August 2001 posts

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September 2001

Just to be silly 'coz I'm bored... -- Solitude1056, 08:03:14 08/23/01 Thu

I've enjoyed scrolling through everyone's bios, off the FAQ page. And although I know there's still folks who've not sent in a list, I thought I'd amuse everyone with a little bit o' statistics early on a Thursday morning.

With a total of 37 folks who've listed themselves so far...

46% describe themselves as creative types - either music, writing, the visual arts, or theater. (I counted any reference to the above, even if it's not what you do for a living.)

41% are 30 years old or less, 43% are between 31 & 45, 16% are 46 or older.

51% of the listers didn't identify their gender. Of those who did... 44% are female, and 56% are male.

and no, I did not count how many times folks mentioned Spike! (I thought about it, and decided one little spreadsheet was enough.)
[> Re: Just to be silly 'coz I'm bored... -- Nina, 10:36:05 08/23/01 Thu

"and no, I did not count how many times folks mentioned Spike! (I thought about it, and decided one little spreadsheet was enough.)"

JBone's comment in his profile just makes me laugh at myself :"Compared to the Buffy/Angel junk I've seen on other boards, the Spike crap here isn't so bad." So I try to keep it down now! :)

you're bored.. with all those emails your receiving? :) Ah la la!!!! Thanks for doing the statistics.... always fun to look at our little family and check who likes what! :)
[> [> Re: Just to be silly 'coz I'm bored... -- Brian, 11:01:01 08/23/01 Thu

This thread reminds me. As a "Poster family" are we still planning on having a gathering sometime in the future? We can all wear our pictures from the Bios as our nametags?!
[> [> [> Torcon 3, Aug 28 - Sep 1, 2003 in Toronto?? -- Wisewoman, 11:34:53 08/23/01 Thu

I know we were going to look for upcoming SF conventions to see if we could piggyback on one of them for our season finale fling. The only one I can find for 2003 is in late August in Toronto, the World Science Fiction Convention, Torcon III. It would be late, because we'd all have seen the finale for the season (or the whole show, please no!) by then, but people might be better able to get vacation time than in May, and heaven knows we'll all be bored silly by that time, even if there is an eighth season of BtVS to look forward to in October 2003.

Torcon III - Worldcon 2003 Location: Toronto, Canada Guests of Honour: George R.R. Martin, Frank Kelly Freas, Mike Glyer, Spider Robinson and Robert Bloch. Membership: $170. Contact: PO Box 3, Station A, Toronto, ON, M5W 1A2, Canada, E-mail: Webpage:

Whaddaya think?

[> [> [> [> hmm. wouldn't BtVS be "horror"? -- Solitude1056, 11:50:45 08/23/01 Thu

Well, except for a few Queller demons... do they count?

Actually, I've got my hopes set on finding a way to convince some of the writers to show up. I'd love to corner them in a room with about 70 of us in a Q&A about the why's and wherefor's of some of the plot developments and character arcs over the last however-many-seasons.

I mean, meeting the actors would be nice, but the folks I really want to talk to are the evil minds who come up with this stuff!
[> [> [> [> [> Re: hmm. wouldn't BtVS be "horror"? -- purplegrrl, 12:51:03 08/23/01 Thu

***I mean, meeting the actors would be nice, but the folks I really want to talk to are the evil minds who come up with this stuff!***

I'm right there with you, Sol.
[> [> [> [> meanwhile, is anyone else going to the Millennium Philcon next week? -- anom, 13:25:43 08/23/01 Thu

Next week already? Yike!

Anyway, you know there'll be Buffy/Angel-related events there.

Maybe we can arrange an ATPoBtVS get-together. Some of us might find out we already know each other!
[> [> [> [> [> so *nobody* else is going to Worldcon next week?! -- anom, 22:26:10 08/25/01 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> off to Worldcon -- anom, 11:15:47 08/28/01 Tue

Tomorrow, but I may not have time to get on the board then. I'm sure many threads started in my absence will be gone by the time I get back, which is just as well 'cuz I'll have sooo much else to catch up with. (Being a freelancer, I don't get paid vacations, so I'll have to plunge right in when I get back & make up for lost time.)

I'll miss yez...but after the con it'll be that much closer to new eps! And there'll be Buffy panels to give me a mini-fix meanwhile. And thanks to this board I'll have good q's. & comments for the panelists!
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Have a great time, anom! :o) -- Wisewoman, 17:52:45 08/28/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> Um, Wisewoman, Robert Bloch died in 1994 -- d'Herblay, 13:34:20 08/23/01 Thu

So I doubt he's gonna make it.
[> [> [> [> [> Yikes!! That was copied directly from their site and pasted in... -- Wisewoman, 17:01:47 08/23/01 Thu

...d'ya think maybe I should tell them?
[> [> [> [> [> I sent them an e-mail... -- Wisewoman, 17:28:56 08/23/01 Thu'll be interesting to see what they reply. They also have a web page for bios of their guests of honour, with the notation that Bloch's bio is "coming soon!"
[> [> [> [> [> [> Their response... -- Wisewoman, 19:15:33 08/23/01 Thu

is as follows:

Robert Bloch is being Honoured as our GoHst of Honour. (a play on ghost).

He was at the First 2 Torcons as a Guest and had he been alive, he would have been at Torcon 3.

It just would not be a Torcon without his presence, albeit not physical.

Peter Jarvis Chair, Torcon 3

Well, that clears that up!?
[> [> happy to be referenced -- JBone, 18:22:03 08/23/01 Thu

I must say that I am just a little more than a little bit surprised that a quote of mine was used in a more neutral light than a negative one. As a depicted "hell hound", don't worry, I kinda like the illustration, I've always felt my own low brow brand of humor often fell on deaf ears. This is always a problem when it comes to the written word, especially for me. I'm not a college educated philosopher, nor do I worry about what those who are, think. Anyway, thanks for cutting down your Spike references. It makes it a lot easier for me to check out a thread when Spike isn't in the title. More now than before as I don't have the time to check out every thread. Long live the farmer!
[> [> [> Re: Your picture -- Isabel, 19:28:26 08/23/01 Thu

JBone, I always thought that your picture was Oz as a werewolf. I could be wrong because I missed the episode with the Hell Hounds in it. (They seem to be using main or recurring characters so far, not random monsters.)
[> [> [> [> Masq, a little verification please... -- JBone, 19:34:58 08/23/01 Thu

I always assumed it was one of the hell hounds from "The Prom". I guess it could be Oz or another werewolf type.
[> [> [> [> [> Oz-wolf, the midnight howler -- Masq, 21:37:38 08/23/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks Masq, you just gave me the name of my... -- JBone, 19:45:54 08/25/01 Sat

fantasy football team. Let's go "Midnight Howlers!"
[> [> [> Re: happy to be referenced -- Nina, 12:01:32 08/24/01 Fri

Happy to reference you! :)

You know we all need to come down to earth from time to time and it's nice to be reminded! (doesn't mean it will be easy! ;) and what can I say, your way to describe the "crap" is just too darn cute to protest! I tell you it cracks me up every time!
[> Hey, 56% male, that's lots of guys talking about Spike..;) -- Rufus, 14:33:26 08/23/01 Thu

I think the men on this board just can't help themselves they must just love Spike....cause "he are kewl" (that was for that Diet Coke pusher Sam).
[> [> Rufus, let me help with ATLTS -- Slayrunt, 17:17:50 08/23/01 Thu

Well, I for one must admit "Spike are kewl" but I like Angelus too. The EVIL guys get the good lines:"I found it in a quaint little shop girl","lets see, what rhymes with lungs?"

But truely, you have to admit that Spike a poser. Yeh, he killed people but he just waited a rep, he would have been just as happy to be a famous poet. ;-)
[> [> [> Re: Rufus, let me help with ATLTS -- Rufus, 17:35:02 08/23/01 Thu

Yes, what is it about the dangerous guys that gets everyone's attention and adoration? I don't get it all of the time but I do love a good redemption scenario, so I'm just like everyone else. I think what the bad guy does is talk back and act in a way that we know we personally wouldn't but do consider when dealing with day to day life. These bad guys get away with more than murder, they make us like them while doing the things society tells us are wrong.
[> [> lies, damn lies, and statistics -- Solitude1056, 08:40:19 08/24/01 Fri

Actually, only about half the posters identified a gender, so that 56% male is not accurate for the group as a whole. That 56% is of the people who identified themselves as a specific gender.

In fact, it's: 19 people did not identify their gender 8 identified themselves as female 10 identified themselves as male

I didn't go by people's screen alias to determine this, but only whether they self-identified a gender. Being one of the folks who didn't say one way or another, I just thought it was an amusing statistic. The only thing it can definitively be said to demonstrate is the fact that roughly half of us didn't see reason to include gender in the first place.
Bored here, too, so a couple questions.... -- dream of the consortium, 10:28:23 08/23/01 Thu

Anyone know anything about the nursery rhyme "Little Miss Muffet"? Any ideas why the writers might have chosen that name to describe Dawn (one of the mind-sucked calls her that, I believe, and then Glory says in one of her fits that "someone is going to have to sit on her tuffet and make this birthing stop')? Normally, everything mentioned in the Buffyverse has some sort of meaning, particularly if it's referenced more than once. (Except the CheeseMan, of course.) The rhyme itself doesn't offer anything obvious; Dawn has not yet been "frightened away." Anyone up on the origins or coded meanings of nursery rhymes? (Sorry if this has come up before - I haven't read the archives.)

I also want to ask a question I asked way down at the bottom of the page and didn't get any response to - maybe I'll have better results up here? In a recent interview linked by someone on this board (I've forgotten who and where), Joss mentioned being influenced in his thinking about Buffy by Richard Slotkin, Professor of English at Wesleyan University. I took a fantastic class with him a few years ago, and, though my memory is shaky, it certainly made sense that Joss had been thinking about Slotkin's ideas when developing Buffy. Slotkin believed one of the great sources of American mythical archetype was James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. I remember him discussing the origin of the hair color symbolism (blond = innocence, purity, civilization; dark = danger, sensuality, savagery) that has been discussed a good bit in relation to the show. (By the way, though I realise it wasn't planned that way, the pattern fall apart is a great way in Spike's case - he's a brunette pretending to be a blond. Or is he?) He also talked at length (and Joss mentions in the interview) about the idea of the "man who knows Indians", the civilized man whose is at the same time outside society, the man who knows the ways of "savages" and understands the dark complexity of things that normal men do not. This man is a lonely figure, and a romantic one, and usually has friends on both sides of the boundaries of society, but knows more than both. Slotkin's favorite contemporary example at the time was Hans Solo. I wonder if he mentions Buffy now. Anyway, I've never read Slotkin's books (Gunfight Nation, Regeneration through Violence) and I was wondering if anyone else had and had any insights into Buffy as a reflection of the American myth as a result. Also, any other examples of the "man who knows Indians"? I would offer Harvey Kietel in the Piano.
[> Little Miss Muffet -- Wisewoman, 11:55:52 08/23/01 Thu

From an essay by A.R. Jones on Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy:"

The dilemma of the old woman who lived in the shoe, of Dr. Foster, or of Miss Muffet terrified by the spider, is largely contained and appears acceptable and almost reassuring in the comforts of an incantatory rhythmical pattern, for order is imposed, often, indeed, superimposed, on an otherwise fortuitous and even terrifying reality. Also the subject of the nursery rhyme tends to accept his situation with something like a matter-of-fact stoicism; often he seems to co-operate with the events that beset him.

Hmmmm,don't know if that's any help, or not...

[> [> Re: Little Miss Muffet -- Shiver, 17:52:44 08/23/01 Thu

A different side of Little Miss Muffet (see WIllow thread below)

[> pop-culture knowing indians -- Solitude1056, 11:59:52 08/23/01 Thu

I didn't see The Piano. However, your comment about "knowing both sides" makes me think of the recent stream o' crossover-style movies... except in this case, it's a cultural crossover. Most recently, it's been that of Asian/American culture-clash and culture-amalgamation, where an American (the blonde?) has to work in partnership with someone of Asian descent or origin. Despite our global culture, the Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc, etc, cultures are still deeply rooted in mystery to the average American moviegoer.

Some try for it & don't succeed, because they're just too blatantly playing that game. Hm, look at Steven Segal's movies. Always playing some dark mysterious guy who's familiar with Asian culture but sure talks & walks like a joe from the Bronx. That damn too-long-running show with the guy who's supposed to be a Shaolin travelling across the country helping folks, hey, it's a martial arts version of Touched by an Angel. Yipes. And oddly, Chow Yun Fat - in the Replacement Killers - got the mythic figure that you're talking about. Of course, it helps that CYF is already a phenomenal actor, despite the fact that it was a pretty throwaway saturday matinee kind of movie.

But the movie didn't seek to play up that knowing-indians mythology, which is perhaps why it worked. There's a good dose of American City culture, and buried within it is a Chinatown, replete with its mysteries, different language and traditions, and a very different way of interacting. I wouldn't say CYF's character walks the border between both - he's definitely of one, predominantly, but in his interaction with the american characters, he reaches across both, while containing the original (chinese) culture within him at all times. Then again, I'd watch CYF read a grocery list - hell, I even paid $8 to see him in Anna & the King, a truly momentous waste of CYF & Jodie Foster if I ever saw one.
[> [> ok, so actually it was reversed -- Solitude1056, 21:32:03 08/23/01 Thu

Discussing this thread with the Peanut Gallery, and his point was that the Replacement Killers wasn't the usual man who knows indians... because in that case, CYF - who is Chinese, like the director - was coming from the civilization, and we were the indians. Running around, hollering, gesturing wildly, going headlong into a mad dash for whatever now. The chinese characters, on the other hand, were in more refined and delicately powerful abstractly decorated sets, with a definite precise behavior and language, even when speaking english. That, and considering that we only recently (in the eyes of the Chinese) discovered mass printing processes and paper-making, among other things, puts us in the lesser-civilization (or at least younger civilization). We still have too much rough-and-tumble pioneer ways in our culture, compared to the oldest and largest bureacracy in the world.

In that sense, my housemate's arguing, CYF's departure at the end of the movie was a return to civilization, taking back a boon (the forged passports). We, as the american audience, were standing in the position of the indians, watching the Hero depart for his homelands.

I wonder what other stories/movies out there have turned the 'man who knows indians' on its head and watched from the POV of the indians?
[> Don't know what I'm talking about but also bored, so... -- Lurker Becoming Restless, 12:43:30 08/23/01 Thu

Not sure about 'Miss Muffet' but Dawn has also been referred to as a 'Little Red Riding Hood' - maybe it's a more general thing about vulnerability, childhood (innocence) and being separate from reality.

As for the Slotkin stuff: I'm English and so probably way off the mark when it comes to American myth, but isn't Angel closer than Buffy to the 'man who knows Indians' (can 'Indians' be substituted for 'demons' here?)? Buffy is inside civilisation as he never could be, but he began there and has had a great deal more time to get to know the 'Indian' world. He is also a much more isolated figure - to me Buffy is very much a part of society (although admittedly season five has seen her drift away from it a little more).

Shouldn't the 'man who knows Indians' be a little dark? Buffy is often portrayed as being an innocent (but, again, I guess that changed a little in season five) and she tends to rely on knowledge supplied to her by other people.

I suppose both of them have aspects of it - oh no, wishy-washy relativism again. Time to move on.

With the blonde / dark dichotomy, I think an interesting aspect is how they attract / repel one another. Buffy brought Angel back to civilisation to some degree. Also, Spike ultimately chose to leave Drusilla (very dangerous, savage) to be with Buffy (innocent, pure). Could this be because he is trying to be something he is not (hair)?

But then there's Willow and Oz. Guess symbolism can only take us so far. I've just got to keep telling myself, 'it's only a theory', 'it's only a theory'...
[> [> Re: Don't know what I'm talking about but also bored, so... -- Wisewoman, 13:17:17 08/23/01 Thu

If anyone is "the man who knows Indians" I'd think it would be Anya, with her encyclopedic knowledge of demons. Is she discounted because she used to be one?
[> [> [> Re: Don't know what I'm talking about but also bored, so... -- Lurker Becoming Restless, 13:49:24 08/23/01 Thu

From a point of view of sheer volume of knowledge, Anya probably knows more about demons than anyone else. She doesn't really live in both worlds as much as Buffy and Angel, though. As you implied, she's like 'the man who used to be an Indian' - a convert or something...oh, well, there's a lesson in how to stretch a perfectly good metaphor to breaking point.

But, anyway, I don't think she's discounted because she used to BE one but because she USED to be one, if that makes any sense (can't do bold; sorry).
[> Re: Bored here, too, so a couple questions.... -- Humanitas, 14:05:18 08/23/01 Thu

The "Little Miss Muffet" reference goes all the way back to the Shared dream of Buffy and Faith in S3: "Little Miss Muffet counting down to 7-3-0." Dauwn isn't Miss Muffet, she's "Curds and Whey" (The Real Me, I think). Buffy is Miss Muffet, and Glory is the spider, who "frightens away," or kills Buffy, 730 theoretical days from the original reference.

That's how I read it, anyway. :)
[> [> Re: Bored here, too, so a couple questions.... -- Rufus, 14:24:08 08/23/01 Thu

I thought that Dawn was supposed to be Miss Muffet, the one to sit on the tuffet (use of the key)but Buffy took her place. So I still think Dawn is Miss Muffet as she is still the key in human form, the potential for her to be keylike is still there.
[> [> Re: Bored here, too, so a couple questions.... -- Isabel, 19:24:17 08/23/01 Thu

Humanitas, you just blew my mind with that analogy. It totally makes sense that Dawn is the 'Curds and Whey.'

But the way I read it, if Dawn is the Curds and Whey then Glory is Miss Muffet and Buffy is the Spider.

My reasoning is: Glory's entire motivation this season was to use the Key's energy. She wanted to bleed Dawn. Glory came to Sunnydale/Earth (sat on her tuffet) to do so. The Spider came along and frightened Miss Muffet away, so presumably she stopped eating when she ran. Buffy is the one who got in Glory's face all season and stopped her use of Dawn. Glory was all, "I've been fighting a Vampire Slayer! How gauche! Ugh!"

Unless Giles is the Spider because he's the one who ultimately stopped Glory.

Until now, I just thought it was a cutesy way of referring to Dawn. Cool.
[> [> [> That became my take on it also. -- OnM, 20:26:06 08/23/01 Thu

I.e., Glory was Miss Muffett, Dawn was Curds and Whey, and Buffy was the Spider. I think that twisting the characters around so that they don't fit the more obvious interpretations of the rhyme was to deliberately play with our heads and misdirect us. The original Faith/Buffy dream that states 'Little Miss Muffett counting down from 730' seems to apply first to Buffy, then later to Dawn, but when you think about it since all three of them came together at the critical moment, the '730' could apply just as well to any of them. Glory, however, made the statement about 'someone sitting down on their tuffett and making this birthing stop', and this makes sense in that Glory detested humans and wanted them to go away ASAP, which opening the portal ('eating her Curds and Whey') would achieve. So, if Glory is Miss Muffett, and Dawn is the C&W, then by default Buffy must be the Spider, and indeed she 'frightened Miss Muffett away'. I would note that Buffy was-- eventually-- the only one who was able to induce any kind of true fear into Glory, as evidenced by Glory finally asking Buffy to stop beating her.

Also, the 'tuffett' itself could be interpreted as the tower Dawn was to be sacrified on, and that curds and whey are related to cheese, which Buffy is known to be very fond of.

OK, next overanalysis, por favor!

[> Re: the man who knows indians -- mundusmundi, 15:37:56 08/23/01 Thu

You may possibly have been thinking about my post from a couple weeks ago (in the third archieves), or else Dedalus's essay on the subject. One of the Campbellians around here could doubtlessly explain this better, but I see the "man who knows indians" archetype as akin to what Campbell called the "master of both worlds." Dedalus and I discussed a bit of this way down in the "Respect my authority" thread, where he explained that the Hero often starts in "civilized" society, sometimes as royalty, but will either on his own accord or through coercion enter the hinterlands and learn the life of the natives there. Then, when he returns home, the Hero has (presumably) the wisdom and breadth of experience to live wisely. (Usually there's some kind of elixir that he brings back; sometimes just simple knowledge is enough.)

I see Buffy as the Hero in Progress with her adventure, with allies both human (the Scoobies) and inhuman (Angel, Spike, even Dawn, one could argue). Part of the path Joss seems to be leading her on is understanding the dark side of her own nature and the ambiguity of good and evil. I really don't see her as a "reflection of the American myth." Hers seems to derive from an older, more primal, more mysterious source.

An obvious example of this archetype would be John Dunbar in Dances with Wolves. There are plenty of others, which I'm sure I'll think about later tonight while half-asleep.
[> [> Re: Dances with Demons -- Dedalus, 22:19:35 08/23/01 Thu

I was just thinking about our discussion on my way down this thread mundusmundi!

My knowledge of Slotkin is pretty limited - I've found bits and pieces of Regeneration Through Violence on the net, but that's about it. Still, I was thinking about mentioning him in another essay or something. Actually, I agree that Buffy is more a modern response to the American myth of profit via violence (killin' injuns and grizzlies and conquerin' nature) than a mimetic re-enactment of it. Buffy does not succeed in The Gift through violence, after all. More on this later.

As for the Master of Two Worlds, fascinating concept. It has to do with the whole cyclical nature of the hero's adventure - the leaving, the intiation/adventure, and the return. There are usually two worlds, the human, and the divine, that have been seperated somehow. The hero comes as a kind of super psychotherapist to heal the rift. In the individual psyche, such a split was what Jung called dissociation, and could manifest as neurosis or psychosis, depending on the severity. Anyway, this is sometimes what is happening in macrocosm in the world of myth. Yet I think a key point in both psychology and myth is that in the end, whether it be the conscious or unconcious mind or Eden and the Post-fallen world, the two are actually aspects of the same thing. As Campbell would say, "The realm of the gods is actually a hidden dimension of the world we know." The night and the day are not totally seperate, only different, if that makes sense.

The hero has to have his foot in both camps in order to bring those broken halves together.

For instance, this plays out in The Phantom Menace on a number of levels. Jar Jar is somewhat the "man who knows the indians," or in this case the Gungans, though he also is one. He walks in two worlds but belongs to neither, and this is represented literally by the fact that he is amphibious. Actually, this plays out with Amidala, too. Thrown out of her Eden-like paradise of Naboo by patriarchal (and apparently reptilian) Neimodian usurpers, she is forced to split into, in the form of Queen Amidala and handmaiden Padme. She has fallen into the world of opposites. Both she and Jar Jar are outcasts in a sense, thus it makes sense that they bond on board the starship heading for Tatooine. The splitting of Amidala's character is also a clear metaphor for the shapeshifting anima, the feminine aspect of the masculine psyche as she plays out the whole "meeting of the goddess" motif for Anakin.

Anyway, it is the two of them that make the symbiont circle Obi-Wan spoke of a reality. If you notice, the Gungan council as well as the Naboo council are arranged in a half-circle, incomplete in and of themselves. Everything comes together in the Sacred Grove, with Amidala assimilating both her role as Queen and handmaiden into one whole, and doing the same with the Gungans and the Naboo. The two worlds are thus brought together, and are really the same. I would argue that Anakin does the same thing only with the Force at the end of Return of the Jedi.

I think both Buffy and Angel would fit perfectly in the "man who knows the indians" category.

Above all else, and as I'm getting into in my next essay, I think Buffy is first and foremost a psychological or spiritual quest for wholeness.
[> [> [> Re: One last thing ... -- Dedalus, 22:38:15 08/23/01 Thu

I recall Slotkin talking about the "town tamer" motif - basically what most of Clint Eastwood's early movies were about. There's a town or settlement. People are happy. Then the outlaws come, or the law itself turns against the populace, and all kind of misery ensues. Lone hero rides into town, shoots up some saloons, and takes care of business. This is all followed by a liesurely ride off into the sunset.

I know we've got some people here that remember the very first airing of Buffy. The initial "prologues" or whatever you want to call them spoke of a town or city enduring a series of murders, then a mysterious woman comes to town (such as Lucy Hanover), and again, takes care of business. This is classic "town tamer" stuff.

It's about carving out a place for civilization in what is essentially a wilderness. This is sort of what Campbell talked about when he said that the first hero archetypes went about killing monsters and making way for humanity's hold on the world.

I think one of Whedon's ultimate twists - not just on the genre - but on Western myth as a whole, is his use of a monster slayer in the middle of an affluent suburban high school. There is no more black and white, us vs. them, the calvary riding after Geronimo. The demons are now all manifestations of our fears and prejudices. And they walk among us. The wild, savage land that has to be "tamed" is not a rough wilderness replete with coyotes and snakes and such, but high school! Thus, we've become victims of our socialization process, our own "civilization."

I'm sure I would have more interesting things to say if it wasn't so bloody late.

(And just so you know, I had a history prof who I took for like three semesters straight that used "bloody" every other word, I did not liberate it from Spike)
What is your definition of an anti-hero? Is Spike? -- Jack_McCoy, 16:57:07 08/23/01 Thu

I have never really understood the concept of an anti-hero. I mean, I know its someone who isn't your classic hero (like Superman or Buffy), but exactly what does it mean? Is Batman one, because he uses fear and intimidation to fight evil (and if so, does that make Angel one?). Is Spike one, because he does good for selfish reasons?

Anyway, what do you all think?
[> Re: What is your definition of an anti-hero? Is Spike? -- Cactus Watcher, 17:13:54 08/23/01 Thu

In my book an anti-hero is some one who is morally ambiguous, but who through experience with "good" and "evil" characters ends up deciding to make "good" choices. Han Solo is a classic example. Spike is headed in that direction, but to make it complete, I think he would have to lose his chip. As it stands he's a monster who gets along slightly better with the good guys. If he isn't free to make really evil choices again, he's just half a being.
[> Re: What is your definition of an anti-hero? Is Spike? -- Rufus, 17:30:37 08/23/01 Thu

In "A Writers Journey" the anti-hero is mentioned.

Anti-hero is a slippery term that can cause a lot of confusion. Simply stated, an Anti-hero is not the opposite of a Hero, but a specialized kind of Hero, one who may be an outlaw or a villian from the point of view of society, but with whom the audiene is basically in sympathy. We identify with these outsiders because we have all felt like outsiders at one time or another. from A Writers Journey by Christopher Vogler

Spike may have become an anit-hero, certainly many of the fans do sympathize with him on both a fan and character level. The actor while considered attractive is playing a character who has become sympathetic by the trials he is going through. There are two types of anti-heros and we are yet to find out which type Spike may end up becoming.

Anti-Heros may be of two types: 1)characters who behave much like conventional Heroes, but are given a strong touch of cynicism or have a wounded quality, like Bogart's characters in The Big Sleep and Casablanca. or 2) tragic Heroes, central figures of a story who may not be likeable or admirable, whose actions we may even deplore, like Macbeth or Scarface or the Joan Crawford of Mommie Dearest. from A Writers Journey

So which type of Anti-Hero do you think Spike may or may not be? His actions identify him as a bit of both but until we know anymore we don't know for sure if Spikes actions will either redeem him or lead to tragedy.

The wounded Anti-Hero may be a heroic knight in tarnished armor, a loner who has rejected society or been rejected by it. These characters may win at the end and may have the audience's full sympathy as all times, but in society's eyes they are outcasts, like Robin Hood, roguish pirate or bandit Heroes, or many of Bogart's characters. They are often honorable men who have withdrawn from society's corruption, perhaps ex-cops or soldiers who became disillusioned and now operate in the shadow of the law as private eyes, smuggler, gamblers, or soldiers of fortune. We love these characters because they are rebels, thumbing their noses at society as we would all like to do. A Writers Journey

Spike does live outside of society and many have started to sympathize with his plight, but as he spent most of the last century killing innocent victims we have to look at his actions as more of a Shadow archetype than hero til the latter end of season five. Even though Spike stopped killing it wasn't by choice, he wasn't happy as a neutered villian. But there was a change when he moved past killing and started helping Buffy, by choice, even without the carrot of love or sex. But there is one type of Anti-hero that could also represent Spikes ultimate fate.

The second type of Anti-hero is more like the classical idea of the tragic Hero. These are flawed Heroes who never overcome their inner demons and are brought down and destroyed by them. They may be charming, they may have admirable qualities, but the flaw wins out in the end. Some tragic Anti-heroes are not so admirable, but we watch their downfall with fascination because "there, but for the grace of God, go I." Like the ancient Greeks who watched Oedipus fall, we are purged of our emotions and we learn to avoid the same pitfalls as we watch the destruction of Al Pacino's character in Scarface, Sigourney Weaver as Dian Fossey in Gorrillas in the Mist, or Dian Keaton's character in Looking for Mr. Goodbar. from A Writers Journey

So which type of Archetype do you feel Spike fits? Is he a Villian or is he an Anti-Hero...if so what do you think his ultimate fate to be? Can a vampire go from villian to hero like Angel, or will they only fail because they have a flaw in the absence of a soul that is impossible to overcome? Only time will tell.
[> [> I'M NOT CRAZY, HEAR ME OUT! :) -- cknight, 19:26:10 08/23/01 Thu

Spike isn't a hero until he loses the chip.

But I have always a nagging feeling that his chip doesn't work and hasn't for some time on the show. I think when Spike had that doctor try and take the chip out that the doctor either turned the chip off or found that it was no longer working. When I watched the show all I kept thinking was that this guy is signing his death warrant if he does turn off the chip and tells Spike that he's free to kill again. He would have been dead before he could say another word.

I think maybe Spike is so use to the pain being there that he's really just tricking himself that the chip is working.

Also Spike has taken a lot of damage electric shock, brutal ass beatings etc. I think Willow will discover early in the new season that Spike's chip isn't working. Giving him a chance to really make some choices.
[> [> [> Your not crazy... It could be possible. -- Cactus Watcher, 20:36:09 08/23/01 Thu

Spikes chip may no longer work. But, if it doesn't, that opens other cans of worms such as 'Is Tara, in fact, a demon?' It would be more convient if his chip was still working most of last season and was destroyed later, say in a fall from a large tower?
[> [> [> [> Well, as of WOTW, he was still reacting as if it worked. -- Wiccagrrl, 21:49:30 08/23/01 Thu

When he hits Xander in frustration because of the Ben/Glory forgetfulness, Spike does seem to have been given the shock. Same with hitting Tara in Family.
[> [> [> [> [> What about when.. -- Mike, 01:36:34 08/24/01 Fri

Drusilla came back on the scene and he took a bite.. he seemed to feel genuine pain then, but he DID go through with it and make the kill. What that means, I dont know.. (which makes me pretty useless huh!)
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What about when.. -- LadyStarlight, 06:11:16 08/24/01 Fri

Didn't Dru break the girl's neck before giving her to Spike? That's what I've always thought.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What about when.. -- Isabel, 06:16:11 08/24/01 Fri

I agree. She sure wasn't struggling, or even moving, when he took the bite. I always thought he hesitated because he suddenly felt, a little bit, mind you, uncomfortable eating a human. (But Spike is at heart a practical guy. Since the girl was dead, his not eating her wouldn't bring her back to life. So he had a snack.)
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I cant remember! -- Mike, 06:33:59 08/24/01 Fri

I was sure Spike felt pain though. Which made me think the grrl was still alive...

Can/do vampires ever eat each other? Am i asking another silly question??
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> chip, pain, & biting the (not yet?) dead -- anom, 09:52:44 08/24/01 Fri

"I was sure Spike felt pain though. Which made me think the grrl was still alive..."

I remember several expressions passing over Spike's face before he bit her--a lot of hesitation & mixed feelings, but I don't remember pain being one of them. Maybe he was anticipating pain & that's what you saw? 'Cause if the chip had kicked in, it would've stopped him from biting her at all, like w/Willow that 1st time.

Even if that didn't happen, a broken neck, like a lot of fatal injuries, doesn't kill immediately. It doesn't stop the heart from beating, but it paralyzes the diaphragm so the person doesn't breathe. So the brain isn't getting oxygen, & it takes about 4 minutes without oxygen before the brain actually dies--that's why they can be saved if emergency help arrives soon enough. During some of that time the person is still conscious. [see truly grisly detail at end after blank space; if you don't want to know, don't scroll all the way down] They have no feeling in most of their body, depending on where the actual break in the spine is, but I'm not sure if the neck is included. So, sorry, CW, the woman might still have had a pulse, & until she lost consciousness, she might still have felt pain. (No, I didn't time how long Spike hesitated!)

This also raises the question of how a chip in one person's head can tell if another person is alive or dead. Kinda reminds me of Angel's being able to go (or fall) into someone's home as soon as they die. I doubt the Initiative scientists would design a chip to respond to some mystical energy change they didn't believe in.... Well, Spike said it depended on his intention, so maybe it didn't zap him because he thought she was already dead.

"Can/do vampires ever eat each other? Am i asking another silly question??"

Well, Angelus & Darla sank their fangs into each other's necks as part of their sex, uh, play?, after Angelus (or both of them?) had fed from the Gypsy. I wonder if they'd have wanted to if there hadn't been fresh human blood in their systems. I doubt vampires can live on each other's blood.

[WARNING: truly grisly detail below; please label responses if they deal w/this part]

Truly grisly detail: Eyewitnesses said that after Mary Queen of Scots (I think it was) was beheaded, the executioner held up her head & the lips were still moving...yuck but interesting.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> WARNING: re: Grisly details -- Humanitas, 09:57:00 08/24/01 Fri

That's not too uncommon, evidently. It takes the brain (and sometimes the body, too) a little while to realize that it's dead. Same thing as the chicken running around after it's head is cut off.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: chip, pain, & biting the (not yet?) dead (don't think it's really grisly) -- LadyStarlight, 07:43:00 08/26/01 Sun

Depending on where Dru snapped her neck at, wouldn't she have been paralyzed, ie, no feelings? No feeling, no pain.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: chip, pain, & biting the (not yet?) dead (don't think it's really grisly) -- anom, 10:25:35 08/26/01 Sun

Hokay, did some research. Yes, it does depend on how high in the neck the break is. According to the U of Missouri's spinal cord injury page (, sensation in the part of the neck vampires bite (as shown on BtVS) is transmitted by the 2nd-3rd cervical nerves. Injuries that make people unable to breathe on their own can be down to the 4th or 5th. So it's possible that someone with a broken neck at this level might still be able to feel their neck being bitten. I don't know how high up in the neck an attack like Dru's on the woman at the Bronze would actually break it. And there's always some variation in human (& animal) anatomy, especially in the borders of the area served by each nerve, which, as Nina no doubt knows, @>) is called a dermatome. (When I had my wisdom teeth pulled, the oral surgeon made the 1st novocaine injection in the spot where it would numb the appropriate area in most people. Didn't work. He had to give me shots in 2 other places before the right part of my jaw was numbed.)
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: chip, pain, & biting the (not yet?) dead (don't think it's really grisly) -- Rufus, 13:27:57 08/26/01 Sun

The debate over the status of the girl in Crush was solved for me in the Shooting Script where it said she was dead. It may not jibe with your medical knowledge but for dramatic purposes we were to consider her dead so the chip didn't activate.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> script trumps chip -- anom, 20:37:35 08/26/01 Sun

You're right, Rufus. The script supersedes the chip, or Spike's belief that she was dead already. Such is the word of Joss.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yes, Dru broke her neck first. No pulse, no pain. -- Cactus Watcher, 07:05:47 08/24/01 Fri

[> [> Re: What is your definition of an anti-hero? Is Spike? -- Dariel, 21:41:48 08/23/01 Thu

"The second type of Anti-hero is more like the classical idea of the tragic Hero. These are flawed Heroes who never overcome their inner demons and are brought down and destroyed by them. They may be charming, they may have admirable qualities, but the flaw wins out in the end. Some tragic Anti-heroes are not so admirable, but we watch their downfall with fascination because "there, but for the grace of God, go I."

Sigh. Somehow, I think this is what evil Joss has in store for us!
[> Hijacking your Spike thread to talk about Angel for a moment. :) -- Humanitas, 21:51:41 08/23/01 Thu

I don't think Angel really qualifies as an anti-hero. The anti-hero is usually someone whom we identify with, even as we believe he wil do pretty awful things in the name of justice. Bogart's Noir roles come to mind, as do many of Clint Eastwood's characters. Angel may say things like "Why would I kill you, [vamps out] when I could feed on you for a month?" But we never believe for a moment that he'll actually do it. There isn't the resonance of "Do ya feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

Granted, Angel dipped close to that noir image mid season this year, but I think the point of that storyline was ultimately that he just couldn't do it. He went all the way to dispair, and found light on the other side. Not the conclusion the classic anti-hero would draw.
[> [> Re: Hijacking your Spike thread to talk about Angel for a moment. :) -- Rufus, 22:36:14 08/23/01 Thu

Yes, Angel, the guy of the evolving archetype, he has been a Shadow, and a hero. I do think that Angel does fit the bill of an anti-hero in that his past does give him enough imfamy to be less than the classic Hero Buffy represents. Also the Anit-hero is all about isolation where many classic Heroes are more group oriented, Angel is constantly fighting the urge to withdraw and brood, his natural cynicism further removing him from dealing with reality. The addition of a soul didn't absolve Angel from the past crimes of Angelus it just made him aware of the impact of his actions as a demon/human hybrid. His character is also seen as a Lost Soul in the book "Heroes and Heroines" by Cowden, LaFever, & Viders. Angel is becoming more of a person by his trials. He is not part of society his status as a nightcrawling demon forever separating him from true physical humanity. I see Angel as an Anti-Hero that could eventually get it right by doing the right thing consistantly enough to win his redemption. I don't see him a Hero like Buffy, he just hasn't earned it. Even though both characters had no choice in what they became it was Angel's inate weakness that caused the amount of death and atrocities as a vampire. So I'll give you a bit on The Lost Soul hero archtype from Heroes and Heroines,

A tormented man filled with angst and passion, The LOST SOUL drifts through life with a heavy heart and a wounded spirit. He is dramatic, intriguing, and secretive. This misfit has never adapted to society. A tremendous physical or emotional injury has produced a baffling puzzle of a man. Mystery and solitude surround him and he cannot find a way to rid himself of the pain he carries with him wherever he goes. A man with a past who yearns for love and acceptance, he never seems to find the key that opens the door to happiness. from Heroes and Heroines

Does any of that sound like Angel, he is mentioned in the book along with Buffy. The Archetypes are split into male and female. Here are some flaws of the Lost Soul

BROODING-Brows knitted and face unsmiling the LOST SOUL sits on the outside, contemplating the unfairness of life. While his mystery and tragedy may intrigue people, his pessimistic view of life drives them away. UNFORGIVING-His idealism trips him up, with others and even with himself. He expects perfection and has a hard time grasping that everyone has faults. The Lost Soul cannot seem to forget the slights he has suffered. He can rarely forgive himself when he fails. Frustration and guilt fill his life. FATALISTIC-He hopes for the best, but the Lost Soul anticipates that things will probobly turn out for the worst. He immediately sees the negatives in people and knows they will not change. Catastrophe is around every corner and he resigns himself to the whims of fate. from Heroes and Heroines

If you don't like the term Anti-hero for Angel I think that some of the Lost Soul certainly applies to him. It was also mentioned in the book along with Buffy. Sorry no Spike. The thing is that Archetypes can only help with understanding characters and doesn't tell the whole story as we don't know what will happen. As a person evolves so do their Archtypes. Look at some of the heroes, Faith is an Anti-hero who was headed for a tragic end. Her flaw was a lack of self worth that left her open to a devious mentor(the Mayor). So as the seasons progress I can see some of the Archetypes shifting status as they evolve as people. Buffy will remain the Hero as it's her journey, and it's all about the journey.
[> [> [> Angel as a Byronic Hero -- Cleanthes, 11:57:28 08/27/01 Mon

Angel doesn't fit the mold of anti-hero that Bogart & Eastwood portray - on that I agree with Humanitas. OTOH, I agree with Rufus that Angel still falls under the term anti-hero, however one can loosely define this term. He WILL brood and brood.

Here's an essay about Byronic heroes that I ran across while thinking about this (and not doing the work I'm supposed to be doing - what kind of "anti-" is this? Or perhaps it's just pro-slacker?). There's a section specifically about Angel.

When Angel locked the lawyers and their possibly innocent dates into the room with Darla and Dru, he surely called on the full gloom of Byron's shade.
[> [> [> [> Re: Angel as a Byronic Hero -- Rufus, 12:43:35 08/27/01 Mon

Gee, thanks for that link it was a great read.

Angel, a vampire whose soul has been restored by a gypsy curse, broods over his guilt for his crimes in his past. as Angelus, a conscienceless and remourseless killer with a sardonic and bitter sense of humor. The heroic Angel, however, rarely smiles, and his eyebrows are knitted in an almose permanent frown. he dresses in dark clothing like our other heroes (vampires are apparently very concerned with fashion), usually wearing a long black coat that gives the effect of a cape.

That's Angel alright, and great if it's only a small dose of the constant brooding self pity. The best thing that ever happened to Angel besides getting his soul back and loving Buffy, was his move to LA, where people in their quest for perfection reflect Angels selfobsession. Angel as Liam got in trouble because he wasn't part of humanity choosing to hang out in pubs and argue with his father. There was abuse in his family situation that scarred Liam enough that he was paralysed unable to move past his dad's dire perdictions for his future as a layabout. Liam was on his way to being at least a petty criminal but with the right intervention could have freed himself from his self made prison. When Darla met up with Liam he was sick of his dead end situation, he call to adventure was accepted, uncaring about the price. Angelus was the form Liams rejection of society and humanity took. Still hurting from his years of verbal abuse he took to avenging his ego on anyone luckless enough to cross his path. The Gypsies are the ones that stopped the bloodletting with their curse, designed to punish the vampire by making him capable of feeling pain in the form of a conscience. Still apart from society Angel was useless as a vampire and as a man. His first sight of Buffy was his salvation. A blonde damned him and a blonde saved him. But this love was not to be. LA ended up his new home where he took to some serious brooding about his impossible situation. Angel is an anti-hero but one that needed something to stay interesting. I think the writers have been smart in having Angel take responsibility for all his actions as a vampire in that the worst of what he did stemmed from his dissatisfaction as a person. Angel is an anti-hero but he has evolved into more. His interaction with Cordy, Doyle, Wesley, and Gunn have helped him to choose humanity. The Darla story arc was painful to watch as it looked like her influence would make Angel become Angelus again. But Angel went from anti-hero to warrior by having his epiphany. Instead of judging humanity by using his own actions as a template, Angel was able to finally see that just as people can be selfish and cruel, people are capable of great sacrifice and love. In Buffys shadow Angel would never have done this. Angels shan shu was seen as a prize for a job well done, a victory over evil, but I see his shan shu not as a demon becoming human but as a human taking back his humanity by accepting who he is and acting in a humane way. A reward for battle was something that Angel regarded as humanity on the payment plan. All Angel ever had to do to become human was to act like one. His relationship with Cordy may seem like employer and employee but Cordy has taught Angel more than that. Her caring for him like a brother has become important to him and has brought a smile to a once dour face. It may not be the love he had for Buffy but with his friends in LA Angel can now begin to let the fashion perfect facade drop letting the human who never let show through.
[> [> [> [> Or 'Lovelace' from Clarissa -- Rahael, 14:25:33 08/27/01 Mon

Has anyone else read Richardson's Clarissa? I'm convinced that Lovelace, the villainous hero to end all villainous heros is startlingly close to Angelus. At turns sexy, remorseful, intelligent, charming and witty, he is also cruel, sadistic and finally unmasked as evil. By contrast Clarissa is beautiful, pure, steadfast and moral. She stands out against both society and Lovelace to forge her own destiny.

Its an amazing book I would recommend to anyone.

Because 'Clarissa' set in the 18th century, I can definitely imagine Angelus in the role!
[> [> Umm. Humanitas, I don't think it's legal to hijack a Spike thread here. ;-) -- Slayrunt, 03:53:09 08/24/01 Fri

[> [> [> But isn't this an anti-hero thread? -- John Burwood, 09:27:35 08/24/01 Fri

And since it is a Buffy board I am hijacking the thread to say that I see Buffy as an anti-hero, defined as one who takes the hero role but acts by nature opposite in character to the archetype hero. Anyone ever read Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen. It was a spoof on the gothic horror novels, then in vogue, and she specifically wrote that no-one who knew Catherine as a child would ever have supposed her meant to be a heroine. In direct counter to the classic heroine archetype, the child Catherine showed little interest in academic subjects, and was more interested in sports & fantasy. Throughout the novel Catherine is constantly contrasted with the heroine archetype by having the natural and normal attitudes of a teenage girl - sound familiar. Buffy, IMHO, is similarly contrasted with the stereotype heroine of horror movies &with super-hero archetypes. But I am running out of time for this post -will have to come back with a Part 2 ASAP.
[> [> [> [> In my book Buffy is considered a Crusader -- Rufus, 14:33:59 08/24/01 Fri

Because of her capacity as a fighter, Buffy is considered a Crusader. From Heroes and Heroines.

Ready for action, the Crusader marches in. This is a heroine in the truest sense-deeds of valor are right up her alley. She is confident, tenacious and headstrong against opposition. Lines of battle have been drawn, and she never back down from a contest. The world has veered off its course, and she is just the one to set it straight again. From her perspective, if she does not do it, it will probobly not get done. Or at least, not done correctly. from Heroes and Heroines

Buffy may sound a bit like an anti-hero but I think that she is more connected to the world than most anti-heroes would be. She has a family life and friends that help keep her grounded in this world. Buffy is also considered a Crusader who is a Zealot.

The Crusader might be a Zealot....This Crusader moves unswervingly towards her goal, and heaven help anyone who get in the way. She is a true believer in the absolute necessity for the completion of her task. The Superheroine pulls off the impossible task, while making it look all in a days work................The Zealot has a mission....She has to save the world. It is her duty, her mission, her purpose in life. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was destined from birth for her demon-fighting role. She is totally committed to the literal protection of the world from evil. Her persistence in the drive to overcome obstacles standing in front of her is unwavering. from Heroes and Heroines

Buffy may at first refuse her mission, wanting to have a life without the weight of the world on her shoulders, but as soon as she sees the price there is to pay if evil wins, she quickly takes the task on. At that point of acceptance, nothing can stop her. Being a hero of any kind is never easy. We expect certain things from out heroes that we don't of anyone else. Buffy may have been destined for her role as slayer, her actions prove that she is in it for her love of the world, not herself.
[> [> [> Legal or not... -- Humanitas, 09:41:32 08/24/01 Fri's a fitting revenge for ATLTS, don'tcha think? ;)
[> [> [> But isn't this an anti-hero thread here? (Part 2) -- John Burwood, 09:43:13 08/24/01 Fri

Hope you got Part one- to resume. As a horror anti-heroine Buffy was originally conceived asthe blonde - apparently superficial 'dumb-blonde', who in the archetype gets killed by the monsters. And the archetype superhero, especially the archetype teenage superhero is an outsider. In the teenage archetype generally a nerdy, deridedd, often bullied type, and acquiring superpowers does not just let them fight evil but to avoid trouble, get back at the bullies, and generally lead a happier life. Buffy, in direct opposition to this archetype, was an insider, no nerd, popular, etc. She is driven outside, gets into awful trouble, becomes an object of derision, and generally gets her life made miserable. Buffy subverts the stereotypes in a typically Joss way, and thus is an anti-hero in many ways. In my humble, thread hi-jacking opinion.
[> [> [> [> Can we create a ATLtSbAHBA? (All threads lead to Spike but are hijacked by Angel) :) -- Nina, 11:52:31 08/24/01 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> I don't think so. Angel can't hijack ALL threads... :) -- Millan, 14:39:43 08/25/01 Sat

[> Re: What is your definition of an anti-hero? Is Spike? -- oranjes, 08:38:45 08/28/01 Tue

i think spike's almost an anti-hero. the decision, for me, is going to take place in season six- will he continue on this path after his 'reason for doing good', ie Buffy, is dead ? if he does, whether honoring her memory or just feeling like that's what he has to do, that will make him an anti-hero to me, chip or no chip. as far as the chip, i don't feel like that takes away his potential for heroism. it just opened a new door for him, that's all. it does limit his capability for physical harm, but as we saw in 'the yoko factor' and so on, he still has the capability to hurt, emotionally and through scheming. so he could still be playing the villain, or just be moping in the dark right now, but he's made a conscious decision to help these people in their fight against evil.

or, whatever he's able to hit ;)
First Anniversary Character Posting Party Something Or Other I Can't Remember Now Phrase: Cordelia -- Solitude1056, 20:19:08 08/23/01 Thu

PART ONE: Season one, episode one through Lover's Walk. Rufus warning: long. Oops.

In every adolescent rite of passage, we've got a series of stereotypes. The tomboyish but innocent protagonist. The goofy but endearing best friend who may or may not turn out to be "the one." The brainy nerd, the catty princess, the dim-witted athlete. Gee, anyone ever watch The Breakfast Club? Or Some Kind of Wonderful? or Pretty in Pink? We've got yer stereotypes right here, step right up.

Cordelia: Hi! I'm Cordelia. (offers her hand)

Buffy: (accepts it) I'm Buffy.

Cordelia: If you're looking for a textbook of your very own there's probably a few in the library.

Buffy: Oh, great, thanks. (they get up) Where would that be?

Cordelia: I'll show you, come on. (they start out of the classroom) So you're from Hemery, right? In L.A.?

Buffy: Uh, yeah.

Cordelia: Oh, I would *kill* to live in L.A. That close to that many shoes?

Buffy has to laugh as they go into the hall.

Cut to the two of them walking down another part of the hall.

Cordelia: Well, you'll be okay here. If you hang with me and mine, you'll be accepted in no time.

Shortly after this exchange, Buffy meets Willow, who's greeted by Cordelia in what has truly become a BtVS classic line:

Cordelia: Willow! Nice dress! Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears.

Cordelia is Joss' response to the corporate TV Law of Stereotypes: There Must Be At Least One Stereotype In Every Episode.

Cordelia was Joss' original unknown ensign. (For those of you unfamiliar with the original Star Trek, in every episode where a crew ventures into a strange world, the Captain would bark the names of several characters to join him, followed by, "and you, ensign." And with a death rate rivaling that of lemmings, those unknown ensigns were the ones who got it from that episode's bad guy.)

Nevertheless, Cordelia managed to survive, and not only because the actress had zip, but because the character quickly revealed a missing characterization on the show, despite her stereotype origins. Giles is Hesitant Guy, Xander is goofy, Angel is all angst and broodiness, Buffy's uncertain, and Willow... well, Willow's off in her own set of logical connections. Cordelia, however, gets right to the point., frequently without caring much for how it sounds to others. She makes a great foil for Buffy's introspection.

At the beginning of Season Two, Cordelia opens her mouth in When She Was Bad and we see someone who's been paying attention, even if her expression is still a bit on the straightforward side.

Cordelia: Buffy. (Buffy stops) You're really campaigning for bitch-of-the-year, aren't you?

Buffy: (turns to face her) As defending champion, you nervous?

Cordelia: I can hold my own. You know, we've never really been close, which is nice, 'cause I don't really like you that much, but... you have on occasion saved the world and stuff, so I'm gonna... do you a favor.

Buffy: And this great favor is...

Cordelia: I'm gonna give you some advice. Get over it.

Buffy: Excuse me?

Cordelia: Whatever is causing the Joan Collins 'tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it. 'Cause pretty soon you're not even gonna have the loser friends you've got now.

Somehow, Cordelia keeps getting wrapped up in the Scooby Gang adventures. She's just the unlucky character to always be in the right place at the right time to "happen" to end up in bad situations. Unlike Willow and Xander who choose to be with Buffy, Cordelia keeps getting dragged back in, and Joss uses the nasty high school prom princess as comic relief even in the worst moments.

Cordelia: What an ordeal. And you know what the worst part is?

Jenny: What?

Cordelia: It stays with you forever. No matter what they tell you, none of that rust and blood and grime comes out. I mean, you can dry clean till judgment day, you are living with those stains.

Jenny: Yeah that's the worst part of being hung upside down by a vampire who wants to slit your throat: the stains.

Cordelia: I hear ya!

The bliss of Cordelia is that to keep up her snappy remarks without sounding like a total bitch, she's got to be relatively unaware. Instinctively unselfconscious when she speaks, to the point that the Scooby's sarcastic responses or eye rolling is either lost on her, or just goes over her head. Self-absorbed, materialistic, and obsessed with appearances, she's a cardboard character who just happens to have some witty lines. She's the one we get to laugh at, because she manages to remain oblivious while the world is crashing down around her ears.

Cordelia: Well, evil just compounds evil, doesn't it? First I'm sentenced to a computer tutorial on Saturday, now I have to read some computer book... There are books on computers? Isn't the point of computers to replace books?

Giles: (cuts her off) Cordelia, I'm a little busy right now. (points out the detective)

Cordelia: Oh! Great! (steps up to Det. Winslow) Can you help me with a ticket? It's totally bogus. It was a one-way street. I was going one way.

Giles: (raised voice) Cordelia!

Cordelia: What?! Why does everyone always yell my name? I'm not deaf! And I can take a hint. (unsure) What's the hint?

Giles: To come back later.

Cordelia: Yeah, when you've visited decaf land. (leaves)

We're in with the Scoobies, and know the real deal, so Cordelia's insistence on being ignorant is seen as part of her self-absorption. This is Joss' way of holding up the stereotype that wrecks havoc in most adolescent lives, and revealing it as being something less aware than the freaks and outsiders, and thus not nearly as frightening as the real issues, in this case vampires, demons, and various other big bads.

Regardless, Cordelia continues to pop up at the right place and the right time, and while the other Scoobies develop and grow, she remains the unintended comic relief. Joss' answer to making her less static is to do the unexpected. Cordelia and Xander discover their mutual attraction.

To this day, I'm not entirely certain of the reason. In some ways, it seemed like a minor deus ex machina, because these two characters demonstrated nothing that particularly might inspire the other to be attracted to them.

Cordelia: 'I aspire to help my fellow man.' (marks her test) Check. As long as he's not smelly, dirty or something gross.

Xander: Cordelia Chase, always ready to give a helping hand to the rich and the pretty.

Cordelia: Which, lucky me, excludes you. Twice.

In a moment of fear for their lives, the two - whose nasty repartees have formed the majority of the laughs during the second season - suddenly flip into passionate mode.

Cordelia: I can't believe that I'm stuck spending what will probably be my last few moments on Earth here with you!

Xander: I *hope* these are my last few moments! Three more seconds with you, and I'm gonna... (steps closer)

Cordelia: (steps closer) I'm gonna what? Coward!

Xander: Moron!

Cordelia: I hate you!

Xander: I hate you!

They look at each other for another second before grabbing each other and engaging in a mad, passionate kiss. It goes on for several seconds before they suddenly release each other and look at each other in surprise.

Xander: We *so* need to get outta here.

Cordelia: (nods) Mm-hm!

Later in the same episode (What's My Line, part two), they try to reconcile what had happened with their insistence that they can't stand each other.

Xander: Right, I hired a Latvian bug man to kill Buffy so I could kiss you. I hate to burst your bubble, but you don't inspire me to spring for a dinner over at Bucky's Fondue Hut.

Cordelia: Fine! Whatever. (starts to leave, but steps back, closer) You know, the point is: don't try it again!

Xander: I didn't try it! (calms a bit) Forget about the bugs, okay? The memory of your lips on mine makes my blood run cold.

Cordelia: (steps closer) If you dare breathe a word of this...

Xander: Like I want anyone to know!

Cordelia: Then it's erased!

Xander: Never happened!

Cordelia: Good!

Xander: Good!

Cordelia: *Good*!

They stare into each other's eyes for a moment, and then grab each other in another mad, passionate kiss. This time they don't break off.

Don't think, though, that just because Cordelia and Xander are perpetuating a broom closet romance means Cordelia's lost any of her zip.

Cordelia: Xander, I know you take pride in being the voice of the common wuss, but the truth is, certain people are entitled to special privileges. They're called winners. That's the way the world works.

Xander: And what about that nutty 'all men are created equal' thing?

Cordelia: Propaganda spouted out by the ugly and less deserving.

But in Go Fish, when Xander joins the swim team 'undercover,' (prompting the almost-as-famous Buffyism, "Not under much"), there's a moment when Cordelia believes the fish in the swimming pool is actually Xander, already changed by the drugs used by the episode's bad guy, the devious swim team coach. It's this ancient plot device of 'mistaken identity' that allows us to see, for perhaps the first time, a glimpse into Cordelia's real thoughts about her interaction with Xander.

Cordelia: (very upset) It's me, Cordelia? I know you can't answer me, but... God, this is all my fault. You joined the swim team to impress me. You were so courageous. And you looked really hot in those Speedo's. (chuckles) And I want you to know that I still care about you, no matter what you look like. And... and we can still date. Or, or not. I mean... I understand if you wanna see other fish. (crouches by the edge) I'll do everything I can to make your quality of life better. Whether that means little bath toys or whatever.

The other quick moment is when Xander discovers that his pictures are in Cordelia's locker. Keeping her flippant edge, she tells him that she put the pictures up because she looks cute in them. But the inclusion of mentioning their summertime activities indicates that their relationship has progressed to a definite comfort level. Through all this, though, Cordelia doesn't deviate too far from her stereotypical basis, though. We still get to laugh at her insistence on remaining ignorant and self-absorbed during a crisis, and her surprise when Xander gets aggravated at her lack of tact. The audience is still removed from Cordelia, and still set up to consider her essentially a bitchy character with a sharp wit.

When Buffy and Cordelia compete for Homecoming Queen, Buffy and Faith are being targeted with another rendition of the Great Hunt (some 30's movie, I think. Old plotline: hunting humans, blah blah). Once again, Cordelia's lucky enough to be in the right place and time to be swept up in the Scooby gang role. While trapped in a small cabin with Buffy, Cordelia turns maudlin.

Cordelia: (sobbing) I'm never gonna be crowned Homecoming Queen. I'm never gonna graduate from high school. I'm never gonna know if it's real between me and Xander, or if it's just... (sobs) some temporary insanity that made me think... (sobs) I loved him. (sobs) And now I'm never gonna get the chance to tell him.

Buffy: Yes, you are. We are gonna get out of here, and we are gonna head back to the library, where Giles and the rest of the weapons live. Then I'm gonna take out the rest of these guys just in time for you to congratulate me on my *sweeping* victory as Homecoming Queen.

Cordelia: I know what you're up to. You think if you get me mad enough, I won't be so scared. And, hey! It's working! Where's a damn weapon?

At the end of this episode, Cordelia gets one of the best examples of her ability to use her willful ignorance of reality to convince an opponent. That's how Cordelia works, after all: if you say it long enough and loud enough, through sheer force of will, it must be true - or, at least, it's a lot harder for someone else to disagree. Just steamroller them.

