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Thoughts on Jasmine, FE, Glory and moreÖ (minor spoilage) -- ceej, 05:23:39 04/10/03 Thu

Bare with me this is my first major post. Itís very topic- jumpy, but I hope everyone gets what Iím trying to say.

First off letís all pass the Dagon Sphere to Fred, sheís gonna need it. ëCuz I think we already deja'd this vu of a story thatís happening on AtS. Well, sorta but not really. Okay, okay itís totally not the sameÖ

XANDER: We're going up against a god. An actual mightier- than-thou god. (Blood Ties)

Jasmine according to Skip is this entity that has the big WANT for getting into the Earthly Plane. Why? The Earthly Plane is the dimension where all the meat-bags (humans) with bile running through them run around being enslaved by hormones, pheromones and those yucky feelings. So far the entity claims to want to eradicate all EVIL in this dimension by doing ìgood deedsî. Why not go after the First Evil? (Or Why couldnít it just be something as simple as getting the green shiny energy, the key.)

According to Anya there are thousands of demon dimensions. All different. In contrast, Tara explains in Tabula Rasa that there are a zillion heavenly dimensions. We know from what Skip told the Fang Gang in Inside Out, that the entity known as Jasmine merged with Cordy sometime after she ascended into the higher plane one of the zillion heavenly dimensions. When Skip tells Angel ìNobody comes back from paradise. Okay, a Slayer once Öî this clearly suggests that Cordy was in one of the zillion heavenly dimensions, like Buffy. Buffyís personal description of this plane: ìWherever I was, I was happy. At peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time didn't mean anything. Nothing had form. But I was still me, you know? And I was warm... and I was loved. And I was finished. Complete.î(Afterlife) Obliviously not the same dimension Cordy was in during her stay in the Higher Realms. Cordy definitely had form and she was very much wanting OUT of there.

As a result of being in one of the higher realms, both Buffy and Cordy (who are both demon hybrids: Buffyís slayer powers are rooted in a demonís spirit and Cordy has demon parts) had their moments of disorientation after descending back to the Earthly Plane. Cordy lost her memory and Buffyís sense of reality was in-a-funk to the point where she asks Dawn ìIs this [Sunnydale] Hell?î Itís safe to say that Buffyís memories were intact, possibly due to the fact that Cordy physically ascended to the higher realms while Buffy spiritual ascended there. Also, remember what Anya said in Afterlife about ìhitchhikersî?

ANYA: I bet it's a hitchhiker.
XANDER: A hitchhiker?
ANYA: Um, standard way to travel through dimensions. Uh, some demon-thing sees someone moving between worlds, and grabs on for the ride.

More or less thatís what Jasmine is ìa hitchhikerî but, it was more planned out and rather then joy-riding it took Cordy overÖ Note also that Buffyís descending caused the First Evil to get all peeved about the good and evil yada, yada, blah, blah, bored of it.

Glory as we all should be familiar with is an entity from one of the ìunpleasantî demon dimensions labeled the ìbitch- dimensionî. So, we know where Glory's from. What else do we know about her? She ruled with two other hellgods and did a lot of destruction and chaos and somehow got imprisoned in a mortal body (Ben) and sent to the lower realms ñ aka the Earthly Plane to later die within a mortal body. In the mortal body her powers are limited; she's super-strong, immortal, invulnerable, and insane. In contrast to our hellgod, we have Jasmine this entity has been manipulating things on the Earthly Plane so that it could have a mortal body to hold it in. It manipulates things in the Earthly Plane making these miracles to make the perfect vessel for itself. So we know where sheís from how sheís got here. What else? In Shiny Happy People she says that she use to be a Higher Power okayÖ Like Glory, Jasmine needs a mortal body cuz her natural form is a-no-go in this realm. On a side note the no-mortal-body gig seems to be a good plan that the First Evil is using to its advantage. But most likely IT will eventually inhabit a mortal body like itís Higher Being cousins. Anwyay, Jasmine in the mortal body isnít invulnerable, but she heals fast. She lacks Gloryís super strength, insaneness and rather enjoys being in the mortal coil (both Glory and FE seem to hate the mortal coil). Also, Jasmine like Glory has some heavy duty mojo going on. Glory was able to hide her morphing from Ben and back, from everyone but the crazy folk. Jasmine is also able to enchant and charm most ppl except for the insane as wellóand both have the turn-you-into-a-Nut affect on ppl. Both also seem to know magick: while in Cordy, Jasmine was casting spells; Glory cast a spell to locate the key with a Snake. Furthmore, Jasmine also has divine knowledge and insight about every human: knowing their names, histories and how they emotionally feel, which Glory lacked. Finally, neither of the two curly haired goddesses have bolts of lightning, blasts of fire, and all the stuff gods are suppose to have (according to Buffy).

Jasmine says in the beginning before the dawn of man, great beings walked the earth (I highly assume she means the Earthly Plane our universe not just the planet Earth itself) She says that untold forces emanated all over, and these forces would later become what is known today in the Buffyverse as good and evil. At some point the darkness began to grow in the Earthly Plane and the stronger of the great beings grew, which consequently turned the earth into a demon realm. Those who had the will to resist left that reality and went to other dimensions (during this time I think the KEY was created). Hence the Lower Realms, Higher Realms and all the adobes of realitiesÖ You know the things that the Key would have melted all together like cheese if Buffy didnít close the portal were madeÖ Jasmine then goes on to say that a new race emerged ìmanî so basically how I see it is this: Gods are the Higher beings, Man the Middle Beings and the Demons are the Lower Beings. Also the story suggests that if Jasmine is one of those great beings she came before the First Evil and possibly Glory. My guess: Glory is middle class Higher Being; Jasmine is High Class Higher being and the first evil is low class Higher Being. (Thatís just how I see it right now) Lastly, When Higher Beings are in the Earthly Realm they arenít all powerful. They need workers, worshippers, minons to do their work and bodies to inhabit to actually affect things. In their realms they are merely watchers and can do little in this realm.

Hope that made some sense. I donít even think I had a real point? Do you guys see one? Anyway, thats what I've been thinking of lately...

- ceej

[> Very interesting stuff ceej (Spoilers, aired BtVS and AtS eps) -- Rahael, 05:46:45 04/10/03 Thu

And sparked off another comparison in my mind. It seemed to me that Jasmine is all about bringing people together - telling Gunn and Wes that they shouldn't be split apart by Fred. Everyone acts in unison, both physically and mentally in reaction to her (falling down on their knees etc). She also says she's there for everyone, can feel everything.

This is almost diametrically opposite to the FE, who tends to work to disconnect and split apart and divide.

Is this another thematic connection?

I'm now thinking of CJL's essay on the solitude of self - does that offer a way forward between the two dichotomies of total, claustrophobic connection between everyone, and the atomised, equally scary disconnection offered by the FE?

Where we recognise both the essential connections to other people, and the times when we must recognise our solitude - that when we make some of our crucial decisions, we might need to stand alone.

[> [> Trying to find the balance (Spoilers, aired BtVS and AtS eps) -- ponygirl, 11:42:38 04/10/03 Thu

I haven't seen SHP yet due to a tragic VCR mishap (so now I have to wait until frickin next week) but I'm really impressed with the posts the episode has already generated.

So on one show we have the FE the embodiment of hate, who isolates and divides, preying upon secret fears and doubts, and worshipped by the blind (yet strangely mobile Bringers). And now on AtS there's Jasmine the representation of love, who unites everyone in a common purpose, worshipped by those who may not be able to see her true face. The case for a thematic link seems stronger than ever, hopefully we'll see that apocalypses are not region-specific after all.

I am just so tickled by this turn of events, largely because I've been tripped up. For a while now I've been thinking that the answer for Buffy is to find connection again, to embrace her dark side through love and forgiveness. I still think this but now ME seems to be warning against the dangers of surrendering to any force that requires us to submerge our ability to choose, our personal responsibilities. It's not about good or evil but about power. The power we have over ourselves. Well, maybe, we'll see. But I'm very excited about what's to come.

[> Re: Thoughts on Jasmine, FE, Glory and moreÖ (minor spoilage) -- Angelus, 14:11:16 04/10/03 Thu

Some interesting insights. I admit I've tended to think of The First Evil as the Big Power and of The Beast/ Evil Cordy/ Jasmine as some sort of minion. But if these creatures were before evil or at least before human evil, then she may very well predate the First Evil.

I'm not really sure where Glory fits into this. "Glory isn't a demon. She's a god." I'm not entirely sure who is where on the power scale either.

Physically the FE can't do anything but it seems to wield vast knowledge. On the other hand it can't be hurt so far. Jasmine seems to have great knowledge about who people are yet seems unaware of what they are thinking in the sense of say, Fred seeing its true form. She commands vast power to make people believe in and do what it wants but is physically very vulnerable.

Glory until the last episode she was in was just about unstoppable but her powers were purely physical except for that brain drain.

We don't know precisely the truthfulness of Jasmine's statements. We don't know if there is a connection between Jasmine and the FE or if they are opposed. It may well be that Jasmine is trying to eliminate all supernatural evil in LA because its eliminating the possibility of the FE getting a foothold since the FE clearly uses evil minions.

Compared to Ats, Btvs seems straightforward. At least we can more or less discern what the FE is. On Ats we are still trying to figure out what the heck is going on and add to that if there is any connection between the FE and Jasmine.

Angel and Fred (spoilers) -- Barbs, 05:41:13 04/10/03 Thu

Did anyone see the preview of next week. I cant believe that Fred and Angel are going to hook up. I mean i love Fred but i dont know if i see her with Angel. Do you?

[> Re: Angel and Fred (spoilers) -- ceej, 05:42:46 04/10/03 Thu

maybe thats how she snaps him out of it? the previews are very misleading tho...

[> [> Re: Angel and Fred (spoilers) -- Barbs, 05:50:42 04/10/03 Thu

Yea they are really misleading but i think that they hook up after he snaps out of it. It is kinda weird but it could be really cute. I still want him to be with Buffy but i know it will never happen.

[> [> [> Re: Angel and Fred (spoilers) -- maddog, 06:46:51 04/10/03 Thu

The WB is notorious for misleading previews. For all we know that could be a dream of Fred's.

[> [> [> [> Re: Angel and Fred (spoilers) -- Barbs, 15:12:31 04/10/03 Thu

True. I dont know i guess we'll just have to watch and see.

The truth about Jasmine. (Spoilers for SHP) -- Dannyblue, 07:40:53 04/10/03 Thu

Does Jasmine have good intentions?

According to Jasmine, she is a Power That Was, a former PTB. But, of course, you can't take anything a Big Bad in the Jossverse says without a grain of salt. From what Jasmine said, and what we've seen of her so far, which of these possibilities do you think is closer to the mark?

1. Jasmine is a former Power who got tired of her peers' hands off approach. Jasmine feels her fellow Powers failed by not interfering more directly, and letting mortals suffer as a result. In her opinion, giving mortals free will came with too high a price. So, she's decided to get proactive and create her ideal of a perfect world, one in which no-one will suffer. And she's decided to use her power to enchant, to "force" people to act and behave the way she wants them to (to not fight or argue, to be happy and content) to make that ideal a reality. In essence, she's a good, well- intentioned, but mis-guided being.

2. Jasmine is a former Power who didn't feel powerful enough as a higher being. Imagine being a PTB, and being forbidden from using that power to interfere too much in mortal affairs. You see something you think is wrong but, according to your peers, you can't just fix it. You have to let the mortals do most of the work, providing only the occasional hint. (It must've have been like a kid with super speed, having to lose every race so no one would figure out what they were really capable of.) Looking down on mortal life, Jasmine started to crave some of that existence. (She seems to love being human. Even being hurt was a stimulating experience.) She wanted to be able to use her powers withut rules and limitations, to do whatever she wanted. She also wants to be worshipped and adored. And while the Powers seem to want to stop her (they sent Darla to keep her from being "born") their own rules about not interfering prevent them from doing too much. (Isn't that ironic.) So, Jasmine's not evil in the strictest sense. But all she really cares about is herself. Being worshipped, obeyed, etc.

3. Jasmine is evil, plain and simple. Either she's a Power gone bad (maybe she's developed a contempt and hatred of mankind after watching mortals in action for so long), or she's something else entirely, pretending to be a former Power. Her "Bringer of Peace and Joy" act is just an act. She doesn't care about mortal suffering. In fact, she wants to cause a lot more. And maybe her true intentions are what freaked Lorne out when he read Cordy in STB.

So, what do you think?

[> Re: The truth about Jasmine. (Spoilers for SHP) I Pick 1 and 2 -- Mackenzie, 09:06:03 04/10/03 Thu

I am more inclined to pick 1, but I can see 2's point of view.
I still think that we are wrong to assume that good winning out and banishing evil would be good. Life is about balance. Our free will is what makes us human. I see free will at it's core being able to choose between good and evil in each situation. Just like now, I am choosing to be evil by not working and posting on this board.

[> Re: The truth about Jasmine. (Spoilers for SHP) -- ceej, 10:06:43 04/10/03 Thu

Well she is definetly a former power whatever circle that puts her in...

I'm leaning towards your #2 theory. Whatever Jasmine is up to its MAJOR enough to provoke the Powers to get of their asses. I wish we knew more about the politics and rules about how much a Higher Power can affect the Earthly Realm.

What bugs me is if they the great beings left this dimension eons ago, why must they constantly tamper with it? Attachment issues I guess... Shouldn't they just let it take its course, they left according to Jasmine becuase things got to wild over the earthly plane and darkness covered everything...

Perhaps, the great beings want this dimension back? Minus the demons and humans. This use to be a demon dimension, and then man came and made it theirs, hence now there's this man vs demon strife going on.

Jasmine wants to eraticate all EVIL, sounds like she's trying to make this dimension what it was before all the non Higher Beings started poping up here and there like weeds...


There's really no good place to put this, so... (SHP spoiler) -- Rob, 08:18:57 04/10/03 Thu

...so I'm just going to make a totally frivolous post to just say how fantastic Gina Torres was on AtS! She has such a commanding and, at the same time, sweet and benign presence that she was able to play "Jasmine" perfectly. I can completely buy, watching her, why everyone is so in love with her. Some shows would blow a character like this, because it's incredibly hard to cast. She has to be beautiful and able to convincingly portray an all-benevolent seeming figure, with just a hint of being-not-so-benevolent in the back of her voice.

And, depending on how this all works out, she may turn out to be one of the most fascinating Buffyverse villains ever. If she is indeed a vilain who believes wholeheartedly that she is good, that would be such an amazing paradigm to explore.


[> Worshipping the Goddess -- cjl, 09:27:40 04/10/03 Thu

[N.Y. ATPers watch videotape of SHP; catching sight of Gina Torres, cjl immediately falls to his knees and bows down in supplication.]

ROB: Uh oh. He's fallen under Jasmine's spell.
SHADOWKAT: Nah. He's worshipped Gina Torres for years....

[> Re: There's really no good place to put this, so... (SHP spoiler) -- CW, 09:38:45 04/10/03 Thu

Like Sol in an above post, questioning whether, Jasmine actually ever said for anyone to kill Fred, I didn't really hear anything in Gina's voice to indicate the character was evil underneath. While it doesn't really take much acting ability to play goody-goody, playing the character that way faithfully is more insidious than hinting around with her voice that something isn't right. Gina's a fine actress, but let's see some more before claiming she's the best ever at this.

[> Re: There's really no good place to put this, so... (SHP spoilers and speculation) -- Masq, 10:17:15 04/10/03 Thu

If she is indeed a vilain who believes wholeheartedly that she is good, that would be such an amazing paradigm to explore.

That's what I'm hoping, too, Rob. Just look at the number of posts this morning debating the nature of good and evil, of what these concepts mean, of who they apply to, about how we can come to know them if they're real.

Crunchy philosophical goodness would ensue!

Plus, we are long overdue for some detailed explanation of the Powers that Be on the show. I hope we'll get an exploration of that, too.

The Big Bad Good? Spoilers SHP, Spec. Buffy/Angel -- heywhynot, 08:34:40 04/10/03 Thu

I was thinking while watching SHP last night, wow uber- goodness. And kept thinking we see the First Evil on Buffy. Now this peace-loving good is on Angel. Look at the juxtaposition. The First Evil materializes in the earthly plane as ghosts of the dead, while Jasmine arrives into the earthly plane by being born. If the spoilers for Buffy are to be believed, the main person acting on behalf of the First Evil will be male while Jasmine is female. LIke KKC i think Jasmine is the First Good. The epitome of dogmatic good, the ends justify the means if it is for the greater good.

