August 2001 posts

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Shooting script site latest FOX victim -- Masquerade, 14:44:26 08/13/01 Mon

Hi all,

Well, I got the e-mail that I'd been dreading getting ever since I started the site. The Fox lawyers have ordered me to remove the scripts. So I complied. There was no use fighting it because I knew that what I was doing wasn't exactly legal.

So the The Buffy Shooting Script Site is gone. (I put up a farewell not and explanation at )

If you're on this list, don't rush to unsub - because I might occassionally post a tidbit or two from the scripts.

It's really been a pleasure.

[> Ooohhhhh, damn it :( -- AK-UK, 15:19:51 08/13/01 Mon

I can't believe it. I NEED that site! Reading those scripts....sometimes it was BETTER than watching the episodes (and, living in the UK, it meant I didn't have to wait for months to "get" the latest episodes).

This sucks :(

Hey, I have a little legal knowledge, and whilst I'm not fully up to date on US copyright law, I'm suprised to hear you say that the site wasn't exactly legal. What laws would you be breaking? It was a non-profit website, and the published scripts had been taken down......surely you have some defence under "fair use"?

[> [> I'm no lawyer... -- Cactus Watcher, 16:21:01 08/13/01 Mon

but I know profit isn't an issue. You can't reproduce books, articles, scripts, etc. for distribution without permission of the copyright holder, period. Quoting copyrighted material is fair game, but not copying whole works or even substantial chunks of works. Back many years ago universities in this country (USA) got in trouble for xeroxing virtually unattainable books from abroad. The reason the rules have been loose on the internet is the fact that the net crosses international boundries, and the governments have been loath to step on each others' toes. Now that jurisdiction is being sorted out, look for a lot more of this. It's a shame, but that's the way it will be.

[> [> [> Anyone here a lawyer (Cleanthes... Anthony8 sorta??) -- Masquerade, 17:02:18 08/13/01 Mon

I'm not very worried about my site (pause to knock on virtual wood), but I am concerned about where I get all my pics for my site now. Would this be considered copyright-protected material, or alternatively, a violation of using copies of a t.v. show for personal home use only?

Not to mention psyches' transcripts!

[> [> [> [> My understanding of US copyright law -- AK-UK, 18:08:02 08/13/01 Mon

Ok, I'm ready to get shot down in flames, but from what I remember....

Distributing copyrighted material isn't inherently copyright infringement. Courts will look at:

The pupose and use of the distributed material (are they doing it for educational puposes, like this site) and the commercial aspects of the distribution (getting money from copyrighted material is a big no-no)

How much of the copyrighted material is being distributed (generally speaking, using a small percentage, like a paragraph or a screenshot, will be ok)

The commercial impact of distributing copyrighted material: i.e. Will your actions result in the copyright holder losing income? (which is arguably the case with the shooting script site).

Has permission (explicit or implied) been given by the copyright holder to distribute said material?

I haven't been to, but I'd suspect that limited screenshots would be considered fair use (as long as they don't charge you for downloading them).

Pysche's transcript site would also (I suspect) be ok, because of it's non-commercial nature.

However, I'm not a US copyright expert -- and there's nothing to stop FOX getting it's lawyers to use bully tactics even if the website owner isn't breaking the law. I suspect there aren't too many people who would risk standing up to a multi-billion dollar corporation......although I seem to remember a something along these lines happening to various X-Files fan sites. If I remember correctly a lot of them simply ignored the threats.

Hmmmm.....further investigation seems to be called for.

[> [> [> [> [> Berne Convention -- Solitude1056, 18:26:29 08/13/01 Mon

Technically, US copyright law is fundamentally the same as international copyright law, due to the Berne Convention Treaty. The real issue with the internet usage is whether the copyright holder can show a loss of income. Given the intentions to continue publishing the scripts for BtVS, it's possible that Fox would use this as a basis, and thus step around the usual "personal use" issue.

However, it seems a little odd, since most fanfic, and fan-related sites (such as screen shots, publicity stills, quotage, and transcripts) have been shown to create more income for the copyright holder, and not reduce it. That's because it feeds the fans, who then want more, of which some part of what they get/buy/use is something profitable for the copyright holder. In the case of some of the other major fan-related sites (Hercules, X-Files, etc), I've come across commentary from the producer, director, or creator of the show that knocking down fan pages in fact reduces the show's profitability because the fans get offended and react accordingly.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. FOX, like its counterparts at NBC, CBS, and the like, may not get this minor but crucial element... but I think Joss and his writers do, since they were the ones distributing the bleedin' scripts in the first place. Unfortunately, it's all work-for-hire, which means none of those scriptwriters has even the minutest say as to the use of their scripts. Even Joss doesn't hold the copyrights on everything.

Bummer, too.

However, I doubt Psyche's site will go down, unless the owner's easily unnerved. While Denmark is a participating country in the Berne Convention (I think, not all EU are), that doesn't necessarily mean that Denmark's going to automatically enforce some lawyer's request. Denmark would, however, enforce the withdrawal of the webpage based on a court order, and frankly that means money, time, and effort on the part of FOX. Ok, so maybe the legal department at FOX has nothing better to do this summer, but then again, it's not like anyone's going to track down the Psyche site owner and extradite him/her to the US... and it's certainly not like FOX can get any money out of him, anymore than they could out of Rayne.

So it's likely that when they find the Psyche site, it may get a letter. But if I owned that site, I'd sit tight and wait until I hear more. Denmark's a long way away for the FOX legal department to be able to justify stretching their arms to strangle blood from a turnip.

So, in that sense, I wouldn't stress about images, either. As long as you're not posting the video in full, they can't claim that you're causing loss of income. As a matter of fact, one could always argue (as have many fans before us) that our usage in fact leads to more income for them. Courts aren't stupid, they pay attention to the counter-arguments... and the fan-related argument of "limited usage without malicious intent or financial harm" does hold water.

I'm a photographer, not a video person, but the copyright laws are (for the most part) pretty analogous across the various mediums. On the other hand, I could be just blowing smoke outta my...

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Berne Convention -- Rufus, 18:59:28 08/13/01 Mon

Tell me is this is so...the transcripts of the Closed caption are available, so what would the difference between that and Psyche's transcripts?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Uh... I dunno, honestly. -- Solitude1056, 20:37:10 08/13/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in ;-) -- Anthony8, 00:15:43 08/14/01 Tue

Just let me disclaim that my venture into the world of law was one of the most unhappy times of my life, so these days I am a faithful practioner of selective amnesia when it comes to dispensing any information that might be a product of my legal education. You really want someone who is actively practicing to advise you on these issues. Also, I received my legal education before the advent of the World Wide Web, so what I know with respect to Fair Use of copyrighted material is probably substantially less than your average layperson who is Net savvy.

I consider myself a musician these days (actually, I was always a musician, but bad choices in my youth led me down an evil side path--I've played my own version of Lindsay in couple of Wolfram and Hart-like firms) and the only reason I venture into the belly of the legal beast these days is because legal temp jobs pay substantially more than any other 9-5 work for which I am qualified. I have worked for more than my share of Holling Manners, so every time I finish an assignment, I'm relieved to escape the building still in possession of my soul.

That having been said, I'll just put it this way--when it comes to Fair Use on the Internet, there simply are no hard and fast rules except that if you receive a Cease and Desist letter, the game's over for all intents and purposes unless you have the resources and daring to attempt to make new law by testing it in the courts. The fact that we could make any number of decent arguments (or for that matter even be 100% in the right)regarding Fair Use is all fine and nice in this forum, but just having a good argument won't cut it when litigation ensues.

In most cases, the suits don't go after the little guy unless they feel that they are being deprived of an income source as a result of the alleged infringement. On the other hand, there are quite a few lawyers out there who have to make it look like they are doing real work in order to justify their obscene salaries, so there you have it. About a decade ago, Coca-Cola sued a local SF mom & pop diner for trademark infringement because the diner did not inform its customers that it was serving Pepsi when asked for a generic 'coke.' And from that day forward, when you ask for a 'coke,' a server must ask you "is Pepsi okay" if that is the only cola they serve.

Given the money making potential of commercially published script books, it's not too surprising they went after the shooting script site. I wouldn't be surprised if they go after the Psyche Transcript site next, even if it does reside on a foreign server.

Sol's post was right on the mark. What we do here, and on most fan sites, enhances the value of Fox's property and keeps their suits in nice homes and Bimmers. Without us, "they're pretty much watching 'Masterpiece Theatre' to quote the lithe blonde one. These bean counters who run the entertainment industry never quite grasped the concept of symbiosis. It eluded them when it came to home taping 25 years ago, and VCRs in the early 80's and it continues to this day with respect to Napster (although I'm extremely ambivalent about Napster) and recordable DVD. They screw the artists and they screw the customers. And yet they provide no real value of their own. Nature couldn't have designed more perfect parasites. There was a great book on the subject called "Hit Men" that I would recomment highly if it is still in print.

I wish I could be more helpful, but the last thing I would ever want to do is dispense bad advice. If it were me, I'd just play it by ear and not worry too much for the time being. Unless you are independently wealthy, there's probably no point in fighting it either. Once again, you should consult a specialist if any legal action beyond a Cease and Desist letter seems likely to occur. If you're interested in learning more about copyright infringement, Fair Use and the Internet I found a couple of sites that offer some decent general info:




[> [> [> [> [> Re: Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in ;-) -- Cleanthes, 07:07:35 08/14/01 Tue

I agree with all this.

Leaving aside that these small siteowners couldn't afford the legal fees, but looking only at the chances at trial, I'd feel good working on the defendant's side in most of these cases where the copyright holder is trying to shut down a site -- because, what are the copyright holder's *damages*? In most cases, the copyright holder uses some strongarm tactics in the first instance to try to shut down the site. Bingo -- no equitable remedies available when it all comes to trial because of the clean hands doctrine.

So, that leaves only the legal remedy of damages and the infringer gets to offset any damages with *gains* - for example, Masquerade here is almost certainly providing a greater value in free publicity than any loss in "revenue" from ... well ... what exactly?

The shooting script site though is putting up something that could (or is?) sold. I used to buy Xena shooting scripts from Creation, but I haven't bought Buffy scripts. Are they also offered for sale? If so, it's much easier to see how the copyright holder could show damages

Someday this issue will make it through the courts. I predict the infringer will win damages from the copyright holder because once a suit is filed, the infringer can counterclaim. Wouldn't that be sweet?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in ;-) -- Solitude1056, 08:43:37 08/14/01 Tue

The shooting script site though is putting up something that could (or is?) sold. I used to buy Xena shooting scripts from Creation, but I haven't bought Buffy scripts. Are they also offered for sale? If so, it's much easier to see how the copyright holder could show damages.

Actually, they might... but then again, Rayne could also demonstrate strong diligence in that she does not post published scripts that can be purchased in book-format from the copyright holders. If you wanted season 1 scripts, she had a link to Amazon, and to Psyche. Her site didn't carry them. When word got out that Season 2 was going to be published, she posted a note that she'd be removing all season 2 scripts shortly. Given her insistence on this, I find it especially irritating that FOX chose her to be the latest shutdown.

Personally, I'd think in court her diligence would count for something, that she recognized that her site would be in direct competition then with the copyright holder and thus did not post all scripts. On top of that, her scripts are invariably the original form, lacking many of the later edits that result in the final version. As far as I know, the copyright on the final script may be held by FOX, but I dunno about the rough drafts. That's a wierd area, anyway - I hold copyrights on all my negatives, regardless of whether the client purchases licensing rights on all or only one. I have no idea whether that's analogous to Big Mega Teevee Corp.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> What peeves me... -- Masq, 09:03:23 08/14/01 Tue

Is that Rayne always got her scripts up within days of the episode airing. Psyche's helpers take longer. It was really helpful in doing my episode analyses not to have to play, pause, and rewind my taped version of the ep. Rayne's transcripts always helped me get my analyses done in a timely manner.

Guess it's back to play, pause, rewind!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I use the closed captioning to help me get the quotes I want....... -- Rufus, 12:07:34 08/14/01 Tue

Pluse that dreaded pause, rewind, repeat cycle.:):):):)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I use the closed captioning to help me get the quotes I want....... -- Masq, 13:41:30 08/14/01 Tue

I always have CC on. But it doesn't make the pain go away. You're still playing, pausing, and rewinding.

And don't even get me started on reading the Latin incantations off the screen!

The bummer with Rayne's scripts is they included translations. *sigh* : (

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well, you could assemble a little team... -- nathan, 13:06:14 08/14/01 Tue

maybe you could set up a team comprised of a bunch of ATPoBTVS posters to do the transcripts. each person could do a certain section or scene in the episode. Blah does the scene before the first commercial. Blah #2 does the scene after that until the next commercial. and so forth. might be a little tedious, but it could save time...


[> Hmmmm....fudgsicle.....bug***........:):):) -- Rufus, 15:53:47 08/13/01 Mon

They weren't just scripts they were study I guess they want to make sure we buy the overpriced, oversized scriptbooks that they are only up to season two on.

[> This TOTALLY BLOWS - and not in a good way. -- VampRiley, 18:13:42 08/13/01 Mon

[> I needed those research materials! -- verdantheart, 05:48:51 08/14/01 Tue

Crap! Thank goodness I printed out all I needed for my character analysis already! It wasn't as though they were kept there after they were published in book form.

[> [> The aired-version transcripts are at Psyche's site -- Masq, 09:05:04 08/14/01 Tue

[> [> [> Re: The aired-version transcripts are at Psyche's site -- verdantheart, 14:21:23 08/14/01 Tue

Thanks. I also use those, but it's really nice to see the differences between what was written and what aired. Won't be able to do that anymore!

Buffy the Hero! (from U.S. News & World Report) -- mundusmundi, 13:34:26 08/14/01 Tue

Just got this week's issue. It's a special edition devoted entirely to "Heroes," mostly real-life ones. But there's also a page devoted to fictional heroes, including one we all know well. Here's an excerpt from the article below....


BUFFY SUMMERS, 20, of UPN's Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Heroic deeds: In the season finale, she granted the ultimate boon: her life. (Don't worry, she'll be revived.) And don't forget the blows to her social life from constant slayage.

Classical roots: Buffy was meant to be mythic. Creator Joss Whedon studied with Wesleyan professor Richard Slotkin, author of Regeneration Through Violence. "The term I use constantly that I stole from him is 'the man who knows Indians'-the person who straddles two worlds but belongs in neither," says Whedon. That's Buffy-stuck between the demon and human worlds.

Flaw: Buffy may be too merciful-she doesn't kill a human enemy whose death could save others.

Grade: She's a mediocre student, but as a hero she earns an A+.


Lara Croft got a D. Heh.

[> Re: Excellent - thanks -- Dedalus, 17:46:20 08/14/01 Tue

Buffy: 1st annual character posting party -- Nina, 17:03:52 08/14/01 Tue

Buffy. What's in a name? Mrs. Rosenberg called her "Bunny" (Gingerbread). Spike called her "Betty" (Superstar). Buf-fy???????? What kind of name is that? Who's that girl? Who's that heroin who is so often left off the "who's you're favorite character" list? Is that petite blonde so hard to love? All threads lead to Spike.... but so seldom to Buffy. Here's a little tribute to her. May all threads lead to her in the future (at least this one should :).



Before the Slayer there was a girl

BOY: You're just a girl
BUFFY: That's what I keep saying (The Gift)

Before she was called, Buffy was pretty much a normal Cordeliaesque adolescent. She was part of a gang. She was popular. Member of the cheerleading squad. Prom princess and fiesta Queen. All her care in the world revolved around friends and boys. Hanging out. Having fun. Like so many household her family was broken before any divorce took place. She even forshadowed some deliquency behavior (stealing lipstick). From this period of relative tranquility, Buffy brought along with her her 1. her love for ice skating (the ice capades without the irony) 2. Mr. Gordo (her stuffed Pig), 3. Her love for dancing and 4. Her clothes (don't play with those Sunday!) 15 years of a normal life that's all Buffy got. Becoming the slayer changed everything drastically and Buffy spend her first four years as a slayer yearning for normality again.

BUFFY: I want to leave
WESLEY: What? Now?
BUFFY: No, not now. After I graduate, you know, college?
WESLEY: But you're a slayer.
BUFFY: Yeah, I'm also a person. You can't just define me by my slayerness. That's something-ism. (Choices)

It is true that most people still tend to define themselves by their job and their title. As the Little Prince of St-Exupéry said, we shouldn't define a person by the work they do, but according to what they like. That's the way to learn who someone really is. Buffy is a slayer, but she also likes cheese, round shaped earings and "Wind beneath my wings"! But I guess it's still not enough to know her...

The dumb blond with witty puns

BUFFY: You know it's probably none of my business but I just gotta ask: did you smell this bad when you were alive? If it's a post mortem thing, then hey, so not your fault and boy is my face red. But just so you know... the fast-growing personal grooming's come a long way since you become a vampire. (Fool for Love)

Buffy is not an intellectual. She's an action girl. Her speech pattern colorfully illustrate it. She often talks with broken sentences. Right to the point. No flourish. Does this mean she's dumb? Um. One could wonder sometimes if the dumb blond myth is true, but like any real human being Buffy harbors many contradictions. When she fights she will come with a repertoire of witty puns all the time. It's coming to her very easily. When she's into slaying, words are flowing, when she's normal Buffy, she oscillates between sheer stupidity and pure genius. Here are some of her finest "dumb blond" moments:

XANDER: You're up for some reconnaissance?
BUFFY: You mean where we all sculpt and paint stuff?
XANDER: No, that's the renaissance. (The Freshman)


BUFFY: I'm like that kid in the story, the boy who stuck his finger in the duck.
ANGEL: Dike. It's another word for a dam.
BUFFY: Oh, okay, now that story makes a lot more sense (Gingerbread)

Buffy may suffer from undiagnosed dyslexia. She often has a problem to remember difficult words and often misuse them or alter them. In "Faith, Hope & Trick", she will call Kakistos "Kissing toast", "Taquitos", and "Khaki trouser". In "Tough Love", she'll call a haiku "a poem that sounds like a sneeze'. In "Nightmares" she will call Billy's astral body "Billy's asteroid body". Buffy is not a bookish girl either. She prefers to watch the Hunchback of Notre-Dame on video instead of reading the book (Crush). Dawn teases her about cracking up some books sometimes as she knows nothing of Harry Potter (Real Me).

BUFFY: There's a lot of book on this list. Any of them come on tape? You know read by George Clooney or someone cute like that? (Real Me)

At school, she's usually an average student with no particular curiosity or aptitude for studying.

BUFFY: I have to take an English makeup exam. They give you credits just for speaking it, right? (Faith, Hope & Trick)

Yet sometimes she gets to surprise herself and her friends. She aced her SAT's and got to do better than Willow on an assignment in professor Walsh's class.

Because Buffy is not high maintenance, she remains very simple. The writers will often mock her to endear her to us, like in "The Initiative:

SPIKE: I don't care how brilliant she is. CUT TO:
BUFFY: Stupid pen. (her hands are soaked with ink)

Or "School Hard":

SPIKE: So, how 'bout this Slayer? Is she tough? CUT TO:
Buffy's room. She's standing at her mirror, trying to brush her hair.

Buffy will also have enough wits to know when to play the dumb girl to save her ass from a situation.

BUFFY (to Prof. Walsh): So I've seen. On the discovery channel with gorillas and sharks. They made them all nice. Have you seen it? (The I in team)

She also often knows a lot more than it seems.

BUFFY: Um, as much as I'm sure we all love the idea of going all Willy Loman... We're not in the band. (Band Candy)

Okay, she may only have seen the movie of "Death of a salesman", but still it proves that she can mix witty and dumb comments. Buffy is not black and white. She's shades of gray. Like we all are.

RILEY: You are amazing! Your speed, your strength.
BUFFY: (I'm) also passionate, artistic and inquisitive. (Doomed)

Even though Buffy can come with witty puns as fast as a magician can make a rabbit appear from a hat, communication is not Buffy's forte. When it's time to talk about difficult issues, she tends to shy away and avoid them.

BUFFY (to Riley): Let's not talk about it and patrol. (New Moon Rising)

RILEY: You don't wanna talk about it.
BUFFY: It's just that deconstructing Angel can wait. Right now I just want to go out there and patrol. Find Adam. We can talk about it later. (The Yoko Factor)

SPIKE: Common' we need to talk.
BUFFY: We don't need to do anything. There is no "we". Understand. (Crush)

The importance of family and friends

XANDER: You've been through it all with Angel and you're still standing. So, tell us, wise one, how do you deal?
BUFFY: I have you guys. ( The Wish)

The core of the scoobie gang (the original gang) gave to Buffy what she didn't have at home. A sister, a brother and a father. As we've seen in "The Wish", without friends, Buffy would probably be a mix between Kendra and Faith. She would lack the love, support and understanding that are so important to keep her rooted and balanced in the real world. Spike in "Fool for Love" will say the same, telling her that her mom and the scoobies are what tie her to the world, they prevent her from succombing to her death wish. Blessed with friends, Buffy will still yearn for a "slayer family" though. People who know what it is to fight demons. A family where her slayer powers will be elated. Where she will feel normal. This is why, even though her friends mean so much to her, Buffy will sometimes push them away and befriend new people. People who are part of that slayer family. Thus, she'll hang out with Faith (Bad Girls) and with the Initiative soldiers (The I in Team). Both time she's trying to be part of that slayer family. Both times she's disappointed. Faith and the Initiative both turn their back on her.

Insecurities and abandonment issues

1ST SLAYER: You're full of love (...)
BUFFY: I'm full of love? I'm not losing it? (Intervention)

Over the five seasons, 3 episodes were particularly dealing with fears: Nightmare, Fear itself and Restless. We got to witness that one of Buffy's inner fear was abandonment (by father or friends). It's seems very cliché to talk about the repercussions of divorce, but what can I say, I know the drill myself, divorce deepens our insecurities. Even though Buffy tries to live a normal life she is overly lacking that father presence. In "Nightmares" she is afraid that her father doesn't love her and many years later she will have this conversation with her mother that proves that this issue is still hovering over her head:

JOYCE: Your father loved spending time with you.
BUFFY: Not enough I guess
JOYCE: Buffy.
BUFFY: Oh, that just paved right over memory lane, huh?
JOYCE: You know the divorce had nothing to do with you.
BUFFY: I don't know. I'm starting to feel there's a pattern here. You open your heart to someone and he bails on you. Maybe it's easier to not let anyone in. (Fear Itself)

Everytime Buffy let anyone in, she lived to regret it. Owen was too Reckless, Angel turned evil, Scott Hope dumped her, Parker used her, Riley got himself bit by vampires whores and finally left her. During all this time her father was M.I.A. No wonder Buffy has abandonment issues. No wonder she always feel she has to please and become someone she's not to date a guy. She'll want to read Emily Dickinson to flirt with Owen, she'll dress as a 18th century lady to please Angel, she won't fight at full strenght with Riley in case he's too frightened by her powers, she'll laugh at Ben's jokes to show that she's not self involved. By the end of "I was made to love you", Buffy decides to remain single and learn to be comfortable with herself before being involved again. A huge step into breaking the walls that make her always choose the same kind of guys.

Too much way on her shoulders

FAITH: Hey, what's up with B? I mean, she seems wound kinda tight. Needs to find the fun a little. (Faith, Hope & Trick)

Buffy had to grow up very fast. When the girls her age had nothing more to think about than what color of lipstick to wear, Buffy had to make life and death decisions in a matter of seconds. She had to face death at 16, send her lover to hell, go through 6 apocalypses, fight hundreds of demons. Who could expect her to just back off and have fun? Despite all those circumstances, Buffy surprisingly still managed to find time for some R&R at the Bronze, try out for the cheerleader squad, compete for Homecoming Queen and host a Thanksgiving dinner at Giles'. Trying to get the shadow of a normal life gives her the strenght to continue her fight against evil. Without those distractions she'd be anything but the Buffy we know.

In season five though, Buffy is confronted to a lot more pressure than usual. A lot of responsabilities. Suddenly the weigh on her shoulder becomes almost unbearable. She loses control. It all begins with "Buffy vs Dracula". Dracula charms his way to Buffy. He compliments her and she's flattered. She's seduced. Another fear Buffy has, as we've seen in "Nightmares" and "Fear Itself", is to be unable to fight a vampire back. To become one of them or to die by their hands. The fact that she is powerless to resist Dracula's charms scares her. She isn't in control. And *control* here is the key word. For the first time of her life she meets a vampire she can't kill. He rapes her, metaphorically speaking, and she becomes a victim. Freaked out she asks Giles to act as her watcher again. She needs to know more about herself. She needs answers. Why wasn't she able to resist that thrall? Where are her powers really coming from?

Afterwards, Buffy needs to prove herself again with all the vamps she meets. Needs to be the one in control. Not to let "that" ever happen again. It's too bad for Spike, but he shows too many ressemblance with Dracula and he will be the one getting all the blows: Drac was attracted to her physically (so is Spike in FFL when he almost kisses her), Drac comes into Buffy's room at night (so does Spike in "Into the woods") Drac bites her (so *almost * does Spike in OomM), Drac tells her her power are rooted in darkness (so does Spike in FFL when he tells her about the slayer death wish). Buffy is in a quandary. Instinctively she will come to Spike for help, as seen in Real me, OomM, FFL, Checkpoint, BT, TL, Spiral, The Gift. She trusts him with the life of the people she loves the most in the world, yet she needs to beat the crap out of him everytime she sees him. Many fans found Buffy's attidute bitchy. I simply believe that Buffy was afraid. Still that control issue to resolve. (It's interesting to note that Buffy will punch Spike on the nose everytime she will have failed to have control over a vampire, but as soon as her life is not threatened anymore by other vamps (after FFL) Buffy will stop beating Spike (okay she does in "Crush" but he deserved that one for once!)

The discovery of the origin of her sister will also bring a lot of pressure on Buffy's shoulder. As soon as Buffy knows that Dawn is the Key, she will overprotect her. Acting sometimes more like a mother than a sister. Her mother's illness will bring Buffy to overprotect her too. Not only does she has to solve her own issues as a slayer, but she has to be the grown up. She has to become the parent of the family. She doesn't know how to deal and will keep everything bottled up instead of talking to Riley or her friends. One thing leading to another, Riley will leave, her mother will die, Dawn will be kidnapped by Glory. Her world will fall apart and so will Buffy.

Buffy has wanted out on many occasions (when she refused to fight the Master, when she flew away from Sunnydale after killing Angel) but where ever she went there was no out. To be out when you are a Slayer you have to die. To survive Buffy endured everything until it was too much. Until she couldn't take it anymore and went into catatonia. In "The weigh of the world" Buffy is separated in two in her own mind. Buffy the femine girl and Buffy the slayer. Only there's no such thing as two different entities. Buffy exist only as a slayer and the slayer lives in Buffy. Her inner journey is to let them merge and coexist without hostility.


Becoming the Slayer...

GILES: It's all about the journey (Restless)

The transition from normal girl to superhero took quite a long time to accept. Each year Buffy had to go through a 5 steps to grief program (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). Each year she began a little stronger than the last.

Year one (denial):
In the first season, Buffy is in denial land. She has been kicked out of Hemery in L.A and is looking forward to going back to her carefree life as an average teenager.

GILES: I don't understand this attitude. You, you've accepted you're duty, you, you've slain vampires before...
BUFFY: Yeah, and I've both been there and done that and I'm moving on (...) I'm retired. (Welcome to the Hellmouth)

She will often put her slayer's duty on hold and privilege her social life.

BUFFY: If the apocalypse come - Beep me. (Never kill a boy...)

Giles often has to put her back on track and remind her that her mission is to save the world, not having "post pubescent fantasies with boys":

GILES: Follow your hormones if you want, but I assume I don't have to warn you about the hazards of becoming personaly involved with someone who's unaware of your unique condition.
BUFFY: Yeah, yeah, I read the back of the box. (Never kill a boy...)

At the end of the season she casts a last pleading supplique:

BUFFY: I'm 16. I don't wanna die. (Prophecy girl)

But after realizing how much she is needed, she will accept her faith and will fight the Master.

Year two (anger):
During the second year Buffy will be the Slayer out of duty. She still needs to be told to be a Slayer.

BUFFY: Sacred duty, yadda, yadda, yadda... (Surprise)

She's often angry to be told to patrol. She is also angry about herself not to have known better about Angel. Anger and pain is what will attrack James the ghost in "I only have eyes for you". When she discovers her friends have been almost killed by Angel in "Becoming part 1", anger will give the power Buffy needs to accept that she has to kill her lover once and for all.

Third year (bargaining part 1):
By the third year, Buffy tries to open herself to new perspectives. Killing Angel was the most painful thing she had to do and she tries to build back her life. With Faith she witnesses a different point of view. Faith kicks ass and likes it. Buffy moves from considering slaying a duty to seeing it as a job. She's getting more mature about it. Conscious of her responsabilities, she's starting to make compromises.

BUFFY: We help people, it doesn't mean we do whatever we want. (Consequences)

At the end of the season she'll bargain her life to save Angel. Even though things turned out well, she was ready to sacrifice herself for love.

Fourth year (bargaining part 2):
During the fourth year, Buffy is Watcherless.

GILES: Well, officially you no longer have a Watcher. Buffy, you know I'll always be there when you need me, but you'll have to take care of yourself. (Freshman)

Buffy has to learn to become self-reliant. She's not only growing up as a young woman, but as a Slayer as well. Buffy will understand and accept her role as the Slayer even more when she is confronted to the Initiative. She's becoming possessive like an animal who needs to delimit its territory.

BUFFY: This isn't your business. It's mine. You, the Initiative, the suits in the Pentagon... You're all messing with Primeval forces you can't begin to understand. I'm the Slayer. And you're playing on my turf. (Primeval)

Fifth year (depression):
In the fifth season, Buffy has become a hunter. She will patrol every night on her own without needing Giles to tell her to do so. She won't like other people to patrol with her anymore. It's also the year of depression. Buffy will swallow everything up and will cry alone. She takes everything on her shoulders and feels indispensable (deep sign of depression). She will go on until she goes catatonic and refuses to go back to the real world. It is only at the end of "The Gift" that she will finally come to total acceptance and sacrifice herself with love.

BUFFY: This is the work I have to do. Tell Giles, tell Giles I've figured it out and I'm okay.

There's no way to say yet if Buffy will need a depression part two phase before totally accept her faith, but the fact remains that over the years Buffy not only became a better slayer (better agility), but in her choices she showed true compasion and love for humankind. She probably even was the first slayer who ever saw her existence as more than the kill.

Fighting techniques

SPIKE: She's tricky. Baby likes to play. (...) You see that? The way she stakes him with that thing? That's what's called resourceful. (Halloween)

Buffy's forte is her unpredictability. The lack of attention to tradition. The fact that she can improvise. Giles in the first two seasons and then The Council of Watchers reproached those qualities many times. They tried to show her how unprepared she was, but Buffy may not fight accordingly to the book, she still managed not to die for a long time (oups... she is dead technically... But well you get my drift!)

As said before, the use of puns gives her an edge. She destabilizes her attackers and makes it less personal. Buffy who can find it so hard to have a deep talk about deep things, will chat and banter with her victims like there's no tomorrow. It's a way to forget about the kill.

BUFFY: You're gonna get heartburn. Get it? Heartburn?
The vamp dusts and gives no reaction.
BUFFY: That's it? That's all I get? One lame-ass vamp with no
appreciation for my painstakingly thought-out puns. (Wild at heart)

Anger is also a powerful way for Buffy to defeat her attackers. We've witnessed on many occasions when anger got her the extra strenght she needed to win the fight. Here are some examples:

Harsh light of Day: as soon as Spike mentions Angel Buffy pummels him like a beast in fury.

Homecoming: After Scott Hope broke up with her, Buffy unleashes her anger on Faith. (FAITH: You really have some quality rage going. Really gives you an edge)

Triangle: As soon as Olaf, the Troll, says that Xander and Anya won't make it as a couple, Buffy beats the crap out of him.

Checkpoint: Humiliated by Spike, council of watchers and university professor, Buffy beats the hell of an anonymous vamp in the cemetery (VAMP: Who the hell are you talking to?)

Blood Ties: When Glory calls Spike Buffy's boyfriend, Buffy finds new strenght to punch Glory in the face.

Even though Buffy will often refuse to admit that slaying is a turn on and that she likes it, she only fools herself:

KEN: That... was not... permitted.
BUFFY: Yeah, but it was fun. (Anne)

In "The I in Team", we see intercuts of scenes between Buffy and Riley fighting and making love. Buffy may still deny how much she likes slaying, her actions often prove the contrary. In "Buffy vs Dracula" she confesses to Giles that she was out every night during the summer, hunting for vamps. She will even leave the love nest to satisfy her needs.

Leadership and authority

Ms. Calendar: The part that gets me, though, is where Buffy is the Vampire Slayer. She's so little. (Prophecy Girl)

Buffy is little, but when it comes to orders in the slayer department, Buffy is the one giving them, not receiving them. Her integrity, loyalty and straighforwardness make her a born leader. She's the one leading her army to battle. Defying authority and being a woman after her own heart is what characterizes her.

GILES: Just do as you're told for once, alright!
Buffy punches him in the face. (Prophecy Girl)

WESLEY: Are you not used to being given orders?
BUFFY: Whenever Giles sends me on a mission, he always says 'please'. And afterwards I get a cookie. (Bad Girls)

When confronted with outside authority (school in particular), Buffy sometimes will feel diminished though.

PROFESSOR REEGERT: Do you understand? You are sucking energy from everyone in this room. They came to learn. Get out!
BUFFY: I didn't mean to... suck.
She exits. (Freshman)

But it usually doesn't last. Buffy is the defender of the weak and she will learn to defend herself when in need. She'll be impressed by Professor Walsh's authority, but will find the guts to tell her she has no compassion in "Something Blue". She's impressed by The Council of Watchers, but will have a straight talk with him at the end of "Checkpoint".

The quest for love

Buffy is no conventional slayer. Her need to understand her nature takes her apart from her kin. Buffy won't accept to fight only to lose herself in the bargain. She needs a raison d'être, a purpose. She needs to understand and bring the slayer and the human in her in perfect harmony.

BUFFY: I'm just ... starting to feel ... uneasy about stuff.
GILES: Stuff?
BUFFY: Training. Slaying. All of it. It's just ... I mean ... I can beat up the demons until the cows come home. And then I can beat up the cows ... but I'm not sure I like what it's doing to me.
GILES: But you've mastered so much. I mean, your strength and resilience alone-BUFFY: Yeah. Strength, resilience ... those are all words for hardness. (pause) I'm starting to feel like ... being the Slayer is turning me into stone. (Intervention)

She will go on a quest to know more. The spirit guide will give her a few pointers:

GUIDE: You're full of love.
GUIDE: Love, give, forgive.

But will also unsettle her with her final blow:

GUIDE: Death is your gift.

From this encounter, Buffy will find some sort of resolution in her life. She'll be able to forgive Spike. Out of love she'll sacrifice her school life to take care of Dawn. She won't understand the "Death is your gift" part on the spot, but will nevertheless accept it as part of the package.

The hero's journey

The jungle cat is the steward of the rain forest and keeper of the gateway of death. The jaguar helps to dismember that which must die in order for the new to be born. (Alberto Villoldo, "Shaman, Healer, Sage")

The jungle cat was present in "Restless" when we got to see Miss Kitty Fantastico in slowmotion walking her way towards us. We meet him again when he takes Buffy to her spirit guide.

BUFFY: Hello kitty! (Intervention)

Every hero, in order to be a hero, has to face the ultimate fear that is death. Be it in the raw sense of dying or in the metaphorical sense of transforming oneself into something else. Before her own dismissal, Buffy had to face a lot of pain, a lot of loss. She lost Riley, her mother, her life ("I have Dawn's life"), she even was ready to lose her friends if they were to kill Dawn. She shed her skin like a snake, losing what was precious to her. Until there was nothing left but love. Then she made the final jump. The leap of faith. She jumped to save her sister, to save the world. As a true hero, she left words of love to her friends and hope. She sacrificed her life. And for once it seemed as if she finally had found her true purpose in life. Love.

May she rest in peace... But not for too long!

Quotes coming from:

- Jotted down while watching the episode (50%)
- Psyche's transcript site (45%)
- The Watcher's guide books 1&2 (5%)

[> Wonderful.......... -- Rufus, 17:27:33 08/14/01 Tue

Just printing off a copy I'll get back to you...great job.

[> [> Re: Wonderful.......... -- Dedalus, 18:31:58 08/14/01 Tue

Glad to see I'm not the only one who prints out hard copies of some of this stuff ...


[> [> [> What's really scary.... -- mundusmundi, 14:47:12 08/16/01 Thu

...isn't just printing out the posts, but highlighting interesting passages with a yellow marker as you read them.

[> [> [> [> As long as you don't use too many colors... -- Nina, 17:16:21 08/16/01 Thu

it won't be qualified as quirky! ;)

[> [> [> [> I do the highlighting thing as well......... -- Rufus, 17:36:18 08/16/01 Thu

Using many colours I may add.......:):):)Next thing, I'll be investing in a pocket protector.

[> [> [> [> [> I don't have a printer so... -- Nina, 17:39:13 08/16/01 Thu

I imagine I'm saving a lot of trees (but I also spend way too many hours reading from the screen instead of a sheet of paper!) I'd probably go for the highlighting thing too if I had the chance to use it!!! :)

[> [> [> [> and beyond highlighting... -- Solitude1056, 06:59:05 08/20/01 Mon

is not only highlighting in different colors, but summing up the pages' arguments in the top margin of the page, with additional commentary & responding arguments along the side margin, in an ink pen that corresponds with the highlighting color so you know while studying which commentary & argument goes with which quotage. ...Uh... not that I ever do this. No, not me. I never, ever write in books. Pfffft. Sacrilege!

