Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Defense of SaveMe Oh [a limited-time offer!]

Probably didn't see this post coming did you? Especially if you know anything about my interactions with SaveMe over the past year and a half or so. We've tangled before.

But I logged in to SL today amidst some kind of crapstorm and spent a few hours investigating this polarizing issue.

This is the notecard I received... multiple times from multiple sources:

Hi, friends,

You may have heard that Igor Ballyhoo deleted his account on July 23, 2011 (you can still find his profile, I think it takes about six months for it to be removed). The reason for this was he could no longer endure the persistent bullying and ongoing harassment by SaveMe Oh. She has been attacking him for the past year or so, part of this has been ongoing on her blog, part of it has been at gallery openings and part of it has been via private IM.

Many of the Art groups, and also CARP, discussed earlier tonight what could be done about this. We want Igor back and SaveMe to be removed. While there is still some RL business that needs to be affirmed before any action can be taken, letters from art houses and art groups could greatly contribute and also personal letters from creaters and art lovers like you. Also we will look into steps that can be taken in RL concerning the blog where she writes her lies and harrasses innocent people.

While we realize this is not an easy undertaking, we want to move forward with our plan. SaveMe Oh has terrorized SL long enough and nothing has ever been done about it. We ask you for your support in the form of a Letter of Complaint addressed to Rhett Linden, Director of Experience, Linden Lab. Drop it in his profile. The more people show that the terrorism Saveme Oh is acting out on SL is not longer possible, the more chance there is she will be removed from SL forever.

Thank you.

[emphasis mine]

First... I'd like to address this notecard.


1. The use of the word "terrorism" twice in this note is despicable and unconscionable. It is the ugliest sort of hate speech imaginable given the current world situation and particularly when the Oslo shootings and bombings are still front-page news. It's irresponsible and hysterical, which is what these people accuse SaveMe of; it is pure unadulterated high-school drama.

2. It doesn't take anywhere close to six months to delete a profile.

3. SaveMe has a blog where she is free to write whatever she wants to write. If you speak to a lot of people about her, they generally will tell you "I don't bother to read her" in the same way they don't bother to read Prokofy Neva's Second Thoughts blog/site. I don't happen to like Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin's blogs either, so I just... don't bother to go there.

Mute is there for a reason. I have muted SaveMe before, after telling her I was going to. I've also muted Igor, for reasons that I will explain later.

Igor is not a helpless victim here. He is not tied up, hooded, manacled nor being shocked with bare electric wires. He doesn't have to go read SaveMe and he certainly has Mute available, as he well knows, having muted me before. So I call bullshit on this whole dramatic fashioning of little Igor's helplessness, esp when he takes great pains in this community to pass himself off as some tough-guy and is the rudest male I have yet met in Second Life after Georg the Janitor.

4. Oh, so it's definitely a witch-hunt... going after SaveMe's blog? About a problem in Second Life??? Really? I have read her blog at different times. Yeah, it's offensive sometimes; yes, it's cruel sometimes, as I have made a point of telling SaveMe before when we've had our tussles. But seriously, I have never seen anything close to libel, slander or any legally actionable offense.

5. I really love the campaign to send letters to Rhett Linden, and the thing about "removing her forever from SL." That's simply hysteria; anyone can change their MAC or log in from a dynamic IP. It's also quite as vindictive and dramatic as what these people's "protest" is about.

So this notecard being passed around, duplicated and spammed to every imaginable group just looked like exactly the same kind of crap that's being used as an accusation: pure drama and power politics.


Igor and Me

Now I guess it's time to talk about me and Igor.

The first time I met Igor was at a "tea party" at S&S Galleries with Ally Aeon, Rose Borchovski, me and then Igor dropped in. Among the first things Igor said to me were sexual comments and innuendos that I simply do not stand for in RL or in VL. This is no surprise to people who know me, or know him; it is a common mannerism of his, observed many times by many people. He thinks it's cute or tough or cynical or something. He also made belittling comments about women aimed particularly at me and my work; not critique but patronizing male bullshit and quasi-porn-actor speech.