A major theme in BtVS expressed by Buffy, is that the means matter. Another theme in both shows is redemption which requires hope and the willingness to take on the risk of evil. The First Evil seeks to destroy hope. Jasmine is seeking to eraditcate evil. Dogmatic good and evil prevent choice and redemption. The journey doesn't matter only the destination matters. Humans though live and die. We are not immortal, the journey is all we have.

In the end, dogmatic good will be vanquished and evil will fall. Humanity will be left to the world on its own. No longer being told what is good and what is evil by Mom and Dad, but having to decide for itself. To be grown up, to be an adult, to continue on the journey of life. Isn't that how Buffy should end?

[> LTNS! where ya been? ;-) -- Solitude1056, 08:38:02 04/10/03 Thu

You mean, as in conquer both the Big Bad and Big Good on both ends? Heh, there's an awful lot of people who'd be lost without their Powers That Be... ;-)

[> Re: The Big Bad Good? My Question about it (spoilers) -- Mackenzie, 08:50:21 04/10/03 Thu

I like your point of view. That Jasmine is the first good. I was just plain confused by what we were supposed to believe last night. She sure seems good but then there is the weird trance everyone is in and the things Fred saw. The pesimist in me says Fred is seeing the true being but maybe not, maybe I am just jaded. I guess we can look at the happy trance like we can look at the plants above where the first evil was, they all died. Evil= death and sadness, goodness= happy, controlled, mindless beings. So that brings me to this. We obviously don't want the balance to go in favor of the evil, but do we want it to go in favor of good. I don't know why I think we don't but my gut tells me that we don't. We need that balance to make us human, to make life worth living. For some reason I think that the extremes are very blind. Does anyone follow me? Am I nuts?

[> [> But making life worth living is practically the definition of good. -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:07:19 04/10/03 Thu

So if a force calling itself good gets the balance thrown in its favor, and this makes life less worth living, than the force is not truly good. I'm always a little irritated with theorising that forces for good must be stopped from having their way, since that would remove free will, make us less than human, etc., because no truly good force would try to make any of those things happen.

[> [> [> The traditional sense of good... -- Doug, 09:42:45 04/10/03 Thu

The traditional sense of Good is whatever God says is good is good; no matter how many murders it takes. If God says something is bad then it is evil; no matter how many lives it saves. If the powers that be are the Jossverse equivalent of God, and Jasmine is one of them, then whatever goes along with her will is thevery definition of good; and opposing here is the darkest form of evil. In traditional morality a deed is oly good or evil in so far as it relates to the word of God.

Or, in this situation, the word of Jasmine.

[> [> [> Re: But making life worth living is practically the definition of good. -- Mackenzie, 09:51:15 04/10/03 Thu

I don't disagree with you, good should have it's way but we still need a balance. I guess that if Jasmine is the ultimate good then I don't want that good to win. Life would not be worth living if all we did all day was stare into space and say "isn't life wonderful".I don't think a true good would take away our free will but I think it would just happen. We need a little evil around to give us other options. I think that when we take the good with the bad the good is so much better. For example, hubby and I had a horrible fight last night, some very mean and evil things were said. When we made up the world seemed brighter, we loved it each other more because we went through the bad too. The bad, evil things that happen to us make the good things so much better. I want a world of free will and free choice. I want to make mistakes and choose the more evil choice now and then so that I can appreciate when good things happen and when blessings come into my life.

[> [> [> Re: But making life worth living is practically the definition of good. -- heywhynot, 10:07:11 04/10/03 Thu

Finn Mac Cool, I agree with you that a dogmatic good that makes life less worth living is not good. That is the point that Joss & Co. are trying to make. Dogmatic good and evil are nice concepts for children to help them get through life, but to grow up and become an adult one has to take life into one's own hands. To make choices about what is good and what is bad in any given situation, without the constant oversight of parents telling you what is good and evil. The end of the journey of the child but the begining the journey of adulthood.

[> [> [> [> some points: mortal vs godly perception -- ceej, 10:32:12 04/10/03 Thu

i just want to point out that the way we see good vs evil is probably very different from the way a higher being sees it... Like with God, were arent meant to fully understand Him, cuz that would totally undermine the very concept of God. Their divine beings and we are after all human and we have no idea how such being's see things. Do they have souls, a moral compass? Like Glory said "God's don't pay" they dont follow rules they make them...

Anyway, we know very little about higher powers, what we have seen are powers like Jasmine, PTB who seem to have taken a clear STAND on the good vs evil scale. Glory on the other hand just wanted to get the hell away from it all and back home... FE just straight up is tired with all the drama. And wants to go out with a bang.


[> [> [> [> [> Re: some points: mortal vs godly perception -- heywhynot, 11:01:31 04/10/03 Thu

CEEJ I think you stated it fairly well and pointed out a good quote from Glory. Godlike beings don't view the world the sameway as humans. Not only that they make the rules. Much like how adults do not view the world like kids do but it is the parents who make the rules. Of course eventually, the children become the adults and inherit the world, making the rules.

Gets me to thinking. Glory was a spoiled, me,me god (the Yuppie God). Jasmine is a god of tranquility, isn't everything wonderful, touchy-feely inspirational speaker without much substance. The First Evil is a god of despair, giving up on the world and as such mine as well have fun and go out with a bang as you say. Basically, these are the three stereotype of "bad" parents. Maybe I am reading way too much into it all.

[> [> [> Re: But making life worth living is practically the definition of good. -- lunasea, 10:25:18 04/10/03 Thu

The founding fathers wrote against governments that had total control, because of their experience with such governments. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The problem with totalitarian governments is even if they start out benevolent (and often they don't), they don't end up that way. When the people give away all their power when the government is acting nicely, when they stop acting that way, they have no power for change. We distrust benevolence because historically it has been a way to trick people.

But many have been removed from that history. Now it is down with totalitarianism, rather than down with oppression. Liberty for liberty's sake is the rallying cry, rather than liberty for what can be done with it. Gone is the general welfare. Instead it is rights, rights, rights. In theory any way. Can't do anything with those rights because you are poor, it doesn't matter. At least you have them. Rights in theory only, IMO, are no rights.

I too tire of the arguments that good must have free will. Free will is a vehicle to something. Should that something be attainable another way and should free will be an obsticle, out it should go.

If Jasmine is tricking people with promises that she isn't going to deliver, that is one thing. What if she isn't? What if she is legit? False Messiah? Been there done that. What about as real a messiah as you can get? Now there is a dilema for our heroes.

[> [> Re: The Big Bad Good? My Question about it (spoilers) -- heywhynot, 09:51:08 04/10/03 Thu

I agree with you about the extremes being blind. They see in black and white. The world though is full of colors. Dogmatic good blinds and can but us into a shiny happy trance state. On the surface everything is great but underneath it is devoid of substance, rotted. The richness of humanity is lost. Evil is despair, without hope, dogmatic good is false hope. Humanity needs hope with a healthy dose of reality. You can't let good obliterate evil just as you can't let evil destroy good. If one exists then the other also must exist, a balance must be maintained.

"We are all gathered here in peace." Spoilers for Shiny, Happy People -- Arethusa, 09:12:19 04/10/03 Thu

I'm going to discuss religion from the viewpoint of a godless heathen, so if you hate that sort of thing click the back button now.

"We are gathered here in peace to love and serve the Lord."
From the Catholic Mass service.
"We are gathered here in peace." Jasmine

"My God!"
"People keep saying that." Jasmine

It's entirely possible that Whedon-and I'm assuming this is Whedon's philosophy presented in this episode-meant Jasmine to be an anti-Christ, but I think Whedon is not just talking about false gods-he's examining all gods. The Christian God, Jesus, the whole idea of religion. The words used by Jasmine are those of Christianity and its followers.

"You're not alone anymore. I'll be at your side. Guiding your hands, giving you strength. With my help, all things are possible. There will be no doubt, no worry, no fear."- Jasmine

We are alone in this life when we die-a time in our lives when we have no control over what happens to us at all. No matter how many people we know and love in between, we all will be alone when we need others the most. And that's pretty freaking scary. So we take comfort in the idea that we will have eternal life, that God is always by our side, that there is nothing to fear. When God says "Believe in me and you will never die," that might seem like a pretty good bargain. All we have to do in return is believe. And obey.

"I know you.... You are not alone. We are all one." Jasmine

Some posters were struck by the lonliness of Elizabeth Cady Stanton's pov in someone's post . (sorry-can't find it in the archives, so can't attribute) Jasmine promises that noone need ever feel lonely or alone again. All they have to do is give up their individualism.

"There is no fault.... You deserve all the happiness I can bring you.... Everything will be alright." Jasmine

Jasmine promises the end of guilt. There's no need for repentance since all is forgiven if you just ask. That's much easier than working and fighting every day to be a good person, as Faith and Angel and the rest of us must. Everyone deserves to be happy, instead of feeling guilty, right? But when I feel guilty I am forced to reexamine myself, to see what I'm doing that makes me feel bad. Negative emotions can be powerful catalysts for change. Jasmine promises no guilt-and no growth.

"Now that she's here everything seems so easy. But have you noticed how we all just do what she says? Don't ask questions?" Fred
"Isn't it a relief? The constant questioning. It's finally over." Angel

Existentialists have to constantly question themselves. What is good, or bad? What are my moral standards? Every decision must be made on one's own, without depending on someone to tell you what to believe and how to act. It's exhausting. Free will is hard, Andrew whined, and he was right. It's so much easier to have someone to tell you what is right, what to do.

Fred questions everything. "God, why did it have to be [Cordy]" was the first thing she said this episode. A familiar question to the faithful. Why her? Why me? Why do bad things happen to good people? If there's no reason for things to happen anybody could be a victim at any time. So we find reasons. We blame the victim, as so many blamed Nikki for her death. And we look to an all-powerful god or entity to keep us safe.

"Be careful what you wish for." Mutant Enemy

We wanted Angel and Connor to bond. They did. ("You've got to stop torturing yourself, Dad," Connor says.) We wanted AI to win for once, to make a difference. They are. We wanted Wes and Gunn to make up, Angel to stop brooding, Connor to feel good about himself. They do. They just had to become puppets to do so. AI is finally connected to humanity. For the first time in, well, ever the hotel is filled with people. AI has become a part of LA. All they had to do is give up their individuality.

The scenes of AI fighting evil are very creepy. What once might have made us cheer-evil being eradicated-is now frightening, because it's a mindless killing on demand. Jasmine says kill demons, and they do. Good triumphs. But then Jasmine says to kill Fred, and AI also obeys, without questioning. After all, it's for the greater good.

Free will or obedience. Freedom from fear, doubt and pain or absolute personal responsibility. Heaven or Earth. A person would have to be crazy to reject God, right?

[> Calling Rufus, killing people, etc (spoilers for SHP) -- Solitude1056, 09:26:05 04/10/03 Thu

But then Jasmine says to kill Fred, and AI also obeys, without questioning. After all, it's for the greater good.

Uh, wait.

I seem to recall that someone in AI concluded - either Angel or Wes - that now they'd have to kill Fred. I do seem to recall that it was agreed that Fred was dangerous - but at the same time, I don't recall Jasmine being the one who told them, "you must kill Fred." For that matter, she told them not to act on this decision, yet. It seemed to me that a) she genuinely didn't understand what Fred had seen/felt to cause such antagonism, and b) she hoped that her LA-wide message would bring Fred back around again. So far, Jasmine's a good crime boss - she's yet to say, explicitly, that she wants such-and-such a heinous thing to happen, but her followers clearly assume that this is what she wants, and does it.

Sort of like the person who says, "This backyard would be nicer if it weren't in total shade," which someone else then interpretes, on their own, as "cut down all of my neighbor's trees." The end result is angry neighbors, pleased person, and all the blame laid at the foot of the person who chose to interpret the original statement as a demand or request, rather than an observation. Whether it was an actual observation or a cloaked demand is the hard part - so far, I can't tell. Jasmine may be entirely innocent of any malicious intentions towards Fred, and not expecting the one- hundred-percent worshipfulness to turn into antagonism towards those who don't go along - notice how she stopped Angel from killing the guy.

Anyway, I think we need Rufus' transcripting and quoting-by- heart abilities here, to set us on the right path.

[> [> Re: Calling Rufus, killing people, etc (spoilers for SHP) -- Arethusa, 10:10:31 04/10/03 Thu

"Jasmine: I doubt even Fred understands why she's so determined to destroy evrything we're trying to create. Which makes her even more dangerous.

Angel: We have to kill her. There's no other way.

Wesley: As long as she's out there she's a threat.

Jasmine: It may come to that, but first we have to try to help her. Get to the root of the hatred that's infected her heart.

Angel: The only way to do that is bring her home. Let's go.

Jasmine: No. We'll find Fred, but not tonight. Tomorrow will be easier than today. We'll have eyes everywhere."

I don't think I would call her malevolent. She wants goodness and freedom from pain. But the events she sets into motion are malevolent. Sure, she stopped Angel from killing the guy, but she didn't stop him from beating him. Those who don't go along with the Jasmine program are crazy, misguided, evil. They must be stopped, and the ends justify the means. Even if that means killing Fred. And this is all being done in Her name. Jasmine does expect worshipfullness to turn into antagonism towards those who don't get along. She's standing right there when Angel beats the assassin, when Angel, her General, plots Fred's death.

This is the same question being asked over on BtVS. Is it okay to do bad things in the name of good? If your motives are good, can your actions be evil? You can't just suspend moral judgment because you're working for good. Jasmine isn't a crime boss, or anything like one. She's a god, who just wants everyone to be happy. And her first step in acheiving happiness is to manipulate Angel into despair, to sleep with Darla and create Connor. Then she has Cordy kidnapped, her personality subjegated, and her body impregnated. Then the Beast is unleashed to do his mojo to bring about Jasmine's birth, spilling buckets of blood in the process. Finally, human sacrifice-one of the very humans she seems so benevolent towards-is committed to give her life. After her birth, the first thing she does is eradicate free will. At this point I no longer care what her motives are, benign or malevolent. By her deeds you shall know her.

[> [> [> Re: Calling Rufus, killing people, etc (spoilers for SHP) -- Dochawk, 13:40:06 04/10/03 Thu

She didn't allow Angel to kill that guy so she could touch him. Perhaps she was looking for the source of his rejection in her touch, but the result was gross disfigurement that eventually will kill him. Whatever Jasmine is trying to do, its evident that she doesn't take an individual life as being very important.

[> [> [> Wizard of Oz and the field of poppies......spoilers for Shiny Happy People -- Rufus, 22:42:05 04/10/03 Thu

The best way for me to describe what has happend to everyone is using the movie "Wizard of Oz"...when Dorothy and her friends enter a field of poppies they are overcome with the need to sleep, forgetting the more important journey they were on. They are saved by the Tinman and Scarecrow....

Wizard of Oz

They walked along listening to the singing of the brightly colored birds and looking at the lovely flowers which now became so thick that the ground was carpeted with them. There were big yellow and white and blue and purple blossoms, besides great clusters of scarlet poppies, which were so brilliant in color they almost dazzled Dorothy's eyes.

"Aren't they beautiful?" the girl asked, as she breathed in the spicy scent of the bright flowers.

"I suppose so," answered the Scarecrow. "When I have brains, I shall probably like them better."

"If I only had a heart, I should love them," added the Tin Woodman.

"I always did like flowers," said the Lion. "They of seem so helpless and frail. But there are none in the forest so bright as these."

They now came upon more and more of the big scarlet poppies, and fewer and fewer of the other flowers; and soon they found themselves in the midst of a great meadow of poppies. Now it is well known that when there are many of these flowers together their odor is so powerful that anyone who breathes it falls asleep, and if the sleeper is not carried away from the scent of the flowers, he sleeps on and on forever. But Dorothy did not know this, nor could she get away from the bright red flowers that were everywhere about; so presently her eyes grew heavy and she felt she must sit down to rest and to sleep.

But the Tin Woodman would not let her do this.

"We must hurry and get back to the road of yellow brick before dark," he said; and the Scarecrow agreed with him. So they kept walking until Dorothy could stand no longer. Her eyes closed in spite of herself and she forgot where she was and fell among the poppies, fast asleep.

"What shall we do?" asked the Tin Woodman.

"If we leave her here she will die," said the Lion. "The smell of the flowers is killing us all. I myself can scarcely keep my eyes open, and the dog is asleep already."

It was true; Toto had fallen down beside his little mistress. But the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, not being made of flesh, were not troubled by the scent of the flowers.

