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In an Imperfect World Grown-ups have to do bad things -- Skips movie date, 14:09:31 01/20/02 Sun

I know no one will probably respond to this post, but I had to post it anyway. Many criticize Angel Noir for being ruthless but check this out.


CBS) Is there a place in the U.S. justice system for torture?

Alan Dershowitz, the civil libertarian defender of O.J Simpson, believes the law should sanction torture so it may be applied in certain cases, such as terrorist acts.

In a report to be broadcast Sunday on 60 Minutes, Dershowitz tells Correspondent Mike Wallace that torture is inevitable. "We can't just close our eyes and pretend we live in a pure world," he says.

After the events of Sept. 11, with many al Qaida members in custody, Dershowitz says he wants to bring the debate to the forefront. He gave the "ticking bomb" scenario - a person refusing to tell when and where a bomb will go off--as an example of the type of case warranting torture.

The FBI has anonymously leaked to the press the belief inside the bureau that torture may be an option in these trying times. But Lewis Schiliro, former New York bureau director, warns of problems with torture.

"If anybody had the ability to prevent the events of Sept. 11... they would have gone to whatever length...

Anyway, I think the whole "Angel Noir" Debate is part of the "grow up" theme this year. In an imperfect world, grown-ups have to sometimes do terrible things, that kids think are "hypocrtical". Torture is taught to be wrong, but if Lilah had information that could save Connor, the only right thing for Angel to do, the only good thing for Angel to do, would be to torture her if she wouldn't reveal the information any other way.

Same situation came up on Babylon 5 Legend of the Rangers. The captain was going to torture a prisoner, even though it was against Ranger code. G'Kar stated that such acts come from living in an impure world.

[> Re: In an Imperfect World Grown-ups have to do bad things -- Skips movie date, 14:14:40 01/20/02 Sun

A real interesting show would be one where Wesley doesn't torture a bad guy, and as a result hundreds of people die because they didn't have the information to stop it.

[> [> In the real world evil can always justify itself -- LeeAnn, 18:04:36 01/20/02 Sun

In the real world people who know nothing are tortured for information they don't have.

In the real world the torturer becomes more evil than the worst of his enemies.

In the real world torture grows a hundred new enemies for every one friend it saves.

In the real world turnabout is fairplay and what you justify doing to others you deserve to have done to you.

Be careful what you justify, because you might be next.

[> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- Skips movie date, 07:40:41 01/21/02 Mon

...torturer becomes more evil than the worst of his enemies."

This is a myth. You don't become your enemy because you adopt some of their tactics. You destroy your enemy and then you get things back to normal. As long as your ends are just, that's what matters.

It's better to do evil than be evil, for the greater evil is to do nothing and let evil win.

[> [> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- Stranger, 10:15:54 01/21/02 Mon

"It's better to do evil than be evil, for the greater evil is to do nothing and let evil win."

But what else is evil than he who does evil, tell me ?

"You destroy your enemy and then you get things back to normal. "

That's all ? You killed people, you tortured people, and you expect it did nothing to you ? It had no consequences on your mind, your spirit, the way you think, and the way you look at yourself ?

[> [> [> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- Skip's Movie Date, 11:30:00 01/21/02 Mon

"But what else is evil than he who does evil, tell me ?"

Someone who does evil for evil sake. Someone who doesn't only use evil means, but has evil ends.

You must look at the motivation. Look at the ends that are trying to be achieved.

It is better for a lover of the truth to tell a lie than a liar to tell the truth.

Someone should be willing to employ evil means in the face of true evil, but they shouldn't like it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- Stranger, 12:06:30 01/21/02 Mon

Why, 'cause you think that nazis, religious fanatics and bomb-pausing revolutionaries think they do something else than 'good' ?

As if good was as easily distingued from evil than you could just KNOW that what evil you're doing, that the price you're paying and making other pay is good enough for the good you're making.

Sometimes, I guess it may happen, I guess the evil you stop is enough to justify the evil you made.
But I don't think you really ever know that for sure.

It's not like you could weight pain against pain, mesuring suffering against suffering and take the lesser one of those. You never really know the reach of the consequences of what you do when you make such decisions, the depth of those scars.

And most of the times, the safest way to do the good is having ways as goods as you can... Because even if sometimes evil can be necessary... it's still evil and should not be glorified.

I'm not American, so I can't have really a say about all those BenLaden mess. But I'm Jewish, and as early as yesterday I was trying to explain my uncle why I didn't think he could not speak about the arabs as 'barbarians' even if lots of arab countries are strongly antesemitics. I tried to explain him that it wasn't something I said to defend arabs, or antisemit arabs but something we owed to ourselves.

I owe it to myself not to ever caution torture. Because what torture is means an attack to human dignity.

You think of violence as a power - power to stop evil. I can understand that. But as every power it's addictive. That's the threat.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- dochawk, 12:59:41 01/21/02 Mon

Is doing evil sometimes justifiable against people you believe are evil? Its a pretty grey area, the real world example is Harry Truman, when he was presented with the option of dropping the atom bomb on Hiroshima/Nagasaki he was encountered with the classic conundrum, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians (many of whom are innocent unless you think that 3 year olds can be guilty of anything) or 50,000 American causalties (or more). We obviously know what Truman chose.

In the same war, during the battle of Britain, Ghandi recommended to the British people and Government to pursue a policy of nonviolence with the Germans, that eventually they would be forced to leave Britain (after taking it over due to the nonviolence). Where would we be now, if Britain had followed that policy, yet the same policy worked with India in obtaining its independence from Britain. Why? In the end, the Brits may have been greedy colonizers, but they weren't evil.

A final example using BtVS, would you have acted as Giles did, killing Ben, knowing the risks of letting him/Glory live or as Buffy, who couldn't kill a basically innocent person? Did killing Ben make Giles evil?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- manwitch, 13:20:13 01/21/02 Mon

Or, more to the point, did leaving ben alive make Buffy evil? I think not.

Many people have spent their lives addressing this question. What is clear is that the people we tend to admire do not advocate using evil means to achieve good ends. Gandhi, MLK, Mother Teresa.

One of the main problems is that you have no grounding for the moral absolutes that tell you your objective is good. As the above post points out, the Nazis didn't perceive themselves as evil-doers. We percieve them that way.

The argument that the ends justify the means can be used to justify the Vietnamese torture of American prisoners, the holocaust, the treatment of women under the Taliban. In all cases the perpetrators of the evil act could argue that it was necessary to oppose what they saw as a greater evil.

The ends justifies the means argument suggests that Martin Luther King would be more worthy of this holiday if he had tortured white Congressman to get the legislation he desired passed into law. But he knew, as does Mr. Spock, that "there are always alternatives." To the greatest men and women, it was never about the achieving of the goal, it was about who they were, what kind of person they embodied while here on earth.

We all know that there have been times (and will be more) when bad things are done in an effort to help preserve what is good. We know it happens. But the morality of it, the ethical price of doing a bad thing does not disappear. It doesn't suddenly become ethical to torture people just because you might save a life. You are paying a price in such an instance, not doing something admirable.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very well said manwitch ! :) I can't agree more -- Stranger, 13:24:34 01/21/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- Skip's Movie Date, 16:03:58 01/21/02 Mon

"The ends justifies the means argument suggests that Martin Luther King would be more worthy of this holiday if he had tortured white Congressman to get the legislation he desired passed into law. "

Many have said that it wasn't MLK Jr. who movatived Congress, but the more violent elements like Malcolm X.

And regardless of what you think of "white Congressmen" they weren't evil. Not in the same sense that Hitler was.

It has been said if your enemy is Britain fight like Gandhi. If your enemy is Hitler fight like Bonhoffer.

You must be as ruthless as necessary. Key word necessary. Ghadhi and King knew that their enemy could be reasoned with through appealing to their sense of morality. If your enemy has no sense of morality, such a tactics wouldn't work.

Both Ghadhi and King were in a struggle, not a war. Yes there was violence involved in both, but there was also still a political framework they could work in for justice.

If your enemy has no sense of morality, neither must you. It's about what will work to win or perserve what you are fighting for.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- Skip's Movie Date, 16:16:35 01/21/02 Mon

If either Ghadhi or Martin Luther King Jr. tried their non violent tactics against Hitler, neither of them would be remembered today.

There is a difference, as much as people like to play the moral equivalency argument, betwen Nazi Germany and Britain during Ghadhi's time. Between Nazi Germany and America.

You must be more ruthless than your enemy. But you shouldn't be ruthless needlessly.

Anyway the whole non-violence thing was a ploy anyway. They were both political leaders who choose their rhetoric carefully to serve their ends. It was all for public consumption.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm a pacifist so you know my idealogy -- Charlemagne20, 22:39:23 01/21/02 Mon

Everyone has a motive and there is only evil in the form of twisted good. Hence one must do one's best to work toward's pure good for the world to advance itself.

Congradulations by being ruthless your inquisition roots out the heretics.

You now have destroyed the church's spiritual authority almost irrecoverably. Evil is usually simply a quick term solution that destroys in the end what it stands for.

If we were higher in enlightment we'd see the same about war today as teh Dark Ages we look upon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- Skips Movie Date, 17:00:27 01/21/02 Mon

"Or, more to the point, did leaving ben alive make Buffy evil? I think not."

That's a very interesting question. As I can't really answer it. I just thank God that Giles was there. But it is an important question to consider.

I have always blamed Buffy for the numerous deaths of Angelus in Sunnydale for she had an opportunity to kill Angelus and did not do so because she still had feelings for Angel.

I don't know if her not doing it made her "evil" but it sure allowed evil to florish. And how does that saying go, all that evil needs to do to florish is for good people to do nothing.

We admire Buffy for her ethics, but her inaction has gotten people killed. Perhaps the greatest guilt is to be without sin. Perhaps she needs to become unethical. Perhaps that is part of her growing up.

There are people on this earth who are better than the rest of us. Saints, as it were Who live lives that we can strive for. I think the world needs people like that. But they also need the Giles of the world who have the ability to put ethics aside for the greater good.

But what happens when a Saint gets into the position of having to do something unethical for the greater good? Let us hope that there is always a Giles there to back them up.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- Skip's Movie Date, 17:06:36 01/21/02 Mon

What would Ghadhi or Martin Luther King Jr do if they lived in Nazi Germany?

Probably become more like Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I doubt they would have remained true to their pacifist principles.

To them, pacifism was a means to an end. To Bonhoeffer, it became a liability that he couldn't remain pure to.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> In the Real World Good can justify evil acts in the fight against evil -- Fred, 17:34:09 01/21/02 Mon

You can find a real audio version of the Bonhoeffer movie by clicking the link below.


Bonhoeffer was a leading pacifist but he found out that pacifism isn't practical when faced with true agents of evil. When faced with true agents of evil, one must become more ruthless than the enemy. Otherwise the agent of evil wins, and what they do with the power they obtain is a greater evil, than the evil you must do to stop them.

By the way, this does come from a religious site. But I see "Doing evil to stop evil" more of a philosophical issue than a religious one. When faced with true evil the ends do justify the means. Lying to stop evil is justified. Torturing to prevent evil from winning is justified. And after all Bonhoeffer was a religious philosopher, and this is a philosophy site.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Out of idle curiosity -- d'Herblay, 21:57:12 01/21/02 Mon

Hey, guys, I hope that you don't mind my asking, but assuming that there are more than one of you (an assumption I've never been willing to make), and given the group-think, the resistance to engaging in actual dialogue, and the relentless proselytizing, not to mention the fact that you are all apparently familiar with The Untouchables but not Field of Dreams, Bonhoffer but not Niebuhr, "The Savage Curtain" but not "The Trouble With Tribbles," I just have to wonder: who are you? Are you radical syndicalists? The Moonies? Lyndon LaRouche's people? Or Spartacists discovering reverse psychology?

Whatever you are, I am left with images of a walled compound where people sit around all day taking notes on Buffy, watching reruns of La Femme Nikita, and harassing people on the internet. Which doesn't sound all that different from my life. Well, except for the walls, and the armed guards, and the hallucinogens in the drinking water, and that I haven't watched La Femme Nikita in years.

But perhaps I'm mistaken, and you've discovered some sort of ecstatic vision. Please let me know. Who knows? I may even want to sign up. Do you have a good pension plan? Or will there be Kool-Aid?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> LOL! Thanks, d'H - you just made my day! -- Marie, 08:46:29 01/22/02 Tue

Even though I may have pulled some of my stitches laughing! Thanks, it was worth it!


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Stitches? Stitches??!! -- WW, 08:58:14 01/22/02 Tue

Marie, what happened? Are you okay? Something minor, I hope!
Take care,
WW ;o)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thank you kindly for asking! (OT) -- Marie, 01:34:08 01/23/02 Wed

But I'm fine - very fine compared to other things going on in the world today!

I had to go into hospital last week because I had an abscess in my jawbone. Not the dentist, because I get a reaction from anaesthetic (when I get a filling I'm never numbed), so when it needs an injection (or six!) I have to go in and get it done. So I've been slit, drilled, drained and stitched! And living on soup, soup and more soup ever since - if I've lost no weight, there's no justice in the world!

Whinge over, but you did ask! Stitches come out this afternoon, and tonight I'm having pasta!


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ahhh, d'Herb... and you think to doubt your talents and abilities... tsk... -- OnM, 09:28:57 01/22/02 Tue

It's way past the time we officially nominate d'Herblay for the auspicious post of The Fourth Evil.

Anyone second the nomination?



[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Seconded! -- Rattletrap, 10:16:07 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thirded! -- The Second Evil, 12:12:33 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'll vote for him! -- Woman with a Whip, 13:37:05 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Awwww . . . -- d'Herblay, 15:04:02 01/22/02 Tue

. . . it's an honor just to be nominated. But, having read this thread and absorbed some of the insane troll logic, I'd like to remind everyone that it is better to do the Fourth Evil than it is to be the Fourth Evil.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hey! Aren't you supposed to thank all the little people who made this possible? -- The Second Evil, 20:29:28 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks to Billy Barty, Harlan Ellison, Solitude1056, and the entire Lollipop Guild -- d'Herblay, 20:32:52 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> If he gets to be the Fourth Evil, can I be The Dreaded Table Four? ;) -- vandalia, 20:51:53 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Caught asleep at the wheel here. Who acquired theThird Evil title? -- A8, 17:56:54 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> HUMANITAS! -- The Second Evil, 20:25:59 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Bright lights! Bright lights! I'm blind! -- A8, 17:41:20 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> OnM's Evil Clone. -- The as-yet indeterminate Evil, 20:29:56 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Whoops! A difference of opinion..I thought it was Evil Clone -- WW, 20:33:23 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Indeed it is! Tremble before my terrible visage!! ( Bwa-ha-ha! to the 3rd power ) -- Evil Clone, 09:52:08 01/23/02 Wed

Oh, that's right, this is the net and you can't actually see the man behind the curtain.

Never mind.


( PS - No HTML allowed in the subject field, so I can't make it 'Bwa-ha-ha'-cubed. Sorry. )

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh, then it was d'Herblay & Humanitas who were both jonesing for the Fourth Evil title -- Solitude1056, 13:22:53 01/23/02 Wed

And I could've sworn that we already nominated Humanitas. Guess we're looking at a Fourth Evil A and a Fourth Evil B. See, that's something only this group would manage! Multiple evils! Bwahahahahahaha!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Whomanitas? -- The one and only Fourth Evil, 14:12:34 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Alas, I must agree with Sol, multiple 4th evils are better than one -- Masq, 16:06:51 01/23/02 Wed

It's evil, evil instead of just evil

Run, run for your lives! Here comes Humanitas and D'Herblay!

Up to them to decide who's "A" and "B"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Let him have it all . . . -- d'Herblay, 16:40:17 01/23/02 Wed

Evil doesn't share. Now I could stick around and pick a fight over this, but I've decided that the truly evil thing to do would be to make a grand gesture that appears gracious, but in fact masks an undercurrent of resentment which will well up later in some truly evil actions . . .

Besides, I don't need a title; I'm just 4 days away from getting all I really want out of this board . . .

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hmph! -- WW, 19:30:04 01/23/02 Wed

Well I, for one, am crushed! There's more to life than romance, y'know...there's philosophy, and evolutionary biology, and Monty Python, to name just a few of the things you're being so cavalier in tossing away!! To say nothing of Buffy!!!!

{Warning: Exclamation indicator maximum has been exceeded!!!!! Meltdown is imminent!!!!!!}


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> There's romance in evolutionary biology . . . -- d'Herblay, 19:44:26 01/23/02 Wed

. . . and a fair amount of evolutionary biology in romance, I suppose, not that I want to turn this thread into the great ev-psych debate. Believe me, evolutionary biology, and philosophy, and of course Buffy have featured and will feature greatly in the romance. Not so much Monty Python; she hasn't even seen the Oscar Wilde sketch, which to my mind makes the Spanish Inquisition look like a Pauly Shore movie.

But when you come right down to it, I'd rather be half of the first couple ATPo has brought together than any percentage of any numbered evil on any day of the week, though mostly on this Sunday.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oh. -- WW, 19:53:21 01/23/02 Wed


Okay then.

So we'll still be hearing from the both of you?


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hearing from us? This is our most cost-effective means of communication! -- d'Herblay, 19:58:56 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You couldn't get me off this board! -- Rahael, 09:52:26 01/24/02 Thu

It might feel like my brain has gone all mushy recently, but you may notice that my posting rate has gone up about 100%. Even I'm getting sick of seeing my name all over the board!

I fully expect to get some posting withdrawal symptons when I go away on holiday; but I'm sure I'll cope with fortitude, and bravery, just like our Buffster.

But I just wanted to say how much I appreciate everyone on this board - for making me laugh and think every day. Thank you's to all who have engaged me in debate, and all who have been so kind to me (you know who you are!).

(special thanks to the wonderful dubdub, and raised glass *clink!* to Mundus!)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: And I offer a cybertoast to the happy couple -- mundusmundi, strangely giddy himself these days, 19:53:22 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thing is, now that I think about it, d'Herblay's not really evil... -- Solitude1056, 18:11:19 01/23/02 Wed

... so much as delightfully twisted.

So I propose starting a new series, for those twisted and insane folks, like d'Herblay, who astound us with their brilliance and then lay us low with their twisted senses of humor that can gently but thoroughly poke fun at everything around them, including themselves.

Now we just need to figure out a title. First Wickedness? Not quite right. First Humor? Hmm, no that sounds too grecian. Comic, slapstick, none of those fit. Droll, that's the word I keep thinking of with d'Herblay - kinda dry, not always a bellylaugh but always one that even a day or two later can still make you giggle, just remembering.

