Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Many said Prokofy Neva was mad, and that his descriptions of a so-called "Feted Inner Core" (or FIC), a secret society of Second Life aristocrats, were little more than fevered rantings. How was it possible, after all, that a cabal of subscribers had become so powerful, they'd gained direct control over an entire world's future? There were intimations they existed, to be sure, but even those seemed like the glimmerings of a receding mirage, to most. Including, I confess, to me.

Until last sunset, that is, when someone quietly and anonymously slipped a series of annotated screenshots into my inventory. They depicted a well-known Resident (and suspected FIC grand council suzerain), caught in the act of unspeakable machinations. What follows, unabridged, is the journal of this unknown investigator's discovery:

SL Explorers Log 4.25.2005

We venture deep into Bragg (244,16) and find ourselves approaching a strange object 200 meters high. Rumors of secret FIC lairs have made us cautious, but truth, justice and the Prokovian way push us onwards.

We discover the abberation...

Approaching the madness...

We creep along the girders for stealth...

... and realize the scale of the horror.

As the machine continues its dirty transformations.

To my horror, the Monitor begins to turn toward me...

The last moment comes quick.

[WARNING: EXPLORER NOC DATA STREAM] . . . . . signal terminated . . . . . satellite check 1.A45c . . . . . re-acquisition failed . . . . . REPEAT re-acquisition failed . . . . . rescue operations cancelled . . . . . estimated probability for success: 0.05% . . . . . proceed SL evacuation operation OMEGA [WARNING: EXPLORER NOC DATA STREAM]

The transmission ends there. Fortunately, I was able to track down someone with intimate knowledge of the mystery behind it.

"I came up with the idea after one of the many Forum 'FIC' debates, and someone painted a very funny verbal image of Philip feeding Aimee newbies to munch on," Forseti Svarog explains.

These ever-recurring debates revolve around the accusation that an unacknowledged hierarchy of Residents exists. And from the commanding heights, the argument goes, an ultra-talented, financially successful aristocracy of Residents exerts undue influence on Linden Lab. Svarog's reaction to the image of Linden Lab's CEO tossing helpless new subscribers into the clutches of veteran fashion doyenne Aimee Weber was to turn it into a kind of 3D parody diorama, then convert that into a narrative told in screenshots. The end result is like an editorial cartoon satirizing excessive class warfare rhetoric-- except that here, the classes only exist in an online world. (Or, perhaps, only on the official forum of the online world.) Social satire of a virtual society, in other words.

"[R]ather than Photoshopping a single image," Forseti tells me, "I decided to built a 3D set and then take screenshots. Duping the many Aimees was actually very straightforward. It required catching her at the right moment [to take screenshots of her], removing the background of the image and alpha-channeling [i.e. making translucent] 'cutouts' of various Aimees." He did the same with the hapless victims lined up at the cloning device, all of them in the bowed, puppet-without-strings posture of avatars in away-from-keyboard mode. "[T]hose people were in on the gag," says Svarog, "since I needed shots of them in 'away' mode.

"The rest was simply doing what I love-- building and texturing."

Beyond the technical challenges, Forseti worried that people might wonder why he was suddenly obsessed with creating dozens and dozens of Aimee Weber cutout dolls.

"[S]ome friends came upon me and got very worried that I was building a love/cult shrine to Aimee," he says. "Which almost threw me off the idea, but they got into it when they realized the gag, so I went ahead."

Forseti acknowledges that Residents are likely to have differing reactions to the underlying satire, too. "Some people will find it funny, some strange," he says. "Either which way, it was my little humor-based protest to these FIC claims, which I consider nonsense. There will always be those who feel victimized at the drop of a hat, and there are those who get-up-and-go and tackle the challenges ahead with zest and positive determination.

"OK," Svarog concludes, grinning, "off the pulpit now."

Posted at 10:13 PM | Permalink


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oh good. give that raving loon even more exposure and reason to rant, why dontcha?

Posted by: Kris at Apr 28, 2005 2:10:27 AM

I prefer SLuminati.

Posted by: Torley at Apr 28, 2005 2:18:26 AM

OK he knows too much. We must destroy him.

Posted by: Artillo at Apr 28, 2005 6:27:33 AM

What these pictures depict is in fact a Prokofkyist WMD manufacturing facility, taken only minutes before it's liberation by Aimee Weber (seen on-screen delivering the ultimatum). The "FIC Cloning Center" text up front is pure propaganda, for which Hamlet Linden obviously is a too easy target.

"There is no FIC."
Repeat until true.

Posted by: FIC Agent #737 at Apr 28, 2005 7:22:50 AM

Too funny!

Posted by: Olympia at Apr 28, 2005 7:25:27 AM

Oh I knew this was going to happen.....

*sighs and pulls out her butterfly flame-thrower*

Posted by: Artemis Fate at Apr 28, 2005 7:51:01 AM

Ya know, for the first few minutes as I was reading this via RSS feed, I thought it was a tabloid-y article from the SL Herald.

For my own part, I'm on good terms with Prokofy in-world even if I disagree with him in regards to the existance of a "feted inner core". There is certianly cliqishness among groups in SL, and some divisive ideologies between different kinds of players but no single "core"...SL's simply too large and too diverse for that.

