January 2004 posts

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Yikes! Late night BBC2 Buffy S7 -- Celebaelin, 18:30:18 01/23/04 Fri

Why didn't anyone tell me? So the 1.20am Friday night (well, Saturday morning) slot pretty much guarantees anything that can escape the edit will do, very much in contrast to the previous early evening showings. Thing is it was fairly lucky that I spotted it, I'd already missed Lessons, although I doubt that the late night version was substantially different in that case. Beneath You has just shown (currently 2.30am UK time).

Just a shout to UK fans who want to check out the unexpurgated S7. I haven't spotted any differences in emphasis and/or content yet, I say this having just compared the final scene of BY with a tape of the Sky broadcast to convince myself that the two were identical. The fact that I had to I suppose underlines the point of re-watching, quite apart from the 'Spot the Difference' game.


[> Re: Yikes! Late night BBC2 Buffy S7 -- Abby, 10:39:05 01/25/04 Sun

The editing varies. There's a whole essay on Slayage that highlights where drastic cuts have really changed the message of the show (Dead Things in particular). I started watching only the uncut broadcasts when I caught 'Wild at Heart' and saw that a chunk of Willow/Oz dialogue had been cut, as well as ANY evidence that Oz and Veruca had had sex. I then was gripped with panic at what else in the preceding three series I had missed!

[> [> The early evening cuts -- Pip, 11:03:43 01/25/04 Sun

The early evening BBC version was really heavily cut in Sleeper and Never Leave Me, to the extent that I was sometimes a bit confused about what was going on. If you haven't got Sky, or didn't get given the videos as a holiday present, tape the late night version.

My real favourite was the ruination of the plot point that the Hellmouth seal is opened by blood. Oh yeah? Not according to the BBC, which was strictly a blood free zone!

[> [> [> I'm still waiting for the DVD -- KdS, 13:04:20 01/25/04 Sun

Saw it on Sky, which was cut to an extent but not as badly. Unfortunately, the uncut version is on at the same time as South Park, and I'm too old and employed to stay up that late just to watch TV :-(

[> sorry -- MsGiles, 06:15:45 01/27/04 Tue

I was actually up with events this time, meant to post a general reminder but forgot. Since I missed the first three in cut form last year, can't yet compare, but I did wonder if Spike's '..get it hard ..service the girl..' might have been given the snip. So to speak..

What a triumph of melodrama, by the way. Ivor Novello eat your heart out. I practically applauded when he got to the end of it, and draped himself on the cross, smoking reproachfully.

[> [> 'Shame on you', smoking can definitely damage your health! -- Celebaelin, 15:56:36 01/27/04 Tue

Dreams and hallucinations (spoilers Angel 5.10, Soul Purpose) -- pellenaka, 11:10:21 01/24/04 Sat

I've been thinking a lot about Soul Purpose and the blurred lines between dreams and reality.

One scene in particular is puzzling me. Wesley and Gunn er arguing, Fred comes in, Angel says he's sick and takes the elevator down. Wesley is the only one who looks after him and he (Wesley) has a creepy look on his face.
Angel comes out of the elevator (does Angel live on the floor below his office or did he walk/drive all the way home at daylight?) and Wesley comes to comfort him and ends up staking Angel.

When does the hallucination begin? If the hallucination doesn't start till Angel comes out of the elevator, then Wesley's look was real - why does he look like that?

And why is the episode called Soul Purpose? Because Spike's soul gets a purpose?
I was thinking that the bezoar-like things sucked the soul out of Angel but that wasn't the case.


[> Re: Dreams and hallucinations (spoilers Angel 5.10, Soul Purpose) -- anom, 21:45:06 01/25/04 Sun

"When does the hallucination begin? If the hallucination doesn't start till Angel comes out of the elevator, then Wesley's look was real - why does he look like that?"

I noticed the 2nd time I watched that Angel never pushes the elevator button--it just opens as he approaches, like a Star Trek door. Which made me wonder how much of the story is Angel's dream, since even some of the supposedly real sequences w/Spike could certainly be a nightmare for Angel. Except maybe for when Spike harangues the intended victim for walking in a dangerous area in high heels.

Did Amy cause the events in 'Same Time, Same Place'? -- shambleau, 12:47:54 01/24/04 Sat

I don't remember this being discussed here, but, if so, was that the general consensus? I read an SFX review, IIRC, that claimed that that was the case and it makes sense to me.


[> It does make a lot of sense -- KdS, 14:16:41 01/24/04 Sat

I don't remember the name or date, but someone here was arguing around the time KiM was first broadcast that the guilt hex dated way back to DMP and was part of the reason why Willow went so OTT evil in TTG/Grave

[> [> Re: It does make a lot of sense -- RadiusRS, 22:24:32 01/25/04 Sun

I also believed this, and as Wicca has the rule of three, I expected there to be another Hex somewhere before the end of the season, but I guess they couldn't spend any more time on Amy whatwith all the bleeding Potentials around. As a character who has been there from the very beginng and in every season of Buffy except 5 (she was in season 4 for a few seconds but, still, she was in Season 4), I guess they just left the door open for her to return somewhere someday. I know Joss was interested in doing a Willow-centric show when I talked to the guy at a comic-book signing in L.A. last summer, but with Ally's new show on NBC, I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon except, perhaps, in comic book form. She could be a great excuse to get Willow on Angel at some point, but I doubt that would happen this season. I hope they give Amy closure, as I always had a soft spot for her and, hey, it must suck being a rat for three years, that would twist anyone up.

[> I made this argument on my site -- Masq, 21:42:22 01/24/04 Sat

I argue that Amy might have been behind the STSP spell in my TKiM analysis

Heroes, The Wounded Character, and us -- AngelVSAngelus, 16:57:32 01/24/04 Sat

As a twenty year old starting another semester of college on my own buck (rather than that of mommy and daddy as is the case of so many of my fellow students), I am in need of a new job. I had been working at Barnes and Noble as a seasonal hire, but they had to give me that end of the year axe a few weeks ago.
After having done so at many other locations before, I set foot into that house of trendy apparel The Gap the other day to fill out an application and turn it in. I couldn't fight a feeling of disgust of self loathing, for many know them for their cute sweaters but few for their ties and connections to forced child labor in Myanmar and other countries.
Understand, I've a great deal of my emotion and energy invested in activist and human rights activities. Applying at that place made me feel hypocritical, contradictory to several things I believed in.
Seeing my distress (as I'm a wear my heart on my sleeve type who shares Angel's propensity for visible brooding) my mother suggested I turn in the job application and tried to assuage my ambivalence by telling me that sometimes ethical compromise, giving up a slice of what you believe in, is a necessity to survival in this world. We aren't wealthy (in fact, my mother's ailing credit, thanks to mounting debt, is something I've had to take huge pains in leaping over, despite my grades and talent) so this is a fact that she painfully familiar with.
I grew up with the Scooby Gang, literally in fact, having been their age when the show started and when it ended. But when Angel the series came along I was starting to face the issues of adulthood from that show's end of the thematic spectrum. I found uncanny and creepy that Angel's trials and tribulations seemed to mirror my own at the exact times at which they'd happen (the ONLY exception being his foray into parenthood), and this resonance is made even more so by how important trying to find a way to help all the suffering in this world is as a driving force and motivation in my life.
My question, then, to all of you here on this board is what your opinion of the purpose behind a hero is. In the past, the strange synchronicity between my life and the Buffy gang, later the Angel Investigations gang, made me see them as guides through these trials of age, despite their fictional nature. Currently, however, Angel's facing the tribulation that most closely resembles the reality in which we're all living. I return to the afforementioned annecdote to point out that we are all existing within a society that, like Wolfram and Hart to Angel, is a large corrupted system that lends itself to the exploitation of many everyday. Some opt not to work within the structure and by the rules. This is a propensity that has been attributed by many to the young and rebellious. Others, some would say as you get older, try to play by the rules of the system, work within the structure to use its resources to affect change from within. But is it possible? Is it ultimately valid if its very source is tainted?
I ask about the purpose you all feel heroes serve because I want to know if I should continue perceiving them as role models. Because I want to see how the answers to those questions the AI gang is facing play out, and perhaps they'll answer them in my own life as well.
Although, judging by Angel's current disposition, the answers don't seem to bode well for any of us...



[> What is a hero? -- Jane, 17:41:38 01/24/04 Sat

How do we decide who is heroic? I tend to think that the real heroes are people who struggle every single day to do the right thing in the face of all that real life dishes out. It is easier IMHO, to make the grand gestures, to go out in a blaze of glory (like Spike in Chosen), than to make the difficult small choices. Choices like working at the Gap when you hate that they exploit workers. Do you compromise and try to work from within to change things? I firmly believe that an ordinary person can make a difference; for example there is a young Canadian boy, whose name escapes me at the moment, Craig something, who at age 13 started a movement to stop the child labour abuse by companies like the Gap and Nike. He has had an amazing impact for someone so young. I think of people like him as heroic.
I really don't have a clear answer for you. I see people struggling every day; finding a firm moral ground is very hard, because real life is so grey. All anyone can do is his or her best. Sometimes it is not enough, sometimes it is. Best is best, whatever the result.
I wish you luck in your life. Sometimes the most difficult thing to do is to live life as if the world was as it should be.
Hope this makes some sense, my head is a bit fuzzy from the cold in it.

[> Re: Heroes, The Wounded Character, and us -- Ann, 17:54:44 01/24/04 Sat

I take the view that the world we live in is tainted already. If we live in this country we have contributed to the corrupt world in which we live. Everyone has wounds. Yes I am cynical. But that is not the end it is the beginning. We can only do what we can do. Each of us has our own strengths. Some of us have amulets and mythic strength and some of us don't. Some of us have a greater contribution because our resources are greater. With this I mean fortitude, experience, opportunity, education, money etc. So we do what we can. From the outside, I probably look very suburban. I am happily married with two (three) wonderful children - the middle class wet dream. Appearances are deceiving. But in fact, I have lost a child, my parents are elderly and ill and some days I can barely get out of bed. But I do. I am raising my children to be the best they can be. In my little world, I think that is heroic. I might not be able to shut down the Gap or Nike, but I can explain to my children why we don't shop there. They get it.

I realized one day when my son was in the hospital, while I was doing the routine activity of grocery shopping, anticipating the death of my child, that heroes can be people just getting out of bed and facing the day in addition to the doctors and nurses who surrounded us (in my mind more traditional heroes). I looked around at the people at the grocery store that day, and wondered what their story was, what their crisis was. To look at me was to see a mom doing her groceries. But my son was dying and I was shopping. Incongruentcy (is that a word?) at its best. I now wonder about everyone I see and their story. From the Harmony's to the Buffy's they have a story. I am glad Joss is telling everyone's on Angel. Everyone can be a hero in his or her own life. It is the only one we have.

If you need to work at the Gap, do so. But to assuage your potential guilt, continue to look for another job. Going under financially or emotionally contributes nothing to the world or yourself. It might be hard, but that's okay. Sometimes it is. Your mom is right that sometimes you have to do what you might not want to. Choose this for now but continue to try in other ways. Or, don't take the job and work even harder to find one that is a better fit. Being a hero entails trying. I am not sure it is heroic if you aren't challenged or trying your best. Angel is experiencing angst, I think, because he quit trying. But I think it bodes well, because Joss is an optimist (despite all appearances). He believes in hope. So do I. Good luck and best wishes.

Boy today has been a gratitude filled tearjerker!

[> Means to an end -- Pony, 21:21:11 01/24/04 Sat

It would be nice to have everything as clearly good vs. evil without any of that pesky grey area stuff, but that is rarely the case and in fact the working world rapidly moves off the grey scale and into the realm of beige. However there are some things that Angel and you could think about when contemplating your careers.

Eyes on the prize. Angel seems to have lost sight of what he's fighting for. He can't seem to deal in the abstract, he may be told that his penstroke is saving dozens of lives but unless he's holding the sword himself he doesn't feel it. Sometimes we have to do things that are purely about the big picture. Working a crappy retail job will probably not bring you any short term joy but it is all about getting money to pay for your education, something that will impact on your entire life and all of the future good that you may do.

You are not your job. Kind of hard when your job description is hero, but why has Angel bought so completely into the W&H lifestyle? Is it necessary for him to live there? To drive their cars, wear all new clothes? No wonder he feels empty - he's allowed himself to be defined by his new role. For any job, especially ones we aren't sure of, it's necessary to compartmentalize a bit, to realize that we have lives outside the workplace... and a core identity that is not changed by outward circumstances.

Pick the right target. Look at how easily Angel and Spike were manipulated in Destiny. They were so busy blaming each other that they never stopped to try and figure out what was going on. Large corporations like the Gap are made up of people, most of whom have little power and are trying to protect their jobs. Attack them directly about things like sweatshops and trade practices and they won't respond well since it really isn't their fault. Making people aware of problems, making sure complaints get to the right people - it's not dramatic but it can create a pressure to change that, especially coming from within, can seem less threatening than something from the outside.

You can make a difference, it may just be more subtle than you thought. When I first started working in an office recycling was just coming into fashion. People complained about doing it, it seemed like a big effort. But there was a group who arranged for pick ups, made sure that there were receptacles out and put up signs. While there is some debate about how effective recycling actually is, nowadays I haven't seen a business place yet that doesn't do it or people who don't keep blue recycling boxes near their desks. Doesn't seem like a big thing but it was small groups of individuals in different places ten years ago who got others to change their habits and showed them a different way of doing things. To bring this back to AtS, Angel is trying to do this with his employees, but seems frustrated that the changes aren't as immediate or dramatic as he hoped.

Well, I've had a bit to drink so I can't tell if this sounds pretentious as all get out. Oh and there's a book called What Should I Do With My Life, by Po Bronson, that I haven't read but sounds interesting. It's supposed to be about people who have found meaningful, fulfilling work, sadly a bit of a rarity.

[> Re: Heroes, The Wounded Character, and us -- Schrodinger's guppy, 09:07:53 01/26/04 Mon

Some opt not to work within the structure and by the rules. This is a propensity that has been attributed by many to the young and rebellious.

Rules, in some cases, are made to be broken. I am not advocating anarchy, just pointing out that if a rule is primarily a custom, such as 'paint your small room a light color to make it feel larger' breaking it becomes a form of expression. Not everyone fits comfortably in the same size box. Working by your own set of rules does not always mean you are a rebel.

Others, some would say as you get older, try to play by the rules of the system, work within the structure to use its resources to affect change from within. But is it possible? Is it ultimately valid if its very source is tainted?

The only problem with working within the system to change it is that the system usually changes you in the process. Compromises will be made and values will be altered. Whether the ultimate results are worth the compromises needed to achieve them is subjective and can only be determined by the person making them.

John Mellencamp has a line from one of his songs that states:

"I do things my way and I pay a high price"

It is not a complaint, just a statement of the ways things are for the man in the song. He lives his life according to his own rules and ethics, regardless of the hardships it has caused him.

Somewhere along the way people seemed to have lost sight of themselves. 'To thine own self be true' has come to represent selfishness and naive idealism instead of courage of conviction.

AvA - if you have to sell pieces of yourself then whatever you are buying with the money is priced much too high. Surely in a city with a Gap and a B&N there are other shops you can apply and work in. The only reality to face here is as long as there is a market for goods or services they will be offered. Working or buying from them will only keep them in business longer.

I ask about the purpose you all feel heroes serve because I want to know if I should continue perceiving them as role models.

Perhaps you should give the season more time before you decide this. Even heroes get lost from time to time. How they find their way back to themselves is just as important as the actual finding.


OT: Think Buffy meets 'Being John Malkovich' -- tim, 18:19:27 01/24/04 Sat

I apologize for taking up board space with this, but it's just the sort of thing people around here will appreciate. (Masq, feel free to delete this, especially, if someone else has already brought it up.)

Last night I went to a film that everyone who enjoys this forum needs to see ASAP--an independent job called (I'm not kidding) Bubba Ho-tep. Our beloved Joss has never written an episode about the way our society discards our senior citizens, but if he had (and if he'd been on Vicoden at the time), this might have been it. It stars Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead) as Elvis Presley and Ossie Davis (too many credits to mention) as a guy who thinks he's JFK as they battle an Egyptian mummy who's invaded their east Texas retirement home. One of the funniest films I've seen in a long time--and yet always tinged with sadness. Truly, if it's in a theater near you, I highly recommend it.

Campbell obviously believes in the film, too, as he bothered to tape a message to the audience that ran before the show asking people to spread word of mouth about it if they liked it--apparently, they've had some distribution problems. As a dutiful (and impressed) audience member, I pass the word along to all of you.

So, go see it! And don't forget to call your grandma.



[> Re: OT: Think Buffy meets 'Being John Malkovich' -- skeeve, 13:39:09 01/26/04 Mon

I've seen BH, SP, and BJM and don't get the connection.

Lindsey, Pretty in Pink.....I mean Soul Purpose......spoilers as usual -- Rufus, 00:58:19 01/25/04 Sun

Screw the detailed analysis on Soul Purpose, I've decided to just go with my fevered take on the appearance of Lindsey/Doyle.

The episode opens with Spike in a Strip Bar, brooding? Well, maybe radiating unfriendly vibes into his drink. We pan up to see a Stripper doing her best to showcase her wares to the usual assortment of lowlifes. Spike has a solitary table in the front row but seems uninterested in the twirling gymnastics going on only a few feet away from him.

We see a hand place a drink on the table and Spike looks up to see who we have known as Lindsey...pretty in the pink glow of showbiz lights, an expectant look on his face and bosom heaving.....I would kill to see the outtakes of that scene.

Spike: (looks at drink then up to.......Lindsey?) Ahhhhhh......yeah.....thanks but...ahhhhh...really not my type, Mary. So be a good lad and push off....(Lindsey continues to look at Spike, lips quivering)......What are you gawkin at?????

I was sure that Spike was figuring that Anya had been reincarnated and wanted another trip to happyland, but no. There goes my dream that we were going to get a Queer Eyes episode based in the Angelverse. Back to the action......

Lindsey: A guy like you whiling away his time in some cheesy downtown strip dive.....look like somebody who's feeling kinda of lost.

Spike: Is that right? Funny....I thought I knew exactly where I was. A place called the Peppermint Stick....Prima Ballerina up there's "Sunshine" (wasn't that the name of that puppy Dru gave him in s2 Buffy? Stripper must be the fluffy type.) Though I'm fairly certain that's not her real name. (Spike gathering his virtue, tries to retreat from his pink pal)

Lindsey: Hey Spike! Get any interesting mail lately?

Spike: (thinking this must be yet another representative from BAPS) Who the bloody hell are you????

Lindsey: You're new best friend...... (Ah hah!!!!! I'm right BAPS)

Just to burst my bubble, Lindsey gets to the business of getting to know Spike a little better.

Spike: You! You say you're responsible for me being back? You sent that package with the de-ghosting mojo?

Lindsey: And?

Spike: The Amulet. (I love a guy who sends jewelry, even if over the top one can pawn it). You mailed that thing to Wolfram and Hart (sure, like the postal service is that good).

Lindsey: Hey, couldn't leave your spirit trapped in a bauble at the bottom of the Hellmouth could we? (see a BAPS rescue mission as I highly doubt the military is capable of that organized a deployment of troops)

Spike: And who's we?

Lindsey: Come on Spike...you must know there's a lot of folks out there that are interested in you...(giggle fit strikes me now cause at 2833 members I know he'd lose count, and that's only that group haven't even started on Tabula Rasa or Sparklies.org) Powerfully interested one might say.