[> [> [> [> [> whoa--sounds like the talmud, w/color! -- anom, 10:50:42 08/20/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Okay,'ve done it........Sol you have......... -- Rufus, 14:47:20 08/20/01 Mon

Won the Golden Pocket Protector award for those who excel in being studious (I think the word is nerd). I may highlight in different colours but write notes in a seperate note book....just can't bring myself to write in a book. When I borrow someones book I keep it in a Ziplock bag just like evidence that I don't want to mess friends think I'm wierd but do like getting an unblemished book back.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Better a nerd than an ziploc-carrying AR-bie! -- Solitude1056, 17:15:19 08/20/01 Mon

I mean, really, a ZIPLOC BAG? Tell me you're pulling my leg! I don't write in books 'cause I'm a nerd, I do it because it's the only way to organize my thoughts. Short-term memory loss from all that fun in college, yanno. Some thing never really recover. Uh. *cough*

Anyway... back to your regularly scheduled postings...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Call me naive...but what is an Ar-bie.... -- Rufus, 18:10:36 08/20/01 Mon

Is that an American term? As to the Ziplock bag...I kid you you know just how wet it is on the west coast? I just happen to have a thing about keeping books in the best shape. As for College "I" never got into any mischief whatsoever....not me...never caused any either....;)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Call me naive...but what is an Ar-bie.... -- Solitude1056, 19:00:21 08/20/01 Mon

someone who's AR. as in, uh... can I use words like that here? hm. since this isn't meant as a mean thing, let's go with AR means "someone who's really particular." Verges on obsessive-compulsive on bad days, but that's okay, since we all know Rufus never has any of those! ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh, that's what you meant............;) -- Rufus, 20:01:42 08/20/01 Mon

No, not me..... have I told you about Ziplock slipcovers lately?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Call me naive...but what is an Ar-bie.... -- Humanitas, 20:55:35 08/20/01 Mon

Hehe - The polite version you're looking for, I think, is "detail oriented." Don't know anyone like that, myself, of course. ;)

[> Re: Buffy: 1st annual character posting party -- Ophelia, 18:19:58 08/14/01 Tue

Wow that was awesome! Do you think that Buffy realized the 5th stage of grief (acceptance) by the end of last season? I've often thought she had. She had such a look of peace when she jumped into the portal. She seemed to have accepted her fate/purpose. I wonder if it's possible that she'll regress to earlier stages after she's been brought back.

Thanks for the wonderful analysis. You really did her justice.

[> Quite good, must think for a while before making comments . . . -- Rattletrap, 18:47:40 08/14/01 Tue

[> Lovely job, Nina - doing the printer thing also... -- OnM, 19:34:16 08/14/01 Tue

I'll have some more to say tomorrow once I can study it a bit more. I did like the reference to Miss Kitty Fantastico and the jaguar and the shaman- very cool.

It's hard to believe English isn't your first language. Fine work!


[> Re: Buffy: 1st annual character posting party -- Cactus Watcher, 20:19:40 08/14/01 Tue

I really enjoyed your comparison of what happened between Dracula and Buffy, and between Spike and Buffy. It's something I hadn't thought of before. I also enjoyed your section on Buffy getting more strength from anger. I think 'Don't make her mad' is one of the true reoccuring themes of the show.
As someone who has learned Russian to the point of teaching it at the college level, let me also compliment your English. It's a great accomplishment to write in a second language with your skill.

[> I really enjoyed this. How about helping us out with Dark Alchemy? -- Talking Drum, 21:46:53 08/14/01 Tue

The Dark Alchemy contributors have been discussing how difficult it is to write for Buffy (the character). One issue I've asked about is what do we know about how she feels about all those people she has saved in her role as the Slayer. We know how she feels about her family and friends and about her duties in general. We have had glimpses of how she responds to specific individuals she has helped (Jonathan comes to mind). But what about the thousands of Buffyverse souls whose lives have been made better as the result of her efforts? Do they really matter to her or is that just too much for any one person, even a Slayer, to begin to comprehend?


[> [> I second the motion and raise you a "very well done!" -- Liquidram, 22:20:47 08/14/01 Tue

[> [> [> I third it with a definite kudos for an excellent essay! -- Solitude1056, 12:11:48 08/15/01 Wed

If you can get into Buffy's head, and wouldn't mind at the very least beta-reading to give the writers an idea of whether we're on target with Buffy - that'd be greatly appreciated. As TD pointed out, for some reason she's the hardest to write for, tho' I'm not sure why.

[> [> [> [> Gee! I'd love too! -- Nina, 14:56:58 08/15/01 Wed

I miss my daily reading! :) I'd love to help! Keep in touch with me! I know that I stopped reading a lot of other fanfic after a few paragraphs because the charaters just didn't cut it for me. Dark Alchemy is one of the few story I've read that really respects the characters we know! (So far I only noticed one thing that seemed peculiar for Buffy to do, I'll get back to you on that if you want!) Bravo to the whole team again and kudos to all of you too! :)

[> [> Does Buffy care? -- Helen, 01:31:25 08/15/01 Wed

Well done Nina, I think Buffy is the hardest of all to give any coherent analysis of. She often seems like a cypher - the other scoobies revolve around her, and they are in so many ways easier to relate to.

Does Buffy care about the thousands she must have saved? I think so.

Season three Consequences:

Faith: People need us to survive. In the balance, nobody's gonna cry over some random bystander who got caught in the crossfire.

Buffy: I am.

[> [> [> Re: Does Buffy care? -- verdantheart, 06:19:00 08/15/01 Wed

Really? In a lot of ways I see Buffy as the most "normal" of the Scoobies. After all, if it weren't for the Slayer factor, she probably would have continued along her sosh-cheerleader path--probably not have had great friends like Willow and Xander, admitted outsiders. Perhaps it is this very centered-ness, this average-ness, that makes her seem opaque. We can't latch our analysis to obvious character quirks or flaws. She's a lot like the rest of us, only better, more self-sacrificing.

[> [> [> [> Thank you all! :) -- Nina, 08:34:21 08/15/01 Wed

Thank you! I'm happy if it makes a little sense and brings new way to watch at Buffy's character. :)

It was a great challenge, but really fun! Looking at everything through Buffy's eyes is quite an experience. I often forgot to do that during last season. That's why I could be so pissed off at her and her attitude. Maybe because she is a hero it is easier to relate to other characters that look more like us. I realized that Buffy's journey is a lot like anyone's journey in life. We are all torned between our mind and body. We try to merge them, be complete. Much like Buffy does with the Slayer and the girl in her. The Slayer powers are metaphorical for what we really are. We all are strong inside, we just need to acknlowledge it and accept it.

"Ophelia: Do you think that Buffy realized the 5th stage of grief (acceptance) by the end of last season? I've often thought she had. She had such a look of peace when she jumped into the portal. She seemed to have accepted her fate/purpose. I wonder if it's possible that she'll regress to earlier stages after she's been brought back."

Sincerly, I don't know! That's why I kept the issue opened! :) I don't believe she will regress though. She never has. One thing I didn't say (because it would have been a lot more work and I was too lazy at that point) is that each year is also a 5 steps to grief program by itself. Let's take season 5 for example. Buffy starts by denying Dracula's affirmations. She doesn't want to believe that her powers are rooted in darkness. That denial phase lasts until "Into the woods" when she switches to anger. As I said, in every episode after that her anger gets the better of her. After Crush she begins the bargaining phase. She bargains with Ben (if I laugh at his joke he'll like me), with herself (if I don't show how much I am in pain over my mother's death everything will be fine), with Dawn (I take your life on my shoulder). She's trying to learn more about herself. Until there's the depression phase in "Weigh of the world" and the acceptance phase in "The Gift". I did that fot every year (in my head!) and it pretty much work all the time (I'm not sure about the denial phase in year four though).

So yes, Buffy accepted her fate at the end of "The Gift", but each season she has accepted her fate as well. She did what she had to do to save the wrold. On the bigger picture it would just make sense that Buffy starts out in denial phase again in season 6 (doesn't want to return), then anger, bargaining... you know the rest! ;)

[> [> [> [> [> Acceptance -- Kerri, 09:14:21 08/15/01 Wed

So yes, Buffy accepted her fate at the end of "The Gift", but each season she has accepted her fate as well.

It's true that at the end of every season Buffy has done what she had to do, but it isn't until The Gift that she really understands. In PG and Becoming Buffy did what she needed to do to save the world but she didn't understand why. She only understands and accepts her place and importance as the Slayer in The Gift when she accepts love. She nolonger resents the sacrafices she has to make she is okay with them because she embraces love for Dawn, for her friends, and for humanity. She understands that her job isn't about bringing death it is about bringing life, and that is a job that Buffy *wants* to do.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Acceptance -- Brian, 09:43:41 08/15/01 Wed

Each year, Buffy has had to reaffirm her identity as a hero. Usually this happens in the 1st episode of each season.
Each season takes her through the various levels and layers of partaking the Hero's journey. Each season the depth of that journey has deepen, become tougher, and harder to accomplish. Each season she has returned harder, tougher, faster, and more sure of her job, her destiny. This last season showed her on the hero's journey to the God-head.
When Buffy jumps off that tower, she merges with those many demon dimensions, with the God-head. When she returns, it should be her choice to return, and she will be stronger, more centered, and more at peace with whom she is. She has merged with supernatural powers, and her task will be to find the balance her new powers and her humanity.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Excellent Points Kerri and Brian -- Dedalus, 20:04:29 08/15/01 Wed

I feel the same way about The Gift. That was the first time it all really came together for her. I mean, that expression on her face at the end ... you know she just "got it." And even though it was a sad ending, it was blissfully triumphant too. Running toward death, yet with a twinkle in her eye and a bright expression, embracing life at the same time, the sun rising in the background ... I mean, come on. That's what it is all about. I know some don't feel this way, but it was such a beautiful climax/resolution, it's almost a shame to continue on with the series.

Than again, scratch that last part.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Scalability of the Hero's Journey -- Humanitas, 13:21:35 08/16/01 Thu

First of all, I gotta say, Nina, WOW! You did a great job with a difficult character. I'm so glad I got back to the board in time to see this.

I just wanted to comment on the way that the Hero's Journey (which it seems is another way of expressing the Grief Cycle) works on so many different scales in BtVS. There is the grand multi-season arc, the arc of each individual season, and the arc of each episode or small group of episodes. At each level the pattern is reapeated: stasis, intrusion, reaction, action, resolution. That fractal quality distinguishes this show from, say, Forever Knight (a show that I enjoyed, but was never compelled by), and is what keeps us coming back for more.

[> [> [> [> Re: Does Buffy care? -- John Burwood, 09:27:17 08/15/01 Wed

Maybe the question is not: does Buffy care? but : for whom does Buffy care? think back to WttH - Giles tried to convince her to fulfil her destiny & protect the world & she did not want to know, but the moment Willow was in danger she was rushing to the rescue, and whenJesse was abducted, she dashing along intothe underworld to save him - with little chance of success & at great risk, & in ep100 she was ready to save Dawn if she sacrificed the world. It is for identifiable individuals that she cares, rather than for humanity & theworld as a whole. She cares in a real emotional way, rather than out of a detached &rational sense of moral duty. The essence of Buffy's character & attitudes is surely emotion, not calculation.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Does Buffy care? -- Kerri, 10:48:04 08/15/01 Wed

It is for identifiable individuals that she cares, rather than for humanity & theworld as a whole.

Yes this is true, and in season 5 Buffy had begun to become detached from humanity. It was through Buffy's love for Dawn-her emotional connection to the individual-that brings Buffy back to humanity. Dawn is humanity-the part of Buffy that she loves-and Dawn helps Buffy to reconnect with her purpose as the slayer because she realizes how much she loves humanity and that it is something worth saving. This gives Buffy peace in knowing that she has brought life not death, and life is something Buffy loves more than anything.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Does Buffy care? -- John Burwood, 12:09:02 08/15/01 Wed

To amplify my last post, which could have beenbetter phrased, with reference to the earlier post about problems writing the character in Dark Alchemy. Love the story, BTW, but I agree about the problem writing Buffy. Remember that when storybreaking Buffy scripts Joss / co always work out 'the Buffy' of the story - namely the emotional journey has to go through. You will need to work this out, but I do not see how until S6 starts & you can learn how Buffy has reacted to death. Don't ask what Buffy feels about humanity - people who say they care about humanity are either bona fide saints or have intellectuallyconvince themselves it is morally right to 'care' - this is not caring as gut feeling. Humanity as a whole is an abstract concept - gut love can only be felt for identifiable individuals not for abstract anonymities like the human race or society.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Buffy and fanfiction -- Nina, 15:19:44 08/15/01 Wed

I love your point! It is true that in writing Buffy most people fail to work on her journey. Where does she starts and where does she end at the end of the story? I guess this is why ME's writers are paid so much! They have a lot more than "telling storie" to do.

Most of the time in fanfiction, Buffy ends up being the vessel of anyone's fantasy. Through her they live what they'd like to experience themselves. That's one of the reason she is so rarely Buffy-like. The hardest thing is to get in her head, try to understand why she acts like she do.

That's like the whole Spike thing in the beginning of season five. I don't say I found THE explanation (I'm sure I haven't!), but I figure there must be something that made her tick more than just: "I want people to hate me so I'm going to punch their bleachboy in every episode".

Another reason why it's so hard to get into Buffy's head is that we haven't really been in her head lately. It used to be easier to feel what she felt when Angel went bad. We could identify with the pain then. Last season, we hardly saw the world through Buffy's eyes. In "I was made to love you" it was the first time we got to see things like she did. And what happened? People disliked the episode. They found everyone too harsh with Spike. I think it was part of a strategy (it must be at least!). Buffy was in depression and , as someone mentioned above, all the other characters where finally getting somewhere with there lives. Most depressions go unnoticed. Had we been in Buffy's shoes and able to tell what she was feeling all the time, it wouldn't have been the same. We had to be cut from Buffy's world, we had to be split away from her, so we could feel how much she had grown in "The Gift". Well my humble opinion anyway (like always).

[> Dumb Blonde -- Cactus Watcher, 10:50:00 08/15/01 Wed

I've been wondering if Buffy's 'ignorance' in the early years wasn't just an act.
We've seen as time has gone on that, she's quite bright. High SAT scores may not mean as much as some colleges seem to think, but they don't come out of nowhere either. I wonder if Buffy didn't act dumb, in the early years (and occasionally even this past season) as a defense mechanism. Perhaps she felt that if people thought she wasn't very smart they wouldn't criticize her as harshly when she made real mistakes. On the otherhand, maybe it was an in-crowd mentality; that in the circle she ran around in at Hemmery High (and the one Cordy ruled at Sunnydale high) it wasn't really polite to act too intelligently.
As for it being a case of her just growing intellectually and getting smarter naturally as time past, I sincerely doubt it! Nobody develops like that. There are certainly late bloomers, but they don't act as dumb as Buffy did at the beginning.

[> [> Re: Dumb Blonde -- Nina, 11:08:10 08/15/01 Wed

Well I might have elborated on that part. I don't consider Buffy as a dumb blonde myself. I do believe that sometimes she just doesn't get it. It's quite evident looking in her eyes that she doesn't know what she is talking about sometimes. It's not part of an act. Buffy is intelligent and I agree that she wouldn't get high score like that if it wasn't *there* already. Professor Walsh said it herself: Buffy could do a lot more than B-. It's just that Buffy is not the intellectual type. She's emotional. She won't connect to something through a piece of paper (hence her dislike for books).

[> [> [> Re: Dumb Blonde -- John Burwood, 11:39:03 08/15/01 Wed

I agree , but I would add a spin - her intelligence is more creative than reason-based. Both her punning & her Malapropisms are examples of not thinking in a straight line - she thinks laterally, intuitively, imaginatively - not like Giles & Willow learning lots of facts & applying them in an organized way - but taking apparently unrelated concepts and mixing them together inoriginal ways - hence thinking Khaki trousers for Kakistos, but also hence thinking fertilizer bomb for volcano. By nature she thinks 'outside the box'.

[> [> [> [> Re: Dumb Blonde -- Anthony8, 12:05:23 08/15/01 Wed

And she has shown a facility to learn, retain and later use with great skill information that others (supposedly less attention deficity) have overlooked. I was specifically thinking of the scene in 'New Moon Rising' (was it NMR?) where she is freeing Oz and Riley from the Initiative and, with crossbow to the head of the base commander, tells the soldiers to let them by or she'll "go all William Burroughs." They're all "hunh?" She responds (I may be paraphrasing somewhat here): "was I the only one paying attention in English that day?"


[> [> [> [> [> Arcane bits of Buffyknowledge -- Tanker, 22:48:06 08/15/01 Wed

Besides the William Burroughs bit (which I don't get, btw), she once said that Faith "makes Godot look punctual" and commented to Giles that magic shop owners in Sunnydale have the life expectancy of a Spinal Tap drummer. Buffy is actually quite intelligent, and is capable of absorbing information and using it in creative ways. When she pays attention. Her academic problems are a result of being distracted by world-saving and personal issues. And possibly self-esteem issues, i.e. *she* thinks she's dumb, hence her confusion at her SAT scores.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Arcane bits of Buffyknowledge -- Rattletrap, 06:49:49 08/16/01 Thu

Borroughs tried a William Tell act with his wife, and accidentally shot and killed her.

Xander's comment about boring them to death with free prose is equally accurate, however.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Arcane bits of Buffyknowledge -- KoopaFanatic, 09:38:38 08/16/01 Thu

And let's not forget her correct use of the word "oeuvre." That alone dispels the whole "dumb blonde" thing in my mind. In my entire college career I've never come across a person who could even pronounce it properly, let along work it into conversation! ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Buffy and language -- d'Herblay, 20:37:33 08/16/01 Thu

One of my favorite of Buffy's habits is that she questions the meanings of dead metaphors. In "What's My Line, Pt. 2," she wonders "whole nine yards of what?" And in "No Place Like Home" after telling Giles that he'll be making money "hand over fist," she actually starts holding a hand over her fist, looking at it puzzledly. I think this shows how language is alive for her, which counts as a sign of intelligence in my book. Not that I have a book. Of signs which are counted.

Off topic, I'd just like to thank Masq for putting this thread back on the active board. archives faster than I think!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy and language -- Lurker Becoming Restless, 11:52:54 08/18/01 Sat

I totally agree about the language in Buffy. I know some people who seem to think that the use of language in Dawson's Creek is more interesting and I find this very difficult to stomach. It is just as unbearable to see television or film in which words are treated like artifacts that must be passed around carefully so they don't break as it is to hear cliches being chucked around like rubber balls. On Buffy, communication is active and energetic as it is (or should be) in real life.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffyspeak -- mundusmundi, 14:49:12 08/18/01 Sat

I've never been able to bear more than 5 minutes of Dawson's Creek,, but from what I gather every character talks exactly the same. Ditto the much ballyhooed Gilmore Girls. Not a bad show (I can stomach it longer than Dawson, though Lauren Graham does get on my nerves), but right now the clever dialogue sounds too much like clever dialogue. Maybe it'll sound more natural once the writers realize that their audience is hooked and they needn't resort to breathless His Girl Friday-style monologues.

Buffy, though, is different. The dialogue is distinct and witty, but somehow it's always sounded natural. I wonder if that's because Joss and his crew understand actual speech patterns. They insert lots of stutters and pauses. Also, each character has his/her own voice. Buffy talks different from Willow, Willow from Giles, and so forth. About the only other writer I can think of offhand who matches this is Elmore Leonard. He's been doing it for decades.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffyspeak -- KoopaFanatic, 13:13:24 08/19/01 Sun

Exactly right about the character voices... I'm one of those sad latecomers to BtVS, and I spent most of last summer going back and reading transcripts and scripts. After the first couple scripts, I realized you don't even need to read the character name to figure out who's talking.
Well, sometimes anyway.

The really scary thing is that the dialogue really is pretty natural. When you read it, it sounds stilted and not-at-all like the pretty prose we've come to expect on TV. Aloud, though, it sounds much like real English. Rarely do we see movies or TV that actually capture the odd word usements that people structure...

For a comparison, watch an episode of Babylon 5 right before Buffy. JMS couldn't write a believable line of dialogue to save his life. I've always wondered what B5 might have been had Joss been doing rewrites on it ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> She quotes Robert Frost too!! -- Rahael, 08:08:04 08/22/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> The Spinal Tap comment always cracked me up since... -- Anthony8, 12:14:56 08/16/01 Thu

...Buffy would have only been 3 years old when the Spinal Tap mockumentary came out (and somehow she doesn't seem like the type of person who, in her teens or later, would have rented a 10 year old movie about an imaginary metal band). I recently recommended the Spinal Tap movie to a local, just into his twenties, movie rental store clerk and he did not realize that the movie was a joke. He thought, "oh, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zep, and Spinal Tap"--all great 70's metal bands.

I always thought that Buffy's Spinal Tap comment was one of those anachronistic pieces of dialogue that reflected the writer's own age bias. O/T somewhat, but I was watching the 'Bring It On' DVD with the director's commentary enabled and he pointed out that one of the big inauthenticities in teen films is that there is almost always a character (or even many characters) who listens to the type of music reflective of the director's age, tastes and personal high school or college soundtrack and would be unlikely to be found in any contemporary teen's music collection. Naturally, he had a 17 year old character in the movie who was heavily into the Clash, a band that had pretty much split before the character would have been out of diapers.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> actually... -- dan, 12:43:06 08/16/01 Thu

i'm twenty-three, and plenty of my friends who are as young as I am or younger love the film *Spinal Tap*. it's a classic.

Some of us like the Clash a lot, too. ;->

My favorite bit of Buffyarcana is in the early season 5 ep (can't remember the title for the life of me) when she's telling Willow about how "workin' hard is hard work" and how she had envisioned (paraphrase alert!) "a montage, with inspirational music: me in class raising my hand, me training with giles, me falling asleep over a book with my glasses falling off my nose - 'cause in my montage, i wear glasses". Has anyone else heard "montage" used correctly on a TV show?


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: actually... -- Andy, 13:07:00 08/16/01 Thu

Yeah, Spinal Tap is one of those movies, like Star Wars, that has a way of renewing itself with each generation. Not to mention that for kids, one of the ways to be hip and knowing is to try and dig up old stuff to enjoy instead of the shallow new stuff that everyone else likes. I'm an 80's kid but when I was in school there were people who wouldn't shut up about Led Zeppelin, for instance (of course, to some extent, I was one of them) :)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: actually... -- Nina, 17:28:45 08/16/01 Thu

Actually, we sent a few French words your way! (don't worry we use plenty anglicisms here too!) I thought about including that part about the montage in the essay, but I didn't dare to do more than Wisewoman or OnM (one page was enough for me!)

About the word "oeuvre" mentioned bellow (I think), it is true that SMG has a knack for French words! (by the way "oeuvre" is not so hard to prononce once you get that the voyel sound "oeu" is only a "buh" sound) That's one of our "old French" rules that scares all the French learners: what you hear is not what you get on paper. Maybe one day the old people at the Academie Française will realize that 14th century French is not cool! :)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Spinal Tap comment always cracked me up since... -- KoopaFanatic, 13:29:29 08/19/01 Sun

The interest in a previous generation's music and pop culture has always seemed pretty common. When I was in high school ('92-'96) Pink Floyd, Journey, the Beatles, the Clash and Bob Dylan all had their dedicated fan groups. In the theater clique, watching "The Wall" after our spring play was a major ritual.

Additionally, plenty of people discover all sorts of new music and movies upon hitting college. In my first year, I remember branching out heavily from the mainstream pop/rock that had gotten me through high school... Enya, NIN, all sorts of classical, and George Clinton all played a major role in that year. It doesn't strike me as too unlikely that someone would have dragged Buffy (and other freshmen) into a hall-wide viewing of such college classics as Spinal Tap and Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon, and Animal House.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Do we really know what kind of music/films the SG like? -- A8, 17:39:39 08/19/01 Sun

We know Xander likes 'Apocalypse Now,' that Giles is partial to The Who and that Dawn listens to "aggressively cheerful music sung by persons selected for their ability to dance," (we probably can guess who that refers to--name your 'mook' or 'midriff'), but what do we really know about the SG's tastes in entertainment besides the incidental music that can be heard in the background at the Bronze or occasional party that is shown?

All this talk about one generation rediscovering the styles and entertainment of previous generations got me to thinking about how some nostalgia must not seem so alien to kids these days. When, 'Freaks & Geeks' was on, the clothing styles, if not the music, weren't that different than what they were showing in the Old Navy ads that played during the commercial breaks. Yikes, and I never thought those clothes were that attractive back then!


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> SG taste in music -- Rattletrap, 05:21:38 08/20/01 Mon

From the posters that decorate the walls in every episode, we are led to believe that the entire gang are huge fans of Widespread Panic and The String-Cheese Incident. Does anyone know what the story behind this is? Both of these bands have picked up many of the Grateful Dead's old fans since *sniff* Jerry Garcia's demise *sniff*. Is one of the set designers a Deadhead or something?

[> [> [> [> Other evidence -- Cactus Watcher, 12:30:36 08/15/01 Wed

To add to what Anthony8 just said-
In Becoming part II when Buffy and Joyce are arguing just before Joyce warns her to stay in the house or not come back, Buffy wishes she had the time to do a number of things instead of having to go save the world. One of them was just to be able to go up in her room and study. It wasn't her first choice certainly, but the fact she mentioned it at all is significant I think.

[> [> Re: Dumb Blonde -- Rufus, 23:54:31 08/15/01 Wed

I have to remember my experience in college as a petite, blonde. I found that some of the men in my Crim class got downright hostile when I did well in tests (beating them that means) one had a tantrum and said that I couldn't possibly have gotten such a good mark cause "you're blonde". I told him that the pigment of my hair or gender and size didn't change my ability to think. Well, then I told him to "piss off" in a very unladylike fashion. I have found that my stature and hair colour made many assume that I was going to be a dumb blonde til I opened my mouth. Then I had to deal with an atmosphere of threatened hostility and constant teasing. When I first saw BVS I was glad that they were making a show about someone who was the same size as me at the same age. It's so easy to stereotype people and we all do it. Buffy proves that brains come in all forms...some of them blonde.

[> [> [> OT: I'm a tall brunette and had similar experiences in college -- verdantheart, 06:17:51 08/16/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> I apologize... -- Cactus Watcher, 08:46:24 08/16/01 Thu

for the assinine male behavior you two and others experienced. The real problem the guys were griping about may have had nothing to do with you personally. That hardly excuses what they did.
I can think of two similar incidents in college. The first was a statistics class I was required to take outside my department. Everyone else in the class was in business school. There was exactly one woman in the class, and by chance we sat on opposite sides of the room. She and I were getting by far the best grades. When test time would draw near, the guys near me would gather around to find out what I was going to spend the most time studying. The guys on the other side of the room seemed to ignore the girl. The real difference seemed to be that the instructor made a point after each assignment of giving a compliment to the woman for her work to encourage her. I never saw any of the guys grumble about it, but I can image some of the dumber guys thought she was getting special treatment, when the instructor was just trying to encourage a very good student to stay in business school. Don't think I'm suggesting that you're cases were similar. They probably weren't.
In the other incident I can think of, the shoe was on the other foot. It was a class of about 12, half men, half women. Being an upper level class, we all knew each other. One day I happened to overhear two of the women talking about the class. They were griping that the men were getting special treatment. I was startled and a little offended. I walked away without interrupting. I thought about it awhile, and decided that concerning this particular professor they might be right. The professor did seem to be favoring the men a little. Not only was the professor an attractive young woman, but the two women who were griping about her, regularly walked to church with her!

[> [> [> Re: Dumb Blonde -- anom, 12:21:23 08/16/01 Thu

I took an introductory computer class in college (back in the punchcard days!). The instructor used a term--don't remember what it was, but a pretty basic one--without explaining it. (Probably forgot it was an intro class.) We all looked at each other uncomfortably. No one wanted to admit not knowing what it meant. Finally a small blonde a few seats away (wasn't you, Rufus, was it? @>) AU, '70s?) asked, "What's a [whatever it was]?" The relief in the room was palpable, but a guy sitting next to me leaned over & said, "What a dumb question!" I answered, "Come off it, you know we all wanted to ask. She's the only one who had the guts." I wonder if being treated as dumb may teach some blondes not to be afraid to ask questions that might make them look ignorant. In a paradoxical way, it might actually be empowering.

[> [> [> Re: Dumb Blonde -- purplegrrl, 14:56:05 08/20/01 Mon

I agree, Rufus. When I was in college I had to put up with people thinking I was either a Bio or Chem major because since I was blonde and somewhat attractive I couldn't possibly be a Geology major (which I was). And I had some of these people in my Geo classes!! Being blonde and being smart tends to put a cramp in some people's styles. ;)

And, until Buffy came along, I was really tired of the blonde in horror films always getting killed by the end of the first act. One of the many reasons I don't usually watch them.

[> [> [> Stereotypes for every purpose, really. -- Solitude1056, 21:39:21 08/20/01 Mon

A friend of mine's hair is naturally a very pretty light strawberry blonde, and she had her natural haircolor through most of college. She was also a double major in History & Theology, and graduated magna cum laude in both - and no, I don't mean a concentration, I mean a double load o' classes. The woman is a walking textbook brilliance case. She frequently commented that she got treated as a nitwit because of her hair, and it put a chip on her shoulder... so she dyed her hair red. To her astonishment, treatment from friends was radically different. They were acting as if they expected her to be feisty, argumentative, and, well, easy. Yes, in the sexual sense.

Blondes are treated like they're vapid, brunettes get the brainy stereotype (and worse so if they wear glasses), and redheads carry the connotation of being sex-obsessed, fight-obsessed spitfires. Oh, and don't forget those with black hair: exotic, mysterious, unapproachable. And yes, the stereotypes exist on the opposite side of the gender coin, too. Look at the fact that we've got a character in our ongoing group fanfic that's supposed to be mysterious & exotic. There wasn't even any discussion; he's got black hair, like Angel. And Riley was a brunet. No way to win, unless you take my sister's route and change your hair color every week...

[> [> [> [> Stereotypes for every purpose, really. -- Brian, 03:42:24 08/21/01 Tue

Absolutely. What's interesting about hair color is that it is so not gender specific. Being in theatre my hair color has been nearly every shade there is, and people who didn't know me would react in those stereotypical ways to whatever my color happened to be.

[> [> Re: Dumb Blonde -- Javoher, 11:18:25 08/16/01 Thu

The points above about the "dumb blonde" stereotype, and how it extends beyond people who are dumb, or blonde, or female, are quite valid. It's quite common in high school for girls to hide their smarts - we all know that. One of the smartest women I ever met had beautiful white-blonde hair, a gorgeous pink complexion, and a petite figure. She had guys clustered around her, for a while. She was also a mathematician by profession, going back to college for her degree in music. As soon as she opened her mouth and made it obvious, effortlessly, that she could think circles around them, she no longer had guys clustered around her.

In the guys' defense, no one really likes to make friends with someone who is obviously a lot smarter. The friendship becomes too one-sided. Now if they're just threatened by a female who can hold her own and doesn't bother to cover up her intelligence, I withdraw my defense.

If Buffy was "Cordeliaesque" (great description, Nina!) in her first high school, then acting smart would have been fatal to her popularity with boys, which is very important to her, and would have gotten her kicked out of her clique. When she reached Sunnydale High, she already felt like a sideshow freak. She had to cover up her disproportionate strength, much like Superman, and probably covered up her intelligence much the same way.

Buffy is perfectly capable of drawing conclusions based on her frame of reference and defending those conclusions. I'm thinking of "Checkpoint" in the class where she mentions Rasputin's impossibility to kill, and the professor ragging on her for her inferring that Rasputin was indeed evil and not human, and for bringing up the same thing about Prussian generals the week before. I remember thinking to myself, Buffy read the homework?!? But when it pertains to her calling, she does do the homework and thinks intelligently about her options and choices. I agree that Buffy seems to pull in knowledge by osmosis, and what she doesn't need she doesn't absorb. And she picked up a very abstract point in that episode that no one else did, including me - that it's all about power and who has it. She knew then that her power didn't mean her physical strength or her ability to heal quickly, but the whole package that is Buffy, intelligence and loving heart and all.

Perhaps Willow's unusual intelligence intimidates Buffy. Certainly the way Willow learns, by reading and thinking abstractly and playing by the rules, is rewarded by the school system more than the way Buffy learns, which is by doing and absorbing what is pertinant. That's enough to intimidate any kid. However, defending my point above, if the levels of raw intelligence weren't roughly equal they wouldn't be the friends they are.

[> [> [> Dumb Blonde -- Brian, 13:13:27 08/18/01 Sat

AS Xander said in "The Gift" - "Smart women are so hot-"
Of course, he was an adult by the time he could vocalize that thought.

[> SAT Scores -- Solitude1056, 12:16:03 08/15/01 Wed

Hm. I got the impression, when the SG were finding out their SAT scores, that Buffy's SATs were suspiciously high, given her disinclination to test well (or just work well within structured environment like SATs, etc). Given the circumstances, I concluded at the time that the Mayor & his gang had possibly found a way to "bump" Buffy's SAT scores up high enough that she'd take the chance & get out of town. This conclusion was further emphasize by Joyce's immediate reaction that the high scores meant Buffy wasn't boxed in to going to a local instate school, and to start encouraging Buffy to look at east coast schools (read: far away from the Hellmouth).

[> [> Re: SAT Scores -- John Burwood, 13:05:56 08/15/01 Wed

But the mayor would have wanted Buffy out of town before Graduation - high SATs would only get her out after Graduation. We do not have SATs in the Uk, but I got the impression they were multiple choice questions, and the point of multiple choice questions is that they do not simply test memory, but the ability to think intelligently & fast to work out answers to questions on basis of what makes most sense rather than simple computer-like memory recall. Buffy was told by a teacher in S1 Ep4 that she had a first rate mind & could think on her feet - ideal for multiple choice tests, I would have thought.

[> [> Re: SAT Scores -- John Burwood, 13:47:20 08/15/01 Wed

But surely the Mayor would want Buffy out of town before Graduation - high SATs would not get her out until after Graduation. We have no SATs in the UK, but I got the impression they were multiple-choice questions. The point about multiple choice questions is that they test ability to make fast choices intelligently rather than simply remember masses of facts. Buffy was described by Dr Gregory in S1 Ep4 as having a first rate mind & being able to think on her feet. Ideal temperament for the intelligent guesswork needed to do well in multiple choice tests, I would have thought.

[> [> [> Re: SAT Scores -- Nina, 15:31:33 08/15/01 Wed

I don't have the script handy right now so I am not sure in which episode it takes place, but beofre she got her SAT scores, Buffy did some pratice with Giles. She was improvising answers andwas not even listening to all the choices. She said something like: "B. The answer is B, because there has been no B for awhile".

I remember when I was 16 I had to take a governement geography test ( a bit like the SAT) with multiple choices. I used to be the second best in class and as soon as we got to learn to answer to multiple choices, I just flunked the class. Never got around to understand the system. During the final exam, instead of answering with what I knew, but using statistic to know which answer to choose, I got a good score. Maybe Buffy was that lucky herself! ;)

[> Re: Buffy: 1st annual character posting party -- JBone, 20:05:05 08/15/01 Wed

Usually when I respond to one of these character essays, I'm either responding to something that I believe to be incorrect or something that I agree with that I haven't considered before. And most of the time it involves a character that I perceive not to be fully examined and/or discussed to his/her true meaning. Buffy, as she seems to do on the show, breaks a lot of these rules.

Let's face it, Buffy is the reason I started watching in the first place. I saw a couple of those big hair, short skirt ads, and thought that I should check this new show out. I saw the original movie, and was somewhat unimpressed. But, if the new show was at least as good, I could watch it for a few episodes. Little did I know the brilliant dramatic horror that awaited me. Buffy, and the show sucked me in with little ease, and I became a happy addict. I dare to say that the part of Buffy is the best written, best directed, best stunt action performed, and best acted female drama role in the history of American television.

In the last fifty years, the best female parts have traditionally come on television, rather than the male dominated American film industry. There have been many strongly written female roles on television in the later half of the twentieth century up until today. But they are usually dependent on some man or at least for an older woman. Not that good drama can't be centered around an older woman, but to me, they don't stand up to Buffy.

I feel I'm starting to ramble with no clear outcome. I'll let the rest of you brainiacs decide if I made any kind of sense or some kind of point. Thank you for your patience.

[> Re: Buffy: 1st annual character posting party -- Wisewoman, 17:27:29 08/16/01 Thu

Oh Nina, what a lovely thing to come back from vacation to find your Buffy character post! I think you've done an excellent job of tackling the various aspects of her character, which I have always found the most difficult one to comprehend. I tell myself that it's because Buffy is a hero and heroes are different from ordinary people, but you have made her seem much more human to me with your perspective. Congratulations on a superb job!

[> Great Job, Nina -- Lurker Becoming Restless, 11:46:29 08/18/01 Sat

Very difficult character to do but you handled it really well. Like the jungle cat stuff.

[> [> The word we dare not speak nowadays -- John Burwood, 01:34:37 08/19/01 Sun

Just been re-reading the whole Buffy thread of posts, and have not noticed there is a critical word missing - a word for some reason nobody ever seems to be able to use nowadays without getting embarrassed. We call her the hero, but that refers to courage or being the centre of the story. There is another word we have missed - the word is 'good' - in the simple old-fashioned moral sense. Not infallibly - as Angel told Faith in consequences, she falls down occasionally - and not in reasoned sense of trying to be moral, but in simple emotive instinct. She cannever see someone in trouble, not just from demons, but from bullies or anyone - remember how she moved to protect Sheila from Snyder bylying in School Hard, yet she rarely seems to expect gratitude, or appreciation - or karmic reward! She just does it, by instinct, without thinking. How many of us do that? And why do we shy away from using the word nowadays?

A defining 'cool' challenge -- John Burwood, 13:08:14 08/16/01 Thu

I am trying to bodge up a poster profile for Masq which will foster the illusionthat I have both a life & a soul, & I have a problem. The list asks for a coolest topic. Can anyone help this faller off the precipice of the generation gap by defining just exactly what it means to 'be cool'. Zeppo-Xander had the same problem & found it by remaining silent in face of Cordelia's taunts, but that was what I usually tried & it never seemed to work & a thread which says nothing seems rather pointless. So can anyone produce a definition? Or am I right in my current surmise that the concept is definitively indefinable?