Oh, wait, we've got a vampire slayer already... but what I think we have on our hands now is our own Chosen One. Scroll down for my nomination of d'Herblay's new title:

d'Herblay, the Troll Slayer

Say, we need our existential scooby writer's group to come up with some fanfiction for that!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> OK, mea maxima culpa if I got confused, but there are possible solutions... -- OnM, 19:10:31 01/23/02 Wed

I did check on the board slang page and found no listing for The Fourth Evil. If Humanitas was previously granted this honor, then I apologize for the attempt to place d'Herblay in his place.

As all additional Evils are but minions to the effusively effulgent First, personally I would not consider it dishonorable to place d'Herb as Fifth. In fact, five is a prime number, and we all know d'Herblay is a poster in his prime.

Nevertheless, if it must be Fourth or no, there are possible mathematical solutions to the problem:

1) Use another number base. In binary, for example, d'Herb could be the 100th Evil. Or in octal, he'd still be 4, but could have a little '8' subscript appended.

2) He could be the Pi-th Evil. It worked for Darren Aronovsky.

3) He could be the -4th Evil. A bonus would be that if he and Humanitas happened to post simultaneously, they'd cancel out and not crash the board.

4) He could be the Fourth Evil in a dimension where there are no numbers 1, 2 or 3. Can't possibly get better than that!

Hope these suggestions are helpful.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> *sniff!!* -- d'Herblay, 19:56:04 01/23/02 Wed

That was really touching . . . probably not touching enough for me to start writing a power-themed essay in three days, but touching enough to make me feel guilty about blowing it off.

Still, though, such a title just highlights my shortcomings. I may be able to subdue the trolls, even drive them away eventually, but I've only actually slain "Jod"/"The Truth"/"Dood"/"You Suck," and he was small potatoes. Perhaps "d'Herblay the Troll Pesterer" might be more appropriate. Or, how about "d'Herblay the Keeper Alive of Troll Threads Long After the Trolls Have Left"?

Besides, having had a long and intimate experience with the October archives, I'm left wondering why "Troll Slayer" is good but "TrollBot" is bad.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> *d'Herblay the Troll Thread Subverter* ? -- OnM, 20:18:59 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Because a bot isn't as good as the real thing! ;-) -- Solitude1056, 21:45:49 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> How about... -- A8, 17:39:24 01/23/02 Wed

...corresponding evils from alternate realities? Evil and Shrimpevil? Evil and Vamp Evil? Evil and Evilkneivalevil?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Out of idle curiosity; Fred -- Fred the obvious pseudonym, 16:23:43 01/22/02 Tue

Unfortunately for the confusion factor, there are indeed two (or more) of us on this web using the moniker "Fred." I am "Fred the obvious pseudonym;" he is "Fred." No, I've never read Bonhoffer, perhaps a sign that I am "nyet kulturny."

Since I am an obvious pseudonym we can assume that "Fred" without attribution is the genuine article. I don't recall any group-think or proselytization (I've never asked people to become "Fred" or even "pseudonym") but perhaps I've done so in a different incarnation. If I've offended, I apologize.

To ease the confusion just remember that if the Fred in question has no addendum to his/her name he is the genuine "Fred," while I am the genuine pseudonym.

Hope this helps.

Fred, the obvious pseudonym

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Obviously Psuedonymous Fred: we can recognize a troll on our own by now; you are not one. Chill. -- d'Herblay, 20:19:12 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Because men did evil to ensure WW2 didn't happen, it did -- Charlemagne20, 22:45:50 01/21/02 Mon

Good for Bonhoffer but the fact remains if not for men trying to be ruthless to Germany in WW1 then the Holocost never, Nor 10 million dead Russians, nor potentially the cold war would have happened because Hitler never would have come into power.

It's easy to say this equals this equals this. However even I will say I can't rewrite history or that even my example is any good.

After all the Russians might have developed the atomic bomb first and we'd have been annhilated and made communist slaves of Stalin....however individual moral decisions must be made and IMHO Buffy needs to be treated the same way. You may say Buffy caused human deaths but because angelus got his soul back thousands more potentially have been saved (watch Angel for instance)

Was it the right decision? Possibly possibly not-we arn't in Buffy's head nor can we get there, you must simply do what you feel is right. It's an action show and the idea that "true evil" exists such as in Demons is one to always face...

No one after all can fight it without being irrecoverably twisted by it in some way. The Veterans of WW2, WW1 (including Hitler), and Vietnam prove this...many men after war of course were relatively fine but it always impacts lives

Why I say we can never take two steps backwards to deal with evil because those two steps will become a hundred

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I don't think *anyone* is evil, though *acts* can be -- Stranger, 13:22:33 01/21/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> There are evil people -- Skip's Movie Date, 16:21:53 01/21/02 Mon

You need to look at ends. There are some very evil people in the world. And you must be willing to do whatever it takes to stop them.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- Skip's Movie Date, 16:41:10 01/21/02 Mon

"A final example using BtVS, would you have acted as Giles did, killing Ben, knowing the risks of letting him/Glory live or as Buffy, who couldn't kill a basically innocent person? Did killing Ben make Giles evil?"

No, killing Ben didn't make Giles evil. But killing Ben was evil. Ben was a basically good person. Was trying to become a Doctor. Wanted to help people. He was a decent person. He didn't deserve to die.

Sure you could say he threw his lot in with Glory. But only under the most extreme circumstances. He tried to fight it. Tried to help Dawn at first. But remember, Glory threatened Ben with Hell. That he would be tormented for eternity if he didn't help Glory. Eternity is a pretty long time, and Ben knew Glory had the power to do it. I'm sorry, under that pressure, I would help Glory even if it meant the death of Dawn. Sorry Dawn.

No, I don't believe Ben deserved to die. But the only way Giles could ensure that Glory didn't return to power was to kill Ben. He wanted to kill Glory, but the only way he could do it was to kill Ben, an innocent. I consider Ben collaterial damage, someone through little fault of his own had to die to stop evil from florishing. It was evil that Ben had to die. When Giles choked the life out of Ben, it was an evil act.

But however evil the act was, it was a necessary act. It was the only way to stop Glory's evil from destroying the earth. The ends justified the means. The fact that it was necessary made it just.

Giles might have "done evil" but he didn't become evil. For his motives were honorable. His ends just.

"It's better to do evil than be evil"

Would you have acted as Giles did, killing Ben?

Yes I would. But I would have given the holiday to Buffy. Because we need "heroes" in the world like Buffy.

But to survive we also need people like Giles willing to put all ethics aside, and do what it takes for the greater good. People like Giles with the stomach to be ruthless.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I see so the thought never occured to use a spell to bind Glory to you? -- Charlemagne20, 22:49:45 01/21/02 Mon

Ben was a man whose evil was in fact quite well spoken of. He murdered the insane to cover up Glory. If he wanted to save human lives then he would have destroyed himself.

I don't blame him for the extremities but I don't blame the insane or those you usually term evil....they faced the fire of Hell and were consumed.

However if the story had ended with Giles and Willow finding a spell so Ben could get away with a new life and a new hope til Glory died with him of old age....that wouldn't be so "dramatic"

So hence it wasn't done, this is TV not real life

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> And Hitler Believed... -- LeeAnn, 01:55:42 01/22/02 Tue

"Is doing evil sometimes justifiable against people you believe are evil?"

No it isn't. Hitler believed the Jews were evil and he was justified in trying to destroy them to wipe that evil out. Was he justified? Of course not but evil people never see themselves as evil. They never think of themselves that way. They call their enemies evil and demonize them. So we should do good because only by doing good is evil eliminated. Doing evil makes us evil and spreads it like seeds fertilized by each drop of split blood.

(I could go off on a tangent here about Spike becoming good by doing good, however unwilling. Doing good makes you good. Doing evil makes you evil.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- Skip's Movie Date, 15:24:30 01/21/02 Mon

If you don't stop evil, evil will florish.

To stop evil you must be ruthless.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> If you are ruthless you may become evil, that's how it happens -- Charlemagne20, 22:53:44 01/21/02 Mon

It isn't 100% a chance but it's a chance one would rather not take I think.

Pinochet was a hero to his people until he was arrested by the British Empire and his list of crimes was paraded out. His ruthlessness had become embarrasing.

As is the question was communism so horrible that thousands deserved to be tortured and murdered so it couldn't happen in the Falklands?

Pinochet took the decision out of the People's hands and took action before the communists could military...now we'll never know and his life ends in a horrible tragedy.

One that might have been avoided...or not but some people didn't bother to try or they did and failed.

Simple thoughts there

[> [> [> Re: In the real world evil can always justify itself -- Fred, 09:15:31 01/21/02 Mon

"In the real world turnabout is fairplay."

This isn't a "game." "Fairplay" has nothing to do with nothing. It is war, and you do what you have to in order to defeat your enemy.

We are talking survival here, not scoring some sporting match.

The world isn't "fair" and in the real world you have to do what it takes.

By the way, if turnabout is fair play, than you have proven my point. They torture us, so turnabout is fair play. We should torture them.

What it is really about though is ending the conflict as decisively as possible, as soon as possible. To that ends, all means must be applied.

Why must we be ruthless? Because our enemy is ruthless. If we aren't more so, they win. Someone must keep the darkness at bay. Someone must stand on that bridge and let nothing pass.

If you knew that by torturing your enemy you could save thosands, or maybe if they had nuclear capability hundreds of thousands of lives, it would be immoral to NOT torture them. NOT torturing them would be evil.

Are we so arogant to think that we have progressed so far that we aren't at risk of losing it all? We could lose it all in a New York minute. We must ensure that we have a society, before that society can ensure our protections.

Our ends are just, but our means MUST BE RUTHLESS.

For there is no substitute for victory. As the only option short of victory is our destruction, and the unleashing of great evil upon the world.

So excusing me for not weaping when Buffy slays a vampire. I save my tears for the victims of Sunnydale, and on Angel, Los Angeles.

[> [> [> [> This is a TV show -- Charlemagne20, 22:59:05 01/21/02 Mon

"For there is no substitute for victory"

John McCaine does not speak for me. John McCaine I do not support the views of. John McCaine's beliefs in what constitutes a victory do not apply to me.

His defination of victory in bombs dropping to prevent attack is the defination of defeat for me.

You'll pardon the rhetoric above but it is quite effective Ive found when articulating a point. This is a TV show and the fact remains Vampires die because they are paper cut outs of people that are scribbled in and people love watching the "poof".

Real horrors exist yes but if lasting change is to be accomplished the circumstances which break men must be eliminated...perhaps it can't be as long as men are weak but I'll try my way over yours.

Because as Spock said trying to talk a man out of shooting you (or yes millions) is wrth more than shooting him before he does it...maybe it's damage control but that's me.

I wouldn't blame James Bond for doing it before the villain destroys the world but its' not what I would do and I hope it'd work or some other method that doesn't destroy another

[> What is evil to you? -- Shul, 02:18:27 01/21/02 Mon

3 simple questions then 1 annoying question:

1. Would you torture an enemy spy or soldier to aquire the whereabouts of one of your nations citizens taken hostage by the enemy?
2. Would you torture an enemy spy or soldier to aquire the whereabouts of a bomb planted in a major foreign city (allied & friendly to us)?
3. Would you torture an enemy spy or soldier to aquire the whereabouts of a doomsday weapon?
4. Would you torture an enemy spy or soldier to aquire the whereabouts of a bomb planted in a major foreign city (Hostile, but not actively so)?

Annoying question Is there any moral or ethical difference between quesions 1, 2, 3, & 4? And if so please explain it.

[> [> Re: What is evil to you? -- Skips Movie Date, 07:52:08 01/21/02 Mon

First three of course. I would torture the enemy spy or solider.

Last one, probably. The reason I am not sure is the way you stated hostile, but not actively so. It would have to be considered if by the bomb going off it would serve or harm our interests. I would think that the bomb going off would harm our interests increasing hostities between us and the hostile country.

When the stakes are so high you really have consider the ramifications of the situation. If it could be successfully argued that having that bomb go off would weaken the hostile and not, as I fear would happen stir up an hornets nest, then the prudent thing would be to remain hands off.

For example, when Angel locked the lawyers in with Dru and Darla, that served his interests. The only thing is he should have burned the house down to ensure that Dru and Darla didn't come out of it either.

[> [> [> Re: Dershowitz is not the only one -- DEN, 10:38:22 01/21/02 Mon

January's ATLANTIC has a brief article along the same lines, including the author's conversation with a Sri Lankan officer nicknamed "The Terminator." And France has been rocking for a year because of the memoirs published by a senior officer, a key figure in "rigorous interrogation" during the Algerian War in the 50s and 60s, who defends the practice. Any poster who reads French can pick up the debate on their internet. It hasn't made much of a splash here, but SOLDIER OF FORTUNE magazine has a discussion of the issue in English.

And lest the subject be considered irrelevant for this board, as early as S2 Buffy obtains information that is necessary to save four other Scoobies by shoving a cross into a vampire's mouth and holding it in place. We see the smoke of the vamp's scorching tissues as the scene ends. How often do her dialogues with Willy the snitch involve brutalizing him until he talks? There are other examples as well.

I'm hardly suggesting Buffy needs to exchange her occasional leather outfits for full stormtrooper regalia. But it may be worth noting that these tactics are not questioned IN PRINCIPLE, even by Giles--who ironically becomes a torture victim himself.

[> [> [> Re: What is evil to you? -- fresne, 10:54:29 01/21/02 Mon

"For example, when Angel locked the lawyers in with Dru and Darla, that served his interests. The only thing is he should have burned the house down to ensure that Dru and Darla didn't come out of it either."

Really, how?

I believe that Angel's goal was to destroy Wolfram and Hart. I say I believe, because I was never quite sure what he was attempting to do.

Let us consider what occurred. Angel managed to kill a room full of mid level lawyers who work for a high paying, high profile law firm. Actually, no let's digress. I love digression.

Now the first thing in war is to determine what your enemy values and needs. (I'll get back to Angel in a minute) Then you try and deprive it from them. Yes, I know it seems obvious when you say it. But for some reason, it isn't. You end up with strategists like Foch or Clauzwitz going on about how "blood is the price of victory" and how the hardest thing is finding you enemy so you can fling yourself at them. This is the kind of thinking that led up to WWI, find you enemy's strong point and smash it. Kill as many people as you can. The one who can outlast the other wins. Except they don't really, they just keep flinging 18 year old boys at one another. Throwing tons of metal bombs, that they were still picking out the Belgian dirt in the 70s.

Really clever strategist, or rather people who are actually have a strategy, make their enemy expend their strength on themselves. Attack their enemy's weak point. For an absolutely seminal discussion of this read, The Seven Pillar's of Wisdom. That moment when he realizes, among other things, that killing Turks is irrelevant. Why? Because, the Turks have access to a vast army of conscripts, whereas the Arabs are few in number. If they try and match them strength to strength, they can never win. Attack their weak spot, things. Turkey didn't have a strong industrial infrastructure. They couldn't afford to lose supplies. And attack their other weak spot, public opinion. In battle the high ground is a position of strength. The moral high ground is no different. The Turks horribly mistreated prisoners. The Arab's, if they were to gain allies, keep the locals sweet, couldn't afford to. Lawrence deliberately manipulated press releases that played on the idea of the "Noble Savage" (something he did again during the Paris Peace talks). What it boils down to is our fight is just and you can tell because we behave nobly. Therefore, dear reluctant ally, please give us stuff to help us fight the evil fiends. Chairman Mao made similar instructions to his guerrilla soldiers. Always be polite. Never bother women. Always pay for everything. Thus by contrast, gain public sympathy. Sway the population to your point of view. As Napoleon said, who really should have listened to his own advice, in war... "the moral is to the physical as three to one."

Because wars are not really fought in battlefields. They are fought in minds of the people. Wars are only won, when one side is convinced that it has lost. And even then. Crimean War to Franco-Prussian War to WWI to WWII to a myriad chain of causal effect. We must live in the worlds that wars create. Each conflict creating possible seeds for the next. What a different world had the First Crusaders not sacked quite so fiercely and well. Had the locals of Islam not learned some interesting lessons about Christian piety.

Which I suppose is another reason that I have problems with saying, "Today I have these morals, but tomorrow, with my enemy it is okay to do what I will for my cause." I don't really trust people to know where the line is, where behavior is okay here and here, but not here. I rather expect people in power, once given it, not to give it back. To use it on me if I don't agree with them. However, I digress...this isn't about morality or delicacy of feeling. My general cynicism about the corrupting influence of power. About being an adult. Being a child. Being Pagan like Scipio. Being a most Christian general like Belisarius. This is about strategy.

Now then. I've meandered a good ways from Angel. But that's all right, I've said all of these things before. And really, I'm only saying them now because pointless discussion of the difference between tactics and strategy as it relates to a fictional series is more interesting than figuring out just where I hid the laundry detergent.

Now some important things to consider before any military action. Does this action serve my ultimate goal? What are the potential costs of this action? Do the costs outweigh the benefits?

Anyway, so here's Angel. He does this forceful thing, which gets some of his enemies killed. Low level enemies. Enemies that can easily be replaced, because heaven knows there is no shortage of ambitious lawyers in the world. Thus Angel shows himself to be a student of Clauswitz.

What were the costs of the action? Lilah and Lindsey become more determined enemies. He loses Kate's support with the police. Ultimately, this action serves as one more item that drives Kate from the force. He loses the support of Gunn (and his pose), Wesley (his books and knowledge), Cordelia (her visions and the clarity of her vision). So, in one military engagement, Angel alienated at least four allies and strengthened the resolve of his immediate enemies. His gain, a roomful of replaceable dead lawyers.

I guess my biggest problem with "Dark Angel" (well, not the cutsey kick butt 19 year old girl, but the big broody guy) is that he was a lousy strategist. Good tactician. Wins his battles. Just not very good at the long term planning stuff. Then again, I'd have been attacking their weak spot, which has got to be their rep with the bar association. Course, that would have depended on Angel being a detective and that way the series does not go. Or perhaps, saved the lawyers in the room and sewn some good will (I saved your life, your bosses don't care if you die/might even kill you themselves) credits. After all, letting them die, while emotionally satisfying, had few long term benefits.

None of which should be taken to mean that I don't believe that fighting wars doesn't include killing the enemy. It's just that the more I read, the more I see of life, the more I understand the threads that bind every action and inaction. The hidden costs. There is a reason that the 1920s belonged to the Lost Generation. Horrors once engaged in are not easily forgotten.