Spike in a mock show of disrespect to the powers that be keeping him all corporeal and all slaps the glass out of Lindsey's hand.

Spike: Enough of the cryptic, Butch...(okay, so now we know the real name of that cryptic bastard William the Poet from the Stakehouse). I want to know who or what you are. And what you want and how fast I can snap your forearm before you answer.

Lindsey: You can call me Doyle. But it's not what I want....it's what you want. You got your life back now. What are you going to do about it?

Sigh.....sounds like a typical night in a pickup bar.....and Spike even picks up Linds.....I mean "Doyle".

Spike: I've heard enough.

Lindsey/slash/Doyle: Don't you even want to know why you came back to LA? You hate this city, there's got to be a reason right?

Spike: You talk a lot for somebody saying nothing.

Lindsey/slash/Doyle: You've got a Destiny....(he's really got to practise a little on the pickup routine).....here.

Spike: Like the Destiny that was supposed to be at the bottom of a cup of Perpetual nothing?

Lindsey/Doyle: What?

Spike: Know so much about me, you must know I get really violent when I'm being played. It was you who sent Angel and me on that wild goose chase.

Lindsey/Doyle: I don't know anything I'm just doing what they tell me.

Seriously, I loved this episode and there is lots there to pick up on.....runes anybody? I'm in the throes of a lousy flu bug and found that it skewed my way of seeing the show and though I have lots in my mind about how things are starting to connect up I could only single out the Strip Joint scene for special attention. David Boreanaz did a great job directing and I feel that they did have some fun with this episode. The end result of "Soul Purpose" is that Spike seems to be reliving Angel's initial journey proving that no matter how much things may eternally recur, you won't always get the exact same result each time.

Mastery- We have reached mastery when we neither mistake nor hesitate in the achievement. Nietzsche

ps.....my apologies to anyone at BAPS who may take offence.....;)

NY Times OT: Staging the Next Fantasy Blockbuster (His Dark Materials movie) -- Rufus, 03:30:01 01/25/04 Sun

NY Times

January 25, 2004

Staging the Next Fantasy Blockbuster



The unassuming man at the end of the eighth row slipped quietly from his seat during the final applause for the sold-out performance of "His Dark Materials" at the National Theater. But he didn't get far. This was Philip Pullman, 57, who wrote the thrilling books on which the play is based, and he was quickly waylaid by a crowd of young readers who seemed unable to believe their luck.

"His Dark Materials," which began as a trilogy of young-adult novels with extravagant themes but humble commercial expectations, has turned into a serious international phenomenon and bestowed on its author the sort of celebrity that prompted him to move to a house with an unlisted address. The books, luminous adventures that address life after death, religious faith and the complicated intermingling of good and evil, have been translated into 37 languages and sold more than 7 million copies in Britain and the United States alone.

Anyone who has seen the "Harry Potter" or "Lord of the Rings" movies, or even just noted their success, can guess what is happening now: the books are being moved into position as the next blockbuster fantasy franchise. In London, the National has staged a lavishly ambitious, sold-out, $1.4 million, two-part, six-hour adaptation. And New Line Cinema, which released the "Lord of the Rings" mega-movies, has bought the rights to Mr. Pullman's trilogy and hired Tom Stoppard to write the screenplay.

But "His Dark Materials" is a far more challenging proposition than its cinematic predecessors, and not only because of the complexity of its philosophical and scientific underpinnings. The books make a breathtakingly subversive attack on organized religion and on the notion of an all-powerful god. The trilogy has already been criticized by church organizations alarmed at its preference for humanism and for its depiction of a cruel fictional church that is obsessed with what it regards as the sexual purity of children but blinded by its own lust for power. Among other things, the books feature a church-sponsored prison camp for kidnapped children, a pair of renegade male angels who are touchingly in love and a god who is ancient, weak and exhausted, yearning more than anything for the merciful release of death.

A movie director will be hired in the next month or so and filming should start in about a year. With a skittish eye, perhaps, on the power of religious groups in the United States, New Line's executives say they will probably insist that the books' repudiation of religion be softened into more of a meditation on the corruption of power in general. Mark Ordesky, executive vice president and chief operating officer of New Line Productions, said in an interview that "the real issue is not religion; it's authority - that's what's really the driving issue here."

Mr. Ordesky pointed out that the figure who most represents God in the books is known as "the Authority" and said that the core of the story is about "people who are striving to be free and have free will, who are in conflict with forces of authority and totalitarianism."

What the studio likes about the trilogy, Mr. Ordesky said, is the same thing it liked about "The Lord of the Rings": the story. "Big-budget, big-spectacle, visual-effects movies are in themselves of no interest to audiences," Mr. Ordesky said. "What resonates is when you take all that and have a compelling human story beneath it."

The chances for fabulous effects are pretty good, too. The books take place in multiple parallel worlds, including current-day Oxford and a sort-of Oxford from some undetermined time in the past. For those who care to look for the references, the books allude to Milton, Blake, Coleridge, Ruskin, the Bible, Homer, Norse mythology, quantum physics and string theory, but they are also suffused with a richly compelling plot and fantastic characters. There are two beguiling young human protagonists, Lyra and Will, but there are also armored bears, scheming academics, terrifying harpies, fierce, tiny spies that travel by dragonfly, cosmically powerful but physically wispy angels who long for bodily form, witches with racy love lives, corrupt clerics, gentle mammals that travel by wheels and, best of all, daemons, the animal embodiment of an individual's soul that leaves the person's side only in death.

Even at a time when books for young people, with their strong narratives and enthusiastic suspension of imaginative disbelief, have been taken up eagerly by grown-ups, Mr. Pullman's work, at its heart a retelling of Milton's "Paradise Lost," stands out for its unapologetic sophistication. In 2002, "The Amber Spyglass," the final novel in the trilogy, became the first children's book to win the $45,000 Whitbread prize for the best book of the year in Britain. (The first volume in the series, "Northern Lights" - called "The Golden Compass" in the United States - was published in 1995. The second, "The Subtle Knife," was published in 1997 and "Spyglass" in 2000.) If the Harry Potter stories succeeded in making grown-ups (and not just fantasy-genre readers) interested once more in worlds of endless possibility, "His Dark Materials" reminded them that the best children's books are literature of the highest quality.

"Few recent works have succeeded more abundantly than Philip Pullman's trilogy in achieving the first things we ask of a work of art," wrote Alastair Macauley in The Financial Times. In The Daily Telegraph, the critic Charles Spencer said that Mr. Pullman's books transcended the obvious comparison to the Harry Potter series. "While J. K. Rowling's books about the boy wizard seem increasingly derivative, formulaic, flatly written and ridiculously long, Pullman's magnificent `His Dark Materials' trilogy offers both hours of spellbound wonder and sudden moments of deep emotion that cut at the heart like the subtlest of knives," Mr. Spencer wrote.

Mr. Pullman, a former schoolteacher, has long had an impressive literary reputation, but none of his earlier works have had anything like the success of "His Dark Materials." Opinionated and outspoken, he has championed children's literature as a way to express themes and ideas that, he mischievously argues, are too large to be depicted in adult fiction. He has also been a forceful proponent of what he calls the Republic of Heaven, in which life is lived fully because there is nothing more - no prospect of an afterlife to wait for. By the same token, he has criticized C. S. Lewis's "Narnia" books for what he says is the divisiveness of their Christian message, in which those who cling too enthusiastically to the physical world are consigned to hell. (Mr. Pullman may have a chance to face off, in a way, with Lewis, who died in 1963: next year, the BBC will begin filming the first of five movies based on the "Narnia" books, with Andrew Adamson, of "Shrek," directing.)

Mr. Pullman's books, in turn, have already been condemned by a chorus of religious groups here: The Catholic Herald has pronounced them "truly the stuff of nightmares"; the Association of Christian Teachers recently said that adults should think carefully before letting children read them.

"We don't want this book on the bookshelves of primary schools," Rupert Kaye, the group's chief executive, said of the trilogy in an interview. "It's one thing to say, `The church has got things terribly wrong and I'm going to hold it up to the light of day,' and it's another thing to have a book in which every Christian character is evil or selfish or power-hungry."

Mr. Pullman said in an interview that although he has strong feelings about religion, readers should draw their own conclusions from his books. "If I were to say, `This is the only way to read it,' I would be putting myself in the same position as the evangelicals - that is, telling people how to read and what to think," he said. "The very last possible thing on earth I want to be known as - with the single exception of `pedophile' - is `guru.' I'm not in the business of doing that. What I'm doing is telling a story."

Nicholas Hytner, artistic director of the National Theater, came to "His Dark Materials" on a colleague's recommendation. Impatient with children's theatrical standards like "The Wind in the Willows" (a production of which he had directed some years ago), Mr. Hytner was looking for projects based on contemporary books for young adults.

"What seemed immediately stageable were the series of archetypal, highly emotional family conflicts, which I thought were powerful and dramatic and would hold a theater full of people," Mr. Hytner said of the trilogy.

It took 18 months of workshops and rewrites for the playwright, Nicholas Wright, to whittle the 1,300 pages of "His Dark Materials" down to a manageable script. One of the central problems of staging was how to depict the characters' daemons; the answer was to hire the puppet designer Michael Curry, who collaborated with Julie Taymor on "The Lion King." The resulting daemon puppets - a treacherous golden monkey for Lyra's mother; a haughty snow leopard for her father; a collection of birds for the Oxford professors; reptiles for members of the church hierarchy - are manipulated, bunraku-style, by actors dressed in black. The play, directed by Mr. Hytner, uses 30 actors and features a dizzying 110 set changes that make fine use of the unusual revolving stage in the National's Olivier Theater.

The production is to return to the National next December for another four-month run; the complexity of its staging makes it highly unlikely that "His Dark Materials" will transfer to another theater, Mr. Hytner said. But when it does come back it will likely be in a somewhat altered form. Reviews have been mixed, with many critics praising Mr. Hytner's ambition but concluding that the play ultimately fails to capture the magic of the novels. In general, though, the critical response does not appear to have dampened the buoyant passion of actual audiences. Despite its length, the production has attracted a large number of children, who can be seen earnestly explaining the fine points of the narrative to their parents during the intermissions.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pullman is at work on an unrelated children's book, "The Scarecrow and His Servant," which he expects to finish by the end of the year. But he has not left "His Dark Materials" - the phrase is from "Paradise Lost" - behind. (He recently published "Lyra's Oxford," a small teaser of a book containing a short story about the trilogy's heroine, and is at work on "The Book of Dust," a prequel.) He now gets so much mail that it takes him and his wife, working together at home in Oxford, two days a week to answer it all.

Earlier this month, Mr. Pullman was interviewed onstage - in front of another sell-out crowd that filled every one of the theater's 1,110 seats - before the curtain rose on the second part of "His Dark Materials." He answered the usual questions about where he gets his ideas and what sort of daemon he would have (a magpie or a jackdaw, he answered, "one of those birds that steal bright things").

He did not talk about death, though it is a central aspect of his grand vision. Indeed, even critics who didn't like the production have loved the scenes that take place in the prison-like World of the Dead, where the downtrodden, suffering deceased are gently released into the outside world, where they feel a moment of unspeakable ecstasy before dissolving gratefully into the earth and the air.

"It's astonishing how uncompromising it is in introducing kids to an alternative mythology of death," Mr. Hytner said, "how it finds a harsh consolation in the notion that death is death and that the worst possible thing, the most desperate thing, is that there is some kind of afterlife. It's thrilling to see kids as young as 9 and 10 sitting, riveted, by that and feeling perhaps relieved by the notion of oblivion."


[> Thanks for that, Rufus. BTW, my favorite line from the article has to be... -- OnM, 07:48:40 01/25/04 Sun

*** Despite its length, the production has attracted a large number of children, who can be seen earnestly explaining the fine points of the narrative to their parents during the intermissions. ***

Gee, kids reading books. And carefully. Whoda thunk it?


[> Re: NY Times OT: Staging the Next Fantasy Blockbuster (His Dark Materials movie) -- punkinpuss, 14:55:55 01/25/04 Sun

Thanks, Rufus.

After reading the first book, The Golden Compass, I wasn't really compelled to look for the follow ups, but might do so now.

My analysis of 'Soul Purpose' is up -- Masquerade, 17:25:14 01/25/04 Sun

Dream a little dream here.


[> Great job at concisely summarizing such a dense episode! -- Plin, 22:15:46 01/25/04 Sun

[> [> Thanks! -- Masq, 09:19:46 01/27/04 Tue

I was debating whether to summarize each of Angel's dreams and ultimately decided not to. I usually do this in other dream episodes (Buffy's psychic dreams, Faith in This Years Girl, Angel in Somnanbulist and Restless of course), but I decided it was the main gist/message in Angel's dreams that was important, not the specific images themselves.

Besides, he had seven dreams total!

[> Re: My analysis of 'Soul Purpose' is up -- MissB, 03:57:11 01/26/04 Mon

Great analysis.

Quick tech question: when I try to view the site atpobtvs.com on Mac I get a "server not found" message. Would you know why? I used to be able to get to the site a few days ago.


[> [> Really couldn't tell you -- Masq, 11:17:03 01/26/04 Mon

atpobtvs is created on a Mac, tested on a Mac, stored on a Mac and accessed by Macs all over.

What's your specific OS? What browser are you using?

I do the site on both my 9.x iMac with IE and Netscape at home, and my OSX G4 with IE at work.

[> [> [> Re: Really couldn't tell you -- MissB, 14:11:48 01/27/04 Tue

I'm running Mac OS X 10.2.8 on a G4 PowerBook. I usually use Safari, tried IE and can't access the site with either - cleared the cache and history to no avail.

I can access it at work on a PC with no problem. I thought maybe there was a simple solution. If there isn't, don't waste time looking into it for my benefit - it's not that big a deal. Thanks.

[> [> [> [> Wow, that's weird -- Masq, 16:22:21 01/27/04 Tue

I haven't had any complaints from other Mac users. And just now pulled up Safari and accessed the site here at work on my OSX G4.

There's got to be some other factor besides operating system platform and web browser going on. Sorry!

[> About Doyle and Spike -- Jay, 18:11:12 01/26/04 Mon

I knew the real Doyle and pre-chip Spike were actually in the same episode before, so I went back to check and see if they met. At just past the 13 minute mark on your season 1.3, In the Dark dvd's, Doyle and Spike look directly at each other. But Doyle never gets introduced. And part of Angel's plan of protecting Cordy from Spike was to have her hole up with Doyle in his dump. Then at the 27 minute mark, Doyle introduces himself to Spike as "more than meets the eye, blonde." They're together again when Doyle, Cordy, and Oz bust Angel out away from Spike and the torture vamp. But Doyle's name is never said in the presence of Spike, even though they meet three times in the episode.

I thought it interesting with "Doyle" now guiding Spike.

[> [> Re: About Doyle and Spike -- Masq, 19:40:47 01/26/04 Mon

Doyle never gets introduced by name, and Doyle's powers are never explained to Spike. So of course Spike isn't going to have any clue that Lindsey is in essence pretending to be that "Mick" Spike met four years ago.

It actually makes it more funny that way.

[> [> [> Thats the most puzzling thing about Lindsey's scheme...*spoilers, I guess* -- Corwin of Amber, 22:31:00 01/26/04 Mon

Does he think that Angel isn't going to beat the living crap out of him once he finds out he was pretending to be Doyle?

Pretending to be Doyle to Spike makes no sense on so many levels...I don't see how it gains Lindsey anything.

Does every Vampire with a Soul need a Doyle?

[> [> [> [> Re: Thats the most puzzling thing about Lindsey's scheme...*spoilers, I guess* -- Jane, 22:39:09 01/26/04 Mon

I agree, on the surface it seems a strange thing for Lindsey to do. Why not call himself Joe, or Sam or something that wouldn't make alarms go off if Angel were to learn of the new vision guy? I suspect it is part of Lindsey's plan to mess with Angel's head. Imagine how he would feel if he thought somehow the PTB had sent Doyle back for Spike's benefit. Lindsey is certainly a puzzle.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Thats the most puzzling thing about Lindsey's scheme...*pure speculation* -- Jay, 18:50:49 01/27/04 Tue

I have no knowledge of any spoilers for the future, except some well known casting spoilers coming up in the next couple weeks. So from Lindsey/Doyle's actions so far, I would guess that L/D wants to be caught or found out at some point. To what end, I wouldn't begin to speculate. But he definitely wants it to be even more personal than just finding out L/D is behind it.

[> [> [> [> spoilers for the latest ep, or future spoilers? -- anom, 00:04:08 01/27/04 Tue

[> [> [> [> A couple points... (spoilers for 'Soul Purpose' -- Masq, 06:44:07 01/27/04 Tue

Does every Vampire with a Soul need a Doyle?

Yes they do, in a way. If Lindsey is trying to convince the Senior Partners that Spike is the Vampire with a Soul of prophecy, than he needs to give the impression that Spike has a connection to the Powers that Be. This seems to be one of the requirements of the position, according to the prophecies.

So Lindsey acts like a guy who has visions from the PTBs and sends Spike on "missions" to help the helpless, much like Angel did the first few years. It gets back to the SPs that Spike has a emissary from the PTBs guiding him to the work of the PTBs, and they start thinking he's the real VWaS.

At least, that's how I think it's supposed to work.

[> [> [> [> COULD Angel beat the living crap out of him now? -- Rob, 11:50:35 01/27/04 Tue

Besides hiding him from the Senior Partners, we don't know what other sorts of protective powers those tatoos of his might have.


[> [> [> [> [> And how much of L is evil? (spoilers'Soul Purpose') -- Tyreseus, 23:31:12 01/27/04 Tue

Forgive me if I'm forgetting some terribly important scene somewhere, but doesn't Lindsey still have an EVIL HAND?

It's been a long time since Lindsey drove away with the "Cops Suck" sign on the back of his truck. One of the big unanswered questions for me is, how has the evil hand affected him? Did he have it replaced by a moderately bad hand? How about a once evil hand with a soul? Or has the evil spread beyong his hand?

I know it sounds kinda silly, but things like that matter to the continuity. Plus, I'm hoping for more evil hand jokes as Lindsey cops a feel on Spike at some point. :)

[> [> [> [> [> [> The hand was never evil... -- KdS, 02:08:41 01/28/04 Wed

The hand's owner just wanted to die and end his tortured existence as a stack of spare parts in a tank. Once he died, one assumes the hand just became normal. Lindsey was just joking/trying to mess with people's heads in his resignation scene.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: And how much of L is evil? (spoilers'Soul Purpose') -- pellenaka, 02:12:12 01/28/04 Wed

I've never seen the hand as evil per se. The only indications we've had of the hand being out of Lindsay's control, was when he sat at that meeting and it kept writing 'Kill'. And the reason it did that was that the guy whose hand it was, wanted to die. He wasn't that bad a guy.
There wasn't anything evil about the hand, the only problem with the transplant was that there still was a connection between the 'victim' and the hand.
And now that he's dead, one must assume that Lindsay can control his right as as good as the left.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: And how much of L is evil? (spoilers'Soul Purpose') -- genivive, 03:24:35 01/28/04 Wed

What has Lindsay done to show he is evil? If I saw Angel and company communing with the dark side I'd assume that they were the bad guys and try to fight it. And it would have to be under the W&H radar. Lindsay hasn't done anything yet inconsistent with that scenario

[> Re: My analysis of 'Soul Purpose' is up -- punkinpuss, 15:45:07 01/28/04 Wed

Good summary, but there is one little thing I'd take exception to:

"But Lindsey appeals to Spike's desire to see himself as a hero, and his fears that he performed good deeds in the past in order to serve his own self-interest--to win "the girl"'s approval."