The vampire Lyle is under the impression that Cordelia is Faith, and Buffy's just been knocked unconscious, while his wife was dusted. It's down to Cordelia and Lyle, and the only thing she's got to defend herself with is her wits.

Lyle: I'm gonna kill both you Slayers for this! You hear me?

Cordelia: I hear you, you redneck moron. You got a dress that goes with that hat?

Lyle: (furious) I'm gonna...

Cordelia: Rip out my innards, play with my eyeballs, boil my brain and eat it for brunch? Listen up, needle-brain. Buffy and I have taken out four of your cronies, not to mention your girlfriend.

Lyle: WIFE!

Cordelia: Whatever. The point is, I haven't even broken a sweat. See, in the end, Buffy's just the runner-up. *I'm* the Queen. You get me mad, (gets in his face and glares at him) what do you think I'm gonna do to you?

Lyle is taken aback by that, and considers his next move. Cordelia raises her eyebrows at him impatiently. Lyle thinks better of taking her on and gives her a quick nod.

Lyle: Later.

Then we get to Lover's Walk. When Oz and Cordelia burst in to rescue Willow and Xander, to find them kissing, Oz is stunned - but Cordelia turns and runs. At the time, I expected her to have something fierce to say, to be her usual tactless blunt self. But she can't, because then she'd be admitting that she's seeing and dealing with something that she can't deal with.

All the times she's faced down apocalypses, retaining her self-centric worldview by sheer will power, and she flees at the sight of her boyfriend kissing someone else. As she dashes up the stairs, the steps collapse and Cordelia falls. The last shot is of Cordelia, directly overhead... impaled by rebar. Xander dashes to her, desperate. Oz goes for help while Willow watches from above. Cordelia appears to pass out or die, we're not sure which, and Xander's distraught.

In the next shot, we get a misleading view of a funeral in the background, as Willow and Buffy discuss the fact that Cordelia's not dead. Badly injured, and badly heartbroken. Given that Oz is equally upset at Willow, Cordelia's response seems reasonable. Xander attempts to visit her anyway, and she sends him away. In and of itself, this would be what we'd think to get from the Ice Queen, except that the next few silent shots of her - crying as Xander leaves, then in a retrospective of each character, looking forlorn and detached, she's hardly brushing herself off and ready to move on.

In other words, Cordelia remained a stereotypical character until her injury permitted the writers a chance to get inside Cordelia's head and show what was going on in there. In the next episode, The Wish, she's beginning the process of moving on by shutting out what she once felt.

A photograph of Xander, Willow, Buffy and Cordelia - as a large pair of scissors come into frame and cuts each one out, separating them. In the background, we can hear Xander's voice on an answering machine.

Xander (0.C.): Hey. It's Xander. If you get this, call me.

Now we move up to see that it's Cordelia who is doing the slice and dice job while she ignores the phone machine. Her eyes are red from crying and she looks just about as bad as an incredibly beautiful person can look.

Xander (O.C.): (new message) Hi. Xander... I, uh, well, I'm in if you feel like talking. Bye.

Now we widen and see that she's wearing sweats and a sports top - and a large white bandage that spans one side of her torso, covering the injury she sustained in episode 8. We also see that her room is a total mess. Littered with clothes and diet soda cans and junk food wrappers...She slices the heads off Buffy and Willow.

Xander (O.C.): (new message) Hi, Cordelia.... Uh....

Now Cordy takes the Xander portion and lights it on fire with a match. She drops it into an ashtray - watches the fumes rising - her expression betraying the chilling mix of hurt and fury that is unmistakably the look of a woman scorned.

Hey, that stereotype has feelings.

Go on to part two, if you wanna. I'm sure there's a way to do a link but I'm rather brainfried at the moment, so not much help from me.
[> First Anniversary Character Posting Party Something Or Other I Can't Remember Now Phrase Part 2 -- Solitude1056, 20:38:06 08/23/01 Thu

PART TWO: The Wish to Pylea (well, sort of) Rufus warning: still long.

Over the next few episodes, we see a reversion to the original Cordelia, complete with zip and wit, but now she's considerably nastier.

Xander: Hey, Cordy, hear about Will gettin' into Oxnard?

Willow: Oxford.

Xander: And MIT and Yale and every other college on the face of the planet? As in your face I rub it...

Cordelia: Oh, whoopie. Oxford. Four years in Tea Bag central sounds like a thrill. MIT is a clearasil ad with housing, and Yale's a dumping ground for people that didn't get into Harvard.

Willow: I got into Harvard.

Xander: Any clue what college you'll be attending? So we can start calculating minimum safe distance...

Cordelia: None of your business. Certainly nowhere near you losers.

Buffy: Remember to breathe between insults, guys.

Cordelia: I'm sorry, Buffy. This conversation is reserved for people who actually HAVE a future.

Since the character is kept in the background, it's hard to keep perspective how heartbroken she may have been. Our only signals are The Wish and the continued interest in cutting Xander down as small, and as often, as possible. We don't see a lot of Mopey Cordelia after those few shots prior to The Wish. Until The Zeppo, she repeatedly scores on Xander. Once he finds his own center, however, she's at a loss, and what little last power she had is completely negated. The stereotype of the nasty high school reigning princess has been revealed as bluster. She's just simple comic relief.

The two of them finally get closure, and Cordelia is shown a bit more sympathetically not because of her own actions, but because of Xander's response. During an earlier conversation in Choices, Cordelia reveals to Xander that in fact, she got into a number of excellent colleges (no surprise, considering her SAT scores were almost as high as Willow's, which Cordelia excused by saying she's got a lot of experience in covering these things). However, the two again miss no opportunity to jab each other. Until, that is, Xander returns to the same shop and discovers Cordelia there again, in The Prom.

Xander: You work here?

A beat as Cordelia realizes she's caught. Wavers between shame and misplaced rage. Guess which one she settles on?

Cordelia: Yes! Yes, I'm working here.

Xander: Uh, why?

Cordelia: I'm trying to buy a dress.

Xander: Don't you already have all the dresses?

Cordelia: I have nothing! Okay? No dresses, no cell phone, no car -- everything got taken away because DADDY made a little mistake on his taxes for the last twelve years! Satisfied? Are you a happy Xander now? I'm broke. I can't go to any of the colleges that accepted me and I can't stay home because we no longer have one.

He really doesn't know how to respond. He tries to put as much sympathetic gravity as he can into:

Xander: Um... wow.

Cordelia: Yeah, neato. You can run along and tell all your friends how Cordy finally got hers, how she has to work part time just to get a lousy prom dress on layaway. How she has to wear a name tag. (revealing hers under her cardigan) Yeah, I'm a name tag person! Don't leave that out; the story just wouldn't have the same punch!

What makes us sympathetic to the high and mighty falling is not that we, as viewers, have been manipulated to empathize with Cordelia. She's still fundamentally the stereotype, with a few moments here and there of complexity. It's Xander's response, and his gentle manner way of dealing with the situation, that make the viewers take a second look. Given Cordelia's treatment of him so far (and his repeated acknowledgement that he feels he deserves this on some level), his reaction was a surprising sign of his maturity.

Later in that episode, the group reviews a tape of the attack on the dress shop. Wesley's a little jealous of the news that Cordelia and Xander had been there together.

Wesley: What were you doing with Xander?

Cordy stammers - not wanting to say why.

Cordelia: What? Um. I was...

Xander: (jumping in) Burning a hole in daddy's wallet as usual. I just bumped into her on my tuxedo hunt.

The night of the prom, Cordelia discovers that her dress, which was still on layaway, had been paid for... by Xander. Xander wasn't going to tell, and never did tell, anyone about her shame. For all that she's a superficial, egocentric character, Xander respects the pain she's experiencing. The audience's empathy with Xander is the reason it's willing to think twice about Cordelia.

After graduation, Cordelia disappears. When she reappears, in Los Angeles, at a party. She's dressed beautifully, and is doing her best to blend in. It's the return of the classic foil, Cordelia the Sharp Wit without tact.

Angel spots her talking to two guys in business suits: "Cordelia?"

Cordelia turns and sees him: "Oh, my god. Angel?"

Angel: "Nice to see a familiar face."

Cordelia: "I didn't know you were in LA. Are you *living* here?"

Angel: "Yeah. You?"

Cordelia: "Malibu. A small condo on the beach. It's not a private beach, but I'm young so I forbear."

Angel: "You're acting?"

Cordelia: "Can you believe it? I mean I just started it to make some quick cash, and then boom, it was like my life! - So are you still (holds up her hands like claws and makes a face) - grrr?"

Angel: "Yeah, there's not actually - a cure for that."

Cordelia: "Right. But you're not evil, I mean your not here to bite people?"

Angel: "No, I'm here with a friend."

Cordelia: "Oh, good. Well, it was nice seeing you, but I've got to get mingly. I really should be talking to people that are somebody." (walks away)

As far as the audience, and Angel, can tell, Cordelia is back on top. This time, however, Joss doesn't give us two seasons before we see a different side. Not more than two scenes later, we see Cordelia after the party.

Cut to Cordelia's apartment. It's really poor. There are plaster patches on dirty yellow walls. She is hanging up her dress in a bare closet.

Answering machine: "You have one new message."

Agent on the machine. "Cordy, Joe at the Agency. No Luck, again. We're having trouble booking auditions. The networks say they've seen enough of you. So, you know, no need to call. We'll let you know if the situation changes. Bye."

Cordelia takes out some of the star shaped sandwiches that she stashed away at the party with a sigh.

Answering machine: "You have no more messages."

Once again, Cordelia is in the right place at the right time, and the episode's bad guy wants to meet her. Unsuspecting, Cordelia goes for dinner at his fabulous LA mansion, right as Angel is zeroing in on the location. Cordelia may force herself to keep up appearances, but she's never been stupid. After being coaxed into talking about the difficulties she's having getting work, she realizes what's going on. As usual, her perceptivity is right on, but what she thinks, she says.

Cordelia: "Oh, god. I'm sorry! I'm getting all weepy in front of you. I probably look really scary. (gets up and looks around the room) I finally get invited to a nice place - with no mirrors, - and lots of curtains... hey, you're a vampire!"

Russell: "What? No, I'm not."

Cordelia: "Are too!"

Russell: "I don't know what you're talking about."

Cordelia: "Hey, I'm from Sunnydale. We had our own Hellmouth! I think I know a vampire when I'm - alone with him... - in his fortress-like home. And you know, I think I'm just feeling a little light headed from hunger. I'm just wacky. And kidding! Ha, ha."

By the end of the episode, Cordelia's used her right-place-right-time skills to inveigle a job with Angel. Despite her best attempts otherwise, Doyle isn't fooled - anymore than Angel - about how difficult life's been recently for Cordelia. Doyle's encouragement makes Angel keep Cordelia as an employee.

After almost 3 years on BtVS, it's not until Cordelia moves to AtS that she develops any complexity beyond the cardboard emotions she'd been given previously. When Doyle helps her find an apartment that's unfortunately haunted, Angel tries to convince her that it's not worth it.

Angel goes to stand beside Cordy: "You know, this really is just a place to live."

Cordy: "No, It's more. It's beautiful, - and if it goes away it's like.."

Angel: "Like what?"

Cordy quietly: "Like I'm still getting punished."

Angel: "Punished. (Cordy nods) For what?"

Cordy: "I don't know. For what I was? For everything I said in High School just because I could get away with it? - And then it all ended, and I had to pay. - Oh, but this apartment - I could be me again. Punishment over - welcome back to your life! Like, like I couldn't be that awful if I get to have a place like that? - It's just like you!"

Angel nods: "Working for redemption."

Cordy frowns confused: "I - I meant because you used to have that mansion."

What, you were expecting Cordelia to lose that obliviousness? Not this girl. She's still got plenty of her old Self, despite her best attempts to grow out of it. Now, though, we get to see Cordelia's side of things more often than once every six episodes. Getting to see that means being able to empathize more easily. After a date when Cordelia realizes that despite good looks and a lot of money, she's bored stiff, she's dropped off at the office and attacked by a demon come to visit Doyle. Her date flees immediately without looking backwards. Doyle, however, takes a stand, rescuing Cordelia.

Doyle looks at Cordy as they slowly get up: "Are you okay?"

Cordy with a frown: "I'm fine. That was.. You're so - brave."

Doyle: "You think you could say that again without so much shock in your voice? You're stepping on my moment of manliness here."

Cordy still frowning: "I'm sorry. I'm just.."

Doyle: "Surprised?"

Cordy: "Grateful."

Cordelia's still her zippy self, but she's paying more attention now. She discusses the incident with Angel.

Cordy: "And the whole night I was bored silly. All I could think about was: if this wimp ever saw a monster, he'd probably throw a shoe at it and run like a weasel. Turns out the shoe part was giving him to much credit."

Angel: "There aren't very many people that wouldn't run. It's just human nature."

Cordy: "Yeah, - but all of a sudden rich and handsome isn't enough for me. Now I expect a guy to be all brave and interesting. And it's your fault! Both of you."

Angel: "Well, maybe not. Maybe you're changing. That could be a good thing."

Cordy: "Disastrous. - And as if I wasn't confused enough, then Doyle comes along and rescues me like some - badly dressed superhero. (Sighs) He was really beat up - but you know the first thing he asked? Are you okay? I mean, that's like - substance, right?"

Angel: "Yeah, well, there is definitely more to Doyle then meets the eye."

Cordy: "So, I've got to kill myself. I swore when I went that road with Xander Harris, I'd rather be dead then date a fixer-upper again. (sighs) Still, maybe you're right. Maybe Doyle does have - hidden depths. I mean, really, really hidden, - but depths. And I'm gonna have to buy him a moccachino to thank him for saving my life, don't you think?"

When she finds out, several episodes later, that Doyle is part-demon, she's aggravated in the usual Cordelia mode, but then surprises us all with her conclusion.

Cordy: "You're alive!"

Doyle: "And you're not happy?"

Cordy: "We were worried."

Doyle: "Oh. Well, it's all going to be okay. (Cordy slaps him) What was that for?"

Cordy: "Why didn't you tell me that you were half demon? I thought we agreed that secrets are bad!"

Doyle: "I wanted to tell you. I was afraid. I thought if I did, you'd reject me."

Cordy: "I've rejected you way before now! So, you're half demon. Big Whoop! I can't believe you'd think I'd care about that. I mean, I work for a vampire! Hello?"

Doyle: "It's true. I just..."

Cordy: "What do you think I am, superficial? - So you're half demon. That's so far down the list, way under 'short' and 'poor'! - Is there anything else I should know?"

Doyle: "The half demons thing is pretty much my big secret."

Cordy: "Good. That's out. It's done. - Would you ask me out to dinner already?"

Doyle: "Yeah? (Cordy smiles at him) Cordelia. Would you like..."

Unfortunately for our heroine, it's not to be. Angel arrives at that moment, the refugees are trapped, the bomb's about to go off. It's touch-and-go, but in this case, it's kiss-and-go. At the last minute, Doyle knocks Angel off the landing, kisses Cordelia passionately, and leaps to his death, saving everyone else in the process. Cordelia is stunned, and it's in Doyle's death - like in Xander's respectful silence - that we get to see a new part of Cordelia. Her growth has repeatedly been in the wake of someone else's actions.

Cordelia is examining the coffee cup sitting by the coffee maker one by one.

Angel: "What are you looking for?"

Cordy: "Nothing. - Doyle's special coffee mug."

Angel: "Doyle didn't have a special mug."

Cordy: "Don't you think he should have? (Goes to sit down) I don't know, I guess I thought it would make me feel better if I could hold something tangible that he left behind. Some evidence he was here? But there is nothing. Almost like - like he never..."

Doyle's kiss transfers his visions to Cordelia. Alternately, the visions may have come from the Glitter Twins afterwards, when Angel requests to have someone new who can be his connection to the PTB, as Cordelia nicknames them. She's none too happy about the splitting migraines, but quickly realizes that she's irreplaceable now that she has them

Cordelia: You can't fire me, I'm vision girl!

She's still just as tactless as ever. She's now Angel's foil, and then Wesley's, once he appears. Her ability to be in the right place and the right time has developed into being the right place and the right time, herself. She has gone from being the stereotype in the background, Buffy's opposite and could-have-been, to being the heart of Angel's path.

When Vocah attacks her, so Angel will be divided from his contact with the PTBs, Wesley manages to reverse the spell. As the nurses rush to get the doctors, Cordelia - now most frequently referred to as Cordy, by the way - wakes up.

Cordy looks at Angel: "I saw them all. There is so much pain. - We have to help them."

Angel: "We will. (Strokes her cheek) We will."

Cut to a shot of Angel's hand gripping hers tightly.

It's not long after this, as all three are grouped around Cordelia's kitchen table in the aftermath of Angel's apartment and office being destroyed, that Cordelia surprises Wesley and Angel.

Wesley: "I'm sorry, I don't know what they raised in that box. - I'll keep looking."

Cordy: "You've been looking for two days. You need to relax and charge the brain cells. (Hands him the plate with the sandwich) Here. Eat."

Wesley accepts it and looks over at Angel.

Cordy hands Angel the cup with the blood: "You too. (Angel looks up at her) Don't be embarrassed. We're family."

Angel accepts the cup. Cordy notices Wesley staring at her.

Cordy: "What?"

Wesley: "It's just I... - I'm not used to..."

Angel: "He's not used to the new you."

Cordy: "I know what's out there now. We have a lot of evil to fight, a lot of people to help. - I just hope skin and bones here can figure out what those lawyers raised sometime before the prophecy kicks in and you croak. ...That was the old me, wasn't it?"

Angel: "I like them both."

Cordelia's instinctive ability to nail the issue without flinching still serves her well, but it's tempered by her ability do the one thing she couldn't do before. She can put herself in another person's shoes without worrying about appearances. Whereas before - like when reaching out to Buffy during When She Was Bad - Cordelia would deliver her advice with a slicing wit covering her intuition, now she's able to include an awareness of how the other person may be taking the news.

During Untouched, she volunteers to spend time with Bethany while Angel tries to find out more about the guys who'd attacked Bethany. Without any knowledge of the previous night's event, when Bethany tried to seduce Angel (and failed), she still nails the issue.

Cordy: "Don't bone my boss."

Bethany: "What?"

Cordy: "Angel. He's strictly a no-bone."

Bethany: "I wasn't... (Cordy raises her eyebrows at her) Cordelia, I don't wanna sleep with Angel."

Cordy: "The thing about Angel, he's old-fashioned - old fashioned - like the age of chivalry. He sees you as, pretty much, the damsel in distress. I think it's a little more complicated than that."

Bethany: "W-why are you... I never..."

Cordy: "I think you're kind of dangerous. I'm not being mean. I like you. I do. But - you come on all helpless and... I mean, people that have thought that you were helpless before - have died."

Bethany: "Those men in the alley - that was the only... They were gonna hurt me."

Cordy: "You could have floated them away - or-or spun them until they puked. I don't know. You squashed them."

Bethany: "You don't know how scary it was."

Cordy sits down beside her: "Yes, I do. I had a vision of you. That's how Angel found you. I felt everything. And those guys are better off squashed, I truly think, but - somewhere in that moment of panic a decision got made and I don't want something like that to happen to my friends - or, and I can't stress this enough, me. No matter what, sex complicates the equation - even more than you think."

For the duration of season two, though, Cordelia is delegated to the back of the crew with Wesley and Gunn, as Angel goes off on his own search. When Angel returns, he recognizes immediately that to win the good wishes of the others, he must first and foremost make his peace with Cordelia. It's not just that she's been worried about money while without the regular salary from Angel, it's also that she considered herself an integral part of his team, and he fired her. 'Vision girl' had replaced her previous self-identity of 'high school princess,' and when he fired her, he left that identity in serious doubt.

Without Angel, her visions fall on ears that aren't always as well-equipped to handle her visions. When Angel returns, she's dubious - in some ways, his rejection of her smacks of the same damage she received from Xander. This time, though, she didn't wish a horrible fate on him; she was able to pull herself together and appear as if she were unperturbed, to the point of appearing to hold a grudge.

Most of the time, the only way to see inside Cordelia is through her reaction or prompting from someone else. She volunteers her attitude and snappy remarks, but the only time I can recall her volunteering her feelings without being prodded was shortly after Doyle's death. She pushed Angel to talk about it, but as quickly dropped the subject when the topic change presented itself. Cordelia isn't one to just up and tell someone how she feels - though she speaks frankly of how she sees someone else or an issue. When it involves her, she's not always able to articulate it freely without someone patient enough to ask her. Therefore, when Harmony asks, Cordelia takes the chance, and speaks.

Harmony: "We were powerful, rich, popular."

Cordy: "None of that's changed for me - apart from the powerful, rich and popular. - But I tell you one thing: I am happier now than I was then."

Harmony: "Get out."

Cordy: "It's hard to explain. I'm telling you. It's like - I don't know. I had these air pockets inside of me, and the work I'm doing, uh, we're doing, it's-it's like the pockets keep getting filled and I'm becoming me and.. (Harmony laughs) me has had way too much to drink and me shut up.

I'm going to skip the Pylea arc, which seemed a big excuse to use old Fox sets from Star Trek, just to give back story on the Host and introduce a new character. There's got to be something better to do with Cordelia's character other than make her look like a reject from a renaissance fair. It took Joss almost three seasons to cast off her origins as a stereotype, and let her grow into a complex character that's intuitive, sensitive, yet still sharp and unafraid to speak her mind. She's also able to hold her own alongside the guys, and gleefully wields a nasty ax when given the chance, even if she's still not at Angel's level. (For instance, she had a nasty left hook at Harmony during the final fight scene in Disharmony.)

Here's hoping that Joss won't shove her to the background for another season before he gives her something to do other than occasionally provide some comic relief.
[> [> Re: First Anniversary Character Posting Party Something Or Other I Can't Remember Now Phrase Part 2 -- LadyStarlight, 21:19:26 08/23/01 Thu

OK, Sol, I'm nominating you for "ATPoBtVS Over-Achiever of the Year" award.

Well done, go have a nap for a day or so now. ;)
[> [> [> No, I don't think so! -- Solitude1056, 07:35:50 08/24/01 Fri

Save that title for Liquidram, who's doing two character analyses, *and* writing major parts of the story! ;-)
[> [> Great post! And I'll add just a rogue thought about chips and visions -- Dichotomy, 21:31:03 08/23/01 Thu

I'm a bit sleepy as I write this, so please excuse the rambliness. After reading your post, it seemed to me that there is a sort of parallel between Cordy's visions and Spike's chip. While Cordy was not technically evil like Spike (but she definitely could have been a ruthless vamp had she been turned in the first season), her visions (even more than being humbled by her sudden loss of money) have been the catalyst for her growth as a character and allowed her to really and truly develop into a more empathetic person. While BV (Before Visions) Cordy showed inklings of feeling for others, she usually reverted back to the stereotype, and even though she was not so haughty, it was mostly because she was feeling sorry for herself. Same with Spike: While he always had the capacity to love deeply (as with Drusilla) his most unselfish acts of love came PC (post chip). PV Cordy and PC Spike both needed an extremely invasive, internal influence to become what they are (or what they have started to become.)

BTW, I began watching Buffy in S4 and Angel from S1, and just got my hands on Buffy S1 and S2, so I've watched Cordy's character development in a mixed up manner, with Spike a constant presence (and pleasant distraction), so that may be influencing my viewpoint. .

What do you think?
[> [> Re: First Anniversary Character Posting Party Something Or Other I Can't Remember Now Phrase Part 2 -- Humanitas, 21:31:29 08/23/01 Thu

First of all, great job. Cordy is one of the most under-appreciated characters on both shows, both by the fans and the wirters, I sometimes think, and you showed her complexity nicely.

I have to disagree with you on the Pylea arc, though. I thought that plotline was absolutely essential to her character arc. True, she was already evolving beyond her old stereotypical existance, but her time in Pylea provided the ultimate cap for that process. Suddenly, she was rich, important, Chosen - all the things that she had missed since her father's run-in with the IRS. She was also confronted with a guy who could love her, in Groo. And she gave it all up, because it just wasn't her destiny.

GROOSALUGG It was foretold in the ancient prophecies, one will come who is cursed with the visions; she shall mate with the Groosalugg whose demon blood shall absorb them.

CORDELIA Absorb them?

GROOSALUGG Your visions will pass to me.

CORDELIA I knew there had to be a catch! You can't take my visions, I need them, I use them to help my friends fight evil back home.

GROOSALUGG And I will use them to fight evil here, just as you have done.

CORDELIA Groo... I can't give up my visions. I like them. Okay I don't like the searing pain and agony which seems to be getting steadily worse. And lately, until the vision gets solved: anxiety overdrive.

GROOSALUGG You are pure human, you are not meant to carry such a burden.

CORDELIA Maybe not, but I'm not ready to give 'em up, either. They're a part of who I am now. They're an honor.

Honor. Who would have ever thought we'd hear that notion come from Cordy's lips? It is at this moment, when she is given the opportunity to put down her burden, and refuses to do so for the good of the world, that Cordelia really grew up. It can be argued that she'd accepted her fate much earlier, but this was when she proved it.

BTW, loved your characterization of her costume. "Reject from a renaissance fair," indeed! LOL
[> [> [> sorry... I hit sixteen pages & figured I needed to leave something for y'll to add! -- Solitude1056, 21:37:00 08/23/01 Thu

[> [> [> Great post, Sol. Have to agree with Humanitas, though, about Cordy and Pylea -- OnM, 07:15:46 08/24/01 Fri

I wanted to comment some on this last night, but it was just getting too late. Of course, I should be the one to talk since I conveniently dropped discussing the Riley/VampHookers/Buffy breakup arc in my post. Oh, well.

I agree that Cordy's opportunity to get rid of the visions, and passing up on same was a crucial moment in her developing maturity, and for me it ws one of the great payoffs of the Pylea story arc, which when it first started had me really going huh?? for several eps. I stuck with it, though, and really got to enjoy the payoffs-- which of course all came crashing down when the happy fang gang finally returns home to the hotel, and finds Willow there-- and it's whack ya upside the head time once again.

In his series of episode reviews and analyses, jenoff has repeatedly stated that there appear to be clear parallels between events on BtVS and A:tS, although they are not always clear until after the fact. I think Dichotomy hit the fastener on the topmost part when s/he states that there is a parallel drawn between Spike and Cordy in terms of their character developement. Cordy has now had her chance to divest herself of something that she stated repeatedly that she despised and wished to be rid of in the worst way. She changed her mind.

I suspect that early in season 6, we will see Spike get a genuine, unambiguous chance to remove or disable the chip-- and what will he choose to do?
[> [> [> [> Sheesh, is it always ATLtS with you folks? :-) -- Solitude1056, 07:34:38 08/24/01 Fri

True, there was a running parallel between Cordy & Spike in terms of their separate deus ex machina (machinas?)... but Cordy made the concious choice to keep hers. Spike, so far, does not appear to have had that choice. That's where they part ways.

And yes, you're both right about the Pylea arc - like I replied before, I'm just stretched a little too thin right now to get out any more than I did. There's so much to Cordelia, but it's all subsurface. She's written and played like a superficial ice queen but in fact she, like Doyle, has hidden depths. Ironically, it wasn't until seeing her reaction to Doyle's death that I could start to glimpse perhaps what it was that made Xander be so attracted to her. It was probably just buried deeper when she was in high school, but I still think it was there.
[> [> [> [> [> And just HOW long have you been on the board? ;) -- LadyStarlight, 07:56:07 08/24/01 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> I never mentioned the Peroxide one, not once..............:):):) -- Rufus, 14:35:13 08/24/01 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> Perhaps another season passes on A:tS and it becomes ATLtC -- OnM, 22:08:50 08/24/01 Fri

Anyone else here think that Cordy could eventually become as interesting as Spike, character-wise?
[> [> [> [> [> right there with ya Sol -- JBone, 19:40:08 08/25/01 Sat

I have a nice sized pecan tree in my backyard. When I start going nuts over all the "effulgent" talk contaminating every other thread, I go out in the yard and start banging my head against it (`a la Charlie Brown). good grief

if this posts twice, you have my apologies.
[> [> Re: First Anniversary Character Posting Party Something Or Other I Can't Remember Now Phrase Part 2 -- Wiccagrrl, 21:35:43 08/23/01 Thu

Great job, Solitude. Cordy has grown to be one of my favorite characters. She could have been such a one-dimentional character, and I'm *so* glad they let her grow and let us see some of her hidden depths.
[> [> Got an ax, some ink, where is the party????;) -- Rufus, 22:47:58 08/23/01 Thu

Cordelia is just so much fun. Good looks, money, does well on stanardized tests, who could ask for more? Cordy has been the Rich Bitch we would all like to at times send to hell. Her comments about the softer side of Sears beg a question...Hey, Cordy how you liking your new shopping digs? Cordy is the girl that thinks it then says exactly what she thinks a la Earshot. When all the other characters were worried about how the change in Buffy would effect them Cordy was thinking of herself...only. I think she makes the perfect side kick for broody boy in LA. He now is forced into interacting with others, like it or not. In Room with a View, Cordy lost her confidence in the situation that forced her to deal with a dead bitch. The thought of losing her status as the Queen of Bitches, Cordy finished off the phantom mother from hell and got a new roomate, the nice, helpful(reminds me of the men who used to slavishly wait on her) Dennis. Cordy has changed from the girl with the car and charge accounts, to the girl who has a vampire buying her clothes(they were all red, is the guy colour blind?). I do hope that she doesn't get lost in the new character shuffle. Cordy may be a bitch but no one will ever make her a cryBuffy. My question is where the hell is her family? I thought we knew little about the families of the other Scoobies, but we know more about Angel's family than Cordys? There is a story there, I wish they would tell it.

Great read Sol, you just "covered" me in paper, I guess keeping that promise you made in the other thread.
[> [> Re: First Anniversary Character Posting Party Something Or Other I Can't Remember Now Phrase Part 2 -- Ryuei, 23:39:07 08/23/01 Thu

"Her growth has repeatedly been in the wake of someone else's actions"

There is a good insight. In fact, I think that in general it is very hard for anyone to change and grow until they have been touched by the kindness, compassion, and even self-sacrifice of others. And if you think about it, this is true of the other characters as well.

Buffy was like Cordelia until her first watcher Merrick showed up. So even Buffy was not without a catalyst for self-growth. Also, even recently, without the help of her friends she would not have pulled herself out of the catatonic despair she had fallen into.

Angel was just a dumpster diving has been of a night fiend until Whistler found him and gave him a mission, but it was Buffy's simultaneous courage and innocence which touched him and really made him a hero.

Doyle also went from being an irresponsible ne'er do well to a hero who sacrificed his own life for others because he was inspired by Angel's renunciation of a mortal life with Buffy.

So there is a chain of each character's actions impacting the others and on and on. I think this is what happens or can happen in real life as well - it is just a little less dramatic. Our acts of kindness, compassion, courage, and even self-sacrifice are inspired by the examples of others, and hopefully our own actions as parent, spouse, friend, co-worker, or whatever can positively impact the lives of others as well.

Namu Myoho Renge Kyo, Ryuei
[> [> [> well, sort of. -- Solitude1056, 21:55:38 08/24/01 Fri

Actually, my point was that Joss has effectively left Cordelia to be cardboard unless she's somehow emotionally involved in the growth of another character - then and only then has he shown us her side of things. When Xander recognized his attraction to Willow & it all went too far, it affected Cordelia, and we saw her side. We didn't see her side again (and I count The Wish as being part & parcel of 'seeing her side' in that instance), until Xander started to grow up & recognize how he could really make amends, and there was a flash of seeing her side. Otherwise, for three seasons, she was essentially opaque. That's hard enough when the character is shy, like Tara, but even harder when it's rooted in a stereotype.

Ok, so her time on AtS, this has been shifting slowly. It seemed to have stalled for a bit, but hopefully the Pylea arc - for all my other issues with it - is the route to bringing her back to the forefront.
[> [> ooooooooooo -- Mike, 06:27:02 08/24/01 Fri

You know, I have watched only a handful of Angel episodes, mainly because I didn't want to devote any more of my precious time to TV.

Reading your post on Cordelia, I am wishing that I had sat through the series. I feel like I have missed out on many important IMPORTANT things. Who'd have thought Cordelia would have turned into someone so interesting!

Guess that's me saying job very well done Sol. Question - did you CHOOSE to write about Cordelia as she is a pet favourite, or because your initial choice had already been selected by someone else?
[> [> [> pet favorite -- Solitude1056, 07:30:53 08/24/01 Fri

I mean, with some of her lines? Man, I could've done twenty pages just of her back-and-forths with folks, and I didn't even include some scenes I wanted to, since I figured I could sum those up and try to keep it moving along.

Cordelia's always been someone who has the ability to say not only what's on her mind, but to say it with such sharp wit that you're left going, "man, wish I could zing like that." Some have compared her to Anya, and yes, there's a similarity in that both are tactless and blunt. But Cordelia ranks way over Anya in total wit for the fact that her tactless and blunt statements are invariably so slicing. Anya's tend to be, well, blunt.

Amusing side note: Charisma Carpenter has mentioned in interviews that although Cordy has some of the best lines, she herself is far from that witty. In fact, she comments that she frequently wishes while off-camera that she could come up with a few of those on her own. ;-)
[> [> [> [> pet favorite -- Mike, 07:45:40 08/24/01 Fri

I think we all sometimes wish we come up with something better after the occasion... if you see me walking down the street talking to myself animatedly, that's what I'm doing :)

So to be able to do so shows a very quick mind. Somethign better to have than to be able to regurgitate text books in academic tests, a much more natural intelligence.

Cordelia's wit comes from all of us. Anya's is inhuman, and comes from outside looking in .. so near, and yet so far (alike)...

see how much you've made me think Sol! Which is definitly a good thing :)
[> [> [> [> Re: pet favorite -- gds, 07:10:10 08/25/01 Sat

Another amusing side note. From what I have read, CC went to audition for Buffy & SMG went to audition for Cordy. I haven't been able to imagine the Buffyverse with that role reversal.
[> [> [> [> Cordy quotes -- JBone, 19:10:16 08/25/01 Sat

One of my favorite Cordelia scenes comes in season two in the episode "Bad Egg". It's a classroom discussion about the drawbacks of sex. Of course it's taken over by Cordelia and Xander.

Cordelia: Like that compares to kissing a guy who thinks the Hoover technique is a big turn on.

Xander: What about having to feign interest in her vapid little chitchat just so you can get some touch. (A little snippet while Willow has the most bewildered facial expression.)

Some of my other favorite Cordy lines.

Pieces, we get the pieces, our job sucks! - Cordelia (Innocence)

And keep your mom aged mitts off my boyfriend. Former! Why has everyone gone insane? - Cordelia (Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered)

Oh thank goodness. I actually had to talk my grandmother into switching cars with me last night. - Cordelia (Passion)

So this isn't about you being afraid of hospitals, cause your friend died, and you want to conjure up a monster that you can fight, so you can save everybody, and not feel so helpless? - Cordelia (Killed By Death)

Oh, you mean 'cause of how the only guy that ever liked her turned into a vicious killer and had to be put down like a dog? - Cordelia (Faith, Hope, and Trick)

What's going on? Oh, God. Is the world ending? I have to research a paper on Bosnia for tomorrow, but if the world's ending, I'm not gonna bother. - Cordelia (Helpless)
[> [> Re: First Anniversary Character Posting Party Something Or Other I Can't Remember Now Phrase Part 2 -- Rattletrap, 06:46:44 08/24/01 Fri

Great post, Sol.

One question: What is your take on the Cordy/Wesley pseudo-romance at the end of season 3?
[> nice job -- cknight, 20:39:21 08/23/01 Thu

nice job :)
[> [> despite the total lack of remembering... -- Solitude1056, 20:43:55 08/23/01 Thu

what the proper title is? gee. heh. ;-)

[> Well done! Thanks, Sol... ;o) -- Wisewoman, 00:28:23 08/24/01 Fri

[> Great Sol! Part 1 -- Nina, 09:57:10 08/24/01 Fri

Lovely Sol! :)

I can't say I have ever been a big fan of Cordelia, but as Mike pointed out, the way you describe her makes me regret not to have catched the first season of AtS.

The fact is that Cordelia didn't grow a new personality over the years. She always had it in her, she just learned let it out. She learned to stop wearing a mask (sorry for the Spike parallel, but that's another one). Cordy comes from a rich family and it's obvious that she didn't get all the love she needed to become a caring person. Her obsession with clothes is similar to the people who feed too much to cover a lack of love. It's over compensation. She needs to be queen in school because she obviously wasn't queen at home. Cordelia wears a mask in school. She won't tell her friends about Xander for a long time yet she pushes him in a broom when she can, she will cover the fact that she knows Buffy (but inside she kinda like her anyway - at least respect her). She laughs with her friends but we see on the side that she isn't happy there (mostly during the begining of her relationship with X.) Cordelia as always been afraid to show her real side to people. The side that wants to break free. She needs to be loved and be appreciated. Even in "Disharmony" she tries to be serious with Harmony and than fakes to be flaky so she can cover her realself.

About the Xander/Cordelia relationship: Xander is the heart part of the SG. The normal guy. Xander has always been attracted to beautiful girls, but he is deeper than Devon and I don't think that even if he had had the proper "coolness" factor he would have dated flaky girls (he like hot chicks that are smart). Hooking Cordelia and Xander together was the first step to showing us that Cordy was all apppearences. Xander could feel there was more to her than a stereotype. I believe this is why Cordy was attracted to him. He was probably the first guy who was ready to see more in her than a hot girl. He was challenging her. The fact that Prince Charming was a frog made her squirm, but the princess learned to see beyond appearences.

About Angel: Someone mentioned that she forgave Angel more easily than she did with Xander. It is true, but there was no "girlfriend getting her heart ripped out" involved with Angel. As a human being she has been slapped in the face, yes! But when we give our heart to someone and that person cheats on you it's harder to forgive. Had Angel been her lover I highly doubt that he would have been forgiven with clothes! :)
[> [> ooops! There's no part 2! (unless you want me to... ;>) -- Nina, 10:01:22 08/24/01 Fri

[> Excellent essay(s) -- mundusmundi, 20:23:45 08/24/01 Fri

[> Very illuminating! -- rowan, 06:27:15 08/27/01 Mon

Correct me if I'm wrong, but... -- Humanitas, 20:57:30 08/23/01 Thu

Has anyone else noticed that Buffy doesn't trade quips with her vampire opponents any more? I think the last one she unleashed her wit on was the guy who nearly staked her in FFL. She talked a little with the one in the opening of "The Gift," but there was no humor there. Any thoughts?
[> Re: Correct me if I'm wrong, but... -- OnM, 21:09:58 08/23/01 Thu

Buffy hasn't been fighting many vamps to quip with over a good part of Season 5. I think that getting staked by the vamp and then later on the interaction with Spike tended to make the humor more understated and ironic, rather than lighthearted and 'punny'.

The scene in *The Gift* was an example of this, remember the joke about 'Oh, god, my leg, my leg'? This bon mot was interspersed between the 'Fighting isn't cool' and 'You're just a girl/That's what I keep saying' bookends.

I see this as an outgrowth of the harshly forced maturity the events of S5 put upon her. My suspicion is that this trend will continue in S6, the humor will still be present, but shift in tone.
[> You're not wrong :) -- Wiccagrrl, 21:17:25 08/23/01 Thu

If I were at full slayer strength, I'd be punning right about now (Buffy in Helpless)

First, there weren't exactly a lot of vampire opponents in the mix after FFL. But, I really think that all the stuff that was being piled on- Riley leaving, Joyce's death, fighting Glory, Tara being hurt, the threat to Dawn...I think it was all really weighing on Buffy. I think she was getting fairly depressed by the end of the season, and the punning just wasn't coming as easily. I always thought the punning/humor was one of those things that gave Buffy some emotional distance and perspective- things I don't think were much in abundance at the end of season five. There was some banter with the vamp in FFL, but IMO it felt a little forced. Her "That's what I keep saying" line, though, rang very true.
[> Re: Correct me if I'm wrong, but... -- Cactus Watcher, 21:22:35 08/23/01 Thu

Actually she didn't do much on screen vampire staking last year, period. (With the big exception of the 7 vamp pimps and prostitutes in episode 10,) unless I missed something, she only staked two vamps (one in The Body, the other in The Gift) in 16 of the last 17 episodes! The first five episodes she was so intent on the hunt, there was little time for any banter.
[> [> Re: Correct me if I'm wrong, but... -- darrenK, 09:27:58 08/24/01 Fri

She also had a funny exchange with a vamp in Checkpoint before Spike dusted him.


Buffy (to a vampire she's fighting): "Miss Summers! Some of us are here to learn, Professor! Maybe you would like to teach your own class!" Vampire: "Who are you talking to?

It was one of the funniest exchanges of Season 5. dK
[> [> [> That's my point, though. -- Humanitas, 09:49:51 08/24/01 Fri

She's not talking to the vamp. She's fighting the vamp, and talking to other, non-present people. Darn funny exchange, but there's a definite disconnect.
Classic Movie of the Week - August 24th 2001 - 'Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures' Pt. IV -- OnM, 21:42:26 08/24/01 Fri


Did you see what happened to the girl in the blue dress?

No... Who directed it?

...............J. Jonah Jameson


Vision of an untouched grace Walking gaily to the sun No one else can take her place Nor the work that she'd begun


Visualize the following, if you please: At first, all is blackness, then as music begins to swell and grow in intensity, fields of stars begin to appear. We are moving, and the scenes appearing before our eyes shift from one magnificent constellation or nebula to another, staggering in the sheer grandeur of vast, interstellar space. We gradually come upon a world and it's moon, the moon pale and cool, the world a blue and green and white shining jewel of a planet, and shimmering, rippling light appears, as if coalescing from the nothingness of the void, becoming tangible. The lights descend to the surface of the world below, and as they do our point of view shifts again to a view of an ocean, then pulls back revealing a beach, then further back to a sun-baked desert, the ground cracked and white and strangely beautiful despite the desolate and arid appearance.

The swirling lights complete their descent, hovering slightly above the ground. They begin to fade, and in their place a human figure appears, cloaked in a simple white garment, which slips off the head of the figure as it rises from the ground. Hair, long, flowing and blond comes into view, followed seconds later by a face: soft, kind, a woman's, her eyes shut. She seems slightly dazed, or is it just that some event of truly cosmic significance has just occurred, and she is simply in the moment. The eyes open-- clear, bright, soulful eyes-- and gaze out into the space of the desert, taking it all in. We watch, transfixed, as does she, the subject of her own miraculous birth.

(Pause, breathe.... OK, we continue.)

Is the scene just described Buffy's return from the great beyond? Over the past few months there have been many possible scenarios suggested for our noble Slayer's rebirth, one of the more popular ones being the general idea that Buffy will simply mystically reappear, sort of like (~blink~) and there she is. No particular explanation, at least at first, but perhaps somewhat in the manner that Angel reappeared some time after he was cast into hell. I have to admit that far worse could be done, this concept at the very least has the benefit of paralleling a significant previous event of Buffyverse mythology, while at the same time allowing for some contrasts, as one hero returns from hell and another, his lover, returns from heaven(?).

If this dream of rebirth were to become reality, I would be delighted if Joss were to create it in just the manner described above, for two reasons. One, my above described, and undoubtably so-so attempts to recreate in your mind's eye the actual imagery involved would only prepare you slightly for the actual visual magnificence contained within the real scene shown in the very beginning of this week's Classic Movie, and so those of you who would see it for the first time will get to experience the ever-delightful, drop-jawed, woah! reaction that it tends to induce in any but the very most jaded movie-goers.

Two, those of you who are old enough, and/or cinema-centric enough, to recognize where you've seen this scene before, will note with all due respect Joss's nod to the obscure source material as still more evidence that the man has yet to run out of strange cultural references to drop into his universe.

Well, this probably won't happen, but I can dream, which may very well be what you'll think you are doing after watching one of the 1960's most startling, outrageous, beautiful, bizarre, over-the-top, thought-provoking, irritating, trippy, scathingly satirical, politically incorrect, baffling and not to mention star-studded movies to grace (?) the decade. This is a film that exists for two main purposes, to delight the cynical with it's savage denunciation of the most corrupt and powerful of human society's members, and to show that in the midst of all this banality of evildom, true grace exists, and will always exist, and may simply be beyond our understanding.

OK, I know, sounds like heady stuff, but let me assure you that you aren't alone in not being able to figure out everything that happens in the course of this film. I have no proof of this, but I suspect that the main reason is that the people who created *Candy*, including the director, Christian Marquand, really weren't sure either, but just didn't let a little detail like that stop them. They take the original novel by Terry Southern and get famed scribe Buck Henry to do a screenplay. They hire first rate talent, people like John Astin, Richard Burton, Walter Matthau, James Coburn and Marlon Brando. They get Dave Grusin and Roger McGuinn to do the music (plus a little Steppenwolf thrown in for good measure). For the critical lead role, they cast a virtual unknown with the express idea that her lack of experience will prevent the viewer from reading anything into her role other than what the script and direction brings to the production. They hire special effect maestro Douglas Trumbull to create the stunning opening and closing effects sequences.

They do all this, and if one goes on a basis of the promotional material of the day that is included as bonus material on the DVD, the studio had absolutely no idea what the hell to do with the result. Needing to do something, they did what studios nearly always do with any movie that has sexual material in it-- they promote the sex, figuring (usually correctly) that that'll get enough overtly or covertly perverse folks to go see the thing, so that even if it bombs (which, by the way, it did) they still get some bucks back on their investment before the word gets around.

Keep in mind that this was the '60's, and sex was a newly popular topic, American society having just emerged from the markedly more repressive '50's, and these raw beginnings of a sexual glasnost had managed to freak quite a lot of people out. In fact, *Candy* was considered pretty risque, as moviegoers who were willing to test the disapproval of their more conservative fellow townspeople got as their 'reward' the chance to see a few (very) brief glimpses of lead actress Ewa Aulin's breasts and backside. In terms of the 'times they are a-changin', I would venture that similar degress of nudity in a contemporary film would just barely get it a PG-13, maybe even a PG if the MPAA was feeling charitable.

*Candy* was rated 'M', what passed for 'R' back then, and it still is today, but it isn't the naked women that garners it this cautionary appellation, it's what was the really, truly dangerous thing that was presented to the viewing audience-- a scathing look at their own worst behavior, a canvas painted in some of the broadest, bitingest satire that has ever found it's way onto the silver screen to this day. In fact, I would bet that this film wouldn't get made today, at least not without some heavy alterations or cuts, especially in some of the blatant ethnic stereotypes that get bandied about.

On the other hand, the discrimination, if that's what it is, is spread around pretty widely, and no one seems to be off limits. The only objets d'scorn I could note that were skewered disproportionately were doctors (far and away the longest segment) and movie directors (far and away the shortest), but hey, even satirists have their prejudices, right? I will duly warn my gentle readers that if you or someone you love is a poet, a Mexican, a father, an uncle, a member of the military, a doctor, a nurse, a German, a cleaning lady, an Italian, a mental patient, a member of the upper class, a hospital administrator, a bar owner, a mafioso, a filmmaker, a member of the police, a hunchback, an art thief, a drag queen, a buddhist and/or a guru, and probably a few more that I missed, you might want to either sit this one out, or else just close your eyes except during the naked parts.

On the good side (or was that the good side?) the film has a fascinatingly detailed and original visual style. I've already mentioned the opening and closing sequences (be aware that PC's didn't even *exist* in 1968, you did your tricks the old fashioned way!) for their graceful use of special effects, but visual delights abound throughout the movie, and more than make up for the sometimes (alright, *most times*) disjointed thematic splicing between segments.

A few instances:

Richard Burton's McPhisto, the poet with the wind always blowing in his direction, even though no one else, even those right next to him, has so much as a flutter of clothing in evidence.

The female Mexican motorcycle gang out to avenge the devirginization of their priest-to-be.

The coliseum-like operating theater in the Dr. Krankheit segment, with all the upper-crusters gathered above to watch the bloody and ostentatious spectacle below.

The entire scene with gonzo filmmaker J. Jonah Jameson in the rest room of the Italian resturant.

The art thieves raining feathers and panties down on the hunchback and Candy in the Steinway, followed by the hunchback's getaway. The latter makes me think of M.C. Escher for some reason.

The gurumobile. A mini-movie in and of itself.

The underground temple. Can't help but wonder who's job it was to light all those candles?

The stunning final scene where Candy strides purposefully thru brilliant green fields, seemingly oblivious to all the strange going-on surrounding her. I especially love the way her white dress picks up brilliantly colored floral patterns and flowers appear in her hair as she progresses through the scene. I have no certain idea what it means, exactly, given the events that have just transpired onscreen for the last few hours, but despite whatever intent that it conveys, it is just way too cool.

And coolness is one of those things that we go to the movies for in the first place, do we not? Of the four films I have recommended so far as 'Guilty pleasures/Buried treasures', this one is most surely on the 'guilty pleasure' side of the coin. Be aware that most critics intensely disliked this film when it was released, generally castigating the filmmakers for wasting the significant available talent, and/or for the cheesy, often smarmy script. But, human emotional/intellectual reactions aren't always subject to 'reason' or 'conventional thinking', and just like there are those folks who proudly state that *The Phantom Menace* was just misunderstood, I proudly stand up and state the same for *Candy*. While the '60's were much too complex to codify in the course of a single movie, there is a certain wild and creative spirit captured within the overall craziness therein, and at some basic level, it just works.

On the other hand, maybe it's all just an acid flashback. So gather some swirling ions from the stars, park 'em in your DVD player this weekend, and trip for awhile. Peace, love, and...

E. Pluribus Cinema, Unum,



Technical Sexcapades:

*Candy* is available on DVD, as already stated, which just goes to show how far and how fast the DVD media has impacted on all things filmic. The film was released in 1968, running time is 2 hours and 4 minutes. (Interestingly, according to the IMDb, runtime on the UK version was 127 minutes, while the USA release-- I'm assuming the VHS version here-- was only 115 minutes, indicating that 12 minutes was excised from the US version. Hummm, wonder why (~snerk~))?

The screenplay was by Buck Henry, based on the original novel by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg. Cinematography was by Giuseppe Rotunno. Musical score was by Dave Grusin, with the previously noted contributions of Steppenwolf, Roger McGuinn and The Byrds. The soundtrack is monaural (Dolby Digital Mono on the DVD), but is pretty darn clean considering the age of the film, and is used very effectively. (I absolutely *love* the wonderful instrumentation used in the closing credits 'Child of the Universe' theme song, performed by The Byrds.)

Cast overview:

Ewa Aulin .... Candy Richard Burton .... McPhisto John Astin .... Daddy, Uncle Jack Elsa Martinelli .... Livia Sugar Ray Robinson .... Zero Ringo Starr .... Emmanuel Walter Matthau .... General Smight James Coburn .... Dr. Krankheit John Huston .... Dr. Dunlap Charles Aznavour .... Hunchback Enrico Maria Salerno .... Jonathan J. John Marlon Brando .... Grindl Anita Pallenberg .... Nurse Bullock Lea Padovani .... Silvia Florinda Bolkan .... Lolita Marilù Tolo .... Conchita Nicoletta Machiavelli .... Marquita Umberto Orsini .... Hood Joey Forman .... The Cop Fabian Dean .... The Sergeant


So where are they now? One might wonder, considering that this film was released 33 years ago, so I did a little digging, again mainly thanks to the IMDb, and came up with a few tidbits, and some filmographies and such. First, the director, Christian Marquand, seems to have mostly been an actor throughout his career, there is only one single other film on record that he directed in addition to *Candy*. He was born on March 15th, 1927, in Marseille, France, and died less than one year ago, near Paris, on November 22nd 2000, of Alzheimer's disease.

Buck Henry, who wrote the screenplay, is probably one of the better known contributors to this film, being rather prolific in both acting and writing roles in the movie and TV industry. As a writer he wrote or contributed to these works, among others:

To Die for (1995) (screenplay) Protocol (1984) First Family (1980) Day of the Dolphin, The (1973) What's Up, Doc? (1972) Owl and the Pussycat, The (1970) Catch-22 (1970) (screenplay) Graduate, The (1967) "Get Smart" (1965) TV Series (creator)

Terry Southern, who along with Mason Hoffenberg, was the writer of the original novel version of *Candy*. He was born May 1st, 1924 in Alvarado, Texas, and died on October 29th, 1995 in New York, NY, USA. Some of his other works as a writer:

End of the Road (1970) Magic Christian, The (1969) (novel) Easy Rider (1969) Barbarella (1968) Casino Royale (1967) (uncredited) Cincinnati Kid, The (1965) Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

And last, but certainly not least, Ewa Aulin, who pretty much disappeared into obscurity after her major film debut in *Candy*. The following information is condensed slightly from the bio provided as one of the 'extras' on the DVD release.

Ewa was born in Sweden on February 13th, 1950. Soon afterwards, her parents divorced and her mother was awarded custody of her year-old daughter. She was raised and went to school in Stockholm. As a teenager, she was occasionally employed as a model by Stockholm department stores, but gave no indications that she had any intention of becoming an actress. She won a Miss Teen Sweden pageant, and as a next step headed to Hollywood for the world finals, which she won, and was crowned 'Miss Teen International'. Agents and managers descended upon her with offers of fame and stardom, but Ewa elected to return to Sweden and a modeling career. Eventually, the William Morris agency prevailed, and persuaded her to try her hand at acting.

After appearing in a few very minor roles in some very minor European films, she became one of over 2000 (!) young women interviewed for the lead in a new film titled 'Candy'. (Ultra trivia-- this extensive search began after Disney alumna Hayley Mills turned down the role!) One day before shooting was scheduled to begin, Ewa was informed that she had gotten the part, and suddenly found herself acting opposite superstars such as Richard Burton and Marlon Brando . *Candy* did very poorly at the box office, to put it mildly, but Ewa went on to produce one more American film, *Start the Revolution Without Me*, in 1970. After this, she made a number of very obscure European films, then gave up the acting business and returned to modeling, essentially disappearing from view as far as filmland goes. She apparently never missed it, if you go by a statement made to one interviewer, that "The film business is very rude and cruel. If you are a weak person, it can destroy you mentally".

So, there we are-- or were-- and a short, strange trip it was.


Miscellanea & whatnot, as per usual:

Given the makeup of a goodly portion of the boarders here, many of them will already know this, but for the benefit of those who don't, *Chocolat* is now out on DVD. This is a great film in so many wonderful and creative regards, very, very highly recommended, so go buy it already!

Finally got out to see *Planet of the Apes* this week, very interesting. I would have to state that this is, IMO, the most 'mainstream' film Tim Burton has ever made in his career, and I'm not sure exactly what that portends. I'm not being negative here, I liked the film, and especially marveled at how much more realistic looking and acting the apes were than in the original, which considering when it was made, was actually the very state of the art at that time. What I'm wondering is just to what degree Burton decided to accomodate viewers expectations, or perhaps it was just the burden of trying to remake a 'classic' in your own image, without giving up what made it such a special film to so many in the first place. Will be intriguing to see what he does with the sequel(s), which seem pretty likely given the ending.


Ah, the end is nigh, so 'tis time for the *Question of the Week*: What is/was *your* favorite movie from the 1960's, and why? Also, when you watch this film again today, in 2001, do you feel that it has become dated, or does it still hold up to the qualities that inspired you back then?

Note: For those of you *not* of geezer age, such as yours truly, and who thus weren't of a movie-going temperment, or maybe not even born before 1970, perhaps you might like to contrast a favorite film from the 60's that you've seen with one of your contemporary favorites now, and note the similarities/differences between them and why they resonate for you.

Post 'em if you got 'em, and see you next week for one last 'GP/BT' edition to close out the month!

[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 24th 2001 - 'Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures' Pt. IV -- Anthony8, 22:19:29 08/24/01 Fri

I can't comment on the movie of the week since I haven't seen it, although the DVD seems to beckon me every time I visit my local vid shoppe. From your description, the irreverent nature of the film brings to mind another late 60's (early 70's?) film in which Ringo Starr appeared--'The Magic Christian' (a dozen cameos plus greedy business men diving through excrement to grab money can't help but be entertaining). I'm curious as to what your take is on that one.

As far as favorite 60's films go, first on my list (and my all-time list as well) is '2001: A Space Odyssey.' No matter how many times I view it, I'm awestruck (maybe Kubrick interspersed something subliminal that makes me watch over and over again). It was ahead of its time then, and doesn't suffer from looking dated even today. Second on my list (and one that I have seen almost as many times as '2001') would be 'A Hard Day's Night.' Once again, no matter how many times I see this film, it transports me to a place and time that seems so extraordinary to me (sadly I was born too late to experience Beatlemania the first time around) and unmatched by anything since. Although the world of Beatlemania should seem dated, the sheer joy of living and charismatic energy presented through the mod direction (Richard Lester is one of my faves), dialogue and the personalities of the Fab Four and supporting cast (you gotta love poor Victor Spinneti: "it's a plot I tell you...A plot.") makes it seem fresh each time I see it. Plus, the Beatles music is timeless.

Well that's my take.

[> [> Ah, Beatle movies -- Tanker, 07:31:38 08/25/01 Sat

I'm also way to young for Beatlemania (my mother, on the other hand, had Beatles pictures all over her wall), but I love both "Hard Days Night" and "Help." The former is still one of the best satires ever filmed, IMHO, and the latter is just goofy fun. Both include scenes that are probably the first rock "videos" ever (especially "Help." How many videos have there been of a band playing on a beach? The Beatles did it first). "Help" is probably the more dated of the two, since it's done in that "groovy" 60's style of comedy. It's more of an artifact of its times, I think. "Hard Day's Night" doesn't scream "60's!" at me so much. Its targets (especially the media) are just as deserving of skewering today.
[> Now I can't remember whether "If..." was 60s or 70s... but that's a fave. No doubt 'bout it. -- Solitude1056, 22:29:15 08/24/01 Fri

[> I think I'm gonna regret this, but..."Billy Jack." ;o) -- Wisewoman, 23:17:57 08/24/01 Fri

I saw this movie every day for a week when I was 18 years old. I own it on VHS now, and I watched it about a year ago and yes, it is dated, but it is still, in some strange way, inspiring.

