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OT: On the use of multiple posting names -- Sheri, 16:52:46 02/05/04 Thu

I'm not going to name anybody in this post. My objective is to inform, not to humiliate.

I, and others, have noticed that someone has taken to posting under multiple names. Using multiple posting names is hardly new--just look under the FAQ for the alternative name list--but what's different in this case is that the poster is trying to hide the fact that he or she is using more than one name. I consider such behavior to be rather rude.

Now then, I, and others, have tried to gently let the poster know that we are aware of what he or she is doing, but our attempts do not appear to have much effect.

So I thought I'd try a different method and just out right say: We know. Feel free to change your name all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that you have a distinctive posting style. If you want to continue to use multiple posting names, I for one, will not try to stop you. But I can tell you right now that I will not be able to take anything you say seriously. You can do that. OR, you can try to stick with just ONE name and see how much your relationships with members of the board will improve as a result. It's your decision.


[> Re: OT: On the use of multiple posting names -- sdev, 22:43:25 02/05/04 Thu

I consider such behavior to be rather rude

Versus the kindnesses this person has received which are the verbal equivalent of a gang bang.

I will not be able to take anything you say seriously.

Versus the seriousness with which she has been treated heretofore.

Come on. There is a clear reason for her defensive measures. She was driven to it by behavior that rivalled The Pack. Not by all of course, but by many and often for no reason. I was much more offended by the response than what provoked them.

I saw Lunasea treated to the same even when she did nothing wrong at the last but was provoked into similar ill-advised outburst.

I have one final comment on female empowerment. It is easy to give lip service to how wonderful is the empowerment of fictional female slayers as a result of newly bestowed physical strength. Empowerment in real life is harder to come by and requires courage not bestowed by spells and superhuman strength. This strength requires a different kind of courage to use it -- strength exercised at the risk of mere disapprobation not risk of bodily harm.

To be plain-- stop beating up the underdog.

[> [> Re: OT: On the use of multiple posting names -- LittleBit, 02:46:33 02/06/04 Fri

This particular topic has been raised before and resulted in an addition to the Board Netiquette regarding multiple posting names.

"Posting names: Posting names are the names we use to identify ourselves to others on the board. You are permitted to change your name from time to time if you don't like the one you've been using; should you do this, you are encouraged to let others know what your old name was for a brief period before making the change permanent. You can also post under a well-known alternative name or pseudonym (like the "evil alter-egos"). However, posting under one or more pseudonyms in an attempt to hide your identity from other posters is discouraged and considered bad manners on this forum. The moderators of this forum, as part of their normal duties, see the IP addresses identifying the computer from which each post originates, and will likely know who originated this "anonymous" post. You post will not be deleted, nor will you be banned if you do this, but it is considered common courtesy to refrain from doing it."

This is not a case of "beating up the underdog, but a case of recognizing that someone is posting under multiple names and doing so even within the same thread. This gives the appearance that the poster is using the multiple names to show support for that person's point of view. The moderators do know the IP addresses for the posters. For what it is worth, this poster has made one name change before, and because it was a change in name, nothing was said about it. Do you understand the difference?

I had already suspected the multiple names and had emailed the moderators of the Board to confirm or refute my suspicion. As it happened, my suspicions were accurate. And as one of the persons responsible for maintaining the Meet the Posters section of the ES site, I was asked if I would please remind people that there are Board rules regarding this action, and that it is highly discouraged. But before I was able to do so, Sheri posted about it.

From a personal point of view, I have no issue at all with someone changing their posting name, announced or not. I do have an issue with someone using more than one name in what seems to be, in my opinion, an effort to give support to that person's position on various issues.

Now that said...

"Versus the kindnesses this person has received which are the verbal equivalent of a gang bang."

If you are trying to start a flame war, you've certainly picked a nice inflammatory phrase with which to do so. I, for one, choose not to oblige you, but I will point out that it's entirely possible that this phrasing will discourage anyone from replying at all to this poster. "Kindnesses" or no. As I am one who has regularly responded, I can only assume that I'm included in this grouping, I can only say that I, personally, am highly offended by the characterization implied. As a female, I think your analogy is far beyond any fair description of the behavior of any of the posters on this board. But since I know that you, as a sensitive poster who only looks out for the well-being of everyone else on the board, would never dream of labeling the posters who have responded to those posts in such a manner unless you truly believed that we are not only capable of this behavior but have indeed performed it (and while I appreciate that you were kind enough not to indict everyone who has ever responded to this person, you also indicate that the majority are guilty) I, in good conscience, have but one choice in the matter...

To the poster who is the topic of this reply, I apologize sincerely for my part in the verbal rape you have experienced here on the Board and hereby promise never to reply again in order to assure that I will not offend in this manner in the future.

[> [> [> Re: OT: On the use of multiple posting names -- sdev, 05:07:29 02/06/04 Fri

Since I didn't name names I don't need to say this, but I will. Your posts have been an exception. I have noted you treat the poster in question with civility.

As to your threats of no longer responding that is your choice. I'm not sure why you are responding to me with threats unless you think I am the poster with the multiple names, and I know you do not. I refuse to take responsibility for your choices here. You seem to be stuck in rigid binary thinking. I don't see ignoring or humiliating as the only two options. Further your behavior belies that proposal. You have found a third way. But since you posed it I will respond. Ignoring is the kinder more appropriate response of the two. As to my choice of words, consider me metaphorically challenged.

As to the rules and multiple poster names, I have seen numerous violations of that rule (admittedly speculative on my part since I am not privy to ISP info).

Your facetious apology at the end of your post is equally inappropriate as I, not the alleged multiple named poster, should be the recipient of your anger. She said nothing and has endured in silence.

[> [> [> [> Re: OT: On the use of multiple posting names -- LittleBit, 11:02:16 02/06/04 Fri

Okay. First, I know I shouldn't have replied when I was tired and angry, but in all honesty the "gang bang" comment was truly offensive. And all the more unexpected coming from you given your objections in the past to the use of terminology that you find offensive. I just didn't expect to see you labeling the people on this Board as "gang bang"ers and, since I could not tell from the original post that I was being excluded from the label, I took offense at it personally. And responded to the feeling. You're quite right, the 'apology' I offered was inappropriate, as was the "threat" not to reply and I'm sorry for that because as you said, you, not the poster in question, were the source and target of my anger. But I do want to say that the 'threat' was in response to the intimation that the replies cruel and un-called-for, and in the absence of knowing what category I fell into, I didn't really see a third option...I had believed my replies to be polite and to have them characterized as verbal rape by default was, shall we say, unnerving. I'm glad to see that the default doesn't apply to me.

To be honest, I still find myself offended by the characterization of any one on the Board as ones who would participate in a "verbal gang bang" and find it inadequate that the 'apology' (if it was intended to be one) consists of "As to my choice of words, consider me metaphorically challenged." Given that logic, I (and you) should simply consider anyone using the "feminazi" term to be equally metaphorically challenged. I see little difference between being labeled as a verbal gang banger or compared to a nazi. Perhaps in the future it would be better to let people know you think there's an unfair practice being leveled at one person, without using the offensive labels. As it was, the label nearly drowned out your message.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: OT: On the use of multiple posting names -- sdev, 09:54:38 02/07/04 Sat

A couple of final words on my part.

This gives the appearance that the poster is using the multiple names to show support for that person's point of view.

The multiple names as far as I could see were not used in one thread to give the appearance of bolstering. The multiples were used in different threads. Please go back and check. I did.

The question to me is the why. At the risk of sounding self-righteous, still preferable to bad behavior, I offer the following, hopefully acceptable, analogy. If a child repeatedly lies to parents one is of course angry and looks to discipline. But the larger question remains, why? It behooves the parent seeking to resolve the problem to examine their own behavior in the causation. This behavior did not occur in a vacuum.

As to my use of the expression "the verbal equivalent of a gang bang." I have several things to say. First you, not I, used the word "rape." Also I believe I softened my statement by saying "verbal equivalent." Further I have often heard the expression "mind rape" used on this Board and on Angel itself to describe the wiping out of memories, an act of manipulative violation but not of intended infliction of hurt. Thus since the term "rape" is bandied about loosely I too took the liberty.

Finally you said:

Given that logic, I (and you) should simply consider anyone using the "feminazi" term to be equally metaphorically challenged. I see little difference between being labeled as a verbal gang banger or compared to a nazi.

The difference here is I did not get offended a priori. I stated my objection and hoped that people would then be respectful. I am certainly willing to not use that term again if others find it offensive. As to your substantive point, not to beat a dead horse, but I do see quite a difference between being called a "verbal gang banger" and a Nazi, if for no other reason (and there are others) than the qualifier "verbal."

I deliberately did not name names or cite examples here, though I could, as I had no intention of humiliating anyone. My assumption is that people here are smart and principled enough to examine their own actions. I simply tried to draw attention to the opposite perspective from that of the original post. I also am wondering about the several allusions to non-public discussions going on elsewhere (where and what?)and wondering what contribution that is making to problems rather than solutions. The existence of such a "group" suggests the validity of my statements made below, different tiers of posters.

Thank you for taking my comments seriously.

[> [> [> [> [> [> maybe i'm missing something here -- anom, 21:49:52 02/08/04 Sun

That might be because I'm already not reading the poster in question or, usually, the sub/threads her posts engender, so I didn't see what you were talking about in your 1st post in this thread. See, that's my solution when I find a poster's messages consistently offensive, irritating, or just not interesting: I quit reading their posts. I just don't want to spend my time on them. However, once or twice this has meant I was left clueless about why there's been some blowout on the board. Like you, I'm not into the livejournal scene (well, I'm trying to keep from getting pulled in!), but from what I've heard in chat, some of the "non-public discussions going on elsewhere" have taken place in lj's. But since I wasn't reading the other threads in question, I didn't see the allusions, so maybe they alluded to something else.

That said, I'm surprised by your reactions in this thread. "As to my use of the expression 'the verbal equivalent of a gang bang.' I have several things to say. First you, not I, used the word 'rape.'" My understanding of the term "gang bang," & I think that of most people I know, is that it means gang rape. So I'm pretty sure that's what LittleBit was referring to when she used the word "rape" in response to your 1st post in this thread. Does "gang bang" mean something else to you? And how much does "verbal" soften it when it's the only way such a thing can happen on an Internet board?

Then you characterize 'Bit's saying she'll stop reading the person's posts as "threats." How is it "threatening" to not read her posts? That's the same thing I do, only I didn't mention it when I decided to stop reading them. It mystifies me why you would consider such a statement a threat.

Not reading these posts, I don't know for sure if the poster feels the same way about it that you express. Certainly she hasn't been intimidated from continuing to post. Maybe that's why she's changed her posting names, but since I haven't seen her respond to questions about that, I don't know, as I don't know whether she considers herself an underdog, as you called her.

I don't see how your parent/child analogy applies. Veteran posters aren't in loco parentis w/regard to newer posters (although the "loco" part may well apply to some of us!). Certainly, I wouldn't say the long-term posters' behavior came 1st--they're reacting to the behavior of the new poster. In fact, I seem to recall people trying to be helpful when she 1st showed up, explaining things about the shows & how the board operates, & it just didn't seem to get through to her.

Then there's the whole "feminazi" thing. I wanted to reply to the more recent thread about the term--actually, I'd wanted to react when I 1st saw it in a thread a few days before--but I had a rush job & couldn't take the time (sorry, Pony, I was gonna support you on that!). Most of my posts that week were of the drive-by variety. By the time I had a little time to write something thoughtful about it, the threads were archived. Sometimes that's all it means when 1 poster is challenged on the use of a term & another isn't--people were busy, the thread was archived, someone who might've replied missed the thread entirely. (I don't even remember the thread from August that you quoted using the same term.) A lot of factors go into whether anyone posts or responds, & I don't see a basis for assuming that 1 poster is being favored over another.

I'm having trouble understanding the strength of your reactions; they don't seem to go w/the kind of things I've seen you post before. I'm guessing what's happened w/regard to this other poster pushes some button for you...but I don't know why. Or, of course, I could simply be wrong.

[> [> [> Bit, I'm sorry if I stepped on any of your moderator toes -- Sheri, 09:47:01 02/06/04 Fri

I have a slight lack in patience when it comes to *waiting* to post something. So if you're feeling at all miffed about me saying something before you had a chance to do so officially--I apologize.

*Sitting on my fingers for the rest of the day*

[> [> [> [> Re: Bit, I'm sorry if I stepped on any of your moderator toes -- LittleBit, 11:19:09 02/06/04 Fri

Not stepped on at all. I'd just rather you hadn't drawn the flack. Again.

[> [> [> [> [> hmm -- Sheri, 11:30:50 02/06/04 Fri

I had a feeling that I was going to regret my earlier decision not to post on here anymore. Not because anybody is mean or horrid--cause that would be just a tad wankish--but just cause I can't seem to open my mouth without sticking a foot inside.

I'm lucky that I have others who are more eloquent at restating what I'm trying to get at... but really, a bit unfair for me to put others in that position.

So I'm just going to go back to lurking.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Be brave. Post. For us. -- OnM (momentarily channeling somebody else), 19:17:57 02/06/04 Fri


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> hehe -- Nino, 12:35:25 02/07/04 Sat

[> [> Re: OT: On the use of multiple posting names -- Random, 02:48:24 02/06/04 Fri

No surprise...I'm answering here.

