July 2002 posts

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will Angel die of starvation? -- plainjane, 05:51:32 07/07/02 Sun

I know that vampires are killed either by the stake, beheading,fire, or direct sunlight but i do remember when Spike first got his chip and couldnt feed saying that when a vampire doesnt eat its not a pretty site all skin and bones. so, my question is what will Angel do for food? I didnt see any MREs (MEALS READY TO EAT) put in with him.

[> It seems doubtful. We have the fourth season. -- VR, 06:37:40 07/07/02 Sun

[> Re: will Angel die of starvation? (Spoilers AtsS3) -- KKC, 06:39:16 07/07/02 Sun

You're talking about the cliffhanger ending of Season 3, right? My take on it is that the act of creating a vampire is essentially a spell, which magically animates the corpse for pretty much all eternity. And because o this animation, only intervention by specific means can end a vampire's life, which we're all familiar with.

I've also gotten the impression that stronger vampires descended of specific lines last longer in times of crisis, as compared to shempy food victims that rise from the grave accidentally and don't get any training or support from an established vampire tribe. Angel won't die from being underwater, but whether he is rescued or finds his own way out he'll likely be hungry and angry. I doubt he'd attack the first source of blood he sees though; after his hell experience, I imagine he'd retain control of himself even after having nobody but Davy Jones for company. No, not the Monkee. :)

There's also a big fat metaphor about emerging from the water being a rebirth as if from the womb again, but I'm not qualified to explore that part of narrative philosophy.

-KKC, who wonders if whole episodes of Buffy will be chopped and recycled into two-parters to provide scripts for the animated series.

[> [> Pangs -- Rowan, 09:20:45 07/07/02 Sun

In Pangs, Spike told Giles that vampires who don't feed becoming living skeletons. Presumably that's what will happen to Angel -- not death or dusting, just a withering away. I assume if he can be fed when they find him, he can recover. I wouldn't want to be the one who opens the box, though. ;)


[> [> [> Trying to visualize! -- LeeAnn, 19:09:45 07/07/02 Sun

DB, a living skeleton. Yeah. I can just see that. NOT!!

[> [> [> [> It all depends... (Plus my own speculation on next year's Angel) -- Isabel, 18:53:41 07/08/02 Mon

They may decide to spend the money on special effects to make him look skeletal or hire a body double. What I think is more likely is he'll escape from the box deep in the ocean and we won't get a clear shot of him until he's been 'gorging' for a few days. Then all they have to do is use make-up and fake blood.

[> [> [> [> [> Either that or... -- Masq, 10:52:48 07/09/02 Tue

David B. is spending his summer vacation on a crash diet. Which somehow, I doubt.

I just *hope* ME remembers he's supposed to be starving.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Either that or... -- Tillow, 14:11:19 07/09/02 Tue

It would be interesting to see him get out on his own. Maybe the locks rust? Rather not see the gorging though. What/who would he gorge on? He lived on rats for several decades. I can't wait to see how they get Angel out. I seriously hope it's not Cordelia. Too easy.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I was thinking... (More speculation...) -- Isabel, 17:16:36 07/09/02 Tue

I agree, Cordy's too easy. But what if Angel is still in the box in the premiere and Stephen has found out about Justine and lets him out because he feels guilty.

Nah. That's just being a hopeless optimist. Plus it ties up way too many plot points in the first episode.

I pity the fisherman or treasure hunter who thinks he's found buried treasure. sigh.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Angel would fall off the wagon for that one... -- Masq, 14:20:50 07/10/02 Wed

No matter how good a boy he is, after an entire summer with no blood, and suddenly he sees a fisherman open that casket?


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> in that case... -- anom, 20:36:04 07/10/02 Wed

...good thing he's tied in there w/cable.

What would a fisher...-person make of a near-skeletal body pulled out of deep water who hadn't drowned? Would Angel have the presence of mind to play dead (as opposed to undead)? Would he have the absence of conscience--or the desperation--to drain whoever cut the cables? I'm picturing something like the transfusion scene at the end of--um, anyone remember which Naked Gun movie it was (maybe something else w/Leslie Nielsen)? Only without the tubing.

Speaking of which, maybe his friends will find him & bring numerous IV bags of blood. They should probably still leave him strapped down till he's back to some semblance of normal, physically & mentally.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Either that or... sea otters? -- auroramama, 23:50:40 07/10/02 Wed

The sea is full of things with blood of some sort. I'm willing to allow for the possibility that vampires need mammalian blood. And I admit it would be kind of depressing to have Angel preying on sea otters, seals, or the dolphins I remember seeing in the distance from the ferry to Catalina. How good a swimmer is he, anyway? He doesn't have to breathe, and he's super-strong, but moving through water isn't something (I imagine) he's used to. Perhaps he couldn't catch them.

This pointless speculation brought to you by I-should-go-to- sleep-now, Inc.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> If it's a whale, will we all be required to read the B. of Job &/or Moby Dick? -- redcat, 23:55:40 07/10/02 Wed

[> Re: will Angel die of starvation? -- wiscoboy, 07:06:20 07/07/02 Sun

If you remember, Spike once told Buffy & friends how vampires who don't eat become like walking skeletons.
The inference being they do not die through starvation.
Besides(not that I've heard), I believe the way Wesley redeems himself to Angel is by becoming his rescuer(via knowledge gained thru W&H association).

[> [> hey! watch those spoilers! gotta label 'em! -- anom, 11:01:15 07/09/02 Tue

& if it's just speculation/personal opinion, say so!

[> Re: will Angel die of starvation? -- Vegeta, 09:29:57 07/08/02 Mon

Vampires don't die of starvation, they just become incredibly weak and feeble. If you recall Becoming Pt. 1, Whistler makes a comment to Angel when they first meet in 1996. Something to the effect of "What are you eating, a rat a month. You're too weak to be any use for what the Powers have planned for you."

S7 spec and a question (spoilers) -- Juliette, 08:53:09 07/07/02 Sun

My spec for S7 re: B/S (sorry, but it's the only story I'm really interested in and has been since the beginning of S5!):
Spike will ome back, of course, but he won't tell them what happened and all the angst and sexual tension will be worked as hard as possible until eventually his having a soul comes out. Buffy has never stopped being attracted to him, and the soul becomes a loop hole so that none of his past deeds matter coz it wasn't him that did them, depite the fact that his much-loved character has barely changed.
Problem is, Spike's wrongdoings don't just include eating a bunch of people. He tried to rape Buffy, which is a different crime all together and much less determined by him being a vampire (a vamp's gotta eat to unlive, after all!)
So the question is, can Spike's actions in SR be swept under the carpet with the 'that wasn't me, I'm a different person now' excuse or should Buffy refuse to have any kind of romantic relationship with him because of what he tried to do to her?
I think B/S will get back together uing the old soul excuse. I think that's why he got hsi soul back. After all, ME have to sell their B/S t-shirts and keep people watching with the promse of more Naked!Spike. But I'm not sure that this is what SHOULD happen. What do you guys think?

[> Re: S7 spec and a question (spoilers) -- Reema, 09:57:31 07/07/02 Sun

If souled!Spike refers to the treatment of Angel as an entity distinct from his previous crimes (in his own defense), and acts still as his souless vampire self would, Buffy may have trouble reconciling her extreme piss-off-ed- ness re the attempted rape with her seperation of Angel and Angelus...

Much harder to be abstract about designating guilt when the vampire in question has tried to rape you personally, I'm guessing.

[> [> will Spike defend himself? -- Juliette, 11:46:26 07/07/02 Sun

Or will he still feel guilty enough not to bother trying?

[> Personally, bad message ... -- Earl Allison, 12:28:08 07/07/02 Sun

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that I'm against Buffy- Spike pairings, I have been from the beginning.

I've got nothing against the character of Spike per se, aside from my own personal opinion that the writers were seriously flirting with undermining their entire premise in regards to souls, vampires, and demons -- which is another rant entirely.

However, the attempted rape is drastically different even from what Angelus attempted. As odd as it sounds, Angelus "only" engaged in what we expect, murder and torment -- sure, he murdered Jenny Calendar and left her as a present for Giles, but what he did was pretty much in line with what we expected -- straightforward violence and aggression.

Heck, Joss and the writers seemed rather concerned that the viewers WOULDN'T forgive Angel for Angelus' crimes, thus the snowfall that saved Angel in "Amends," as if saying "See, even God says it's okay to like Angel again."

Will that be the case with Spike? Maybe, but soul or not, it smacks heavily of the Luke and Laura problem or rape and eventually getting the pair together -- it doesn' always work, and IMHO sends a TERRIBLE message (which has been brought up before with other posters like Dochawk) -- how can the writers reconcile Spike's actions pre-soul with Spike now with soul?