[> Don't you have to decide that for yourself?? -- Masq, 13:31:12 08/16/01 Thu

I think Xander discovered the real meaning of "cool" was not doing whatever everybody else considered "cool", but being himself and self-confident about it.

[> 'Cool' is in the eye of the beholder... -- Anthony8, 13:39:38 08/16/01 Thu least with respect to the poster profile question IMO. So for me, it would mean a topic that created an unusual connection between things for which there wouldn't seem at first glance to be an obvious tie. Then like a nuclear reaction, the topic would generate even more not-so-obvious connections in the ensuing discussion.

As far as 'cool' goes culturally, who knows? The term is tossed about with such casual abandon by virtually every age group (although I have never heard anyone from my grandparents' generation, 80 and older, use the term), it must mean something different to each generation. The term originates from its use in jazz from the Be-Bop era and refers to an attitude and style that is laid back and aloof--doing one's own thing without caring whether anyone else likes it or not. Miles Davis was so cool, he turned his back on the audience preferring to play directly to the other musicians rather than engage those who came to observe his 'coolness.'

With kids, throughout the years, the term seems to have drifted away from its original meaning and has been generally used to identify something synonymous with what's hip or currently 'it' in terms of popularity and fashion. 'Phat,' 'awesome,' 'gnarly,' 'rad,' 'bitchin',' 'groovy,' and 'keen' all appear to have been used at one time or another in place of cool in that context.

By the way where does the term 'bodge' come from? Never heard that one before.


[> [> Re: 'Cool' is in the eye of the beholder... -- John Burwood, 11:07:45 08/17/01 Fri

Thanks for the analyses. 'To bodge', or 'to bodge up' means 'to assemble or perform clumsily' - can have connotations, depending on context, of improvisation or ineptitude or both. Some flexibility of definition here, but not quite as much as 'cool', I think

[> [> [> Re: 'Cool' is in the eye of the beholder... -- anom, 19:48:15 08/18/01 Sat

"'To bodge', or 'to bodge up' means 'to assemble or perform clumsily' - can have connotations, depending on context, of improvisation or ineptitude or both"

Hmm. Sounds like a classic Carrollian portmanteau word coming from "botch" & "kludge."

[> Re: A defining 'cool' challenge -- fresne, 14:06:46 08/16/01 Thu

Well, there are bound to be many definitions. Fashionable. Hip/hep. Whatever. Problem is we use it so many ways.
"How'r you feeling?" "I'm cool."
Response when given a complete set of Buffy DVD's. "Oh, my God, this is so cool!" Like being optional somewhere in that statement.
When discussing a man/woman who one finds madly attractive. Looking carefully vague, gazing into the distance stage right. "Yeah, he/she's cool."

Whenever I try to define cool, I always come back to a class in which we read and discussed Baldassare Castiglione's Book of the Courtier /Book of the Lady. Great book. Very interesting.

Basically, a bunch of courtiers and ladies get together and decide to define the perfect gentleman/lady by way of entertainment. (Well, you t.v.). Lots of humanistic dialog and discourse later, they decide that the perfect gentleman/lady must possess the quality of sprezzatura/panache/or as my professor explained it, cool like the Fonz. Not just calm in a crisis, but controlled. Not just doing things, but doing them with style. As in one example, get shot in the thigh while fighting on the battlefields in the Lowlands, sprezzatura is composing a poem about your thigh. I think it was Sydney, which given that he wrote the Defense of Poesy makes some sort of sense.

But anyway, for me cool (usage as in he/she/it is cool) is all about style. Lord Peter Whimsy is cool. Sherlock Holmes, very cool. Miles Vorkosigan can be cool when he isn't being manic depressive. Arthur Fonzerelli, of course, defines cool.

One can not try to be cool, thus paving the way to uncoolness. Instead, it must well from inside. Thus Xander is only cool when he stops trying. Was it not the coolest when he fixed the window in IWMTLY, spouting carpenter factoids, being competent, happy in his own skin.

[> [> I salute Fresne as our own homegrown Philosopher Of Cool. ;-) -- Solitude1056, 14:32:55 08/16/01 Thu

[> [> [> Re: I salute Fresne as our own homegrown Philosopher Of Cool. ;-) -- fresne, 09:45:50 08/17/01 Fri

I except your salutations and am proud to say that I am both homegrown and 1/3 the calories of imported Philosopher's of Cool.

Fresne - Pondering what to wear tonight and that age old dichotomy - Hot chicks are cooler than hot guys, because we can wear fewer clothes when dancing, not to menation the cool/fashion factor of carrying a fan.

[> I'm gonna throw a rock into a hornets' nest and see what happens. :-) -- Anthony8, 15:02:03 08/16/01 Thu

With reference only to the jazz definition of cool in my above post, here's my assessment of 'cool' as it pertains to the Jossverse:

Angel--cool. Spike--not (Sorry, he's way too hot to be cool!)

Faith--cool. Buffy and Kendra--not (Too self-conscious and obedient).

Gunn--cool. Cordelia--nu, uh (those who dictate to others what is fashinoable or trend-setting are never cool)

Lindsay--cool (why do you think Angel was so threatened by him?) Lilah--nope (anyone who can put a lump of coal between her cheeks and produce a diamond is way too uptight to ever be cool.)

Drusilla--cool (but very, very scary). Darla--no. (She's too pretty and snotty).

Giles the Ripper (cool...and dangerous). Giles the Watcher--not (Too stern and stuffy).

Jenny Calendar (cool as the other side of the pillow). Joyce--negative (too sweet, too 'mom').

Oz--cool, of course. Willow--nope.

Tara--cool (unassuming self-awareness and empathy are always very cool).

That's my take. What's yours?


[> [> Re: I'm gonna throw a rock into a hornets' nest and see what happens. :-) -- d'Herblay, 21:06:40 08/16/01 Thu

Chanterelle/Lily--uncool, allows herself to be defined by others; Anne--cool.

[> Defining Coolness As: The tune 'Step Right Up' by Tom Waits -- OnM, 21:39:08 08/16/01 Thu

[> [> Hey's some PG news and a video that might interest you... -- A8, 21:44:34 08/16/01 Thu

Go to, if you like:

[> Ever noticed that someone trying to be cool isn't so hot? -- Marie, 04:13:24 08/17/01 Fri

[> [> OK, this board's driving me bonkers! -- Marie, 04:17:37 08/17/01 Fri

What's going on! All day yesterday I was getting the message the forum server was not responsing, today I can't get into a single message without having to stop and reload - every sodding time!! (And I'm not even going to mention the disappearing threads...)

And now it's taking messages - but TWICE!!



[> [> [> Re: OK, this board's driving me bonkers! -- Brian, 04:56:15 08/17/01 Fri

I feel your pain. The same thing is happening to me.
Very frustrating!

[> [> [> needs some serious fixing -- Cactus Watcher, 07:29:31 08/17/01 Fri

And would someone please shoot, and put it out of its misery? Every time I get shunted through there, this site comes to a screeching halt!

[> [> [> hey Marie, did you get my email address? -- vampire hunter D, 12:42:41 08/17/01 Fri

I tried reposting it yesterday because I remember you asked for it. But that thread has totally disappeared (it's not even in the archives.

[> [> [> [> Yes! I sent you an e-mail using your link here - didn't you get it? -- Marie, 16:04:02 08/17/01 Fri

[> [> cool or cool not. there is no try. @>) -- anom, 20:07:27 08/19/01 Sun

Respect my authority -- spotjon, 14:32:02 08/16/01 Thu

Buried deep down in the "Buffy and God" discussion, the point was made that Joss seems to have a problem with authority, and I responded by citing a few examples of this. After which, Dedalus gave his thoughts as to why authority is such a bad thing. (Note: The preceding links probably won't work after the thread has been moved into the archives.) Dedalus summed up his thoughts with this phrase: "Rebellion pushes us farther." I'm going to spend a little time disputing the anti-authoritarian philosophy that Dedalus is proposing, hopefully in a way that makes. Here goes.

"Without rebellion, we would have no [C]onstitution. We would still think the sun revolved around the earth. We would have no ... heck, no Christianity. No Protestantism. No anything, really." - Dedalus

What authority is: Authority is when a person or group of persons possesses the right to tell other persons what to do and/or what not to do (i.e., how to behave). Parents possess authority; teachers possess authority; governments possess authority. At least they all do in my opinion. The important aspect of my definition is that certain persons and institutions actually do possess the right to command a certain type of behavior in others. Parents have the right to tell their children how to behave. Policemen possess the right to keep us from driving faster than the speed limit. Employers have the right to demand that their employees perform work as defined in their contracts. And as such, if these people have the right to demand a certain type of behavior, then those who are under their authority have the obligation to submit to their instruction.

Now, I hear Dedalus and others lauding the philosophy that says, in order to become the best you can be you must deny and rebel against authority. In his post, Dedalus cites such movies as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the Star Wars trilogy as illustrations of his view. In those stories, the characters who rebelled and broke all the rules were the ones who finally broke free from the "The System," and had "infinite potential and took everything to a whole new level." Of course, these stories are only fiction, so while they perform an excellent work in illustrating the espoused philosophy, they cannot be used as examples of that philosophy's supposed superiority.

Before I move on to the examples given, I want to take a look at whether rebellion against authority can ever be right. Assuming, as I have above, that most authority is legitimate (e.g., parental and governmental authority), then do we ever have the right to act against that authority? If they have the right to tell us what to do, then what right do we have to argue against them? I would submit that we have have the right to rebel against authority when, and only when, that authority has overstepped its bounds. When the government demands that you cannot practice your religion, or speak publicly about your beliefs, then the government has overstepped its bounds. When a parent tells you to shoplift because you can get away with it more easily than they, then they have overstepped their bounds. When a manager demands "favors" from you, with a threat of unemployment, he has overstepped his bounds. In such cases, you are totally in your right to rebel, because that person or institution has demanded things that it has no right to demand. But, so long as they have remained within their rightful boundaries, you have no right to act against their wishes.

The examples that Dedalus cites are few and brief, but important. The first is that we would have no (American) Constitution without rebellion. While this is true, it is important to note that England overstepped her bounds in the Americas (or at least that was the rationalization by the Revolutionaries). I don't know enough about American history to say whether or not the Colonies were justified in rebelling against the British, but I assume that they were. Rebellion against unjust authorities is justifiable, right, and necessary, but that doesn't mean we are justified in denying a just authority. (Just how many "justs" can I fit into one sentence, I wonder?)

The second example is Christianity. I agree that there was a certain spirit of rebellion in early Christianity, but it was always directed against the corruption of those who sat in the places of authority, not against the authority itself. Jesus spoke out against the religious leaders of His day, not because He was against authority, but because the leaders were themselves corrupt. He had no patience for those who were hypocritical in their beliefs, no matter how holy they appeared on the outside. In fact, Jesus commanded His disciples to obey the very religious leaders He was speaking out against: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them" (Matthew 23:2-4). Jesus spoke out against the zealots of the day who wished to overthrow the Roman rulers, and even commanded His followers to pay the Roman tax ("Give to Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to God that which is God's" - Matt. 22:21). Still later, the apostle Paul echoed Jesus' sentiments in his letter to the church in Rome, when he said, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves" (Romans 13:1,2). I would recommend reading the entire 13th chapter of this book, which gives a good reason why a Christian needs to submit to governmental authority.

The third example is Protestantism, which of course is closely tied to Christianity (at least some of us hope so). The Protestant Reformers were speaking out against corruption in the church leadership at this time, a problem which was very pervasive. In fact, the Reformers at first had no intention of branching off into their own churches apart from the Roman church, but rather attempted to (and here's the key word) reform the church from within. It was only after the Catholic church refused to acknowledge its own corruption that the Reformers started their own denominations. I don't know that the Reformers were totally justified in everything they did in their protests, but the movement was not anti-authoritarian, at least not in the beginning.

I would ask anyone here to give an example of an unjustified break from and against authority which resulted in something better and brighter, and which did not fall under its own weight after a short time. I wouldn't bother throwing in new philosophies from the last century that are still around, since we have yet to see whether or not they will stand the test of time.

Rules were not made to be broken - they were made to be followed; but rulers were not made to be autonomous - they are still subject to judgement. We need rules if only because we have such a strong desire to disobey. Anarchy is never a justifiable position to take, in my opinion.


P.S. - I will be out of town for most of the weekend starting Friday, so I won't be around to reply until I'm back. Just so you don't think I'm avoiding the debate. :-)

[> Re: Respect my authority -- voyageofbeagle, 16:42:09 08/16/01 Thu

I think the problem with your argument: "I would submit that we have have the right to rebel against authority when, and only when, that authority has overstepped its bounds." is that "overstepping bounds" is not something that can be clearly defined.

You site the American Revolution as an instance of when the authority (England) overstepped its bounds. In the eyes of the colonists, they certainly had. "No taxation without representation" was a powerful rally cry.

However, in the eyes of England, they had poured immense amounts of money and resources into making this "savage" land inhabitable, and in turn expected to reap the benefits in the form of raw materials, like timber, and a captive population that would buy English goods.

In their eyes, a relatively small segment of the population had declared, "Hey, thanks for all the help getting this all set up, now go away."

Another example you give is that parents have the right to tell their children how to behave. You mention that a parent would be over-stepping their bounds if they tried to force their child to shoplift. What if it was grayer? What if a parent was telling their 17 year old what religion they must follow? Or whom they could date? Or what college they could attend?

I don't think there can be any hard and fast guideline for rebelling against authority. Personally, I have to side with Dedalus and say "Viva la revolution!"

[> Re: Respect my authority -- Dedalus, 16:42:17 08/16/01 Thu

Okay, I was about to launch on a dissertation here, but why not just nip it in the bud?

(And that was a well-written response by the way)

To sum up, I remember a quote that was made by one of the writers of Rebel Without a Cause (one of my favorites - he-he), in which he said a very interesting thing. The film was not so much about juvenile delinquents - as juveniles rebelling against a delinquent society.

I am so glad I recalled that. And there we go.

I use to think as you do, and was very conservative growing up, but I can't really get into that mindset anymore. Mainly because the more you live, the more you see no one really knows what they're doing. Some people give great imitations of such, but never really get it down.

The basis of your argument seems to be that those in authority have a perfect right to that authority. The basis of mine is that authority does not have a perfect right to said authority. You do bend and say it is justifiable to rebel when authority becomes corrupt or oversteps its bounds, but I would like to posit that pretty much all authority is corrupt. Cause you know, power corrupts. And this is for everyone, be he Bill "pass the cigar" Clinton or George W. "There's nothing wrong with the o-zone" Bush.

Actually, I think my main thesis is that people are pretty much idiots.

And with that in mind, I'm not advocating anarchy, though it does sound that way. That would be a mistake. I'm not sure what I'm advocating, to be honest. I just think it's a sign of our immaturity as a species at large that we need people to sit around and tell us what to do. And not just because I'm some immoral whatever that just wants to fornicate and do drugs and lie and cheat and steal. Put it this way, I want drugs legalized, but I have never done drugs nor do I have any interest in doing them. I just think it's ridiculous that there's a law about it. And, you know what? It doesn't do anything. The war on drugs. Drugs are illegal. So? Nobody cares. The people that do them, do them anyway. And those of us that steer clear of them, steer clear of them anyway. I'm generalizing, but that's not always such a bad thing.

But maybe all of this is necessary in some way. I believe in dependent origination, and how everything depends on everything else, and so maybe if there wasn't a status quo at work, the really cool people wouldn't have anything to rebel against and spurn them on. So maybe it's a symbiosis of some strange kind.

The thing is, we're on a big rock zipping around a star. We don't know where we're going, we don't know where we've been, and on top of that, we have to keep going to the bathroom. And that's pretty much the situation. I think art and myth are our only achievements of any worth whatsoever. I'm probably alone in that assessment, but there it is. Which is fine, because I'm not trying to persuade anybody of this. It's just a matter of seeing things.

I'm not sure what else there is to say. You seem to be positing some kind of belief in the "divine right of kings," which is sort of an odd thing to say in the twenty-first century, but again, there it is. Most Christians stay away from Romans 13, but if you still really believe that all authority is instituted by God, I mean, where am I gonna go with my argument?


[> [> Re: Respect my authority -- Slayrunt, 17:34:26 08/16/01 Thu

Actually, I think my main thesis is that people are pretty much idiots. I'm probably alone in that assessment, but there it is. Which is fine, because I'm not trying to persuade anybody of this. It's just a matter of seeing things.

You are not alone. I also have come to that conclusion, but I would rephrase it to- all people are idiots, some more often then others.

I agree with your statement about legalized drugs, and like you,I don't nor want to use drugs.

About the "divine right of kings" I have to agree with spotjon. I would like to add that the kings are also to follow Gods laws though.

I would hope that everyone will agree that man is flawed regardless of your theological believes. It all comes down to this. There is a divine Creator who put us here, or there is not. If there is not and this is all some kind of universal accident what does it really matter. Darwin is right. The survival of the fittest is the law. If on the other hand, there is a divine Creator then we can choose to serve that Creator or not.

We are all slaves to something or someone. There are many things in this world we can choose to be slaves to, money, power, lust, our ego, our intellect, the rules set by man or by government, the rules set by God. The great thing about this type of slavery is that the slave gets to chose his/her master. Choose well.

The thing is, we're on a big rock zipping around a star. We don't know where we're going, we don't know where we've been, and on top of that, we have to keep going to the bathroom.

Love it!

[> [> [> Re: Respect my authority -- Darrick, 18:10:57 08/16/01 Thu

I would take issue with some of your comments. If you believe, as I do, that there is no god of any kind, then we are not merely left with "survival of the fittest." I think you're making the mistake of assigning some political or social role to what is only a rule describing the natural process of evolution. Even that "rule", is often misquoted to imply that it is the physically strongest creatures that survive. In simple terms, fitness can only be defined in terms of the ability to survive long enough to reproduce. This can be accomplished in any number of ways. I believe there is more to life than this, your mileage may vary. As intelligent beings, we can sidestep evolution and even work against it. We often do.

You ask "what does it matter", and I would answer that it matters because we as generally rational beings assign some level of meaning to our lives and the lives of those around us. Just because there's no god, it does not mean that we have to become nihilists who believe life has no value. It has the value we as a society, and as individuals, have given it over thousands of years of development.

I also take issue with your argument that people are all slaves. While we do have strong needs tied directly into our biological functions, beyond that I think most people have to be held responsible for their actions and given credit for being rational beings. Perhaps I simply don't understand your definition of slavery. You allow for a choice, so perhaps it's a question of semantics rather than a real point of contention.

As for the divine right of kings, how can there be any "divine right" when kings are put on their thrones by men and women to control other men and women? Arguing that all authority is established by god seems to be a dubious prospect at best. I suppose if you believe that everything that happens is ordained and controlled by some god, with no free will, then this "divine right of king's" makes sense. After all, in that kind of world, people could do nothing that wasn't God's will. Of course, that begs the question of why you should even get up in the morning, since you can't possibly do anything but the divine intent. It seems to me that if you believe in any free will at all, the notion that all authority should be obeyed as a matter of religious command is suspect.

[> [> [> [> A couple of points... -- AK-UK, 18:27:25 08/16/01 Thu

Re: Survival of the fittest.

Can I just express how much I despise this ridiculous phrase. Putting to one side it's flagrant misuse, and the lack of attention paid to species which co-operate to survive, HOW was this pathetic tautology ever allowed to gain such widespread acceptance?

"The fittest creatures survive"

"How do you know they were the fittest?"

"Well, because they survived"

WHAT????? ARGH!!!!


The Divine right of Kings doesn't depend upon an all-knowing, all-powerful creator. We are allowed to maintain our free will. It's just a way of ensuring that everyone knows their place in society, and ensures that such a society is run in accordance with the laws set out by God. The fact that said God is omniscient, omnipotent, and that the Kings tend to be corrupt tyrants who completely ignore any law which doesn't suit them is entirely coincidental.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: A couple of points... -- Dedalus, 18:52:43 08/16/01 Thu

"The fact that said God is omniscient, omnipotent, and that the Kings tend to be corrupt tyrants who completely ignore any law which doesn't suit them is entirely coincidental."

Ha! I love that. Law is sort of situational, isn't it?

And I agree with what you say about survival of the fittest. Especially sense the end point for all species is, ya know, extinction. "Bloody tooth and claw" is so passe. And actually, in one way or another, all species cooperate to survive.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: A couple of points... -- Darrick, 19:30:36 08/16/01 Thu

I agree with you 100% on "survival of the fittest." That one phrase has caused a great deal of misery since it first came to light. I suppose the trouble lies mostly in how people interpret fitness. I imagine the reason the circular logic of social Darwinism is so attractive is that, in the absence of religious morality, it provides a "scientific" rationale for the powerful to do whatever they like. In fact, it bears more than a passing similiarity to the "divine right of kings."

I get your point about the divine right, but it seems to me if someone believed in a _literal_ interpretation, it would call into question the notion of free will. After all, if a King ruled with a divine mandate, doesn't that imply that some deity is taking a direct hand in the affairs of mortals? But I guess you're right, if the authority makes the choice to break the divine law then they will no longer be have the divine mandate and so free will is preserved.

[> [> [> [> Re: Respect my authority -- Slayrunt, 21:58:09 08/16/01 Thu

As far as "survival of the fittest" goes, as intelligent beings we can and do sidestep evolution and do at times work against it. In caveman days (if there were caveman days) the strongest used force on and over the weak. Society now uses the "fittest", read power, to help protect the weak. btw I should say the theory of evolution, as it is not a scientific law and has not be proved true, just as the existence of God has not be proved true in scientific terms.

As far as "what does it matter" goes I was speaking in the larger picture of things. If there is no God and no after-life then someday the sun will burn out and we will all die and no one will be left to remember anything we did. I certainly believe life has value, but in the larger sense, why?

My definition of slavery in this context is that we all live in this world and hopefully will think and learn about life. We all must make decisions about our life and live with the consequences. If you are a drug addict and your whole life is about your next fix, then you are a slave to that drug, but it was your choice to use the drug in the first place.

My point about divine right of kings comes from the old Testiment where the Jews requested God for a king to rule them. It was not God's intent that man be ruled by man, but at mans insistence. God explained to them what that would mean by still they wanted it.

There is certainly free will and that is my point about slavery. You have free will to serve God, man, yourself, whatever. But you will serve someone or something. You can choose to give authority over yourself to God or not and if that is the case then if the notion that all authority should be obeyed as a matter of religious command is your free choice.

[> [> [> [> [> But what does God want? And why? -- OnM, 07:42:13 08/17/01 Fri

You can choose to give authority over yourself to God or not.

True, you can, but what is the intrinsic motivation for God to tell us what to do? Why is he/she/it even interested in us? If I accept what some groups consider to be the nature of God-- i.e. all-knowing and all-powerful compared to little ol' us, why do we even matter? To be honest, while I don't do out of my way to kill most insects, if they are annoying me, I do (for example, swat a fly). I don't grieve over them. They simply 'are', there is no emotional involvement. I have no desire to run insect lives.

Personally, I'd rather have humanity being created by some advanced race of alien beings, because then I could see a point in it, just as we are now on the first crude pathways to creating life ourselves. You could explain the desire in a number of ways, curiousity, artistry, exploration, the collection of greater knowledge. But having created life, do we now righteously insist on controlling it's every move? Or do we give it freedom, including the freedom to ignore it's creator?

It's not going to happen for a while yet, but someday, maybe a century or less, we will have to deal with this dilemma for real, methinks.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: But what does God want? And why? -- Slayrunt, 22:17:04 08/17/01 Fri

True, you can, but what is the intrinsic motivation for God to tell us what to do? Why is he/she/it even interested in us? If I accept what some groups consider to be the nature of God-- i.e. all-knowing and all-powerful compared to little ol' us, why do we even matter?

If you accept some groups version of the nature of God then God created us. To a child, his/her parents are all-knowing and all-powerfull compared to the little ol' child. That child's parents want to protect and help the child learn and grow. That is why God is interested in us.

But having created life, do we now righteously insist on controlling it's every move? Or do we give it freedom, including the freedom to ignore it's creator?

God is sets rules as hopefully parents sets rules and we as His children can follow them or ignore them and our Creator.

My question to you is what was the point of the aliens creating us?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: But what does God want? And why? -- OnM, 22:33:51 08/17/01 Fri

My question to you is what was the point of the aliens creating us?

If you check in the middle of my middle paragraph, I answered this as follows:

You could explain the desire in a number of ways, curiousity, artistry, exploration, the collection of greater knowledge.

Your point about the child seeing his/her parents as 'all seeing and all-knowing' is true, but as the child grows, s/he will learn that this is not the case, that the parents are limited in the knowing of things. God is presented as 'all-knowing and all-seeing', without qualification. Thus, my comparison of us being insects-- trivial beings. I actually would be willing to accept a god who is *not* omnipotent/omniscient, but if I broach this argument to many 'believers', they will not accept it because then God would have no authority over them if s/he is not perfect.

Catch 22.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: But what does God want? And why? -- Dedalus, 13:21:01 08/18/01 Sat

And furthermore, said God, the God that would preside over heaven/hell, and the saved vs. unsaved, and would negate so much of the world's population by providing only one acceptable means of salvation which 98% of all the people who have ever lived probably never heard of, would not have unlimited power because said God would have a very limited view. A view built on oppositional thinking that does not really apply with how we have come to not just see the world, but experience it. This would be the God that presided over an earth that was flat, had four sides, was stationary, built on a foundation, and that the sun revolved around. Thus we have the now recognizable (hopefully) problem of how we have tried to filter omniscience through human intellect only to find that human intellect has actually surpassed said omniscience! We get ourselves into the most peculiar situations.

Just for the record, I actually think the earth is just one big insane asylum, and we're all inmates and don't know it.

"Take me to your leader."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Dedalus, you're a closet Sufi? -- Solitude1056, 18:01:35 08/18/01 Sat

There's a quip from the 16th or 17th century which goes something like, "A philosopher is someone who sees the earth as a ball of rock (or dirt or something) hurtling through the heavens covered with fools." The Sufis, btw, have a thread that believes this world isn't an insane asylum, but more like a mental hospital, where we're all stuck until we get better. Once we do, we can check ourselves out & move on.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hummmm.... Mental hospital as Original Sin analogy? -- OnM, 06:54:26 08/19/01 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hmmmm....Life = Basketweaving 101.......... -- Rufus, 13:48:44 08/19/01 Sun

Graduation comes when you make the perfect basket. I think many of us suck at arts and crafts.:):)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: But what does God want? And why? -- Slayrunt, 00:27:32 08/19/01 Sun

Yes, we eventually learn that our parents don't know everything and we may learn that we are smarter than our parents or at least think so.

I just don't understand the connection between God being "all-knowing and all-seeing" and our intellegence. No matter how intellegent we are or become, there certainly could be more intellegent creatures out there. If it is back to why God cares I can only go back to God created us so we are His children, that's why.

If I am missing something, I apologize. Please restate so I can understand.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: But what does God want? And why? -- OnM, 07:16:24 08/19/01 Sun

No apology necessary. Lemme give it another try.

One limitation of this forum is that I can't draw or use a graphic when one might be handy, and right now would be a good time. So, I will try to describe a scenario, and then use it to illustrate my thinking.

Some years ago, a science program on TV (might have been *Nova*, not sure) had a fellow who was explaining just how short a time we have been on the Earth relative to other species, and furthermore just how fast we developed intellectually in a very short time period. He used the following analogy.

He set up a five mile course along one of those really straight roads out in the Western US. The beginning of the road was the beginning of life on Earth, using our best current information, fossil records, etc. You had to drive along the road for several miles before you even got to where the dinosaurs existed. You had to drive something like 4.9 miles before you got to where humans branched off from other existing primates. The civilization of the Greeks and Romans is about 2 feet from the 5 mile endpoint. When we moved into the 20th century, we are about one inch from the five-mile endpoint of the road.

Now place the range of cosmic intelligence (we are assuming for the sake of argument that there is other intelligence in the entirity of the universe) along a similar road, high intelligence on one end to low intelligence on the other end. God's intelligence/perceptivity is at the beginning point of the road. We are maybe two feet from the five mile point at the other end.

The above statement presumes that God is possessed of all knowledge and has essentially infinite power and ability. If this is not the case, then God could be much closer to us along the highway. I prefer to think of any personal gods that I care to believe in to be closer to me in this fashion, not off at the very end/beginning of the road where I can't even see them, and where it seems to me the difference in abilities is so great, that I am but an insect to God, maybe even a paramecium. I find it hard to accept that such a being would have more than a faint curiousity about me, and caring seems out of the question.

My fellow humans, on the other hand, are right here next to me, therefore I prefer to put my faith in them. I do not require them to be flawless to care for them.

Is this any better, or have I just confused things further?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: But what does God want? And why? -- Wisewoman, 10:42:44 08/19/01 Sun

Was the beginning of the road the beginning of life on earth, or the Big Bang? I can't remember, although I saw the same program.

Now, I'm a neo-Pagan, so I'm not qualified to talk about the capital G God, but why would someone assume that he/she/it began at the same time as life on earth, or even at the same time as the Big Bang? I thought the whole point was that he/she/it was supposed to be infinite in time and space, and therefore existed before the Big Bang and in fact, was the primary cause of it?

My own personal theory (which I know you're all just dying to is that we, human beings, all life in fact, are a game that Unity Consciousness is playing with itself. The object of the game is to discover who/what you really are during the limited time of a lifespan on earth. Not many people make it. Those who don't have the choice of deciding whether to come back and try again (reincarnation) but the rules of the game make it clear that not only do you forget what you learned in previous lifetimes, you also forget you had previous lives, and to make it even more interesting, you forget you're playing the game! And my own take on why this happened in the first place is that Unity Consciousness was bored...and this extremely convoluted game is definitely not OnM pointed out (although not with my theory in mind, granted) it took billions of years just to set up the board for the game, and things become unimaginably more complicated at each step along the way.

(This also explains why we keep having to go to the bathroom, a la Dedalus/ just makes things a little bit more difficult, and therefore more interesting!)


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> God's not just playing dice, God's playing yahtzee? -- Solitude1056, 15:41:15 08/19/01 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I rolled a 42, what does that mean? -- Slayrunt, 17:10:27 08/19/01 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well... -- Masq, 19:21:41 08/19/01 Sun

It's either the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything, or the number on the door of Mulder's apartment.

Or possibly both.

Douglas Adams. *sob*

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Social Darwinism/evolutionary Darwinism -- Rahael, 09:05:35 08/20/01 Mon

Darwin didn't mean that the powerful survived in societies. He didn't mean to make any moral commentary on human society. All he was talking referring to was physical attributes that enabled some species to survive longer than others. And even then, it didn't operate all the time. Evolution took place in spurts, with climate and environment, playing an important factor.

It really gets to me when people use Darwin to justify treating other human beings in a degrading way. Especially those who are not good at exams, or who are disabled, or who are regarded as less than human. I really object to 'social' Darwinism. They never seem to consider that our desire to form communities, to help each other is one of our strongest reasons for surviving thus far. Our altruism is a sign of 'fitness'.

As for the debate about 'authority', there is another side to this. What about the laws regulating big business? Preventing them from plundering the earth's resources? What about legislation preventing discrimation against minorities? (it works in Britian, don't know about the situation in the US). Surely there is a difference between 'power' and 'authority'. Sure, authority is often used to legitimise oppressive and unjust power, but it is the only tool the powerless have, because authority is condititional - you can, and should challenge it. If all authority broke down, you'd be left with untrammelled power -- money and guns.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Social Darwinism/evolutionary Darwinism -- Humanitas, 10:07:59 08/20/01 Mon

"Our altruism is a sign of 'fitness'."

OK, History major here, so don't stake me if I'm mis-remembering this, but I seem to recall one of my biologist friends in college telling me about a phenomenon known as "biological altruism" in birds (and maybe animals, too, but I can't remember). The way she described it, the statistical probability of one individual sacrificing itself for another is directly correlated with the percentage of genetic material that the two individuals have in common. Anyone out there know anything about this?

What's different about humanity is that we seem to have the ability to divorce our altruistic impulses from the evolutionary imperative to pass along genetic material.

Woah. Hang on, just got a head-rush from stringing all those 50-cent words together. OK, I'm back.

Anyway, I think you're right, Rahael. Our unique adaptation, the analog of the giraffe's neck or the elephant's trunk, is our intelligence. The ability to do things and desire things that are not grounded in simple biology is the reason why we are one of the most sucessful species on the planet. Of course, it's also what allows us to do things that could ultimately destroy the planet. I think that's going to be the big issue for this new century. Which edge of this sword are we going to cut with?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Kin selection and altruism -- d'Herblay, 20:54:17 08/20/01 Mon

Humanitas writes: OK, History major here, so don't stake me if I'm mis-remembering this, but I seem to recall one of my biologist friends in college telling me about a phenomenon known as "biological altruism" in birds (and maybe animals, too, but I can't remember). The way she described it, the statistical probability of one individual sacrificing itself for another is directly correlated with the percentage of genetic material that the two individuals have in common. Anyone out there know anything about this?

Ok, philosophy major here, so I'm not technically adept in this subject, and while I can claim to have done extensive reading in evolutionary biology, I cannot claim to have done extensive understanding. That said, I think the principle you're referring to is called kin selection.

Briefly stated, the theory holds that it would be an evolutionary beneficial strategy for the genes of an animal to influence it to vary its level of altruistic behavior towards another of its species according to the degree of the genetic relationship it has with that other. (Dawkins defines altruism in this statement: "An entity [ . . . ] is said to be altruistic if it behaves in such a way as to increase another such entity's welfare at the expense of its own."1) Thus, one would expect an animal to show more altruistic behavior towards its parents, siblings or offspring, all of who share 1/2 its genes than to grandparents, grandchildren, half-siblings, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces, who share 1/4. (I apologize for using human terms of relation here. I simply don't know how to refer to offspring of siblings in biological terms.) 2 As J.B.S. Haldane put it, "I will lay down my life for two brothers or eight cousins."3

It is important to remember that just because this would be an evolutionary beneficial strategy does not mean that is necessarily occurs in all species. Many opportunistic feeders will eat their own young (guppies come to mind), despite the negative effect on their own reproductive potential. Also, and here I'm speculating, I think any cost-benefit analysis of kin-selected altruism would have to be adjusted from the percentage of genes shared to reflect the potential reproductive success of such altruism's beneficiary. That is, I would expect to see more altruism toward a sexual mature sibling than to a senescent parent. By this reasoning, the more sure you are that an offspring will reach sexual maturity, the more altruism you will direct to it, and the less you would direct to other kin.

I apologize if this has turned out convoluted. Were I smarter, it would be simpler.

*** 1. Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 1976/89, Oxford, p. 4. 2. Also, these percentages only hold for those creatures who practice diploid sexual reproduction, where each offspring receives as half its genetic material half of its mother's, and receives half its father's for the other half. Wasps, bees, and ants practice haplodiploid reproduction, so the percentages of shared genes differ in a complicated way which I cannot explain but which has been used to explicate the social arrangements of these animals. 3. Quoted in Stephen Jay Gould, Ever Since Darwin, 1977/92, Norton, p. 262. See my post "Re: Lies, damned lies, and statistics" in the thread "Buffy and God" on the ubiquity of quotes attributed to Haldane.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Kin selection and altruism -- Humanitas, 21:10:22 08/20/01 Mon

Smarter? Smarter? You not only used footnotes, you figured out how to code the annotations! Where's that Golden Pocket Protector someone was waving around eariler?

Seriously, your explanation was fine. Thanks for expanding on my fuzzy memory. So what do you think about the tendancy humans have to override that principle, and do things like, say, battle a master vampire to one's own death and beyond to save the world? (Can't use The Gift. Dawn shares all or nearly all of Buffy's genetic material.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Kin selection and altruism -- d'Herblay, 21:47:09 08/20/01 Mon

Well, I tried writing the HTML so that clicking on the superscript would take you down to the footnote, but that didn't work out. But HTML tricks ain't smarts, it's just showin' off.

As to the tendency of Buffy and humans in general to display non-kin selected altruism . . . just off the top of my head, it strikes me that children just aren't in the picture for Buffy--it's not part of the Slayer package, especially when you're dating someone 240 years old and sterile. It would be interesting if she showed less inclination to risk her life at the end of season four, when she and Riley are together and happy, than at other times, but she shows the same heroism all the time as far as I can tell. Plus, her mother, though still fertile, is unlikely (before her death) to pass on 1/4 of Buffy's genes to a half-sibling, and the only Buffy-cousin I know of died young, so Buffy may take some propensity for kin-selection and expand it to humanity as a whole. But I think that biological explanations are a dead end here. Buffy risks her life for people she hardly knows because she is, as John Burwood points out at the end of the 1st Anniversary thread, *good*.

Evolutionary explanations for general altruism in humans depend first of all on there being general altruism. Except in Mother Teresa/Millard Fuller-type cases, there's some basis for cynicism here (and Mother Teresa, like Buffy, had no reproductive potential of her own). A lot of our altruism depends on some sort of relationship, if not kin-selection level closeness, then group-selection proximity, which is again, we help those who share our genes. This is probably the impetus for a lot of "altruism" in the pre-modern era, when "Let's help our Christian brothers in Palestine" translated into "Let's kill the Saracens, and any Jews or Byzantine Christians we encounter along the way." One impetus for altruism separate from shared genetic material might be that we seem to be coded, either genetically or culturally, to feel affection for the youthful. (Stephen Jay Gould, in The Panda's Thumb, has a wonderful exploration of this tendency using the development of Mickey Mouse from long-nosed, pinched-face rat in Steamboat Willie to snub-nosed, big-eyed child substitute in the modern day.) One thing I've noticed is that Sally Struthers never asks me to Save the Grandparents.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Kin selection and altruism -- anom, 21:59:26 08/20/01 Mon

"Thus, one would expect an animal to show more altruistic behavior towards its parents, siblings or offspring, all of who share 1/2 its genes than to grandparents, grandchildren, half-siblings, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces, who share 1/4."