Since you clearly feel some sort of cruel malice at work here, I would ask you to clarify your position. If you must start tossing off metaphors of The Pack, at least take the time to offer some support. Any support you can think of would be nice. You clearly feel the burden of your own righteousness...so my advice is to relieve that overwhelming responsibility of moral superiority a little by indicting people with clear and relevant evidence. Having done so, you can feel a little less burdened because you will have made a clear and compelling case. Perhaps you've seen a case where certain posters have conflicted with others for no better reason than blind cruelty? Perhaps you can find a place the Pack analogy fits well somewhere where a poster or two act simply to harm an innocent, unsuspecting victim. Words have power, as you've said before, and crying "gangbang" and alluding to The Pack are incendiary acts. No doubt, we deserve it...you wouldn't have used those words unless you were absolutely sure of our motives, absolutely certain that you have uncovered monstrous behaviour worthy of those words as they are applied in the real world

But -- and I apologize for this -- a niggling doubt still lingers. What if even your refined sense of right and wrong might have missed other relevant points? I keep thinking of other issues. For instance, for many of us, it is a simple matter of courtesy. Polynimity has many sources. I have an "Alterno-name", easily discoverable on the Existential Scoobies site. Others have changed their name to signal changes in their lives or a dissatisfaction with certain connotations associated with their prior nom de plume. The problems arise when such changes are means of either creating a false dialogue and meaningless affirmations, or to attempt to escape the consequences of their questionable behaviour by trying to deceive other posters. Certainly, many of us find the actual posting style rude and belligerent, another issue that bothers some of us "gang-bangers." If it's an isolated incident, then it can pass. If it is repeated on occasion, it's annoying but not fatal. If it is chronic, then real problems arise. The poster I'm thinking about has been repeatedly made aware of the issues, and has ignored them. I realize that you wouldn't have posted such an indictment above if you saw any actual reason for negative reactions, so I won't burden you with this point any longer.

BTW...please don't blame Sheri, who is one of the most principled and sensitive posters on the Board. She offered up an analysis that has been discussed extensively. Go for someone who actually deserves it. Me, for instance. Or me especially. After all, I have on more than one occasion expressed my dislike of a certain poster's posting style and attitude before (no, not you. I may dislike your attitude, but you do at least express yourself cogently and even eloquently.) I have also expressed a dislike of the same poster's means of interacting. You've already conflicted me more than once, so you shouldn't have any difficulty singling me out. Hell, I'm singling me out.

The Board moderators have expressed their problems with the issue on more than one occasion. Between them, they have run this Board in a fair and intelligent manner for quite a while. In the years that I've been here, I've seen exactly one poster banned outright -- for extreme spamming and trollishness. Other than that, they've managed to avoid this necessity, which is a testament both to their evenhanded fairness and to the excellent posters that have graced the Board over the years. The mods, whom I respect as moderators and actually like personally, have always been reasonable in their requests and straightforward in how they deal with problems. I do not find their requests unreasonable. If you do, I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree.

The result? A posting board that ranks among the best and least troll-infested around, and certainly among the most intelligent. They trust us to behave, and we try to deal with conflicts in the best manner possible. The lunasea incident you refer to? It was handled in a manner that kept it off the Board for the most part. Am I happy with the result? Not particularly, but the factions in the conflict are both amongst my friends, and I seeing as I chose not to intervene as much in this conflict as I have in previous blow-ups that were dealt with as much off-Board as possible, I can't validly complain about the results.

I applaud you championing the underdog. After all, the "underdog" is clearly always in the right. The blame for any tension can always be laid at the feet of those who feel that the so-called "underdog" has created problems.

No, wait. I don't actually believe that. Nevermind. What I do believe is that I'm always willing to let the past drop, and give everyone a second chance following conflicts. If, however, the problems continue, I am more than justified in expressing further unhappiness. Call me silly, but I think that letting it pass without note is pretty much equivalent to complicitity in what I consider a genuine problem.

Oh, and.... Versus the kindnesses this person has received which are the verbal equivalent of a gang bang.

Your usage of a rather unsavory sexual metaphor is discomfiting, but I suppose you feel justified in making such a comparison. I'll grant you the same freedom as I'd hope you grant others in using your own choice of idiom and metaphor without disapprobation. Though, I suspect, others might find it an extraordinarily offensive characterization. I wouldn't suggest you aplogize, of course. Their offense isn't important.

[> [> I ask nothing of anybody that I wouldn't ask for myself. -- Sheri, 09:03:12 02/06/04 Fri

I don't recall saying that anybody should be forced off the board--so comparing this to the treatment of a past poster is really uncalled for. I also don't recall saying that anybody should be "verbally gang banged".

As I said in my original post, I do not wish to cause anybody embarrassment, which is why I haven't addressed the poster directly.

For the record, I have replied to the poster on occassion, and we've had a few small discussions. But unfortunately, I no longer feel comfortable getting into a discussion with him or her. How am I to know that I won't just be met with a wave of "new" names disagreeing with me and agreeing with him or her? Not that it's a big deal, but I'd just rather not bother with it. If he or she wants to continue using different names, that's certainly his or her choice. I'm just saying that I'm not going to be interested in what he or she has to say.

[> Tip of the iceberg -- Cactus Watcher, 07:51:33 02/06/04 Fri

Another poster and I have been involved in projects not related to ATPo in any way. This other poeter kindly allowed me access to another site, which led to the place where this discussion has been going on in force. Long ago we discussed having a place where board matters could be discussed without disturbing the flow of the discussions of the eps. Now that there is one in place I'm not sure it's such a great idea after all. I hope everyone involved will keep posting. But, if things keep brewing the way they are, it's not going to happen.

I don't have any serious problem with the person Sheri is refering to. I frankly didn't notice that multiple names were being used in this case. I think both the person who is doing this and those who are having trouble with it need to address the issue of why it is being done. I have on occaision used a different posting name in an attempt to calm down others involved in really violent discussions on the board, I didn't want to get involved in. This person obviously has other reasons.

People need to keep three things in mind. First, it is very unpleasant to post and seemingly be ignored. Please keep Etrangere in mind. She had much to say but had a hard time saying it. Second, disagreements will happen, but we don't need to provoke fights. This has been happening all too often lately. Third, when things do turn ugly, know when to let the other person have the last word.

[> Coming Clean -- Dlgood, 08:47:02 02/06/04 Fri

I will admit that I have posted using the name "Dlgood", but have also posted with "Dlg".

Because, once or twice, I had forgotten to supply a name, and was too lazy to ad the "-ood" at the end of my posting name. While I suspect I am not the name changer in question, I have done so myself. So I'll be honest about that and apologize if it upset anyone. And try to not be so lame in the future.

[> [> I hope this isn't an issue -- Tchaikovsky, 09:18:42 02/06/04 Fri

I think that fairly obvious contractions shouldn't be considered anything other than de rigeur; for example, shadowkat often posts as s'kat, etrangere habitually post[-ed, where are you?!] as ete, and I always sign my (NT) posts as TCH. It's when there's an obfuscation of name going on with a poster simultaneously using two unlinked screen names that I, for one, start to wonder if someone's manipulating me. This is mostly just residual Boke/aquaman touchiness.

I'd like to make utterly clear, at this juncture, that my personal view is that people who wish to change their name for good, for whatever reason, declared or undeclared, should be supported. It's contemporaneous polynymity [puffs out chest, straightens bow tie, becomes character from The Rescue: Revisited], that I find debilitating.

And, incidentally, I personally think that comparing sarcasm at a poster to a 'gangbang' is, like comparing killing a fly to the Final Solution, a possible parallel, but neither an enlightening one nor one likely to go without causing offence.


[> [> [> Agreed, and to reiterate... -- Rob, 10:10:33 02/06/04 Fri

...the abbreviation of a name is done for convenience's sake, not to obscure the identity of the poster. I might do so myself, were my name not already only three letters!

And, of course, the "official" alterno-names that we are all aware of are not being called into question. They often either (a) sound like the poster's regular name, like an abbreviation does, or (b) the poster's persona. For an example of (a), my "evil" name is RobAndMurder. Things written under that moniker obviously are satirical in nature, as when HonorH posts as Honorificus or d'Herblay posts as d'Horrible, or Masq posts as The First Evil (and come to think of it, Masq is another recognizable abbreviation of "Masquerade"). As an example of (b), my "exaggerated-persona" posting name is The Cheerleadery One, a name that derived from everyone on the board calling me the board cheerleader. When I post under this name, I still often sign "Rob" in the body of the post, but even if I didn't, the majority of posters are well aware of this identity, and if they were not, could check the Meet the Posters section ES to confirm the identity.

Again, though, there is no obscuring of identity in these examples. If someone were to want to change his or her name, and for whatever reason not want to announce the name change, that would also be absolutely fine. But when a single poster is simulatenously using at least two or three names, all of which are not clearly identifiable by name as the work of that poster, this is not only irritating and distracting to those of us who have figured out the poster's identity but is also an insult to our intelligence, and to the intelligence of the board moderators, who know all of our IP addresses.


[> [> [> [> I agree with Rob and a cautionary note on ISPs.... -- Briar Rose (aka BR and Briar)*L, 13:37:53 02/06/04 Fri

There is a huge difference between a contraction or shortening of a name or a name change that is obviously related to a real need (someone else using it or a close one, life events or Pony's dillema) [BTW, Pony, I did take it as an homage to PonyBoy and not anything else until you brought up changing it and why.;)] and someone who is actively using multiple hats as a way to keep discord going, or to advance their own agenda by using the multi-hats to support their own arguements.

While each and EVERY one of us has had bad days, or posted things that might just not sound as polite and civil as we'd have liked, sometimes there has to be a little questioning if someone ALWAYS posts with a curmudgeonly and antagonistic attitude. Especially if there is no attempt by that poster to agree to disagree at any point.

I am not one who believes that anything posted should be taken personally because, hey!, none of us are psychic and have no clue why sometimes another poster will be rude, short or snippish. It happens, we're all human. But there becomes a point where when a poster/posters are obviously spoiling for a fight in every post, then the best way to handle it is simply to put that poster/those posters on your inner "Ignore Button."

I ran a JonBenet Ramsey board for a long time. This was not only common, but the RULE on those kinds of boards: Flame wars and multi-hats just trying to cause board wars. No one wanted to admit it - but the whole problem would die down as soon as the hats in question stopped getting response.

Sometimes, in my darkest days, I suspect that the majority of multi-hat/flamer posters who frequent message boards do so because they are displaced in real life and always having to act polite and civil on a day to day basis causes them to come on the internet where they can bash and attack others with no real fear of retribution. Like the ultimate School Yard Bully, who knows that they will never actually have to answer for their actions. I start to wish that you had to have a license to post, because even the net does call for simple human politeness and respect of others opinions....~s~

But I digress....

And even though I am sure that each of the Moderators already knows this, I just feel that I should add something that I learned from personal experience:

Do not assume that each and every ISP that you are looking at is actually the same person IF they fall within a "range" of IP numbers.

IP numbers (not the same as ISPs, BTW) are assigned to blocks. One of the worst at this is AOL. I had a poster that would come in under 15 different IP numbers, no actual block of numbers was associated with this person. However, ONE of her IPs that I tried to trakc and eventually tried to block was a major hub for ALL AOL users when their T lines would auto-roll do to heavy use.

To make a long story short - the IP I tried to block took out at least 5 other AOL posters ability to post as well! I had to speak with AOL directly and was told that they do not assign a clear IP number to any of their subscribers. Anyone on the East coast could come in under the Ip I was looking at.

Some internet providers don't do that. But it's normally only the smaller carriers (like my neteze account and SBC and ATT Broadband) that will give out a small block of IP numbers per account. I, personally, only have three numbers I can possibly come through to the best of my knowledge. However, earthlink and mindspring are not that selective and work much as AOL does.

What 'm saying is that tracking IP/ISP numbers is not always the best way to figure out the multi-hat problem and definitely is not the way to fix it with banning "by numbers." It can cause more problems than it's worth.

The best way to deal with obviously uncivil, and possibly detrimental, posters is to simply ignore them until, (Like Invisible Girl on BtVS) they fade away.

[> [> Re: Coming Clean -- Jane, 21:53:11 02/06/04 Fri

At the confessional: I admit to capitalizing the "J" in my name. I started posting as jane, but the ghost of my old English teacher kept bugging me that proper names should be capitalized. No deception intended ;).

Very O/T -- MOLOJ Endorses Dean!! -- Rochefort, 21:13:55 02/05/04 Thu

O.k., actually MOLOJ tried to get together and talk about endorsing someone but there was a big fight and a few people were stabbed and the only general motion that seemed to pass was that we needed to renew our efforts at "subversion, idealism, love, truth, and jenny".... at least until CJL writes chapter 13 and we find out what the bejeebies is going on.

But *I* endorse Howard Dean. To me, the grass roots nature of his campaign financing means the potential of a real difference. His stance on Iraq, his decision to repeal all the Bush tax cuts, Vermont's health care system and his plan for a national health care system are all inspiring. Also, I heard him talk today and he was dynamic ... something that Kerry...ur...



[> Here here! Dean for America! -- Nino www.deanforamerica.com, 21:30:00 02/05/04 Thu

[> [> The race is going to be btw Bush and Kerry -- Vash the Stampede, 05:51:12 02/06/04 Fri

[> [> [> Never! Barlett for America in 2004! -- Vickie, 07:59:21 02/06/04 Fri


[> [> [> [> Er, that's BarTlett. Uh, Jed! -- Vickie, 08:18:14 02/06/04 Fri

Sheesh! Where's the caffeine? And how to you make an "embarrassed" emoticon?

[> [> [> [> Can't vote for Jed--he's on "The West Wing." We all watch something else at 9:00 on Wednesdays. -- cjl, 13:25:50 02/06/04 Fri


[> [> [> [> [> That's what tape machines are for -- Vickie, 19:47:43 02/06/04 Fri

yes, plural. I take a class on Wednesdays these days.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Only if your machine has the capability -- Sofdog, 11:16:19 02/07/04 Sat

Mine only tapes what I'm watching. And there's only one person, so there's only one tv.

anyone have any idea...(monstrous spoilage of 5.16 or 17) -- buffyguy, 21:31:58 02/05/04 Thu

i was wondering if anyone has any idea who this mystery person that angel calls for help. They sais he or she is from sunnydale but ill be darned if i can figure out who they need t help fred out. The only one so mystically inclined i can think of is willow but she is in Rio. And the spoiler said from sunnydale so i guess its either giles or andrew becasue they are the only ones that stayed back. and it cant be andrew becasue theyve already used him as a guest. So i guess its giles. wow...this could actually turn out very cool. Giles and wesley together again; annoying to eachother as ever (maybe mostly annoying to giles) lol!!


