Much Ado About Banning


It is odd that I have been thinking about Caledon so much these last few weeks. Perhaps it is the ludicrous onslaught of Spring, but there it is.

Last week I made my first social venture from the Fortress of the Dark Hope in darkest Winterfell into Caledon proper in ages, to attend the closing moments of the Duchess Bellambi’s triumphant DJing debut at Miss Callisto’s and Mr. Ghost’s charming seaside club. I do hope some hatchets were shown to be buried once and for all by my brief appearance and gracious reception, but even were they not I would have attended to support my Duchess…and yes, SL geography and carpetbagging pretenders be damned she will ALWAYS be my Duchess of Loch Avie, and one of perhaps 5 people (maybe 10 on the outside) I would bother to put out were the entire United States and parts of Canada on fire.

Now today comes a post by Colonel Hotspur O’Toole, supported by commentary by Miss Emilly Orr about O’Toole being banned from an official Caledon Anniversary event by Gabi Riel. I felt that I needed to comment on this matter, since Miss Orr is one of the other burning Americans I would extinguish come what may and she has gone literally through social hell on my behalf in the past and would certainly do so again. As for Colonel O’Toole, he and I have been good natured rivals at times in the past, and sometimes we each think the other is altogether too full of himself and just isn’t all that but we have shared many good times as well and I respect his unique brand of insanity if nothing else. As for putting him out, I wouldn’t since if he WERE on fire, it would be his own damn fault and he knows it.

The news that Riel took it upon herself to preemptively ban O’Toole from an Anniversary event is troubling on many fronts. The one that doesn’t really bother me is that Gabi herself did it. Gabi will do what Gabi does, just as a fish has to swim and a snake has to…umm…well…snake. As I recall her using her so-called Radio Station to pursue personal vendettas and freeze out competitors at past Anniversaries, it doesn’t surprise me that she would use whatever little power she has to attempt to embarrass the Colonel, or in the best light, avoid a confrontation with him (at least while she is sober). That is all I have to say about Gabi.

There are other aspects which are far more troubling.

An individual other than Desmond Shang was given the right to dictate Caledon policy on, of all occasions, the Anniversary. Now I know many of you will explain that the Guvnah did not mean for Policy to be set, I would counter that I am quite certain it was not intentional as he has NEVER really meant for Policy to be set, and has steadfastly refused to actually set  extensive Policy for years now or even enforce those few Policies or Themes that exist. He and I had this argument many times. In his continually desire to please EVERYONE, ALL THE TIME, I have always felt that he ensures that just this sort of chaotic situation occurs. I remind my gentle readers that at least during my nearly two years in Caledon, near every time the Guvnah was expected to make a public appearance, it was in fact Lapin Paris in a Des avatar shaking hands and being polite. In the case of this Anniversary, it was just Desmond being an absentee Guvnah as always, which saddens me.

I find it especially rich that this matter concerns a banning. Banning was always anathema in Caledon and I could understand the logic up to a point. No ban lines, no banned avatars save for blatant griefers. I and others often begged the Guvnah to ban certain individuals or activities for the good of Caledon society and unity which was always steadfastly refused. Now Caledon bans people because they piss off Gabi Riel, it seems. Of course, the argument that this took place on private land has merit, but it is shot down by the fact it was an OFFICIAL CALEDON CELEBRATION. If you get the seal of approval, then it is assumed you are acting according to the desires of the Government of Caledon, that is, of Desmond Shang. Despite all his attempts to impose a sort of communal democracy, the Government of Caledon will ALWAYS be Desmond Shang, and all of Caledon knows it and are waiting for him to accept it and LEAD. Instead, Policy is set by the moods of DJs with delusions of grandure.

By allowing this to occur without comment, Desmond and yes all current Caledonians who have not spoken up about the matter, are allowing the history of the region to be sanitized and rewritten to suit present political correctness and the whims of individuals. In his post, the Colonel’s informant tells him that many people were upset by Gabi and Des’ behavior. Are they willing to stand up and say that? Are they willing to attach a name and a Sim and a rental amount to their displeasure? While you may love or hate Hotspur O’Toole and the horse he rode in on there is no question that he was a primary force during some of the most active, creative and controversial periods in Caledon history…periods when so many of we now Bastard Sons of Caledon saw something in Desmond’s dream that failed to ever fully materialize, like a mirage dispelled by an unseasonable rain.