Jasmine is such a flower in a human looking container....most who see her are overcome with religious type happiness, at the expense of living a real life. Angel forgets what he is a Champion of when he sees Jasmine...everyone, almost everyone reacts in the same way. Once seen, Jasmine is like that poppy field where you get caught up in a dream until you die. But for whatever reason there are some like the Tinman and Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz who can see the dream for what it is and attempt to wake everyone up to the truth.

[> [> [> [> Excellent analogy -- CW, 05:52:40 04/11/03 Fri

Last night in my dreams, I was back in my teaching days, grading ATPo essays as if I'd assigned them. You get an 'A' for this one; short, sweet and your quotation dead-on perfect to make your case. ;o)

[> [> [> [> The qualities of Jasmine -- yabyumpan, 10:26:31 04/11/03 Fri

As an Aromatherapist I thought it might be interesting to look at the qualities of Jasmine from a theraputic view point:
Jasmine is used mainly as an Anti-depressant for specific situations; Post-Natal depression and depression caused by psycho-sexual problems, which also explains why it's often called an Aphrodisiac. It's not actually an Aphrodisiac in a traditional sense in that it doesn't actually increase sexual desire, what the oil does or helps to do is to alleviate anxiety and increase self confidence.
Alleviating anxiety is probably the oil Jasmine's main quality.
On the down side there are also major warnings attached to the oil : it is highly toxic in large doses and also a possible aborificacient(sp) and photo-toxic.

Make of all that what you will, I thought it was quite intereseting :o)

[> [> [> [> [> Well, I'm actually waiting for Jasmine to... -- Masq, 10:58:52 04/11/03 Fri

...make a sexual pass at someone. She was taking such delight in her physical body--in having one, in its sensations, even the painful ones.

And sexual pleasure is one of the most delightful sensations.

Plus, if Jasmine is supposed to be a "cult leader" of sorts, well, isn't that the sort of thing they stereotypically do? Especially as a way of controlling others?

Let's just hope she doesn't hop on her "previous" partner, the one she's calling "father". 'Cause that would just be... old.

[> [> [> [> Baseball bat of metaphor -- lunasea, 13:16:02 04/11/03 Fri

This scene/passage from The Wizard of Oz is about drugs. It isn't even very subtle. It is barely even a metaphor. Dorothy and friends go off the beaten path, even though they are warned not to, and only brain and heart aren't enthralled.

Jasmine as a cult. Talk about pointless. After that arc I will feel like saying: ìI learned something, too. I learned, uhm, - cults are evil? Oh, wait, - I knew that. I learned that religion is full of self-serving phonies. No, - had that one down, too. Uh... following others is bad?î

Angel with a smile: ìWe all knew that.î

The metaphors on Buffy and Angel are metaphors for other things. I love the layers to these shows. Every time I think I have found the core of the onion, I find yet another level. I love coming here and seeing people peeling away. Often what someone says triggers something in another and a chain reaction happens. It is great to watch that. It is great to be a part of that.

Jasmine isn't just a flower, that metaphor is a metaphor. It is like Buffy/Angel. They aren't just a relationship. They are symbolic of something much greater. When I root for them, I am not rooting for the relationship. I am rooting for the something greater.

For me the story isn't in the cult. I would have bolded the following:

When I have brains, I shall probably like them better."

"If I only had a heart, I should love them,"

There is one big difference between Jasmine and cults. Cults are led by human beings. Jasmine is something else, probably a PTB. We aren't dealing with a cult, where someone says they know the will of God and are majorly wrong. This is a Messiah, either real or false. We aren't dealing with the Moonies. We aren't dealing with Bob Jones or David Koresh. We aren't dealing with Catholics or Southern Baptists. We aren't dealing with The Tailiban.

I am surprised that no one has brought up the Lotus Eaters yet. Is paradise truly paradise? There are so many things to explore here, so many layers.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Baseball bat of metaphor -- Rufus, 22:50:36 04/11/03 Fri

This scene/passage from The Wizard of Oz is about drugs. It isn't even very subtle. It is barely even a metaphor. Dorothy and friends go off the beaten path, even though they are warned not to, and only brain and heart aren't enthralled.

No kidding.......and what happens when people are addicted?

[> [> Re: Calling Rufus, killing people, etc (spoilers for SHP) -- Rufus, 20:06:00 04/10/03 Thu

Angel is the first to mention having to kill Fred...after Wes (who is supposed to love Fred) goes on about who would have known that Fred could be evil. The back and forth between the characters leads up to the quick thumbs down for Fred.

So....what is going on? Shiny Happy People...is that a good thing? Does the fact that people seem to be having such a profound religious type experience (I compared it to St Theresa like estacsy) mean that what is happening is a good thing? All we have to look at is how Jasmine came to be.....and Darla mentioned snatching safety from an evil act....Cordy (with an inhouse being controlling her) has killed Lilah and Manny...she would have offed anyone who got in the way. The final is the virgin sacrifice that brings about the birth of Jasmine. Up to the moment Angel sees Jasmine he is about to kill Cordy and whatever was to be born. We saw an image of a thing that moulds itself into human form (hmmmm thinking about what General Gregor said about Dawn in season five). Being pressed into human form doesn't mean that the results will be good. The fact that none of the gang is acting in a remotely normal way should be the tip off to big evil being behind this. Fred is one of the first to see the truth and truth looks like something you need the Orkin man for. Evil/good they are just words and you have to look at what the people spouting all the pretty words are doing or influencing to be done to figure out what is the truth. Jasmine is good with the talk but she is full of sh*t. Go back to the history lesson I transcribed and figure out how much of it is true and how much is a distortion of the truth.

[> Re: "We are all gathered here in peace." Spoilers for Shiny, Happy People -- MaeveRigan, 10:25:07 04/10/03 Thu

I'll go out on a limb here and agree, somewhat--from the viewpoint of a monotheistic believer. But not the type portrayed in "Shiny Happy People." Because those types are, well...slaves. Cultists. Fundamentalists. A distortion of what I was taught about God and what I believe. The idea that there are only two options--either belief in and worship of a deity OR free will--seems absurd to me. A deity that eliminates free will is no god, but rather a demon. Existentialists aren't the only people who should be constantly questioning their decisions, although believers (those who aren't cultists) may have some kind of guideline to consult--maybe "What would Buffy do?" (I'm kidding!)

Even in heaven, from all accounts, confronted with what might seem incontrovertible evidence of the presence of God, Lucifer has free will to choose to rebel, and so (presumably) does humanity in this world.

At the same time, ME is obviously using religious terminology, probably intentionally attempting to tick off the less-imaginative religious viewers, and also, as you say, teasing viewers who complained about strife among the characters. "Don't give them what they ask for, give them what they need," or WTTE. The effects are chillingly effective.

[> [> Re: "We are all gathered here in peace." Spoilers for Shiny, Happy People -- Arethusa, 11:23:59 04/10/03 Thu

All believers give up at least a little free will. Instead of forming their own beliefs, depending on their own judgment and making their own rules to live by they follow the rules of someone/something else. They show faith by accepting without question (or with a limited amount of questioning) that those beliefs are the right ones, that their religion's definitions of good and evil are the right ones.

The people depicted in SHP are cultists, slaves to their belief. But some Protestants call Catholics cultists-a visiting priest in my parish told how in one small town where he worked the local religious book stores put Catholic books in the cult section. Some might look on Wiccas as deluded cultists, but the believers wouldn't. Same for Muslims, Hindus, Druids, Baptists, and so on. For those with no religious beliefs, any religious person might seem a cultist.

For me, the most chilling thing of all is letting anyone else tell me that I'm not allowed to think for myself, not allowed to question everything. I don't think Whedon (don't know about everyone else in ME) is saying that it's okay to give up some free will if you give it up to the "right" higher power. It really is an either/or situation. Either I make my own decisions or I let someone else make them for me. That someone might be a benevolent, loving god, but it is not me. Do I place my trust in God, or do I reject a higher power and believe in myself?

[> [> [> Re: "We are all gathered here in peace." Spoilers for Shiny, Happy People -- Corwin of Amber, 13:09:24 04/10/03 Thu

Umm, why do you assume that religious believers don't question what they're asked to believe in? That they have to give up some degree of free will? I for one, questioned EVERY belief of my particular religion, and over the years each one was proven to my satisfaction. Have I therefore given up my free will?

[> [> [> [> Which raises the question... -- Solitude1056, 13:34:35 04/10/03 Thu

How can any of AI prove, beyond reasonable doubt, what Jasmine is claiming? They can't prove her version of history anymore than they can prove her status amongst all-powerful beings. They can only go on her word.

It's nearly as difficult as the issue of proving that Ganesha really helped me quit smoking, or proving that my Methodist grandmother's parking guardian angel really helped her find the best spaces at the local shopping mall. For that matter, how can one prove, to even a marginal satisfaction, that after death one faces a particular set of consequences, or even faces anything at all? I'd have to say, none of the above are distinctly and inherently provable - reminds me of that scientific rule of thumb about whether one can posit a logical opposite to a theory that determines whether the theory itself is scientific. "God did it" as a theory has no logical opposite - and no, "the devil did it" is not considered the antithesis.

Anyway, the whole problem of religions and spirituality (and I don't consider the two the same) is that more often than not, there's no proof for belief. (If you've found this to be untrue for you, then I'd say you're either a rare one with a direct line to the Divine or you're worshipping at the altar of something other than a Pie In The Sky deity.) For that matter, there's rarely definitive answers that will convince even the innocent passerby - they may convince the choir, but that - IMO - hardly requires much effort. Once you're a believer, you don't need proof; until you're a believer, no proof will do. (In which case it's somewhat irrelevant that no scientific proof is available, anyway.)

Just another monkey wrench.

[> [> [> [> The gap between belief and disbelief: -- dream, 14:04:29 04/10/03 Thu

I think the reason that non-believers tend to assume that believers haven't questioned their beliefs is that convincing answers based on belief are truly inconceivable to those who are not inside the belief system. The gap between belief and disbelief is enormous, and I fear unbridgeable - not that there are not those who occupy a middle ground, just that those who truly do or do not believe are unable to converse in any meaningful way about belief. I say this as someone who was once a hard-core believer and is now an atheist. I think it's unfortunate, but I think it's true.

[> [> [> Re: "We are all gathered here in peace." Spoilers for Shiny, Happy People -- Angelus, 13:13:12 04/10/03 Thu

First, regarding Jasmine. One interesting note is that, after the big buildup, she doesn't seem as invincible physically as, say, Glory. She can be wounded and bleed.

On the benevolence/ malevolence issue, she doesn't have to behave in an openly malevolent manner. She already knows she has a power that automatically makes people believe everything she says and obey her. I suspect we will find out that, to a degree, she is merely playing a role that fosters that belief. Then again, it is arguable that, from her point of view, this is just the way it should be- with her ruling. But I just can't quite buy that she really believes in love.

While watching the episode, I wasn't paying that much attention to whether it was a shot at religion. But I was a Christian at one time in my life- that was before I lost my soul and became Angelus (ahem that was a joke). I grew up in a small, isolated town. There were 500 students in the whole school kintergarten through 12th grade and that included the whole surrounding rural area. Yet there were three churches, all Protestant. Apparently a hundred years ago there was a Catholic church out where the Track field is currently located. The Protestants burned it down. There was once a theater in the town (owned by my great grandfather). It was closed down because movies were immoral.

So anyway, I know very well the mindlessness Fundamentalism can reach. No questioning and in fact its a lack of faith to question, all BS designed to keep people from questioning something that would collapse like a house of cards if people *really* questioned it. Personally I don't know if Joss was attacking religion as a whole or just Fundamentalism. But literal (myth as history) religion pretty much has to brush off facts and create vast rationalizations to maintain itself even if its not purely Fundamentalist. But I am sure he was at least mocking the religion that we see on tv and that is most prevalent.

[> [> [> [> Re: "We are all gathered here in peace." Spoilers for Shiny, Happy People -- Arethusa, 13:43:39 04/10/03 Thu

That's a good point about her human vulnerability. I wonder if she will be affected by her new humanity-geek that I am, I'm remembering a Star Trek episode where powerful beings take human form to take over the Enterprise and are done in by their new, human emotions.

[> [> [> [> I don't think it was a shot at religion, any more than (spoilers for SHP) -- lunasea, 14:59:43 04/10/03 Thu

Willow was a shot at drugs.

ME used the magick/drugs metaphor to explain Willow's descent into evil. They temporarily vamped her and explored how depending on someone else so heavily for your own self- image can destroy a person. Buffy took out her self-loathing on Spike and Willow turned hers into an extreme co- dependency on Tara and magick.

I don't think Joss is making a direct statement about religion. I have enjoyed reading the posts of atheists who are taking this opportunity to slam religion or fundamentalism. I think Joss is using what is going on with Jasmine as a vehicle to explore hope.

What is Jasmine offering that is enchanting people? Is she putting out "control" vibes that are brainwashing people? If that is the case, what is with all the peace and love talk? If she can just control people and she has malevolent motives, why not just control them to do what she wants? It works on demons (Lorne isn't immune, so it isn't just Angel's soul), so why not just get the demons to do what she wants?

I got caught up in the theme of identity this season. I don't think that is it, any more. It is hope. That is something the show has always been about to me. I used to think it was "We help the hopeless."

"Kick over the board and start a new game." What a profound statement of hope. There is no guarantee that new game is going to be any better than the old one.

Hope has played out in many ways this season:

Angel lost his hope at the bottom of the ocean and recovers it somewhat on the boat with his hallucination with Lorne. Then he delivers his Champion speech, which shows he has lost hope that the smallest act of kindness can make a difference. Instead he is now an example. Angel's lack of hope has driven this season.

Gwen has been a great character. She has gone through some amazing changes this season. What Angel does with her reminds me of what he does with Faith. (From Consequences)

"You and me, Faith, we're a lot alike. Time was, I thought humans existed just to hurt each other. But then I came here. And I found out that there are other types of people. People who genuinely wanted to do right. And they make mistakes. And they fall down. You know, but they keep caring. Jeep trying. If you can trust us, Faith, this can all change. You don't have to disappear into the darkness."

How much Angel is willing to risk for Cordelia shows Gwen something special. She is willing to turn to them in "Long Days Journey" and in "Ground State" she actually is willing to lose her powers in order to connect with another human being. Gwen has been a wonderful sub-arc.

In THAW Angel loses his destiny, his future, his hope for a future. He doesn't lose his love for his friends. He doesn't lose his hope for their future. He fights to protect that future. That is pretty much where our hero is this season. Cordy got rewarded and he didn't. He doesn't have hopes for himself. He hopes for his friends and family.

He still has hope that he and Connor will manage to fix things. He even has hope that he and Cordy may have something special (he doesn't know). Jasmine takes that away from him in "Apocalypse Nowish."

Big beastie comes and Angel has hope they will beat it. As it pummels them, he loses this hope and is willing to let Angelus be brought forth. He loses his faith in the PTB. When he finds out that he has to kill Cordy, he has no hope about anything left.

That is what brings Jasmine into the world. Connor has lost hope in everything prior to this also. Angel and Connor bring Jasmine into the world in their dispair. She comes to alleviate it. She blocked out the sun to replace it. She removes hope from everyone so that she can give it back to them. The sun is a symbol of hope. "The sun'll come out tomorrow." (Joyce uses this with Buffy in her dreams)

Wesley is another great character for hope this season, but I have written enough. Faith, Gunn, Fred, all about hope and dispair.

I think the season will revolve around a moment similar to Giles in "The Wish"

Anyanka: You trusting fool! How do you know the other world is any better than this?

Giles: Because it has to be.

Religion also offers hope, so the parallels are going to be there.

Here is something Marti said "And I think the idea of destiny and serving God in a way, and Joss, by the way, is a rabid atheist, but his work is full of yearning for belief. And I think the show speaks to people who also have that yearning. I mean, the whole show in a way, the whole show ping pongs between the darkest night of the soul and this whole yearning for belief."

To take this over to Buffy, Buffy has lost hope. That is why we get Generalisimo Summers.

[> [> [> [> [> It's a shot at what religion can be perverted into..... -- Rufus, 20:07:34 04/10/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> "We help the hopeless" WAS the original slogan. -- Darby, remembering Doyle's "We hope you're helpless.", 06:06:39 04/11/03 Fri

[> [> [> Re: "We are all gathered here in peace." Spoilers for Shiny, Happy People -- Dochawk, 13:49:37 04/10/03 Thu

First off Arethusa let me say I LOVED your original post, it really made me understand and like SHP much better.