[> Speculation...continued spoilers for future eps -- Nino, 21:57:39 02/05/04 Thu

I havn't been at any spoiler sites, but have heard rumors of the Fred storyline (accidently on this board..grr) and about the guest, and I was under the impression that it was alyson hannigan....this may or may not be true, but I must say that your Giles and Andrew theory doesn't make sense, because there really is no Sunnydale anymore...so the two of them are in California somewhere...but not chillin in the giant crater.

[> [> Re: Speculation...continued spoilers for future eps -- Mighty Mouse, 09:11:05 02/06/04 Fri

Where was it established that Andrew & Giles were even in California? Everything that has been speculated suggested that Giles, Andrew, 'n whatever other Watchers that survived were most likely in England (as per Andrew's Union Jack on his lunch bag, yadda yadda), sort of acting as a central command post while the others were out finding Slayers, and either sending them to London to be trained, or training them there.

When they mean "from Sunnydale," they're referring to the Scooby Gang (who were from Sunnydale) in general.

[> [> [> Re: Speculation...continued spoilers for future eps -- Nino, 12:10:47 02/06/04 Fri

Andrew said in "Damage" that he and Giles were still in California.

[> [> [> [> Sure about that? -- heywhynot, 12:54:16 02/06/04 Fri

Are you sure about that one? The only time I remember Andrew saying anything about California was in reference to Buffy, saying she wanted to get away from CA and was living in Rome. Just did a quick run through the trancript for the episode and could not find it.

Nothing was given for the location of Giles nor for Andrew's base of operations. The rest of the core Scooby Gang was accounted for. No word about Robin and Faith. Given the Union Jack bag lunch there is some assumption that Giles and Andrew are in England especially since Giles was from there and living there since season 6 of BtVS. His only home in CA was Sunnydale and it is gone.

[> [> [> [> [> Anyone wanna back me up? Giles and Andrew in CA? -- Nino, 00:39:17 02/07/04 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Anyone wanna back me up? Giles and Andrew in CA? -- deacon, 07:07:44 02/07/04 Sat

I got the impression that Andrew and giles were still in california although I can't find any direct evidance to support that. On the WB's websight on the summary of the episode it says that a watcher in training arrives from Sunnydale.

[> [> [> [> [> I'm not sure, but.... (Spoils: You're Welcome) -- Briar Rose, 00:44:04 02/07/04 Sat

I thought that Andrew specifically said that he was in town because he was making his way back from another trip to the Hell Mouth after "The Surprise in Sunnydale" and that he said he was collecting some Slayers "from there..."

Now, I may not have heard him correctly because our neighborhood isn't the quietest. But I remember specifically thinking that I was surprised he'd say that because I assumed there wasn't anything LEFT of Sunnydale.

I'll see if I can find the transcripts you're talking about, because now I'm really curious as well.

[> [> [> [> [> [> RDouble Checked transcripts... (Spoils: You're Welcome) -- Briar, 01:28:07 02/07/04 Sat

Andrew never says where he is based, nor where Giles is. Simply that he speaks to Giles most often and they all make contact often.

I agree that the Union Jack would point to England - but it also could simply mean Anglophile since Andrew is fond of immersing himself in the whole experience of whomever he's emulating at the time.;)

I suppose that it's better for it to be rather vague at this point... if ME wants the WC to be based closer to LA for reasons of guest appearances.

I'd have to say that I technically agree with Nino. Even if they are not actually based in Los Angeles, it would make as much sense to stay in California as to go back to England with no WC building left and so many Slayers in the US anyway. Especially since Andrew was able to call a dozen Slayers together, with a few hours notice at best, in LA.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: RDouble Checked transcripts... (Spoils: You're Welcome) -- Rob, 13:05:29 02/07/04 Sat

Especially since Andrew was able to call a dozen Slayers together, with a few hours notice at best, in LA.

I had figured that they'd travelled from England with Andrew and had only now made themselves known.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Here's a transcript of the episode... -- BrianWilly, 01:30:54 02/07/04 Sat

Thanks to www.buffyworld.com

I did a "Find(On this page)" and couldn't find any text of "California" except when Andrew says that Buffy probably needed a break from it.

[> Re: anyone have any idea...(monstrous spoilage of 5.16 or 17) -- Deacon, 20:44:20 02/06/04 Fri

It would be great to see giles. I would very much like to see more reunions between Sunnydale and L.A. Willow going to L.A. last season was great and made for some very good dialoge with Wesley and Cordilia. And dispite the inconsistency, Angel finding out about spike in chosen was one of my highlights of the season.
After how much wesley changed it would be interesting to see him and giles meet. And there has always been tesion between Giles and Angel ever since he killed giles's girlfriend and tortured him.

Dead or Alive...and skipping town (Spoilers thru 5x12) -- Nino, 22:09:07 02/05/04 Thu

After Cordy's death I noticed something about how Buffyverse characters have bowed out, and compiled 2 not-so-complete lists...

-Jenny Calender
-Maggie Walsh

Left Town:
-Connor (kinda?)

I'm sure this list could be fleshed out....but overall I see a trend...our female leads/recurring characters get killed off...and the fellas skip town. What's up with that? Is it more dramatic to have a woman die than a man? Is this list accurate enough, or did I miss a bunch of people? I couldn't remember what the hell happened to Kate, and I'm getting into season 2 on DVD, so we'll see about her i guess...

ps...the list makes me feel better about Cordy dyin too...i mean, she is in very good company :)


[> Jesse -- Ray, 23:00:09 02/05/04 Thu

Xander's friend in WttH. He was set up to look like a main character.

[> Jonathan -- Ray, 23:01:19 02/05/04 Thu

can't forget him.

[> Status -- DorianQ, 00:09:08 02/06/04 Fri

I think it has less to do with their gender than whether or not they are regulars or not. The only regular characters who exited the show by dying were Doyle on AtS (that didn't seem to be planned) and Anya (with BtVS ending, it didn't make to much difference either way). I suspect that was the reason that Joss didn't ever make Jenny, Joyce, and Tara into regulars because he was already planning to kill them off. I guess the reason he didn't kill off any regulars was to leave the door open for them to return later, as Oz, Riley, Giles, and now Cordy did to either come back or to wrap up their storylines permenently. When he killed people off, it was always to do something for the storyline or for the regular characters.

Jenny was killed to show how evil Angelus is and to give a real example of soemthing that Angel then had to atone for. Joyce died to increase Buffy's disconnect from the world, her love, and her gift. Tara death was a plot device used to create Dark Willow. Lilah died to reveal one of the biggest plot twists ME has ever done. Darla died to find redemption and to bring a new dynamic to Angel, that of father. Maggie and Angleman died because they didn't consider the consequences of creating something more powerful than them that they couldn't control. Jonathan died because he had finally achieved peace with all the injustices that had been done to him over the years and left bitterness behind and to show how easy it is to manipulate Andrew. Jesse died to give a nearly insurmountable obstacle to Xander to ever accept Angel or Spike or Anya to an extent. Flutie died to show the viewers that the show was willing to change things drastically and that no one in the cast was completely safe. I think Synder died just because he was just so annoying.

I don't think I forgot anyone important, but if someone else can think of better reasons, especially for the deaths of the principals or Larry, please say something.

[> [> Dead Larry -- KdS, 04:27:36 02/06/04 Fri

Personally, I think that the situation was that ME didn't want to kill off any regulars, but felt that someone in the school body who the audience knew reasonably well had to die to prove the seriousness of the situation. At that point, the only serious contenders were Jonathan, Harmony and Larry, two of whom did indeed die.

[> [> [> Re: Dead Wes -- Arethusa, 06:22:58 02/06/04 Fri

Wasn't ME going to kill off Wes too, but changed their minds because they wanted to keep the character and actor?

[> [> [> [> That's certainly true for Spike -- CW, 06:36:24 02/06/04 Fri

[> [> Tara was a regular -- Finn Mac Cool, 09:33:07 02/06/04 Fri

. . . for one episode. She was in the Seeing Red opening credits, so I think she counts as a regular in that ep.

[> [> [> Re: Tara was a regular -- Pip, 13:49:11 02/06/04 Fri

I think that may have been for CV purposes. 'Series regular' looks a lot better on an actor's CV than a frequent guest spot. So the 'Seeing Red' credits were probably both to increase the shock of Tara's death, and to give Amber Benson a going-away present that recognised her contribution to the show.

[> [> [> [> Either way... -- Rob, 15:48:46 02/06/04 Fri

I count her as a regular just as I do every character who ever made the opening credits, whether it be for one episode or 55.


[> [> Don't forget Kendra -- kisstara, 14:48:17 02/06/04 Fri

Also Amanda.

[> Moreover -- KdS, 04:30:37 02/06/04 Fri

If you include individualised, faintly-symapthetic human villains like Maggie and Lilah, you should also include Holland, Gavin and Holtz, all of whom died.

Kate, incidentally, survived. I'm among the faction who felt the character hadn't wholly lost her interest, but the actress had a long-term job offer...

[> [> Kate moved to New York, changed her name and went to law school. -- Kizzmet, 06:36:28 02/06/04 Fri

[> [> [> I actually kinda miss Kate *dodges crossbow bolts* -- BrianWilly, 01:18:24 02/07/04 Sat

Lol I'm sure it's just the recent homages to earlier times(Doyle, Cordy, Lindsey...)that's been getting to me, but I actually never minded her that much. She was great foil as the hardened police officer back in the series' detective noir days.

Wouldn't it be fun if she came back as a new Slayer?

I'm kidding.
I think.

[> [> [> [> I didn't even remember who Kate was until you reminded me Brian.*L -- Briar Rose (not seniIe - still miss BtVS), 01:30:59 02/07/04 Sat

[> [> [> [> Re: I actually kinda miss Kate *dodges crossbow bolts* -- phoenix, 04:10:08 02/07/04 Sat

Actually, now you mention it, I would rather like to see that. Just imagine Angel's reaction!

I kinda miss Kate too. I think sometimes absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

[> [> [> [> I loved Kate! -- Masq, 11:12:12 02/08/04 Sun

My Kate essay which shows what a misinterpreted character she was

[> Virginia, Anne, and Justine... -- CW, 05:32:58 02/06/04 Fri

Wesley's old flame, the former vamp-groupie turned teen advocate, and Holtz's nutsy helper are presumablely all still alive and doing their thing.

I think what you are really seeing is that there have been a lot of juicy rolls for women on BtVS and AtS, which I think is a good thing. After all, one big perk of playing Romeo, Hamlet, Julius Ceasar, Brutus and many other shakespearian characters, even Juliet and Ophelia is that they get death scenes.

[> [> Well -- CW, 06:09:40 02/06/04 Fri

Ophelia really just acts crazy on stage, but if you know the play, it's a 'death' scene.

[> Drusilla -- Freki, 10:01:11 02/06/04 Fri

She's still out there somewhere. Quentin Travers could go on the dead list. He wasn't in a lot of episodes, but I think he was an important enough character to include in the count.

[> Mayor Wilkins -- Deacon, 07:58:22 02/07/04 Sat

[> Has anyone mentioned Warren? (NT) -- Fenugreek, 10:11:35 02/07/04 Sat

[> ...or Katrina? -- Fenugreek, 10:20:01 02/07/04 Sat

Alyson interview -- Abby, 01:10:03 02/06/04 Fri


I have a tutorial now so have not yet read; but thought I'd provide it hot off the internet press.


[> Re: Alyson interview -- Kate, 11:07:32 02/06/04 Fri

I love how the writer says that Alyson recently "acquired" AD as her husband. What did she do, pick him out at Bloomies? And if so, are there any more in stock? lol Cute article/interview. Thanks for posting it!!

[> HTML Link.... This is a great interview! -- Briar Rose, 12:31:40 02/06/04 Fri

The Guardian: Hannigan Interview

Hopefully that worked - my HTML is a little rusty.

[> [> it didn't work, but... -- anom, 17:42:20 02/07/04 Sat

...you can get a quick refresher on HTML on Masq's
FAQ page. The part about links (which is where I learned to code them--what an educational site!) is about 5 "PgDn's" from the top (~1/3 of the way down). As for the interview itself, that would be here.

As for the interview, I agree--it's great! But it's strange they don't mention Alyson's costar's Buffy connection (I won't spoil you). And does anyone know what role she played on Roseanne? I watched that show regularly, but I don't remember seeing her on it (then again, I wouldn't have known to look for her back then).

One suggestion for people coding links, whatever your level of experience or rustiness: Check them at the Modify/Approve stage. If you got 'em right, they'll work from there as well as at the Posted stage. That's what I just did, so I'll send this on.

[> [> [> I had to refresh a few times. -- VR, 18:00:22 02/07/04 Sat

She Suffers and We Gain the Benefit: Cordelia Chase as Victim Soul (spoilers to 5:12) -- KdS, 09:58:51 02/06/04 Fri

[I] now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the Church.

Colossians 1:24, Authorised Version

This essay has been developing in my mind for a considerable time, initially stimulated by an article on stigmata in Fortean Times magazine which happened to be published at the same time as my original viewing of Angel Season Two. It skates on some rather dangerous territory, as it is based on apparent similarities between the treatment of Cordelia on Angel and some traditions in Roman Catholic mysticism which may strike secular readers as extremely disturbing. Opinions expressed in this essay are purely my own, and come from a person with relatively little deep background in the Christian tradition. If any Christian readers believe that I have seriously misread or misinterpreted their belief system, I apologise and will submit to correction. This essay is extremely heavily influenced by, and provoked by my discovery of, Paula M Kane's article "'She Offered Herself Up': The Victim Soul and Victim Spirituality in Catholicism", Church History March 2002, 71, pp.80-119. Any unsourced quotations are via Kane. I have also collected a number of contemporary web pages expressing the type of mystical belief I am discussing. Many of these sources are far from the current mainstream of Catholicism and some are actively outside it. These more extreme fringe beliefs should not be considered to be representative of the Catholic Church as a whole, and any strictures I express regarding them should not be taken as an attack on the Church in general.