As is my wont, I began replying wittily/teasingly. Igor didn't seem to be able to take what he dished and it swiftly turned into surliness on Igor's part and hardness on my part to not let someone acting like a high-school emo-goth slap at me repeatedly without talking back.

He also played the "my life has been tougher than your life" card... which was stupid of him, not knowing my life. Many of my friends in SL do know my life and where I have been and what I have seen, including, yes Igor, people dying in front of me (1 by bullet, 2 by OD).

At one point, I told Igor, "Unless you apologize for your rude and sexual comments, I will hear nothing of what you say." Remember, this is all in public chat in a room with other people. So I was certainly conscious of what I was saying.

Igor then decided that I had been "unforgiveable" to him and that unless I apologized to him for not listening to anything he had to say unless he apologized, I was on his shitlist. We went through a little semantic tête-à-tête as to why I blanked him in the first place, but Igor refused to understand that his sexual innuendos and brattly vulgarity were the thing I objected to and blanked him for. I was supposed to apologize to him for finding his verbal bullying offensive and asking him for an apology! So I was like, ok that won't work, Muted him and just put him on the "ignore: wallpaper" list.

However... for months afterward, when we'd be at the same show, Igor made it a point to point out he was ignoring me, and then use this opening tell the story of how I had wounded him by being rude and out-of-the-blue muting him and generally being mean and terrible. A big drama, about how I had wronged him. After that... I decided to keep Igor on Mute. It's adult. I just let him go. I didn't care what he was saying about me. I mean, wtf drama right?

I thought this was the end of it and was determined to just let him shoot his mouth off; people will realize after awhile what someone is about. Unfortunately... I started to notice that a few of the galleries which had been asking me for my work suddenly dropped me off the shelf. I also found a similar thing with certain groups in SL.

Yes, I wondered, but contrary to popular opinion, I am not always paranoid. I let things float until I was approached several months ago by two separate gallery owners, who wanted to know "what's this with you and Igor?" I was kinda baffled, having let the whole thing slide almost 8 months ago.

I learned then that Igor had been talking to at least these two owners, giving them the story of poor Igor and the mean Miso. This was confirmed by a couple other people through chat transcripts... and it fit perfectly Igor's well-known abrasive and "tough-talking" persona. What I learned was that, far from being an adult about it, Igor continued his grudge campaign for over a year.

So let's start with that perspective. I'm upfront about it, as I try to be. I might be crazy, emotional, wrong or overexciteable but I try damned hard to be upfront, to hang with my mistakes and attempt to correct them; to be responsible for my self/avatar in my community.


SaveMe and Me

I'd heard a lot about SaveMe Oh but never really tangled with her until a few things came up where she was interfering with someone else's performance. I understand her position and the debate; I just don't agree with her. But I neither kiss her butt in fear nor get hysterical when confronting her. At times I've Muted her; at times I've supported banning her from an area when she is disrupting someone else's performance. I've gone to see their work, not SaveMe's, and I have taken the trouble to talk with her, debate with her, express my own opinion to her.

She's made posts about me too. In my quest to understand, I read her entire blog back several years to understand her position. To me... this is nothing new; agitprop and such derivative "art movements" are at least a century old; I've participated in some myself (as when I ran all over LA "remixing" Shep Fairey's OBEY glyph, which I happened to dislike as an art work).

So... I quit reading her blog *shrug* SaveMe is completely upfront about her method, which I call the "Tar Baby Principle." The more you react to SaveMe the better she likes it; the more material there is for drama and the easier it is for her to make her point; drama is her stated métier. So I just quit reading and responding to her, in the same way I quit reading Prokofy Neva's Second Thoughts. "It's pointless to attack a Tar Baby" is the moral of that old fable; or in modern internets parlance, "please don't feed the trolls."

So... she was Muted off and on at various times... and I quit reading her blog, and told her why. I wasn't hiding my distaste for her methods or disagreement with her position. However... I was also quite willing and ready to debate with her on the merits of such an approach. When she quit slapping at me (making me part of the performance) and started talking to me (communicating) I was willing to listen; that was the condition I made clear to her.

