Newt Gingrich, who may very well become the next President of the United States, has a second life. No, I don't mean his second life as a lobbyist, I mean literally, a second life.
A few years ago, the leading GOP candidate for President created a Second Life avatar and gave a long lecture on the steps of a virtual Capitol building, where he proposed that Congress itself meet, all while being protected by a squad of all-female avatar bodyguards, and protested by a green fairy with wings who called him a fascist.
(Ana Herzog | Flickr)
This was back in 2007, when the 3d virtual world was in its period of maximum media hype, and Gingrich was not even the only nationally prominent political figure to dabble in SL. In 2006, for instance, when Mark Warner was considered a leading Democratic Presidential candidate, the then Virginia governor (now Senator) made a short whistle stop appearance in Second Life.
Unlike Warner and most others, Newt went whole hog on virtual reality, not only making an appearance in SL, but praising it as the future of Internet, lecturing more generally about the Metaverse, and then to top it off, proposed that America's political leaders meet on a Second Life island called Second Legistlation.
Here's what he said:
I regard Second Voice... Second Life, as the beginning of a very different kind of system that let's exactly what you see in front of you happen, which is people from all over the world, can come together, and be together, and share ideas... I think it's very important to look at how this technology is going to evolve.
And evolve it did, though contrary to what Newt predicted, Second Life hasn't become the main way for people coming together online. That title more firmly belongs to some website made by a college droupout who used to share the stage with Second Life's developers. Maybe political reporters can ask Newt about his current platform position on the Metaverse. He even wanted Congress itself to be in Second Life:
Newt talked about creating a "Second Legislation" sim [in SL] where legislators from the national and state levels could come together to share views on important subjects and bills, without the need for expensive travel. This was pretty far-fetched, but definitely interesting.
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Newt is full of interesting ideas! And those bodyguards? They were the Metaverse Modsquad, and they were hot.
And you can read more about how the Gingrich appearance came together here, and also here. As for why Newt came into Second Life at all, he's always been an advocate of information technology, so it's not totally surprising. Though one wonders why he seemed so amped on Second Life itself, a virtual world with a lot of amazing creativity, but also a lot of strange characters, from roleplaying vampires and physically impossible sex fiends to furries, people who enjoy roleplaying as anthromorphic animals. Unless...
Wait a minute. Wasn't there a recent photo on Boing Boing of Newt Gingrich's wife Calista where...
Oh. My. God.
Newt, oh Newt... is that you in there?
Wagner James Au is the author of The Making of Second Life: Notes from the New World, freelance writer, screenwriter, and a game developer. Read more about him here.
New World Notes is where Au covers the SL Metaverse.
Republished with permission.
(Top photo: rikomatic | Flickr)