The treatment of Cordelia Chase over the one hundred episodes of Angel broadcast so far has been, to say the least, extremely controversial. The formerly shallow and venomous High School aristocrat was, over the first two seasons of the show, transformed into a powerfully heroic and self-sacrificing figure, to the point that in the second half of the third season a vocal faction of fandom believed that she had been transformed into an excessively virtuous and perfected paragon. By contrast, the fourth season, which saw her portrayed as at worst a malevolent villain and at best the victimised puppet of something perilously close to a Gnostic demiurge, led to accusations of character assassination. My intention in this essay is to suggest that the development of Cordelia's character parallels very strong Catholic images closely connecting female suffering to mystical empowerment of an ambiguous kind, and that the violent twists and turns in Cordelia's character development may have been the result of conscious or subconscious reaction to those established images.

Throughout history practitioners of many religions have practiced asceticism, or even active self-harm, for many reasons. These include the deliberate production of altered states of consciousness for visionary purposes, a desire to provoke and dramatise rejection of the material world in favour of spiritual advancement, the expiation of sin, and the dramatisation of grief. Christianity, however, has a special relationship with suffering, given the centrality to Christian belief of the suffering and death of an incarnate God as a means to buy the redemption of humanity. Since the first stirrings of the religion that would become Christianity, some Christians have sought to emulate the sufferings of Christ in order to show their devotion to God, reject the sinful drives of fallen humanity, expiate their sins or those of others, and achieve spiritual advancement. The means used have included social isolation, restricted diet, avoidance of worldly pleasure, sexual self-denial, the adoption of uncomfortable clothing and postures, and, more controversially, active self-inflicted physical injury. Since the initial stigmatisation of St Francis of Assisi in 1224, during an intense visionary experience in which he begged to share Christ's burden on the cross, some, mainly Catholic, Christians have literally manifested the physical wounds of Christ as recorded in the Gospels. True believers view this as miraculous, extreme rationalists accuse stigmatics of deliberate self-mutilation, while those in between consider the possibility that powerful mental states may produce physical results. In many cases, stigmata are strongly associated with vivid mystical visions and communications with supernatural beings. An article inBob Rickard and John Michell's Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena reports that of 406 recorded stigmatics since St Francis, 352 were female. Stigmatics are frequently marked by severe physical illness or disability beginning in childhood, extreme convictions of personal sinfulness and unworthiness, the practice of various forms of asceticism, often extreme, and mystical visions. The visionary Francis Klug is quoted as arguing that suffering is actively necessary for visions as "for Messages of such Great Importance, there has to be a ÔVictim Soul' for the presentation to take place, due to the fact that the physical is the channel of communication, and is not used to having such Power that The Divine uses for communication."

Usually, stigmata are seen as simply proof of individual faith and a stimulus to faith in others. However, in his entry on "Mystical Stigmata" in the Catholic Encyclopaedia, now available on the web, Augustin Poulain argued that stigmatics are capable of actually reducing the level of suffering in the world by voluntarily acceptance of suffering on their own part.

The sufferings may be considered the essential part of visible stigmata; the substance of this grace consists of pity for Christ, participation in His sufferings, sorrows, and for the same end--the expiation of the sins unceasingly committed in the world. If the sufferings were absent, the wounds would be but an empty symbol, theatrical representation, conducing to pride. If the stigmata really come from God, it would be unworthy of His wisdom to participate in such futility, and to do so by a miracle. But this trial is far from being the only one which the saints have to endure: "The life of stigmatics," says Dr. Imbert, "is but a long series of sorrows which arise from the Divine malady of the stigmata and end only in death. It seems historically certain that ecstatics alone bear the stigmata; moreover, they have visions which correspond to their role of co-sufferers, beholding from time to time the blood-stained scenes of the Passion.

This interpretation ties in with Kane's description of the late-19th/early-20th century emergence in Catholic thought of the concept of the "victim soul", a person mystically capable of removing suffering from others by the voluntary acceptance of suffering on their own account. The voluntary acceptance of suffering is stressed as the effective aspect, not mere intensity of suffering. Kane interprets the emergence of this belief system as the result of the coalescence of a number of currents, including the influence of a mainly French school of Catholic thought who placed a particularly strong emphasis on sacrifice, as shown for example in the case of St Theresa of Lisieux, reaction to the horrors of the First World War, a wish for suffering to be seen as purposeful rather than as a punishment by God for sin, and as a means to shift the emphasis of Catholicism back from an over-emphasis on social action by reaffirming the effectiveness of inner-directed spiritual practice. One of the major promoters of the "victim soul" concept, Joseph Kreuter, argued that by becoming a victim soul those who were already subject to suffering through poor health or poverty could place their sufferings to good use. "For those persons who already have a cross to carry and who must bring sacrifices which are hard and painful, the victim life is just what they need. Banding together with others of the same noble intent will give them new incentives for suffering and teach them how to make their trials a means of atonement."

A web search on "victim soul" reveals the biographies of a number of living and historical figures for whom the mantle has been claimed, many of whom show most or all of the key markers of femaleness, sickness or handicap, asceticism, and mystical visions. A brief description of some of the most interesting follows, with web links:

Audrey Santo (1984-) (Official site). Heart and lung dysfunction at birth. Suffered severe brain damage after a near-drowning in her family's swimming pool at the age of three, and ever since has been bed-ridden and largely unable to communicate. Her family have reported stigmata and a number of apparently supernatural phenomena, including bleeding hosts, exudations of oil, and miraculous healings of those who have been in Audrey's presence or prayed in her name. The Santo family and their spiritual advisors believe that after her accident the three-year-old Audrey voluntarily accepted the role of "victim soul" from Jesus Christ. Audrey's accident took place on the anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, which the Santo family take as evidence of an expiatory connection between the events. The significant mainstream media coverage of the Audrey Santo affair led Paula Kane to her own interest in the "victim soul" subject.


On August 9th, 1945 at 11:03 a.m. the atomic bomb exploded on the largest Christian community, a Cathedral, in Nagasaki, Japan. On August 9th, 1987 at 11:03 a.m. in Worcester, Massachusetts, Audrey Marie Santo and her family were in a split second of trauma. What man destroys, God redeems.

Suffering offered back to God for the sake of His body is blessed and will bless however God wishes to use that. We believe that Audrey said her "fiat," her "yes," to the Lord and she did that through the gift of "free will," the gift given to all of us by our loving God.

We believe Audrey offers and joins her suffering with Our Lord in that concept of redemptive suffering, that we do not hear about often in these times. She can suffer quite a bit and has, at times, bled from every orifice in her body. Society rejects suffering today. Everything should be for pleasure and comfort. Audrey makes the world uncomfortable because of her suffering.

All Linda Santo, mother of AS, official website.

How valuable suffering is. God lets this little angel suffer and we gain the benefit.

Father George Joyce, spiritual adviser to Santo family quoted by Kane.

She is serving us so perfectly in her silent way

Father John Meade, parish priest close to AS's home, quoted by Kane.

Veronica Lueken (1923-95) (Official site). Received mystical visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) and Jesus Christ (often containing highly conservative and controversial religious and political messages), stigmata, multiple illnesses in later life. Not officially accepted by Catholic Church.


I really feel in my heart my illness isn't a burden but a special privilege to be able to suffer for Jesus and Our Lady, as there are many victim souls needed. I feel it is a privilege now to be able to continue to suffer for priests and the Church.

VL, on official website.

You are allowed, My child, to experience all that mankind can suffer.

You will not be cured, My child. The waters will not be for you. The cross cannot be lifted.

Jesus Christ to VL, quoted on official website.

Marie-Rose Ferron (1903-36) (Official site). Visions, extreme stigmata, asceticism. Reportedly dedicated her sufferings to mystically heal a schism in her local Catholic Church, siding with the official authorities. Not officially accepted by Catholic Church.


Lord Jesus, when I reflect upon the words You have uttered, `Many are called, but few are chosen,' I begin to tremble for those I love, and I beg You to look upon them with mercy; and behold, with infinite tenderness, You place their salvation in my hands, as it were; for everything is promised to him who knows how to suffer with You and for You. My heart bleeds under the weight of the affliction, but my will remains united to Yours, and I cry out to You: `Lord, it is for them that I want to suffer!' I want to mingle my tears with Your Blood for the salvation of those I love! You will not turn a deaf ear to my cry of sorrow and You will save them.

MRF, quoted in The Seraph article

Maria Valtorta (1897-1961) (Official site). Bed-ridden following violent assault and illness. Visionary, producing lengthy mystically-dictated work The Poem of the Man-God.


You are a nothing. But I have called you to this mission. I formed you for this, watching over even your mental formation. I have given to you an uncommon faculty for composition, because I needed to make you the illustrator of My Gospel.... I have crucified you in heart and flesh for this. So that you could be free of any bondage of affection, and would be the mistress of many more hours of time than anyone who is healthy could have. I have suppressed in you even the physical needs of nourishment, of sleep, and of rest, reducing them to an insignificant minimum, for this. In your body, tormented and consumed by five grave and painful major illnesses, and by another ten minor ones, I have increased your energy in order to bring you to be able to do that which a healthy and well-nourished person could not do, for this. And I would wish this to be understood as an authentic sign. But this arid and perverse generation understands nothing. ...You are a nothing. But into this, your "nothing," I have entered and said: "See, speak, write." That "nothing" has become My instrument

The life of a victim-soul is a life of never belonging to oneself again, a life of constant self-giving, a life of being incessantly on fire. .

God, to MV, from The Poem of the Man-God

Maria Simma (1915-fl.1997) (Long interview) Childhood lung disease, visionary ascetic, frequent visions of souls in Purgatory, including identified individuals recently deceased. Believes herself able to take on suffering for those in Purgatory, reducing the period of time which they are required to suffer.


On earth, when we suffer; we can grow in love, we can gain merits, which is not the case with the sufferings in Purgatory. In Purgatory, the sufferings serve only to purify us from sin. On earth, we have all the graces. We have the freedom to choose.

MS, interviewed by Sister Emmanuel of Medjugorje.

The most obvious difference between Cordelia Chase and Catholic victim souls is that Cordelia's suffering is not a direct, mystical means of doing good, but rather a spur to physical action. This renders her a far more visibly powerful character, and is intriguing given Kane's argument that victim spirituality was seen as an alternative to private spiritual activity. In Cordelia's case, both are combined. There are intriguing parallels to the very unusual case of Maria Simma, whose spiritual ministrations to the sufferings of identifiable dead souls are mixed with spiritualistic communications with their families, to deal with earthly problems. A further difference is in the manner in which Cordelia's major suffering begins with the gift of visions, while the classical victim soul does not achieve her conscious spiritual status until she has already begun to suffer through natural causes. A further difference, which again, renders Cordelia more powerful and sympathetic to a secular audience, lies in the overt self-hatred of many historical "victim souls", which can be seen in many of the cases described above, but most glaringly in the writings of the ascetic visionary and writer Josefa Menendez (1890-1923), who has also been posthumously accepted as a victim soul, and was allegedly physically transported to Hell during her lifetime (many stigmatics and visionaries experience not merely "positive" divinely-inspired stigmata, but apparently demonic assaults, as was the case with Cordelia in That Vision Thing). While there is a penitential element to Cordelia's acceptance of her visions in the earliest period, through Season Two she comes to believe in them as a positive aspect of her life, and is proud to accept them. The penitential aspect entirely vanishes after Disharmony, in which her encounter with and sparing of Harmony can be psychologically interpreted as a confrontation with the crimes of her former Sunnydale self, followed by acceptance and forgiveness. Like the traditional victim soul, she is brought to a new state of moral grace by suffering, withdraws from former wordly pleasures, and is empowered to reduce suffering in the world through her own self-sacrifice.

Victim spirituality poses many problems for a modern secular point of view. To many people in modern culture, where suffering is seen overwhelmingly as a moral evil and something to be avoided, the spiritual turmoil, visions, asceticism and self-mortification of the typical victim soul are redefined in terms of hallucinations, major depression, anorexia, and self-harm. Even during the heyday of victim spirituality, some were openly critical. Kane quotes the author on stigmata (see above) Augustin Poulain as criticising active self-mortification as potentially dangerous, unnecessarily disturbing to others forced to live with the practitioner, and as promoting excessive pride and self-satisfaction. Kane points out the ambiguous empowerment of victim souls, in that while they achieved religious prestige and brought meaningfulness to their damaged lives, their sufferings were romanticised and often placed in the service of a worldview which saw women as essentially subordinate and thankfully accepting of suffering. In the detailed cases examined above, one can see a range of levels of empowerment. At one extreme end, one can identify Simma's apparent status as a worldly as well as purely spiritual medium, in some ways less a victim soul in the traditional sense but a Christianised version of a medieval wise woman. Suffering visionaries such as Luecken, Menendez and Valtorta were given opportunities for authorship which few women had in their societies, even given that their works are squarely in the service of a tradition in many ways repressive to women, and their official role merely those of amanuenses to divine beings. But one should not minimise the troubling levels of sickness and pain which these women suffered and in many cases actively inflicted on themselves, and the darker impulses that might be aroused by such histories. Even active promoters of victim spirituality were disturbed by the extremes of self-mortification which some victims practiced, and by those who even demanded premature and painful death. Kane hints at submerged sadomasochistic elements in the relationships between largely female victim souls and their largely male confessors and spiritual advisers, and some of the writings of suffering visionaries unambiguously link physical pain with spiritual ecstasy in a manner that is easily open to profane interpretation. At the end of the spectrum of power one sees Audrey Santo, unable to communicate, possibly even unaware of the full nature of her condition, but held up as an ideal of voluntary suffering and moral grace. It is disturbing how often her silence is praised, and the manner in which a woman of twenty is still frequently referred to as "Little Audrey". One can have serious doubts as to whether a three-year-old child can be capable of making such huge and self-destructive decisions, even to God.

