Barbie <3 Ken — CBC’s SL Exposé

by Alphaville Herald on 30/01/09 at 7:42 am

Suburban moms ignore real life families, take imaginary online lovers – film at 11

by Pixeleen Mistral, New Media Studies

The plight of struggling interactive improvisational role play artists who chose tosacrifice RL friends and family for 14 consecutive hours ofavatar-enhanced chat is documented in CBC’s Fifth Estate video Strangers in Paradise.

While the CBC might have overstated the in-world economic situation – “booming” is not a universally accepted description of the SL economy at present – this sort of minor oversight is easily forgiven and forgotten once the magnitude to CBC’s news-of-the-century media breakthrough becomes clear – spending too much time with special e-friends could affect real-life relationships. Shock!

DivorceSL marriage

According to the CBC,  “Around the world, millions have gone on-line to create a virtual life for themselves — a simulated fantasyland where the economy booms, the sun shines and everyone looks gorgeous. For many "second lifers," the game is just that, a game. But, for others, it takes on a life of its own. Hana Gartner introduces us to two women who fell in love with their fantasy life and lovers. They gave up everything, husbands and children, to meet the man behind their fantasies. Find out, if the real thing measured up".

Expect to see a wave of sex-crazed Canadians pursuing their own field research into this important topic  this weekend.

16 Responses to “Barbie <3 Ken — CBC’s SL Exposé”

  1. Sophia

    Jan 30th, 2009

    That documnetary isn’t the first time that has been aired. CBC actually used the first affair. The woman who went to England to meet her Second Life lover from another documnetary that was just as good that was from the BBC more than a year ago.

    A virtual friend of mine sent me the link and I played it in my theater and watched it with a few friends.

    They profiled three couples. One of which they used in the CBC version. The other one was really good. I felt bad for the first couple, well her husband anyway and he took her back.
    Another couple the profiled met on Second Life and both were single and lonely and wed in world and later in real life.

    The third couple I forget lol. But that documentary was just as heart wrenching because you either felt the pain of the person who was lonely or depressed or for the spouse who is being ignored.

    If I can find the link to that one you will see they went into it more. They seemed more dedicated to the couple who’s photo is in this article. My husband and I watched it last night and just shook our heads for the woman who left her children behind to go live with this man she met who said to his wife (not sure what number wife she was) not to let the door hit ass when you go. Well not knowing him personally or the woman I can’t pass judgment on what makes them happy.

    But I could sense her pain. I hope she remains happy and makes amends with her family. That is what is so upsetting that people are so compelled to abandon their families for a relationship. And it doesn’t happen only in virtual worlds only.

    It happens no matter where you are. So this new version on adultry in Second life is just a repeat and to continue to keep the flame burning on the ooohhhh so juicy side of Second Life.

    I do know of a few people who have married in Second Life but kept the relationship for fun but I know of one couple I knew was terribly unhealthy and possibly about to cross that line like that couple. The man was married with children and from outside the US. The woman was from the US living with her mother who was not well and taking care of her mother. She was on Second Life as often as she could be to be with her partner and many times they would have arguments about her depression and her jealousies over his exploring SL and meeting other female avatars.

    She wanted to meet him in real life and i told him it would destroy his life and was he ready to sacrifice all that. This woman didn’t care about his real life wife or his son. She only cared about herself. She controlled him in world to the point where he really was very much afraid she would harm herself if he didn’t do things for her . It was just nutts.

    He would break up with her to only go back the next day. it was an addiction of some kind to not a person but a routine he had adopted. They were using voice so a major emotional boundry had been crossed. I really felt bad for him and for her because she was really seeking out a partner and love but she couldn’t have him but tried dam hard to get him.

    Not sure to this date if they ever really met but I think he may have had enough sense not to. She did start to to become a bit more independent at one point realizing how unhealthy it was and also angry at him not taking it the next step into reality. She would take a trip here or there to seem like she was leading a somewhat life of her own but she would come back and it would replay all over again.

    I never met this man but have spoken to him. He seemed grounded. I’ve known him since I came in the game. They have been serious for over 2 years. Who knows if he was playing mind games with her for fun. He knew she wasn’t emotional stable. She would put me on her friends list then take me off and put me on again. She thought because I spoke to him I was a threat. That’s how odd it got.

    I had my pal in Second life who I loved to talk to or actually read his chat. he was a story teller and we remained friends for a long time and to this day i have male friendships on SL but they know I’m married and my husband comes on SL now and then and that I may joke around a bit for fun but am in sl for a creative outlet and not looking for a fling or partner.

    I recently listened to a news broadcast about women and men being friends and if it were possible. some said yes and some said no. The men said no and that their intentions would always be driven to that next level. I worked mostly with men and so I had no choice to have male co-worker friends. Worked out fine for me.

    Some tried to cross the line others didn’t. It’s a personal choice. Growing up there were more boys in the neighborhood so I gravitated to the guys more. Had a house full of men who had male friends so there maybe having had my full of them I was never intimidated by them or threatened by them. If I was I walked away quickly.

    I can see how easy it is to fall for something like this even more so now with the voice chat. It brings a much more real serious factor into the connection. scary in away. Even though I love to walk around SL listening to people chat and love to hear the voices I still sometimes get shivers up my spine hearing some of them. you never know who’s on the other end really.

    I was like thrilled to hear for the first time some of the voices of my sl friends. I could finally get a sense of who I was dealing with and if they were genuine I guess to a degree.
    Which in away I and also they could get a sense of my RL sense of humor and how we could professionally share information about either art or applications we were using or just how to do things. God it became so much easier for me in SL with voice. But you have to keep your boundries.