And as I always end this argument, I must end with this quote from a fictional work. It pains me not to quote Joinville or Lawrence or Hart or whomever, but there it is. The thing that sums up everything that I believe is simply this, "The only thing that you shouldn't give up to get your heart's desire, is your heart."

Or perhaps I won't wrap up there. This discussion reminds me nothing so much as trench warfare. Sides grappling because they have an infinite supply of words. Perhaps, the 30 years war. The gentle war of the pricking Roses. Sides that can never reconcile on an opinion. Why then do we dispute? Why not walk away for some brunch. I am civilized because that is my investment in civilization. Alas, the laundry pile looms and bathroom could use a scrub. Wars are fought for less causes than the avoidance of housework.

And so, do I want my government to have free reign? Purely, aside from the moral dilemmas, I don't trust my government to gallop wildly across the countryside and still get where I want them to go. Color me red, white and blue. My heart swells with the same patriotism as the American bear. However, also color me cynical. McCarthy was a fine patriot too.

Then again, perhaps the civilized point in war comes when we all realize that we have way to much housework to continue and we go off to do it.

[> [> [> [> Re: What is evil to you? -- Kevin, 12:04:15 01/21/02 Mon

McCarthy recognized a true threat. After the cold war Western researches had access to KGB archives.

One of these books is known as The Haunted Wood : Soviet Espionage in America- -The Stalin Era

Another one is The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors

And still another The Secret World of American Communism

A few others I would recommend are:

Red Files : Secrets from the Russian Archives

Hollywood Party : How Communism Seduced the American Film Industry in the 1930s and 1940s

These books and many others document that they threat was real. I hope you are open minded enough to read material that conficts with pre-conceived notions. Among the Americans caught in the Soviet orbit were many top government officials, including a Congressman from New York and a close advisor to President Roosevelt, as well as an American ambassador's daughter.

It was because of the spying of the Soviets in America that they got the atomic bomb from us. Ted Hall, who was part of Manhatten Project practically gave them everything. A documentary about Ted Hall titled "The Boy Who Gave Away the Bomb" aired on the History Channel.

[> [> [> [> [> The question isn't whether there was a threat but what to do about it -- Charlemagne20, 23:10:03 01/21/02 Mon

By being ruthless to win of course the Atomic Bomb was justified but so was the Economic Chaos of the World Trade Center Bombing (I won't call it September Eleventh-that seems too much like saying "You know who" from Harry Potter).

To the Nazis the idea for a purified world of thought, deed, and good so was the holocost. We rightly are horrofied by their actions but we must ask ourselves how the history books would look if they hadn't taken that final step and had stopped after restoring germany's economic structure.

To use a fictional example because I hover too close to the thought too evil to contemplate with the Nazis. What would happen if in the Movie Metropolis the Master of Metropolis had murdered all the Workers. Suddenly because of the robots pampering everyone crime is nonexistant and humanity is a paradise.

Exploitation of the worker and their horrofic state has been eliminated and the world is in fact Utopia. That's how I see ruthlessness in War. The Easy way out and while I don't blame people for it I do believe the Easy way out causes more problems than it solves.

Abeit there's going to be no good solution when someone's backed into a corner, I think everyone should try for it...and never succumb to it nomatter what. In a way that makes me a radical I suppose

The Inquisition and McCarthyism share the fact that they were idealogical battles. To many in the Inqusition there was no doubt that heresay lead to hellfire and damnation. McCarthy knew the horrors of the Communists and what they might do to the "American Way"

However they are both reviled because at heart they betrayed the ideals of Christ (Pacifism) and America (Freedom of expression) because it was the best way to protect the ideals in their minds.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: What is evil to you? -- fresne, 07:32:48 01/22/02 Tue

Typical. You spend a few hours avoiding the housework pondering strategy and the meaning of war and why we fight. You try to decide whether to include Joinville's great quote about how strategy should be a tree in which each branch leads to victory. You ponder referencing Lawrence's section of the Encyclopedia Britannica (he wrote the first essay on guerrilla warfare). You idly consider Chairman Mao, Scipio, Bellisarius, and the wasteland that was the Crusades. And what do you get, sigh... a reading list in reaction to an off hand comment about Senator McCarthy.

Sadly, I probably can't approach the course list with an open mind. One, my mind is only loosely attached. It might fall out. Two, it would kind of be like when I torture myself with books on the War of the Roses. As a Ricardian, I always find myself yelling at the book, he didn't do it. My money has always been on Henry VII quietly arranging the prince's murders. Poor Richard III, sniff. And so in love with his wife. Ahem...Yes, so like just about anyone who already has an opinion on a subject, I'm mainly looking for books by people who agree with me. Sad, but true. Oh, well.

Now as to their being Communist spies in the 1950s. Quelle Shock. I'd be pretty surprised if we didn't have spies in the USSR at the time, so you know, okay, not really going to argue with you there.

I'm just inclined to see it as a reality of life. Although, I think it may be an age group thing, I just can't help but feel sorry for people under the Communist regime. Your toilet paper sucks. You have to stand in line for it. You build the world's largest telescope. Course it's soooo big, that it doesn't work (it's a gravity warping glass thing). You build the world's largest canal, but it's soooo shallow that it freezes in the winter. You're collectively terrified that your going to get invaded, because you always get invaded. Varangians. Mongols. Poles. Prussians. French. Japanese. Germans, and so on.

So, you take over a ring of satellite countries. Just to protect yourself. From invasion. Because your always getting invaded. And maybe you should make yourself the biggest, strongest badass on the block. So, no one will ever, ever put you down again. And there's this young thing of a country. Never had so suffer a day in its life. Totally ideologically opposed to you. (course, you didn't actually overthrow the bourgeois, you didn't have much of bourgeois ever and Marx would be confused by how you happened.) And this country doesn't want you to have a protective ring. Has all sorts of technological advantages over you. That is a threat to you. And you'd do anything to protect yourself. Anything. It's the sort of thinking that leads to, "well maybe just one pre-emptive strike. We could win a nuclear war." All a matter of perspective.

Happy to live now, where I could say all that and not get arrested. Loose my job etc.

Anyway, as to McCarthy...I already have my opinion. Pretty much typified by, McCarthyism and the New York's Hearst Press. Fascinating book, whose conclusions boil down to the Crucible by Arthur Miller. I like that kind of symmetry.

I can also read:
This Nest of Vipers : McCarthyism and Higher Education in the Mundel Affair, 1951-52
McCarthyism : The Great American Red Scare
No Ivory Tower : McCarthyism and the Universities
Secret Agents : The Rosenberg Case, McCarthyism, and Fifties America

Yawn, yawn, yawn. A bunch of books that support my philosophy. Yeah! Huzah! Whatever. It's actually why, I only try and recommend one book per post. Makes me feel less like I'm prosteletizing.

You know I feel like I should mention Buffy or Angel in there somewhere. Can't really think of anything to say right now. Maybe latter. Maybe bored now. Back to reading the hair thread.

[> [> [> [> Brillant Post. Loved it. -- LeeAnn, 02:33:18 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> Fresne: What is evil to you?<-- Great Post -- David, 02:37:35 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> Kudos, fresne, you say it perfectly, once again! ;-) -- Solitude1056, 12:17:35 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Ah, better than parking validation (NT) ;> -- fresne, 07:19:17 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> Re: Ok, let's talk Buffy and see how it works -- Manwitch, 08:35:57 01/22/02 Tue

I appreciate your ruthlessness and the passion you have for your cause.

The argument as I understand it is that good ends sometimes justify the use of evil means, and even that it is sometimes necessary to use evil means lest the good ends be endangered.

The problem is that even if we accept this as an axiom, you have failed to demonstrate that your ends are good, or that you have the capacity or authority to determine when the evil means are necessary. You have neglected to give us any grounding that would help us to determine in the future which ends are good ones and when their protection necessitates evil means.

Lacking that, for all practical purposes, you become your enemy. I walk into a room, and I see you and your enemy torturing each other and I have no basis on which to distinguish between you. You assume incorrectly that all rational minds will necessarily agree that your ends are the good ones.

So let's talk Buffy to see how your argument works.

The Gift is the episode that most deliberately and clearly addresses these issues. Buffy is in a war with Glory. Glory is ruthless. She has Dawn and is willing to kill her. Giles, the researcher par excellence concludes that in order to save the world, it is necessary to kill Dawn. Willow concurs with this interpretation. (Leave aside the fact that they later turn out to be wrong. That isn't relevant to evaluating Buffy's moral choices and obligations at that particular moment). Buffy does not dispute their interpretation. She recognizes the equation if x than y. But she refuses to do it. So, is Buffy evil? Is it evil of Buffy to not kill Dawn when the situation necessitates it? Or is it evil of Giles to assume that his end (saving the world) is worthy of such means (killing Dawn)? On what basis does Giles have the authority to make such a pronouncement?

Buffy is, however, willing to be ruthless. She is willing to kill all her best and closest friends if they threaten Dawn. "I'll kill anyone who goes near Dawn," she says to them.

What is Buffy's cause for which she is willing to be ruthless? It clearly is NOT Dawn's life. Buffy is well aware that Dawn will die either way.

Giles: If the ritual starts every living thing in this world will suffer unspeakable torment and death, including Dawn.
Buffy: Then the last thing she'll see is me protecting her.
Giles: You'll fail. You'll die. We all will.
Buffy: I'm sorry. I love you all, but I'm sorry.

So please understand, Buffy is not fighting to save Dawn's life. She knows that won't happen. She's not fighting to save the world. She is fighting to save the value of that world. A world in which she has to kill Dawn is not a world worth saving. She all but says that: "Giles, I don't know how to live in the world if these are the choices."

To Buffy, it is better to lose a world that was worth saving than to save a world that should not have existed. Is she evil for this? Or does she have the moral authority to make this extremely undemocratic decision that will have monstrous consequences for all?

It seems impossible to quarrel with Buffy's end. Her "end" is that she will not be made a murderer of her own blood by her enemies. She is fighting for the value of humanity, not the survival of humans. What is the point of continuance of humans if they are not humane?

When Giles kills Ben, he prefaces it with those nice remarks about Buffy. Those remarks make clear that the situation still necessitates Ben's death. They are still at war and Ben/Glory is still a clear and present danger and Buffy even knows it. But she still won't kill him. Again, is buffy evil for that decision? In your view, doesn't the situation demand that she behave unethically at that moment? Remember, she doesn't know that Giles will come along and finish the job.

I'm not holier than thou. I thought it was cool (in a dark sort of way) that Giles took care of it. And I certainly am no saint in my own life. But I think its pretty darned clear that Buffy is the model to whom we are being asked to aspire, not Giles.

So you save your cause by inhumane means? If that's what you've preserved, what value did it really have?

How do you reconcile your views with Buffy's decisions in "The Gift?" How do you NOT conclude that she was evil, given your argument? And if she wasn't evil, than how do you see her as less evil than Giles or even Glory, who is only using ruthless means to get past her ruthless enemies in another dimension?

Just some thoughts. There's no right answer.

[> [> [> [> Re: Ok, let's talk Buffy and see how it works -- fresne, 16:49:11 01/22/02 Tue

Excellent, analysis.

And I would have to say that it is the very moral complexity of BtVS that draws me to it. As, in the black and white thread, BtVS interests me because the of its many shades of color.

Which are the right decisions? Is there such a thing as a right decision? What if it were Ben on the tower, Dawn lying broken in the dirt?

Actually, Giles has been in the curious position of killing an innocent (i.e. sending a young girl) to save the world throughout the entire series. It's a choice that I'm inclined to think increasingly haunts him. Compare the bounce in first season Giles, to season 6. Actually, even in first season, his greatest fear was failing Buffy. Fearing the day that he would have to bury her. A fear which has become reality.

And for me, Giles choice to kill Ben is a really lovely moment precisely because it is not clear cut. On one hand, Ben is not an innocent. He summoned the Queller demon, which not only attacked Glory's victims, but others as well. Nice parallel with Willow actually. Doing magic without thinking about all the possible consequences. And yet Giles does not know any of this. He is not in my privileged position. All he knows is that Ben contains Glory. That Glory is a threat. Interesting that the option to kill Ben was presented by Xander, the heart, earlier in the episode, who then rejected it.

At this point, Giles reminds me of Lord Peter Whimsey. A character, who having led men to die in the trenches, reaches an end to himself and can no longer do it. And yet, because of his internal code, finds himself drawn over and over to situations that involve justice, truth, and the life and death of human beings. The question of what being a watcher has done to Giles is something which has not really been explored, but I have high hopes for the new Watcher series.

And in the Gift, here is Buffy, also having finally reached an end to herself. Who can no longer stand a world which constantly takes things away. I really see her choice, as one coming from a literal fining away of herself. All the extraneous removed. Her choice comes from the rock bottom core of who Buffy is. The foundation which you can not go against, because you would then cease to exist. And like Giles, at the core of who she is, she make the choice that she always makes. Sacrificing herself over and over to save the world.

However, we mustn't be drawn into too much parallelism.

Consider that in that final moment it is not just Giles kneeling in the shadow of the tower killing Ben. Not just Buffy standing in the light of a new day and sacrificing herself for Dawn. It's Willow, who researched restoring her lover's mind rather than seeking ways to defeat Glory. Although in the end, the two were the same thing. It's Spike lying in the dirt having made choices, which when you think about it, should be entirely contrary to his ethics. It's Xander and Anya choosing to fight to retain that third option. The right not to have to make the hard choice. It's Anya pushing Xander out the way, mortal flesh briefly buried under a pile of rubble. Actually, the only characters who don't get to make a moral choice are Dawn and Tara, although they certainly get to live with consequences.

As I consider the Gift in context with Birthday, I wonder if we are not being presented with necessarily right or wrong choices, but the necessity of making choices and living with the consequences of those choices. It's not whether or not you pass or fail the test, its that you take the test.

In some ways, I'm inclined to see the hard decisions in BtVS as representing the hard moral choices that we, as adults must all face. Oh, not to whether or not to kill someone. Rather, the every day moral dilemmas of being true yourself.

As with magic, there are always consequences to every choice. I wouldn't have it any other way.

[> [> [> [> [> Excellent, excellent posts, both of you! -- vandalia, 21:05:07 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Ok, let's talk Buffy and see how it works -- manwitch, 05:55:15 01/23/02 Wed

However, we mustn't be drawn into too much parallelism.

Consider that in that final moment it is not just Giles kneeling in the shadow of the tower killing Ben. Not just Buffy standing in the light of a new day and sacrificing herself for Dawn.

I totally agree. It is the cumulative effect of all those moral choices that you mention that make that episode, for me, the high point of the series, perhaps rivaled only by the end of Tabula Rasa. Just my own li'l opinion.

But to add some more parallelism, Giles choice in a way makes me very sad. He kills Ben to save the world, but there is certainly a strong intimation that he is killing Ben to save Buffy. He has always been at his most Ruthless (band candy aside) when he is protecting Buffy. I think his choice is exactly what this thread is all about. Giles decided that his end (saving the world and saving Buffy) was worth unethical, unheroic means (killing a human being who, at the moment at least, was helpless). But sadly, Giles didn't save the world, Buffy did. And Giles didn't save Buffy. She willingly sacrificed for the world and her sister the very thing that Giles was willing to kill to protect. Herself. And in doing that, I wonder if she rendered Giles' act meaningless.

He debased himself to save her, and she was never for a moment thinking about saving herself.

I don't think its an accident that Tara calls him a "killer" before she leaves to go to the big day. Its the very term Buffy has been agonizing over when she says, "Maybe the slayer is just a killer after all." But Buffy turns out not to be a killer. Giles is. Tara doesn't call him a Slayer, or a Champion. She calls him a killer. And the purpose for which he killed ends up an illusion anyway. Buffy sacrifices herself to save the world. Giles act neither saves the world nor Buffy. I'm sure that is not lost on him. I think it would have been easier on him to have done what he did if he could believe that he had saved the world, or that he had saved buffy.

At any rate, that's why I don't really subscribe to the ends justify the means idea. Because you don't know what you're doing. You don't know how it will turn out. So it really can't be about the outcome.

[> [> [> [> [> excellent, both of you -- Liz, 12:34:42 01/23/02 Wed

"The question of what being a watcher has done to Giles is something which has not really been explored, but I have high hopes for the new watcher series."

It had not really occurred to me how Buffy's sacrifice was an additional blow for Giles because he had just killed to save her. I saw him killing primarily for her and I saw him thinking that it was a wrong thing to do, but for some reason I had never thought out how her death would rearrange that event for him. Gods.

Yet another reason why he is so wrung out in 6th season.

In the DVD commentary Joss said that Tony was great for the role because he brought a kind of youth to it. He made Giles into a character who didn't really know who he was any more than the kids. Therefore leaving just as much room for character development. And they did develop him just as much, largely in subtle ways that you don't notice at first.

I think Giles may be just as lost as everyone else is this season. And he's doing it alone.
"Understand we'll go hand in hand but we'll walk alone in fear."

This is getting wildly off topic. Sorry. But I find Giles to be the most heartbreaking character on the show and there were insights in here that I hadn't thought of.

[> [> [> [> Just a thought from Shul -- Shul, 14:54:41 01/23/02 Wed

Some say the ends justify the means.
Some say righteous means lead to righteous ends.
Some say that the end is all that matters.
Some say that the means are the only important principle.

I say that the ends and the means are the same thing.

[> [> Shul replies to himelf/herself -- Shul, 14:48:46 01/23/02 Wed

A thought.

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes, who would answer No, except Cult Leaders.
4. Yes, though i now consider the question to be too unspecific to deserve a real answer.

MORAL NOTE: I consider the answers to these questions to be dependant upon the moral and ethical state of the my nation and that of my nations enemies (active or otherwise). But having said that the bombing of civilian targets are only permitted in my code if the civilians arent civilians. Meaning they are not innocents, but unarmed combatants actively opposing my nation through indirect means. One must also bare in mind the coersive powers of certain governments as that has a direct baring on the ethical morality of any of these scenarios.

PS NOTE: Terrorism accomplishes nothing but chaos, and is therefore futile unless chaos is your goal.

[> Blah, blah, blah Ginger. Blah, blah, blah, blah Ginger blah blah. -- Snarkburger, 17:33:07 01/21/02 Mon

[> [> Blah, blah? -- Burger Snark, 17:36:20 01/21/02 Mon

[> [> [> No. Blah blurp, actually. -- Snarkster, 17:40:29 01/21/02 Mon

[> evil, Giles&Ben, and such -- Liz, 22:58:41 01/21/02 Mon

How do I manage to get so far behind in such a short amount of time?