Given the development of Cordelia in the later seasons of Angel, one has to suspect that ME were consciously or subconsciously troubled by such issues. The portrayal of Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer has some elements of victim soul imagery, especially in the final episodes of Season Five ("The Slayer draws strength from pain"). Moreover, the "flaming heart" emblem frequently seen on BtVS merchandise (although rarely on screen) bears blatant resemblance to the iconography of the Catholic cult of the Sacred Heart, inspired by the visions of Saint Margaret Mary, yet another self-tormenting female visionary. However, the stress on the active element of Buffy's mission largely keeps such concepts subtextual. The seriously troubling issues created by a female hero whose powers lie entirely in the passive acceptance of suffering seem to have eventually driven the Angel writers to back away from their original model. After the "victim soul" model reached its highest point in her secret acceptance of death, and her subsequent decision to give up her full humanity to keep her powers, there was a perceptible attempt to reinvent Cordelia as an unambiguously powerful hero, symbolised by the loss of pain in her visions. The new concentration on her hungry and unashamed sexuality in mid-S3 can be seen as the most violent possible rejection of asceticism.

However, this reinvention of Cordelia created a seriously hostile response from elements of a fandom who saw no reason why Cordelia should be spared the problems of heroism suffered by every other character in the noticeably gritty Jossverse. (Ironically, given the Catholic overtones of her previous portrayal, the preferred slogan of complaint was "Saint Cordelia".) If there was any serious philosophical thought at all behind her Season Four plotline (given the crudity of metaphor and confused messages in the final season of BtVS, I find myself more reluctant to ascribe deep sophistication to ME), it lies in the decision to reinvent Cordelia's Season Three development as the opening portion of a warning against the shifting of spirituality and a desire to improve the lot of humanity into a dangerous religious fanaticism. With this reinvention of the story, although it is doubtful whether it was so intended at the time, Cordelia's apparent apotheosis is reimagined as an egotistical rejection of the bonds of human relationships, accepting a professed authority's order to betray ones loved ones as a test of commitment, usually the most unambiguous of evils in the Jossverse. So, Cordelia's probably-possessed actions lead to the arrival of Jasmine, undoubtedly an atheist's nightmare parody of the Christian deity. This is seen most explicitly in the deliberately blasphemous inversion of Holy Communion, as Jasmine consumes the flesh of her worshippers. It is probably not deliberate, but Cordelia's final state, bed-ridden, silent and venerated, rather reminds one of Audrey Santo.

I have not, as yet, seen Cordelia's farewell episode, You're Welcome. However, the imagery of Cordelia being gifted with a last opportunity to do good on the point of death plays very much into the victim soul model. Even at the last, she finds all her fulfilment in helping others rather than complaining of her own suffering, or blaming the divinities who abandoned her, as she might well have a right to do.


[> Errata -- KdS, 12:31:02 02/06/04 Fri

Sentence with a reversed meaning. Please read:

This renders her a far more visibly powerful character, and is intriguing given Kane's argument that victim spirituality was seen as an alternative to private spiritual activity.


This renders her a far more visibly powerful character, and is intriguing given Kane's argument that victim spirituality was seen as an alternative to social activism.

[> Very good stuff here. If I may offer some thoughts... -- Random, 13:14:05 02/06/04 Fri

Quite an excellent essay, KdS. One of those that inspires me to stop being lazy and actually write something worth reading.

I don't find the victimization role as troubling as you do. The elements of the martyr have always characterized the Jossverse exploration of heroes. One might even say that it is implicit. An examination of the various "heroes" bears this out. Buffy lost her youth, died twice, spent countless hours in the dark, lost her chance at true love with Angel (I'm thinking of IWRY, primarily) et cetera. Angel's suffering and constrictions are obvious enough. Ditto Spike. The theme of sacrifice seem to trump the actual suffering, especially on a moral level. Cordy as the victim was not a matter of simple malevolence. She suffered because of the path she had implicitly chosen. There is affirmation in this, a validation of pain. Indeed, it resembles the existentialist dilemma (famously found in the absurdist "Myth of Sisyphus" where Sisyphus suffers eternally, ground down by a universe and gods he can neither comprehend nor defeat, yet is "happy" because he chose his destiny. Would he have chosen that punishment? Certainly not. He is definitely a victim. But he at least knows that he is greater than his fate because his fate springs from his own choices toward self-empowerment.) In essence, I see the moral scheme of the Jossverse (even after the horridly confusing BtVS S7) as tending to focus on the tragic hero rather than the victim-as-hero.

But the victim soul is an interesting twist. My own studies have focused on the Middle Ages -- the "glory days" of asceticism and self-flagellation -- and those were shaped by the society and external forces such as disease, high mortality, limited recognition of natural rights, et cetera. It was a brutal era for most. But in discussing the poor women who have helped define your paradigm, I would like to add the element of the visionary mystic, an apt parallel to Cordy. Julian of Norwich, for example, was a famed anchoress who devoted her life to asceticism, locked in a single small cell and spending her days in ecstatic visions of God and the nature of reality. She was, in essence, a spiritual guide to the masses who made the pilgrimage to visit her. It was a burden she accepted willingly, even gladly. She was particularly popular amongst flagellants, which made her problematic for Church authorities, who never truly condoned such behaviour. Margery Kempe is perhaps even more appropriate. She was born to wealth, married wealth. But after a traumatic incident -- childbirth, in this case -- Margery was left ill and weak and almost-helpless. This led to a profound sense of her own condition, both as a woman and as a sinner, and she soon turned to asceticism, particularly extreme sexual mortification and bouts of fasting.

Both women -- and they were just the most famous, not the only, of the sort -- followed the higher powers and expounded "truths" through visions. There are too many correlations not to think of Cordelia as existing in that tradition. She -- though initially not a willing conspirator, nevertheless comes to terms with her condition -- offers herself up and provides a conduit from the higher powers to help save the unfortunates of the world. Unfortunately, the visionary mystic trope is not a perfect fit, for many of the reasons you pointed out above. The victim soul is a far more useful analytic tool in some ways. The primary issue is the one you noted of romanticising. (though it is rarely in the best interests of religions to analyze these things too closely.) These are people who suffer for both their societal conditions and their religion. No doubt the primacy of certain female mystics in the Middle Ages had a lot to do with the status of women back then, and the harsh biological realities of disease and childbirth (explicitly so in Margery's case.) I'm wondering, though, how applicable this thesis is when overlaid onto the Jossverse. Cordy isn't simply a victim of her society -- she's overtly a victim of the higher powers, who may be sexist, but given what they did to just about everybody, male and female alike, it's hard for me to pinpoint that. Doyle could provide a counterpoint -- except he was exempt from the brunt of the suffering by virtue of his heritage. He did suffer blinding headaches, though. Cordy's own transition to demonhood is something I'd like to see discussed under this paradigm, however. How do you see it in terms of the victim soul? How does corruption factor into the equation? And what is Skip's role here?

Couple other points for discussion. C.S. Lewis -- modern theological discussions can't seem to escape his looming shadow -- notes in The Problem of Pain that much of human suffering is intramural, i.e. we inflict it on others or on ourselves. Cordy is in a complex quandary -- both empowered and the victim, suffering and triumphing The MEverse is freeing in a way that the real world can never be -- the extant power structures are derived from the implicit assumption that Good and Evil can manifest tangibly, and that higher powers no longer rely simply on faith. In the real world, religion implicitly requires faith -- thousands of years of theological debates and we still have nothing more than semantics and the occasional isolated miracle to bolster the faith-based foundation. But in the MEverse, vampires are real. The PTB descend to earth in bodily form, or send uncannily accurate headached-inducing visions to their chosen ones. We can blame the higher powers for Cordy's original suffering, and do so quite well. And I wonder whether you noticed the parallel to the path of the Buddha in your description. The move from ascetic suffering to wanton sexuality to saintliness...well, it's a fairly direct parallel to Siddhartha's journey.

[> [> Excellent Essay, KdS! And Random and Erratta are supplying more chewy goodness -- Briar Rose, 13:50:39 02/06/04 Fri

[> [> Thanks, Random -- KdS, 14:34:25 02/06/04 Fri

Because in his case the suffering is purely and very obviously penitential - the circumstances in which his visions first appear lead him to believe that they are a punishment for betraying his relatives, and he never really gets beyond that point until his death.

One aspect which I inexplicably failed to mention in the essay is the vague but very strong implication in Cordy's case (first made clear as early as the spontaneous combustion scene in She) that for her the pain of the visions is actual empathy for the sufferings that will occur if AI don't intervene. Again, this stresses the focus on action, and adds a further layer of intimacy to the fact that she's suffering for specific people. Again, of the people I actually found info on, very close to Maria Simma.

Thanks for the stuff on medieval suffering. I didn't go back that far in depth for time reasons, but my impression was that in medieval Christianity self-mortification was seen almost entirely in terms of denying the flesh and/or punishing oneself for one's own sins, not in terms of bringing gifts to others. Was there any element of that?

The demonisation issue is very difficult to deal with, because everything that's come out of ME suggests that Cordelia's S4 development was not planned that early. It's very difficult to watch Birthday, even with hindsight, and believe that it was intended at the time to involve any element of corruption, especially as S3 was the high point of demon-as-cultural-minority. I tend to stick with the belief in my original post that it was originally intended simply as a plot device to move away from the victim paradigm to a less ambiguous hero approach - closer to your medieval visionaries, but without even the mildest element of self-mortification.

And since the essay, I've thought that Dru could profitably be examined from this viewpoint as well, and in many ways she fits the classic model more closely than Cordy, as a black parody. Initial spiritual doubt and self-hatred, externally inflicted torment, followed by visionary ecstasy. I've often felt (in diametric oppostion to JL's own ideas, but so?) that she's the only one of the original Fanged Four to be truly committed to positive Evil in a spiritual way, rather than being mainly hedonistic.

[> [> [> Sorry, first paragraph above relates to Doyle, if you didn't guess -- KdS, 14:35:40 02/06/04 Fri

[> [> [> So Cordy as a stigmatic becomes a complex issue... -- Random, 11:39:40 02/07/04 Sat

A primary element of her suffering, therefore, would be result of her personality, right? The literal fact of her blinding headaches pales beside the fact that she cares, in other words. The fact that she eventually didn't want to give them up speaks volumes, though. She expressed an incredible empathy for the helpless, yet...if the stigmatics were the result of intense faith, her faith seemed to be the result of the (metaphorical) stigmatism. This is not an inconsiderable point, I think. Unless I'm greatly misunderstanding the information you supply, the ranks of the stigmatics were filled primarily of true believers who offer themselves up Faith precedes pain, pain cycles to inspire faith and happiness in others. Which, of course, pleases God (or the PTBs.) And it ultimately returns to the stigmatic, giving hir a sense of contentment and happiness at what s/he has done.

For Cordelia, the faith preceding the infliction of the visions was present, but relatively muted. She was in it for many reasons, not the least of which being a source of income whilst she pursued her real dream of becoming an actress. What we are witnessing with the transferal of the visions to Cordy is better classified as overt victimization. Whether the PTB's reasoned that she just didn't know what was good for her, but would in the long run, is a difficult question to answer. But it seems clear that her suffering was a crash-course in faith, teaching her both what it meant to be a hero and what it meant to care about the suffering of others. Even then, there was also a self-serving element to it...she held fast to the visions as a life-line in many ways, a means of being somehow special.

That last point is perhaps more relevant than it seems at first blush. Consider Cordy's early journey. She was the rich popular girl in highschool, ending in a sudden and precipitous plummet into poverty and fear of being found out. So she moves to L.A. with dreams of becoming an actress, only to be confronted with the harsh competition agains which she was only marginally-equipped to deal. Her skills as teen queen served her little in this milieu. In "City of...", she's working the room at a party and it is Angel -- brooding, depressing, unworldly Angel -- who attracts the attention of the agent. By the time we reach "Hero", her self-esteem has plummeted, a decline that will continue even after Cordy receives the visions. Only in S2 will Cordy truly begin to accept her role and how it makes her special rather than simply a victim.

For Cordelia, then, the victim soul paradigm is complex and metamorphic. She shares one very clear element with your examples above, the Traumatic Rite. Indeed, more than one. Doyle's sacrifice and kiss, while painful to her, seemed insufficient to spur her past simple victimization. It is only when she is inflicted with continual and pervasive visions at the end of AtS S1 that she begins to truly change (the parallel to Buffy in "Earshot" is quite striking, and I wonder if she could be considered a victim soul ala the stigmatics as well in that case -- over and above the general Slayer stigmatism, of course.)

I can see how Cordelia was being manipulated in a manner akin to the stigmatics. In all cases, the predisposition -- deeply hidden in Cordy -- appears to have led to an internal apotheosis. The external was motive, but the internal desire to help others gave the direct suffering substance, layers. It is apparent in the immediate aftermath of the infliction of visions on Cordy. She clearly regards the visions as bothersome intrusions, violating her mind and her will, but not subjugating them. She accepts that she has an "obligation" to share these with Angel so he can continue his mission to help the helpless, but it is a grudging acceptance at best. I would consider the period between "Hero" and "To Shanshu..." a sort of limbo, a period where she is neither apethetic nor zealous. It seems possible that, without the Traumatic Rite of Vocah afflicting her, she may have remained that way indefinitely, with only a superficial change in attitude. She could have been the model of a person trapped in a dead-end job, going and doing it well both out of a need for money and a sense of obligation to do the best job possible.

But she did encounter the trauma, and it eventually translated into the "real Cordelia" slowly emerging in steps. Midway through S2, in "Epiphany", Wes tells Angel that the Cordy he once knew had become far less carefree, far lonelier. It is those words that form a crux, I think. The visions had brought a small touch of despair -- always seeing the pain and loss of others. And Cordelia really had only two choices at that point. Succumb and allow the pain to destroy her, or avail herself of the potential for commonality and purpose. The former was not strictly stigmatic. Just suffering. But the latter is where Cordy takes the path to a moral stigmatism. She realizes that she is connected and given purpose. She has a role in this world, and more than anyone else in the AI gang, she understands the suffering of the individuals they help (as you pointed out.) Finally, Doyle's words to Angel in "City of..." assume something other than rhetorical importance. Angel, the champion of the helpless, has always maintained his distance. Cordelia cannot, and she recognizes the (dubious) grace of that.