In a way, the writers have really screwed things up -- if we maintain that Spike can't actually be good without a soul, what were the actions we saw in Seasons 5 and 6? Not good ones, clearly, since Spike needed a soul to BE good. Doesn't that undermine the positive actions he made?

And frankly, if the writers think all they can offer is Naked Spike and B/S pairings, then the show is dead and buried. Spike might bring in some ratings, but to abandon so much of the clever writing and plots merely to force (again, IMHO) Buffy and Spike together strikes me like a slap in the face.

I think getting Spike and Buffy back together in anything other than a friendship capacity would be a bad, bad thing. Like I said before, I think it sends a terrible message to the viewers, not just of the characters, but of the overall seriousness of what happened.

That being said, would it surprise me if the writers did put them back together? Not one bit -- not after the issues of writing in Season 6 -- I put nothing past them.

I expect flames and venom anytime now.

Take it and run.

[> [> Re: Personally, bad message ... -- KKC, 14:20:51 07/07/02 Sun

Whether or not a Buffy/Spike pairing (pre- or post-soul) constitutes a Bad Thing (tm) it's not an interesting plot development because we've pretty much been there, done that. On the other hand, ME doesn't do stories because they're bad, good, interesting, or 'what we need.' They do what they want. :)

I would be more interested if, at the end of Season 7, Buffy forgave Spike and all his transgressions and attempted to initiate a relationship, but was then rebuffed by a Spike who can't get over the guilt and shame. That would send two positive messages about forgiveness and sacrifice. Uh, probably. :)

Of course, this is all moot because there's likely to be a new 'boyfriend' character which will baffle and confuse all the fans. He'll be the cute guy with a job that intersects with Buffy's daily life who turns out to have a dark secret that pits them against each other. Hey, it's like that every season.

-KKC, in the middle of an online driver education course. Ick.

[> [> Re: Personally, bad message ... -- Dochawk, 15:18:31 07/07/02 Sun

Not suprisingly Earl I agree with you, but I'll add two small points. 1. Angelus never did anythign evil on Buffy wearing his human face, it was always in vamp face. Spike's AR of Buffy was done in his human face, so souled or not its a different connection in the viewers mind (and lest us not forget that a great number of viewers are not 30 something philosogeeks, but teenagers who view the show as a metaphor for their life, and in that context repairing Buffy and Spike sends a dangerous message about men who attempt rape, yes Buffy can forgive Spike, but can she sleep with him?)

2. SMG has made mention of her displeasure at direction year 6 took. I think it was about the B/S storyline (not in so many words, you have to read between the lines of some of her interviews). ME/Fox are still trying to sign her for year 8. I do think that point #1 is somethign she cares about, the message that BtVS is sending. In addition, Joss has said that year 7 will be a return to female empowerment. Its not very empowering to show a woman return to a lover who attempted to rape her (and brought out only the worst in her). Interestingly on 2 consecutive days SMG said there would be no Spuffy in the future and JM said there would be. Of course that was the same day JM found out that he had wanted a soul all along, so how much do the writers really tell him about what is going to happen?

[> [> [> Re: Personally, bad message ... -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:30:51 07/07/02 Sun

She may forgive Spike but still be firm about the fact that she could never love or trust him.

I have three possibilities I hope for in Season 7 in regards to Spike:

1) He can't handle the guilt, just like Faith couldn't in Season 3, sending him over to the dark side.

2) He does join the side of good, and we last see him in the season finale, fighting off a gang of vampires. We don't see him die, but it's implied he does.

3) He leaves Sunnydale so he can get his own show.

[> [> that's not the question -- Ete, 15:46:06 07/07/02 Sun

I dislike the idea that the authors should move their storyline along the idea that anything they would do would send a "bad message".

you really want some afterschool specials ?
not I.

No, the real question is wether Buffy could still want Spike after that, and if she does, if she would want to be involved with him now.

One should think in term of characters, not in term of message. Because this is supposed to be a story.
I don't know what kind of story would be the better right now.
It sure would be very difficult to get them back together. I'm not sure i'm willing to go with that.
But what's the alternative ? Buffy alone ? A new boyfriend fallin' from nowhere ? Xander (ewwww) ? Willow (heh !:) ?
I dunno, I guess it will be Spike or alone, and I don't know what's the best solution in term of story. Of course, it's ME, so we should expect to be surprised.

[> [> [> Unfortunately it is -- Dochawk, 16:57:36 07/07/02 Sun


It is all about the story, but buried withing the story is a message. And ME and Joss have been very proud of the message he has been sending about female empowerment and confidence. And they have taken alot of lumps over the Willow/Tara storyline for just this reason, they destroyed a positive message they had "crowed" about. Your right in that the writers take the story where they want, but they are very cognizant about the message they are sending as well. And no matter what you think about Afternoon Specialization, they have been doing it forever (not always successfully I agree).

[> [> [> [> There's a difference -- Ete, 17:37:27 07/07/02 Sun

between the way any work of art "says" something, the themes it explores and the lessons we can found in it and what people call a message in a story, that is, IMO, not of artistic value.

I'd say : the role of art is to make us ask questions, not to give us answers.

'Messages' stories are just that, answers, pre-made lessons of morality, some "Prˆt … Penser" that lets no place for thinking and reflection from the public.

BtVS is nowhere like this. It doesn't stop to make us wonder and ponder about the story. It only gives us the tools to forge our own 'message' to be found into the show.
That's how I see the thing as it should be. I guess others may see it some other way. I take as proof that Buffy is no Afterschool special the way so many of us disagree about the way one must interprete the story, especially in the most morally ambiguous case as Spike is.

[> [> [> [> [> Agree Ete. Well said -- shadowkat, 09:40:48 07/08/02 Mon

"I take as proof that Buffy is no Afterschool special the way so many of us disagree about the way one must interprete the story, especially in the most morally ambiguous case as Spike is."

Which is what I like about it. Everything else on TV
goes the Afterschool Special route - this is the message
we want to convey, yadda yadda yadda. Bored now.

Give me something that makes me think. Makes me uncertain.
I can't predict. That's Btvs and Ats for me. Nothing
else does it.

[> [> [> [> [> Adding my voice to the chorus of praise for Ete. -- Caroline, 11:58:18 07/08/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Agree Ete... VERY well said -- shygirl, 12:37:50 07/08/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Right on, Ete! -- OnM, 06:00:01 07/11/02 Thu

There will always be a chance that the 'message' could get on the 'heavy' side, but Ete is absolutely right, that 'message' appears out of the story in ways that we are predisposed to see it, and this is inevitable. But those perceptions can easily change over time.

I have been fascinated as I rewatch S6 and even more clearly see just how much of the entire season arc involves revealing Willow's inner darkness, or perhaps more accurately her denial of it's existence. Last night, for example, I found myself more closely studying the nuances of her behavior in Tabula Rasa, and there's nothing 'Afterschool Special-y' about it-- this is a young woman who has a lot of internal pain, and has always pressed the awareness of it deep into her subconscious. Early in the episode, she apologizes to Tara for the forgetting spell, but it's now very clear to me that she didn't mean it-- she's still papering over her insecurities. Before, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, because I 'knew' Willow. Now, I understand just how perceptive Tara was-- and that she also was willing to give Willow the benefit of the doubt, despite knowing that there might have been little chance of success. But, Willow doesn't even make it a single day without her inner demons driving her astray, and Tara's worst fears are confirmed.

Understanding this-- that the kind, generous, thoughtful, loving Willow we have always admired simultaneously harbors some very nasty tendencies is shocking, but it's very real. No A.S. is going to present that kind of ambiguity for it's audience, it's too disconcerting (and I might add, inappropriate for very young viewers, who need some simple, straightforward 'answers' most of the time).

Smashed and Wrecked are coming up next. As I suspected at the time, the 'magic addiction' arc turned out to be a red herring, but at the time (and sometimes still to this day) it provoked tremendous output from a legion of Buffy fans to the effect that the show had 'jumped the shark' by smashing the audience in the face with a BIG OL' MAGIC = DRUGS MESSAGE!!! It simply wasn't so.

One of the hardest things about becoming an adult is the realization that the way you intrinsically think of yourself may not be accurate. Realizing that you have a substance abuse problem is one thing-- what the failure to handle that problem says about you is far more damaging, and harder to recover from.

Substance abuse only abuses the body-- the far greater problem occurs when you are abusing your soul.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Great comment OM! -- shadowkat, 06:46:05 07/11/02 Thu

"One of the hardest things about becoming an adult is the realization that the way you intrinsically think of yourself may not be accurate. ."