I was discussing something very close to this with someone recently. I the main focus of the conversation was Giles and Ben. What exactly happened when Giles killed Ben? I don't usually think about it in terms of figuring out whether it was right or wrong. I don't think I could use those labels. Necessary, maybe. Expedient.

I can't really label it as right or wrong. I mostly saw it as the most wrenching character note for Giles that I had ever seen. Because I think Giles thought it was wrong. The right thing to do, but still wrong.

You say that grown-ups have to do hard things sometimes. That's the very thing I was talking about with my friend. I was talking about decisions in war that concern killing innocent people. Or Giles killing Ben.

What I was really interested in was one line of Giles' in that episode: "I've sworn to protect this sorry world, and sometimes that means saying and doing what other people can't. They shouldn't have to."

It seems to me that we've got an ethical system where a majority of the people get to say that things are right and wrong and that the ends don't justify the means. Then we have a small group of people, generally leaders, who are forced to choose otherwise. Some people are forced to do the dirty, hard things. And because of the general dominant ethics, they see it as accepting a stain on their own souls because it's necessary.

Someone in this discussion said that we do evil until we have defeated the evil, and then things can go back to normal. There was argument about this: how can you just go back to normal after you've tortured people? And the answer is that you can't--but that's only so for the people who had to do the torturing. The majority of people, the people who "shouldn't have to" deal with this stuff, get to go back to normal. The majority of people don't have to deal with it at all.

Isn't there something terribly wrong with this? We force a few people into a position of necessarily questioning their own ethics, we make them do it alone, and we revile the choices that they make. This is really a crazy way to do things.

To say that Buffy is a true hero but that it's also damn fortunate that Giles was around to do the dirty work makes absolutly no sense to me.

However I'm not saying, as some people here seem to, that we should just drop the dominant ethics and allow for anything. I think that's equally mistaken.

Here's what I am saying (I'll try to say it coherently this time): Because we take a few people and kind of push them outside of ordinary life and force them to make certain decisions alone, they start to see themselves as outside of ethics. If they see themselves as doing evil because somebody has to, then they can see their own goodness or chance at ordinary life being sacrificed. This is very, very dangerous. It's dangerous to have your leaders thinking that they are outside of the ethical system. It's dangerous to have the people shaping the world to be alienated from the world.

What I truly love about Buffy is that she does not do this. She makes mistakes, yes. Maybe she's even responsible for the people she doesn't save when she makes a mistake. But she doesn't cave to either side of this. She goes along, trying to figure things out, and she manages to keep her heart and her faith in herself.

(Having said that, I think that recently she might be in danger of losing this. Towards the end of the 5th season and now in the 6th she's having some problems. But she knows this, the writers know this, and it's going somewhere. I'm just not sure where.)

That's it. I don't have any answers or even options. But I just wonder if having most everyone thinking that the ends never justify the means or that some things are just wrong NECESSARILY means that we have to force our leaders into breaking our ethics. If so, what a stupendous failure. A failure of our ethics and our culture.

[> [> Re: evil, Giles&Ben, and such -- Stranger, 02:33:50 01/22/02 Tue

Very interesting post, but I don't agree about this :
"There was argument about this: how can you just go back to normal after you've tortured people? And the answer is that you can't--but that's only so for the people who had to do the torturing. The majority of people, the people who "shouldn't have to" deal with this stuff, get to go back to normal. The majority of people don't have to deal with it at all. "

We live in Democracy, Democracy is a representative system. Which means that, what the leader of my country does, they do it because I, and every other citizens, let them do. If the leaders of my country do some eveil acts in my name, I share a part of responsability. We share a part of responsability. And you could even say it's still true outside of Democracy.

[> [> [> Re: evil, Giles&Ben, and such -- Liz, 15:07:53 01/22/02 Tue

"We live in a Democracy, Democracy as a representative system. Which means that, what the leader of my country does, they do it because I, and every other citizens, let them do. If the leaders of my country do some evil acts in my name, I share a part of responsability." (apologies for typos I'm copying this over and I can't see what I'm typing)

I agree completely in theory. But I don't honestly think that it works that way. I think a lot of people don't really feel in control of what this government does. A lot of people aren't really touched by it. A lot of people aren't even informed.

What Giles said--that he has pledged to a life where he has to think and do things that other people shouldn't have to--is very paternalistic. It's protective of everyone else but it is also condescending and removes the option of their dealing with it themselves. And what's bad is that for the most part people not only accept this, they want it. This is a democracy and that has many advantages, and in general it's better than anything else out there. But it seems more like shooting in the dark. If this government tortures and assassinates people, I don't really think that I could have stopped it.

[> [> [> [> Representative Democracy -- Rahael, 03:57:52 01/23/02 Wed

In my opinion it doesn't really matter whether you feel in control of a government or not. What matters is that by taking part in a democratic ballot, and being a responsible citizen, you are agreeing to abide by the choice of your fellow citizens.

Therefore, in theory, the elected government should be recognized by all citizens, and represent all citizens. It is not just a party interest. It is a national one. Therefore, if your country declares war on another country, you bear a responsibility, either to support it, or voice your disagreement through democratic channels, or use your vote.

If you don't use your vote, you are denying yourself. If you vote and the majority is against you, democratic principles dictate that you strive to influence decision making through peaceful means. If your government is doing illegal things in a secretive manner, it is behaving in an undemocratic and corrupt manner.

But I agree. Disenfranchisement is the most serious problem facing modern western democracies. And part of that general malaise is people feeling that their vote doesn't count, or that nothing they do actually matters.

But then a lot of people define democratic political activity as simply voting at every election. I think that being informed, writing to your representative,campaigning, and working in your community are all part of the duties of the democratic citizen.

A healthy, responsible democracy with transparent decision making processes takes hard work from everyone. The political process doesn't belong to the politicians. It belongs to us ("we are many/they are few"!)

[> [> [> We have to trust our fellow human beings -- Charlemagne20, 22:52:16 01/22/02 Tue

Life isn't fair. One of the strangest arguements I ever had with someone was that taxes were unfair because nowhere could you go where it wasn't illegal not to pay taxes. Taxes that might go to anything from abortion to state funded murder (execution) or drug war when you believe in none of them.

However if we do not put faith in our fellow human beings to do their part then we are autocrats ourselves. We can't control the world and MUST lean on each other for things we cannot do.

Buffy made the choice and certainly dawn didn't die but she took away everyone's lives even those not involved.

[> [> Expedience -- Malandanza, 16:45:49 01/22/02 Tue

"What exactly happened when Giles killed Ben? I don't usually think about it in terms of figuring out whether it was right or wrong. I don't think I could use those labels. Necessary, maybe. Expedient."

I think that you have discovered the heart of the matter: necessity vs. expedience.

I a person commits an evil act through ignorance or necessity (and it must really be a necessity -- a choice between two evils, for example) few of us would call that person evil. However, if a person commits an evil act when there are less morally offensive alternatives, we are justified in calling that person evil (whatever his intentions or ends).

And there are usually alternatives -- MLK and Gandhi have already been mentioned, but think also about the early Christian martyrs and the torture and degradation they suffered at the hands of the Romans -- yet they did not form terrorist cells or send out assassins to kill the emperor. Yet Christianity prevailed in the end. Perhaps even because of the ruthless means used my the enemy (savagery creates fanatics).

So were Giles' actions truly necessary or merely expedient?

Glory was opening a gateway between the worlds that would have destroyed 6 billion people -- so that makes her worse than Hitler, right? Well, not exactly. We know that Dawn's death would have closed the portal (that was, after all, Giles' plan -- kill Dawn) and Dawn was standing at ground zero. How long would she have survived, chained to a rickety tower while demons and monsters poured forth around her? She would have been one of the first victims and the portal would have shut itself shortly after Glory's departure -- with or without Buffy's intervention. Closing the portal early would have saved a few people in Sunnydale, but not millions of people -- the rest of the world was never really in danger.

So Buffy beats Glory to a bloody pulp and leaves to save Dawn -- Glory retreats into Ben. Is she still a threat? She could return and wreak havoc on Buffy and her family and friends. She could try to open the portal once more. Except that her minions are all dead, so she'll have a more difficult time accomplishing her goals. And we don't know how much time must pass before the "stars are in alignment" again -- it could be a week, it could be century (but given the urgency, probably a considerable amount of time must pass). And we don't know if Glory will ever emerge from that dark place in Ben's mind. So is she a "clear and present danger?" Not really.

Which brings us to the execution -- necessary or expedient? Looks like expedience to me -- killing Ben means not having to worry about any of these issues.

[> [> [> Re: Expedience -- Liz, 12:01:39 01/23/02 Wed

You know what? This is a wild guess based really only on taking a good long look at Giles throughout the series, but I think he killed Ben for Buffy. Glory would still be a threat to humanity, but not much more than your average demon. You might still want to kill her, then, but killing Ben? That's something else altogether. But what is CERTAIN is that Glory would be pissed at Buffy and hunt her down and kill her. Glory would have nothing to do but be pissed at Buffy. She would almost certainly set her mind to killing everyone that Giles loved.

Expedient or necessary or another category altogether? Giles is sort of trading a life for a life--Ben for someone he loves. I'm not positive of this, but I think that this might have been more what he was thinking. Well, maybe not so coldly--maybe that combined with a general sense of needing the whole damn ordeal to be OVER. Which might again fall under the category of expedient, except how long can you just live in fear like that?

[> Re: The Return of "PhoebeNoir"! -- the obvious parody, 09:59:04 01/22/02 Tue

This season on "Friends" we have seen the return of PhoebeNoir.

For a few years now, PhoebeNoir has disappeared. But Phoebe lives in New York. And since Sept. 11, PhoebeNoir has returned.

This season, PhoebeNoir has tortured others for information. Like when she tortured Joey into revealing his crush on Rachel. Or the time she was hired by the military into singing "Smelly Cat" over a loudspeaker to draw al-Quaeda terrorists out of their holes.

PhoebeNoir spares no one. Not even her friends. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Aurangzeb knew that. So did Tamerlane.

We can all learn something from PhoebeNoir. We must strong. We must make sacrifices. Like the time PhoebeNoir donated her ovaries. Or whatever they are called, I haven't had a date in years.

Have we seen PhoebeNoir's children since? No. Will somebody please think of the children?

[> [> Too, too funny! -- Rahael, 10:04:51 01/22/02 Tue

[> [> I only torture the ones I love. Call it 'sweet torture', if you will. -- PhoebeNoir, 04:20:56 01/24/02 Thu

. evil or goody-goody foils for Xander? -- Rochefort, 19:40:48 01/21/02 Mon

Kendra -- Buffy -- Faith

Westley -- Giles -- Ethan or Evil Glove Lady

Willow -- Vamp Willow or Amy

Oz -- Varukka

They're always using these other foils to show us what the characters have inside them or might be if they weren't the great shiny well balanced good guys they are. Does anyone know what Xander's foils are though? I know he split in half that one time but that wasn't really an evil and a too good Xander. Or, well, maybe it did the same thing, showing us how in fact Xander is perfectly balanced between extremes. O.k., then I change my question. What about a foil for Spike?

[> Re: evil or goody-goody foils for Xander? -- MrDave, 00:35:59 01/22/02 Tue

The way youve set this up is assuming that the BtVS characters are neutrals, and then looking for extremes of thier personality (as the best foils are!).

But I noticed that you left off the "goody-goody" side of Willow.

Tara - Willow - VampWillow

Definately her counterpoint. Tara is much like Willow would have been had she not encountered Buffy.

As for Xander, try this on for size:
Riley - Xander - Jonathan

Riley is the too good to be true "Soldier-boy" (that Pvt. Harris showed us he could be in Halloween) and Jonathan is the no-consequence lazy lives in his parent's basement guy that Anya saved him from being.


Angel - Spike - The Master

Angel takes himself WAY too seriously. He avoids the vampire nature, whereas Spike embraces it. But he is "human" enough to have overcome the one-dimensionality of being the beast that made the Master such a laughable villain (in contrast to some of the later ones).

Now, having addressed yours, what about this?
??? - Dawn - (Glory?)

[> [> Re: evil or goody-goody foils for Xander? -- Rochefort, 09:49:37 01/22/02 Tue

Hey I like yours. Yeah I had thought of Jonathon but hadn't quite worked it out. I think that works pretty well. I also like the Angel Spike Master trio. And agree with you that the Master was pretty laughable. Pretty cool that Joss could start the whole series with a villain he knew was laughable. Oh, and I had forgotton all about Tara. I hadn't worked out Willow's good side foil and think that works too. As to your question, I'm not sure we've seen enough of Dawn yet to know. We're just getting glimpses at what her dark side could be. If it's Glory, maybe they'll be some foil to relationships with Siblings and how they might work. Because I still haven't figured out the whole brother/sister thing with Glory and how that fit into the rest of the show.

[> [> [> and Cordy! -- Rochefort, 09:51:41 01/22/02 Tue

I'd also obviously forgotten that Cordy is a possible non-slayer Buffy. Buffy herself has said that. Buffy gets to have lots of foils cause the show is named after her.

[> [> [> [> Re: and Cordy! -- MrDave, 19:08:48 01/22/02 Tue

Actually I think that Cordy probably makes a much better "Goody-Goody" foil for Buffy than Kendra. As the last couple of episodes of Angel shows, Cody has a strength of character that I really think Buffly lacks.

Cordy and Buff are the same age (They were in the same HS class) and look at Queen C: She manages three men and a baby, a business, and even tries (pretty unsuccessfully) to have a career outside of AI. Add to that her visions, health, and constant danger.

Buffy may be the slayer and have great powers, but Cordy has a strength that Buffy has never demonstrated...responsibility.

Buffy *gets* the destiny thing, she just doesn't get the whole FISHDO concept ("Forget It. Shit Happens. Drive On.") like Cordy.

[> [> [> [> [> responsibility? -- robert, 08:09:21 01/23/02 Wed

"but Cordy has a strength that Buffy has never demonstrated...responsibility"

I may have a different working definition of responsibility than you do. If so, then I apologize ahead of time for disagreeing with you.

In BtVS, Buffy has continually demonstrated an acceptance (albiet not willing) of responsibility. Her difficulty is that the scope of responsibility which is dumped on her shoulders is much broader. Cordelia takes care of a business, as her own decision. Buffy is repeatedly called upon to save the world. Buffy may rant and rail against it (in a very biblical way), but she always came to accept her responsibility.

Buffy was then handed the additional responsibility of raising her sister, which she accepted to the point of not jumping off the tower in Bargaining. Buffy has also embraced responsibility when she didn't need to. For examble, when it became clear to her that her prom experience was a bust (ref. The Prom), she overcame her bitterness and worked to make it a good experience for everyone else.

Cordelia is showing great understanding of responsibility, but Buffy shows mythic levels of responsibility, her current difficulties not withstanding.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: responsibility? -- MrDave, 19:36:47 01/23/02 Wed

There is a difference between Responsibility and Duty.

Responsibility is tending to needs. Accepting the consequenses for the success or failure of a task. Responsibility is usually (but not always) voluntary. One chooses to be responsible.

Duty is imposed, and there is no liability for failure. While there may be consequenses for failure (i.e. death), no-one blames the loss of a war on the soldiers who died doing their duty.

When Buffy is called to save the world, she cannot say "no". It is her Duty to protect and serve. When Joyce died, it became Buffy's Duty to raise Dawn. Duty Buffy understands, and does an admirable job. She CHOOSES to feel responsible (and that is part of why she is so successful as Slayer) but that is her choice. But Duty is what she serves.

Cordy on the other hand has repeatedly chosen to serve. She has retained her "gift" (despite opportunities to pass it along to others) because she has claimed responsibility for the sufferings of others.

Buffy has shirked responsibility on numerous occasions. Caring for Dawn (as a Duty) means she has to meet the minimum requirements. Nurturing is a responsibility. A job is a responsibility. Handling bills is a responsibility. Manging ones life is a responsibility. If you shirk these responsibilities forever, you wind up like the "three stooges" and live in your basement plotting the overthrow of the world.

Anya is responsibility personified. She takes responsibility for everything (even things she has no business taking responsibility for). She, however, has almost no sense of Duty (except where Xander is concerned).

I think that Buffy demonstrates a mythic level of Duty. But responsibility? The word "avoidy" comes to mind.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: responsibility? -- Rahael, 08:24:26 01/24/02 Thu

Surely 'responsible' isn't a fixed characteristic of a personality?

Buffy is 'responsible' in some senses, irresponsible in others. She may duck difficult decisions but which human being doesn't? And to say that being a slayer is just a 'duty' is to be reductive. Buffy could be just a slayer - she could always be 'going through the motions'. But for the last 5 years, she has given her heart and her soul to her duty. She doesn't follow orders, she follows her conscience. ME have illustrated have tried to illustrate the heaviness of her burden by showing her being 'avoidy'. If she wasn't avoidy, we would be under the impression that it wasn't a struggle. In 'Anne' she tried to resist her calling, but found that her compassion was greater than her 'avoidy-ness'.

(on a side track, I'll bet that Buffy is more conscientous in the work place than Cordelia - does Cordy really care about the filing? Look at how hard Buffy tried to get things right in 'Life Serial'. Buffy's problem really is an over-heightened sense of responsibility. Cordy has Angel beside her. Buffy has Spike, Dawn, Willow, Xander and Anya and being ressurrected to worry about)

That is of course, if one chooses to look at the series as really all about a girl who is a chosen one, rather than a study of an embattled and compassionate soul trying to exist in the world.

The reason why Buffy is so compelling as a character is because she is multi-layered, complex and unpredictable. She isn't perfect. She hasn't figured out everything. Just some things.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Wonderful post, Rahael. Couldn't agree more. -- Marie, 08:41:12 01/24/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: responsibility? -- Kimberly, 09:01:39 01/24/02 Thu

Rahael, I think you've hit the nail on the head here.

The reason why Buffy is so compelling as a character is because she is multi-layered, complex and unpredictable. She isn't perfect. She hasn't figured out everything. Just some things.

It is also the reason why the show is so compelling, because no one (with the possible exception of the PTBs) have all the answers. And sometimes, just as people in the real world do, they forget the answers they figured out.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: responsibility? -- MrDave, 22:59:07 01/24/02 Thu

I didn't mean to imply that Buffy was irresponsible or that Cordy was somehow better for being responsible.

What I stated was that Cordy's true gift was her sense of responsibility (as opposed to Duty)

and that Buffy's sense of Duty was stronger than her Sense of Responsibility.