The penitential aspect is there, I think, even in Cordy. She clearly regrets her behaviour in highschool, and has posited, semi-seriously, that her fall from grace was a punishment on some level...though she didn't clarify who or what she thought might have been punishing her. But I see your point -- Cordy clearly moved past that limited perspective and into a more complex one that lends weight to the victim-soul issue.

So is Doyle a counterpoint in sociological terms, too? The issue with his family is a good one -- I didn't think about that -- but hardly seems to provide a sufficient Traumatic Rite. He does seem to handle the visions better than Cordelia on an emotional level. Are we looking, then, at the cultural creation of the male as being less-empathetic, less emotional than the female?

A word about the medieval aescetics and flagellants. It's quite true that the vast majority of them were exclusively about mortification of the flesh. They harmed and deprived themselves to grown closer to God, earn an afterlife of bliss. And many of them achieved visions in this manner, much as any many dying of thirst and hunger and crawling through the desert will have hallucinations. The visionary mystics were a different breed, for the most part. I won't argue about the source of their visions, but they did operate on a different conceptual plane. For them, the visions gave them a purpose, and necessitated an aesthetic lifestyle. Julian never left her tiny cell, having all food delivered to her through a slot. These people were widely admired and listened to as sources of inspiration. Therefore, they were analogous to Cordy in the sense that their visions were more focused, less nonsensical, and people came from all around to be able to hear something that might be related personally to them. There were visions of the afterlife aplenty, but also visions that implied a direct conduit from God to the listeners. (Both Margert and Julian wrote (spiritual) autobiographies, thus cementing their modern-day fame, but they were hardly the only examples of their kind.)

Your point about Dru sounds fascinating. Gonna elaborate?

[> [> [> [> Re: So Cordy as a stigmatic becomes a complex issue... -- Rob, 11:48:15 02/07/04 Sat

So is Doyle a counterpoint in sociological terms, too? The issue with his family is a good one -- I didn't think about that -- but hardly seems to provide a sufficient Traumatic Rite. He does seem to handle the visions better than Cordelia on an emotional level. Are we looking, then, at the cultural creation of the male as being less-empathetic, less emotional than the female?

Not necessarily. Doyle, remember, was part-demon when he received the visions, Cordelia only human. Once Cordy was demonized though, she was able to, unlike Doyle, have the visions without any pain, emotional or physical. She has past the point where she needs to feel each victim's pain in order to feel the need to help them. She was even able to cleanse others of their emotional strife, in the form of her glowing white light and the effect it had on Connor. In those respects, she was actually stronger than Doyle. The female trumps the male again in the Whedonverse.


[> [> [> [> [> Good point... -- Random, 12:01:12 02/08/04 Sun

...and shows the complexity of the female victimization/empowerment issues.

[> [> [> [> Interesting -- KdS, 14:43:08 02/07/04 Sat

When you look at the biographies, there seem to be two patterns. In the first, you have strong faith provoking self-mortification, which then leads to stigmata/visions. In the second, you have some form of externally inflicted suffering, through violence or illness, which then gets adjusted into embraced suffering, sometimes with an element of deliberate self-mortification. The first type simply seeks suffering, the second has suffering and seeks to give it meaning. (The case of Aubrey Santo, while philosophically interesting and particularly suggestive of the darker aspects of such thought, is such a bizarre situation as to be probably sui generis). And while most of the second type do seem to have some faith already, Cordelia fits into it. I maybe didn't make it clear in the initial essay that in Cordelia's case I see the "external suffering/victimisation" (I assume you're using "victimisation" to mean purely external and uninvited assault) stage as beginning, with hindsight, as early as Lovers' Walk, with the injury, loss of Xander(*), poverty, failed screen career and initial vision infliction all leading up to the embrace of suffering in To Shanshu.

Doyle's case I see as much more simplistic and purely penitential, not just because of his moral attitude but because there is absolutely no hint of actual empathy in the treatment of his visions - the pain is seen as just a side-effect/extra punishment.

(*) I am aware of those on the board who have difficulty in considering the loss of Xander as a boyfriend as "suffering".

[> [> [> [> [> Let's not overlook Xander's role in Cordy's salvation -- lunasea, 18:50:13 02/08/04 Sun

Xander is actually the first thing that starts Cordelia's redemption. Not just dating him, but more importantly when he finds out she is a name tag person, she assumes that he is going to cause her suffering and tell all the Scoobies about her fall from glory. She does this because that is exactly what she would do. Cordelia's problems stem from her projections. She thinks others are like she is, cruel, petty, materialistic and she doesn't understand those that aren't. When Xander not only doesn't tell, but buys the dress to preserve her dignity she learns something, that he is truly a nice person.

Angel has a speech to Faith about how the Scoobies have taught him there are other kinds of people. Cordy doesn't quite get this message from the Scoobies. Instead her visions show her what others are like. They show her what they feel. Lorne is the empath, but Vocah removes her ego boundaries and allows all that suffering to affect her. It is the only way to change the Cordy that doesn't understand others. She has to understand them now. She is them. She can ignore the suffering around her until Vocah sends it directly to her. Then it isn't the suffering of others. It is her own suffering. That isn't empathy. That is experiencing.

I wonder how much the evolution of Cordy lead Joss to write River. Cordy can't shut out the feelings the PTB send her. River can't shut out any.

[> [> [> [> So how does... -- Random, 12:05:13 02/08/04 Sun

the victim soul issue relate to Cordy in general heroic terms? Is it akin to a step in the Hero's Journey? If she is somehow isolated by virtue of her gender and her trauma, what does that imply about Angel? Or, for that matter, any hero in the Jossverse?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: So how does... -- Rob, 13:24:18 02/08/04 Sun

In Joseph Cambpell/Hero's Journey terms, the PTB and the vision pain could be seen as akin to the magical creature, spirit, etc. that convinces the hero to begin on his/her path, after his/her initial refusal of the call. The time period of her painful visions would be her Initiation, in which she faces the variety of difficult challenges that shape her into the Hero, and separate her from the rest of humanity. Then of course eventually comes her death--the climax--and finally her return, in which most heroes are brought back against their wills by well-meaning friends, member of society, etc., like Buffy. Ironically, Cordelia's friends decide not to disturb her because they find out she is in a sort of heaven, when she is the one who really needed rescuing, rather than Buffy. Either way, the hero comes back with information vital to the survival of society, and after a brief period of isolation and discontentment a la Buffy's depression in S6, inspires the entire world with her wisdom and beneficence, a la Buffy and Willow's spell in Chosen. It's harder to qualify Cordelia's role as hero in this stage, however, since she was manipulated into her "death," and her "return" was the work of a demigod who may or may not have had humanity's best interests at heart. An interesting thing to note, however, is that Cordelia's return does usher in a brief era of peace and love and prosperity, fitting the classical Hero's Journey mold.


[> [> [> [> cordelia's astigmatic? no wonder her visions were so vague! -- anom (i can do this after that serious post below, right?), 22:07:52 02/08/04 Sun

[> [> If we are going to discuss Lewis and Pain -- lunasea, 17:27:14 02/08/04 Sun

Which I love to do, we have to look not only at how pain is what we inflict on ourselves or others, but how God then takes that pain and uses it to His ends. This would tie to the writers that write characters that cause each other and themselves pain, but then use that to make those characters better. Joss knows that suffering = good TV. He doesn't stop there. He takes that pain and tells an amazing story about the human condition, a condition that is full of pain.

It also ties to Jasmine, who is the Evil goddess who wants to just take Connor's pain away and this leaves him with nothing. She tries to kick up our evolution a few ticks, rather than work through means like pain.

Do the PTB's cause Cordy pain? Her physiology which can't handle the visions do. The PTB's aren't concerned about this or are they? The visions and the pain they inflicted are what turned Doyle into a "Hero." The same thing with Cordelia. The pain that Cordy and Doyle endured saved them. That is where the comparison to victim souls falls apart. The victim soul doesn't need to be saved. Both Cordy and Doyle did. They weren't Christ hanging on the cross, taking the sins of Man on Him in the form of physical pain.

And I wonder whether you noticed the parallel to the path of the Buddha in your description. The move from ascetic suffering to wanton sexuality to saintliness...well, it's a fairly direct parallel to Siddhartha's journey.

Very good comparison. It further strengthens Angel as Bodhisattva. Cordy crossed over into Nirvana. Angel has forsaken this until he does what he is meant to and saves others. We could even compare the four encounters Prince Siddhartha had (with the old man, with disease, with death and with the holy man) to Cordy's story. Skip could be compared to Mara. Just like ME twisted many stories, including the story of the Prodigal Son, this time Sid gives into Mara. Just a few thoughts

[> [> very interesting, kds & random! strange, but interesting.... -- anom, 18:09:16 02/08/04 Sun

Like Rob, I'm coming from a Jewish background (& even then, probably less of one than he has), & this stuff just sounds weird to me. (It may, however, explain an ad I remember for a children's medicine during the 1st Bush administration. It was narrated by then-2nd lady Marilyn Quayle, saying something like, "As a mother, I understand. When your children are sick, you want to do the suffering for them." Uh, no...I'm pretty sure that if I had kids & they were sick, I'd want to make the suffering go away, not take it on myself. But it seems to fit right in w/what KdS is talking about!)

OK, end of digression...start of tangent.

"In the real world, religion implicitly requires faith...."

I'm not sure this is true of all religions. I was going to say it's true of Christianity, but then I thought of Unitarianism...does that not require faith, or just not in all the same things as other denominations? I know many Jewish authorities have said that in Judaism, action/practice is more important than belief, & adherents of other religions, or even of no religion, are said to be able to earn a share in the world to come by good action...that is, if you believe in the world to come. Not all Jews do. But it's more important to obey God's commandments than to believe in the God who gave them. And I'm not so sure Buddhism requires faith either, though I'm far less familiar w/it. What I've seen/learned of it deals more w/how you live than w/what you believe.

I do see what I'd have to call more of a skew than a parallel w/the Jewish tradition that there are 36 (2 x 18, the number whose letters spell chai, the word for "life") entirely righteous people in every generation (hmm, familiar phrase there!) on whom the world's existence depends. While they're not called on to suffer, they are generally described as poor & humble--so humble they never suspect their status as tzadikim (righteous ones, also known as lamed-vavniks, for the letters of the number 36). If they find out that they are, they die (& another is called? maybe that's just Slayers). Anyway, this idea apparently dates back to the Talmud, which was completed around 500 CE (according to a quick Google search--I had no idea it was that old...um, the idea, not the Talmud).

"And I wonder whether you noticed the parallel to the path of the Buddha in your description. The move from ascetic suffering to wanton sexuality to saintliness...well, it's a fairly direct parallel to Siddhartha's journey."

Wanton sexuality? Cordelia? Um, when? All I can think of is her 1-night stand in Expecting, which was before the ascetic suffering part, if you date that from To Shanshu; her relationship w/the Groosalugg, which wasn't exactly presented as a wanton affair; & that time w/Connor, which was after the saintliness, if you date that only to Tomorrow (& besides, she wasn't driving then). Other than that, she may have ogled & commented, but was she actually having sex w/anyone? Doesn't seem all that wanton to me.

[> [> [> If I may try to explain -- lunasea, 19:03:04 02/08/04 Sun

Uh, no...I'm pretty sure that if I had kids & they were sick, I'd want to make the suffering go away, not take it on myself. But it seems to fit right in w/what KdS is talking about!)

Let's take suffering as a reality, that can't be made to go away. It can only be transfered. Penance must be performed for sins to be forgiven.

Now take that to something like the Prayer of St. Francis (not actually written by him, but stating beautiful what he embodied):

"O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sorrow, joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may notÊ
so much seek to be consoled as to console;Ê
to be understood as to understand;
to be lovedÊas to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;Ê
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;Ê
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."

That is stigmata. That is the victim soul. That is truly giving ourselves to something greater/higher, something I believe Joss believes in, even if he doesn't believe that higher thing is God.

[> [> [> Yes, she has been surprisingly chaste -- Rahael, 23:28:09 02/09/04 Mon

It is implied in Expecting that that is her first sexual experience, which seems a retcon, from early BtVS.

She moves to 'wanton' sexuality with Groo......if you can define wanton as having lots of enthusiastic sex with your boyfriend counts as wanton. This was during the white shining period of Saint Cordelia.

(wanton could be defined as: frisky playful frolicsome but the usual meaning is loose and unrestrained)

I think KdS has his analysis of the genesis of Saint Cordy re the show writers right.

[> [> [> [> Cordelia Chaste? ;-) -- TCH- looking at anom for affirmation, 06:30:36 02/10/04 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> yes indeed, cordelia chased...& caught! -- anom, affirmatively, 16:04:37 02/11/04 Wed

[> [> [> [> Re: Yes, she has been surprisingly chaste -- Rob, 11:33:35 02/10/04 Tue

I never got the impression from Expecting that it was her first sexual experience ever but rather the first since her scary move to the big city and all of the distressing life changes that had happened to her in the recent months. And even if she had never before gone all the way, I doubt she was completely "pure" before this episode.


[> [> [> [> [> Well I guess you could interpret.. -- Rahael, 12:09:24 02/10/04 Tue

Cordy: "Look the truth is that my dating game skills are kind of rusty. You're the first person I've had over in a long... well, - ever.

So, I'm open to suggestions."

as referring solely to her apartment. If she were inviting him into her car, I suppose she wouldn't be able to say that!

But the undertone is that she is relatively inexperienced. My wording on sexual experience as you point out, is wrong. Though I'd generally leave purity out of such issues!

[> [> [> [> [> [> LOL! :-) -- Rob, 12:53:03 02/10/04 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> Amused by this subthread -- KdS, 15:00:16 02/10/04 Tue

"Hungry and unashamed" was the final result of several attempts to come up with a way of describing Cordelia at the time that didn't bear the faintest hint of disapproval.

