February 2004 posts
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 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
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
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
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
Not stepped on at all. I'd just rather you hadn't drawn the flack.
[> [> [> [> [> hmm -- Sheri, 11:30:50
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
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> 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
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
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
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
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
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
...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
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
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
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"
[> [> [> [> 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
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
[> [> [> [> 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
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
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
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
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
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
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...
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
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
[> [> [> Re: Dead Wes -- Arethusa, 06:22:58
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
. . . 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
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
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
[> 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 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
Kate essay which shows what a misinterpreted character she
[> Virginia, Anne, and Justine... -- CW, 05:32:58
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
[> ...or Katrina? -- Fenugreek, 10:20:01 02/07/04
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
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
...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
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
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
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
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
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
Maria Valtorta (1897-1961) (Official
site). Bed-ridden following violent assault and illness. Visionary,
producing lengthy mystically-dictated work The Poem of the
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
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
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
[> [> Excellent Essay, KdS! And Random and Erratta are
supplying more chewy goodness -- Briar Rose, 13:50:39 02/06/04
[> [> Thanks, Random -- KdS, 14:34:25 02/06/04
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
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
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
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
[> [> [> [> Interesting -- KdS, 14:43:08
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
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
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
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
(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
[> [> [> [> [> [> 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
I'm just sayin'.
[> A whiff of gender bias? -- Earthscape17, 08:44:39
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
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
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
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
"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
[> [> [> [> [> [> [> 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
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
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
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
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
[> This is why I come to this board... -- Nino, 13:02:57
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
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
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
[> [> [> 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
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
[> 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
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
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
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
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
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.
| More February 2004