My impression was that it was Lindsey's laying the guilt trip on Spike that got him to play along with his schpiel. Spike went with him because he couldn't live with the idea that somebody could die because he wouldn't lift a finger to help. Not because he actively desires to see himself as a hero. During both rescues, he's very self-deprecating and sarcastic about himself in this hero role. He's mocked Angel's hero trip before (In The Dark), so it seems unlikely that he'd fall for that line himself. He seems too full of doubt and self-loathing to really believe he's worthy of the role. Angel is the one who seems to need this identification as a hero, a champion.

Don't have a problem with the second part, about his fears that his good deeds were motivated only by self-interest, except the degree to which he's actually thought about this. He took offense at the remark, but beyond that, we don't really see evidence that this spurs him to action. It seems more like yet another seed that's been planted, to make him think about why he does what he does.

[> [> I was fudging a bit -- Masq, 11:12:50 01/29/04 Thu

I see your points, and I was conscious of reading into the text when I wrote those bits. It's very very hard to write a truly objective analysis of any of these episodes, but I try anyway.

Who knows what Spike's motives are? Ask one fan, you get one opinion. Ask another fan, you get another opinion. Especially about the contentious issues of whether Spike is full of himself or full of self-doubt, or whether Spike only did good for Buffy's approval or did good because he thought it was right.

I want to walk a neutral line, and sometimes that means putting in fan quotations, one arguing one side, one arguing the other. There isn't always room for that. So instead of taking sides on the issue, e.g., "Is Lindsey right, did Spike only do good because Buffy wanted him to, yes or no?" I wrote it as "Spike fears he might have done right only because Buffy wanted him to", and that way I don't answer the question one way or another. I might attribute more self-insight into Spike than he actually has, who can tell, that's up for debate.

-------------- <--- thin line to walk on

Finally what I've been wainting for (spoiler 5x11 damage, and 5x12 Your Welcome) -- Deacon, 19:28:47 01/25/04 Sun

Just my opinion and interpetation.

I've been hunting around www.whenonesque.com which is always a good source for buffyverse inforamtion. I am really excited about the next two episode. It seems to me that although this season was very good, they had a hard time establishing the story arc and answering the big questions. With the next two episodes I think they are going to do that. Although I do not want to get my expections to high, I've been disapointed before example, Btvs S7 "dirty girls".

First there is 5x11 Damage, which hopefully they will be exploring the buffy storyline more. They will be dealing with the Slayer issue. A Vampire Slayer that was tormented as a child and escapes from a physciatric hospital seeking revenge. Andrew, who is now a wathcher in training comes to L.A. to inform Angel. He also has some surprising information about Buffy, which I can't begin to fathom what it will be.

I've been waiting along time to find something about buffy, other than she is in europe. Hopefull they will let us know about the ramification of Willow's spell to make every potental a Slayer, and give us some information of the other characters. And the shock when Andrew sees spike should be funny.

There are some characters I would rather see from Btvs. It seem kind of wierd that when they have a crazy Vampire Slayer bent on revenge they send Andrew. Personally I would have liked to see Giles, there have always been tension between him and angel, and it would be fun to see Giles and Wesley meet up again. But that would probably be to much to fit into this episode.

Secondly I am very excited about the 100th episode with the return of Cordilia. This should let us know more of what exactly happend when they gave Conner a new life. Does cordillia remeber Conner. It seems to me that if Conner wasn't there she and angel would have been together, and with Conner, the last thing that happened before the Coma, angel was about to kill Cordillia because she was evil. There was also some good information to be intepreted from the pictures that were released, it show's Spike, Cordillia and Angel confronting Lindsy. And there was a picture of Spike and Cordellia that was so suggestive that I can't comment on.

They sure waited along time to get these storylines underway. Considering that originally they were only signed on for half a season. But now the WB is currently calling AtS it's second highest rated show which is good news in the hope for a sixth season.

It is really good of them to bring back Charisma Carpenter for the 100th episode she's been such a huge part of the show. I never really understood why they didn't have her as part of the Cast this season.

But it might be to hopefull that these questions will be answered. This is only my spectulation. And personally I've never been all too accurate on trying to figure out what Mutant/Enemy was going to do.


[> Deacon did note this, but for good measure - ***FUTURE SPOILERS*** in his post -- OnM, 06:25:21 01/26/04 Mon

I'm already spoiled as to the events mentioned, but just want to warn off others as an extra precaution.

[> Do you have a link to the 5X12 pics?? -- Nino, 12:17:25 01/26/04 Mon

[> [> here are the sights -- Deacon, 13:00:06 01/26/04 Mon

for the pictures:
one sight in particular that has alot of condenced inforation on spoilers is:

[> just to let you know, deacon... -- anom, 23:52:26 01/27/04 Tue

...some people don't want to be spoiled even for the names of episodes before they air. I'm not one of 'em, but I know they'd appreciate it if you'd keep the titles out of the subject line.

Whose Soul? (Spoilers Angel through 5.10) -- sdev, 22:57:02 01/25/04 Sun

Two Vampires, two souls, two purposes, two Champions. Is the world big enough? Why not, it held all those Slayers, no problem right? Does it have to be The Champion any more than it had to be The Slayer? Or are there problems with the Unchosen one?

Angel and Spike so the same so very different.

Flashback to City of Angel S1, Angel is stalking evil on his own in an LA bar. He exits the bar after a woman with long blonde hair, a Buffy knock off, leaves with three guys and her girlfriend (buried message- threesomes don't work). The two guys vamp out and turn on the women and are about to bite them. Angel vamps and kills them. But the attack has left the blonde woman bleeding on the forehead. Angel, struggling to control himself, keeping his face averted, not able to look at the bleeding woman, harshly bites off "go home." As the woman approaches despite his warning and touches him on the sleeve and says "thank you," Angel turns to her, still in vamp face, and growling menacingly tells her "get away from me." Angel strides off as the two women cower.

Soul Purpose has Spike replay this scene with Spike in the hero role. Spike is a very self-conscious hero. Lindsey calling himself Doyle, Angel's first clairvoyant mission finder, has just told Spike "You got your life back now. What are you going to do about it?" He also tells Spike "But if a young girl gets murdered tonight, and you didn't lift a finger to stop it, ask yourself, can you live with that?"

Spike enters the scene of the single woman under attack cool and collected, snide intact. To the vampire's "get lost" he retorts "I already am according to some." He dispatches the vampire no muss no fuss, well some muss as he wipes the dust from his coat.

As the woman gets up and repeats "thank you, thank you, that thing was going to kill me," Spike looking straight at her begins a tirade, "Well what do you expect, out alone in this neighborhood, I've got half a mind to kill you myself, you half-wit." The woman leaves with Spike touching her back to nudge her in the right direction out of the alley as he continues his chiding to her departing back.

Spike is never in vamp face. He's under total control of himself. He is dispassionate until his bitingly given advice. He sarcastically mentions killing the victim himself for her stupidity with no real malice intended, just a turn of phrase. He initiates casual physical contact with the woman by touching her back. All of these actions are the reverse of Angel's in City of Angel. Spike's first save hurling insults contrasted to Angel's first save lusting after the victim's blood. Nevertheless neither Angel nor Spike can accept thanks or connect to the victims with empathy.

In Spike's second rescue he avoids berating the victims but when asked "who are you?" He sarcastically responds, "I'm the hero" as he hangs his head down.

Here it is. The hero who needs to atone for his still raging demon and give a larger meaning to his inner struggle and the hero who needs to prove his self-worth to himself and maybe others before he can go out freely into the world. Both need to be heroes for different reasons and will falter for different reasons.

This episode explores both vampires psychological insecurities. Angel's inner psychological demons are exposed through his dreams. While it is true the parasite gave Angel the hallucinatory dreams, the content was still all Angel's. Spike's insecurities are exposed by his willingness to let Lindsey "play" him despite his suspicions that he is being played.

Now we are getting to the meat, practically to the bone. Angel doesn't want Spike gone because he distrusts him. He wants him gone so his existence and meaning aren't in question to himself and to his gang.

Angel's dreams set up who he trusts and who he fears. His dream of Wesley is telling. Wesley is still the man who betrayed him and stole Connor, who just unloaded nine rounds at the man he believed was his father. Wesley is ruthless and capable of killing him, hence the dream that Wesley stakes him. It is as Eve said about Wesley in Lineage:

EVE: Willing to risk anything... or anyone... for the greater good. Look, hey... I'm just asking. Could it be there's another reason you're getting so mad at him about this? Mmm... stealing your son, for instance?

ANGEL: We don't talk about my son.

EVE: You don't trust Wesley, do you? I mean, I can see that. He did turn Connor over to your sworn enemy.

ANGEL: He didn't mean for that to happen. He thought he was doing the right thing.

EVE: And I guess it all worked out. Connor's OK, you're happy... Maybe Wesley knew what he was doing after all. Even if he doesn't remember any of it.

ANGEL: That's got nothing to do with- I just want to be kept informed. That's all.

EVE: Is it? Or are you worried about the next time Wesley betrays you trying to do the right thing?

Fred he trusts. He allows her to operate on him, cut him wide open. Angel trusts Fred to uncover his deepest secrets buried inside of himself. What's inside of him? He's empty, a hollow shell. He also trusts her as an honest truth seeker that's why he chooses her to explore his illness. As Wesley says, vampires do not get sick. So who is sick, Angelus or Angel. It is the human part of Angel that is sick. His goldfish soul needs to be flushed, cleaned out. It is swimming in blackened water. This appears to be a reference to the murky detestable grey of Angel's current situation at W&H. The Bear is a symbol of potency and manhood which Angel is missing as his body is emptied and his purpose exposed as unnecessary and functionless organs.

Angel has multiple Spike dreams which begin close to reality with their fight in Destiny. Spike after he drinks from the cup appears as he appeared in Chosen, arms outstretched and his face bathed in light, in Christ-like immolation, but it is Angel who is consumed by the fire. Angel accuses Spike of stealing his destiny. Spike says:

All your life's been a lie, everything you've done, the lives you've saved, the dreams of redemption, all that pain, all of it for nothing. Cause this was never about you.

Spike, Angel and Buffy in one bed. Angel looks over and sees Buffy and Spike having sex next to him. Not only has Spike supplanted Angel in the present quest for his destiny, Buffy's reference to the Prom supplants Angel in the past as well. By replaying the conversation Buffy had with Angel in Season 3 The Prom, a highlight greatest moments clip, replaying it this time with Spike in Angel's role, it is as if even Angel's past never occurred. Buffy's "I kill my goldfish" in the context of sex may also be a sly reference to Buffy's sexual soul killing of Angel in S1 Surprise, since Angel's soul was last seen personified as a goldfish.

In that scene Spike is the first to tell Angel, "You've got something on your shirt." Angel is subliminally aware of the parasite even in his dream state, and his subconscious is expressing on some deeper level that Spike has his back and will alert him to danger.

The next dream is the not quite naked, only barefoot, in public variation on humiliation, the sans shoes, without the shanshu, as others have noted. No one told Angel the Apocalypse has begun. Spike is the hero and Angel is truly irrelevant. First Fred then Lorne tell Angel he needs to change his shirt, a reference to the parasite and a sign of his belief that they look out for his welfare. Notable is the absence of such a warning by Gunn and Wesley who Angel does not trust, in his dream and by extension, in life.

In the apocalypse dream Spike is the fair haired boy who saves the world,

Just a working-class bloke fulfilling his destiny. It was nothing, really.

All that and modesty too as the entire W&H gather to toast him and the paradise he has created. Spike's reward is of course the elusive Shanshu as a fairy, who strikes a Pinocchio note, waves her wand turning him human complete with beating heart. Angel in his short-sleeved shirt and ridiculous too short tie, like an overgrown child, turns and wheels the mail cart away, like Numero Cinco, the job choice of the irrelevant. This is the only time I ever remember Angel in a tie. No wonder he doesn't wear them if this is how he sees himself in one.

In Angel's dreams, Lorne appears in a similar role to Fred as one who Angel asks for help, "I think I'm lost. Everything hurts... I don't know what to do." But Angel has now even lost his voice, just a squeak is left. He can not sing for Lorne's help. Loss of voice is the final negation of being. Wesley and Gunn turn on him. He is a 'has been' who can no longer perform.

Fred: I told you he was empty

Wesley: Yes, but this is ridiculous. We paid good money for this. We paid blood for this.

Lorne: The crowd's turning on you sport.

(Gunn with the conduit's panther eyes turns and gives a big cat growl.)

Eve: Oh you poor thing. You're really suffering aren't you.

It is Lorne who reminds him of the parasite and it finally enters his consciousness, and he acts and removes it. Lorne is the voice Angel hears best, something shown throughout the series. Lorne is the least threatening to Angel and thus Angel can rely on his insights.

The Eve scenes are not a dream but reality as Eve replaces the "junior" parasite with a larger more formidable one. Finally it is Spike sent by Lindsey's "vision" who rescues Angel. How did Spike know? There is very little wonder. The focus is on Eve's involvement which is left an open issue.


Spike always does things faster than Angel, just like having a big brother to show you the way. Here he does the first save as if he's been doing it for a while. Oh that's right, he has been as he tells Lindsey:

Spike: News flash Sparky don't need your help. Been saving people long before you showed up.
Lindsey: Not like this. You just helped a person when there wasn't anything in it for you. That's not like the Spike I know.

Spike: Is that right. And what Spike is that?

Lindsey: The Spike that's only out for himself. Who only does good deeds to impress women.

Spike: You best watch your...

Lindsey: I'm just saying (hesitates) you did good.

Lindsey has Spike's number and he doesn't need hallucinations to drag Spike down. The fight in Destiny and its hurled insults have left their mark on Spike. Angel accused Spike of the same thing-being motivated by a desire to "get in Buffy's pants." Years of being "love's bitch" have also left Spike vulnerable to questioning his own motives even if he should know better. After all he was soulless then with no moral track record. Spike is smart enough to know something is wrong with this picture and yet he goes along. To his credit he goes along and helps, not hurts others. He inflicts no harm. Maybe he is just a double agent playing along to see what Lindsey is up to as he did in Just Rewards.

Spike seems to be somewhere at the edges, the extremes. It is the middle ground that gives him trouble. He can rescue Dawn and Buffy and be involved in their concerns, the highly personal. He can sacrifice himself for the world, make the big sacrifice, and be the big hero, the highly impersonal grand gesture. But when it comes to rescuing anonymous strangers in a low key way, he is self- disparaging and none too interested. He makes that derogatory remark about himself (oh yeah my finest moment) when Lindsey praises his rescue. He does not seem to see the value in it or his fit in that system of small and impersonal heroism.

Is Spike also enticed by the heroic image he can present to the world? He acts righteously indignant to Wesley and Gunn's suggestion that he come aboard W&H. Granted they come off the image of a corrupt and evil law firm.


Which side of the fence is he on? Are Lindsey's visions real? If they are, his motive for going to Spike becomes more clear. He hates Angel and he'll be damned if he'll turn to him for help or acknowledge his champion status. But if he wants to act on the visions he needs a hero. Enter Spike. A plus for Lindsey, Angel loses relevancy. But Lindsey is definitely lying. He even lied about his name. And he prefabricated the whole Angel save vision. Surely the visions are fake, doable with the help of a psychic locating the next victim to be saved. Could Eve be a psychic?

If the visions are fake (which I believe they are) it's a whole different matter. Then Spike is just a manipulated pawn to bring Angel down. From Destiny that appears to be Lindsey's methodology. Because Angel has been declared off limits Eve and Lindsey must either manipulate someone else into killing him or change his status. The SP may have less use for Angel if Spike is perceived as a champion too or even The Champion. That would make Angel irrelevant and thus killable unlike the past and current edict that he is not to be harmed. From Just Rewards:

Hainsley: What I want is to turn you inside out, like a shirt. I could dust you right now, boy. Wouldn't even need a stake. (releases him) But that would be too big an insult for the senior partners to overlook. Seems that they've got plans for you.

The plan seems to be to weaken, not kill Angel, or at the least to have someone other than Lindsey or Eve kill Angel. In Destiny Eve expressed a casual acceptance of Spike not having killed Angel as if either outcome would have been acceptable::

Oh, and, by the way, Spike didn't kill Angel, but they did beat each other to bloody pulps.

What's in it for Lindsey to switch champions? Is bringing Angel down the ultimate objective or a means to an end, a way to get at the Senior Partners? Is his goal to hurt the Senior Partners by messing with Angel's role? How does that hurt them? Is the message that Spike is not Angel's equal and thus would shortchange what the SP had in mind for Angel? That Spike can't fill Angel's shoes? Is Spike the Unchosen, the spoiler of destiny?


She and Lindsey are a team. Eve appeared aroused by this parasite near her bed, touching the box as Lindsey touched her. Eve has a definite sadistic twist not yet seen in Lindsey. Note her pleasure in Angel's pain. Is Eve even working for the SP? How can she escape the psychics' notice? She is not protected by runes. Eve has some power not yet seen which Lindsey is using.


[> nice elaboration on the contrast between Spike and Angel -- Deacon, 09:26:09 01/26/04 Mon

[> Excellent analysis - much food for thought, thanks! -- Cheryl, 17:46:15 01/26/04 Mon

[> Great analysis of a complex episode. Thanks! -- Jane, 18:03:50 01/26/04 Mon

[> [> Thank you all for reading -- sdev, 20:59:23 01/26/04 Mon

[> Hey, I recognize you! (Spoilers for Soul Purpose) -- Scooter, 13:57:21 01/27/04 Tue

Hey sdev, nice to see you again! Couldn't resist replying to your post here.

Adding in my appreciation for the episode analysis, and reiterating that I find it very interesting that Spike never vamped out the entire time he was fighting. (And I watched the episode again to be sure.) While it's as likely as anything else that ME just didn't have time to get JM into vamp makeup, I like to think that this plays into a pet theory of mine -- that Angel's main issue is with his demon, and Spike's is with his humanity. Along those lines, at the beginning of the series Angel had problems connecting with people, even when he had no trouble seeing the big "good vs. evil" picture. Spike, OTOH, tends to care deeply about a few individuals, while at the same time not empathizing with humanity on a larger scale. (Of course, I think he was starting to learn that back in S7 of BtVS, but has regressed since. Sigh.)

Last few episodes we're seeing Angel disconnected from his friends and the individual victims that he used to help, and Spike turning down an offer to be a part of the "larger" fight. Is this good for either of them? Well, since we're only halfway through the season, my gut feeling is "no". ;)

BTW, I've become very interested in the similarities between Spike, Angel, and Pinocchio. Right now Angel seems to feel less like a "real boy" and more like a puppet, and Spike hasn't been acting terribly "brave, truthful, and unselfish". And I think they may both be ignoring their Jiminy Crickets, always a bad sign. But I still think they could each learn a lot from the other, and hope to see their relationship develop a bit in that direction this season. Now, if they would just put aside their differences and concentrate on ousting Eve, I'd be a happy girl.