However, I have to agree that both of these characters have many traits (some worthy, some despicable, and some strong and other weak). It is their "multi-layered, complex and unpredictable" qualities that make them so interesting to examine and discuss.

I noticed (WAY back at the beginning of the thread) that you left Oz kinda hanging...
?????? - Oz - Varuca

Oz is both beastial and Logical (a rare combination). Varuca is definately the beastial, but the logical? Wesley? I don't know.

and we never did resolve the Dawn issue:
?????? - Dawn - Glory
Hmmm... it might be...
Joyce - Dawn - Glory

Joyce is/was a source of unconditional love and acceptance. Dawn is a source of both love/acceptance and contempt/condemnation (aren't all siblings like that?) and Glory...well Hate comes to mind. Or more realistically Envy/Covetousness.

It occurs to me that this seasons "medium bads", the trio, is a series of foils as well:
Andrew - Jonathan - Warren or Jonathan - Andrew - Warren

I'm not sure which way this should go... Jonathan has some positive traits (which would put him on the goody-goody left) but Andrew is on the left on the assertiveness scale.

[> Re: Spike foil? -- Anne, 12:43:16 01/26/02 Sat

Dunno if this is exactly a foil, but there's a kind of interesting quote from Whedon on the general subject of a counterpart for Spike:

"Spike is what Giles used to be and Giles is what Spike refused to be."

Angel and a moment of perfect happiness -- PJ, 08:38:19 01/22/02 Tue

A thought occurred to me last night as I watched the beautiful family unit of Angel and Cordy with the baby between them. No apocalypse threatening, no ringing phones or glaring music. Just Mom, Dad and Son resting peacefully by soft lamp light after their day. Catching up and just being together.

To most people, isn't this, if not the perfect moment of happiness, then the one we strive for?

A healthy family with love and health and togetherness. If that does not equate perfect happiness, what does?

Especially for a vampire who has attained this miracle of a child. If Angel was able to obtain that moment of happiness in sex with a teenage love, which at the time was all that his experience was capable of, what might happen the day his baby son says "daddy" for the first time? or takes his first step?

Angel has obtained his "family", not only in Connor and Cordy, but also with Lorne, Fred, Wes and Gunn. This group of unique individuals have formed a cohesive unit together which I suspect would be difficult to break at this point.

What a contrast of odds from the Sunnydale folks who are splitting further apart daily.

Wes may have read the scolls incorrectly, and Angel may never become human, but don't you wonder if at this point, he really wants to?

[> Re: Angel and a moment of perfect happiness (Spoilers) -- Kimberly, 09:11:23 01/22/02 Tue

That moment was one of the most real portrayals of the joy of having a new baby that I have seen. Mom and Dad talking, about three-quarters asleep due to caring for the baby, with that infant between them. I remember many moments like this, and with Daddy still asleep, from when my son was an infant.

That said, I also believe that we were shown, clearly, why moments with his son are unlikely to ever give Angel a moment of perfect happiness. Two reasons:

1. The first one, and the one most clearly shown in the episode, is that, as wonderful as parenthood is, it is also the most draining, terrifying responsibility that exists. Ask any new parent gazing at their sleeping infant in wonder and awe. In addition to enjoying the wonder, awe and love that gazing at their infant evokes, he or she is also checking to make sure the child is still breathing. (I've been known to do this still: the kid's six.) Perfect, unadulterated happiness due to parenthood isn't possible; you're too busy with the worries in the back of your head. (And portraying Angel as Super-Provider is about as realistic as it gets; men frequently start to push their careers when they become fathers.)

2. Angel loves Connor. Angel knows that one moment of perfect happiness means he loses his soul; he loses Connor. How can he ever lose the fear that totally enjoying his son means he will lose his son?

It isn't only Angel who has obtained a family through Angel Investigations; everyone there, with the exception of Fred, has been rejected by their own families, but are accepted and celebrated by AI.

[> [> I so (respectfully) disagree with you! :) -- PJ, 09:40:03 01/22/02 Tue

[Perfect, unadulterated happiness due to parenthood isn't possible; you're too busy with the worries in the back of your head.]

Being a parent, I can agree with your description of wonder, awe and love. I would also describe that love as unconditional. Where I disagree is that the worries, fear, frightening possibilities keep you from experiencing moments of true perfect happiness with your child.

Speaking for myself, watching a sleeping child, be they newborn, 5, 10 or 20, can bring on the most indescribable joy as well as fear that your heart is so full of love, you cannot imagine this person not sharing your life.

What a gift.

I would identify perfect happiness as accepting that this is as good as it gets. And that one moment when you watch your child touching snow, opening a gift, or hitting a baseball for the first time can be the single happiest moment of your life to that point.

Not only will Angel have these experiences, he also has the miracle that Connor exists.

I would close with the opinion that true perfect moments are not planned and cannot be controlled. They happen when you least expect them and that is the curse that Angel lives with.

[> [> [> Re: I so (respectfully) disagree with you! :) -- Wolfhowl3, 09:51:46 01/22/02 Tue

I don't think that Angel is cursed any more, don't get me wrong, I know he's not Angelous, but he has had many moments that should have removed his soul.

When Willow cast the spell, I think she didn't include the "happy moment" claws.

What do you think?


[> [> [> [> Angel's curse is the same as before. -- Solitude1056, 10:17:18 01/22/02 Tue

There are several indications that Angel's soul, once restored, operates under the same guidelines as the original curse. For starters, Jenny was specifically trying to find a way to redo the original curse that her clan had placed on Angel - knowing that while the happiness clause is a difficult one, it's better than no soul at all (if not for Angelus, at least for those around him).

Second, Willow was in no way able to revise - nor was there any indication of an attempt at revision - of the original spell to remove, alter, or otherwise negate the happiness clause. Willow merely read the translated parts, and then was taken over by something (probably the gypsy-clan spirit, in the non-ghost sense, if you're into the idea of folks "tapping into" a group's vibe or traditions).

The key, after all, is not that Angel can't be happy, content, or satisfied - it's that he can't have a moment of true happiness. And even those of us earth-bound mortals here in the Realverse know that a moment of complete happiness is a rare thing, indeed, and they get harder as you get older. Even the parents I know, while experiencing parental-based moments of sheer joy, are still aware - somewhere, on a deeper level - that the child is precious and delicate, and that the joy is fleeting. Even as the child walks for the first time, parents I know are still aware that the coffeetable edges are hard and possibly sharp, that the kitchen countertops now need to be kid-proofed too, and that the next thing they'll know, the kid's expecting the car keys.

I see Angel, in many ways, as a recovering addict (not in the BtVS Willow sense, but in a truly physical sense) - and I've yet to meet a junkie who isn't completely aware, at every minute, that there's a drug they still crave, no matter how many years it's been. Many of the recovering addicts I've known are satisfied, successful, healthy contented individuals after a long fight out, but they're going to live the rest of their lives with a quiet awareness that they're living without their drug of choice. A moment of true happiness, then, is forgetting - completely and totally - their past history. And with the possible exception of a mind-boggling orgasm (or perhaps the moment their child is first placed in their arms after long hours of labor), that's a hard thing to manage.

Curiously, the moment of happiness in that second sense - holding your child for the first time - was tempered by Darla's death only seconds before, and Holtz' presence just behind Angel. Those two elements, in my mind, are the reason Angel didn't promptly go off the deep end at the bliss of holding a small child that was his own flesh-and-blood - he wasn't able to forget everything that had brought him to that point.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel's curse is the same as before. -- maddog, 10:50:56 01/22/02 Tue

See that's where I'll have to rewatch my tapes because when Willow found Jenny's spell I don't remember anything but soul restoration. Nothing about a curse. I've wondered about this for some time. And I never seem to see the replies to my posts. I could be wrong, but if I'm not it brings up quite a few interesting questions for Angel.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel's curse is the same as before. -- CW, 11:18:03 01/22/02 Tue

Unless I'm mistaken, Jenny was indeed trying to reconstruct the original curse, which had been lost. Like Giles, Jenny wasn't a powerful enough of a magic user to make too many changes. Willow was a rank beginner, and was possessed during the casting either by the clan spirit as Sol suggests, or by something else very powerful. Thus Willow would have had no chance to choose the exact effects of the spell. What exactly did happen? David Greenwalt may not want us to know. It's safest to assume, as Angel does, that he's back where he started.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel's curse is the same as before. -- maddog, 11:39:42 01/22/02 Tue

I think both could be good storylines, especially when there are rumblings as to a romance with Cordy.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel's curse is the same as before. -- Wolfhowl3, 20:23:16 01/22/02 Tue

Willow was a rank beginner

hehe, this is why I thought that part of the spell was not in place, because at the time, Willow didn't really know what she was doing.

I think Willow started the spell, but could not control the power needed, and then, the PTB steped in, and possesed Willow for a minute, and made Angel the way that would help them best later on, without the whole "T.H.C.".

Now the First Evil (which in my mind is the Counter-Balance to the PTB), did tell Angel that if he sleept with Buffy again, he would lose is soul and become a monster, but I also think that it was trying to con Angel into killing himself. (and it almost worked)

What do you think?


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel's curse is the same as before. -- maddog, 08:17:49 01/23/02 Wed

After watching Becoming Part 1 last night I had a point to make about this and I can't remember it now. :( I have it on tape, I'll have to go over it tonight and post immediately as not to forget it. I don't remember the First Evil thing...but I've only seen the episodes of Angel once(where as the Buffy repeats I've seen a few times).

[> [> [> [> [> [> Perfect timing -- Vickie, 21:52:02 01/22/02 Tue

B1 replayed tonight. Willow's words were: "we found the curse." Not "the spell" not "the soul restoration" It's pretty clear (with the aid of instant replay) that Jenny was researching the original curse.

Which does not abrogate any of the other oppotunities TPTB have had to change Angel's state.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel's curse is the same as before. -- Rattletrap, 06:06:21 01/23/02 Wed

See that's where I'll have to rewatch my tapes because when Willow found Jenny's spell I don't remember anything but soul restoration. Nothing about a curse.

I think that's the problem here--the curse, the restored soul, and the "happiness clause" are not three separate and distinct things, they are all one in the same. As Angel explains, the perfect punishment for unchecked evil w/o a conscience is to give it a soul and force it to spend its life contemplating the evil consequences of its actions, a sort of extended preservation in misery. The "moment of happiness" bit is something of a plot contrivance, but the logic is that if he ever becomes content and stops contemplating the evil of his past actions, the curse is no longer working correctly and, therefore, it is lifted. When Jenny translated the original curse (i.e. the soul restoration spell) we are given no indication that she modified it, and to do that would have been well beyond Willow's skill at that point.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well said...I just may have to change my mind. :) -- maddog, 08:23:42 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel's curse is the same as before. -- grace, 18:08:18 01/22/02 Tue

How about the idea that when the PTB granted Angel humanity (when he spent the day with Buffy) but he chose to go back to being a Vampire with a soul that the one-true-moment-of- happiness clause was left out? Seems the PTB would have granted him this at least.

Plus, when is the last time they talked about this since then? He did sleep with Darla after that and killed the ejaculation = true happiness idea (a theory which I was so happy to see die). Maybe it is gone for good. Who knows.

[> [> [> Re: I so (respectfully) disagree with you! :) -- Kimberly, 11:20:50 01/22/02 Tue

From what you have said, we both agree on the many wonders of being a parent and watching a person you had a part in creating grow up. I agree that there isn't any feeling that can possibly compare with it. The current Big Joy is listening and watching my son learning to read; something that I take almost for granted becomes magic because he is learning it. Indescrible joy--oh, yes.

My quibble is with the phrase "perfect happiness". Maybe it's just that I'm a worrywart, but, even when most in awe of the beauty that is my son (although he'd get mad if he knew I was calling him beautiful LOL), the problems and worries are still in the back of my head. The example I used, watching your child sleep, which is one of my favorites, but you're also making sure they're breathing. Joy, wonder, awe, amazing happiness, and the niggling feeling that something can come in and steal that joy away. That niggling feeling prevents "perfect happiness".

All that said, watching the ending scene between Angel, Cordy and Connor brought back the wonderful memories of my son's early morning feeding, with all of us in bed together. Utter joy.

[> [> [> [> Perhaps to clarify the expressions you're both using. -- Solitude1056, 11:32:09 01/22/02 Tue

Reading both parental posts, I'm wondering if what you're using to describe "utter joy" isn't actually utter peace - and that's not quite the same as "true happiness." Close, but a different sensation in some ways. Most of the moments you're both describing capture that sensation that "all is right with the world and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else" - a sensation perfectly captured in last night's closing image. It is possible to have a moment of complete peace, knowing that there are dangers and bad things and a horrible past, yet be content with the world, these lurking worries, and still be undescribably at-one with the situation, be it a lover or a child.

While Jenny's uncle used the expression - I'm paraphrasing - that if "Angel experiences one moment of true happiness, a moment where he's totally at peace," I'd say that ME is pushing this definition by giving Angel various moments of damn-near-close-to-true-peace, in the form of fatherhood. Angel's moments of peace, where he's completely at-one with everything, and content, do not negate nor deny his vicious past nor the chance that it could happen again someday - in fact, that peace relies on his continued awareness, because it's those very uncertainties and pains that give the weight to discovering that peace... if that makes sense. I've got it in my head, but sometimes saying it gets wonky. But hopefully you get the gist. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> I have to agree with both of you (Solitude and Kimberly) -- PJ, 11:42:58 01/22/02 Tue

Plus, I think one man's perfect happiness may be another's perfect peace.

It's just hard to believe that sex with a freshly minted 17 year old could equate to more happiness than a child.

Great points from everyone here.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I have to agree with both of you (Solitude and PJ) -- Kimberly, 11:54:40 01/22/02 Tue

It's just hard to believe that sex with a freshly minted 17 year old could equate to more happiness than a child

There I have to agree with you.

Thanks for helping me clarify my thoughts. And having the pleasure of remembering those special moments. (In day-to-day life, those memories recede; it's always a pleasure to bring them to mind.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I have to agree with both of you (Solitude and Kimberly) -- Edward, 16:07:43 01/23/02 Wed

Certainly the joy of a child would far exceed the orgasmic thrill of sex with Buffy.

However, keep in mind that Angel had never in his life actually experienced real love for another person prior to Buffy. And he had gone a very long time with nothing but the remorse of his evilness. He loved Buffy and more importantly she loved him. She was the first person to ever really love him, and she loved him despite his history, and when that love was finally consumated it was a validation that he was worthy of love, and he reached that point of perfect happiness.

Angel did not know that the curse had a loophole, so he did not have that concern in his head.

Contrast with Darla and all of the other examples that we are seeing. He now knows that it can be taken away again, and that in of itself may keep him from actually attaining that perfect happiness, but also he now knows that he is capable of loving and being loved.

In Darla's case their was no love, passion yes, but no love. In Conners case there is certainly love, but Angel is no longer in the mental place he was when he met Buffy, he now has an extended family that he cares about, and who care about him, so it is not a shock. Also as has been mentioned elsewhere, Angel has worries and concerns that intrude into that and keep it from hitting perfect happiness.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very well put! -- Solitude1056, 19:38:07 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> Isn't there a difference between "bliss" and "joy?" -- bookworm, 20:58:20 01/22/02 Tue

Bliss is pure, perfect, careless happiness, that moment when there are no worries, no fear that anything's going to be taken away, no thought of the future or the past. We don't often feel bliss as adults. In some sense, maybe it's even irresponsible to feel it because that emotion disregards our other responsibilities. It's what Angel had in his moment of orgasmic rapture with Buffy, and it may have been his most selfish moment. It seems to me that the word "joy" means something entirely different. It's considerably more adult and contains responsibility and worry and fear along with deep happiness and contentment. Your child is your pride and joy -- the source of wonderment, pleasure and hope for the future, at the same time that he is your hostage to fortune. You will always be aware that you will be half of what you are now if fate is ever unkind enough to take him away from you. There will always be a shadow side to joy.

[> Re: Angel and a moment of perfect happiness -- maddog, 10:33:11 01/22/02 Tue

I think that comes from their different points in life. Buffy and co. are growing into the adults that Angel and his crew are. So while their group dynamic is already set, Buffy and the Scoobies are still finding theirs. I mean, they have the high school crowd(Buffy, Xander, Willow) and then in college they added Anya and Tara (and sorta Dawn). Their real group will form out of who lasts in the coming few years(probably something that'll never be explored if this show only goes one more year). Angel's crew is set...many people find a core of their friends at work...that's the way this is working and because they're all so close it seems like a family unit.

[> Cemantical spellcasting -- Shul, 11:57:34 01/22/02 Tue

Perhaps the clause describes a certain brain pattern, not a series of events. The clause may only activate when the victim experiences a certain type of brain activity, one that only can happen when you are making love. Meaning sex wont do it, parental love wont do it. Not because one is better then the other, but because the brain impulses are different. Kind of like spikes chippy thing.

It could also be that he doesnt have the curse. The curse could have been lifted or rendered dead any number of times. For instance when he was brought back from the hell dimension (or hell), whoever or whatever did it, could have quite easily removed the curse. I hardly think a gypsy curse would stop someone capable of bringing back angel from hell.

[> [> Re: Cemantical spellcasting -- maddog, 12:14:44 01/22/02 Tue

Hmm, another good point...Angel died and was brought back by what I'm assuming is TPTB(though I know some disagree there). I wonder if it still counts where he's been dead and brought back again.

[> [> [> Re: Semantical spellcasting -- Rahael, 03:39:43 01/23/02 Wed

Didn't die. Went to hell. Came back.

Ps - they made up the gypsy curse for the sake of the plot. To keep the relationship compelling. Joss admitted that the curse did not make that much sense.

[> [> [> [> Re: Semantical spellcasting -- maddog, 08:34:10 01/23/02 Wed

Point taken-he went to hell...doesn't mean he didn't come back different...Buffy sure did...admittedly it wasn't hell she came back from but it was an otherworldly type place. It was like Angel was given new life when he was brought back from hell...who knows what could have been done...

[> [> [> [> dying sucked -- Shul, 14:32:51 01/23/02 Wed

He was stabbed through the heart with a magic sword and sucked into a hell dimension. He could have died many number of times, who knows what physical laws are different there (note Pylea).

[> Re: Angel and a moment of perfect happiness -- Rufus, 12:59:03 01/22/02 Tue

Enyos: The curse. Angel is meant to suffer, not to live as human. One moment of true happiness, of contentment, one moment where the soul that we restored no longer plagues his thoughts, and that soul is taken from him.