Can a figure who contributed so vitally to the history of Caledon be banned from its anniversary, excised from the record, by one other resident’s whim?

Is Caledon Steampunk or Stalinist?

What will history decide..assuming it isn’t just banned wholesale?



  1. While I disagree with the fact that Hotspur and Mr. Whybrow were banned, I refuse to put this completely on Desmond’s shoulders, as you seem wont to do. I will be happily keeping my land in Kittiwicksihre, and as always, I am glad to be a Caledonian. As a Caledonian, I recognize that not everyone is to be tainted by the brush stroke that Gabrielle Riel did, and I’ll not be encouraging people to leave over her vindictiveness. Frankly, I find it delicious irony that you would step up. You call yourself a bastard son, but that’s what you chose to be. She chooses to do something like this. Desmond chooses to be a landowner who has managed to keep the loyalty of many through his actions. You talk about people you’d put out in a fire? Desmond shang would definitely be among those I’d save.

  2. I find this little storm in a tea-cup to be such a prism on hypocrisy. Caledon policy is and has been for the 4 years that Caledon has been around, that individuals may ban other individuals from their private plots as they see fit. You’ve done it, The Tool still does it, yet when Gabi does it it becomes “oh woe she is victimising and setting Caledon policy.”

    The policy hasn’t changed. The Tool wasn’t pre-emptively banned from the Caledon celebrations, he’s been banned from property owned or rented by Gabrielle for some considerable time. Hardly anything new, or surprising for that matter considering his past behaviour.

    And he’s hardly one to cry foul. The poor little black kettle.

  3. I guess this is the time I preen over my empty ban list (aside from banning a bot on my private use parcels – nothing personal – the company that owns the bot says to do it in order to opt out of their inworld search service, I did the same with Grid Shepherd the ESC search bot back in the day. I find it reprehensible I have to opt out in this way but I digress)

    Glad you enjoyed the Mermaid, Bardhaven. I was surprised of course to see you, but consider the hatchet buried. And let’s hope others can ascend to the same level of dignity. ;)

    I do disagree about Desmond though – he’s a good man and certainly had nothing to do with banning Hotspur. People are able to ban who they want via parcel ban and Hotspur is not on any estate ban list and welcome in Caledon – indeed he is a regular visitor to the Mermaid and I greatly enjoy his company. In Ms. Riel’s case I truly believe it was simply an oversight – I do not think she meant to specifically ban people from the event and more than likely simply didn’t expect that Mr. Why would attend. However, he is an active Caledonian and it could have been expected that he might. I think it was more than likely a comedy of errors and I hope next time we can do better.

    I do feel it was certainly bad form for an official occasion that any active Caledonian for any part of its history to be banned from a milestone event and certain to cause ill feellings, and I hope we can do better when the five year anniversary comes around, that all are made to feel welcome to attend the celebrations.

    I personally find it petty to ban other Caledonians regardless of my personal feelings, I have never done so in my entire time in Caledon, and I do not intend to ever start. Just because the tools are there, doesn’t mean I have to use them.

  4. I add a little different perspective to those already aired.

    I don’t disagree with the facts presented. Yes, at least two Caledonians were banned from the Fourth Anniversary of Caledons balls at Coughton Court by Gabrielle Riel. Yes, it was completely unacceptable for all the reasons cited, above, and whether or not the hostess rightfully bans the individuals at other times is irrelevent in light of the nature of these particular balls. I also agree that it should be policy that no Caledonians are banned from state events in future.

    However … has anyone concerned asked Gabrielle about this, person-to-person? We’ve heard directly from everyone else iinvolved (except Des, who was involved only by extension and without his knowledge).

    II posted my condemnation of the incident on a ning that I maintain and sent a copy to Gabrielle in email. Gabrielle has done a lot to help me get settled in Caledon since I moved there 16 months ago and I felt I owed it to her to have it from me directly. She responded and we talked over the situation very frankly, this morning.

    When the known and verifiable facts, past and present, conclusively point to rancour and vindictiveness as the motivation for the banning of these Caledonians, Ithe thought that such actions could have a different cause does not even occur. No alternative explanation occured to me. Knowing the circumstances of how it happened would probably be a surprise, and at least somewhat remedial, even if your opinion didn’t change much as a result. I suggest that those who are genuinely disturbed and/or outraged by Gabrielle’s actions should talk to her about the episode before publically convicting her without her “testimony”. I hadn’t, and I learned that I should have.

