I've recently started reading Stephenson's latest opus, and enjoying it thus far. One thing that really jumped out at me was the War of Realignment, which strikes me very much as a virtual assault by the Vaisya/non-SWPL white/Spartans/Red Staters against the Brahmins/SWPL/Athenians/Blue Staters---depending on whose social schema you prefer to think within. Basically, there's plenty of bottled up animus out there (something I think that explains the OWS crowd and the Penn State riot pretty well), and the features of a virtual world allowed the sides to organize to smite their respective 'Others'. The particular colors involved are accidents, not essence, much like the Greens and the Blues of historical fame.
I suspect pretty strongly that an MMO that allowed such affiliation and conflict on a grand scale would be pretty popular. Even the old Dark age of Camelot game got a good dose of ersatz nationalism going on early and there was a pretty strong geographic bent to the three realms in terms of their players in the real world (e.g., the Pacific Northwest was disproportionately Hibernian). There may be some possibilities in this for reactionaries to precipitate a supersaturated suspension, as it were.
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Stephenson's worlds are certainly compelling. I want to be an avout on Arbre, a citizen of Mr.Lee's Greater Hong Kong, a Kinakutan, and an engineer at Corporation 9592.
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