Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rough Justice in Second Life - Everybody Knows

I received an urgent message from my friend Gertrude insisting I attend the latest session at the Second Life Halls of Justice and rushed over. After all watching the court proceedings is very educational (if nightmarish).

I was surprised though that she seemed to be just standing there rather than preparing whatever defense was going to be required.

  • Gertrude: Oh I'm not defending today - the accused hired himself a high priced attorney. They're in the holding area discussing the case.

  • Me: What is the case? Which one is the Defendent?
  • Gertrude: Oh they've put the worm on trial - his name is "Everybody". I'm very excited about it because I get to be part of the jury!
  • Me: Jury? That's the jury? How many of you are there?
  • Gertrude: Yes, Ms. Cynical, that's the jury. It's very representative and there will be 11 of us.

I ignored the "cynical" jab but had to know why there were 11 on the jury.

  • Me: Aren't there supposed to be 12?
  • Gertrude: There are however many the Chief Justice feels there should be and today he said he was in an "elevensy" mood.
Oh yes, the Chief Justice - the biggest, ugliest bug in SL and proud of it. I saw him in his usual spot along with the Prosecutor. I'll bet he makes the Jury stand up just so they'll get cranky - he's annoying that way.

Just as I was dwelling on the Chief Justice's many faults I heard a loud gong sound in the huge chamber and the Bailiff called the court to order.

  • Chief Justice McArtherops: Are all parties present and prepared to begin?
  • Prosecutor Lie: They are Your Nastiness. In the matter of Everybody Knows I will appear for the prosecution and the Defendant has found himself a "real" lawyer.
  • Chief Justice McArtherops: I will decide who is "real" and who is not. Please announce the charges.
  • Prosecutor Lie: Your Sliminess, the Defendant is charged with pretending to "know" everything and allowing himself to be quoted extensively and permitting those with opinions to forgo the presentation of facts.

The Defense Counsel yawned and began to roll his eyes.

  • Chief Justice McArtherops: Could the Prosecutor please simplify his language - what exactly is the issue here?

  • Prosecutor Lie: Um, certainly. This little worm insists that he "knows" everything and that his "knowing" is all that is required to provide backup for countless statements of "fact". Everytime somebody wants to make a point in an argument, a group rant, a blog or on a forum they begin by saying "Everybody Knows" and that is all that is required to establish a baseline of fact.
  • Chief Justice McArtherops: You're telling me that all anybody has to do is start with "Everybody Knows" and then they can say whatever they want and it automatically becomes the truth?
  • Prosecutor Lie: Precisely Your Creepiness. In topics as diverse as Second Life viewers, functionality, Teen Grid immigrants, Fashion Faux Pas and even our beloved new CEO.
  • Chief Justice McArtherops: Wait - our new CEO?
  • Prosecutor Lie: Oh yes. Apparently "Everybody Knows" that the CEO is just a figurehead. He is being manipulated by a group of shadowy investors just waiting to cash in with an IPO.

  • Chief Justice McArtherops: /me would like to cash in on an IPO. I don't like the sounds of this but how widespread is the problem?
  • Prosecutor Lie: It is becoming bad enough that even the brilliant *cough* satirists don't sound farfetched - comments and headlines are veering off into the theatre of the absurd all based on the statements of the Defendant and his cousins "Everyone", "People" and "I Heard".
  • Chief Justice McArtherops: This disturbs me greatly. Does Counsel for the Defense have anything to say?
  • High Priced Counsel: I'm a very busy man and this won't take long.

There was a collective gasp in the chamber when he said that! The Chief Justice started vibrating and the Jury looked very nervous. I hid behind a pillar.

  • High Priced Counsel: My client "Everybody" wakes up in the morning and "knows" everything. It is indisputable. He makes his "knowledge" available to those who don't have time to regurgitate their research for the benefit of the unwashed masses and is in fact doing a public service. This kangaroo court is a farce and we do not acknowledge your jurisdiction. Everybody knows that there is no such thing as justice in Second Life.
  • Chief Justice McArtherops: I really really hope Mr. Everybody has not as yet paid your inevitably inflated bill Mr. "Real" Lawyer. First of all the Kangaroo Court is down the hall - so you've obviously taken a wrong turn somewhere. Secondly I decide not only what is truth but also what is justice. You are not only out of order you are out of here.

Everybody's lawyer didn't so much poof as he exploded. Into thousands of tiny little bugs which crawled off the platform and down into the abyss. Blech!

  • Chief Justice McArtherops: I've already made up my mind but for protocol's sake I will now request that the Jury tell me what I've already decided.
The Jury members shuffled their feet, glanced at each other and then looked everywhere but at the Defendant. Never a good sign.

  • Chief Justice McArtherops: Very well. I can see we are all in agreement. The Defendant has been charged with providing non existent backup for "statements of fact". Unfortunately I cannot prevent all and sundry from using you as a source but I can insist that in the future you will be prepared to provide detailed documentation proving that what you say is factual.
  • Everybody: How am I supposed to do that?
  • Chief Justice McArtherops: Oh it's very simple. Before you can use the words "Everybody Knows" you must document that you have checked with every resident in Second Life on the subject at hand.
  • Everybody: That's impossible!

  • Chief Justice McArtherops: Nonsense! The Bailiff will give you a clipboard and before you answer a request for information you must poll all residents and submit your findings to the court. From now on the phrase "Everybody Knows" will actually have some meaning. Try to keep in mind that I have the ultimate "God Powers" inworld. I'm certain that everybody knows what that means!

Geez the giant bug has a sense of humour. I might actually start feeling sorry for the little worm. Nah!

Throughout the trial I had this song playing in my head. It seems appropriate to use it as the sound track for the worm's new adventure.




  • Halls of Justice - Skye {Veralarti} Space Castle.
  • Prosecutor - Second Lie
  • Defense Attorney - SeanMcPherson Senior
  • Jury - Ahuva Heliosense, Crap Mariner, Shockwave Plasma, Tor Karlsvalt, Apollo Lokaria, Svea Morane, Daniel Voyager, Georgianna Blackburn, Callipygian Christensen, and Belvidere Fotherington


Dale Innis said...

lols wunnerful. (And what a attractive jury!)

Also, in the words of the Refreshments:

Everybody knows
That the world is full of stupid people
But I got the pistol
so I Keep the Pesos
That seems fair

June said...

Wow - it's impossible to poll everyone in SL and it's impossible that anyone knows what everyone knows without a poll. I'm in a tizz!

I love your Court articles :-D

Dillon said...

Links to your SL Court posts were added to a thread on the SL Forums today in which the OP asked if one could be a lawyer in SL. The post is here:
This is wonderful stuff :-). I have a faux SL law practice and I've made it clear to my law partner that should we need to plead a case before C.J. McCartherops, I'm off that day.