Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Update, 10/12, 9:23pm PDT: The blogging of the streaming is now posted here.

"Live blogging the debate" is a popular Net phrase for the high-wire act of posting one's opinions on the US Presidential debates as they happen, moment by moment, for an equally live audience of your blog readers. (Examples from the previous debate here and here, and with decidedly more sass, here.) During the final meeting between President Bush and Senator Kerry this Wednesday, I'll be attempting something even more ambitious (or foolhardy): blogging the debate from within an online world. Because along the riverside of Minna, Barbarra Blair will be streaming the entire broadcast via a public radio station into Second Life, and has invited residents to join her for a bipartisan gathering of cheering, smacktalk, and friendly (if no doubt boisterous) contention between audience members from the pro-Kerry and pro-Bush camps-- and everyone else to the left, right, or middle of either candidate. (Event details for residents here.)

"We try to keep it light," Blair says. "But of course I'd eject anyone who was rude to other players." And New World Notes will be there, too, live blogging the in-world debate over the real world debate.

The idea for hosting the stream came to Ms. Blair after realizing how much time she'd been spending in-world talking about the election with members of her various groups, lately. She tells me the topic recurs in meetings of Thinkers, for example, in among heated theological discussions, and has even been raised in The Tribe, a drum circle she belongs to.

"I guess it is a popular topic all over," she says. "Although a lot of people just want to escape right now."

"But not you."

"I come here for conversation," she replies, "but mainly to escape from the mundane. I don't mind a little controversy." And while she welcomes advocates of both candidates to her event, she notes that her own low opinion of the Bush Administration is a matter of public record. Not that she's an ardent supporter of Kerry, though-- a fact which emerges when I ask her to pose on the stage she's built for the occasion, featuring cardboard cutouts of the Senator and the President. I ask her to look toward the candidate she prefers, and she sort of turns more or less in John Kerry's direction.

"I don't have a 'gaze upon adoringly' animation," she notes drily.

"Would you want to gaze adoringly at Kerry?" I ask her.

"Not really. Though Edwards is cute. No, I can't love any politician right now." I suggest that she might want to customize an animation to go along with her ambivalent support, and she seems to like the idea.

"I'll do the 'vote in pained resignation' gesture next November," says Barbarra Blair.

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