Then there are some apes (incl. chimps & bonobos, I think) among which the females mate w/>1 male, so any of them could be the offsprings' father & all of them may have a stake in their survival. In human societies, since there's always the possibility of doubt as to who fathered a child, this may lead to a sort of just-in-case altruism, at least toward those who are more likely to be related to one. I wonder if racism is based in part on the idea that "if you don't look like me, you're probably not related to me."

On the other hand, there are societies in which a child's mother's brother, whose relation to the child is beyond question, is expected to be responsible/have feelings for the child in the way we expect of a father.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> i'm so glad you said that -- anom, 10:41:06 08/20/01 Mon

I wanted to say something along those lines early on, but I have a tendency to lose track of which message I want to respond to if I don't do it right away. Just as well, since you said it better than I would've. I'll just add that even in the evolutionary context, "survival of the fittest" is often used too generally, as though it applied to the entire environment instead of meaning survival of the species, & the individuals within it, best adapted to each niche. ("Evolution: Life's a niche, & then you die.")

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Mini A:tS-related primer on "fitness" -- Masq, 12:31:16 08/20/01 Mon

From my entry on "First Impressions" Angel, Season 2, ep 3 (

"Survival of the fittest, bro: "Fitness" is not necessarily about who is the strongest, or the best fighter. As any good Darwinian will tell you, fitness is relative--it all depends on what dangers you're up against, even in the demon-hunting business. Gunn tries to stay alive by being ever-vigilant, and he's made it his responsibility to keep his fellow demon-fighters on their toes. He's also rude to people who lack his fighting skills. He wants to protect them, but they can only get in his way when it's fighting time. Or so he thinks.

Walking around with your fists perpetually raised can get people killed. You make enemies that way, and those enemies will go after the people you love. You can't always protect them, especially if you need their help. But why would you ever need that? Gunn has yet to learn the value of weapons other than brute strength--things like research, planning, magic spells, and tact. These are also fit traits in the Buffyverse."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Tact???Well, that sure takes all the fun out of a Saturday night....:):):) -- Rufus, 14:51:00 08/20/01 Mon

So what you mean is Walk softly, but hide your big stick.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Using science to discriminate....... -- Rufus, 15:35:21 08/20/01 Mon

Oh, you have tripped over something close to my heart, the treatment of the disabled in our society. Social Darwinism is just an excuse to dehumanize others and make cruel judgements about their value to society. Our bodies may have evolved but our compassion and ability to care needs some work. We place entirely too much import on the visual, and not enough on the real. If a person looks good, they are good. That leaves the disabled marginalized, their value and use to society untapped. Just because someone is disabled,it doesn't mean that they don't have a talent that has been missed because of our obsession with physical perfection. I think one of the most clear examples of this is what happened to someone I knew years ago. They were chronically ill and unable to work so their value to society to some was considered less. What really pissed me off were the cruel words used to further crush this person. They were told to kill themselves so they could be reincarnated in a better form. The sad part was that emotionally fragile, this person began to agree with that cruel and thoughtless suggestion. In the Buffyverse, Demons are what we use to consider value. It was easy in season one as they were considered all evil. Now, with more information we have to look at, not just what we consider a monsterous visage, but what that being does. Buffy kills only the threat to humanity, something in her prevents her from killing all demons on sight. We have to look closely what matters, a soul, the appearence, or, what the demon does. It is the human monster that is the most frightening because we are all capable of being one. Maybe not all the time, but we all possess the ability to become a monster by our words or actions.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Cordelia the Social Darwinist -- Helen, 03:56:51 08/21/01 Tue

She has now grown as a person, but Cordelia used to display a chilling attitude to the less fortunate, and certainly display social darwinist tendencies:

"Some people deserve certain priviledges. They're called winners .

Go Fish

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> All great points! -- Rahael, 15:37:49 08/21/01 Tue

You guys have made me think even more!

Esp, about altruism and genetic links. I agree that there is probably a strong impulse to put family versus anyone else, as shown in the Gift. But BtVS also demonstrates other tendencies - what is family? Tara rejects her family for her friends - how many of us have known people to do that.

I have seen (admittedly the unusual situation of a civil war) some exceptional acts of bravery by individuals who sacrificed their own and their families safety for the sake of relative strangers.

What about the pull of ideology? Religious fanaticism? Who could doubt that a committed member of a terrorist organisation like the Taliban would put their religious beliefs before their own family? What about the enormous and often unspoken amount of abuse, neglect that occurs in families? I think these are the things that Social darwinism brushes under the carpet. Human beings and human minds are much more mysterious, interesting, and deep than the simplicities of some social darwinists.

I did history at Uni too, but my mother was a scientist specialising in primate development. I like Stephen Jay Gould a lot for the depth and sophistication of his understanding of science and life, and strongly object to Richard Dawkins. I don't think that human consciousness has been fathomed or located fully by scientists.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Nature vs Nurture -- Malandanza, 10:13:02 08/22/01 Wed

"Esp, about altruism and genetic links. I agree that there is probably a strong impulse to put family versus anyone else, as shown in the Gift. But BtVS also demonstrates other tendencies - what is family? Tara rejects her family for her friends - how many of us have known people to do that."

I would say that we are seeing the conflict between our genetics and environment in action. We have a genetic predisposition to protect our families, but family is sometimes redefined by our social interactions. Thus, Buffy defending Tara against Tara's biological family was Buffy's genetic altruistic instincts (to protect her family) hijacked by her social conditionings (Tara is family). Actions like Mother Teresa's sacrifices for the poor of Calcutta could even be explained -- she considered the poor her family, so her genetics worked with her, making the sacrifices more palatable. In countries with stable, non-immigrant populations, nationalism and wars make sense from a genetic perspective (two distinct gene pools competing for dominance) but coutries like America, with great genetic diversity, need a better explanation than mere genetic compulsion. If we can be socialized into believing that Americans are all "brothers," altruism can be harnessed to fight foreign wars just as surely as if we all truly shared the same genotypes.

In the science fiction novel "The Dosadi Experiment," Frank Herbert (author of "Dune") also postulates that homosexuals would have a stronger willingness to sacrifice themselves for their community -- since they have already given up on on perpetuating their own genes. The same could be said for celibate orders of the monks and nuns.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Family Discord -- Rahael, 11:28:50 08/22/01 Wed

But isn't the insistence to see genetics behind everything ultimately reductive of human endeavour? That when we call other human beings 'sisters and brothers' we actively state to ourselves that we recognise more than family kinship?

Personally, I think the most interesting things about humanity is what genetics and biology don't explain. At times of human conflict, relatives on opposite sides will murder each other. They will betray.

Inter family conflict is present in myths and stories, signifiying its centrality in human experience. Cain and Abel for instance. Oedipus. Jesus telling his disciples to reject family. The Pandavas' epic struggle against their half brother in the Mahabaratha.

What about Melanie Klein's work on the resentment of children against the mother? And, connecting with another part of this discussion, what about the fact that children will eventually rebel against authority figures - their parents.

I actually come from a very close knit and loyal extended family group. They are my best friends. Family is central to human cultures. But like all our most important ideals, it is constantly subverted, and exists on a paradoxical knife edge.

And returning to the Social Darwinism thing - social theories based on genetics and biology will never explain to me how Shakespeare wrote his plays, how Dante conceived the Divine Comedy, what made Proust write about his world. Why Buffy is so delightfully entertaining and thought provoking. And therefore it doesn't seem to do much at all except excuse inequalities and discriminatory practice.

Jeez, another rambling post from me!!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Family Discord -- Rufus, 14:31:10 08/22/01 Wed

Family is something that people will fight to the death over. Frequently the ones they kill are other family members in disputes that outsiders would consider trivial. But a healthy family unit is able to accomodate differences in individual members without the impulse to force them to conform to expectations. "Family" raised something that I think is happening more and more, people are having to piece together families from non related people as they can't survive in their genetic family unit. Family isn't always the people that you were born into, they can be people that give you what an unhealthy family cannot. It is a survival tool for those in families with such disfunction they can't tolerate continued contact. Family, to me are the people that care about you and love you for who you are not who they may want you to be. The ability to create family where there is none is an adaptation that can save a persons life.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The man who loves women (re: Joss) -- mundusmundi, 15:49:38 08/22/01 Wed

"Family" raised something that I think is happening more and more, people are having to piece together families from non related people as they can't survive in their genetic family unit. Family isn't always the people that you were born into, they can be people that give you what an unhealthy family cannot. It is a survival tool for those in families with such disfunction they can't tolerate continued contact. Family, to me are the people that care about you and love you for who you are not who they may want you to be. The ability to create family where there is none is an adaptation that can save a persons life.

Your theory seems especially true in Hollywood, as many actors/writers/directors/etc. had to uproot themselves, or even those like Joss that hail from Hollywood "royalty" seem to experience more than the usual dysfunction. Paul Thomas Anderson, the young auteur behind Magnolia and Boogie Nights, is a prime example of this. And to be honest, I find his worldview rather narrow and naive. Everyone's a product of their environment, I guess. I've read one reason the Godfather films were so popular was because people actually found the close-knit, us-vs.-the-world Corleone attitude romantic. (Never mind poor Fredo....)

I used to think Joss's attitude was a little juvenile, too. (Joyce was just too stupid through Becoming.) But Dawn has deepened things nicely, and the Scoobies' are at least frequently challenged in their ways of defining themselves and their relationships with each other.

Don't you think they need a new paterfamilias, though, what with Giles on the way out? Most shows have the opposite problem -- too many male characters and not enough females. BtVS has four or five compelling femmes, but could really stand another decent male lead.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: the meme scheme -- mundusmundi, 15:27:25 08/22/01 Wed

And returning to the Social Darwinism thing - social theories based on genetics and biology will never explain to me how Shakespeare wrote his plays, how Dante conceived the Divine Comedy, what made Proust write about his world.

I agree completely, and many geneticists and biologists would too. There is, however, an interesting field of study along these lines everyone here is probably already aware of, involving what are called memes, i.e., "units of cultural inheritance." (Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow) Why, we could be operating in a Buffy meme-machine right now. Maybe not, but still fascinating stuff.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Just trying to keep thread alive while I think -- d'Herblay, 13:56:01 08/23/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> memes -- d'Herblay, 02:30:12 08/24/01 Fri

I'm fascinated by memes. I love looking at etymologies, urban myths, apocryphal quotations--anything that provides a case history for the growth and spread of ideas. I love looking at those ideas that seem to pop up every few hundred years and then recede in remission, such as gnosticism (with this caveat). And while I don't think memetics explains Mozart and Shakespeare any better than genetics does (I don't see why great genius can't be regarded as the extreme right end of a skewed curve mapping distribution of talent), I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about it before this thread is finally archived.

To understand memetics, we have to understand something about Darwin's theory of "descent with modification," as he called it. Basically, for Darwinian theory to operate, three conditions need to be met. First, there must be an object capable of reproduction. Secondly, the object, or its offspring objects must be capable of modification, either between bouts of reproduction or during reproduction itself. Thirdly, there must be some process of selection which will favor some modified offspring over others. Now the thing about this process (reproduce, modify, be selected) is that it is an algorithm, not some vis vitae. And an algorithm can work no matter what it is applied to, no matter what the reproducer, modifier, selectee actually is. Thus, Darwinian descent with modification may work at the gene level, the individual level, the group-population level, the species level, or even the ecosystem level. (At what level it actually does operate is the basis of much contention.)

In fact, descent with modification can function entirely outside of the biological sciences. It has been used in computer science to build better checkers-players, and one physicist (Lee Smolin, in 1992) has suggested that such a process might have been at work in the creation of the universe. Now, what Richard Dawkins did in 1976 was to apply the Darwinian algorithm to the evolution of culture. But he needed a unit of culture capable of reproduction and modification and subject to selection. He called this unit the meme, in analogy with "gene." He left this term ill-defined, though, so we're just going to use it somewhat analogously with "idea," "concept," "story," "catchy pop tune that you can't get out of your head," any element of culture subject to descent with modification.

Dawkins's main insight into the nature of evolution is that the genes that prosper are the genes that are built for their own propagation, with the success of the organism as a means, not an end, of genetic success. He transferred this insight to memes, arguing that the most successful ideas may not be the ones that are the most beneficial to humanity. (And if you don't think that Dawkins, Britain's loudest atheist, formulated this as a direct response to the criticism "If there's nothing to religion, then why is it so widespread?", please do so now.) Among organisms, one of the most successful evolutionary strategies is "be a parasite"; Dawkins goes so far as to suggest that many of our most cherished beliefs are parasitic.

(Anyone who thinks that the most successful units of culture are the best ones should watch Total Request Live more often.)

While I think there may be some validity to this, though not much promise in the "new science of memetics," I'm sure I'm not doing it justice. If you're interested, most books by Dawkins as well as Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea are probably the best sources.

A question for the Campbellians: What makes everyone so sure that the hero's journey is a "Jungian archetype" instead of a product of cultural transmission or even some parasitic meme?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: A definite KABOOM! Too early, hafta think.... -- mundusmundi, 06:36:06 08/24/01 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: memes -- Humanitas, 09:34:19 08/24/01 Fri

For a tremendously entertaining fictional exploration of this (what? Fictional explorations of philosophy? Not on This Board!), read Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. Great Stuff!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: memes -- Rahael, 11:31:58 08/25/01 Sat

Well, this is exactly why I don't like Dawkins!! Maybe I'm just a romantic idealist, who fell in love with literature, music, history and ideas, and believe them, and the absorption of them to be the raison d'etre of life but I can never reduce culture and ideas down to evolution.

Maybe I don't want to face the truth!! But my study of history has shown that the most interesting thing about any human society is what they accept as "truth" and "common sense". These inform as to the priorities and mindset of various groups. The 'truth' is just one model for viewing the world, a model which is constantly changing. This applies just as much to Christian evangelists, Islamic fundamentalists and to atheists like Dawkins.

Now I love science, and I love religion. I can accept the beauty of evolution and the 'beauty of holiness'. They are both so fundamentally human. And no, I don't think I believe in God. I accept that probably am not the most rational or logical person on this board!!!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> rambling speculation on perpetuating (or not) genes -- anom, 15:56:51 08/22/01 Wed

"In the science fiction novel "The Dosadi Experiment," Frank Herbert (author of "Dune") also postulates that homosexuals would have a stronger willingness to sacrifice themselves for their community -- since they have already given up on on perpetuating their own genes."

Would this also imply an evolutionary reason many homosexuals' families reject them--they don't expect them to have much greater an attachment to their relatives than to the wider community? Or would people who've given up on perpetuating their genes themselves be more protective of their relatives, who have the potential to pass on the genes they share?

Anyone remember The Andromeda Strain's "single man theory"? Maybe single men were more likely to complete a task that involved risking their lives to save others' because they were more likely to be gay or otherwise not to expect to pass on their genes!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Social Darwinism/evolutionary Darwinism -- Dedalus, 19:57:16 08/21/01 Tue

Interesting turn of discussion. We are getting some mileage on spotjon's initial post, aren't we?

Anyway, I agree with Rahael. Altruism is a sign of fitness. I like the idea that compassion may be a result of evolution, that active participation in the suffering of another, rather than a negation of it. What could be stronger than that?

I'm only periphally aware of people like Stephen Jay Gould, but what about those examples we have in the wild of dolphins and apes and such protecting humans? Not exactly a genetic match. And I know (thanks to David Mech and his work up in the Arctic) that wolves feed their old as well as their young. How does that fit in?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> We're doing a bang-up job of keeping this thread active until spotjon returns!! ;o) -- Wisewoman, 20:52:23 08/21/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Social Darwinism/evolutionary Darwinism -- d'Herblay, 21:53:45 08/21/01 Tue

I'm responding to both Dedalus's post immediately above and Rahael's post up and a little to the right.

Of course, any discussion of genetic bases for behavior must include the caveat that human culture allows us to override genetic influences. In a less serious vein, as you can tell from my picture, I'm myopic, and this is an inherited condition. Without culture, I'd be at some sort of evolutionary disadvantage. But culture gives me glasses and contacts and radial keratotomy. Indeed, evolutionary psychology does sweep things like ideology, religious fanatacism, etc., under the carpet. Things like this are cultural, and not genetic. They may derive from some behaviors that are genetically based, but they are in no way genetically coded themselves. (See anom's post "Re: Kin selection and altruism" above for the idea that racism is an overexpansion of the idea of caring for one's relations.)

By the way, for those that missed it, here's some breaking news from the world of evolutionary biology.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> LOL! -- Wisewoman, 23:48:04 08/21/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> obviously The Onion is behind the times.... -- mundusmundi, 06:06:29 08/22/01 Wed

Take a look..

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Fabulous! I love the Onion! -- Dedalus, 14:05:38 08/22/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ever read "Our Dumb Century?" Pure genius. -- mundusmundi, 15:13:19 08/22/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: But what does God want? And why? -- Dedalus, 12:16:47 08/21/01 Tue

Hey, Wisewoman.

That idea seems strangely compatible with a book I read not long ago.

It was by Alan Watts, Western expositor of Eastern philosophy. It was called "The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are."

Very similiar ideas. It was largely based on Vedantic ideas, I do believe. The Upanishads, and all that fun stuff.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Not strange, at all! -- Wisewoman, 18:00:24 08/21/01 Tue

In my on-going, unsuccessful (so far) attempt to obtain wisdom there has been much delving into the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and Alan Watts as well! I haven't read that particular one of his books, though.

In with that I mix Ken Wilber, David Bohm, and Deepak Chopra... so I'm either a kind of dilettantish mystic or a mystical dilettante, or something...


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Not strange, at all! -- Dedalus, 19:43:42 08/21/01 Tue

IMO, Deepak Chopra is too trendy for me and ... I don't know. Too New Agey. Or at least that New Agey part that is so eager to embrace everything it in the end embraces nothing. :-(

On the other hand, David Bohm - I was thinking about the Watts book I mentioned and was flipping through it, and he has a quote from Bohm! That's wild. My main introduction to Bohm can via a book by Michael Talbot called The Holographic Universe. Very interesting, whether you buy it or not. I mean, buy the concept not the book. Because of course you would have to buy the book if you wanted to read it. Unless of course you got it from the library.

(Tuesday is my day to ramble)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Not strange, at all! -- Wisewoman, 20:46:34 08/21/01 Tue

Yeah, I know what you mean about Deepak...part of his problem is that it's so easy to dismiss him because of his New Age popularity, but really he's saying essentially the same things as Bohm. Bohm has the advantage of having been a physicist rather than an m.d., and because he's not as accessible to the run-of-mill New Ager he tends to be granted more credibility. Bohm uses the terminology of theoretical physics and quantum mechanics, and Chopra reduces it to "a vast quantum soup of energy and information," which is a lot easier for most people to envision.

I think it's a case of slick marketing, being in the right place at the right time, as well as charismatic and photogenic that makes Chopra less respectable. Well, that and preaching to the

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Not strange, at all! -- Dedalus, 14:10:47 08/22/01 Wed

Preaching to the converted ... there's a lot of that going around. :-)

I like what Alan Watts said about the whole "energy" thing. Saying everything is energy is a lot like saying everything is everything. And energy isn't everything, because you know, that whole matter stuff. You really need to read the Book on the Taboo against Knowing Who You Are. It's so mystical it's not at all. :-)

Sigh. I have yet to be able to use the Force to pick up a pencil. It can get frustrating. Still I try.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I have no sympathy...try being a Wiccan who can't float a rose! ;o) -- Wisewoman, 17:32:14 08/22/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> OTOH, your life won't depend on staking a vamp w/ a pencil! ;) -- Humanitas, 17:39:43 08/22/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Good point[y]! ;o) -- Wisewoman, 18:54:30 08/22/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: But what does God want? And why? -- Slayrunt, 17:03:24 08/19/01 Sun

Thank you, I now understand.

Your scenario with the 5 mile track may be an accurate description of life on Earth and I definately agree with the intelligence track.

The track is based on the theory of evolution and as I stated in an earlier thread is only a theory. True, a lot of scientist, all the media, most of the schools and a majority of people assume it is true and proven, but it has not been proven.

Let us suppose the track looks this way: at the beginning is man and everything else and the Greeks and Romans are about 3.5 to 4 miles down.

I know you were using the life on Earth track to get to the intelligence track to show the difference between our smarts and Gods. If you use Nova's or whoever's track and think about the intelligence track, I can understand the why you wonder why God cares. If on the other hand, you use the track suggested above and think about the intelligence track you see that God made the other track for us and He cares.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> What are your thoughts on what will happen to human religious belief... -- OnM, 21:11:14 08/19/01 Sun

...after we successfully create life, and eventually sentient life? I personally feel that this is an inevitability, as I stated earlier. Are we morally eqipped to handle this level of responsibility?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Good question. -- Slayrunt, 19:27:07 08/20/01 Mon

First, I'm not sure we should try and I wonder if it would work. With cloning, genome(sp?) and stem cell research, we've come a long way from leaches. The testing so far has only been on animals and in a Christian sense, animals have no souls. If we try to create human life in a different way then nature, I'm curious if the result would have a soul.

I know there are "test tube babies" out there, but besides the physical act the conception is natural.

I don't know what might happen to human religious beliefs, but as for the moral responsibility, I agree with the statement that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I guess that's why I have a problem with (human) authority. I'm not like you, I guess. I am very cynical about people. Being a student of history, I've seen too many examples of misuse of authority. One of my theme songs is John Cougar/John Cougar Mellencamp/John Mellencamp's "The Authority Song".

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> S'okay-- I'm really not like me, either.... ;) -- OnM, 20:23:03 08/20/01 Mon

I find it interesting that you feel yourself to be 'cynical', and presume I am not, when actually I would have guessed the reverse. I consider myself to be very cynical, but I also recognize that it is a type of bigotry if it is allowed to extend beyond a reasonable degree of self-protection. Cynicism is like a drug, at times.

This is your brain...

This is your brain on cynicism...

Any questions?

Uhh, yeah, man, uhh, ya got any irony to go along with that?? I need some irony reeeaaallll bad...


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> since you asked (spelling)... -- anom, 21:34:29 08/20/01 Mon

..."genome" is correct, but it's "leeches."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks, I can't spell worth a shirt -- Slayrunt, 13:32:20 08/21/01 Tue

[> [> ROFL! -- Solitude1056, 19:19:26 08/16/01 Thu

The thing is, we're on a big rock zipping around a star. We don't know where we're going, we don't know where we've been, and on top of that, we have to keep going to the bathroom.

Dude, you just became my new .sig line. Absolutely classic.

[> [> [> Re: Okay, I admit it ... -- Dedalus, 19:26:20 08/16/01 Thu

I stole it from George Carlin. I thought about citing him, but I was typing too fast ...


See, I'm being honest, all without respecting authority.

[> [> [> [> Dedalus......are you a lapsed Catholic? -- AK-UK, 20:21:04 08/16/01 Thu

That nagging sense of guilt, the need to confess.....

C'mon! Repeat after me:

Lord, I believe,

Help my unbelief.

AK-UK: Good shepherd, bad sleeper :(.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Dedalus......are you a lapsed Catholic? -- Dedalus, 20:50:29 08/16/01 Thu

More like lapsed Protestant. It wasn't guilt until he said, "hey this is my new tagline." Then I thought, well, I should have cited him to begin with.

"I have just as much authority as the Pope ... I just don't have as many people who believe it." - George Carlin

[> [> [> [> [> [> as long we're citing who said what... -- Solitude1056, 21:28:32 08/16/01 Thu

10 points & a cyber cookie to anyone who can identify who said the following line:

"I would've made a great pope."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Robert Bork? -- A8, 21:51:42 08/16/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Bzzzzzzzzt! Nope. ;-) -- Solitude1056, 22:04:28 08/16/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Mariah Carey?...She seems a bit confused these days. ;) -- A8, 22:29:17 08/16/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Bzzzzzzzzt again! ;-) -- Solitude1056, 22:42:39 08/16/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I cheated -- d'Herblay, 22:49:48 08/16/01 Thu

And came up with Richard Nixon saying "I would have made a good pope."

The fact that my expensive education was useless and that I found this with a Google search seems somewhat dishonest and thus appropriate.

I would like to donate my points to the charity of my choice. The cookie, on the other hand . . .

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Heh. That's not cheating, that's being ingenious. -- Solitude1056, 22:51:57 08/16/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You wouldn't happen to know the context, would you? -- d'Herblay, 22:55:15 08/16/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Pope Richard -- d'Herblay, 17:43:02 08/17/01 Fri

I still can only find the Nixon quote ("I would have made a good pope") in quote lists and .sig lines, which crib from each other, and in one 1994 column by Liz Smith in The New York Post. She doesn't give the context either.

It isn't enough for me to find out who said it. Now I have to find out when he said it, why he said it, and even if he said it. After all, Marie Antoinette never said "Let them eat cake," and Kurt Vonnegut never said, "But trust me on the sunscreen."

One thing is, depending on the context, I think Nixon would have made a good pope. Comparing him to Julius II or some of the Borgia popes reveals that he's almost saintly. My favorite bad pope story is that of Pope Stephen VII (896-7), who had his predecessor Pope Formosus exhumed and tried for heresy. The court found the corpse guilty, chopped off three fingers of his right hand and threw his body to the mob outside, who dragged his body through the streets of Rome and threw it into the Tiber. Nixon was a piker.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I believe it was Baz Luhrmann who ventured the 'Sunscreen' quote? -- OnM, 22:37:25 08/17/01 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Mary Schmich . . . -- d'Herblay, 00:17:26 08/18/01 Sat

. . . columnist of The Chicago Tribune, in a June 1, 1997 column. The column then circulated around the internet without accredition, sometimes credited to Vonnegut. Baz Luhrmann received the e-mail, set it to music, made history, didn't give Schmich a writer's credit. Read all about it here.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Boat Pope -- mundusmundi, 06:41:17 08/18/01 Sat

My favorite bad pope story is that of Pope Stephen VII (896-7), who had his predecessor Pope Formosus exhumed and tried for heresy.

My fave is one of the John's, I believe of that same century. He was an antipope who was essentially a pirate, and whose "church" was on board his ship in the Mediterranean.

I don't see Tricky Dick as a pope. A Byzantine emperor, maybe. As for the quote, I could be wrong, since he did tape everything, but it sounds apocryphal.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The Good of Apocryphal Statements -- Humanitas, 16:23:54 08/18/01 Sat

Y'all got me thinking about great quotes that were never said, like "Elementary, my dear Watson." Where do these things come from?

Warning: Word Geek at Work!

I wonder if our collective memory doesn't create these things to sum up a particular character. After all, it makes intuitive sense that Holmes should have said the above, or that P. T. Barnum should have said "No one ever went broke by underestimating human intelligence" (which, to veer back on topic for just a moment, is why we need authority in the first place). The fact that those individuals (one fictional, one real) never said any such things is almost irrelevant, since those quotes fit our perceptions of those characters so perfectly. Their effect on the culture, then, is more a product of our perceptions of them, than of anything they actually said. It's the "Lucrece Effect," in which it doesn't matter so much whether Lucrece was actually raped, but whether the Romans believed she was raped.

OK, I'm rambling. That's enough. Don't I have a scene to write?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> We never veered off-topic! -- d'Herblay, 17:16:20 08/18/01 Sat

As the whole point of deciding whether a quote is legit or fabricated is what sort of "authority" do you accept as authoritative. I think the idea of approaching authority with skepticism is as applicable to knowledge as it is to power.

Plus, as "Idiotic question regarding 'The Harvest'" was mine, and as it is sort of the grand-daddy to this thread ("Idiotic question" spawns "Buffy and God"; "B&G" spawns "Respect my authority!"), I feel I can give us license to follow this thread wherever it leads.

As to your actual point, I'd like to offer an actual quote: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

Often we prefer our legends to facts. Or does that statement fit better back in "Buffy and God"?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm not sure these threads were spawned.... -- mundusmundi, 20:50:15 08/18/01 Sat

so much as the progenitors were unwittingly playing Wallace to your Darwin. (And there were one or two more very similar threads that followed soon after. What gives?)

On a wholly unrelated note, how the hell does one link to another site or text? I've yet to figure it out. *Sigh* I feel so impotent. I have link-envy.

Sorry, was that out loud?

Note to self: Less talk.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Linkage -- Wisewoman, 21:13:46 08/18/01 Sat

Hey, you mean just how do you html code a link? I'm a total computer non-geek, but I figured that out recently with the help of a nifty html book, but now I'm not sure if I can illustrate it for you without it turning into an actual link, if y'know what I mean!

So, anyway, I'll try: you have to have the complete url of the site you're linking to, and you put it in between two sets of html commands as a complete phrase. The opening command...

Wait, wait, wait, WHY am I doing this? Masq but it all in the ATPoBtVS FAQ for posters! It's all spelled out really clearly there and it works great!

Whew, close call, almost became pseudo-geek there for a minute...


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I guess that makes *me* pseudo-geek! And a little slow too! -- d'Herblay, 21:19:08 08/18/01 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [>
It's in the FAQ too. Scroll down a little bit.

I stand by my self-aggrandizing, humility-free description. :) Helen, in the "Idiotic question" thread under "Re: Communion Elemenents (semi-OT)," writes, "I'm letting my own post up the top go and joining in down here if that's okay." Her own post began the "Buffy and God" thread. Then spotjon begins "Respect my authority" by saying, "Buried deep down in the 'Buffy and God' discussion . . . " So I think that one thread has clearly lead to another. That and 60¢ gets me a jelly donut. :)

Totally off-subject (oh, wait, it's the grandson of my subject!), I had to look up the html for ¢. Where have all the cents signs gone from keyboards? Is this a sign of inflation?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Aaah! I can feel the power! -- mm, 07:18:38 08/19/01 Sun

Here's a relevant link on our thread's subject.

Thanks, you and WW both.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> reminds me of a button, as so many things do -- anom, 09:16:11 08/19/01 Sun

It says: "If the government doesn't trust the people, why doesn't it dissolve them & elect a new people?"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Loved it! -- Wisewoman, 14:03:10 08/19/01 Sun

Especially nice to see that we Godless (oops, that's the other thread!) Canadians are in the running.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Good of Apocryphal Statements -- Solitude1056, 18:15:40 08/18/01 Sat

There's a boatload of them. Not only are there misquotes, like "play it again, Sam," which isn't the actual line. There's also misattributions, like "Men are those creatures with two legs and eight hands," which is attributed to Jayne Mansfield but I believe was actually Mae West. I used to have a great game, years ago, in which each person got a set of cards with quotes and attributions, and one person would read a quote, and everyone else would pick a card out of their personal set that had someone on it that they thought would be most likely to have said that. All the cards got put in a slide holder, and each person would vote for the one they thought was the correct attribution of the quote. Things like "When I was little, no one said I was pretty," got put to the strangest people, and never Marilyn Monroe. The pope quote from Richard Nixon was another one folks never got, but everyone always got "How many polyesters did you kill to make that suit?" (Steve Martin).

And btw, yes, you DO have a scene to write! Get on it!

*sound of editorial whip cracking*

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> "I am the dwred Pope Woberts! There will be no surwivors!" -- Solitude1056, 18:07:53 08/18/01 Sat

[> Re: Respect my authority (way OT) -- Darrick, 16:53:43 08/16/01 Thu

You ask for an example of an "unjustified" break from authority, but how do we define what is and isn't justified? Sometimes a break from authority is only "justified" in retrospect. For instance, the American revolutionaries who rebelled against the English Crown _created_ their own justification for their rebellion. While in hindsight you might claim they were justified, at the time the English and many colonial loyalists would have claimed they were totally unjustified.

My problem with your question is that _at the moment an act of rebellion results in something "better and brighter" and does not "fall under its own weight after a short time"_ it usually has become justified in practice, even though at the time it may have been wildly controversial. The question you ask us to address almost becomes meaningless, especially in the long term.

I hate to use these somewhat cliche examples...but keeping women and blacks out of the voting booth probably seemed to be entirely justified to generations of Americans. No doubt you would say that any time the government abetted such actions, it was unjustified. Yet, how would this have been obvious to anyone? People's idea of what is justified comes from community standards as well as the words and deeds of our authority figures. If we assume the absolute authority of our government( as you seem to)as long as its justified, yet also allow them to define what is meant by "justified", how do we avoid tyranny? People also questioned (and continue to question) the justification of those who publish pornography. If the government passed a law punishing them as criminals, would you consider an act of civil disobediance on their part justified or not? For instance, if they continued to publish would you say they were justified or unjustified in acting in such a manner. This has happened in the past, and it eventually forced the Supreme Court to confront the issue head on.

Civil disobediance and even rebellion have often been the means to a better world. However, finding unjustified examples of this in hindsight may be difficult because so many "unjustified" actions have become justified with time.

[> [> Re: Respect my authority (way OT) -- Dedalus, 16:58:52 08/16/01 Thu

Good point. It's just the way the pendelum swings.

If England had won the American Revolution, George Washington and friends would be seen as traitors, and Benedict Arnold would be a hero in the history books.

[> [> [> Hey! Benedict Arnold is a hero in the history books (Well, the ones I read in school, anyway :) -- AK-UK, 17:44:26 08/16/01 Thu

Here in the UK we regularly toast the great man's name, and his birthday is a national holiday, a day on which all the subjects of Her Majesty are encouraged to drink, sing, and thrown stones at American tourists.


[> [> [> [> Hey watch it. If it wasn't for us ratty yanks... -- Pilgrim's Ghost, 18:28:47 08/16/01 Thu'd be speaking German and eating schnitzel Holstein right now. And picture Prince Charlie Mountbatten goosestepping down the aisle with Frau Camilla to 'Ode to Joy.' ;o)

[> Anarchy from the AK-UK -- AK-UK, 17:28:27 08/16/01 Thu

I'm sorry, but I cannot argue with you on such an uneven playing field.

You've made a number of statements that need to be clarified, and you've made a number of assumptions to support your case which I would take issue with.

You say that certain persons and instituitions actually do possess the right to command certain types of behaviour from us. Well, what exactly do you mean by "right". Do you mean they have the power to compell or coerce certain types of behaviour, backed by the weight of law and/or the threat punishment? Or do you mean something else?

Another question. What exactly constitutes "legitimate" authority? I'm sorry, but we can't just "assume" it into existence. From where does it derive it's legitimacy? From God? From a meeting of Elders? By Bloodright? By a vote? Is the Government of China as legitimate as the Government of the U.S.A.? Is a President who gained office with the votes of less than 40% of eligible voters "legitimate"? Can the other 60% rightfully say "I did not give you permission to make or enforce laws: you do not have authority over me?" What about those members of society who are unable to vote (Young people, for example)? Can they reject the authority of "democratically" elected officials?

Your argument gets weaker still, however, when you say that an individual has the right to rebel against "legitimate" authority when, and only when, said authority has overstepped it's bounds. This begs the question:

Who decides what the boundaries of authority are, and who decides when such boundaries are over-stepped?

You may think that, for example, a parent should be allowed to spank their children. I, on the other hand, say that the parent is wrong, and should never hit the child. Who decides whether or not the parent who does spank their child has over-stepped the boundaries? You? Me? The parent? The child who was spanked?

You than delve into Christianity, before asking for an example of an unjustified break from and against authority which resulted in something better and didn't collapse under it's own weight after a short time. Hmmm. This question really could do with being fleshed out a bit more. As I've already mentioned, you have not given a definition of what exactly constitutes an unjustified break against authority, haven't properly defined what constitues a legitimate authority. Furthermore you don't define what constitues "something better", and I'm puzzled as to what you mean when you talk about breaks from authority "falling under their own weight". That concept seems wildly inappropriate with reagards to the question you are asking. However, I will try to answer it anyway.

You quote St Paul, and so shall I. Ahem.

Ephesians 6:5-8

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free."

Now, I could trawl thorugh the Bible and find a number of passages like this, but let's just stick to this one. I say that rebeling against the authority of whoever came up with such a "law" is justified. I would suggest, in this case, that a break with such an authority led to a better and brighter future for a number of people's on both sides of the Atlantic.

Would you argue that St Paul had overstepped his authority in his various writings? Or did he just stray over bounds in this particular case?

I'm sorry if this whole post comes across as a slam.......but in a sense I guess it is. There are just too many assumptions in your post, too much tautology, a lack of specific definitions and a great deal of generalisation. Feel free to tear my post to pieces too (philosophically, of course).

[> Re: Respect my authority -- Wisewoman, 17:55:30 08/16/01 Thu

Having missed the original discussion on Buffy and God (I've been out of town) I'll jump right into this one anyway.

My feeling has always been that authority, like respect, must be earned. It is not granted in conjunction with titles like parent, teacher, or government, and may in fact not be possessed by people with those titles. For example, becoming a parent is a biological act. While there are legal ramifications to bearing and raising children, there are also very good reasons in many cases to remove a parent's authority over his or her children, such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. In other words, your community grants you the right of authority over your children by agreeing that you are a good parent; you earn the authority by your behaviour, not by the physical act of creating life.

In the same way we grant teachers authority in the classroom if they are competent teachers. If they are incompetent, it quickly becomes apparent that they can not maintain that authority by their behaviour, and their classrooms become chaotic.

In a democracy we grant authority to elected officials, but they must maintain their positions and their authority by justifying them with their actions.

Isn't there some quote about eternal vigilance being the price of freedom? It seems to me that the motto, "Question Authority" is about vigilance. Things change--circumstances, people--and we may find that those to whom we have granted authority are no longer worthy of it. Part of responsible citizenship is vigilance, continually questioning authority, and seeking proof that authority, in whatever guise, is legitimate. That's a far cry from anarchy, to my mind.


[> [> I respect your authority -- d'Herblay, 11:57:11 08/17/01 Fri

Wisewoman, I just wanted to thank you for making skepticism seem like a positive virtue.

[> [> [> I always thought it was... -- Wisewoman, 15:42:22 08/17/01 Fri

...isn't that why they call it "healthy" skepticism?


[> [> [> [> It wasn't too healthy for Galileo, and quite a few others. -- OnM, 22:38:58 08/17/01 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> Even virtue itself can be unhealthy if those in authority are threatened by it. -- Anthony8, 23:04:18 08/17/01 Fri

Some have been sainted by the same authority who had earlier burned them at the stake for being a little too virtuous. Maybe the lesson to be learned is never, never upstage the people with the funny hats.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: That's one excellent point, Anthony ... -- Dedalus, 12:55:10 08/18/01 Sat

[> [> Hmmm...yes eternal vigilance -- fresne, 12:28:51 08/17/01 Fri

I have to admit I like structure and authority. I like roads and street lights and police. I like the things government can give me. Although I have to laugh when I think of the philosopher (cannot remember his name, think it was Weber, could be wrong) of the modern state who said that Bureaucracy was the most efficient form of government. But I digress...

