by Pixeleen Mistral on 03/09/12 at 4:20 pm
Paul Ryan's shame and retroactive truthing with a virtual world
by Pixeleen Mistral -- sports desk
Paul Ryan's credibility has taken a serious beating over the last week, starting with a fact-challenged speech at the Republican convention, followed by the debunking of Ryan's claim to have run a marathon in under 3 hours - which left Ryan totally p0wned by mighty Runner's World. Yes, Scott Douglas - a muckraking journalist at the well-known bastion of leftist political fanaticism Runner's World went all crazed-ass rabid wolverine insane and tried to confirm Ryan's claims, found them to be false, then asked difficult questions.
Runner's World discovered that Mr. Ryan had never run a "two hour and fifty-something" marathon as he claimed in a nationally broadcast radio interview with Hugh Hewitt. Instead, in 1990 at age 20, Ryan ran Grandmas Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota in a time of 4:01:25 - news that the Ryan camp reluctantly confirmed after the truth came out.
Is it true that sport doesn't build character, but instead reveals it?
But Second Life can help Mr. Ryan's under 3 hour marathon dream come true - at least in the virtual world. I'm sure someone can make a Paul Ryan avatar and have it run a virtual marathon. Afterwards, maybe the Paul Ryan avatar can act out a few of his other fantasies. Does anyone know how Mr. Ryan feels about baby unicorns?
Meanwhile, although the Romney camp has made it clear that their campaign will not be dictated by fact checkers perhaps there is a 3rd way? If a Paul Ryan avatar is run through a virtual marathon in something like 2:50, the Romney/Ryan camp could make the case that Ryan's apparent "mis-statements" have become retroactively true. Ryan might have just been experiencing a nasty case of time dilation when he was on Hugh Hewitt's show talking out of his ass.
Second Life to the rescue with retroactive truthing!
While many have written off Second Life - an aging game with a declining user base - Paul Ryan's shame may have helped identify a great new use the virtual world: retroactive truthing of false statements through virtual world role play.
This could lead to the sort of job creation Second Life's virtual economy could use. Imagine how many people will be needed to truthify the claims Romney/Ryan have already made, and we have months to go until the election. This should also play well with Mitt Romney if he just thinks of it as something like "baptism for the dead" or "proxy baptism".
There is clearly some precedent here. The Salt Lake Tribune reported in 2009 that President Barack Obama's mother was baptized posthumously into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, so even if Paul Ryan isn't personally involved, it still might work. Could proxy baptism and retroactive truthing be why Linden Lab granted Second Life players the ability to use display names?
Still, it will be important to stage the imaginary marathon for virtual Paul Ryan soon, since Ryan's claims have outraged the all-important distance runner voting block - as I know far too well after enduring almost non-stop ranting from the Alphaville Herald's computer technician after the story broke Friday. Apparently runners care about their race times, and don't forget them. Who knew?
At the Herald, we try to make allowances for the foibles of the staff. Earlier this summer, our part-time computer technician Mark McCahill limped into the newsroom after running Grandmas marathon with a time of 4:01:52. This put the 56 year old McCahill within 27 second of matching the Ryan's race time - when Ryan was 20. I asked McCahilI what he thought of fitness fanatic Paul Ryan telling interviewer Hugh Hewitt "I was fast when I was younger, yeah".
Alphaville Herald staff and Paul Ryan have one thing in common: 4:01 at Grandmas
McCahill set down the old smalltalk compiler he had been fiddling with and said, "Pix, look. Sure, finishing a marathon is an accomplishment, but a 4:01 marathon is not a fast time for a 20 year old. Hell, I easily beat that last year. But let me tell you again about how nobody forgets the time of their first marathon or their personal best. Like back in 2003 at the Twin Cities Marathon..."
At this point, all I could say was, "Whatevs, dude - we can make anything true with Second Life - we have retroactive truthing now. Don't you have to go harvest bits on the server farm or something? I'm a republican now, and I've got a story to write".
Contacting the Second Life Republican Party
And so to restore peace to the Herald editorial offices, I decided to log into Second Life and see what I could do to help save the reputation Paul Ryan. A quick search brought me to the Republican Party of SL headquarters, which was tastefully decorated with NRA News posters, The Controversial Truth posters, East Coast Conservative Podcast posters, and Romney/Ryan posters. Did the Koch brothers get a deal on Second Life poster board?
As I studied an NRA poster, I wondered if Second Life Republican party has been lobbying Linden Lab for a less restrictive policy on virtual firearms to align themselves with the real life Republican party's platform advocating unlimited bullet capacity in guns and "stand your ground" rights. Think of how much more fun Second Life would be if we could use push guns everywhere!
Imagine my surprise when looking at the land settings on the Second Life Republican plot I noticed that scripts, object creation, and push were all disabled. I hope this was just an oversight - how is my LOLCat minigun ever going to work if they lock everything down like this? Come on - this is supposed to be NRA country!
For the sake of ideological purity I can only hope the Second Life Republicans will show their commitment to the NRA by allowing game-play citizens to bear and use arms on their land. This is just like real life, so what could possibly go wrong?
Putting aside the cognitive dissonance of not being able to exercise my 2nd amendment rights in Second Life by blasting away with a 100+ bullet magazine LOLcat assault rifle as I stand my ground while contacting SL Republicans, I worked my way up the chain of command and asked if there was party support for a virtual Paul Ryan marathon. Eventually I was directed to Tomasi Benelli.
Mr. Benelli was not online so I left him this note:
Hi Tomasi, Siverblade Dagger suggested I contact you
I'm concerned that Paul Ryan's mis-statements about his marathon time might cost the republican party the long distance runner vote but we might be able to turn this around - maybe we could set up a marathon in SL and have a Paul Ryan avatar run it in something like 2:50
what do you think? would that help?
let me know -- I'm trying to help
The next morning Tomasi Benelli replied, "In concept, that would help. In reality, it is doubtful that the people we need to effect would ever be aware of something done in secondlife. It would certainly be a positive thing so I would not stand in the way of doing it"
I am left feeling there is a clear path to redeem the reputation of Paul Ryan, although I'm not sure this will do much to convince others that the man that Charles Pierce refers to as a zombie eyed granny starver from Wisconsin is trustworthy - unless someone uses a Paul Ryan avatar to feed some starving grandmothers in Second Life. Hungry grandmas can wait though - I'm just trying to get the Herald's technical staff to stop complaining about the lying lies of Paul Ryan who lies. I really can't listen to much more of this whinging about race result lies.
So it is good news that the Second Life Republicans are OK with making a Paul Ryan avatar and running him through a virtual marathon in about 2:50-something. Now if we can just find a venue where NRA-compatible gun rights are available so anyone who feels threatened can use their push guns, the real fun can begin.