south park and virtual reality

i used to watch south park a lot. it's a pretty smart show, especially when it comes to stuff about the media. i actually wrote my final paper for MS 49 about how south park teaches media literacy.

i watched an episode a couple of days ago, and i immediately noticed how much it related to what we've been discussing in class. it was the episode about "guitar hero" - i don't know how many of you have seen it. basically, stan and kyle get really good at guitar hero, and the rest of the episode plays out as though they'd gotten good at playing real guitars. they get an agent and have a chance to make it to the big time, etc. etc. sure, it's just a game, but if playing it has real world effects (hypothetically the same ones you get for playing real guitar), then how "virtual" is it really? what makes it any more virtual than "real" life?

one of the funniest parts of the episode happened near the end. things ended badly, and everything was set up for the classic epiphany moment where stan realizes that he was better off with kyle (he'd dumped him along the way). the show uses a filmic convention in an interesting way: stan is playing a racing game, and he's driving along, when all of a sudden, he stops, has his epiphany, and turns his car around. it was funny because it was quite contrived. turning around in the video game doesn't actually get him any closer to kyle's house. but, if you think about it, the same is true of "real" movie scenes.

i really want to push for the arbitrariness of the distinction between virtual reality and "real" reality. i'll have to think about my arguements some more though.

This is funny, because I really want to push for the distinction between virtual reality and "real" reality. I keep asking myself whether this is because I have an intuitive sense of difference, or because I desire difference.

I find it really impacting my reading of Wark. I think I can safely say I don't like her ideas. I'm struggling to read her without bias. I wonder if you have a similar problem with a lack of criticalness.

I am still thinking things over, but I want to say that this all has to do with embodiment. I was planning to propose a number of hypothetical that all keep falling apart on me. I might make a post of them if I have time.

On last thing completely unrelated-- Our drafts are supposed to be in before we leave for thanksgiving, not tomorrow, right? I have a clear memory of KF saying this, but I'm second-guessing now.