And one thing I do know about SaveMe: she's upfront about what she's doing. I don't have to like what she's doing; her approach and theory and aim are something she has a right to do and I have the right to not agree with. I don't like her methods, but I do respect upfrontness. There's always Mute, Ban and "don't go here."

And Igor is far from the first and only person who has been treated to the SaveMe Oh Experience.


Not Buying This Pony

Of course, all of that is my opinion (except the verified chats and dialogues involving Igor). And I'm certainly no SaveMe Oh champion or syncophant. Neither do I have a particular axe to grind with Igor other than stated. He's a derp; I muted him; when I happen to run into him at some opening I just keep the Mute on and I am fine with his greyness. I don't go out of my way to be rude or nasty to him; I don't react at all; he's wallpaper. And that's my adult right. If I see something of his I honestly like, I tell people so. I don't confuse my personal distaste for Igor with his work. I don't go around slamming his work or whispering to gallery owners about my own distasteful experiences with Igor... until this point, when Igor is being painted as some kind of angelic being trammeled by the unspeakable evil that is SaveMe.

But this fracas, and particularly this notecard, is way over the line. I understand that two of the galleries pushing this notecard out, the main "organizers" if you will, have already banned SaveMe from their premises. So wtf? She can't go there and harass Igor. IMs can be muted. He can AR her if she really crosses TOS. And he is stupid to keep returning to a honeypot website which tells you right up front that it's purpose is to create drama.

My personal belief is that Igor's persona and romantic dalliances caught up with him finally, as it usually does to noobs who don't have a clue or are unable to stand by their persona, mistakes and all, and attempt to understand, grow and change in exactly the way you have to do in RL. He got his knickers in a twist and took his marbles and went home. That's his choice too. Alizarin Goldflake has been a target of SaveMe's but she hasn't deleted her profile and gone home; neither have I, nor have many other of SaveMe's victims unconsenting cast members.


So neither person in this drama is exactly on my hit parade list. However, this campaign to "get SaveMe permanently banned from SL" using the hysterical, completely-out-of-line and morally-reprehensible "terrorism" label is so much bullshit that I'd have to rent a fleet of trucks to haul it away. The subtle plea "kill SaveMe and Igor will return!" is really pitiful. Add to that the vindictive nature of the "and we'll see about your little dog blog too" and it's just icing on this dramatic poopcake.


Wizzy Gynoid said...

hehe. Saveme Oh is on my friends list. she has attempted to pull me into her drama performance at various times and i just refuse to play. she came to my UWA show and pulled the "Rez a big friggin thingy on my avie" thing. so what. i took pictures of it and posted them on Facebook. Saveme is harmless. i like to say she's the court jester. as Miso says above, Igor is not an angel either. i do however have a visceral dislike of witch hunts. they leave a bad taste in my mouth. Jayjay over at UWA knows how to handle Saveme, as he has had to do on several occasions. he does it with grace and style, something some of these others could learn from.

Jim said...

All I have to say is LOL and big virtual hugz. All of this just tells me that I am friends with the best character of people in the virtual worlds community. Those others, I only feel a degree of sadness for, wishing they could learn and grow from all this, and feeling a bit sorry for them. I'm pleased to see your comments about being able to look at their work in a manner that is relatively objective and independent of personal histories. Anyone who makes decisions based on their personal bruised ego, or feeds it by directing ongoing spiteful negativity towards others, needs to grow more as a human being. When there can be no real personal admiration for someone, at least there can be professional respect, and when you fail there you fail as a member of society.

Vaneeesa said...

/me giggles

I love it when Miso calls bullshit! :))

Oh, and here's my bullshit self-promo for my own love poem to the tedious one:

Miso Susanowa said...

@vaneeesa - thx; that's why I called it on myself for that logo drama-post :D

Not gonna get into a SaveMe or Igor debate; that wasn't what I was opining about :D

@jim - thx... was initially going to stay out of SaveMe's new prime-time show but a little over-the-top reaction forced me to respond. I warned SaveMe not to count on it :D

@Wizzy: yer weird :P

sororNishi said...

Well done, Miso.
I am a fangirl when it comes to SaveMe, she makes me laugh.... and I'll be doing a little post of my own later.