Something curious I've noticed in history, however, when someone comes up with a classification of people, often into two polarizing groups, and it captures the popular attention, people start *acting* as if it's true, whether it's true or not. Thus, the groups become more real and the original description becomes something of a self-fuffilling prophecy. (The major world ideology I tend to link this theroy to is Marxism, with the bourgoisie and prolitariat).

Prokofy introduces the term Feted Inner Core and a lot of people take insult whether insult was intended or not...and then those people go off to form a group called the "Feted Inner Core", joke around about secret meetings and create builds like this. I have to wonder if it will evolve from "joke" to an actual group of people to be reckoned with...and not in a good way.

Posted by: Elle Pollack at Apr 28, 2005 8:18:31 AM

Elle, I don't think you need to worry so much. This is all intended in good fun. This seems to be a sensitive topic for some, but perhaps the debate was and is necessary. I happen to think it is bunk, and this was intented as a light-hearted way of expressing an opinion.

Posted by: Forseti Svarog at Apr 28, 2005 8:31:25 AM

I'm sure you don't mean any ill by this, Foresti, but I'm less sure about others. The backlash against Prokofy has brought some awfull mob mentalities to the forefront; the more vindictive-sounding posters in "A good old-fasioned Shunning" thread come to mind. If you'd rather put someone on ignore, for whatever reason, fine, but even with people making claims to the contrary, others have come right out and said they think they'll teach Prok a lesson or "I'm all for silencing him" (actual quote).

Posted by: Elle Pollack at Apr 28, 2005 12:15:07 PM

Speaking of which...where ARE the "love/cult shrines to Aimee!?" :O *flutters away from Artemis*

Posted by: Aimee Weber at Apr 28, 2005 1:54:29 PM

I made a hair-doll of you Aimee....er I mean...it fell out of your hair that way.... >_> _>

Posted by: Artemis Fate at Apr 28, 2005 4:58:43 PM

"The backlash against Prokofy has brought some awfull mob mentalities to the forefront..."

Mob mentalities don't generate themselves. If Porky were less of a jerk, then maybe he wouldn't convince so many people that, well ... that he's a jerk.

Posted by: Oraibi Zapata at Apr 28, 2005 9:39:51 PM

>Ya know, for the first few minutes as I was reading this via RSS feed, I thought it was a tabloid-y article from the SL Herald.<

Me too! Good article! There's hope for Hammie yet.

Posted by: Peter Ludlow at Apr 29, 2005 6:55:02 AM

Elle may be on to something when it comes to willing the FIC into existence. The accused have been passing around all kinds of FIC posters, t-shirts, web sites, groups and other joke items with other accused users. SL's cliquish fiefdoms that were once isolated or at odds with each other seem to be opening doors and hanging out with each other in ways I haven't seen before! So it's not ALL a bad thing!

Posted by: Aimee Weber at Apr 29, 2005 8:26:16 AM

Hey, thanks for interviewing me for this piece, Ham! Now I know why you pushed a friendship card on me -- guilty conscience! And imagine, I just thought you were power-friending! Yeesh.

I often strenuously disagree with Forseti on the forums. He's unable to come up with answers. He comes up with caricatures. I feel troubles about his psychological health when I think he spent hours -- days -- obsessing not only about me, but about Aimee.

Go into the Second Life forums. Look up to the right on the top of your screen, and what do you see? LL Operatives know that a good 75 percent of viewers are "right-lookers," that is, people who, while they are thinking of what to type in the forums, look up to the right. What do they see? What do they see, I tell you!

Yes, Aimee shows some remarkable similarities to SSG Overlord Mia Wallace, particularly in the tenaciousness with which she took on the anti-bounce-gradient-slider issue in opposition to my remove-bounce-script position. Then she showed remarkable energy in organizing an old-fashioned "shunning" movement on the forums. It's realy been a textbook case of Room 101 for our times.

Elle is right that there is a veritable explosion of clubs, titles, t-shirts, asshats, poems, songs, even installation art complete with FIC-manufactured drones. I'm expecting someone to buy a whole private sim for this soon. I'm happy to have sparked so much creativity in those who had become rather *cough* sluggish of late, unable to do much more than rework old Disney or Jack Nicholson movies *cough*.

Yeah, I know my ideas are "eccentric" but think of me a year or five from now when LL charges for the use of scripts and incorporates zoning.

Posted by: Prokofy Neva at Apr 29, 2005 4:26:43 PM

Excellent... I love disinformation directing the masses away from our true, sinister purpose! Bwuhuhuhhaahahahaha

Posted by: HiroPendragon at May 2, 2005 10:25:18 PM

I see like all good news reporters, Hamlet makes things up and reports them as facts. Good to know.

(aka Jarod Godel)

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Posted by: poker at Aug 31, 2007 4:19:55 AM

Quote: Oh I knew this was going to happen.....
*sighs and pulls out her butterfly flame-thrower*
Posted by: Artemis Fate at Apr 28, 2005 7:51:01 AM

OK Artemis this is your first and only warning!

Put the flamethrower down and back away with your hands in the air. You're surrounded. We have Dragons here and we're not afraid to use them.

The FIC (Faerie Internet Controllers) control the Internet, the Lindens and by default Second Life. Prokofy Neva is one of our agents tasked with creating Fear Uncertainty and Doubt about the true nature of the FIC and our Queen is very happy with her progress so far.


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