[> [> Re: Hi back (Spoilers for Soul Purpose) -- sdev, 22:34:06 01/27/04 Tue

It occurs to me that Angel is getting quite beat up this season. In Just Rewards, Destiny and Soul purpose he is at Spike's mercy. In Lineage, Wesley rescues him. In Life of the Party, Numero Cinco, Harm's Way, and Soul Purpose he is somewhat pathetic, ridiculous or the butt of a joke. Only in Unleashed is he really in the hero role.

What's going on here? Are we witnessing the subversion of a hero? The culmination is his dreams of his own irrelevance in Soul Purpose. I sense a dramatic reversal coming shortly. Someone has to be the hero and I don't think it's Lindsey (or Eve).

Crockett and Tubbs crack the Existential Nut spoilers for 5.10 and the name of 5.11 -- Rufus, 03:05:52 01/26/04 Mon

Ever have a dream that reveals the worst present or future for yourself? Angel did, and he wasn't sweating cause of the fever. Right off we see things from Angel's perspective and it's down under looking up at what he fears most, that he is irrelevent and doomed to turn to dust as Spike gets the prize. Then again that's part of the problem as it seems that both vamps are regarding the Shan shu prophecy as some sort of prize.

Angel has a secret and it is popping up in his dreams as symbols rather than the real thing. This secret is the reason the gang is at Wolfram and Hart as I feel Angel would have rejected the deal if Connor had his melt down. In season two, Angel rejected Kate and left her to die.....until his epiphany. This epiphany and some PtB or whatever intervention, he was allowed into Kate's apartment to save her. Her worst moment over she was ready to face the word and go on. Wonder if the same would have been true of Connor, but Angel took that chance away from him by giving him a happy family world where he was just a normal, real, boy instead of a device of the god.

It's in the dream state that Angel is getting images of Connor and Fred is the one to open him up.

Fred: Angel, you look terrible.
Angel: Fred....I think something is wrong.
Fred: Okay, don't worry....I know what to do...[at this point she slaps on surgical gloves] Let's take a look under the hood.
Angel: What? What are you doing?

[Fred rolls over a tray with a galvanized steele bucket and surgical instruments]

Fred: It's okay [she opens up Angel]
Angel: Please.....ahhhhhhh ahhhhhhhh!
Fred: Hmmmmm there....that wasn't so bad was it? Okay let's get these out of the way.
Angel: Please stop.

Fred: There's your liver.....there's your kidney...oh, don't worry, you're a vampire. You don't need this stuff anyway. Probably should have had it removed a long time ago. oooop Ah! there's your heart. Hey! what do you know it IS a dried up little Walnut [tosses the nut into the bucket where it lands with a clang] so far so good. Let's see [Fred pulls out a long strand of pearls and wraps it around her neck twice] ooop! hmmmm raisins! [she eats a few, then pulls out a licence plate HUZ 332] Came up the Gulf Stream huh? [tosses it to the bucket] Oh! [now she brings out a fish bowl with a dead goldfish] There's your soul! We're really gonna have to flush this. [hands the bowl to a large bear who takes away the representation of Connor away] Thank you bear. sigh Huh.

The bear was something Connor saw in "Slouching towards Bethlehem"...

From Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Shot of a stuffed polar bear standing on its hind legs. It's an exhibit in a museum. There's blue lights behind it, making the scene feel arctic.
How cool is that?
I love that one. I wish I'd killed it.
Kind of a funny way to express your affection. I love you... bang, you're dead. (Connor starts walking away through storage area, Cordy follows) I gotta ask, why were you at the hotel? You live there?

By sending Connor to an alternate world/reality, Angel killed him in the minds of all the others (except Eve) and have left their memories a bit chopped up. If they knew better, Wes and Gunn would have understood why Angel went a bit nuts when it was mentioned some warlock cult types sold their kids to the devil. Have to wonder if Angel helped Connor or if he now feels that he sold him out for the new creature comforts he now enjoys....well not really anymore.

Angel: What's wrong?
Fred: Nothing. I can't seem to find anything wrong. [of course she doesn't remember Connor in or out of her dreams....yet] with you. I mean - except that you're empty - there's nothing left - just a shell. I think I can hear the ocean in there. [this is where we get the CSI shot of Fred looking into Angel and we follow through red to black] Hello? [the black continues out to reveal Angel's eye and we can see Angel in bed].

Angel gave Connor that new life but with magic there are consequences and the main one was memory loss for the others and a new home with a new set of rules, a new way to play the game. Then there is Spike. There is a doubling of the story as Spike seems to be following along a similar path to Angel's. Not exactly the same but close enough. He even has his Doyle who we know is Lindsey (or is he). Why the charade? And that brings me to the runic symbols that seem to occur again and again. First on Doyle/Lindsey, now on this stone that Eve hands over to Wesley.

Harmony: Any business with the Senior Partners, I'm supposed to tell Angel immediately.
Wes: I'll take care of it Harmony.
Harmony: Also any time something comes in with runes on it...I'm supposed to tell Angel immediately.....and not try to read the runes myself....cause that can cause a fire.

So, we have Lindsey showing up with symbols all over him, we have the Senior Partners wanting to investigate a runic carving in a stone, and Angel has put an order out to flag anything with runic symbols on it. Wonder how this all connects up, someone with initiative would look runes up.
Then there is the hero, what is one, and who owns the rights to that title?

Lindsey/Doyle: It's not my place...it's your's. Buildings quiet, windows don't get direct sunlight, you've got a sewer entrance for your day light travel.
Spike: What? No Cable?
Lindsey(I'm not saying Doyle anymore cause he's a big ol liar): You got electricity, heating, all the basics. Even got a Korean market on the corner..open all night.
Spike: Look, appreciate what you've done for me, making me all corporeal and all, but I draw the line at being your kept boy.
Lindsey: Oh, you got someplace else to live? I mean, a man of your means must have money tucked away somewhere, you'll find something soon. I'm offering you a place to hang your hat or your coat...could say thankyou.
Spike: Great...another ruddy basement.
Lindsey: You want creature comforts? You can go to Wolfram and Hart. This place has everything you need to be a hero. The job requires somewhat of a Spartan existance.

So, Spike got out of that Amulet just to end up in yet another basement. But he is now walking in Angel's shoes, being the hero, or so he thinks. Maybe someone else is feeling a bit uncertain too.....

Spike: Look who's come to call, Crockett and Tubbs. Come on in boys out of the cold and into the damp. Suppose I should have expected someone from big brothers (Angel?) LA branch sooner or later. Can I get you a frosty?
Gunn: What are you up to Spike?
Spike: Man gets right to the meat of the existential nut, doesn't he?
Gunn: Just a little concerned, you don't call, you don't write, what's your angle? Last time we saw you, you were booking a one way to the continent.
Spike: Change of plans. Change of Heart. Changed my mind mates.
Wes: Sounds like you've been busy. We're getting reports of a vigilante who matches your description.
Spike: Yes....that's what you people do isn't it? You get reports, and you sign checks, you read memo's - here's to the Corporate Teat. How'd you find me?
Gunn: Wasn't too hard, put a couple of our psychics on it this afternoon.
Wes: One of the advantages of the Corporate Teat.
Spike: What can I do for you? Need me to help you collate something?
Wes: From what we hear, you're fighting the good fight these days.
Gunn: We figure that's our territory.
Spike: Is that what this is about? You're hurt cause I stepped on your toesies?
Gunn: Not at all. We're wondering why you left in the first place.
Wes: If you want to save the world we've got the resources to help you do it.
Spike: No offence Mr. Vader, but I've got no itch to join the evil empire.
Gunn: It's different, you know it, we've changed things.
Spike: Look. I told Angel and I'll tell you. Place like that doesn't change, not from the inside, not from the out. Sign on there it changes you [points to Gunn] Puts things in your head. Spins your compass needle around till you can't cross the street without tripping the proverbial little old lady and stepping on her glasses. And it's not like I wasn't there gents, like I wasn't watching you. Had to haunt the damn place, remember?
Gunn: Things aren't that cut and dried Spike. We're making a difference, we're just playing by a new set of rules.
Spike: So what? You want me to put on a suit, come play with you?
Wes: Something like that.
Spike: I can't believe Angel would sign off on that, unless...he doesn't know you're here does he? Hedging our bets are we boys?
Gunn: That's not how it is.
Spike: And the compass needle keeps spinning, and the world gets murkier and murkier.

Spike's right...Wes cuts cheques and Gunn just may get around to copyrighting the rights to the title of Hero so Wolfram and Hart owns that too. But they are uncomfortable, uneasy about what they are becoming. Just when people may think that Spike has the moral higher ground something happens to put that in doubt.

Lindsey: They don't have a clue what's happening do they? Hey, come on babe, focus. Are you sure team Angel hasn't been checking up on him?
Eve: I told you - they're busy working on some relic that has the Senior Partners in a huff. So, are we going to do this or what?
Lindsey: Hey.
Eve: Fine let's talk some more. How's our Blonde crusader? He buying into it?
Lindsey: So far, I mean he hasn't sewn a big red S on his chest yet, but he's getting there. We keep building him up and we tear Angel down, pretty soon the Senior Partners are gonna start thinking they're backing the wrong horse.
Eve: Unless they find out we're fixing the race.
Lindsey: Hey, that happens I'm good as dead.
Eve: Relax baby, they'll never know it's you. Not while you have these pretty pictures.
Lindsey: These aren't for playing, they're the only thing keeping me off Wolfram and Hart's radar.
Eve: Doesn't mean I can't think they're sexy.
Lindsey: Well, you can think anything you want after we finish our project.
Eve: That mean you're gonna give me what I want, or are we going to keep up the teasing all day?
Lindsey: Good girls always get what they want.

Quick note to those atpo'ers who resist becoming a virtue....read the above...;)

So, heroes, Senior Partners, Powers that Be, cyborgs, warlocks, dreams and memories. Full slate and kinda disconnected. One thing, Lindsey called their scheme a "project" is that just a term that he can't let go of or are there more firms out there with projects on the go? And again with the runes, if they are so powerful that the Senior Partners can't see Lindsey, who put them on Lindsey? Eve, annoying brat, or more? I say start with the bloody runes, why are the Senior Partners, Lindsey, and Angel so interested in them? Then the memories, are they gone for good? Then there is the meat of the Existential nut, if none of it really matters then what does? To think this week there is going to be a bit of Damage done.....;)


[> Re: Crockett and Tubbs crack the Existential Nut spoilers for 5.10 and the name of 5.11 -- deacon, 09:40:52 01/26/04 Mon

I never made the connection between the bear and slouching towards bethlaham, that makes sense. I just thought it was like the cheese guy.

A Touch of Condescension -- Claudia, 09:27:44 01/26/04 Mon

When "First Date" (BtVS 7.14) first aired, many people pointed out Robin Wood's condescension of Buffy. They pointed out how his reaction to Buffy being an effective counselor resulted in laughs and that this was a sign that other than her job as a Slayer, he really had no respect for Buffy. But was Wood the only person who was condescending toward Buffy?

From "First Date":

WILLOW: So, he asked you out to dinner?

BUFFY: Yeah. Isn't that weird? I mean, he's a Principal. He's a young, hot Principal with earrings, but he's a Principal. Why do you think he asked me out? I mean, he could be interested, right?

WILLOW: Yeah, sure. You're a frisky vixen.

BUFFY: Or, it could be work-related. Maybe I'm getting promoted for doing such a good job.

WILLOW: (laughs, then notices Buffy's hurt look) Oh, right, that-that makes sense too.

Was this little incident from "First Date" merely a single time in which Willow had expressed some kind of condescension toward Buffy's intelligence? Or was this simply the latest incident? I cannot help but wonder.


[> Re: A Touch of Condescension -- Cactus Watcher, 10:03:26 01/26/04 Mon

I don't remember the exact episode, but Willow, Tara and Buffy are walking between classes, and discussing the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Willow mentions the classic film with Charles Lawton. With a straight face Bufy asks if he was one of the singing gargoyles from the cartoon version. Willow clearly thinks she's serious, and for the moment the audience is supposed to think the same thing. I don't believe it's a Willow problem. But, ME tried to protray Buffy as not thinking very deeply about anything except slaying. We had plenty of hints Buffy was really very intelligent. But repeatedly she was shown as not terribly careful about what she said about 'unimportant' topics.

In the instance you mention, Buffy says something that isn't very likely. Willow has progressed beyond the stage where she'll say anything to make nice by this point. If its a little condescending, she's just making up for all those times in high school, she just smiled meekly and pretended to agree. It's actually a sign she respects Buffy's intelligence more not less.

[> In either End of Days or Chosen (spoilers BTVS S7) -- Vickie, 10:11:15 01/26/04 Mon

Kennedy is reassuring Willow about Buffy's plan. Willow says something like "Buffy, nice girl, not all that bright." It's clear that Willow does not admire Buffy's brains, even though she celebrated their use in S4.

[> [> Bad example -- Sophist, 10:46:36 01/26/04 Mon

The context of that quote was this:

Buffy believes in you.
You know Buffy- sweet girl, not that bright.

Willow was just using a humorous way of questioning her own competence, not Buffy's.

[> Re: A Touch of Condescension -- Ames, 11:26:10 01/26/04 Mon

Buffy was always self-depreciating about her own abilities outside of Slaying, probably as a defense mechanism to keep people from thinking of her as arrogant. Who wants to try to compete with a friend who's a bona-fide superhero with beauty, brains and self-confidence?

[> [> Re: A Touch of Condescension -- Claudia, 11:49:23 01/26/04 Mon

So . . . what was up with the laugh in "First Date"? And why did Buffy looked hurt?

[> [> [> Re: A Touch of Condescension -- Belladonna, 12:18:10 01/26/04 Mon

Personally, I don't think the First Date incident should be described as condescension. Willow wasn't insulting Buffy's intelligence. She thought Buffy was joking, and who can blame her? Buffy never finished college, had no experience, and no real qualifications to hold the job in the first place. Plus, what little we saw of her counseling skills didn't exactly prove that she did a great job on instinct. Not that it was her fault, but she seduced a student on her desk, and accosted another student's father at home, accusing him of abuse. So who, realistically, would think Buffy had a chance of getting promoted? Again, I don't think Willow laughed because she thought Buffy wasn't intelligent, but because she recognized how minute a chance Buffy had to get promoted.
Buffy probably looked hurt because even if we know something's not possible, it doesn't mean we want other people to confirm it. Perhaps she interpreted Willow's laugh in the way you did. It doesn't mean Willow was actually condescending. Just my opinion...

[> [> [> [> Is this where Tru Calling's plots come from? -- Ames, 12:53:44 01/26/04 Mon

> ... and accosted another student's father at home, accusing him of abuse.

Hmmm, just noticed the similarity of Help to the plot of every Tru Calling episode, i.e. Tru runs around accusing anyone and everyone erroneously until she accidentally hits on the right suspect.

[> [> [> Perhaps... -- Random, 12:22:08 01/26/04 Mon

One might consider that Buffy wasn't very good at her job. Just a thought. After all, most if not all of the evidence available to the audience points in that direction, so it's possible that, you know, Principal Wood actually meant to keep Buffy close by and offered her the job as a means of creating regular contact. Acknowledging Buffy's shortcomings and faults isn't condescension. She's simply not perfect. It happens. The laugh might have been involuntary. Or not. But Buffy's "hurt" didn't last. She survived, oddly enough. Just as all the others somehow managed to survive the crushing blows of having their human frangibilities acknowledged. Acknowledged frequently. Often by Spike trying to get a malicious jab in, or by Xander being thoughtless, or by Buffy being self-righteous, or by Giles being British, or...well, you get the point. For every "Willow laughs" stage direction, there's a dozen "Buffy treats Xander like dirt" and "the younger Scoobies mock Giles age and stuffiness" and "someone calls Willow a geek and shows a general mockery of her babbling" and so on and so forth. Xander mocks Anya, Anya mocks Xander. Ditto Xander/Cordy. Oz's unemotional facade gets mocked. Tara...well, she's the lesbian lover, so she's safer than most. Riley? You can't possibly have missed the cruel jabs at him, mostly from a single bleach-blonde source wanting to get lucky with the girlfriend. And so it goes.

What's your point again, exactly?

[> promoted to what? -- skeeve, 14:14:20 01/26/04 Mon

Buffy might possibly been getting a raise, but so far as I could tell, Buffy wasn't qualified for any other job to which she might be promoted.
For that matter, the job immediately above hers in the Sunnydale High organizational chart belonged to Wood.

[> [> Re: promoted to what? -- Ames, 14:39:04 01/26/04 Mon

You obviously haven't been a drone in a gigantic mindless beaurocracy. "Promotion" doesn't mean doing a different and more responsible job. It means going from a class B27C/2A-5 to B27C/2A-7, with corresponding rise in pay level. :-)

[> [> Excuses -- Claudia, 09:06:57 01/27/04 Tue

It's interesting how so many rushed to defend Willow's reaction in "First Date". Very interesting.

[> [> [> Why is it interesting? Please explain. -- Dlgood, 13:52:34 01/27/04 Tue

[> [> Excuses -- Claudia, 09:06:59 01/27/04 Tue

It's interesting how so many rushed to defend Willow's reaction in "First Date". Very interesting.

[> [> [> Yeah.. -- Random, 10:53:15 01/27/04 Tue

Downright fascinating. It's not possible that these people have legitimate reasons or something. I mean, Willow actually being defensible? Buffy actually being less-than-brilliant at guidance counseling? Other people making legitimate observations? These are probably the same people who advocate stupid stuff like being nice to others and giving a damn about people. Can they be trusted?

I don't buy it.

Thanks for pointing out the hypocrisy, babe. You are my heroine. And for all you people who rushed to defend Willow? You suck. Willow is evil, you know that if you'd just be willing to admit that her goal was to tear down Buffy and reduce her to a gimp and an object of cruel derision. By all rights, she should have been promoted to principal. To hell with people who disagree.

Guess I know who loves Buffy now. Certainly not you bastards. Claudia is the only true light in this Buffy-bashing, Willow-snogging void of a world.

Next up: a demonstration of how the slinky works. Come all. Be amazed. Cause it's totally unfair how people judge it by different standards than magic eight balls.

[> [> [> Interesting in what way? -- LittleBit, 13:47:49 01/27/04 Tue

I can't formulate any response to this, besides trying to guess what you mean.

[> [> [> [> Maybe this really is -- Arethusa, 14:23:48 01/27/04 Tue

a Willow-loving universe, much like the famous AU without shrimp, and Claudia has cleverly deduced this. How often do we hear Willow criticism?? Hasn't Joss, our Fearless Leader, stated that she's the greatest thing since sliced bread? Where Joss goes, so goes our nation. Come to think of it, I tried to post a criticism of Willow once and it mysteriously disappeared into cyberspace.

I heard there was a Xander-loving universe somewhere, but don't tell Sophist.

[> [> [> [> [> Hey Sophist! Look at Arethusa's post! Nyah-nah-nah-nah-nya -- Random, being particularly mature, 14:29:33 01/27/04 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> God forbid! -- Sophist, 19:03:43 01/27/04 Tue

You know, Arethusa, I always read your posts (unlike some unnamed, random posters) and I trust you not to give me nightmares like that.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Wait, do you mean 'unlike some' or 'unlike *those of* some'? -- d'Herblay, 20:20:15 01/27/04 Tue

I need to know which way to update the score on the snark-meter.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Heh. The latter. -- Sophist, 20:31:54 01/27/04 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> ::raised eyebrow:: ....O-o-o-kay -- Random, 08:19:50 01/28/04 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I've always wanted to be able to raise one eyebrow. -- Arethusa, 09:01:57 01/28/04 Wed

Maybe I can try again.

