you. When you own a business? You don’t lose body autonomy. When you are famous? You don’t lose body autonomy. If he had wanted everyone else to have a vote- you know what? He would have put the results up to a vote. He didnt. He didnt ask for other people to decide what he should look like. He asked for people to show him options for *HIM* (not anyone else) to choose from. That means no one else gets a vote.

      Get it?

      October 18, 2010 at 12:13 am

      • Jim

        That’s rewriting history. The exact words were:

        “He’ll choose his top favorites from the images you submit, then we’ll open up the voting for the community to decide a winner.”

        Someone screwed up royally here. I like to think it wasn’t Philip, but whoever organized this could not have done a worse job.

        October 18, 2010 at 3:06 am

  5. See, I was under the impression that he was going to let people decide to a certain point, and then make the call himself.

    If that isn’t true, then the question is WHY did he change his mind? How did this happen and what was the cause. If this is so, then someone(probably him) needs to explain to everyone why things suddenly changed- that to me seems to be the right thing to do in this situation. We’ll see if it happens.

    I rescind my earlier point about voting, to Lalo. (Lalo I apologize, I honestly thought this choice was meant to be his all along.)

    However, I want to point out that my point is larger than this incident. This is really about body politics and how they translate sl/rl.

    YOUR argument here is the first and only legitimate one I’ve heard yet, and Im truly grateful someone actually has one. The others are really the same tired reasons that people feel they have to right to police the bodies of others- SL/RL it’s no different.

    Because he owns a company? He does not lose body autonomy.
    Because he is famous? He does not lose body autonomy.

    No matter what I think, you think, they think, anyone thinks- ultimately the only person who gets to police what he looks like is *him*.

    I am very curious now as to what actually happened with the contest and why it was ended in this manner. (my personal suspicion is that they realized this was an absolutely terrible idea, but…)

    October 18, 2010 at 3:14 am

  6. Jim

    Funny, I think we’re pretty much all in agreement, and this goes to show that the bloggers I tend to read and appreciate do so without ego and with an attempt at balance.

    FWIW, I don’t know what happened when Dare changed his look, and I too hate fashion police who are needlessly critical of others.

    This particular contest case is a bit different; Philip is the face of Linden Lab and the whole point here was to give the residents a chance to propose new looks, and vote on which look they felt was good. Posted in the official blog, by a Linden. So they were effectively inviting new fashion ideas and praise for some of the choices. Unfortunately the choice was removed and that is a mystery.

    I suspect it’s just that Philip liked Mar’s entry so much he wanted to use it, and changed his mind on a vote. This would be a major PR flop if true though; there are much better ways to handle it. He could have picked three avatars that he liked, including that one, let everyone vote and pick a resident fave, then announced that he was going to use all three (but worn Mars’ avatar most of the time). It’s the best of both worlds. But no, they instead eliminated the vote, and snubbed the other entrants, turning the event into something that confuses people, and makes LL look bad when it should have been a showcase of positive energy.

    October 18, 2010 at 4:28 am

    • I agree. I think your post was excellent coverage of the valid and real issue. It was my mistake on the voting part- I *honestly* thought Philip was meant to decide all along. My point was about something else, and on that, we clearly agree.

      BTW, would you mind if I blogrolled you? I enjoy your blog very much.

      I’ll let Dare tell you what happened when he changed. 🙂 *pokes Dare*

      I *THINK* it was Tateru’s blog this morning? That had the comment about how Mars’ entry was originally in the flickr pool but Im not sure.

      October 18, 2010 at 4:31 am

      • daremunro

        Explaining what happened when I changed my look would require an entire blog post of its own, really.
        It felt amazing to do, and did not go over well *at all*.

        October 18, 2010 at 4:36 am

      • Jim

        “BTW, would you mind if I blogrolled you? I enjoy your blog very much.”

        Eeep. Hell yes. 🙂 Do people ask that? I already have yours in the blogs I keep an eye on. Not sure how to list them, I thought they were public already. Maybe it’s in mah profile.

        October 18, 2010 at 9:19 am

  7. Jim

    Dare, now that is something else that I will never understand… If you change your avatar — something that is obviously even more personal and individual than say, your religion or favorite color — that is something that is not only your choice, but something that *is* the visual virtual you. It’s not for others to approve of, or to disapprove.

    They can of course have an opinion, and if they liked your old look, they might be disappointed, and they might say so, but in the end, one must respect the decisions of others when it comes to their own matters. One should never be *angry* or pissed off at someone else’s personal decision, or give that person grief over that decision. That’s just harassment and an attempt to bully the other into conforming to their viewpoint.

    I think Philip has made a choice that I would never make, and as he is a public figure and has used the avatar selection process for PR, I feel perfectly fine — in this case only — of saying publicly that I think it makes him look like a member of the Village People. But I am not Philip, and as long as he is happy with it and comfortable with it and it feels like him, more power to him. When all is said and done, it’s time to accept and respect his decision.

    I will give them credit for at least giving the contest an ending, and not leaving all the entrants hanging. But that’s only because my expectations of them are “second to none”… The only worse thing they could have done was nothing.

    October 18, 2010 at 8:48 am

    • daremunro

      Well, here we get into a very ticklish area.
      What you – Jim – expressed is an ‘opinion’ – and like every thinking creature from cats who hate Fancy Feast to semi-evolved blog critics like myself – you have a right to that opinion. Hey, the avatar makes him look like a bit of a dork… I think it’s a step down from his RL look, myself. But where it gets strange is when people do what you and I have not done, and what Axi is so irate about – when they think their ‘opinion’ should somehow ‘matter’ enough to affect/change reality. When they begin to be ‘appearance police’.
      When it comes to personal appearance – be it RL choices or avatars, no one’s opinion has to matter but your own. period.
      Sorry, gang – no one needs to or is required to care what you, I, or the Easter Bunny think. They’re not.
      And getting upset, or hyper-critical, or saying because they’re ‘famous’ or the CEO of a company, or even invited input, allows you to say whether or not they ‘get’ to look a certain way – is just a sign of your own pettiness and ego.
      No one needs to care, and no one does.
      And yes, I suffered a mass exodus and ostracism when I eschewed a fantasy avatar created for a purpose long passed for a look much more natural and myself. It was huge, and the message was clear – I shattered the fantasy, took away the pretty illusion, and replaced it with something the masses that claimed to like and admire ‘me’ simply didn’t approve of.
      Hence the ‘fuck off’.
      Having an opinion about someone else’s appearance, for better or worse, is like having an opinion about the weather – it’s your right, but don’t expect it to change a god damn thing. Ever.
      It’s just the truth.

      October 20, 2010 at 2:03 am

  8. Hmmm…Well as far as the F*** O**…
    What a warm ,loving attitude.

    And for what it’s worth… I won’t go f*** O**. The avatar still dresses funny.

    October 18, 2010 at 9:19 am

    • I don’t feel the need to have a warm, loving attitude towards anyone trying to police someone else’s body choices, whether they’re real or virtual.

      October 18, 2010 at 9:22 am

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