Among all the possible kinds of RolePlay in Second Life, you can also get the chance to join a Mafia community. There are lots of groups, Sims, and even stores dedicated to the recreation of some kind of "mafia atmosphere", for the full enjoyment of roleplay action and the celebration of badly generalized values such as Respect and Brotherhood. Add some beautiful 30's style clothing and sims, and the trick is done. I typed 'mafia' in the search and here are the results (note: mature and adult content not included) :

436 groups.
Now, Mafia is still a huge problem in Italy. It' s something we aren't definitely proud of, and despite Italy ranks as the 5th biggest national community in SL, only a few d****e bags among us happen to join certain of those groups. I am aware the term "mafia" has been anglicized and has a broader range of meanings in popular american culture, but still, an average of more than 300 people are murdered every year and 40,000 families are affected by "that word" in my country and there is no way any of us would even dare to recreate this atmosphere in a virtual world. Popular TV shows such as "The Sopranos" have never been aired on TV here, and it is a criminal offense to publicly emphasize any mafia-related phenomenon.
Being the internet a relatively new world, I think it's our duty to keep it clean and accessible for all possible users. I know Facebook has deleted all its mafia-related groups, but I am sad to hear that among the addictive Facebook games such as Farmville, Pirates and CafèWorld, now there is also Mafia Wars.

Second Life contents are entirely user created, but I guess the Lindens must have some kind of control over certain 'politically uncorrect' behavior. Just out of curiosity, I thought of other shameful words in worldwide culture and typed them into the search :

As you can see, no matches found for KU KLUX KLAN...

And 15 matches found for NAZI, just because of the various ANTI-NAZI groups.

and obviously no matches found for 'al qaeda'...

So, shall I just be glad that one of the darker stains on my country's worldwide reputation isn't considered off limits by Linden Labs, or is this worth some more thinking to Mr Philip Rosedale? I 'd like to know your opinions about it.

Peace :)

4 commenti:

London Spengler said...

Uff; your post had got me busy for some days, trying to clear my ideas.

We have serious terrorism issues at Spain, and I hate to see how so many people has romantic ideas about terrorists, considering them "freedom fighters", which means they are supporting the use of bombs to kill innocents. And so, even if "The Sopranos" doesn't tries to show Mafia under a possitive light, I understand it could be a bad influence for youth to air it at Italy... and at the least, bad taste.

But the thing is, what about the rest of the world? Should we ban it? And before you answer me, think about how much people likes to disguise as Prohibition's gansters, the appeal of pinstripe suits, fedoras and Thompson machineguns. Should we ban them because they where bloodhanded criminals?

Of course there is a huge difference because that was the past, and Mafia still exists and thrives. But I remember reading Snow Crash and enjoying the description of "Pizzas Cosa Nostra" as a Mafia megacorporation; they where attractive, but it didn't make me feel better about RL Mafia... and still, I wouldn't smile in the same way if the corporation had been ETA (Spanish's armed gang).

So, while I understand your feelings, and share them up to a point, I can't approve the idea of LL censuring Mafia groups. First because I enjoyed "Married with the mob", and even if I wouldn't had seen "Married with ETA", I understand that is my own sensibility that blocks it. And second because censorship is usually evil and dangerous, since the only worth something should come from inside.

I believe the solution lies in posts like yours, showing how people at Italy feels about it. Maybe even to create a group to teach the truth about Mafia, so people can find an alternative when searching for it.

Censoship? No.

Sensibilization? Definitly yes.

Siiiigh, this sounds more like a post than a comment, isn't it? *smiles and hugs*.

Banana's Hubby said...

hmm...i think it's just business, London. Mafia communities in SL are just a minority, but it's still a good number of users who like to roleplay that way. Given the fact that the word mafia has acquired some slighty 'nicer' meanings in anglo-saxon culture, it is tolerated by LL despite the fact that it can be really hurtful for Italians in SL. Business wins over values.
And yes, i'd ban anything trying to represent the actions (or even inspired by) of any criminal organization existing in RL.
As LL would surely do with an 'al qaeda' SL group, or a pedophile group, as they would affect the reputation of SL in the United States.

London Spengler said...

Your post raised a very interesting point, Italy's sensibility about Mafia; it teached me how you feel about worlwide's romantic view of the mob.

But I can't agree with your view of censorship.

People should be free to roleplay the good and the bad, as it happens at popular games like Counterstrike. We can't ban books because they make us simpatize with the criminal, as it happens with masterpieces like Chacal, or films like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid".

You mentioned pedophiles; practicing pedophily is illegal, but playing sexual ageplay between mature users is "only" disgusting... and see what happened after LL took measures: now child avies are second class citizens, and mature but small sized avies get banned from many places. Even worse, I am sure ageplayers are still abroad at SL; was it worth it?

And still is so tepting to forbid ageplay... but why stop there? let's also ban despicable rape and torture sims; after all, they represent illegal, subhuman activities.

I had nothing against Gor, but we must admit they are worse than mob groups, because slavery attacks the whole root of society. Let's ban it.

And we don't need to constrict ourselves at illegallity, when we care about people's sensibility. I am sure there are more SL users negatively affected by BDSM than Italian users offended by Mafia groups. Let's ban it too, since it is an offence.

Ridiculous? Maybe. But you wrote: "I'd ban anything trying to represent the actions (or even inspired by) of any criminal organization existing in RL".

It is a righteous statement, but it is also disturbing, and scary, because I don't see any space for tolerance in it.

I don't dare to say that Italy's Mafia censorship is wrong; after all you are fighting a war, and censorship is one of the weapons. But story teachs us it is such a dangerous, desperate, poisonous weapon!

I wouldn't be proud of using it.

Banana's Hubby said...

i see your point of view. i understand it.

but BDSM/slavery are sexual perversions, something a step below mental illness. they can't be banned.

Gor is pure fantasy, and they do not affect anyone's sensitivity, even tho slavery is questionable.

Pedophily is a crime, so it should be (and is) banned. Ageplay, even if portrayed by adult SL users, is fought by Linden Labs (and banned) just the same as pedophily, because it is the representation of a crime, even if there are no children involved.

Mafia is a crime. It should be banned. It's not censorship at all, it's just illegal. why should I be tolerant? I know there have been movies, computer games and literature. they are fiction. SL is virtual reality, and it's just another bunch of know what i mean..

LL already ban the activities they do not approve. its not me banning, they are. it's just they have different ways of judgement, depending on what their business expectations are. :)