::raises both eyebrows::


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> This is a dangerous conversation... -- dub ;o), 16:34:13 01/28/04 Wed

I tried, too. I got a headache. I asked David if he could do it. He said, no. I said that my old friend, Monte, could. David said, "So what? Did it get him into college? What good does it do? Curling your tongue, wagging your ears, all of that stuff...!!"

Umm...huh? Okaaaaaaaay, back to the reading the board...


[> [> [> [> [> [> C'mon Sophist, couldn't be all that bad....... -- Rufus, 01:04:16 01/28/04 Wed

At least your windows would be properly shimmed...;):):):):):):)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Sorry about that. Er, I mean, Bwahahah! -- Arethusa, 04:04:44 01/28/04 Wed

[> Re: A Touch of Condescension -- Sofdog, 10:40:58 01/27/04 Tue

I don't see where Willow was at all condescending. She gave an honest reaction. Buffy was being ridiculous. Her "job" didn't really pay anything. It wasn't really a job. Buffy had no qualifications for such a position,and so far as we know not even a little 'peer counselor' training.

Maybe she could have been promoted to a secretary. But Buffy's concept of that job was not at all realistic. I was thankful that comments were made on both the job and the age difference with the principal. The whole concept that he was asking her out on a real date was nuts.

[> [> Re: A Touch of Condescension -- Corwin of Amber, 18:02:39 01/27/04 Tue

>I was thankful that comments were made on both the job and the age difference with the principal.

Age difference? Buffy was dating someone 300 years older than she was in high school!

[> [> [> I never said I was okay with that relationship -- Sofdog, 20:15:53 01/27/04 Tue

O/T: American Politics and Television -- dub ;o), 11:26:53 01/26/04 Mon

Most of you know I'm Canadian. Up here, we can't help but be aware of the politics of our neighbour. After all, I will never be convinced that Canadian televison will ever come close to the level of sophistication of the American version. That's mainly because Canadian television is government-subsidized, and thus has a vested interest in supporting writers, actors, directors, etc., who are capable of portraying only "normal," and "nice," as opposed to "talented," and "human."

Uh, oh, okay, not to the point really, so mini-rant over.

Two things have caught my eye this morning, one in my LJ friends list and one on CNN. The links are below. I find the one about the television ad particularly disturbing, and I'd be interesting in knowing what my American friends here think.

I'm not trying to start a political flame-war, and I would request that Masq deletes this if one starts up...please?


CBS's Refusal To Air MoveOn.org's Superbowl Ad:

During this year's Super Bowl, you'll see ads sponsored by beer companies, tobacco companies, and the Bush White House. But you won't see the winning ad in MoveOn.org Voter Fund's Bush in 30 Seconds ad contest. CBS refuses to air it.

Meanwhile, the White House and Congressional Republicans are on the verge of signing into law a deal which Senator John McCain (R-AZ) says is custom-tailored for CBS and Fox, allowing the two networks to grow much bigger. CBS lobbied hard for this rule change; MoveOn.org members across the country lobbied against it; and now the MoveOn.org ad has been rejected while the White House ad will be played.

We need to let CBS know that this practice of arbitrarily turning down ads that may be "controversial" - especially if they're controversial simply because they take on the President - just isn't right.

To watch the ad that CBS won't air and sign the petition to CBS to run these ads, go to:

And, from CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/TV/01/26/tv.dennismiller.ap/index.html


[> Re: O/T: American Politics and Television -- Schrodinger's guppy, 13:59:41 01/26/04 Mon

That's mainly because Canadian television is government-subsidized, and thus has a vested interest in supporting writers, actors, directors, etc., who are capable of portraying only "normal," and "nice," as opposed to "talented," and "human."

I find the one about the television ad particularly disturbing, and I'd be interesting in knowing what my American friends here think.

I must admit some confusion. If Canadian TV is so sanitized why would you be disturbed by appearences of such on American TV? Wouldn't you be more disturbed by the supression of controversy in your own country's media?

As for the ad, I will not comment on whether it is propaganda or not. Authentic depiction of facts has little to do with the decision to run or not an ad. American networks run on money. The more money the better. If they come across anything that even has the potential to limit revenue I suspect it will get pulled. After the outpouring of boycott threats from consumers over the 'Reagan' movie I am not surprised. The bottom line is always money and I suspect CBS will only air programs and ads that guarentee minimal fallout and maximum return.

Dennis said it himself. He is not a hard news reporter. With the majority of media coverage in the US extremely liberally slanted a show or two from a more conservative perspective would seem a good thing. News that was completely impartial would be nice, but that is never going to happen so I suppose an acceptable compromise would be equal representing of all sides.

And cut Miller some slack. Admitting to being conservative is almost a death sentence in his field. There are a few openly conservative actors that get work but most stay quiet to keep their careers. History, it appears, enjoys repeating itself.


[> [> Re: O/T: American Politics and Television -- dub ;o), 16:54:15 01/26/04 Mon

Uh, oh, okay, not to the point really, so mini-rant over.

You left out this line from my post when you quoted it above. I was not clear. What was not to the point, was that I wasn't commenting on Canadian television's take on Canadian politics; I was saying that we Canadians are aware of American media and politics, basically because most of us can't stand to watch our own national programming. There's precious little that is watchable on television at all, but virtually all of it is on American (or British) tv.

[> [> [> Re: O/T: American Politics and Television -- Invisible Green, 16:59:55 01/26/04 Mon

I'm from Michigan, and I like Canadian shows just as much as American shows. "Foreign Objects" is one of my favorite series of all time. I also really liked "Our Hero." "Made in Canada" and "The Red Green Show" are pretty good too. "Escape From the Newsroom" is like my favorite TV movie ever (although I have to admit that I didn't understand the last half-hour at all). I could go on...

[> [> [> Re: O/T: American Politics and Television -- Schrodinger's guppy, 06:02:46 01/27/04 Tue

My apologies dub, I misunderstood that first part.


[> [> Re: O/T: American Politics and Television -- Dlgood, 18:18:54 01/26/04 Mon

With the majority of media coverage in the US extremely liberally slanted

By whose standards? While the media certainly has a bias toward the left, it is most assuredly not "extreme". Because in a capitalist economy, no "extreme" mass-market product is going to sell or survive all that well.

As per the airing of ads. CBS is a private network and they have the right to air whichever ads they choose. And it's not as if they have minimal demand for adspace on the Superbowl broadcast. There are any number of policy issues that get me up far more than this particular one.

[> [> [> Re: O/T: American Politics and Television -- Dariel, 19:16:51 01/26/04 Mon

With the majority of media coverage in the US extremely liberally slanted...

By whose standards? While the media certainly has a bias toward the left, it is most assuredly not "extreme".

This reminds me of a former boss, who, when asked about his politics (he was a Brit), used to say: "I'm to the left of Ronald Reagan, and to the right of Attila the Hun."

[> [> [> Re: O/T: American Politics and Television -- Corwin of Amber, 20:11:33 01/26/04 Mon

>By whose standards? While the media certainly has a bias toward the left, it is most assuredly not "extreme".

It does feel extreme to conservatives, who were mostly shut out of the media until maybe 10 years ago. Liberals actually don't realize how much they've captured the mainstream of thought in the U.S.A. But the pendulum always swings back the other way.

[> [> [> [> Re: O/T: American Politics and Television -- DickBD, 11:51:23 01/27/04 Tue

I don't agree with that. The media, after all, are all owned by a consortium of corporations that are not at all inclined toward liberal thought. That is why truly liberal publications, such as THE NATION, carry no advertising to speak of. Strangely enough, the conservatives have somehow managed to create this fiction of a liberal media, so much so that almost everyone takes it as a given. It is just not so.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: O/T: American Politics and Television -- Corwin of Amber, 17:40:18 01/27/04 Tue

Thanks for proving my point! :) Like I said, liberals don't understand the extent to which they've captured the media market.

The media, after all, are all owned by a consortium of corporations that are not at all inclined toward liberal thought.

The corporations don't care about the content of their publications, as long as it sells. The only time the owners step in is when the media espouses a view that it is so at odds with the feelings of the market, that it could potentially hurt the bottom line. The Reagans movie being the most recent example.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: O/T: American Politics and Television -- Dlgood, 17:57:07 01/27/04 Tue

The corporations don't care about the content of their publications, as long as it sells.

Which was my primary point in the beginning. If the media was so biased (either Liberal or Conservative) that it was out of step with public opinion, there would be a market correction to bring it back into step.

Personally, I don't think there's really a particularly pervasive media bias.

[> [> [> [> [> [> It's not that Simple -- dmw, 19:55:07 01/27/04 Tue

The corporations don't care about the content of their publications, as long as it sells.

This argument is overly simplistic and invalid. There's much more to the bottom line than selling air time, papers, or whatever. There are (recently changed) regulations on media ownership, (hideously complex) tax laws, and (likewise complex) copyright laws, along with many other regulations where media corporations have a strong interest in selling their positions.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Liberal? -- DickBD, 11:04:28 01/28/04 Wed

I'm not sure that I am a liberal, certainly not following a particular line. In any case, I agree to some extent with your assertion. For example, the New York Times caters to its mainly liberal audience. One of the problems I worry about are the mergers. We are getting down to only a few media owners as compared to a few decades ago. I suspect diversity of opinion will really suffer as a result of this effect. Rupert Murdock and his Fox TV and other news media have already pulled everyone to the right to the extent that reasoned discourse against the Iraqi invasion was drowned out. I'm concerned about heading in that direction, with a bias to either side.

[> [> Slack???? -- Rufus, 02:39:03 01/27/04 Tue

We cut him something waaaaaaaay better than that....the nice Canadian girl he married....;)

[> [> [> Re: Slack???? -- Schrodinger's guppy, 06:10:17 01/27/04 Tue

We cut him something waaaaaaaay better than that....the nice Canadian girl he married....;)

Do you suppose she has addicted him to expensive chocolate and cats yet?


[> [> [> [> Re: Slack???? -- Rufus, 06:52:16 01/27/04 Tue

Hey, I like cheap chocolate as well as some of the more expensive chocolate....but I'm sure if she is a Canadian worth her chocolate she has...;)

[> [> Liberal Media? -- fidhle, 09:34:33 01/27/04 Tue

"With the majority of media coverage in the US extremely liberally slanted"

I don't know what media outlets you follow, but in my experience, the vast majority of media in the US are conservative in outlook. Outside of a few major papers, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, most papers are quite conserrvative, and these papers serve most of the nation's readers. What passes for liberal media in TV news is far more balanced than the outspokenly conservative outlets such as Fox News. From my perspective, it is hard to find liberal thought being expressed outside of a few editorial columnists, mostly appearing in those major papers I referred to earlier.

For some reason, "conservatives" in the US have persuaded themselves that they are a persecuted minority facing a great "liberal" onslaught, even though we currently have a very consesrvative government, with Republican control of the White House and both houses of Congress. I have never seen a "conservative" paper, such as the Washington Times, ever even attempt to be balanced or fair in it's news presentation or choice of columnists. The Washington Post, for example, which has been called the most liberal paper in America, carries such well known conservatives as George F. Will and Charles Krauthammer regularly on it's op/ed page. I have looked in vain for similar liberal columnists in the Washington Times.

I fear that too many people have been sold a bill of goods regarding the "liberal" domination of the media in the US, which is, of course, a very good selling point for those who think of themselves as "conservative."

[> [> [> Re: Liberal Media? -- Dlgood, 10:53:28 01/27/04 Tue

For some reason, "conservatives" in the US have persuaded themselves that they are a persecuted minority facing a great "liberal" onslaught

I've interned in the senate, in government contracting, and for a think tank that catered to both sides of the aisle - and I've found this "Liberal Domination of the Media" to be mostly hyperbole. It's a convenient excuse to justify the lack of editorial balance in the Times, or on FoxNews. Anything remotely passing as "liberal" gets pretty heavily chopped in those outlets. So it's not as though there's much credibility when levelling charges at other media outlets.

And it's been a very valuable tool to promote solidarity of thought amongst the "consevatives" - having worked and lived in DC for so long, there's certainly far more cohesiveness on the left than right.

[> [> [> [> World Ends: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit -- Grant, 10:17:37 01/28/04 Wed

I probably should not get involved in a political discussion like this, but the whole media bias thing is something that bugs conservatives like me. And the problem is not so much the bias itself, conservatives are all well trained throughout our years of schooling to get over biases against us, but rather the fact that so many liberals like to pretend that the media is not biased. In fact, due to the success of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, there is a current argument gaining steam that says that the media is actually conservative. This is simply a lie. Dozens of polls over the last two decades have shown that journalists overwhelmingly are liberals. For just one statistic that I remember for some reason, 89% of journalists voted for Clinton in 1992. That's more than twice the percentage of the general public who voted for him. For anyone who wants more recent examples, read either of Bernard Goldberg's books or check out the Media Research Center.

Note that I am not claiming that there is a liberal media conspiracy. I leave it to Al Gore to point out the fifth columns infiltrating America. But the end result of a number of factors is that much of the media in America leans to the left. The best description I've read recently of how the media bias actually works was written by columnist James Lileks on his blog:

Today's lesson on the librul media is -

Well, let me back up and clarify my terms. As I've said before, I don't believe that most papers have an explicit agenda; the morning huddle does not begin with a rousing rendition of "The East is Red." No. Obviously, no. The "liberal" bias usually manifests itself as a certain comfy sort of groupthink. Most people in the newsroom are Democrats. They vary wildly from issue to issue, perhaps, but there are some tenets that bind the tribe, and a good number of them are based in certain attitudes about conservatives that were quite possibly formed at birth. Certainly in college. My favorite example: years ago I wrote a book review about a study of free speech on American campuses. It wasn't one of those thinly-documented screeds; it was written by college educators horrified by PC speech codes, assaults on campus newspapers, and academic freedom. The copy editor had a question about one of the author's names. I wandered over and read it to her. The author used all three names - first, middle, last.

"F*cking Republicans," she said.

I was a bit surprised, and asked her what she meant. She seemed startled and suddenly a bit abashed, and said that the three names were pretentious. Like Hillary Rodham Clinton? One of the authors was a self-described Democrat, I noted. No surprise; to those of us who were Dems in the 70s and 80s, speech codes would have been anathema. The very words "speech" and "codes" would not compute; they would fly apart like magnets with opposite poles. Then again, I remember in 84 when our paper ran an article that angered campus feminists; they broke into the newspaper office and taped bloody tampons to the file cabinets. O the trouble this caused in the ranks. It was a protest, it involved symbolism - that would earn them a front-page story if they'd hit the administration building, but targeting us for printing something they didn't like? What goes? Looking back, this was one of my first clues - it's not about right v. left all the time. Sometimes it's citizens v. thugs. And if that's the current dynamic, the citizens had best find a way to bury the hatchets and get along, because the tampon-festooning burglars have already settled their differences and identified the problem. Which is you, because you print un-PC pieces on your editorial page.

I was editorial page editor for a year, so I know what I went through. Ugly stuff. And I ran Pacifica news wire pieces twice a week.

Anyway, my point: in any given newsroom on any given day, it's usually safe to say "f*cking Republicans" to someone you don't know, because if they didn't agree they probably wouldn't be in a newsroom.

That's just how it usually works.


So. I saw this headline in the Arizona Republic last week, and it leaped off the page. Not because it's intentionally biased - but because it isn't. It made it through several copy editors. It was reproduced for the online edition. No one saw a problem here.

[Here he produced an image of the headline which was Clark is the 'perfect anti-Bush': Candidate understands the importance of alliances.]

I suspect (he says, charitably) that the headline writer would defend the ad because it's true. Right? Go-it-alone war, unilateralist war, spurning our allies, etc., ad infinitum; we all know that's the case. Right? But of course it's not true; we had an alliance with Great Britain, with Australia, with Poland; if we lacked Russian support, perhaps that's because they were still supporting the enemy?

And so on. As usual, it boils down to the President's mulish refusal to please the French. But the headline writer knew in his gut that it was true in a general sense - sure, we went to the UN and worked for eleventy million resolutions, but in the end we just did what we wanted, so we obviously don't care about alliances, period. Plus, you know, Kyoto, and the ABM treaty, and stuff.

An accurate headline: Clark stresses need for "alliances." Clark says "alliances" are crucial. Something that sets apart the idea of alliances to indicate that they can be construed in different ways.

My paper gets beaten up a good deal in the blogoworld, so I should note that I ran the headline past my copy editor. He rolled his eyes. Never would have made it past him.

This seems to me to be the best charicterization of how the liberal media bias works. And it really does not bother me too much. I have plenty of alternative media outlets these days, and the Blogosphere alone could sate anyone's apettite for coverage of any issue from any angle. And it could be worse. I could live in England and be stuck with the horrible overtly biased coverage of the BBC---an institution I would have to pay a large sum of money just so that I could own a TV set to begin with--and then not have very many other channels to turn on. Clearly the media situation in America, flawed though it may be, is much better. I do, however, get very tired of claims that the media is not liberal. There may not be a global liberal media conspiracy, but there is certainly a liberal media bias.

But, hey, if you are a liberal who thinks that there is no media bias or that the media has a conservative bias then I suggest we organize a trade. You can have the Fox News Channel, Rush Limbaugh's radio show, the National Review, the Weekly Standard, and Dennis Miller. We'll take ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Time, Newsweek, the New Republic, the Nation, etc.

As for the story that started this whole thread, I really don't see what the big deal is. I have no idea why CBS rejected the Moveon.org ad. They are a private entity and have every right to arbitrarily turn down advertisements. I do reject, however, that the station that employs Dan Rather is afraid to insult or anger the Bush Administration or Republicans in General. I'm not sure which law it is that Moveon is complaining about, but if it is the one about restrictions on media monopolies then every media organization in the country, not just CBS and Fox, lobbied for it. If all that Republicans get out of striking a currupt bargain with CBS to pass this law is that the White House gets to air a super bowl commercial while Moveon does not, then CBS certainly got the far better of that deal.

Of course, if we did want to talk about major controversies in the media, we could talk about how it is now illegal for private citizens in America to criticize the government if that criticism comes too close to an election. But the Supreme Court seems to think that's okay, so what do I know. That whole Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech thing was really only a guideline anyway.

[> [> [> [> [> Media Bias -- DickBD, 11:59:22 01/28/04 Wed

I agree that most of the reporters are probably liberal, but their owners and bosses are not. I read Goldberg's book, but I have a difficult time getting my conservative friends just to read the introduction (on the Internet) of Eric Alterman's book WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA? In the introduction, Alterman pretty much destroys Goldberg's case, and documents all his facts.

The majority of academia are probably liberal as opposed to most of the population, and I certainly disagree with a bias in that regard, too, especially if opposition is suppressed. That was certainly not the case when I attended, but alas, that was many decades ago.

Certainly, that was a strawman argument listing all the networks as liberal, making the conservative outlets seem small (partly by leaving many of them out). I'll admit that Dan Rather is transparently liberal, but he helped hype the Iraqi invasion. I well remember his "Good morning, Bagdad!" remark when the shock and awe attack hit.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Curious about Liberal Bias -- MissB, 05:57:55 01/29/04 Thu

Journalists and academics are arguably more informed than the general population about current and historical events and issues. How can it be then that so many of the most informed people in the nation are liberal? This makes no sense unless it means that being informed and knowledgeable = being liberal.