It's a little disappointing that in this day and age we still can't come up with a morally neutral or approving, yet dignified term for "romping like bunnies". "Passionate" somehow doesn't seem clear enogh (could be entirely non-physical).

[> [> [> [> [> [> Cordelia's sexual experience... -- Masq, 12:17:50 02/11/04 Wed

If she did have any before AtS, and one thinks she did, it wasn't with Xander, who very clearly claimed to be a virgin with Faith, and why would he say that if it weren't true.

I just remember Cordelia saying in "Phases" that "My father still thinks I'm a good girl!" during a make-out session with Xander. I guess she and Xander never got that far, but with those football player types she dated before that? She was pretty popular....

I'm just sayin'.

[> A whiff of gender bias? -- Earthscape17, 08:44:39 02/07/04 Sat

My first posting here, so bear with me. I raise more questions than analysis. Hope this is okay. :-)

When reading KdS's post, I couldn't help note the disproportionality between the male and female stigmata cases. I am left with more questions than answers.

(1) Assuming there are actually more cases of women victim souls, I'm left asking why? Why more females? Do people claim God chooses females as victim souls more often for a reason? Is there some implicit gender stereotype that woman choose the suffering more readily (assuming free will)?

(2) Assuming there are an equal number of male/female stigmatists, but they are not reported/known... this brings up more troubling questions. Have there been numerious male victim souls out there who have been mercy killed, locked away as insane, or shoved out of sight for some reason? Why would the women be glorified in their suffering, while the men marginalized? Potentially this relates to the Eve paradigm where woman should suffer 'cause they picked the apple?

Clearly this is outside the realms of the Buffyverse, but I think it intriguing nonetheless. Are there parallels of this in the Buffyverse, where one gender's pain is more occuring than another? ... more celebrated than another?

[> [> There were a couple of very well-known male stigmatics -- KdS, 10:08:01 02/07/04 Sat

St Francis of Assisi, the original, and Padre Pio, who has also been claimed as a "victim soul".

As to why the greater numbers, I think that you have to look at general gender issues.

[> [> Re: A whiff of gender bias? -- mrfh, 20:10:23 02/07/04 Sat

I agree with KdS that you have to look at gender bias in general in this instance, but I think that examining the specific role of women in the Catholic Church helps to illustrate why more women are compelled / chosen (depending on your belief system) to become victim souls. Women have virtually no options for Church leadership. Their only official role in the Church is as nuns, and only men are acutally eligible to receive all 7 sacraments (only men can take holy orders.) Even though women who become nuns essentially devote their lives to God, their sacrifice is not recognized as being an equivalent service to priesthood. Therefore, women who want to either develop a close spiritual relationship with God or receive any sort of recognition for their devotion must then become fanatics. Nunhood is ultimately a lowly vocation, generally involving service to the parish, a school, etc. while victim souls and other women who have fanatic devotions are revered only for their spirituality and suffering and how their suffering can help others.

And, off topic to anom...I can't imagine how you can remember that I was finishing my master's degree the last time I posted here, but yes, I did get it (in Health Education) and I also had a baby 5 months ago, so it's been a busy year. It's nice to be back to reading this board!


[> [> [> Re: A whiff of gender bias? -- Corwin of Amber, 04:56:19 02/08/04 Sun

>Nunhood is ultimately a lowly vocation, generally involving service to the parish, a school, etc.

What's "lowly" about service to a parish, school etc?

[> [> [> [> Thank you -- lunasea, 19:11:07 02/08/04 Sun

Talk about leadership and recognition just isn't what service is about. It is called a vocation and it doesn't get any "higher" than a Calling from God.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Thank you -- mrfh, 06:36:38 02/09/04 Mon

"Talk about leadership and recognition just isn't what service is about. It is called a vocation and it doesn't get any "higher" than a Calling from God."

You are right...that didn't come out how I meant it. What I meant was that a nun's life is solely service-oriented, and provides no opportunity for advancement or respect from church hierarchy. Priests on the other hand, not only perform service, but are also viewed as the lay person's connection to God. Nuns are not seen as being able to provide that connection to God to those who are not called to God's service. This is possibly why the women KdS mentions as victim souls might be drawn to that life. The role of victim soul gives them the connection to God and humanity that nuns are prevented from having in the official hierarchy.

For the record, I was raised Catholic and do not mean in any way to be disrespecting anyone's personal religious beliefs. I do think that the limited official role of women in the Church is a factor in why women seem to be the main religious "fanatics" throughout history. I also believe that service to others is the highest of callings, but I do not feel that the Catholic Church always rewards service equally.


[> [> [> [> [> [> That's interesting. -- Arethusa, 07:16:06 02/09/04 Mon

Is extreme religious devotion considered natural in religious men and fanatical in religious women? If so, could it be because the women bypass the hierarchy set down by the church (God, men, women) and go straight to the source, so to speak? Are there Protestant victim souls, or does the belief that one can have a personal relationship to God without going through the (male) Church hierarchy preclude the need for such an extremely intense and different relationship?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> And a quote: -- Arethusa, 07:22:32 02/09/04 Mon

Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
GodÑlike erect, with native honour clad
In naked majesty, seemed lords of all, 290
And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shon,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pureÑ
Severe, but in true filial freedom placed,
Whence true authority in men: though both 295
Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed;
For contemplation he and valour formed,
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him.

Milton, Paradise Lost

[> [> [> [> [> [> I am very reluctant to disagree, but I must -- lunasea, 08:48:28 02/09/04 Mon

I do not feel that the Catholic Church always rewards service equally.

First, the Catholic Church isn't the one to reward service. God is. Jesus reordered the promises made to Abraham to a hereafter and that is where any "rewards" take place.

Second, you have to define the Catholic Church. Are we talking the Vatican? If so, I offer the Beatification of Mother Teresa just 6 years after her death to contradict this. Name me a man, whether clergy or laity, that this has happened to.

The Church doesn't define the Church this way, so if you are using the Church's definition, meaning the congregation, again I have to disagree. Try and tell my daughters that Sister Elizabeth isn't a connection to God or me that Sister Mary Margaret who gave me a small gold cross on my First Communion isn't. Tell all those people in India, especially the woman who says her tumor was cured when she prayed to Mother Teresa, that women can't be connections to God.

Priests are the face of Jesus. There is more to God than Jesus. The current Pope has some wonderful things to say about the importance of women and our vocation.

I would say that more women serve in this manner because I believe men and women are different. We all have a basic humanity in common, but gender is important in determining our priorities and perspectives. Not just the roles that society imposes on us because of gender, but biological/hormonal differences that affect our psyche.

That is my belief and I know that it isn't shared with many (if any) on the board.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I am very reluctant to disagree, but I must -- mrfh, 11:36:49 02/09/04 Mon

Lunasea, thanks for sharing this perspective. I think that is what I like about this board...it gives us the opportunity to discuss issues in which we can safely express our opinions and perspectives. What you define as the Church does make a difference if one sees the Church as either the Vatican, the Congregation, or the community of Christians led by Jesus. All could have possibly different perspectives on this issue.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I agree with you lunasea.;) -- Briar Rose, 11:41:32 02/09/04 Mon

Without giving in to broad and untrue generalities, I would say that there is a great difference between the way that somne men think about service, nuturing, caregiving and faith in general and the way that some women do.

I'd almost say MOST bwomen and MOST men have different ways of expressing these traits.

This is not to say that men and women are so different that men can not be caregivers, nuturing ir provide service, and even have faith! It's simply that we are differently abled in HOW we usually approach these matters in life.

I am Pagan, I am not a fan of the Vatican or what it represents (through history, and up to now...) But i definitely agree that there is a long standing set of gender differences in the way most religions are practiced by many of their female followers versus their male followers. And it has to do with the same gender differences that are shown in how the sexes deal with day to day life outside of the specific religion in question.

Or maybe because of it....

Many women don't see their faith as seperate from their day to day life. Many men don't see the connection between their faith and their day to day life.

Not MOST - but many.

And it does affect the way that actions are undertaken.

I'll stop rambling now.*L

[> [> [> o/t to mrfh: mazel tov on both counts! -- anom, 21:20:06 02/10/04 Tue

"And, off topic to anom...I can't imagine how you can remember that I was finishing my master's degree the last time I posted here, but yes, I did get it (in Health Education) and I also had a baby 5 months ago, so it's been a busy year. It's nice to be back to reading this board!"

Nice to have you back! And I can't take too much credit...all I remembered was wishing you luck about something & not seeing you since. So I searched in my atpo document, & sure enough, there it was, in a post on the pro-/anti-smoking thread, no less. Checked the archives, & found the info. Nothing about a baby, though! That's great! But no wonder you haven't been spending much time on the board....

[> Great! -- Rahael, 10:07:28 02/07/04 Sat

Will read properly and respond when jetlag wears off (that's about 5 more lattes from now!)

[> Excellent essay, KdS! -- Rob, 11:27:24 02/07/04 Sat

It's a pleasure to read an essay with such a high level of chewy philosophical goodness. Having spent the first nine years of my education in a Hebrew day school, I know less about Christianity than you do, so I also apologize if anything I say here shows any levels of non-understanding.

What I do want to add though is the idea that, although we do not know whether ME had been planning at the start on having Cordelia's acception of the demon powers, leading up to her "ascension," be a positive or ultimately negative thing (as it ended up being), Cordy may not have left the "victim soul" mode as far as it ostensibly seems, as it plays out on the grander scale. One indicator is the pain Cordelia must endure in order to become part-demon:

Skip: There maybe a - tiny - loophole.

Cordy: I'll take it.

Skip: You may wanna think about that. The only way
you get to keep the visions is by becoming - part demon. (Cordy looks down) The process isn't easy. It'll make your vision pain feel like a stroll through candyland. And even after the pain subsides the effects of the transition will be numerous and unpredictable. You may never be able to lead a human life again.

Cordy looks over at Angel (who appears to be frozen in time), then back at Skip.

Cordy: So - demonize me already.

Skip is not lying, for although after this point the pain will not be physical, Cordelia's suffering as a result of her decision has only just begun, and as we all know she never will be able to lead a normal human life again. In her immediate decision, however, she proves herself stronger than most other stereotypical "victim soul"s, as you have detailed them: although she refuses to give up her visions, she, at the same time, refuses to be killed by them. She voluntarily submits to a horrifying amount of physical pain, along with the knowledge that that immediate pain will not be the end of what is in store for her. She doesn't passively accept this suffering, though: she practically says, flat out, "Bring it on!"

On a separate but related note, I am not of the opinion that Cordelia was a victim of hubris in accepting her ascension in Tomorrow, and particularly not in Birthday. As she saw, her forfeit of the visions would doom Angel to madness. More so, if she had kept the visions in her current state, she would have died, and for all she knew, forever sever Angel's link to the PTB. If anything, I see her rejecting such self-indulgent, shallow needs as her stardom and all of the numerous benefits that would have come from accepting the PTB's offer and demanding another solution, one that causes herself more pain in the long run, both physical and emotional, than good. The case that Cordelia was not a victim of hubris may perhaps be harder to argue in Tomorrow, but on the other hand, once she had witnessed all these strange, new powers she had been given, why wouldn't she trust Skip now when he hadn't seemed to steer her wrong in the past? In my opinion, Cordelia is a person who thought she was doing the right thing, who came to truly believe in the Powers That Be and in so doing was manipulated into separating herself from her friends and the world by the only Power, ironically, to express an interest in a hands-on approach with the people of the world. There is some question as to whether Jasmine merely co-opted Cordelia's powers in Tomorrow (powers that the PTB had indeed wanted her to have), or whether she had sent Skip to falsely act as an agent of all the Powers and not just her in Birthday. The second option is perhaps the more interesting and ironic of the two, for that would mean that "Hands-on Jasmine"'s actions had saved Cordelia's life in the short term, whereas the other PTB would not have had any problem with letting the visions kill her.


[> This is why I come to this board... -- Nino, 13:02:57 02/07/04 Sat

This essay is awesome, and is a perfect example of why I come to this board.

Lately, there has been some board-drama, which i find rather petty...I don't come here to read arguments. I come here because I think the Jossverse has a lot a deep, intellectual side that goes beyond plot developments. My posts rarely lend themselves to a deeper understanding of anything, but that is why I read much more than I post...I love reading some of the great ideas that come out of this board, even though mine are few and far between. It's a shame that some posters I really enjoyed don't show up as much any more.

I think there has been a lack of this kind of stuff on the board lately...so thanks for the essay, and congrats on a job well done.

..and I hope you'll let us know what you think about "Your Welcome" and how it affects your essay!

[> [> Re: This is why I come to this board... -- Jane, 14:25:30 02/07/04 Sat

I agree. This is a very interesting, thoughtful/thought-provoking essay, Kds. Thank you for bringing the board back to what it is best at: making us all think about the deeper meanings inherent in BtVs and AtS. This is what drew me to this board in the beginning and what I look forward to whenever I come here. Well done. The responses have also been very interesting. Thanks everyone!

[> [> (Blushes) -- KdS, 14:44:25 02/07/04 Sat

[> Fantastic essay (sp 3.11 only) -- Tchaikovsky, 04:34:28 02/08/04 Sun

One puzzle that I've been considering (not particularly helped by my lack of Angel Season Three, but that won't last for long), is whether in Birthday, the reveal of the broken Angel we see in the Universe without Cordelia is somehow meant to have a deeper meaning or not.

If the suggestion is that Angel, on top of the weight of responsibility in his Hero role could not handle the Visions, the cumulative effect breaking him, then Cordelia's presence is simply a way of spreading the load; of not allowing one person to take all the wieght of being an instrument of a divine benevolenvce. But I did wonder whether there wasn't some undertone going on about how Cordelia had been able to cope with the visions for so long because she was a woman. Because, for some reason, that she fit this archetype you detail so thoroughly, of a Victim Soul, someone who suffers under her Master's intentions. You mention that Cordelia's is not the simple parallel, since she is able directly to interfere with what's going on. And yet, a lot of the time, the relay from the Powers is through her as a mouthpiece, needing the manly Angel to then save the day.

