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Showing posts with label Notre Dame. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Notre Dame. Show all posts

Sunday, May 5, 2019


SecondLife residents who have been here for any length of time have read, usually in someone’s profile, words to the effect of “Remember:  Behind every avatar is a Real Person. Handle with care”.  We are encouraged to remember the connection between real people and their pixelated renderings.  
But are we not also reminded on occasion to remember the connection between Real World events and their pixelated renderings as well?  Just as how we direct and control pixelated avatars can illicit real world passion and emotions, so also, the way we treat renderings of certain revered places and things can also illicit powerful emotions.  Case in point: The recent tragic fire that ravaged the 900-year-old Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Construction on this historic monument on an island in the Seine River in Paris, France took 182 years, from 1163 to 1345.   The near destruction of that same artifice took a mere 15 hours. Later, the President of France announced that this venerable structure nearly two centuries in the making, would be rebuilt in five years.   
On April 15, 2019 a bishop at the cathedral of Notre Dame noticed a fire coming from the rear roof top.  The news of the fire rocked the world.  People across Europe and around the world referred to Notre Dame as the “Heart of Europe”.  Investigators would later learn that the fire had been started either by electrical wiring in the forest of electronics used to operate the bells in the bell tower, or by cigarettes smoked by contractors doing restoration work on the historic structure.   Either way, this landmark that had stood the test of time for nearly a millennium, was now in flames, and a shocked world watched in horror as the black smoke darkened the Paris sky.

The residents of SL were not immune to the consequences of this destruction.  Many flocked to the Paris 1900 Sim and stood in front of the replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
In the early hours of the fire, the people who gathered in SL were supportive of each other and of their beloved landmark.  News was shared from RL residents of Paris. Pictures and stories were relayed from those standing on St. Louis Island.  The pictures were heart breaking as all of Paris stood by watching.  Residents were notified early on that several historical items had been evacuated unharmed. It wasn’t long however, before griefers attempted to ridicule the horrific events.  Later, the builder of the SL Notre dame Cathedral tried to replicate Real World events, and he was chastened by many on the crowd for doing so. A sample of local chat will help you understand the depth of sentiment surrounding this catastrophe.

[11:52:58] Observer 1:  Good news!  Eight of the iconic copper statues are safe.  They have been removed. That is some relief, at least.
[11:53:15] Observer 2: Yes.... they are working hard to save the art work… brave men and women.
[11:53:44] Observer 3: Priceless art work
[11:55:23] Observer 4: I am not a religious man; I have no religion.  But I am very sorry for all the people of France and all the people of the Catholic religion.
[11:55:38] Observer 1: This is more about history than about religion

In SL, there have been several replicas of Paris over the years.  Some depicted a modern-day Paris; others paid historical homage.  The one with the most traffic in SL currently is “Paris 1900”, an elaborately constructed rendition that closely mirrors what the “City of Lights” must have looked like in its heyday when Notre Dame was a mere 555 years old.
Many of the residents who stood in the SL Notre Dame courtyard offered words of support and unity:
[12:04:56] (Observer 5): I pray for our church. Even though I am not from France, Notre Dame is the heart of Europe.
[12:05:13] (Observer 1): It is one of the hearts of western civilization
[12:25:52] (Observer 5): Tonight, we are ALL French.

Not all visitors were sympathetic to the situation however.  The Cathedral was soon attacked in-world as griefers descended onto the SIM.  Two of them set their avis on fire and hurled themselves to the front of the building.  A different kind of fire erupted down the peak of the roof set from just beneath the surface.  The crowd went wild;

[12:32:42] (Observer 6) shouts: Can you please extinguish the fire?  It is painful enough to see it burning in RL!
[12:33:08] (Observer 13) shouts: YES PLEASE!
[12:33:26] Observer 8): Extinguish the flames!  Please!
[12:35:02] (Observer 9): Part of the fire is an avatar. Can it be derendered?
[12:35:16] (Observer 11): Too much disruption here!
[12:36:57] (Observer 9) shouts: It is a griefer!
[12:37:24] (Observer 12) shouts: I live in Paris, and was born in Paris.  It is the French who started this f###ing fire, and they must put it out quickly!
[12:37:51] (Observer 13) shouts: No, I spoke to the owner of the Sim who added the fire.  He says he did it so people can see and understand what really happened.  Pffftt…As if we are not perfectly capable of following the news. We come here for hope and prayers, and NOT “Real Life Part 2!!!”
[12:46:58] (Observer 13): It shows a profound lack of respect. People that have the ability to log into SL, also have the ability to see this on the news. We don't need to see it here too. People came for prayer and hope, not “Horror Movie Part 2”.

The crowd was incensed and growing more and more agitated; people were yelling at each other; arguments began to break out around the square in front of the Cathedral.  When the crowd learned that the fires on the roof were added by the owner of the SIM, (I’ll call him Claude), the tense atmosphere became riotous;
[12:43:50] (Observer 14) shouts: Claude owns the fire animation at the roof!
[12:49:05] (Observer 12) shouts: HEY PEOPLE! Claude is the owner of the Cathedral.  Since HE is burning the cathedral, should we go elsewhere???
[12:50:42] (Observer 12) shouts: Claude! You don't deserve our presence!!
[12:50:48] (Observer 16) shouts: Claude is the co-owner of Paris 1900 and the builder of Notre Dame Cathedral! Please respect his decisions!
On an individual basis, several people, offended by the pixelated flames, chose simply to derender the griefers and the flames coming from the roofline.  Others in the crowd rallied around “Claude’s” decision to put the flames up, and suggested that people leave if they did not support his choice or took offense by his actions.
[12:45:37] (Observer 17) shouts: We need to show love and respect for our French family.
[12:45:59] (Observer 18) shouts: THANK YOU SO MUCH, [Observer 17]!
Of the many fine tributes that came in over the following days, perhaps one of the most heartfelt was drawn by an artist who was particularly impacted by the fire.  The CNN website, at 12:27 p.m. ET, April 16, 2019, posted the following statement and artwork:
“As Notre Dame Cathedral burned, Cristina Correa Freile channeled her own emotion by imagining how the church's most famous fictional denizen — its hunchbacked bell ringer — might have responded to the calamity.”

Author’s Note:  Due to the sensitivity surrounding the devastation of Notre Dame Cathedral, rather than foment further distress among those present, the names in this article have been changed to preserve the anonymity of the speakers.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Virtual Tour of Europe in SL – Shaneos Howlett Reporting...

Today we are touring  the Virtual Europe sims in SL and viewing such gems as the Eiffel Tower and other famous landmarks 

 come along with us as we make our way along some interesting landmarks.

We begin the tour with the Eiffel Tower
Be prepared to spend at least an hour in this area – as this is a very large area with lots to see and do.