You've hit the metaphorical nail on the head, right there!
In Season 6, this is what all six characters are struggling with, their perception of themselves being turned on its head. Willow is actually the most obvious. Tara already had it happen back in Family, she perceived herself as evil and a demon and found out it wasn't so. Perhaps that's why she is so perceptive regarding Willow? For Willow is struggling in a way with a similar problem. Her inner demon.

A friend and I were discussing this last night. She said that she found it odd that her perception of herself at work as a hard nosed manager was actually not true, her staff perceives her as a marshmallow. What we think we
see, may in fact be the opposite.

Buffy thinks of herself as Joan, the matyr - this is clearly shown in Tabula Rasa. In Normal Again - we realize that she also views herself as a girl in an asylum and everything around her just feeds her own image of herself.
She can't see past her own matyrdom long enough to appreciate her friends, sister, or the neutered vampire
that's desperately in love with her. She can't imagine herself as being anything other than the matyr, the hero, saving them and responsible for everything they do. In truth, she isn't responsible for their acts and she isn't the matyr. Another slayer can take her place eventually.
The universe does not revolve around her. She is not the one who can save the world from Willow.

Spike in Tabula Rasa perceives himself as the noble vampire with a soul who helps fight the bad guys. His father
is Giles. And yes he's a bit on the randy side. The truth?
He's an evil soulless vampire. But wait what is the truth?
Is he the evil soulless vampire or the other?

Whoa...wait, maybe the personalities we saw in TR are the true ones, the ones intrinsically real and the false images are the ones that the characters clothe themselves with?

Maybe Buffy is really Joan, the quippy matyr who loves her
sister. Spike is really Randy, the well-meaning vampire who sees Giles as a father, maybe Anya is really the shop- girl,
and maybe Xander is really the scared boy who comes through
in the clinch. OR maybe they are these things as well as
the images we see on the screen before and after Willow's spell.

Who we are changes depending on the environment around us, the stimulous we are given, the people surrounding us.
We aren't stuck in one persona. It isn't static. You could be intimidating at work, yet the sweetest thing at home.
Or vice-versa. And who you were five years ago, is probably not the same person you are now. Makes life interesting.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Great comment OM! -- wtofts, 09:19:04 07/11/02 Thu

I have been lurking for months, feeding my obsession (and, at times,don't know whether to be comforted or just a tiny bit spooked at finding other folk who are just as possessed). Posts, like those above, are what will keep me coming back in the wee hours and spare moments, ready to be amazed and delighted with the insightful thoughts and comments of an incredible group. I remain in awe.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Welcome to the land of the de-lurked! -- ponygirl, 11:23:51 07/11/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> Random thoughts about TR -- Sophist, 09:13:25 07/11/02 Thu

I really do love this episode. Ok, fanboy moment over.

I found certain points very interesting. One is that Willow both acknowledged and accepted the blame for bringing back Buffy. Both she and Xander wanted to "fix" it. Xander's proposal was typically silly and ineffective. Willow's was typical another way -- she would hack the system.

I also thought it was interesting that Tara's criticism of Willow focused entirely on abuse of power. Not only was there no reference to magic as a drug, there was no distinction between "dark" magic and any other magic.

I wish I could be as confident as you are about the magic/drugs nonsense. Smashed is consistent with Willow's abuse of magic as abuse of power. It's really Wrecked that crosses the line into A.S. territory. Doug Petrie's comments (I think he was the one) suggested that Willow could be forgiven for her rampage, in part, because she was "possessed" by magic. The "drug" nonsense may have been introduced for that purpose. We may have to await S7 to make a final judgment on this point.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: More random thoughts about TR (with speculation for Season 7 -- Brian, 09:25:56 07/11/02 Thu

Some of the things I noticed on seeing TR again:

1. The bond between Buffy and Dawn is so deep and so profound that even as strangers they know who they are to each other.

2. That Giles' return to England really was a response to his "mid-life" crisis beyond his need for a new, red sports car.

3. That Spike (perhaps a watcher in training or perhaps Dawn's watcher) is a hero whether he has a soul or not.

4. That Xander isn't right for Anya as his insecuriities run too deep. She needs more man in her boy.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Willow's Possession -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:53:39 07/11/02 Thu

Even if they do go down the path that Willow was possessed by dark magicks, she's still not off the hook. While that may say the real her didn't do any of these horrible things, she went to the Magic Box and drained the books by her own will. She allowed the possession to happen, knowing the consequences that there could be.

[> [> I agree, which is odd as... -- Juliette, 15:47:54 07/07/02 Sun

I'm a B/S shipper! Or I was, before SR. (I was a redemptionist. Lost interest the more they tried to paint him as evil, evil, evil.) But ITA, them getting back together in any way other than as friends puts out a terrible, terrible message. Buffy's supposed to be an emancipated female but she might date a guy who tried to rape her?
However, I wouldn't put it past the writers. They screwed up by makng Spike so ambiguous in the first place - moral ambiguity is great and fascinating stuff and its why we love the show, but the writers kept trying to claim a clearly ambiguous character was pure evil, leading to huge disagreement and a situation where they couldn't make anyone happy. They went about the whole thing the wrong way, IMO.

[> [> More Tabula Rasa? -- darrenK, 19:10:40 07/07/02 Sun

I've decided to annoy the rest of you by tying every speculative thread back to TR.

But, it's my contention that the memoryless/experienceless characterizations in TR tell us a lot about what the writers are thinking about the futures of the characters outside the limited situation of early Season 6.

Spike/Randy in TR believes himself to be a vampire with a soul on a mission of redemption. He fights side-by-side with Joan/Buffy, but he doesn't seem to feel any attraction or romance for her?

Now other characters got things wrong, but not so wrong. Xander and Willow aren't dating but they have had an almost- dating-fooling-around-mutual-love-long-term-best-friendship. Anya and Giles aren't engaged, but there does seem to be something quite hot burning beneath their shopkeepers' twill. Joan and Umad figure out that they are sisters almost immediately. Tara and Willow's attraction doesn't need the memories; those two were seconds away from making new ones.

My point is that the characters lost their memories, but the things that were natural to their relationships were still there. Spike's love for Buffy was not one of those things. Heroism? Yes. A need for acceptance? Oh, yes. The need to be part of a family? Uh huh. Love for Buffy? Nowhere in sight.


[> [> [> Re: More Tabula Rasa? -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:21:48 07/07/02 Sun

Granted, Spike never expressed love for Buffy, but who's to say he didn't feel it. A person can be in love for awhile without noticing it. Therefore, he subconsciously had the same motivations as before the forgetting spell.

Now, if you were to suggest that Spike's love for Buffy wasn't a factor when his memory was gone, than how do you explain the way that characters like Dawn and Buffy, or Xander and Willow slipped into the roles they had before? If Spike didn't love Buffy after the spell, that supports the theory that soulless vampires can't feel love, since everyone else carried habits and relationship interactions over from before.

[> [> [> Re: More Tabula Rasa? -- Rahael, 00:33:32 07/08/02 Mon

Interesting points - I like it!! Tabula Rasa is a great ep, and it's always true that the most comedic eps that deepen into tragedy a season later. And hey, not much comdey in Season 6!

"Anya and Giles aren't engaged, but there does seem to be something quite hot burning beneath their shopkeepers' twill."

I agree! I for one am a fervent Anya/Giles shipper!

[> [> [> Tabula Rasa foreshadowing -- tomfool, 09:04:56 07/08/02 Mon

I agree with Rahael that TR was a great episode and during a recent rewatch was struck by the foreshadowing. In addition to fulfilling several Restless references (Spike in the tweed suit from the swingset scene, Giles as mentor/father figure, a shark `who walks on land'), after the SG wakes up in amnesia state, the positioning of each individual exactly mirrors their positions at the end of Grave:

Giles/Anya are in each other's arms in a caring, supportive position.

Willow/Xander - Willow is supported in Xander's arms all `snuggly wuggly' wearing Xander's coat.

Buffy/Dawn are initially apart, but immediately become paired as sisters who will `take care of each other.' Notice that this is not Buffy saying, `I'll protect you,' as throughout most of Season 6, but closer to the Dawn at the end of Grave `I've got your back.'

Tara is by herself, off to the side. Obvious.

Spike is by himself, away from the group, prone on top of the counter - at a higher place?

I also loved the Michele Branch song montage sequence. Moved lots of plot points along effectively and eliminated the need for lots of goodbye dialogue. "I want what's yours and I want what's mine, but I'm not giving in this time." Buffy wanting the dark and the light. Of course Buffy does give in, but later Buffy finally does refuse Spike's `love'.

