Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Madness of Rabbi Writer

I know it's not rational, but I feel partly responsible for some of this.

I was invited to write a review of some inworld Holocaust museum last March for 2Life, a Jewish 'zine for Second Life. Holocaust anything isn't easy for me as the event figures into both sides of the family. I can rationalize that Mom would not have been put where she was this year if it hadn't been for the Holocaust. Maybe it was that which moved me to accept the assignment.

I wandered through the interactive masterpiece one evening, and was met by Rabbi Writer, a modest bald avatar with a white beard and no shoes. I asked him some questions and discovered he was a real rabbi in the Netherlands. Sharing the land was a replica of the synagogue he helped restore and allegedly ran services in over in RL.

It came out that he was relocating the museum. Beth from TMA in Nessus had purchased a great deal of land in back of my place in Anilis and was reserving it for the Rabbi.

Making the review was interesting. My computer died, and I worked on it at Dad's one evening and sent it to editor Kafka Schnabel via Gmail. He eventually responded that he too was without a computer and working on the new issue at a friend's house (which explains why the raw draft was used). Kafka hasn't been seen inworld in months, which suggests his computer woes are not over.

If only the Rabbi appreciated the efforts we made to tell people about his work. It was a thing greater than any one man and important for us to spread the word. Here was a terrible moment in humanity where intolerance and bigotry successfully motivated masses of seemingly intelligent people with a false sense of superiority. It must never happen again.

The museum's move to Anilis was a rough one. Maybe there wasn't enough land, or maybe he had ideas to reconfigure the layout. His first plan was to make the museum on the other side of the tracks, then balance them with half and half, then he put everything on our side, then decided to go vertical (probably got nipped by the tier fee) and set land all over Anilis for sale cheap.

As most of you know I helped him out several times, first by offering a strip of free land as a path from up the hill down to the tracks, then last month took it back PLUS a strip along the back to help him with tier (it gives my place more depth and more prims, but do I want or need it?).

While reworking the holocaust museum into a multilevel presentation, he put in his mega high rise some biblical stuff. I'd heard he used to have a private island called Holy City which showed old Jerusalem and the temple. The ark was in the high rise along with an ancient town square and a gallows. Guess he was filling the spot for the time being. Beside the museum was the Anne Frank house replica, and further west up the hill was the Dutch synagogue.

What I didn't know was Rabbi Writer had purchased a small extortion parcel in Nessus from an adfarmer and was about to use it.

One evening TMA group chat activated with news of a build to the side of the community grounds. I flew over and there was a 48sqm strip of land with signs singling out TMA members that there was a greater calling. Beth was not the only one offended and confused by the Rabbi's build. TMA itself is not a religious movement, nor does it pretend to be. It's a cultural hub where there may be discussions, inspirational creations, or - when Beth and her band get the urge - live music. TMA celebrates culture and welcomes anyone to participate. It never pretends to be in lieu of RL practice. The rabbi appeared to think so.

Because he had been a part of the neighborhood and - as a rabbi - respected, it was decided instead of ARing the piece that he would be spoken to. Apparently Beth did and the Rabbi immediately replaced the build with an epitaph and memorial candle citing that evening as the death of his freedom. Surrounded by banlines. Microplots + Banlines = AR.

That pissed me off. Here a community was being singled out and judged just for existing. He didn't just put off Beth but all of us. As a neighbor who had a rapport with him, I thought I'd see what was going on. It didn't really go anywhere. He denied any wrongdoing and was totally paranoid and angered that people objected to his displays. He thought I had been listening to people. No, I saw these things myself. I told him for someone who was making a Holocaust museum it was strange to see displays of intolerance at a group. We all would have been gassed in the same chamber in those times regardless. I said it appeared he was behaving as though there was competition where none existed, and that his place and TMA served very different purposes. He told me to go away and essentially that I was like the others.

He then added a tacky message to the memorial plot. Enough ARs and a Linden returned its contents.

The next day the museum was down and in its place a garden with images (I guess) of great Jews. The emphasis of his mission changed from intolerance to Jews who were more Jewish than others (he associated the new build with the group "Keeping Jews Jewish"). Quite the turnaround. He also had banlines up for a handful of us. But as long as visitors to my place to shop, play, or fish were oblivious to them then no harm done.

Eventually he abandoned a chunk of land and set the majority of it to my west for sale - at 100k. This was a "if you want it, you'll have to pay me good money Beth" kind of price, but neither Beth nor myself were interested. A few days later it went down to 60k. Still not conducive of the area's going rate for anyone who might be interested, and it would have been nice to have a sane TMA group member as a neighbor who would add more art and color to the area.

Things went quiet for a while. We figured Rabbi Writer moved on and waited for his land to sell. "Bob" only knows whether he was rich or used congregation funds to buy out adfarmers all over the place and the whorehouse next door and was now stuck.

Then last night happened.

I was pulled out of Toontown with news of a griefing. Rabbi Writer took his land off sale and put up 128x128 megaprim hyperlinks, again singling out TMA members and trying to direct them to a website. He made mention of SL Jews who in RL were not, which is none of his business and against the terms. He also scripted the megaprim so that on my land and on north Nessus some snarky white hovertext was unavoidable on the viewer screen. Mass ARs ensued and a member of the G-Team came to remove the megaprims.

A short while later a handful of us enjoyed a much needed deflation as Beth and Dale performed at a club.

Sentiment over the ordeal seems consistent: the Rabbi went loonies, we automatically respected him for his position, and it was a shame that someone that who had started out with such a noble incentive seemingly went down a hole of madness greed and intolerance. I wonder if he's banned? He should be. SL isn't good for him.

The thought occurred to me in passing that this was the second avatar with the surname of "Writer" who left the area on curious terms.

(note: click images for full size)

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