And besides, it features a very young Howard Hesseman doing improvisational theatre. Ya gotta love that!
[> Zorba the Greek -- Cactus Watcher, 08:47:15 08/25/01 Sat

True, the young lady I saw it with was the first girl I ever really loved, and true, she was of Greek descent, and her last name was the same as the last name of the fellow who wrote the unforgettable music, but I like it for other reasons as well. I saw it as a high-school kid, who felt literature was mostly artificial, stories made up to entertain, but with scant connection to reality. Unfortunately, TV was and is mostly like that. But, during that movie for the first time I realized that well written literature had something to say to me. I realized that there are dramatic moments in everyone's life. I realized that it's possible for an ordinary person to do heroic things, and that it's possible for heroes to fail and still be worthy individuals. I was pretty much a nerd, before the term was invented. Not only was I a nerd, but I was a non-conformist nerd. Before, I saw Zorba, I sometimes felt guilty that I wasn't always good at conforming. Seeing Allan Bates' character, I realized that what I had been striving for was not at all admirable. There is value to people being different, and there is value to doing crazy things now and then. There is more to life than doing what the herd wants to do. If I had not seen Zorba at the right moment, I can't imagine I would have enjoyed college as much, and doubt I would have learned as much there. I also doubt I would have written one novel, let alone more.
[> To Kill a Mockingbird......... -- Rufus, 16:06:57 08/25/01 Sat

Who can forget that movie, they couldn't have picked a better lead in Gregory Peck. I didn't see the movie til the 70's, but it remains my favorite for the 60's. In the 60's I lived in an area of Vancouver by Kitsalano Beach. Where we were there was an older Sikh temple next door (it was torn down a few years after I moved). I could see men with swords in their belts amble by on the veranda's and the weddings they had were an experience. I was in kindergarden and used to wander under the Burrard St bridge with my older brother who seemed to find the oddest selection of people to hang out with. A beatnick in a loft apt. an old Sikh man who was so kind that he sticks in my memory as vividly as the turban he always made sure was wrapped properly. Being very poor didn't matter as I was too young to understand that people didn't live on french fries, no matter how clever the newpaper boat my dad fashioned was. Our neighbourhood had everyone, English, Sikh's, Irish, Italian, Chinese, all living together. I couldn't understand that there was anywhere where people couldn't use a drinking fountain because of the colour of their skin. I'm not saying there wasn't prejudice where I lived, but you got to know your neighbour, and to appreciate the different customs(and food,yum)they had. To Kill a Mockingbird takes me back to a time where I saw the world through the eyes of a child, with none of the realities of adulthood there to take the fun out of life.
[> [> One of the truly moving lines of the decade. -- Cactus Watcher, 17:18:27 08/25/01 Sat

"Stand up, Miss Jean Louise. Your father's passing."
[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 24th 2001 - 'Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures' Pt. IV -- Nina, 20:10:47 08/25/01 Sat

Hmmm... haven't seen the movie, but I saw the animated series named "Candy" does it work! ;) (that was made in the 60's I think and even though I watched it in the 70's it was my favorite tv program as a child)

As for movies.... in the 60's I can only think about French movies. Louis de Funes' comedies, or Gerard Philipe and Jeanne Moreau in "Les liaisons dangereuses" (Dangerous liaisons) a very bold modern adaptation of the novel (it was made in 1959 but released in 1960). Movies by Autant-Lara... A lot of other stuff that you probably never heard about, unless you are lucky and have a very good video store! ;)
[> [> Classic Movie of the Week - August 24th 2001 - 'Guilty Pleasures / Buried Treasures' Pt. IV -- Brian, 10:00:12 08/27/01 Mon

Bonnie & Clyde for me! Served as the turning point for American film. Arthur Penn, the director, went on to make The Chase and Little Big Man as well as many others.
[> [> [> A great line from *Little Big Man* & an eminently discussable item from Ebert -- OnM, 20:39:59 08/27/01 Mon

Technically, *Little Big Man* was made in 1970, but I like it so I'll let it go as another of my favorite 60's movies. I still really love that line that 'Grandfather' tells Hoffman's character:

"There is a endless supply of white men, but only a very limited number of Human Beings."

(My apologies if that's slightly misquoted, going by memory of long, long ago here, but the gist of it is right).

Also, some food for thought from Roger Ebert's website:


Of Irony and 'Other' Horrors

August 26, 2001


My wife and I saw ''The Other'' last night and we were surprised that a large number of people began laughing at the scary parts. I, meanwhile, was diligently suspending my disbelief. However, when we got to the scene where the little girl is wearing her communion dress and shows an aged face, I began to see what they were finding funny. Afterward, I asked several audience members why they laughed. They said that ''nothing was happening.'' The latter sentiment echoes your comment, ''As our suspense was supposed to be building, our impatience was outstripping it.''

Mike Geis, Grove City, Ohio

A. Horror movies require an existential age. We live in an age of irony. Therefore, we laugh at what we should dread. Movies like ''The Other'' are a challenge for audiences raised on special effects freak shows; far from suspending their disbelief, they believe everything, and in ''The Other'' were brought to a dead halt because the movie did not tell them what to believe.

(Copyright 2001 Roger Ebert)


Hummm, interesting point. Comments?
[> [> [> [> Re: A great line from *Little Big Man* & an eminently discussable item from Ebert -- Wisewoman, 21:41:20 08/27/01 Mon

I don't know about existentialism and the age of irony, but I did notice when I saw The Exorcist for the first time last week, it did seem dated. I started making some disparaging comments and my brother (it was his DVD) got quite defensive about how scary it had been in the 70s. And I agreed, it probably was...

The whole thing was kind of disconcerting for me, because the quality of the picture and sound was superb, and I think somehow that translated in my mind to "new film" so the stylistic acting (particularly Ellen Burstyn) was really jarring. When I think about it now, she was probably fairly accurately reflecting the reactions of someone who had not been exposed to the subsequent 20+ years of cinematic technology and was suddenly coping with a demonically possessed child. Hmmm, I'm getting kinda muddled here-- I think what I'm saying is, The Exorcist isn't scary once you've seen everything that followed it.

But hey, The Omen scared the @#*& out of me, so I probably *would* have been terrified if I'd seen The Exorcist when it was made.
[> [> [> [> [> And once it's a cliche... -- Solitude1056, 08:35:41 08/28/01 Tue

When I saw Poltergeist for the first time, it scared the living daylights outta me, unlike anything I've seen before or since (with the possible exception of Sixth Sense). When I've seen Poltergeist since then, it's hard to approach it with that sense of having never seen it before, 'coz the plotline has now been done to death (pun intended). I mean, hell, soooo many movies since then have done the "buried on an old graveyard" variation that we can't help but view Poltergeist through that lens.

Speaking of which, finally saw "Don't Look Now," which struck me as boring, pendantic, and stilted. My housemate, on the other hand, remembered it as being especially spooky and suspenseful. The time lapse between when he'd first seen it, and all the variations of psychic phenomena and ghosts and violent murders and strange old cities and bizarre characters that pop in & out without reason - everything that's become 'stock' since the movie was first made - just puts it in the "boring" category for me, through no fault of its own.

On the other hand, the Haunting (yes, the original one about Hill House, in black and white) can still scare me outta ten year's growth. Just some things are classics, and I think that has a great deal to do with the fact that there's no special effects to help you date the movie to a time or place. It's all in your head...
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: And once it's a cliche... -- Rufus, 13:20:32 08/28/01 Tue

The Haunting is my favorite "ghost" story. I stands up after all these years. I agree with you about "Don't Look Now", I fell asleep through the last 15 minutes. I have a friend in the tombstone business, so graveyards no longer hold any mystery for me.
[> [> [> [> [> Acting Styles -- Humanitas, 10:32:56 08/28/01 Tue

You get the same effect when you watch Olivier and Brannaugh side-by-side, esp. their 'Henry V's'. Olivier was a great actor, but he used a much more stylized technique than Brannaugh, and it comes across as dated when you compare the two. Totally unfair to Olivier, but there it is.
Buffy, power and jaguars (funny speculation) -- Nina, 19:13:30 08/25/01 Sat

I have been wondering lately about jaguars. For those of you who remember it, I referenced the jaguar in my Buffy character thread. The jaguar is a very powerful animal and has the power to renew and transform the life of the rain forest. Or such believe the shamans of this region.

"It might seem odd to us that the transforming force in the Universe is also associated with death, yet to the ancient Americans these two energies were cut from the same cloth. That wich endured was always changing and renewing itself. That which remain unchanged, perished. (...) It's important to give the old self a decent burial, and then leap like a jaguar into who we are becoming." (Alberto Villoldo in "Shaman, healer, sage")

A decent burial... Buffy got one. The transformation process has begun for her. Soon it will be time to become again. It is believed that in the rain forest, certain Shamans are able to transform themselves in jaguar by calling their energy. Which who was an enemy becomes an ally. The eyes of the shamans become yellow and they can defend themselves with sharp claws. For this short moment they are a jaguar. They think like one. They summon their strenght.

Now this has me thinking about Buffy and the fact that she will probably come back with new powers. Buffy's enemies are the vampires. What if she could summon that energy when she fights them now. She's kind of becoming a shaman in the slayer domain. She could have yellow eyes - smell vampire and blood - have better eye sight in the dark - a better understanding of how they think...

This is only speculation and I doubt they ever use it on the show, yet it could be a very interesting idea to explore!
[> Re: Buffy, power and jaguars (funny speculation) -- d'Herblay, 03:01:44 08/26/01 Sun

Buffy's eyes turned yellow in "Primeval," so there's a precedent.

Personally, I hope Buffy comes back with fewer powers. I'd rather her heroism be based in heroic acts rather than super-hero type powers. When her actions are based in her humanity, and are limned by her human limitations, and she perseveres through those limitations to succeed, then it's heroism. And it's inspiring. And it's something I can identify with and aspire to. When she's leaping from building to building, as in "Earshot," then it's special effects. Her talk with Jonathan in that episode was much more heroic than any amount of chopsocky could ever be.

Just my opinion.
[> [> Re: Buffy, power and jaguars (funny speculation) -- Kerri, 12:29:49 08/26/01 Sun

Hey everyone-I'm back from vacation (had a great time by the way) and just had to jump right into posting.

Anyway, I really hope that Buffy doesn't lose her powers. She has accepted her humanity and now she needs to balance her slayer side and her humanity. It might even be counter productive in her developement to lose her powers.

I agree with you that Buffy's most heroic acts come from her human side. It is simply that her slayer powers give her the capacity to do some of heroic deeds.

Plus, I don't know how well it would work for Buffy to be very weak while Willow continues to gain powers.

IMO it would be nice to see Buffy tap into some powers or knowlegde that she has always had but only now can understand.
[> [> [> Another point- about the metaphysics of the slayer -- Kerri, 12:52:04 08/26/01 Sun

Another point that I forgot to make: It seems like the slayer has become a part of Buffy. It isn't just something that is there as a seperate being-it is an integral part of the person.

From The Replacement: GILES: What? No. Um, uh, the rod device, it's called a ferula-gemina. It splits one person in half, distilling personality traits into two separate bodies. As near as I can tell, Toth was attempting to split the slayer into two different entities. (Hands the book to Willow) BUFFY: Two Buffys? GILES: Yes. One with all the qualities inherent in Buffy Summers, and the other one with everything that belongs to the slayer alone ... the, uh, the-the strength, the, uh, speed, the heritage. And when it hit Xander, I think it separated him into his strongest points and his (grimaces) weakest.

RILEY: But which one's the real one? GILES: They're both real. They're both Xander. Neither one of them is evil. There's nothing in either of them that our Xander doesn't already possess. RILEY: I still don't get the original plan. I mean, why do it? The slayer half would be like slayer concentrate, pretty unkillable. GILES: But the two halves can't exist without each other. Kill the weaker Buffy half, and the slayer half dies. BUFFY: So the same goes for the Xanders. We lose one, we lose them both.

So it seems that everything that is the slayer is Buffy.

Also one more comment on that scene-to agree with d'Herblay- Giles calls the Buffy-half the weaker half. IMO this is only true physically and the human Buffy half is what makes Buffy so strong.
[> [> [> [> Re: Another point- about the metaphysics of the slayer -- Nina, 16:00:38 08/26/01 Sun

Welcome back Kerri!!!!!! :)

I agree too that Buffy is at her strongest when acting as a human being. When I mentioned shamans transforming into jaguars I am not talking about superheros here. They are humans like you and me, and at this minute they live somewhere on the same planet as we do!

The fact is that maybe the first slayer is a mix between a vampire and a human. The first vampires were made from humans and maybe the first slayer was made from a vampire (so she could feel the link towards her enemy).

Why did Buffy had yellow eyes in Primeval? She was in trance, much like shamans are in trance too when they change into jaguars. I am not interested in Buffy gaining super powers, but in joining with the natural force that is inside her. What if she can tap those energies now (without the help of Willow)? It would be a logical progression in becoming a better slayer. Be able to understand the enemy. Maybe "Primeval" was only the beginning.. "you don't know what's to come"..... Joss already knew at that point how he wanted Buffy back. Maybe that spell used in Primeval will finally have an explanation. Maybe we'll finally get to understand the hidden power of the slayer.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: Another point- about the metaphysics of the slayer -- mundusmundi, 16:48:32 08/26/01 Sun

This is very interesting and echoes something by Joseph Campbell in "The Power of Myth." (I nominate a new acronym -- ATLtC. All Threads Lead to Campbell.) He talked about how "primitive" peoples saw (and still see) animals as their equals, and how this influenced their outlook on life. By seeing an animal as a "thou," they formed a kind of kin relationship, thanking the beast when they killed it for food. It's been primarily 1st-world "civilized" peoples who have come to see animals not as "thous," but as "its," and with that their whole perspective has differed. He cites as an example for this the Native American veneration of the buffalo, and their dismay at the "White Man's" cavalier killings of the herds.

My roundabout point here is that maybe Joss is making this part of Buffy's journey. Initially, she sees vampires as "its." First with Angel, then with Spike, she has perhaps started seeing them (well, a couple of them) as "thous." I realize we're stretching an analogy between harmless buffaloes (unless you get in their way) and deadly vamps, but still, accepting her true "primitive" nature -- her blood ties, with both Slayers and the demon(s) inside her -- seems to be where Buffy has been headed all these years.

If so, a question remains...How does this affect her role as a Slayer? In war, Campbell mentions how both sides go out of their way to make their enemies less than human, as it makes it easier to kill them. Can a Slayer still function if she starts seeing the enemy as a little less demon and a little more human than she thought? How then can such a war be waged?
[> [> [> [> [> [> The H in hybrid.......... -- Rufus, 17:31:34 08/26/01 Sun

I like that question, how do you, when you find common ground, find it possible to kill the enemy? The easy answer is when they threaten you. But, with the evolution of Spike we are now having to think of something that is easy to forget once you demonize something.....part of the vampire, a large part is still human. The vampire is a person who is possessed by the demons soul intent on destroying what the person once was. Killing with a vampire is sort of a long drawn out form of suicide, just a form of humanity killing itself. But, with the introduction of the chip, Spike has begun to see the world in a different way. His demon side has become somewhat suppressed, muzzled, his humanity starting to peak out. Is this a ploy to make us feel sorry for just one character long enough to turn him back evil then kill him...I don't think so. The reason anyone kills is that they have, even for a moment been able to see a person as a target, an it. Vampires delude themselves into thinking that they are superior to their former selves so they can kill others by making them its. But that is a very human thing to do. All you have to do is look at any wartime propoganda to see that to kill we have to make the other party less deserving of life. Once a human face and personality comes into play. Once we can see a bit of ourselves in another we are less able to kill. Both sides in the demon/human battle see the other as an it, less deserving of life. My question is, what happens when you let even one character change his/her mind, what happens to the battle that was so easy just a short time ago?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Gile's two kinds of monsters -- Kerri, 21:14:58 08/26/01 Sun

Excellent points Rufus!!! I have been for a wondering while whether Spike being capable of good will change how Buffy thinks of vampires. They are capable of doing good, however, as you pointed out as long as the vampire poses a threat to people there is a necessity to killing them and a way for Buffy to justify killing them to herself.

From Beaty and the Beasts:

Giles: Maybe. Maybe not. In my experience, there are... two types of monster. The first, uh, can be redeemed, or more importantly, wants to be redeemed.

Buffy: And the second type?

Giles: The second is void of humanity, cannot respond to reason... or love.

Vampires are definately not a void of humanity-they are hybrids that are capable of human emotions including love. So by Giles' definition vampires can be redeemed.

Also want to say that I really like mundusmundi's idea about slayers being created from vampires. I hope that next season we see Buffy delve into her roots and her nature a bit more-it seems like the logical progression at this point.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Gile's two kinds of monsters -- mundusmundi, 05:45:57 08/27/01 Mon

Also want to say that I really like mundusmundi's idea about slayers being created from vampires.

Thanks, but actually I think that was Nina's idea first. I liked it too and just ran with it a bit.

On the subject of jaguars, there's a good, fairly recent National Geographic story about them.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Gile's two kinds of monsters -- Nina, 08:03:07 08/27/01 Mon

"On the subject of jaguars, there's a good, fairly recent National Geographic story about them"

Thanks, I'll check that out! :)
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Jaguars: National Geographic May, 2001 issue. :o) -- Cactus Watcher, 13:44:18 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Jaguars: National Geographic May, 2001 issue. :o) -- Nina, 19:02:01 08/29/01 Wed

Thank you I got it today! :)
[> [> [> [> [> [> I second the nomination for ATLtC ! -- Solitude1056, 18:01:04 08/26/01 Sun

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I finally got my hands on a copy of............ -- Rufus, 22:45:03 08/26/01 Sun

Hero with a Thousand Faces, and Sol you could appreciate this. Three different colours of highlighter, little post-it tabs for the pages to go back to......but no, and I mean no writing in the book...I just can't do it, I can't....;):):):)
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Is that.... -- Your local F.A.Q. writer, 14:22:05 08/27/01 Mon

ATLtC = Cordelia, or Cambell?

Somehow, I'm thinking it's Joe.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> All Threads Lead to Campbell. Sorry, Cordy. -- mundusmundi, 14:38:59 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> How about ATLtCC being Cordelia, & ATLtJC for Campbell? -- Solitude1056, 15:17:25 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Good idea, except... -- OnM, 21:17:45 08/27/01 Mon

1 > JC is also a popular shorthand for 'Jesus Christ', and so could lead to confusion, just maybe.

2 > Cordy may not be famous enough yet to warrant an 'ATLtC' abridgment, I was just looking ahead.

How about:

ATLt/Co & ATLt/Ca ?

Also keeps the one word suffix as in Spike, Cordy, Campbell

Lastly, another new possibility-- for Moebius strip fans, ATLt/oT = All Threads Lead to other Threads

Just kidding! (~snerk~)
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> How about NETLtC and TMTLtC? -- d'Herblay, 22:10:34 08/27/01 Mon

For "Not Enough Threads Lead to Cordelia" and "Too Many Threads Lead to Campbell"?

I'll always know which is which.

(I may be in trouble now . . . )
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> And then ultimately, we have TEMoTLt/MP -- OnM, 06:45:58 08/28/01 Tue

As the physicists search for the elusive 'Theory of Everything', we at ATPO will have solved at least one great philosophical dilemma, as we inauguarate:

'The Entire Metauniverse of Threads Leads to Monty Python'

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> My Suggestion: TMDttNBES -- Cactuw Watcher, 08:09:03 08/28/01 Tue

Too Many Days to the Next Buffy Episode, Sigh.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> TMDA! -- d'Herblay, 20:16:26 08/28/01 Tue

Too Many Damn Abbreviations!

The episode title abbreviations really throw me off my game, as I have enough trouble associating an episode with its title when it's all spelled out for me. Trying to then decipher an acronym just gets too complicated for my feeble little mind. For example, I see the abbreviation WttH and I think, "Um, Where the (Wild) tHings (Are)?" And then I get confused because I associate the title Where the Wild Things Are with the plot of "New Moon Rising." And I think of "Wild At Heart" as Pangs (because it's pangy); I have trouble with werewolf episodes.

And it got really confusing when I went to France in June and tuned into Buffy contre les vampires for the first time. I missed the teaser, but they list the title in the episode credits. So when the title was "La maison hauntee" I was all ready for "Fear, Itself." Instead I got "Where the Wild Things Are." ("New Moon Rising" was simply "Le loup-garou.")

My mind. I don't know how I live in something so small.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: TMDA! -- Humanitas, 14:17:17 08/29/01 Wed

Sounds like we need an Abbreviation Storage System to keep track of all our abbreviations, or better yet, a Smart Abbreviation Storage System, co correlate abbreviations with plot synopses and French Titles!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> MS fnd in a lbry -- OnM, 07:09:31 08/30/01 Thu

All of this linguistic compactness reminds me of an SF story I read many the long years ago.

As technology advanced, it became possible to store more and more information in less and less physical space. Of course, information is of little use if you can't retrieve it easily, and so having an effective index is essential. The story, as I recall, relates to something like finally getting all of the collective knowledge of the entire known universe stored in this machine about the size of a breadbox. Unfortunately, sometime shortly after the machine first goes online, the index gets corrupted, and now no one can get to any of the info. Hummmm...

Which also reminds me of one of the few truly clever and humorous moments from the old TV series 'Mann & Machine', you know, the one where the writers oh so cleverly named their female robot 'Eve'?

In one scene where she quickly and efficiently answers one of the detective's questions, he snarkily replies, 'Gee, it must be so great to know everything!'.

She looks puzzled and gives this great comeback--

"It's impossible to know everything. And even if you did, the access time would be enormous".

OK, off to work now. Bye!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Don't mind my spelling of Joe's name. My brain's fried today. -- Masq, 15:28:02 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Don't mind my spelling of Joe's name. My brain's fried today. -- Shaglio, 08:22:10 08/28/01 Tue

Don't worry about it. Cactus Watcher couldn't even spell his own name right in the above thread ;)
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh god No! Don't tell me you had a visit from Hannibal?????` -- Rufus, 14:02:23 08/28/01 Tue

You would mention fried brains within days of me watching "Hannibal" I started laughing when I saw what you said.:):):):)
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> HtCFMB: Hannibal the Cannibal Fried My Brain -- Masq, 22:56:04 08/28/01 Tue

We now have a new official acronym on the board:


To be used in case of mental melt-downs, or as Sol calls them, brain core-dumps.
[> [> [> [> Re: Another point- about the metaphysics of the slayer -- Rufus, 16:16:13 08/26/01 Sun

Hope you had a nice holiday Kerri, btw give me a shout I have a question for you.

As for the slayer and Buffy. I think that to be a person you have to accept who you are the light and the dark. The part of yourself that you may dislike the most may in some way contribute to who you are as a whole. You need that darkness as well as the light. Buffy for many years attempted to reject her slayer half, the killer in her(she thought), but in Intervention she found out that even with the existance of the slayer, she was a loving person. If Buffy had never become a slayer an remained perhaps a cheerleader type with popularity more important than humanity, would she ever have been as loving to others? It's the slayer part of Buffy that has helped her find out what the value of others is. She may walk and talk and shop and sneeze, but Buffy also loves with all her soul. Becoming the slayer may have seemed a burden but it is truly a gift.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: Another point- about the metaphysics of the slayer -- John Burwood, 07:02:25 08/27/01 Mon

While we are on the subject, there is one question that I would really like answered. If it had been Buffy instead of Xander who was split in two, what would the slayer half have looked like. Would it have looked like Buffy, or would it have looked very different - as did Angel's 'other half' in Pylea? That is one answer which would have told us one hell of a lot. If Slayer power is demonic in origin, it would explain the 'rooted in darkness' bit, and demons can work for the PTBs. Whistler was technically a demon, or so he said. Come to think of it, it would be a great help to know just exactly what Whistler meant by 'technically' a demon. Any ideas on that?
[> [> [> [> [> [> Semantics -- Wisewoman, 08:13:10 08/27/01 Mon

This kinda ties in with our discussion on a lower thread about the power of names, and labels. I think what Whistler meant when he said he was "technically a demon" is that he fell into the category of being that human's label "demon," but that there are more and different kinds of demons than humans are aware of, or willing to accept. "Demon" is generally construed to have an evil connotation, and Whistler was giving us a hint that this is not always the case, as has been proved several times consequently.

I'm trying to think of an analogy to make this clearer, but it's too early in the morning...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Semantics -- Cleanthes, 09:07:20 08/27/01 Mon

"Criticism" is a word that usefully can/ought to apply to both positive and negative analysis, but, it really must be qualified when one wants to include positive comments. Standing alone, it connotes only negative things to most people.

So with demon. The writers could have gone all philosophical and classical and used the word daimon, which my dictionary defines as "Demon, 2,3" - and then I look up demon and find that definitions 2 & 3 are quite positive, referring to Socrates' daimon.

Alas, TV is popular culture and we're stuck with the common word. But then, that works too, because with time the characters and viewers have been led to look more intensely at what the word CAN mean.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> and technically -- Solitude1056, 11:43:24 08/27/01 Mon

demon & daimon both mean "non-human intelligence" but without a value judgement on the source of that intelligence or its motivations. animals were frequently referred to as daimons, if they were believed to be sentient by the particular scholar, and sometimes newcomers will get wigged by Dee's Enochian system, where he considers all angels to be "daimons." Well, he's thinking they're intelligent, and they're definitely non-human...
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: and technically -- Shaglio, 12:25:21 08/27/01 Mon

It's all about connotation. Back in the day, when a person had a mental deficiency, it was acceptable to refer to them as "retarded." But somewhere along the line the term "retarded" gained such a negative connotation that we must now use the word "mentally challenged." I once refered to a person of East Asian decent as an "Oriental" and my friend spurned me and told me that "Oriental" is now an offensive term and I should have used the term "Asian." I don't like the term "Asian" because it is far too broad - Russia, Turkey, Israel, India, and Iran are all in Asia. So now I say East Asian and hope nobody gets offended. I also argued with a friend of mine that the only diference between a religous ceremony and a cult ritual was public acceptence, and thus, connotation.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Socrates and 'Daimons' -- Rahael, 14:17:55 08/27/01 Mon

Could be wrong, but I thought that 'daimon' as the Greeks used it could also mean 'soul'.

I looked it up when I was reading Pullman - his characters all have visible 'daimons', which in our reality become internalised as the soul.

Which makes things very interesting, if this is correct. Perhaps someone who is more knowledgable about Greek philosophy could confirm/correct this.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Socrates and 'Daimons' -- Cleanthes, 15:22:35 08/27/01 Mon

There's a long section in Plato's Symposium about daimons. Socrates describes a daimon as something intermediate between the human and the divine. I believe the word had been used previously by the Greeks for divine attributes rather than something specific to one of their gods. The Greeks loved to personify everything into a diety.

In Symposium, Plato makes Love into just such an intermediate thing via the speeches of Socrates and Diotima. Elsewhere, though, Socrates communes with his daimon as though it were a portion of himself - a portion of his soul; at other times, the daimon personifies an external impulse on his soul.

The Greek for "soul" was psyche. (Now that word is transliterated differently -- Aristotle's De Anima [on the soul] is "Peri Psuches" which looks weird.)

I think it was Christian translations of the Bible that had to toe the monotheist line and, therefore, they used the word demon (deriving through Latin from the Greek word) for evil spirits. The possibility of "good" spirits they sidestepped by using the word "angel" which was from a Greek word for "messenger" and ALSO a word that Plato uses.

Soooooo.... moving into the Jossverse, "demons" sometimes represent purely one attribute - the queller, say. Others are more complete psychological creatures. I wonder if the "glitter twins" count as demons? Or angels? But then, they'd compete with "Angel" and that wouldn't be good!
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks! -- Rahael, 17:05:21 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Daimons, demons, daemons -- Solitude1056, 11:17:31 08/28/01 Tue

Ok, so we (sort of) know the derivation & purpose behind the word "demon" in Xtian literature/culture... but is there a difference between "daemon" and "daimon" or are they just alternate spellings?

And that raises a peculiar idea, for me, since some of this concept has partial roots in the Gnostic approach - that the daimon is somehow one's personal example of the divine, within oneself. Some call this the Holy Guardian Angel, others the soul, others the 'divine spark,' depending on the particular area, culture, religion, etc. But if you take that route, then the question becomes:

perhaps "humanity" is human for the same reason the Gnostics considered it so: because of the material, the unique existence of having flesh wrapped around a bit o' the divine (the daimon, genius, what-have-you). In that case, wouldn't demons be a piece of the divine without the flesh? That what they lack is, in effect, not the soul, but the physical existence - and that this existence within a particular fleshly shell is actually the one thing that defines us as human?

That would completely flip Joss' model on its head. The idea that all creatures have links to a Divine Unmanifest, a Potential, of some sort... but that humans are unique amongst the creations by virtue of having this link wrapped up in a material existence that somehow manages to subvert the link with the divine. Don't know if it makes sense to anyone else here, but it does to me, that this would naturally lead to the idea that daimons/demons have less conscious choice over their actions because their link to the Purpose/Potential is stronger... whereas in humans, it's subverted by the influence of the material world. We're more deeply rooted in the physical, I mean, and thus the divine (our link to, and grasp of, our purpose, potential) gets put on the back burner?

So the less you listen to the Unmanifest, the more free will you have, and... wow. Hmm. I think I had an actual thought buried in there somewhere. I need to go lay down now.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Daimons, demons, daemons -- anom, 11:58:44 08/28/01 Tue

Wow, Sol--I think you just raised your TTMQ a couple points.

"perhaps "humanity" is human for the same reason the Gnostics considered it so: because of the material, the unique existence of having flesh wrapped around a bit o' the divine (the daimon, genius, what-have-you). In that case, wouldn't demons be a piece of the divine without the flesh? That what they lack is, in effect, not the soul, but the physical existence - and that this existence within a particular fleshly shell is actually the one thing that defines us as human?"

Maybe that explains why some of the demons refer to humans as animals. And why vampires, who have the flesh/physical existence of a human (a word related to humus & to humility), are looked down on by other demons. It also raises the q. of what the apparently physical component of the demons on the shows consists of. I think someone suggested in another thread that they don't have this in their own dimension, taking it on only when they come to this one.

On a lighter note: "Daimons, demons, daemons"--is that how the website Cordelia visited in an early Angel ep was spelled? @>)
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Dammit, Jim, I'm an analyst, not a philosopher! -- Solitude1056, 12:03:14 08/28/01 Tue

Ok, not quite. I've also got some serious strains of Gnosticism hiding in there, too. I just keep it squashed since the whole anti-materialism thing bugs me most of the time. Dualist systems 'n all that. But it does raise some interesting questions... alternately, we could argue that Demons consider humans to be "animals" the same way we might still consider, uh, household cats & dogs to be "animals" even if two thousand years from now they'd developed speech & were demonstrating sentience. We came before them, they were animals while we were expressing our individuality as sentient critters... so they're animals, we're not.

But I kinda prefer the Gnostic take on it, myself. Glad you liked, too.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Dammit, Jim, I'm an analyst, not a philosopher! -- anom, 13:03:41 08/28/01 Tue

"Ok, not quite. I've also got some serious strains of Gnosticism hiding in there, too. I just keep it squashed since the whole anti-materialism thing bugs me most of the time. Dualist systems 'n all that."

But you've never struck me as all that materialistic...ohh, sorry, wrong frame of reference--I'm more familiar w/the political than the philosophical meaning. Gotta keep in mind which P that is in ATP.

"But it does raise some interesting questions... alternately, we could argue that Demons consider humans to be "animals" the same way we might still consider, uh, household cats & dogs to be "animals" even if two thousand years from now they'd developed speech & were demonstrating sentience. We came before them, they were animals while we were expressing our individuality as sentient critters... so they're animals, we're not."

Hell, some people already say that kind of thing about other groups of people. I'm sure it'd happen w/Felis & Canis sapiens too. Although a friend of mine says that strain of cats w/the thumbs is gonna take over the world some day.

Whew--Star Trek, Planet of the Apes (Get your hands off me, you damn dirty [fill in species]!)--where we goin' next?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The Key and Vampires.....a question -- Rufus, 14:08:14 08/28/01 Tue

You caught what I think of when I think of how Dawn was created. The Monks moulding flesh around a bit of the divine. But it all goes into what you think of humanity and the soul. Would you consider the process of becoming a vampire as a demon possession that severs the humans link with the divine? If so can that link be found again?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Key and Vampires.....a question -- Cleanthes, 16:33:17 08/28/01 Tue

"Would you consider the process of becoming a vampire as a demon possession that severs the humans link with the divine? If so can that link be found again?"

I personally prefer a more infinite divine than the gnostic one, which I think the Stoic concept better captures. Most modern seeming-atheist scientists subscribe to the Stoic divine to a fair degree because without such a "divine", there's no science to science. This portion of the Stoic divine states that things make sense. Xander's `Restless` dream makes this point - there's gotta be rules.

No scientist expects measured, mathematical results to change capriciously from one day to the next.

Going a bit further, and why not do so in fiction, which BtVS is instead of rocket science, we can personify or encapsulate or make manifest this bit of divinity. That's what I thought the Key was, and I still do, nothing in `The Gift` contradicted me. (whew) The key can open these dimensions because it(she) takes up this divinity. (and Dedalus's essay's point about circumstances in which a teleological suspension of the ethical can occur also ties in here -- when the divine's nature itself tolls, all the less potent, less absurd bells, even the ethical ones, fall silent)

After all, if there are demon dimensions, then there are loads of varying realities. No doubt the rules vary by dimension, the all-Tuesday dimension having particularly Lewis Carrolly aspects! Well, without going too far into the Euthyphro dilemma, which I think I'm flirting with here, I'll return your question with another:

Would we care about a good Spike because he was good, or would we just call him good once we decided we cared about him?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Key and Vampires.....a question -- Rufus, 22:47:05 08/28/01 Tue

You don't own an Action you?...;)

Would we care about a good Spike because he was good, or would we just call him good once we decided we cared about him?

This is one of those chicken and egg things isn't it? I never liked the character of Spike because he personifed the type of bad boy that brings out the bitch in me. I have no use for them. I think the fact that they filled in his background saying that he was a good boy in big bads clothing did he finally get at least my attention. So, for me as long as he is doing good things going against the norm for vampires there is something interesting to talk about. If he reverts back to big bad, less frilly, more killy guy, then I say we have a house cleaning. I have to admit I'm having fun trying to figure out how they are going to explain any rehabilitation without a soul. Now, if Joss would only give me the rule book he's using for the characters.......:):):):)
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Daimons, demons, daemons -- Cleanthes, 15:56:30 08/28/01 Tue

"Ok, so we (sort of) know the derivation & purpose behind the word "demon" in Xtian literature/culture... but is there a difference between "daemon" and "daimon" or are they just alternate spellings?"

Well, "daimon" is a transliteration of delta-alpha-iota-mu-omega-nu.


(let's see if that worked!) {darn, it does NOT work - it looked good before I got to the "modify and approve message! I'll leave it just to see what happens when it comes up to the actual forum. Maybe the Greek script will reappear because a good daimon directs the internet???}

Anyways, I think these are mostly just different spellings, but they don't have to be. "Daimon" works best as the intermediary with the divine. The gnostic concept would use this spelling, as would the Platonic and neoplatonic meanings, which are kinda the same but less bound up with dualism.

Daemon, as the older Latin transliteration might mean, um, what exactly? The St. Jerome meaning? It's the spelling in the Vulgate, I believe.

Meanwhile, "demon" is what we see in the Jossverse. Sound good?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Greek characters in HTML -- d'Herblay, 22:04:49 08/29/01 Wed

Trying to make myself useful here.

From what I can figure, typing daimwn will produce daimwn. If that's not Greek to you, if it resembles daimwn instead of daiuwv, let me know. It seems to work on an Win 95/Explorer set-up. Other configurations may vary.

This page may be helpful. Or it may just encourage you to clutter up your posts with useless symbols.


Like that.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Not easier, but more intuitive, perhaps . . . -- d'Herblay, 22:42:09 08/29/01 Wed



might produce:


It's a pain in the butt to spell out all the names, but you don't have to remember anything but how to spell the letters and where to put the &s and the ;s.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Semantics -- Ratteltrap, 11:52:49 08/28/01 Tue

It seems to me that we are addressing a problem that has bugged me for some time. Joss and his writers tend to play kind of fast and loose with the term "demon." The case where it bugs me the most is with The Host. He is referred to as a demon despite the fact that he doesn't come from a hell dimension (Pylea, while far from pleasant for humans, was certainly not a world of eternal torment or anything). Nor is he evil--better described as morally ambiguous, but with tendencies that might even be, dare we say it, good. Okay, the green skin and the funny horns peg him as something other than human, but I'm not sure how it makes him a demon. Demon seems to be kind of a wide open word for sentient, non-human life forms regardless of moral orientation or dimensional orientation. Does this have a parallel in any other literature?
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Semantics -- Humanitas, 12:26:53 08/29/01 Wed

"Demon seems to be kind of a wide open word for sentient, non-human life forms regardless of moral orientation or dimensional orientation."

I think that reflects the process of making-it-up-as-he-goes-along that Joss (and almost any other series creator) uses. In the beginning, it's easy - demons can be, well, demonic, and are all evil, because they represent the traumas of growing up. Then, as the characters (and the audience members along with them) get older, we start to see that not all demons are evil, just like not all puzzles in life are traumatic. Alas, by this time we're stuck with the word, and introducing new terms for differently-oriented demons is a sure-fire way to make your show too complex to follow easily, so "demons" it is.
[> [> [> [> [> [> We'll never know, but... -- Humanitas, 13:47:16 08/27/01 Mon guess is that the non-Slayer part of Buffy would've looked suspiciously like Cordelia did in High School.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Nothing wrong with that! -- d'Herblay, 14:02:56 08/27/01 Mon


Actually, based on "The monks made her out of me" and some such, I got the impression that Dawn reflected the non-Slayer part of Buffy.

Which would mean that Slayer powers stunt your growth.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> LOL! -- Solitude1056, 15:18:51 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> The non-slayer part -- Kerri, 15:27:19 08/27/01 Mon

The Cordy-like high school Buffy is something of the past. Buffy being the slayer changed her. It helped to make her what she is and realise what always had inside her-the person who is full of love and willing to sacrafice herself for Dawn and humanity.
Wesley: First Anniversary Character Posting Party - Part 1 -- Sam Gamgee, 22:25:08 08/25/01 Sat


"' The hour is at hand!' Horace Derwent proclaimed. 'Midnight! Unmask! Unmask!'" --Stephen King, The Shining

"Some people wear their smile/like a disguise/those people who smile a lot/watch their eyes/I know it 'cuz I'm like that a lot/you think everything's o.k./and it is/'til it's not" --Ani DiFranco, "Outta Me, Onto You"

Let us get this straight, you and I, so there are no misunderstandings. I do not care for heroes. Never have. I believe heroes have their place, don't get me wrong, but I don't much want to know about them. Let them do their heroic things, which I think we can agree need to be done, and move on. There is to me an undertone of cruelty in heroes I have little tolerance for. Look at Angel in his dealings with Lindsey, Buffy with her sometimes harsh dealings with her best friends, Hercules looking down on his friend Iolaus, and Ferris Beuller expressing his feelings about his friend, Cameron Frye. Okay, maybe that last one didn't really qualify as a hero, but it does lead me to the subject of sidekicks.


"My first thought was, he lied in every word" --Robert Browning, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"

side-kick (sid`kik`), n. 1. a close friend. 2. a confederate or assistant. [1900-05, Amer; SIDE + KICK] --Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

Never judge a book by its cover. Beauty is only skin deep. Cliches like these hold a simple truth we seldom pay attention to. What you see is not always what you get. First impressions are not always the best ones. These sayings, although beaten like a dead horse of a different color, are true, but I still find first impressions hard to overcome. So, when Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (and that name didn't help there. . .the blue-collar guy deep inside me just knew we weren't going to get any good help out of a guy with that name) first comes into view, we immediately jump to a decision about him--one we probably made to a lesser extent when we first met Giles. He portrays a snobbish, bookish, condescending character. I say portray, because on further review, and with hindsight being 20/20, it seems Wes is actually playing a role here. We have never seen or heard the man (just the other side of a phone conversation with Wes), but I think Wes is trying to portray his father, an authority figure with little forgiveness or warmth. It is not a role Wesley wears well, because it is not really him. The characterization cuts little ice with either Buffy or Giles, who, in another look through the wonderful microscopic vision of the future known, seem unnecessarily harsh towards the new Watcher (the cruelty of heroes, friends and neighbors).

Giles: (closes the book, hands it back) You seem to know a lot about them.

Wesley: I didn't get this job because of my looks.

Buffy: I really, really believe that.

-- Bad Girls

It is also in Bad Girls we first see Wesley's, um, fighting ability, which we first perceive to be quite laughable in the Xander-Harmony-slap-fight sort of way. The fighting ability would be displayed in even worse light in Graduation 2. When I saw Wesley in The Ring on AtS I thought, well, that's wrong. The writers are just rewriting character history now. But I am not quite sure now. Because, after all, isn't the same Wesley who begged for mercy from Balthazar the one who stepped in front of Vamp Willow with nary a second thought?

Vamp Willow: No more hiding.

Cordelia backs away as she advances. Suddenly Wesley jumps out and brandishes his cross in her face.

Wesley: (commandingly) Back! Creature of the night!

Vamp Willow growls angrily.

Wesley: (warningly) Leave this place!

Vamp Willow: Don't wanna.

Wesley quickly but nervously reaches into his jacket and pulls out a vial of holy water. Vamp Willow sighs. He holds it up, threatening to throw it on her.

Vamp Willow: (sighs heavily) Whatever.


Wesley spent nine episodes on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, most of which he seemed to act only as a comic foil to Giles and Buffy. But they did set him up as the man he would eventually show us he really is on Angel. I do want to highlight a few things about Wesley while he was in Sunnydale. Looking through the microscope again I see Wesley is a person who continually tries to do the right thing, although it doesn't always turn out that way. When he finds about Faith killing the deputy mayor he immediately contacts the Watcher's Council, which, of course, turns out to be a mistake, but Wesley cannot be blamed for having faith, to be entirely punful, in the Council. The only thing that amazes me more than Wesley blaming himself for Faith's behavior is how much everybody else blamed him for it. And, in Choices, Wesley pushed for an action that, while it may have led to Willow's death, may have saved many lives lost when Graduation Day finally came around.

Wesley: Damn it, you listen to me! This box is the key to the Mayor's Ascension. Thousands of lives depend on our getting rid of it. Now I want to help Willow as much as the rest of you, but we will find another way.

Buffy: There is no other way.

Wesley: You're the one who said take the fight to the Mayor. You were right. This is the town's best hope of survival. It's your chance to get out.

Buffy: You think I care about that? Are you made of human parts?

Giles: Alright! Let's deal with this rationally.

Buffy: Why are you taking his side?

The outbursts of Buffy, Giles, and Wesley clash for a moment, then Wesley's voice breaks out of the babble.

Wesley: You'd sacrifice thousands of lives? Your families, your friends?


Wesley's argument may not have been a very popular one among Willow's friends, but it does correlate to his actions in There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb, in which he makes a similar decision.

Graduation is as much a progression for Wesley as it is for Buffy, although we would not see that until a bit later. Wesley makes a plea with the Council to help Angel when he is poisoned by Faith. When the Council refuses to help a vampire, Buffy quits the Council. Wesley, instead of running back to the Council, volunteers to help the Scooby Gang, despite the lack of enthusiasm shown him.

Buffy, without turning around: The council is not welcome here. I have no time for orders. If I need someone to scream like a woman I'll give you a call.

Wesley: I'm not here for the council. Just tell me how I can help.

Buffy looks up at him.

Cordelia: That is so classy! (looks around at the others) Isn't he just so classy?

Buffy: It's a start.

Wesley: So there is something I can do besides scream like a woman.

Buffy: There is plenty. There are chores for everyone.

--Graduation 2

So, Wesley stays and fights, and stands side-by-side in battle with Angel for the first time, and the last we see him of him in Sunnydale is as he is loaded into an ambulance and trying to get anybody to pay attention to him. Little did we know we would see him again about eight months later in Los Angeles.

Wesley has left Sunnydale, but I am still here, because there is something that makes me wonder. There is something a little familiar about Wesley. . .so familiar I am surprised I never noticed. Wesley reminds me of Xander. Both of them present faces to others so as not to be hurt by them. Both of them do not have good relationships with their fathers. Both had romantic encounters with Cordelia (although Wesley's was not very successful). And, as usual when you meet somebody so like you you do not even notice in a conscious way, they do not get along with each other. Xander and Wesley are people who believe too much in others and not enough in themselves, which is why sometimes when they have to defend themselves they sometimes become clumsy, but when somebody they care about is in danger they are able to step to the plate.


"Perfect valor is to do unwitnessed what we should be capable of doing before all the world" --Duc de La Rochefoucauld

"I can't get what I want/I'm a failure/Nothing seems to work out right/The way I planned/I can't express the way I feel/The way I feel/Without f***ing up/Something else" --Embrace, "Building"

Wesley shows up in L. A. as a rogue demon hunter, having been fired from his job as a Watcher. To be truthful, there was little job for him there, since one Slayer quit and the other went a little around the bend. Wesley, however, believes it to be another display of his incompetence, although he changes the story for others. When he first meets Angel he tries to tell him he left of his own accord. Also, while they are talking Wesley trips over something, but when they are attacked and the demon starts to get the better of Angel, Wesley reacts quickly with the crossbow. Once they find out what the demon is, Angel wants to go track it himself. Wesley wants to go with him, because as a rogue demon hunter that is what he should do, but Angel, who just lost one friend in Doyle, pushes him away. Wesley, in one of his first acts of not backing down, tracks down where the demon is and is able to translate his dying words, in which they learn the empath demon Angel thought he was helping was after Cordelia. When they go back and find Cordelia missing Wes can't help but blame himself (and blaming himself is something he seems to do quite easily--we shall learn later how he picked up that little habit). But Angel finally seems to realize Wesley has actual worth.

Wesley: I'm a fool. The Council was right to sack me. - Yes, I was fired. I had two, two! Slayers in my care. One turns evil and now vegetates in a coma, the other is a renegade. Fire me? I'm surprised they didn't cut my head off. (Angel finds Cordy's crumpled drawing) I'm useless. - A fool. A sniveling great, big...

Angel: Ugly, gray blobby thing.

Wesley: Ugly, gray, blobby thing. What?

Angel: I know this. Its a sculpture by Van Gieson, Maiden with Urn. (Shows it to Wesley) Cordelia saw this in a vision. It could be telling us where Barney took her.

Wesley: So, we ascertain the sculptures whereabouts, Cordelia's whereabouts then you can go rescue her.

Angel: *We* can go rescue her. I need your help, Wesley. The Kungai said Barney wanted the horn for something.

Wesley: Klu(click)ka.

Angel: You're the only one in this room who could translate that. Are you with me? (Wesley gets up and nods) Good.

--Parting Gifts

At the end of Parting Gifts Wesley is slowly allowed to be part of the small family Angel and Cordelia have formed. In Somnambulist he discovers Angel may be committing crimes in a manner he previously used. Wesley is willing to face Angel(us) if he has changed, but there is a very palpable relief when he finds out Angel is not responsible for the crimes. It might be in this episode where Wesley begins to feel the family connection with Angel, willing to confront him if he is on the wrong path and pleased to learn he is not. In the next episode, Expecting, the family circle fully closes around Angel Investigations, as the family bond which involves Angel (father) - Cordelia (daughter) and Angel (father) - Wesley (son) also begins to include Wesley and Cordelia as brother and sister. Of course, Angel could be looked upon as much big brother as father, but I think the position of authority makes the father role more likely. Wesley and Cordelia have gotten down the teasing of siblings, but in Expecting the concern finally begins to show itself. Wesley begins questioning Cordelia's commitment to her job, but quickly goes to her side once he realizes has happened to her.

Cordy: Wesley...

Wesley: Yes?

Cordy whispers: They're not human.

Wesley: I imagine that's true.

Cordy: But, I mean... that could be okay, right? I mean, look at Angel. He's not human. And Doyle, he wasn't either...

Wesley: Shh. Shh.

Cordy: I mean, not totally. (Whispers) He was good.

Wesley, blotting her forehead with a handkerchief: Shh. Shh.

Cordy sinks back into the cushions and closes her eyes with a sigh. Wesley pulls the blanket up to her chin, looks at her for a moment. He turns away to find Angel standing in the door to the bedroom. They look at each other for a moment then Wesley follows Angel into the main apartment.


Cordy: Okay. I learned that I have two people I trust absolutely with my life. - And that part's new.

Wesley, taking a deep breath, looks away, dabs his handkerchief at his eye: Uh, some, uh, allergies.

Cordy smiles at Angel, who looks back at her trying not to laugh.


Wesley's behavior comes to light in I've Got You Under My Skin, after the demon residing inside Ryan reveals the way Wesley's father treated him.

Ryan (in deep demon voice): Your Latin sucks.

Wesley splashes some Holy Water on Ryan then goes to pick up the book.

Wesley: I know your tricks. You'll not deter *me* from what must be done.

Ryan (in demon voice): *You* do something? What makes you think you can do anything?

Wesley: In odorem suavitatis. Tu autem effugare, diabole. Appropinquabit enim judicium dei.

Ryan (demon voice): You couldn't even 'watch!' (Wesley stares at Ryan) Everyone knows you got fired because you couldn't do anything right. Nothing is going to make him proud of you.

Wesley: Skimming the surface of my mind : *very* good. But a mere parlor trick. Here's one for you (Puts down the bottle of Holy Water and thrusts a cross into Ryan's face) How many crosses am I holding up? Omnis spiritus immunde. In nomine dei.

Ryan (in Wesley's voice): All those hours locked up under the stairs and you still weren't good enough. Not good enough for Daddy, not good enough for the Council.

Wesley blinks then looks back at the book: Omnis spiritus. . . (Starts to flip the pages) Uh, that is to say.

Ryan (in demon voice): Lose your place? What makes you think these people want you around any more than the others did?

Angel, coming through the door: Because I invited him here.

Ryan (in demon voice to Angel): Then you're stupider than he is.

Angel and Wesley look at each other then Wesley takes a deep breath, holds up the cross and starts again.

Wesley: Tu autem..

Ryan (in demon voice): Go ahead, Wesley, tell him why he's a fool to trust you.

Wesley: Effugare, diabole.

Ryan (in Angel's voice): Tell him how you plan to kill him.

Wesley (to Angel): That's not true.

Ryan (in demon voice): Oh, no? He's more afraid of you than he is of me.

--I've Got You Under My Skin

Two things of importance happen after the demon rebuffs Wesley. One, although the demon temporarily stopped Wesley, he is able to back up Angel when he restarts the exorcism. Two, Angel gives Wesley the acceptance he has always been looking for. Wesley, like so many other members of the Buffy universe, is looking for the family to accept him like his own will not.

Wesley: Angel, before we go any further, I just wanted to reassure you, in as much as we will be fighting side by side, what that demons said before..

Angel: I know you're not planning to kill me, Wesley. - But you're willing to, and that's good. Now come on.

--I've Got You Under My Skin

It isn't until The Ring I think we can really see what Wesley is made of. When Angel is captured and Wesley goes to the bookie to find out what happened, he doesn't have anybody around to watch and judge him, except for the bookie and his cronies, whom Wesley cares little about. It is only when he is around those whose opinions he cares about Wesley becomes clumsy.

Wesley: I'm Wesley Wyndham-Pryce. And I'm looking for my employer. He came here to question you about Jack Macnamara.

Ernie: Maybe you didn't notice. I'm kind of busy here.

Wesley: Where is he?

Ernie: Your boss gave me 200 Dollars to answer his questions. I'm a businessman. Make an offer.

Wesley: You should understand, the man I work for means a great deal to me. And I will not give you a single red cent. What I will do, Sir, is beat it out of you if I have to.

The guys in the room break out into laughter.

Ernie: You're from another country, right? (Wesley pulls a crossbow from behind his back) What are you, Robin Hood?

Ernie pulls out a gun, put Wesley shoots the gun out of his hand, the metal dart pinning Ernie's hand to the wall. The gun slides across the floor and Wesley picks it up and aims it at the rest of the men as they are going for their guns.

Wesley: Please drop those.

The guys drop their guns, and Wesley puts down the crossbow, keeping the gun trained on the three goons.

Wesley (to the guy that was getting beat up): You can go now.

The man runs out and Wesley, keeping the three goons covered, goes and starts to twiddle the dart stuck in Ernie's hand. Ernie moans in pain.

Wesley: And where is my employer?

--The Ring

Surely that cannot be the same Wesley who slipped and fell because of coffee grounds on the floor. But it is. I have to go back to Xander, who in a fight with the Sisterhood of Jhe is pretty much knocked around while there are two slayers around, but when he must face Jack O'Toole over a bomb in the school basement and there is nobody else around to take care of things, or to see and judge him, Xander is able to outmaneuver Jack.

Eternity shows how well Wesley has gotten to know Angel. When Angel doesn't want to be a bodyguard for Rebecca Lowell, Wesley realizes it is because Angel is afraid of getting too close to her. And, when Rebecca slips a drug into Angel's drink, temporarily turning him into Angelus, Angelus attacks Wesley where he is most vulnerable. However, Wesley is able to recover from this, something he might not have been able to do before.

Wesley: I don't wish to resort to drastic measures, but unless you listen, I warn you..

Angel: You warning me? What happened, Wes? - Did you suddenly grow a pair? Well, that's it, isn't it? I mean, that's the whole root of your inferiority complex. Well, good news, Wes, old boy! You don't really have an inferiority complex. You're just simply - inferior.

Angel picks Wesley up and tosses him into a corner, knocking him out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wesley charges Angel with a scream and pushes him into the open elevator shaft. Cordy and Wesley look down to see that Angel is out cold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wesley, leaving: You walk a fine line Angel. - I don't envy you.

Angel: Wesley (Wes looks back at him) nice moves up there. (Wes smiles a little, then leaves)


In Five by Five and Sanctuary, Wesley faces what he considers his biggest failure, the job of Watcher. He blames himself for Faith, although in truth there was very little that could have been done even if Giles were her Watcher. It doesn't help matters much that both Angel and Faith push the blame onto him.

Wesley: That's not good enough! She's not a demon, Angel. She is a sick, sick girl. If there is even a chance she can be reasoned with...

Angel: There was. Last year I had a shot at saving her. I was pulling her back from the brink when some British guy kidnapped her and made damn sure she'd never trust a living soul.

Cordy: Angel, it's not Wesley's fault that *some* British guy ruined your... - oh. Wait (to Wesley) that was you. (To Angel) Go on. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faith: Did you ever wonder if things would have been different - if we'd never met. What if you'd had Buffy - and Giles would have been my Watcher? You think you'd still be here right now? Or would Giles be sitting in that chair? - Or is it just like fate. You know, there is no choice. You were gonna be here no matter what. - (Picks up a spray can) You think about that stuff? - Fate - and destiny. (Walks over to Wesley) I don't. (Depresses the top of the spray can and holds the lighter flame into the spray igniting it where Wesley can get a good look at the resulting flame shooting forth) Not that any of this is your own fault. (Flames again) Since this may be - the last chance we will have to unload on each other, I feel that it is kind of my duty to tell you that if you'd been a better Watcher, I might have been a more positive role model! (Flames again) - Face it, Wesley, you really were a jerk. Always walking around as if you had some great big stake rammed up your - English Channel. (Frowns and takes the gag out) - I think I want to hear you scream.

Wesley: You never will.

--Five by Five

It is even more telling about Wesley the first thing he does after showing up for work the day after being tortured by Faith is show concern for Cordy, who was elbowed in the face by Faith. After getting into an argument with Angel about Faith--and after apparently deciding maybe Faith wasn't entirely his fault as he assumed--Wesley is confronted by Council goons who want him to help them capture Faith. Despite his own feelings about Faith, Wesley has belief in Angel and attempts to lead the Council astray, and when that doesn't work he counterattacks members of the Council in order to help Angel.

Wesley: Angel, it wasn't for her.

Angel: I know.

Wesley: It's because I trust you. (Angel drops down into the sewers, Wesley follows) Well, more than three gun-toting maniacs at any rate.


After Angel takes the prophecies of Aberjian from Wolfram & Hart, Wesley interprets them to say Angel will die. When Angel hardly reacts at all to this Wesley knows it is not so much the prophecy but Angel's reaction that is the big problem.

Wesley: The fact that his death is prophesied - which isn't good news - doesn't concern me nearly as much as the way he took that news.

Cordy: What? He didn't scream like a girl as some of us would have? (Sits back down) Angel's cool.

Wesley: Angel's cut off. Death doesn't bother him because - there is nothing in life he wants! It's our desires that make us human.

Cordy, eating her doughnut: Angel is kind of human. - He's got a soul.

Wesley: He's got a soul - but he's not a part of the world. (Gets up) He-he can never be part of the world.

Cordy: Because he doesn't want stuff? - That's ridiculous. (Wesley takes her doughnut away from her) Hey! I want that!

Wesley: What connects us to life?

Cordy: Right now? I'm going with doughnuts.

Wesley: What connects us to life is the simple truth that we are part of it. - We live, we grow, we change. - But Angel...

Cordy: Can't do any of those things. - Well, what are you saying, Wesley? - That Angel has nothing to look forward to? That he's going to go on forever, the same, in the world, but always cut off from it?

Wesley: Yes.

--To Shanshu in L.A.


--"Tonight there's fallen angels and/they're waiting for us down on the street/Tonight there's calling strangers/hear them crying in defeat/Let them go, let them go, let them go/do their dances of the dead" --Bruce Springsteen, "Drive All Night"

Dressing the wound hurt. Everything that has happened since has hurt. But sometimes when I find the key and climb deep into myself where the images of fate lie aslumber in the dark mirror, I need only bend over the dark mirror to behold my own image, now completely resembling him, my brother, my master. --Herman Hesse, Damien

If Wesley's first appearance in the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer displays him wearing the mask to protect his real self, and his appearance on Angel shows him beginning to take off the mask, then the first half of season 2 of Angel is about having him put the mask aside. There is very little reason for him to wear masks now (except in situations such as Guise Will Be Guise, in which he wore a mask not for his sake, but to protect others). In the second half of the season he will again don the mask when he is thrust into a situation he does not believe he is capable of handling.

Judgment begins with Wesley comfortable in his job; he has found his niche, and believes he is doing good by helping Angel achieve his shanshu. He is not afraid of fighting in front of others now--he no longer feels disapproving judgment.

As Angel Investigations move offices into an abandoned hotel, Wesley is able to move from wary subordinate to confident sidekick.

Angel: You know, I-I don't need a helmet for protection.

Wesley: Angel. It's the law in California. You want us to get pulled over?

Angel: No.

Wesley: Then what's the problem?

Angel: Well, it-it's just, you know - the whole - visibility issue, not to mention the whole hat-head thing and if you really think about it, how come I have to wear the ladies helmet?

Wesley: Stop being such a wanker and put it on!

Angel looks like he wants to protest some more but Wesley just looks at him. Angel puts the helmet on and looks at Wesley. Wesley suppresses a smile while he puts his own (black) helmet on.