Just random observations from one of the best written and directed episodes of the year.

[> [> [> [> Great points -- Rahael, 09:31:14 07/08/02 Mon

btw, have to ask. 'Tomfool' from King Lear?

[> [> [> [> [> Nothing quite so literary -- tomfool, 09:37:22 07/08/02 Mon

Just a natural born fool - on April Fool's day (too many years ago!).

[> [> [> [> [> [> The Triple foole -- Rahael, 18:38:01 07/08/02 Mon

Well, fools literally abound in literature. An excuse to post one of my favourites (or is that three?).

The triple Foole
I am two fooles, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining Po‰try;
But where's that wiseman, that would not be I,
If she would not deny?
Then as th'earths inward narrow crooked lanes
Do purge sea waters fretfull salt away,
I thought, if I could draw my paines,
Through Rimes vexation, I should them allay,
Griefe brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
For, he tames it, that fetters it in verse.

But when I have done so,
Some man, his art and voice to show,
Doth Set and sing my paine,
And, by delighting many, frees againe
Griefe, which verse did restraine.
To Love, and Griefe tribute of Verse belongs,
But not of such as pleases when'tis read,
Both are increased by such songs:
For both their triumphs so are published,
And I, which was two fooles, do so grow three;
Who are a little wise, the best fooles bee.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Suddenly denser -- tomfool, 08:03:43 07/09/02 Tue

Ah, suddenly you've provided nuance and layers. Triple foole indeed.

I remain, humbly, your fool.

[> [> Re: Personally, bad message ... -- Purple Tulip, 06:58:40 07/08/02 Mon

I'm really not sure how I feel about this whole thing, but I am extremely interested to see where it is going. The debate over how similar Angelus and Spike are will be continuous, I'm sure, but it really won't get us anywhere when talking about souled-up Spike. I have said it before and I will say it again---Spike will NOT be Angel when he comes back, nor will his situation be like that of Angel's. Unless Joss and ME want to lose a serious amount of their viewers, they will make it different. Yes Buffy did forgive Angel for what he did when he was Angelus, but those events ARE very different from the attempted rape. I still think that in Spike's case, because he actually went in search of a soul, and had to endure great trials to get it, and Angel was cursed with a soul, the outcomes are going to be very different. Spike with soul will not equal Angel with soul, just as they were unlike each other without souls.

Now, on the topic of Spuffy ever returning---I'm really not sure. I am a fan of the pairing and am hoping for some sort of realtionship next season, but I do agree that a romantic one will be difficult, and I'm not even sure if it's entirely appropriate. I think that Buffy will be the one to try and forgive and forget, but I think that Spike is going to have a real problem getting past what he did. Most likely he will be afflicted with extreme remorse for his past actions, with the majority of that remorse directed at the hurt that he caused to the woman he loved the most. I also think that Dawn is going to have a real problem dealing with this too- Spike was almost like her best friend and father figure roled into one, and what he did to Buffy will indirectly affect the way in which she now looks at him. This will be the crusher for Spike as Dawn and Buffy are the only two people in the world that he cares about and doesn't want to hurt. I think that next season will find Spike dealing with a lot of his inner demons and all of the things that he did in the past. I really think that some sort of relationship will be forged between him and Buffy, though I am really unsure if it will turn at all romantic before the show ends. Though, honestly as much as I would like to see it happen, I really don't think we'll see them together because of the previous "Buffy loves vampire with soul and it ends badly" storyline- I just don't think they can escape those same problems- not unless Spike becomes human.

This is a lot longer than I intended, and I'm really not sure if it makes any sense at all. I am so intrigued by this issue and interested to see what they can possibly do with it. I think I'm one of the only people who still has faith in ME and that they ease all of our doubts and concerns. Maybe this is just because this is the first season that that I have watched, so I really have no room to get angry with anything that they have done thus far. They'll turn it around- just wait and see:)

[> [> Good message -- Sophist, 09:08:11 07/08/02 Mon

What's missing from the discussion to this point is any mention of the only real parallel in the show -- Xander's attempted rape of Buffy in The Pack. There are no ambiguities in that scene: Xander was not drunk, there is no issue of his real intent. Buffy forgave him (and Willow did his lesser, but still very hurtful, behavior) because they understood that it wasn't really Xander, but the demon in him. Why should it be any different for Spike?

[> [> [> Re: Good Point! -- Purple Tulip, 10:19:26 07/08/02 Mon

I'd forgotten about that, but it makes perfect sense---and why should things be any different with Spike? It was the demon in him, and with the soul he is a different being altogther. Same goes for Angel, if we want to get into that- --and lets not forget that Buffy was very able to forgive Xander for temporarily wanting to rape and eat her, Angel for killing her and tormenting her friends and family, and now it looks like she's probably gonna be able to forgive Willow for almost ending the world. So why should Spike really be any different? It seems like Buffy is more that able and willing to forgive and forget when it comes to her friends, but when it comes to Spike, she is in extreme denial- denial about what he feels for her and what she feels for him, denial about their whole "relationship". She focuses only on the negative where he is concerned, only looking to remind him of all the evil things he's done in the past, when in reality, Angel was far worse, having done far worse things, and she's able to still love him and move on. My guess is that Buffy is just hiding behind her feelings: after hating Spike for so long, she's ashamed and maybe even a little astonished at her feelings for this vampire so she tries to continuously push him away, hoping to push the feelings away as well. When Spike comes back, she's going to have to face facts and admit some things to herself; afterall, she's no longer going to be able to spout her mantra from season six at anyone who'll listen: "Spike's just an evil, soul-less thing", because that's no longer going to be the case.

[> [> [> [> Re: Good Point! -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:29:35 07/08/02 Mon

Of course, she might not like souled Spike: partly because he will conjure up images of the attempted rape, and partly because, if he's changed enough that he can be forgiven, then he's changed enough that whatever attraction Buffy once felt for him is gone.

Plus, proving that you have a soul is kinda difficult.

[> [> [> Differences between the two (IMHO) -- Earl Allison, 13:31:13 07/08/02 Mon

You are right, Buffy forgave Xander.

But there are quite a few differences between them as well, things that make Spike's actions more damning and hurtful (again, IMHO).

Firstly, Hyena-Xander was in no way like normal Xander, not in his mannerisms, not in his behavior, and not in his actions. Xander never loathed and lashed out at Willow, and never (that we know of) got a hankering for a live pig to eat :) Of course, the resentment of Angel was still there, rather prominently displayed in his words to Buffy, so maybe the Hyena-spirit gave voice to some deep resentments Xander actually had. Still, I doubt Xander would have EVER tried to force himself on Buffy, even if he had the opportunity (IMHO).

Secondly, this was rather early on for Buffy, and Xander hadn't spent months or years with her, fighting alongside her, professing his love for her, etc. Spike's actions came after almost a year of actively professing his love for her, and months after she and he were intimate -- making his actions (again, IMHO) all the more hurtful than Xander's could have been AT THAT POINT. Had Xander-Hyena surfaced in S2 or S3, it would be a more legitimate comparison, since he would have been more established.

Thirdly, and most damning (mostly because of the writers), it should be different because, are you ready? The being coming back in S7 ISN'T Spike -- especially given what everyone has been saying about souls, the Angel-Angelus issue, and the like. That means the good actions get washed away with the bad, because this isn't the same person.

Buffy knew Xander before he was Hyena-possessed, and was friends with him. She was friends (and lovers) with Angel before he changed (back) into Angelus.

All Buffy has known is Spike, pre-soul. Sure, he was nastier before the chip, but if the argument is "Spike post- soul is different than Spike pre-soul," than it should cut both ways.

Buffy loved (or at least had sex with) PRE-soul Spike, an entirely different animal than POST-soul Spike (unless he acts the same, and then why SHOULD she forgive him?), will she even know this new being?

And even so, she loved things about Spike pre-soul -- will they still be there post-soul? Will Spike still love her?

Take it and run.

[> [> [> [> I think your last point is the key -- Sophist, 16:18:05 07/08/02 Mon

I agree with you that SouledSpike is different than Spike. In that sense, Buffy is not being asked to forgive "Spike". SouledSpike, being a different creature, needs no forgiveness. It wasn't "him" in the bathroom in SR.

I think this same reasoning applies to HyenaXander and Angel/Angelus.

You're also quite right about SouledSpike -- there is no way to know if Buffy will even like him, much less want to sleep with him.

[> [> [> Good point -- Juliette, 14:39:42 07/09/02 Tue

I'd completely forgotton about that scene. I think I erased it from my memory!