I like Igor two, but lock 'em up in a room together to see who survives... I wouldn't know the outcome... Igor is pretty well matched to SaveMe.

I really like how JayJay and SaveMe co-exist.... shows a sense of humour.

sororNishi said...

*I like Igor too**** sorry...haven't had coffee yet.

Miso Susanowa said...

Actually, I suggested to Igor once that he and SaveMe would make a wonderful couple :D

But a cage fight? W00t! The gang is down to fight!

sororNishi said...

Well, funny enough, a friend (who knows neither of them) reading her blog said they come from the same mould.

Apmel said...

I have been a SaveMe fan since the first time we danced:)) But yesterday I felt so bad about the REAL terrorism that I couldn´t keep my cool and me and Save had a ballout. Rose even stepped in, and today I apologized to SaveMe on her blog.

Anonymous said...

Not a word from me as I don't want to cause any kind of drama.

Scarp Godenot said...

I don't catch much of the SL artist drama going on out there. I'm usually the last to know as I'm out of most of the loops apparently.... heh

I do catch a few things here and there after the fact and had to smile at your reference to Georg Janek, who I personally witnessed having a hissy fit and deleting his art project because he had been 'disrespected' by the gallery... ha ha ha I about fell off my chair laughing at that one. (I have also seen SaveMe's devastating parodies of him)

Miso, you are so right about the ability to mute, ban or just not engage. People who get all offended at the 'drama', secretly love the hell out of it, as it makes them fill will hormones and excitement. It gives them a reason for being and nothing is quite as sweet as 'self pitying martyrdom'. You know, the 'poor, unjustly wronged me' role, played to it's fullest degree.

From my point of view, it is difficult to keep up with perceived slights and who is the biggest jerk lists. So they just fall by the wayside after a bit.

One of the biggest things that breaks up groups of friends in SL is a person who requires that their friends pay attention to their 'this person is persona non grata' lists.

I've seen it happen time and again.

We do what we can, but holding grudges in SL is just not worth the effort...

My two cents worth...

Rowan Derryth said...

The fates took my AMAZINGLY well-written comment in a browser crash! Grr. So this'll be a recap...

I tend to mostly watch from the sidelines for two reasons: 1) I've sworn that SL for me will be drama-free (though some have tested that one!); and 2) because I've chosen to write critically about virtual art, I like to be as objective as possible. Of course I have become close to some people in the art world, but I'm not interested in getting mired in it all.

As an observer, so many things I've seen and heard are both amusing and disappointing. Because artists are, you know, people, they are subject to the same schoolroom behaviour as others - only with added creative flair!

I was pointed to SaveMe's blog over the weekend, and the whole thing with Igor was new to me (I knew he'd muted her in the past). Honestly? It made me laugh. Igor has a very macho persona, and yet she was playing him like a fiddle. And he fell for her every trick. I'm pretty amazed actually... and for him to go off on a strop like her has, he's really given her a LOT of power. It's fascinating.

I haven't read this notecard and wasn't aware of a campaign against SaveMe, but it seems to me that no one forced Igor to leave, he's a big boy. Sounds like a lot of people who don't know how to be grown-ups.

While hearing the gossip is always fun, in terms of discussing virtual art, I really couldn't give a rat's ass about artists interpersonal relations - I'm interested in the work. And I certainly have my opinions about what is good, and what is crap. I wish I had more time to write about it all, and I hope I shall have more time again in the not-too-distant future. But in general, if it is good, I like to talk about it. If it is crap, I walk away.

The only exchange I've ever had with SaveMe was to ask her permission to repost her machinima on Sabrinaa. In terms of her 'performances' - interventions really - I think they are at times painfully amusing truths, but largely derivative. The Furturists like to incite riots in the early 1900s - so what else is new? I actually think some of her best work are her machinima, which are really thought-provoking and often beautiful.