    I suggest like if someone were going to take things to another level and meet their sl friend. Do so but with others you know together in rl. Never meet them without others knowing in your rl what your going to do. Just in case. Meet with a group or in a crowd at a public place if you do this. People use dating services on line all the time. Just play it safe. I guess it could be thrilling but also very dangerous.

    But best of luck to the couple in the show and I hope she stays happy and gets back her family.


  2. Sigmund Leominster

    Jan 30th, 2009

    This is marketing at its best. Short of full sponsorship from Linden Lab, this free promotion for Second Life has to be good news for the tourist trade. If I were a a business owner in SL, I’d be gearing up for some serious fleecing this weekend.

  3. Tekilah Elytis

    Jan 30th, 2009

    I sat down to watch this on CBC the other night and realized that I had already seen this, a year ago exactly. If you’d prefer to watch virtually the same doc narrated by smooth BBC accents, it is available online here:

    Wonderland: Virtual Adultery and Cyberspace Love

    Bonus: Battlestar Galactica music included in the BBC version. :)

  4. Ari Blackthorne

    Jan 30th, 2009

    @ Sophia:

    That was the BBC (BRITISH BROADCASTING) not the CBC (CANADIAN BROADCASTING.) That did the documentary on the two couples who met-up.

    Doesn’t matter. It’s all just media companies to stretch, spin and sensationalize yawner crap for ratings.

  5. Creamy Cooljoke

    Jan 30th, 2009

    I saw this show on the BBC in the UK a while ago. I felt sad for those people.

    TV shows like this are the reason I’m often embarrassed to admit to friends that I play Second Life. Because of this kind of publicity people instantly think everyone who plays this game are having virtual sex with random people. That is not what I play it for, many of us simply enjoy the creativity aspect.

    I am now dreading the new influx of sex cravers tainting Second Life even more after watching that program. I wish these programs would publicise the creative and positive side of SL :/

  6. Dr. Moreau

    Jan 30th, 2009

    Here we go again…the only mainstream coverage about SL is about virtual infidelity.


    If those Canucks inspire those south of the border…just imagine the impact.

    All these hot desperate suburban housewives cheating on their computers means only one thing: fewer hot desperate suburban housewives to be snared by Dr. Moreau in sleazy barrooms for real life infidelity behind the backs of their boring, double-chinned hubbies.

    No more wild drunken escapes wrecking Chevy Suburbans (later claimed stolen). No more latex-o-ramas, ruining priceless Persian rugs in the family room while Boring Bob is at a database-managers’ convention in Toledo. No more panty-ripping escapades with multiple women named Pam in the hot-tubs of gated communities.

    Oh my sweet Jesus what is the real world coming to??? SL must be banned, and NOW.

  7. Sophia

    Jan 30th, 2009

    @Ari Blackthorne

    I said CBC used portions of the BBC documentary which aired last year that I saw. That’s what I meant anyway. The first couple profiled was the used on BBC’s program. It was not a re-airing either I don’t think.

    The reporter in this piece mentioned wasn’t the one to interview that first couple. She was focusing on the woman featured in this article.


  8. dW0rk

    Jan 30th, 2009

    Hey Pixeleen I hurd your a reporter for the Pennysaver IRL. Will you go out with my avi?

  9. Crimson Darcy

    Jan 30th, 2009


  10. LOL

    Jan 30th, 2009

    I saw this on both the BBC and CBC, and it is FUcking helarious! my only question is, In a RL devorce over sl how does 1 spouse tell the chrildren thier Mother\fater left the family for a cartoon chracter? the Virtual Sex scandals must really be fucking up the kids. can you only imagine what other kids say on the playground?

    Just goes to show ya the human race is doomed, at least when we all die of a nuclear holocost our avatars will be around to tell the story

  11. Anonymous

    Jan 31st, 2009

    @ creamy

    that’s the ONLY reason you don’t like to admit to playing SL?

  12. Jessica Holyoke

    Jan 31st, 2009

    If it is so unrealistic to love an avatar, then why is it acceptable to hate one?

  13. Pappy Enoch

    Jan 31st, 2009

    I luved me that picture-show ya’ll dun stuck up on the Interweb Net Thang.

    Whar o whar kin I dit me sum o’ them wimmin hoo needs tu cheat on ol’ tubby-hubby?

    Hoo Whee. This am a gold-mine fo’ bad boys hoo needs tu lay sum pipe in the love-gully.

    I plans to lev’ridge mah titul as “Wun o’ SL’s 30 most han’sum fellers” (ovur thar at New Wirlds Notes) intu gittin’ sum ackshun.

  14. Mariposa

    Feb 1st, 2009

    You know, we can make fun of this documentary and say that it’s a narrow slice of SL but in truth we all know people like this. People who are online day and night, ignoring their RL families and troubles, hiding. SL is great fun, but burying yourself in an online world won’t fix anything. Have a great time, but take care of RL, too.

    Anyone who gives up their kids for an online fantasy needs serious therapy.

  15. NinaA

    Feb 1st, 2009

    That show is a lie! I’ve never seen SL look as good or run as problem free as that.

  16. marilyn murphy

    Feb 4th, 2009

    why do people always say that so and so needs therapy? i am crazy as hell, mad as a hatter and certifiably insane and i been therapied til i couldnt walk and it never did a lick of good.
    instead of therapy, advocate drugs.

Leave a Reply