  5. My Lord BardHaven,

    I find myself blushing to read your words of love and support, but I thank you for them. I also thank you for putting the past aside and arriving to show your support for my first ever DJ gig at the Blue Mermaid last week. That action spoke boldly for our friendship.

    (What a crazy thing, too: Eva as DJ. I never really gave the idea a thought – ever. But I was incredulous and intrigued to have been asked if I would like to provide this musical service occasionally at the Blue Mermaid. I find that I really enjoyed it!)

    As for the current drama at hand, I have made a comment on Emilly’s blog post found here and I feel no need to cut and paste into this comment box.

    Once again thank you for your enduring friendship, which is a precious gift indeed.

  6. And you said all this much better than I could, and codified the basic point I’ve been trying to make. Thank you, ever so; that is what I was trying to get across on my blog.

    It’s not the private parcel bans; that is and always has been allowed. It’s the parcel bans for Caledon official events.

    I suppose next up, we’ll have to determine what qualifies as an official Caledon event…

    • In the past Gabbi was a great support to me when my SL got messy. In the past Mr Whybrow and I have fallen in and out of friendship. So my response to the occassion had nothing to do with my relationship with any one involved.
      I went to what I had been lead to believe was a state function, but found instead it was a private one where not all Caledonians were welcome. At that point I immediately left.
      It was quite clear that Des was very embarrassed by the turn of events and in his way, wished to make little of it so that the storm didn’t unleash on Caledon. No chance!

      Seems that drama is the food of virtual worlds and this meal was too good to resist. I have enjoyed nibbling on it myself. (Always better to be the diner than the dinner)

  7. (and that wasnt meant as a direct reply to Miss Orr sorry.. just clumsy posting)

  8. “I suggest that those who are genuinely disturbed and/or outraged by Gabrielle’s actions should talk to her about the episode before publically convicting her without her “testimony”. I hadn’t, and I learned that I should have.”

    Dear Miss Wooley, I believe it does not matter what the various superfluous gossips may be. As I stated on Miss Garnet Psaltery’s blog – I did not need to read why this or that person may not like each other. It is all utterly unnecessary information, and it is not relevant to the fact that Miss Garnet was deeply hurt by the situation, and if *anyone* is owed an apology, it is her!

    The fact is, we can all put aside our personal feelings for two hours to enjoy an event meant to mark a milestone for Caledon. The fact that it seems that many of us could not do this, says something very sad to me. It is something I wish to remedy next time and I have definite ideas how to make sure it does not happen again – many of which I have been discussing with Desmond. We are both in agreement that the only way to make this situation better is to simply see to it that it does not happen again. And this much is clear, it *will not happen again*. Several of us are already starting the planning for Year Five, and I am determined that we should endeavour to hold inclusive events. Nobody should be left out. Nobody at all!

    I hate mobbing of any kind and I will not tolerate it. I won’t even let my own biases get in my way here. We should make the effort to be fair and fun for everyone!

    I am certain, that there is nothing Desmond can do to change the past situation. What can he do? It is Ms. Riel’s land that she pays for, she can decide how she wishes to manage her private ban list, regardless of how any of us feel about it. Her ban list is not reflective of Caledon’s policies as a whole – that is ridiculous. It is part of the large degree of personal freedom that Caledon has always guaranteed for its citizens, a freedom that some people feel definitely uncomfortable with. Desmond’s “lack of policy” is actually a real and definite policy of a large degree of personal freedom for the people who call themselves Caledonians, and it is a policy I have sworn to support.

    • Dear Miss Callisto … as Gabrielle has now addressed this matter on her blog, my objection to her “conviction without her testimony” is now overcome. I agree that the reasons for her banning of the two named individuals were irrelevent and said so. I was referring other factors that occurred on Friday night … but I think more than enough has been said about all this, so I’m leaving it at that.
      You make an excellent point about the policy/non-policy of the Guv. I think the respect and expectations behind his broad tolerance for personal behaviour is generous and that we are very lucky to benefit from it. All of us. I don’t expect him to do anything about the past situation even if there were anything he could do. I am just glad, as always, that Caledon is my home.
      As for the future, I welcome plans for Caledon state celebrations that do not exclude anyone. All anyone can do now is move on and try not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

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