I like a structure or authority above me in which I have a say in how they do things. Can't say as I would have enjoyed the United States in 1901. Why? I am a woman. I would not have been allowed to vote.

Note how this philosophy neatly allows me to believe in authority and yet support the idea of the American Revolution. To my mind less a case of taxation without representation and more a case of government without representation. It also allows me to protest, write letters to my "Representatives" in government, make jokes about elected officials, etc. I am exercising my right to have a say. In fact, I wish more people would exercise their right to say, U.S. voting numbers being what they are.

Suddenly, I have this image of Mom/Dad England telling little America that it is only 16, not old enough to vote or drink. We pay to clothe and feed you. Pay for a roof over your head. Heck, we paid for front row tickets to the French and Indian War, which were not cheap. Now give me your wages from your part time job producing raw materials to help defray costs. Mom/Dad England isn't made of money you know. Little America saying Mom/Dad you just don't understand what its like for me.

Which brings me to Buffy. Odd that. So, Joyce, Buffy's mother, was in parental authority over her. She was forever coming down on Buffy for doing things that from her perspective were wrong. Buffy of course felt that she was rebelling against parental authority in the name of a righteous cause, saving the world. And yet Joyce was just trying to be a loving mother. No real opinion here, just pondering.

[> Hey! You're the fish! -- Anthony8, 18:09:27 08/16/01 Thu

The question that begs to be asked in response to spotjon's argument is if someone is excercising their authority in a truly "just' manner then why would anybody ever question it? Even someone who is questioning it for the sake of questioning it must perceive some sort of injustice in its exercise. For someone to whom the status quo seems just fine, there would be no incentive to question authority at all.

The circular trap of spotjon's argument brought to mind some literature with which I am very fond. First there are two passages from Kafka's The Trial which seem apropos, starting with:

"...'Here are my identification papers.' 'What are your papers to us?' cried the tall warder. 'You're behaving worse than a child. What are you after? Do you think you'll bring this fine case of yours to a speedier end by wrangling with us, your warders, over papers and warrants? We are humble subordinates who can scarcely find our way through a legal document and have nothing to do with your case except to stand guard over you for ten hours a day and draw our pay for it. That's all we are, but we're quite capable of grasping the fact that the high authorities we serve, before they would order such an arrest as this, must be quite well informed about the reasons for the arrest and the person of the prisoner. There can be no mistake about that. Our officials, so far as I know them, and I know only the lowest grades among them, never go hunting for crime in the populace, but, as the Law decrees, are drawn toward the guilty and must then send out us warders. That is the Law."

And continuing with:

"' you think I must be innocent?' 'Well, innocent,' said Fraulein Burstner, 'I don't want to commit myself, at a moment's notice, to a verdict with so many possible implications, besides, I don't really know you; all the same, it must be a serious crime that would bring a Court of Inquiry down on a man. Yet as you are still at large--at least I gather from the look of you that you haven't just escaped from prison--you couldn't really have committed a serious crime.' 'Yes,' said K., 'but the Court of Inquiry might have discovered, not that I was innocent, but that I was not so guilty as they had assumed.'

And from "Candide,":

"...They immediately put irons on his legs and took him to a regiment. He was taught to make right and left turns, raise and lower the ramrod, take aim, fire, and march double time, and he was beaten thirty times with a stick. The next day he performed his drills a little less badly and was given only twenty strokes; the following day he was given only ten, and his fellow soldiers regarded him as a prodigy.

Candide, utterly bewildered, still could not make out clearly how he was a hero. One fine spring day he decided to take a stroll; he walked staight ahead, believing that the free use of the legs was a privilege both of mankind and the animals. He had not gone five miles when four other heroes, all six feet tall, overtook him, bound him, brought him back and put him in a dungeon. With proper legal procedure, he was asked which he would prefer, to be beaten thirty-six times by the whole regiment, or to receive twelve bullets in his brain. It did him no good to maintain that a man's will is free and that he wanted neither; he had to make a choice. Using the gift of God known as freedom, he decided to run the gauntlet thirty-six times, and did so twice. The regiment was composed of two thousand men, so his punishment was so far composed of four thousand strokes, which had laid bare every muscle and nerve from his neck to his backside. As they were preparing for a third run, Candide, unable to go on, begged them to blow his brains out instead. The favor was granted; he was blindfolded and made to kneel. Just then the King of the Bulgars came by and inquired about the condemned man's crime. Being a highly intelligent king, he realized from what he was told that Candide was a young metaphysician, utterly ignorant of worldly matters, and pardoned him with a clemency that will be praised in all newspapers and all ages..."

That silliness aside, let me disagree with a few of spotjon's examples. First, I would argue that, unless you are promoting tyranny, persons in authority do not have any more rights than the persons subject to that authority. Parents do have the responsibility to raise their children with love and to teach them how to make choices wisely. Policemen do have the responsibility to enforce the law within the limits of reason and citizens' rights. As far as employer-employee relations are concerned, in a free society, both parties volunteer to abide by the terms of the employment contract, so the rights of each regarding the other constitute a voluntary exchange of consideration, not the creation of a master-slave relationship.

My point is that people are fallible. The rules they create are no better than those who created them. Questioning authority is a natural aspect of human emotional development, without which progress is seriously hindered, if not impossible. One can never really think for one's self unless one questions the rules that have been established by those who, by accident of birth or random placement earlier in the timeline, have found themselves in the position to tell others what to do.

And to close this diatribe, I would leave you with a lyric, that is somewhat relevant to this topic:

There are those who think that life Has nothing left to chance With a host of holy horrors To direct our aimless dance

A planet of playthings We dance on the strings Of powers we cannot perceive

"The stars aren't aligned-- Or the gods are malign" Blame is better to give than receive

You can choose a ready guide In some celestial voice If you choose not to decide You still have made a choice

You can choose from phantom fear Or kindness that can kill I will choose a path that's clear I will choose free will

There are those who think that They've been dealt a losing hand The cards were stacked against them-- They weren't born in Lotus-land

All pre-ordained A prisoner in chains A victim of venomous fate

Kicked in the face You can pray for a place In Heaven's unearthly estate

You can choose a ready guide In some celestial voice If you choose not to decide You still have made a choice

You can choose from phantom fear Or kindness that can kill I will choose a path that's clear I will choose free will

Each of us A cell of awareness Imperfect and incomplete

Genetic blends With uncertain ends On a fortune hunt That's far too fleet...

You can choose a ready guide In some celestial voice If you choose not to decide You still have made a choice

You can choose from phantom fear Or kindness that can kill I will choose a path that's clear I will choose free will

--Freewill by Neil Peart (of Rush)

Enough me argue. Someone else's turn!


[> [> Machiavelli and Rush -- Malandanza, 13:32:08 08/17/01 Fri

"The question that begs to be asked in response to spotjon's argument is if someone is exercising their authority in a truly 'just' manner then why would anybody ever question it? Even someone who is questioning it for the sake of questioning it must perceive some sort of injustice in its exercise. For someone to whom the status quo seems just fine, there would be no incentive to question authority at all... "

There are anarchists in the world who question authority as a matter of routine. No authority, no matter how conscientious in its exercise of power, will satisfy these people. Furthermore, different people may see an authority's actions in different lights -- what I consider an abuse of power might not seem inappropriate to you (or vice versa). Machiavelli, in his Discourses, frequently mentions the "love of novelty" as a motivating factor for revolutions -- people not necessarily particularly dissatisfied with the status quo, but still willing to effect a change. He makes a distinction between these rebellions-without-a-cause and legitimate discontent, warning that "Princes should remember, then, that they begin to lose their state from the moment when they begin to disregard the laws and ancient customs under which the people have lived contented for a length of time." I believe that spotjon was referring to such cases -- where the authority has clearly deviated from the path of righteousness -- rather than ambiguous cases. Machiavelli, however, was unable to reccomend rebellion even in extreme cases, quoting Cornelius Tacitus: "men should honor the past and obey the present; and whilst they should desire good princes, they should bear with those they have, such as they are," and adds "surely whoever acts otherwise will generally involve himself and his country in ruin." (from the Third Book of the Discourses, chapters V and VI)

"First, I would argue that, unless you are promoting tyranny, persons in authority do not have any more rights than the persons subject to that authority... Questioning authority is a natural aspect of human emotional development, without which progress is seriously hindered, if not impossible. One can never really think for one's self unless one questions the rules that have been established by those who, by accident of birth or random placement earlier in the timeline, have found themselves in the position to tell others what to do."

Machiavelli states "No more useful and necessary authority can be given to those who are appointed as guardians of liberty of a state, than the faculty of accusing the citizens to the people, or to any magistrate or council, for any attempt against public liberty." (Book 1, chapter VII of The Discourses) The ability to question authority is vital -- but merely questioning authority is far different from taking to the hills with automatic weapons to bring about the violent overthrow of the government. Sometimes the authority is right -- and not every revolution results in a better society -- remember that Pol Pot was a revolutionary, too. I closing, I leave you with another Rush song (adapted from one of Aesop's fables):

"THE TREES" Words by Neil Peart, Music by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson

There is unrest in the Forest There is trouble with the trees For the Maples want more sunlight And the Oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the Maples (And they're quite convinced they're right) They say the Oaks are just too lofty And they grab up all the light But the Oaks can't help their feelings If they like the way they're made And they wonder why the Maples Can't be happy in their shade?

There is trouble in the forest And the creatures all have fled As the Maples scream `Oppression!` And the Oaks, just shake their heads

So the Maples formed a Union And demanded equal rights 'The Oaks are just too greedy We will make them give us light' Now there's no more Oak oppression For they passed a noble law And the trees are all kept equal By hatchet, Axe, And saw ...

[> [> [> Your implication is that 'The Trees' is an indictment of violently rebelling against... -- Anthony8, 14:05:38 08/17/01 Fri

against a 'right' authority. Considering Neil Peart's Liberatarian inclination, a few of us always considered 'The Trees' to be a condemnation of affirmative action. The revolution being described in the song is not a political one (Economic class vs. economic class as in proletariat v. aristocrat), but a racial struggle. The lyric "But the Oaks can't help their feelings if they like the way they're made and they wonder why the Maples Can't be happy in their shade" is the same type of argument white people make all the time in response to cries of "equality now" by people of color. And of course it follows then that making all trees equal by "hatchet, ax, and saw" is a sarcastic reference to the lowering of standards that is sometimes associated with affirmative action.

I was a big Rush fan at the time, and read a few interviews which indicated that Neil Peart was a big supporter of Reagan's ideas (not from a conservative perspective, but from a Liberatarian viewpoint) so the anti-affirmative action argument seems more applicable. Moreover, many have interpreted 'New World Man' to be an ode to Mr. Reagan. These guys were quite enamored with the promises of Reaganism and accomplisments incorrectly attributed to him (the Space Shuttle, for example--a program developed during the Kennedy-Johnson administrations and, in fact, threatened by Reagan's budget axe--conservatives still took credit for it though) at the time, but for different reasons than those one would normally associate with that kind of support. So there you go, one person's ceiling is another person's floor.


[> [> [> [> Re: Your implication is that 'The Trees' is an indictment of violently rebelling against... -- Malandanza, 10:23:42 08/18/01 Sat

"Your implication is that 'The Trees' is an indictment of violently rebelling against against a 'right' authority. Considering Neil Peart's Liberatarian inclination, a few of us always considered 'The Trees' to be a condemnation of affirmative action. The revolution being described in the song is not a political one (Economic class vs. economic class as in proletariat v. aristocrat), but a racial struggle. The lyric "But the Oaks can't help their feelings if they like the way they're made and they wonder why the Maples Can't be happy in their shade" is the same type of argument white people make all the time in response to cries of "equality now" by people of color. And of course it follows then that making all trees equal by "hatchet, ax, and saw" is a sarcastic reference to the lowering of standards that is sometimes associated with affirmative action."

I do think "The Trees" is about a rebellion of the have-nots against the haves. The original fable, if memory serves, had a similar premise -- the trees disputing over light. The shadowed trees called in a woodcutter to settle the dispute and he happily chopped down the tallest trees -- but did not stop there. The fable seems to be a condemnation of bringing in outside forces to settle internal disputes (something Machiavelli warns about in both "The Prince" and "The Discourses"). Rush's revision suggests a sort of French Revolution or Communist revolution where the oppressed workers rise up against an indifferent upper class. My interpretation of the song is influenced by the fable (which I knew when I was very young) and, most likely, the other songs on "Chronicles" (I later bought "Hemispheres") such as "Bastille Day," "A Farewell to Kings" and "Closer to the Heart" -- all revolutionary in one form or another.

"The maples want more sunlight/ and the Oaks ignore their pleas."

"As the Maples scream `Oppression!`/ And the Oaks, just shake their heads "

"So the Maples formed a Union/ And demanded equal rights" (this line suggests a Communist revolution to me -- trade unions have long been associated with Communism).

"Now there's no more Oak oppression/ For they passed a noble law/ And the trees are all kept equal/ By hatchet, Axe, And saw ..." (and this one suggests the French Revolution).

Note that I do not believe that the song is about rebelling againsta a "right" authority. The Oaks in the song were prepared to live in their luxurious world of sunlight while the maples wasted away in the shadows. Rather, I see it as a warning both to the upper class (to pay attention to the sufferings of the lower classes) and to those whose advocate violent rebellion (the revolution isn't always an improvement). The revolution I most closely associate with "The Trees" is the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia, where a third of a nation was massacred in the interests of an egalitarian society. Also, while I have used the word Communism, a word with very negative connotations -- at least for Americans, I recognize that the reason Communist revolutions have succeeded is that in some areas of the world conditions were so intolerable, and life so miserable, that the people were willing to accept any change. In some rare cases, Communism may have actually been an improvement (I would consider South Vietnam an example).

The song is too powerful to merely be about reverse discrimination.

[> [> [> [> [> To many here in the States, affirmative action has been used as a buzzword for communism... -- Anthony8, 10:40:50 08/18/01 Sat

...but I do agree that the stronger argument runs along the lines of what you are saying. I was offering another interpretation based on the context of the times (late 70's to mid 80's) and what I understood to be the political leanings of Mr. Peart (and I don't know this first hand, but from information provided by a couple die-hard Rush fans--I just enjoy the music).

Since Rush is from Canada, do you know if there is has been any specific Canadian attitude towards these issues (affirmative action, the need to contain the "communist menace") over the years? Do they have the same extreme conservative vs. liberal politics (and all that nasty 'if you don't agree with prayer in schools, making love to the flag, blah blah woof woof, you're a commie pinko' crap) like we do in the United States?

[> Accck! I'm supposed to be working on this week's movie, and now... -- OnM, 18:51:30 08/16/01 Thu

...I'm allowing myself to get drawn into this instead! Oh, well, I'll be brief (and I can, if I want to, ya know!).

(Speaking of movies, if you're one of those who generally agree with the above stated 'all people are idiots', and/or the 'older you get, the more you realize that most people really don't know what they are doing', you'll really appreciate the Classic Movie/Guilty Pleasure for next week! Hee-hee...)


What authority is: Authority is when a person or group of persons possesses the right to tell other persons what to do and/or what not to do (i.e., how to behave). Parents possess authority; teachers possess authority; governments possess authority. (...) The important aspect of my definition is that certain persons and institutions actually do possess the right to command a certain type of behavior in others.

I would alter the above line in one small, but very significant way--

"Authority is when a person or group of persons possesses the privilege to tell other persons what to do and/or what not to do."

That privilege must be granted by some one, or some group, and that group in turn must have oversight present upon it. Society is too complex to be adequately controlled/influenced for the betterment of all under the 'authority' of a single entity. To paraphrase the ex-president's smarter half, 'It takes a village to raise anybody'.

Rules were not made to be broken - they were made to be followed.

I prefer the concept of 'Guidelines were meant to be followed, and you must justify in a credible, logical fashion when you elect to not follow them. You must also (and this is a real biggee--) accept responsibility for whatever you do, especially when you elect not to follow the guidelines.

Anarchy is never a justifiable position to take, in my opinion.

spotjon, if you get anywhere near a good bookstore on your travels this weekend, stop in the SF section and see if you can find a copy of Ursula K. LeGuin's classic novel, The Dispossessed. Read it, and I suspect you will never think of the word 'anarchy' in the same way again.

Great post, BTW. Thanks!

[> [> Movies and Rebellion (and Treason) -- Isabel, 19:35:00 08/16/01 Thu

This whole topic makes me think of a couple of quotes from "1776."


Ben Franklin: John, I'm surprised at you! Rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as "OUR rebellion." It is only in the third person, "THEIR rebellion," where it becomes illegal.


Ben Franklin: Treason is a charge invented by winners as an excuse for hanging the losers. John Adams: I don't have all day to sit around and listen to you quote yourself. Ben Franklin: Oh, that was a new one!

I don't know if Ben actually said either of those quotes, but I thought they were fitting.

[> [> [> Re: Movies and Rebellion (and Treason) -- Humanitas, 18:24:49 08/18/01 Sat

There's a mid-Sixteenth Century verse which runs:

Treason never prospers And what's the reason? For if it prosper, None dare call it treason.

I think the author is John Dryden, but Im not sure.

[> [> [> [> Ah-Hah!! -- Solitude1056, 22:54:09 08/18/01 Sat

I've got a little paperback book somewhere, that was printed at the height of McCarthyism, called None Dare Call It Treason. All about the communist threat, and how to identify it, and what to do about it, and where pinko commies are bound to show up - quite panic-mongering. Always wondered where the title came from.

And now I'm being reminded by my housemate about the scene from Shogun, where Blackthorne is talking to Toranago (sp?) about treason. Toranago accuses Blackthorne of treason (since the Netherlands fought for their independence from someone), and Blackthorne refutes that label, but acknowledges that it might've been (or some such). Toranago, in fine Japanese feudal fashion, says, "there is never an excuse for treason against one's liege lord."

Blackthorne replies: "Unless you win."

[> Re: Respect my authority revisited -- Dedalus, 19:40:17 08/16/01 Thu

In regards to Romans 13, I just have to say ...

That is strange. All authority is divinely instituted? All? Like, Stalin? Sadaam Hussein?

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established."

Does that include the SS? I mean, Nazis were the governing authorities in Berlin at one time. I find it disconcerting to say the least that God would divinely institute death squads and such.

And where is all this stuff about "overstepping the bounds" coming from? Not the Bible. "All authority is instituted by God." Why would God institute authority that would overstep its bounds, and thus someone would have to overthrow them? There is no clause that I know of in these passages that say anything about authority overstepping its bounds.

It is assumed that the colonies were right in overthrowing British rule? Why? Because they didn't want to pay their taxes? Christ himself said - "Give to Caesar that which is Caesars." How does that jive with the American Revolution? They didn't want to pay their taxes. Following that strain of logic, the king of England was divinely instituted - mad as he may have been - so shouldn't the Founding Fathers be viewed as dangerous heretics by Christians?

"It's like you're blackmailing the government! In a patriotic way."

[> [> Yipes, and authority. -- Solitude1056, 22:00:45 08/16/01 Thu

Does that include the SS? I mean, Nazis were the governing authorities in Berlin at one time. I find it disconcerting to say the least that God would divinely institute death squads and such.

And not forgetting that a number of people the Nazis imprisoned first were protestant & catholic priests who refused to acknowledge the revisionist Nazi doctrine for the german christian national church. Which, if I recall correctly, the Pope authorized and actually supported. Yeah, that's an authority, and recalling the history, it's one I'm damn glad I don't support. May be divine right, but more than being idiotic... people are falliable.

And yet, at the same time, I must acknowledge that culture has a great deal to do with it. A coworker is pregnant, with her second child. She's also, like her husband, still a Chinese citizen. I asked how she could be having two children, when the rule is for one. The farther you are from the Chinese government, she explained, the less control they exert. And then she went on to explain that while she was in China, once a year she & all other female employees would report to the Family Division of the company's Human Resources department, who'd oversee mandatory long-term contraceptives and check-ups. If you're married & don't have a child, you don't get those, but once you've had one child, you're in the line-up for enforced contraceptives. And then she just oh-so-off-handedly added that if you are found to be pregnant, you will be forced to have an abortion. Oh, and if you manage to have the kid anyway, you're fired. Period. End of sentence.

Now, to me, as an American, this is anathema. Sidestepping the emotionally loaded topic of abortion, I consider any forced intrusive action upon a person's body to be repugnant, and no less so when it's the government. It could be enforced appendectomies and I'd be no less disinterested. Yet my friend takes it as a matter-of-course. This is the way things are. This is the government she grew up with, the culture she's from, it's how things are. Whether it upsets her or not, I can't tell; I'm not going to pry that deep. But what, to her, is a matter of fact, to me, is a matter of shock and disbelief.

To flip the coin, while I was in Sweden, I was told repeatedly that the legal blood alcohol limit for driving is, well, essentially zero. Someone consuming a glass of wine within 15 feet would have enough second-hand fumes to put you over the limit. Don't drink and drive, over and over. And they're not kidding... and they look at our track record in America, and they're stunned and shocked that we could not only allow drunk drivers on the road in the first place, but let them back out... again, and again, and again. To them, our permissive culture is anathema. The lack of gun control is terrifying, the teenage pregnancy & suicide is unacceptable, and the hate crimes happening in our backyards are repugnant.

Each government is an authority, but whether or not we accept that authority has a great deal to do with the culture in which we were raised. Yeah, people are idiots, but the ones with even an iota of knowledge about different cultures are less so, in my experience & opinion. The internet is the closet thing to being there, sometimes, because it's the only way people may eventually realize that external authorities demanding that you do a, b, and c, are absolutely null and void if you yourself do not take responsibility for your actions independent of any authority. Police yourselves. We do it here, and that gives me hope we might learn to do it elsewhere, without popes, or dictators, or shrubyas.

Ok, ok, rant mode off now... it's late.

[> [> [> And the very same authority that has been trying to conceal it's complicity with Hitler... -- A8, 22:19:11 08/16/01 Thu currently in the process of beatifying the man whose gentlemen's agreement with the Nazi's helped to condemn millions more to their deaths. All based on the interpretation of the infallibility of the Pope as established via Petrine Theory (Matthew 16:18-20). Since then, all manner of strange contradictions have been possible all due to that grant of ultimate authority (including the fictional paradox presented in 'Dogma').

[> a little devil's advocating.... -- nobody by the name of mundusmundi ;), 21:44:31 08/16/01 Thu

Maybe, like Dedalus, I just have an affinity for the underdog. While I admittedly don't agree with the crux of spotjon's argument, some part of me has the perverse inclination to consider his viewpoint from a different angle.

An overlooked portion of this debate seems to be Dedalus's comment that "Everyone...that made a mark on the world did not conform to authority." Eh, I dunno. After all, couldn't it be said that it's been POA's (Persons of Authority) who all throughout history left pretty indelible marks on the world they lived in? Hammurabi left his legal code; Augustus stabilized the Roman Empire and launched the Pax Romana.

Even in art, it's been POA's who have set the parameters and given patronage to their favorites. Shakespeare's plays could be viewed as pro-establishment, in the sense that they were written for Queen Liz. Michelangelo was sponsored by the Church into painting the Sistine Chapel. Even Joss Whedon, it could be argued, is pandering to the new establishment of teen viewers, tweaking "authority figures" all the while holding plenty of cards himself. Let me raise my flame-shields as I submit that "knee-jerk anarchy" can be just as mindless as blindly adhering to the status quo.

But, one could object, what about revolutions? Obviously, it's been the underdogs in history that have made big changes happen.

Well, maybe not. One of the tricky rules of history seems to be....starving people don't revolt.

People who are starving, so this theory goes, don't have the will to revolt. "Starving" can mean not just literally hungry, but the absolute lowest (i.e., oppressed) members of society. The life, the spirit, the hope has been beaten out of them. That's why tyrants stay in power so long: they keep the people who have every right to depose them down.

The Brinton Thesis states that nearly all revolutions have similar causes, which include: 1) a weak monarchy; 2) a rising middle class; 3) a guiding ideology. In other words, ruthless dictators (e.g., Hitler, Stalin) aren't overthrown, but well-meaning boobs (Louis XVI, Nicholas II) get whacked. Starving people don't revolt. It's people threatened by starvation, who could go either up or down on the social tier (the French bourgeoisie, the Russian intelligentsia), that make revolutions happen.

Enlightenment ideals helped foster both the French and American revolutions. Marxist ideology seeded the Russian Rev. Of course the lower-classes played a part in these events, but the leadership came a little higher on the social ladder.

It's like what Joe Queenan once wrote about the American presidency: "Americans don't mind if you were born in a log cabin, but you sure as hell better not had stayed there."

I guess what I'm trying to say, in a tremendous grasp of the obvious, is that life is complicated. And it is here ultimately, for reasons already mentioned by others, that I think the argument for authority falls apart.

Lastly, at some risk at sounding older than I really am, I continue to be overwhelmed by the thought and quality of writing on this board. Dedalus is what, 25; and spotjon's 22. Both far more eloquent that most people I've encountered 10, 20, even 30 years older. Maybe there's hope for the future after all. :)

[> [> Re: the Hero's Journey and Authority -- mm, 06:56:22 08/17/01 Fri

It's morning, having my ice tea, and still thinking about this debate. A question for the Campbell experts: To what extent is the Hero's Journey pro- or anti-authority? "The enemy is always in the seat of power," Campbell has said. Yet in most myths that come to mind, it seems that heroes like Luke Skywalker, Paul Atriedes (sp?), etc., do in fact have a case for "divine right." I.e., they have a legitimate "claim" on their destiny that was stripped from them, and now they have returned as the "master of both worlds" and such. I suppose we could even weave this argument into Buffy as to whether she was tapped to be the Slayer because she already had the potential within her, or if the powers were simply thrust upon her.

It's early, and my mind's a-curious.

[> [> [> Re: the Hero's Journey and Authority -- Dedalus, 18:59:04 08/17/01 Fri

Well, generally speaking again, the heroes in myths are generally born ... outside the sphere of their ... destiny, you might say.

I mean, the Buddha was born to incredible wealth and power, but his father had heard about the prophecy surrounding his birth (there's always one of those), so he walled him up and didn't let him go out. So even though he had wealth and power, he had to shrug it all off and go into the wilderness. Of course, Christ was just the opposite.

There is a little tie-in that Joyce brought in and used for his own mythic ideas. I believe it had several basic archetypes - that of the 1. Missing Father 2. Unfaithful Wife/Mother 3. A usurper/betrayer 4. The displaced son. He used this in regards to his own Ulysses, and I think it was the formula the young Stephen Dedalus gave for understanding Hamlet. It's been too long. I'm not up on my Joyce. The point is, the hero is always having to fight tooth and nail to either retain his heritage, or win it for the first time.

As far as "divine right" in myth, that is true. But in the case of Skywalker and Paul, as you point out, their destiny has been taken from them, and they have been driven into the hinterlands. So it's not exactly the same thing. When I think of divine right, I think of a clear-cut and easy succession of kings. One that has perhaps been long established. Myth is not about that. In most of the Arthurian romances, for example, Sir Gareth and Parsifal and even Arthur himself somehow have to overcome great obstacles to get back to their "rightful place." I think one can distinguish between destiny and status quo.

There is always some dragon to slay or some Death Star to be blown up. Therefore the hero is not representative of the status quo. I think there is indeed a strain of rebellion in these things. (Prometheus comes to mind as one of the most definitive examples of this)

I was about to bring up that Campbell quote about the enemy being in the seat of power. Things would be pretty boring if they weren't. For example, so many people have brought up the fact that the Jedi in The Phantom Menace were literally situated up in an ivory tower, and seemed all too sure of themselves, more drowsy than enlightened. And even though we always think of them as good guys, it is clear they are slipping towards apathy. Hence, the Force brings a little boy named Anakin into existence. That scene with the Council was so Twilight of the Gods.

It's almost like a transvaluation of values, which is what makes TPM so damn cool ...

[> [> [> [> Good explanation. Thanks. -- mundusmundi, 06:24:02 08/18/01 Sat

[> [> And the devil you know is preferable to the one that you don't... -- OnM, 07:55:19 08/17/01 Fri

Your comment,

Well, maybe not. One of the tricky rules of history seems to be....starving people don't revolt.

brings to mind a sort of corollary to that thought, which is something I have always suspected, but never have been really able to prove.

Is the real reason that the United States as relatively 'free' as it is mainly due to the fact that we have discovered, probably in a subconscious fashion, that if we simply allow a large enough proportion of the people who hold the reins of power to become obscenely wealthy, that they will be pretty much content with that wealth and the benefits it brings, and so pretty much leave the rest of us alone?

If so, I'm not sure how well this bodes for democracy as a worldwide paradigm, since very few countries of the world are anywhere near as wealthy as the US.


[> [> Re: a little devil's advocating.... -- Dedalus Likes to Generalize, 18:40:33 08/17/01 Fri

Did I literally say "everyone"?

Geez. Whatever happened to "all things in moderation"?

Just know that when I say "everyone" I'm generalizing, and don't literally mean "everyone." :-)

And thanks for the compliment about writing. As Buffy would say, "It's what I do."

[> This posting board always blows my mind!! -- Deeva, 23:38:10 08/16/01 Thu

This particular discussion has just blown me out of the water. Geez! Everyone seems to be so clear in their thought that I can't help but be intimidated by the sheer magnitude of it. People around me like to tell me that I am a little too analytical but I'm nothing compared to you guys! I need to go and lay down now. I can't think right now.

[> [> Deeva, you took the words right out of my mouth! -- Marie, 03:42:35 08/17/01 Fri

[> [> You should have been around for the fungus discussion! -- OnM, 07:30:06 08/17/01 Fri

Good thing that one brought it's own penicillin!

BTW, just shows why we love having spotjon around here-- his thoughtful posts always get us goin'...


[> [> [> The fungus discussion should be in the archives now -- Masq, 09:09:45 08/17/01 Fri

Currently, I have all the posts from Oct 00 through April 01 up, and it was that discussion was definitely before May.

I'm working now on getting the May archives up!

[> [> C'mon Deeva, join in the fun, bloody your nose a bit--you know you wanna. ;-) -- Anthony8, 10:56:30 08/17/01 Fri

After you rest for a few, let's hear your two cents. We're all over the board here. And today, the board seems to be all over itself (ghosts in the machine, I suppose). Maybe the psychic energy from all the contributors to this subject is disrupting the authoratively hierarchical world in which the VOY server exists.

Anyhow all this discussion reminds me of an Irish expression Campbell used when he was describing how one should jump unself-consciously and wholeheartedly into the messy and wonderfully horrific experience that is life:

"Is this a private fight? Or can anyone join in?"


[> [> [> I wanna but can't really sum up my feelings like you guys do. One day it'll happen. :o) -- Deeva, 21:23:02 08/17/01 Fri

[> [> Re: This posting board always blows my mind!! -- Dedalus, 19:02:29 08/17/01 Fri

I feel your pain.

Actually, I always think I have clear thoughts that are well developed and presented, and I post them right up at the top before discussion gets going. Then after everyone else posts I go back, and I'm like "I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy." It does get a little mind-blowing. Put it this way, this is the only forum I know of where people have been known to actually have footnotes with their posts.

[> [> [> Yeah, I'm with you. -- Anthony8, 21:45:20 08/17/01 Fri

I'll finish posting what I think is a fairly well-thought out rant, sitting here all proud of myself and then, 'D'oh!' I notice a misspelling that makes me look like Cletus the Slack-jawed yokel. Then every time I hit the board, there it is staring out at me--as if I'm walking around in public with my finger up my nose. Oh well. Humility is good for the soul.


[> [> [> [> Yep, ya got that right. -- OnM, 23:00:43 08/17/01 Fri

It think it's so fascinating that many people read this board and think geez! They're all so focused and so clever and all, but they are only reading the finished product, and it doesn't always just 'happen', it can take effort.

I just finished posting my weekly movie column, and as usual it took me about three hours to write, and that doesn't include viewing the film and doing some research on the IMDb or other sites/sources to make sure that I mostly don't make a fool of myself.

Even then, almost every week while I'm actually writing the thing, I look at the work in progress and think to myself, ohh, this sucks. It's not working, now what? But I massage it, and tweak it, and usually finally get into some kind of a groove, and when I'm done it's usually at least acceptable, IMO. But's it's effort.

So, to Deeva or to others who think this is 'so easy' for us, it isn't always. I find writing very rewarding, and I'm much better at it than I am at speaking, because I'm a slow thinker, but it's a bitca a times.

So just give us whatever you've got. Take your time if it raises your confidence. I only have a high-school education (an oxymoron if ever there was one!), most of the useful stuff I learned over the years was from reading extensively and listening to other folks who were smarter than I was-- or at least appeared to be!!


[> [> [> [> [> Taking your time... -- Wisewoman, 08:38:52 08/18/01 Sat an excellent suggestion, except for those occasions when the discussion/debate becomes hot and heavy, and I find that my carefully composed comments suddenly follow three other posts that say essentially the same thing, but much more lucidly!


[> [> [> [> [> [> You know, I've been computer literate for over a decade now... -- Anthony8, 10:48:07 08/18/01 Sat

...and I never got used to reading screen text with the same disciplined eye as I do hard copy. I have a much easier time catching misspellings and typos on paper. Maybe it's because screen text seems more conversational to me. Oh well. In a way, watching my own mistakes slip through now and then keeps my ego in check (as if people shooting down my point of view with deadly precision doesn't? Who am I kidding? :-).


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: You know, I've been computer literate for over a decade now... -- Dedalus, 13:26:30 08/18/01 Sat

This is sort of conversational, which is why I like to generalize and such on occasion. Still, this is pretty deep conversation, so it evokes a certain amount of pondering that might not be necessary on other forums.

Speaking of writing, if it is something long and drawn out, I will STILL write it out long hand. That's just the way I do it. Even getting more and more familiar with the computer, I have to write with paper first. Which is good, because then typing it up ensures that you do at least two drafts.

[> Re: Respect my authority -- Rufus, 12:58:43 08/17/01 Fri

Rules were not made to be broken-they were made to be followed; but rulers were not made to be autonomous-they are still subject to judgement. We need rules if only because we have such a strong desire to disobey. Anarchy is never a justifiable position to take, in my opinion.

Words to remember....I have experience in the drive to disobey that humanity contains. There are many good reasons for rules to exist. First of all they are guidelines on how to behave in society, giving a person direction on what is and isn't acceptable behavior. I have found that unless you have been impacted by actions of rule breakers you don't understand that fact. The basic laws that prohibit certain behaviors such as murder, assault, theft, fraud, are there because the adverse results of these activities have, made people request laws to prohibit them. I find that if a rule or a law is unfair it generally will be challenged enough to change or be dropped. Everytime I see a person stripped of their belongings because of someone who doesn't like the rule about not stealing I remember why that rule needs to be in place, same as dealing with greaving families whose member has been murdered or beaten senseless. People have a strong drive to disobey but that doesn't mean that the laws and rules that govern them need to be scrapped. The rule makers or enforcers are subject to judgement if they forget that the rules also include them. We need to use good sense when it comes to rules. If something is so unjust as to clearly need questioning there are ways to do that. People in places of authority need to be observed to make sure they don't turn from being a guardian of their fellow man to a predator of the same. Anarchy isn't a solution good sense and compassion is.

[> [> Re: Respect my authority -- Dedalus, 19:10:19 08/17/01 Fri

Good points, but I still have issues.

As much as it pains me to see people hurting each other for nonsensical reasons, I have to question what good rules actually do. I stated this up there at the very beginning.

A person stripped of their belongings to me is a reminder that rules don't really work. Makes sense, really. If rules prohibited stealing, there wouldn't be stealing. But as I said, the people who are going to follow the rules do so anyway, and those that don't, don't anyway, so there you go.

Yes, I'm generalizing, and possibly being naive. I will not pretend law does not act as a deterent in some cases. The problem with me is more metaphysical, I suppose. I expect more of us as a species. There's no sense in the things we do to each other.

I like a quote I came upon the other day, I think it was courtesy of Einstein. It went something like this - If every action we take has to be motivated by fear of punishment or lust for reward, and we can't function without those two things, we are a sorry lot indeed.

The virtuous life is its own reward, or it should be.

[> [> [> Re: Respect my authority -- Rufus, 21:52:46 08/17/01 Fri

A virtuous life is its own reward, or it should be.

Great thought if you are by nature virtuous. I think that law springs from the reality that many are not. We also have to have a baseline idea of what is and isn't acceptable in a society. Laws themselves won't stop bad behavior but they give us an idea of what is right and wrong and is at least a start. Our conscience will be the ultimate guide....if you have one.:):):)

[> [> [> [> Re: Respect my authority -- Dedalus, 13:11:31 08/18/01 Sat

Yes, you are right about the baseline for society thing.

My point - more like a highly heretical idea - was that more often than not, said laws instigate more problems than they solve. I've quoted Blake many times here - "Prisons are built with stones of law, brothels with bricks of religion." Thus we have a kind of boomerang effect, with one feeding the other.

I'll give you a great bit that pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter. This is from a different book, but the quote was taken from "Christian Ethics," by Waldo Beach and H. Richard Neibuhr -

"In a sense Paul's whole thought on the law may be interpreted as a development of Jesus' idea that a good tree brings forth good fruit and that no amount of external conduct can make men really good. In far as imperative moral law remains something external to man, an affair of 'You ought' and 'You ought not,' it cannot make him good at the core; it cannot transform his motives. The imperative form of the law, not its content, is a relative thing which presupposes the presence in man of a desire contary to the intention of the law. Moreover, the giving of injunctions to them to transgress the law. Where there are imperatives, adults as well as children are tempted to see how close they can come to the edge of the forbidden. Again, imperative law cannot produce that innate, unforced graciousness of conduct evident in Jesus Christ which is so much more attractive and so much more fruitful than self-conscious goodness."