Wesley: Good. Hop on board, gorgeous.

Angel: You'll pay for this.

--First Impressions

Wesley is able to use his intelligence and perhaps his own unpleasant experience with his own father to discern what caused Bethany's power in Untouched.

Bethany: You don't even know what I'm going through! I shouldn't even be here!

Wesley: I agree. (Bethany spins around as Wesley walks down the steps into the garden court) It's clear this girl doesn't want our help. I don't think we should be wasting our time with her.

Angel: Wesley...

Wesley: I'm sorry, but there are people out there who need us. People with much more serious problems than impulse-control issues.

Angel: Look, that's enough.

Wesley: Why doesn't she go back to her friend's, toss the furniture about. (Steps closer to Bethany) Or maybe we should send you home to your father.

Bethany gasps and Wesley flies back against the wall. Angel steps towards her, she sees it and he goes flying back out into the sun of the courtyard. He quickly scrambles back under the protection of the veranda, smoking ever so slightly and watches Bethany as she looks around at what she just did.


Beginning with Dear Boy Wesley acts as the voice of caution in Angel's ear (a voice, unfortunately, not listened to) by first suggesting Angel may be imagining he is seeing Darla, and, when it is discovered Darla has actually been brought back, by suggesting he be careful, although Angel seems intent to follow the path Wolfram & Hart sets before him.

Guise Will Be Guise shows Wesley putting the mask back on, but this time it is not to protect who he really is, but to protect his friends. When Benny pulls a gun on Cordelia, threatening her if Angel doesn't show up, Wesley quickly steps into the role. Despite a few missteps (and, hey, who wouldn't have some? After all, Cordelia is the actor in the family, and she probably couldn't have pulled off playing a vampire any better than Wes could), he is able to convince Magnus Bryce he is actually Angel. Also, despite the fact his deception gets him more respect, not to mention some quality time with Virginia Bryce he doesn't seem very comfortable with the role. He continues to play Angel after removing Cordelia from danger because he knows Virginia is still in trouble, and he is better able to protect her as Angel than as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.

Wesley is the first one to point out the truth of the situation, which is that Wolfram & Hart brought Darla back specifically for the purpose of turning Angel. Wesley tries to be a good friend and reason with Angel about this, but as with most heroes, Angel tends to have a one-track mind when it comes to certain matters. Wesley's main purpose after Guise Will Be Guise is to serve as the little angel (so-to-speak) on Angel's shoulder, there to lend assistance which is all too often ignored or too late. When he learns about the Shroud of Rahmon, he goes after Angel, a little too late to save him, but soon enough to get knocked around for his trouble and nearly arrested.

It is in Reunion we start to slowly see the passing of leadership from Angel to Wesley. It is not at all explicit, but it is there. Angel is an excellent soldier, but is not really made to be a leader. He is too single-minded and goes towards his one goal without thought to other situations. Wesley is nowhere the soldier Angel is, and never will be, but he is able to see more than one side to every situation.

Wesley: Angel, we're not done here.

Angel: I am.

Wesley: The Powers That Be must have had a good reason for sending us here.

Angel: I don't have time to figure that out.

Gunn: Maybe that's the plan. Maybe they're trying to keep you from going on this mission.

Wesley: In any case *that* young man still clearly needs our help!

Angel: Go help him. I got more important things to do, okay?

Wesley looks at Gunn as Angel walks out.


Of course, Wesley is right. If Angel had not continued on he might not have been involved with the massacre at Holland's wine-tasting, which led Angel to the dark side with nary a chance to return. It is also another case of Wesley being able to see the big picture, such as he did when he rebelled against trading the box for Willow's life and as he will again in Pylea, when he must sacrifice other men for the greater good. It is not something he likes to do, but it is something he realizes needs to be done. Saving one life is seen as often heroic, but saving many lives at the expense of one or few is often seen in darker light. Angel is a hero, and will save the one. Wesley is a realist, and will save as many as he can.

Cordy: You have to change the way you've been doing things. - Don't you see where this is taking you?

Wesley: Listen to her! Right now the three of us are all that's standing between you and real darkness.

Gunn: Best believe that, man.

Angel, quietly after a beat: I do. - You're all fired.

Angel gets up and walks away while the other three sit there like frozen statues.


It is in this moment Wesley loses his second father figure. Like the first one, Angel has turned away from him, and the rejection will send Wesley off his path momentarily, but it will also come to strengthen him.
[> Wesley: First Anniversary Character Posting Party - Part 2 -- Sam Gamgee, 22:27:05 08/25/01 Sat


"'What am I to do then?' he cried again, and now he seemed plainly to know the hard answer: see it through. Another lonely journey, and the worst. 'What? Me, alone, go to the Crack of Doom and all?' He quailed still, but the resolve grew. 'What? Me take the Ring from him? The Council gave it to him.' But the answer came at once: 'And the Council gave him companions, so that the errand should not fail. And you are the last of all the Company. The errand must not fail.' 'I wish I wasn't the last,' he groaned. 'I wish old Gandalf was here, or somebody. Why am I left all alone to make up my mind? I'm sure to go wrong. And it's not for me to go taking the Ring, putting myself forward.' 'But you haven't put yourself forward; you've been put forward. And as for not being the right and proper person, why, Mr. Frodo wasn't, as you might say, nor Mr. Bilbo. They didn't choose themselves.' 'Ah, well, I must make up my own mind. I will make it up. But I'll be sure to go wrong; that'd be Sam Gamgee all over. 'Let me see now; if we're found here, or Mr. Frodo's found, that's the end of us all, of Lorien, and Rivendell, and the Shire and all. And there's no time to lose, or it'll be the end anyway. The war's begun, and more than likely things are all going the Enemy's way already. No chance to go back with It and get advice or permission. No, it's sit here till they come and kill me over master's body, and gets It; or take It and go.' He drew a deep breath. "Then take It, it is!'"

--J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

As Redefinition begins Wesley, Cordelia, and Gunn are standing outside the hotel with their possessions, without jobs. The job is all they really had, besides each other, so Angel took not only a paycheck away, but their very purpose. They would all be slightly bowed before deciding to continuing to keep up the fight, with or without Angel.

Wesley: It has to do with - Darla being made a vampire again and hooking up with Drusilla and... The three of them have a very tangled past. - My guess is, he'll be hunting them down and he doesn't want anyone in his way.

Virginia: Well, his loss it the world's gain. You'll get another job just like that! (Snaps her fingers) What else can you do?

Wesley: Not much.


Which is of course not quite the truth. As Giles can be a librarian or the owner of a magic shop, so could Wesley apply his intelligence towards something else. The truth it, there is nothing else he wants to do. So, after a night of too much drinking and way too much singing at Caritas (where we also start to see the bond between Gunn and Wesley grow--Wesley may have lost his father figure, but he has gained a brother), and a vision from Cordelia, they fight a demon themselves, and begin to see they can exist with or without Angel.

Gunn: If we had Angel, we could track her.

Cordy: He's also kill the big, spiny demon that took her. Did I mention that its teeth are about three inches long?

Gunn: And us with no weapons? Man, I wish Angel was here.

Wesley: Well, he's not! (They turn to stare at Wes) Angel's walked away from his duty. We're not going to. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wesley: I thought you might like to know we're keeping the agency open - with or without you.

Angel stands with his back to Wesley, facing the target, silent.

Wesley: You may have turned your back on your mission, but we haven't.

There is still no reaction from Angel, so Wesley turns to walk back up the stairs.

Wesley: Someone has to fight the good fight.


Wesley leaves Angel, echoing the words first voiced by Doyle, and turning his back on his friend, whom he may very well have wanted to save (or attempt to save), in order to protect the many. Wesley has gone from comic foil to faithful sidekick to a tough-decision-making general. It is not a role he wants, and it is a role he will find hard to fill for a while, as he relies on his only other experience as a leader, being a Watcher, to guide his behavior.

In Blood Money Gunn and Wesley continue the good teamwork they showed in Redefinition, defeating a dragon. Gunn gives Wesley the nickname "English", which I like for reasons I just can't explain. And they and Cordy start to talk about opening their own agency. In Happy Anniversary they actually do move into their new office (if you want to use that terminology) and get their first non-Angel case thanks to Virginia Bryce, which Wesley solves in a very Hercule Poirot-esque manner.

Gunn: No, no. You need help, you're in the right place. We can talk in back. Come on in.

Man: Which one of you is Angel?

The three of them exchange a glance.

Wesley: It's just a name.

--Happy Anniversary

Wesley throws himself in front of danger in The Thin Dead Line, when he tries to stop Gunn's "dumb plan" of videotaping zombie cops attacking him. One of the zombie cops shoots Wesley. It is after this shooting Virginia realizes the danger in his job.

Virginia: I don't know. - But sometimes I feel like I should be wrapped in bandages - to keep *my* insides from falling out.

Wesley (swallowing): This is difficult for you, isn't it?

Virginia: I just don't like to see you hurt.

Wesley: No. - I mean - I mean breaking up with me.

Virginia looks up at Wesley, but doesn't say anything.


After Angel has his Epiphany and rescues Wesley from the Skilosh demons Wesley is not quite sure how he should react. Equal parts happiness and disappointment show. As Angel tries to make small talk with him, Wesley attempts to keep it on a business basis. It is only when Angel mentions Cordelia that Wesley lets his feelings vent.

Angel: Well, maybe she's just out on a date or with her friends or something.

Wesley: That's unlikely.

Angel: It's Friday night, Wesley.

Wesley: So?

Angel: So, we are talking about the same Cordelia Chase, right?

Wesley: That's correct.

Angel: Knowing her...

Wesley: But you don't. You don't know her at all. For months now you haven't cared to. Otherwise you might have realized that our Cordelia has become a very solitary girl. She's not the vain, carefree creature she once was... Well, certainly not carefree. - It's the visions, you see. The visions that were meant to guide you. You could turn away from them. She doesn't have that luxury. She knows and experiences the pain in this city, and because of who she is, she feels compelled to do something about it. - It's left her little time for anything else. - You'd have known that - if you hadn't had you head firmly up your... place that isn't on top of your neck.


Perhaps Angel realizes Wesley is right, because he then offers to work for them rather than the other way around.

Wesley: Before you say any more I think I should tell you, we've all discussed this, and none of us are ready just yet...

Angel: It's okay, Wesley. I don't want you to come back and work for me.

Wesley: Oh. I see.

Angel: I wanna work for you.

Gunn: You wanna work for us?

Angel: Yeah. I do.


So the role reversal is complete. And somehow, maybe without a word, Wesley is put in charge of the agency. He is the natural choice, but he reacts pretty much the same way he did when made a Watcher--with a slightly pompous attitude used to disguise his fear of others relying on him. It was a bit easier when he, Gunn, and Cordelia were working as a team, but now the pressure of the leadership role takes its toll.

Wesley: Be sensitive to their feelings, their opinions, especially before you take some action one might construe as - oh, let's just call it insane. It goes a long way to show you - appreciate and respect them. (Wesley drops out of his lecturing tone for a moment) This is torture for you, isn't it. --Disharmony

Angel (quietly): Yeah, well, we'll just have to, you know, talk to Cordelia. Get her to...

Gunn: Dig a little deeper?

Wesley (clapping Angel on the shoulder): Go ahead. Probably best not to crowd her.

Angel: Me? You're the one in charge now.

Wesley (sighing): You're right. (he starts to walk past Angel) That's why I'm assigning this one to you.

--Dead End

Soon after Wesley makes a phone call which returns him to the path of doubting himself again.

Wesley: Yes, mum. Yes, well, put him on. - Right. You too. - Hello father. Happy Birthday. - How are you? - Good. - No! It's going quite well actually. - Yes. I have news. - I've been put in charge of our group. - Yes, as their leader. No, it's a permanent position. Well as permanent as these things... - (the smile on Wesley's face fades away into nothing) - No, I certainly won't be fired. - Ah. Well, yes, I was that one time, yes. - Again... No, you're right. I see how... - Yes, I'd forgotten, thank you. - Yes. - Ah, just recently. Uhm, it's going quite well so far. - - No, I think this time... - I hope it will be different. - No. No, you're right. I see how... - I just thought you'd be... I thought you'd want to know, that's all. - Right. Well - again, happy birthday. - Okay.


The phone call really puts Wesley off his game. When Gunn asks him for a description of the Haklar demon they are supposed to kill, Wesley goes off on a long monologue about mating rituals, weight, and speech patterns, relapsing to his over-winded Watcher mode. It doesn't help matters much when the Host comes for their assistance and Angel automatically starts to make decisions, and then attacks the Drokken demon without a plan from Wesley. When Cordelia is accidentally sucked into the portal into Pylea, Wesley understands how little leadership he has when Angel usurps it from him.

Wesley: Okay, let's approach this logically.

Angel: Screw logic. We're getting Cordy back. We're gonna open up another portal and we're going in after her.

Wesley: Angel, I don't think that's a good idea.

Angel: Wesley, I don't think I care.

Wesley: But we're completely unprepared. We should go back to the hotel, do some research."

Angel: I don't wanna research, alright? I wanna jump through the big swirly hole thingy and save Cordelia! (Angel starts to read from the book, but Wesley grabs him by the arm and pulls him around to face him).

Wesley: We might never be able to get back!

--Over the Rainbow

When they finally get to Pylea they are captured and discover Cordelia has been made a princess. When they realize Wolfram & Hart may have connections with Pylea (and Cordy may have to Com-shuk with a groosalug) they attempt to escape. But Cordy is left behind, and Wes and Gunn are left by themselves. After being attacked by the Pylea-version of Angel's demon side, they are taken captured by rebels. They are about to be executed by the rebels when the rebels are attacked by Imperial guards. Wesley and Gunn fight the Imperial guards even though they are in stocks at the time. Although the rebels release them Wesley and Gunn decide to stay and fight alongside the rebels.

Wesley: If you do they'll cut you down. You can not wage a frontal attack against a stronger opponent. - This kind of battle can only be won through guerilla warfare. (They all just look at him) By being sneaky! You create a diversion then you strike at several different points at once. While they are looking ahead, you come from behind.

Sasha: And kill their leader.

Wesley: Yes.

Bartok: Silas, their head priest.

Sasha: It's a good plan.

Bartok: I agree.

Sasha: You shall lead us!

Wesley: Wha... Me? No, no, no, I was just suggesting that...

Bartok: No, no, you fought well. The Covenant hates you. And you know the princess.

Sasha: And you have a *plan*.

Bartok: Besides, our leader is dead. Hail to our new leader!

Rebels yell: Hail!

Wesley (aside to Gunn): Why do people keep putting me in charge of things?

Gunn: I have no idea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wesley: We'll worry about defeating him later. Our first step is to get him out of there. Once he's out we'll create diversions here, here and here. (Sets some rocks on a map on the table in front of him.) Then a few of us will scale their back wall here where their defenses are weakest.

Gunn: I wouldn't split my crew up this much if I was leading this charge.

Wesley: I'm leading this charge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wesley: These, ah (sees that all the rebels are gone) those were the rebels. We've joined forces.

Gunn: They made Wes their general.

Wesley: But you're here now. Ah (Indicates the battle plan) if you want to... I mean - you're much better at...

Angel: No, Wes, I-I can't... - You know what happens to me. (Looks down) I-I'm sorry... (Looks at Gunn) ...ashamed of what I did to you.

--There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb

Although Wesley offers to give over the leadership of the rebels, saying Angel is better at it, it is really not true. Angel is definitely better at hand-to-hand, but planning--well, he did the teach at the university of dumb-planning. It is perhaps Angel's rejection of the leadership that gives Wesley the confidence to finally put his fear and self-doubt behind.

Gunn: I'm only gonna say this once. The guys you send to create those diversions are gonna die.

Wesley (after a beat): Yes they are. (Gets up and looks at Gunn) You try not to get anybody killed you wind up getting everybody killed. (To the camp) Get ready to move out.

Angel: What do you want me to do?

Wesley: Go to the village. Call out the groosalug - and kill him.

Angel: Kill their undefeated champion. - I can't do that without turning into the beast.

Wesley: I know.

Angel: Look, when I fired you guys the reason I... Darkness was coming out in me. I didn't want you near it. - The thing that comes out here is ten times worse. - Wes - I do this - you know I won't come back from it.

Wesley: Yes, you will. I know you. (Glances over at Gunn) We know you. We know you're a man with a demon inside - not the other way around. *We* know you have the strength to do what needs to be done, and you will come back to us.

Angel and Wes look at each other for a long moment.

Fred: I could go with you. I know how to prepare the challenge torch.

Wesley: You'll come back.

Angel looks over at Gunn, whose face remains expressionless, then he and Fred leave.

Gunn: You really think he'll come back?

Wesley (turning to leave): I need him* to think it.

Gunn stares after Wesley.

--There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb


I started so many pages ago with the statement there is a bit of cruelty in heroes, and perhaps some might think what Wesley ends up becoming is also an example of the same cruelty. There might be a point there, but I like to think, while heroes have a disdain for even those they save, people like Wesley, who step up when it is called upon, then fade in the background when they are no longer needed, are not cruel--they realize you can't save everybody, so you must do what you can to save as many as you can.

As for the future, who knows where it will lead Wesley? I like to think he will still be the leader of Angel Investigations, willing to let Angel fight the battle and contribute what he must and when he must. Because, even though he is the leader, he is really still a sidekick. Heroes may fight and conquer, and lose and die, but they will always have the sidekick by their side, standing tall when things look their grimmest, and fighting the good fight.

"At last they rode over the downs and took the East Road, and then Merry and Pippen rode on to Buckland; and already they were singing again as they went. But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap. He drew a deep breath. 'Well, I'm back,' he said."

---J. R. R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Transcript notes are thanks to Psyche Transcripts.

Many thanks also go to Rufus and JodithGrace for providing insights, questions, and many puns and rhyming riffs.
[> [> Kudos! -- Solitude1056, 23:37:03 08/25/01 Sat

You've blown me away. I always thought Wesley was pompous, but at the same time felt kinda bad for him - he came in at the end, into a tightly-knit group. No matter how good he would've been, Buffy was predisposed to be irritated with him, and that would set the tone for the rest of the group. Didn't help when he was in over his head, either. And I appreciate that you highlighted his abilities as a leader - his role in Pylea is actually my favorite, especially his discussion with Gunn about having to sacrifice a few to save the many. It seemed to me at the time that this was the completion of Gunn's arc, who was beating himself up for not saving the one, and not realizing (in the practical way I'd come to expect from Gunn) that such sacrifices are sometimes necessary. Wesley was an unexpected source for the lesson, but in retrospect, the only one who could've delivered it with any credibility.

Again, major kudos. ;-)
[> [> [> Re: Kudos! -- Sam Gamgee, 23:42:26 08/25/01 Sat


Although I wasn't overly fond of the arc when I first saw it, Wesley and Gunn's story from Belonging to TNPLPG are my favorite part of the last season (I think a lot of my dislike has to do with my opinion a lot of stuff was dropped, such as Darla and Dru, not to mention the fact I miss Lindsey). I do hope whatever else they do next season they don't forget about the friendship between Gunn and Wesley.

And I could have gone on and on about Gunn in Pylea, also. But Rufus is already complaining my essay is killing trees in Canada as I write this.
[> [> Wow -- LadyStarlight, 07:04:12 08/26/01 Sun

I only started watching Buffy and Angel in November of 2000, so Wesley has been somewhat of a mystery to me. This makes me understand him much more. Great job.
[> [> Damn, Sam, ya'all one of us, fer sure! :-) -- OnM, 07:08:08 08/26/01 Sun

Have to skedaddle at the moment, just dropped in for a quick check of the board, and I scanned over the first parts of your most excellent-looking post.

Didn't get to read it all yet, I will when I get back home later this afternoon, but anyone who references Stephen King, Ani DeFranco and Ferris Bueller all in the first few paragraphs is OK by me!

Eagerly looking forward to some excessive thinking,

Yours truly,

[> [> [> Makes me love Wes a lot more! -- Nina, 09:12:49 08/26/01 Sun

Let's confess it! Rowan you had a wonderful idea when you suggested those characters threads! (here's a toast to you!) I can't believe how it opens us all to see all those characters in a new light. Instead of seeing them with the same, unobjective eye, we get to see those characters through someone elses eyes and I love some characters a lot more than before now! (okay the word "character" comes back a little too often here!;)

Wes is one of them! I always had a lot of pleasure when Wesley was in a scene. Especially in Buffy. He was hilarious in his goofiness. Yet like you mention it Sam, I always felt there was more to him even then. I never believed that any person in the world in born with a tie and a stick in his bottom! What he has become on AtS this year is proof of that. I am really looking forward to seing him evolved as friend and a leader and a fighter and well maybe he'll get lucky and find some romance too!

A little tidbit:

When you look at that:

"Wesley: Damn it, you listen to me! This box is the key to the Mayor's Ascension. Thousands of lives depend on our getting rid of it. Now I want to help Willow as much as the rest of you, but we will find another way. "

Does it recall you a certain watcher in the Gift? Wesley wants to save the world and is ready to sacrifice Willow for it. Giles wants to save the world and is ready to sacrifice Dawn for it. In the end both characters are truly watchers and have sworn to protect this sorry world. They act the best they can in those circumstances. Wesley's honesty and sense of justice is what makes him ultimately a good man.
[> [> Quote from To Shanshu in LA -- Cactus Watcher, 09:26:29 08/26/01 Sun

Wesley's statement about growing and living is very significant. Of all the characters in the Buffy/Angel cycle I think it could be said that Wesley has done the most growing up. Buffy has done a lot of growing up to be sure, but some of it is an act. When push comes to shove, Buffy still wants mommy, and frequently tries to act like mommy would whether it's appropriate or not. Often Buffy is the 900 pound gorilla, that the Scoobies desperately need, but whose thought patterns don't always inspire confidence. Wesley, on the other hand, has progressed from an overaged sophomore to someone whose judgement others are willing to trust with their lives.

It is unfortunate that the same scene represents one of the great prop screw-ups of the cycle. That demonic, self-repairing donut is always up in the characters' faces and makes it difficult to pay any attention to what they are saying.
[> [> Well done, Sam! -- Wisewoman, 11:02:50 08/26/01 Sun

As Nina has said, these character posts were a brilliant idea on rowan's part. It's such a luxury to focus on the arc of just one character over the five (or however many) years they've been on the show. And to realize that part of the appeal of BtVS is that no one is static. Everyone has changed and grown, and that's reality.

Thanks, Sam.

[> [> The need for approval..........Wesley Rougue Demon Hunter..... -- Rufus, 13:24:45 08/26/01 Sun

I have loved Wesley since he was introduced on BVS. He was prissy and stuck by the rules, at least at first. His enchantment with Cordelia proved at least that he was human. Cordelia didn't see a prissy, uptight Watcher, she saw "James Bond". What did Cordy see that everyone else missed. Wesleys distress over his carnal feelings for "Miss. Chase" made for many funny scenes.

Later, Giles is watching the dancing and Wesley approaches him. Wesley: Mr. Giles. I'd like your opinion. While the last thing I want to do is model bad behavior in front of impressionable you, I wonder if asking Miss Chase to dance would.....

Giles: For God's sake, man, she's eighteen. And you have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone. Just have at it, would you, and stop fluttering about. (walks away)

Wesley: Right then. Thanks for that. The Prom

Wesley may have been a Watcher by title but he was rather immature for such a position. He tried to take the helm but the Slayers and Giles weren't ready to be controlled, not by the council and not by someone they could sense was not up to the job....yet. The thing that I was impressed with in regards to Wesley was the fact that he was desperately searching for approval, and it showed in his leadership. Everyone knew, even Wesley that he was new to giving orders. But this man who seemed such a coward had so many conflicting emotions that he was interesting to me. In Earshot, Wesley was horrified to find out the Buffy had the ability to hear his thoughts. First Buffy plucked the sexual, constant sexual inner talk of the hormonally charged Xander, but that was to be expected. Then she got a glimpse of the thoughts of Wesley.

Xander: What am I gonna do? I think about sex all of the time! Sex! Help! 4 times 5 is thirty. 5 times 6 is 32. Naked girls. Naked Women! Naked Buffy! Oh stop me!

Buffy: God Xander! Is that all you think about?

Xander: Actually....bye. Xander runs from the library.

Wesley: Xander has just illustrated something. Chances are, you're all going to be thinking whatever you least want Buffy to hear. It's a question, of course, of mental discipline.

Giles: He's right. There are.....

Wesley: Look at Cordelia. No! Don't look at Cordelia! She's a student! Oh I am a bad man, I'm a bad bad man! Buffy gazes intently at him.

Wesley may be wearing the suit and tie of the adult but his reactions are most decidedly that of an adolecent. He can't control his feelings about Cordelia, but also can't gather the courage to say something to her. Wesley may not have been thinking about naked women like Xander, but his emotional maturity was what singled him out as unfit to lead others. So, why would an adult not have grown up. I think once you get over to the series Angel and Wesleys past is slightly looked at, you can see a fellow who is looking for approval so intentley from anyone that whenever he does something that will be under scrutiny, he chokes. Wesley is like Xander, he has the skill to be the best, but lacks the maturity and confidence to use it without thinking too much about what others think of him. His experience with his father is closely related to why he can be so insecure and clumsy. Angel has that same history and can understand the need for approval. Angel ended up killing the parent to win the battle. Wesley did cartwheels to get the approval of his father. The thing is that the problem rests with the father. The father is so stuck in his own messy feelings that he will never change. Wesleys father may never see him in a flattering way, only content to assert the father role by belittling his son. Wesley has begun go grow up. He has begun to work past that need for approval by the parent and others. Angel is going to be forever tortured by his final solution to the father war, but Wesley may have a chance to learn by Angels mistakes.

Sam, you wrote one fine essay, but I may be just a tad bit biased. You will remember how much I loved your review of "The Gift" and let us all have a look at it.
[> [> [> Okay, for you, Rufus -- Sam Gamgee, 16:12:01 08/26/01 Sun

I think there is supposed to be a little more to this, but this is all I have left of my review. The rest may be floating around on a board that will remain nameless

Okay, I have watched the episode three times now, and pretty much like everybody else, I am going to throw my thoughts over the battle field and see if they explode.

First I want to comment on the individual characters/actors.

Buffy: The episode was called "The Gift", but it might as well been called "Acceptance". The greatest example of this, of course, is Buffy. She accepts being the slayer means putting her life on the line. And, more importantly (at least to me), she accepts Dawn as her sister. Yes, she has said it before, but showing and telling are quite different--I will get into that later. I loved the way SMG portrayed Buffy's weariness throughout the episode. Also, the run towards the portal--total, total acceptance.

Dawn: Okay, if I weren't way too old, I would say I am in love with MT. She did such a good job acting I even rewatched her scenes with Ben, who didn't impress me at all this episode (his performance, thankfully, did not take away from my enjoyment of the episode). I think the greatest moment of acting in this episode was the look on Dawn's face when Buffy turns towards the portal and then back to Dawn, and Dawn understands what Buffy is thinking. And, of course, acceptance here, also. Dawn understand what she would have to do and would have, if not for Buffy.

Giles: well, I had problems with this at first. Giles, the killer. But I grew to accept it, as Giles accepted that sometimes we have to do the wrong things for the right reasons.

Spike: I have been stuck in the middle of this situation all season--not really a redemptionist, not really all "Spike is evil". But last night Spike convinced me. He may still be evil; he may not have a soul; but, damn it, he did love Buffy (and, hey, more acceptance that she did not return the feeling). I had problems all season with the way Spike was portrayed and the vampire mythology, but I give up--I will wait and see what Joss and company can do with it. Also, 2nd best expression of the night: Spike's to Dawn right before Doc threw him off. There is definitely not just one Summers girl he cares for.

Xander: Year of Xander! Year of Xander! Okay, I give up. There may be no year of Xander, but I am okay with that. I am glad he is just a "glorified bricklayer" who bowls well. I am even more glad Xander accepted this, rather than be resentful about it. Finally Xander fully realizes he is not what his parents, teachers, friends, and enemies thinks he is.

Anya: Anya, to me, is the best example of "show me, don't tell me", although I feel unfortunately most people want to be told. Anya went a long time not understanding mortals, even when she became one. I knew she loved Xander, I knew she was afraid for Xander, and she was afraid for herself. After all the years of doing evil (such as Spike has also) she is showing her "redemption" through her actions, not through throwing herself on the floor and saying what a bad vengeance demon she was. That girl threw herself into the fight--and once again put her life on the line for Xander. "I feel guilty." That touched me more than if she had said she was more worried about the others. That she felt guilty about not worrying. . .Also, I hope the wedding goes through. I think they will make a great married couple. George and Gracie (now if I could just figure out which is which).

Willow: not much here, except like Wesley she accepted a position she didn't think she could handle. Although I worry about her next season. Way too powerful.

--I am going to get my gripes out of the way now. There's not much: I do feel they need a better stunt double for Buffy--okay, not better, but one with a more similar body type; also, some of the F/X when the portal opened was a little silly, but, hey, maybe if the WB had gave them more money, it would have been better. And Ben and Glory still were not acted very well, but they were never the focus of this season, so I can forgive it.

I do not know if that was Chris Beck who did the music, but if it was they should not let him get away again. The music was awesome this episode.

There have been plenty (and I do mean plenty) of postings about how this is redundant--all this stuff has been done before. Well, let me burst balloons and let those who didn't know already, but everything has been done before. There are no more original stories. It is not the story, but how it is told. And I think it was told well. Yes, Buffy has died before--so what? It isn't about her dying, but what led to her dying. Then, it was facing her own mortality and knowing she would lose, but still having to try. Now, it is about family (and the whole season has been about family). And, as for it being so like Becoming 2--sure, at the base level, but then it was about sacrificing what she loved for the good of the world. Now, it is about sacrificing herself to save what she loves.

Another thing I loved is how they brought the Dagon's Sphere back after all the griping I saw on the boards about it. And Doc's watch saying it was 7:30. Thanks to whomever pointed that out.

Plothole? What plothole? Hey, you know what, it may have been a plothole, it may not have been. The simple truth is, it don't matter diddly to me. I can buy it takes the Key's blood to open the portal and the Key's blood (which also happens to be Buffy's) to close it. I accept it. This is a fantasy series that is not about the monsters, not about methodology, not about technicality--it's about the characters; it's about the family. "The key has to bleed (since it not a bicycle pump). Okay, she is bleeding. Hey, I have her blood in my veins." Simplistic, maybe. Could it have been explained better? Yes, but at the expense of the characters. I prefer the story, and not the high school paper: "This is what I will be telling you. I tell you. This is what I told you."
[> Re: Wesley the Hero -- mundusmundi, 16:22:54 08/26/01 Sun

I'm watching the watershed Tiger Woods/Jim Furyk golf playoff with one eye as I type (Why do fans shout "Get it in the hole!?" Gack.), so this may not be coherent. But I wanted to thank you for a wonderful essay. You've further deepened my appreciation of really the only major character on either show I initially disliked. I fell in with Buffy and Giles at seeing Wes as a stuck-up bore, though they at least had an understandable if unfair reason: viewing Wesley as a proxy of the despicable Council, they heaped all their frustrations upon him. Furthermore, being a big Doyle fan, I groaned when Wesley popped up again on AtS to take his place. His bumbling, English variant of Inspector Clouseau in the early episodes instilled anything but confidence.

Against all odds, I slowly, very slowly, grew to admire the man. You hit nearly all the key points that changed my mind: his loyalty to Angel; his concern for Cordelia; his inability to kill Faith after she nearly killed him; his desperate need for approval from his father (ah, yes, another Bad Dad!); his friendship with Gunn. Wesley seems to be defined by how others define him. Which is why his impersonation of Angel seemed a crucial turning point -- so he could walk in someone else's shoes for a time and see how comfortable his own really were. (This also gave him one of the year's funniest lines, re: his revulsion at drinking blood: "Good god! That's...nummy.")

Your observation about the "Cruelty of Heroes" was also most interesting. Why is it that so many heroes do seem to be cruel? Is it because they're operating at another level? Dedalus recently mentioned that the great ones always break the rules. I wonder if this is why we're given to excusing them when they fail to meet proper mores of behavior? There seems to be some kind of symbiosis between the great acts heroes accomplish and the little atrocities they inflict along the way. Quite often it's the little things -- their own hubris -- that do them in.

I wouldn't define either Buffy or Angel as being overtly cruel, though Lord knows both have had their moments. At their worst, they're sometimes apathetic, doing their duties because they feel they have to, not because they want to. I never would have dreamed to compare Xander and Wesley, but you're absolutely right that each functions as a kind of conscience to their respective heroes, reminding them of their journey, pulling them back on the right path.

Thing is, though, Wesley is also a Hero. He's on his own path, and as you vividly illustrated, it's been one of the most dramatic, surprising, touching and interesting journeys in the entire Jossverse.
[> [> The Cruelty of Heroes -- Sam Gamgee, 16:36:05 08/26/01 Sun

I am not really faulting Buffy for her cruelty--she has a role of responsibility very few people could deal with, and I can understand, if not exactly condone, her sometimes being harsh with her friends and others. It seems to me when you get in a position like that you become so focused on doing good you forget for whom you are doing that good. Which is why it is always good to have sidekicks around like Wesley, Cordy, Gunn, and Xander to remind you.

Angel's cruelty I find a little harder to understand. The only thing I can really think of (and I try to say this without inviting bashing) is Angel is an egomaniac. For some reason he seems to need to be the center of attention. One instance involves the whole coat issue in GWBB, which was very humorous, but also displayed Angel's need for everyone to know his role. The issue I find more disturbing is his treatment of Lindsey. Angel's treatment of Lindsey in Blind Date, when, at that point, Lindsey had not actually done much towards him, and when Lindsey was actually looking for help, seemed overly cruel. Angel seems so possessive of his redemption he doesn't seem to want to allow any other male to have it. He will force it on Faith, but when Lindsey looks for it, Angel uses it as an excuse to play junior-high bully. It was one of the only times I actually yelled at the TV: "Hey, pot, kettle called to say you were black."

I do believe Angel is there to do good, but I shudder to think of what type of creature he would be without his friends around.
[> [> [> Disagreeing on one point agreeing on another... -- Kerri, 20:59:33 08/26/01 Sun

IMO Buffy really isn't cruel. Sometimes she can be a bit short with her friends-but honestly all of the Scoobies can. On many occations Buffy has shown that she is incredibly merciful and forgiving.

Angel, on the other hand, has shown in this past season that he can be very cruel. We know that as a human he has very cruel tendencies from looking at his behavoir as Angelus. He took joy in hurting people more than most vampires, and while his soul keeps him from killing there is still cruelty below the surface. Couple this with his demon impulses-its a dangerous pair. It was Buffy's love that kept him routed in humanity. She inspired him to do good, she kept him on his path. Angel has his side-kicks but really he doesn't have love. We have seen what not having love can do to a slayer (Buffy is incredibly different in The Wish). After all love is a very powerful force. Angel really has the ability to go either way-with love he can do incredible good but without it he could become a true monster.
[> [> [> [> Does he? -- Solitude1056, 22:30:59 08/26/01 Sun

Angel may not have looooove-love, but he does have love. Look at, in the words of Greenwalt, "that big ol' boreanaz smile" when Cordelia tells him straight up, "I love you!" after he brings her lunch and explains that he didn't want to bother her but he couldn't remember what she liked to eat. And again, when Cordy declares that she loves (Groo), Angel is happy and excited that she's stopping the fight for him... and then he realizes she means someone else. Yeah, he's goofy, and a dork sometimes, and can be a bastard, too. But the curse is keeping that hunka-hunka-burning-love issue a non-issue, so his next bet is to have his own Scooby Gang, and their love & respect are what will ground him as much as it did/does for Buffy. After all, Buffy discovered love in the Gift not as a sexual thing with one person, but as close to universal as one can get, assuming that all SG characters together stand for the "different and all" sorta concept. For Angel, his new "family" constitute the same support.
[> [> [> [> [> The SG vs. The LA gang(not exactly sure of their title) -- Kerri, 08:24:32 08/27/01 Mon

I get the impression that the SG has a very different relationship with Buffy then Angel's sidekicks have with him. For Buffy these are her friends. She goes to them when she has problems and they are there for her and vice versa. They may help her with slaying but first and foremost they are her friends. Angel's crew doesn't seem that close to him. Yes they care about him, but it is different. I really don't think he loves them and feels as open with them as Buffy does with the Scoobies. IMO Buffy was the only person that Angel really opened up to at all, and had it not been for the whole sex getting in the way issue they would have been great friends. It was more then sex that made them love each other.
[> [> [> [> [> [> Not really. -- Solitude1056, 10:43:47 08/27/01 Mon

There's still a distance between Gunn & Wesley, with Angel... but it's Cordelia that Angel talks to, now, and vice versa. They've got a brother-sister thing going, which suits both of them well. And Cordelia has pushed Angel to talk, when she thought it was overdue. He doesn't always respond, but he has made it clear in other ways that he appreciates that she notices. It's not as explicit a friendship as Buffy has with the SG, but it's there.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Not really. -- Humanitas, 14:12:19 08/27/01 Mon

I think it's largely the difference between the way you bond with people you went to school with, and the way you bond with people you meet as adults in the workplace. That's the vibe I get from the two groups, anyway.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Also... -- Kerri, 15:20:24 08/27/01 Mon

Angel really isn't a part of the human world as much as Buffy is so it may be harder for him to have a close relationship with them. Buffy is a part of both the human and demon world which could help her to have a closer relationship with Angel since he is in large part in the demon world (not to mention the whole soul-mate thing).
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The SG vs. The LA gang(not exactly sure of their title) -- Malandanza, 12:11:30 08/28/01 Tue

"I get the impression that the SG has a very different relationship with Buffy then Angel's sidekicks have with him. For Buffy these are her friends. She goes to them when she has problems and they are there for her and vice versa. They may help her with slaying but first and foremost they are her friends. Angel's crew doesn't seem that close to him"

I had the opposite impression back in the early days of AtS. Spike was right, at least in part, about Buffy's friends -- they are a bit more like groupies than equals. Conversely, remember Angel making scrambled eggs for Cordy and (homeless and broke) Wesley? There was an equality between the three of them that has never been present on Buffy. Now that Wesley is in charge at AI, that camaraderie has been lost (even between Wesley and Gunn, I believe -- now that Gunn is aware that Wesley might sacrifice any of them for the greater good -- as he nearly did in Pylea with Angel).
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The SG vs. The LA gang(not exactly sure of their title) -- Sam Gamgee, 15:01:54 08/28/01 Tue

I don't know if it was your intention to say the camaraderie has been lost because Wesley is in charge, but, if so, I have to disagree. I believe some of that camaraderie has been lost because one specific member of the group destroyed the belief they could all trust each other, and that one was Angel.

While I do agree Gunn may not believe in Wesley's methods, I do not think it will affect their friendships. Right now, I think the friendship between Wesley and Gunn is the strongest on either series.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Camaraderie -- Malandanza, 20:39:25 08/28/01 Tue

"I don't know if it was your intention to say the camaraderie has been lost because Wesley is in charge, but, if so, I have to disagree. I believe some of that camaraderie has been lost because one specific member of the group destroyed the belief they could all trust each other, and that one was Angel."

It was my intention to blame Wesley. When Angel was in charge, AI was a bit more democratic (small d) and Angel would do the difficult tasks himself. Angel never talked down to Wesley or Cordelia simply because they were his employees or ordered them to do tasks that he was not prepared to do himself. I feel that Wesley was the junior member of the team and his promotion was due, in no small measure, to his wealthy girlfriend supplying the clients. Compare the way Angel welcomed Wesley to the team (in spite of a history between the two of them in Sunnydale and Wesley's absurd posturing as a "rogue demon hunter" -- remember Angel slapping the crossbow away?) with the way Wesley "welcomed" Angel back to the team. Wesley was petty - using his new rank to push around his old boss (and Gunn and Cordelia followed his lead).

"While I do agree Gunn may not believe in Wesley's methods, I do not think it will affect their friendships. Right now, I think the friendship between Wesley and Gunn is the strongest on either series."

Before the trip to Pylea, I would have agreed -- in fact Joss went out of his way to establish the friendship between Gunn and Wesley. However, we have not yet seen the aftermath of Pylea. Wesley sent Angel to almost certain death -- not just a few anonymous rebels dying as a distraction, but Angel, their friend, being used as a diversionary tactic. Loyalty is so important to Gunn that I doubt he will be able to just forget about it.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Damned one way or the other -- Solitude1056, 21:52:00 08/28/01 Tue

Wesley was petty - using his new rank to push around his old boss (and Gunn and Cordelia followed his lead).

I wonder. If Wes had welcomed Angel with open arms, we'd be blaming him for being weak and ineffectual again. Some might point to that as reason to say Wes was keeling in to his wish to have someone else lead, so he wouldn't have to (thus avoiding the risk of failure, which haunts him so badly).

Wes was stuck in the position of leadership not because his girlfriend got the group some gigs, but because of his ability to think. Cordelia sees, Gunn does, but Wesley thinks. And Angel, btw, feels. Each has their strong point, and without Angel there, Cordy and Gunn appeared to have decided without too much discussion that they need a thinker to run things. For better or for worse, Wes had proven himself previously to Cordy and Gunn through various actions, and putting him in charge was their way of affirming their confidence in him. So when Angel came back, after a particularly dark and edge-walking time (and after he'd summarily fired all of them from a group which was giving them each a purpose), Wes had two choices: yes, or no.

And he chose the one that may not be the most popular one, but it was the honest one. And it probably took a lot of guts. AD did a good job of showing that on his face when he informed Angel of the group's decision. Remember, it wasn't Wes that put up the biggest walls at Angel's return, it was Cordy. So I doubt Wes' option of saying no was predominantly his own; I suspect more likely it was Cordy's.

And about Gunn and Wesley... I suspect Gunn (based on his expressions and reaction) envies Wesley, not distrusts him. It's not a matter of saying, "this is a decision I don't like," but saying, "this is a decision I don't yet have the guts to make," and being willing to let someone else make it. It's a recognition on Gunn's part - which I think the character is self-aware enough to make - that Wes is capable of choosing the analytical side that will, as Sam's character analysis pointed out, go for the greater good rather than the sole survivor. Gunn needs to learn this lesson, and where better than in the shadow of someone who can teach him.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ingratitude -- Malandanza, 10:28:06 08/29/01 Wed

"Wes was stuck in the position of leadership not because his girlfriend got the group some gigs, but because of his ability to think."

I object to the characterization that he was "stuck" in the leadership role. If his phone call to his father showed us anything, it is that he desperately wanted the leadership to "prove" himself. And I do believe that Cordy and Gunn allowed him to become the de facto leader because Virginia was bringing in the clients. I don't remember there being an episode when Gunn, Cordy and Wesley sat down and elected a leader. As for Wesley's "ability to think" -- he is book-smart but not particularly streetwise. His confrontation with Bethany, with the rogue zombie cop and with the rebels in Pylea (where he almost got himself and Gunn executed because he wouldn't listen to Gunn) have demonstrated that his "ability to think" is somewhat flawed. He makes a good researcher, but I would rather have Angel, Cordelia or Gunn making the critical decisions (based on Wesley's research).

After Angel has been accepted back into AI, Wesley continues to harass Angel -- which seems a bit petty and too much like ingratitude to me (compared with Angel's no-questions-asked acceptance of Wesley in the first season):

Wesley: "This won't be easy for any of us, Angel. You're going to have to change your behavior. Engage your coworkers from time to time." Angel is sitting behind his desk, looking up at Wesley who is pacing in front of it while lecturing him. Wesley: "Be sensitive to their feelings, their opinions, especially before you take some action one might construe as - oh, let's just call it insane. It goes a long way to show you - appreciate and respect them." Wesley drops out of his lecturing tone for a moment: "This is torture for you, isn't it." Angel: "Yes." Wesley: "Good. - I think that's all for now." Angel: "Okay. Well, you know, I think I'll - I'll just, you know, sit and absorb it all." Wesley looks at him then glances around the office then back at Angel. Angel glances around the office then spreads his hands and gets up out of the chair. Angel: "Somewhere else. Not here. I mean, this is - your office - now. Yeah, I just, uhm, I'll get out of your hair." Angel walks towards the door without looking at Wesley. Wesley: "You're sure about this." Angel: "Absolutely. (Angel turns to face Wesley) You know what? I work for you. (Slides the doors behind him apart) I just need to find a place for me to..." Angel turns and sees Cordy adding a few pencil to the cup sitting on top of a little folding table next to her desk. Wesley: "I took the liberty of providing you with a new working space." Angel: "Great." Wesley: "And I'd love a cup of coffee." Angel with a laugh: "That's, that's very funny." Wesley slides the doors to his new office shut in Angel's face. Angel turns around to look at Cordy and Gunn. Cordy: "Two sugars in mine." Gunn: "Mocha cappuccino here." Both of them walk off, leaving Angel standing there alone. Angel: "Man. Atonement's a bitch." (Transcript from Disharmony -- Psyche)

And here Angel is following Wesley's advice by trying to repair his relationship with his co-workers:

Angel: "Well, I though, you know, she looked so tired and - I mean, the vision took a lot out of her. Do-do you think, maybe, that I should - send her something? Some flowers maybe?" Wesley: "Flowers." Angel: "Yeah, uh, to say, you know, 'thanks.' Uhm. 'Sorry about the migraines.' Uhm, you know, '-II appreciate you?'" Wesley: "Yes, by all means. And uh, while you're at it pick me up one of those 'sorry you were shot in the gut' bouquets." (DIsharmony, again)

My question is, how did Wesley's gut-wound become Angel's fault? Wesley got shot by refusing to listen to Gunn.

Also from the Disharmony transcript (after Angel makes up w/ Cordelia)

Angel :"I got her clothes." Angel watches her leave with a smile, then walks out through a different door, leaving Wesley alone in his office, arms crosses, not looking happy - while the sounds of Cordy's celebrating still drift in through the open door.

Why isn't Wesley happy? Isn't a reconciliation between Angel and Cordelia exactly what he was working towards?

Here's the same scene from the shooting script:

Wesley and Angel meet eyes, Wesley's look and slight shake-of-the-head saying "you are such a whore." CORDELIA: I have to go try these on. La la clothes... new clothes... I have new clothes... She breezes out again, singing her little "new clothes" song. Wesley stands stunned for a moment then looks at Angel, who offers a shrug, gets up and crosses out. Wesley follows... WESLEY: I could use a DVD player.

"And about Gunn and Wesley... I suspect Gunn (based on his expressions and reaction) envies Wesley, not distrusts him. It's not a matter of saying, "this is a decision I don't like," but saying, "this is a decision I don't yet have the guts to make," and being willing to let someone else make it. It's a recognition on Gunn's part - which I think the character is self-aware enough to make - that Wes is capable of choosing the analytical side that will, as Sam's character analysis pointed out, go for the greater good rather than the sole survivor. Gunn needs to learn this lesson, and where better than in the shadow of someone who can teach him.

I don't see any envy on Gunn's part. Instead, I often see a "How did you live so long" look from Gunn when Wesley says or does something incredibly stupid in spite of warnings to shut up or stay back. I see the same difference between Wesley and Gunn as I saw between Giles and Buffy in the BtVS finale -- every life counts for Buffy and Gunn while the ex-Watchers are willing to sacrifice innocents for the greater good.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ingratitude -- Sam Gamgee, 15:10:30 08/29/01 Wed

All I can say is different people see things different ways, and anybody can clip quotes to make their case, as I did myself in my character post. However, I don't see Angel as a very welcoming person. His pov seems to be "I'm the only one who can insult these people."
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ingratitude -- JM, 15:25:33 08/29/01 Wed

Long time lurker weighing in, got to defend my new very favorite character.

I think the transitional eps, from "Redefinition" to "Epiphany" did a very good job of establishing Wes in the role of de facto leader. The fact that it was never discussed out loud underlines just how unconscious and necessary it was. Scenes that illustrated this in my IMHO:

"Redefinition": Wes in the alley declaring that they would not turn their back on Angel's mission and later being the one who brought that message to Angel at the end of the ep.

"Happy Aniversary": Wes takes the lead in solving the crime, but more importantly, takes the initiative in declaring Angel Investigations "just a name."

"Reprise": It's Wes who makes the decision to drop any efforts to get remuneration from the Sharpes. He basically orders Cordy to back down from Angel.

"Epiphany": There's a pretty poinient moment in the car, when Angel orders Wes and Gunn to go to Cordy without him, where Gunn looks to Wes for a decision and only takes off when he gets a nod of agreement from him. And in the final scene it is Wes who broaches the subject of not coming back "just yet" to Angel and who makes the final decision to accept his offer once Cordy's approval has been secured.

His heavy handedness in "Disharmony" is both a great bit of character continuity and an indication of how uncomfortable he is with the mantle of leadership when he is _conscious_ of it. Prior to the reunification of the group, the others seemed to be _unconsciously_ deferring to him. Wes seems to do everything better when he is not aware of others' perception. His remarks in the park didn't seem to me to be blaming Angel for his injury, he was justly suprememely irritated by Angel's rather inane remarks. Angel is rather evident in his desire to just make the badness and awkwardness in his relationship with just go away. Wes has seen how much Cordy was hurt by Angel, in "Redefinition" and "Reprise" (which was a very ugly confrontation). Wes thinks that there's stuff that needs to be dealt with here, and that is why IMHO he's so disappointed by both Cordy and Angel in the end. He probably didn't see Cordy's reprieve of Harmony (good thing too) and doesn't realize that there's a lot more to the clothes than a blatant bribe. Not his finest moment, but definitely funny and understandable.

Plus, I think that Wes is a very good leader. No one's decisions are always correct, but of the examples above, the confrontation with Bethany was calculated, courageous, and probably required. (Though they were pretty lucky that the results were not more permanent.) We don't know what would have happened in "Thin Dead Line" if Wes had not shown up. Someone else may have ended up shot, possibly dead. The cop was clearly more than any of the men had been prepared to deal with.

This last year has shown that Angel may be a bona fide hero, but he's not really in a place to deal with the responsibilities of leadership right now. Nor has he expressed any interest in resuming them. He likes the autonomy to act as he thinks fit, but I don't think that he wants the weight of being responsible for others. I thought that Wes clearly took that on in Pylea. It is a leader's responsibility to make those hard decisions, which sometimes involve deciding who to sacrifice. It would have been extremely noble to have waged the rebel's initially planned frontal assault on the castle. Courting certain defeat would also have been a gross abrogation of the responsibilities of leadership. Wes didn't have that luxury. He had to either accept the blood on his head of some of his soldiers, and possibly, Angel, or accept the blood of every other human in Pylea. Hard, but necessary decision.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> great post, great points, stick around! and no relurking allowed, either. ;-) -- Solitude1056, 15:45:08 08/29/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Welcome, JM (and you have some of our favorite initials!) -- Wisewoman, 15:59:44 08/29/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Complex characters=good thing! -- Rahael, 17:14:32 08/29/01 Wed

I can totally see this from both points of view.

Wesley has become one of my favourite characters. Just when you think you've got him pinned down, he goes and does something completely amazing. I agree with Maladanza that Wesley needs to be a leader - probably thats the way he sees his father, and perhaps he feels he needs to live up to this. Wesley can be petty - remember he didn't want Gunn to get paid for work done, and how insecure he was when Gunn first turned up. He needs the approval and respect of Angel, Cordy and Gunn.

But he can also be loyal and brave and lovable. In Sanctuary, you almost think he's going to betray Faith, and then he goes and does the noble thing.

I think Wesley has a lot of issues with 'authority', which Angel represents, and I also think he has an inner core of steel. Perhaps these will be played out next season
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Complex characters=good thing! -- JM, 18:04:03 08/29/01 Wed

I consider Wesley a loaded time bomb. When something _has_ to be done he comes through with flying colors. The insecurity is still there and could debilitate him at a moment's notice. The self-hatred is a true liability. I defintely would like to see implications. Though if it were on a personal level instead of work, it would be even better.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> the longer the summer hiatus gets, the more complex the characters get -- JBone, 18:51:01 08/29/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ingratitude -- Solitude1056, 15:43:58 08/29/01 Wed

Read JM's response for a better summation, but I did want to add this point:

As for Wesley's "ability to think" -- he is book-smart but not particularly streetwise. His confrontation with Bethany, with the rogue zombie cop and with the rebels in Pylea (where he almost got himself and Gunn executed because he wouldn't listen to Gunn) have demonstrated that his "ability to think" is somewhat flawed. He makes a good researcher, but I would rather have Angel, Cordelia or Gunn making the critical decisions (based on Wesley's research).

Wesley's a good thinker, and makes clear decisions... unless he's under pressure. Then we get right back to his awareness that he's under scrutiny, and it's then that he screws up. When he's rescuing Cordelia from having her eyes cut out of her head, he's a bumbling idiot. But the same character, an episode or two later, has no qualms about shooting a bad guy through the hand with a crossbow and scooping up the dropped gun in one fluid move. And then he follows it up with some pretty steely-eyed maneuvering of the aforementioned skewered hand and arrow. He didn't have an audience that he cared about, that second time. He's just got to work on the not-caring-so-much part, IMO.
[> Wesley and Cordelia -- Wisewoman, 19:06:02 08/26/01 Sun

I not sure whether this belongs in Wesley's or Cordelia's thread, but whatever happened to the very strong attraction between them displayed in The Prom? Was it ever satisfactorily resolved that it just doesn't exist anymore, or is it likely to surface again? It's like when he arrived in LA they just didn't feel anything for each other except friendship. As you point out, we see him being loaded into an ambulance after Graduation and then we see him as the Rogue Demon Hunter in AtS, and suddenly they're "family." What happened?
[> [> Wesley and Cordelia (Or, Incest is Bad, Kids) -- Sam Gamgee, 19:18:25 08/26/01 Sun

The best explanation I have for this is they were never meant to be more than familial (as I try to avoid the sticky subject of predestination). I think the kiss they shared fairly well demonstrated that. It would be one thing if both or either of them were bad kissers, but they seem to have talent with other people, so that does not seem it.

Plus--and I drag this subject back out of the closet again--at the time both of them were wearing "masks", Wesley as the stuffy Watcher and Cordelia as Daddy's little rich girl, both roles being false faces. I think by the time they meet again in Los Angeles they have learned to face themselves, and thus see each other in different lights.

Other questions that have bothered me: 1) did Cordelia age between Sunnydale and L.A. Barney's guessing of her age in Parting Gifts seems to suggest that. and 2) how could Cordy and Xander not sleep together in nearly 16 months together and yet Cordelia can sleep with the guy in Expecting? I really want to know what happened to Cordy in the time between Sunnydale and L.A., because she apparently aged a few years and lost her virginity.
[> [> [> Between Sunnydale and L.A. -- OnM, 20:19:35 08/26/01 Sun

I don't recall for certain, but in the episode where Cordy and Buffy were on the run from the various assassins (the German guy, the Gorch Bros. and so on) didn't she make a comment to Buffy something along the lines of "...otherwise Daddy will discover I'm not a 'good girl' anymore..."? Which I kind of took as meaning she wasn't a virgin any longer. She didn't go into details.

As to aging, I'm assuming you mean emotionally, rather than time-warp style aging, so why wouldn't she be 'older' considering the emotional trauma she went through going from 'Queen C' to 'bankrupt Daddy's girl' to nearly being killed in the Ascension, to lack of any acting related job offers in L.A.? Not sure I understand your question here, but maybe I'm missing something.
[> [> [> [> Re: Between Sunnydale and L.A. -- Sam Gamgee, 20:54:46 08/26/01 Sun

What I was really thinking about was in Parting Gifts when Barney asked if she was in her mid-20s. It just seemed to me, with him being an empath demon and all, either he saw her as in her 20s, or he saw her feeling as if she were in her 20s.

I realize she might not have been a 'good girl' before Xander, but since it was Faith who first got Xander 'up with people' it means he and Cordelia did not have sex, so. . .well, basically it seems I am spending way too much time thinking about Cordelia's sex life.
[> [> [> [> [> The age thing -- vampire hunter D, 12:28:30 08/27/01 Mon

Don't fell so bad man. I, too, spend a lot of time thinking about Cordy's sex life (and wishing I could be in it). As for the age thing, this is a problem I've had for a very long time. It's like as soon as they graduated from High School, the writers quit writing the characters as being the ages they should be and started making them like they were the same age as the actors.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: Between Sunnydale and L.A. -- JM, 15:44:03 08/29/01 Wed

On the age thing. Maybe Cordy feels older. She's been through a fair amount of stuff, including, just then, the death of a friend. Or Barney was trying to flatter her (can't really remember the scene). Twenty-year olds like people to think they are a little older, more sophisticated. Thirty-year olds often like people to think they are younger. (Think of Angel's comments to Denver.) Go figure.

On the intimate relations issue, I figured that the writers are having fun writing against type, specifically when it comes to Cordy and Wes. Wes seemed, until recently, painfully awkward around people. An easy assumption would be that he rarely "got any." Too uptight to cut loose. However, in addition to the pretty quick move in on Virginia, we also have reference to "a bleached blonde" that seems to have been a pretty casual encounter and the reference to handcuffs. Nothing's been spelled out, but I'm thinking that the inference is that the Wes we see is not the whole story.

With Cordelia, there have been quite a few references over the years to the way she dresses and how trampy a vapid, popular cheerleader must be. However, she emphasized to Gru that she hasn't "had a lot of experience." I could quite easily believe that the encounter that led to her no longer being "a good girl" (as she referred to it "Phases") was not very sweet or special. Her relationship with Xander _was_ special. And I can definitely see her wanting to wait if he didn't push the issue. Which he might not have if he was sensitive to an experience differential between them.

So basically, tweedy tramp and trampy good girl. Just saying, it's a possibility.
[> [> [> [> [> [> Wesley *SPOILER* -- Wisewoman, 16:07:34 08/29/01 Wed

Don't know if you read things marked *Spoiler* JM, but if you do then you'll find out that you seem to be on the right track--TV Guide On-line has an interview with Alexis Denisoff recently, where he talks about his RL relationship with Alyson Hannigan, and says that we're going to see a much more studly Wesley in the next season. Could be tongue-in-cheek, or not.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Wesley *SPOILER* -- JM, 17:01:01 08/29/01 Wed

Yay! Haven't seen that. Would love it. I'm such a spoiler whore. I never was before. This summer has just been too much. I'm going to swear off once the new season starts. From everything I've seen from the other posting boards, too much spoiling results in jaded, world-weary, impossible-to-please former fans.