[> [> Couldn't agree more, Earl. Great post. (NT) -- Q, 17:05:34 07/11/02 Thu

[> Re: S7 spec and a question (spoilers) -- Rufus, 15:50:20 07/07/02 Sun

So the question is, can Spike's actions in SR be swept under the carpet with the 'that wasn't me, I'm a different person now' excuse or should Buffy refuse to have any kind of romantic relationship with him because of what he tried to do to her?

The attempted rape is what sent Spike on a journey to get his soul back...up til then he thought that "I may not be good, but I'm okay." The attempted rape proved to even Spike that he needed a soul to be consistant in his goodness, not just focused on Buffy, because if his goodness was dependant on only one person the situation we saw in the alley would eventually play out (if the chip wasn't working) with a dead person the result at the end. I notice that people are more forgiving of murder than rape...I don't get it because if you are dead (thinking the victim here)you are gone forever. With the attempted rape Spike lost control and proved that he "needed" a soul to be safe around people. Also a soul may help him lose that selfish need to own Buffy.

After Angel came back he was forgiven because he was now with a soul and they could "blame the demon" I don't see it being any different with Spike. The guy that will return from Africa won't be the vampire who tried to rape Buffy, he will be a vampire who can try to make up for what he did, just like Angel is now.

[> [> I agree -- lele, 16:09:01 07/07/02 Sun

Although this season seems to have blurred the whole soul issue, I think souledSpike is not soullessSpike. I'm quite sure he will be different and deserves at least a chance to prove himself. Whatever happens b/n him and buffy, it will be nice to see him moving on from being love's bitch.

[> [> I hate to disagree with ya, but -- Dochawk, 16:53:12 07/07/02 Sun

See my message above. Spike committed the AR, not in vampire visage. if he had changed face when he did it, I would agree with you. I think it was very important that he didn't change face. And his not will make it harder for both Buffy and the audience to forgive him (though as Maladanza pointed out about a month ago, Buffy has an amazing capacity to both forgive and forget).

[> [> [> Re: I hate to disagree with ya, but -- Rufus, 17:41:47 07/07/02 Sun

I don't care what face he did what in, the fact is that it was something that even caused Spike to pause and go make a change so he wouldn't do that again. Buffy was right not to trust him as a vampire because it would be like walking around with a loaded gun at your head all the time. Spike could have just as easily killed Buffy in that moment when her guard was down, but he didn't. I don't watch much soaps so I don't know the specifics of the Luke and Laura situation...would someone fill me in. I don't know if this Luke went after his victim with the intent to rape and if their situation was a rape or an attempted rape. And Mal is right Buffy has been known to forgive...Angel's murder of Jenny as Angelus an example. So, do we do what Fury suggested in his Succubus Club interview and "blame the demon"?

[> [> [> [> Luke and Laura (according to the folks in chat) -- Vickie, 18:12:45 07/07/02 Sun

I don't watch General Hospital either, but one night in chat the nice folks filled me in. Apologies to them if I get any of the details wrong.

The general outline of the Luke/Laura fiasco: Luke was some kind of a drifter who was kind of seeing Laura's sister. He raped Laura. Later, she went after him with a gun, but instead of killing him she forgave him (apparently because audience approval of the couple was through the roof). They became a couple, eventually marrying (I think, fuzzy here).

The differences between L/L and B/S, IMHO, are that there was an actual rape and that the two people involved had not already had a complicated relationship where the lines of "no" had gotten fuzzy. Oh, and the guy was human. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Luke and Laura (from someone who watched it) -- Kitt, 19:24:07 07/07/02 Sun

and I can't believe I'm making that confession. But, Luke was a crook who ran a club in Port Charles. He raped Laura one night at his club - violent, but not 'beat to a pulp then rape' (just enough to get her to do what he wanted). You're right, she forgave him [they actually had the nerve to charecterize the event later as 'seduction'], they had a stormy relationship and ended up with one of the biggest soap weddings in history.

There was a LOT of outcry about it at the time, and rape has been very controversial in soaps since... but with few exceptions, while rapist are often forgiven in soaps these days, they usually DON'T have intimate relationships with their victims afterwards.

Now, I'm a redemptionista, I believe that Spike is on the road to being a MUCH better being... but he was BEFORE he got the soul too. When the attempted rape happened, he had been drinking since AT LEAST when Anya brought out the bottle in Entropy. He was depressed, bordering on suicidal, and VERY vulnerable (having left his leather coat/ armor/ trophy behind). "You should have let him kill me.", remember? This is not the Big Bad - this is William, the fool for love, caught in a bubbling, boiling over pot of very powerful, painful, negative emotions. Doc has a point - he bears responsibility for his acts. But if Angel can be forgiven for killing Jenny Calendar in cold blood while he didn't have a soul, it would be awfully hypocritical of Buffy not to forgive Spike for what he did after he got a soul.

You know what I think Spike needs to do first on his journey to redemption? I think he (and Xander, but that's another post) needs to go to the Sunnydale AA meeting, find a sponsor, give up his flask and swear off the burbon. And I do believe that if he HADN'T been drinking, he never would have attacked Buffy. That doesn't make him less responsible for his acts... but it does make them more understandable.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Spike and Xander -- tomfool, 09:53:25 07/08/02 Mon

Maybe Spike and Xander can become each other's AA support buddies. It would give them some time for male bonding and a chance to work out their issues ;)

[> [> [> Spike rarely vamps out anymore. -- Forsaken, 05:26:48 07/08/02 Mon

Who knows why, but for the majority of Seasons 5 and 6 Spike has done most of his violence in human face. I was personally surprised to see him go game-face so much in the ep Dead Things. Even so far back as School Hard, he killed that teacher in human face. He's a human face kinda guy, therefore I don't think you can draw to many conclusions about his motivations from his choice of not- bumpy/fangy.

[> [> [> [> Re: Spike rarely vamps out anymore. -- Caesar Augustus, 14:48:31 07/08/02 Mon

This is true. I was surprised, almost to the point of shock, that he didn't vamp out when facing the trials in Grave!

[> Re: S7 spec and a question (spoilers) -- Caesar Augustus, 18:55:28 07/07/02 Sun

Spike actually chose (by all indications) to get a soul. Angelus was cursed by Gypsies - he never, ever would have chosen it. Choosing to have to live with all that guilt for what you've done, choosing to put yourself in pain, is a huge sacrifice that few people seem to give Spike due credit for. Getting a soul is not the easy way out. It is a true sacrifice for his love, Buffy. We've always got the impression that a lot of Spike's feelings for Buffy come from lust, but this decision shows undoubtedly that it is real love. The AR in SR was borne of pain - and we've seen pain can lead to drastic measures. Buffy did try to kill all her friends in NA - that's a helluvalot worse than AR (not that I'm saying it's acceptable of course). Anya's dirty dance with Spike in Entropy, not to mention becoming a frikkin' demon again ... The point is that there are serious mitigating circumstances. According to most people (but not me actually), Spike is evil, so why are people so shocked by the AR? He's been able to hurt Buffy physically but the one time he actually does it, he feels serious remorse, so serious that it leads him to do the absolutely unthinkable for a vamp.

Not only does Buffy deserve a man with a soul, but she deserves someone that devoted to her. As for the message it's sending out, I hardly think B/S getting back together would say to teenagers that AR is OK, since going to Africa to get a soul in the middle is kind of a key factor that can't be emulated in real life. (as far as I know - I did once meet this wacky witchdoctor though ...)

[> [> Re: S7 spec and a question (spoilers) -- Rufus, 20:06:49 07/07/02 Sun

Spike actually chose (by all indications) to get a soul. Angelus was cursed by Gypsies - he never, ever would have chosen it. Choosing to have to live with all that guilt for what you've done, choosing to put yourself in pain, is a huge sacrifice that few people seem to give Spike due credit for. Getting a soul is not the easy way out. It is a true sacrifice for his love, Buffy. We've always got the impression that a lot of Spike's feelings for Buffy come from lust, but this decision shows undoubtedly that it is real love. The AR in SR was borne of pain - and we've seen pain can lead to drastic measures.

