Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Sunday, 16 November 2008

(Second) Life's but a walking shadow

The talk of the Newgate taverns this weekend has been of marital infidelity - 200 years and nothing changes! The novelty in this case is that the husband was not merely in flagrante delicto, but also in cyberspace, caught in a compromising position on a sofa composed entirely of pixels.

The technical aspect of the offence evidently fascinated (to a slightly worrying degree) a BBC journalist, whose website article asked an expert exactly how cyber-infidelity is accomplished and was told, 'First you need to purchase some genitals....' The detail which followed was a bit too much for breakfast-time reading so we shall move swiftly on.

What happens when Second Life couples subsequently meet in the real world? Imagine it - after cavorting in the virtual surf and exchanging meaningful dialogue with a six-foot bronzed beach god/voluptuous sloe-eyed houri (delete as applicable) you decide to consolidate your relationship with a real-life date. What are the chances that the avatar of your dreams will walk into the bar?

Exactly. The real surprise is that Pollard and Taylor did just that and then lived together for four years - despite the fact that neither of them - how shall I put this? - quite measures up (or down) to their online persona.

The good folk of Newgate wonder how many more virtual Dorian Grays are out there, parading their perfect bodies in designer clothes and sipping champagne in digital villas while their all-too-3-dimensional portraits eat, sleep and pay the broadband bills.

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