PS Thanks for the welcome all, love, love, love this board. PPS Melandzana (sp?), even though I disputed your posts, love the name. Eggplant in Italian, yes? If not, forgive, that drinking game in Assissi six years ago took its toll. Can no longer remember my Italian fruits and veggies. Still have the hat though.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hah! Once a ho, always a's like being a little bit pregnant ;o) -- Wisewoman, 18:20:35 08/29/01 Wed

If you don't hear from Malandanza, it may be because he/she is one of us who can still resist posts labeled *SPOILER*!
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> reformed spoiler whore -- JBone, 19:05:53 08/29/01 Wed

Way back in season 4, I was quite unaware of all the information (spoilers) you could find on the internet. Nevertheless, I had heard something about a boy slayer, but really didn't know where the season was headed. I remember the first time I saw Riley & co. head down in the Initiative elevator with my jaw on the floor. I thought it was a brilliant twist on the show with a Bruce Wayne/Salina Kyle hook. The point is, I had no idea what was coming. Maybe "Dracula" isn't a very good example, but I knew about every scene before it aired, and it sucked. After living the spoiler life for at least half of last year, I'm going clean, cold turkey. I absolutely believe that the less you know about what is coming, the more likely you are to enjoy it. SPOILER FREE!
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yahoo, you go! Me too -- Masq, 07:35:27 08/31/01 Fri

[> [> [> [> Tristram Shandy time-warp aging -- Cleanthes, 08:45:58 08/27/01 Mon

My son has been reading Captain Underpants books. Once in awhile, the book breaks the fictional frame and says, in so many words, "stuff happened you don't care about".

So I interpret Cordelia in Los Angeles. She's 25 now, except when she deals with Sunnydale stuff. Sterne does this in Tristram Shandy a lot - just fudge around the dates so that people can travel to France when needed but Uncle Toby can still re-enact battles from the war with France in "real time".

This works well with Cordelia because Charisma Carpenter was the oldest of the Sunnydale high school students. Even in the first year she seemed out of place if a critical eye were cast on the doings. (my daughter watched 90210 reruns this summer. I couldn't resist asking her some of the folks on the show supplemented their salaries with Social Security...)

Some Sunnyday High Schoolers:

CC =July 23, 1970 (so a sophomore at age 26...) AH = March 24, 1974 SMG = April 14, 1977 NB = April 12, 1971 SG = February 8, 1974 (note how close in age to AH - which explains "My Stepmother Was An Alien") MMcN = September 14, 1981 [amazing! a 16-year old playing a high school student!]

And, though he wasn't at Sunnydale High, DB = May 16, 1971. So, Charisma is actually almost a year older than David.
[> [> [> [> [> could we... -- anom, 11:48:17 08/27/01 Mon

...get the actors' init's. added to the "Board Slang" section of the FAQ? I've asked about this before, but I just checked again & they're not there.

"CC =July 23, 1970 (so a sophomore at age 26...) AH = March 24, 1974 SMG = April 14, 1977 NB = April 12, 1971 SG = February 8, 1974 (note how close in age to AH - which explains "My Stepmother Was An Alien") MMcN = September 14, 1981"

I did figure 'em out eventually, but it'd really help to have the info iÿ
[> [> [> [> [> [> Sure, but WHO is MMcN? -- Masq, 12:43:35 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> And how do you spell Michelle T's last name -- Masq, 12:51:57 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Trachtenberg -- d'Herblay, 13:26:40 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> And, to nitpick, it's "Anthony Stewar*T* Head" (punctuation may vary) :) -- d'Herblay, 22:05:52 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sure, but WHO is MMcN? -- Cactus Watcher, 13:15:12 08/27/01 Mon

Harmony - Mercedes McNab
[> [> [> [> [> [> And does anyone remember Gunn's RL name -- Masq, 12:49:47 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> J August Richards -- Cactus Watcher, 13:17:53 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> Re: Wesley and Cordelia -- Carmina, 02:46:43 08/27/01 Mon

I think you did a terrific job on this assignment, and shed light on a character that had a tough time finding acceptance in the fan universe.

I've always thought that Wesley's transformation between BtVS and AtS was the most remarkable redemtion of a character I've ever seen. As season three ended on Buffy, I was certain the character was irretrivable. His unbending and stiff manner seemed a pale echo of Giles, season one. Where Giles' was charming and amusing, Wesley was irritating. I was thrilled to see the back of him.

I couldn't believe it when I heard that Doyle's place was to be filled with a character I was sure was universally derided. The empathy I felt for the character as he longed to be included in the celebratory breakfast changed my mind completely.

As we understand Wesley more, we realize that We would have liked him better earlier, if we had only understood him then.

Wesley and Cordelia are both redeemed by AtS, a series about redemption. They both were stereotypes, who have moved past those strictures, and seek to be more, even when it is uncomfortable. I think that Joss' motivation in sending those two to the series must have been multifaceted. What we knew of their characters on BtVS proved less than the whole story, and on Angel, we watch them recover and repent of being the rich cheerleader, or bossy ineffective British guy.

Thanks to those who are providing such fun summer thoughts courtesy these character threads.
[> [> [> Re: Wesley and Cordelia -- Nina, 08:36:18 08/27/01 Mon

"As we understand Wesley more, we realize that We would have liked him better earlier, if we had only understood him then. "

Ah, but that's what Joss likes to do the most, doesn't he? He likes to make us squirm and dislike a character. He did the same with Dawn last year. Then when you feel you want to kill the character he pulls the curtain up and you feel guilty as hell! Pretty sadistic! :)
Buffy's final words -- Kerri, 21:35:30 08/26/01 Sun

Ok-now I realise I'm a few months late with this thread but it is something I want to post so I hope that you'll all forgive me.

A lot of people have said that Buffy's death at the end of The Gift was an act of cowardice or a result of a death wish that she had. I disagree with this so completely! I was thinking about Buffy's final words to Dawn and they really say it all...

"Dawn, listen to me, listen. I love you. I will *always* love you."

Buffy thought she couldn't love anymore. She realizes that isn't true. The guide was right-she is full of love. It drives her. It defines her. It isn't something to pull away from. It is a reason to live.

"This is the work that I have to do."

Not just because it is her "sacred duty" but because this is the work Buffy *wants* to do. Not because she will die-but because she brings life. In realizing this Buffy truly lives for the first time through love-through her gift.

"Tell Giles-tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I'm okay."

She figured it out. Buffy understands why death is her gift. Not because all she does is bring death. Not because it is a way out. But because it helps her to realize what precious gifts life and love are. Buffy tells Giles that she is *okay*. She's not happy. She didn't want to die. But she is okay, because she understands. She doesn't resent the world-she loves it. Dawn helps Buffy reconnect with humanity-which she realizes she loves and is worth saving. Dawn reconnects Buffy with her purpose as the slayer.

"And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong."

Again embracing love fully. Taking strength and love from friends and family.

"Dawn the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me."

Life is hard, it is painful, but it *is* worth living. Buffy gives the gift of life to Dawn. It is the greatest gift Buffy could give, because she understands how wonderful life is. Buffy realizes that the most precious thing in the world is life; at that moment life is what Buffy wants more than anything-so she gives it to Dawn, to her friends, to the world. Buffy finds out that she does not exist to bring death-she brings life. Buffy finally accepts and understands her duty as the slayer. Buffy will live on in Dawn and in the world. In this way she assumes the role not just as Dawn's mother but as the Universal Mother.

Once agin sorry that this thread came so very late but it is in a way timely as we approach the new season. The better we can understand Buffy at the time of her death the better we will be able to understand how she reacts to her death and rebirth.
[> Rather than debate this again... -- Cactus Watcher, 22:22:00 08/26/01 Sun

let's wait to see happens when the new season starts. Perhaps those of us who aren't as happy with "The Gift" may have our questions addressed.
[> [> Whaaaat? -- vampire hunter D, 22:30:55 08/26/01 Sun

What is it that you aren't happy with? I rather liked it. I don't get anybody's complaints about it.
[> [> [> Re: Whaaaat? -- Nina, 08:13:22 08/27/01 Mon

Me neither. I think Kerri explained very well Buffy's last words. I know a lot of folks still believe it was suicide, the death wish... then I have to wonder if they watch the same show as I do. But we are all entitled to our opinion and the way we can interpret these last words also depends on who we are, what we experienced. Maybe to some people it's not enough. Maybe they need more explanations. I know that personally Buffy could have said nothing and that look in her face would have been enough to understand. I can't say I find SMG particularly attractive, but it that scene she looks like an angel in a renaissance painting. There's so much love in her face, so much peace.
[> [> [> [> Re: Whaaaat? -- Solitude1056, 10:42:08 08/27/01 Mon

I can't say I find SMG particularly attractive, but it that scene she looks like an angel in a renaissance painting.

I agree 100% - that's exactly the image, and I've spent all this time unable to put my finger on what it reminded me of - William Blake's watercolors, if he'd done them in oil on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. That sort of strange mix of earthly and heavenly, the lighting, the expression.
[> [> [> [> [> Re: Whaaaaaaaaattttttttttttttttt? -- Dedalus, 12:34:20 08/27/01 Mon

There was something William Blake and I missed it?

Double shame on me.

Although I'm not as up on his paintings as I should be ...
[> [> [> [> [> Re: Whaaaat? -- Cactus Watcher, 13:01:20 08/27/01 Mon

I'm not going to argue, but regarding problems people don't want to recognize, I will quote from The Harvest:

Giles - People have a tendency to rationalize what they can, and forget what they can't.

Buffy - Believe me, I've seen it happen.

Me too, Buffy, me too!
[> [> [> [> [> [> I think there's just different interpretations -- Tanker, 15:51:07 08/27/01 Mon

Believe me, I'm not rationalizing or forgetting anything (troll GOD? The heck? "The monks made her out of me"? Whatever). My opinion of "The Gift" is that it's brilliant but flawed. Having said that, I do not accept the argument that Buffy was a coward or suicidal. Not because I just don't want to. Because it doesn't fit what I saw on screen. However, other people may have seen something different. Doesn't mean they'll ever convince me, but there are some good arguments on the other side.

I do flat out reject what some people have said: that Joss pulled Buffy's death out of his butt at the last minute because he had written himself into a corner and couldn't face up to the moral dilema he had set up. That's insulting, and just plain wrong, and I do not respect it.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I think there's just different interpretations -- Sam Gamgee, 15:59:38 08/27/01 Mon

I also think this is something Joss had planned. I tend to be more generous and lenient when it comes to storytellers. If they have to be a little plotholey, as long as it works in the story that is okay by me.

I don't believe Buffy was suicidal. I don't think she had a death wish (maybe she has death wonderment). I think in a choice between her sister and herself (and you can argue if this is a choice she could have realistically leaped to. But I accept it) she chose to let her sister live. As a brother and a father, I don't look at that as suicide, but love.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "death wonderment." Good description. -- mundusmundi, 10:53:55 08/28/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Timing of Buffy's death. Right! -- Cactus Watcher, 16:10:30 08/27/01 Mon

It was woven into the whole framework of the season. How she was going to die was the only question... Despite what I think of the episode, she had a beautiful death.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I think there's just different interpretations -- dream of the consortium, 10:13:57 08/28/01 Tue

Your commment about people believing Joss had written himself into a corner with a moral dilemna reminded me of a book I read once, and have often thought about while considering The Gift. The book was called Jesus' Third Way: Pacifism and Non-Violent Resistance in South Africa, or something like that. The book was written with a definite Christian focus, but the examples given came from a wide range of non-violent activists of many religious backgrounds. The basic idea was that that people have two basic instincts to provocation and threat - the classic fight or flight scenario. The fight response is aggressive, with the aim to destroy the opponent. The flight response is what the authors term "passivist", acceptance of oppression. However, there is a third response, which the authors claim Christ advocated (I don't want to get into the ways in which they give examples by placing parables in cultural context, but it's pretty interesting stuff), as well as more recent non-violent activists like Gandhi. And at the heart of this response is creativity. The third way looks at a situation, as the executives love to say, "from outside the box". It can mean trying to enlighten an opponent, rather than defeat him. Or it can possibly mean sacrificing oneself rather than allowing another to be harmed. Buffy clearly is used to using the fight response. In Spiral and Weight of the World, she tries the flight response, because she has come to believe that the fight response is doomed and flight is the only other option. Finally, in The Gift, she sees the third way, the possibility that she can substitute for Dawn. In doing so, in using her intelligence, compassion, and creativity to find a soluation to what appears to be an either/or choice, she becomes more fully human, or rather, fulfills the potential inherent in being human. I personally always get frustrated with people who set up either/or situations in literature or as conversational gambits - what would you do if you had to either shoot your mother or let your neighbors die in a fire, that sort of thing - because those constructions ignore the most incredible aspect of humanity, its ability to come up with other solutions.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Great post, dream -- mundusmundi, 10:52:40 08/28/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks - this is the most supportive board imaginable (NT) -- dream of the consortium, 11:07:37 08/28/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Having intelligent conversation-mates makes applauding come easy. :-) -- Solitude1056, 11:20:17 08/28/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I agree! Great post!!! -- Kerri, 12:25:32 08/28/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I think there's just different interpretations -- Rufus, 13:57:38 08/28/01 Tue

Walter Wink is the author you are talking about. Other books he wrote are "The powers that be" and "Engaging the Powers: Disernment and Resistance in a World of Domination". Buffy went through the cycle that first did include fight which met up with a more powerful opponent(at least on the surface), she then resorted to running to avoid the ineveitable only to find out that she couldn't hide, to acceptance and the third way, her sacrifice for the world and Dawn. You put in a very nice way what I feel about The Gift. Society tends to think in the box as Anya said, and when Buffy stopped thinking in such limited terms she found her gift of love and the third way. As long as those who dislike the season finale think of the situation in an absolute way they can never appreciate Buffys gift as anything more than a "Deus ex Machina", when the option was always there waiting to be understood. Buffy found out that her power is based not upon death but, life the preservation of life. The look on her face when jumping into the portal an indication of her enlightenment.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: If I may chime in - dream that was fabulous -- Dedalus, 15:17:29 08/28/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Concise and elegant, dream-- good one. :-) -- OnM, 16:52:40 08/28/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Either / or -- Cactus Watcher, 18:20:27 08/28/01 Tue

I hate it when I get called for one of those telephone opinion polls. It's the same thing you're talking about, Dream. "Do you love Senator Hornswoggle or just admire him a lot?" Many times I refuse to answer questions on the basis that they're loaded. Of course, when the results are reported, they never mention what the questions were.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Either / or -- anom, 08:46:23 08/29/01 Wed

Yeah, I always have trouble finishing questionnaires because my answer isn't anything like the choices given. Ah well, remaining anomalous as usual.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I think there's just different interpretations -- anom, 18:32:10 08/28/01 Tue

I completely agree about (supposed) either/or choices. They're usually artificial & perceived due to rigid thinking. I disagree, though, w/the authors' calling flight "passive"; seems to me running away is pretty active (& can be entirely effective, or prey species that depend on it would go extinct), & passivity would be staying there & taking it. I'm also not sure the fight response necessarily aims to "destroy" rather than just stop the opponent. Most self-defense courses I've heard about aim at just that--defense of the self, not destruction of the attacker. I think most if not all of the time there's a choice other than "kill or be killed," & finding it has to do w/thinking of creative solutions. (I certainly don't want to destroy an attacker in the course of defending myself. That's why I took aikido rather than one of the more violent martial arts. One sensei said that while specific techniques are taught, new ones come out of what people come up with in real-life situations.)
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thinking outside the box -- Tanker, 22:33:18 08/28/01 Tue

Great post. Joss, of course, put it out to us through Anya right at the beginning of the episode: "Think outside the box." You have to interpret the episode outside the box too. Joss' foreshadowing is kind of like anvils with cloaking screens. He flat out tells us what he's going to do, but people overlook it and get bogged down in mundane issues like whether Olaf was a troll god (which I'm guilty of myself).

I find "The Gift" to be very inspirational, and a reminder that, as Spock said in ST2:TWOK, "There are always possibilities."
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Thinking outside the box -- Dedalus, 08:48:01 08/29/01 Wed

Actually, Olaf probably was a troll god. He did seem to enjoy being a troll, and seemed to have a talent for wacky destruction. He probably just got elevated to troll god a while after Anya cursed him.

As someone on another group brought up, Buffy's death was really foreshadowed in the Faith dream. Everyone knows about 730, but she also said, "Oh yeah. Miles to go." Joss does like his literature, so this was probably a reference to Robert Frost - "Miles to go, before I sleep." Sleep being metaphorical of death. May be stretching it, but hey, that's what I'm here for.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Joss/Frost -- Wisewoman, 12:31:06 08/29/01 Wed

I don't think you're stretching it at all, Frost's poem is what I thought of immediately when I first heard that line. I think the previous line may be significant to Buffy's situation as well, "But I have promises to keep..."

[> [> The world is saved, the hero gets a hero's death, we all cry. -- OnM, 21:03:17 08/27/01 Mon

Plotholes? Who cares?

If the show rings true emotionally, I let the little stuff go by.

"I may be dead, but I'm still pretty full of love."

Also, consider the (probably inadvertently) wise words of Dino DeLaurentis when he tackled the remake of *King Kong* (the 'beeg feesh' was of course 'Jaws'):

"Whenna beeg feesh die, nobuddy cry-- whenna my Kong die, everybody gonna cry!

Well, I didn't, but hey, he meant well.

[> [> [> Re: The world is saved, the hero gets a hero's death, we all cry. -- Tanker, 22:37:26 08/28/01 Tue

Well, he was right, but it was mostly the studio execs who were crying. ;-)
[> [> [> [> I don't cry.......I glow.......... -- Rufus, 22:48:08 08/28/01 Tue

[> Re: Buffy's final words -- VampRiley, 09:40:04 08/27/01 Mon

"A lot of people have said that Buffy's death at the end of The Gift was an act of cowardice or a result of a death wish that she had."

Whaaaat? (he thought with eyes wide open). Where was I when all this was happening. It was self-sacrifice for the one person she felt closer to than anyone - the innocent part of herself that is Dawn.

[> Re: Just tell the doubters to check out my essay over at fictionary corner :-) -- Dedalus, 12:36:08 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> Your essay answers the question "why do you watch 'Buffy'?" better than anything else I know. -- Kerri, 12:55:49 08/27/01 Mon

It works perfectly to convince those who think Buffy death was a suicide and those who think "Buffy" is a show for kids that they are wrong!
[> [> [> Re: Your essay answers the question "why do you watch 'Buffy'?" better than anything else I know. -- Dedalus, 13:34:11 08/27/01 Mon

You're too kind.

I just had to get in my shameless plug somewhere. :-)

Incidentally, I see we both picked Joseph Campbell as favorite philosopher (well, actually, mine was Chuang Tzu, but Campbell got an honorable mention) on the bio page. Nifty.
Do characters living in the Buffyverse dread the approach of May? -- Dedalus, 13:02:14 08/27/01 Mon

And if not, shouldn't they?

It seems to me, to those livin' large in a Buffy world, that it should be somewhat obvious that a pattern is forming. Willow should put it together, or Giles, who once talked about a synchronicity that borders on predestination. Only a little bit of reflection on the last five years would bring it into the light.

First May, Buffy dies, world nearly comes to an end. Second May, Willow gets a concussion, Xander has his arm broken, Angel more or less dies, Giles gets tortured, world nearly comes to an end. Third May, Angel gets poisoned, Buffy nearly has all her blood drained, Faith gets put in a coma, and while the world doesn't nearly come to an end, the graduating class almost get eaten by a giant snake. Fourth May, the Scooby gang breaks up, Giles suffers a really bad hangover, the Initiative explodes, Riley nearly becomes an Adam zombie, and while no one winds up in a coma, the spirit of the First Slayer almost kills all the Scoobs during their sleep. Fifth May, Giles gets speared, Anya gets a pile of rubble dropped on her, Dawn gets kidnapped and nearly killed, Buffy does die, and the universe nearly gets destroyed.

You would think some self-aware soul in the Scoobies would put together that come May, things are just gonna go to hell. Sometimes literally.

These are the kind of thoughts I have when I'm out cutting the grass with the heat index at 100 degrees.
[> Re: Do characters living in the Buffyverse dread the approach of May? -- dan, 13:11:53 08/27/01 Mon

Perhaps they've managed to ignore The Sinister May Effect because of the attendant Nothing Much Bad Happens At All During The Summer effect, when the weather is nice, the livin' is easy, and the vamps ain't bitin'. Easy livin' sure has a way of blotting out unpleasant thoughts... ;->

seriously, though, it'd be interesting if this pattern was commented upon in the show. the characters are already so much more self-aware than just about any others we see on TV, it wouldn't be out of line for us to see them make that step...

[> [> Re: Do characters living in the Buffyverse dread the approach of May? -- Dedalus, 13:39:47 08/27/01 Mon

Hmm ... the summer factor ... I hadn't thought about that. A really good summer can wipe out a really bad year. I know this from experience. I mean, one of the worst years of my life, followed by a really great summer ... actually, just the Fourth of July weekend on the houseboat up at Lake Lanier with the cheerleader would have made up for it, but anyway ...

And yes, I was sort of being serious, too. They are so self-aware, you think they could consciously figure out the whole "Hey, we're living in May sweeps!" thing. Could be a funny line, provided it was muted enough so as not to make them appear totally cognizant of the fact that they are in fact tv characters.
[> [> [> What is there about May? -- Brian, 14:20:17 08/27/01 Mon

When I was a teacher, I dreaded May. that was the month that everything ugly boiled to the surface and chaos and stress ruled. People got angry, unreasonable, and frustrated with each other, and with themselves. Couples broke up, married folks divorced, people made crazy demands then changed their minds, etc. So all that stuff happening in May in the Buffyverse seems pretty normal to me.
[> [> Are we sure that it's always May? -- d'Herblay, 13:55:58 08/27/01 Mon

I realize that it's standard procedure to regard the events of an episode as occuring on or near the original air date of the episode, but I wonder if such a policy is tenable, especially since it would require us to believe that Buffy waited forty-nine days between her mother's death and burial. So I've decided to be a little more flexible. For example, I graduated from high school in mid-June, so I date "Graduation Day," parts one and two, in mid-June. Conversely, as "The Gift" appears to take place the night after "Tough Love," and, being that Spike is still heavily bruised in "Tough Love" but nearly completely healed in "Spiral" (the next day), "Tough Love" must follow pretty quickly on the heels of "Intervention." This allows me to date "The Gift" as early as April 26 (which completely screws up the meaning of "7-3-0," but that's my problem).

Of course, excepting for dan's "Nothing Much Bad Happens At All During The Summer effect," significant events, though not May sweeps level, occur year-round in Sunnydale. I think February would be almost as dreaded as May: Angel turning evil, Faith going over to the Mayor, Maggie Walsh being killed by Adam, Dawn cutting herself, and Spike confessing his love for Buffy. I can imagine a character saying in November, "I wouldn't pay too much attention to what's going on now. Everything we know will turn out to be wrong in Episode 14 anyway."

(Bits of dialogue like that are why I don't write for the show.)
[> [> Come to think of it, February's no walk in the park -- Rattletrap, 05:58:10 08/28/01 Tue

S2: Angelus turns evil S3: Faith turns evil and almost takes Buffy with her S4: Maggie Walsh dies, Adam escapes, Faith wakes up S5: Joyce dies, Dru comes back

And you'd think bad guys would learn none of them ever lasts more than 9 months.
[> [> [> Don't forget November (must be something bad going on during sweeps month) -- rowan, 14:44:04 08/28/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> Attn: rowan -- Masquerade, 19:05:37 08/28/01 Tue

I tried emailing you but the address I have for you doesn't work.

I got a "Meet the posters" email from a poster named KoopaFanatic who said he wanted to do a 1st Anniversary post on Gunn. Did you get him on your schedule?

I have his email address if you need it.
[> [> [> [> [> Yes, he e-mailed me directly and I gave him a date for posting. -- rowan, 11:55:43 08/29/01 Wed

[> : ) : ) : ) -- Masq, 13:42:50 08/27/01 Mon

[> Re: A Scooby's Journal (excerpts) -- mundusmundi, 16:30:23 08/27/01 Mon

June/July/August: How peaceful it is here in Sunnydale! Where have all the vamps gone? Come to think, where has everyone gone? Although I find I have lots of clever things to say for the rest of the year, for some reason every summer I find myself at a loss for...uhm...words.

September/October: Wow! Vamps o' plenty all of the sudden. And lots of sudden developments among me and my friends. Still, all these events seem trivial. I suspect nothing will come of any of it.

November: Boy, was I wrong! Some big surprises have suddenly borne fruit. And, looks like we've got a new Big Bad in town. Buffy'll dust 'im for sure.

December: Why is it the rest of the year feels so hard-edged, and everything around Xmas gets so schmaltzy? Plus, what's the deal with all this friggin' snow?

January: Got my grades. Aced all my classes again, though strangely I only remember attending them once or twice. I feel as though my life is caught in a loop. Events that happened earlier in the year are beginning to replay themselves, over and over and over....

February: Everything feels new again, love is in the air, and some unspeakable hell appears to be brewing. Who we thought was the Big Bad wasn't, and who we thought isn't is. Huh. Never saw that one coming.

March/April: Yet another loop, even longer than the last one. Now I know what hell is....

May: Everything came to a boil, as usual. Buffy's dead again. Everyone else is injured and/or grieving. At least another Big Bad bit the dust. Good news: We got another summer to lick our wounds.
[> [> it reminds me of some of the dialogue... -- Masq, 16:57:15 08/27/01 Mon

Every spring, around April, we hear this little bit o' dialogue

Buffy: (complains or talks about what she'd like to be doing just then) Giles: While I sympathize, Buffy, you really should be focusing your efforts on defeating ____

(fill in the blanks: The Master, Angel, the Mayor, Adam, Glory...)

I can probably find the episodes this chunk of dialogue gets cut and pasted from and to...
[> [> [> As a wise man once said.... -- mundusmundi, 19:13:02 08/27/01 Mon

"It's deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra
[> [> [> [> Re: LOL! Awesome. Always make my thoughts better. :-) -- Dedalus, 15:44:11 08/28/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> maybe Masq should change my fave philosopher to Yogi -- mundusmundi, 05:44:49 08/29/01 Wed

Another classic Yogi-ism:

"I didn't say all the things I said."
[> [> [> [> [> [> Bear or Berra? -- Masq, 17:50:42 08/29/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> although I have a fondness for pick-a-nick baskets....Berra -- mundusmundi, 05:09:14 08/30/01 Thu

[> [> LOL! Funniest thing I've read in weeks! :o)) -- Wisewoman, 19:17:43 08/27/01 Mon

[> [> ROFL! -- Solitude1056, 19:53:11 08/27/01 Mon

Reminds me of Steven Wright's first diary:

Day one. Still tired from the move.

Day two. Everyone talks to me like I'm an idiot.

... thanks for a great laugh, mm. ;-)
[> [> [> Speaking of diaries... -- Nina, 20:13:49 08/27/01 Mon

It's not my habbit to recommend fanfic, but -

If that's your cup of tea here is a funny adaptation of Bridget Jones's diary. It's very short and if you know the original novel it's even funnier. It's called Spike Jone's diary.
[> [> [> [> Re: Speaking of diaries... -- anom, 21:27:59 08/27/01 Mon

But wouldn't Spike Jones's diary be about making up great new sound effects & figuring out how to put them w/the songs & learning to go "g'ddaguk-GNG! g'ddaguk-GNG!"?
[> [> [> [> [> Vamp-free summers make sense -- Sheri, 21:47:26 08/27/01 Mon

Well, of course they won't have as much trouble with vampires during the rest the summer as the do during the rest of the year... it's sunny for a much longer part of the day!

During the daylight hours, everybody in Sunnydale is probably at the beach (are they by the ocean?) or at the pool... at any rate, two places that a vamp would only go to if he/she wanted to become a crispy critter.

Also, I've got a little theory on the effect of temperatures on vampire physiology... I'm betting that when the temperature goes above 98.6 degrees (and subsequently, so does the vampire's), the vampire would end up feeling all sluggish and icky like he/she has been running a fever. And who really wants to go around finding people to bite when they're running a fever?
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Vamp-free summers make sense...or do they? -- vampire hunter D, 12:25:07 08/28/01 Tue

Actually, from in show clues, I got the impression that Dracula's attack came in July. And July is definitely Summer.
[> [> [> [> [> [> Latitude determines attitude -- d'Herblay, 12:46:01 08/29/01 Wed

It should be noted that in "The Freshmen," Buffy refers to the past summer as being "slay-heavy." So they're not estivating.

On the other hand, a vampire finding itself in, say, Reykjavik in June is going to have severely limited options. Not that Reykjavik in January would be much better. Lots of darkness, sure, but not much in the way of neck exposure.

Taking into account Sheri's theory (and the evidence in "The Initiative") that vampires conform to the ambient temperature, somewhat like cold-blooded animals, one can assume that vampires avoid both extreme hot and extreme cold. A body temperature of 107°F will kill a human, I believe; it can't be too comfortable for a vampire. At the other end, how many reptiles do you see frolicking in the snow?

This would seem to limit the geographical range of vampires to the temperate regions (or the high altitude tropics--equatorial Nairobi is actually quite pleasant). The northernmost example of vampire activity I can think of occured in Dublin (unless Buffy is correct about Rasputin). How close to the tropics have vampires been sighted?

Another solstice-related thought: do vampires celebrate the winter solstice (or the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere)? In "Into the Woods," Giles hangs a banner reminding shoppers of the immanency of the winter solstice, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa and "Gurnenthar's Ascendance." Somehow, when I'm hanging lights in December, it'd be nice to know that the holiday spirit is being shared by those looking to rip my throat out.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Like the Jimmy Buffet song? -- Dedalus, 12:48:12 08/29/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Love this board. -- Humanitas, 14:12:23 08/29/01 Wed

"Estivating." Huh. Had to look that one up. Learn something new every day, dontcha? :-)

Let's see, Tropical vampires, the closest to the tropics I can remember hearing of any was Mexico, where Dru and Spike were when they broke up, unless the city in China where Spike bagged his first Slayer is farther south.
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Love this board. -- Solitude1056, 09:32:36 08/30/01 Thu

Going on the assumption that the four vamps were in the thick of it, most likely they were in Beijing.

from "the boxer rebellion" :

In the spring of 1900 the Boxers were out of control, they killed seventy Chinese christians and riots broke out all around Peking. On May 29, 1900 two British missionaries were attacked, with one being killed. The foregin ministers in Peking issued strong protests. The diplomats told the Chinese that they had twenty-four hours to put down the Boxers or they would call troops up from the coast. Before the Chinese government could reply, the diplomats learned that the telegraph line between Peking and Pao Ting Fu had been cut. The foreign diplomats ordered troops up from the coast, but were halted by the Chinese. On May 31 the troops were allowed to advance into Peking. Three hundred and forty troops arrived in Peking that night, followed by another 90 four days later. These were the last troops to enter Peking until August 14, 1900.

And Peking (Beijing) is northern China, somewhere roughly - I'm guessing here, no map in front of me - analogous to New York City. I'm told it does get hot in summer, but also quite cold/snowy in winter. If the rebellion had been in Hong Kong (thus putting our lovely bad guys in the southern neck of China), then there'd be a comparison to Mexico, since HK is pretty much sub-tropical and makes Florida look comfy in terms of humidity. But Beijing's definitely quite a distance north.
From below or above: Daemons, Souls, and the Material World -- Solitude1056, 14:55:13 08/28/01 Tue

Way down below on a different thread - hence the start of this one as a separate one - Rufus asks:

You caught what I think of when I think of how Dawn was created. The Monks moulding flesh around a bit of the divine. But it all goes into what you think of humanity and the soul. Would you consider the process of becoming a vampire as a demon possession that severs the humans link with the divine? If so can that link be found again?

We'll quickly get into quicksand unless I take the time to define some of my terms first, so bear with me. I'll try to be concise & organized. (Bah, good luck, me.)

First: by "divine" I do not mean the Xtian concept of a God, some omniscient old guy sitting around passing judgement. Several traditions consider the "divine" to be a shorthand term for "Divine Unmanifest." Loosely translated & boiled down, this would be considered the "Universal Potential," in the sense that the Universe contains the potential - that split second before the act of creation, when all things are possible - for all acts, and that each act of creation contains within itself a reflection of this potential by carrying its own impetus towards making that potential into the actual.

So, in this sense, all created things with sentience on any level - from daemons, critters, humans, right down to small field mice - carry this divine spark, this link to the Divine Unmanifest, which is the "push" behind the drive to reach the actualization of one's original purpose in creation. Otters play, horses run, angels dance, and humans praise. The medieval minds tended towards this schema more than we do, in the sense that each created being has a "niche" in the plan, a place where one belongs.

So how does the idea of demon/daimon fit into things and what the hell am I talking about? Well, taking it from a Gnostic point of view, to restate what I said below & hopefully explain it better this time (ack, well, whatever)... The Gnostics weren't only badgering against the Material world, they were also hankering for a one-on-one interaction with this Divine Unmanifest. (Gnostic, after all, just meaning "knowledge," in the sense of personal knowledge, or grokking, for those of you up on your SIASL references.) Please don't get waylaid by the extremists of Gnosticism in the historical sense - it was a myriad and complex series of different philosophies that have been grouped under a single title for the purpose of easy cataloging. Be that as it may, one of the main thrusts of Gnosticism was to find a way to sidestep the Material World (Malkuth) and reach the Divine (Kether).

One's daimon was one's connection to Kether, one's personal direct line to the Divine Unmanifest. In some traditions it's outside the person, in others, it's inside. Some philosophers, and writers (like that guy who wrote the Dark Materials series), visualize the Daemon as being external to the person, but even when it's interior, it's always an inextrictable link, and indubitably cannot be severed. Even if it could, one would deny this possibility, because to do so would be severence from the Source of all creative acts.

[This is more detailed than I intended, but whatever, I guess I'm on a roll and hopefully this will explain where I'm coming from, anyway.]

So the demon, daimon, is that which carries the message of a being's potential - and it's this potential that exemplifies one's (moral) compass. If one's potential, as a mockingbird, is to harrass all creatures within fifty feet of one's nest, a clear and solid connection/interaction with the daemon is the means by which one becomes aware of this original intention behind one's creation.

So the next question is: what if the Soul is not what makes us human? And why is it that Humans have more proclivity towards free will than Demons?

First: the soul is sometimes aligned with the classic sense of a daimon, not "aligned" meaning same thing, but meaning "allied" or "working closely together" - so much that in some texts it's hard to tell where the philosopher interpretes one as ending and the other as beginning. And it's very clear in the Western tradition that Angels are considered daimons, if you have a personal Guardian Angel who acts as a part of you and yet relates the purpose of your existence as intended by the Divine Unmanifest. Additionally, each Angel in medieval times was considered as working for a specific function and was limited solely to that. So the act of being human, somehow, allows one to have more than one function, unlike the Angels/Daimons - how does that come about?

My suggestion is that what makes us human is not that we have a soul, but that we have a material existence: a physical body. The incarnation, the fleshly prison wrapped around our minds and hearts, trapping our daimons in the physical, is what sets us apart. So in comparison, a demon - who is not of the physical - is more closely aligned with the original intentions from the Divine Unmanifest, whereas we, in the physical, are a step removed. This step-removed allows us the freedom to ignore the messages of the daimon, and thus we are able to commit beautiful acts just as much as ones of the greatest darkness. A creature who exists closer in alliance with the original iintentions of its creation cannot deviate as far from those intentions and thus effectively has less free will, or must fight harder to ignore those intentions.

So to get back to Rufus' question:

Would you consider the process of becoming a vampire as a demon possession that severs the humans link with the divine? If so can that link be found again?

Actually, at the risk of offending anyone who's still grappling with the "Divine does not equal Xtian God" part, I'd say the conclusion of my suggestion is that in fact, the vampire infection creates a new, and stronger, link to the Divine Unmanifest. This is not the human's original link, as the body is pretty much dead - it's the vampire-demon's link, but as a demon (without the physical issues muddling the daimon's messages), it's able to understand and actualize its original creative purposes much more clearly than the human host was.

I doubt - going on this argument - that one can "find" a daimon a second time, once the body's dead. Joss, however, isn't playing the same game so he'll write what serves the story. However, when it comes to vampires... the body's dead. Someone else has set up house, and is playing by their rules, not humanity's. It also explains, as anom points out below, why demons consider humans "animals" - perhaps "sentience" is somehow secondary to "understanding one's purpose in being created," to some. And vampires would be the lowest type of demon, since they are willingly wrapping themselves in the very flesh that divides humanity from the Divine Unmanifest, and by that contagion possibly separating themselves also.

Angel, for instance, has a soul, at the same time he's a demon. In effect, he's got two links to Kether, and each contain conflicting messages of his purpose and how to get from here to there. Not an eviable position by any stretch, IMO. But he's not human, nor do I see him as being such, until he regains not his soul but his mortality, much like observed in Mundusmundi's essay. It's that mortality, as part-and-parcel of the situation of being in the material world (and dealing with entropy etc), that will be the last step before Angel will be part of humanity.

And that's why I don't think Anya "lost" her soul while she was a demon. She simply got a stronger link to the Divine Unmanifest, and this secondary link carried a message of her purpose far stronger than the one she'd probably spent her short material life ignoring, anyway. Once that second link is removed, she's back to the status of humanity, with short life-span, prison of flesh and bone, and a return to the daily muddle of figuring out one's purpose in the scheme of things.

Ok, that's enough from me now... have at it.

[> Re: From below or above: Daemons, Souls, and the Material World -- Wisewoman, 15:36:11 08/28/01 Tue

Okay Sol, I'm with yah up to this point:

"My suggestion is that what makes us human is not that we have a soul, but that we have a material existence: a physical body. The incarnation, the fleshly prison wrapped around our minds and hearts, trapping our daimons in the physical, is what sets us apart. So in comparison, a demon - who is not of the physical - is more closely aligned with the original intentions from the Divine Unmanifest, whereas we, in the physical, are a step removed."

This seems to apply to the vampire demon, as it does not seem to have a physical, fleshly existence until it "infects" a human being and takes over theirs. But what about other demons? What about The Host? He seems pretty physical. At one point Anya told the SG that none of them had seen a real demon, that all the demons who walk the earth are human/demon hybrids. She was referring specifically to the fact that the Ascension would elevate the Mayor to the status of "pure" demon. Well, we saw that happen, and while there was nothing human left in that big snaky thing, it did appear to be very well clothed in flesh. And if that was some sort of illusion, then how would it have been possible to kill it by an attack on it's flesh, it's substance, rather than on it's ephemeral demon/soul?

So, I guess my question is, what leads you to think that demons do not have a physical existence, a material presence?

BTW, IMHO Joss is very unclear about the whole concept of soul. I think he struggles with the need to discount the Xtian patriarchal grey-bearded "God" and yet maintain some sort of belief in a numinous Source of existence, which he hasn't quite sorted out yet. Of course, I could be wrong... ;o)

[> [> Too bad I couldn't coax the Peanut Gallery to post... -- Solitude1056, 20:13:10 08/28/01 Tue

Ok, let me see if I can get this right, since I'm going on the deeper understandings as related to me by He Who Is A Storehouse of Arcane Knowledge, aka my housemate.

Alright, keeping in mind that the label of Gnosticism covers a wide variety of philosophies and theologies, the largest school of Gnosticism holds that we are all "spirit stuff," demons, angels, and humans alike. Each created being contains this "spirit stuff," be it divine energy, universal material, what-have-you. This makes us all fundamentally the same. The problem for humans is that unlike demons or angels, we're trapped in a prison of flesh and bone, made of mud and grit. Yes, prison. Some school of Gnosticism are far more extreme, and some less so, but the key is understanding that the majority of Gnosticism considered this flesh a prison. Bounded in a nutshell and all that, to randomly mix metaphors 'n time periods. This physical existence is the reason for the separation from the divine, the universal creative energy, whatever PC term it is this week.

On the other hand, there were also Gnostics and variants who believed that our divine sparks chose to be incarnated. Some theories held that this is for educational purposes, others held that the "spirit stuff" wants to play the game, and you can't play the game if you're not in it. And creation, in many sects, is a type of game, in the sense of a large chaotic but randomly joyful dance.

Yes, the physical would be - in the Gnostic sense - a source of separation from the divine creating spark. And the rules of our dimension are that one must have a physical presence in order to interact, hence the reason ghosts don't interact with us unless they're whipping physical stuff about or dropping goop on us from somewhere. And it's also possibly the reason that many people are convinced that ghosts don't exist. No see 'um, no believe 'um. Ok. Moving right along...

This would mean that if demons want to exist in our dimension, they must appear physically. Alright, this has been mentioned several times, in BtVS as well as A:tS. The question then is whether demons trapped in this dimension are not actually "physical" - they must be, as that is rule numero uno of our particular dimension's game - but whether this also distances them from their link to the universal creative/creating source. That would explain the concept, as it's been expressed various episodes, that demons in this dimension are somehow hybrids or less-than-full demons. They are, in effect, making themselves human.

It frequently comes back to the rules of the game. All rules are valid, as long as the system is independently complete; the rules of chinese checkers are as valid as those of chess but you can't play one by the rules of the other. You're in this plane, you're physical, and if the physical is what distances one from hearing/understanding one's link to the Potential, then you're in a state of humanity. The last key, then, is death: if one contains a mortality by reason of entropy being a second rule of the game, then one contains humanity. Vampires are essentially immortal, if left alone to feed (and are not killed), as are Ethros demons. Hell, the Ethros demon only has a shape under certain circumstances, and otherwise inhabits a human host much like a vampire-demon would. So I don't know if demons would have a physical shape in another dimension, and so far we've only seen Pylea as an example, really. And it's hard to say whether they're any better off - in terms of direct aware links/daemons - than we are in our dimension.

It all boils down to the same thing I think Joss is getting at, but he's doing it in a much more simplistic manner than I am, cause it's rerun time for me and that means I'm bored enough to intellectualize the hell out of just about anything... if we all contain "spirit-stuff" and we are all bound in the physical, then there is no difference between us and demons. IMO.

Or something like that...

[> [> [> Rufus' printer to be held whenever....long live my new printer....:):) -- Rufus, 22:35:47 08/28/01 Tue

Can't post busy printing......I'm still getting over what you said about Santa...:):):)

[> [> Brain fry but... -- Slayrunt, 23:24:01 08/28/01 Tue

Are we should the Host is a demon, or is he just a green being with horns?

I know that Joss through the shows have said that there are serveral demon dimensions, but Anya has said that there are other types to dimensions ie. the world without shrimp (which some people might consider a hell of sorts, but not I).

[> [> [> Pondering Pylea -- KoopaFanatic, 11:35:29 08/29/01 Wed

"Are we should the Host is a demon, or is he just a green being with horns?"

On Buffyearth, that just might be the definition of "demon." Sol's discussion on Gnosticism got me thinking, oddly, of Edwin Abbott's Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. For those who've never heard of it, Flatland is a short book that takes place almost entirely in a two-dimensional universe (called Flatland, hence the title). The narrator is a simple square, a resident of Flatland who fancies himself something of a scholar. Most of the book is taken up with an explanation of life in a two-dimensional world. However, at one point our narrator stumbles across Lineland, a one-dimensional world inhabited by line segments. The square tries to explain the concept of "width" to a being that only understands "length." Shortly thereafter, the square meets a sphere from Spaceland who explains the concept of "depth" to him. At that moment, although he can't wrap his mind properly around this "three dimensions" concept, the square understands why he had such difficulty getting the lines to comprehend Flatland. He then postulates that there might be additional dimensions beyond three, and possibly a universe of infinite dimensions (i.e. heaven/god/etc.).

Flatland is a multilayered book, serving as a mathematics primer, a satire on Victorian England (it was written in 1880), a theological essay, and especially a lesson on challenging one's assumptions about the way the universe works. But what does all this have to do with the Buffyverse, you ask?

Well, before I go any farther, I want to talk about "dimensions" for a minute. In most of this discussion, "dimension" is used as synonymous with world, continuum, universe, existence, or what have you. In Flatland however, we're talking about the actual physical dimensions which exist in different fashions in different worlds. Ironically, if I can tie these ramblings back together adequately I'll paint the phrase "demon dimension" as astoundingly appropriate. Bear with me.

Okay, back to the topic at hand... Near the end of Flatland the sphere makes an appearance before the legislative assembly of the polygons. However, the polygons only see a circle with a changing diameter as the sphere moves through the plane of their universe. Much as the inhabitants of Lineland see the square as an unusual line segment as he dips into their world, the sphere can only exist in Flatland as a two-dimensional object, just like the flatlanders themselves. Likewise, even if taken into Spaceland a flatlander would still be two-dimensional, even in a three-dimensional universe.

So what if there's some similar relationship among the assorted dimensions of the Buffyverse? We know that creatures that manifest on Buffyearth can be killed by virtue of existing on said plane, and we know that they've never shown a "pure demon." So my speculation here is that Buffyearth is like the 2D Flatland, and demon dimensions are similar to 3D+ Spaceland and Hyperspacelands. Now I'm not trying to suggest that there is quite that same kind of strict mathematical relationship and hierarchy among Buffyearth and the demon dimensions, but there's a similar analogy that could be made...

Very rarely do BtVS/Angel demons display any sort of "otherworldly" powers. Only rarely do we have creatures who appear to be something other than completely physical (I'm thinking Vocah's odd visuals moving through the crowd, the Ethros demon, the Kindestod, and the Thesulac vs. Merl, the Prio Motu, Glory's minions, Giles-as-Fyarl, the Polgara, Machida and countless other beasties of the week), and I'd call this a side effect of the manifestation process. The demons on Buffyearth are like spheres moving into Flatland, only able to present a small part of their "true selves" into the "real world." So the answer to if the Host is a demon or just a green guy with horns would be...yes. On Buffyearth, he's largely a being with physical properties, albeit some of them very odd.

And that's why Pylea was so non-demony. I remember thinking, "If this is a 'demon dimension,' why isn't this place more hellish?" Well, it's a demon home, a place that they are better suited to. For instance, the "spherical" demon squeezed into the "polygonal" Angel in order to exist in Flatland/Earth is able to manifest more fully in Pylea, it being more suited to the demon form and not imposing any external limitations. The humans, on the other hand, are largely the same in Pylea as on Buffyearth. Even when you take the 2D polygon out of Flatland, it is still 2D despite being in a 3D world. It could be argued that the medieval Pylea was merely how the world manifested itself to the humans, and that the "reality" would be incomprehensible. Similar to the various trips into the Q Continuum on Voyager: the incredibly bizarre world appears incredibly mundane because our heroes couldn't understand its "true form." (Kind of a cliché by now, but an explanation nonetheless.)

So perhaps the "demon dimensions" could be seen as having literal additional pseudophysical dimensions beyond the ones that we can see... The World w/o Shrimp, the Land of Trolls, and even the World of Perpetual Wednesday might be additional "Flatlands" like the Buffyearth, with the same sort of general physical dimensions but odd properties. The demon dimensions, the oracles' gateway, and the other similar ideas are "Spacelands" by comparison, having some additional properties. One isn't necessarily "higher" or "lower" than the other, or their mathematical relationships might be completely unrelated to their spiritual rankings. Demons in their "pure" forms (i.e. their beyond-3D forms in their home dimensions) aren't necessarily larger than their temporal manifestations, in the same way that the intersection between a sphere and a plane is not by definition larger than any other circle drawn on that plane. But it's "greater" than the manifested form, consisting of at least one invisible aspect that's just not comprehensible to the "flatlanders." So perhaps these other parts of the Buffyverse are worlds with a "physical" dimension or three beyond length, width and depth. Perhaps Glory's home universe (one of the nastier demon dimensions, after all), for example, has the familiar dimensions that we have plus a few hundred dimensions of demonness, while the more terrestrial Pylea has only a single demon dimension...

Well, there you have it: BtVS + Gnosticism => wacky mathematics :-)

[> [> [> [> KABOOM! (And I actually understood all that...thanks!) ;o) -- Wisewoman, 12:19:39 08/29/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> Totally KABOOM, definitely. (hell, I even understood it, and I'm the worst at math!) -- Solitude1056, 12:55:32 08/29/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> In this context, KABOOM = good, right? (NT) -- KoopaFanatic, 17:53:18 08/29/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> KABOOM = so full of philosophical goodness it might make your head explode! (i.e. good, yes) -- Wisewoman, 18:10:16 08/29/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> D'oh. Forgot KoopaFanatic's Rule #1: Read the FAQ!! (NT) -- KoopaFanatic, 10:31:44 08/30/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> KABOOM... -- LadyStarlight, 19:02:10 08/29/01 Wed

...if I'd had a teacher like you in 10th grade, maybe I'd've passed Physics!

[> [> [> [> Re: Pondering Pylea - much KABOOMage, indeed! -- dan, 19:36:15 08/29/01 Wed

While I *loved* your post, and concur with everyone that your post contains much KABOOMage... I have to disagree with you.

I found the idea really cool and all, but it feels *way* too elaborate. I think that what's happened is that the writers have tossed around the term "demon" with much abandon, and thus we have inconsistencies.

this whole thing reminds me of attempts to wholly explicate the holodeck on Star Trek:TNG. Many valiant efforts were made, but in the end, all for naught, 'cause the writers of the show had been careless and created too many discrepancies.

it's an understandable tendency: we invest so much in these fictional universes, we desperately want them to fully hang together. But sometimes that leads us to give too much credit to the writers...

did any of this make any sense at all? I'm really tired. ;-> -d

[> [> [> [> [> Simplicity -- Solitude1056, 20:12:05 08/29/01 Wed

Actually, I agree with you. In reviewing this argument/idea with my housemate, his comment was that this is an extremely elaborate concept... and that Joss is working on a much simpler, and more simplistic POV.

Originally, in the western european world, it went:

GOD Angels Humans Demons

And perhaps, from a demon point of view, it goes:

Demon Human

And perhaps the point is that it makes no difference in the end, and that the "soul" really doesn't make a being "better" or "worse" than any other being... just different.

Pretty simple. But I'm still enjoying the idea of using Gnostic concepts to flip the heirarchial understanding of mind/body/soul into a complete reverse of the usual western european understanding. The rest of the year, we hear Rufus say, la-la-la-la-la, it's the magic clause. Now you get to hear me say, la-la-la-la-la, it's summer rerun time!

[> [> [> [> [> [> The Geek chorus hath sung..................... -- Rufus, 20:39:02 08/29/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> Oh yeah, definitely... -- KoopaFanatic, 10:14:42 08/30/01 Thu

...but the difference between the casual fan and the übergeek is that we in the latter camp are never willing to settle for the simple answer. Oh, sure, Star Trek's holodeck (or transporter, or warp drive) is a completely inexplicable plot device that does whatever the writers want. Likewise, there's no actual structure or system to Willow and Tara's magic, or to the functioning of demon dimensions. We acknowledge these facts. But we aren't willing to accept that at face value.

Part of the fun of a board like this is the overanalyzing, finding complex explanations for simple occurrances in our favorite programs. I doubt anyone's under any illusion that our random speculations are the way Joss & co. "really" work things. Nonetheless, trying to make it all fit together is enjoyable. And it keeps us out of trouble until September 24th ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> After all, that's what the TTMQ is all about, right? ;) -- Humanitas, 10:53:06 08/30/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Oh yeah, definitely... -- Masq, 10:17:34 08/31/01 Fri

I think there is an underlying logic to the way Joss has set up his metaphysics. I've discovered this after trying to find explanations for each and every episode. Joss creates rules, states the rules (some of the time) and rarely breaks them for plot reasons.

I'm not saying there hasn't been stretches and exceptions. I had to fudge on the Buffy has key blood thing, which defies categorical logic. Spike's "good" behavior in season 5 required a lot of bending of the established rules for vampire behavior. We had to rewrite our metaphysics for that one.

But I don't think this is just us TTM. I've been neck-deep in the business of keeping Joss' world internally consistent for two and a half years now, and I think it's not a mere exercise in overanalyzing and random explanations. I prefer to think of it as uncovering the archeology of Joss' and the writer's brains.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> the underlying metaphysics of the Buffverse, KABOOMage, Tolkien, and sundry... -- dan, 12:03:19 08/31/01 Fri

I agree that there is an underlying metaphysics of the Buffyverse. I think that Joss and co haven't worked out all the kinks, and there will always be slight inconsistencies... but such slight inconsistencies are small prices to pay for "the seamless web of Story," to quote Tolkien about inconsistencies between the Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings.

However, I don't think that the metaphysics of the demon/human relationship are this dizzyingly complex. Too much KABOOMage for the average viewer, even the average Buffy viewer! Imagine one of the characters trying to explain this in an ep. I can't. Too many words, too abstract.

Again, though, I do *love* speculation like this. Even though I think it's not the way things actually are in the Buffyverse, it's still *hella* cool to think about. And any references to /Flatland/ are a Good Thing.

BTW, did anyone ever read the young adult SF book /The Boy Who Reversed Himself/? Lotta fun with dimensional states of being there... I really bet the author read /Flatland/ in her/his youth. -d

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: the underlying metaphysics of the Buffverse, KABOOMage, Tolkien, and sundry... -- Lurker Becoming Restless, 11:42:42 09/01/01 Sat

Geez, I wish I'd been able to join this discussion earlier on!

I see the problems with consistency in the Jossverse like this:

When he laid out the rules for Buffy, it was like somebody saying that one and one is two: he was creating the fundamental building blocks of a system. Of course, once a start has been made, people began to wonder what you get when you add another one etc. Eventually you end up with complex numbers (things suggested by the system whose existence cannot be proven) and infinite decimal expansions (discussions that go on for ever!).

Of course, the foundation for the Jossverse was not quite as solid as 'one and one is two' (or whatever the foundation for mathematics is). The more solid the foundation, the more can be created from it and so if you create a good, 'one and one is two' story, the rest of an infinitely complicated system is assumed.

Sorry if I've dragged things OT.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I really like that analogy. Clear and Concise. Well done! -- Humanitas, 11:55:05 09/01/01 Sat

[> [> [> [> Re: Pondering Pylea -- Cleanthes, 20:16:46 08/29/01 Wed

Wow, what a truly sagacious post!

In reading Solitude1056's original post, I began thinking about merely the concept of "from above and below". I started a reply dealing with Kierkegaard's book "Either/Or" and the law of the excluded middle and and and... I deleted it as incoherent.

Now, though, I can pull out just a portion of the thoughts I had and see how it fits with Abbott's flatland. When seeing the sphere, the 2D people merely notice a circle of varying diameter. That's because the portion of the sphere in the third dimension remains inaccessible to them. In a way, they'd want to "think outside the box" or, their dimension. Picasso and the cubists tried to imagine 4D objects passing through 3D space in this way, iirc.

Which brings me to "Either/Or". Kierkegaard mocked Hegel's dialectic which always sought a synthesis between opposites. There is no synthesis between white cows and black cows. Gray cows are NOT the answer.

But. What about brown cows? New ways of ordering the information upset the dialectic as well. Certainly a brown cow is NOT a synthesis between white cows and black cows. There's another "dimension" of information.

So I thought about "from above or below". Maybe there is some extradimensional concept that stands in relation to "above or below" as brown stands to black and white. So, even agreeing that Kether marks the pinnacle of the tree of life, perhaps there's something neither above or below that pinnacle, but instead is found askew or akimbo to the pinnacle.

Such was Pylea to me. Numfar, dance!

[> [> [> [> [> well, now that you mention it... -- Solitude1056, 20:41:29 08/29/01 Wed

I refrained from broadsiding anyone here with the complex notion of "malkuth is in kether as kether is in malkuth," one possible origin of the perhaps-now-familiar pagan expression (derived from the traditional ceremonial magickal & alchemical phrase) of "as above, so below" - question always is, which above, and which below. I figured the whole gnostic leaning was bad enough for intellectualization points. and no, not Kierkegaard, noooooo. hehe. I suppose this means I could dig out my Concluding Unscientific Postscript and thwack you with it? Can we instead go into Repetition (my fave Kierkegaardian scrip)?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: well, now that you mention it... -- Cleanthes, 06:21:46 08/31/01 Fri

"Can we instead go into Repetition (my fave Kierkegaardian scrip)?"

Okay, enable my desire to think about this instead of what I'm supposed to be doing! Well, I can't authentically blame you for my foibles.

Y'know, in a strange way, your comment here links beautifully with my final sentence about Numfar. I put that in because I always want to at least pretend to stay on topic, but, well, Pylea has more to do with "Repetition" than with "Either/Or". Think of a place with no music!

"There is probably no person who has not gone through a period when no richness of language, no passion of interjection was adequate, since no expression, no gesture sufficed, since nothing satisfied him other than breaking into the strangest leaps and somersaults." (Repetition, pagination III198. p. 158 of the Hong & Hong translation)

Now, it seems to me that a place without music would REALLY push folks into strange leaps and somersaults. The fewer "dimensions" of expression, the more repetition demands from what remains.

(my favorite SK work remains "Fear and Trembling", but I suppose that's just 'cause it fits well with Buffy & these hero's journey concepts -- Repetition is a better "read" and it keeps me from thinking that I'm close to knowing what the hell I'm talking about...)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Fear And Trembling... gotta love Kierkegaard, that melancholy Dane! -- dan, 12:34:00 08/31/01 Fri

/Fear and Trembling/ has *so* much relevance to the Gift...

Buffy *was* the "knight of faith" when she made the leap from the tower.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hey! We aren't all Melancholy............ -- Rufus, 16:05:49 08/31/01 Fri

I latched onto Fear and Trembling when the notion of sacrifice came up. Everything Buffy did on that tower was about faith. It shouldn't have worked, Buffy jumping into the portal, there is no rational explanation, but Buffy dared that leap of faith as she believed it would bring he gift to the world.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Hey! We aren't all Melancholy............ -- Dedalus, 20:13:15 08/31/01 Fri

Didn't someone just write an essay about this?

*Dedalus ducks and heads for cover*

[> [> [> [> Finally!!! -- Shaglio, 05:28:32 08/30/01 Thu

Something on this board that I can fully comprehend! As an ex-math major and someone who aced all my math classes and physics in high school, I feel good knowing that math and philosophy can actually come together and make sense. Thanks, dude, you made my day. I promise not to stomp on you ;)

[> [> [> [> [> Well, to a physicist, math is the underlying philosophy of the universe, is it not? -- OnM, 06:56:58 08/30/01 Thu

[> [> [> [> QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "BtVS + Gnosticism => wacky mathematics" -- Masquerade, 07:43:30 08/31/01 Fri

[> [> [> [> Re: Pondering Pylea -- Malandanza, 10:21:37 08/31/01 Fri

"So my speculation here is that Buffyearth is like the 2D Flatland, and demon dimensions are similar to 3D+ Spaceland and Hyperspacelands."