I remember when Angel mentioned the pain of remembering every single person he killed, the difference being that now he cared about what he had done.....being soulless was easy, you could do anything without considering consequences. Spike chose to get a soul after a series of trials....at first his love for Buffy was expressed in lust, but in Intervention he discovered it was more when he was willing to die to save her pain. His trials had left the vampire with a chip more and more conflicted about what he was and where his loyalties were. An evil soulless vampire didn't attempt to rape Buffy, a vampire who loved a woman who can't love him lost his control and attempted to force her into loving him back...it didn't work...it was the wrong thing to do...and he did it in a human face. When Buffy threw him across the room he came to his senses, he didn't try to continue to attack her...because his original reason to see her wasn't to rape her, but things got out of hand and he did a very bad thing. He he did try to do something well within his nature, rape...take what he wanted...but unlike before doing a bad thing didn't feel good like it should have....it had the reverse effect and showed Spike the reason why he needed a soul. He may have felt he could change, but in extreme circumstances he lost control and his nature surfaced and it was ugly and he wanted to change that. Incredible when you consider that Angel felt bad about killing Jenny only when his soul was returned to him. The chip may have helped enlighten Spike enough to want to change his nature, become what he once was...and we got a taste of what that may be in Tabula Rasa....does he get the girl for it....I don't know.

[> [> [> Re: S7 spec and a question (spoilers) -- auroramama, 20:10:56 07/08/02 Mon

There -- what Rufus said.

What I say: show me a prior treatment of attempted rape in a relationship where not only are the characters equally strong and violent, with the edge to the female, but where the female has been physically abusive in the past and the male has forgiven *her*. I don't think this is Luke and Laura. What Spike did was wrong, but it wasn't Luke's kind of wrong, and Buffy will never be a Laura even if she marries Spike and feeds him fluffy birthday cake. Not ever.
And I think even kids can tell the difference.


[> Skinny!Spike -- LeeAnn, 19:02:31 07/07/02 Sun

I think B/S will get back together uing the old soul excuse. I think that's why he got hsi soul back. After all, ME have to sell their B/S t-shirts and keep people watching with the promise of more Naked!Spike.

Yah! for the thought of Naked!Spike but I'm a bit worried that it isn't going to happen. I was looking at some hiatus pictures from a season or two ago and JM was pumped up, muscles etc. This summer, judging from some of the SFX pictures, he's not working out. He's gotten very thin, even for him, and even his biceps are small. I take that to mean either 1) He's doing body sculpting to look thin and tortured for the Suffering!Souled!Spike or 2) He knows there is no Naked!Spike scheduled for next season.

But there's got to be Buffy/Spike at some point next season, smudge doesn't run Buffy, and why make Spike get a soul to give Buffy what she deserves then NOT give her Spike with the soul. That would be pretty pointless, wouldn't it?

[> [> Re: Skinny!Spike -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:24:53 07/07/02 Sun

It wouldn't be pointless, it would be the perfect way to torture Spike: he goes to get a soul and the eternal suffering that goes with it, all so he could get back with Buffy, and she still rejects him? Perfect angst generator!

[> [> Because its Buffy's story not Spikes -- Dochawk, 20:51:08 07/07/02 Sun

You have to remember whose story this is. The writers will do anything they want with/to Spike but if it involves Buffy, its Buffy;s story. So the question is, will getting Spike and Buffy back together advance Buffy's story? I can't see a way that there is a yes answer to that, but I am sure the writers will find one.

[> [> [> I like to think Spike (and everyone else) have their own story. -- Forsaken, 05:53:16 07/08/02 Mon

Just because Buffy is the title character doesn't mean the other characters can't have their own stories to play out. We brag constantly about how well rounded the characters are, how they evolve and change like real people. Let them be seperate like real people, let them have their seperate existence from Buffy. It makes things so much more interesting. Buffy can further her own story with the whole "exploring my dark side at last" thing. As a being with memories from decades upon decades of being a dark side, Spike can help lots with that. How's that work for you Doc?

[> [> [> [> Begging to differ -- Rahael, 06:26:23 07/08/02 Mon

Narratives don't work when you pull different bits of it apart, and make them live on their own.

No episode would be understandable without seeing everyone interact. Each person's story is meaningless without the other. This is true not only at the most obvious macro level, but also in the micro, BtVS is a story with constituent parts, its dramatic message arises from the interaction of all the characters. There is no point taking partisan positions - it misses the point entirely. It would be like taking 'a side' in Midsummer Night's Dream, or 'Portrait of a Lady'. I watch for the entire show, for the full range of emotion, opinion, voice. The 'message' that BtVS delivers, as discussed above does not come from one authoritative voice, but from the situations that the characters find themselves in, their reactions and our reactions to them.

This is why the 'message' is complex, ambiguous and is so argued over. Because no one voice predominates. The power of drama is that there is a multiplicity of character, opinion and voice.

BtVS rarely lets an authoritative voice appear - to do so would be antithetical to so much of what the Buffyverse is, which is sceptical of grand narratives. When it does wish to point something out, it is often by themes, imagery and contrasts between characters.

Then, there is also a dialogue between the work of art and ourselves.

The characters can't exist independently of Buffy. She acts as our eyes in the Buffyverse - it's inescapable. Nowhere is this underlined more than in NA, where the characters get to grips with the idea that they might not have an independent existence without her. Now some of us may dislike Buffy very much, but that only underlines the complexity of the world that BtVS portrays and Buffy walks through.

On a side note, I must once again protest that 'the dark side' is not synonymous with evil. Dark emotions do not necessarily result in evil. Buffy does not have to go out draining people to explore her dark side. She explores it when she recognises all her own complexity, looks it straight in the eye, and acts in a morally responsible manner.

And I'm curious as to how other people think Spike should react to his long years enjoying violence and inflicting pain. A shrug, a 'I've got a soul' and 'hey, I'm no Angel' (pun intended).

And as for Angelus/Angel, was he ever forgiven by Giles? and wasn't Buffy's easy forgiveness of him speedily, and stingingly shown up for what it was by Giles? Giles only allowed him into the apartment at the point of a stake. And there was never a more just anger than Giles showed then. Angel's torment by the Fir˜

[> [> [> [> [> oh, voy! -- Rahael, 06:30:57 07/08/02 Mon

didn't post my complete post! Here's the rest

And as for Angelus/Angel, was he ever forgiven by Giles? and wasn't Buffy's easy forgiveness of him speedily, and stingingly shown up for what it was by Giles? Giles only allowed him into the apartment at the point of a stake. And there was never a more just anger than Giles showed then. Angel's torment by the First Evil also accomplished something else - the humanisation of his victims. We saw some of the people - they were no statistic (one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic as Stalin is reputed as saying).

Buffy is an easy forgiver because she'd rather avoid the pain and take a shortcut.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Buffy is an easy forgiver? -- Vickie, 07:56:26 07/08/02 Mon

I'm trying to think when and I'm coming up kind of blank.

In IOHEFY, she says that James doesn't deserve forgiveness. Even when she gets cast in his role in the repeat drama haunt, it's not clear that she gets it.

Buffy: James picked me. I guess... I guess I was the one he could relate to. He was so sad.

Giles: (sits by her) Well... they can both rest now.

Buffy: I still... (exhales) A part of me just doesn't understand why she would forgive him.

OK, that's only one example...

Faith? Buffy cannot forgive her even a little bit, not even when she has put Faith into a coma trying to remedy Faith's actions.

Parker? Even Cave Slayer knew to whack him upside the head.

Buffy forgives her friends, I think. But I cannot find an example of her forgiving easily except within her intimate circle. She forgives Giles for the Cruciamentum. She forgives Angel for turning into Angelus. She forgives Willow for making her love Spike temporarily.

Am I missing something?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Interesting -- Rahael, 08:02:05 07/08/02 Mon

Perhaps she is quick to forgive where the wrongs feel directed at her? Perhaps less so when the person affected wrongs others. I'm struggling to think.

Personally, I thought Buffy kissing Faith's forehead was a classic sign of unspoken forgiveness.....

she does, so, and lets all the disturbing questions that Faith posed to her, to sleep too...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Forgiving -- Sophist, 08:42:19 07/08/02 Mon

I agree with Rah that Buffy does forgive her friends their (all too frequent) transgressions. There are way too many examples to cite, but a few would be Giles in Helpless, Xander in Revelations, Angel in S3, and Willow in SB (the only time, as far as I can recall, that Willow has needed Buffy's forgiveness until now).

The instances Vickie cites (Faith and Parker) are more complicated. Parker never wanted forgiveness, so Buffy needn't give it. Rah refers to the scene in GD, I think, but that leaves out WAY and the AtS scenes. My view is that GD shows Buffy was prepared to forgive, but the later episodes show that Faith wasn't ready to receive it or to forgive Buffy or herself. That didn't happen until her breakdown with Angel. Therefore, Faith is still an unresolved issue for Buffy.

On the other hand, I can't agree with Rah about Giles and Angel. IMHO, Buffy was entirely right to forgive Angel when she did. I say that in part because I see Angel and Angelus as different entities. I know others don't agree. But I also think that was, in part, the message of Revelations -- Xander's hatred was shown to be wrong. Also, remember that different people may have different causes for anger and different reasons to forgive or not. The fact that Giles did or didn't forgive isn't dispositive of what Buffy should do.