God, I do love that passage. And, while I know the world is an awfully complex place, I still can't help but be dismayed at the overemphasis society gives to "imperative law" while no emphasis at all is given to that "innate, unforced graciousness." From my own life experiences, as I've mentioned before, that doesn't often work. I've gone to schools that were highly strict, and schools not so much, and the not so much schools always had much better behaved, less hypocritical, and generally nicer people.

Just my opinion. And it rests on the assumption that everyone has a conscience. Some people say doing away with laws and rules and such would bankrupt everything, and make people less responsible. But, in a way, a funny, semi-optimistic, cross-my-fingers way, wouldn't it make them more responsible, virtually forcing responsibility on them?

[> [> [> [> [> In a world populated with only "good trees" it could work..... -- Rufus, 15:48:38 08/18/01 Sat

Unfortunately there are many sick trees bearing equally diseased fruit. Laws may seem pointless in a society where the Golden Rule is followed but we are in a society that doesn't love their brothers as themselves, or hate themselves so much they can only spread that emotion. Laws are there because they are needed for the sick trees. Laws aren't there because of the virtuous, but to protect them. I would love to share your optimism about responsibility but have seen too much blood and destruction to believe that all people can be responsible. Most people act in a way that they don't break the law because it's not in them to behave in that way but the many that are society needs protection from. Law won't stop crime but it will be what we base our judgement of lawbreakers on. I'm talking criminal law more than civil law here.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In a world populated with only "good trees" it could work..... -- Dedalus, 19:41:39 08/18/01 Sat

Well, I suppose I should ask what makes society like this, then? Is it the people in it? Or is it the society itself?

My point is, how do we know we don't live in a world populated by "good trees"? We never really give anyone a chance do we?

Humorous story - I have said once or twice around some very strict moralists that I think people should be able to do whatever they want. And it never fails. Every single time, they come back with, "So everybody can just do whatever they want? So if I wanted to take out a gun and shoot you, I could?" To which I always reply, "If you could do whatever you wanted, would you want to shoot me?" To which they reply, "Well ... no." To which I reply, "Well there ya go." Of course, I realize I'm going to say that to the wrong person one of these days and probably wind up in a shallow grave on the side of the road somewhere, but them's the breaks.

You know, I endlessly rail against people, call them names and so forth, but ... when all is said and done, I guess I just still retain a basic faith in human nature. Now, I should point out this human nature has nothing to do with this socialized, religiousized creature which is currently posing as human nature. I think we have lost our nature long ago, and that of course, is the problem.

My take is very Taoist. As my friend Lao Tse once put it, "Give up this advertising of goodness and duty, and people will regain love for their fellows." Taoism operates under the simple assumption that if someone believes they can do whatever they want to do - I mean, really believes it - in the end, they will want to do the right thing. I mean, the people who go around having meaningless sex and killing people and doing drugs ... is that really what they WANT to do? They don't strike me as particularly happy human beings.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Shallow grave.................. -- Rufus, 20:04:17 08/18/01 Sat

Be careful, you knock on enough doors, someone is apt to answer.:):):):) Most people don't want to harm others so the removal of laws simply won't change their basic nature, but there are some who are lost and don't understand that there is something more to life than drugs, meaningless sex, and the pursuit of material things. For me I hope that most people will be good and feel good by their good acts, but I have a plan B to protect the good from the acts of the evil. Some people are empty of feeling, enough so that they are a danger to everyone around them, rules and laws they don't adhere to anyway. I hope that people left to their own devices will instinctally be good, but for those who don't, I want to protect from the acts of the lost. Sometimes the light of goodness can't infiltrate the dark form that is evil.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Trust but verify? -- OnM, 07:38:24 08/19/01 Sun

Never thought I'd ever quote a man whose general policies I was none too fond of (to put it very politely), but his attempt to be humorous about the US dealing with the 'new' Soviet Union' makes a statement about the essential paradox of human behavior that I doubt he really appreciated.

To trust, of course, means exactly that. But how often can you truly trust anyone? That is, totally, unquestionably, trust without reservation?

In 'The Gift', Buffy essentially asks this of Giles and the SG. They do, and things work out, the world is saved. But it is clear that even 'trust in Buffy' has it's limits, as Joss proposes to us by having Giles kill Ben/Glory.

I posed the question back a few weeks after this ep first aired, did Giles do the right thing by effectively not trusting Buffy in this one instance? I agreed that he did what had to be done, IMO, but there were some-- albeit a minority-- who felt that what he did was wrong, and that if Buffy spared Glory, there may have been a reason.

Can there ever be 100% trust? For a practical reality basis, considering how flawed we as humans are, and in that our society's nature follows our own, there need to be some safeguards, as Rufus states. I do agree wholeheartedly with Dedalus that we tend to lean far more heavily on the law then we often need to-- it's just 'easier', but not always better.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Trust but verify? -- Dedalus, 09:23:46 08/19/01 Sun

I am so impressed, OnM, that you actually managed to get us back to a Buffy topic!

Just for the record, I for one breathed a heavy sigh of relief when Giles got done with Ben. That scene had an edge to it, but I don't think he got off on it or anything. And Glory was too serious a threat to let go. I did not want the Scoobies to have to deal with that again.

And yeah, I guess that is what I'm saying about leaning too heavily on the law. It is easier, but not always better.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Buffy = demon specialist...Giles = experience with the failings of man -- Rufus, 14:09:43 08/19/01 Sun

I agree that people lean too heavily on the law as it can sometimes be a crutch to avoid acting in a humane way. As people we need to distance ourselves from others making them "its" so we can feel better screwing them around.

With Giles and his lack of trust in Buffy I don't see it as a lack of trust as much as a state of despair caused by Giles experiences as a human being.

Giles: I love Dawn.

Buffy: I know.

Giles: But I've sworn to protect this sorry world, and sometimes that means saying and doing...what other people can't. What they shouldn't have to.

Buffy: You try and hurt her, and you know I'll stop you.

Giles: I know.

Giles acted as a rational man who used his experience of the world to bring him to the conclusion that certain things are justifiable for the greater good. He also understood that these things may make him a human monster. I see Giles killing Ben as a sacrifice of his own. First, he killed Ben for the greater he has to live with his words about Dawn to Buffy and the fact that for the world to go on someone had to make the hard choice to kill as a preventative measure.

Giles: Can you move?

Ben: Need a...a minute. She could've killed me.

Giles: No she couldn't. Never. And sooner or later Glory will re-emerge, and....make Buffy pay for that mercy. And the world with her. Buffy even knows that...(reaches into his pocket, takes out his glasses)and still she couldn't take a human life.

Giles: She's a hero, you see. (Giles put his glasses on) She's not like us.

Ben: Us?

Giles highlighted the difference between the journey of the Hero and the life of man. Buffy only does what she has to do on her journey. Giles is a man of the world, he understands first hand about human weakness and vengeance. Buffy has a limit as a hero on what actions are actually heroic, Giles as a man of the world does not. Buffy may have lost her life in the protection of the world and Dawn, but what did Giles lose?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy = demon specialist...Giles =experience with the failings of man -- Humanitas, 20:50:41 08/19/01 Sun

Now contrast that with Xander's "We could, kill a normal guy? Couldn't we?" THe way he trails off at the end makes it clear that, although he can think it, to actually kill Ben would be as impossible for him as it would be for Buffy. With the exception of Giles, I think that's true of the entire SG. They are still young and idealistic, and can no more kill a human being than Spike can, at the moment. Giles has seen enough horror (and, it is suggested, been the cause of some of that horror) that he knows that he can kill if he needs to. Hmm, I wonder if this is partly him still trying to atone for Eighon, after all these years?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy = demon specialist...Giles =experience with the failings of man -- anom, 21:43:18 08/19/01 Sun

I'm not so sure Giles knew beforehand that he'd be able to kill Ben. He was willing to (bloody well) talk about killing Dawn, but he didn't speak up to support Xander's halfhearted suggestion (although as a creation of the monks, Ben, like Dawn, was arguably not "really" human). And even if he did, killing on BtVS has usually been in the context of fighting, either self-defense or defending someone (or the world) against an enemy actively trying to harm them. I bet Giles hadn't pictured himself killing not only a human, but a helpless one.

One question we didn't see dealt with was the fact that if Buffy had killed Glory in her hellgod form, Ben would still have died with her. Any thoughts on the ethics of that? If killing one kills both, why does it matter which one is manifested at the moment the killing is done?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Buffy killing humans -- Helen, 03:36:03 08/21/01 Tue

Throughout the seasons, we've always been told that Buffy has this huge honour code about not killing human beings - even when Ethan Rayne nearly led her to unwittingly kill Giles, she didn't give him the good stab in the heart he deserved. And she had no intention of killing Maggie Walsh, even though maggie tried to kill her, Buffy was genuinely grieved by Maggie's death.

So what about Faith? We had this hiatus in the last part of season 3, in which Buffy was perfectly prepared to kill another human being, another Slayer no less, to save her creature of the night boyfriend. Xander really started to come into his own at this point, and has grown in confidence ever since, when he told Buffy "I don't want to lose you." He understand the possible consequences of Buffy's intended course - she could have wound up just like Faith herself.

Now we know that Buffy didn't succeed (not for want of trying) but Season four didn't really deal with the consequences of what Bufy had been prepared to do. Faith's re-emergence dealt solely with her own battle to come to terms with her past actions - I wish we had had time for a little investigation into Buffy's failure to help her back when help would have been effective (Consquences, for example). The only acknowledgement Buffy ever seemed to give that things should have been differnt - 2 slayers, they could have taken on anything - was the kiss on Faith's forehead as she lay in her Buffy induced coma.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Buffy killing humans -- Brian, 03:48:10 08/21/01 Tue

Didn't Buffy kill several of those Knights in "Spiral"?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy killing humans -- Helen, 04:01:01 08/21/01 Tue

well, yes indeed she did, and being reminded about it confuses me further. Why couldn't she kill Ben, when she was quite happy to kill Faith and the Knights? And why did she feel no remorse about the Knights afterwards? Is her new attitude to human life a fore-taste of the darker, different Buffy who will be returning next season, or is it a goof?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy killing humans -- Cynthia, 04:08:34 08/21/01 Tue

Well, I wasn't watching when Faith was on. But maybe she was unconciously trying to kill the part of herself she saw in Faith.

As for the knights, I think its just the fact that she didn't have time to reflect on their deaths. Things were happening to fast.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Go back to Checkpoint...... -- Rufus, 04:34:48 08/21/01 Tue

In Checkpoint, she is instructed to protect a dummy as if it were "precious", Buffy does the axe toss in her fight with a COW member and hits the dummy about where she gets the KoB in Spiral. Buffy was protecting who she felt was precious. Instead of a dummy, Buffy with intent, kills a human. She was acting in self defence, protecting those she loved. It was a battle where they were outnumbered and did what they had to, to survive. One thing to note, Buffy didn't know any of the men she killed, they were "soldiers in a vast army". When it came time to finish Glory off, Ben resurfaced. Buffy had known Ben, she had trusted him, and almost went out with him. In short, she knew him to be the doctor who had been careing and compassionate. I don't know if she knew much about what Ben had done in regards to Dawn, his sell out of humanity to save himself. It was clear that unlike the Knights, Ben was no soldier and had surrendered. As a hero, Buffy showed mercy, unable to kill a man she knew, and at some point liked. Ben was no threat and Buffy gave him the chance she gave the Knights, end the fight. Giles was more practical about the situation, made the hard choice to kill the man who had patched him up. Giles made it clear that he wasn't like Buffy, he wasn't a "hero".

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: When did Buffy kill some of the Knights? -- Dedalus, 20:08:54 08/21/01 Tue

I've heard people say this, but I've watched the episode several times, but I don't see it.

She kicks a couple off the side of the van. Moving, granted, but it probably wasn't enough to kill them. The guy she hit with the axe was wearing chainmail. It probably didn't kill him. It looked like it was just enough to knock him off the van.

But later, the Knight says "Seven of my men are dead" when they are trying to get help for Giles. Is he talking about the ones Glory killed?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: When did Buffy kill some of the Knights? -- Rufus, 20:21:11 08/21/01 Tue

That axe stuck....and not because it was hung up on chainmail.....Buffy is really strong and she proved that when she tossed that sword into the wall in Checkpoint...she was only a bit pissed in that Spiral she was protecting the person most precious to her....she killed the guy.

[> [> [> [> Re: the difficulty of authority -- mundusmundi, 14:31:20 08/18/01 Sat

Another point I'd add to yours is: authority is hard work. Even for leaders who are genuinely smart and capable and bucked the Peter Principle, it takes a lot of responsibility, a lot of caution, a lot of care. I'm not a police officer, but I respect police officers (in most cases), as they put their asses on the line in a way I never could. Again, generally speaking, I also respect parents. I'm not a parent, but my parents are parents, and I cringe reflecting on some of the hell I put them through.

For me, the most ridiculous of Joss's authority figures are teachers. I'd love nothing more than for him to substitute a real class for a week or two. Maybe then he'd see just how much "authority" we actually possess nowadays. ("Sorry I missed the last two months of class, Professor Whedon. My babe wrecked my Harley and I was totally bummed. Did I miss anything important?")

[> [> [> [> [> Re: the difficulty of authority -- Dedalus, 19:50:35 08/18/01 Sat

I'm not sure Joss has that many issues with teachers. They haven't all been depicted in a bad light.

Professor Gregory back in the praying mantis episode was very nice to Buffy. But didn't he have his head ripped off or something?

Ooh, and what about that poetry teacher this past season? He was an all around decent chap.

Out of all authority figures, I really like teachers. If we're talking college professors, I love them. I only had two semi-competent/parental figures/teachers in high school, and that was the Colonel and Chief in Air Force Junior ROTC. That was when I liked authority, of course. But they ruled in a major way.

I don't know why Joss could possibly get flake for drumming down authority figures though. It's not like he's making this stuff up. Okay, he's making the metaphor stuff up, but there has to be some kind of dialogue between the society and the artist, for the artist can't just pull stuff out of the air. It has to be based on something. An IMO, it is in this case.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: the difficulty of authority -- mundusmundi, 20:35:34 08/18/01 Sat

I'm with you on the poetry prof. But that scene where the history professor blasted Buffy for her question on Rasputin was stupid and unconvincing. Joss clearly has no idea what actually goes on in a college classroom. (Of course, he's depicted a TA sleeping with a student without anyone blinking an eye, so we knew that already.)

Sorry, being accuracy-boy. It's made me more sympathetic of the archeologists who carped about Indiana Jones.

I typically identify with the underdogs in life. But as Richard Russo put it in Straight Man: "I'm not without sympathy for the guys in suits."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: the difficulty of authority -- Malandanza, 21:39:30 08/18/01 Sat

"I'm with you on the poetry prof. But that scene where the history professor blasted Buffy for her question on Rasputin was stupid and unconvincing. Joss clearly has no idea what actually goes on in a college classroom."

Most of my college professors (and a few of my High School teachers) were great people. The notable exception for me was my first MAT341 professor -- a class about writing proofs with a professor that could not write a decent proof to save his life. He would skip steps that were "obvious" and realize he had made mistakes partway through the proof (and go back and erase and alter his notation). Notes were all but useless and the text used an entirely different set of notation. One time, a student asked him about a step (in a proof by contradiction) where he had negated an if-then statement. The student did not understand how to negate a conditional (I didn't either, but I figured it out afterward on my own using truth tables) -- instead of explaining the process, he stopped his lecture to rant (actually yelling at the student) about how badly educated this student was and how he should never have taken a difficult math course without the appropriate background. A few other students tried to rally to his support (not me -- I respect authority :), but they, too, ended up as targets of hs phillipics. Ten minutes of screaming. So I would say there is at least one professor who matches the History professor pretty well. But at least at College you have a luxury typically denied to HS students -- you can always drop the class (as I did).

OT -- How do you think spotjon is going to react to his thread when he finally returns?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> the difficulty of authority -- Brian, 05:41:55 08/19/01 Sun

Like a reflection of the general population, I've seen teachers from excellent to really bad. And I've seen profs like that history guy go off on students with a nasty rant. Sigh. And as for TA's sleping with their students, I thought that was a requirement of college life.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Okay the daughter gets a chastity belt for a university gift..... -- Rufus, 14:17:21 08/19/01 Sun

Bad enough we have to come to terms with the fact that our kids may know what sex is, but we now have to move on to let sink in about them practicing. I think that most TA's are at least in the age range of my step child, but if she drags home some brooding lout with a big forhead....I'll have to kill him. Or at least check his age.:):):)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: the difficulty of authority -- dream of the consortium, 12:14:06 08/21/01 Tue

Have to agree with both these points. Have had teachers that ranged from horrific to fantastic. And when I was in school only a few years ago, several students were having very public affairs with professors without anyone getting too bent out of shape, though that probably reflects the tenor of my particular college more than university life in general. By the way, in a recent interview linked by somone here (I forget where), Joss mentions that Richard Slotkin was a major influence on his thinking. I am assuming he went to Wesleyan, as I did. Professor Slotkin was absolutely amazing; his understanding about American literature was both deep and broad. Joss mentioned specifically Slotkin's idea of the "man who knows Indians" as influential on his thinking about Buffy. As far as Slotkin is concerned, many of the central myths of American literature come from James Fenimore Cooper. Natty Bumpo is the man who knows Indian, a important archetype in American culture, the man who is both civilized and yet understands savagery, who lives with one foot in society and one outside. Buffy obviously derives from this archetype - I remember Slotkin mentioning Hans Solo, and I would add the Harvey Kietel character in The Piano, as well as every character who has ever said "I know these people, I grew up here" on a bad cop show. Slotkin also argued that the two women in the Leatherstocking Tales (boy, have I forgotten a lot about those books - there's no hope that I will remember the women's names)created our almost unbreakable hair color rules in literature and film. One dark and dangerous, one blond and innocent, one representing the call of savage, the other civilization, - and note Faith and Buffy. (And the discussion about hair color prejudices above.)

I haven't read Slotkin's books - Gunfighter Nation or Regeneration though Violence, but would be interested if anyone on the board has. Thrilled as I was to see that I share with Joss admiration for a particularly wonderful professor (see, I'm almost on-topic here - the point is that Joss loves professors. Loves them, Rasputin-guy be damned), I've forgotten a lot from that class in the years since college and would love to know more.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm OT if you're OT -- mundusmundi, 07:36:50 08/19/01 Sun

I'm wondering if all these topics lately (of which I've been an active participant) aren't the Masqverse's equivalent of spring training. Cutting our teeth before the real debates begin (e.g., "Buffy's return: Huh?" and "Spike's hottieness: a metaphysical discourse.").

Once again, one of your posts has introduced me to a new word: philippics. No longer subscribe to Reader's Digest, so I have to get my word fix somewhere.

Even more OT: I liked your fanfic idea. The reaction of the minions was a unique yet believable angle. (Reminds me of a scene in Martin Cruz Smith's novel Polar Star. After the KGB honcho is killed, his lackeys, who've been harassing the hero, now decide to help him as he's next in line of authority. Hilarious take on Soviet logic.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I'm OT if you're OT -- Dedalus, 09:40:16 08/19/01 Sun

My high school teachers were okay ... a couple of them were pretty good and semi-competent.

My real education did not begin until college though. And I started at a two year local college before going on to university. And that little local college had some of the BEST professors you could possibly imagine. Everyone talked about it. It was mind-blowing. Such a repository of wit and wisdom. It set me on my course as a lover of knowledge.

But there was one ... this English teacher. It was bad. She thought I couldn't write at all. She often used me as an example of what not to do. Made me write stuff over and over. It was actually rather funny in retrospect. Most of the other teachers were hailing me as one of the best they'd ever seen, but not her. I think she just hated men altogether. Someone suggested she actually had a crush on me.

Okay, and there was another one, an English one. I was finishing up my last semester, and my advisor (Just let me say - most advisors are crap, but this guy was incredible - he got me out of college algebra) told me that I needed one last English because of this credit swap or something. And I had just got done with my senior seminar and directed studies and all that with no problem, but I go back to this sophmore English class, and the teacher was a complete idiot. She never had any clue what was going on. She totally ruined any enjoyment I might have gotten out of that last semester. It took her months to grade a five paragraph essay. We didn't even have a syllabus until like two months into the semester. And yes, she made me redo a paper I wrote comparing Gone With the Wind's place in Southen literature to the Bible's place in Western literature. It was really good, and I had several people tell me so.

I kid you not, I wrote about how Scarlett (as both tempting Eve and suffering Christ) with her "I'll never be hungry again" speech and her rise and fall was analogous to a death and resurrection. On the topic of death and resurrection, she wrote to the side of my paper "So how is this biblical?"

Enough to put a chill down your spine.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> "So how is this biblical?" -- Rufus, 14:19:55 08/19/01 Sun

Oh no....what a bitch....she was probobly envious of your happens. I can also imagine her take on "The Gift".....I think you would have to crack open a case of chalk to chuck at her.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "So how is this biblical?" -- Dedalus, 12:21:45 08/21/01 Tue

Actually, I think she was doped up on pain pills or something, but that's another story.

[> Re: Kenneth Burke -- Wisewoman, 21:39:16 08/20/01 Mon

Interesting article on Burke's take on authority (among other things) at:


Burke was particularly interested in how humans became capable of maintaining socio-political hierarchies (or inequalities) in the first place. Of course he, like Max Weber, recognized several reasons why people submit to being ruled: (1) the authority of custom; (2) the authority of the exceptional, personal gift of grace or charisma demonstrated by a leader to whom one is personally devoted, and/or (3) by virtue of the belief in the validity of the legal statute itself; in such case, submission is not generally motivated only by fear or hope but by personal interests of the most diverse kinds, including a perceived elevation in status due to a loyalty to authority (Lassman and Speirs, pp. 311-312).
The universities are catching on somewhat to what we already knew. -- Anthony8, 11:32:33 08/17/01 Fri

They are teaching BtVS at university now according to an article you can find here:

Too bad they haven't discovered our forum. Their course description sounds much more limited than what we explore on a daily basis here.


[> Re: The universities are catching on somewhat to what we already knew. -- dan, 11:56:55 08/17/01 Fri

Too bad they haven't discovered our forum. Their course description sounds much more limited than what we explore on a daily basis here.

You're right, they are limited... they probably don't talk nearly enough about chocolate, canadians, or cats. ;->


[> [> Re: The universities are catching on somewhat to what we already knew. -- John Burwood, 13:17:06 08/17/01 Fri

Thanks for the tip, & good for them. I note that in the article there is a mention of making comparisons between Buffy & Jane Austen. As a life member of the Jane Austen Society, I would say it is about time someone noticed how much have in common - both write powerfully character-centred stories about young people, primarily young women, growing up and finding their place in the adult world. There is enormous potential for academia in btvs - anyone who has not already done so should follow the ATPoBTVS link to Slayage - the Buffy studies site - it is fascinating.

[> [> [> Buffy/Austen -- fresne, 14:31:09 08/17/01 Fri

Well, just in case you missed it and no one else mentions it, (a bit of self-promotion here) back in april my housemate and I did a Buffy/Pride and Prejudice, hmmm...hard to call it a crossover. We, well, we took an e-text of P&P, reversed everyone's gender, traded P&P characters for Buffy characters, changed locations to Buffyverse locations, and added fight scenes in the places of dances.

If you haven't seen it go here.

[> [> [> [> Re: Buffy/Austen -- Deeva, 21:17:23 08/17/01 Fri

Pretty cool. I'm now half way through it and it's really entertaining. Pride & Prejudice is one of my absolute favorites. This is the best of both worlds here! Gee, I wonder how it will end? ;O)

[> Re: The universities are catching on somewhat to what we already knew. -- Dedalus, 19:34:25 08/17/01 Fri

When did this happen?

I agree that what we discuss here would probably blow them away. Someone needs to find one of their students and patch them through to us. The Existential Scoobies Unleashed in Academia.

I want to teach this class ...


[> [> You would be the perfect professor, Dedalus. -- Deeva, 21:18:56 08/17/01 Fri

[> [> [> Re: Thanks for the Vote of Confidence ... -- Dedalus, 12:53:26 08/18/01 Sat

I can just see me in the classroom, throwing pieces of chalk at people, raving "What do you mean Buffy shouldn't have been able to give her blood for Dawn's?! The Gift is the meaning of life, damn you! Whaddaya mean you wanna watch Ally McBeal instead?!"

[> [> [> [> Dedalus, ever thought of putting chips in students heads??:):):) -- Rufus, 15:36:41 08/18/01 Sat

It may be evil, it may be wrong but it would save on chalk.:):):)

[> [> [> [> [> And no books are needed!! -- Deeva, 16:59:46 08/18/01 Sat

[> On British news, a couple of months ago.... -- Marie, 06:38:34 08/19/01 Sun was announced that a student atBath University was doing his PhD and the subject of his thesis? Buffy and Angel!


Monsters and Redemption -- Rufus, 13:42:42 08/17/01 Fri

To show just how bored I've been I have to tell you I got a copy of "The Monster Book" by Golden, Bissette, and Sniegoski. Some of the last words of this book made me think I had to share them with you all.

As evidenced by the remarkable story of damnation and redemption that Faith has suffered through, human monsters can change. Some can break the cycle of their own cruel and even evil behavior. But that is no simple task. After all that she has done, Faith's redemption is by no means complete. Nor are the issues that drove her to her monstous behavior resolved. Though we have extended the definition of monster for the purposes of this book to include beings created or influenced by the supernatural, in the end, we return to the simpler definition. As a vampire, Angel is a monster. As a werewolf, so is Oz. As the slayer, Faith has abilities that are superhuman. Monsters. But true monstrosity is, in the end, defined by human behavior. Buffy the Vampire has shown, time and again, that monsters can find their redemption. Ya gotta have Faith.

I liked those words as they reflect some of what I feel. Some of us have considered that redemption is only for humans, but, I believe that as long as a being exists, anyone or monster can find redemption through their actions. On BVS we are constantly reminded that the humans are the true pros when is comes to evil. If humans are the ones that can show the monsters a thing or two about true evil, why are humans considered the only ones that should be redeemed sometimes using the soul as the only ticket accepted to embark on Redemption road. Monsters on BVS seem to be the metaphor that reflects the worst and sometimes the best a human can be. As Monsters can so readily demonized because of their appearaence it's easy to judge one of them to represent all. When we put on blinders because of appearance or the disposition of a soul do we become a type of monster ourselves?

[> Re: Monsters and Redemption -- Nina, 14:35:06 08/17/01 Fri

Very interesting post Rufus! I do believe that if monsters coudn't be redeemed at all, we woudln't have spent all year wondering if it could be done. The fact that there are so many pros and cons prove that the issue is more complicated than a yes or no answer.

As we've seen at the end of season 5, a monster is not someone who IS monstrous, but ACTS like one. Ben was a monster even if he was human. Hitler was one too. History showed us a load of humans acting like monsters. We also have the elephant man who looks like a monster, but doesn't act like one. It's all about appearences. We often judge people by their looks. You look like a monster so you are one. I find that this issue in BtVS teaches us about tolerance. Accepting that someone who did bad things can have a chance to become more. It's also an anti-fatalism way to look at things. You are not stuck to be a monster because you have a tag on your forehead. Everyone is given the chance to be free. Free to be alive and not kill anymore. that's liberty of choice. Real liberty.

[> Re: Monsters and Redemption -- Dedalus, 19:26:48 08/17/01 Fri

I have a line from an essay I once wrote - "Compassion always strives to find its likeness."

On a side note, I just gotta ask - Is quoting your own bloody self egotism or what?

Anyway, I think that is true. Who among us can just totally turn away from kindness. And I mean genuine kindness. I believe Angel's redemption of Faith was one of his greatest feats. I mean, everyone else had given up on her, some rightly so, but Angel just stuck with it. And his faith was rewarded. Even after all the horrible things she did, winning that soul back to the light - or at least putting it on the course - is a profound accomplishment. I really love Angel for that.

On the topic of monsters, Vader comes to mind. He was a true monster, but he was human, too. And that Luke could still find it in his heart to love him and care about him ... no one else in the SW galaxy could have done that. No one had any faith left in him at that point. Maybe Qui-Gon would have, but he was dead. And if you notice in Jedi, Yoda actually turns his back on Luke when he reveals Vader is his father. Like he can't even claim the son for the sins of the father. And that Vader was finally able to respond to that faith and save Luke was a sublime note indeed.

Human monsters are the worst kind, because they're so problematic. So close to us. We do demonize each other, project all out negative traits onto other groups, and so on. And when we do this, even with REAL monsters, we run the risk of becoming the monster. Again, like Luke in Jedi, when he almost killed his father, and would have clearly taken pleasure in it. This is the paradox that Buffy has had to face down all year. She gets so psycholgically close to the darkness just by her proximity to it because of her slaying. That she retained her humanity and did not give into her predator side and kill Ben even after what he had done to Dawn is another profound thing. She doesn't deny her animal/predatory side, but she never let it consume her either.

Compassion ... com-passion, suffering with, is what it's all about. It's what transforms a human animal - or even a human monster - into a real human being.

[> [> Amen to that Dedalus! Love the SW analogy! -- Nina, 20:09:46 08/17/01 Fri

[> [> Compassion........... -- Rufus, 21:48:09 08/17/01 Fri

So one step further, can a monster an inhuman monster change if they somehow learn to connect with humanity by the exposure to compassion? I think here the mention of the Prio Motu demon comes to mind. How did that demon change? How did he learn compassion? If one demon learns compassion can the rest of the demons of that species learn compassion by example like the learned behavior spreading like explained in "The Rebirth of Nature" by Rupert Sheldrake. One member learns a new behavior and it travels by morphogenesis. The Prio Motu could change the species by learned behavior spreading through the morphic fields of all others of that species. It would be the ultimate in learning by example. You would have a form of learning by changing the collective unconscious of a species, the one demon may be dead, but the learned behavior lives on in the rest, only an opportunity waiting to happen. The fact that one demon was able to change makes it more likely that more will find it easier to do the same thing. Just a thought.

[> [> [> Re: Compassion........... -- Dedalus, 12:50:15 08/18/01 Sat

"Just a thought."

Well, it was a pretty interesting one at that. I like that you bring in learned behavior, since so many of our bad behaviors/attitudes are in fact learned.

As far as demons go, I think Joss has been playing with our preconceptions from the beginning. And as I mentioned down in the Buffy and God thread, Lie to Me is a good example of this. Family, too, for that matter. It would be easy to write everyone off like Tara's father with his black and white, "Evil is evil" philosophy. But real life is much more complicated than that, as psychology has shown.

I've never really thought about it before, but all the demons that have stayed in the Buffy reality are hybrids, right? I think that's what Anya said. A lot of them have in fact been integrated into human society, and even mated into it, as we have seen with Doyle. And as mentioned before, the Prio Motu was even a Buddhist, or at least had a Buddhist shrine up with his stuff. And then there's Spike, who could be learning by example.

That sounds like an interesting book, Rufus. I will have to read it sometime.

Classic Movie of the Week - August 17th 2001 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures PT. III -- OnM, 22:10:09 08/17/01 Fri


This is the stuff of audacious myth, combining the perverse, the glorious, and the ridiculous. The movies were invented to tell such stories.

..........Roger Ebert


It's generally considered to be a given in the movie biz that sequels and remakes are money in the bank. Just as generally, this condition exists because you don't bother to even make a sequel, or a remake, unless the original work was very popular and/or has become a 'classic' through the passage of time and public opinion.

Not that it doesn't backfire at times. Artistic inspiration is a tenuous schematic at best, and even if you try your best, things just don't always click the second (or third, or fourth) time around. I recall many years ago when the producers of *The Rocky Horror Picture Show* decided to try the 'midnight movie madness' schtick once again, and it flopped, big-time. As far as Dr. Frankenfurter and friends went, you couldn't go home again. Formula doesn't quite taste the same when the audience has already been suckled on the breast milk of genuine quirkiness and originality.

Be that as it may, (and this being August, actually) you will recall that I have been exploring the field of Guilty-Pleasures/Buried Treasures for the last two weeks here in my humble column, and certainly no ground is more fertile for growing the unexpected cinematic mutant that sequels and remakes often bring into bloom. This week's Classic Movie is one such strange growth, in that in my humble opin, it is not only as good as it's progenitor, it is actually far, far better. Yes, it does happen!

The Buffyverse is filled with all manner of strange creatures, monsters who in a goodly number of cases are some variety of or variant on a fusion of the human and the animal kingdoms, such as Oz and his alter-ego, the werewolf. There is Dracula, who turns into a bat, or sometimes also a wolf, albeit a sleek and sexy one, as opposed to Oz's scruffy, out-of-control beastie. Why do we have this fascination with the animal part of ourself? Is it because we still see ourselves as fundamentally animal in nature, despite the trappings and pretensions of advanced perception that our big warm fuzzy forebrain bestows upon us? Or is it because we often find the burdens of rational thought simply too ponderous to bear, and we long for the simple recourse of following our primordial DNA wherever it might lead us, gloriously free from blame for any coincident suffering that follows the course of our actions.

Let's suppose, just for the sheer bestial fun of it, we postulate that long, long ago, in the very dawn of human prehistory, there was a tribe of humans who existed alongside a tribe of leopards (yes, the big, sleek, black feline variety). The humans worhip these powerful animals, because they see them as creatures with a powerful spirit. They decide that it might be a good idea to offer a sacrifice to them, so (naturally) they send one of their young women to the place where the leopards congregate, but it turns out she doesn't get eaten. I'm not exactly sure why not, but if I was foolish enough to try to be reasonable, I might posit that the great cat senses some kind of kindred spirit force in the woman who was chosen. No, the cat decides to mate with the young woman, and so is engendered the beginnings of a line of a new species, which we'll call... well, uhh... 'Cat-People'.

Spring forth to the present day, and just like last week, it's still New Orleans. A young woman, one Irena Gallier (Nastassja Kinski) arrives in town. Irena is tall, lean, muscular, intelligent looking, with wide-set green eyes, and a very sleek, leonine walk. She meets a man at the airport, he turns out to be Paul Gallier (Malcolm McDowell), her long-lost brother. Together they travel to his home, where they recall old times. Later that evening, Paul appears to be getting a bit on the edgy side, and goes out for a walk. Several hours later, a hooker gets partly mauled by this big, black leopard that was hiding under the bed in the hotel room where she went to meet her client.

Enter the curator of the local zoo, Oliver Yates (John Heard) and his lovely and charming assistant, Alice Perrin (Annette O'Toole). They marvel at what a fine, frisky and potentially deadly specimen is holed up in the hotel room, then shoot him full of tranquilizer, and cart his significant but currently quiescent mass off to the zoo. Meanwhile, Irena waits for her brother to take her out and show her the sights of New Orleans, but strangely enough, he didn't come home last night. Now, why would that be, do you think? Do you suppose... nahhhh....

Now, this movie, which silly as it sounds on the surface, is actually pretty well done. In fact, watching it again last night after not seeing it in it's entirity or properly visually formatted for at least 8-10 years or so reminded me of just how superb a job the director and cinematographer did with showing us the interesting aspects of the city of New Orleans, not the slick and touristy aspects like Herb Ross did in last weeks film selection, *Undercover Blues*. This New Orleans is often moody, rainy, shadowy, neon-lit, and very old-looking, old not so much in the sense of being tired or run down, but in the ease of posture of a slightly cranky, achey old man who moves his body whatever way he feels like moving it, and doesn't care who sees his shuffly gait. Contrasting to the ancient/modern landscape that sweeps before our view is the feral stride of Irena, who is taking in the sights, sans brother, who still has not returned home. She comes across the zoo, is powerfully drawn to it somehow. Wandering about, she comes to the cage where the big cats are kept, and soon to a particular cage wherein resides the zoo's newest addition. She takes out a pencil and a drawing pad, and begins to sketch. Hours later, when Oliver comes out to close up the zoo, she is still standing before the very same animal, transfixed.

So now, comes the strangeness (no, the *real* strangeness!) and the blood, and the passion emancipated and the passion reigned in, and the choices to be made, and the penalties paid thereupon. If there *is* an animal or a primitive within us, does that knowledge free us or bind us? Would we choose a life without love and passion if doing so means love and passion will exist for another? All great questions, all with no easy answers.

The original *Cat People* that this week's Classic Movie is based on was made in 1942, and offered to thrill us for an hour or so while it asked some of these same questions, but despite it's generally good cinematic intentions and, for the day, atmospheric noir-ness, it did lack a certain visceral aspect that Paul Schrader's1982 re-envisionment has in spades. (Indeed, it's hard to get more visceral than what happens to poor Ed Begley's character partway through the presentation). While the tag line for the '42 effort might have been 'A Kiss Could Change Her Into a Monstrous Fang-and-Claw Killer!', by 1982 we pretty much need a decent orgasm to do the job, not to mention a very scary/erotic Nastassja Kinski prowling through the bayou completely naked and chasing down a rabbit for dinner. Oh, my...

I really, really like this film. I recall being both amused and mildly perturbed several years ago when while browsing through the local TV guide, I found that AMC was hosting a showing of the '42 version of the film. Never having seen it, I tuned in to find the host singing the praises (well, speaking in a mellifluous upper class voice at least) about what a great old noir this was, and how off-putting the sleazy newer remake version was. He especially didn't seem to like that Ed Begley was in it.

Despite his putting down the new, I watched the old anyway, and as I said above, pretty good, not bad, can't complain. I suppose it was considered sort of daring back then, in a time in America before people actually had (~sex~) and you could turn into a big ol' nasty panther by just thinking about 2nd base. But then, to be fair, we have better special effects departments now, and also while Simone Simon is easy on the eyes, it's still pretty hard to beat a naked and non-body-doubled Nastassja. It's more than good enough to make you forget how David Bowie started off so well with his theme song and then mucked it up at the last moment by rocking out when he shouldn't have. Maybe it was just his inner animal acting out.

Now having fed your mind, do let loose your inner beast just a bite, and slink on down to the local vid shoppe to glom onto a copy of *Cat People* (1982) by director Paul Schrader. Rowwrr!! Pffft!!