But there is another way one can come to their beliefs and their religiuos convictions. A person can evaluate the things s/he believes in, what truths they are comfortable with and then find a religious tradition that fits these choices. People convert to a religion hopefully because they find it answers their life questions in a more satisfying way, not because they have no choice about it. A main tenet of most of mainstream Judiasm is to question God and her answers (Israel means to wrestle with God in hebrew) (I can't speak for any other religions, but I believe this to be true of others as well). Jasmine does remind one of a cult leader and it may in fact be what Joss is examining. I have alot more appreciation for what he has done becuase of this discussion.

[> [> [> [> Re: "We are all gathered here in peace." Spoilers for Shiny, Happy People -- Arethusa, 14:37:42 04/10/03 Thu

That's fascinating, and something I haven't thought about very much. All I know about Judaism is what I learn from books, and it isn't much. In Catholicism, one of my previous religions, we were actively discouraged from questioning much of anything.

Choosing to believe in God is a choice, after all. But from the point of view of an existentialist, you're choosing to accept what you are told are God's laws instead of making up your own. You're giving up the freedom to fully decide for yourself what is right or wrong, and choosing to accept that this being exists, is your creator, and has given you the "right" laws to follow. I'm just beginning to realize what a tricky concept this is, because who am I to say God doesn't exist and I know what is right and what is wrong? That my decisions are moral?-which is very important to me. We are both exercising free will-you to believe and me to not believe. I just can't or won't go that last step, to accept anybody's word about something I feel in my heart is not right.

I've got to run, or this post would probably be much longer. Thanks very much for your response.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: "We are all gathered here in peace." Spoilers for Shiny, Happy People -- lunasea, 15:17:42 04/10/03 Thu

In Catholicism, one of my previous religions, we were actively discouraged from questioning much of anything.

That's pre Vatican II thinking (maybe even pre-Baltimore). Father Alexander DiLella, the man hand picked by the Pontiff to oversee the NRSV (had him autograph it for me, closest thing to an author. he got a kick out of it) taught me to question the pejebers out of everything. Only those who don't have faith in their Faith discourage questioning. Father DiLella taught me that it was a Catholic's duty to know their faith so well they could defend it and that could only be accomplished by questioning it. Catholicism could stand up to my questions.

this echoes the sentiments of St. John Henry Newman and Pope Pius XII. Divino Afflante Spiritu is one of my favorite ncylicals.

As for what are God's Laws, we were taught that "The Word of God was written on the Heart." This appears in both the Prophets (I forget which one) and in the Gospels. We don't need no stickin' book or priest to tell us what God wants. We just need to listen to our hearts.

[> [> I'm with you MR -- Rahael, 05:33:03 04/11/03 Fri

The dichotomies as presented are hard for me to take seriously. Hard and fast rules about other people, dichotomies between 'them' and 'us', easy generalisations about people's inner minds and beliefs don't exactly strike me as going for the hard, rather than the easy truths.

[> [> [> Could you explain, Rahael? -- Arethusa, 08:17:37 04/11/03 Fri

I don't want to make easy generalizations, or rules about other people. None of this has been easy for me, especially giving up the hope of heaven and support of God's love.

[> [> [> [> Re: Could you explain, Rahael? -- Rahael, 10:08:19 04/11/03 Fri

Well, I've been trying not to post about this, and have deleted half a dozen replies. But I'm a Christian and I don't believe in heaven. It's not something I think greatly about, and in any case I think trying to do what is right while believing that doing so will earn you a reward...well, it's not for me. I once said this to a colleague of mine who is an evangelical Christian and she said "but why would you do the right thing in that case?" and I said "Because it's the right thing to do!"

So to conclude that all people of faith believe in eternal rewards is an easy generalisation. I think the inner mind of another human being, let alone a whole body of people is very hard to categorise. Leslie referenced Carlo Ginzburg a day or so ago - I'd say that Ginzburg's 'Cheese and the Worms' is an excellent study in how belief systems are not automatically formed by religious instruction, but interact with the official church, with other strands of thought, with their own peculiar ideas. When we talk about belief, we are engaging with the world of the imagination and that's something that's very hard to quantify.

When I read the poetry of George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and other religious poets I do not see brainwashed, unquestioning minds. Quite the opposite. They are 'new, tender, quick'. Alert, questioning, imbued with a compassion that stretches out to me across the ages.

When I look at my 'faith' it's the very opposite of unquestioning and unrigorous - in fact, it was the very means I was taught to question the world. It's the very first text that made me aware that texts can be contradictory, full of tension. The disjuncture which this book which I was supposed to accept as a guideline to live life by, and the life I saw people leading made me think hard about accepting texts, how to interpret them, how to approach them. I never think 'faith' and 'belief' and think unquestioning. Because of other things to - the community I grew up in was steeped in faiths, in traditions, in religious beliefs (three major world religions, not one) - these were people who were not brainwashed. Some of them derived the courage to stand up and disagree with 'groupthink'. Some of them got the courage to question, to stand alone, to see the hard truths that others would not, because of their faith.

My experience of growing up in a multi-faith community did not lead to my being brainwashed by these religions, but to value pluralism, tolerance and respect for the worldviews of others.

Are there dogmatic, rigid people who use their world view to lead unquestioning lives? Absolutely. Is this restricted to religious people? No. Might the common denominator be dogmatic beliefs rather than religious belief systems per se? Yes, religion can encourage static, rigid, very unjust views of the world. But so can political and philosophical belief systems.

A great portion of my world view is formed by the religious backgrounds of my parents. I find faiths of all kinds fascinating, inspiring, engendering art and literature that I love to engage with. I am in awe of the human imagination that gets inspired and produces these things. I find belief systems fascinating. If this belief system can produce art that I can stare at for hours and hours, literature and poetry that moves me, makes me think, and indeed, rather than being full of certainty and easy comfort - is uncertain and questioning..........

I think that the dichotomies suggested here - people of belief who abrogate their right to choose, who automatically have no hard questions to face, only certain comfort contrasted with the emotionally courageous non-believers who will always face the real, difficult truths of the world - these are pretty unconvincing for me.

I know many, many atheists who have pretty firm, unchanging ideas about how the world should be. I know many people of faith who are thoughtful and always try to find their own way to their decisions.

I also have to say, I don't spend much time thinking of God's Love for me. It's not about that for me. It's about how I display humanity toward others. How one goes about doing that - well, that's always up to question and doubt and change. Losing the hope of heaven isn't that hard when I never hoped for it in the first place so I guess that's an easy truth, rather than a hard one. In fact, when I was younger I was tormented by the idea of heaven, of the people I kept being told would never be allowed in.

Of course, having mounted this defence I'll admit that I can never attend any congregation for long because some of my co- congregationalists drive me round the bend to the point where I want to leap up during the sermon and say something sacrilegious. And every time my grandmother starts banging on about something I'll argue against her to the point of unkindness. But I'll do the same when she starts on her socially conservative beliefs or her talk of ancient family feuds too. And when people start dissing faith, of whatever kind, I'll always have to say something, even when it's not my own. I just respect it, and I respect a lot of people who hold faith, just as I respect people without any belief immensely. I just never think to think differently about people because of their faith or lack of it. That just never occurs to me. There are people who are emotionally and morally courageous, and I don't think they separate on the belief/no belief line.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Could you explain, Rahael? -- Arethusa, 11:47:16 04/11/03 Fri

I do sound all elitist and condescending and la la la I know the secrets of the universe and everyone else doesn't, don't I? Sigh.

But I really don't mean to. I should have been clearer that I was looking at Shiny Happy People as an existentialist statement, Whedon's view of religion or take on religion. I'm making some big assumptions, I know-that I know and understand what Whedon means when he calls himself an angry existentialist atheist, and that this episode explores his views. I could be totally wrong, and could be making an ass of myself.

I do not think people of faith are unquestioning, or that they take the easy way out by letting someone else think for them. I really do not think people of faith are incapable of emotional or moral courage-I'd have to be an idiot not to recognize the enormous moral and emotional courage faith gives people. Whedon could just be making a statement about blind obedience which as you say could apply to a lot of things-religion, politics, social interactions, and so on. But I think by having Jasmine be a loving god who only wants the best for everyone, and one of the Powers That Be, the group that has been guiding Angel for his entire stint as a Champion, Whedon is making a statement about depending on anyone/anything for guidance in life. If Jasmine were evil, it would be easy to see why her influence has evil results. But she's not some cult leader, her speeches very clearly echo good and moral ideas. She's good, she wants everyone to be happy and not suffer. Her evil acts are (I think) based on her disregard for the rights of an individual to decide for himself what he will do or think. Individualism is given up in exchange for belief. So what is Whedon trying to say about following a higher authority?

So far all the authorites shown in BtVS, Angel and even Firefly have been shown to be a very mixed bag-the Watcher's Council, the Shadowmen, the High School principals, mothers and fathers, the Initiative, mayors, police, the Alliance. Mal rejected the Alliance even though that made him a virtual fugitive. Buffy rejects the authority of the CoW and the watcher she loves like a father, to follow her own instincts. Only Angel still depends on an outside authority to give him aid and support. How many times has AI wondered when the heck TPTB will send them a vision to help them solve their problems? I think Whedon is leading up to having Angel reject TPTB, to stop looking elsewhere for guidance and assistance. It's the noir thing to do, it's the existentialist thing to do, it's the Whedon thing to do. I'm not sure, but I think it has nothing to do with the validity of TPTB-they are trying to help him! It has to do with taking full control and responsibility for his decisions.

Whenever I'm afraid I don't know what I'm talking about I go back to the dictionary. Free will, I just read, is

1 : voluntary choice or decision (I do this of my own free will)
2 : freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention (Mirriam Webster)

Do I make choices based on belief or free will? This decision has nothing to do with which is easier or more courageous or more correct. Both are hard to do, both take courage, and God alone knows what is "correct."

I think that if Whedon had a totalitarian government taking over L. A. these discussions would not be taking place. It's much more clear that other people telling us what we can and can't do or think is a denial of personal individuality and freedom of choice. But because he is an atheist, we are being asked to look at our decision to give up any free will in exchange for belief.

Here's hoping I haven't pissed anyone off even more.

[> [> [> [> [> [> I totally agree with you! -- Rahael, a deeply heretical Christian, 12:03:40 04/11/03 Fri

I mean, I think I have a pretty similar vision of authority and so on, and the importance of making one's own decisions and not relying on, and the very difficult nature of the universe. The importance of being questioning, of thinking hard about life, of the value of the things we do. Life before death, not afterward. But I find a lot of this through people who have faith too. Faith and belief are pretty quixotic things sometimes, and that's why I'm so interested in it. I guess maybe a few qualifiers (such as, atheists can be dogmatic, and people who believe in God can have their own minds, and be very questioning of authority).
With those qualifiers, I would have been able to agree with you more (but me, I'm one of nature's contrarians, lol).

Anyways, you didn't piss me off. I just found myself in a strange country where I couldn't recognise any of the landmarks. I was wondering whether making a contribution to this debate would have any credibility since I would also have to confess that faith creates deep resonances within me. Also, I'm so used to the being on the other side of the debate that I gave myself mental whiplash.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Heehee. And regarding Nature's Contrarians -- Arethusa, 12:47:05 04/11/03 Fri

I'm one too. That's how I became an atheist in the first place. But I want to believe, to quote another contrarian. I go to Mass every Sunday and try to lead a good, moral life. I was just unable to reconcile the idea of a loving, all-seeing god with my daily life as a child. If bad things happen to us because we have choices, I reasoned, than by God they would be my choices, and no one else's. That's my failing, not religion's.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Arethusa and Rahael, I've found this conversation fascinating -- dream, 13:24:41 04/11/03 Fri

And lovely, respectful and thoughtful where emotions usually run so high.

Arethusa, you remind me of me a few years ago - I don't know how long ago you lost your faith, and don't know if the situations are truly similar, so forgive me any assumptions. But I continued attending Mass long after I had ceased to believe, only stopping when I finally realized there were things I couldn't grow into as long as I was still receiving reinforcement of certain values (about marriage and sexuality and authority, especially) that I rejected intellectually, but resonated emotionally. But I miss the beauty of the Mass, and confession, and Stations of the Cross, particularly, which is such a beautiful meditation on the suffering of others, an exercise in empathy. Unfortunately, I don't CHOOSE not to believe - the belief just isn't there. The image that comes to mind is a cartoon character (Wile E. Coyote, maybe) running off a cliff, and continuing to run, until suddenly he notices that there is nothing beneath him. My faith was gone long before I noticed it, but once I realized, nothing could prevent my falling, nothing could convince me that there really was a ground beneath my feet. Now, I'm finding other ways of understanding my place in the universe, and the loss of faith doesn't feel so much like a loss anymore. The gap is being filled in ways that are much more satisfying to me. I still have some Church-related anger, but it's fading. I wonder what I'll believe in when I'm old...

That was probably incoherent, and forgive me for intruding on your conversation, but I couldn't help chiming in.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Not incoherent at all! -- Rahael, 16:40:58 04/11/03 Fri

That was a very good post! And I loved the Wile E Coyote analogy.

There's one thing that sticks in my mind. I believed for years and years that my mother had no faith. And then I learned later that she spent a lot of time involved in helping a local church, not the big one the rest of the family went to, but a smaller one in a poorer part of the town. More radical too, I think. And then another memory resurfaces, of when I was very young and I sat back, watching as I always did as the adults went to receive Holy Communion. My mother came back and sank to her knees to pray. When she finished, and raised her head, I realised that she had wept silently as she prayed. That struck me very powerfully, more than any sermon could have.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Good comparison. -- Arethusa, 10:14:27 04/12/03 Sat

Thanks for responding, and of course you're not intruding at all. Your comparison is very apt! It's like my feet were pedaling away, but there was nothing underneath. Sometimes it feels like a loss, but mostly it's just relief that I finally can stop fighting against what I'm told versus what I think.

[> [> [> [> [> [> I don't see Joss as so self-serving -- lunasea, 14:02:13 04/11/03 Fri

Whedon's view of religion or take on religion. I'm making some big assumptions, I know-that I know and understand what Whedon means when he calls himself an angry existentialist atheist, and that this episode explores his views.

I think his views tend to be sub-text and the undercurrents that form his story, but I don't think he is going to explore this so overtly. He is using this metaphor like he did magick/drugs S6, to explore something within the characters themselves. It isn't about the higher authority. It isn't authority is bad. It is why do people follow authority. It is why don't some. It is what do we do if we don't follow anyone. Much more interesting than authority bad, tree pretty.

As Marti has said "And I think the idea of destiny and serving God in a way, and Joss, by the way, is a rabid atheist, but his work is full of yearning for belief. And I think the show speaks to people who also have that yearning. I mean, the whole show in a way, the whole show ping pongs between the darkest night of the soul and this whole yearning for belief."

SHP started to explore that yearning. Why do we have it? Not that the yearning is bad, but what is it about humans that cause us to want to believe? Even angry existentialist atheists have this. Angel has been a great character for this. It has been central to him. Angel wants to believe. Why can't he? Why does he now?

Actually, after all this talk on the board, I think I want to rewatch SHP this weekend.

[> [> [> [> [> A quick note about heaven -- lunasea, 13:27:33 04/11/03 Fri

A few summers ago, the Pope made an announcment that Heaven wasn't an actual place. It was a state of mind. I could find the announcement if you are interested. It may put words to what you feel.

It goes along with an interpretation I saw for The Prodigal Son that I liked. That was always the parable I had the most trouble with. Why should the prodigal son get rewarded and the dutiful son get nothing? Great story for encouraging people to return to God, but what about the rest of us? Then at the mass for my younger daughter's Christening the priest gave another interpretation. The dutiful son did have his reward, a reward that surpassed the party. He got to be with Dad all the time. That was better than any party.

Another thought, when people start talking about love of God, one line always comes to mind. It is from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade "Why do you seek the Grail, Dr. Jones. For God's Glory or for your own." Indy's response is that he is doing it for his father.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: A quick note about heaven (Spoilers, aired AtS eps) -- Rahael, 17:06:06 04/11/03 Fri

Thanks, Lunasea, I did was aware of those comments, and thought they were very interesting indeed! Oh, and I like the take on the parable - it's interesting - I think both the 'Last Crusade' and the parable about the Prodigal son contain resonances for AtS........(father and son both interested in the same woman who turns out to have an agenda of her own, let alone the fact that it turns up in Angel's perfect day fantasy!)

[> [> [> Maybe it's about what AI needs to believe (Spoilers for SHP and speculation) -- Sara, 17:43:40 04/11/03 Fri

Not sure where to put this, so I picked here! What if the exploration isn't about religion but about what draws some people to strong even fundamentalist faiths. As an agnostic who finds the concept of God kind of irrelevant (I keep waiting for lightning to strike whenever I say that) I am fascinated by other people's faiths and tend to chat a lot on the topic. Since this is based on chit-chat (my favorite hobby) it is totally unscientific, totally unscholarly and completely anecdotal.