Whether Giles forgave Angel is harder to say, since there was no formal scene showing that. However, they did work together later in S3 so it seems fair to say that he did.

All this is a long way to say that Buffy has always seemed very forgiving to me. I think it's one of her strengths.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Angel/Angelus -- Rahael, 08:55:56 07/08/02 Mon

This is such a complex puzzle. For the show to work, logically, Angel and Angelus must be two separate entities. In which case, forgiveness doesn't even enter into it.

This means Giles' anger is entirely unwarrented, unreasoning and unfair - this is certainly how I read it, when I first watched those scenes. In fact, in narrative terms, the anger really falls on Buffy, because just by being near Angel, the love of her life, she constitutes an everpresent danger to his soul, and thus, the lives of everyone around her.

But, I think a far more complex view is that there is a considerable osmosis between the two entities - that the soul is only a metaphor. I think this reading grows in richness as the series progresses, and Angel gets his own show. Firstly, Buffy is no longer around to constitute that danger, so the soul can become a less simplistic plot device, and more a complex metaphor for all of us, struggling with our self identity.

This make revisiting the early years more fascinating. What is Angel really thinking in Season 3? He seems as unreachable and mysterious to us as he is to Buffy in 'Earshot'. And Giles' reaction to him is most fascinating, in my view.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I think you hit the nail on the head -- Sophist, 09:17:45 07/08/02 Mon

Giles' anger in Revelations was with Buffy. It was she who posed a danger by her behavior with Angel. Once he realized that she would not renew her love affair (at least physically), Angel no longer was an issue for Giles.

I might agree with your metaphorical reading of the soul issue if it weren't for Spike's re-souling in Grave. That restored the literal aspects in a way that make the metaphor unworkable (at least to me). One of my disappointments with the ending of S6.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Metaphorical reading of soul and Lullaby (spoilers for Lullaby) -- shadowkat, 19:59:54 07/08/02 Mon

"I might agree with your metaphorical reading of the soul issue if it weren't for Spike's re-souling in Grave. That restored the literal aspects in a way that make the metaphor unworkable (at least to me). One of my disappointments with the ending of S6."

Not just Spike's re-souling. But also the whole DArla
feeling her unborn child's soul idea in Lullaby. Up until she feels the child's soul, she's evil. She's feels it, she's not. She feels remorse for what she and Angelus did to Holtz. Tells Angel that they did horrible terrible things, things they can never change or make better and the child is the best thing they ever did. She's afraid of living after giving birth to the child, because she'll forget loving it, forget the nourishment she receives from the soul, the remorse for killing Liam, for things she did.

Okay, so I'm confused again. Bear with me while I try to figure this out. I know I'm a little dense ;-)
Spike loves Buffy right?
But Darla says she couldn't love without the soul.
So Spike's soulless love of Buffy is nasty love. (Selfish, possessive, obsessive love - the type that consumes both parties and burns itself out, demon love.)According to past stories with souls: If Spike had a soul that would all change BUT his crimes would still matter as do Angelus's and Darla's in Lullaby. (They both admit to this more than once. Angel to Holtz and Darla and Angel to each other.)So being ensouled doesn't mean that
Spike's past crimes no longer matter, his slate isn't wiped clean - they still do obviously. That wasn't the change for Angel/Angelus. He still did those crimes. That was him. Just as it was Darla. Otherwise why does Angel have to be redeemed? If it was a clean slate - he would be fine. What changed - was Angel regretted doing them now and if the same opportunities present themselves again, he would choose to do the reverse, he would choose the path of good. I guess it's a lot like Sophist's point about Words and Deeds.

Your past deeds matter. But what matters more is what you choose to do next. Do you choose to pile on more horrible acts? Or do you choose to do something different the next round? Something good? That's what Angel discovers in Epiphany. And to some degree Amends. Did you learn from your guilt/remorse? If Angel was presented with the same situation - say an Acathla like statue, would he destroy the world or try to save it? If Spike is presented with the situation, now ensouled, of forcing himself on Buffy, would he do it? Of dealing demon eggs - would he? Or would he have destroyed them the moment he found them? Would he steal things now? Would he want to even drink blood?
Would he choose to have sex with Buffy when he knows she can't love him and it's destroying her - now that he's ensouled? Or would he choose another path? Would Angel kill a human, now ensouled?

These are the important questions I think, not what the characters did in the past - because there's no way they can change those acts, but they can make sure that others don't feel that same pain and anguish in the future. They can make sure that they don't repeat them. They can choose to heal and help and create life instead of destroy, torture and maime it. They can choose to share in it and give, instead of take and possess. That's the difference between Angel and Angelus - I think. That's the difference
the soul makes. With the soul - Angel realizes that creating
life, creating things of beauty, sharing his home, helping others, giving is far more rewarding. As Angelus, he wants to possess things. Destroy them. Put his mark on him.
It's all about "I" and "us" and "them" as the vampire.
As the souled vampire - it becomes more about the "we".

I think that's what happened to Darla when she got her soul. She stopped caring so much about "I" Darla and more about the life breathing inside her. She cared more about creation (the child) and less about her dead body built only for destruction (the vampire).
Which is why they had to ensoul Spike. He doesn't get that
without a soul, that whole "create" vs. "destroy", "give" vs. "take", "share" vs. "possess" concept is beyond him.

There's a great line in Lullaby by the way:

Sajhan says to Holtz having a soul makes no difference.
Attila the Hun had a soul. He still was Attila. Still as giving at Christmas. (can't decide if that was sarcasm, if not it works with my giving them.)
Holtz disagrees, says it does matter. Because it's something that can be released into enternal torment.

I think it's more than that. I think the soul makes it
possible for the characters to sense the choice between
creation/sharing/giving and taking/maiming/destruction. (prefer these terms to good/evil or order/chaos.) Without
a soul the vampire can't see past the selfish "I". He can love but it will always be possessively, obsessively and selfishly like Dru says "quite well but not very wisely".
With a soul - he can feel the others needs and feel the other's pain. Whether he chooses to ignore that pain or those needs is another issue entirely.

Does that make sense? Or am I still confused?

(assuming of course this posts....)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> That was wonderful -- Dochawk, 23:58:14 07/08/02 Mon

Except Darla wasn't feeling her own soul in Lullaby, she was feeling Connor's. Not that it makes one iota of difference in your wonderful explanation.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I doubt that a soul comes monogramed -- Rufus, 02:44:59 07/09/02 Tue

Remember that Joss has described the difference between the soulled and unsoulled......

JW: "Um, very little. (laugh) Essentially, souls are by their nature amorphous but to me it's really about what star you are guided by. Most people, we hope, are guided by, 'you should be good, you're good, you feel good.' And most demons are guided simply by the opposite star. They believe in evil, they believe in causing it, they like it. They believe it in the way that people believe in good. So they can love someone, they can attach to someone, they can actually want to do things that will make that person happy in the way they know they would. The way Spike has sort of become, an example is Spike obviously on Buffy, is getting more and more completely conflicted. But basically his natural bent is towards doing the wrong thing. His court's creating chaos where as in most humans, most humans, is the opposite, and that's really how I see it. I believe it's kind of like a spectrum, but they are setting their course by opposite directions. But they're all sort of somewhere in the middle."

The soul is not the identity of a person but a quality that makes up a moral compass that predisposes the soulled to feel good doing good. But remember the vampire is part human and all the memories and the personality are that of the person who once was.....just because they lost their soul doesn't mean they forget all they learned when fully human. The vampire is not only soulless but infected with the demons soul who first created vampires....a demon who has given the vampire that need to prepare the way for the old ones to return....but then there is this spectrum of behavior.

specútrum Pronunciation Key (spktrm)
n. pl. specútra (-tr) or specútrums

1. Physics. The distribution of a characteristic of a physical system or phenomenon, especially:

a. The distribution of energy emitted by a radiant source, as by an incandescent body, arranged in order of wavelengths.

b. The distribution of atomic or subatomic particles in a system, as in a magnetically resolved molecular beam, arranged in order of masses.

2. A graphic or photographic representation of such a distribution.

a. A range of values of a quantity or set of related quantities.

b. A broad sequence or range of related qualities, ideas, or activities: the whole spectrum of 20th-century thought.

Remember when Dru picked William in Fool for Love, the qualities she valued when others didn't...

She points to his heart and head in succession.

Your wealth lies here... and here. In the spirit
and... imagination. You walk in worlds the others can't begin to imagine.