E. Pluribus Cinema, Unum,



Technical (swiiiiippeeeeeeee....slash... Owww!!!) Kitty Litter:

*Cat People* (1982) is available on DVD. Running time is 1 hour and 59 minutes. Aspect ratio of the theatrical production is 1.85:1, which is preserved on the DVD. The soundtrack is standard Dolby Surround. Screenplay is by Alan Ormsby, Music by Giorgio Moroder, Director of Photography is John Bailey. From a camera arts standpoint, this is a really great looking flick, and while the DVD transfer itself is only average and not exceptional, it's still clean enough to really sell the atmosphere, pretty much a technically critical item for any noir film. This is one case where the color version really is better than the black and white, and that's not something you can expect to hear me say very often, I assure you!

Cast overview, first billed only:

Nastassja Kinski .... Irena Gallier Malcolm McDowell .... Paul Gallier John Heard .... Oliver Yates Annette O'Toole .... Alice Perrin Ruby Dee .... Female Ed Begley Jr. .... Joe Creigh Scott Paulin .... Bill Searle Frankie Faison .... Detective Brandt Ron Diamond .... Detective Ron Diamond Lynn Lowry .... Ruthie John Larroquette .... Bronte Judson Tessa Richarde .... Billie Patricia Perkins .... Taxi Driver Berry Berenson .... Sandra Fausto Barajas .... Otis


Now, just for grins, here's a few specs on the original (as above, courtesy of the IMDb):

*Cat People* (1942)

Directed by Jacques Tourneur

Writing credits DeWitt Bodeen

Complete credited cast:

Simone Simon .... Irena Dubrovna Kent Smith .... Oliver Reed Tom Conway .... Dr. Louis Judd Jane Randolph .... Alice Moore Jack Holt .... The Commodore

Runtime: 1 hour, 13 minutes Country: USA Language: English Color: Black and White Sound Mix: Mono


Miscellanea (and!) the Question of the Week:

I found this little tidbit while searching the IMDb for background info this week, and since we were discussing the Jeff Pruitt stuntman strangeness just a short while ago, I thought this might be of interest to ya'all.

*** When cameraman Hal Mohr was shown how the climactic flood scene was to be shot, he objected on the grounds that it would place many of the extras in jeopardy. Mohr told the executives that while the trained stuntmen knew what to expect, the ordinary extras would have no idea what was coming, and many would be hurt. When his objections were overruled, he quit the picture. During filming of the scene, the huge torrents of water overwhelmed the actors; three were drowned, one was so severely injured his leg had to be amputated, and almost a dozen had broken limbs and other serious injuries. ***

This occurred during the filming of *Noah's Ark* in 1929, so as you can clearly see, while brilliance is shining and short-lived, stupidity waxes eternal.


******* The Question of the Week:

If you were going to be reincarnated as an animal, what species would you prefer to be, and why? Now answer honestly, and don't make me get all philosophical on yer ass!


So post 'em if you got 'em, and I'll see you again next week, when I am *really* digging deep into the dusty vaults to bring you what is either one of the great satirical masterpieces of the '60's, or else one of the most wretchedly overwrought star-studded fiascos of the self-same decade. I'm not sure myself, but I do get this stupid grin on my face at regular intervals when I watch this film, so I guess that means something!

Stay tuned for Guilty Pleasures/Buried Treasures Pt. IV, same philoso-time, same philoso-channel!


[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 17th 2001 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures PT. III -- Anthony8, 22:49:09 08/17/01 Fri

I get the willies every time I think about the Ed Begley scene you mentioned (the only other scene in a movie that I can recall that gave me a similar sickening feeling was when Sam Neill punished Holly Hunter in 'The Piano'). Fingers, limbs...(yikes! My shoulders are shuddering thinking about this)

If I could be reincarnated as an animal I would be a peregrine falcon or a desert eagle of some sort. I have a serious fear of heights, but I have always been fascinated with flying. Every day for the past couple of years, when I go for my run or bike ride, I see the same three hawks evenly stationed on lightposts along the boulevard that runs parallel to the bike path I follow, and every once in a while, I have the honor of observing one of them swoop down close to me as it searches for prey. The power, grace and control these birds exhibit is awe-inspiring. I can only imagine what the world must look like through their eyes or what it must feel like to have access to all that space between the Earth and sky. From what I have seen of peregrine falcons in nature documentaries and such, the speed and accuracy with which they maneuver through the environment instantly bring to mind all those flying/diving dreams I have experienced throughout my life (plunging toward the ground, then swooping back up only inches from disaster). Okay. 'Nuf said. If another life awaits, bird of Prey, I pray.


[> Cat People.......I was waiting for you to get to this one........ -- Rufus, 23:17:55 08/17/01 Fri

I've seen both and quite like the modern Cat People. I liked the ending as well. As for coming back as an animal...myself I'd like to be a human animal but would settle for being a much loved housecat.

[> [> Rufus! You gave the title away! Bad, naughty, kitty! -- OnM, 06:37:19 08/18/01 Sat

[> [> [> I am a bad kitty, I must be punished......:):):) -- Rufus, 15:26:47 08/18/01 Sat

[> [> Re: Cat People.......I was waiting for you to get to this one........ -- Malandanza, 07:58:08 08/18/01 Sat

I like the original -- the scene at the pet shop is worth more to me than all the gory massacres of modern films. It had a lovecraftian feel to it (the natural animals tended to shy away from his creatures).

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 17th 2001 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures PT. III -- Andy, 04:51:06 08/18/01 Sat

Eh, sorry, but I like the original better. I *love* Jacques Tourneur's films. OTOH, I'll admit it's been a long while since I've seen either version :)

As for what animal I'd choose, not to be unoriginal, but I'd pick an outdoors housecat. I like their independence, their cleanliness, and they seem like they have a lot of fun prowling and hunting and climbing and, uh, napping. It seems like the greatest danger they have to look out for is either oncoming cars or obnoxious children.

Speaking of movies about nice women turning into beasties, I just happened to watch The Reptile last night. It's a nice second tier Hammer film about a woman in a Cornish village who's cursed by an obscure tribe of Asian snake worshippers to turn into a lizard person after her anthropologist father had spied on their rituals (I gathered that the main subtext of the film is British imperialism getting turned inside out or something like that). The makeup's a little cheesy but they do okay for the mid-60's and the movie's got a good subdued mood and pace. Overall, I'm glad I spent the $5 for the dvd :) (Suncoast's having a sale on a few of their Anchor Bay dvd's and this is one of them).

[> [> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 17th 2001 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures PT. III -- Nina, 11:24:16 08/18/01 Sat

Cat People! I saw that one! I am so stunned everytime that happens! I was 14 or so at the time, saw it dubbed in French and didn't understand most of it (it was late at night and if I remember right it was for 18+). So it was a capper to watch that. From what I remember it freaked me out, but I didn't see it again, so I'd have to catch an old copy to see how I'd react now.

As for the animal I'd choose. Probably the dolphin. I love them. I admire them. A part from the occasional rivalry and problems within their clans, they enjoy a good life. They can jump to meet the sun and go as deep as they want to explore the sea. Yeah... I'd like that life!

[> [> [> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 17th 2001 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures PT. III -- Brian, 13:26:32 08/18/01 Sat

I'm intrigued; I'll have to take a look. Thanks, OnM

Favorite Animal? Been running with the wolves for years.

[> [> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 17th 2001 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures PT. III -- Vonnie, 14:08:37 08/18/01 Sat

I adore the original "Cat People". Sure there is no overt sex, but Simone Simon seethes with repressed sexuality all the same. I like the shadows in that movie, encroaching from behind, under the pool, and overhead, miles scarier than seeing the actual beast. The sense of intimidation and impending doom it inspires is formidable.

Although "Cat People" is excellent, my favorite Jacques Tourneur/Val Lewton piece is "I Walked with a Zombie". Maybe it's the Jane Eyre obsession I had as a schoolgirl. The movie haunts me. I get shivers to this day, thinking of the rustle of the sugarcanes in the night, the dancing voodoo dolls, and the relentless beat of the drum.

I haven't seen the remake of "Cat People", but OoM makes a good case for its appeal. I'll have to check it out!

[> [> [> Re: Vive Tourneur! -- mundusmundi, 14:59:00 08/18/01 Sat

He also directed Out of the Past, one of the best and weirdest films noir from the classic period. (Watch it and fishing will never ever look the same.) Bob Mitchum in prime form.

Cat People was a departure for Schrader. A more typical film, and also one of the 70's great buried treasures, is Blue Collar. Anticipated much of the class stratifications and racial tensions of the 80's. That and Richard Pryor in a great, serious performance. I'm not kidding.

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 17th 2001 - Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures PT. III -- Wisewoman, 15:27:38 08/18/01 Sat

For the serious cat-lover, there is no greater moment in cinema than the one in the remake of Cat People when the camera follows Malcolm McDowell up the steep, narrow staircase in his New Orleans home...he saunters, he lopes, he's fluid, and then, just before he reaches the top, he glances over his shoulder in absolutely the best feline imitation I have ever seen...

Nastassja wasn't bad, either! And I absolutely loved Putting Out the Fire...with Gasoline.

Even so, I'm comin' back as a bear, a grizzly, I just know it!


[> [> Meat is murder/murderous meat -- d'Herblay, 01:54:37 08/19/01 Sun

I haven't seen either Cat People, so I'm unqualified to add to this thread--not that that ever stops me. As for the animal I'd like to come back as, I'd like to be an otter or a sea lion. Or Nina's dolphin and A8's falcon both sound good to me. Or a leopard. Basically, anything that spends a large part of the day in play, is reasonably brainy, and can swim or fly or um . . . climb trees real good. And, oh yeah, is carnivorous.

And I see I'm not alone. Nina wants to be a dolphin, A8 a raptor, Wisewoman a grizzly, Brian a wolf, and Rufus and Andy both want to return as the most vicious killer of them all, the housecat. (Don't cry foul. I have three of them and I'm constantly finding decapitated chipmunks, eviscerated robins, half-digested field mice on my patio and occasionally my kitchen floor.)

I realize I'm working from only partial returns here, but does no one want to be a graceful gazelle or a powerful rhino? This is a smart board, and Larry Niven once asked, "How many brains does it take to sneak up on a blade of grass," but elephants are smart, long-lived, never preyed upon and have nifty matriarchal societies. Aren't there any takers for the gentle bottom of the food chain?

[> [> [> Hey, we're all power-hungry! -- Wisewoman, 10:24:16 08/19/01 Sun

I can't believe I didn't notice that...gotta raise that TTMQ, five is just not high enough to get by on this board!


[> [> [> Hard times... -- Solitude1056, 16:42:08 08/19/01 Sun

I'd love to come back as an elephant, but it's not the best of times for elephants. Where once they did rule, now they have a fierce and unrelenting predator: humanity. Same goes for gazelles, deer, elk, hawks, owls, leopards, buffalo, mountain lions, coyote, wolves, everything, right down to my favorite, the panda bear. I'd vote for panda bear in my next life, but it's possible that my lifetime will be the last generation to see pandas living wild in their native lands in China. The great lions of India are down to 200 in their native territories; the rest are in zoos scattered across the world. Given the options, I think I'll opt for being stardust.

And btw, my housemate's vote is to come back in his next life as Nastassja Kinski.


[> [> [> Re: Meat is murder/murderous meat -- Nina, 08:40:46 08/20/01 Mon

As I need to put my TTMQ down to earth a little bit, my karma would probably mean for me to be reincarnated not in something I want (gee... see the dolphin... it thinks way too much...gotta stop my brain thinking about stuff!) So maybe I could become something that doesn't think too much. Maybe a sloth would be perfect. It sleeps most of the day. A little dull on the action side... but it could put my TTMQ to a reasonable 3/10! :)

[> [> [> Re: Meat is murder/murderous meat -- Malandanza, 09:20:23 08/20/01 Mon

How about a manatee? They have pretty good lives -- and their only natural enemy is the outboard motorboat (and evolution is at work -- some day all manatees will have armor plated skulls -- or very good dive reflexes).

I used to think crocodiles would be a good choice -- it would be cool to be an animal that could go without eating for a year -- but then I wondered if the crocodile is hungry for the entire year...

For carnivores, I'd say I'd want to be a jaguar. they climb like leopards, swim like tigers and eat alligators for breakfast.

Maybe a new archetype for Spike? -- Humanitas, 14:45:49 08/20/01 Mon

I was just going over some backstory stuff for Dark Alchemy, and I realised that it is entirely possible that we need to update our metaphor for Spike.

We know that for a long time Spike was "like a serial killer in jail." The chip in his head kept him from hurting anyone, but not from wanting to do so. However, over time, the cognitive dissonance set up by an enforced change in behavior can change a person's desires. It happens with kids all the time. I'm thinking that by this point (between seasons) Spike has convinced himself that he really does care for the SG, execpt for maybe Xander.

Now having said this, he doesn't much care about anyone else, and he certainly loves the thrill of violence. (I always got the impression it was the violence and it's attendant notoriety that he got off on, rather than the fact of the kill, anyway.)

So, maybe instead of a serial killer, Spike's a mafioso (I appologize if I offend any of our Italian readers, but it is a pop-culture archetype)? Look at the situation: He cares about a small group of people, who interact as a family, and is willing to hurt anyone who threatens that family.

What do you think? Am I nuts? Or is Captian Peroxide evolving a little?

[> Re: Maybe a new archetype for Spike? -- Masq, 15:01:08 08/20/01 Mon

Vampires without souls could never really be classed as "serial killers" anyway--and I hate to dredge up that old debate, but vampires in the Buffyverse are like pack animals, as many have mentioned. Serial killers are loners (with maybe one confidant) with their own agendas, fantasies, and keen intelligence.

Vampires attach themselves to a "family" or heirarchical social structure and refine their instinct to hunt and kill within that rule structure of that family. We've seen numerous examples of this.

This was all pointed out a while ago, but I think your call to change the metaphor has always been apt. Buffy has a tendency to humanize vampires she knows well, like Spike.

[> Good book to read about archetypes...... -- Rufus, 16:11:23 08/20/01 Mon

Consider reading "The Writers Journey" by Christopher Vogler. It has some great stuff in it.

Shapeshifter Archetype: The Shapeshifter archetype is also a catalyst for change, a symbol of the psychological urge to transform. Dealing with a Shapeshifter may cause the hero to change atttitudes about the opposite sex or come to terms with the repressed energies that this archtype stirs up. The Shapeshifter serves the dramatic function of bringing doubt and suspense into a story. When hero's keep asking "Is he faithful to me? Is she going to betray me? Does he truly love me? Is he an ally or an enemy? a Shapeshifter is generally present.

That's just a small sample of the book. I think it's well worth reading. Is Spike a Shapeshifter or a Shadow? Have a read and you may see.

[> [> Yikes, my Liquidram RP character is a shapeshifter -- Liquidram, 16:14:41 08/21/01 Tue

[> Three words: Nail. Hammer. BANG. -- Solitude1056, 21:31:02 08/20/01 Mon

Clergy in BtVS -- Masquerade, 11:07:31 08/21/01 Tue

O.K., maybe this has been discussed in a few of the religion-related posts we've had recently, but I'm trying to brainstorm a list of clergy (priests, nuns, monks, pastors, etc) we've seen on the shows who were depicted in a sympathetic light.

A part from the fact that we've seen few, the sympathetic characters I can recall off the top of my head are:

* The nun in "IGYUMS" Angel ep--smart cookie * The season-5 monks (morally ambiguous, though--I mean, why did they think the key was worth protecting before it was human?) * The priest/Cardinal in the Buffy-Angel dream wedding was pretty neutral, just doing his job.

less sympathetic:

* The nun in "Triangle" was kind of a... bimbonun

* The priest in Pangs was personally innocent of the crimes for which Hus executed him, but he was symbolic of his forefathers of the cloth who murdered Hus' people.

Any others??

[> Re: Clergy in BtVS -- VampRiley, 11:21:43 08/21/01 Tue

I don't know about sympathetic since we don't see anything about him before hand, but I feel sorry fo the priest that got eaten by Angelus in the confessional in Becoming.

Those Clergy on The Host's home world were definitly less sympathetic.

All I can think of right now. Not sure if there is anyone else.


[> Re: Clergy in BtVS -- Cleanthes, 13:51:16 08/21/01 Tue

The person officiating at Joyce's gravesite recited from the Book of Common Prayer. I assume he was a clergyman because even when using a funeral parlor for the funeral service, they contract out with one's minister of choice - or at least that's how it's happened the two times I've had to arrange funerals.

Anyway, he was competant.

I rather liked the nun in "Triangle" - her confusion seemed understandable given the circumstances and I thought it was rather good of her to let Buffy try on her wimple.

In addition, Angelus takes Dru's confession and the Master comes into human-who-became-Darla's room under pretense of being clergy. The evilness of Angelus & the Master's acts suggests that their ruse was particularly heinous owing to the normally "good" nature of these clergy.

[> [> Re: Clergy in BtVS -- Cactus Watcher, 14:14:20 08/21/01 Tue

I also thought the nun in Triangle was a positive figure. Obviously, she is a postulant, and a little bewildered by Buffy's naive questions. But, she's a good sport.

Among the clergy, I think I'd include the Master, because he seemed to act as an unholy minister for the whole gang of vamps in season one, and was comfortable in the role of a priest as Darla was dying back in ol' Virginia. He frequently spoke the prophecies as if they were scripture. Not exactly positive, though, is he?

[> [> [> Drusilla the postulant -- Ryuei, 15:14:18 08/21/01 Tue

Come to think of it, Drusilla was herself a postulant. In fact, I believe Angel turned her on the eve of taking her final vows.

Now this makes me think - the clergy sure seem to get targeted by vamps quite a bit. But who else has more access to ancient records, crosses, holy water, and other anti-vampire/demon paraphenalia than the Church (by which I more or less mean the Roman Catholic Church with all its trappings, the Vatican Library, etc...) It seems to me as though the Church of the Buffyverse should be knowledgeable enough and provoked enough to fight back on their own. So where are there vampire hunting squads? And would they know about the Watcher Council? Would they consider the Slayer as a holy or unholy power? Seems to me that there is even more potential here than there would be with the Initiative.

[> [> [> [> church vs. vampires -- anom, 15:31:10 08/21/01 Tue

Maybe because the Church is so well equipped, the vamps & demons maintain a low profile w/regard to them. Maybe its members believe demons etc. exist--the occasional exorcism & such--but don't realize how common they are. Although you'd think by now the reports from the Sunnydale diocese would've alerted them....

[> [> [> [> Ahhh but the larger the organization...... -- Rufus, 15:31:23 08/21/01 Tue

Yes, you would think that a church as large as the Catholic Church would have Vampire Hunting squads of their own. There is nothing to say that they don't. But my thought is that the larger the organization, the more likely that it can become out of touch with the reality of the world.

[> [> [> [> [> Another Roadside Attraction -- Brian, 19:47:34 08/21/01 Tue

Sounds like season 7 hi-jinks to me. Buffy versus The Techo-Devampers like in John Carpenter's movie "Vampyrs"

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Another Roadside Attraction -- Rufus, 19:55:39 08/21/01 Tue

Hey....there's a story...get rid of one antiquated bureaucracy and replace it with a younger more convoluted bureaucracy...and that would be a T4 slip to send to the taxman.......Income from the Vatican....hmmmmm I read the book "Vampires" that lead to the series and liked it much more than the movie. But you would think that humanity would in a private way take up the slack for not having one slayer per block.

[> [> [> [> Exorcist (somewhat o/t) -- Wisewoman, 18:30:59 08/21/01 Tue

Believe it or not, I saw The Exorcist for the very first time today, on DVD. When it was first released in the 1970s I worked with a woman, a devout Catholic, who went to see it and fainted during the movie, so that was enough to put me off it for almost 30 years.

I did expect though that it would have gone into a great deal more detail over the actual exorcism than it did. It was obvious from the movie that this was considered an arcane ritual in that Father Karas knew of no priest who had ever performed one, and Father Merrin seemed to be the only experienced exorcist around. I seem to recall that actual exorcisms have been accomplished or attempted in the recent past, which leads me to believe that Joss has perhaps missed the boat in this area. The ritual obviously exists and has fallen into disuse owing to the infinitesimally small number of actual "proven" cases of possession in the Realverse, but surely in the Buffyverse there's enough evidence of evil around the Hellmouth that the RC clergy at least would be on the case...?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Exorcism (back on topic) -- Humanitas, 19:40:55 08/21/01 Tue

There was an Exorcist on AtS, in IGYUMS. Well, a dead exorcist, anyway. Did we mention him already?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Exorcist (somewhat o/t) -- Rattletrap, 03:54:13 08/22/01 Wed

Slightly O/T

I believe the Pope himself performed an exorcism about two years ago, I don't remember the exact date or anything, but there is a ritual and it is in some use today. The case depicted in the movie is loosely based on the only exorcism ever perform on US soil.

hope this helps


[> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks, 'trap... -- Wisewoman, 11:24:28 08/22/01 Wed

I did some surfing last night, and the whole exorcism thing is fascinating. Found the reference to the true case The Exorcist was based on, and found references to the Pope's (unconfirmed by the Vatican) attempts at exorcism, which, BTW, were unsuccessful! Yeeeesh, if the Pope can't help ya, where ya gonna go?


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> failed exorcism? call... -- anom, 13:46:36 08/22/01 Wed

"Yeeeesh, if the Pope can't help ya, where ya gonna go?"


[> [> [> [> [> [> exorcism on the upswing -- purplegrrl, 13:32:43 08/23/01 Thu

There was an article in Time magazine a while back (within the last year) that talked about exorcism. Supposedly the performance of exorcisms is on the increase in the U.S. And that there are actually recognized/sanctioned exorcism priests (something the Catholic Church chose not to acknowledge for quite some time). The speculation for the increase was the renewed spirituality of today's culture.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: William Peter Blatty...and a suggestion for OnM (way OT) -- mundusmundi, 16:12:05 08/22/01 Wed

My mother is a big fan of William Peter Blatty, who wrote and also Legion, the novel's sequel, which confusingly Blatty also directed as Exorcist III. Both books are interesting though oft-criticized in their views of morality, faith and God, in ways that have overlapped some of the discussions here.

Anyway, the movie sequel, called Exorcist II: The Heretic, is a classic turkey, Wisewoman. Directed by John Boorman, it's an awful stinker with flashes of genius. (No less a filmmaker than Martin Scorsese swears by its greatness and cites it as an influence.) Blatty decided to kindly overlook it when making Exorcist III, which begins with a striking image of a helicopter flying over a cathedral but really isn't much better.

Humble suggestion for OnM, on the subject of Guilty Pleasures: Have you or anyone else ever seen The Ninth Configuration? Also directed by Blatty, based on his book Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane, it combines downright kookiness with profound philosophical thoughts. Your comment in the "Respect my authority" thread about the world as an insane asylum made me remember it. Watch it, and you'll see why. *evil laugh*

(Oh, and clergy in Buffy: the ones that joined the Knights in Spiral. They were outmatched by Willow's magic wall, but they seemed like decent chaps.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Nope, haven't seen it. Also, believe it was Dedalus who first used the 'insane asylum' analogy. -- OnM, 20:38:56 08/23/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: on cable tonight actually, at least my neck of the woods -- mundusmundi, 06:38:16 08/24/01 Fri

[> [> [> Re: Clergy in BtVS -- Lucifer_Sponge, 16:25:38 08/24/01 Fri

Don't forget the clerics from Spiral. It's hard to say what their morals or ethics were... though it can be assumed they wanted to destroy Dawn as badly as the Knights who employed them. If anything, they sounded stuck up and prissy... arrogant about their faith. "A witch's magic pales to the might of our God. The infidel's wall shall tumble before us." Eh.


[> [> Re: Clergy in BtVS -- Rattletrap, 15:52:34 08/21/01 Tue

The clergymen that accompanied the Knights of Byzantium in "Spiral" -- basically a negative portrayal, but not enough information for much judgement. Its entirely possible that the Knights themselves were clergy after a fashion, like the Knights Templars during the crusades or something.

Also, Josephus Du Lac (WML1) "Excommunicated and sent to Sunnydale? Must've been big with the sinning." 'nuf said

[> not sure, but... -- JBone, 20:24:01 08/21/01 Tue

I haven't taken the time to go back through my tapes, but in the S4 episode Who Are You, they had that big scene in the church. There must have been a priest in there, but maybe it was inferred that he was already killed my Adam's vampiric groupies. My memory is a little foggy on this detail.

[> [> okay, reviewed the tape... -- JBone, 20:54:15 08/22/01 Wed

they really don't show it straight out, but while FaithinBuffy goes in, it looks like there is a priest in the front right-hand pew. When the rest of the parisheners rush out, he flows out with them.
Crouching Slayer, Hidden Vampire? -- Dedalus, 12:34:09 08/21/01 Tue

Wow, you go away from this board for two days, and things you were reading are already on the first archive page. Just out of morbid curiousity, what are things like around here when the actual season starts up? BTW, I can't wait to be on here when new eps start coming up. I already look foward to the commentary.

Okay, back on topic. I saw Rush Hour 2 this weekend. Great movie, at least in the mindless fun sense. Anyway, it had whats-his-face that plays Quinton Travers in it, and I was like, the Watchers Council? It was wierd seeing him on the big screen, and even wierder to see him in a non-Buffy role. Or at least, it seemed to be a non-Buffy role. Maybe he's really a secret service guy on the side. Or MAYBE the Watchers Council is the secret service he was working for, and Ricky Tan and company were really vampires! No, they were out in the daylight.

Anyway, my main Buffyverse thoughts during the film revolved around Zhang Ziyi, of Crouching Tiger fame. I swear, while she was fighting Chris Tucker (a funny thought in and of itself), I swear I had a vision of her creeping through 18th century China with her hair tied back and a stake in her hand. I mean, tell me, would ZZ not make a SUBLIME vampire slayer? She's quite the actress, quite attractive, and can do quite the martial arts. I mean, I love SMG, but she can't get her leg that high for that long. Okay, there is that little thing about how she can't speak English yet (ZZ, not SMG), but that can be overcome.

Or hell, maybe not. Just shoot a tales of the Slayer in China with ZZ as the Slayer and Ang Lee directing and Joss Whedon writing and producing, and there we go. I for one would be willing to read subtitles.

Well, as Xander once said, "We can dream."

[> You forgot... -- Cactus Watcher, 13:58:09 08/21/01 Tue

a very important part. Michelle Yeoh HAS to play her strong and impatient watcher.

[> [> Re: You forgot... -- Slayrunt, 14:41:44 08/21/01 Tue

With Jackie Chan as the Xander/comic relief character

[> [> Re: You forgot... -- LadyStarlight, 19:31:18 08/21/01 Tue

...and Lucy Liu for the "Faith" character. And Margaret Cho as "Willow".

[> [> [> Re: You forgot... -- Dedalus, 19:35:40 08/21/01 Tue

Well, what about Chow Yun Fat?

Ooh, maybe Chang Chen can play the "Angel" character, and show off his real Dark Cloud side ...

[> [> [> [> Re: You forgot... -- Shaglio, 05:45:52 08/22/01 Wed

I'm putting in a vote for Tea Carrera (sp?) to play the Cordelia-type. I'm not sure of her exact nationality, but I am under the impression that she's of East Asian decent. Although Carrera sounds Spanish or Italian.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: You forgot... -- Cactus Watcher, 06:51:38 08/22/01 Wed

Tia Carrere is from Brazil, and if I remember correctly is a mix of a lot of different things. Most people may look like her in a few hundred years. Not too bad, eh?

[> [> [> [> [> [> AAAAAGhhhhh! Why was I born too soon? ;o) -- Wisewoman, 11:21:28 08/22/01 Wed

[> Man, that watcher gets around. -- Humanitas, 19:46:45 08/21/01 Tue

Mr. Travers (Harris Yulin is his name, according to IMDB) also plays the railway boss in "American Outlaws," which was also a heckuva lot of fun.
Summer flicks-while buff's away where will we play? -- Sam Jones, 15:29:35 08/21/01 Tue

What summer flicks is everyone seeing to help pass thoose long buffly-less nights? I am gonna check out Bubble Boy, it looks hilarious and has a great cast including Mini-Me, Fabio, and Beetlejuice from the Howard Stern Show

[> Re: Summer flicks-while buff's away where will we play? -- Shiver, 17:55:04 08/21/01 Tue

Not a flick, but I've been filling the void with Witchblade. I loved the comic series. However, the episodes of Witchblade have made me REALLY appreciate the excellent writing and acting on BtVS :-) :-) :-) if ya know what I mean. The bar has been raised.

At least the guy who plays Jake is decent eye candy in a Xander/Riley boy next door kind of way. But I also dig the soulful puppy eyes of the kid who plays Gabriel.

[> [> Summer flicks-while buff's away where will we play? -- Brian, 19:40:05 08/21/01 Tue

Waiting for "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." The TV series "Witchblade" has just gotten better and better with each passing week. The end of the 1st season tonight was a terrific stunner! For those who want to catch up, TNT is running the whole series from 10 am to 10 pm this Sunday.

[> [> [> Re: Summer flicks-while buff's away where will we play? -- Humanitas, 19:52:31 08/21/01 Tue

"The Others" is a fantastic ghost story, and easily the best-directed movie I've seen this Summer.

"Original Sin" is less well-directed (in fact, the editing is downright annoying), but well acted - Dastardly Deeds done by Beautiful People.

And "American Outlaws" is just a great ride! Stars Harris Yulin, who plays Quentin Travers (as I mentioned below).

[> [> [> [> American Pie 2 -- cknight, 19:59:27 08/21/01 Tue

It's just as funny as the first one. It also has Alyson Hannagan!!!:):0...:0..:) She makes use of a Trumpet in a very interesting way.

HmmmmHmmm....that Alyson :)

[> [> [> [> [> Re: American Pie 2 -- Rufus, 20:00:44 08/21/01 Tue

When they had a cover story on the Girls of American pie 2 on Rolling Stone all I could think of was...where is AH?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: American Pie 2 -- cknight, 20:59:27 08/21/01 Tue

She has more screen time in the new movie though. She has a real knack for being funny. I'd love to see her do more films :).

Also Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back will have (ED) Faith, in it.That should be great film to check out to. I'm a little bais on Kevin Smith movies since I live in Jersey.

[> Silent Bob and Jay Strikes Back - love Kevin Smith! -- Liquidram, 22:26:21 08/21/01 Tue

[> [> Silent Bob synchronicity *Spoiler* -- d'Herblay, 02:37:55 08/24/01 Fri

From what I understand, at some point in the movie, Jay and Silent Bob are picked up by the Mystery Machine. Who should play Fred but Marc Blucas!

So there's a fake movie featuring SMG's fake boyfriend in the role taken by her real boyfriend in the real movie. My head hurts.

[> Re: Summer flicks-while buff's away where will we play? -- Slayrunt, 00:25:43 08/22/01 Wed

Planet of the Apes. It was ok but I got in free so, I can't complain about anything.

plan to see American Pie 2

Can't think of any others right now.

[> Re: Summer flicks-while buff's away where will we play? -- Millan, 02:58:56 08/22/01 Wed

Me, I'm finally getting to see the last half of season five, so I don't have a problem with what to occupy myself with (yet).

I've never seen Buffy as aired (where I live only season one has aired), but have been bying the video-boxes.

Yesterday my SO came home with the second box of Buffy, season five and the second of Angel, season two! (We've borrowed the previous Angel from friends before.)

Now comes the really hard part - to try and pace the watching a bit... Yesterday we saw Checkpoint and Blood Ties as well as Blood Money. Today I'll try not to see more than three episodes. Will it be three from Angel, or two from Buffy and one from Angel, or...

Ohh, sooo giddy... :)


"Anya Christina Emmanuella Jenkins. Twenty years old. Born on the fourth of July - and don't think there weren't jokes about that my whole life, mister, 'cause there were. "Who's our little patriot?" they'd say, when I was younger and therefore smaller and shorter than I am now." - Anya, Checkpoint

[> Re: Summer flicks-while buff's away where will we play? -- Andy, 06:50:52 08/22/01 Wed

Well, I just saw The Others and Ghost World this past weekend and really liked them both. Easily the two best movies I've seen this summer, which has otherwise been pretty depressing. The Others was a great old fashioned ghost story, and Ghost World was probably the best "teen" movie I've seen in ages, with excellent performances by Thora Birch and Steve Buscemi (I guess I'll have to read the comic now). I'm not really planning on seeing any more movies this summer. Got a lot of upcoming dvd's to buy. I suppose I might try Jay and Silent Bob, but I'm not much of a Kevin Smith fan anymore...if not, I'll just catch up on some reading :)

[> Re: Summer flicks- that weren't -- Dedalus, 14:23:57 08/22/01 Wed

This has been one lukewarm movie summer for me.

And I love summer movies. I grew up with them, and usually see them several times.

But this summer has been bland, to say the least.

Mummy Returns was good on a pure Velvetta cheese level. Jurassic Park III was better than The Lost World. Planet of the Apes was alright but a notable disappointment. Rush Hour 2 was fun. Still, I think I liked X-Men and Gladiator more than anything this summer. Nothing really grabbed me where I wanted to see it 5 or 6 times.

Next summer is where it's at. Spider-man. Are you kidding me? Only my Favorite Comic Book Hero of ALL FREAKIN' TIME. And the Green Goblin is in it, better still. And the trailer had everyone in the theater rocking. I always wanted to see live action web-slinging like that. And two weeks after that, SW Episode Two, baby. As one of the few and the proud that loved and adored TPM, I just gotta say, it is really cool being a SW fan right about now. Bring on the Clones!

[> [> don't you mean... -- anom, 17:59:38 08/22/01 Wed

"Bring on the Clones!"

...send in the clones?

[> [> [> Re: Actually, it's Attack of the Clones -- Dedalus, 12:23:10 08/23/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> Killer Clones from Outer Space? -- Humanitas, 13:38:31 08/23/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> Re: More like Killer Tomatoes from Planet Clone -- Dedalus, 21:21:48 08/23/01 Thu

Spike and Buffy (speculations and possible spoiler) -- Slayrunt, 01:20:45 08/22/01 Wed

I'm bored here at work and I'm going from memory so be kind.

Things characters say sometimes come true.

Examples- in season 1 Xander told Buffy that he wanted to dance with her while asking her out. Season 2 "WSWB" we get Buffy's naughty dance with Xander.

Season 3 in "Doppelgangland", Willow talking about Evil Willow says she thinks she's kinda gay. Season 4 Uh, gay now.

Season 5, Tara is a little freaked about Glory's brain sucking and she was the one to get brain sucked.

So, here is my speculation. In Triangle (I think), Tara is talking with Buffy and Willow at the college about "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and says that the relationship could not work out because Quasimoto did everything for selfish reasons, so it was bound to end badly and besides he's all bumpy and stuff. Sound like anyone we know?

I speculate that the B/S ship, if there is one, is doomed to sink like the Titanic. I just hope that if it does and it means the end for our platinum blonde big bad, he goes out with a bang before going out all dusty and such.

How long season 6? I think I'm going though withdrawals.

[> Re: Spike and Buffy (speculations and possible spoiler) -- voyageofbeagle, 06:29:13 08/22/01 Wed

There is more to the scene, though.

Willow actaully says something in support of Quasimodo, prompting Tara's now infamous, "no moral compass, no happy ending when the guys all bumpy" speech.

Willow then asks Buffy what she thinks, and Buffy says something like, "I have no opinion until the test."

Is this a throw away line? If not, what is the test? Is it Spike's test in Intervention? Or maybe something we have yet to see.

[> [> Re: Spike and Buffy (speculations and possible spoiler) -- Wisewoman, 11:17:58 08/22/01 Wed

I agree that the whole Quasimodo scene was a direct cue from the writers on Spike, as he was at that time. I believe they were trying to answer the large B/S shipper contingent as to why Buffy didn't just fall into Spike's arms.

I also think that Spike has now progressed beyond the "no moral compass" point. Initially, I thought the writers were telling us, no way, never gonna happen. Now I'm not so sure.

With reference to the thread below, the torture he endured from Glory rather than sacrificing Dawn to her seems to be an act of altruism, rather than self-interest.

And to tie in the whole kin/altruism discussion, we've also had the speculation that Dawn somehow is "related" to Spike, either through the transfer of blood from Doc's knife, or through some convoluted plan of the Monks! Hmmmm, TTMQ is going way up today!


[> [> [> Re: Spike and Buffy (speculations and possible spoiler) -- Javoher, 13:42:04 08/22/01 Wed

IMHO, a vampire who says "I made a promise to a lady" to explain his knight-in-shining-armor chivilrous protection behavior to an attacking demon is not someone who is operating without a moral compass.

Spike's Romantic attempts to behave as that knight according a medieval/Victorian kind of ethic, despite his subsequent failure, could create a direction for the writers to go in a B/S ship. Going along with the speculation, Buffy seems to respond to guys who behave in a more genteel fashion than is usual, i.e. her comment in "The Body" about the flowers her mother received after her date: "Still a couple guys getting it right." I don't think Spike is a guy who's going to 'get it right' the first time out of the chute, however. But he did practice, with the chocolates and the mannikin.

And I agree about the seeming altruism. It was sort of like he remembered what it meant to be human while he was being tortured, which contrasts with Glory who had never been human and was barely able to deal with being mortal.

[> [> [> [> Re: Spike and Buffy (speculations and possible spoiler) -- Rufus, 14:42:25 08/22/01 Wed

In The Gift, Glory said to Buffy "you can't understand my pain". Glory, though a god was the worst of what we can become when we think our pain is the only pain that counts. Glory did what she did for selfish reasons, not caring about who would suffer in attaining that goal. Glory not only didn't have a moral compass, but used the excuse that she was a "god" to excuse her treatment of others. Glory was incapable of ever getting or developing a moral compass because she simply didn't care, herself the only thing that matters. Then there is Spike, he had no moral compass either, without the chip I doubt he would have stopped killing long enough to consider his actions. Now, with what has happened to Spike there seems to be an understanding that there is suffering that matters above Spikes desires or pain. So, what do you do with a vampire, who, for whatever reasons has been able to act as though he is developing a moral compass? In the admission of his status as a monster, Spike came closer to being what he had lost decades ago, a person. Buffy can't or won't kill him. So what do you do with someone who is no longer what they once were? Do you give into vengeance and kill him to make sure he is never a threat or do you enlist his aid in the battle? What difference is there between a vampire "with" a soul and one without if their actions are now to help in the battle of good and evil?