There are as many different reasons for faith as there are different beliefs and different people so this is in no way a portrait of all devout or fundamentalist people. Some people develop their views of God as a way of making sense of the world, some people are drawn to faith because of family, community and connections to tradition, some people truly find a spiritual answer deep in their hearts, but there are also those who find a religion that fits something that's missing in them. In that case the belief of God is to help deal with fear of life, or of death, or to fill a gap in a need for love - what is better for someone who does not feel loved, or even worthy of love, than an all-loving God who loves unconditionally regardless of all those pesky flaws you can't seem to erase?

So here's my theory, probably wrong, but kind of fun to speculate on why our pals at Angel Investigations are so quickly influenced by Jasmine:

Angel needs to believe because it is the only way to redemption. If there is no higher power/purpose, Powers That Be, then no matter how much good he does, no matter how many lives he saves, he can never make up for what he did as Angelus. If we all just live to die and be done with it, there is no cosmic balance that he can redeem himself with. And I'm not talking about a reward, becoming human, being happy, just the ability to be forgiven. Without faith the only ones who have the ability to forgive him are already dead - oops!

Wes and Gunn both have been part of a mission, have devoted their lives to this mission, and sacrificed everything, including people they loved to it. If they're wrong about the war between good and evil, the entire structure of their lives loses meaning.

Connor is starved for love. Holtz truly did love him, but he always put his hatred for Angel first. Out comes this beautiful God who says that he's worthy of love, deserves happiness, what's not to worship?

I don't think Lorne fits into this theory, but I would say that Jasmine's presence has an intoxicating effect on everyone who believes in good, until they have reason to wake up from it...which brings me to Fred. I don't think Fred is in need of faith, her worldview depends on science. When trapped in Pylea she never gives up on it and continues to work on formulas to escape. After her return, she uses her incredibly traumatic experience to come up with new and ground-breaking theories. So in the bowling alley when Jasmine says don't worry, we're safe, and is proven fallible it just takes a while before something in Fred's analytical head recognizes that if this God can be wrong once, she can be wrong again and breaks the spell, allowing her to see Jasmine as she truly is.

Of course Darbs says it's about blood to blood transfer and he's probably right, but I like my version way better, and am gonna keep it until next week when I'm told otherwise!

- Sara, who really didn't mean to write such a long post but once I start rattling on...

[> [> [> [> EXACTLY!!!! -- lunasea, 18:28:41 04/11/03 Fri

I think a lot was said in their placement when they went down on their knees and how they did this.

It isn't as simple as cult bad, tree pretty. There is a metaphor behind it that will be explained away with some mystical plot device. That doesn't mean that what you said isn't one layer beneath that.

[> Re: "We are all gathered here in peace." Spoilers for SHP and BtVS CWDP -- Plin, 13:59:23 04/10/03 Thu

We are alone in this life when we die-a time in our lives when we have no control over what happens to us at all. No matter how many people we know and love in between, we all will be alone when we need others the most. And that's pretty freaking scary. So we take comfort in the idea that we will have eternal life, that God is always by our side, that there is nothing to fear. When God says "Believe in me and you will never die," that might seem like a pretty good bargain. All we have to do in return is believe. And obey.

As a counterpoint to this, it's interesting to note what Holden Webster tells Buffy in Conversations with Dead People, after he's diagnosed her combination inferiority/superiority complex:
Oh, it makes every kind of sense. And it all adds up to you feeling alone. But Buffy, everybody feels alone. Everybody is, until you die.

There's no mention of whether only vampires gain a sense of being part of a greater whole after dying (hello, Evil!), but I don't recall Buffy saying she felt any particular connectedness when she was in He-eaven, did she? Only that there was no pain and no suffering, and she knew she was finished.

Interesting way of turning traditional ideas upside- down.

[> joss whedon in the onion on god -- anom, 00:04:55 04/13/03 Sun

The Onion has been running a feature in its "a.v. club" section where they ask various famous people questions that you just don't find in standard interviews. Joss Whedon's answers have been published in 2 of these:

"The Onion: Is there a God?
Joss Whedon: No.
O: That's it, end of story, no?
JW: Absolutely not. That's a very important and necessary thing to learn."

"The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?
Joss Whedon: God. I'm constantly yelling at Him. A lot of my writers are quite religious, and I'm always yelling, 'Come on! Strike me down! Wuss!' I don't know why I have such anger toward somebody who doesn't exist."

There you have it, straight from the Joss's mouth. What it means in terms of what we saw in Shiny Happy People, I have no idea.

--anom, realizing that subject line sounds strangely like a "Clue" solution, or maybe a Beatles song title

[> [> Re: joss whedon in the onion on god -- Arethusa, 09:14:31 04/13/03 Sun

Wow. "That's a very important and necessary thing to learn." I feel a little better now. I was starting to feel like I was projecting my own beliefs onto the show. Not to mention feeling like the kid who tells everyone that Santa's a fake.

[> [> [> It's refreshing, isn't it? -- dream, 08:07:38 04/14/03 Mon

'Cause in general, atheism? Not so well-represented on network t.v. The climate of the country is very strongly against.

As an aside, Tony Blair made a speech a while back -- I think it was shortly after September 11th. Bush, of course, had been mentioning God every chance he could. He had repeatedly referred to Americans of all faiths - as in, this affects Americans of all faiths, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and all people of God. I was so used to hearing this sort of thing that I was nearly knocked over with shock when I heard Tony Blair's version: "People of all faiths and people of none." Not likely to hear that in the U.S. any time soon...

A new theory on Cordelia -- Masq, 09:23:20 04/10/03 Thu

Watching the gang under the influence of Jasmine's mind-mojo last night gave me a thought. We've been spending all season trying to figure out if Cordelia is the "real" Cordelia, or possessed, or a being pretending to be Cordelia, etc.

And it's been hard to come up with a coherent theory because Cordelia so often seemed like herself, even when she was alone. And then she would do these evil things.

So I'm thinking, what if our Cordelia has been with us, mind and body, all along, but she has ben under Jasmine's mind- mojo all season (well, since the end of "Spine the Bottle")?

Angel, Fred, Lorne, Gunn, Wesley, Connor--they're still more or less themselves, their personalities, their insecurities, etc. They're just kind of "on drugs", not thinking clearly about this Jasmine babe. Angel wouldn't kill Fred in his right mind, but he might if he thinks it's what Jasmine wanted, or if he decides it's the best thing for Jasmine's purposes.

So what if Cordelia has been doing the same? Not possessed, but just "under the influence"? Carrying out Jasmine's wishes without clearly thinking through what they mean because well, people don't do that when they're drunk, drugged, mojo'ed.

[> Spoilers up to Shiny Happy Peeps -- Masq, 09:24:29 04/10/03 Thu

And I meant Spin the Bottle!


[> New for you maybe ;o) -- CW, 09:49:21 04/10/03 Thu

I wasn't the only one who mentioned "baby controlling/influencing mommy" when Cordy was pregnant.

Clerihews, anyone? -- luna, 10:04:26 04/10/03 Thu

We've seen BtVS and AtS haiku and limericks--anyone want to try clerihews? Here's the definition:

clerihew (KLER-uh-hyoo): A humorous, pseudo-biographical verse of four lines of uneven length, with the rhyming scheme AABB, and the first line containing the name of the subject.[After writer Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956), who originated it.]Here is one of the first clerihews he wrote (apparently while feeling bored
in a science class):
Sir Humphrey Davy
Abominated gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.

My feeble attempts:

Buffy was a slayer
who took down the mayor.
She loved Angel
But sent him off to some strange hell.

Poor Willow, mourning Tara
Got black eyes and also hair-a
Word from Xander
Saved the world from Willow's dander.

[> I'll play! -- d'Herblay, 13:07:28 04/10/03 Thu

I suck at scansion, so clerihews are right up my alley! Unfortunately, as one of these will reveal, I also suck at entymology.

Buffy Anne Summers,
Has had her share of bummers:
Her friends keep causing murders,
Plus, she used to flip burgers.

Alexander LaVelle Harris,
Is usually easy to embarrass.
He was once Dracula's flunky.
Can you say, "Butt-Monkey"?

Promises bliss ever-lastin',
But in her eye there's a larval drosophila
And are we forgetting that she killed Lilah?

Never committed consumer fraud;
But she found vengeance very nice
-- So much for the workers' paradise.

William the Bloody, also known as Spike,
Is someone the viewers seem to really like,
But ever since he got himself chippethed,

Alysson Hannigan,
Can not be shown with a man again --
At least on the small screen, i.e.
There's always American Pie 3.

Marti Noxon,
Is Joss's coxswain,
But when she's the Captain on the deck,
The boat gets "Wrecked."

Solitude 1056,
There's not a snag in HTML he or she can't fix,
But when it comes to revealing hir gender --
I've given up on that mind-bender.

He was a fun guy,
He and Dedalus used to hang out here a lot.
Hey, guys! Think we forgot?

[> [> Re: I'll play! -- mundus, 13:28:14 04/10/03 Thu

I'll take a pause from my lurk,
(And I too love Dedalus, but Star Wars -- urk!)
To say how much I enjoyed your joke.
But careful with the poetry, lest it draw out Boke!


[> [> [> Wow! Ask and ye SHALL receive! Who else can I invoke? -- d'Herblay, 13:39:57 04/10/03 Thu

vampire hunter D,
Always seemed like a . . .

I'd better leave it be.

[> [> [> [> Some rhymes just shouldn't be allowed to live. -- Solitude1056, 13:49:17 04/10/03 Thu

[> [> [> LOLOL everyone -- Rahael, 16:52:19 04/11/03 Fri

Bah. Wish I could express my appreciation in poetry (you know, the kind I actually write myself).

[> [> Uh... -- Solitude1056, 13:46:09 04/10/03 Thu

I think I've been immortalized. And I didn't even have to kiss anything!

[> Re: Clerihews, anyone? -- neaux, 14:03:07 04/10/03 Thu

A very studious Rupert Giles
reads his books in piles
we all thought he was dead
when someone took a blade to his head.

An overly bored neaux
knows no known node of his nose
dabbled in alliteration
but turned into an abomination

[> can I try? -- MsGiles, 08:33:45 04/11/03 Fri

Spike as Willy:
rather silly,
then Dru bit:

Giles is tweedy
but not seedy
the guy breaks necks!
(um .. pauses to clean specs)

Adam and Riley
Finished all smiley
But it was only a summing-up -the-series-theme

Buffy took a running jump,
Went thump.
Sadly missed,
Came back well pissed.

(Ben was Glory,
But that's another story)

[> Brilliance from All! -- luna, 11:04:16 04/11/03 Fri

Existential Scoobies wroteó
I think DíHerblayís got my vote!
But also Neaux, Ms. Giles, and Sol can wow,
And M. Mundus, take a bow!

[> Re: Clerihews, anyone? -- Calamus, 19:21:45 04/11/03 Fri

Poor Kennedy, much maligned.
Ah, methinks her detractors must be blind.
The one thing she can't be faulted for is taste,
But what a shame- her storyline is much too chaste.

And what of Andrew the guestage?
More commonly known as a pestage.
Yet he's contributed more to his host
Than those lame Slayerettes who make only cereal and toast.

One more, that's Dawn.
Don't leave your knick-knacks around, or they're gone.
And Buffy is not her mom, although
Asking seems to get you at least one date from the 'ho!

The Completely Insane Name Association Theory about Shiny Happy People (spoils) -- neaux, 13:41:09 04/10/03 Thu

Ok. If I was playing the "First thing that pops into my head" word association game with myself..

Shiny Happy People- REM

Shiny happy people laughing
Meet me in the crowd
People people
Throw your love around
Love me love me
Take it into town
Happy happy
Put it in the ground
Where the flowers grow
Gold and silver shine

Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing

Everyone around love them, love them
Put it in your hands
Take it take it
There's no time to cry
Happy happy
Put it in your heart
Where tomorrow shines
Gold and silver shine

Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing

It seems like a nonsensical song..and the worst song REM has ever recorded. but it is fitting dont you think?

Anyway.. my other thought was about the name Jasmine.
Jasmine. Aladdin.
Yes Disney's Aladdin.
Again.. this seems farfetched but the Idea of the Genie's Lamp providing wishes is a common plotline used in fantasy shows where whatever the person wishes for, comes true but only at a surface level. The deeper level usually isnt that great, holds some flaw, or the wish has a loophole.

Usually a wish is taken in the literal sense and ends up haunting the wish-er. Jasmine looks like the real deal (as if someone wished her existance) but we already know from Fred's POV that looks are deceiving.

Just a thought.

[> More names -- ponygirl, 16:09:01 04/10/03 Thu

I'm going off the wildfeed here (evil defective vcr, or rather well-intentioned but misguided roommate who set the vcr) so this may not be accurate but I thought the names Wes and Gunn were suggesting for Jasmine were interesting. Gunn offers Helen, his grandmother's name, but also possibly a reference to Helen of Troy, a figure who had a great deal of destruction done in her name. Among Wes' suggestions were Iphigenia, another mythic Greek figure, whose father sacrificed her to appease the goddess Artemis so his ships could sail to Troy; and Dianthia, which means divine flower or Zeus' flower, making the eventual choice of Jasmine even more appropriate, and could also be a version of Diana, the Roman name for Artemis. Well, it made me say hmm! or at least think that the Greek tragedies this year aren't going stop with Oedipus.

[> [> Re: Helen, and question for those Xena/Hercules Fans...(spoilers SHP) -- Belladonna, 19:50:10 04/10/03 Thu

I never really watched much of Hercules and Xena, but I seem to remember Gina Torres guest starring on both shows, playing different characters (they did often use the same guest stars in different episodes). I think, and I could be wrong, but I think Gina Torres played Helen of Troy on one of the two shows. Ooh...wait a minute. Maybe that was Cleopatra. Hmmm...well, there goes that thought. :) If she did play Helen of Troy, then that would be a funny reference. If she played Cleopatra, then this whole post is meaningless - please ignore! ;)

[> [> [> Gina Torres (a TV biography) -- cjl, 21:01:46 04/10/03 Thu

Gina Torres has been on SIX television series as a regular, semi-regular or multi-epiosde guest star. Here's the rundown:

XENA - Cleopatra, Queen o' the Nile.

HERCULES - Nebula, pirate queen and Sumerian princess (big Nebula/Iolaus 'shipper here).

CLEOPATRA 2525 - Hel(en), kick-ass 26th century warrior babe. (The series was an unwatchable load of dreck, but we all must make sacrifices for our goddesses.)

FIREFLY - Zoe, Mal's second in command.

ALIAS - In S1, Syd's occasional rival for the components of the Rimbaldi device. (I forget her character's name--Debbie Alvarez? Espinoza? Rodriguez?)

ANGEL - Jasmine.

So yes, she did play a Helen, but nothing related to Troy.

[> [> [> [> One more... -- Darby, 20:01:59 04/11/03 Fri

She was on Any Day Now as the lawyer character's conservative associate in a recurring role.

[> [> [> [> She was "Anna Espinoza" on "Alias." -- Rob, 07:43:53 04/13/03 Sun

[> [> [> [> Cleopatria 2525 was perfectly watchable -- Slayrunt, 20:11:27 04/13/03 Sun

You just had to have the sound turned off.

[> [> [> [> [> LOL! -- Rob, 10:52:34 04/14/03 Mon

I still think that it was a "so-bad-it's-good" kind of show. The concept was so preposterous, so cheesy that you just had to kind of drop your jaw and think, "NO...this can't be." And yet it is. But Gina has this way of making even the craziest stuff sound very important, so she was a very good choice for this show. She spoke with such conviction that every time she opened her mouth, I could almost forget that the show was a complete pile of dreck (or dren, in Farscape- speak).

And if you watch with the sound off, how could you ever hear Voice? ;o)


[> [> [> [> [> [> How to describe "Cleopatra: 2525" to the uninitiated? -- cjl, 11:29:07 04/14/03 Mon

Barbarella: The TV series?

The Sci-Fi equivalent of Pamela Anderson's "VIP"?

A "Xena" story conference gone horribly, horribly wrong?

In a way, Gina Torres may have been the worst possible choice for Helen. She does grant a certain amount of credibility to whatever's going on around her, and maybe the show needed to descend into total kitsch in order to work. Every time Gina was the center of the action, "Cleo" swerved towards legitimate science fiction drama--but almost everything else in the series screamed otherwise. Jarring to the point of near-insensibility.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> That is a good point. Gina's greatness was at odds with EVERYTHING else. -- Rob, 11:55:50 04/14/03 Mon

[> [> [> now my posting name has (slight) Buffyverse relevance -- Helen, 02:12:36 04/11/03 Fri

even though its just my name. Yah me!

