Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pappy Enoch Tours Hobo Island

Location: Hobo Island

Pappy Enoch was itching to get a look at Hobo Island, the region built by Orhalla Zander, SL’s hobo king and philosopher-king in Cinemax’s “Molotov Alva and His Search for a Creator,” by Douglas Gayeton.

Pappy spent his time wandering above and below ground at Hobo Island. The images here give some sense of what Pap encountered. It was, Pappy notes, the first time that he actually needed the little “torch” that all avatars carry in their inventories. The subway tracks were pitch black, and he actually got lost!

After emerging from the darkness, Pappy met with a group of island residents. As he and I have both found at the Caletta Hobo Railroad Infohub, almost everyone was friendly. One avatar (not pictured) was rude to Pappy, claiming that the Shiner’s accent was an insult to poor people.

I find that curious for a few reasons. First, Pap is a trickster by nature, and he loves to pull stunts that expose the shallowness of the cults of beauty and possessions in SL. And second, Orhalla Zander himself seems to revel hobo vernacular, as the description of the infohub makes plain:

“It be dah home fer deh homeless tah enjoy sl, fishin n sleepin in dar boxes. Com’er down n relax.”

So that’s proof-positive that the creator of SL’s hobo culture knows the difference between celebrating and mocking subcultures that transgress the boundaries of consumerist, “he who dies with the most stuff wins,” “new and improved,” and “more is better” thinking.

Pappy adds “Mistophur Zandar ain’t no snot. He understands whut po’ boys like mee needs in a fake wirld. Whee hoo! They gots theyselfs a still n’ Shine which are the second best White Lightnin’ in Secund Life!”

And when you die in real life, you’re just dead. Your stuff may as well have been virtual; somebody gets it when you are gone. So come on down to Hobo Island, as I plan to do, and visit a fascinating online subculture.

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