[> Nooooooo!!!!! -- Tanker, 18:46:07 08/22/01 Wed

[crying] They have a miraculous love!

Heh, just kidding. I also think a B/S relationship is Doomed, but it'll be a fun ride. Well, fun for Joss, anyway. He likes doing mean things to our favorite characters. ;-)

[> [> Re: Nooooooo!!!!! -- Rufus, 22:21:21 08/22/01 Wed

You mean a romantic relationship? I don't know if they will go there, and if they do if it will last that long. I like to stay out of the area of ships as they cause more fighting than it's worth. Whatever they do to our favorite characters I assume it will include humor and pain and suffering with a bit of fighting to break up the monotony.

[> Greenwalt comments and speculation -- possible mild SPOILER -- verdantheart, 06:57:20 08/23/01 Thu

I'm sort of surprised that no one has commented on what David Greenwalt had to say recently. These are probably his speculations IF B/S ever got together, but, anyway, here's the quote:

"It's so wrong. You know the boyfriend you hate, but it's just for the sex, and your friends all hate him, but you can't leave him? It's a natural place for her to go, in this year of her life. She's so troubled. He's the one she can talk to. It's just one of those funny quirks of life. ..."

I can see Buffy turning to Spike in a moment of weakness. I certainly have a hard time seeing Spike turn her down (remember the speech with Riley about who "has the better deal"?). Then Buffy might have trouble disentangling herself considering Spike's ardor and "perfect boyfriend"-ness. We could again see a role reversal. Buffy could be the equivalent of a rather callous boyfriend who takes advantage of his girlfriend's devotion, while Spike would take on the role of the girlfriend who is unable to leave an unsatisfactory relationship. This could lead us (perversely) to sympathize even more strongly with Spike (and become a bit angry with Buffy). It certainly would be a bumpy road to travel.

[> [> Re: My strange S/B idea .... -- Dedalus, 12:32:39 08/23/01 Thu

Thinking about what circumstances might sort of push them together, I remember how Dawn related to Spike because he was able to understand her predicament as the Key ... that of identifying yourself as one thing, and learning that you're something else (or new) altogether, whether it be girl-Key or boy-vampire.

This got me thinking ... we don't know HOW Buffy will come back from the dead, but the only character who pulled a similiar stunt was none other than Spike, so maybe they will start relating on that level ...

I kinda have my doubts that a full-fledged romance will come about for those two ... maybe hints, maybe a kiss or two, maybe just friends ... I really don't know.

[> [> [> Re: My strange S/B idea .... -- Rufus, 14:37:51 08/23/01 Thu

There is always a couple where we can look at them and ask "what the heck do they see in each other". I'm on the fence about a romance but I doulble dog dare ME to come up with something that can both piss people off but they can understand why it's happening.

[> [> [> Re: My strange S/B idea .... -- mundusmundi, 15:08:49 08/23/01 Thu

This got me thinking ... we don't know HOW Buffy will come back from the dead, but the only character who pulled a similiar stunt was none other than Spike, so maybe they will start relating on that level ...

This is why I've got odds on Spike as the first to see post-mortem Buffy. (Double my wager that she's nekkid, and Spike loans her his jacket. ;>)

[> Re: Spike and Buffy (very mild spoiler inside) -- LadyStarlight, 14:03:32 08/23/01 Thu

Watch with Wanda's latest transcript says this about a possible relationship: Sloow but sure.

So who knows?
Willow is Bi -- cknight, 01:47:08 08/22/01 Wed

While I love the Tara/Willow romance. I think Willow is fooling herself when she told Tara that she wasn't going to jump ship in terms of being a Lesbian. Even in the "Gift" when Xander says "smart women are so sexy". then she asks why he couldn't figure that out in tenth grade. Look I know nothing is going happen Xander now. But remember "Vamp Willow" was Bi. It seemed to me she was ready to jump anything that came her way even herself.

But if you do yourself does that count or is masturbation :)

But anyway, I think Willow is Bi and that will come out this season.

[> Re: Willow is Bi -- Slayrunt, 02:40:34 08/22/01 Wed

I agree. Don't forget how sexy she thought Giles was singing and Dracula.

[> Well, duh. -- Solitude1056, 06:10:43 08/22/01 Wed

If you're going on the sociological/psychological theory that sexual preference is something that "is," and isn't something you "choose," then there's a good chance that Willow is bisexual. However, it's also very hard to tell, IMO/IME, what a person's sexual preference is during high school in a significant number of cases. That has a lot to do with the fact that during high school the big push is to conform, and heterosexuality is the norm, not the exception. Alternately, it also depends on which group within your high school peers that you opt to conform with, and yes, I have known kids whose selected peergroup considered heterosexuality to be the exception, and pushed a norm of homosexuality. There are large numbers of gay people who experimented with heterosexuality during those years, and later - as they learned more & better about themselves - realized that their inner self "is" gay.

Personally, I think Willow prefers to call herself gay because she's in a lesbian relationship. For the duration of this time, she's gay. That follows a certain logic, I think. However, since much of discovering this choice revolves around the sexuality and sex itself, IMO/IME it's been that one of the triggering signs of one's sexuality being different from a current relationship is a subtle dissatisfaction with the sex within that relationship. Willow, however, never expressed even the remotest dissatisfaction with the sex within her relationship with Oz (other than some early complaining about it not happening soon enough).

That, and her confusion over Oz' return, means to me that she didn't walk away from Oz because she's a lesbian, but because it wasn't going to work with him for other reasons. There's a difference between running away, and running towards, and there's a difference between leaving one person for another, and leaving one person because it won't work, regardless of who else is out there. Okay, so that's probably muddled, but my point is that Joss has captured perfectly the quiet tensions in a relationship between someone of a clear preference and someone who's bisexual. I don't think it'll be a growing tension in their relationship, unless outside forces act on them to provoke that issue.

[> [> Re: Well, duh. -- Dedalus, 14:00:58 08/22/01 Wed

I concure with the WIllow being bi thing.

Also, remember Riley admitted he was a lesbian.

(Psst - So am I)

[> [> [> yanno... -- Solitude1056, 15:19:04 08/22/01 Wed

You are what you eat.

Gracious, did I say that out loud?


[> [> [> Re: Well, duh. -- Nancy, 15:45:04 08/22/01 Wed

I'm going to step in here and object *nicely* to the old (new?) joke that men "are lesbians". I don't mean to step on tongue-in-cheek toes (mixed metaphor! wew!), but being a lesbian is very different from being a straight man. Why?

· Women's experience of sexuality is different than men's experience of sexuality. most people would not argue with this. Lesbians are women and see the world through a woman's eyes.

· Likewise, lesbians derive erotic and romantic satisfaction out of loving women as women. This is not about wishing they were men or even pretending they are.

· The only exception to this I would accept are male-to-female transexuals. If you grow up in a male body, but feel female, think female, consider your body "wrong" for your inner self and take steps to have your body changed to a female body, and then take on a lesbian lifestyle after the sex change, you probably *were* a lesbian trapped in a man's body, IF your sexual/romantic thoughts and feelings about women prior to the change were typical of a woman, not a man.

Just my thoughts.

[> [> [> [> Re: Well, duh. -- Shiver, 20:14:47 08/22/01 Wed

Bad pickup line of all time heard from a dork I went to college with, on a weekly basis:

"I've always know I was a lesbian trapped in a man's body".

He just didn't get why that wasn't working .. poor thing!

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, duh. -- Solitude1056, 21:49:36 08/22/01 Wed

and such lines usually prompted the response of...

"I'm not a lesbian, but my girlfriend is."

Yes, it's also on a T-shirt. Don't Panic absolutely rocks.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, duh. -- Dedalus, 12:11:04 08/23/01 Thu

What about if the joke has an obviously relevant context? Like with Riley hanging up a Lesbian Pride banner? Ya know, in retrospect, Riley is much funnier now than he was then.


[> Willow is whatever the writers make her -- Tanker, 18:40:17 08/22/01 Wed

Sorry if this comes off as snarky, but I got *really* tired of all the arguments about Willow's sexuality on the newgroup. It's kind of a pet peeve of mine. It's pointless to speculate, because this is a fictional character and she'll be whatever the writers decide she needs to be for the story. They may change their minds from time to time. [Gump] And that's all I have to say about that. [/Gump]

[> [> I didn't know you could HTML Forrest! LOL!! ;o) -- Wisewoman, 18:48:35 08/22/01 Wed

[> [> Re: Willow is whatever the writers make her -- Mike, 07:23:00 08/23/01 Thu

but that is the easy way out... you could say this about ANYTHING metaphorical, philosophical, anythingelse-ical in the Buffyverse!

[> [> And if we all had that attitude, this board wouldn't exist! -- vampire hunter D, 09:42:17 08/23/01 Thu

And even if it did, it would be nothing but the girls drooling over Spike like the Bronze was.

[> [> [> Re: And if we all had that attitude, this board wouldn't exist! -- Dedalus, 12:17:41 08/23/01 Thu

In Tanker's defense, things do get out of hand over at

They have this thing going there called "Tara's Lesbian Spell on Willow" that hasn't had a thing to say about Buffy since like a thousand responses ago.

And as I've said before, I really like the way the show has handled this. It hasn't been a big deal at all ... well, maybe personally for the characters, but there has been no propaganda. It is so understated. It's not an "issue," but a genuine relationship. I like what Greenwalt said about how Joss can overcome "dogma and political correctness with humanity." Exactly what he does.

"Guys, do you live in the world? There are gay people around. I mean, there are a lot of them! Most of the gay people I know are gay." - Joss Whedon

[> [> [> Hogwash -- Tanker, 14:58:39 08/23/01 Thu

This board is dedicated to philosophical discussions on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Debating Willow's sexuality has little to do with philosophy and is a major source of arguments that tend to turn nasty, at least elsewhere (this board is much more civilized than most). If the topic of Willow sexuality were *banned*, it wouldn't affect this board one bit, as far as I can see. All I'm saying is that I've never seen anything good come out of this topic. This is not an "attitude," it's a simple statement of my opinion on this one topic.

[> [> [> [> Re: Hogwash -- OnM, 19:26:46 08/23/01 Thu

Your point is well taken, Tanker, but I would mention that quite a lot of us here don't visit other sites/boards that are Buffy related for exactly the reasons you stated-- endless arguments with very little real point or pointmaking. You check them out, kinda go 'ewww' and look for greener pastures. I suppose we're spoiled a bit. For example, other than here (80%), I only hang out (mostly lurk, rarely post) at the Cross & Stake (10%) and the remaining 10% is at largely informational sites like the Shooting Script Site, BuffyNewsWire, Council of Watchers, etc.

I guarantee you, though, if anyone could make something philosophical out of the W/T sexuality thing, someone here would be the one to do it (and maybe already has!)


[> [> [> [> [> Re: Hogwash -- mundusmundi, 06:48:33 08/24/01 Fri

Your point is well taken, Tanker, but I would mention that quite a lot of us here don't visit other sites/boards that are Buffy related for exactly the reasons you stated-- endless arguments with very little real point or pointmaking.

Non-Buffy related boards are like this too. About a year ago I frequented a movie board that had two or three self-proclaimed mayordomos who tried to bully everyone else's opinions into submission. When anyone tried to make some valid criticisms about a certain recent popular tearjerker, for example, they would reply with ad hominem attacks: "You've obviously never experienced the death of a loved one. I feel sorry for you." Ugggggh....You'd think people would get enough vitriol in real life. I mean, hey, who needs it?

[> [> [> [> hogwash -- Mike, 07:15:20 08/24/01 Fri

All opinions are valid. Some are more valid than others.

oink oink :)

[> Re: Willow is "gay now" -- Wiccagrrl, 19:10:15 08/22/01 Wed

I find myself getting a little frustrated and maybe a bit defensive when this question keeps coming up. I guess maybe it's a gut-level reaction to a kind of "it's just a phase" attitude. (Not necessarilly you, cknight, but kind of in general)

The fact is, the way Willow's been written, yes she is capable of being attracted to men, BUT- she's in a long term relationship with another woman, and more importantly self-identifies as gay. She may be a fictional character, but this is something real-life people face on a daily basis- other people second-guessing and dismissing their sexuality and saying "no, you're not" or "you shouldn't be" to how they see themselves. Willow was clearly hurt at the idea that Tara might think she was marking time until she went back to boystown. Willow's not looking past Tara to what will come next- she's in love with another woman, and she takes this relationship and her recent self-discovery seriously. And I think second guessing Willow's sexuality kind of undercuts this.

Before they had Willow state that she was gay, I probably would have said she was bi if pressed to give her a label. But the writers, through Willow, have said she's gay- and even if it is a fictional character, I think, when it comes to sexuality, how a person sees themselves is really the only thing you can go by.

[> [> Wiccagrrl -- cknight, 20:53:52 08/22/01 Wed

I see your point . I think that even though Willow is not a real person, it's good for people trying to figure out where they are sexually to see these characters going though the same things...searching for who they are. Whether dealing with sex or other life choices, Buffy is a cool show to watch.

[> [> [> cknight :) -- Wiccagrrl, 22:30:34 08/22/01 Wed

I agree that it's good to see the characters dealing with some of these issues, and even better that we all get to discuss them. One of the things I love about Buffy is that it's so thought provoking. I think you asked some interesting questions.

It would be nice if we were at a point where love really was label-free. Willow loves Tara (or is "Tarasexual", as I've heard some say) I can understand where doing some defining is helpful/interesting (maybe even necessary at times) My only concern is with the concept of saying "she's not *really* gay, despite what she says". I know that Willow's a fictional character, and so some speculation may be more appropriate than if we were talking a real person. But I think that this does touch on a real-world issue. Since sexuality can be very fluid, since everyone knows best what is in their own hearts and minds, and what *their* definition/labels are, I think in real life, that it's good to be careful about labelling people, especially if it's not how they self-identify, or see themselves.

[> [> attn: wiccagrrl -- Masquerade, 09:54:58 08/23/01 Thu

Haven't seen you in a while! Would you like to submit a profile to the ATPoBtVS posting board "Meet the posters" page?

It's at

I've been saving the Tara picture for you!

[> [> [> You've got mail. And thanks for saving me a Tara pic :) -- Wiccagrrl, 10:25:58 08/23/01 Thu

[> Re: Willow is Bi -- Shiver, 20:09:43 08/22/01 Wed

In the Buffyverse, love has no labels.

If Buffy loves Angel, but he is a vampire, what label do we put on that - interspecies-ism? If Dru loves a Chaos demon, all slime and antlers ... if Doyle loves Cordy, half demon that he is ... etc etc.

Willow loves a person. It happens to be a she and her name is Tara. They don't go to rallies or meetings or put bumper stickers on their Harleys that say "Roll me in honey and throw me to the lesbians" (oh wait, that's my sister and her girlfriend). Willow used to love another person who happened to be a werewolf and his name was Oz and he was in a band. To call Willow "gay" or "bi" or "straight" is to try and assign her ot a category.

In Buffyverse, there isn't even a clear category for "right" or "wrong" or "good" or "evil". So how can we expect there to be one for "love".


[> [> Wow. Beautifully put. -- Wiccagrrl, 20:12:13 08/22/01 Wed

[> [> [> Re: Wow. Beautifully put. -- Shiver, 20:17:32 08/22/01 Wed

Thanks ... I just reject the ideal of categorzing Willow. If we don't understand that she could be in love with a woman, let's call her "gay" or "bi" and then do we understand it any better? Because we can assign her to a certain outline of how a "gay" person acts and feels or a "bi" person acts and feels?

Willow loves a person whose name is Tara, and that's all there is to it. Even when a writer has her quip a witty comeback like "Hello, gay now!" it still doesn't allow us to put her in a box, tie a bow around it, and slap a label on the outside that says "This is the definition of Willow".

[> [> [> [> Re: Wow. Beautifully put. -- Rufus, 22:09:25 08/22/01 Wed

The important thing is that Willow loves Tara, not their gender or a label that can be used to trivialize their love. BVS encourages you to look beyond the superfical appearance or label and find that love, sexuality, evil, and heroes come in all kinds of packages. What may seem to be a scary demon may turn out to be the good guy, and a helpless child the annointed one.

[> So what is Tara? -- Mike, 05:01:39 08/23/01 Thu

there is no way of knowing who she was before, and therefore who she might be again... is there?

This was probably dealt in the Tara bio (which I never read, oops).. she thought she was a nobody, that's all she had ever been told. She hid in the background not getting close to anyone, cos she thought she was a demon. Willow was probably the first person of either sex who came long and showed interest in her, encouraged her to be herself.. Tara developed a crush on Willow, and mutually it turned into love - I always got the feeling it caught them both unawares, as Willow didn't really comprehend (consciously) until Oz's return, which forced the issue.

It was a beatiful story, I really enjoyed watching it. But I still dont feel confident making assumptions that require labels. I cannot categorically state that either is gay or bi. Life just isn't that simple!

[> [> Re: So what is Tara? -- Wiccagrrl, 09:50:04 08/23/01 Thu

We don't know too much about any possible love life for Tara before she met Willow, and they haven't shown Tara having much of an interest in anyone but Will, male or female. But there was an interesting comment in Tough Love, during the fight. Willow makes the statement that Tara's been out longer than she (Willow) has. Willow also mentions not having established her "lesbo street creds" (implying Tara had)before getting into their relationship. Now, I don't know how "out" Tara possibly could have been under her father's roof, but they sure made it sound like Tara was well aware she liked women, and had possibly even had a girlfriend or two, before she met Willow.

[> [> Re: So what is Tara? -- vampire hunter D, 10:13:04 08/23/01 Thu

Actually, I don't think that Willow is Tara's first relationship. The feeling I got from watching their arguement was that while Willow hadn't established her "lezbo street cred", Tara had. Maybe I'm reading them wrong, but that's the impression I get.

As for labels, it may be well and good for you philosophers to say that people and relationships can't be classified and leave it at that, but I'm not really a philosopher. I'm a former engineering student and science enthuseist (taking a temporary break from college) and so I can't comprehend not putting everything into categories. It's my personal paradigm to give everything a clear label, even if the labeling isn't too clear.

Having said that, I do think Willow is bi. SHe has not only shown interest in both sexes, but has also had no problem with being happy and fulfilled in a romantic/sexual relationship with each. That in my book makes someone bi, no matter what they think.

Tara, however, is totally gay. We have never seen any indication of her being interested in guys in a romantic way. In fact, the only guys we've ever seen her talk to (outside of her family) are Xander, Giles, and Oz (I can't even think of an instance of her talking to Riley or Spike). So she has only shown an interest in girls.

[> [> [> Re: So what is Tara? -- Wiccagrrl, 11:16:13 08/23/01 Thu

That in my book makes someone bi, no matter what they think.

I think that's kind of the crux of the matter for me- where I part company from some people. I happen to think that what someone thinks about their own sexuality very much matters. Who am I to say "You're not gay, you're bi" or "You're straight" or "You're really gay" if that's not what the person thinks/knows is true? These just aren't hard-and-fast catagories, and I think it's a tad presumptuous to be telling someone else "This is what you are, period. Doesn't matter what you think or how you define yourself."

[> [> [> [> Re: So what is Tara? -- Solitude1056, 12:36:50 08/23/01 Thu

This was my point about how Willow defines herself. I think on some levels it makes her bisexual to be willing to entertain the possibility of relationship with a person regardless of gender. However, while in a relationship with someone of the same sex, she has defined herself (like many do) as gay. It's possible that if Tara and Willow become history, that Willow may hook up with a guy and at that time may define herself as straight, instead. (Yeah, "straight" is a word I dislike, being one who always takes a crooked path to walk a crooked mile. But that aside...)

Fact is, it's not indecisiveness or "not-knowing-oneself" that leads one to define one's Self differently today than yesterday. To draw a line between this and other things in which our self-categorization is a major part of our self-identity, look at what we do (for a living, to pass time, etc). Ten years ago I would've told you I'm a student; five years ago I was a consultant working in the hospitality & hospital industries. Two years ago I would've said technical writer & editor; now I say photographer. To draw this description back to Willow, should she really say (and should we blame her/the writers for not having her launch into a huge explanation saying) that she "was straight, is now gay" anymore than we would introduce ourselves by saying, "hi, I'm a former student, former writer, former consultant, who's now a photographer"? Anymore than we would introduce ourselves as all of the above former job descriptions if we no longer work in those industries and no longer consider them to be part of our self-identity?

Yes, I understand completely the engineering/analytical need for categories. As one of many writers on this board, I'm sure I'm not the only one who understands that words help us communicate but they can still make it awful difficult anyway - and despite what the cliche says, no, pictures aren't always much better! Fact is, the need to categorize is not a negative thing, but it can become so IMO if this categorization does not take into consideration the object's own pre-determined category. You can't just toss out how/what a person identifies, and replace it with your own label - not, at least, IMO. That's disrespectful on some basic level, to the person/character.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: So what is Tara? -- Humanitas, 13:51:59 08/23/01 Thu

"Fact is, the need to categorize is not a negative thing, but it can become so IMO if this categorization does not take into consideration the object's own pre-determined category. You can't just toss out how/what a person identifies, and replace it with your own label - not, at least, IMO. That's disrespectful on some basic level, to the person/character."

I think you've hit on the big difference between reason and fanaticism - reason alters its views to fit the facts, and fanaticism alters the facts to fit its views.

[> [> [> [> [> Labels are best used for things that are not people. -- Anthony8, 20:40:42 08/23/01 Thu

IMO, when labels are applied to real people (or in the context of this discussion--fictional Willow's sexuality) to "type" them, there is a frequent tendency for them to become tools of limitation and discrimination rather than understanding. Of course, some labelling in society is always necessary for numerous practical reasons. However, IME, many people seem to need to label others and themselves in order to validate their own sense of self (to reassure themselves that they belong to the right group, live the 'proper' lifestyle, have the right opinions, etc.). The whole mission statement of BtVS, IMO, has been to blur all the lines in order to encourage people to open their minds to what it means to be good, bad, heroic, a family, moral, loveable and so forth. I'm not sure whether or not Willow being bi or gay has any real meaning in the Jossverse other than to include that way of being as one of the many that just are in that world (and by reflection back, the real world). Whether hers is a lifestyle choice, a genetic predisposition or even a whim is not important. It's just okay, simple as that, and I believe that was the point in the first place.

I have always been fascinated by the way persons I meet seem to need to type me by ethnicity, age group, marital status (and by that, even more subversively, sexual preference) and so on, and how they seem to be obviously disappointed when they can't pidgeon-hole me one way or another (and I do admit that I enjoy being evasive when responding to what I consider irrelevant inquiries). Since I am something of a mutt (and most happy with it), my appearance, last name, and barely post-adolescent attitude tend to confuse them. These people are always wrong because, in most cases, their own narrow view of the world and/or themselves relegates them to making overly simplistic assumptions about me based on a limited (and often stereotypical) system of categorizing individuals. Unfortunately, the potential abusive applications of such a system are obvious.

Even in a supposedly liberal and open-minded community like the SF Bay Area, the "isms" run rampant. Before the bust, when every kid who knew html believed he was entitled to become a millionaire before the age of 25, the idea that anybody over 30 was "washed up" and "over the hill" became an accepted hiring consideration. Kind of a twisted, alternate universe version of "don't trust anyone over 30." As a consequence, quite a few people I have encountered have had to resort to "passing" for being younger than they are in order to be credible hires. I remember one co-worker commenting how in his experience, even the temp environment became very inhospitable once he passed 35. This is the 21st Century, and to me that's just sad.

Once more, this stream of consciousness thing has gotten the better of me. Sorrrrry. Like Roseanne Rosannadana used to say, "if it isn't one thing, it's another." Ultimately, shouldn't each of us be free to decide who and what we are at any point in our lives? If we are not causing any harm to anybody (and IMO offending a peron's "sensibilities" does not count as harm), shouldn't people just accept, if not respect, such decisions.

Ramble over. Ramble on...


[> [> [> [> [> [> Well said! -- anom, 22:07:45 08/23/01 Thu

"IMO, when labels are applied to real people (or in the context of this discussion--fictional Willow's sexuality) to 'type' them, there is a frequent tendency for them to become tools of limitation and discrimination rather than understanding...."

Yeah, labels tend to get used to define rather than just describe people.

"I have always been fascinated by the way persons I meet seem to need to type me....These people are always wrong because, in most cases, their own narrow view of the world and/or themselves relegates them to making overly simplistic assumptions about me based on a limited (and often stereotypical) system of categorizing individuals...."

I hate being typed (that's why I prefer to remain anomalous). But it's hard to avoid making assumptions, because the nature of an assumption is that you're not aware you're making it. I like to think I'm open-minded, but once in a while I need to have my own stereotypes busted.

"Ultimately, shouldn't each of us be free to decide who and what we are at any point in our lives? If we are not causing any harm to anybody (and IMO offending a peron's 'sensibilities' does not count as harm), shouldn't people just accept, if not respect, such decisions."

Rock on, A8! If this be rambling, I'd say you've made the most of it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Excellently put! (I would've said, "well said" but anom got that already.) -- Solitude1056, 22:47:07 08/23/01 Thu

[> "And to grow on" -- cknight, 16:22:40 08/23/01 Thu

Labels are bad. :(

this has been........"one to grow on"

[> [> Labels -- Nina, 12:17:47 08/24/01 Fri

That's what the Little Prince (St-Exupery) taught us. Not to judge someone on what job they do, or how much money they have etc... but on who they really are, what makes them tick, what do they love. That's the real way to learn who someone really is.

A8 is right, people need to label things because when you label things, when you name names (like in Harry Potter) then you are the strong one. That's why human beings are naming every little thing they see. (I am currently learning anatomy and I am blown away by some of the names I have to memorize! Come on people some of those names are coming from another planet!) Labels are our weapon, but it's a weapon we have because we are afraid to be defenseless without it.

Willow needs to label herself as a gay person in season 5 because she needs to hear the word. If she were that secure she wouldn't need to say it. I don't say she isn't in love with Tara. I believe she is, but the word "gay" makes her feel safe for the moment. When she will be safe with who she is, she won't need to use it anymore. Tara doesn't use it. It's what she is, she knows it, she accepts it. I don't go in the street telling people I am a woman. I know I am one. The need to label other people or ourselves is to gain control over something. To make ourselve feel a little more secure in this overwhelming big world.

[> [> [> Re: Labels -- anom, 19:54:54 08/25/01 Sat

"A8 is right, people need to label things because when you label things, when you name names (like in Harry Potter) then you are the strong one."

Naming is powerful. I once took an improv class, & the 2 things I hesitated to do were lay hands on another person & pull her along with me, & give someone's character a name. It felt like something I didn't have a right to do, which of course in real life it is.

As for learning anatomical names, I hear ya, Nina! I do medical editing, & yeah, you learn the names of body parts most people don't even know they have! (That's also how I know stuff like how long a person can live w/a broken neck.)

[> [> [> [> The Power of Names -- Wisewoman, 10:42:31 08/26/01 Sun

Was it Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy that had the subplot on the power of knowing something's true name? I can't remember, but I remember being impressed when I read it. It also features in Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry. To know someone's true name gives you the ability to command them, or at least to call them forth.

I changed my name in my early twenties, and started to use my middle name. I am convinced that that caused a major shift in my personality, although personality types are supposed to be impervious to alteration. For anyone who is familiar with the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, before the change I tested as an ENFP and since the change I have consistently tested as an INTJ. I remember who I was as an ENFP, and the type descriptions were accurate for me at that time, just as I feel the INTJ type description is accurate for me now. That's a shift in three out of four type preferences, which, IMO, just shouldn't be possible!

[> [> [> [> [> Re: The Power of Names -- cknight, 13:17:57 08/26/01 Sun

I think a person can change if the surrounding factors, health, love, no-love, kids, no-kids, no ice cream, ice cream and on and on.

On this hot day in Jersey I use a true name and call fourth "Rocky Road" :)

[> [> [> [> [> Personalities & Alteration & the MBTI -- Solitude1056, 14:41:34 08/26/01 Sun

Personalities aren't completely impervious to alteration, but then, personality tests are an iffy one. For instance, I can't take the MBTI anymore, since my mother (an industrial psychologist) was certified as a tester when I was in HS & thus I've been exposed to every variation of the test already. Take it more than 3 times, and you've destroyed the validity. Take it more than once every 5 years, and you've destroyed the validity. Even unconciously, you're able to shift your answers in accordance with your expectations, having studied (and presumably received the results of) the test.

So I've only taken it 4 times. At the age of 11 (way too early in most folks' eyes, since the Jungian perspective that underlines the MBTI assumes that only one letter may be "set" that early, if any), I was an INTJ, with zero in the E and S ranges. Total introvert, total intuitive - a bit extreme. Excellent example of too-young being a third way to destroy validity. At 16, I took it again and tested as ENTJ, strong E, and still a total iNtuitive on the range. That's crazy, since I was an athlete & my reason for rowing was the physical sensation. (My mother's observation is that the test most likely just wasn't asking the right questions to trigger a Sensing response from me.)

At 22, I took the test again, and was an INTP. Go figure, the person gets older, gets more experience, the personality will shift, and environment has a great deal to do with it - the more stress, the more a person will move away from their preference and force themselves into a personality to be able to handle what they're going through. Btw, the iNtuitive score was getting weaker (IOW, I was showing more Sensing traits), and the Introvert score was significantly strong again. At 27, I took the test and guess what: I'm an XNXX. No kidding. I'm 2 points into Introversion on the Extrovert-Introvert scale; only 3 points into Thinking on the Thinking/Feeling scale; and only 1 point into Perceiving on the Judging/Perceiving scale. I'm at something like 8 points into the iNtuitive, so that kind of counts... but still not really, I'm told. ;-P

Yeah, I'm wonked. I tell my mother (the longterm ENFP) that it's cause I was traumatized by having to deal with her personality type, which really stands for Essentially No F****ng Personality. Bwahahaha.

Just bored on a sunday afternoon... ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Essentially No F****ing Personality... -- Wisewoman, 17:57:09 08/26/01 Sun

Hey! That's exactly how I felt when I was an ENFP!


[> [> [> [> [> It was Le Guin!! I wonder why it sounded so familiar! -- Rahael, 17:09:46 08/26/01 Sun

[> [> [> Re: Labels -- Shaglio, 10:42:47 08/27/01 Mon

"Labels are our weapon, but it's a weapon we have because we are afraid to be defenseless without it."

I disagree with this overgeneralization. Sometimes labels can be very helpful. If you go out for ice cream and it's your turn to order, you can't step up to the window and ask for chocalte ice cream in a sugar cone with rainbow sprinkles if the ice cream wasn't labelled as "chocolate," the cone wasn't labelled as a "sugar cone," and the sprinkles weren't labelled as "rainbow." In fact you'd also need to have the labels "ice cream," "cone," and "sprinkles" as well or else you'd be stuck trying to play charades with the guy or desperately trying to point to everything you want. Labelling things (including the parts of the body) is a tremendous in the communication process.

Could you image going to the doctor and saying, "my thing hurts" and have him try to figure out which of the millions of "things" in the human body you are refering to? Or a police scetch artist trying to draw a picture of a suspect if the witness could only say, "he had 2 eyes, a nose, and a mouth. And hair, too."

There is a saying: Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Similarly, labels aren't bad, the improper use of labels is bad.
Synchronicity (o/t) -- Wisewoman, 20:02:05 08/22/01 Wed

On the general subject of Life, the Universe, and Everything...

In my on-going quest for wisdom I use seven key principles, which I think I mentioned in a thread several months ago. In any event, the first principle is, "Know yourself." I've been working on this one for about twenty years, and it involves all kinds of interesting forays into psychology, anthropology, sociology, etc. I try not to be too obsessive, but the only way I'm content that I've covered the subject is to work forward from The Big Bang to me, and backward from me, through genealogy, history, anthropology, and genetic research, to as far back as I can get. As you can imagine, it's a never-ending story because new discoveries are coming to light all the time.

I'm fortunate that both my parents are still alive and actively pursuing their own genealogical research. When I was visitng them last week my mother asked me to do some surfing to see if I could come up with anything on her paternal great-grandfather. Now, as fascinating as I know that sounds (lol) I didn't really want to get into it right now because I'm mired in the other end of the subject--cosmology, quantum physics, superstring theory, and all that good stuff. However, being a dutiful daughter I did do a fast and dirty search and found, to my surprise, that someone is actually in the process of writing a book about these ancestors on my mother's side. I contacted him by e-mail and we started a correspondence, comparing information, and he turned out to be quite a nice guy. About three e-mails in, I noticed that his address was so tonight I keyed his name into a google search and got back 1700 results, including quotes on CNN, no less--he's the director of the Science section on Structure and Evolution of the Universe at NASA in Washington!

This kind of blows me away. So, do ya think he'd be offended if I started asking him cosmology questions, along with the genealogy ones? And how the heck does he have the time to write a book about our ancestors, anyway?

I've been addressing him by his first name, and now I think I should be calling him Dr. So-and-so. Okay, I'm intimidated! I had to share this dilemma with someone, and you guys got lucky (lol). Forgive me, it's summer and I have to do something to keep mysef occupied. ;o)

[> Re: Synchronicity (o/t) -- anom, 20:29:21 08/22/01 Wed

"So, do ya think he'd be offended if I started asking him cosmology questions, along with the genealogy ones?"

One way to find out--ask him!

"And how the heck does he have the time to write a book about our ancestors, anyway?"

Same answer (wish I had time for stuff like that).

"I've been addressing him by his first name, and now I think I should be calling him Dr. So-and-so."

My policy: call him whatever he signs his email with.

[> Re: Synchronicity (o/t) -- Cactus Watcher, 21:45:14 08/22/01 Wed

I'm supposed to know lots about both my mother's ancestors and my father's so I get a fair amount of email from distant cousins, I've never heard of. We always address each other by first names. But, if you want a cosmology question answered, it wouldn't hurt to mention you know he's a PhD, and to ask if he'd rather be addressed that way. I doubt he will, and it will give you brownie points for being polite.

[> [> Good ideas...thanks, guys! -- Wisewoman, 21:54:00 08/22/01 Wed

[> [> [> Re: Good ideas...thanks, guys! -- Dedalus, 21:46:16 08/23/01 Thu

That is interesting, Wisewoman.

I'm sure Alan Watts would love the irony. Genealogy and cosmic history. Exxccccellent.

Speaking of such, this is sort of double OT, but since that other thread is getting SO long ...

We were talking about floating pencils and such, and also Deepak and New Agey stuff. I finished re-reading my Watts book, and I loved what he had to say concerning how we usually think about and attempt to conceptualize transcendence. With our more traditional Western theology, we have God as Cosmic Father. And science actually grows out of this mindset, out of the idea that we came "into" this world from somewhere "else" instead of out of it like leaves to a tree - we are somehow seperate from it rather than correlatives with it, thus we have to interpret science in terms of the old Aristotelian "cause and effect" that translated via Augustine I think to the Judeo-Christian set-up, and inadvertently through Western science, rather than the idea of correlatives arising together. Thus we have the orthodox idea of the Cosmic Father, replaced by the scientific view of what Watts called the Cosmic Idiot, and in reaction to one of these or both, we have the New Agey Cosmic Jello. I for one have issues with all these interpretations.

So from the Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are -

"But the fact that IT eludes every description must not, as happens so often, be mistaken for the description of IT as the airiest of abstractions, as a literal transparent continuum or undifferentiated cosmic jello. The most concrete image of God the Father, with his white beard and golden robe, is better than that. Yet Western students of Eastern philosophies and religions persistently accuse Hindus and Buddhists of believing in a featureless and gelatinous God, just because the latter insist that every conception or objective image of IT is void. But the term 'void' applies ot all such conceptions, not to IT.

"Yet in speaking and thinking of IT, there is no alternative to the uses of conceptions and images, and no harm in it so long as we realize what we are doing. Idolatry is not the use of images, but confusing them with what they represent, and in this respect mental images and lofty abstractions can be more insidious than bronze idols."

I think that is really interesting, to say the least. That's a take I've never really heard before, or at least one not expressed so well. I love the relativity he speaks of, and the relationship between seeming disparate things. That is the Tao. All the conceptions - Cosmic Father, Idiot, and Jello, overtly reacting against one another yet sharing a secret unity. Then again, maybe not, cause you know the drill - if you can label the Tao, it's not the real thing. Like Watts says, trying to talk about the Tao is sort of like trying to eat your own mouth or see your own eyes.

This particular quote may be of relevance to you in your ancestral searches -

"My body is also my total environment, and this must be measured by light-years in the billions."

[> [> [> [> Analogies and Idolatry -- Wisewoman, 00:57:42 08/24/01 Fri

"Yet in speaking and thinking of IT, there is no alternative to the uses of conceptions and images, and no harm in it so long as we realize what we are doing. Idolatry is not the use of images, but confusing them with what they represent, and in this respect mental images and lofty abstractions can be more insidious than bronze idols."

I find that quote from Watts really pertinent to the things I'm investigating right now. The extent of my scientific training was a few undergrad bio and psyc courses, so I've tended to shy away from cosmology and physics because when I see an equation my mind goes blank. OTOH, I kinda felt that things like Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" were pretty well dumbed down to the lowest common denominator and therefore not really representative of science at all. Then I came across this quote from Brian Greene, and Oxford-educated physicist, who wrote The Elegant Universe, which deals with string theory:

"I don't know that everybody realizes that even physicists themselves often do, maybe not always explicitly, but implicity, use analogies in the way that they actually think about things. It really is how you sharpen your intuition by having a good mental image, a good metaphor, that captures the heart of the matter without getting bogged down in the details."

Okay, so the map is not the territory, but if I can better understand the basics of quantum theory by the use of analogy and metaphor, hey, I'm fine with that! I don't confuse my simplified analogies with the mind-boggling complexity of theoretical physics. And, as Watts points out, for me there's no alternative, other than ignoring the subject entirely.

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