In the episode Innocence, Uncle Enyos tells Jenny about revenge. The gypsies didn't want a quick kill, they wanted Angel to suffer, live on the fringes of society, never able to live as a human. When Angel lost his soul with Buffy, it wasn't the sex but a moment where he completely forgot about his suffering, felt true joy, then that soul was taken away from him. The curse makes no sense if you think of it as something to protect humanity from a monster, but if you think about the vengeance that has crossed generations, you can see how destructive it can become.

I don't see Angel losing his soul to a moment of joy because he is more aware than ever of the price of forgetting who he is and why he still exists.

[> [> Re: Angel and a moment of perfect happiness -- maddog, 08:41:32 01/23/02 Wed

If this is the case...and that seems to be some sort of consensus, then he could have a meaningful relationship with someone and still not totally forget about his past and his champion status....again...sounds like interesting plot twists could come of this.

[> Re: Angel and a moment of perfect happiness -- Liz, 15:39:14 01/22/02 Tue

Is it me or has this never really been clearly defined? In the second season of Buffy, it could have been due to any number of things. But when Angel the series started, all characters assumed that it meant sex. It basically just meant orgasm.

Then the bit with Darla made this a bit more complex. It wasn't just sex--it was sex combined with love.

With Buffy, I think that moment of happiness was due to a lot of things. It was partly the physical, but it was also the intense nature of their relationship. Remember, he had been wandering the streets until Whistler offered him a chance to be something, and that chance revolved entirely around Buffy. She was his savior. And if he believed that night that they could actually be together and make that work, then that's beyond a rational happy moment. It's utterly losing yourself in another person.

There was no such feeling with Darla. At all. And if he feels that overwhelming joy of being a parent, that's still a kind of responsible feeling. There's no loss of self to it. If he falls in love with Cordelia, well I'm not sure what happens then. Maybe it really is all about sex. Or maybe he would love Cordelia just as strongly and want to dissolve himself in her just as much. Or maybe Angel is growing up, as well, and will love differently.

Or maybe the curse doesn't work that way at all. But I think there's room here. There was a whole lot going on that night with Buffy. There's much room for interpretation.

[> [> Re: Angel and a moment of perfect happiness -- Marie, 06:48:28 01/23/02 Wed

I have to say I'm with Sol on this one. My child is my world - near perfect moment of happiness: when he patters to my room in the early hours and clambers up to cuddle close and puts his little paw on my face to stroke my cheek so gently... near perfect because always at the back of my mind is the knowledge that his father doesn't care to know this wonderful creature we made between us, and will never share these moments.

Anyway, for me, I choose to interpret Angel's 'curse' thus: he can achieve this moment of bliss/happiness only with someone with whome he can share his soul. In his case, Buffy, and the moment was brought about the sharing of their bodies for the first time. He lost himself in her, this creature of the night who had been alone and lonely for so many years. While he may find happiness with someone else, that one perfect moment may never come again in quite the same way.

It has been shown - in 'Eternity' - that Angelus can be brought forth chemically, but the bliss is false and short-lived. And not brought about orgasmically, which also, in my opinion, shows that it wasn't the sex with Buffy that was the true happiness, but the connection with her. With Darla "It wasn't perfect happiness, it was perfect despair.".

I don't know if I've explained myself very well here. Jumbled thoughts. Perhaps he could, if the relationship goes that way, sleep with Cordelia with no ill-effect. She isn't his one true love, but she could become his love.


Nobody expects Angel Investigations: Comments/Spoilers through 'Provider' -- matching mole, 14:22:41 01/22/02 Tue

One of things I really liked about this episode is that it is a classic example of how ME subverts my expectations about what is going to happen next. Last week we ended up with Cordelia agreeing to become part demon and then hovering in the air, above all the rest. This seemed in line with the general theme of Cordy empowerment that we've seen ever since the Pylea adventure. Now she's answering the phone and caring for the baby while Angel goes out to make some money! But then in the last quarter hour she heads out to save the day (baby in hand) while Angel comes 'home' to his 'family'. We have a brief return to typical male/female roles and then they are turned on their heads again.

Cordelia's role within the group has become sort of the opposite of Willow's in the Scooby gang season 5/early season 6 (in keeping with the generally complementary paths of the two characters). Each group has its hero (Angel/Buffy) and its advisor (Wesley/Giles). But within the ranks of each group a third figure rises to importance. Willow is agent of change, the one whose power makes things happen. Her growth as a witch is the only thing that allowed the scoobies to prevail in their struggle against Glory. Willow's greatest moments are moments of crisis in which she steps up and makes things happen (e.g. bringing Buffy out of catatonia). It is usually when she's had time to reflect on things that she gets into trouble. In contrast Cordelia is a force of cohesion and moral authority. Her finest moments are moments of decision (e.g. becoming demonised). Note that everyone looks to her for permission to scoop up the money. Wesley may be the battlefield commander and Angel the hero but Cordy seems to be running the show overall.

This episode seems to parallel 'Flooded' with the real world (and a concern for money) suddenly manifesting itself. In 'Flooded' these problems are something Buffy doesn't want to face up to. In 'Provider' the problems are constantly shown to be something other than expected. The lack of phone calls initially doesn't reflect a lack of interest but rather a mistake on the flyer. The unknown man fleeing a monster tries to call AI and gets a dry cleaner (or something - I don't remember for sure). Angel wants to do a relatively meaningless job (kill extortionist vampires for more money than the vampires are extorting) for money only to find himself doing a meaningful job for nothing. He becomes a champion despite himself. Gunn and Wesley think they are protecting a woman from a monster, obviously transfering their desire to protect/conquer Fred. But the woman and the monster are neither what they seem and their efforts at heroism are nullified. Lorne's role is communicator and his failure to correctly understand what the chrome-faced demons wanted endangers Fred. Then his mistaken belief that Angel, Gunn, and Wesley are behind Cordelia precipitates the conflict at the end.

The juxtaposition of the unexpected is the basis of most humor and 'Provider' can definitely be considered a comedy of errors. But this sort of juxtaposition is also the province of the dream world, of surrealism. Angel references Monty Python's Flying Circus, the epitome of television surrealism. I'm refering to the Spanish Inquisition sketch in which the chief inquisitor continually has to increase his list of the Inquisition's main weapons (surprise, fear, an almost fanatical devotion to the pope). Angel similarly has to keep increasing his idea of the main focus of Angel Investigations, adding more things to the list.

"Provider' portrays the mundane world of making a living as a confusing dream world whereas the previous episodes had portrayed the fantastic events surrounding the birth of Connor in a much more straightforward manner. Angel's singlemindedness plunges them all into a dream until he 'wakes up' at the end. The final scene could be interpreted as relaxing after a day of work or coming out of the dream that work represented.

This is kind of rambling so I think I'll stop now.

[> Also mild spoilers to BtVS through 'Flooded' and Monty Python's Flying Circus -- matching mole, 14:25:16 01/22/02 Tue

[> Re: Nobody expects Angel Investigations. Spoilers for the Gift. -- Rahael, 03:18:43 01/23/02 Wed

Thanks m. mole!!

Yet again, I wish that I could actually see these eps. Since I already have a friend who has devoted his computer to downloading Buffy eps for me 2 days of the week, I feel ungrateful taking another two days for Angel.

You raise to the fore something I've always noticed about BtVS and AtS. Not only do they like to perform sleight of hands, and treat plot elements with a twinkle in their eyes, but the "dream world" "real world" distinction is particularly blurred.

Any episode which deals with "the world turned upside down"--The Wish, Something Blue, Restless, are sure to turn up again in a more dark and disturbing form. The darkest subject matter of Buffy could easily have been written in a more humorous way, and vice versa. It seems to me to be ME's attempt to show that the world can be capricious; we don't get what we deserve; that tragedy and comedy are two sides of the same coin.

I mentioned in a post many months ago, how there's almost a (I want to say Plutarchian, but then I would be asked to explain it and reveal my ignorance) sense that chance, capricious fortune and coincidence are as much part of the plot devise as "destiny" and "prophecy". Glory finds out about the key because of the slip of the tongue by Ben. She identifies Dawn as the key because of a slip of the tongue by the brain sucked Tara (who probably wouldn't have got brain sucked if it hadn't been for a fight with Willow). Buffy might never have had to sacrifice her life if someone had a) known about Doc b) delayed him more successfully. As Spike said, he found numerous ways of saving her life, after the event.

I tend to see this as the preeminent influence of Shakespeare on Joss. Shakespeare, who along with Ben Jonson and Marlowe stood outside the cultural mindset of many of their contemporaries by rather adopting a Classical Roman view of events and causality (hence my mentioning Plutarch) rather than a Christian Providential view.

"Like flies to wanton boys are we to the Gods
They play with us for sport"

Powers That Be, anyone?

Really, the amount of times that Joss name-checks Shakespeare--I almost feel tempted to volunteer to write an essay analysing a play for influences. I say an essay. It might be reduced to a commentary. And that reduced to a rambling post.

Umm...I've gone slightly off track here. But I enjoyed your review of the ep. I too love the inventiveness of the writers; I'd rather they kept doing that than make sure that they never ever had any plot holes. I admire watching them work their way out of tight corners with yet more complicated magical mumbo jumbo.

(Oh, and I love the Spanish Inquisition sketch. My fave. Other people can have the dead parrot!)

[> [> Like flies -- Vickie, 10:34:44 01/23/02 Wed

...to wanton boys are we to the gods
They kill us for their sport.

King Lear. Maybe the Duke of Gloucester.

I love your idea of trolling Shakespeare for Joss influences. He's said in interviews that sometimes the cast visits him and reads Will's plays. In fact, I think I read somewhere that Anthony Head was doing a really sexy reading of Richard III.

I'd like to see that.

Please do consider your essay/commentary/post. Let me know if you want a collaborator?

[> [> [> Thanks! (slightly embarrassed) -- Rahael, 10:46:15 01/23/02 Wed

I'm always quoting on this board and frequently misquote. I sometimes think about going back and confessing.

At least someone caught me this time!!!!

Will indeed consider it. Hmmm...Richard the III. I go on holiday soon...might take it with me. I would love a collaborator, but as Sheri will tell you (we are meant to be collaborating on an essay on metanarration in Buffy) I am hopeless. Hopeless, and lazy to boot.

[> [> [> [> not to be embarrased -- Vickie, 13:13:07 01/23/02 Wed

We all misquote from time to time. I only provided the revision because it seemed significant to your point.

Email me on collaboration possibilities?

[> [> Chance and perspective. Mild BtVS and Monty Python spoilers. -- matching mole, 10:54:01 01/23/02 Wed

Thanks for the response, Rahael. As usual it has inspired more ideas.

First let me say how happy I am that a person of your tender years (oops, maybe I'm being patriarchal now, or at least condescending) is a Monty Python fan. I remember being dismayed when my fellow teaching assistant in a comparative anatomy lab made a reference to Eric the Half a Lamprey and was met with stony uncomprehending silence by the entire class. And that was in 1986 when Python was still a recent cultural phenomenon. Nowadays more people seem familiar with the movies than the television program. I actually prefer the TV show both for reasons of structure and content. Most of the films have a relatively formal structure (even The Meaning of Life is divided into distinct sections) while the program is anarchic--characters walk casually from one sketch to another, things abruptly change for no apparent reason. The shows also benefit from the censorship of being made for television I think. While opposed to censorship on principle I often find it has beneficial side effects (not exactly a novel observation). Television forced the Flying Circus to focus more on being clever and less on merely being gross or prurient. The Mr. Creosote sketch in "The Meaning of Life' is an example (in my opinion obviously, I know many people love the sketch) of the pitfalls of the release from the censor. The sketch reminds of a lot of Saturday Night Live--a simple and funny idea prolonged and amplified until the effect is destroyed.

Well that was a lot longer than I had planned. The Spanish Inquisition is my favourite sketch as well. "Dead Parrot" is basically a John Cleese tour de force (with able assistance from Michael Palin) but the Inquisition is divine insanity. When I first saw it (actually I think I heard a recording before I ever saw it) I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever heard.

Back somewhat on topic. I really liked what you had to say about chance and Shakespeare. Not having much extensive training in the humanities I really appreciate the insights of those with more background. Chance is a very difficult thing for many people to deal with and a lot of art, culture, and religion seem to exist to try and protect us from the psychological hazards of a capricious universe.

The flip side of chance is perspective. Life exists but how we look it affects how it affects us. That is the heart of Angel's epiphany. The main thing that seems to have changed over the years on BtVS and AtS is the perspective of the characters. Tragedy, trauma, success, failure, love, and abandonment appear again and again in large part due to chance events as Rahael pointed out (think of how differently BtVS would have unrolled if Oz had never been bitten by a werewolf, if Cordelia had not made her wish within Anyanka's earshot, if Jenny Calender hadn't worked late at the school but at home, etc.). What changes is the perspective of the characters. How they use their imagination to interpret the challenges they face. The single-minded perseverance of Angel and Buffy makes them heroes but it also leaves them (rather ironically) unprepared for the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune". Setbacks on the way to their goal they can deal with but what about when the goal itself changes and in a big way. What hero sacrifices herself for the good of the universe and expects to be yanked back to earth to face a lovesick vampire and a leaky basement?

[> [> [> Exactly! -- Rahael, 14:26:13 01/23/02 Wed

And that's what I was trying to articulate my way towards! (she said brazenly).

Life doesn't suddenly become all rosy and soft and magic because you've had your epiphany or your gift moment....the hardest thing in life is to live in it. Because the moments of utter meaning and depth are few and far between, because sometimes the big bad is nothing more than friendships going sour, or relationships proceeding unsatisfactorily. Even heroes have to earn a crust, or fix the plumbing.

Banal or meaningful, sad or joyful, ecstatic or despairing - life contains all these moments, and all have to be endured. My brain has been scrambled after a long day at work, so I will have to return to this.

On a side track, Monty Python is a bit of a British institution after all. I went to the same college that Michael Palin did and he came and did a couple of talks for us. Nice man. Funny too!

(and you weren't being condescending in the least! I'm touched!)

[> [> [> [> Re: Exactly! Warning Bad Joke and Monty Pyton. -- Age, 16:09:44 01/23/02 Wed

This is interesting. It just goes to show you that concentrating on one craft of the show(its meaning through metaphor) can take you away from other aspects of the content. Yet another perspective.

As an old, well, not that old, watcher of Mony Python, I do have to agree with your assessment of the Spanish Inquisition. But, I am also a Parrot Sketch man myself, but what if the Pet Shop were in Sunnydale...

Excuse me, Miss.


Sorry, I have an attachment to oppositional thinking.

What seems to be the problem?

It's this Sunnydale vampire I bought not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

Yah, what about it?

It's dead.


Yes, dead, shuffled off this mortal coil, gone to meet its maker, gone to join the choir invisible, bereft of life it has ceased to be, this is an ex-vampire.

Yah, well, that's the way it's supposed to be.

Supposed to be, my lad?

Yah, that's the way they come, dead.

Then, where is it?

It's hiding.


Yah, hiding in the blanket.

Hiding in the blanket.

Yah, in the folds.


Yah, Sunnydale vampires don't like the sunlight so much.

But, it's night time.

Well, he's hiding.

Look my lad, I took the liberty of examining this vampire, and the only reason it was able to do anything was that it had been nailed to its perch. But now instead of droppings, there's a collection of dust in its cage.

You didn't take him off his perch, did you?


Well, that's your problem then.

What do you mean?

You've staked him.

Staked him?

Yah, on the perch, Sunnydale vampires stake easily.

Listen my lad, a vampire is what I paid for and a vampire is what I want.

Well, I'll go see if we've got anymore. Uh, no, shortage of em; it's that bloody slayer. But, I've got a zombie.

Alright, I'll take that then.

(Age showing how he has no real talent for jokes; and how he would never be hired by the War department to create the funniest, deadliest joke in the world: my apologies to Joss Whedon and the Monty Python blokes.)

It's not much of a joke shop really, is it...

...Well, it's certainly uncontaminated by humour.


[> [> [> [> [> Re: Bwahahahahahaha!! (Well, I enjoyed it!) ;o) -- WW, 17:44:43 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> An Age of many talents -- matching mole, 20:18:58 01/23/02 Wed

You are far too modest. So inspirational did I find your parody (and the very idea of a parody of a Python sketch is brilliant in itself) that I was highly tempted to rewrite the Spanish Inquisition sketch and set it at the Hyperion Hotel.

Angel is showing pictures to Lorne.

'Here is Connor in his crib asleep'. Hands picture to Lorne who tears it in half.

'Here is Connor in his crib wide awake and laughing at my vampire face.' Hands picture to Lorne who tears it in half.

'Here is Connor awake but starting to fall asleep again.' Hands picture to Lorne who tears it in half.

'Here is Connor asleep but restlessly tossing and turning.' Hands picture to Lorne who tears it in half.

'Here is Connor asleep and having a dream in which I have to go to work for Wolfram and Hart. In the mail room.' Hands picture to Lorne who says..

'I didn't expect you to get the mailroom gig. Janitor at best. Good for you, sugar.'

Then Gavin and Lilah and flunkies rush in with soft pillows and are upset because Lorne flubbed his line. Etc., etc.

But I decided not to because it was too much work and I couldn't do as good a job as Age.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Spanish Inquisition; Spoilers to 'Provider' and 'Gone'; Speculation from arc. -- Age, 00:56:53 01/24/02 Thu

I like your sketch; it certainly gets at the idea of the domestic bliss of Angel about to be torn in two by Holtz and his army of emotionally bruised and used human beings. Not a spoiler, but just speculation based on most of the arc to date. The idea of the Spanish Inquisition fits nicely into the scene between Justine and Holtz in 'Provider.'

When the ragtag band of revenge warriors enters the Hyperion Angel exclaims, 'I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition.'

Then Cordy corrects him, and says, 'Well, yah, you sent out Lorne to find out what these guys have been up to.'

'Oh', says Angel,' Uh, yes, I guess we did expect the Spanish Inquisition. Okay, let me start again. Um, you guys wouldn't mind going out and coming back in again, you know, to create the right atmosphere? No huh. Alright, well, I'll just start over by myself. Where was I?'

Lorne: 'You were handing me photos and I was tearing them up.'

Angel: 'Right.'

[Hands Lorne another photo which he tears in two. Angel looks at him funny. Lorne rolls his eyes and tries to push the torn photos under the couch with one foot while whistling.]

Angel: 'Okay, everyone ready? I guess we did expect the Spanish Inquisition.'

Holtz: 'Scoff if you like, Angelus. But you won't be laughing when you see our weapon. Uh, Justine...?'

Justine: 'Our weapon is surprise.'