Note that in the US the president, the senate and house majorities and 29 out of 50 state governors are Republican, i.e. conservative. I would conclude that journalists and academia are clearly ineffective at influencing the nation with their liberal bias.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> The Importance of Language -- dmw, 07:18:02 01/29/04 Thu

There's an
interesting interview with George Lakoff
, showing how conservative interests in recent times have used language to frame political discussion and thus force liberals to debate on their own terms. Whether or not you agree with his particular examples or politics (and such framing has been done by liberals in the past), it's clear that how a debate is framed limits what viewpoints are aired to the public in ways that affect politics.

For example, framing reducing taxes as "tax relief" indicates that there is an affliction, someone who is afflicted (you, the taxpayers), and someone who is saving you from that affliction. Who can be opposed to "tax relief?" Anyone who is opposed is clearly bad because they're supporting the infliction of this wrong upon you. On the other hand, what if taxes were treated patriotically, the government increasing taxes to "support the troops." That would change the framing of the debate considerably.

For another example, look at the RIAA's use of words like "theft" instead of copyright infringement and "intellectual property" instead of copyright to frame the debate about MP3s in terms of physical property. Their use of the term "piracy" has even worse and more absurd implications. They also play on the public's lack of understanding of the history of copyright from its original purpose to how copyright law is written (by industry organizations like the RIAA, leaving out new technologies and the public interest) to how new technologies were dealt with in the past.

Do you remember how the cable companies were attacked for "stealing" their programming from TV broadcasts in the 70's? And do you remember how that was resolved? The cable companies weren't shut down like mp3.com's CD service or like napster. Instead there was a compromise in the form of a compulsory license, whereby the TV companies couldn't refuse to let cable companies broadcast their programming but also whereby the cable companies had to pay a reasonable licensing fee for the programming.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Curious about Liberal Bias -- Grant, 16:18:24 01/29/04 Thu

First of all, being in journalism and academia does not make one necessary smart or knowledgable. Particularly with journalism, where television/radio journalism has more to do with personality and presentation than knowledge and intelligence. Print media are a little better, but they also have a lot of problems, as the recent Jayson Blair scandal showed. So, while journalists may be more knowledgable about the current events they are covering, that does not necessarily make them any wiser or more intelligent in general then the rest of the population. Another important factor is that most journalists are liberal and then become journalists. Thus their profession, and whatever knowledge it gives them, does not affect their ideology/politics. If anything, it is the other way around, where a lot of the standard liberal beliefs about wanting to go out and fix the world can be seen as encouraging one to go into journalism. Conservatism is a somewhat different political philosophy which, at least in my opinion, gives one less motivation to become a journalist. Indeed, I think something can be seen from the fact that most of the conservative traditional journalists tend to be libertarians like John Stossel. There is much more of an activist streak in libertarianism then in conservatism. All of the other conservative journalists I can think of tend to be commentator/pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. One could even argue that being that kind of journalist requires more intelligence and knowledge since you are actually forming opinions and making arguements rather than just restating facts.

As for academia, there the problem is largely an exclusionary liberal bias. Liberals compose a large part of the faculty and administrations of almost all American colleges, and they actively exclude conservatives from employment. Some of this is an overt bias, where these professors actually believe that conservatives are evil, wrong, or just plain stupid for believing in conservative ideas, and thus they refuse to employ them on those grounds. Largely, however, the bias comes from the more subtle fact that conservatives and liberals tend to want to study different things. This means that since post-modernist type theories are very big in academia right now, and conservatives tend to dislike such theories and take more traditional approaches, conservatives don't get employed. There also is the problem that conservatives tend to study in more traditional areas, like the literary classics and military history, while most colleges are led by their liberal philosophies to be interested in hiring faculty in areas like latino/a studies and other areas that conservatives are not interested. All of this comes together to make it nearly impossible to get a job at a university as a conservative. Even after you get a job, it is very difficult to get tenures, since if you actually express conservative ideas you are likely to insult or offend members of the faculty/administration and they will do their best to block you. Thus most conservative academics tend to be employed by the various conservative think tanks. There also was a recent column by David Brooks, the token conservative at the New York Times, talking about how a lot of the conservative faculty at these colleges are advising their best conservative students to not look for a career in academia, since they will likely not find employment. So the fact that there are not a lot of conservatives in academia does not mean that there are not as many intelligent/informed conservative. It is merely a reflection of the fact that conservatives are not welcome in academia.

On the whole, this is a bad trend, since I tend to believe that the best academic knowledge comes from being honed in debate and confrontation. Yet a whole generation of American academics are currently acting to make sure that they face no challenge to their ideas. This is a very bad situation.

Finally, there is at least one current theory that argues that the liberal media has been bad for the democratic party recently. This is because they tend to skew news for the democrats in the positive direction, leading democrats to have a false sense of optimism. This goes at least in part to explain why the Republican wins in the 2002 elections seemed so surprising. However, while it has not been as succesful in influencing elections recently, one thing the liberal media has always been successful at is setting the tone of debates. For example, George W. Bush was somewhat forced into signing the very unconstitutional Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Bill (commonly known as McCain-Feingold) in the false hope that the supreme court would strike it down largely because of the pressure by the media to pass it. After all, the Bush administration's corporate connections have been a constant media refrain, yet I don't remember a single story about Al Gore's corporate connections during the election. Also, BCFR was very good for the media, since it set them up as the only people who can comment on candidates close to the election. Other recent acts, like the medicare drug benefit and the tax rebates extended to people who don't actually pay any taxes, have come about at least in part because of the way the media framed the debate. Another issue where the media influence is pretty clear is gun control. The media tend to be largely in favor of it, and thus those who support second amendment rights are termed negatively as the "gun lobby" while those who support gun control are simply "gun control advocates." Whatever you think of the second ammendment, it is in the constitution and it does protect a civil right. Yet its support is framed by the media as being from a "lobby," and thus a small special interest rather than the large numbers of actual people who support it. A recent Nexis search by John Rosenberg of the Discriminations blog showed the the New York Times used the phrase "gun lobby" 545 times compared to 13 for "civil rights lobby" and 8 for "gay rights lobby." Thus the Times clearly represents certain positions as being those of interest groups while others are those of just average people in the mainstream. Another example from this thread come from the million mom march of a few years ago. The organizer, Donna Dees-Thomases, was largely represented in the media as an apolitical mother who thus represented all mothers. The only problem was that she was actually a former staffer to two Democratic senators and publicist to Dan Rather, and thus was possibly lead to lead this march by ideology rather than pure motherhood. I could go on with abortion, in which much of the media see only two group, pro-choice and anti-abortion. This would let me cite a bunch of fun examples from the recent partial birth abortion stuff, but I think I've wasted enough of everyone's time. But the point is that the liberal media bias is not this monolithic thing that controls all of American government and society, but rather is a force that subtly influences events and the framing of the debate.

[> A different take -- sdev, 19:17:37 01/26/04 Mon

The decision not to run the ad did not occur in a vacuum. Nor do I think it was refused for the reasons suggested by MoveOn.org.

MoveOn.org was involved in a recent controversy in connection with the selection of this ad. MoveOn.org had two potential ads on its web site, among many others, competing in a public selection contest. These two particular ads depicted Pres. Bush as Hitler. After being confronted with this by an outraged Republican Party, among many others, they withdrew the ads. They claimed it was a mistake and the result of improper screening. Since MoveOn.org is an internet organization, the ads were well publicized just by being on their website thus making this lapse quite serious, even if not deliberate.

I personally was quite offended by the comparison which trivializes this unique and epic tragedy, and demeans the President. Mr.Soros the financier of MoveOn.org is a Holocaust survivor himself and has issued no statement of regret.

I have not seen any statement directly linking this controversy to the CBS decision, but I believe that is why CBS is avoiding their ad, not as a lobbying maneuver.

[> [> Soros! -- dub ;o), 21:15:36 01/26/04 Mon

Ah yes, George Soros--I knew I'd heard of MoveOn.org before. Thanks!


[> [> Re: A different take -- DickBD, 12:06:04 01/27/04 Tue

There actually are some parallels between Bush and Hitler, mainly that Hitler used an attack on a popular German building to fan nationalism, just as Bush did with the 9/11 attacks. Unfortunately, none of the loyal opposition were statemen enough to point out that these were criminal acts, not acts of war. Patriotism is not always a call to war. Sometimes it is examining your own government's actions. The measure of a country's true merit can sometimes be taken best when the country has nearly absolute power as we do now. I am not eager to see my country hated as arrogant and brutal. Sadly, that is the prodominant world view now. For detailed information about how our policies have gone wrong, I suggest reading Chalmers Johnson's BLOWBACK: THE COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF AMERICAN EMPIRE.

[> [> [> Re: A different take -- Corwin of Amber, 17:58:38 01/27/04 Tue

So I take it that you would support the running of an ad comparing Bush to Hitler? Isn't that trivializing the evil done by Hitler for political advantage?

[> [> [> [> The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity -- Arethusa, 19:36:35 01/27/04 Tue

There's been plenty of trivializing of evil for political advantages on both sides. Flight suit photo-ops and "bring it on" trivialize for political purposes also. But getting back to AtS, here's most of Wesley and Gunn's discussion regarding how to get rid of an enemy:

"Wes: I say we make a pre-emptive strike. Remove him before he and his followers go underground.
Gunn: Assassination?
Wes: We're talking about an evil warlock here. The longer we wait the more powerful he becomes.
Gunn: I don't plan on waiting.
Wes: Really, what is your plan?
Gunn: We open a can of Machiavelli on his ass.
* * * *
Wes: What you're proposing could take weeks. We can't afford the delay.
Gunn: 48 hours maximum. There are at least two initiates to his inner circle who would jump at the chance to overthrow him.
Wes: You're overlooking the tactical merits of my assassination scenario.
Gunn: Hey, in my plan he still wakes up dead by Thursday.
* * * *
Wes: One more religious fringe group stockpiling weapons. But in this case the weapons are black magics of the most dangerous variety."

Substitute "dictator" for "warlock" and "WMD" for "black magics" and the argument starts to look very familiar. I don't think ME is saying Death Rays are a good thing; I think we're meant to examine the methods AI has become willing to use to combat its enemies. Fighting the good fight has become enacting "scenarios." (Also note how maginalized Angel has become; Gunn and Wes come up with the plans, Fred provides the equipment, and Angel is left to make awkward, heavily scripted PR videos and meet with foreign dignitaries, mangling everything he tries to say to them.)

[> [> [> [> [> I got that too -- Pony, 08:54:51 01/28/04 Wed

Though it probably wasn't the most subtle allusion to world politics. And Angel longing for things in black and white, where killing them all would actually make things better. I have to wonder too, that if Angel doesn't entirely trust Wes whether all that assasination and Judas talk was making him nervous.

[> [> [> [> Television Ad -- DickBD, 11:16:00 01/28/04 Wed

I probably would not have been in favor of the advertisement, even though I don't think it would trivialize what Hitler did. I was appalled by the appeal to nationalism and the stigmatizing of anyone not responding (or resisting) as unpatriotic. Another parallel here is that the German people were regaled as "carnivorous sheep" for having gone along with Hitler. But the American public were drawn in to supporting a military action against a Third World country and cheering the inevitable victory. How are we different from the Germans then? I stand with those who believe that this is an illegal and immoral war, as well as counterproductive. (Because it fans hatred against us and thus helps terrorism.)

[> [> Is it trivializing? -- dmw, 20:20:00 01/27/04 Tue

I haven't seen the ads and it sounds like I can't now, so it's impossible for me to make an informed statement on whether these ads were trivializing or not. The Holocaust isn't the first thing that comes to my mind when the name Hitler is mentioned, as it's certainly not the only or the most important of his historical actions.

If the ads directly brought up the Holocaust, I would find that offensive. On the other hand, if they only drew parallels between the Reichstag Fire/WTC Bombing, and Hitler's invasions of Czechoslavakia and Poland with the USA's invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, along with the flimsy justifications of those invasions (you do know that Poland invaded Germany just like Iraq had WMD, right?), then I wouldn't have a problem with it.

There may be better comparisons to be found amongst the USA's own past leaders, but most of their actions have been extensively whitewashed or simply ignored in American history texts from Polk's invasion of Mexico to Woodrow Wilson's invasions of just about everybody. How many people know the US military under Wilson invaded and occupied Haiti, Santo Domingo, Nicaragua, and Cuba? The occupations lasted into the 1920s and even 1930s for Haiti, well after Wilson's presidency. It might be a good comparison, but so few Americans know about the full extent of American imperialism that you couldn't use examples like these in a television adverisement.

[> [> [> Re: Is it trivializing? Yes -- sdev, 12:12:21 01/28/04 Wed

Yes, the American take on Pres Wilson is quite different than you have declared which doesn't by definition make it wrong. I don't believe the problem is faulty American textbooks. No one is concerned about WMD in South and Central America now. Do you think we should be? Talking about what people don't know, so few people know that the current mess in the Middle East, and Iraq is a post-imperialist mess foisted on the world by colonial Arabists. To each their own world view.

By the way you never did say what was "the most important of his [Hitler's] historical actions" since you do not feel it was the Holocaust. Of course that comment in and of itself might be seen by some as trivializing. I know I do.

With your Pres. Wilson comparison you have left the present. So let me offer my own 11 point historical comparison (11 because I am often the odd man out in these discussions):

Hitler and Gandhi

6)Changed their countries
7)Died for their countries
8)Could have been Times "Man of the Year"
9)Politically savvy
11)Felt their countries were being destroyed by outsiders who should leave

Not all comparisons hold up to more than superficial analysis. Some use the newly forged tools of moral equivalency and hyperbole to be ridiculous and thus discredit both their users and their cause.

[> [> [> [> Re: Is it trivializing? -- Random, 14:36:54 01/28/04 Wed

I'm not entirely certain how one arrives at the conclusion that dmw's statement regarding the fact that he believes is the most essential event regarding Hitler isn't the Holocaust is trivializing. Is it because you disagree with hir? I personally very much disagree with hir -- I consider the Holocaust the most tragically important event associated with Hitler. The sheer loss of life was staggering -- and far better publicized than the much greater loss of life in under Stalin's regime or the roughly comparable one under Pol Pot. The publicity led to incredible effects on the collective human psyche, and to direct measurable results such as the profound updates and force behind the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the precedents of the Nuremberg Trials. It establishes a historical antecendent which, though having failed repeatedly to prevent further horrors, at least imposes a very real parallel that has certainly led to a greater international awareness of the price of inaction.

But if one believes other events were just as critical, it doesn't trivialize the original. Trivialization isn't just the act of having different priorities or using a different logical branching. It's not a zero-sum game. In other words, dmw's assignation of critical thinking does not in any way reflect upon yours, nor does s/he in any way demean the Holocaust. Indeed, the only real way to do that is to introduce the Holocaust independently to the debate. In other words, even after introducing the Holocaust, he would only be making a comparative analysis to the Holocaust rather than a substantiative analysis of it. The main thrust of his point could easily be unchanged without the comparative analysis because a substantiative analysis of another event is a perfectly valid way to approach the problem. I can argue about Point A in contrast to Point B. Or I can argue Point A on its own merits. QED. I can see someone arguing that Hitler's alliance with Japan led to Pearl Harbor...which ushered in the age of nuclear weapons when American dropped Little Boy and Fat Man on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. Whether the creation of nuclear weapons and the potential for global extinction was inevitable is immaterial -- the fact that this is how it actually unfolded is the foundation for a logical sequence in such a counterargument. Is the potential for thermonuclear extinction more important than the actual genocide of six million people? Some might think so. The problem is, logic is a tricky creature. One could easily point out that Einstein fled the Nazi regime, and he was indirectly responsible for the development of the Manhattan Project. And thus it returns to the Holocaust in an indirect way. Or one could lay the blame for Pearl Harbor at Roosevelt's feet. Or...well, you get the point. It's simply a matter of how one reasons, and what weight one gives to the consequential effects with the hindsight of 60 years. I prefer mine. But dmw's interpretation doesn't offend just because s/he has a different take. The phrase "trivializing" is tossed around as an accusation which basically implies an extreme insensitivity on the part of the other person. Perhaps dmw is insensitive. I don't know. But that conclusion in no way derives directly from hir statement above. In other words, to quote you: "To each their own world view." Dmw's worldview is unknown to me. But hir statement doesn't give me the background to idly toss around accusations of insensitivity.

On the other hand, I do agree with your logical points about the value (and lack thereof) of comparative analysis when based on superficial, meaningless analogies. The Hitler/Ghandi one is a nice example. (And everyone knows the Kennedy/Lincoln parallels.) The use of bare fact out of context in these cases is essentially polemic, not true analogy, which depends on both thematic equivalencies and contextual support. I strongly disagree with dmw's analysis of the current situation. I would even agree that it is trivializing...but that's a rather weak examination of the problem, intellectually. An example -- and I'm sure there are quite a few others that can be suggested -- of a more rigorous requirement for judging the ads would lie in analyzing their potential to disseminate misinformation. Misinformation and polemic irresponsibility redirects the actual societal narratives. The results can lead to trivialization....among many other consequences. Causality is not an inconsiderable issue here. And there's always the irony that it can lead to such outrage that the exact opposite result is engendered: a renewed awareness of the importance of the issues underlying the comparison.

[> [> [> [> [> Thanks, Random -- dmw, 16:57:49 01/28/04 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Sensitivity -- Stratum, 19:13:36 01/28/04 Wed

Dmw's worldview is unknown to me. But hir statement doesn't give me the background to idly toss around accusations of insensitivity.

I disagree. There is enough information to be able to determine that dmw is insensitive but first it is important to define the term "insensitive." By its very nature sensitivity does not exist in a vacuum. Dmw's statements do give me enough background to form the impression of dual insensitivity on hir part.

Your assertion of lack of background about dmw being an obstacle to your determination of insensitivity would perhaps apply if you were using the term "insensitive" to imply the inability to sense a physical sensation, such as a person who is missing a sense such as a deaf who is "insensitive" to sound or a blind who is "insensitive" to light. That would be analogous to saying that s/he is insensitive to the human tragedy of the Holocaust, the murder of European Jewery, by Hitler due to a perceptual deficit. But by noting hir knowledge of relatively obscure historical facts I know enough about hir to conclude that s/he is a student of history and therefore cannot be unaware of the pain this event caused the Jews. Since s/he must know of it and still maintains that it is low in hir scale of important historical actions s/he is insensitive to it. But this is not first hand knowledge of dmw's physical deformity which none of us has observed first hand. Perhaps it is just a psychological or character deficit. Insensitivity is nevertheless evident.

There is another type of "insensitivity." Human emotional sensitivity, or lack of it, as a relative term requiring an object such as another person's feelings rather than a subjective response to an impersonal external stimulus as I discussed above. For example one can be insensitive to another person's declared concerns or their emotional or physical pain. In the context of this conversation it is clear that dmw is at the very least insensitive to sdev's feelings, if not outright hostile to them. This is quite clear from reading the entire thread. Sdev made it clear that the Holocaust was an issue for hir. Dmw made it quite plain that "The Holocaust isn't the first thing that comes to my mind when the name Hitler is mentioned" and "it's certainly not the only or the most important of his historical actions." S/He makes this assertion right after sdev posted that s/he felt otherwise. Therefore one can conclude that dmw is insensitive to sdev's feelings.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Okay...I'm going to be insensitive.. -- Random, 19:46:35 01/28/04 Wed

And note that a large part of your argument is ludicrous. Straw men. I obviously wasn't talking about a physical lack. Nor did dmw state that the Holocaust was "low in hir scale of important historical actions." Sorry to burn that particular straw man, but misattributing statements as a means of justifying your point is borderline trollery.