Consider how the square saw the cube when he ventured into spaceland: sometimes he saw a square, sometimes a hexagon and sometimes a "monstrous[ly]...irregular" shape. If a cube had passed through flatland instead of the sphere, there would have been triangular, quadrilateral and hexagonal cross sections -- constantly shifting form whenever the cube slightly shifted in its own space. By analogy, if a demon were 4th (or higher) dimensional, I would expect it to manifest itself in the 3-D universe as a constantly changing (perhaps amorphous) form.

I would say that Pylea has the same dimension as the Buffyverse -- think of parallel plane. Flatland is described as the surface of a fluid -- imagine ripples in the fluid briefly connecting one parallel plane to another and you have gates like those that Angel & Co. traveled through.

I do like the idea that some demons are higher dimensional -- perhaps this is why they cannot manifest in the Buffyverse -- and having to "squeeze into the "polygonal" [bodies] in order to exist in Flatland/Earth."

Douglas Adams also had an interesting idea about the universe in "Mostly Harmless" -- he describes a multidimensional "Whole Sort of General Mish MAsh" where any slice (parallel or not) is a universe of some form.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Pondering Pylea -- KoopaFanatic, 22:27:11 08/31/01 Fri

"By analogy, if a demon were 4th (or higher) dimensional, I would expect it to manifest itself in the 3-D universe as a constantly changing (perhaps amorphous) form."

Yeah, that's one of the big drawbacks to my theory, but then I didn't really want to limit the differences between Earth and the demon dimensions to physical dimensions. I was going for more of the analogy, that there was some as-yet undefined property to the demon dimensions that Earth lacks, or has to a much lesser extent, and it's this quality that allows demons to express themselves fully.

Hmm. And from another POV, entities never seem to be in full control of their transition from dimension to dimension. Returning to the Flatland analogy, imagine if the cube got stuck at one orientation after it entered Flatland. It could still move around in Flatland's dimensions, but it couldn't change its appearance to the observer. Since nobody seems to be in at-will control of his or her movement between realms, it could be that once an entity enters a dimension, its orientation in extraneous dimensions is fixed.

This would somewhat tie in with what Denver said in "Reprise:"

"A lot of dark entities use the form of a Kleynach to manifest because the Kleynach doesn't have to rely on being conjured or brought forth. They can come and go as they please with that ring."

The first half implies that it isn't the demon nature alone that dictates how something will appear on Earth, but that any one entity might take different forms at different times. Even Giles fits the pattern... From this theoretical model, what Ethan did was grab Giles' 2D polygonal equivalent and set it askew in the x-axis at the particular angle that means "Fyarl."

The second part of what Denver says is also important... These same dark entities can manifest in a way that lets them control their interplanar movement, but in their true form (whatever that would mean) they probably have no more immediate power to shift dimensions than, say, Xander. So the amorphous form would probably be the exception rather than the rule. Even the most powerful beings described in the Buffyverse have needed some sort of assistance to change dimensions: from quick chanting and magic rings to century-long rituals, there's always some external force. Even the ever-popular gateways require some effort to activate.

(Wow, who ever thought patching holes in a theory concerning fictional metaphysics could be so much fun?)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Pondering Pylea -- Humanitas, 12:10:31 09/01/01 Sat

That could also explain what happens when you conjure a demon. You force it to manifest in this dimension, as with the Thessulac. In other words, you reach up along the z-axis, and drag the cube down into Flatland forcibly.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> By Jove, I think we've got it! :) -- KoopaFanatic, 18:55:41 09/01/01 Sat

[> Re: From below or above: Daemons, Souls, and the Material World -- anom, 19:20:16 08/28/01 Tue

Interesting how much of this sounds Jewish to me, even though Sol doesn't say so. I can't take these in the same order, because some seem to go together although they're separated in Sol's post.

"So, in this sense, all created things with sentience on any level - from daemons, critters, humans, right down to small field mice - carry this divine spark, this link to the Divine Unmanifest...."

"Be that as it may, one of the main thrusts of Gnosticism was to find a way to sidestep the Material World (Malkuth) and reach the Divine (Kether)."

These both sound very much like Kabbalah (esp. the actual Hebrew words!) My knowledge of Kabbalah is very limited, & of Gnosticism even more so, but I've heard things in its context that sound very much like this. (I'm not much for mysticism; I prefer things more simple & direct.)

"...hankering for a one-on-one interaction with this Divine Unmanifest."

Definitely sounds Jewish, if not necessarily in those terms. The idea that such interaction is possible--without an intermediary--is one of the things I like best about Judaism.

"Additionally, each Angel in medieval times was considered as working for a specific function and was limited solely to that."

This sounds exactly like the literal meaning of the Hebrew word "mal'ach," usually translated as "angel." Most often translators who want to explain further say it means "messenger," which is closer to the Greek/Latin words "angel" comes from. But in Hebrew the word is related to "mal'achah," "task," or "specific function." One interpretation of the story in Genesis of 3, um, let's say angels (though in this case the Hebrew uses "men"), visiting Abraham is that each one had a different purpose. OK, let's see if I remember right. I think one came to tell Abraham & Sarah they were going to have a son, one to tell Abraham Sodom & Gomorrah were going to be destroyed, & one to help Lot & his family escape the destruction. Waitaminnit, 2 of them went to Lot. Sorry--don't have time to check it.

On the other hand: "...the Xtian concept of a God, some omniscient old guy sitting around passing judgement" sounds more pagan to me--Zeus or Odin. Is this really the Xtian concept of the Father aspect of God? I mean, yeah, that's how Michelangelo painted him, but how good a source is he? After all, he put horns on Moses (mistranslation again)....

[> [> Re: From below or above: Daemons, Souls, and the Material World -- Solitude1056, 19:53:31 08/28/01 Tue

Interesting how much of this sounds Jewish to me, even though Sol doesn't say so. I can't take these in the same order, because some seem to go together although they're separated in Sol's post. Judaism is a major part of the western european mystical & spiritual traditions, as the basis for both Xtianity & Islam. So yeah, a lot of it will have shades of that.

"Be that as it may, one of the main thrusts of Gnosticism was to find a way to sidestep the Material World (Malkuth) and reach the Divine (Kether)."

These both sound very much like Kabbalah (esp. the actual Hebrew words!) Yup. Bingo. Kether is the crown, the pinnacle of the Tree of Life. I prefer to use that expression both for its qabalistic connotations & because if you use the word "god" and you mean something other than Jehovah, people do tend to get glazed eyes trying to wrap their heads around the variance, unless you take the time to elaborately define your terms. It's just an assumption of our western culture.

My knowledge of Kabbalah is very limited, & of Gnosticism even more so, but I've heard things in its context that sound very much like this. (I'm not much for mysticism; I prefer things more simple & direct.) Qabalah and Gnosticism have some similarities: they're both mystical schools of thought. I'd say the similarities end there, if you want to be truthful to the separate schools. And much mysticism is actually quite simple direct: "talk to the divine/god/jehovah/whatever, one-on-one, by any means possible." It's the theology that's elaborate and intellectualized.

"...hankering for a one-on-one interaction with this Divine Unmanifest."

Definitely sounds Jewish, if not necessarily in those terms. The idea that such interaction is possible--without an intermediary--is one of the things I like best about Judaism. Same for Islam, as well as Gnosticism. The fact that they all have this element doesn't make them similar, though.

"Additionally, each Angel in medieval times was considered as working for a specific function and was limited solely to that."

This sounds exactly like the literal meaning of the Hebrew word "mal'ach," usually translated as "angel." Most often translators who want to explain further say it means "messenger," which is closer to the Greek/Latin words "angel" comes from. It's also a symptom of the medieval mind, regardless of the origins of the word itself. That whole "everything in a heirarchy" perception of the world. Demons, then humans, then angels, then GOD. Man, I always wonder if the Italian philosophers had spontaneous combustion at the pleasure of discovering the Chinese understanding of heaven as the hugest bureacracy in the universe... heh.

On the other hand: "...the Xtian concept of a God, some omniscient old guy sitting around passing judgement" sounds more pagan to me--Zeus or Odin. Is this really the Xtian concept of the Father aspect of God? I was meaning in the pop-culture strict protestant notion that somehow there's someone "up there," a sentient being, counting rights and wrongs like some megalomaniac Santa Claus. *shrug* Pie in the sky by-and-by when we die, and all that. No offense to the Xtians here, just that my theological training does sometimes rear its ugly head in my jaded perspective. ;-)

[> [> [> Re: From below or above: Daemons, Souls, and the Material World -- Dedalus, 13:37:40 08/29/01 Wed

"Like some megalomaniac Santa Claus"?

Ha-ha. Funny. He's like Santa Claus ... only with a really bad temper.

Well, I do appreciate the absurd notion of the "up there" syndrome, rendered nonsense by the fact that we're floating around in the middle of space spinning at speeds in excess of 66 thousand miles an hour, but what is the sense of the term "Xtians"? I can see using it for like ... Xmas. The people who want Santa Claus and candy canes minus the religious connotations. But it seems rather strange to be talking about the religion and "X" out the main guy. I don't go around talking about Xlims, or Xhists, or Xindus. I mean, we all know what you're talking about, and they are Christians, not Xtians, Ytians, or Ztians.

I can live with it, I just don't get the reasoning behind it.

And side rant - could educators please drop this B.C.E. and C.E. and A.C.E. and ACE is the Place for the Helpful Hardware Man? Christian or not, for X's sake, what differentiates B.C.E. from C.E.?! A little guy known as JESUS. Everyone knows it. I'm all for not being so Western-centric, but if we're going to be like this, at least we can come up with a whole new calendar system or something.

Personally, I already have. And I have two Februarys, thus allowing me to have two birthdays a year. May be bad in the long run when I'm like 80 years old when I'm really 40, but damn it, I like those extra presents.

[> [> [> [> Re: From below or above: Daemons, Souls, and the Material World -- Humanitas, 14:01:50 08/29/01 Wed

Fun rant! :) Gotta let my inner pedant run free for a minute, tho:

The 'X' in 'Xmas' or 'Xtian' isn't an x-ing out of the main guy, but good old-fashioned lazy typing (kinda like ATLtS). In greek, the word 'Christos' starts with the letter 'chi,' which looks like the Roman 'X.'

As for 'BCE,' I agree that it smells suspiciously like PC BS, but again, the laziness rule applies. Much easier to change the name than to re-arrange the whole calendar, when it took us better than 1500 years to make it match the solar calendar to begin with. ;)

"The entire history of progress has been the result of lazy men trying to get out of doing work." - Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

[> [> [> [> [> Re: So I'm pretty much clueless again, eh? -- Dedalus, 09:56:41 08/30/01 Thu

X = chi = christos?

Seriously? I never, ever knew that. I mean, I had no idea. Wow. All this time, I've heard Christians complaining about Xmas and all that, and I had no clue.

You learn something new here every bloody day.

Well, apologies, Sol.

My feelings about BCE stand, however.

[> [> [> [> R.E.B.C.E.C.E.P.U. -- mundusmundi, 14:59:08 08/29/01 Wed

Every quarter, my classes begin like this:

Prof: "What's B.C. stand for?" Students: "Before Christ!" Prof: "What's A.D. stand for?" Students: "After Death!" Prof: (smirks at the last) "Ok, lesson number one...."

[> [> [> [> [> Re: R.E.B.C.E.C.E.P.U. - L.O.L.! -- Humanitas, 15:20:58 08/29/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> BCE humor (OT) -- Vickie, 16:27:02 08/29/01 Wed

Reminds me of a very silly story. Friends of mine visited the Holocaust Museum. Seems that all dates on the exhibits are marked B.C.E..

Behind them as the wandered through the exhibits were two older ladies who were confused by the B.C.E. markings. My friend, being a gentleman, volunteered the information that the initials stood for "Before (the) Common Era". They thanked him, and the museum wander continued.

(You have to imagine southern accents here for this to work quite right.)

Later, in the ladies room, my other friend overheard the two ladies talking.

"What a nice young man. But I wonder what common error he meant?"

[> [> [> [> [> ummm...i'm missing a few letters here--not getting it -- anom, 21:28:46 09/04/01 Tue

[> [> [> [> Initials -- Solitude1056, 15:35:10 08/29/01 Wed

Well, frankly - not to step on anyone's toes here, but I'm being upfront about this. I'm not saying A.D. or "Anno Domini," since both amount to "Year of our Lord" and newsflash, it's not *everyone's* lord, and it's certainly not mine. (Similar reaction as to when folks talk to me about original sin. Sorry, I don't believe in two dead folks, nor do I believe they've got much impact on the state of my soul, but thanks for asking.) I'll stick with CE or Common Era, thanks. It may amount to the same number, but I do it on principle.

And Humanitas is right about the X - on both parts. ;-)

Disclaimer: This post is intended to impart a sense of humor. Given e-mail's inability to carry inflections, tone and facial expressions it may fail miserably in its intent. The poster acknowledges the limitations of the technology and assigns to the software in which this message was composed any ill feelings that may be returned.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Initials -- KoopaFanatic, 16:34:08 08/29/01 Wed

I agree wholeheartedly on the whole A.D./C.E. issue. Not my domine.

If you want to have fun, however, use H.E. notation. I love writing the date as year 12,001 of the Holocene Epoch... Either that or Japanese-style: Heisei 13.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Initials -- Dedalus, 10:06:21 08/30/01 Thu

Yes, I know what A.D. means. I'm just saying Jesus is still our pivot. Assuming you're an American, you still have to use currency that says "In God We Trust," don't ya? So, in keeping with my calendar suggestion, why don't you just go out and invent your own freakin' currency? You know, set up a little shop, decide on some form of money, and start printing the stuff!

On second thought, maybe that's not such a good idea.

And, as Sol said about himself, I double for me. Pretty much everything I say is said with some sense of humor!

I like Koopa's system. But why stop there?

Ooh, new idea. What about this - B.B. Big and BANG. That's really the only sensible system, anyway. So according to my B.B. calendar, it's really 18,000,000,000 B.B. Try getting that on a check.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Initials -- KoopaFanatic, 11:12:25 08/30/01 Thu

"So, in keeping with my calendar suggestion, why don't you just go out and invent your own freakin' currency?"

Hmm. I don't think freedom of speech/expression/religion can be construed as applying to money. Freedom of the mint?

I wonder if any counterfeiter has ever tried that defense in court... :)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Printing Currency -- Humanitas, 13:11:11 08/31/01 Fri

Actually, you can go out and print your own currency. A number of towns (including Ithaca, NY, where I went to college) already do this. It seems that there are two rules:

1. Don't try to pass of your currency as US Currency (that's counterfieting), and

2. Make sure the government gets it's taxes (couldn't do with out that, now could we).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Printing Currency -- KoopaFanatic, 22:30:00 08/31/01 Fri

Really? Wow. Something new every day around here! What exactly is the story with the Ithaca currency? I've got friends who just moved out there for grad school, and would love to surprise them by knowing the scoop on something like this...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Printing Currency -- Humanitas, 12:15:00 09/01/01 Sat

It's been a while, but this is what I can remember: The currency is called Ithaca Hours, and it's supposed to be based loosely on the barter system. The idea is that local businesses are paying each other in kind. I think they wanted to encourage people to patronize local artisans, a reasonable idea in a town that really is the Granola Capitol of New York. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Printing Currency -- KoopaFanatic, 18:57:40 09/01/01 Sat

Oh, sort of like vouchers for local businesses? I like that idea...none of that pesky Bretton Woods system.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Printing Currency -- Humanitas, 20:57:49 09/01/01 Sat

[cocks head to one side like a confused puppy]

"Bretton Woods system?" What's that?

Oh, we are so off topic now! :-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Printing Currency (So far OT I can't even believe it!) -- KoopaFanatic, 09:25:18 09/03/01 Mon

The Bretton Woods system was an international currency system set in place by the Allied powers after WWII. It's named after the town in New Hampshire where the conference was held. The result of the conference was a system whereby all world currencies would have stable exchange rates pegged against the US dollar. Countries could no longer fix their foundering economies by revaluing their currency, but international trade was rendered much easier. Incidentally, I should have said something more like "none of that pesky gold standard," since vouchers would have a fixed value pegged against some standard currency...

Incidentally, the Bretton Woods system lasted for 25 years, but the US unilaterally broke it during the Nixon administration, and exchange rates have been flexible (aka floating) ever since.

And despite apparent evidence to the contrary, I loathe economics. Let's not speak of this again ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Initials -- Solitude1056, 07:40:38 08/31/01 Fri

Assuming you're an American, you still have to use currency that says "In God We Trust," don't ya?

Incidentally, assuming you're an American, you didn't used to see this quote on the various forms of currency... that is, til McCarthy showed up and started getting everyone all worried 'n paranoid. I think it was sometime in the early 50's that the change was pushed through Congress - can't recall the exact date now. I never knew this; I'd always assumed it was a part of our money for way back. Turns out, it's not, and wasn't intended to be, by the guys in wigs who set a lot of it up. Those guys voted for E Pluribus Unum or whatever-it-is... they didn't want God on state stuff anymore than they wanted the Federal system in the churches. The whole red scare and commie panics of the 50's though, really screwed up a lot of things. Problem is, now a lot of people (myself included) have been raised with the impression that it'd be "unAmerican" to remove that quote, not realizing that some of our parents predate that phrase on our currency.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: No way! -- Dedalus, 08:05:56 08/31/01 Fri

"Yes, way, Ted."

Anyway, I had no clue. Very interesting. Especially in light of the fact that the fundamentalists try and drum up the whole Bible/red/white/blue thing together.

Here I am, learning something new yet again.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yeah, same reaction I had. ;-) -- Solitude1056, 08:09:11 08/31/01 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> "In God We Trust" History -- KoopaFanatic, 09:44:41 08/31/01 Fri

The complete history of the motto from the U.S. Treasury web site.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "In God We Trust" History -- Solitude1056, 10:03:47 08/31/01 Fri

Ok, this is the part that I guess I'd heard as "being on money" when in fact it was the latest step in a long line o' stuff.

"A law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) was converting to the dry intaglio printing process. During this conversion, it gradually included IN GOD WE TRUST in the back design of all classes and denominations of currency."

It's the making it the "motto" of the US that bugs me just a little bit. Uh, what about separation of Church 'n State, folks... *sigh*

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "In God We Trust" History -- Shaglio, 10:42:43 08/31/01 Fri

"It's the making it the "motto" of the US that bugs me just a little bit. Uh, what about separation of Church 'n State, folks... *sigh*"

Not to mention the reason that most of the settlers came to this continent, and wound up creating this nation, was because they wanted religious freedom. Seems odd that the government should force "God" on everyone when there are many people who don't subscribe to the Christian diety. They've gone so far as to ban prayer in schools, but it's ok to walk around carrying pieces of paper that claim we trust someone/something that we may or may not actually trust. That's pretty presumptuous and hypocritical if you ask me. But then, I'm not sure anyone did ask me :(

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "In God We Trust" History -- Solitude1056, 12:36:25 08/31/01 Fri

Wellllllllll... *some* of the original settlers wanted religious freedom, but in fact many of them settled here because Britain told them that they weren't allowed to tell other people how to worship. Yup, that's right. Those notions about "religious freedom" don't come from liberals but from extremists and fringe Xtian groups who wanted to enforce laws in Britain to make other folks do the same as them. And Britain (good for her) would have none of it, so shipped the folks off to somewhere else.

Ironically, the reason we have a separation of Church and State in the U.S. is thanks to the smallest state with the biggest name (that's "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," for those of you not in the know). Rhode Island *is* an island, and the surrounding mainland area was settled by Roger Williams under the charter of Providence Plantations (whose HQ were in, duh, Providence). The reason Mistah Williams ended up in Providence? He was a little too flaming liberal for the good folks up in Massachusetts. Quakers at that time, you see, thought that the biggest way to go for the most points would be as a martyr. No kidding. Not big on doing violence, but man, if they could get someone to do it to them, woo hoo!

I'm not making this stuff up. As a matter of fact, I don't think I could make stuff up this stupid, like the two women who trekked from Providence to Boston and hollered at people in the Commons in hopes of being hanged. Ooh, martyrdom. Problem is, the Bostonian Puritans - for all their other faults - were not about to put anyone to death for their religious beliefs. They just didn't like being hollered at while they were doing their morning shopping, is all. So the two women got thrown in the local jail, fined, and carted back to Providence. As soon as the wagon was out of sight, they turned around and headed back to Boston, and started all over again. This went on like three or four times, and each time, the women would tell the Bostonians that they only way to stop them from preaching the word of their Lord would be to put the two of them to death. And the Bostonians were having none of it. (Kinda explains a lot of why Boston looks the way it does at Providence.)

See, originally Roger Williams did the same thing, until the Bostonians got together and "gave" him some land - gee, Providence Plantations - and said, here, go down there and do something with yourself. Great place, you'll love it. And every kook, crazy, religious zealot, fanatic or just plain loopy person who came into New England would eventually get told, "go to Providence, you'll love it there." So by the time Rhode Island got its charter as an independent territory from the British government, it was clearly set that putting church and state together would make for some seriously crazy goings-on... well, more than they had already. Rhode Island, btw, was the only territory that didn't have church graveyards - citizens were buried in municipal graveyards, usually to the north or west of each town. (Church graveyards didn't appear until the mid-1800s at earliest, and they never really caught on.)

So when it came time for the Congressional whatsahoosies down in PA, the representatives from RI fought long and hard about that Church and State notion. Everyone else said, gee, what's the big deal? But little Rhode Island, the state full of all the folks nobody else wanted 'cause they were all religiously or politically a little too left, right, or just loopy - the reps from RI stood up & said, either the separation goes in there, or we walk. And when the other reps from the other states knew these guys were serious, that's when Separation started being considered as more than just a crazy notion and maybe as a valid position for the new government to take.

So next time you're driving north on I-95 through New England... now you know. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> True enough -- Cactus Watcher, 12:56:20 08/31/01 Fri

In my studies of genealogy, I found that one husband and wife of my ancestors were jailed and fined by their Puritan neighbors for getting married in a Quaker ceremony. They were only released when they agreed to having a Puritan ceremony. Of course, unfortunately, some of those bigoted neighbors are my ancestors as well.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "In God We Trust" History -- KoopaFanatic, 22:44:53 08/31/01 Fri

Yeah, the whole church/state separation issue in the U.S. is a warped bunch of stuff. My favorite take on the issue is something I heard just tonight on the radio, too. (As some background, our local NPR affiliate has a daylight-only AM station running just news and talk, and I'd been listening to it earlier in the day. When I got in the car later, I picked up this wacked-out broadcast that had clearly bounced off the ionosphere a couple dozen times before I heard it...)

Anyway, this broadcast was a gentleman talking about how patriotic, god-fearing Americans needed to rise up and crush the atheist power structure that runs the United States, because separation of church and state is a liberal plot to destroy the foundations of the country. Which is doubly bad, as American "liberalism" is actually a front for communism, and, as we all know, communism is the visible face of the Illuminati, who are group of Eastern European Lucifer-worshipping Jews who sacrifice children.

So separation of church and state is the work of Satan to bring about the End Times.

And that sums up the three minutes of programming I listened to before flipping over to the NPR station's FM frequency and unwinding to Dvorak's cello concerto.

(You know, I one day hope I can post something to a thread that doesn't revolve around religion...)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "In God We Trust" History -- Malandanza, 20:54:28 09/01/01 Sat

"Seems odd that the government should force "God" on everyone when there are many people who don't subscribe to the Christian deity. They've gone so far as to ban prayer in schools, but it's ok to walk around carrying pieces of paper that claim we trust someone/something that we may or may not actually trust. That's pretty presumptuous and hypocritical if you ask me. But then, I'm not sure anyone did ask me :("

It seems to that the mere fact that we can have this debate shows just how tolerant our nation has become. Our nation is predominantly Christian (at least, the majority of people in our country identify themselves as Christians) yet attacks on Christianity are permitted and, in some areas, encouraged. Can you imagine living in an Islamic country and demanding that all reference to Islam be removed from the culture? Or living in Israel and demanding that Judaism be expunged from the culture? How about Rome and insisting that every public crucifix be removed -- even if it meant destroying traditions -- because Protestant sensibilities are at odds with graven images of Jesus?

Why remove the motto? Who is offended by it? Wouldn't more people be offended by removing the motto than would be offended by leaving it? Truly, it is absurd. It would be as if the Christians of our nation rose up and demanded that the days of the week be changed because they promote pagan beliefs (except that pagans are not in the majority of our country). Furthermore, there is a strong ecumenical movement in this country that supports one God for all religions (at least, the three main monotheistic religions and their offshoots) -- just worshipped in different styles. My feeling is that we agnostics (as well as the atheists, neo-pagans, wiccans, new-agers, etc.) have it pretty good in this country. I have never been hassled for my beliefs (or lack thereof), although I have (in the days of my misspent youth) hassled Christians for their beliefs.

The "controversy" over church and state seems to be fueled by a handful of professional Christian haters. They are the sort of people that still blame the Catholic Church (and Catholics living today) for the crusades, for the inquisition and for Hitler. Eliminate school prayer, remove federal funding for church schools, let atheists group meet in public buildings that are denied to Christian groups -- it does not matter -- it will never be enough. They will not be happy until every church, synagogue and mosque in this country have been burnt down (ok -- maybe not the synagogues, since no one wishes to be seen as anti-Semitic). If you object, you are a Puritan or a McCarthyite (and there is a certain amount of irony in being accused of McCarthyism by people using McCarthyite tactics).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "In God We Trust" History -- Humanitas, 21:17:47 09/01/01 Sat

Your point about the possibily of having this very discussion is well taken.

I think the problem boils down to using state funds to promote any religious viewpoint. I have very vivid memories of being harrassed by Christians as a kid, and the thought of that particular variety of Christian coming to power scares the hell out of me, so to speak. Ralph Reed and his ilk scare me just as much as any genocidal dictator you care to name, not because of their faith, but because of their apparent desire to tell me what I ought to believe, and their willingness to use the government as a tool to that end.

On the other hand, I've since had some very positive experiences with Christians of several denominations, including fundamentalists, so I've learned (happily) that not all Christians are the horrible bigots I was subjected to all those years ago.

The point is, there are extremists on both sides, both on the anti-religious side (as Malandanza rightly points out), and on the religious side. Those extremists, alas, are the ones most likely to speak out publicly. Further, the kind of public discourse engaged in by those folks tends to be not debate, but mere conflict. Makes for great TV, I guess, but lousy public policy.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Church and State -- Malandanza, 08:32:16 09/02/01 Sun

"I think the problem boils down to using state funds to promote any religious viewpoint."

There is a reciprocal problem in the church/state discussion -- yes, we want to keep the church out of the government, but we also should keep the government out of church matters. Unfortunately, when our government interferes with the church, the champions of separation of church and state are noticeably silent.

An example: a few years ago a Catholic hospital came under attack by abortion advocates. It was the only hospital that served a rural area and did not provide abortions (not surprising, considering the church's stance) -- the government demanded that the hospital begin performing abortions or they would risk losing all federal funding (patients wouldn't be able to pay with Medicare and the like). An entire group of people were at risk of losing their only hospital because the government was playing politics with spiritual matters.

Church schools are also frequent targets of attack. Yet the local Catholic schools Phoenix provide a much better education than the public schools -- so much better that Catholics are a minority in these schools -- Protestants, Jews an atheists (and even one Hindi student that I know of) make up the rest of the student population -- and dutifully sit through the required religion courses and masses. I am not aware of any government funding that these schools receive, but the federal government has grown into such a monstrous bureaucracy that it would not surprise me to discover that they are somehow, tangentially, connected to a federal program that indirectly provides a modicum of support. Certainly, when school vouchers in Arizona are discussed, the church schools come under fire in the "Church and State" argument. But vouchers are not an attempt to subsidize the Catholic Church -- they are an attempt to allow poorer people the ability to get their children out of our abominable public school system -- by allowing them to use part of their own taxes (raised to pay for the public schools) to pay for private schooling. This is not the federal government promoting the Church -- this is giving local people more control over their own money. In fact, it is the private schools that have been subsidizing the public schools -- every student that attends a private school is one less student that the government has to support in the public school system -- so there is more money per student than there would be if we abolished all private schools.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Church and State -- Humanitas, 09:57:08 09/02/01 Sun

Yep. It's a complicated issue, that's for sure. I'll be honest, I haven't reached a conclusion of my own on this one, and I've wrestled with it on-and-off since I was in high school. At what point does good education or some other socially valuable function become overbalanced by proselytizing?

My father is a profound atheist. That's a guess on my part, as he steadfastly refuses to discuss his own personal beliefs. I do know he has no patience for preaching. I remember him one day telling me that he was conflicted about giving to groups like the Salvation Army. Such groups do an enormous amount of social good, in terms of helping the needy, especially. But they also proselytize. On the one hand, my dad felt that it was important to help out those in need. On the other, he regarded proselytizing as an obnoxious tresspass against individual conscience. I don't know what he ended up doing, but the question has stuck with me over the years.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Church and State -- fresne, 11:25:20 09/04/01 Tue

Yes, like any complex fraught concept, the whole church state/voucher thing equals one big headache.

On one hand, I'm not really in favor of school vouchers because I have this cranky obsessive compulsive desire to fix broken things rather than just buy a new thing. And while I do admit that milk crates are not actually furniture and that I have no aptitude for darning socks, I'm putting my foot down and saying that I want public schools that don't suck.

On the other hand, I was having problems in public school (I had problems with reading/writing/'rithmatic.), so my parents pulled me and put me in a private/religious school. Something for which I am profoundly grateful.

And well, a good religious education has been incredibly useful in reading and understanding Western Literature/Culture/Symbolism.

Which leaves me grasping for some sort of Buffy reference that we haven't beaten to death. Hmmm...maybe Spike as an anti Saint Stephen (I think thats the one with the arrows). So, who's holding the coats?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Church and State -- Humanitas, 13:44:36 09/04/01 Tue

A Buffy reference we haven't beaten to death? Not at this time of summer! ;-)

It's gonna be a long 28 days, my friends.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Phoenix schools (way OT) -- mundusmundi, 15:09:45 09/03/01 Mon

Yet the local Catholic schools Phoenix provide a much better education than the public schools -- so much better that Catholics are a minority in these schools -- Protestants, Jews an atheists (and even one Hindi student that I know of) make up the rest of the student population -- and dutifully sit through the required religion courses and masses.

I'm with you on that. Up through 5th grade I attended public school in Phoenix, which was, to put it charitably, bloody hell awful. Then my parents, neither of whom are Catholic, sent me to Ss. Simon & Jude, and the difference was palpable. I had a great education the two years I went there, though it should be noted that I was in a tiny non-Catholic minority (I hear things have changed in Phoenix since the mid-80's). About 99% of my classmates were Catholic, and about halfway through my first year the nuns decided to save my soul and gently coerced me into being baptized. I don't mean that cynically. They meant well, and maybe they felt bad for me being outside the circle when it came to mass, prayer, etc., and wanted me to feel more like I belonged. I never felt ostracized there, but I got baptized anyway and gave the Church a go for a few years. Truth be told, it just wasn't for me. But I attended Catholic schools ever since, all the way through college, and I've few regrets.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> All's fair in the name of fighting "godless communism" -- Tanker, 07:50:03 09/01/01 Sat

Anything that aids in the fight against communism (in the thinking of the 50's) is ok. Constitution gets in the way? Ignore it. Horrible tyrannt is anti-communist? He's our best friend. Nation democratically elects a leader who might be friendly to the Soviets? Assasinate him and put our own puppet in his place (this latter one is why Iranians don't like the US government. Yes, we really did that). Problem is, so many people grew up during the Cold War, they think it's normal. You know "under God" wasn't in the original Pledge of Allegiance? That was added in the 50's too. Try to have it removed today and see what happens.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Minor correction -- Tanker, 08:00:16 09/01/01 Sat

I probably should have read that history of "In God We Trust" first. I didn't know it went back to the Civil War. But I'm right about everything else. I think. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Minor correction -- Voxpopuli, 06:03:38 09/03/01 Mon

At least you're right about the general feeling of Brazilians about the American Government: and evil you have to deal with. Sorry, folks, you have no idea of what CIA did in Brazil during the military years. After all, it is much better to have military dogs putting down a democratically eleceted government because it nurtured a good relationship with Cuba, and had no problems with the Soviets. A few years later in Chile... well, there is Pinochet as a walking souvenir of those years of fear, again, another democratically ellected administration put down because of its leftist streaks (which affected the most American companies in our countries...). The American government is something we had to learn to live with, and yet keep our independence, and in the process it generated a great load of suspicion, and real aversion in many layers of society. I wonder if the American people has any critical knowledge about this.

Sorry for the rant.


[> [> [> [> [> Re: Initials -- anom, 21:37:43 09/04/01 Tue

"Well, frankly - not to step on anyone's toes here, but I'm being upfront about this. I'm not saying A.D. or "Anno Domini," since both amount to "Year of our Lord" and newsflash, it's not *everyone's* lord, and it's certainly not mine."

I'm w/Sol on this one. I don't see how this is stepping on anyone's toes, since anyone who wants to use BC/AD can go right ahead.

A friend of mine is president of a small Reform Jewish congregation that meets in a church called Our Savior's Atonement, or OSA (initials again!) She often needs to talk to people involved in the church, in which case she refers to it as Y[our]SA; when she's talking to other folks, it's T[heir]SA.

[> [> [> [> calendars, personal & other -- anom, 21:49:27 09/04/01 Tue

" least we can come up with a whole new calendar system or something. Personally, I already have. And I have two Februarys, thus allowing me to have two birthdays a year."

Gee, like the Hebrew calendar, some years anyway. Instead of an extra day in leap years, it adds a whole month, giving us Adar I & Adar II. That's why Jewish holidays fall "late" in the secular year sometimes. When they come "early," Adar can start in February! And people born in Adar can celebrate their Hebrew birthday twice in leap years, unless they were born in one. Then they just celebrate it in the Adar they were born in.

I think your system is simpler, Dedalus.

[> Divine Spark -- Rahael, 17:01:11 08/29/01 Wed

Sorry for deviating from the main topic, but the phrase 'divine spark' got me thinking. Once more I return to my obsession with Milton, and in particular Samson Agonistes.

Samson considers himself fallen from grace, exiled from light. He sits both in a moral darkness and a physical state of blindness. In this context 'light' is heavily linked to both a 'soul', 'God', and 'Reason'.

Now isn't there a link with the Vampires here? Exiled from light, living in darkness, cut off from a soul, from God, from salvation.

Samson at the conclusion of the poem separates out physical blindness from moral blindness: the two need not go together. His 'inward eyes' become 'illuminated'. He becomes at one with the divine.

Could this be a signifier for vampires like Spike and perhaps even Harmony? That they could,one day, get past the corporeal barriers? They may not have a soul, the usual access to light, but perhaps they could find some other way to it?

Apologisies for any obscurity!

[> [> Re: Divine Spark -- Rufus, 17:32:08 08/29/01 Wed

What you just said is along the lines of what I have been pondering. You have to consider the soul and the mind and wonder what roles they play in the situation. When the vampire is created the "soul" is gone but the vampire uses the rest, body, and mind to exist. Joss has said that the soul is just a natural inclination to prefer goodness, to feel good doing good. So, what happens when you have evil people, who, with the benefit of the natual direction the soul supplies, chooses evil? When the first vampire was created it was a primative man, it would be fairly easy to keep a primative going in one direction, so what does the evolving mind add to the situation? Man/woman, evolved, our minds capable of complex thought, far beyond the primative man first infected with a demons soul. The infection, possession didn't evolve along with us as it's an influence not a mind. The infecting agent, the demon soul has stayed the same, but the human mind has progressed. So, is it possible that a vampire could eventually choose to go against the infection of evil? If so, how long does it take for another vampire to learn this trait? If this is true, Spike is the most dangerous thing that could happen to the vampire as a demon, he could be responsible for an eventual paradigm shift in the demon world. The soul isn't what makes us good, it's just a shove in the right direction that can, by the reasoning mind, be ignored. If we, humans, can ignore our conscience and become evil, why can't a demon have the reverse happen? The soul + thought results in actions that have consequences. Vampires have been evil, but they also contain the inherent capacity to love. The potential for love seems to be dependant upon the persons ability to love before becoming a vampire. So that to me means that as a hybrid the vampire contains the potential of both demon and human. I've always said that it makes for one heck of an unstable demon. Vampires are the lowest of demons because of their human content. I think you can kill the persons body but unless you destroy the mind and all that potential for thought, you could have anything happen.

[> [> [> Soul, Mind, Body, Person...? -- Wisewoman, 18:07:06 08/29/01 Wed

Well, once again I'm struck with the conundrum of trying to figure out exactly what each of these terms means in the Buffyverse.

When a human being is "vamped" they lose their soul. Joss says the soul is just an inclination toward goodness, rather than the true spiritual identity of the being. In exchange for the soul, the being receives a vampire "infection," the presence of an infecting demon within their physical body, which body dies and is reanimated by the infecting demon.

So the vampire has the reanimated dead body, minus soul, and also, according to Joss, the memories of the deceased human, presumably contained in the reanimated brain and, arguably, part of what we define as "mind."

My question then is, what makes a human being a person, an individual? If we follow Joss's explanation, it's not their soul, which is just a "guiding star," it's not their body, which can be taken over by an infecting demon. It's not their brain, which is just part of the physical body and dies when it does. It's not their memories, because these are still around to be used by the vampire. So just what is it that has departed that allows us to say that the vampire is no longer the person that the human being was?

If we accept his definition of the soul as simply a guiding star inclining toward the good, then the soul does not contain whatever it is that makes a human being a unique individual. (If, indeed, you accept the premise that we are unique individuals, as opposed to manifestations of Unity Consciousness.)

If we are not our souls, our bodies (brains), or our memories (mind), what are we? Who is the "we" that is no longer there?

I know we've discussed this to death in old threads, including the "Angelus as vampire = Liam as human - soul" and the derivative explanatory equations, but it's still not quite making sense to me...

[> [> [> [> Re: Soul, Mind, Body, Person...? -- Humanitas, 18:50:12 08/29/01 Wed

"So just what is it that has departed that allows us to say that the vampire is no longer the person that the human being was?"

I'm no longer sure that we can say that, unless to be a person requires all of those things: Body, Mind, and Soul. If that is the case, then a vampire is not the same person because it lacks one of the three vital components.

The other possibility, of course, is that the vampire is still the same person, just without the guiding star of the soul. In that case, claiming otherwise is simply a rationalization for doing what has to be done to defend the rest of humanity.

[> [> [> [> Re: Soul, Mind, Body, Person...? -- Shaglio, 06:50:40 08/30/01 Thu

Damn! Humanitas took the words right out of my mouth :( I actually had something intellegent to contribute, but I'm a day late and a dollar short.

So if we subscribe to the theory that it is not the Soul, the Mind, or the Body that make a person, but rather the combination of the three, then we can deduce that animals (and, yes, even cats) don't have souls. They obviously have Bodies because we can physically see them. They have Minds and memories - Pavlov proved that with his classical conditioning experiments with the dog and the bell. They're not people, so then it must be the Soul that is holding them back. Maybe all of you already knew this, but at least now when have formulaic proof.

Of course I'm going to be flamed by all the cat fanatics here, but I too am a cat person so be gentle on me. :/

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Soul, Mind, Body, Person...? -- Dedalus, 10:21:45 08/30/01 Thu

Excellent thinking all. It's amazing to watch the gears turn around here.

Shaglio, maybe I'm missing something, but how do animals not have souls? I mean, people are animals. Giles even said so - "The way was made for mortal animals - for man." If that is not the case, where do people in the Buffyverse *get* souls? Is it something they develop? Are you saying the development of the soul is what essentially makes humans human? If it is something that can be cultivated, couldn't a vampire develop one as well?

I had heard the first part of the quote from Joss about a soul being the natural inclination toward goodness. Interesting spin on the soul. But if it's not the spiritual essence of a person, what is it? Angel said that when a person is vamped their soul is "gone." Yet the body and mind (at least in some form) remain. Is he implying that the soul disappears, evaporates, or that it goes somewhere? I realize what he is characterizing is more conscience than anything, but wouldn't it have to be something more?

Okay, another question. You gotta keep asking the questions when you're blessed with this guys thirst for knowledge. This has probably been discussed to death here, but when Angel got his soul restored, was it *his* soul? If it's just a particular inflection of ... conscience, it seems to me it wouldn't have to be. Yet if it was his personally, it would have to have been floating around out in the ether somewhere.

Buffy is a myth, but it falls down in two big categories. 1. We have no clue what constitutes any kind of afterlife, and 2. A working cosmology. What brought the Buffyverse into existence? The Powers that Be? Why?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Rules there's gotta be rules around here...........;) -- Rufus, 11:51:03 08/30/01 Thu

I'll give you the whole quote about what Joss said about the soul. When I consider what will happen in the show I have to throw out my personal ideas about what the soul means to me and ask, as it's the Buffyverse, what does the soul mean to ME?

This quote came from the Paley festival March 30,2001. I found it at City of Angel

audience member: I'd like to know what your definition of a soul is? And what distinguishes Angel from the other vampires, because it becomes clear from both Buffy and Angel that vampires have human emotions and human attachments. So is that a conscience? And what separates vampires from humans if it is a conscience?

JW: Um, very little. (laugh)Essentially, souls by their nature are amorphous but to me it's really about what star you are guided by. Most people, we hope, are guided by, 'you should be good, you're good, you feel good.' And most demons are guided simply by the opposite star. They believe in evil, they believe in causing it, they like it. They believe it in the way that people believe in good. So they can love someone, they can attach to someone, they can actually want to do things that will make that person happy in the way they know they would. The way Spike has sort of become, an example is Spike obviously on Buffy, is getting more and more completely conflicted. But basically his natural bent is towards doing the wrong thing. His court's creating chaos where in most humans, most humans, is the opposite, and that's really how I see it. I believe it's knind of like a spectrum, but they are setting their course by opposite directions. But they are all sort of smewhere in the middle.

So in the eyes of ME the soul is not what many would consider one. It isn't the whole equation. The soul is a natural bent of a being, but something else can happen changing that beings course in the spectrum where they all start in the middle. The fact that Spike has been able to do what he has done should be considered. Is it more than a very strong attachment? Is it something that started as an attachment then became more? What role does the chip play in the whole scenario? I believe that with this explanation, with all being starting on a spectrum setting their course in their soul induced direction that you can have different results based upon their own choices and actions. If a human can with a soul make the choice to be evil, it only makes sense that it's possible that choice can create the same opposite thing to happen in the demons....or for you numbers guys do the math.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Soul, Mind, Body, Person...? -- Shaglio, 05:44:53 08/31/01 Fri

"Shaglio, maybe I'm missing something, but how do animals not have souls? I mean, people are animals."

While this is true, the contrapositive is not. People are animals, but not all animals are people - just the ones both Body, Mind, AND Soul. What I should have said was: having a soul is what seperates human's from THE OTHER animals. This wasn't a personal oppinion (I'd like to believe my cat has a soul), but it was a mathematical conclusion. After all, this is All Things Mathematical on Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn't it? Or am I on the wrong message board? ;)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Soul, Mind, Body, Person...? -- Dedalus, 08:11:09 08/31/01 Fri

"All Things Mathematical on Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

I hope not! If so, I gotta get the **** out of here!

Mesa hate math.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh, man, was I supposed to bring a calculator? -- Solitude1056, 12:47:55 08/31/01 Fri

[> [> [> [> Re: Soul, Mind, Body, Person...? -- change, 07:43:41 08/31/01 Fri

> My question then is, what makes a human being a person, an individual? > If we follow Joss's explanation, it's not their soul, which is just a > "guiding star," it's not their body, which can be taken over by an > infecting demon. It's not their brain, which is just part of the > physical body and dies when it does. It's not their memories, because > these are still around to be used by the vampire. So just what is it > that has departed that allows us to say that the vampire is no longer > the person that the human being was?

> If we accept his definition of the soul as simply a guiding star > inclining toward the good, then the soul does not contain whatever it is > that makes a human being a unique individual. (If, indeed, you accept > the premise that we are unique individuals, as opposed to manifestations > of Unity Consciousness.)

> If we are not our souls, our bodies (brains), or our memories (mind), > what are we? Who is the "we" that is no longer there?

I think we are the sum of all these things. So, if you change one aspect of a person, then you've changed the person. So, vampires are different individuals because their human soul has been replaced with a demon soul.

I would also argue that the monks changed every individual in Sunnydale by altering their memories. After all, people are obviously shaped by their memories of their life. Someone who grew up in an abusive household is going to be very different than someone who grew up in a loving family. The Buffy who grew up as an only child has to have been a different person than the Buffy who grew up with a baby sister.

The question is not which of these things (soul, body, or memories) makes up an individual, or whether an individual changes if one of these aspects of them changes. The question is how much does the individual change when one of these aspects changes.

> I know we've discussed this to death in old threads, including the "Angelus > as vampire = Liam as human - soul" and the derivative explanatory equations, > but it's still not quite making sense to me...

Another question is: Why is vampire Harmony so similar to human Harmony? Angel and Angelus are quite different which is what you would expect given that one has a human soul and the other does not. This is the pattern for most vampires. All humans become evil when turned into vampires. On the other hand, it's hard to tell the difference between vampire Harmony and human Harmony. In fact, vampire Harmony seems to be somewhat nicer than human Harmony. She actually made small talk with Willow and Xander before she tried to bite them. She never did this except to insult them when she was human. Vampire Harmony tried to stop Spike from getting himself killed in Fool For Love. She (at least in her own mind) tried to help Spike work through his issues with Druscilla and Buffy. When she was human, on the other hand, turned on Cordelia (her best friend), the minute she sensed that Cordelia was vulnerable in BBB. Vampire Harmony has admitted to herself that she has problems, has read self help books, and even went to Cordelia for help. She never did any of these things when she was human. In Disharmony, doesn't know whether she should be good or evil, and, for a while, allies herself with the forces of good.

It seems like Harmony's guiding stars (both as a human and as a vampire) have been very weak. The question is why. If the difference between a human and a vampire is that a human has a human soul while a vampire has a demon soul, what does this say about Harmony's human soul and her demon soul? Did she ever have a human soul or was as she like Ryan in IGYUMS? Or did she just happen to get a demon soul that is more benevolent than most? On the other hand, if there are humans who do not have human souls, perhaps there are also vampires that do not have demon souls. Maybe Harmony is the vampire equivalent of Ryan. Then again, maybe there is something about people like Ryan and Harmony that prevent them from having any type of soul. Maybe Harmony has never had a soul as either a human or a vampire. She has no guiding star to direct her and simply does what is easiest for her at the moment. That would explain why she changed so little when she became a vampire.

[> [> [> [> [> Harmony: animal, vegetable, or mineral? -- Wisewoman, 10:16:18 08/31/01 Fri

change wrote:

"Maybe Harmony has never had a soul as either a human or a vampire."

Given the discussion on the difference between humans and animals being the soul, above, my vote is still for vegetable in this case!


[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Harmony: animal, vegetable, or mineral? -- change, 15:20:13 08/31/01 Fri

Well I know that Harmony is a throw away character, but that's what makes her so intriguing. She should have been forgotten about, or died in GD, or been dusted a long time ago. Yet, the writers keep her around. In fact, they have devoted a large amount of screen time to her, especially considering how unimportant she is. Look at the number of episodes she was in during season five. Look at how much screen time she got in Real Me. Why didn't Buffy stake her in Fool For Love when she had kidnapped Dawn a few episodes before? And look at how different she is from the other vampires on the show. Everyone who has been vamped got a different personality except for Harmony. I just think the writers are setting her character up for something.

Look at what's happenning with the Jonathan character (if you believe the spoilers).

[> [> [> Re: Divine Spark -- Rahael, 18:12:52 08/29/01 Wed

Yes, I agree Rufus.

Going back to Milton, he strongly felt that reaching out to God had to involve a choice. In one of his pamphlets he said that he didn't respect 'unbreathed and cloistered virtue'. True moral decisions only came about through trial.

Spike is definitely facing some big choices. The chip gives him a wider set of options than before.

[> [> [> [> divine spark or electrical discharge? -- anom, 21:19:47 09/04/01 Tue

"Spike is definitely facing some big choices. The chip gives him a wider set of options than before."

Strange, since it was implanted to take away his option to commit violence against humans (with a different kind of spark!). But true. Sometimes you don't see certain options until other ones are closed off to you.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: divine spark or electrical discharge? -- Rufus, 23:30:21 09/04/01 Tue

This proves that sometimes all you need is a very small change to reap unexpected results. In this case a very sparky one......:):):)

[> [> Re: Divine Spark -- Solitude1056, 19:22:53 08/29/01 Wed

Now isn't there a link with the Vampires here? Exiled from light, living in darkness, cut off from a soul, from God, from salvation. My point was that vampires just might not be cut off from some sort of divine. Okay, so the body is cut off, because it's dead. It's not doing much more talking to any divine creative force of any ilk. However, the vampire infestation carries a strong link with its own guiding star. With the possible exception of Angel (who's got that contrasting and contradicting human soul stuck back in there), and Spike (who's had the whole pavlovian experiment routine for a season plus now), most vampires are excellent examples of critters whose daimons are so strong, they're practically existing without any free will of their own.

That's my point: the closer you are to the daimon/divine link, the less free will, because the more over-riding and over-whelming the message of your "potential" must be. But the vampires still have some element of free will, by virtue of the leftovers of their human host (memory, awareness, identity, mind, what-have-you). The idea that vampires are turned "away" from something just seems to me to be a narrow species-centric view: in fact, vampires for the most part are well attuned to their own potential and fight a lot harder to actualize it, way more than most humans ever do.

[> [> [> Re: Divine Spark -- Dedalus, 10:45:45 08/30/01 Thu

Okay, these are some complex posts, Sol. Even for this board. :-)

So are we left to assume that vamps are in fact better than people?

How do the Powers that Be fit into this? I guess I'm stumbling in the dark concerning how you are classifying "divine." I am familiar with the daimon bit, I'm just trying to get my mind around how it fits in this universe/context.

[> [> [> [> Me? Think too much? Naw. -- Solitude1056, 08:06:45 08/31/01 Fri

Didn't say vampires are better than people - that's a value judgement I'm trying to avoid. It depends on your own set of beliefs, how you interprete the connection to a divine. Is avoidance/ignorance of one's true Potential a bad thing? Then yeah, vamps might have it easier but not necessarily better. Their role is more clearly mapped out, but it's also a lot harder for them to break away from that, because of that. And humans might be more isolated (from their Potential) but it also gives them a greater scope of choices because they're not moving on the Medieval concept of "every person has a niche & don't waste your time trying to be something you're not." If that were the case, Lindsey would've stayed a dirt-poor farmer and never gotten to be a lawyer, for starters.

By divine, I mean a more generalized notion than the usual Xtian-based idea of Jehovah. I just mean a "creative force" in the universe; the part of ourselves that drives us to have babies, and the part of the universe that's set things up to be dynamic, with exploding stars, earthquakes, and genetic mutations. Some folks call it "the force," some call it Qi. Whatever. When I'm saying "divine," I'm thinking "divine unmanifest," since it's a potential energy and not an actual one.

Be all that as it may, I'd suggest the PTB are just an alternate route, performing similar duties to the daimon. Humans have this huge species-based blind spot to the idea of working within one's Potential and role (something more generalized in our 'verse, but quite specific in the Buffyverse), that perhaps the PTB are just a louder voice than the daimon in terms of taking a more active role.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Me? Think too much? Naw. -- Dedalus, 08:22:40 08/31/01 Fri

Very nicely said. I got to thinking about where this was going after I posted here yesterday, and yeah, I can sorta see it now.

I understand your concept of the divine unmanifest, I think. A potential energy rather than an actual one. Sorry about trying to get you to make a value judgement. It's interesting, but I am just recalling how humans think of vampires. In Fray, vampires were seen as an infection, a disease ... and then in WTTH, Luke referred to the race of man as a plague of boils ... same parallel, different group.

Actually, all this sort of lead me to think about Paul Tillich, and his descriptions of faith. He started out with Rudolf Otto's Idea of the Holy, stating that the holy did not originally start out as being moral perfection ... it was just the other, the bigger, you might say. And it had the potential to be creative as well as destructive. The victory (or supposed victory) of the creative over the destructive resulted in linking the idea of the holy with moral absolutes. The holy meets you where you go to meet it, in Tillich's theology. It can be met from above or below, it can destroy you as easily as heal you. I wish I had the book in front of me, but he did make mention of a terrible aspect of the holy, and of idolatrous faith. It was a principle he called the "divine-demonic," and seems, albeit roughly, equivalent to what you're saying.

It made me immediately think of Glory, and how her "name is a holy name," and when she walks in a room, all eyes turn to her.

[> Re: From below or above: Daemons, Souls, and the Material World -- change, 06:55:08 08/31/01 Fri

> So, in this sense, all created things with sentience on any level - > from daemons, critters, humans, right down to small field mice - > carry this divine spark, this link to the Divine Unmanifest, which > is the "push" behind the drive to reach the actualization of one's > original purpose in creation. Otters play, horses run, angels dance, > and humans praise. The medieval minds tended towards this schema > more than we do, in the sense that each created being has a "niche" > in the plan, a place where one belongs.

> One's daimon was one's connection to Kether, one's personal direct > line to the Divine Unmanifest.

> So the demon, daimon, is that which carries the message of a being's > potential - and it's this potential that exemplifies one's (moral) > compass. If one's potential, as a mockingbird, is to harrass all > creatures within fifty feet of one's nest, a clear and solid > connection/interaction with the daemon is the means by which one > becomes aware of this original intention behind one's creation.

This raises the question: What is good and evil? If a demon behaves the way it does simply because it has a closer link to the Divine Unmanifest and so is unable to resist its predefined function in life, can you really say that it is evil? Is a vampire that follows its natural divine spark and hunts humans any more evil than a cat that hunts mice? Neither have the free will to do anything different. Both are simply fulfilling their niche in the Buffyverse. It would seem that the only real evil is that committed by beings like humans who have free choice. Do you have to have free choice to commit evil? If your divine spark pushes you to commit evil and your link to it is too strong for you to resist, are you really committing evil for doing what you have no choice in doing? Does an individual have to choose to be evil, or is it evil if some divine power designs it to be evil?

> My suggestion is that what makes us human is not that we have a soul, > but that we have a material existence: a physical body. The incarnation, > the fleshly prison wrapped around our minds and hearts, trapping our > daimons in the physical, is what sets us apart. So in comparison, a demon > - who is not of the physical - is more closely aligned with the original > intentions from the Divine Unmanifest, whereas we, in the physical, are a > step removed. This step-removed allows us the freedom to ignore the > messages of the daimon, and thus we are able to commit beautiful acts just > as much as ones of the greatest darkness. A creature who exists closer in > alliance with the original intentions of its creation cannot deviate as > far from those intentions and thus effectively has less free will, or must > fight harder to ignore those intentions.

I don't think I understand what you are trying to say here. Demons in the Buffyverse have physical bodies. The only type of demon we've seen that doesn't seem to have one are vampires since they turn to dust when they are killed. Everything else seems to have flesh and blood bodies. Even the mayor had a flesh and blood body after he achieved ascension and became a pure demon. The scoobies found pieces of him in the old school in Doomed. Adam and Forrest in season 4 were demons that were built from bodily parts of other demons and humans. So, they had partially human bodies. Also, it seems like many demons, especially on the Angel show, have the ability to do good, and seem to have free will (like the host for example).

> So to get back to Rufus' question:

> Would you consider the process of becoming a vampire as a demon possession > that severs the humans link with the divine? If so can that link be found > again?

> Actually, at the risk of offending anyone who's still grappling with the > "Divine does not equal Xtian God" part, I'd say the conclusion of my > suggestion is that in fact, the vampire infection creates a new, and > stronger, link to the Divine Unmanifest. This is not the human's original > link, as the body is pretty much dead - it's the vampire-demon's link, but > as a demon (without the physical issues muddling the daimon's messages), > it's able to understand and actualize its original creative purposes much > more clearly than the human host was.

Since a vampire has a stronger link to the Divine Unmanifest and it commits evil acts, it seems that the Divine Unmanifest directs creatures towards evil. Humans are good because we have a weaker link to the Divine Unmanifest and so are able to resist it. Is this what you meant to say?

> Angel, for instance, has a soul, at the same time he's a demon. In effect, > he's got two links to Kether, and each contain conflicting messages of his > purpose and how to get from here to there. Not an eviable position by any > stretch, IMO. But he's not human, nor do I see him as being such, until he > regains not his soul but his mortality, much like observed in Mundusmundi's > essay. It's that mortality, as part-and-parcel of the situation of being in > the material world (and dealing with entropy etc), that will be the last > step before Angel will be part of humanity.

> And that's why I don't think Anya "lost" her soul while she was a demon. She > simply got a stronger link to the Divine Unmanifest, and this secondary link > carried a message of her purpose far stronger than the one she'd probably > spent her short material life ignoring, anyway. Once that second link is > removed, she's back to the status of humanity, with short life-span, prison > of flesh and bone, and a return to the daily muddle of figuring out one's > purpose in the scheme of things.

Your explainations for Anya and Angel seem to contradict each other. We know that Angel has both a demon soul and a human soul. In fact, he may actually have two demon souls (the second one being the Eyghon demon from The Dark Age). Yet he acts in a very human fashion. So, it seems that the human soul is much stronger than a demon's link to the Kether in that it can override it. Yet, when Anya was a demon, she behaved in a very demonic way by tricking women into wishing various tortures onto their lovers. Furthermore, unlike Angel, she has yet to show any sign of remorse for her actions as a demon. This suggests that Anya's condition as a demon was fundumentally different than Angel's condition as a souled vampire. Either Anya lost her human soul when she became a demon, or it was deeply suppressed. In fact, given that she shows no remorse for her actions as Anyanka, I'm not even sure she has a human soul now. She may have neither a human soul or a demon's link to the Kether, and just be living life more or less aimlessly. Xander seems to be the only purpose in her life at this point.

[> [> Re: From below or above: Daemons, Souls, and the Material World -- Solitude1056, 08:40:05 08/31/01 Fri

This raises the question: What is good and evil? If a demon behaves the way it does simply because it has a closer link to the Divine Unmanifest and so is unable to resist its predefined function in life, can you really say that it is evil? Is a vampire that follows its natural divine spark and hunts humans any more evil than a cat that hunts mice? I've never liked defining evil, cause you have to keep pulling farther and farther away from the focus in order to get a grasp on the situation. If your potential to be "something" is, in fact, a something that will obstruct my "potential", that usually falls in the category of evil. Or something like that. But wait, before I go there, I'm gonna say: yikes, whole post needed there & I'm home sick. Not sure I'm up to that right now!

It would seem that the only real evil is that committed by beings like humans who have free choice. Naw, I'd say the only real evil is going against your Potential, in some ways of thinking. Being a janitor when you could've made the most amazing art for people; being one thing when your heart was really pushing you to be something entirely different.