As for Igor... well... *laughs*. Some of his work is really interesting - but he flat out told me (and I'm sure he's said it to others) that to him it isn't art. In fact the words he used was 'it is my excrement'. Nice. He was trying to convince me that he didn't give a shit about what others think, or if they saw it. But for someone who thought that, he sure did exhibit a lot. And yes, I told him that directly, and that I didn't buy his line about not caring. I think this strop pretty much proves that he cares a great deal.

Anyway, my deepest thanks to them both for the entertainment they've offered in their ring of the circus. But everyone else needs to chill the fuck out, I think.

Rowan Derryth said...

Ok, this is the 'I'm a tool' follow-up. For whatever reason when I clicked Scarp's link to this from plurk, I landed at 'Save Me and Me' and thought it was the top, so I totally missed the note. Now I've read it and just wanted to add:

That is fucking dumb.

Well said all round, Miso.

Rowan Derryth said...

Ok, sorry, one more thought - how am I missing these notes? I'm in Arts & Artists Network, Second Culture, Pirats, and UWA - are these the only groups who have the good sense not to send this out?

Then again, I've been clicking through the first through a LOT because if I get one more notice from Monroe Snook, or about Milly Sharple's fractals, I'm going to shoot myself.

Miso Susanowa said...

@Apmel - that's what I like about you! *hug* and yes, the "terrorism" label is what set me off.

@SaveMe - that's a first for you!

@Scarp - First, you're lucky to be so uninformed on these matters!

I admit I get as dramatic as anyone sometimes, and I've tried to breathe through of some of that lately. The thing that set me off this time was the polarization either/or effect you noted.

@Rowan - I have had that happen so many times that now I write my comments in a notepad and then copy them into comment boxes just to make sure Blogger (which seems to have a propensity to crashing long comments) doesn't eat my comment.

I too found SaveMe's blog (which I hadn't read until this notecard came my way) on Igor to be funny and obviously a parody of teen romance angst, esp considering the subject.

I've had a lot of exchanges with SaveMe before; both to ask her to quit being so nasty in some of her "interventions" (omg I LOVE THAT!!!) and in her reflective moods. We have debated (unheatedly) her "performance art" in exactly the art-historical context you describe and it is an interesting dialogue sometimes.

Like you, I might not really care for Igor as a person; I find his "shock gutter talk" to be a model of many of the bratty sophomores I've known, the Boys In Black, and it's *yawn* and only irritates me because of its artificiality and crudity. Patti, Tori or Wm Burroughs would have him for a light snack... that doesn't mean I can't admire some of his work; an artist's work stands by itself. You don't really have to like them.

My conclusions were the same: no one can force you to leave SL, unMute or go to someone's blog and read it; esp one like SaveMe's where you pretty much know you aren't going to get rose petals and ego-stroking.

*passes the popcorn*

Rowan Derryth said...

MISO! I actually just ate some popcorn! Holy crap, are you pulling your surveillance shit on me now?!

I just peeked back at her blog as I hadn't seen the last several posts, and this just killed me:

Rebeca Bashly: Igor Ballyhoo did deleted his account, and asked that notice about it is sent.It will take some time for infos to update.You can believe it or not, thats ur thing.
SaveMe Oh: Do you have the name of his alt?

I'm still giggling at that last line.

Anonymous said...

The sve me soap opera. everyday its some new argument or conflict..fed by peoples own neurosis and the actors narcissism . The endless whining from the audience & the witty comebacks from the devils advocate. Like some weird loop, on and on forever..the clown and his circus. Its a boring show.

Miso Susanowa said...

awww cmon pyewacket, you have to admit it's better than most of the current media offers :D

Scottius said...

You know, I really like freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Thirza Ember said...

the last time Josina 'permanently punished' Saveme, it lasted about a week... I'd be prepared to bet that one of Igor's many alts is already married to one of SaveMe's alts, and has been for years. Pass the cheese, and I'll pass the wine.

Rowan Derryth said...

Ok, I woke up this morning with thoughts. I've chimed: http://rowanderryth.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/saveme-an-intervention/

Miso Susanowa said...

@Scottius - on flapping-fresh salmon? :D

@Thirza - yes, I think it would upstage Misprint Thursday & Selavy Oh's 'wedding' :D

@Rowan - you win +1 internets for your commentary this week!