Friday, October 24, 2008

Blurring of the Virtual and Non-virtual

I was amazed by yesterday's news (full story here) that there's now a case in the Japanese courts where a woman who was served with a divorce in a virtual world ended up killing her online husband and is now being brought up on computer hacking charges for doing so.

I've been arguing for years that making distinctions between "real world" and "virtual world" personas doesn't make much sense-- that it's all just different aspects of the real world. Virtual communities are one kind of real world community, virtual communications are one kind of real world communications, and virtual personas are one kind of real world personas-- all with real world implications and consequences. Now hopefully we're beginning to see the legal system catch up with and put some teeth into the idea that virtual worlds are indeed part of the world. The behaviors in them need to be taken as seriously as the behaviors in any other part of our world. I'll be very interested in seeing the opinion that is written if this case actually makes it to formal charges and through the court system!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sign the Petition

I was only able to watch little bits of the 2008 Women's Conference that Maria Shriver put together--you can see a lot of it here -- but Bono's appeal toward the end of the day once again moved me. Here's what he said:

I hope that after watching it, folks will sign the ONE petition that's being sent to Senators Obama and McCain. It can be found here.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Home is the most beautiful, touching book I have read in many years. In it, it is 1956 and Jack Boughton is returning home to Iowa after 20 years to live with his dying father, Rev. Robert Boughton, and his sister Glory. The story covers much of the same time period as Gilead, Marilynne Robinson’s earlier book that won the Pulitzer, and has an overlap of characters. I’d read Gilead and thought it was okay—a few good lines for sermons—but it didn’t move me in the way that this reshaped, refocused prodigal son story did. Perhaps it’s that the voice of Glory (who, even though the book is written in a third person voice, is really the narrator) works better with Robinson’s simple yet deeply layered writing that the narrative voice of Rev. John Ames (who narrates Gilead). Perhaps it’s the way in which the two ministers again and again got caught up in the theological issues around the questions that Jack asked but were completely unable to hear the earnest painful intent behind the questions. Maybe it’s that Jack could even hope that the town of Gilead might offer the possibility of a real home for his interracial family. It could be the way in which the prodigal son story is retold—but not quite—in a much more complicated way. Or perhaps it’s that the anguish and compassion interwoven into the lives of the Boughton family spoke more strongly to me than the lives of the Ames’ household, often leaving me with a lump in my throat or tears in my eyes. Or, more likely, it’s all of these in the eccentric way that Robinson weaves the varying storylines together into a narrative that seems so strange and yet so familiar.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


It may be October but our flowers are looking better than ever (thanks to Kathy's continual watering of the hanging baskets)!