Do you have to have free choice to commit evil? A question that can't be answered unless you know what "evil" is.

If your divine spark pushes you to commit evil and your link to it is too strong for you to resist, are you really committing evil for doing what you have no choice in doing? And that's pretty much the whole question about vampires, isn't it? They're on a one-way, one-track process of eat & kill, and without some pretty radical intervention, they don't change. Does that make them evil, automatically? If so, then why isn't someone who was born & raised to be "one thing" - a housewife, a salesman, whatever - and has never deviated even the smallest step - not also suspect? Like I said, ya gotta pull pretty far away to see the repercussions of an act before you can objectively determine that such-and-such is evil.

Does an individual have to choose to be evil, or is it evil if some divine power designs it to be evil? My point's been that people are paying less attention to what's been laid out for them, so perhaps they have greater range of possibilities... not because they didn't have them in the first place, but because it's in human nature to latch onto a "role" and not deviate from it. (Look at the serfs and untouchables, among other cultural castes.) Without that divinely-sanctioned role, people can choose to be whatever.

I don't think I understand what you are trying to say here. Demons in the Buffyverse have physical bodies. Go read Koopafanatic's post on Pondering Pylea. Koop explained it way better than my metaphor.

Since a vampire has a stronger link to the Divine Unmanifest and it commits evil acts, it seems that the Divine Unmanifest directs creatures towards evil. Humans are good because we have a weaker link to the Divine Unmanifest and so are able to resist it. Is this what you meant to say? Nope. Not putting any value judgements on the intention of a D.U. ... nor am I saying that the Unmanifest or Potential is a sentient creature directing everyone on puppet strings and throwing temper tantrums that this particular species won't do their little dance on cue. Just saying that acting within the scope of the universe as a whole, and understanding how one fits into it is not the restrictive caste-creating design that the Medieval church 'n scholars tried to make it. But at the other end, it's not a free-for-all, either. It's simply an acknowledgement that we, as humans, are not the center of the universe, and that there's something Potential going on out there and perhaps we should listen up. Whether this Potential, this Unmanifest, has given reasons/motivations to vamps or other demons that is contrary to what we want to do does not make either evil, except in the eyes of the opposing force. Saying that because demons are bad, their guiding star must also be bad is right up there with saying that because Hitler was bad, Germany must be bad, or any other rough generalization where you attribute the actions of a small part to cast a shadow over the large.

Ok, so not best analogy to end with, but whatever. I'm home sick, dammit! ;-)

Your explainations for Anya and Angel seem to contradict each other. But Anya and Angel aren't in the same boat. Anya never died.

She is not a vampire, she is not infected with an additional demon motivation. She may have been when she was a vengeance demon, but somewhere inside her, she was still Anya. I think of Anya like someone who was an addict for a long time, perhaps to nicotine. Something that formed a driving part of her life, but when it was no longer part of her life, it's not. Angel, on the other hand, is more on the level of a junkie. He's still an addict. He may have a conscience now that's more forceful than some humans, but he's still a junkie. He still requires blood to survive, he still has urges. Anya may miss her vengeance days like anyone who used to smoke, but she doesn't require it in order to continue living.

Okay, even worse analogy there, hunh. But just trying to demonstrate that any comparison between Anya and Angel can only be pushed so far.

So, it seems that the human soul is much stronger than a demon's link to the Kether in that it can override it. But which part of Angel was doing the talking when he left the lawyers trapped in the cellar with Darla and Dru?

Furthermore, unlike Angel, she has yet to show any sign of remorse for her actions as a demon. Now I'm humming, 'what's remorse got to do with it...' Heh. But hm, actually, what does remorse have to do with it? How do you think that fits in, and do you think that's a crucial part of the idea that each person has a link to some sort of Potential?

This suggests that Anya's condition as a demon was fundumentally different than Angel's condition as a souled vampire. Yup. But I don't think remorse is the reason we can identify a difference.

Either Anya lost her human soul when she became a demon, or it was deeply suppressed. In fact, given that she shows no remorse for her actions as Anyanka, I'm not even sure she has a human soul now. I'd say that's rather harsh. My suggestion was simply that in order to do her job as a vengeance demon, her daimon - not her soul - was repressed. On the other hand, if you come at it from the POV of several other posters - that the mind, body, soul, and spirit are all required elements to define a being as "human" - then Anya lost her humanity the minute she let a demon-connection suppress her own human-connection to the Divine.

Xander seems to be the only purpose in her life at this point. I also think her graduation to humanity is longer and slower than Angel's or anyone else's. First, she was demon for nearly twelve hundred years - any level of humanity still around got squashed a long time ago. Second, she wasn't necessarily interacting with humanity like vamps sometimes do - as far as I've been able to tell, she showed up, did her job, and moved on. She may have even sat around in limbo while waiting for someone to call her. Who knows. Either way, it's not a simple "woo, I'm human again, look at me!" step. Hell, I've known junkies and alcoholics who've removed themselves from the greater mass of humanity for several years or more and don't pop back into full 'human' status (or at least don't feel like they do) for a lot longer than it took Anya to end up engaged to someone she loves dearly (and who loves her in return).

But anyway, back to being horizontal...

[> [> [> Re: From below or above: Daemons, Souls, and the Material World -- Voxpopuli, 09:36:58 08/31/01 Fri

A long rant on redemption... or is Spike material for redemption? Does redepmtion exist?!

This is something that I started to put together in a thread at Sorry if I am not politically correct. I've never been, I've never felt I should be. Sometimes this PC pressure is exactly what it is: pressure. On the other hand putting the things you guys have been discussing in this thread, plus the things I've read on other discussion boards... boy, does it make any sense? Never mind if it doesn't.

I do not resort to Qabbalah to explain my view of the spiritual world, actually although my background is Judeo-Christian you'll see that I deviate from it so very often, that I can not identify with it anymore, actually, the older in my path I grow the more I get driven by the way it implies reality can be felt.

On Selfism and Spike's redemption:

How many people you know who would do things for the world, and not for the group of people they care for? Jesus? Madre Teresa? Bullshit If we delve deep into the reasons of a person, ask a question within a question within a question and you'll see that, depending of your standpoint, every action could be considered selfish. The fact that Spike can care for another person, to the point of feeling the pain of that person his own pain, makes him better than 90% of all happy meals with legs and souls

Why do people go to fight for other people's "freedom"? Because they are not selfish? That does not stand a point. In the end, they take some kind of gratification from it, they feel good about it, if they did not, they would not do it. Plain and simple. Madre Teresa did what she did, because of her religious feeling, because of God's love for human race, so, she did not do it because of us poor humans, but because of God's love. So, she cared only about "one person" and yet did "good" for hundreds of people. Same reasoning you could use for good ole Spike chap. Absolutely everything, and I mean everything, is done for a purpose, that, stripped of all social bias, hero myth, Christian ethics, come down to... a form of selfism. This is not bad, this is the way things are! Very human indeed. You see, western society elected the masculine pattern of Hero to account for its ethics, along with a Christian morality. Side effects from a masculine epistheme? What can we do? Good vs bad, ugly vs beautiful, masculine vs feminine, passive vs active, negative vs positive... this is so... awfully narrow! A little bit of pragmatism can work wonders! Sorry, I got myself carried away No, I'm not a behaviourist, in spite of my practice as a lawyer. The rewards I mean are more like the theory of pleasure as the absence of displeasure from Freud. The guy who risks his life to save strangers when a ship is sinking, may do it, because it is unbearable to him to see people dying like that. There does not have to be a direct reward, a pattern of pleasure, or anything like that. People are capable of altruistic actions, the fact that it was triggered by some hidden mechanism of self gratification does not make it less worthy, much the contrary, at least in my opinion, for I believe in embracing humanity as a complete package of qualities and flaws.

Humanity as an ever changing paradigm:

Talking about redemption... I firmly believe that this is not about becoming "good" but just human, and Spike is very close to humanity in many ways. He is just himself, not good but alright. Do you guys remember when Darla told Angel that his kind of darkness was not acquired, it was something innate? That meant that it was not acquired by him becoming a vampire, but that it was latent in his human soul. It was there before, part of his selfish human self, incapable of love or devotion of any kind. Of course he was devoted to harassing the chicks at the taverns, and loved to cheat for money or love. I guess I'll say for the hundredth time: William was basically a person tormented by mediocrity, capable of love, of devotion, highly sensitive, but pathetic. He seemed to be a guy who never meant harm to anyone, at least consciously, a mother's kid, whose mother was waiting for him at home the night he was sired. So... I don't think he likes chaos for its own sake. He has a trace of the old William that have been shown in his devotion for the woman he loved, and for Buffy, in his being insightful, his ability to be tender even when he does not really mean it (he is tender to Dawn. Remember the devastated look on his face in "I was made for you" when Dawn rejected him? Kind of "why? Even you?"). The chip made it easier to surface, as he can not go around killing himself in every human he feeds upon. He will never be a hero, or a person who would sacrifice himself to save the world, but he would be not much different from millions of people who live their lives with a certain level of decency and ethics, respect for others... And I tell you: sometimes being just a human, full of flaws, and sometimes selfish, sometimes generous, with good and bad days, is so good! No super ego to satisfy, no Id to fight with, just human. Just being alive, in love, experiencing interaction, learning new things... It is so good! So liberating! THIS is redemption. A redemption that good ole Willy can perfectly achieve.

Ok, Let's put it this way: a human soul is everything in Jossverse, and it is a human soul which gives the idea of remorse. So, in Jossverse, serial killers would not have a soul, not even a cursed one, if they show no remorse, or no emotional links to humans in general (besides some drive to maim, mangle, kill, torture...) I really think this is a rather nazi point of view. You side with your own, the others, the ones you can't quite identify with, are demonised, set apart, considered inherently evil. In history this has happened time and time again, not only against Jews, but often against groups outside the standard of western male civilisation. For the church, for centuries, women were considered as lacking a true soul, and as potential receptacles of evil, same with blacks and other natives from other cultures, they were considered not more than beasts that had to be led to the lights and goodness of western civilisation, if they could be of any use for western society, of course. Have you noticed that most vamps in BtVS have got human traits, good and bad ones, that we can easily identify once we see them interact with humans. See Harmony: she did not really mean to kill Cordy, she just wanted to know her place, build herself some self esteem, be loved by who she is, but who she is? Would a soul make her any more able to choose "good" instead of "evil"? Is there anything more adolescent than this? And teens do so many stupid things that may weight upon their shoulders for the rest of their lives, and still, are they inherently evil? If these same teens live in an environment that reinforces these "destructive" attitudes they will eventually take pride on them, as it will be their culture. Nothing unusual with it. The more a vamp establish connections with humans, the more human the vamp becomes, we've seen that. That may be a turn on Jossverse, for humans to discover their demonic counterparts, and learn to live with them, with their existence. No other demon can be that close to humanity. Joss may surprise many if in the end he goes back and state that most of the early mythology of the series was based on the Watcher's Council, the Gestapo/CIA of the show, and that Buffy uncovered a whole new approach to "fighting evil", one that does not cater on mannicheism. Angel does not have a soul, he has a blasted super ego, and guilt, as he manifests it, is rather ... neurotic in my point of view. I don't like it. You can't go back, you can't make up for the past, all you can do, is to make a better future. Spike can do it in a less neurotic manner.

here we go again! A few samples of how good and bad are such relative concepts:

1 - Kill oneself... hummm... some studies have shown that in some societies, have shown that the girls sacrificed to the gods were actually honoured to be the "god's brides". And the family felt honoured too. Evil is relative. You see, for them evil would be to deny the sacrifice, to fail to see how it would enrage the gods and cause the ruin of the whole community, to deny the benefit of the majority because of self preservation. There is a sense of extended self, as well as of extended family, as opposed to the highly individualistic modern Judaeo-Christian society.

2 - What is a better person? Watch out for a Christian standard. In some societies the concept of self improvement may lead to acts that you, from your western point of view, would consider evil. Some societies praise the development of social skills that would be seen by us as immoral. Check ancient Trickster deities , present in almost every early civilisation, and actually demonised only by the recent religions, most remarkably by Christianism.

3 - Killing can be good? It depends. You see, I've had this discussion before on ATR forums, and there is not consense about it, specially when the amount of African Americans exceeds 50% of the list. Tribalism is part of the African Culture, it existed before the whites ever set a foot on the continent, and thanks to it, many African nations were sold into slavery by other African Nations, specially after war periods. It is a fact that the Europeans used it in their favour, and tipped the scales of power in the continent to fit their colonial greed. It does not mean that the Europeans estimulated tribalism, but that they used it. Recent attempts to deal with this issues are kind of awkward because they face serious political questions, in my opinion raised mostly by the diaspora. You see, it is my opinion (and of many people) that Tribalism is still used for economical control, and the scales of power are still being tipped to this or that side, depending on what allies you have. And this should stop. On the other hand tribalism itself seems, in my opinion, far from being extinguished, because it is part of the local culture, it is part of the way they think and see the world. To come along and impose other values should prove rather unrewarding, or else, may put more fire to the issue. This is what makes situations like the ones faced in Rwanda so delicate. So for a person from one specific culture, he may grow as a person, actually become a better person, if they systematically kill people from other cultures in order to provide what is deemed necessary for his own community. 4 - In South American tribes it is common for the parents to let children born with any major health problem die, even if it something like being albino. The reason is simple: that children does not fit the community, and the relationship is not with one mother, but with all the mothers

The attempt to set universal rules usually cause local instabilities. On the other hand the world we live in is a mixture of local and global, and the stress seems to be ever present. I really love dogs, but I do not think the Chinese are bad because they eat dogs. I think it is just horrible that so many girls die in orphanages because they are rejected by their families on the basis of their gender, but I do not consider those families to be evil, because that's how they feel and see life. Interaction tends to create some grounds of discussion, and a few things could one day be considered fair by some 70% of the cultures, but real universality will not be reached. Cultural intervention is serious and often a unrewarding act for the parties involved. Do I preach inaction? No! Just a relative understanding of each other. Do I preach that racism is cool, genocide is great and acceptable? No, it is just that such issues should be dealt with on a more one on one basis, that does not mean a kind of cultural imperialism.

Although I was born in a Judaeo-Christian environment, I believe that as a Culture, Brazil reflects the tendencies of paradigmatic change, as we can see samples of the "strange" as described by Bauman, or the a-modernity of Latour every where.

Personally, my own religious path does not share most of the Judaeo-Christian concepts of good and evil, and it makes a hell of a sense! Actually it is what makes it easier for me to get down to study modernity crisis with my husband for his research, for however still based on some dogmas, part of our dogma is to open up to hybridisation.

Your (this part is directed to a person in particular from other board) view is perfectly correct... for your cultural take on reality. But it does not express the reality of all cultures. Once you realise it, cultural interactions are much more estimulating and they become really enriching experiences. Like you get the feeling that in the same planet you have such a myriad of small paradigms, each one expressing a cultural experience that it unique and that offers new perspectives all of the time!

Do you know why it is so easy for me to accept Spike? Because when I see him I do not see a human, or a demon, but a mixture of both, something that has to be understood in its own terms. When he has settled in terms, he'll be just another modern player, until he starts to hybridise again by force of interaction with other players. Easy! And at the same difficult as hell!!!

But Buffy is a tv show, based on western concepts of good and evil, not a treaty on philosophy, so... is there really a point to going so deep in this discussion? Of course there is... if it makes one think...

Now, offering a different religious and mystical standpoint...

I my path we have something called Ori, and in yoruba it means "head", not skull, but "head". Ori means the physical AND spiritual head, because at the point of the making of the body for the spirit to reside, both are intertwined and can not be separated, only after a ritual done after the death of the body, Ori is released and the spirit is free from the physical body. Ori does not mean exactly destiny, however it could be defined as such, if we think of only one of its possibilities, but it is rather the potentials you carry in life, your divine constitution, everything is centred in Ori, so, although one may have the self same orixá that another person has, the deity will have a different function in one's life, because of the Ori arrangement. If you know your Ori, and get to identify with it, your life in general will be more confortable for you. I can not say better, because it is not a judgement of value. It is the utter realisation of who you are that makes it possible to live in self acceptance, perhaps the greatest gift one can have. This is one of the individual elements of a highly communal religion. Hard to understand, but easy to experience within the context of the rituals, that dramatize this realisation, that may happen without necessarily one acquiring initiatic level. The initiatic level, stanrts when you learn how to manipulate the elements of your Ori, becoming one with each and every element of it, seeing the whole and parts as the perfect embodiment of yourself: you learn to become a God in your own world.

If I was to understand vampires under this standpoint (oh, my, if some of the elders I know, read this they'd laugh so much! You know, everything in my path is so serious, so ... traditional...), I'd say that even though turned into vampires the person still has Ori, and the spirit could never really depart from that body, and the demons, or other spirit that chose to share that body, willingly or not, will have to abide by the rules set by Ori, or else, by the humanity in that body. So, the demon would involuntarily share the features of that "destiny" and would have to live by it, come to terms with it, much the same that the human spirit would have to endure. So Angelus actually IS Angel in the sense that they are both living under the same "Head". The fact that Angel has a human soul, under this standpoint would mean that he is aware that there are two beings sharing this road, and they have to find a common agreement about it. Angel's awareness turns Angelus, a ghost in the back of his mind, but it does not make Angelus go away.

With Spike, it seems that the two spirits got a deeper understanding, the human quietly insulated into the demonic, and somehow fostering its growth. So the Demon in Spike can love, because William loved, and because it is the facet of William's Ori that it will have to deal with.

This is something perfectly factible as this what we know happen with Spirits bound to assist a person in life, specially if the person is capable of channeling (being possessed in trance). The spirit usually draws a lot from the medium.

One other thing is... the person does not exactly die in order to become a vampire... the person is drained to an almost shock and then, after asking for it, the person must have enough strength do drink the vampire's blood, so death, natural death is not really reached. If the person did not drink the vampire's blood, he or she would die of hypovolemic shock, and then, if revived would become a zombie, not a vampire. Got the difference?

But then... here I go, ranting, and elocubrating...


[> [> [> [> Paths -- Solitude1056, 10:18:36 08/31/01 Fri

Yah, the Qabalah is a strange one, even for most Jews! I've got rudimentary studies in it because of my mystical tendencies (hell, I know Rabbis who've studied the Qabalah for well on thirty years and still consider themselves "newbies," so I'm *way* from an expert, so no quoting me allowed). In some ways it's easier for western/european minds to "get" the Qabalah because of its congruence with much of that culture. There are other systems of belief that would've had a great deal more application, and far easier, in my argument but I'm really not up to explaining Voudoun, for starters. (For that, I won't even quote my housemate but will force him to jump in here. And the chances of *that* happening...)

But you're right, and every example you give is what I meant when I said that to give a value judgement, you have to see all the issues, implications, ramifications, and influences before you could really say something is unequivacobly "evil" - at least IMO. And frequently what I find is that, at least on a human level, what one person defines as "evil" is simply another person infringing on them. Yes, murder, as an act that prevents me from continuing to live, is murder. It infringes on me, so natch, I'll take it personally. But is robbery the same? And is trying to get a small community to accept a new Walmart that will put their mom 'n pop stores out of business also the same?

To diverge completely off the original point, it does make me glad that at least in our judicial system we took a few big hints from the Welsh. (Yes, Marie, you can cheer now!) From what I understand, most legal systems were pretty black-and-white, but the legal system developed in Wales starting before the Romans showed up (and standardized way before the Magna Carta, if I recall) allowed for gradations of ill-doing. They're the ones who came up with the notion of Murder in the first degree, homicide, manslaughter, murder-as-an-act-of-self-defense, etc. Understanding and measuring the extenuating circumstances, and just plain circumstances, are necessary in a system that allows for shades of gray.

[> [> [> [> [> Not Voudoun -- Voxpopuli, 10:44:04 08/31/01 Fri

Which Voudoun? Caribbean, Dahomeyan, Togo? No, I'm not in Vodoun, nor is the concept of Ori a vodoun concept, although I'm afraid that it might have pervaded some strains of this tradition.

Ori is an yoruban concept, very prevalent among the Ketu nation, perhaps one of the most influent tradition within the Candomblé tree. Angolan houses, such as mine, do keep other concepts, and somehow accepted the yoruban contribution to the inkisi system, with npambo nzila, ekuyus, and stuff. No cosmogony to discuss. That is why I said that my particular path is specially inclusivist, by contrast with other paths (nations). We do have vodoun houses in Brazil, more specifically in the state of Maranhão, but the vodouns are also included in youruba.bantu fashion in most candomblés... because of the vodoun purism, it is slowly dying as a tradition. Too bad.

If you can understand Ori, then everything else is a pieve of cake.

Our laws do contemplate a world that is not so "black and white", although as a lawyer that is sometimes pretty obnoxious, I think we should have less "recursos" (actions aimed at procrastination -real life- which were originally developed for pleading court reconsiderations)! Actually law school changes your life if you are a sensitive individual ;-)!!!!


[> [> [> [> [> [> See what I meant! -- Solitude1056, 12:44:48 08/31/01 Fri

Sometimes this medium frustrates me, cause I can't look at people's faces & see them going, "yeah, when you say Voudoun I know, and you know, that this is like talking about 'Gnostic' - there's actually a thousand different ways to approach it and they're not all the same, etc etc" ...or I can look at their face and see they're going, "hunh? you mean like that horror movie where the woman was sticking pins in stuff and there was all this gross stuff? yeah, that was cool."


No, actually, I'm familiar with the fact that there's distinctive areas, like Yoruban, and Santeria, and Haitian, and calling them all "Voudoun" is like saying that all high school students listen to Britney Spears. (Gawdz, I hope not, or I truly fear for the next generation, but you get what I mean.)

And actually, even though I've been seeing my housemate's veve tattoo for like three years now, I still can't remember who it stands for without a reminder... and I know there's some word that means "head" that's the title of that particular, uh, no, not deity. Not saint, either. (Yeah, you can tell I'm just scoring low when he's not around to explain it yet again.) I happen to love the various systems as I've run into them - and no, I don't mean Hollywood's version - and without exception have good memories of the various participants in those systems. They're complex and beautiful systems, but while my eyes and heart are going wow, something in me just can't grok 'em. Guess there's still a little too much eastern culture in me, that Shinto makes perfect sense but I have to keep my trap shut cause I can't remember the difference between Erzulie 'n Oya, and I know that's not a mistake you wanna make with either of them. ;-)

Bwahaha. Woo hoo! Cold medicine is fun! ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Easy on the medicine! -- Voxpopuli, 13:12:57 08/31/01 Fri

Then we're even: I am really not into haitian vodoun, I know who Oyá is (woman-bull, winds of death, she that dances with lighting and is clothed in Blood. I like her, I just can't stand her), but Erzulie is a virtual stranger to me!

See, I'm not black or white, I'm pure mongrel stock, and you should see us, Brazilians try to discuss religious issues with Lukumi folks! We are like complete aliens to the eyes of each other. Us with the heavy rituals, lengthy initiations, stiff hierarchy, extended family concept, like little Mafia Temples! Oh, my, am I anti-traditional or what?!

You are supposed to be more into the western side of things, if you did not have real opportunity to cut loose, and what is worse, you are trapped into the set of things you had implanted, culturally in you. It is a curse for everybody, you, me, the guy next door, the martians, and venusians, and...

This is something that really does not bother me at all. It just gets into my nerves when people start to make judgement of value over such relative concepts! And reality is such a vague concept.

Do not worry though. I do have a western background in occultism, a strong one, too strong for the taste of my elders, and that is a joy to the inkisi.

The guy has a veve tatooed? Wow. We do not carry tatoos, just very discrete scars on the shoulders, chest, back, and head. Actually I think it is kinda sexy, the whole thing. My husband hates it though, he is the classic agnostic. We have been through real fights over the subject of religion. At least we agree on sociology issues!

Mukuyu nzambi


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> never! ;-) -- Solitude1056, 13:37:04 08/31/01 Fri

From what I've gathered, the New Orleans style of Voudoun is more of a strange Creole mix of Santeria and Haitian, and I think some Yoruban in there at times. It's definitely developed into its own style, as I've been told. The, uh, now I can't remember the priest/ess title for the system. I'm thinking Mambo, but I honestly can't recall. Anyway, she's the one down in New Orleans who gave my housemate his tat many many years ago. Usually she does it on the back of the neck or base of the spine, in white, he told me. But he specifically requested his in black, on his inner arm just below the elbow. Hey, there's personal variations in every system.

But it is a cool tat, even if you don't know jack about what it means. (Not as cool as mine, but hey, I'm biased.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: never! ;-) OT -- Voxpopuli, 20:19:35 08/31/01 Fri

A mambo? Bingo, I thought you meant haitian vodoun first. Vodoun from Togo and Dahomey are not that popular, and except from a Mami Wata priestess I do not see many of them online.

I do not have a tatoo. Actually I do not like them. Scarification is more my cup of tea, very discreet, of course.

I have this brother (and in our houses we are really a family, following all family rules and taboos) who is a tall black man, handsome as handsome could be. Girl, his scars are something, and when he wears the straw ropes on his arms it is such a beautiful effect. Well, he is gay and I could not set him up with any of my single girl friends. The worst thing about gay guys is when they are handsome and not available to women!!!

I guess my husband is not jealous of my brothers only because he knows that 80% of them are gay, and the others abide by the stern rules of a candomblé house!

By the way... Angel does have a tatoo. What other characters in BtVS do have tatoos?


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You talking characters or the actors? -- Rufus, 20:57:31 08/31/01 Fri

SMG has a couple of little ones (I forget where)but nothing that is noticable on BVS. Charisma has one on the small of her back (ouch). I don't know about any of the others.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: You talking characters or the actors? -- Slayrunt, 03:05:54 09/01/01 Sat

Alyson has 2 I think.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> "inkisi"? "veve"? could we get a glossary please? *whimper* -- anom, 14:53:10 09/05/01 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Heh, I take pity! ;-) -- Solitude1056, 20:52:59 09/05/01 Wed

It's actually spelled vévé and pronounced /vay-vay/ with (if I recall correctly) equal accent on both syllables.

from the religious tolerance page on voodoo:

Vodun (a.k.a. Vodoun, Voudou, Voodoo, Sevi Lwa) is commonly called Voodoo by the public. The name is traceable to an African word for "spirit". Vodun's can be directly traced to the West African Yoruba people who lived in 18th and 19th century Dahomey. Its roots may go back 6,000 years in Africa. That country occupied parts of today's Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Slaves brought their religion with them when they were forcibly shipped to Haiti and other islands in the West Indies.

Other religions (Macumba, Candomble, Umbanda and Santeria) bear many similarities to Vodun.

[Ritual aspects include:] creation of a veve, a pattern of flour or cornmeal on the floor which is unique to the Loa for whom the ritual is to be conducted

The Loa resemble Christian Saints, in that they were once people who led exceptional lives, and are usually given a single responsibility or special attribute. from someone's personal page on voodoo:

There is no clear-cut difference between one form of voodoo and another. Some voodoo sects use live snakes and fire in their rituals. Some are black-only, some accept initiates from any ethnic background. Most rituals in all sects, however, use candles, herbs, and oils and are practiced for healing someone or for praising a particular spirit. Ever wondered about some of the names of voodoo you may have heard? Well, here are the most familiar ones: Santeria is a Carribbean form of voodoo. It incorporates the worship of the Orisha (literally "head guardian") and beliefs of the Yoruba and Bantu people in Southern Nigeria, Senegal and Guinea Coast. These are combined with elements of worship from Roman Catholicism. Hoodoo is a folk version of voodoo that focuses on herbal magic. Macumba is a synonym for Santeria, although practitioners don't use it, as it is a derogatory term used to mean an evil form of witchcraft. The term Lukumi is used to refer to both the religion and the practitioners of Afro-Cuban Orisha worship. The word from the guy with the Vévé tattoo (that would be my housemate, for those of you who just tuned in) is that a vévé is essentially a sigil, specifically related to a spirit, Orisha, or whatever term is used by that style of Voudoun. In any type of ritual or personal use, the vévé is used as a short-hand for the diety, much like the Goetic symbols are used to call upon the 72 princes of Goetic lore.

In most cases - in New Orleans-style Voudoun, which is the one I'm most familiar with but hardly the only one that does this - a person's vévé is supposed to be indicative of the diety/Orisha that they personally identify with. So if you know your vévés, and you see Erzulie's vévé somewhere on or around a person, then it's a good guess they're big on the whole Love/Aphrodite aspect, but with a good deal of flirtatious, fickle, fortuna-like qualities in there as well. (I'm not the biggest fan of Erzulie; in her worst aspects, she's a coquette beyond all hope.) But if you saw Shango's vévé, then you might think, ah, this is a person who treasures responsibility, kingly authority, being a general, a strong fighter, a Hero.

Well, not to say that in Voudoun you pick the Orisha and therefore have their vévé (and not everyone even does the tattoo routine - some folks just wear a pendant or have the sigil hanging over their altar). In fact, as I've been told, it's the other way around: the Orisha will make it clear to you which one has a soft spot for you and is looking out for you. There's a ritual designed to identify this Orisha before you set a clear path of self-dedication, and it's this ritual that my housemate followed before dedicating himself to his, although that doesn't stop him from working with others in the pantheon... Crummy analogy: you can relate to anyone in your family, but it's your mother that's the primary position. Same with this idea of a particular Orisha for you that at the same time has a relationship with plenty of others, and that you do with them, also.

Hey, I'm wordy tonight. Hmm.

[> [> [> [> [> Hey Sol! I just gotta see this roommate of yours. -- Rufus, 15:42:25 08/31/01 Fri

It's never a fun game unless all the players join in.

[> [> [> [> [> [> uh... hunh? -- Solitude1056, 16:08:56 08/31/01 Fri

Settle for a totally off-topic description? I doubt I'll ever be able to get him to post, although he does like to hear what we're blathering on about now. That is, when he's not hogging the phone line to surf for camera equipment. Gotta have a lens for everything, yanno...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: uh... hunh? -- Rufus, 16:29:58 08/31/01 Fri

With the amount of input from this guy we can only hope we can tempt him into revealing himself..... My peanut gallery is only interested in the technical aspects of computers, til I force an opinion out of him. Owing to his honesty they would be unfit for young eyes...but he does have a very practical way of seeing things....he is the guy that reminded me about the fact that everyone in the SG is a killer they are just on the side of the stake we are rooting for.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> all killers? tara too? -- anom, 14:48:26 09/05/01 Wed

"...he is the guy that reminded me about the fact that everyone in the SG is a killer they are just on the side of the stake we are rooting for."

I'm not sure--far as I remember Tara hasn't actually slain anything yet. Even her spells repel or incapacitate rather than killing. Interesting that she was the one, in her brain-sucked state, who labeled Giles a killer, before the fact.

If I'm right, maybe it will become an issue in the next season or 2 whether Tara kills something.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: all killers? tara too? -- Rufus, 20:26:15 09/05/01 Wed

I'm talking core four players. Buffy, Xander, Giles, Willow, have all killed. I don't see Tara as someone who could or would kill easily. Even Willow found staking a vamp an overstilulating experience. For Tara it would be that much harder.... or would it, we dont' know that much about her at all. I also wonder if killing is ever hard for a vampire? I thought about it in Disharmony when Harmony had to learn to do what should have come naturally, as well as the whole unlife coach thing.

Xander: First Anniversary Posting Party -- Lurker Becoming Restless, 02:45:09 08/31/01 Fri

First Anniversary Character Posting Party: **Aspects of Xander**

He is bright, funny, and will one day be suave and handsome. Til that day arrives, he'll do the best he can with bright and funny.

Well, so much for the detailed character analysis. This quote from the shooting script of 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' is Joss Whedon's first description of Alexander Lavelle Harris and it pretty much says it all. Witty and resourceful, Xander is able to make the most of any situation by drawing on his vast reservoir of self-knowledge. By the end of season five he is finally becoming the suave, handsome guy we all know he can be and he seems to be happier than any of the other Scoobies. Joss has given us the essence of Xander in two short sentences.

But, as always, it's not quite that simple.

**'It's all about the Journey, isn't it?'**

I've found a definition of Xander, but I'm not done with the book-learnin'. Not yet. There are one hundred scripts between this early description and a full understanding of the character.

When he skates onto the screen in the first season premier, Xander is 'not certain how to stop'. In light of later events, it seems appropriate that Xander is on the move when we first meet him and interesting that it is Buffy who causes him to...well, stop. This happens again the next time he sees her: Xander is moving through a crowded hall but he stops when Buffy drops her bag. Then, later on, Xander overhears Buffy talking to Giles about being the Slayer in the library. He was going about his daily life (however much of a departure from that a visit to the library may have been) and suddenly Buffy came along and pulled him away from it.

If, as Xander tells himself through the eidolon of Giles in his dream in Restless, 'it's all about the journey', then maybe for Xander it's all about other people. In 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' he is drawn towards Buffy and wherever he was (or wasn't) heading changes because of her. At the end of this first episode he goes off with Buffy to save Willow - he was on his way to the Bronze but she takes him to a cemetery instead.

In 'The Harvest', Xander follows Buffy again (or perhaps here it is Jesse he is following). He doesn't have to - in fact he has been warned against doing it - but he is determined to help wherever he can. Of course, it is here that he discovers that Jesse has been turned into a vampire. Now, surely this is a vital part of Xander's life: one of his best friends has just died!

Or have they? I don't want to get bogged down in discussions about the nature of vampires here, but I think that in this case it can't really represent a real death - there just isn't enough of a reaction from Xander. As demon-human hybrids, vampires on Buffy often represent people who have simply fallen prey to vices. When Jesse dies, it is really used to show how immediate the threat of vampirism is to the people around the Scoobies, although Nick Brendon takes Joss' lines and creates a superb, desperately humorous reaction ('I don't like vampires. I'm gonna take a stand and say they're not good').

However, one aspect of Xander's character that may (in part) be a result of Jesse's demise is his inability to treat Angel as anything other than a demon. Even in 'Prophecy Girl', when Angel had done nothing to hurt him or any of his friends, Xander treated him very harshly ('I don't like you. At the end of the day, I pretty much think you're a vampire'). Giles gave him a justification for staking Jesse by giving him a clear rule: vampires are demons, not people. If Xander admits that vampires have some humanity, he is also admitting that he could have done something else to help Jesse.

Now, you're probably beginning to wonder where I'm going with this - I certainly am. It is clear that Xander is often worried about where his life is going in season four, but it is easy to forget that this was not a random idea that was thrown in at the last minute, but something that has developed since the start of the show. Xander immediately latched on to Buffy as someone with direction and purpose who needed his help. In 'The Body' he makes the important comment, 'we help Buffy, it's what we do'. His journey has developed a symbiotic relationship to hers and those of the other Scoobies.

In 'Restless', one purpose of the statement, 'it's all about the journey', was Xander telling himself that the journey was more important than the destination, but why did he do this? Was it reassurance? Xander's greatest fears seemed to be that his journey was over, that the line would end with his family and that he was being left behind by his friends (Giles: 'the others have gone on ahead'). What he didn't realise was that it didn't matter whether he ended up in the basement or not. The clues to solving the problem of the first slayer were scattered about in the landscapes he ran through, but he forgot them completely as soon as he got into the basement and simply panicked, looking for somewhere else to move on to. Finally, because he could only worry about ending up in the basement, about failing, he let his guard down. It was only as he became more self-confident in season five that he was able to move on.

The Campbellians amongst you may well have something to say about Xander being on his own 'hero's journey' here but I'm not gonna go there. Instead, I'll move on to what the Xander of the first two or three seasons would have regarded as the most important section.

**'I laugh in the face of danger, then I hide till it goes away': Xander and Women?**

The women in Xander's life have caused him more trouble than the demons he has faced (in fact, they have often been those demons). When we first meet him he is (literally) falling for Buffy without her knowing about it.

Having crashed into a rail, Xander picks himself up to find Willow in front of him and seems to forget the new face. He fails to notice her 'wily Willow charms', though, unable to see her as anything but a friend. Early on in season one he finds out that Buffy has the same indifference to him - he is 'one of the girls'. This leaves him in a slightly awkward situation with his two best friends, although he seems to be even more efficient at repressing Willow's interest in him than Buffy is at repressing his interest in her.

The first major mistake in Xander's love life came in 'Teacher's Pet'. All the guys in his biology class fell for the She-Mantis and there were pheromones involved, but Xander was the one who ended up in Natalie French's basement and this episode did not bode well for any prospective relationship with Buffy. Whilst Angel was fighting demons and giving Buffy his coat Xander was running around after a six foot praying mantis and nearly getting himself killed. More than anything else, though, his falling prey to the She-Mantis was a symbol of his inexperience - she only went for virgins.

Given this and everything else we know about Xander's past, we have probably seen every major romantic relationship he has ever had (the same goes for Willow too). At the beginning of 'Teacher's Pet', he has a really cheesy fantasy about Buffy (Xander: 'Are you all right?' Buffy: 'Thanks to you' etc). In the shooting script he is described as being 'calm, confident and cool' in this fantasy - three things he is not when he talks to Buffy. His priceless first conversation with Buffy goes something like this:

XANDER: Can I have you? Dyeh - - can I help you?

BUFFY: Oh, thanks...

He starts picking things up, handing them to her.

XANDER: I don't know you, do I?

BUFFY: I'm new. I'm Buffy.

XANDER: Xander. Is me. Hi.

BUFFY: Thanks.

XANDER: Maybe I'll see you around. Maybe at school since we both...go there...

Xander is annoyed with himself afterwards. Unfortunately, just as he can't see how special Willow is, Buffy can't see past the awkward schoolboy to the suave lady-killer hiding inside. In 'Prophecy Girl', when Xander finally finds the courage to ask her out she rejects him pretty decisively. Xander says, 'I don't handle rejection well. Funny, considering all the practice I've had'. He may not be referring to romantic rejections, but he didn't handle it all that badly anyway. When Buffy looks less than enthusiastic at his first mention of a date and responds with, 'I don't know what to say', Xander says, 'well you're not laughing, so that's a start'. He also manages to put his hurt feelings aside later on when he saves Buffy's life.

He does this again when Buffy's bad mood has put Willow in danger in 'When She was Bad', bravely telling Buffy, 'If they hurt Willow, I'll kill you'. Xander sometimes makes this kind of exaggerated comment to make a point and in this case Buffy needed to hear something extreme to get her to snap out of it. This quote also reveals just how important Willow is for Xander.

Xander's next romance was with Ampata, the 'Inca mummy girl' who literally sucked the life out of people. It is interesting that she was a character who Buffy vaguely identified with because she was chosen by her people to do something she did not want to do. This may have certain implications for Buffy's character, but I don't think that this had anything to do with Xander's interest.

It was some time after this that Xander got involved with Cordelia in Buffy's basement (perhaps the place is symbolic - this is also where he ends up in 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered'). Later on, Cordelia said something about being with him in loads of dangerous situations, which is always 'all sexy and stuff' being the main reason for their little fling, but she was playing down her feelings for Xander. As her reaction after 'Lover's Walk' showed, she cared more about him than he did about her.

Early on in their relationship, Xander had to deal with Willow's reaction. Just why was the former treasurer of the 'We Hate Cordelia Club' becoming romantically involved with his nemesis? Willow took it all very personally, but the question is still interesting and Xander and Cordy constantly seemed to be searching for the answer themselves. In 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered', Xander says that it might all be down to hormones, but that he thinks there is probably more to it and offers Cordelia a Valentine's Day gift before getting some more practice at being rejected. This time he does take it badly and the spell he casts on Cordelia - or rather the motive behind it (basically so he can get his own back) is evidence of what is probably his worst quality: his tendency towards expecting too much from other people.

Particularly with women (and even more particularly with Buffy), he often puts other people on a pedestal. This leads to his being very judgmental and occasionally unforgiving (eg with Buffy in 'Dead Man's Party'). With Cordelia it leads to his thinking he deserves payback, although he realises that he was wrong before the end of the episode.

It is in 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered' that Xander casts the infamous love spell with Amy. It doesn't take long for him to realise that the spell failed to work on Cordelia and it doesn't take much longer for Xander to get his comeuppance - the undivided attention of every woman in Sunnydale. Amy warns him early on that 'intent has to be pure' with love spells and later on Giles says that love spells do not make people love at all, but simply create cold, boring obsessions (like those of April and the Buffybot in season five).

Xander does come out of the episode quite well in the end, though, having spurned the advances of all the women he could have taken advantage of and proven to Cordelia that he cared about her enough to resort to magic (I'm not quite sure why this impressed her, I must admit). If nothing else, this episode teaches Xander that love is complicated - Cordelia wants to break up with him, but that doesn't necessarily mean that she doesn't care about him or, worse, that she is trying to embarrass him by breaking up with him on Valentine's Day.

Xander gets through several episodes without too many romantic problems after this, although trouble is on the horizon and is foreshadowed by his monologue to an unconscious Willow in Becoming Part II. They begin to get involved in early season three and it is difficult to get away from the idea that Willow is simply more attractive to Xander when she is unattainable. When Cordelia and Oz discover them kissing in 'Lover's Walk', Cordelia is wounded physically as well as emotionally (it is no great leap to see that the former represents the latter in this case).

I think we begin to see here that Xander's relationship with Cordelia was somewhat uneven. He liked her, but he never really loved her in the way she loved him and he would always be closer to Willow and Buffy. When he goes to see her he is sorry, but he makes no real attempt to get back together - he knows that it is probably for the best. Cordelia, on the other hand, attracts the attention of a certain vengeance demon.

In 'The Wish', we get a glimpse of vampXander, who seems to be with vampWillow. Their relationship here suggests to me that one of the barriers between Xander and Willow was Willow's timidity. Not only was she too shy to tell Xander how she felt about him, but she was also so uncertain about herself (think acting metaphors in 'Restless') that he could never really tell who she was. Willow often seems to be deeply embarrassed about some of the things she thinks about and would like to do and Xander, as someone who is also quite insecure, reacts against this.

It was shortly after 'The Wish' that Xander ended up losing his virginity in a brief encounter with Faith. This event, which deeply upset Willow, is another of Xander's weakest moments. He wasn't particularly interested in Faith. He didn't even talk to her very much. He was simply offered casual sex and he quickly accepted without thinking about how he might hurt other people's feelings (there is a contrast here with Oz, who wouldn't sleep with Willow until she was ready, even though they

By late season three, Xander's prurient nature was a regular subject for humour. In 'Earshot' his unhidden thoughts made it clear that looking at linoleum probably did make him want to have sex. All of the women around him seemed to have given up on him until something strange happened: Anya asked Xander to Prom because he was 'less obnoxious than most of the alpha males', he liked 'looking at her breasts' and he didn't have a date. Xander had met his match.

I won't go through their entire relationship since I don't have enough time, you're probably bored already and Wisewoman covered it so well in her post about Anya. However, I will say that I think their relationship has developed into one of the most solid and inspiring ones that has ever been on the show.

I think Xander loves Anya's honesty, however much he jokes about it. He also likes the fact that she will tell him if he starts acting like a loser. When Buffy lost Riley, it made Xander realise just how special his relationship with Anya was, prompting his declaration of love at the end of 'Into the Woods'. In 'The Gift' they are totally in love and very comfortable around each other. 'Pervert' / 'Other pervert', goes a quick exchange in the basement (what is it with Xander and basements?) of the Magic Box and then a couple of minutes later, there is a proposal of marriage - juxtaposition much?

Of course, we are talking about Xander, so Anya's response is a slap in the face. She genuinely wants to marry him, though, and comes up with one of the most beautiful (and beautifully delivered) lines in Buffy history (which I will now proceed to alter so it makes sense out of context): '[Marry] me when the world doesn't end'.

After this brief foray into Xander's love life, I for one am beginning to wonder why Xander has fallen for these people in particular. A cynic would say that there are very few people who Xander hasn't been interested in at one time or another, but I think that he has only had a genuine, lasting romantic interest in two people: Buffy and Anya.

Admittedly, it is impossible to say whether Xander's crush on Buffy would have turned into a lasting, romantic love had she given him a chance, but I think we have plenty of evidence of just how much he respects her (eg 'The Freshmen'). He didn't simply get over her, but slowly came to accept that she would never be able to think of him 'like that'.

Finally, with Anya, he may have finally found somebody to spend the rest of his 'long and silly life' with. He has found someone with her own great personality who is completely in love with him and who is totally comfortable with herself. Most importantly, she accepts Xander for who he is. I shall go on to discuss Xander's need for acceptance in the next section.

**Family; Acceptance; Belonging**

In season five, Xander, more than anyone else, is at the centre of the Scooby Gang. Part of the reason he was afraid that he was a 'lost, directionless loser' in 'Primeval' came from the fact that he was so happy with the people he already knew. From what we know, Buffy, Willow and Giles were much more of a family to him than the people who made him pay rent to live in their basement and Xander has always been afraid of losing them. As far back as 'Witch', it is Xander who insists that he, Buffy and Willow are 'a team'. He has found meaning in helping the slayer: 'we help Buffy. It's what we do'.

Many of Xander's problems come from his suspicion that he is not a valuable member of this 'team'. It is certainly true that his contributions tend to be less predictable than anybody else's - often they are decidedly abstract - but they are always important. Personally, I think that the demolition job he did on Glory in 'The Gift' was symbolic of the blow she received from the Xander-based emotional unity of the Scoobies. It was not a lame effort to get Xander to help in some random way because he was so useless, but an attempt to indicate that he was far from useless and that without his help Buffy and the others would not have been able to fight Glory at all.

Hmm. Where did that come from? Anyway, I have already said that Xander uses other people to define his journey. In fact he needs other people. He lives from them: even when he gets wisecracking, he always waits for someone else to do something, for something to happen and then reacts to it. This is not parasitic, but symbiotic. By reacting to something he brings the Scoobies to a greater understanding of it.

It is for this reason that he gets on better with people who accept him and involve him in what they are doing. With Angel he always felt distant, even when they were working together to help Buffy in 'Prophecy Girl'. Perhaps this is why he could never really love Willow as he loves Anya. She was always holding back with him just a little. When Anya speaks bluntly in 'The Body', Willow can't handle it because she is ashamed that she is wondering about exactly the same things. Xander prefers to be with plain, honest people (like Riley). Of course, this is a wild generalisation - Willow is Xander's best friend! - but if I start to specify I'll be typing for another week and a half so it's probably a bad idea!

So Xander needs to be accepted by other people, but he also accepts them and in doing so brings them together. In the enjoining spell in 'Primeval', Xander is 'animus'. In the episode they refer to this as the heart, although my dictionary has it down as the Latin for spirit or mind. Importantly, though, one of the definitions is 'a motivating spirit or feeling' and this is what is closest to the part Xander plays in the Scooby Gang.

The word 'animus' can also be used in the Jungian sense. In this case it would suggest that Xander was the masculine aspect of Buffy's character. I'm sure it would be possible to run with this but I'll avoid doing that here - it could go on forever.

The issue of family is one that is clearly important to Joss, who chose to write the episode that featured his own slightly unorthodox views on the subject. Xander's family has been almost unbelievably distant throughout Buffy. We got a glimpse of somebody in 'Restless' but the only thing we could really tell was that Xander was afraid of them and afraid of being like them. He seems to want to have nothing to do with his family and as a result acceptance as part of the Scooby Gang is tremendously important to him: he has to belong to something.

In 'Fear, Itself' he is afraid that his friends can't see him; that he is nothing to them. Similarly, in 'The Zeppo', he worries that he is not good enough for his friends and that he needs to have some sort of concrete role in the group to be worthy of them. It is in this episode that his insecurities are most thoroughly explored.

**The Zeppo: Self-Knowledge without Self-Belief**

I indicated earlier on that Xander knows himself very well. I admit that there are some areas where this might not be true, but I think that overall, Xander is all too aware of his abilities and limitations and this is one of the things that makes him such a vital member of the Scooby Gang.

Sometimes, though, he begins to doubt himself. When Cordelia taunts him at the beginning of 'The Zeppo', he wonders what it is to be 'cool'. He wants to become 'cool', but none of the people who are seem to know how or why they got to be that way. Getting desperate, he goes out and gets himself a car and the story begins.

Within the epic rite of passage that is 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', Xander takes a little detour to become more comfortable about himself. He needs to go on an adventure of his own to make sure that he isn't as...expendable as Cordelia suggested. This is something that everyone goes through - a crisis of self-belief is perhaps the best way to describe it.

But this somehow jars with Xander's character. If he knows himself as well as I have said, how can he think that he is not a valuable part of the Scooby Gang? I think that the one thing Xander doesn't know about his own abilities is how they compare with those of the people around him. If he's stuck in a tight situation, he knows exactly what he can do to get out of it, but he never thinks that he is capable of doing it better than anybody else. Buffy, Giles or Willow would always have done it better, wouldn't they?

It is only by going it alone and looking at things from the outside that he realises how necessary he is: without him, the others would have been destroyed by something they hadn't even considered. This is true in many episodes, of course, but it is only in 'The Zeppo' that Xander realises it. By the end of the episode he has stopped his nervous blabbering and his bitching with Cordelia because he is less desperate to prove anything. After this episode, he has a very happy period followed by the fears about where he is going that I have already discussed.

Here I should say that I am aware that many of the issues raised in 'The Zeppo' are also discussed in 'The Replacement'. Personally, I think 'The Zeppo' is far more effective but I am aware that Xander's self-confidence didn't simply appear after this earlier episode and that in many ways it was 'The Replacement' which left him in the position he is in by late season five. Obviously he still has his insecurities even now but I'm sure you have heard enough about them by now.

Actually, d'Herblay posted something recently saying that one of the causes of Xander's self-confidence in season five was Dawn and her crush on him. I think that this together with a stronger relationship with Anya and the events of 'The Replacement' have been the principle causes of the changes that have allowed him to give the sort of inspiring advice we saw at the end of 'Into the Woods'.

When he isn't worrying about how he compares with other people, Xander becomes invaluable to them and this leads to another aspect of his character that I haven't yet considered.

**Empathy Guy - Xander as the Writer / the Viewer**

This seems like a really strange topic to include in any discussion of a character, but I think that it is very important to Xander. Buffy is an extremely self-referential and occasionally solipsistic show (by this I mean that it is very much the world as Buffy's representation with other characters often acting as aspects of her). All the characters seem to talk for the writers or the viewers at some stage but Xander is used more than any other. Why is this?

Xander is always the one asking questions about things that need to be clarified. He hasn't got the specialised knowledge of Willow and Giles or the experience of Spike and Anya but is still relatively new to the world of demons (even more so than Buffy). The viewer identifies with Xander because he always seems to have the same amount of knowledge as him/her. But it is not just this 'everyman' quality that helps him to become a representative of the viewer.

In 'The Zeppo', Xander looks in on the action - the passionate embrace between Buffy and Angel, the frantic research in the library, the apocalyptic battle with the Hellmouth - but he is not a part of it, just as we, the viewers, can watch Buffy and discuss it and organise it into patterns but can never really become involved in it. This idea of Xander as 'our marginalized stand-in' is thoroughly developed in an excellent essay on 'Slayage', 'Kiss the Librarian, but Close the Hellmouth: It's like a Whole Big Sucking Thing', which I recommend to everyone. I will refrain from further discussion of the idea here, though, since it is complicated and would come to dominate the whole post.

Instead, I'll move on to the use of Xander to directly deliver the ideas of the writer. In the very first episode, Xander seemed to be the character who was like what I would expect Joss to be like. On his commentary for 'Welcome to the Hellmouth', Joss admits that he does identify a lot with Xander, but not much more than he identifies with any of the other characters. Could it be that I am over-emphasising Xander's role as the representative of the writer? Am I looking for a connection that isn't there?

I don't think so. A strong example of Xander representing the writer can be found in 'Into the Woods' and his much-lauded defence of Riley. Here it feels as though Marti Noxon is almost chastising the average Buffy-viewer's response to Riley (ie 'captain cardboard') through Xander. He says that she 'shut down after Angel', as many fans did - how could Buffy ever be with anyone else? Most tellingly, when Buffy says, 'I know the story' Xander tells her that she 'missed the point'. The large contingent of Riley-haters (including me!) had been unfair to him from the very start. He wasn't a tortured romantic superhero, so he wasn't good enough for Buffy. Just like Buffy, we missed the point: in many ways, Riley was perfect for Buffy. He was certainly someone she wanted around. Of course, Xander had known this all along and just as Buffy realises what she is about to lose, so do we.

But I still haven't answered my question. Why is Xander so suitable for this? He is certainly easy to empathise with. He can also be thought of as the male side of Buffy, another character who has been used to represent the writer. However, Buffy often represents the show as a whole, something that Xander could never do. As somebody who admires Buffy and has always wanted to be closer to her than he really can be, Xander is a good character to represent the viewer.

He is also a good character to represent the writer, since he so often works by refining ideas and statements. He says something, he describes what he said, looking at it from a different perspective and then does it again, each time subtilizing the idea. His clarity, his ability to ask 'stupid' questions and his refusal to only half-understand things that are really important to him make him the ideal conduit for the writer's opinions on the show in general and specific characters and events within it.


I'll come clean here: I didn't get to spend as much time on this as I had hoped and it is very much a personal response to the character rather than a comprehensive evaluation as a result. This means that there is a lot of weird, opinionated stuff in there which I do not expect many people to agree with. Still, I hope it provides you all with a new perspective on at least some stuff.

It's certainly made me think about Xander a bit more than usual - I know I've hardly scraped the surface of the character here. He was my least favourite quarter of the original Scooby Gang throughout season one because I thought he was little more than a tool for the writer to make funny comments on the situation or give the viewer someone to empathise with. Obviously, I was wrong.

It is all too easy to stick to looking at things in one way and to miss obvious flaws in yourself that prevent you from making the most of whatever is in front of you. It's so simple to know the story but miss the point; to forget that you might be taking yourself too seriously (ha, ha, ha); to ignore the value of what you have and just worry about what you want to get...

I'm going to shut up now, but I think I still have a lot to learn from Alexander Harris...

[> Re: Xander: First Anniversary Posting Party -- Rattletrap, 07:14:16 08/31/01 Fri

Wonderful post Lurker. I've been looking forward to this one for some time--Xander is one of my favorite characters because I can sort of identify with his awkward "everyman" nature, and I loved his development during Season 5 to a mature, responsible, gainfully employed adult. One thing to add, he also strike me as maybe the bravest character on the show. He has no special powers or super strength, but is usually willing to charge into the fray (pun only partially intended) when it is needed. NB's facial expression in "Triangle" when he goes up against Olaf says it all: I know I'm going to lose, I know this is going to hurt, I know I have to do it. For all his joking that he runs away in the face of danger, he really doesn't.

[> [> Re: Xander: First Anniversary Posting Party -- Lurker Becoming Restless, 08:57:53 08/31/01 Fri

Thanks! Xander certainly isn't afraid of a bit of fisticuffs. However, he does know when he is better off running away and getting help. The best example of this is Restless: he knows he can't fight the First Slayer so he runs away and tries to get help - in the end he doesn't because his fear of failure gets the better of him.

The thing with Olaf is a good example of how brave Xander can be when he knows there is nothing he can do except throw himself in front of his friends, although it may be a futile gesture ('If they hurt Willow, I'll kill you').

[> The problem with Xander... -- Cactus Watcher, 07:17:58 08/31/01 Fri

is that it's hard to start a fight over his character. He's just plain normal. His biggest hang-ups are that he feels a little lost sometimes, and worries he isn't contributing enough so that his friends will respect him. (-Do you know where you're heading? -I'm way ahead of you.) He's the one character who has been permitted the 'dignity' of not having extraordinary powers or training, and yet still is able to fight along side the rest. As Willow drifts off in the Never-Never-Land of wizardry, it's Xander who keeps the show, if not exactly in touch, at least somewhere in the vicinity of being in touch with reality.

Great Job!

[> [> Xander used to be very fight-worthy -- Masquerade, 07:31:33 08/31/01 Fri

Back in Season Two, when he was so adamantly, outspokenly anti-Angel, he was incindiery fuel for the pressure on Buffy first not to date a vampire, and then to kill Angelus.

Xander was tough, took charge, he spoke his mind, he had his then-girlfriend Cordelia's say-what-I-think mode going. You either loved him or hated him.

After season 2, they played up his goofy Zeppo half and he's been finding balance ever since. The voice of normalcy.

Now, people forget how he was then. Someone commented that the Xander UPN preview for fall was "nothing like his character". On the contrary, it's what "suave Xander" is like at the extreme--not just cool and well-dressed, but vigilant and ready for a fight.

Dawn's leather pants of evil (spoilery?) -- iphi, 06:40:55 08/31/01 Fri

There was a very interesting essay here once about the "LEATHER PANTS OF EVIL". I think by purrplgirl although i'm not sure. It basically said that everytime anyone started wearing leather pants they were going to do something really bad. e.g. Angelus season 2 wore leather pants Faith wore leather pants a lot. Buffy wore leather pants when she went out to kill Faith in season three. ...

In the promo picture Dawn is wearing leather pants. Is she going to be the bad girl this season??? Or are we going to see Willow in leather pants this season??? Any thoughts?
[> Re: Dawn's leather pants of evil -- Rattletrap, 07:18:59 08/31/01 Fri

Great article on this subject by Alicia Thompson, "Have Faith in Leather."

No spoilers or anything, she doesn't speculate past S4 or maybe early S5.
[> [> Thanks! I really enjoyed that. (nt) -- iphi, 07:57:07 08/31/01 Fri

[> Re: Dawn's leather pants of evil (spoilery?) -- Shaglio, 10:57:24 08/31/01 Fri

"Or are we going to see Willow in leather pants this season???"

YES PLEASE!!! Even though I don't want her to be bad next season, I can make the sacrifice if she's going to slip into the leather. :) If everyone else can drool over Spike, I can drool over Willow. Where do I get my Willow action figure anyway?
[> Re: Dawn's leather pants of evil (spoilery?) -- Humanitas, 14:10:16 08/31/01 Fri

The Host says it all:

"I think I'm speaking for everyone when I say if all you're gonna do is switch back to brood mode, we'd rather have you evil. Then at least - leather pants."

Speaking of those promo pics - notice what's on Tara's shirt? Talk about your New Moon Rising!
[> Doesn't mean anything -- Tanker, 21:02:48 08/31/01 Fri

Buffy wore black leather pants in the final third of S5, starting with "Crush" (did anyone here comment on that at the time?). On characters *who are already evil*, the black leather pants do mean "Look, I'm evil!" But on Summers women, it's just fashion. Buffy's Slayerness and Dawn's Keyness override the "black leather=evil" formula.

Now if Willow puts on the BLPoE, we're in trouble.
[> [> Dawn & Spike: censors? -- Voxpopuli, 21:38:15 09/01/01 Sat

The rest will come later... Dawn & Spike Dawn would also be great for Spike... Remember how she listened in deep rapture to Spike's tale, fascinated like a moth to light, even though she knew the story was real?