[> Anyone else think this could be significant? Spoilers Shiny Happy People -- grifter, 02:39:12 04/11/03 Fri

"Jasmine" asked Fred to give her a name at the bowling hall. Fred never gave her one, so "Jasmine" chose it herself. But, as she says herself, even she has to follow some rules, like no being born to this earth being able to give itself a name.

Names are considered important and powerful tools in many stories and legends. Demons can be banished by knowing their real name. Fred now has power over "Jasmine" through being the one to name her. A really weird ending for "Jasmine" would be if Fred discovered that power and just named her "nothing", for example, therefore turning her into "nothing".

Or not. There was so much going on in this episode that could serve as build-up for coming episodes. And people complain that nothing happened in this episode...

Gina Torres¥ character in Alias was called Anna Espinoza, Sydney Bristow¥s archenemy for a while, btw.

IOHEFY -- different perception -- Sia, 13:44:58 04/10/03 Thu

I'm a newbie [ducks head to avoid *seeing* all the laughing and finger-pointing] so I was looking through some of the info on specific topics or episodes. I went to "I Only Have Eyes for You" (one of my fav epis), but I disagree with some of the information.

I believe Grace *was* present at the school apart from James' manifestations. Manifestions which involve aggressive/violent circumstances (i.e. chalk terets [sp?], Xander's locker, snakes, etc.) are connected with James. Manifestions that *do not* involve aggression/violence (i.e. the yearbook, 2 separate flashbacks) are connected with GRACE. When Angel/Grace saves Buffy/James from suicide A/G confides that A/G never stopped loving B/J. As far as I can see that is the purpose for Buffy seeing the flashbacks of the after-class encounter between Grace and James and well as the dancing. Buffy saw those things to reinforce that Grace really did love James (and also that Angel did/does love her). I believe Grace needed to rectify her actions as well. Of course she wasn't guilty on the same level as James. But she *did* lie. She lied to the person that meant the most to her about the most important reality in her life.

My second difference of opinion deals with Buffy's "over- identification" with the scenario. IIRC the page mentions something about Jenny Calendar and the remorse that Buffy feels for her death. I think the reason she identifies with James is that in a "moment of passion" (sex) *she* murdered the person that she loved (Angel). Her connection to James has nothing to do with Jenny Calendar.


[> Welcome. Good points. -- Sophist, 14:03:32 04/10/03 Thu

[> (Starts to laugh and point, then reconsiders)...welcome, Sia, glad to have you here! -- Random, 14:11:33 04/10/03 Thu

Good points. However, re the overidentification: her moment with Angel was pretty much what I thought she was talking about the first time I saw it. This does not mean she wasn't overidentifying. Morally speaking, the positions are not even close. James pulling a gun on his love and threatening her was an act that makes him culpable for the subsequent death, even if it was accidental. Buffy acted in ignorance, performing an act that was both mutual and, by any reasonable standards, completely understandable. The equation of sex=bad is a cliche, of course...and what Joss does is both pander to the cliche and turn it on it's head. James, on the other hand, fell into the cliche of "pointing a gun at the one you love"=bad...and, somehow, I don't think I'm particularly tempted to disagree.

Anyway (sifling chuckles and resisting the urge to point), welcome to the board. I promise, we won't laugh at you.

~Random, who was once a newbie himself, hard though it may be to believe

The *only* reason I'd say, the *only* proof I'd accept (spoilers for SHP) -- The Second Evil, 13:59:31 04/10/03 Thu

...to believe Jasmine is bad:

1. Joss/ME always follows happiness with angst.
2. The majority of AI (and its neighbors) are completely happy right now.
3. Therefore, they're going to be miserable sometime very soon.

As Jasmine is the source of this happiness, I say: look out!


I just realized no one had commented on the simple fact that "being happy," in the Jossverse, means "soon to be thoroughly miserable and regretting life for at least a season or so." Cause no one, and I mean NO ONE, gets away with being happy in the Jossverse. It's just not done!

[> "Nobody comes back from Paradise, .... well there was a slayer once" -- Dochawk, 14:44:14 04/10/03 Thu

Actually you don't even get to be happy for very long even after your dead. Makes me have shivers for poor Tara and Doyle.

[> [> Heaven and hell (dimensions) BtVS S6 spoilers only -- skyWalker, 15:47:44 04/10/03 Thu

I just wanted to say, "huh?" I'm working according to the "theology" of the Jossverse as we've seen so far. If Buffy went to heaven/a heavenly dimension after her sacrifice in "The Gift," then I can't imagine why Doyle wouldn't end up in the same place after his similar act in "Hero." While Tara's death in "Seeing Red" was senseless, it seems clear that she was on the side of good, and has less on her consicence than practically every major character, so I would assume she'd end up some place like where Buffy did.

Willow does assume in "Bargaining" that good people can be condemned to hell dimensions just because they died mystically or whatever, but Buffy's revelation in "Afterlife" that she was in fact in heaven seems to explode the notion that the Jossverse is that cruel to people after their death. Admittedly, an aetheist such as Joss is unlikely to beleive in heaven or hell (and there are plenty of good reasons not to), so the creation of "heaven" in Season 6 was really more to establish a greater level of pathos and pain for Buffy after her return. Nevertheless, "heavenly dimensions" are now canon and I wouldn't see why, since they don't seem to be haunting Earth anymore, Doyle & Tara wouldn't each be in one.

Maybe when you spoke of shivers, you meant something else, but I just felt confused by your suggestion. Don't take this an attack, I just think that there is some limit to suffering in the Jossverse.

[> [> [> Re: Heaven and hell (dimensions) BtVS S6 spoilers only -- Dochawk, 16:14:13 04/10/03 Thu

Hmmmmmmm, that obviously didn't come across as intended. I don't really think that Doyle and Tara are in someplace other than Paradise (if it exists). Tara certainly deserves it (as does Doyle), I was just joking that they are the other two "good" characters that we know have died and given the above theory they shouldn't have it do good either.

Not Good versus Evil, but -- Tymen, 17:46:20 04/10/03 Thu

Order versus Chaos.

Perhaps Jasmine represents Perfect Order and the First Evil represents Perfect Chaos. Think Michael Moorcock.

[> The First Evil doesn't seem too chaotic (also, Ats and BtVS spoilers here and above) -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:56:49 04/10/03 Thu

Jasmine does seem very ordered, but the First doesn't seem to be too much chaos centered. After all, the First's primary minions are a very ordered priesthood. Maniupulation of people's minds also strikes me as a more ordered sort of evil rather than chaotic. While your theory would be interesting if true, it doesn't seem to hold up.

[> [> Re: The First Evil doesn't seem too chaotic (also, Ats and BtVS spoilers here and above) -- Tymen, 18:48:08 04/10/03 Thu

The First Evil is working to sow dissent among those who oppose it. Chaos is its goal. With the opening of the Hellmouth comes Chaos, Demons roaming the earth. Destroying everything. Killing everyone. I would say that Chaos is coming and the First knows exactly what it's doing.

[> [> [> Re: The First Evil doesn't seem too chaotic (also, Ats and BtVS spoilers here and above) -- Tymen, 19:06:38 04/10/03 Thu

"The First Evil is working to sow dissent among those who oppose it. Chaos is its goal. With the opening of the Hellmouth comes Chaos, Demons roaming the earth. Destroying everything. Killing everyone. I would say that Chaos is coming and the First knows exactly what it's doing."

To add to the above. In Michael Moorcock's works, the Agents of Order and Chaos were not that different from one another. Chaos' agents weren't always madly capering about in a chaotic fashion and causing mayhem. Order's agents weren't always perfectly harmonious. Both sides often used similar methods to obtain their goals.

In Moorcock's most famous work, The Elric Chronicles, Elric is a Melnibonean, a member of a cruel race that once ruled the world upon which he lives. He is used by as both an agent of Order and Chaos, but is truly an agent of balance and change, destined to bring about the new age as the previous agents did before.

(Actually I find Angel to be a close parallel to Elric which is intriguing, but I'll get into that another time.)

[> Re: Not Good versus Evil, ........reference to the totems needed for the Rain of Fire -- Rufus, 20:43:04 04/10/03 Thu

Remember the little girl in the White Room? She was one of five....some good some evil all there for balance. Killed to blot out the sun forever. For a complete list of the Ra Tet Masq put the list together in her episode section. She said something to Angel that you should remember.....

From season 3 Forgiving.....

Girl: "They were all about torture and death. You can relate. Well, they caused a lot of trouble. Don't get me wrong. I like trouble. But I hate chaos. So we changed 'em."

Angel: "You made them immaterial."

Girl: "Smart boy."

We see Sahjhan attack another warrior, but their weapons go right through the other without causing any kind of damamge.

Girl: "Now they watch, and they can no longer touch."

Now to Long Day's Journey (transcript from Buffyworld)...

MAN:I am Manjet, sacred guardian of the Shen, keeper of the Orb of Ma'at, and devotee of light. Off hours, I like Manny.

ANGEL: You're Manjet?


ANGEL: The last totem of the Ra-tet?

MANNY: Right.

GWEN: I thought you were in Belize.

MANNY: Was 'til I heard Mesektet got whacked. Never liked that chickóevil, right down to her Mary Janes. But family, what're you gonna do?

So we have god killers out there and the main one is the beast master who used The Beast and Angel, Cordy, and Connor to be born. Jasmine is the "beastmaster" in the flesh. So, whatever she says about "the truth" is suspect. Does Jasmine want balance? All you have to do is look at what has happened so far and consider what Wes said...

Wes: All the events we've witnessed these past months...all the madness...it was birth pains

The totems of the Ra Tet are gone and they were the ones that dealt with balance.....and it's the beast master that had them killed.

You're saying that once the totems are dead, the sun disappears.

Uh, not disappears, exactly. And it's not just killing us, either. Uh, there's props and a ritual and a chant and a thing and aósuffice it to say, it ain't east. And folks in the Ra-tet, they got some serious juice which is why I never felt worried before.

ANGEL: But you're worried now.

MANNY: Well, there's four out of five down. Let's just say, I'm not looking forward to my retirement in Boca.

GWEN: So, the lights go out. Then what?

MANNY: The city sinks into never-ending darkness, that's what. Vamps, creepies, crawlies, things that go bump in the night are suddenly bumping 24/7. The whole of Los Angeles turns into a, uhó

ANGEL: A demon playground.

MANNY: Bingo. And that's before it starts to spread. California, North America...eventually, hello, global blackout. The world is the Devil's oyster.

How do you get people to do what you want....for Jasmine it is the use of bewitchment that clouds thinking and judgement...then telling them what they want to hear....then twisting it all into a directive to prepare the way for paradise....by killing.....demons now..but does it stop with demons?

[> [> In actuality, both are a mix -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:54:50 04/10/03 Thu

The Beast, a chaotic being, made more organized attacks under Jasmine's control. However, these attacks led to greater chaos (demons rule the city). However, Jasmine herself is making everyone follow her, very ordered.

Likewise, the First Evil released chaos with the Seal of Danthalzar, and is trying to wipe out the Slayer line (which might have effects akin to blotted out sun). However, it's manipulations and priesthood of Harbingers are all very structured and ordered.

Given that we still don't know the final plans of either entity, it's wise not to label one as chaotic and one as ordered until the end.

[> [> Certainly not balance... -- Masq, 22:03:44 04/10/03 Thu

This is not a woman that wants balance. Every word out her mouth is about the eradication of all evil, whether it is demons, unhappiness, Angelus, sadness, or even having a bad day. She wants it all to go away.

So no, she's not about balance. Unless she wants the Earth to be all good so the she and her buddies can be all bad.

Hey, that'd be balance.

[> [> [> Re: Certainly not balance... (Spoilers and Speculation for Buffy and Angel) -- Tymen, 20:43:24 04/11/03 Fri

What if Jasmine's actions are in direct opposition of the Firsts? Hence the wish to cleanse evil from the Earth. To remove all the possible tools of the First. Which brings me to think that the manipulations were started in a counter to The Firsts going after Angel in Amends. Which causes me to think that it really was Buffy's being brought back to life by Xander which started this whole confluence of events. It's like one big cosmic chess game that's been going since Buffy first became a Free Agent in the Universe.
With her first Death and rebirth, she moved beyond prophecy. Buffy is the embodiment of Free Will. Her every action from that moment forward was her own. Which is why I think there is no mention of the Powers on Buffy, they no longer have any hold on her. She is longer Chosen, she is the Chooser.

[> [> [> [> Whoops.. correction. That should be She is no longer Chosen -- Tymen, 20:49:40 04/11/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> I have some thoughts on that... -- Masq, 08:01:06 04/12/03 Sat

About whether Jasmine could be attempting to RESTORE balance by bringing all-Good to the world as the First Evil attempts to bring all-Bad, or whether she is trying to fight the First Evil and eradicate Its attempts to tip the balance in the favor of Evil.

But the way she is operating, she clearly doesn't want there to be anything left that can be construed as "evil", at least not in the perception of her followers.

I'm working up my thoughts in an essay I'm adding to my episode analysis entitled "The necessity of evil".

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I have some thoughts on that... -- Tymen, 09:29:58 04/12/03 Sat

Sounds intriguing. I have two theories, either these are the final moves in the game of Chess (or Go) which the First and Jasmine are playing or one of them decided to flip over the game board and play by their own rules.

Dissapointed with "Shiny Happy People" (Spoilers for that ep and personal opinions abound) -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:52:19 04/10/03 Thu

Overall, I was dissapointed with the most recent Angel episode, "Shiny Happy People". In my opinion, it is the worst episode of the season on either show (I guess it's possible I might revise this sentiment after seeing "Slouching Towards Bethleham" or "Showtime", but it seems unlikely).

Upon thinking about "Shiny Happy People", it reminded me of "Superstar". Both episodes have a very interesting concept (unpopular kid remakes reality, the Big Bad hypnotizes everyone into following it), but the gimmick grows stale very early in the episode*.

I admit, the big evil actually being a beautiful woman spouting peace and love and enchancting everyone into following her, while she might secretly be evil, is a good concept. But, even when you suspect they're up to no good, characters who are constantly moralizing and preaching their philosophy just are not fun to watch. Jasmine is the epitomy of this. Plus, there's also what she did to the other characters. On a show with such deep, rich characters, it is very difficult to pull off making them act out of character. Yes, who they are informed their worship of Jasmine, but, if you're going to twist a character's behaviour around, you should at least make them funny or menacing. The Jasmine-entranced people were neither; they were just grating.

There are exceptions to this, though. Even in below average episodes, ME fits in some good points. Lorne and Fred (even while enchanted), managed to have the most personality, as well as injecting a little humor to the obsessed devotee role. Also, there were a couple of good scenes (Fred walking silently away from the cafe as people slowly gravitate towards Jasmine on the TV, and the vamp bowling alley scene (funny in a campy sort of way)). I also liked the scene with Fred at the hospital, though I expect that's because it was a relief from the Jasmine worship (though the parallels to Buffy Season 5 were interesting).

OK, my only complaints were geared towards Jasmine and her effect on people. But, considering that almost all of the episode focused on this, it's a reasonable complaint. While the episode did raise some issues (as evidenced by discussion on this board), I personally find that, if issues raised are about the only interesting things in a show or episode, than it isn't a success. As Joss once said "If I made ëBuffy the Lesbian Separatist,í a series of lectures on PBS on why there should be feminism, no one would be coming to the party, and it would be boring."


As you can imagine, I'm not too thrilled about Jasmine's thrall being a multi-episode plot. However, at least it looks like Angel will see the light/maggot-covered corpse. That should expand the story and make it a little more interesting (especially as I've always liked Angel more than Fred).

If I've seemed too harsh on the episode, I'm sorry. But, as I said in the subject line, this was all meant to be just my personal opinion. If others managed to enjoy this episode, well, I envy them.

*Of course, my judgement of "Superstar" might be unfair since I saw it before I knew who Jonathan was. At first, I thought he was supposed to be one of the writers, either Joss or one of the other big shots. :)

[> Not an episode I want to watch again (spoilers SHP) -- lunasea, 18:19:49 04/10/03 Thu

But it did serve a purpose. Not only did it give the necessary plot points and explain what is going on, but it put me in Fred's shoes (which will become Angel's soon), much like "Habeas Corpses" put me into Angel's with Cordy/Connor. Talk about disgust. I wanted to smash things. I NEVER want to see that again.

