Cynthia Hayes speaking at the CWRL in October 2008.

Haynes, who is an Associate Professor and Director of First-Year Composition at Clemson University, discusses how ‘avatar nation’ is making headlines around the world. She describes how the proliferation of avatars into mainstream culture situates academia on the bleeding edge of a nation desperate for someone to take the diplomatic lead in an historic rhetorical negotiation.

In an unprecedented move, virtual citizens of World of Warcraft and Second Life have joined forces and seceded from all their native nation-states. According to her, the world is on the brink of an avatar mass exodus. It’s serious—it’s real. It’s going to tank the economy. It’s going to mean the end of the virtual world as we know it, right down to our Molten Core. If we don’t go virtual now, we will find ourselves on the threshold of rhetorical hell ... where only action heroes rule and hockey moms wait in the wings to take their place.

The CWRL is part of the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas at Austin.

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