Holtz: 'Our weapon IS surprise.'

[Fang gang gives him a look that shows they aren't surprised.]

Holtz: 'Our weapon is surprise and fear, fear and surprise; our two weapons[looks at Justine to verify; she nods] are surprise and fear.'

[More bemused unconcerned looks from the Fang Gang]

Holtz[more emphatically]: 'Our two weapons are fear and surprise and a ruthless efficiency.'

Justine[aside]: 'That's Three.'

Holtz: 'Our three weapons are fear, surprise and a ruthless efficiency...'

[More unconcerned, yet expectant looks on the Fang gang.]

Justine[aside to Holtz]: 'I told you we should have brought real weapons.'

Holtz[to Justine]: 'Well, you try it.'

Justine[looking angry]:'Our three weapons are fear, surprise, a ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to Holtz.[Stops for a moment.] Damn, our four so-called weapons are fear, surprise, a ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to Holtz and a night out with the neighbour...'

The Fang Gang together: 'What!?'

[Gunn and Wes both look at Fred with a smile.]

Holtz[to Justine]:'That's got their attention. Mix it up a little.'

Justine: 'Amongst our weapons are such diverse elements as surprise, a ruthless devotion to Holtz and, what were the others?'

Holtz: 'Surprise.'

Justine: 'No, I think I said that.'

Holtz: 'I'm sure you didn't.'

Justine[emphatically]: 'I'm sure I did.'

Holtz: 'Okay, this isn't going very well.[addressing the Fang gang.] You go back to what you were doing while we sort this out. Uh, maybe we should go out and come back in again?'

Fang: 'Sounds good to me.'

Justine: 'Uh, can we trust a guy with a name like that?'

Holtz: 'Hmmm, I hadn't thought of that. Okay. We'll leave come back in and take them by surprise.'

Fang: 'Good plan.'

Holtz: 'Angelus, you have been given a reprieve. But do not think you will get off so lightly. We'll be back.'[obligatory allusion to an apocalyptic film about cyborgs. Gives metaphor seeking junkies much to analyze in the days following the airing.]

Angel: 'When?'

Holtz: 'Uh, We shall return...shortly.'

[Holtz and his team leave.]

[Angel and the Fang gang hear them at the door.]

[Angel looks at Cordy quizzingly; Cordy shrugs her shoulders.]

[Angel turns to the door.]

Angel: 'Why not...everyone... '

The Fang Gang: 'We didn't expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.'

[The front doors burst open; in comes Holtz and his band yet again.]

Holtz[menacingly]: I said shortly, and I mean what I say. And I say what I mean. Now... what was I saying? Uh yes, amongst our weaponry are surprise...'

[Holtz looks at the Fang Gang]

Holtz: [to Justine]'This still isn't working.'

Biggles: 'Might I suggest the rack.'

Justine: 'The rack? Why was I not told about this?'

Holtz: 'You are on a need to know basis.'

Justine[angrily]: 'Need to know! I think we're fast reaching a knee-ed to the groin basis if you ask me.'

Holtz: 'Biggles, employ the rack!'

[Biggles gets out the rack and approaches the Fang Gang.]

[Biggles approaches Fred who looks at him with curiosity.]

Biggles[selecting a Scientific American from the magazine rack and giving it to Fred]: 'There, young woman, that should be torturous for you to read.'

Fred[smiling]: 'Oh no, I missed this issue. Thanks.'

[Fred sets about reading an article.]

Biggles: 'My Dark Lord[obligatory generic allusion designed to keep metaphor hunters occupied for days seeking out films and books to quote]. This doesn't seem to be working.'

Holtz: 'What about the comfy chair?'

Biggles: 'They seem already to be sitting in these instruments of torture without discomfort.'

Holtz: 'Things have changed more than I thought...'

[obligatory irony...]

[Suddenly the front doors burst open...It's Buffy Summers from Sunnydale.]

[Gasps all round.]

Holtz: 'Who dares interrupt my moment of revenge?'

The Fang Gang: 'Buffy Summers of Sunnydale, Oh Dim Lord.'

Holtz: 'But, that's impossible, there's not supposed to be any cross-overs from, you know, that other show.'

Buffy: 'Amongst my myriad weapons are surprise, fear and a drop ass kick.'

Holtz: 'This is not finished, Angelus. We'll be back.[obligatory reiteration of motif to let the metaphor hunters know that an allusion was being made the first time] But not until May sweeps.'

[Holtz and his gang leaves, with Justine kicking his butt.]

Angel: 'I'm puzzled. There really aren't supposed to be any cross-overs. How did you manage to get permission to appear in this ep?'

Buffy: 'Oh, that. Well, it's a funny thing, but, surprise, I'm not Buffy. [Taking off her mask.] I'm Harmony.'

The Fang Gang: 'Harmony!'

Harmony: 'Yah, well, with all this redemption and Cordy getting a bit demon and Buffy being allowed to go this way and that and back again and everything I thought I'd give going good another try. Anyone got any blood? Oh, look...magazines.'

The Fang Gang: 'Uh, what shall we do with Harmony.'

Angel: 'Nothing, for all we know this really may be Buffy with a Harmony mask on trying to fool the execs.'

Gunn[shaking his head]: 'You Sunnydale types: repress, repress, repress.'

The other Fang Gang members: 'Did you say something?'

Angel: 'You know what, if I didn't know any better, I'd say we were in a Monty Python Sketch.[Settling back on the couch] Now, where were we? Oh yes, now here's a nice photo of Connor throwing up on Uncle Wes...'

[The sound of tearing; gnashing of teeth. Eyes and then credits roll.]


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Shouldn't that be Cardinal Justine? -- matching mole, 09:02:21 01/24/02 Thu

Wow Age. That's all I have to say. You have a really good memory (or you were cheating and looking at source material) as well as being very imaginative.

What about the final scene?

Angel and company are in court, being sued by the chrome-faced demons for reneging on their contract. The chrome guys are being represented (of course) by Wolfram and Hart. Our heroes are represented by Harmony who has been taking a night school (it could hardly be anything else) law course.

The Judge: I hereby order that some of the prisoners [he points to Cordy and Fred] be taken from this place over to my place. [Widespread snickering].

Cordelia (to Harmony) - Aren't you going to object?

Harmony - What? Oh, I guess so.

A moment of silence.

Harmony - Why am I objecting? [Surreptitiously closes her briefcase and eyes the door].

Cordelia - Because he's creepy! Also I sincerely doubt that his place is an official detentition centre. And this is a civil case - we're not even prisoners.

Lorne - I'll go instead if you like [leers at the judge].

Fred [looks up from her Scientific American] - what's going on?

Gunn - Don't worry about it. Just sit there and look pretty. That's what we're paid for. [Smiles at her reminding the viewing public that romance is in the air]

Wesley glowers at Gunn reminding the viewing public that conflict is also in the air.

Cordelia (on a roll and forgetting that Harmony is their lawyer) - and another thing - aren't you that guy?

The Judge (slightly nervously) - I don't think so.

Cordelia - Sure you are. Hey Angel! Isn't he that guy?

Angel (looks up from the pictures of Connor) - What?

Cordelia - The judge. Isn't he The Judge? You know from Sunnydale. Back when you turned evil the first time.

Angel - What do you mean the first time?

Wesley - He can't be The Judge. The Judge was blown to bits as I recall. And there aren't any crossovers any more.

Cordelia - I don't think that applies to villains.

The Judge - Sure it does. And I'm, er he's dead.

Cordelia - Look Bub. I'm from Sunnydale. Being dead doesn't impress me. Look at Darla. She had to be put down four times. Those writers can do anything they want [obligatory piece of meta-narration to keep the post-modernists happy].

Angel - Watch it Cordy. You're talking about the mother of my child. (Gasps in horror). Who's watching Connor? (runs out).

Lilah - Objection your honor. The defense is proceeding in a most irregular manner. Ms. Chase is not a qualified attorney.

Cordelia - Yeah but I'm at least as big a bitch as you are. [to The Judge] Are you going to answer my question?

The Judge - What was the question again?

Cordelia - You know, I'm not really sure anymore. The writers must have been really stoned when this scene was written. I'm sure this is nothing like the original sketch at all. But I'm sure I had a complaint or a question or something because I almost always do [emphasizing continuity of character for the fan who likes to have everything nailed down]. And you better answer it.

The Judge - Look. I gave up on the whole destroying the world thing, I just wanted to be a simple small claims court judge and maybe get a little action on the side. I didn't expect a sort of Spanish Inquisition.

Everyone in the courtroom turns to look at the door except for Fred who is still reading her magazine.

Cut to an underground parking garage. Holtz is running around with several bulky 'Crate and Barrel' Bags. Justine and Biggles follow carrying a rack between them. The rack is in a box that says 'solid oak construction' and 'assembly required'

Holtz - Where's the damn car? [beginning of Seinfeld reference]

Biggles - I was sure it was right over there. Maybe the next level?

Justine - We should have taken the bus. I'm sure that's what was in the script.

Holtz - In southern California? Who would believe that. I don't know what those writers were thinking.

They find the car and spend several fruitless minutes trying to get the rack in the trunk and the back seat and then drive off leaving it behind [end of Seinfeld reference]

Brief scenes of the car caught in an immense traffic jam and a road rage induced exchange of crossbow bolts between Justine and a generic demon. Holtz impatiently checking his watch throughout.

They arrive at the courthouse, collide with Angel who is returning carrying Connor and not watching where he is going.

They burst through the courtroom door screaming

'Nobody expects...'

And then

'Oh bugger.'

Cordelia - To stay in character I should really have the last word but I'm out of lines. So roll the credits.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: It Just Goes to Show You spoilers to Provider and Gone; Arc Speculation. -- Age, 11:53:07 01/24/02 Thu

It just goes to show you(I've been saying that a lot lately,) that you can't post on this board without receiving something of great value. Your sketch is great: Harmony going to night school(of course) to become a lawyer. It's brilliant. You managed to get all the elements of this season into this final scene, which I had forgotten because (yes I was cheating) the source CD only had excerpts. You even got some meta-narration for the post-modernists. Wonderful!

As with the Python guys' original intention to send up the Inquisition, the ending of this scene shows how absurd and fruitless Holtz's plans really are. That's the point of the allusion, isn't it in the first place. I'm going to do another posting later treating these allusions more seriously.

You even developed the joke about cross-overs to include a question about villains and make reference to the fiction of it all.

I sent my parodies to friends of mine for whom I used to do this type of thing, but haven't in a while. I've just got to send your final scene.

The Angel elements with the photos is inspired: you took the original idea from the Python scene and went much further by having Angel still looking at them in court, instead of looking after his son. Then he naturally remembers his son when he makes the comment about Darla. It's not only funny, but believable within the absurdist context.


Yes, sorry, Cardinal Justine.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm very honoured -- matching mole, 15:28:47 01/24/02 Thu

A favourable analysis from the esteemed Age! How very gratifying. Not having source material at hand and being too lazy to hunt any down I took my fairly scant memories of the final scene (I don't really remember much of anything that goes in the courtroom - the 'take the defendant from this place to my place' bit might actually be from a completely different sketch) and improvised wildly.

Of course I also had your crossover joke and Harmony from your own brilliant take on the first two parts of the Spanish Inquisition to extrapolate from. You captured the atmosphere of the original very well - the bemused reactions of the Inquisition's putative victims and the great importance the Inquisitors placed placed on getting everything right (right, lets start again). Also loved the Cardinal Fang/Fang Gang pairing.

Looking forward to your 'more serious' post.

Send my post to as many people as you want. If by some strange twist of fate it makes you rich and famous just cut me a cheque.

matching mole

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Major Spoilers for ' Harry Potter'; season to 'Gone' 'Provider' ;Speculation. -- Age, 23:51:18 01/24/02 Thu

I have sent your final scene to my friends with much praise.

The Seinfeld allusion adds that much more meaning to the piece. It sets up the fruitless effort of Holtz and his road rage warriors(again the circumstances bring out the hidden emotion, a very funny way of expressing the themes and the discussion we've been having this year. It's so great to put the quintessential symbol of LA, the freeway, together with demons and Holtz's rage.)

I said that I'd do a more serious posting about the allusions but really I don't have much to add. It seems that the allusion to The Spanish Inquisition works well because it highlights the idea of repression, rage and torture. Holtz's scene with Justine underscores the torture that we will be expecting him to bring to Angel in the future.
Holtz's treatment of Justine is similar to the Spanish Inquisition's aim in that through torture he is driving out her heretical views, ie forcing her to accept his aims.

The rather frivolous reference to Python, while it does send up the Inquisition, and highlight the absurdity and fruitlessness of revenge, may imply that Angel and his team don't truly understand the scope of Holtz's repressed rage; or that they may feel some of it was vented when Caritas was blown up. It is the proverbial jocularity before the raging storm.

The parallels between the Angel and Holtz subplots do point to how far Holtz is willing to go: the young man, seeking revenge for his friend's death at the hands of vamps, has allowed his guilt, like Holtz and Justine, to take over his life such that he will lie and cheat to get help. If this man will not let things go, then how much more dogged will a man who has allowed his hatred to solidify within him(as the 200 year encasement symbolized)?

Something a friend said about 'Harry Potter' applies to our discussion. It's similar to Rufus's observation about the evocation of certain aspects of our character. All the characters in 'Potter' are scarred emotionally, as symbolized by Harry's forehead; depending on which influence they come under, Dumbledore or Voldemort, affects how that scarring will change their character, either more empathetic or not, to be simple. Recently, this role of influence has been highlighted(hence our discussion) by the ep 'Birthday' in which Cordy's chance meeting with Angel is reversed, and her chance opportunity to rid herself of her lifestyle Eden like life of being a famous actress is done away with. We have also Holtz who, acting like a Voldemort, is evoking certain emotions and aspects of Justine for his own end. This may possibly be why Angel's son was given a scratch on his face in the destruction of Caritas scene, to allude to the evocation of character theme in Rowling's works. It isn't only, as I suggested, that personal scarring makes you stronger as in Cordy's getting the demon, but the importance of the effect of others on that scarring, as Rufus's observation suggests.

In the first 'Potter' book(I won't reveal too much) it is a relationship similar perhaps to Holtz and Justine's that is explored; although the masochism applies more to the Potter character as Justine doesn't want to be dominated, but she does want something. (A thread above is exploring the ongoing Maquis De Sade allusions.) It isn't so much a straight top down relationship within a hierarchal system, but a symbiosis, as the Potter relationship implies, in which, like Justine gaining something from her relationship to Holtz, ie feeling, the person who wishes to dominate(to provide himself a source of power) is really in a position of weakness until he is able to subjugate those he wishes to use, bend them to his will, as Holtz and Voldemort are trying to do. All members within the hierarchy are using one another. It is a relationship built on mutual use. We have of course already seen hierarchy in the series with vampires, but perhaps, as the subject of 'Provider', the adult world of commerce, hence mutual use, highlights, a closer look at the theme would be in order.

If the focus is on the effect of loss, emotional scarring then this may be, in an arc about growing up, another way of deconstructing opposites by showing the dominant and submissive as a symbiotic relationship, but also deconstructing the concepts of good and evil as we learn why it is the circle of violence and suffering is maintained and developed from one generation to another, with the results of Angelus's actions affecting Holtz's life, which in turn will affect Justine's and presumably the Fang Gang's.

Is this then an excusing of these behaviours? No, but it is an elucidation of their causes. Does a person do something because he or she is evil or good, or are these simply concepts too abstract to be applied with accuracy to the human condition? In fact if Whedon is attempting to deconstruct opposites such as good and evil, he has a responsibility to show why people act as they do: knowledge over myth.

With both series moving towards a more adult perspective then perhaps we are seeing an exploration of hierarchies in a more sophisticated way than the patriarchal model of father/child. People do grow up, but with certain tendencies. The mechanisms of hierarchies may not be black and white either.

I shall leave it here. It's late and I'm not sure if I'm making sense or stating the obvious.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Additional Comment: Spoilers BS3, A to 'Provider.' Speculation. -- Age, 06:42:14 01/25/02 Fri

The parallels between Angel's subplot and the Holtz/Justine scenes also pose the question of who really is in charge of the dominant/submissive relationship. Justine sits at Holtz's(her 'boss') desk with a screwdriver-like instrument through her hand, but she can easily take it out if she wants to; while the guy who hires Angel to clean out the nest is sitting at his former boss's desk. He is not only using his former boss, as Justine is using Holtz, but he's impersonating him: in this way, the question of who is really in charge of the relationship is reinforced. Reinforced also with both Justine and the guy who hires Angel hitting their 'bosses.'

Quite clearly the black and white thinking of hierarchies is being re-examined here. Is Holtz really in charge, is he is really the dominant, or is Justine using him, exploiting his weakness, his having become so attached to the idea of revenge that it serves her purpose for re-awakening to feeling?

It poses another question: like the vampires, Holtz died inside because of what Angelus did to him; besides the obsession with revenge, what is there in Holtz that isn't part of a broken individual? This may be why Darla said that he was now part of their family, as dead inside as any vampire. What I'm getting at is Whedon's examination of weakness and strength through Holtz's and Justine's relationship and through what Holtz intends to do to Angel. At what point does the weakness of Holtz's psychological condition, like that of the vampires, get exposed? Or, is the energy tied up in his obsession enough to destroy Angel's sources of strength, his extended family, before Angel can stop what has simply become a dead man attached to revenge.

Of course, now that my brain cells are working again, we already had Faith and the Mayor back in season three of 'Buffy', but I think the Mayor had a distinct advantage over Faith due to her age. Perhaps Holtz's and Justine's relationship is an update of that relationship?

Just a thought.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Another Comment: Spoilers A to 'Provider.' Speculation. -- Age, 07:09:12 01/25/02 Fri

Sorry, what I meant to say was that both Justine and Holtz are exploiting the weakness in each other for their own ends. He needs her to build his seat of power; and she needs him to feel something. Within the adult population, there are differences in people's characters such that they have to seek out others who possess the abilities that they do not(it isn't simply a matter of someone having been stopped from growing up by a patriarchal system.) What is the relationship between such people? Do they exploit one another, or do they mutually assist one another like the Fang gang?


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: One Last Comment: Spoilers to 'Provider.' Speculation. -- Age, 11:35:42 01/25/02 Fri

Promise. Last comment. I really should have added these comments in the thread above about De Sade, but then I never expected a Spanish Inquisition-Desade connection. Nobody expects a...well, yah, I guess one does to some extent.