To take care of your other point: dmw didn't dismiss sdev's feelings, nor was there any hostility evident. Another strawman...ludicrously easy to spot straw-man. Dmw had an opinion, just as sdev did. He disagree with her. She disagreed with him. I agreed and disagreed with both. I offered reasons, too. Dmw merely said (for the sake of giving an accurate quote): "The Holocaust isn't the first thing that comes to my mind when the name Hitler is mentioned, as it's certainly not the only or the most important of his historical actions." S/he made quite clear that s/he was offering up hir opinion. S/he never said that the Holocaust was unimportant, only that a) it wasn't the most important to hir (which I assume is true -- care to tell hir s/he doesn't really believe that?) and b) it wasn't the only thing Hitler did (also very true.) So if it was the 2nd most important thing to dmw, which is quite in the bounds of what s/he wrote, would that be an example of extreme insensitivity? Cause this whole "clear" thing is not clear to me. I daresay it's not "clear" to others as well. If you care to hypothesize that I'm less intelligent than you, go for it. The evidence certainly isn't supporting that theory right now.

If you're arguing that dmw isn't allowed to offer hir own opinion on the matter -- and it was a personal opinion -- then, well, I'm arguing that you are clearly insensitive to my feelings about the issue because I made it quite plain that I feel a certain way and you immediately jump in to tell me my value judgment was wrong. Care to apologize to me?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Okay...I'm going to be insensitive.. -- stratum, 00:23:27 01/29/04 Thu

Whew, had to wipe the condensation off my window, cold out there, hot in here. No need to fly off the handle mate, no harm to you intended.

My point, which you did not directly refute was that it was possible to deduce that dmw was insensitive in two alternative ways, the subjective and objective. The first paragraph addressed the subjective insensitivity and the second the one relating to the object, in this case sdev. I guess you did not appreciate my analysis. I could tell by the ludicrous straw man method of argument you used to refute my logic. Nevertheless I will try to explain my point again in a rational manner.

I know you weren't talking about a "physical lack." That is exactly why I pointed out that only in the case of a physical lack or sensory disability on dmw's part could you make the statement "hir statement doesn't give me the background to idly toss around accusations of insensitivity." This assertion made sense only in that one case, and since you admit that you did not mean that, "I obviously wasn't talking about a physical lack", you reinforce my point that you should be able to ascertain insensitivity. How? Based on dmw's writing alone with no need to know more about hir's "worldview" than is already evident.

The rest of the first paragraph was a digression on my part, something I must try to minimize as it tends to confuse things for many readers. This is the gist of my aside: I had to entertain the possibility of dmw's having suffered a physical deficit such as perhaps damage to his limbic system rendering him unable to sympathize with the suffering of the Jews under Hitler. If that were so then it would be an exception to my original posit that an organic deficit could not be ascertained by dmw's writings. But I concede this to be unlikely as I noted no evidence of organic mental impairment in dmw's writings. If a limbic infarct caused selective insensitivity to Holocaust victims then Oliver Sacks would surely have written a case study on it.

It is for the second form of insensitivity that I found myself successfully able to plumb dmw's post. It was my opinion that that his comments did indeed imply that the Holocaust was "low in hir scale of importance". Yes, I know s/he did not say it in so many words but that is how I understood it. How was I to know it was the 2nd or even the 3rd or 4th most important when s/he never gave me hir canon? Dmw's emphasis was that it was "certainly not the only or the most important." In the vernacular that is slang for not being important at all, and that is how I understood it. I stand by my impressions. To me they are clearly inferred. I was not misattributing statements. I attributed them to dmw.

By the way, the term "extreme insensitivity" is nowhere to be found in my comments. You may wish to reread my post. I of course accept, in advance, your apology for the unintentional misquote in the heat of the moment.

"To take care of your other point: dmw didn't dismiss sdev's feelings." I never used the word "dismiss" you did. You misattributed my statements but I certainly don't accuse you of trollery. I was quite consistent in using "insensitive" because that was precisely my point. Insensitivity of course remains a point of disagreement between us. But not a straw man. Sdev wrote "I personally was quite offended...trivializes this unique and epic tragedy and demeans the President." S/he expressed hir feelings. How did dmw respond? By asserting that the Holocaust is "certainly not the only or the most important" and then proceeding to demean America by comparing Hitler with Woodrow Wilson. That is insensitive in my opinion. And here lies the crux of the matter. We can debate the details, but there is enough in dmw's writings to at least discuss the issue of insensitivity.

I am not "arguing that dmw isn't allowed to offer hir opinion." I am simply stating that the allowed opinion is insensitive.

And regarding your "ifisms" such as "If you care to hypothesize that I'm less intelligent than you, go for it...If you're arguing that dmw isn't allowed to offer hir own opinion on the matter... then, well I'm arguing that you are clearly insensitive to my feelings about the issue...and you tell me my value judgment is wrong. Care to apologize to me?" I never said these things, you did.

And since I never said these things I need not apologize for them.

Oh, one more point. I liked your Re: Is it trivializing post very much. The only issue I raised was the last sentence, the one I addressed.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> And so it goes -- Random, 02:28:09 01/29/04 Thu

It's tricky when the shoe is on the other foot, eh?

Qualitatively, my use of the word "dismiss" is in no way congruent with your blanket indictment. It doesn't work that way, any more than the superficial comparison between Hitler and Ghandi that sdev outlined so well does. It's a false analogy. I used the word as a rather direct corollary to being "insensitive" and "hostile." Indeed, one might say I actually downplayed your polemic. Nor does the intensifier "extreme" have any relevance. I would certainly consider the implication that dmw's response might actually be "hostile" to be extreme. My so-called "misattributions" were simply clarifications of pre-existing points. Yours, as I percieved them, were foundational to your entire thesis of insensitivity. I certainly had considerably more evidence to go on than a single sentence. You chose to interject an entire series of suppositions and theses based on the idea that dmw was trivializing the Holocaust...and utilizing conclusions based on false evidence ( s/he... still maintains that it is low in hir scale of important historical actions [ergo] s/he is insensitive to it...and yes, I'm omitting/adding words to improve readability out of context...but I've retained the essential meaning within the context.) Not parallel to my usage -- one cannot point to the fact of variegated language usage and call it comparable to outright reinterpretation of the text in order to make a point. Certainly, you can argue your logical chain -- which you didn't before -- and I can address that. To wit:

Dmw's emphasis was that it was "certainly not the only or the most important." In the vernacular that is slang for not being important at all, and that is how I understood it. I stand by my impressions. To me they are clearly inferred

Which vernacular? Okie? Pidgin Creole? It's not colloquial in any obvious way that I can see, so we can probably rule that out. It's a fairly straightforward construction. The diction might leave something to be deisired (see sdev's post below), but it's not hedging any readily-discerned hidden meanings. If I were to say that the Secretary of Defense is certainly not the only or the most important member of our government, am I therefore saying he or she is not important at all?

The problem with "simply stating that the allowed opinion is insensitive" is that it is in no way an objective value judgment in the manner of "hir opinion is written in declarative sentences" or "hir opinion has 153 characters in it" (I didn't actually count...just using an arbitrary number since that detail is insignificant.) You are passing judgment on hir in a manner that in no way either addresses the opinion or offers a direct counteropinion. Certainly, on can infer that you disagree...but rather than disagreeing, you attack the statement itself on merits that do not advance the debate. Instead of saying, "I believe you are very, very wrong," you reduce your thesis to: "you're being insensitive." Could that not be considered rather insensitive? Dmw has already implied, in reply to me, that he appreciates that someone doesn't consider hir insensitive. You nevertheless persist in arguing that s/he is. Personally, I consider it valid for you to do so...but your logic doesn't allow the same leeway:

Yes, I know s/he did not say it in so many words but that is how I understood it. How was I to know it was the 2nd or even the 3rd or 4th most important when s/he never gave me hir canon?

Yes...how were you to know, exactly? How did you know enough to ascribe insensitivity to hir? That was a major point of mine, after all. If you cannot verify the positive trait either pro or con -- s/he's not being insensitive -- exactly how do you verify the negative? I would submit that you chose to for reasons other than the actual evidence.

S/he expressed hir feelings. How did dmw respond? By asserting that the Holocaust is "certainly not the only or the most important" and then proceeding to demean America by comparing Hitler with Woodrow Wilson. That is insensitive in my opinion. And here lies the crux of the matter. We can debate the details, but there is enough in dmw's writings to at least discuss the issue of insensitivity.

The parallel here is fairly overt. There is quite enough in your writings to discuss the issue of insensitivity. Which is what I'm doing now. Playing it by your rules (yes, a rather facile rhetorical device, but that's the point, after all.) You engage in ad hominem attacks on dmw, since you implied motive and willful disregard ("Therefore one can conclude that dmw is insensitive to sdev's feelings.".) This is clearly out-of-bounds.

And regarding your "ifisms" such as "If you care to hypothesize that I'm less intelligent than you, go for it. If you're arguing that dmw isn't allowed to offer hir own opinion on the matter... then, well I'm arguing that you are clearly insensitive to my feelings about the issue and you tell me my value judgment is wrong. Care to apologize to me?" I never said these things, you did....And since I never said these things I need not apologize for them.

Hence the use of the word "if." Neat little word, no? I was offering scenarios that I thought perhaps might explain your motive, not actually ascribing them to you. Since you clearly don't consider them applicable, they aren't. No harm, no foul.

I am not "arguing that dmw isn't allowed to offer hir opinion." I am simply stating that the allowed opinion is insensitive.

Ah. But you are setting parameters for debate that effectively move it from disagreement and counterpoint to characterizing his response as innately inappropriate. And, yes, that's my word. I chose it for the basic reasons stated elsewhere in this post, such as the fact that it's not an attempt to actually address the text, but the motivation or impulse underlying it.

The straw man observation wasn't actually an attempt to refute your logic. Obviously, or I wouldn't have brought it up in the first place. I had no need to refute the logic -- hence the "straw man." I pointed out exactly why that was. But if you want a more direct analysis of your second point, I can refer you above to my point about your own "insensitivity" for a cogent example of the fallacy. I can also observe that merely saying, "I feel one way" is not a valid or relevant means of adjudicating what the person who replies says. And by relegating any counteropinion to the status of "insensitive" is merely dismissive. I can play that game easily enough by declaring that the use of 'black humor' is a more important criterion than sensitivity. Please don't cheapen my feelings by implying that sensitivity is relevant here, or possibly more important. Ludicrous example, yes. But it makes my point of how the parameters of debate are adjudicated.

I concede I was too quick to imply trollery. I haven't seen you before, and these are the sorts of posts that I've seen trolls going after in the past. I thought the idea you trying to offer a counterexample of me being a troll was ludicrous, given my long history here wherein I've written many wonderful and brilliant posts that have changed the world for the better time and again. Which highlighted a basic inequity in how I was treating you. So I apologize for that.

I'm glad you like my post. I hope you can appreciate my difficulty in allowing you to characterize dmw's post as "insensitive" without challenge merely because he offered an alternative value judgment. He didn't attack sdev, directly or indirectly. He merely gave his opinion.

[> [> [> [> [> A bit unclear on the numbers -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:15:46 01/28/04 Wed

What source are you using for the loss of life in each situation? Because, the way I heard it was that the Holocaust killed 11 million people, while Stalin's regime killed roughly 4 million. I could have that wrong, of course, but, if so, I'd like to know what actually happened.

Although, you could very well call the start of World War II the bigger event, since more people died and more nations were affected.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Well, I'll track down... -- Random, 20:06:53 01/28/04 Wed

...the stats, keeping in mind that no single source is absolutely reliable. I'm operating from memory, but I'm reasonably sure that the 6 million figure for the Holocaust and a roughly 20 million figure for Stalin's regime (which, admittedly, lasted a lot longer than the atrocities of the Holocaust, which was a concentrated effort and, temporally speaking, was worse in that sense.) Hitler's total also goes up radically if one includes actual combatants...but I'm speaking of civilians here.

Two quick google choices:



(sigh...do control-A or highlight the page for second link because some bright bulb decided to have fun with the font colour. Scroll down to "Terror")

Here's an interesting (or very boring, depending on your threshold for this stuff) article discussing how people arrive at death tolls...specifically in Stalinist USSR here:


But you at least understand my point, which was that logic is tricky here...you could argue that the invasion of Poland (start of WWII) was the worst of the bunch. I'd disagree, but that's quite another issue.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> While six million Jews died during the Holocaust . . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 08:59:40 01/29/04 Thu

There were also Gypsies, Blacks, Homosexuals, Poles, and German's with dissenting opinions who made up at least another 5 million.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Source? -- Random, 09:25:05 01/29/04 Thu

I would have adduced a total of 8=9 million altogether, actually. The others were killed, yes, but given the statistical minority status of all those groups (gypsies, blacks, and homosexuals, for instance, were a numerically small segment of even the general population), and given that none were technically included as part of the so-called "Final Solution," I've generally been under the impression that the number was relatively small compared to the Jewish atrocities. The total for non-combatants was far less than that for combatant victims of the war itself.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Source? -- RJA, 11:11:08 01/29/04 Thu

According to the Holocaust History site (which reflects a general consensus of figures elsewhere that I've seen), it seems to be estimated that the total figure of deaths was around 11-12 million. 5-6 million being estimated as non-Jewish, non-combatant deaths. This was actually a conservative estimate according to some other sources.

And while such sections of society as gypsies, homosexuals and so on are relatively fewer in number, you kill enough of those groups and it adds up to a surprisingly high number. Was looking at one site which said the known number of mentally ill citizens he killed reached a couple of hundred thousand. It all adds up.

Ah well, some nice horrendous reading before dinner.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> statistics -- sdev, 12:20:07 01/29/04 Thu

Group Deaths
European Jews 5,600,000 to 6,250,000
Soviet prisoners of war 3,000,000
Polish Catholics 3,000,000
Serbians 700,000 (Croat Ustasa persecution)
Roma, Sinti, and Lalleri 222,000 to 250,000
Germans (political, religious, and Resistance) 80,000
Germans (handicapped) 70,000
Homosexuals 12,000
Jehovah's Witnesses 2500


Note that 3 million were Soviet combatants.

[> [> [> [> [> Question about Hitler and Stalin -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:23:48 01/28/04 Wed

What source are you using for the loss of life in each situation? Because, the way I heard it was that the Holocaust killed 11 million people, while Stalin's regime killed roughly 4 million. I could have that wrong, of course, but, if so, I'd like to know what actually happened.

Although, you could very well call the start of World War II the bigger event, since more people died and more nations were affected.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Sorry for double posting (though this post just takes up more board space, lol) -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:40:00 01/28/04 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Question about Hitler and Stalin -- dmw, 19:50:11 01/28/04 Wed

Statistics from the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust list Jewish deaths during the Holocaust at 5.5-5.8 million, while the CIA World Factbook says that Stalin was responsible for killing tens of millions of Soviet citizens. I've seen the figure 20,000,000 cited for Stalin before, which is only a bit smaller than the 27,000,000 Russian deaths during the Nazi-Soviet war. Mao was responsible for about 48,000,000 Chinese deaths during his reign, mostly during the Great Leap Forward, but I don't have a source for that on hand. The middle of the 20th century was not a good time for humanity.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Is it trivializing? Again yes and why -- sdev, 22:45:40 01/28/04 Wed

Thank you for your clear eyed approach.

It's not a zero-sum game.

The way you have played it, it is not. You give parallels worthy of comparison such as Stalin's and Pol Pot's atrocities. Scale matters. The term worthy is a loaded one in and of itself. I do not think logic or structured analysis alone are adequate tools to address these issues. Despite the great unpopularity of this approach, at some point value judgements come into play. The proper use of moral equivalency should be in its application to universal truths and even-handed application of these judgements. Refusing to make judgements is not a viable alternative for humankind's progress and survival. Obviously this is all just my opinion.

What is trivialization and who cares if it happens? I view it as a desensitization process, a psycho-social development, that leads to no longer perceiving or understanding the relative differences of bad acts. I can use a physiological analogy to demonstrate. The olfactory gland stops responding and differentiating odors, even noxious ones, from repeated exposure to those smells. I believe societies and individuals react the same way as the olfactory gland when the Holocaust is subjected to overexposure. It moves from being near the pinnacle of evil to being a mundane undifferentiated occurrence by way of constant comparison and analogy to lesser events.

In the case of historical events instead of zero sum game I would say lowest common denominator. By making morally unequal comparisons all standards are reduced.

You yourself said quite eloquently:

The publicity led to incredible effects on the collective human psyche, and to direct measurable results such as the profound updates and force behind the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the precedents of the Nuremberg Trials. It establishes a historical antecendent which, though having failed repeatedly to prevent further horrors, at least imposes a very real parallel that has certainly led to a greater international awareness of the price of inaction.

It is those effects that lesser comparisons destroy. That answers the 'why' we should care about trivialization.

Trivialization isn't just the act of having different priorities or using a different logical branching.

I think trivialization does occur from having different priorities if they are less worthy. As I stated above, all priorities are not equal. If one were to state that the total death count from WWII was Hitler's worst or an equally terrible act as compared to the Holocaust, I would not consider that as trivializing. I would counter with reasons that make the Holocaust worse - racist intent, systematized genocide, civilians not at war, and others, but I would have the sense that the gravity and scope of the event was at least being considered.

Another interesting point is the Stalin Hitler connection. Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. I believe this was 75% of Europe's Jewish population. Stalin killed 20 to 35 million. The 20 million is the low estimate. Very arguably what Stalin did was considerably worse, based on sheer numbers, although it's missing some of the other factors I mentioned earlier as unique to Hitler. Stalin's worst genocide was in the 1930's. Many historians believe that Hitler modeled his genocide on Stalin. How so? Stalin's atrocities, as you note, were not in the public's consciousness. He basically got away with it. If Stalin could get away with that number, Hitler figured he could get away with a lesser one. Stalin's trivialization, in his time, led the way to Hitler.

Is the potential for thermonuclear extinction more important than the actual genocide of six million people? Some might think so.

I don't think potential can ever be considered the equivalent of actuality, too many variables. In the end this approach leads to the "thought police." When do you intercede?

dmw said:

The Holocaust isn't the first thing that comes to my mind when the name Hitler is mentioned, as it's certainly not the only or the most important of his historical actions.

I can deconstruct dmw's sentence into two parts. The first "it's certainly not the only" is the part I object to, as if all of Hitler's actions are equivalent, the same in moral weight. Since the disjunctive "or" is used this part of the sentence stands alone reading like this -- The Holocaust isn't the first thing that comes to my mind when the name Hitler is mentioned, as it's certainly not the only of his [Hitler's] historical actions. Saying all of Hitler's actions are the same, including the Holocaust, is trivializing the Holocaust.

You said:

But if one believes other events were just as critical, it doesn't trivialize the original.

dmw's statement above clearly does not say "just as critical." It does say that the Holocaust is of less importance than some other as yet unnamed act. dmw did not give his/her contender for worst Hitler action. In my post, I did ask for clarification as to what was the most important in his/her consideration.