Any undertone that it is the woman who must do the receptive suffering, while the man can do the assertive world-changing, worries me. I'm not entirely sure that I think this is an undertone in Season Three, but your essay did get me thinking about it.

Echoing Nino- it is essays like this which make the board still worth frequenting, regardless of the ephemeral frustrations.


[> [> Re: Fantastic essay (sp 3.11 only) -- Arethusa, 06:01:14 02/08/04 Sun

If Cordy can bear the visions and the suffering that drives Angel mad, who is the stronger?

OTOH, Angel's feelings of guilt seems to magnify the affect of the visions; he tries to save people he killed long ago. When Spike's hands are cut off he's forced to imagine the pain his victims went through, but VisionAngel feels their pain, and that combined with guilt drives him mad.

One difference between Cordy and victim souls is that she saw suffering as unnecessary. She tried to prevent it instead of passively accepting it or welcoming it as our inevitable lot in life due to the nature of mankind. She had to suffer to help Angel, not to appease the gods. Everyone made sacrifices in AI-Angel gave up Buffy (something Cordy obviously took to heart), Wes lost VIrginia, Gunn gave up his home and street family.

[> [> [> Great points, Arethusa! -- Rob, 08:41:34 02/08/04 Sun

[> [> [> Spoiler for Damage (5.11?) above in my post.. -- Arethusa, 12:38:38 02/08/04 Sun

I'm sorry, I hope I didn't spoil anyone.

[> [> for the episode-number-challenged (like me), 3.11 was "birthday" -- anom, 16:14:05 02/08/04 Sun

I can keep up w/ep no's. into the early double digits for a current season, but I soon lose track of all but the 1st & last few for past seasons.

TCH said: "Any undertone that it is the woman who must do the receptive suffering, while the man can do the assertive world-changing, worries me." Arethusa said: "If Cordy can bear the visions and the suffering that drives Angel mad, who is the stronger?"

I worry about this too, TCH. While certainly there's a value to endurance, which I've seen cited as an area where women tend to outdo men, I'd hate to see that interpreted as "Men can dish it out & women can take it." (Yes, those are generalizations; they're not intended to be any more than that.) Not that I'm saying that's what you meant, Arethusa--just that the respective kinds of strength attributed to men & to women could be seen that way, which seems to fit in w/the "victim soul" concept & the preponderance of women & girls in this role that KdS described.

[> Interesting essay (spoilers to 5.12 ATS, Firefly, and Miracles) -- shadowkat, 13:42:33 02/08/04 Sun

After reading your essay this morning, KdS, I found myself thinking about a couple of television narratives I'd seen and wondered if there may be trend regarding the "victim's soul" within those narratives. If so, why are the storytellers going there and what is their implied intent?

The first that comes to mind is David Greenwalt's Miracles (spoilers for it below, but since it was cancelled after only ten episodes, not sure how important this is), his first effort sans Joss Whedon and after Angel. The interesting thing about Miracles - is the first episode literally has a character like Audrey Santo, this character is a little boy who is terminally ill. He can't save himself or cure himself of pain but he can save and cure others. The boy's parents wonder why God would let the boy suffer, why inflict pain on the boy, while saving others? What God would do that? And the main character wonders the same thing, when the boy literally saves his life, by taking all of his pain onto himself, so that the boy dies and the main character lives. Is the boy doing the work of God or some demonic influence and God, himself, does not exist? Why would God make someone so innocent suffer?

That it is Greenwalt writing and asking these questions in Miracles, is interesting - since Greenwalt was the one who pushed for Cordelia in ATS and more or less contructed Cordy's arc up through Tomorrow. Greenwalt even wrote and possibly directed Tomorrow, it was his last episode for ATS. And..in You're Welcome - Fury does a bit of homage in the opening sequence/teaser to Greenwalt, both with the sacrifice of a bunch of nuns and the escaping demon's name being "Greenway". Wonder if it's just a coincidence that this homage appears in the episode of ATS that wraps up Cordelia's arc? Was it Greenwalt who was obsessed with the "victim's soul" metaphor and Whedon who was disturbed by its undertones and attempted to change it?

Then there's Firefly - where once again we have a young girl, who is suffering tremendous pain and because of this suffering exhibits great power - River. Not Greenwalt's creation by Whedon's. The difference being River's pain is caused not by a heavenly being, but by man. Cordelia - also, in That Vision Thing and Birthday - it's expressed that the PTB (the heavenly beings in the Jossverse) never intended Cordy to experience pain. The pain is inflicted upon her by first Lilah and the shaman in That Vision Thing, and in Birthday - the PTB allegedly send their rep Skip to provide her with alternatives, something we later learn in Inside Out was a hoax. Which makes me wonder if maybe the writers were attempting to question the concept of that "victim's soul" - that maybe the suffering wasn't from God, but from something masquerading as God. Whedon and Greenwalt may be asking the question: If God does not exist - than whatever is causing these manifestations, may be something from our nightmares, using our need to believe in God against us? Or in the case of River - be someone who is using pain and suffering to create a weapon for it's own devices. In War Stories - the villian, a sadistic gangster, and Book, a religious monk, both reference a book about using torture to get to the heart and soul of a human being. Through making someone suffer - we get to who they really are, we peel away all the layers and get to the meat.
It's interesting that a religious man - is the one who quotes the work and that he quotes it to better understand why people did what they did to River.

Going back to ATS, for a moment, in Room With A View, Cordelia askes when the suffering will stop. She understands that she is being punished for what she was in high school. But wishes it to stop. This is before she gets the visions. Yet, the torture appears to be what makes her stronger. It's through the torture of a sadistic ghost that brings out Cordelia's inner bitch and motivates her to strike back, freeing the spirit of the ghost's trapped son from a sealed off wall in the house. So apparently, torture does reveal the inner person. Likewise - with Spike in both S5 BTVS and S6-S7 BTVS - it's through torture that we supposedly get to the heart of the real man. His torture at the hands of Glory, the First Evil, Buffy (depending on your pov), the soul, Wood, and finally Dana. Same goes for Angel - it's through torture that we get to the heart of who Angel is. The writers seem to take the same view as the sadistic writer (who I can't for the life of me remember the name of Shui something) that through torture you get to the heart of the character. I'm wondering if this view in any way reflects light on "the victim's soul" motif or even on the redemption stories of the new testament - through suffering we are redeemed?

Then there's the opposite hypothesis going on, where you don't necessarily have to be tortured to find redemption or to help others - in Joan of Arcadia, Tru Calling, and soon Wonderfalls - where a young girl is plagued with representatives from God or dead souls speaking to her, motivating her to do good to make the world better. Following their advice often places her in trouble but by the same token makes life better for those around her. In a recent interview with the creators of Wonderfalls (in Dreamwatch, I believe), one of the creators stated the story was about a formerly narcissitic girl who is disconnected from the world, who becomes reconnected through listening to and following the advice of what inanimate objects tell her. (Wonderfalls first airs in the US in March, I believe.) Tru Calling is about a young woman who is forced to relive a day whenever a corspe wakes up and tells her to save them. If she doesn't help them in some way, then she is stuck reliving that day over and over again. The torture may be in reliving the day , but then again by reliving it - she's provided with the means of fixing things in her own and her friends lives. Joan of Arcadia - is about a girl who speaks to God or what she believes is God, and through her actions, God apparently affects what is going on in the town and her family. These versions seem to believe God does exist and one can be directly affected by God without suffering for it. They also seem to take the view that we can get to the heart of character from a more positive stance, no torture. The popularity of Joan of Arcadia may be due to the positive nature of the show. Also Joan's character is based partially on the real life saint: Joan of Arc, who does fit the victim's soul analogy in that she literally became a matyr for her cause, burned at the stake, the current mode of execution for that time. The difference is Joan of Arcadia - is not starting a revolution and the worst she may endure if she ever chooses to share her experiences, something God or whatever it is speaking to her consults her not to do, is being committed to an asylum.

Before closing, there's one other character that your essay reminded me of and that's St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582, she survived the Spainish Inquistion, suffered a debilitating illness and raptures (in which she'd drop to the floor frozen for hours, unable to speak), but unlike the other victims souls you describe, Teresa was not an ascetic. Actually some questioned her all to human flaws.
She bent the rules, reformed Carmelite convents, and was considered the feminist of her time. Yet, she bears some of the same signs - the debilitating illness, the stigmata which she gets upon death, and the raptures. Also she was made a saint, because she healed others reportedly. Did her suffering - reveal the root of her being? Or would she have found it without the physical problems? Were her raptures the result of the illness - a symptom? We don't know. I can't help but wonder if part of the reason we use suffering to equal redemption or even matyrdom - in order to provide a reason for it. To give it a purpose. I can endure this - if it has meaning. But if it is meaningless, how can we possibly endure it?

Again wonderful essay, very thought provoking.


[> [> Question: Wasn't that a depiction of St. Teresa of Avila in *Life Serial*? -- OnM, 19:33:48 02/08/04 Sun

Specifically, in the scene during Warren's 'time-warp' spell when Tara was showing a picture in an art history volume to Buffy? And Buffy was sort of 'frozen' in time while looking at it?

[> [> [> Yes, it was the Bernini sculpture. :) -- Ixchel, 20:34:40 02/09/04 Mon

[> Responding to lunasea's various posts -- KdS, 11:20:43 02/09/04 Mon

Now this is probably the big divide between us - I'd agree with you that the suffering in penitential and part of Cordelia's salvation up to To Shanshu, but I think after that there's a pretty rapid change to embracing suffering as a means of saving others. Certainly, I don't believe that Cordy needs any more "salvation" after Dead End and the Pylea episodes, and after that point not only does the suffering continue to get worse, but the religious parallels become if anything even more blatant. And I find your distinction between the visions and the suffering somewhat academic, given the lack of any hint in the series that the two are separable (and because you've previously argued that taking the offer to separate them was Cordelia's big moral mistake).

[> [> I hope to respond to this tomorrow -- lunasea, 18:22:45 02/10/04 Tue

I'm very sick right now and will be kicked back to bed shortly, so this is just a quick drive-by to let you know that a more thought out response will be coming. Hopefully the thread will still be here. If it isn't, I'll do it in the LJ.

Just a few things to throw out there, salvation in the Buffyverse doesn't mean to make up for past transgressions. It has more to do with growing. Cordy's salvation isn't about doing penance, but more getting her out of her self-centered ways.

You many find the distinctions I have made to be academic, but in Catholicism they are very important. I will get more into this and how the Passion of Christ is used in Catholicism tomorrow. Things aren't just symbols but real Gospel (pun intended).

My remarks about "Birthday" being a mistake were made in light of "Get It Done." At the time of that post, I mentioned it was retconning things. Recently I have written that there are no absolutes in the Buffyverse. You can be saved by a lie, for example. My original post about Cordy crossing a line that shouldn't be crossed is to retcon what happened to her season 4. Perhaps there are no lines at all, including this one.

I was talking about Cordy's choice in context of the Buffyverse. Mainly on this thread, I am talking about how Roman Catholicism views suffering and the victim soul. This is similar to how I compared the how the Catechism views Man's Vocation to the underlying universe that Joss has created. I believe this is what you are doing with the victim soul, but I think you are making some mistakes because any such discussion has to go into such things as Christ's Passion and even Lewis' The Problem of Pain. You can't just start with modern times. These things are built on a long, rich tradition. A tradition of Sts. Francis, Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross among others. A tradition of the Apostles and martyrs. A tradition that starts with Christ Himself. The Passion of Christ is the foundation of Christianity for a reason.

[> [> [> One more prayer of preservationy goodness -- lunasea, 08:57:01 02/11/04 Wed

Unless someone wants to come over here and fold all this laundry for me. Please? Pretty please?

[> I don't know nearly enough about this fascinating subject -- Rahael, 14:57:53 02/09/04 Mon

but it's already provoked a wish to go back and recheck my notes on various aspects of the reformation.

- The prominent role women were able to play within the Catholic and Protestant reformations, *despite* the fact that theology and hierarchy may have seemed inhospitable.

- When I was looking at the borders between witchcraft, heresy and intense religiosity, there were some extremely interesting incidents which I don't want to speak about until I have a chance to re-read the details.

- I was also remembering how there were many women who would literally fast/starve themselves for God in a phenomenon very reminiscent to modern day eating disorders. This was in the early modern period. Some claimed that even when they ate food, they wasted away - but it is quite clear that they really weren't eating at all.

[> Re: She Suffers and We Gain the Benefit: Cordelia Chase as Victim Soul (spoilers to 5:12) -- fresne, 11:54:31 02/11/04 Wed

Okay, voynak isn't letting me do a long response, so in brief:

Great post KdS.

And some stream of let me post some thoughts oh, mighty voynak.

Nuns, Brides of Christ versus Priests as Stewards. Mary, mother of god, intercession. Compassion. Immaculate Conception is not the same thing as a virgin birth.

The primacy of "Born Again" in Protestant sects (that I'm familiar with) versus and in conjunction with the concept of the victim soul.

Rebirth. Those who choose re-birth. Those who have rebirth thrust upon them. Vampires, Darla, Jasmine, Connor-thrice.

Baptism. Blood. Birth. The pain of childbirth. Victim souls with stigmata, female martyrs who bleed milk. For the condensed version, read the 3rd book of the City of Ladies

Cordelia with her truth speakers name. It is Cordelia's speech about her visions that is her way of imposing change.

When I was a child, my mother told me that pain was my body's way of telling me that something was wrong. The more complex idea of choosing to bear pain to save the world would have been a bit too much. Although, no keys in electrical outlets was great advice.

The connection for some mystics, between divine visions and rapture. Cordelia fear of losing her divine visions in a more prosaic moment of sexuality.

Not that her visions were pleasurable, but in her falling gasps, I consider Hellraiser's Cenobites, serving a leviathan of puzzles and pain and infinitely reaching arms. Like Jasmine, only more cubist. Again, thanks for the post. Much to chew on.

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