The screwdriver thing stuck through Justine's hand is a deliberate phallic symbol to show perhaps the vampire nature of Holtz, his attachment to a more patriarchal view of existence(like the Mayor becoming a snake); and, as an allusion again to De Sade perhaps through phallic penetration as an adjunct to the motif of people getting beat up.

Also the other subplot involving Wes, Gunn and the ex-living stalker ex-boyfriend again subverts the simple patriarchal basis of a relationship in that the woman has hit back, as Justine and the false Harlan do, and has killed her boyfriend. Both the stalker and the woman, yet another incarnation of the blond, but with her hair short to show someone with an older perspective, are both the victims and the perpetrators in their relationship. Like Holtz and Justine, they are feeding off one another.

The idea of the symbiotic relationship I mentioned in the other posting may be contained in the prince using Fred's head, as well as an allusion to the black and white thinking of Pylea, where Angel saved her from getting her head chopped off, that Angel had momentarily returned to.

Okay, I think that's it.

Perhaps we could get back to the levity of Monty Python by doing a parody of the Michael Ellis sketch with Holtz and his ferocious pet rabbit(it was an ant in the original) Justine, making their way through the labyrinth of a department store to convey the convolutions of their hierarchal relationship? Or maybe the Angel writers beat me to that idea...Harlan Elster or Michael Ellis?
Paging Harlan Elster.

Sorry to have created my own mini thread within a thread. Please put it down to Monty Python, yah, that's the ticket, the Monty Python guys made me do it. Or lack of brain power.

Please go back to your regularly scheduled thread.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Additional Comment: Spoilers BS3, A to 'Provider.' Speculation. -- matching mole, 12:02:11 01/25/02 Fri

Wow Age - do you ever sleep?

Your analysis of Holtz seems dead on. While never a particularly talkative fellow what little he says now seems completely focused on action rather than rationale. He tortures Justine for disobeying him but, in marked contrast to the Buffy/Giles relationship, never explains (unless I'm forgetting) why he ordered her to desist from killing the vampires. His response to finding out that Angel has a soul is concerned with tactics rather than ethics.

The contrast with the Mayor/Faith relationship is interesting. Both the Mayor and Faith entered their relationship selfishly with the idea of manipulating the other to get what they wanted (a cynic would argue that that is the basis of all relationships). However they both came to feel genuine affection for the other. Could the same be true for Justine and Holtz? The Mayor's affection for Faith was a big part of his downfall because it distracted him from his carefully laid out plans. Conceivably if Holtz comes to feel empathy for Justine that could undermine his plans for Angel. He would change from a creature of pure action back to one with feelings. I think you made a really key observation when you asked what Justine wanted from her relationship with Holtz. It is possible that her initial reason, to learn how to fight vampires, is rapidly becoming more complicated.

Both Holtz and Angel remind me of Melmoth the Wanderer (or any of a number of other characters from Romantic/Gothic literature). They have a past which has given them a preternaturally extended life but trapped them in a static meaningless present. Holtz is a machine of vegeance - that is his only goal but even it he achieves revenge it will not provide satisfaction. Angelus is a killing machine that can never be sated. Angel is driven to action or inaction by the guilt from his past that can never be assuaged. Even his relationship with Buffy is static. His epiphany and then the birth of his child have started to allow Angel to extract meaning from a dynamic present while Holtz remains trapped.

The element of chance again rears its head. Holtz is driven to fight vampires, presumably by elements of good in his nature. His success is ultimately his downfall when it leads Darla and Angelus to kill his family. In contrast Liam's fate is largely random - he is idle and irresponsible but no more so than many other young people. Bad luck leads to his becoming a vampire and worse/better luck leads to his becoming cursed.

I think this is becoming incoherent so I'll stop now.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Melmoth. -- Rahael, 12:40:30 01/25/02 Fri

Of all the Gothic novels I read, Melmoth has to be the best! I can remember sitting down and getting through it in one sitting. I thought it kind of transcended the genre in its compulsive despair.

Its 8.40 pm and I'm *still* in the office. Sigh. My brain is completely and utterly scrambled. I can summon up no more a coherent thought than "me like Melmoth! and Ginzburg!"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Have a good vacation -- matching mole, 13:03:37 01/25/02 Fri

It sounds like you need it. Of course by the time you get back Age will have written another 100,00 words of analysis for you to get through. But that should be no problem for someone who can read 'Melmoth the Wanderer' in one sitting.

And just this second I remembered that 'Melmoth the Wanderer' prominently features that Iberian prosecutorial branch of the Catholic Church that nobody expects. I can't escape no matter how hard I try.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks! I will! -- d'Herblay, 21:03:50 01/25/02 Fri

Oh, wait . . . that wasn't directed at me . . .

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You have one too -- matching mole, 21:53:34 01/25/02 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks m. mole! -- Rahael, 15:16:58 01/26/02 Sat

I will start having a great vacation as soon as I run the guantlet of air travel across the atlantic. Not only do we have delays due to security, but tomorrow just happens to be the day that air traffic control gets handed over from public to private hands. Delays predicted. How long? No one knows!

But hey, numerous consolations await me. And lets not forget brand new Buffy and Angel eps!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> An interesting cultural difference -- d'Herblay, 15:28:31 01/26/02 Sat

I just find it interesting that just at the moment Britain is privatizing airport security, the US is nationalizing it. Either way, expect delays.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Additional Comment: Spoilers B1-3, A to 'Provider.' Speculation. -- Age, 14:38:45 01/25/02 Fri

Quite an intriguing contrast to Giles; a good contrast to highlight Holtz's condition. At this point I don't see Holtz or Justine developing feelings for one another. The focus is on creating, shaping only one feeling: hatred. Hatred tied to ruthless efficiency, surprise, fear and a fanatical devotion to the cause. Shades of September 11th. I think other posters in earlier threads discussed this connection.

I have to qualify slightly the idea of chance in Liam's case. I think finding Darla or someone like her was in the back of his mind: his father wanted Liam to be the best he could be, but kept trying to make him so by constantly showing him up for not being that. Therefore Liam set out to combine both aspects of his father's teaching: he'd be the worst guy he could, Angelus. Now it could be argued that by chance he could have met someone who helped him to see his father's intention, but I think Liam got together with a kindred spirit, one who knew all too well the worst men could be. Dysfunction tends to seek out dysfunction as in Holtz and Justine, the young woman and her dead stalker. But I do see what you mean about chance. It's just that pattern set down over many years tends to overrule chance.Liam could have met a woman who was preapred to help him and, in his dysfunction, ran the other way, straight into Darla's waiting jaws.

I did have a couple of things to add; so I'll paste them in here:

One thing I did miss about the Spanish Inquisition is the list of items surprise, fear etc. We have already had the surprise of Holtz's appearance; there is the fear of what Holtz will do to Angel's baby; and Holtz is using ruthless efficiency to gain an almost fanatical devotion to himself.

I was thinking that the ep 'Birthday' had been placed where it was in the season for another reason: to show the fruitlessness of Holtz's revenge. Angel has already been sentenced to a life term without happiness by the gypsies, with Ms Callendar's and her uncle's deaths being the first lesson about the consequences of revenge. Of course, not only has Angel been given this life sentence, but he's been tied to the Powers that Be, just in case he strays from the path of helping people. Cordy is not only his communication with the Powers but a constant reminder of the sentence: she is the Cord-y around Angel's foot in his house arrest, so to speak. In an ep that follows Cordy's full acceptance of her vision life, the writers in 'Provider' underscore this role for her.

In this way, 'Birthday' being placed where it was is important because we are reminded of Cordy's role and of the presence of the Powers. In other words, we see that justice is already being served. This shows up Holtz's endeavour for what it really is: revenge.

Nothing more to say...for a little while.

So, some of the posters come here for the metaphor, as I have read in the thread above. Great! That just spurs me on more and more and...not really.

Excuse me, in which department can I find the surprises?

What, sir?

The surprises?

Ah, yes, that would be in the demon discount department on the ninth floor.

Thank you.

[Holtz takes Justine to door to department; walks through into mid air and falls.]

Holtz: I said surprises, not life altering shocks!

Department Clerk: Sorry! Have a nice day. Come back soon.

[A pleasantly short end to a long sketch.]


[> [> [> [> [> I say that belongs in our Buffyverse Apochrypha section! (or however it's spelt...) -- Solitude1056, 21:50:58 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> Re: Exactly! -- Wisewoman, 17:48:30 01/23/02 Wed

Life doesn't suddenly become all rosy and soft and magic because you've had your epiphany or your gift moment....the hardest thing in life is to live in it. Because the moments of utter meaning and depth are few and far between...

What's the Buddhist saying? "Before enlightenment...chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment...chop wood, carry water."


[> [> [> [> Can we get a Knight of Byzantium to slap Angel with a carp? -- Darby, 08:07:51 01/24/02 Thu

If nothing else, people who have skipped this thread previously should be curious about it now.

[> [> [> [> Re: Exactly! (Provider spoiler) -- matching mole, 10:17:07 01/24/02 Thu

Having your boss drive a spike through your hand can really mess up your day. Even if Justine had had her own epiphany I doubt she would have been too happy with Holtz. (Have you read the script to 'Provider' Rahael? - otherwise the above might not make much sense. But you're clever, you'll figure it out.)

To reference two of the earlier responses to your post being asked to chop wood and haul water after reaching enlightment is a little like being slapped with a fish. You could consider it funny, an outrageous insult, or the normal course of events in an endlessly surprising universe.

I think that reading Age's python parodies and then writing my own has made me a little loopy.

[> [> [> [> [> That's what I call a segue! -- Rahael, 10:37:56 01/24/02 Thu

Must say it's not fair. You and Age aren't allowed to go around writing brilliant and insightful posts and then reveal new facets!! I found the Python parodies charming!

I am a spoiler trollop. I track every little rumour, read every wildfeed, and write endless posts on episodes I have never seen.

I see the overanalysis thread has finally succumbed. Pity, I was waiting for Age to respond to Beekeeper!!!

And back to Python. I loved the television series. One of my other favourite sketches was the Nazi high command in witless disguise in a British seaside town. Talk about absurdity as a necessary puncture to the horror of life!

Doublemeat Palace (Spoilers) -- Tellab, 19:26:48 01/22/02 Tue

I don't don't know if anyone would get this, but the preview seems tooo, er, UPN? With regards to the palette. Reminds me of "Life Serial". It appears to be fluff, however, TV Guide says it's one of this season's most powerful episode. Intriguing, no?

[> Cringe -- MayaPapaya9, 22:23:59 01/22/02 Tue

I was so sad when I saw the preview for it. Buffy in fast food? It's so demeaning, so unsophisticated, so...icky. Harsh lighting and clown-colored uniforms, not to mention the horrors of what REALLY goes into our burgers (sorry, but my History AP class is reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and I'm thinking about going vegetarian). My optimism for the season is about to begin a downward spiral and in short, I am very worried for the welfare of the only TV show I watch. Does anyone know who it's written by? A well-known, reliable writer might bring my hopes back up.

And WHY can't Buffy go back to school?? She cannot work at a fast food place the rest of our life. I mean, come on. OUR Buffy, working with hamburgers and saying things like, "Do you want fries with that?" This is the girl who thought working in the Magic Box was demeaning. She needs to go back to school. Tell me this job is just a part-time thing.

As for the TV Guide...not to be pessimistic, but it sounds kind of like hype for an inauspicious (am I using this SAT word correctly??) episode. Oh well, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

[> [> Re: Cringe -- maddog, 07:27:19 01/23/02 Wed

But honestly, is she really qualified for much...she's a high school grad...period. She could do security work but would anyone believe she could handle it? They probably wouldn't evne give her an interview. As for the episode itself, do you really think her working at the fast food place is the major part of the storyline anyway? Even if half the show is based there I'm sure the themes of whatever is going on will overtake the corniness of the situation. Why can't she go back to school? I believe the word is MONEY. If she needs a job just to support the house and Dawn do you really think she has any for school? Do you honestly think fast food is Buffy's "career choice" anyway? Come on, look deeper. Yeah, previews are always overhyping...though most of the time it's on the WB, not UPN.

[> [> [> Re: Orphans do get financial aid -- B, 11:16:18 01/23/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> Re: Orphans do get financial aid: umm She's not an Orphan -- daring, 12:48:25 01/23/02 Wed

Buffy (and Dawn) are not orphans. Hank Summers is still alive (and wealthy from what we have seen). he would have financial responsibility for both of them (Dawn for sure, Buffy if she was in college). And in 2 episodes this season , Hank certainly knows that Joyce is dead (telling Buffybot not to answer the phone in case its Hank calling in Bargaining and the threat from the social worker in Gone) and that he has responsibilities in this. From what we have seen, he cared about his children at least a little.

[> [> [> [> [> Season of Nightmares -- darrenK, 14:17:52 01/23/02 Wed

Yeah, but this seems to be the season where Buffy's nightmares from Season 1 come true. She's already had to "crawl out of her grave," she's in the process of being abandoned by her father, now she just needs to be vamped (?!) and the nightmares will be complete.

Jane Espenson is writing Doublemeat Palace. Her episodes are usually some of the funnier ones. We'll see.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Orphans do get financial aid: umm She's not an Orphan -- MayaPapaya9, 15:49:26 01/23/02 Wed

There ya go! She can get some child support from her dad. I mean, god, there must be SOME way to get money. UC's are generally about $4,000 for tuition in you're from in state, am I right? It's not like she needs $20,000 for some private college. Can't she sue her dad for the money if he won't give it to her? She has a really good case. Her mother died, her sister needs to be taken care of. Buffy NEEDS to go back to school. At least community college or SOMETHING.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Well, as someone back-in-school myself... -- Solitude1056, 22:02:04 01/23/02 Wed

The paperwork for getting a subsidized loan is pretty straightforward, and as a non-employeed person with little or no savings or income, she'd probably qualify for a subsidized loan. That's not the problem - the problem is that house mortgages are expensive, insurance is expensive, food is expensive, and younger teenagers' expectations of "the life she's become accustomed to living" is definitely expensive. School loans would pay for Buffy to return to school, no doubt, but they wouldn't pay for everything else. Hell, my school loans are paying for my return-to-school but a max of something like $8K for a college sophmore, that certainly wouldn't pay for all the rest of life's expenses.

Unfortunately, whomever pointed out that she's not qualifed for much, was right. She has a high school education - so we're talking fast food, retail, and maybe - maybe - secretary if she gets lucky and someone's willing to give her a chance. Regardless, none of those industries pay much, but it's better than nothing. And I suspect that either Hank is paying child support - for Dawn, not Buffy, since she's over 18 and thus no longer his "responsibility," legally - and that Dawn may also be receiving social security checks due to her mother dying before she turned 18. Most likely that's where any money now is actually coming from, even if Joss hasn't gotten that mundane about the whats & hows. However, child support doesn't usually get large enough (especially in your basic middle-class divorce) to cover mortgage and insurance, too, and social security checks aren't exactly a whopping amount of money, either. So I'd suspect this is why Buffy could work fast food, or retail, and make enough to cover what's not covered by the other two income sources.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I have a question! (Spoilers all S6 and possibly S5) -- Marie, 02:36:16 01/24/02 Thu

In all I'm reading about the episodes I haven't yet seen, can anyone tell me if Joyce's Gallery has been mentioned at all? She opened it, didn't she? It wasn't just 'employment'. So why haven't the girls sold it? Has it been mentioned at all? If it hasn't been sold, who's running it? And wouldn't they expect some income from it? Or maybe problems with debts from it?


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I have an answer! ;) (Spoiler for Flooded) -- Isabel, 18:56:50 01/24/02 Thu

Nope. Nada. Niente.

The Gallery has dropped off the face of the Earth. It was always implied that she owned it. Employees are not allowed to take stock home to decorate their house. (The zombie mask from 'Dead Man's Party.') Employees are not allowed, in most cases, to accept delivery of stock for the business at their home. Employees are not allowed to store stock, legally, for the business at home while inventory is going on. And Joyce NEVER mentioned a boss or a partner.

No one has mentioned it still being run or being sold, and I would have expected a mention at some point. The bank manager told Buffy that she had no collateral for a loan in Flooded. Since Buffy is her mother's heir, she'd own the Gallery, closed or not.

I think that's one big plot hole ME should think about.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I have an answer! ;) (Spoiler for Flooded) -- MrDave, 23:33:25 01/24/02 Thu

This is all TOTAL speculation. But I beleive that while Buffy's financials are dire, they are not hopeless. A little planning and foresight on Joyce's part and some deft management by Giles and Company have gotten them this far.

Remember Buffy was dead for months. Giles & company might have sold the gallery (and inventory) set up a trust for Dawn and don't forget all those hospital bills from Joyce's illness. They could have been as much as $100,000.

The headstones on both Joyce's and Buffy's graves alone would be about $10,000.

I mention farther up-thread that the mortgage could be explained as a simple life insurance policy purchased at the same time as the house (they are very common).

But the business could have had "key-man" insurance as well. This is insurance money that is used to keep the business afloat or to compensate in the case of the loss of a "key member" of the store staff (Joyce was obviously a key person). There could be a small dividend or profit from the store (if it is still operating) to cover taxes on the Summers home, and minimal expenses. Probably not enough to pay for Willow, Tara, Dawn, and Buffy all at the same time tho.

Willow and Tara are not contributing income (as far as I can tell) except any money that Anya (reluctantly) parts with for their working part time in the Magic Box. Strangely enough, Willow and Tara have the highest earning potential as witches-for-hire. In Sunnydell the anti-invite-the-vampire-charm spell alone could bring in several hundred a week. I imagine they are probably selling pre-made charms and talismans on consignment through the shop as well.

Buffy isn't qualified for much in the "skilled" labor field, but she would make a terrific groundswoman for any of the dozen or so graveyards in town. She can lug 50 lb bags of fertilizer and would probably drive a mean lawnmower and coud dig a grave to exacting specifications. Not to mention the fact that she knows every inch of every graveyard almost intimately.

Buffy could also do surveying (with some training of course). Its a job where you spend nearly all day out of the office, and travel all over town with little or no supervision.

Locksmithing? Landscaping? Warehouse work?

There is stuff she can do. She's not helpless, just (currently) directionless. Job councelling may not be glamourous as vampire slaying, but trust me, those people have heard it all. They caould find her a job.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Well, as someone back-in-school myself... -- MrDave, 23:13:53 01/24/02 Thu

Actually, there are plenty of insurance policies that will pay your entire mortgage in the case of death. Many times they can be piggybacked right into your mortgage payment. Joyce being the responsible person she was would have likely already had one of these policies.

Property taxes on the other hands...now there's a killer.

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