Finally, the whole point of my original post was to say that comparing Pres. Bush to Hitler trivialized the Holocaust. Let's say one thinks the Holocaust was only the second worst thing Hitler did. Does that invalidate my point? I don't think so. Further regardless of which horror one associates with Hitler it is trivializing some horrific act, and for what? To make a political commercial with a hyperbolic comparison.

The fact is MoveOn.org agreed and said they had made an inadvertent mistake by having the ad on their web site. They did not defend the ad.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Heh, I'm tired... -- Random, 02:29:10 01/29/04 Thu

The gist of my points are in my final reply to stratum above. If those don't satisfy you, we can agree to disagree.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Heh, I'm tired... -- sdev, 14:32:39 01/29/04 Thu

I'm tired too. Although your answer above doesn't address any of my points, I'm content to agree to disagree since we've both had our say.

[> Soros interview on BBC1 breakfast news -- Celebaelin, 01:16:19 01/30/04 Fri

I wouldn't imagine for a moment that, bearing in mind the content of the advertisement, this is part of a campaign aimed directly at undermining the presidents' chances of re-election but the question in my mind is 'What is the motivation'. Based on what Soros has just said in the above mentioned interview, which is backed up by a BBCi news item from last September, which can be found here he believes that America is basing its' stance as the greatest nation on earth on military might rather than international law. He apparently strongly supported the invasion of Afghanistan as '...we had an address...' where Bin-laden could be found (or rather not found, but still). As regards Iraq he expressed a regret that military action has been used to deal with '...the agreed greatest threat to the modern world...', meaning Sadaam and men like him '...and there are many of them...' (the quote may not be exact but that's the gist of it).

He sees American foreign policy as flawed and bearing in mind his experiences with the Nazis in Hungary who can blame him for being uneasy. Now whether this is the whole story and that the tack being taken outside the US has a different emphasis to the more economic line being adopted domestically is another question but it is not outside the realms of credibility that he actually believes both arguments to be valid. He might well consider that he is acting is America's, and the worlds' best interests. He maintains that he is adhering to the rules of campaign funding and using only permitted tactics. He stated that he was not conducting his campaign in an unscrupulous manner, or rather what he actually said was that he wasn't doing anything the other side wasn't doing, only more so (near verbatim quote apart from the tense).

He has a book out in which he presents his arguments apparently (Oh dear! But then again what better way of expressing your standpoint - only buy it if you want to find out). It's called 'The World Supremecy Bubble' I think.


[> [> With appologies for the typos in the above - I had to rush out for an appointment -- Celebaelin, 02:20:57 01/30/04 Fri

To avoid ambiguity

...this is part of a campaign...

...this isn't part of a campaign...

...he is acting is America's, and...

...he is acting in America's, and...

Angel and the Matrix (spoilers & spec) -- undeadenglishpatient, 23:30:04 01/26/04 Mon

Similarities between ATS and the Matrix

This is a continuation of the post I made earlier about ATS and a possible Matrix involved in the show this year. This year's ATS has quite a few Matrix references weaved into the plot. Here are the most significant:

Angel as Neo

1. "Did you know that the First Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world, where none suffered, where everyone would be happy? It was a disaster." Quote: Agent Smith - The Matrix - Last year on ATS, Jasmine tried to make the world a perfect world, Angel and the Fang Gang stopped that plan.

2. Neo gets a package in the mail while at work - inside the package is a phone (a phone call from Morpheus), Angel gets the amulet which contains a noncorporal Spike.

3. Morpheus and others have the ability to enter the Matrix by hooking themselves into the Matrix computer system. - While Spike is partially visible in Angel's world, he requires something else to fully make him corporeal. How he is made corporeal is still uncertain, however, Lindsey has taken credit for it. When Spike became corporal, all the phones started ringing.
Note: The Matrix uses the phones to enter and exit the Matrix.
Note: While Spike was being threatened by Pavayne he learns that "desire bends reality". Desire bending reality is what Morpheus teaches Neo to do while in the Matrix.

4. At work Neo gets captured by Mr. Smith and interrogated because he makes a choice not to listen to Morpheus and go out on the ledge to the building scaffolding. - Angel chooses to work at W&H even though Spike tells him that working at a place like that will eventually consume him, getting eating in the belly of the beast. Angel tells Spike there are reasons he is there, reasons that Spike does not know about. Spike is willing to help Angel, but only if he asks for it.

5. Agent Smith plants a bug on Neo during their meeting - someone at W&H as well as Eve plants 2 parasites on Angel in order to keep him out of the picture. During Angel's dream he cannot speak (when trying to sing to Lorne) - similar to Neo loosing his mouth.

6. Trinity removes Neo's bug - Spike removes one of the two parasites from Angel, the other parasite is MIA. Is Angel still 'bugged'?

7. Morpheus tells Neo he thinks Neo is the "One" - Angel is wondering whether or not the prophesy is really about him, whether or not he is the "One". In order to be the "One" Angel needs to believe he is the "One". Neo went to the Oracles to discover whether or not he was the one, regardless of what the Oracle said to him, he was the "One". Angel has been to the Powers that Be, and right now, he is very distrustful of anything they have said in the past. Spike, however, is not interested in being the "One", however Lindsey seems to want Spike to think he is the "One".

8. After the bug is removed, Morpheus offers Neo the red and blue pills. The blue pill is the choice to continue living in the world Neo is familiar and continuing to live the lie - the red pill is the truth, a choice that will remove him from the Matrix - in which he will die in the Matrix and be reborn into the real world. This hasn't been played out yet.

I have this theory, which I posted on another board a while back called "Wouldn't it be Cool if ME did", and the premises is on the Matrix. Like, wouldn't it be cool if Angel had entered a Matrix. If he did, I believe he entered a Matrix back in "Peace Out" - here's the spec., I have added a bit more to it.

Peace Out:

After the Fang Gang get out of the cage at the hotel, they go upstairs and talk. They then decide, after finding the head of the 'keeper of the word' that they need to go out and find Angel and Cordelia before Jasmine does. The scene ends with the entire gang at the door, opening it up, and in 'shock' face, just standing there looking at something we don't see.

The next scene is Connor killing Jasmine and then running off.

The next scene is back at the hotel, with Angel coming in and seeing the Fang Gang. However, in this scene, every single one of The Fang Gang has changed their clothes and is cleaned up - different, every one of them, except Angel. This is also the scene were we see Lilah, back from the dead.

With Lilah in the hotel, and only a short time from when Angel returns(unless Time is an issue here), why would they all change clothes and clean up so close to the end of the episode? This part of the episode was in the middle of the season finale big bad fight. Also, they were on their way out to find Angel and Cordelia, and didn't go because Lilah showed up. I'm really not sure why Lilah's presence would have stopped them from going to find Angel or Cordelia, especially because they thought both were in danger, as shocking as seeing a dead person walking may be.......they've seen stranger things before.

What if, and yes, this is far out speculation, in the first scene, it wasn't just Lilah at the door. Maybe it was Lilah and a swat team? I was thinking - Wouldn't it be cool if ME.........replaced them all. What if, like the Matrix, each of the Fang Gang got wired into Angel's reality and their real bodies are somewhere else - removed from the reality that we see. The Fang Gang that we see now are basically replicas of them, with all their memories (or lack there off from the mindwipe) and history, but ultimately controlled by someone else.......puppets. The only difference between this and the Matrix is that when the Fang Gang have entered the Matrix, they did so unwillingly and the mainframe computer is able to effect their minds, they do not have the same 'free will' Angel has.
Note: They are not robots or cyborgs. They are complete manifestations of themselves, like the movie: The Matrix.

My next question was 'why' would Lilah do this and how many other players are involved to pull it off. I think the senior partners and Lilah have always wanted a 'dark' souled Angel for their coming apocalypse. Maybe, and I'm guessing here, this scenario is a way for Angel to loose all his friends (support and connection to the world), but to also insure that they are holding all the cards. Whether or not Angel is in a real Matrix will effect him the same way emotionally- he will either give up completely and stay in the Matrix unaware of it's existence or become the "One" and choose the red pill - the awakening to the truth. The whole 'working at W&H' is just a way to further Angel's demise quicker, and Angel thinking he has his friends (support) with him, would be just an illusion. Maybe, part of the deal Angel took - to create a mindwipe and to change Connor's path required him to enter the Matrix existence. While I'm not sure how this happened or if Angel is aware of it (most likely not, like Neo), it is possible that W&H's only way to create a mindwipe and the resulting benefits is to alter reality in some way, shape or form. Does W&H have the magic capabilities to create this type of world for Angel to enter or is their solution more technological? ME's solution in the past has been a doppagangland type of world thru magic, however could W&H have other ways of creating the same thing thru technology? Is the world Angel in currently real or not?

I was thinking, and definitely many 'what ifs' here, but like Season 4 of BTVS, this scenario would be a great way to separate Angel from the friends that have held him together all these years and make it easier for them to turn him dark. Also, if these replacement Fang Gang members are not really 'real', then Lilah could have them easily corrupted completely, just to heap loads of guilt on Angel and make him more miserable. Also, the show could have a free for all with what they do to any of them this season. Lots of fun to be had. VampFred, Dark Wes, Evil Gunn, hooked on fame Lorne. The only exception of course would be death, in the Matrix, if one dies within the Matrix, they die outside of it. The only way out is to be awakened.

If Angel can 'wake up' from this world, with Spike's help, maybe he can un-hook the Fang Gang before they die.......or if he can convince them to also 'wake up' with him, they can all go together into a rebirthing - back to reality, however, this last scenario seems the most unlikely. Most likely, Angel is going to have to get out first and then re-enter, like Spike to free the others.

There are a couple straggling problems with the Matrix parallel and ATS. It's like the show wants their cake and eat it to. Most significantly with Spike - while Spike appears to be playing the Morpheus role, he is also, on the other hand, being lead by Lindsey for some other purpose. Morpheus in the Matrix did not have a Lindsey, per se. Both Lindsey and Eve are also straggling problems, are they Agent Smith types or is one an Agent and the other a good guy? How did Lindsey enter the Matrix and in Ep. 12, does he get sucked out of it thru that portal? That is also unclear at this time. Some other problems are: the cyborgs that entered in Lineage (who do they work for), they tried to remove Angel's free will, that would have kept in the Matrix without choice. Then we have Cordy, also awakening within the Matrix, but I'm not sure what her point of waking up is for. She convinces Angel to stay at W&H, she doesn't convince him to leave - so that cannot be a good thing. Then Cordy leaves - where does she go? Does Cordy wake up in the real world or within the Matrix? Is Cordy alive in the real world or does she continue on in the Matrix? Lots of questions there.

Anywho, that's my theory. I think this, or some version of this is going on this season of Angel. For some closing fun, I have included some more quotes from the movie, The Matrix, that are interesting:

Morpheus: The pill you took is part of a trace program. It's designed to disrupt your input/output carrier signal so we can pinpoint your location.
Neo: What does that mean?
Cypher: It means, buckle your seatbelt, Dorothy, because Kansas is going bye-bye.

"You cannot bend the spoon - that is impossible. Instead try to understand the truth." ["What truth?" (Neo)] "There is no spoon." [Rowan Witt as Spoon Boy]

Agent Smith: We're willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start. All that we're asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice.
Neo: Yeah. Well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But I think I may have a better one. How about, I give you the finger... and you give me my phone call.

"Some believe that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world, but I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from."
Agent Smith

"What is the Matrix? Control."
"The Matrix is a computer-generated dreamworld built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this. (holds up a coppertop battery) - Morpheus

"Have you ever had a dream Neo, that you were so sure was real?"
"What if you were unable to wake from that dream Neo? How would you know the difference between the dreamworld and the real world? Morpheus

"What is real? How do you define 'real'? If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain."
Morpheus, The Matrix

Neo: That was you on my computer. How did you do that?
Trinity: Right now, all I can tell you is that you're in danger. I brought you here to warn you.
Neo: About what?
Trinity: They're watching you, Neo.
Neo: Who is?
Trinity: Please just listen. I know why you're here, Neo. I know what you've been doing... why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit by your computer. You're looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn't really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It's the question that drives us. It's the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.
Neo: What is the Matrix?
Trinity: The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.


[> From Destiny......spoilers -- Rufus, 00:32:06 01/27/04 Tue

From Destiny....

ANGEL: I really wished you stayed a ghost.

SPIKE: But I didn't, did I? Burned up saving the world, and now I'm back for real. Wonder why that is? Oh, wait. 'Cause I'm the one, you git!

I think Lindsey and those backing him (runes, he didn't figure that stuff out himself) found the perfect way to keep "the One" from figuring it out, and that is to make him doubt himself and have someone else hopeful that it's them.

[> [> A Hoax? -- Claudia, 10:39:09 01/27/04 Tue

Is Angel really "the One", simply because he's the titled character? Is Spike "the One"? Will there actually be "the One"? And are we being led on some merry chase?

Thinking about "Destiny" has me wonder. It's odd that you have two souled vampires who each is convinced (at least in this episode) that he is the vampire of the prophecy who will Shanshu; and both ended up being tricked by Lindsey and Eve. Is it possible that the episode, "Destiny", is a reflection of the fans' current obssession over which vampire will Shanshu? Or that the whole Shanshu prophecy is nothing but a hoax, like the Cup of Torment?

Someone - S'kat, I believe - once pointed out that it's strange that Angel had discovered the Shanshu prophecy, because Lindsey had hired him to sneak into the Wolfram & Hart offices and recover some artifact back in S1. Is the Shanshu prophecy a hoax perputrated by Lindsey back in S1 and continued in S5?

[> [> [> Re: A Hoax? -- Seven, 12:53:03 01/27/04 Tue

Wouldn't that be interesting. Let us all remember that W&H CAN'T BE TRUSTED!!!!! and that the Shanshu prophecy came from Where? You guesed it, Wolfram and Bloody Hart!! Of course this is all nonsense.

However, what I am begining to love about this season is that it can really, and I mean really, go anywhere, and if that somewhere is half as good as I have imagined, this could very well be the best ME season to date. I had no idea what they were going to do after Destiny and now I love where they are going with this. Ah the tension is killing me!!! Bring on Damage!!!

(oh, and my feverish insanity wins again)


[> [> [> Re: A Hoax?
-- undeadenglishpatient, 15:01:18 01/27/04 Tue

I don't think the term "The One" is supposed to be about the Shanshu prophesy.....I think its just about Angel learning to believe anything is possible and rejoining the cause. Since ATS is about Angel, I think the Matrix story line is being used for his hero's journey, that's all.

I too believe the Shanshu prophesy is irrelivant.
As far as Spike goes, the show tends to use him as nothing more than to further the show's lead story. Which is horrible, but as in BTVS, I don't think the writers are going to change that for him on ATS - unfortunately.

[> [> [> [> It's not an original plot, though -- Pip, 03:38:53 01/28/04 Wed

.....I think its just about Angel learning to believe anything is possible and rejoining the cause. Since ATS is about Angel, I think the Matrix story line is being used for his hero's journey, that's all.

I'd agree that there are a lot of 'Matrix' jokes and references in this season of AtS, but I doubt very much that the 'Matrix' story line is being deliberately copied.

Simply because the Matrix story line isn't original. It's incredibly old. Person discovers he's prophesied hero, has doubts, overcomes doubts, changes world. Probably has a wisecracking sidekick and maybe a wise mentor who he loses halfway through the story. That particular plot was probably first sung, to the sound of a lyre ;-) I can think of Angel, Matrix and Harry Potter as modern versions.

So the AtS similarities to the Matrix are most likely because both stories borrow from the same source.

[> [> [> [> [> How about King Henry the IV, Part I? -- Seven, 08:32:58 01/28/04 Wed

Falstaff would be the sidekick/mentor (ok, not really a mentor) while Prince Hal discovers his destiny. This is somewhat a stretch, but the idea is there

[> [> [> [> [> Re: It's not an original plot, though -- undeadenglishpatient, 12:07:20 01/28/04 Wed

Nor are many of ME's plots. Alot of what they do is borrowed from other things.

I think the possibility of Angel being in some form of Matrix explains quite a bit of this season, and what is happening to all of his friends. The recent spoilers have solidfied my opinion, for what it's worth.....and the phone keeps ringing.......

Angel need to wake up and quickly.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Have you seen 'The Wish', BtVS Season 3? -- Pip, 14:11:34 01/28/04 Wed

Nor are many of ME's plots. A lot of what they do is borrowed from other things.

Practically everything , in any dramatic presentation ever, is. There are only 36 basic plots for a dramatist to use.

For example, 8th December 1998, The Wish (Buffy S3) was aired. Plot is Cordelia making a wish, which puts her into an alternate dimension where her wish is reality.

Sound a plausible plot for AtS S5, anyone?

The Matrix was released in 1999, btw. Incidentally, if Joss Whedon was reading the same science fiction magazines I was (around the late 70's, this would be) then he was certainly reading about the idea that the world we live in is actually a computer constructed reality. There were endless short stories based around that idea, with variations on 'hero breaks free into post-apocalyptic real world and has to save all other enthralled humans'/ 'hero breaks free but system kills him'/ 'hero in a final twist is actually in 23rd Century mental institution and is acting out his need to be a hero.'

Hey, didn't that last plot get used in Buffy as well? JW obviously did read the same magazines I did ...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Have you seen 'The Wish', BtVS Season 3? -- undeadenglishpatient, 16:57:18 01/28/04 Wed

Regarding: Sound a plausible plot for AtS S5, anyone?

That's what I'm trying to say........somebody slipped Angel the 'blue' pill.......and put him into the Matrix. Call it a 'wish' reality, alternate dimension, a matrix,.....whatever......I think Angel is somewhere else.

I'm about 99% sure.

Watch tonight's episode.......mention of the 'blue' stuff is mentioned. Almost every episode this season has reference to the matrix......it all started with the cookie.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> If Angel is somewhere else, can he get back without killing Spike? (Speculation) -- Pip, 14:45:52 01/29/04 Thu

If Angel is 'somewhere else' (possible), then Spike is only alive (ish) in the 'somewhere else' reality.

Because the amulet only seems to have been returned to Angel because Angel agreed to take over Wolfram and Hart. Without that agreement, it's plausible that Spike would still be under hundreds of feet of ex-Sunnydale.

Certainly make an interesting end of Season 5. Almost an exact counterpoint to Season 4. Angel 'saved' Connor by making a devil's deal; he can reverse that deal (if it turns out to have as bad effect on the A-team as it's looking to have ), but only by 'damming' Spike.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: If Angel is somewhere else, can he get back without killing Spike? (Speculation) -- undeadenglishpatient, 18:38:52 01/29/04 Thu

I think Angel did get the amulet before he left, however, I'm not sure Joss would make that part of the deal.....it was necessary to the closing of the hellmouth, not just for Spike's re-creation. It isn't necessary to include that.

All Angel needs to do, is get out of where he is.....and of course, take Spike with him. Then, all he has to deal with is Connor. For example, if W&H sent Angel to a hell dimension.....he just needs to find some portal to get out. If Connor was sent to the same place, he needs to take Connor with him out as well. That will fix everything and he won't be W&H's pawn anymore.

Angel made a deal with W&H, I just don't think he knows what kind of deal he made. Is W&H capable of mindwiping the real world - do they have that amount of power? If they did, they surely would have used it before now. Or did they simply 'remove' the problem (Angel) to one of their other less pleasant dimensional offices, where they have total control over him?

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