... Spike embodies the bad apple for her, a person who has stories to tell from the margins of society, in a certain way, a rebel. Besides that, the danger of being around a guy like this can be a turn on for many girls, specially teens, who tend to push their limits and the limits of their upbringing. There is also the habit, not present in my country, but as far as American movies go, terror camp fire stories, gore movies, etc, that make teens a little bit disconnected from the reality of the pain described.

And, well, on the contrary of Buffy, she's aware of the freak she is, she is unsure about what side of the field she belongs to, she's confused about her feelings, about her role in this human world, and her non human side. She relates to Spike as one who has problems somewhat like her own. He is an adolescent who grew up in his own way, and who seem at ease with his problems and dilemmas.

One other thing is that Dawn feels much more at ease with him, in terms of voicing her concerns, and fears and incertitude's. Much more than she'd ever share with Buffy, and with the gang, that is after all, Buffy's gang. Spike is her gang.

So, her behaviour regarding Spike in "I was made to Love you" reflects this kind of disappointment, and Spike's look at her is just as disappointed, as if she should have known better.

She does accept Spike's help in The Body, not questioning his reasons at first, but at least being open to speak up her ideas, and not only listening to his feelings, but also accepting them. She seems to be one who is ever more prompt to trust in him than anybody else. Not only as a protector, but also as somebody who listens to her.

There is a Lolita quality in this relationship that would never get past censors. At least not in the US, in a show that is broadcasted before 23:00. In Brazil it would be a piece of cake, and they could have the hottest and most nekkid scenes a writer could think of without loosing dramaticity (you should see a mini series that open TV is broadcasting right now!).

In terms of dynamics, if I were the one to write Dawn for the show, I'd make her a mix of two major feminine types in Brazilian literature: Jorge Amado's Gabriela and Nelson Rodrigues' school girls. Both explore a side of the female self that combined in a teen in like pure nitroglicerin.

Gabriela was a natural woman, she was not aware that she was beautiful, she could not care less about being sexy. So, she was not one to notice the eyes of men on her, she was not aware of the effect she had on men, and... well, why not wearing revealing clothes, then? She hated underware, why should she wear them? It just did not make any sense for her that she'd have to wear make up, underware or "coy" clothes? All she wanted to do was to cook her delicious food for the people, more specifically for the man she loved, play with the children, and have good sex with her man. Nelson Rodrigues is something else. His girls, the young ones are different from Nabokov's Lolita, because when you read the book by Nabokov you see that Lo took much more than she could handle, she was not really conscious of her effect on men, and she was not able to control the relationship. Rodrigues offers a whole different approach. His girls are sexy because when they reach adolescence they do talk a lot about sex with their friends, they do have a clear view of the adult relationships, first as expectators and quickly learn how to manipulate men, using sex and wits. They play with the others' fantasies in order to achieve their goals. Some of them succeed, some not, as a major moralist, they sometimes screw up with good relationships, but the strongest among them are the ones who despite being passionate, are cold blooded enough to play foul in a world led by men in the roughest chauvinist way.

Back to Dawn: You see, how can Dawn really consider herself pretty or sexy or anything like that, or strong, or whatever when she has such model as Buffy? It is not unusual for a younger child to see the older as a role to follow, sometimes a goal they are just unable to reach, mostly because they are different people. But in adolescence this can be serious, and Dawn did not have a great dialog with Buffy, did she?

So, the Gabriela side of her is that she is not really aware that she is pretty. She can feel the hormones causing problems, like it is due to happen to any 15y-o girl, but she is not aware of the thing she is becoming. It also is complicated by the fact that she knows she is not a normal kid, and she's been forced to grow up a lot due to all that she's been through. It could cloud the process of "growing up", sexually speaking. Spike seemed to be the only one who really noticed that she was 14 and growing fast, with all the related problems and crisis. Then, she'd mature this side of her personality without really noticing and in just being herself, being deadlier than any girl with miniskirts lot of make up and wonderbras. Well, in Rio this is easy, we are very relaxed in terms of dressing, for instance (no, we do not walk naked on the streets, we are just a little bit more carefree than people from other states down south, and more sophisticated than people up north!). The Rodrigues side is that she has some level of maturity, enough to make her observe the behaviour of others, and respond to it in a more calculated manner if she cares to think about it. Combine the two things and you can have a big bad "badder" than one would expect at first. She could clash wills with Buffy every smoothly, after all Buffy's very good with fists and fights, but not very smart in terms of relationships, and manipulate Spike to do whatever she wants, because he already likes her and cares for her.

It would be great to see a Lolita quotation in the show. Have Spike help Dawn with painting her toe nails. He paints his nails, that would not be too much for him to take care of his pet. But the scene would be hilarious and at the same time make half the female viewers older than 25 have sweet dreams!!! But would it get past censors?
[> [> [> Re: Dawn & Spike: censors? -- Jolhn Burwood, 01:21:39 09/02/01 Sun

There is another way in which Dawn & Spike would have a natural affinity without them having to stray into dangerous territory. They are now the two 'teenagers' on the show. Only metaphorically in Spike's case, of course, in that being a vampire he is never going to grow up in the sense of settling down, getting job, house, mortgage, life insurance plans. Asit says on the Slayage studies site, vampires are metaphors for the eternal teenager - permanently going out every night to have fun etc. The other SGs are all growingup and leaving teenage years - Spike isnot & probably can not. The relationship between Dawn & Spike need be no more - but of course it could get dangerous - depends on howfar WtB's victorian sense of gentlemanly honour still infects Spike.
[> [> [> Re: Dawn & Spike: censors? -- Tanker, 06:24:03 09/02/01 Sun

"It would be great to see a Lolita quotation in the show. Have Spike help Dawn with painting her toe nails. He paints his nails, that would not be too much for him to take care of his pet. But the scene would be hilarious and at the same time make half the female viewers older than 25 have sweet dreams!!! But would it get past censors?"

If anyone can sneak something past the censors, it's Joss. He's a brilliant strategist. He used the WB's squeamishness with the Willow/Tara relationship to distract them from some of the very graphic scenes (graphic for an 8 o'clock show, anyway) involving other characters, especially Spike. There are a couple of scenes with the Buffybot that I can't believe he got away with. Painting Dawn's toenails seems pretty tame in comparison.

Someone would complain, but someone complains about anything in this country. Americans have difficulty handling discussions and depictions of sexuality, especially when it involves minors (_Lolita_ is still just as controversial today, and there were calls to ban the recent movie adaptation).
[> [> [> [> Re: Dawn & Spike: censors? -- Voxpopuli, 04:38:10 09/03/01 Mon

Really? That movie was so... prudish compared to the book!!! My country is not so... conservative and yet it is as conservative as any other Latin American country of catholic background. Hard to explain. Funny, first I thought I would get severely bashed for this post. It could be read as a non feminist idea, and feminism is one of the most "politically correct"' thing to be, even though I think you can't say there is a real feminism, the female part is still being defined, and I guess it will not be defined in the gender structure typical from the modern paradigm or what we believed to be the modern paradigm. Yeah, drifiting in the world of the "gooo", there are no more solid subjects, no more solid concepts, rather a web or a movement. Buffy is very much about identity, so...

About being a teen... Spike has changed a lot, he is no longer acting like a teen. Actually when he lets it show he is the most mature of the scooby gang, specially after Crush. The point is: being a vampire is like being a bit of a peter pan. If you grow up, you loose your connection to the world, because these connections usually imply a sense of time, and this could have serious effects on one's mind, vampire or not. The more involved he is with a group of humans, us creatures plagued by a short life span, the more conscient he is of time, and how things are fugazi, he has to make time more meaningful, he has to grow up, or else, to accept that he can't "live" like that. So, Spike is not like Dawn, he is not experiencing, he is not discovering. His process is more of acceptance, of regaining something that was lost, of taking the veil off. Dawn is still building herself, including physically, her experiences are more of the explorative kind.

They do such a nice couple, and Spike is all brotherly about her, and he has had the "you are a monster" thing so hard in his head, that I doubt he'd be able to notice Dawn making advances on him, as he feels good to be treated as a man, while he gave up seeing himself as such. So in this sense, this could get past censors. Or not?
[> [> [> [> [> feminism "politically correct"?! -- anom, 19:30:36 09/05/01 Wed

"...and feminism is one of the most 'politically correct' thing to be...."

Are you kidding? So many women who support everything advocated by feminism say "I'm not a feminist, but..." (but they're for equal pay, equal job opportunity, reproductive rights, not being treated as sex objects, etc., etc., etc., as well as etc.). If it's so politically correct, why do so many women feel they can't identify themselves as feminists?
[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: feminism "politically correct"?! -- Voxpopuli, 09:08:06 09/06/01 Thu

You see! They are feminists, but do not want to see themselves as the stereotyped "feminist bitch". So, in ideas, it is the politically correct thing to be. The problem is : what is feminism nowadays? is identity possible? Is there a feminine identity?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: feminism 'politically correct'?! -- John Burwood, 00:05:01 09/07/01 Fri

Mayhaps the day is approaching when political correctness will go the way of all fashion, and itself become politically incorrect? What? I can dream, can't I?
[> [> More than just fashion -- Kerri, 08:45:14 09/03/01 Mon

"But on Summers women, it's just fashion."

I disagree with the fact that Buffy in leather is just fashion. She seems to wear leather when embracing her slayer/killer side (GD, BvsD, Spiral and The Gift scene with Giles in the training room in all black(when she thought all she was was a killer).
[> [> [> I'm not buying it -- Tanker, 17:08:14 09/03/01 Mon

I know people are really fond of the BLPoE theory, and the writers play with it some (especially on ANGEL, which had a deliberate shout-out), but Buffy shoots the whole thing down. Was she embracing her "killer" side in "Crush?" Yeah, she was such a killer in that ep, all 5 vampires that appeared got away. She wore her leather pants to the Bronze. If it quacks like a fashion statement....
[> [> [> [> Quacking leather pants.........LOL....... -- Rufus, 17:30:30 09/03/01 Mon

I agree with him on's fashion.
[> [> [> [> Agreed. -- Solitude1056, 18:01:29 09/03/01 Mon

Hell, I've got several pairs of leather pants, all black, and two for riding motorcycles, one just because I found a pair long enough for my inseams (a rare thing). And no, I'm not evil. Really.

Hey, does Masq have any leather pants? Hmm.
[> [> [> [> [> Hmmmm I have no leather pants at all, I must be a very good girl...:):):) -- Rufus, 18:09:11 09/03/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> Darling, your camoflage isn't working. Good try, though! -- Solitude1056, 18:20:30 09/03/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> You mean that leather skirt counts?????? -- Rufus, 19:30:34 09/03/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yeah, 'specially when you carry handcuffs as an "accessory"! -- Solitude1056, 21:27:43 09/03/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh gee that's a secret now............;) -- Rufus, 22:11:29 09/03/01 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well I know black leather waist cinches count! -- fresne, 10:30:06 09/04/01 Tue

I mean it changes how I walk. And if I may say in terms of math, cinch cost divided by number of evil costumes worn with = best costume purchase ever.

Voting for the LPoE theory because it sounds cool and I covet a pair (which is like sinful and stuff).
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> LPoM -- Voxpopuli, 11:56:53 09/04/01 Tue

Leather pants are so cool... to watch. In Rio, such pants look like Leather Pants of Masochism. Can you imagine wearing leather pants in our climate?! I confess I had a leather mini skirt, thus my experience with self hatred! And I tell you, Brazilian leather is really the best, but I wear it only in cold places! It is winter down here, and it is never too cold, in Rio, this year we had an unusually hot winter... leather clothes are just so ... non practical!!! Here the fetish goes more to clothes that look like lingerie. Got the idea? Sweat, sheer clothes, no bras...

I'm bad. I had my days. I'm about to become a mother. Gotta retire such outfits.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: LPoM -- fresne, 13:49:37 09/06/01 Thu

Well, as long as you remember that spandex is a privilege, not a right, no reason to put aside leather etc with the onset of parental unit status.

I mean heck, you should see my mother, who very firmly follows the philosophy discussed above of, "Be yourself 100%, 100% of the time."
[> [> [> [> Re: I'm not buying it -- Rattletrap, 14:47:55 09/04/01 Tue

I think I'd vote for a bit of both here. The case in Graduation Day, for example, seems to be pretty clear cut symbolism to me, especially given Faith's "Look at you, all dressed up in big sister's clothes" line, and the fact that there is a special point to show Buffy changing clothes in the sequence immediately before where she gets ready to go kill Faith.

That said, just because something is used sybolically at one point doesn't mean that it always has to be. I think I'd be hesitant to read too much into MT's leather pants in a promo cast picture for a season that isn't aired yet.

*drops $.02 into the communal mayonnaise jar*
[> [> [> [> [> I'm not saying its always symbolism but... -- Kerri, 16:03:20 09/04/01 Tue

Agreeing completely with Rattletrap here. Sure sometimes its fashion, but its ovious that clothes are used as symbolism in BtVS. I think many times what the character wears is used to reflect their personality or state of mind at the time.
[> [> [> [> [> [> I agree with that. -- Tanker, 17:55:37 09/04/01 Tue

I don't disagree that clothes can be symbolic. I also agree that black leather pants can be seen as a symbol that the character wearing them is evil. But not always. And certainly not in a promo pic of an actress. I guess I just can't resist poking holes in the theory. It's one of my sure-fire reply triggers. Especially if someone says that black leather pants "always" means the character is evil. Don't like that word, "always." It's almost always inaccurate. :)
Buffy as Burnt Offering; Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice -- Fred the obvious pseudonym, 12:20:56 08/31/01 Fri

Buffy as Burnt Offering:

Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice

I. Introduction On the surface, Buffy the Vampire Slayer seems a relatively trivial bit of mass-market entertainment. Even a casual look, however, reveals that there is far more here than meets the eye -- and a large chunk of the American viewing public knows this too.

II. With Friends Like These . . . In the Buffy-verse, most adults are (at best) ineffectual or (at worse) malevolent and lethal. The only adult Buffy can respect and trust is her Watcher, Giles.

But Giles has murdered Buffy. It is only a question of where her body will fall.

Giles got her into vampire-slaying. It's not a safe occupation. There is no retirement plan. There are no old Slayers. The life expectancy of Slayers is measured in months, not years. All that has to happen is for her to lose -- once. All that is needed is for her to have an off day; or for some minion of hell to have a good one. Then if she is lucky she's dead; if she's unlucky she's undead.

Buffy is not stupid; she has either figured it out or will soon. Imagine Willow doing a stats class and crunching the numbers. "Gee, Buffy, according to the best figures available and the latest methodology . . . you died years ago." And as a matter of fact she did, for a while. And also again.

[You and I know that the scriptwriters will not sacrifice Buffy -- at least, not permanently -- so long as the ratings hold up and there is the chance of a movie franchise. But in the Buffyverse Buffy doesn't know this.]

III. The Three Laws of Thermodynamics As Applied to Vampire-Slaying:

You can't win;

You can't break even;

You can't quit the game.

The struggle against the Hellmouth never ends. There is no elemental source of evil that even the finest Slayer can destroy to turn off the tap. [Didn't Spike say something like "Kill all the vampires you can, old girl; like Doritos, we'll just make more." And it's true.] While this is a boon to the scriptwriters, it does make things tough on Slayers; even if each engagement with evil offers only a tiny chance of destruction, given an infinite number of engagements your number will come up.

And Buffy can't quit. Even if her sense of responsibility would allow her to bail on Giles and the struggle against evil [isn't it time for someone else to carry the weight?] there's nowhere she can go. Even if she did desert the Cause some demon would track her down and kill her just to make sure she didn't change her mind. There is no thirty-mission limit, no Saigon year; like the Irish Republican Army, once in, never out.

Now all this, of course, is known to elegant Giles and the Council. I somehow doubt they explained this fully to Buffy before they signed her up. So simply by getting her into this no win, no exit situation they've killed her. Once a Slayer dies they will mourn briefly (stiff upper lip, what?) and find another victim -- er, Chosen One -- to throw onto the fire.

Of course, they don't have much choice either. Option B -- letting evil destroy the entire world -- isn't any better. But still, Giles has to live with the burden of taking a vital, vibrant young human person and condemning her to death. I think Anthony Stewart Head has figured this out: witness his statement in the October 1, 1999 Entertainment magazine p. 29 where he comments on the likely Watcher suicide rate. The responsibility for Buffy's well-being is one contributor; the awareness that he has manipulated her into oblivion would be another.

IV."I feel like a fugitive from the law of averages" -- Bill Mauldin

Our Lady of Passion and Pain therefore must realize that she has no future. Quiet life, career, family, spouse, children -- ain't gonna happen. For the finest of reasons she has been betrayed by the only adult she respects and trusts. This should translate into barely-controlled rage. [Could explain a lot, come to think of it. Consider her driving ability.]

On top of this she has other reasons to stress out.

1.) Buffy has survived more close-combat than any six Green Berets.

2.) She has seen her friends killed and injured.

3.) She has been dead herself. As of next season, twice.

4.) To save the world, she has had to kill the (undead) man she loves. Then she found and lost him again. Not to mention her second lover cheating with vampires and deserting her.

5.) She is living under the constant threat of attack.

6.) She has to live with the knowledge that she has gotten her friends (the so-called Scooby-Gangers) into the same (un)dead end she's in.

7.) She's not getting much (any?) support from her family and community.

Put all this together and you have enough pressure to inflate a Zeppelin. Pile all this on the mind of one just out of adolescence (of either sex) and parts are going to start flying off at the edges. Whedon & Co. have, therefore, more than enough justification to impose Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or, even, Current Traumatic Stress Disorder) on our heroine. Buffy's psyche should be weaving an erratic course between complete emotional collapse and insanity. Case in point: Faith.

Faith, not Buffy, is probably the archetypical Slayer. All the stress got to her and she went rogue. Nice touch.

So Whedon should be free to let some of the raw edges show. Do it right, with the humor and subtlety this show has so often demonstrated, and our regard for Buffy will grow; Our Girl would need a will of chromium steel to hold herself together at all.

Note that this struggle for sanity would not preclude the producers' intent to have the later seasons considerably lighter. Historical reference: Second World War bomber crews. They partied pretty hard, despite (or, perhaps, because of) a seventy-percent mortality rate. Buffy is wholly justified in trying to cling to whatever laughter and joy her life can leave her.

V. "The king must die, and willingly, else he is no king." -- Mary Renault

These themes of betrayal and sacrifice may also explain much of the appeal of the show. Buffy is the current generation of youth in microcosm. Many feel that they have been handed a world on a crash course with oblivion (nuclear proliferation, population pressure, environmental degredation) and are trying desperately with inadequate resources to keep everything from coming apart. In the meantime, they perceive their elders -- the Baby Boomers, who should have the experience and wherewithal to carry this load -- to be self-absorbed greedheads, what Hunter S. Thompson dubbed the Generation of Swine. [What is most ironic about this is that in the 1960s -- and I remember the 1960s -- the Baby Boomers, for the same reason, had the same rage towards and disdain for their parent generation.]

In the Buffyverse, she and her friends are human sacrifices to hold back the torrent of evil. Their lost future is the price we willingly pay (with accompaniment of crocodile tears) for keeping our butts safe and comfy. Buffy is fictional; we should remember, however, just once in a while that in reality we do sacrifice people to this end.

In a perverse way, there is also a twisted existential tie between us and Buffy's survival. So long as we keep watching Buffy she will stay "alive" [at least on the air]. When we stop she will vanish into the abyss of late-night reruns, video store remnant bins, rickety regional conventions, and moldy scholarly papers. So our participation keeps her alive.

[> Re: Buffy as Burnt Offering; Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice -- Humanitas, 14:22:18 08/31/01 Fri

Nifty post, indeed, except that neither Giles nor even the WC are responsible for Buffy (or anyone else, for that matter) being chosen. They evidiently have some mechanism for discovering potential slayers, but they don't pick who gets to be the Slayer. The Slayer came first, and then the Watcher. Giles to the First Slayer in "Restless:" "You never had a watcher." In any case, Giles didn't get Buffy into Slaying - she was already the Slayer when she got to Sunnydale.

I do like your idea about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, though. We saw some of that this season, especially in "Spiral" and "The Weight of the World." Wonder if we'll get more of it after Buffy's resurection? Death is generally pretty traumatic, after all. ;)

[> [> Re: Buffy as Burnt Offering; Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice -- Dedalus, 20:31:33 08/31/01 Fri

That was an interesting post.

I don't know about the Post-Traumatic Stress ... hasn't she already died and came back and dealt with that?

As for Watchers ... well, according to Fray, they are descendents of the village shamans who first conjured up the power of the Slayer, so they technically did make her.

[> [> [> Buffy as Burnt Offering; Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice -- Fred, the obvious pseudonym, 14:17:04 09/01/01 Sat

Humanitas has made a correct point; in the official mythology of the Buffyverse neither Buffy nor Giles nor Merrick nor the Watchers selected Our Girl for the pyre. I should point out, however, that the source for this information has been the Watchers Council, via Giles & Merrick.

And we all know how honest and trustworthy the Watchers' Council is in matters that concern their own safety and survival, no?

Said Council is also the source for the information that there is and must be only one Slayer (at least Chosen One.) Could they be equally honest in that regard?

Now, obviously, the "fact" that there is only one Slayer is quite useful to Whedon & Co. for dramatic purposes. But, as I should point out, there has been for some years at least two Slayers: Buffy and Kendra (R.I.P.) and her successor, Faith. How do we know that in the last 5,000 odd years similar duplications have not happened?

It seems that even if there is only One to be Chosen there should well be others to make at least some effort to fill in her shoes. Is the Sunnydale Hellmouth the sole fount of evil on the planet? Probably not, if there have been Slayers in China and NYC. Note that c. 1900 travel from China to the U.S., even California, would have been sufficiently time-consuming that the Chinese Slayer would have been ill-situated to answer a sudden distress call from our West Coast. [Cablegram to Beijing: HELLMOUTH OPENED COMMA SEND SLAYER STOP FAST STOP END MESSAGE ]

This all implies that there have to be others who can fill in for the official Slayer; there are, after all, some seven continents; lots of space for one Slayer to cover.


[> [> [> [> Re: Buffy as Burnt Offering; Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice -- Humanitas, 14:56:27 09/01/01 Sat

I get the impression that, while Sunnydale is not the only source of evil (we know for a fact that there's evil in LA, for example), it is certainly a major draw for demonic/vampire activity. It makes sense to put the Slayer where she can do the most good. "There's a reason why you're here, and there's a reason why it's now." (Giles, "Welcome to the Hellmouth")

[> Re: Buffy as Burnt Offering; Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice -- Kerri, 07:54:29 09/02/01 Sun

While being the slayer may kill Buffy, IMO oppinion it is the greatest gift she ever got. Buffy was doomed to go on as the ditzy girl who had a good heart but never really did much with it. Instead she became the God-like person standing on the tower who understood love and life. For most of the slayers becoming the slayer ultimately kills them mentally as well as physically. But for Buffy its different-being the slayer made her really live for the first time.

[> [> Buffy as Burnt Offering; Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice -- Fred the obvious pseudonym, 12:55:39 09/02/01 Sun


That is something that will be always a judgment call. Is it worth while to have a vital, exciting, but short existence as opposed to one that is harmless, mundane, but may have compensations of its own -- small good works, family, children, happiness?

I'll leave investigation of this to better philosophers than I.

"It is better to burn out; 'cause rust never sleeps" -- Neil Young

[> [> [> Slayers and HellMouth -- Voxpopuli, 05:51:03 09/03/01 Mon

What if the Slayer is meant to guard HellMouth only? And what if HellMouth actually moves around the planet, from hot spot to hot spot, and as it is the hottest spot it is the actuall gate and should be kept closed. Other small hot spots maybe around, but none so dangerous as the Big One where dimensions could blend and all that freaky jazz? So, maybe in 1900, Beijing actually was the most active hot spot, the HellMouth of the turn of the century. Then it moved to the US, leaving a trail, coast to coast until Sunnydale, so the Slayers should cover that trail up to the HellMouth that is active in this century. Who knows in some one hundred years it may move to Japan, or to a lost place in the south pole? Then the One Slayer thing would make sense. One big Gate, One Guardian, and watchers to keep the gear working and doing the damage control around the planet.

[> [> [> Re: Buffy as Burnt Offering; Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice -- Kerri, 07:20:12 09/03/01 Mon

". Is it worth while to have a vital, exciting, but short existence as opposed to one that is harmless, mundane, but may have compensations of its own -- small good works, family, children, happiness?"

I'm not talking about an exciting life so much as discovering the potential inside someone. Much of what Buffy was able to become as a person is because she was the slayer. I think that Buffy would be very disappointed if she could see how she would have turned out not being the slayer.

[> [> [> [> Re: Buffy as Burnt Offering; Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice -- Helen, 07:33:34 09/03/01 Mon

You're absolutely right Kerri. In Helpless, Buffy was talking to Angel about what it would mean if her powers were gone for good, and she was very concerned about how superficial she had previously been.

[> [> [> [> Re: Buffy as Burnt Offering; Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice -- LoriAnn, 18:52:20 09/03/01 Mon

Good idea. Everyone eventually dies, but not everyone really lives, certainly not those whose lives revolve around themselves.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy as Burnt Offering; Hidden Tropes of Betrayal and Sacrifice -- Dedalus, 12:18:34 09/04/01 Tue

"Everyone eventually dies, but not everyone really lives"

Did anyone else get a mental flash of Buffy riding a horse in front of thousands of troops, with half her face painted blue, shouting something about freedom?


Vamps & Slayers & Watchers -- Voxpopuli, 12:27:17 08/31/01 Fri

When this world was still at its earliest years, and humans were only small creatures sharing the planet with other powerful races a great war ensued. It was not called forth by anyone, it came as the once joint dimensions started to split, like did the continents on the face of earth, and each one fought for their share of power. Those that today we call Demons were the Ancient Ones, many nations born in the primeval fire, the Ones who sparked life upon every layer of existence. They were all mighty and had many gifts of sight, of bliss, and could do works that would marvel all mankind. But they were of a brutal nature among themselves, and specially towards humans, small animals to them, sometimes mere cattle, but mostly small creatures unworthy among all the inhabitants of this dimension in turmoil. So it was, that seeing that this world would not support their life, most nations of Ancient Ones fled to other dimensions, in a Diaspora of mighty proportions, and left most of the planet for the Humans, who were many at that time, and who were starting to get aware of their own possibilities. Then the war broke between men and demons, and the great divide between the races increased. One particular Nation, unwillingly to leave this world, mixed its blood with humans creating a race of semi-demons. This race fed on humans, and multiplied itself by mixing their blood with them. They were called Vampires. Hated by humans, viewed with suspicion by demons, they were the outcasts of earth and hell. One vampire fell in Love with a human woman, and took mercy on humanity. He married this woman and bore her children. He taught humans the use of fire, the forging of steel, the ways of writing, and of reading, the rudiments of science, and was then seen as a god. Humans came from countless tribes to seek his wisdom and sacrificed slaves, war prisoners, criminals, various types of animals, to their God of Wisdom. Of all his children, only one was female, and she came specially gifted. He said, "May she step on the serpent's head, and protect humans from those of my kind that might try to cause them harm". And he taught her the arts of killing his own kind, and taught his male children the arts of preparing this guardian. They'd be her Watchers. The War reached its peak, and the girl fell in Battle. Her father, powerful God of Wisdom, himself partly demon, hid his face from the world, and turned his beloved daughter into a spirit of protection, who can possess only one person, a girl, in each generation, and set this spirit free in the world, givin his boys directions on how to track down this warrior spirit, and telling them to fight for the good of the world, until one day, the races could live in peace. For there'd be war until then, let none be mistaken, and they should Watch over humanity. He then decided to fall, not in Battle, but under the sunlight, at the break of Dawn in the Battlefield. Thus, the power of the first Slayer is of unknown nature to her, it is partly demonic, as it came from a semi-demon, and it should be forever kept as the Greatest Weapon ever. And the Watchers... oh, they formed a Council, and spread around the world, as guardians, and strategists in the Great War. But only one Watcher knows the true nature of the Slayer, and of the demons, of vampires, and of the Council itself, and when he dies, his follower swears to keep the secret, for... knowledge is the only way to control the Slayers, when love is not strong enough to do it.

<<< I just thought this myths would perfectly fill the gaps and the open threads of the relationship among Slayers, Vampires and the Council Inner Circle.

[> Nice. I like it. : ) -- VampRiley, 15:15:13 08/31/01 Fri

[> Evolution of the Slayer and Vampire -- Rufus, 16:46:25 08/31/01 Fri

Remember that the infecting demon was a primative as was the first victim who went on to become the vampire. Humans have evolved and become more aware, we weren't always (many still aren't) civilized and the cruelty of humanity can't be matched by the monsters. But evolve we have. We are aware of our consciousness, we have a need to know why. Vampires have only evolved because the host has. The infection just a predisposition to the preference of evil. With Buffy and her complex relation to the men that became monsters, can we see that monsters may be more than just a non reflecting shadow. Angel sought to become more, motivated from his exposure to Buffy. Spike at first only sought the limelight that would be a side-effect of killing another slayer. But with technical intervention, Spike has become a vampire attempting to be more than just the monster inside of a man. The mythology of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has constantly evolved just as human society has. The simplicity of the first season left in the dust while we find that all of humanity is capable of becoming the monsters (or worse) then the ones Buffy dusts all of the time. What does the slayer come from. If she is a balancing agent then why only make one of her. If she is here to destroy evil then they should have made more slayers, way more. But I think Buffys influence will come in the end, more from her capacity to love than her talent for death. It isn't Buffy's talent for fighting that has gotten the attention from at least two vampires (Angel, Spike) is has been the love that she seems to bring out of the monster. The love that Buffy has in her soul is the power that saved the world this season. What will she bring back from death? Is love the ingredient that the WC doesn't want Buffy to find? "Slayers change, the Council remains the same"...interesting words from the Council. They have remained trapped in the battle, Buffy may find that she has the solution that wins the war.
[> [> Re: Evolution of the Slayer and Vampire -- Voxpopuli, 20:11:45 08/31/01 Fri

What really bugs me is that so far, a slayer has something to do with vampires, and I do side with the mythology that claims that demons are the ancient ones. pretty Lovecraft for sure, but it would definitely make sense in Buffyverse. The reason for this "There can be only one" could be both symbolic, but also that it is only one spirit that came out of this promethean tale, and the Council is supposed to harness this power. So the first slayer, the first vessel to this power would be somewhat like a vampire, who is also a vessel, more human than other demons, as she is more "demonic" than other humans. Knowledge is the coin here, for love, if not under will, is uncontrolled power, and can lead to the destruction of the Vessel. But the cool thing for the ones controlling the Vessel is... if it breaks, the power itself will find another vessel, that they will equally control. Love can be a way to Will, but if it does not reach it, it is perfectly a tool for self destruction. The more Buffy gets to understand her power, the power that so far has all the hints of being of demonic origin, and harness this power for her own purposes, under her own code of ethics, also dictated by her ability to love, the more powerful she will become. The attraction of some vampires to slayers is more than the attraction that the moth feel for the light, it seems to be a sort of communion, between creatures who are both predators and preys, prisoners of their own role in the university, unable to develop a full individual identity. The Council takes advantage of this for power, and it has worked so far. Buffy is breaking the circle, as much as Spike is breaking. I do not consider that Angel broke it, because he was cursed, he is aware of his humanity, Spike is discovering his humanity, the chip did not force him to it, if much, just gave him the time for this, so he is a "demon" who is making his own decisions based on a love that so far has proved more "true" than any human, or even Angel was capable of giving, specially because in his point of view, it is hopeless. So in my opinion the dynamics between slayers and vampires do include the Watchers and a manipulation of knowledge as power.
[> [> [> Some quotes on the The great old ones....... -- Rufus, 21:34:09 08/31/01 Fri

I found this in The Monster Book by Golden, Bissette, and Sniegoski.

When creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon made an interesting choice. Most of the monsters on the series are demons of on sort or another, but despite the proliferation fo and emphasis on Christian demons in Western pop culture (or perhaps because of it), the demons on Buffy have very few ties to that belief system.

This leaves more room for ME to develop stories that cross both Christian and non-Christian themes. There are many references to Asian demons, specially on Angel where the Mythology is doing the most evolving.

In essence, the demons on Buffy are a variety of ancient, prehuman races who originally lived on earth. This approach is unusual, but not without precedent. Perhaps the best known and most influential precursor was the works of horror grandmaster H.P.Lovecraft. Lovecraft invented a new definition for demons or, as he called them, the Elder Gods (aka the Great Old Ones, a term Whedon has used on Buffy, via the Master's dialogue).

Buffy, may be a vampire slayer but she was created to fight demons of all kinds. This does offer the opportunity to look at evil in all forms, not restricting oneself to just vampires. Vampires are the latecomers in the demon family, hybrid castoffs despised by other demons in a new twist on racism.

Like Lovecraft, Joss Whedon has put his own twist on demon lore, crafting a brand-new mythology for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

"Demons, in their pure state, roamed the earth in evil fashion," Whedon explains. "When mammals, humans, and whatnot started to evolve, the demons got pushed out. Some of them fled. Some of them stayed but evolved into a more human form. Those are all lesser demons." So where did the demons flee to? "We don't think of it as hell, exactly," he elaborates. "It's a demon dimension, and we talk of more than one. The place Buffy went to (in the third season opener, "Anne")was a demon dimension that (certain characters) referred to as hell because that was their belief system. Lily thought she was in hell because that was where she thought she deserved to go. The demon Ken was just playing off that. It wasn't a Christian hell, per se. It was just a really, shitty place."

This is what I like the best about BVS, you don't have to restrict yourself to one system of belief. Many can get something out of this show because it's far from being centered on one faith. The influence of Lovercraft is evident in the fact that the show is clear that we were what pushed out the original tenants of earth. The earth didn't start out as utopia, but as an evil place where good had to evolve into being. Evil was the norm not good. The vampire was created to cause chaos. Man evolved putting order into the chaos that the old ones preferred, vampires became their parting gift to man. With thousands of demon dimensions trying to push into this reality one has to wonder how or if a permanent barrier can be created to prevent the old ones return? If so are the Watchers aware of this possability and have suppressed that information to justify continuing the battle as long as possible?
1st Anniversary Character Posting Party Update -- rowan, 07:58:28 08/31/01 Fri


09/06/01 Oz - Sssaaammm 09/06/01 Kate - Masquerade 09/06/01 Gunn - KoopaFanatic

09/13/01 Darla - Slayrunt 09/13/01 Lindsay - Liquidram

09/20/01 The Host - verdantheart 09/20/01 The Master- Kerri

09/27/01 Joyce - Shawn 09/27/01 The Mayor- d'Herblay

10/04/01 Doyle - Liquidram 10/04/01 Jonathan - Malandanza

Still Not Spoken For:

Villains (The Annointed One, Adam, etc.) Minor or recurring characters (Jonathan, Amy, etc.)


1. One thread per character please, so that we can keep our great thoughts in one place and reduce board traffic.

2. Originators of a character thread are selected based on who volunteers first by e-mail or post to rowan at (with all attempts to resolve conflicts peaceably).

3. A thread can address any aspect of the character that you find informative, illustrative, illuminating, invigorating, and/or irritating. Analysis based on sound research into eps and shooting scripts preferred.

4. One character thread will be posted per week, to stretch the chewy philosophical goodness as far as possible. rowan will publish a schedule periodically so we all know what's going on.

5. The naming convention for posts is: Character Name: 1st Anniversary Character Posting Party.

6. Masq will archive all postings for posterity.
Classic Movie of the Week - August 31st 2001 - 'Guilty Pleasures/Buried Treasures' Pt. V -- OnM, 21:17:58 08/31/01 Fri


"One of the most boring experiences on Earth is a trash movie without the courage of its lack of convictions. If it only wants to be cynical, it becomes lifeless in every moment - a bad dream on the screen. One of the pleasures of the movies, however, is to find a movie that chooses a disreputable genre and then tries with all its might to transcend the genre, to go over the top into some kind of artistic vision, however weird."

............... Roger Ebert


"The movies are so rarely great art, that if we can't appreciate great trash, there is little reason for us to go."

............... Pauline Kael


Everyone who cares about the movies has their own personal vision about what makes a great movie, which is of course why you can have the common situation occur where two people go to see a movie together, and come away from the experience with the one person hating it and the other person thinking it was a great work of art.

Some movie reviewers attempt to play it safe (or try to) by adopting a kind of 'Consumer Reports' approach to the films under consideration. They pretty much collect a bunch of votes from a bunch of viewers, and if most of said viewers reported a generally positive reaction, then the movie must be 'good'. This seems on the surface to be a pretty reasonable supposition, but to quote the great writer and satirist George Orwell, 'Sanity is not statistical', and just because a majority of viewers really seem to go for a certain flick, that really doesn't make it a 'classic', it just makes it 'popular'.

Not that popular is 'bad', as some critics seem inclined to espouse, probably more in defense of the appearance of their own ego than for any other reason. Movies are, let's face it, entertainment first and art second-- maybe not even second, maybe 'art' appears much lower down on the list of priorities. Yes, it's nice to have it when it occurs, but a lot of folks will plainly tell you if you ask them that they don't go to the movies to think, they go for the 'ride'. Personally, I'm perfectly OK with this, despite what you may think from reading my humble rants from week to week. It isn't really any different from being a Buffyphile, in that we tend to think of the show as layered and complex and endlessly deconstructable, but there are millions of other viewers out there who just tune in each Tuesday night to watch the cute blond chick smack around some bad guys. Que sera, sera, life goes on, bra...

This division between 'movie reviewing' and 'film criticism' gets even stickier when one departs from the movie mainstream and ventures out into the more treacherous waters of genre flicks, such as martial arts films, erotica, documentaries, animation, science fiction and of course SF's evil spawn, horror. This latter category, the one we will be dealing with for this week's 'guilty pleasure', has been with us pretty much since the dawn of cinema, and judging by the number of films released within the genre in any given year, shows no inclination to wane in its appeal. There are many reasons for this, and if I wanted to get into the social and psychological implications of the appeal of the horror film, I'd be here all night, and still wouldn't have provided a final analysis, so, as they say, we 'won't go there'.

In practice, I generally don't, speaking for myself. As I wrote some weeks back when I did my review/recommendation of Sam Raimi's *The Quick and the Dead*, I am not a big fan of Westerns, another eminently popular film subuniverse. The reasons I cited were mostly gathered around the concept that overuse of genre conventions leads to boring, repetitive and thus uninteresting creative work on the part of the filmmakers. This criticism applies, IMO, even more so to the horror category. Whatever the reasons for wanting to see them on a deeper emotional level, on the surface the desire to be (safely) shocked or frightened seems to be hardwired into our brains, to get that adreniline rush or endorphin high churning away, without the nasty byproduct of, well, actually getting dead or maimed. There are, however, only so many ways that fear can be achieved, and over the course of the last 100 years, movie people have pretty much explored them all.

So, on any given genre-movie-going day, given the choice between sex and horror, I ordinarily go for the sex, perverted romantic that I am. Yes, sex on the silver screen has it's own share of cliches and conventions to burden itself with, but it does have an advantage in generally being life-affirming, where as horror generally is death-affirming. True, there is no reason not to 'affirm' death, or at least deal with it, since it garners inevitability for all us mortal folk. Sex, on the other hand, is not inevitable, so I like to give it the benefit of the doubt, but hey, that's just me! But, I digress...

On occasion, as with Westerns, I do happen to stumble onto a creatively realized horror movie that transcends the conventions of the category. This week's CM/GP/BT is one such beast, and so I duly present it for your inspection, with some words of warning that I do want you to seriously regard.

In the quote by Roger Ebert that I started this week's column with, Roger uses the phrase 'to go over the top into some kind of artistic vision, however weird'. This condition of 'over-the-topness' is massively evident in Brian Yuzna's 1993 re-animation, *Return of the Living Dead 3*, and by way of expiation for those who will take my advice and rent this flick and be, well, *horrified*, be forewarned that if you think David Cronenberg's remake of *The Fly* was insufficiently viscerally disgusting, then this film is for *you*.

Ah, *The Fly*. Remember that one? Either the original, or the clever Cronenberg remake with Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum? Both of these films were superior moments in the annals of horror cinema, along with making more than few theater patrons lose their lunch. Superior, because as with BtVS, there is far more going on beneath the surface than first meets the eye, and also as with BtVS, pulling this off successfully within the very limiting confines of the genre conventions gives them beau coup extra points for effort in my book. After all, if you have good enough technicians in the makeup and props and set design departments, it really isn't very hard to make someone queasy or frightened with what's transpiring up on the screen. It's a darn sight more difficult to make the viewer actually *care* about the people in the story, and as the events of *The Fly* or *Return of the Living Dead 3* unfold, we become emotionally involved because we do, even despite the notion that some of the characters may deserve their fate because of the extreme foolishness or willful blindness they exhibit.

One of the main emotional arcs for Cronenberg's *Fly* remake was the difficulty Geena Davis' character had in remaining emotionally bonded to Jeff Goldblum's while he slowly transformed into a more and more horrific and disgusting creature, as the fly DNA accidently bonded to his own by the matter transporter begins to take over his body. While this is a valid topic for philosophical exploration, one could play the devil's advocate and state that Cronenberg picked the traditional, and much easier scenario in making the female character care about her male lover in spite of his increasingly grotesque physical appearance. A good analogy to this is the discussion over whether Joss took the 'easy' path in introducing a female homosexual relationship into his universe, rather than a male one, or even having a 'butch/femme' pairing instead of the two very 'femme' characters he chose. Yes, it's still becomes controversial anyway, but as a practical reality it's a lot easier for J.Q. Ordinary Public to accept Willow/Tara than it might be to have say, Xander/Jonathan instead.

One of the things that immediately attracted me to *Return of the Living Dead 3* was the depth of passion (and not merely physical, but emotional) existent between the two lead characters in the film, Curt Reynolds and Julie Walker, played respectively by Mindy (Melinda) Clarke and J. Trevor Edmond. Julie in particular sets up and then actively breaks down one of the most egregious and annoying long-term horror film conventions, that of the 'bad girl' who gets punished for her wanton sexual agressiveness, or even for merely not being a virgin. I have personally always found this cliche particularly vile and misogynistic, and is one of the first reasons I cite when someone asks why I don't care for many of the last two decade's crop of slasher flicks.

Considering the material they have to deal with, the acting is pretty credible throughout the film, but Clarke and Edmond in particular pull out the stops and behave as if they were working for Scorsese or Coppola instead of some B-Movie leaping unknown, further evidence of passion, in this instance for their craft. Several of the other actors, particularly those who play the military guys and gals, are considerably more cardboardy, but I tend to forgive this weakness since they are really mostly reflectors of light for the central dance floor that Julie and Curt inhabit.

That basic dance is so: Curt's father, one John Reynolds, is a military man working on a secret project to utilize re-animated dead people/zombies as weapons, since they can't be 'killed', at least not short of total annihilation, making them quite formidible to any given enemy force. Curt isn't aware of exactly what his father does while hidden away in his laboratory, but one night he and his girlfriend Julie hatch a plan to sneak into the lab and check things out, mostly as a thrill. Curt pilfers his fathers security card, and they end up witnessing one of the corpses being brought back to life, which both fascinates and repels them. A security guard nearly catches them, though, and they beat a hasty retreat, heading back to Curt's home where they try to put off the repellent nature of what they've just witnessed by making love.

Curt's father returns home, with news that he has just been reassigned to a base in another state because of how the reanimation project so flagrantly failed, although he leaves out the latter, and very bloody part of the reason. Curt is angry at the thought of yet another disruptive transfer, but the clincher is that he would have to leave Julie behind, and that his father doesn't really care about this, since he tends to regard Julie as a 'bad influence' on his son anyway. Curt decides to defy his father's wishes, and refuses to go, which angers his father and impresses Julie as to the degree of his committment to her. They leave the house, hop on Curt's motorcycle and ride off into the night.

From here, the plot rapidly thickens, and I won't go into spoilery details except that the inevitable happens as in any film that invokes the use of the 'living dead', but the twists and turns are surprising. The ultimate resolution *does* have the courage of its convictions, and while it surely isn't a happy ending, it is a good, and honorable ending.

I want to mention just one more time, because I am conscious that many people of many different ages read this board, that this film *is not* recommended for persons who have not had previous exposure to modern horror movie violence. My personal feelings are that the MPAA is much too lenient in granting 'R' ratings to many films in this genre that should be 'NC-17''s. *This is one of them*. Even though the subject matter is fantastical in nature, it's still extremely violent and gory, so please use common sense and discretion when choosing whether or not to view this film.

On the other side of the coin, the people who are into extreme body piercing will have a field day with this flick.

E. Pluribus Cinema, Unum,



Technical blood 'n' guts:

*Return of the Living Dead 3* is available on DVD, so if you like your re-animational carnage to be displayed in its full high-resolution capacity, seek out the DVD. The review copy was on (gasp!) a Beta videocassette that was dubbed off Cinemax via cable, so I can't comment on any special features the DVD may or may not have. The film was released in 1993, and running time is 1 hour and 37 minutes. Sound is probably standard Dolby Surround. The screenplay was by John Penney.

Cast overview:

Kent McCord .... Col. John Reynolds James T. Callahan .... Colonel Peck Sarah Douglas .... Lt. Col. Sinclair Mindy Clarke .... Julie Walker J. Trevor Edmond .... Curt Reynolds Basil Wallace .... Riverman Abigail Lenz .... Mindy Jill Andre .... Chief Scientist Michael Decker .... Science Technician Billy Kane .... Sentry Mike Moroff .... Santos Fabio Urena .... Mogo Pía Reyes .... Alicia Sal Lopez .... Felipe Dana Lee .... Store Owner Michael Deak .... Cop #1 Joseph Sikora .... Squad Leader David Wells .... Laboratory Technician Clarence Epperson .... Cadaver Anthony Hickox .... Dr. Hickox Brian Peck .... Ballistic Technician


Summer's almost gone (~sigh~).

Today may not be the official, astronomically related end of the season, but once Labor Day comes and goes, that pretty much writes 'all she wrote' to all things summerish as far as the way most people feel.

I certainly enjoyed doing the 'Guilty Pleasures/Buried Treasures' trip for the last five weeks, and it was gratifying to see all your responses, especially considering it's vacation time for lots of ya'all. Next week I shall return to the previously active 'normal summer' mode whereby I pretty much pick any-damn-thing that I like (ohhh, *feel* the *POWER*!!) and in so doing, keep those warm and wanton cinematic fuzzies alive for just a few more weeks as autumn slips up upon us.

For it is now just 1.25 moons and counting down to the return of the new season of BtVS and A:tS, at which time your humble movie man will need to return to the task of finding flicks that relate to the themes and motivations and philosophies represented by fresh and sparkly new eps. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it, and mind and keyboard willing, I'll keep pluggin' away. Hard to believe that three entire months are gone already, but since this isn't the world without months, I can only presume that if it happens, it must be possible! (<--- Note: Representative of the Philosophy of Obviousness. ;)

So did you go buy *Chocolat* yet? Hah, thought so...



Question of the Week:

(Well, sort of a question, more like a situation, perhaps. You decide, hey, no obligation!)

If you go out to movies a lot, you may very likely often go with friends, and over time, said friends may inevitably end up trying to coerce you into seeing something that you aren't really very interested in, or have avoided because of negative critical reviews. Keeping this in mind, describe your favorite instance of going to see a movie, with low advance expectations, and being surprised to find that you not only really liked it, but it was so much better than you expected that you felt the obligation to go around and tell everybody about it. (Whether they paid any attention to you or not is a whole 'nuther matter, and you can go into that or not as you wish! Extra points if the friends who dragged you out to see it all hated it and you loved it.)

Post 'em if you got 'em, and see you next week!

[> Of course I'm buying Chocolat.... -- Liquidram, 22:41:08 08/31/01 Fri

I would have to say that the film I wanted to see least and loved the most was Starship Troopers. I loved the Heinlein book and was very disappointed with the cheesy trailers.

Was I stunned when I actually went to the film and saw the level of effects and the humor. The film was fairly consistent with the book too.

Now, we rate all movie gore by the Starship Trooper Factor.
[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 31st 2001 - 'Guilty Pleasures/Buried Treasures' Pt. V -- Wisewoman, 22:43:19 08/31/01 Fri

Funny about your question--this *kinda* happened to me tonight. Significant Other convinced me to watch "Nurse Betty" on Movie Central. I was not at all interested to begin with and had to be coaxed, but I ended up loving it, and he was really wishy-washy about it.


Initially I was horrified by the violence near the beginning but given that it had to be real enough to induce Betty's traumatic dissociative state, I could forgive it. Mostly I found it very funny, and strangely moving when you least expected it.

I thought Morgan Freeman was absolutely wonderful in what was, for him, a very off-beat role.
[> [> Nurse Betty - spoilers -- Javoher, 07:59:05 09/01/01 Sat

I agree. "Nurse Betty" went into the mania of a fairly simple woman and presented it in a sympathetic light. It even presented the mob characters in a sympathetic light. (Morgan Freeman did his usual smashingly terrific job.) I don't recall any true antagonist, just protagonists and supporting characters who all intertwine and act realistically.
[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 31st 2001 - 'Guilty Pleasures/Buried Treasures' Pt. V -- gds, 14:51:40 09/01/01 Sat

I had low expectations of Swamp Thing, but went to see Adrienne Barbeau - and loved the film. I was later astonished to hear Siskel and Ebert giving "it 2 thumbs up" despite the fact that Ebert went to see it to find a "dog of the week".

OT on thumbs up/down. I read long ago that we use this exactly opposite of the true Roman custom. Thumbs up pointed the sword at the emperor's (or whoever was in charge) breast to indicate to kill the vanquished, while thumbs down pointed to the ground to have the sword go to the ground.
[> [> Psycho Beach Party - slight spoiler -- Brian, 04:50:37 09/02/01 Sun

Finally found a copy of this video at Blockbuster. I rented it thinking that it would be complete trash, and was pleasantly surprised. Funny and silly. The parts were better than the whole, and the surfer music was terrific. The video comes with the trailer and a music video of the main song. Lots of fun. Did the movie make sense? No. Was there an actress who kept reminding me of Joyce gone wrong? You bet!
[> [> Thumbs Up/Down -- OnM, 06:16:05 09/02/01 Sun

Yeah, I've heard this too, and then also heard that this idea was a revisionist idea and that the original was actually true, just like we've always thought. So, I end up taking the 'whatever' attitude as to the historical facts of the matter.

Regardless, in the modern era we pretty much accept 'thumbs up' as an indicator of a positive event, and 'thumbs down' as a negative indicator, which makes perfect sense since that is how we think as a collective culture. This actually might make an interesting subject for someone to write about-- how did we come up with these conventions, and how did they evolve over time?

Consider, for 'Positive' we have yes, plus, right, clockwise, forward, up, above, light, white, new, fast, rich, powerful, good, blessed, thumbs up, affirmative, fresh, coherent, sane, etc. etc.

For 'Negative' we have no, minus, left, counter- (or anti-) clockwise, backward or reverse, down, dark, black, old, slow, poor, weak, bad (or evil), cursed, thumbs down, negatory, spoiled, incoherent, insane (or crazy), etc. etc.

OK, philosophers, start a new thread and have at it! (or not).

[> [> [> Re: Thumbs Up/Down -- gds, 11:16:06 09/02/01 Sun

There is of course no question about how we currently use it in the U.S., but the HISTORICAL "sword to the breast" made so much sense I have accepted it ever since I read it. Out of curiosity I did a Google search and checked several sites. Most sites agreed that "thumbs up = death", a few the opposite, and one said most fights were to the death with little chance of reprieve. It is interesting to note that many of those who say "thumbs up = death" do not refer to a "thumbs down = life" but rather a "closed fist".

1. The medallion shows two warriors who've quit fighting. A referee stands nearby pressing a thumb against his closed fist. An inscription above the scene reads, "Those standing should be released." Where did the positive message of the thumbs-up sign come from? Anthropologist Desmond Morris discovered that it arrived in Europe during World War II, along with American G.I.s, Corbeill said. Corbeill's work demonstrates that the thumbs-up sign had a hostile meaning in the first century A.D.; in the time of the medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri, who wrote "The Inferno"; in 18th-century Naples, Italy; and in 20th-century Italy. "We confuse the American thumbs-up gesture with the Italian one and mistake the meaning of the audience at gladiatorial contests," Corbeill said. 2. The popular belief ... is that "thumbs down" meant kill and "thumbs up" meant spare, but we have no visual evidence for this, and the written evidence states that pollicem vertere ("to turn the thumb") meant kill and pollicem premere ("to press the thumb") meant spare. This may, in fact, indicate that those who wanted the gladiator killed waved their thumbs in any direction, and those who wanted him spared held up closed fists
[> Re: Classic Movie of the Week - August 31st 2001 - 'Guilty Pleasures/Buried Treasures' Pt. V -- Isabel, 14:04:09 09/02/01 Sun

One of my friends did that to me twice. She dragged me to a Carol Burnett movie, and I went to drool at Christopher Reeve, and "Noises Off" blew me out of my seat. The second was some Australian movie about dancing called "Strictly Ballroom" that I'd heard nothing about. And it was playing at the art theatre in town, gack. Yes, I did drag people to see them, too.

OnM, a little off topic, if I remember right, didn't you recommend "The Others" a few weeks back? I saw it yesterday and it scared the bejeezus out of me. You know it's a good scary movie when the entire audience screams. :)
[> [> *Strictly Ballroom* was directed by Baz Luhrmann... -- OnM, 15:13:35 09/02/01 Sun

...who also directed *William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet* and *Moulin Rouge*, both of which I've given 'classic' status to this year in past columns or miscellanea sections.

Haven't seen *The Other* yet, plan to this week or next, but as usual other obligations may get in the way. I'll let you know after I see it, reviews have been kind of dipolar so far. I like Nichole Kidman, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for now.
"Buffy and the Beast" --Dedalus does it again! -- Liquidram, 10:28:57 08/31/01 Fri

An Analysis of Buffy and Spike's Relationship
[> Re: "Buffy and the Beast" --Dedalus does it again! -- Voxpopuli, 11:42:34 08/31/01 Fri

For now there is only one thing I can say:

Retrato em branco e preto - Picture in Black and white

Tom Jobim - Chico Buarque 1968

Já conheço os passos dessa estrada - I already know the steps of this road. Sei que não vai dar em nada - I know it will end up in nothing Seus segredos sei de cor - I know your secrets by heart Já conheço as pedras do caminho - I already know the stones on the road E sei também que ali sozinho - And I know that over there alone Eu vou ficar, tanto pior - I'll be, so much worse. O que é que eu posso contra o encanto - What can I do against the charms Desse amor que eu nego tanto - Of this love that I deny so much Evito tanto - I avoid so much E que no entanto - and which however Volta sempre a enfeitiçar - always returns to put a spell on me Com seus mesmos tristes velhos fatos - With its self same old facts Que num álbum de retrato - that in a picture album Eu teimo em colecionar - I insist in collecting

Lá vou eu de novo como um tolo - There I go like some fool Procurar o desconsolo - seeking sorrows Que cansei de conhecer - that I should be tired of knowing Novos dias tristes, noites claras - New sad days, bright nights Versos, cartas, minha cara - Rhymes, letters, my dear, Ainda volto a lhe escrever - I write to you again Pra dizer que isso é pecado - To tell you it is a sin Eu trago o peito tão marcado - My heart is so scarred De lembranças do passado - with memories from the past E você sabe a razão - And you know the reasons Vou colecionar mais um soneto - I'll collect one more sonet Outro retrato em branco e preto - Another picture in black and white A maltratar meu coração - torturing my heart.
[> [> Voxpopuli - very nice! -- Cactus Watcher, 12:20:50 08/31/01 Fri

[> "Buffy and the Beast" --Dedalus does it again! -- Fred, the obvious pseudonym, 12:34:04 08/31/01 Fri

Very interesting points, Liquidram. I would suggest (with extreme deference) another very basic duality . . .

The vampire, although dead, can "live" in his state of existence for decades, centuries, perhaps millennia;

the "slayer," although the gladiator of life, will not live very long.

[> Re: OOPS! I DID DO IT AGAIN! -- Dedalus, 13:34:58 08/31/01 Fri

[> Excellent essay! -- Dichotomy, 13:35:32 08/31/01 Fri

You really captured the essence of what makes Buffy and Spike's relationship so intriguing to so many on this board (in addition to cheekbones). Will either of them truly embrace his or her shadow self? Will Buffy see that it's possible for Spike redeem himself and actively help him down that path, even allowing herself to love him. Will he let her help him become as "good" as he can be? Hmmmm.
[> [> Re: Excellent essay! -- Dedalus, 20:10:04 08/31/01 Fri

That's right. "In addition to cheekbones." No one can ever really beat the cheekbone saga.
[> Damn you, Dedalus! -- mundusmundi, 15:01:53 08/31/01 Fri

Just kidding. Looks good. I'm printing out now.
[> [> Re: Damn you, too! Damn you to hell while I'm at it! -- Dedalus, 20:42:36 08/31/01 Fri

[> [> [> Uhh, which hell? The one without shrimp, or the one with nothing but shrimp? -- OnM, 21:29:54 08/31/01 Fri

[> [> [> Re: hee, hee -- mundusmundi, 06:49:01 09/01/01 Sat

Good stuff, Dedalus. I like the whole duality idea. For me, it can be symbolized in two of the season's most indelible images: 1) Spike strutting through Peking, drunk with power; and 2) His gallant rush up the tower to save Dawn, seemingly propelled by something beyond himself that he can't explain.
[> Good Job........ -- Rufus, 16:25:20 08/31/01 Fri

I enjoyed the latest essay very much. I have one question, is Spike, originally in search of acclaim by killing humans, the vampire who has found that love has sparked a search for his soul?
[> [> Re: Good Job........ -- Dedalus, 20:06:39 08/31/01 Fri

A search for his soul ... hmm. Well, seeing as how a soul is by Jossian definition your life's star, the inclination to do right, and all that ... I don't know. Maybe he's found it, or at least some of it, manifest in Buffy.

Glad ya liked it.
[> Really superb -- Lurker Becoming Restless, 16:53:20 08/31/01 Fri

Fascinating insights, Dedalus. You manage to get to the heart of the Buffy / Spike relationship without staking it.

(It makes sense if you're me. And it's a compliment.)
[> [> Re: Thanks all :-) -- Dedalus, 20:08:17 08/31/01 Fri

[> Another really awesome essay!!! Nice job Dedalus! -- Kerri, 11:03:54 09/01/01 Sat

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