Material World

Donning an avatar (she plumps for a “grumpy old woman”), Jenny Diski discovers that the online virtual world Second Life is less a chance to restart her life, more a cartoon-shaped replication of the real world:

Second Life is a reiteration. It’s a virtual world of buying and selling, profit and consumption, material decoration and political apathy. What you get in this alternative world are houses, home decorations, clothes, jewellery, cars, motorbikes, casinos, strip clubs and shops in which to sell all these things to cartoon characters representing their computer owners, who ‘live’ in the houses on the virtual land they have bought, titivate their interiors, change their clothes, hair and jewellery, drive the cars, gamble in the casinos and stand around gazing at naked pole dancers. That is to say, staring at cartoons who shimmy up to two-dimensional poles and rub their pixillated breasts and pudenda in the time-honoured weary wanton manner.
Jenny Diski, London Review of Books