I fell in love with Angel and Oz right along side of Buffy and Willow. When Angel was sent to hell, I was as devistated as Buffy was. I cry with Buffy and I rejoice with her. I felt Buffy's disgust everytime she slept with Spike. This season, AtS has been very good at not only getting me to understand what the characters are feeling, but to feel it along with them. I think that is what Shiney Happy People did.

[> I completely agree... -- Belladonna, 19:38:16 04/10/03 Thu

I too was quite disappointed in SHP.
"But, even when you suspect they're up to no good, characters who are constantly moralizing and preaching their philosophy just are not fun to watch."
Wow...you really hit the nail on the head there. Though the discussions on the board have been interesting, I found the episode nearly painful to watch. I wished I had recorded it, so that I could have fast forwarded through the endlessly repetitive, "I bring you peace" scenes. Plus, I watched it with a friend who already thinks my obsession with Buffy and Angel is misplaced, so now she even more firmly believes they're dumb shows. *sigh* I just feel like after all the buildup this season, and so many good episodes, this is incredibly anti-climactic. I just hope the next episodes are more exciting. Or at least watchable. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but it's just my lowly opinion! :)

[> [> Same here -- Gyrus, 20:13:47 04/10/03 Thu

This episode was definitely on the dull side. Jasmine's smarmy benevolence got old very fast, as did that of the other characters. However, this was really a setup episode for the start of the finale sequence, and such eps are often below par. Therefore, I have hope that the last few episodes will be much more engaging.

The one thing I DID like about this ep was the focus on Fred. The other characters have had plenty of opportunities to shine this season; I'm glad it's finally Fred's turn.

[> [> Oops...spoilers for SHP in above post! -- Belladonna, 20:14:15 04/10/03 Thu

[> I disagree. Honestly, this and "Inside Out" have been my favorites of the year. -- Rob, 20:13:40 04/10/03 Thu

I adore the Jasmine plotline. It has me completely enthralled, captivated, fascinated, etc. Sure, it helps that I'm a huge Gina Torres fan, but other than that, I loved the writing of the episode and the direction, as well. And I was also a huge "Superstar" fan, too, so there ya go. ;o)


[> [> What he said, except I'm a recent convert to the worshipping G.T. part. -- Solitude1056, 20:26:51 04/10/03 Thu

[> [> [> Me, too, but would rather worship her as Zoe -- luna, 11:44:52 04/11/03 Fri

[> [> I was gonna say I can't understand being a fan of an actor . . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 20:36:42 04/10/03 Thu

. . . as they're largely determined by the roles they play. But, then I remembered Anthony Hopkins (the best movie actor alive), and decided against it.

As far as the plotline goes, I think it is a very inventive plot line, and it certainly has potential. But, IMHO, the execution was off. I think that if they took the servitude thing a bit farther in either direction (making them a bit more independent (thus allowing for more "secret desires/dark parts of the characters"), or made them more servile to the degree that they're like Glory's minions (though Fred mentioning "your bodiness" was a start)). Of course, the plotline is a very difficult one to potray, so I'm not trying to fault the writers. The likes of Joss or Minear could have pulled it off (well, I'm not sure about Joss, he doesn't write quite as well for Angel as he does for Buffy), but very few others on ME's writing staff could.

Oh well, I don't take disagreement over episode quality too seriously, especially when someone likes an episode I disliked (if someone disliked an episode I liked, I'm more likely to get ornery). Also, if someone rates an episode badly, and you say you love it, Rob, well, I doubt anyone will be upset. You're just doing your cheerleader duty; it comes with the pom-poms.

Oh, and just wanna say:



[> [> While I'm not enthralled nor a GT worshipper, I'm good with it -- Masq, 21:55:03 04/10/03 Thu

You gotta give credi--and some lee way--to a story line that generates as much philosophical debate as this one has.

Plus maybe getting some answers about those pesky PTB's?

I'll play!

Yes, I'll also cringe next week when A&C give their extra- corny-sappy-lame rendition of "Mandy"


I absolutely hate over the top lameness in my Buffyverse shows.

But BtVS and AtS always seem to recover from those afterwards, so...

Plus, that's why they invented "mute" buttons.

[> [> [> Well, that makes me wonder... -- Solitude1056, 22:02:19 04/10/03 Thu

Didn't Angel have Lorne read Darla? And didn't we see that Darla could sing decently? So... did Conor inherit his mother's vocal cords, or his father's?

Inquiring evils want to know.

[> [> [> [> Fine, you listen for me, Sol -- Masq, 22:08:18 04/10/03 Thu

I was having convulsions during the previews for next week, so I couldn't tell then, either.

Father-son bonding... Angel/Connor 'shippers wish for father-son bonding. Couldn't they have arranged a nice apocalyptic beast-whuppin'? Singing a lame song together to an evil goddess while under a spell. Ack! Grumble grumble grumble...

[> [> [> [> [> Pay attention to Connor...... -- Rufus, 22:10:19 04/10/03 Thu

There is a surprise ahead.....;) And it isn't his ability to sing.

[> [> [> [> [> [> I always pay attention to Connor... -- Masq, 05:23:45 04/11/03 Fri

Even when he's doing nothing but striking an angelic pose, sitting in a chair, hands clasped under his chin like a child saint.

Even when he's dragging a virgin to her death in slo-mo.

Even when he's fighting vampires with his long gangly legs and his genetic sneer.

My new favorite character, usurping the place of his broody dad.

Can't wait!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hot Lips's rabbit test -- skeeve, 08:23:09 04/11/03 Fri

I note that Conner didn't ask how much blood was needed.
Given the amount actually used, killing the virgin seemed unnecessary even by Cordy's definition of necessary.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yeah, I noticed that, too -- Masq, 09:24:50 04/11/03 Fri

Which is why I assume that the virgin's death was as necessary to the mojo as her blood was. Perhaps a life for a life kind of thing. Willow would explain it as:

"Power cannot come from nowhere, it must be borrowed. Nothing can be created ex nihilo or completely destroyed, merely transformed. Transformation depends on finding catalysts to initiate the change."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Yeah, I noticed that, too -- yabyumpan, 09:55:42 04/11/03 Fri

Which is why I assume that the virgin's death was as necessary to the mojo as her blood was.

I think it was probably more to do with continuing the manipulation. If you can get someone to kill for you or help you to kill, I would guess that it binds them closer to you. If that person is essentially 'good' then to question you they would also have to question what they have done for you. I think it's quite a well known cult/brain washing technique. Also, now Connor has helped to commit murder to produce 'Jasmine' I would think that he's more likely to help protect her what ever his conscience says about her.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Absolutely agree, yab. Good points. -- Masq, 10:00:17 04/11/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Yeah, I noticed that, too (spoilers Inside Out) -- lunasea, 13:44:16 04/11/03 Fri

I don't think it was the Virgin, but Connor losing all hope so he is willing to take such drastic action. Same thing with Angel.

"I'm sorry" brought Jasmine into the world. Connor started it with his loss of hope and Angel completed it with his. Jasmine had to come to save them.

The virgin was great. Connor lost his innocence then, too. Before the good guys were good and didn't do bad things. He was having a lot of problems with what the AI team were doing because he still saw them as good and incapable of what Jasmine was saying about them. Now he became more like his father, Holtz. He was willing to do evil in the name of good.

Angel went through that phase, too. Holtz never got over it. Even his death was an evil act in the name of what he considered good.

[> [> [> [> [> [> To all spoiler trollops: could you please NOT? ;-) -- Solitude1056, 08:56:15 04/11/03 Fri

As far as I'm concerned, even minor hints like this constitute a spoiler. I didn't want to have my attention directed to Conor over anyone else, so is there a way, in the future, that any/all spoiler trollops could perhaps just use a topic of, say, contains hints or hint enclosed. Or even just "(AtS hints)" ...

I know "look at Conor" doesn't count as a spoiler per se, but it's pretty much a given that we're dealing with a comment with some basis in spoilage when the person making the statement is a known spoiler trollop of the first degree. So leaving the hint out of the subject line, at the very least, would be greatly appreciated. That way, I can avoid the hinting posts as studiously as I avoid spoilers, while not missing any otherwise non-spoilery or non-hintery posts.

(I know in the past I've not even been nearly as AR about spoilers, but this year I've realized it's just way more fun not knowing anything.)


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Fully agreed. Plus, Sol, you weren't around right after "Seeing Red," were you? -- d'Herblay, 12:32:51 04/11/03 Fri

'Cause at that point, "AR" stopped standing for "anal retentive" and started signifying "attempted rape," which puts a whole new gloss on your last sentence!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh, right. Forgot about that. -- Solitude1056, 12:40:23 04/11/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: To all spoiler trollops: could you please NOT? ;- ) -- Rufus, 22:06:08 04/11/03 Fri

I fail to see where there was anything of a spoilery nature at all in my post. The part about singing is from the promo for this coming week's show. The surprise could mean anything from him getting a pedicure to reading a book...if the hint were more specific I could see why you'd complain, but it isn't.

[> [> [> I just came up with a new word for you! -- Rob, 08:18:13 04/11/03 Fri

"I absolutely hate over the top lameness in my Buffyverse shows."

You can call that flameness...for flaming lameness!


[> [> [> [> I was actually pleasantly surprised by "Shiny Happy People" -- Masq, 09:20:59 04/11/03 Fri

From the promos for SHP, I expected the lamest lameness in lame-town. I actually planned to let the vcr tape the ep and watch it at some later point when I had more intenstinal fortitude. Instead, I watched the first five minutes on mute, just to see how bad bad could get. I watched the rest of the episode normally.

They actually managed to show one of the biggest sci-fi cliches (the baddie comes to town and turns everyone into annoying zombies) with a certain controlled style and plausability (like the scary fact that just about everyone seems to retain their normal personalities while still having their higher reasoning faculties sucked out of their skulls).

So I had the opposite reaction to the folks who started this thread.

Still dreading the father-son duo.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: I was actually pleasantly surprised by "Shiny Happy People" -- Rob, 10:21:15 04/11/03 Fri

Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I have to admit that I myself was even a little worried about how they were going to pull off the "everybody-becoming-worshipping-zombies" plotline. But they actually did it with a great deal of restraint. The fact that the characters, for the most part, were themselves, besides the Jas-love, added a lot of plausibility to the story.

"Still dreading the father-son duo."

Now, this is where our tastes in humor differ. I'm already preparing to make an .mp3! ;o)


[> [> [> [> [> [> Back! Back! Take your .mp3 out of my hearing range, spawn of hell! -- Masq, 10:46:13 04/11/03 Fri

And now, for a confession. I got a bit worried about where AtS was going after "Orpheus" and let myself get spoiled for that moment in next week's "Magic Bullet" several weeks ago. I didn't believe the spoilers I saw. So many of them are just made-up speculation and rumors. I thought ME wouldn't do it. I ran screaming from the spoiler page, swearing to my spoiler-free purity once more.

And then came next week's promos.

The agonized scream shook all of San Francisco. Of course, no one really noticed. This town shakes from time to time.

If ME can pull this off without it being the lamest lameness in lame-town, I will forever be their humble servant. Not that I'm not already, but, you know what I'm saying.

I live in fear and hope.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Now I know what to put in my boombox, as I chase you around Vancouver! mwahahahahahaha!!! -- RobAndMurder, 11:07:38 04/11/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh, good, someone to sight-see with! -- The First Evil, 11:28:07 04/11/03 Fri

We could develop a demonic/higher being specialized tour of the city to add to my travel brochure, which already includes the patented "Highlander fan's tour of Vancouver" and the "This town looks like every city Mulder and Scully ever visited in the first four years of the X-Files" tour.

[> [> [> Never have I been so grateful that my station cuts out the promos -- Shiraz, 08:38:51 04/11/03 Fri

[> [> [> Yes, sorry, next week's AtS promo spoiler in my post way above -- Masq, closing the barn door after the horse escapes, 09:27:54 04/11/03 Fri

[> [> [> Mandy (spoiler for trailer) -- lunasea, 13:35:55 04/11/03 Fri

I think it makes sense to bring up the song again. It appears first in "Judgement" after Angel has lost his hope that he is going to get his reward. He screwed up big time by killing the Prio Motus and now he isn't so sure he is on the right path. Then we see it in "Orpheus" when Angel is about to completely give up on himself. He had to be pretty low already in order to feed again. The song set that up.

I bet the name isn't the only lyric changed. Mandy is about lost love. It is about being the cause of that lost love. By bringing the song back and changing the lyrics, Angel will have recaptured that love, that hope. Angel will move beyond blame.

Besides a corny bonding moment and seeing what our heroes are reduced to, that song has been significant to Angel. I don't think it is lame at all. It is lame when you see it as a bad Barry Manilow song. Why that particular song actually makes it fairly interesting and appropriate.

[> [> [> [> I actually used to like that song -- Masq, 15:30:26 04/11/03 Fri

before ME turned it into a torture device. Well, I've had trouble sleeping lately, especially on Wednesday nights, and what song gets stuck in my head at 3 am? You guessed it!

Just wanted to point out that one reason Angel makes that fatal mistake in Judgement and goes to get help from Lorne is that the Powers that Be send Cordelia a really VAGUE vision about the Prio Motu that makes Angel kill the Prio that's protecting the pregnant woman. So Angel turns to someone who he at least believes has good intentions and who is made of flesh and blood. And Lorne isn't quite so vague.

Just thinking about the PTBs right now and Angel's relationship with them as I work on my Shiny, Happy episode analysis.

[> [> [> [> [> Judgement -- lunasea, 16:42:55 04/11/03 Fri

I spent last night with "Judgement" and that is why I even had anything to say about Mandy. The vision was VAGUE. Why? What do you think the PTB actually wanted? Was Angel supposed to help Kamal or did the PTB set Angel up for a fall to get him back on the path? I think the latter. That vision is one of the most important to Angel's growth (up there with Buffy in "Batchelor Party")

One thing about Lorne is that he refused to tell Angel anything the PTB's don't want him to know. Lorne isn't on his own. He does defer to the PTBs.

If you want help with the PTBs relationship with Angel, let me know. I have been working on it since last week. Actually, it is divine intervention on either show. I have done the Spirit Guides, Oracles, Messengers (Whistler, Doyle, Cordelia) and the visions up to Dear Boy. I hope to finish them for S2 tonight.

[> [> [> [> [> Speaking of Mandy as torture device... -- Rob, 10:59:55 04/12/03 Sat

...my mom regales me often with the story of how it used to be her favorite song until she heard a girl sing it so completely and horrifically off-key at the high school talent show that to this day, she still can't listen to the song without cringing at the memory of that girl's nails-on- a-chalkboard rendition!


[> Re: Dissapointed with "Shiny Happy People" (Spoilers for that ep and personal opinions abound) -- maddog, 11:30:41 04/11/03 Fri

Think about this for a second. She's not spouting anything. These people are falling at her feet at first glance. It's some sort of spell that has them wrapped up in all of this. Wes said it himself. Which leads me to your next point...these people aren't having her change their minds on their lives...she's literally controlling them. Good character or not, if you've got an all powerful being controlling you then you really don't have much of a choice. As for the way they're acting, it's all in the power. She has something to make what seems to be a cult like atmostpher. Jasmine's been sitting in Cordelia running the show from "underneath" if you will for months now. THis is the payoff. I expect it to last until the next to last show if not the last.

[> [> Just because it makes sense they'd be acting like they were. . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:48:08 04/11/03 Fri

. . . doesn't mean it had to be done or is enjoyable to watch.

Also, Jasmine is spouting stuff. She's constantly talking about bringing peace and how much good they're going to do (whether because it helps her mind control or because she actually believes it). Her words and actions just really get on my nerves.

Virgins, pigeons, and other incidental explanations (no spoilers) -- Solitude1056, 20:21:49 04/10/03 Thu

(Actually, if there are any spoilers in here, it's all due to you, gentle reader, and your willingness to extrapolate based on why it might be that these topics would be up for discussion. Caveat reader, etc.)

To begin with:

We place no reliance
on virgin or pigeon,
our method is science,
our aim is religion.

One of my favorite ditties, by The Most Evil Man In The World. Well, Aleister Crowley was considered evil during the first half of the last century, until his death as a penniless old man living on the kindnesses of friends and followers. He embraced the Most Evil moniker, even if he was (in my opinion) easily surpassed by truly evil men, like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and Nixon.

The reason for mentioning Crowley is that he was the worst kind of evil, in British terms: he was raised to be aristocracy, on a petty level, and one of the Plymouth Brethren, at that. The Brethren were a fire-breathing classic hollywood fundamentalist group, a-frothin' at the mouth, blah blah blah. The reason for mentioning this is because it means that Crowley, as he came of age and began his lifelong interest in the occult, had an immense knowledge of Judeo-christian beliefs and values at his fingertips. Those against who he railed couldn't protect themselves by out-quoting him in biblical verse. No one could out-quote Crowley, and they hated him for it. He was a walking embodiment of the idea that the devil can quote scripture better than angels.

Note: CROWLEY rhymes with HOLEY. You mispronounce it, I won't be held responsible if you get smacked.

The poem is Crowley's amusing jibe at his society's predominant belief system, and also an explanation of his alternate belief system. His argument was that religion (and belief) should be subjected to the same rigor we apply to sciences like botany or physics. A method of science would require that belief be logical, reasonable, and questioned throughout, and changed where it didn't work. Constant questioning is a hallmark of Thelema (Crowley's magick/science religion); but then, I suspect Crowley and Clarke would've gotten along well. Crowley's definition of magick, by the by, was "magick is the art and science of causing change in conformity with will." If you will (read: decide) to open the door, and you turn the doorknob, and the door opens, you have just performed magick.

Peter Carroll took this a step further - I think in Liber Null and Psychonaut - saying that science uses the door knob to open the door. This is proven action/reaction: turning doorknobs will open doors. Magick, however, is less reliable: if you clap your hands three times and shout "Edmund!" and the door opens, this is magick. If the door only opens one time out of ten, this is still magick - it's only when the door opens every time you clap your hands and shout "Edmund!" that you're practicing science, and not just magick. In other words, science is just a more reliable form of magick. (Carroll also gets kudos for the notion of 'enchant long and divine short,' which is really commonsense when you think about it, but I'll let you get into that all on your own, or read more quotes and interesting bits by Carroll. Clarke, of course, stated the better known version in Clarke's Third Law, which states that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Throughout these three, we're seeing the elements of scientific analysis on belief, but we can go back farther than just this century to find these kinds of pesky questions. For instance, there's a classic proof of why a Divine can't be all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful. The logical contradiction of all three at once is the sort of thing that Crowley would have wanted to be studied and resolved by dropping one of the three rather than retain the belief that an illogical argument is somehow rendered logical purely by intrusion of a divine force. From Mark Plain's pages:

How is it possible that God could be all good, all powerful, all knowing and still allow evil to exist in the world?

Religion's main false premise is that God is omniscience, omnipotent and omnipresent. For God to claim omniscience, he must know that there is nothing new for him to learn. Therefore facts, would have to have a finite number. Only a finite universe can have a finite number of facts. He cannot know nor prove, that there is nothing beyond the limits of any finite universe. Therefore omniscience and hence, omnipotence and omnipresence are indeterminable.

This brings us to the incidental explanations part of this weekly broadcast.

[> Wow. Amazing post, Sol! preserving it so others can also be amazed -- Scroll, in awe, 02:47:05 04/11/03 Fri

[> Great! Defluffed my many woolly thoughts! -- MsGiles, 05:57:55 04/11/03 Fri

[> And yet another wow! -- dream, 08:56:09 04/11/03 Fri

[> Really brilliant--and erudite! A few tiny questions/points -- luna, 11:39:01 04/11/03 Fri

I'm really, really glad you got into the Gnostic background. I've seen hints of that in Buffy, and some in Angel, for quite sometime, esp. this season. The FE has seemed demi- urge like for quite a while, as has the whole picture of a world (universe?) where there is powerful, supernatural evil, but no corresponding supernatural good. The other aspect was the anti-sexuality that some have noted--how both Buffy and Angel seem to get into trouble whenever they have sex with anyone (not just each other!)--(or is that just a universally acknowledged fact of existence) which fits with the concept that the material world is evil.

A totally different question is a little quibble over Tolkien: I'm sure he wasn't a deist, and there's not much sign of one all powerful deity in LotR, but at the beginning of the Silmarillion (forgive me for the vagueness here, I'm at work relying on memory) isn't there an account of how Gandalf is one of a group of some kind of being that sounds very angel-like, which were created by and involved with some god-like creator? That doesn't change your point about LotR, but still, it's there.

Thanks, though--this is really great thinking!

[> [> Thanks, & re Tolkein -- Solitude1056, 16:22:35 04/11/03 Fri

A totally different question is a little quibble over Tolkien: I'm sure he wasn't a deist, and there's not much sign of one all powerful deity in LotR, but at the beginning of the Silmarillion (forgive me for the vagueness here, I'm at work relying on memory) isn't there an account of how Gandalf is one of a group of some kind of being that sounds very angel-like, which were created by and involved with some god-like creator? That doesn't change your point about LotR, but still, it's there.

Could be. I didn't say the Middle Earth world is devoid of deities; as far as I knew, Gandalf is damn near angelic/divine himself. He's certainly more than an old guy in a funny hat, at the very least. However, what I actually said was:

As a matter of fact, there's only one remotely religious possibly deity-focused act in all of Tolkein's Middle Earth series.

Notice the emphasis - what I meant was, there's only one event where it could be interpreted as a religious act. By that I mean a routine, ritualized, process of worship: going to church, and the act of worship in temple, are religious acts. In that single act, Elves turn and face the west for a moment of silence. Even with one or more god-like beings mentioned in the Sil, there's still no reference in the series (that I know of) to anyone actually worshipping them.

For that matter, I never even mentioned the next step after you get past the all-knowing/all-seeing/all-powerful logical proofs, or the all-knowing/all-powerful/all-good proofs, to my favorite kicker... one that applies to Jasmine, IMO: just because it's a god, and more powerful than us, is it automatically a given that we should worship it?

[> [> [> Uh, Sol? -- Vickie, 19:12:54 04/11/03 Fri

I think you mean the Numenoreans--or their descendants in Gondor. They faced west, to the Numenor from which they came to Middle Earth.

Not really deity focused. Unless I'm forgetting an Elven action somewhere?

Loved the gnostic exposition. Thank you for sharing your scholarship.

[> [> Clarification, please? -- d'Herblay, 16:24:19 04/11/03 Fri

In what way was C.S. Lewis a deist? I'm no theologian, and my reading of Lewis has been limited to the Narnia series and The Screwtape Letters, but I was under the impression that he was a devout, practicing (and, yes, questioning) Christian, just as was J.R.R. Tolkien(who has been credited with bringing Lewis back to Christianity, though not to the Catholicism Tolkien staunchly adhered to). Neither was someone who I'd expect would believe that God was responsible for the creation of the world, but took no further part in it, and that God could only be known not through revelation, but through the examination of the physical world with skeptical rationality.

Or are you guys (or perhaps only Sol) using deist where you mean theist? (Interestingly, my dictionary gives atheist as its lone synonym for deist. In the 18th Century, however, deville-worshipper and Mahometan were considered practical synonyms as well!)

Or is the distinction here merely between the ease with which one can decipher Lewis's allegories and the difficulty one has trying this on Tolkien?

[> [> [> I think that's a case of ... -- Sol says, "editing is HARD.", 16:42:09 04/11/03 Fri

... editing the sentence one way, and then changing half of it and forgetting to change the rest to reflect the newly negated or non-negated elements.


So, yeah, Tolkein was not a deist but an extremely private Catholic, where CS Lewis was a theologian who therefore felt strongly about his religion pervading every element of everything he wrote. The ease with which we can distill Lewis' fables is something Lewis was aiming for, specifically; Tolkein is harder to distill because he was aiming for not making the work clearly line up along Xtian lines. In a nutshell, the good friendship between the two men does not automatically mean that both used their writings to proselytize. CS Lewis did, where Tolkein didn't. They remained friends but according to several biographers and their own letters never saw eye-to-eye on whether proselytizing is proper behavior for a good Christian who is also a well-known public figure.

But either way, I don't think it changes the validity of my conclusion for that section - it's possible to write a powerful myth that doesn't have religion in the mix.

[> [> [> [> Ok, that makes sense -- d'Herblay, 16:45:20 04/11/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> Re: I think that's a case of ... -- aliera, 06:18:27 04/12/03 Sat

I don't think that will actually be an easier point to defend (but we've been distracted into a nitpick?) Where there's room for a really good comparison/discuss someday may be more in the area of deific (or better the Powers) intervention/fate/and free will in the two mythologies. I say someday since it would be better once the current arcs have played out. But Tolkien's middle earth did have a possibly omniscient creator god/power and a whole series of other forces that underlie the mythology so I'm not really seeing the other point, except in the sense that he doesn't have churches in the story of the LotR... is that what you meant? They were involved in the history of men and other races but not in that way, at least as far as I remember.

Tolkien did reference this in some of his letters, for example:

"There are no temples or 'churches' or fanes in this 'world' amoungst 'good' peoples. They had little or no 'religion' in the sense of worship. For help they may call on Vala (as Elbereth), as a catholic might call on a Saint, although no doubt knowing in theory as well as he that the power of the Vala was limited and derivative. But this was a 'primitive age' and these folk may be said to view the Valar as children view their parents or immediate adult superiors... I do not think the Hobbits practiced any form of worship or prayer(unless through exceptional contact with elves). The Numenoreans (and others of that branch of humanity, that fought against Morgoth, even if they elected to remain in Middle-earth and did not go to Numenor: such as the Rohirrim) were pure monotheists. But there was no temple in Numenor (until Suaron introduced the cult of Morgoth). The top of the Mountain, the Menatarma or Pillar of Heaven, was dedicated to Eru, the One, and there at any time privately, and at certain times publically, God was invoked, praised, and adored: an imitation of the Valar and the Mountain of Aman. But Numenor fell and was destroyed and the Mountain engulfed, and there was no substitute. Among the exiles, remnants of the Faithful who had not adopted the false religion nor taken part in the rebellion, religion as divine worship (though perhaps not as philosophy or metaphysics) seems to have played a small part; though a glimpse of it is caught in Faramir's remark on 'grace at meat', Vol.II p.285." (Letters, p 193-194)

Thanks for the essay, Sol. I've been intrigued by the gnostic ever since Rufus brought it up earlier in the year; I was trying to read a book on the history of the church and Mary Magdalene at the time... all very intriguing and it reminds me how much I wish I knew where Joss was pulling some of his references from. I've seen people mention many different theories but I hope someday he'll speak on this; he's been very elusive to date. ;-)

[> [> [> Whatever -- luna, 17:19:04 04/11/03 Fri

Actually your point on Tolkien's religious views is right. Tolkien, Lewis, and Charles Williams were all part of the Inklings, which was founded to read Icelandic sagas but all members were Christian, and it became the writing/reading group for the gang. See http://www.jrrtolkien.org.uk/inklings.htm

I agree too with the deist/theist point--but the ideas in Sol's post were so great I didn't feel like getting off into quibbles. But you're right--the details matter. We remember who is in them.

[> [> [> [> Yeah, The First Evil. -- The Second Evil, 07:52:02 04/12/03 Sat

[> [> Re: gandalf -- aliera, 16:57:42 04/11/03 Fri

Yes, Gandalf is a Maia and many equate that with an angel.

The myth history of middle earth:
http://home.wolfstar.com/~gothmog/Archive/Tolkien/tolkmythos .html
http://medlem.spray.se/imladris/gllayout/larsterjesarkiv/sid er/eng.creation.html


[> [> [> Is anyone actually going to reply to more than just that one paragraph? ;-) -- Solitude1056, 07:55:00 04/12/03 Sat

[> [> [> [> Do you mean... -- aliera, 11:37:33 04/12/03 Sat

actually read an essay instead of fixating on a subthread like I usually do? nah. Just kidding, Sol and I do apologize. The thing is when something strikes me oddly it just niggles until I track down the reference...posting impulsively which I really shouldn't have. In terms of Joss, it's still what I said above, I'm not sure what to think yet. I printed your essay off last night and then ended up with a junkfood evening--reading a little more than half of Cerulean Sins. I've read V,P&oIE twice today, I keep coming back to it and will no doubt be reading it more than once more. It's good. But I've gotten to the point recently of feeling that my perspective is so far off the beaten path (and wondering if Joss isn't searching himself...wondering if it's a reflection not a Grand Plan and just wondering) that I've simply tried to let go and watch naively again. A personal gyre. Hopefully, one of the more insightful posters will check in and respond more appropriately and sorry again about the extended digressions. :-)

[> Re: Virgins, pigeons, and other incidental explanations (no spoilers) -- Caroline, 12:56:28 04/11/03 Fri

There's some very powerful stuff in here Sol - thanks for posting this. I'm glad that the Lucifer/Satan thing has been cleared up - it was one of the bones of contention with several high school religion teachers who could never explain to me how 'hell could be where god isn't' and at the same time that Satan would actually punish me.

I'd like to make a few comments and extensions on some of the points you made about Venus/Morning Star/the Virgin.

The planet/goddess Venus and the goddesses in other myth systems that parallel her - Ishtar, Hathor, Aphrodite represent a feminine archetype but it is not love and compassion in the form of agape - they represent desire, in the form of eros. These goddesses are harlots but not in the sense of whore or slut that we commonly use the terms in speech. These goddesses took their pleasures as they wished. They represented an erotic feminine principle and many of them, while also ruling fertility and the harvest, did not really represent maternal feminine archetypes, at least in the way a goddess such as Demeter did. The women in the temples who served the goddesses were also harlots, trained in erotic skills - they were sacred harlots. They were loyal to the expression of eros, transforming epithemia or the raw libido into a beautiful erotic expression without moral injunction. These goddesses and her followers in the temples did not confine sexual expression to sex after marriage and 2.4 kids. They did not form bonds that lasted over time - that is more the domain of the lunar goddesses, the maternal principle.

For example if we look at Aphrodite, we see that she lives up to this. She is married to Hephaistos, the lame inventor god. But the marriage is a sham and she is continually seeking her pleasures as she sees fit. Another example are the virgin-goddesses like Inanna and Ishtar - who are sometimes portrayed as virgin-harlots. They are virgin in the sense that they belong to themselves, they are unwed and belong to no-one else. They take their pleasure when their desire is fired. It doesn't mean that their hymen is intact. In western society, we have really missed out on this principle, this feminine archetype. The Church fathers gave us the cult of the Virgin Mary but Mary does not contain the erotic feminine principle. The concept of virgin meaning belonging to oneself has been transformed to giving oneself to noone. (In the absence of an archetype in western Christianity that focuses the erotic principle we were perhaps long overdue for a sexual revolution!!! And it also may explain the behaviour of Madonna and other pop icons who represent this missing erotic archetype) So perhaps the incredible surface temperature of Venus is not so contradictory after all.

As for the demi-urge - I'm taking a guess that it's Connor and Jasmine is the demi-urge's baby? Oh well - either a gold star or a smack!

[> [> And there's also the nightly into-the-grave trip by Venus/Morning Star -- Solitude1056, 13:41:39 04/11/03 Fri

Put that in your Inanna cap and smoke it! ;-)

[> [> [> You already mentioned that so I thought it was redundant! -- Caroline (smoking her Inanna cap), 17:00:55 04/11/03 Fri

[> I personally prefer the term 'Proto-Evil', but other than that-- -- Thirdsy, 20:32:10 04/11/03 Fri

Mighty fine, mighty fine! But for some odd reason, having Bananarama sing...

I'm your Lucifer / I'm your fire / It's your desire

...doesn't have the same, well, pizazz to it. Go figure.


[> Now why'd you have to do that -- ponygirl, 08:25:01 04/12/03 Sat

... writing such a kaboom-y (and bulleted!) post when I'm hungover? Oy my head.

Great work Sol. I do like your style!

[> It's good to be the First Evil -- Masq, 16:12:09 04/13/03 Sun

When people ask why you haven't read their latest brilliant erudite theological treatise, you can always say, "'cause I'm evil!"

But really, only the semi-urge. I only read the posts my cat tells me to read.

[> [> I couldn't let you think I was sleeping. -- Solitude1056, 06:08:33 04/14/03 Mon

All that time I'm not coding the fiction pages, not studying statistics, not updating the ES essays, and not memorizing chinese characters, I'm actually doing something.

[> [> [> I thought you never slept -- Masq, 10:44:08 04/14/03 Mon

With all the work you have to do.

Wasn't that you I saw hanging out at the all-night java temple in the misty-magic dimension known as the "land of perpetual awakeness"?

It's a little place below my condo on Workaholic Street. Right next door to the corporate headquarters of "I'llneverknowtheloveofa...wellanybody.com"?

[> [> [> [> Okay, you got me. Bots never sleep. -- Solitude1056, 10:57:38 04/14/03 Mon

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