Something happened through seasons 4 through 6 that changed Spike enough to come to a conclusion...that what Buffy deserved was a "lover with a soul". It had been painful to watch him go from practicing with a mannequin, the rudimentary skill of apologizing to Buffy, getting angry because it was against his nature.....then brushing off the broken chocolate box and starting again.....all because of this love he felt for her. Doesn't mean that the love didn't have a selfish twist and that is where the lack of a soul comes in. Spike was able to go only so far with this love, he was fine when there was no stress, but when things got tense he reverted to what his vampire nature knew best, doing the wrong thing. This is what caused him to look at himself and make that journey to get a soul. And where does the imagination come in? Well, the first vampire would have been a primative man, his brain power limited, his imagination not very developed, but what made the human creature so different was when slowly evolved, humans used their imagination to create a new world, one that eventually we all know now. Joss mentioned a spectrum of behavior...I think that describes what we have seen well. Spike was able to exhibit a broad range of behaviors along a spectrum and he eventually found the limitations of being unsoulled.....when he said that "the bitch thinks she's better than me", he knew that to be true...so grumbling all the way to Africa, Spike went to change his ability to act along the spectrum of behavior, his imagination could remember love, remember what he once was, and that was enough for him to understand the need for that change....he would never truly feel good doing good without a soul, so why not do something about it. I don't think this would have happened without first the chip, that prevented Spike from readily killing, and the love he was able to feel for Buffy, both reactivating a traitor that lived in his chest....from Once More with Feeling....

Spike: I died So many years ago....But you can make me feel
Like it isn't so...That's great. But I don't wanna play. Cause being with you touches me More than I can say..... I know I should go
But I follow you like a man possessed... There's a traitor here beneath my breast... And it hurts me more than you've ever guessed If my heart could beat, it would break my chest

This doesn't answer the question of why can people with a soul choose evil....but vampires are a result of an infection a curse, so their acting out is based upon the human they once were, with a corrupting force that has kicked out the moral compass (soul) and decided to create a little chaos.....of course every action may have unpredictable results....and of course we are talking the Buffyverse...;)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> A brilliant explanation. -- Caroline, 05:57:20 07/09/02 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Relearning... -- Leeann, 09:05:26 07/09/02 Tue

It had been painful to watch him go from practicing with a mannequin, the rudimentary skill of apologizing to Buffy, getting angry because it was against his nature.....then brushing off the broken chocolate box and starting again.....all because of this love he felt for her.

Beautiful point, Rufus. That was what he was doing. Practicing the skills necessary to be human again. He's been slowly learning to reconnect with that part of his "soul." Maybe that was what he was doing with the bot as well. Practicing how to be with a human woman. Learning those skills using a bot that was programmed to act human. The Buffybot was not Dru. No torture. No branding iron. There was some fighting as foreplay because he was still a vampire and the Buffybot thought it was the Slayer but he didn't have the bot programmed to like torture. In fact he seemed more gentle with the bot than he was with Buffy, though that was Buffy's fault.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Angel on BtVS and AtS -- matching mole, 10:18:38 07/08/02 Mon

This is OT somewhat but your discussion Angel and his soul really point out what I found so unsatisfying about Angel as a character on BtVS. He was remote and unreachable and I think that the development of his character was really hindered by the vampire-with-a-soul device and by his relationship with the Slayer. These two things really defined who he was in a very strict way. As Angel he was burdened with guilt and in love with Buffy and that was it. As Angelus he was a predatory sadist who hated Buffy.

On AtS he is the lead character (despite the fact that I once called him the uncharacter) and the rather simplistic effect of Angel's soul on his behaviour had to break down. I must confess that I didn't have great hopes for the success of Angel when I first heard of the spin-off and mainly started watching it because of Cordelia. But being away from Buffy has allowed Angel to develop into a far more interesting character than I ever would have believed possible. IMHO Angel's upgrade from noble sufferer/evil bastard to obsessed dork didn't really take until AtS season 2. Why? The crossovers. Once they stopped (or at least became less frequent) Angel was free to become a more complicated and interesting figure.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Angel/Angelus -- yabyumpan, 11:36:39 07/10/02 Wed

"For the show to work, logically, Angel and Angelus must be two separate entities"
I can't see Angel/Angelus as seperate entities mainly because there would be no Angel without Angelus. I see the soul as an evolution of Angelus.
"What we once were informs all that we have become" is as true for Anglus-Angel as it was for Liam-Angelus.
I see Angelus still as a large part of Angel and I think this is where the 'recovering alcoholic' metaphor comes in. It's not that he doesn't want to drink/feed etc (as shown in the scene between Angel and Harmoney in Disharmoney with Harmoney talking about the pleasure of blood going down the throat etc) but he resists because he knows it's 'wrong' and hates himself for the desire.
I think also, to see the two as seperate takes away credit from Angel for choosing to be 'good'. A soul IMO doesn't produce goodness just choice. He could have carried on being 'stink guy', wallowing in self pity and depression but he chose to 'be somebody'. Initially for/because of Buffy but it was still an active choice.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> From the last scene of Beer Bad -- Vickie, 09:29:49 07/08/02 Mon

PARKER: Buffy. I. I don't know how to say this. I'm sorry for how I treated you before. It was wrong of me, and. I'm sorry. (beat) And, you were great tonight. Really. (beat) I may not deserve this, but. Do you think, you could. forgive me?

Buffy regards him. More emotion than coherent thought on her face. He seems honest.

In a flash, she raises a club high over her head and brings it down HARD over his. He falls to the ground, unconscious.

(thank you, Psyche)

He may not have been completely sincere, and certainly didn't merit it (just yet anyway), but Parker appears to want and ask for forgiveness here.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I think Buffy saw the insincerity in Parker -- Sophist, 09:50:50 07/08/02 Mon

After all, the scene in The Initiative (comparing freshman girls to toilet seats) came after Beer Bad. I can't say Parker ever really understood his faults, despite Willow's best efforts.

A better example for you would be Jenny Calendar. She both wanted and deserved forgiveness. Buffy almost gave it before the murder, but couldn't bring herself to. I think that was a major part of her problem in IOHEFY.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I think Buffy saw the insincerity in Parker -- Vickie, 10:10:16 07/08/02 Mon

I think so, too. Funny thing, despite the despicable speech in The Initiative, I still think Stinky Parker was as sincere and honest at the end of Beer Bad as he was capable of being. Which is not very, but still a long way from not.

I read the Jenny Calendar thing differently too. From Act II of Passion:

BUFFY : (trying to start) Look, I know you're feeling bad about what happened and I want to say. good. Keep it up.

JENNY: Don't worry, I will.

She turns to go - Buffy stops her with:

BUFFY: Wait. I, uh - (one more try) He misses you.

This is not what Jenny expected. Buffy continues:

BUFFY: He doesn't say anything to me, but I know he does. I don't want him to be lonely. (avoiding her eye) I don't want anyone to.

JENNY: Buffy, if I have a chance to make it up to you-

BUFFY: We're good here. Let's leave it.

A moment, and she goes.

I read this as Buffy starting to open back up to Jenny. It's not complete, just the beginnings of forgiveness. Makes the tragedy all that much more awful (if it could get worse). Are you reading this as "couldn't bring herself to"?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Yes. That was exactly the scene I had in mind. -- Sophist, 10:44:04 07/08/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> What was cut from the Parker story -- Rufus, 14:44:13 07/08/02 Mon

From the transcript of Jane Espenson at The Succubus Club...

J: Okay, here's one. Here's one I can do. I can cite
his one. There was a thing that was cut from my episode
where Buffy sleeps with a guy in college -- she sleeps with

Q: Parker-Sex!

J: Yeah.

Q: Harsh Light of Day.

J: Harsh Light of Day, thank you. Where, at the very end,
all the fans were very upset; they were like *this didn't
feel like Buffy*; *why would Buffy get so hung up on this guy?* *You're making her a slut.*

Q: I said, I don't see a problem with it.

J: And, particularly the lines at the end about "Maybe we can still get back together"; "Maybe if I try harder." And people thought that was very, very weak of her. What they didn't see was a bit that had gotten cut where she says "The whole time I was with Parker, I kept thinking, 'look at me! I'm doing something
that doesn't have to do with Angel!' 'Look at how this has nothing to do with Angel!' 'Oh my God -- how come I couldn't see it was all about Angel.' "

Q: Oh.

J: And that got cut, and I think that was a mistake.

Q: That's too bad.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Easy forgiveness/ Honesty -- Rahael, 10:05:42 07/08/02 Mon

I think the point about Cave Buffy is that she acted on pure instinct: Save Parker. Thump him on the head with stick.

If Buffy had been herself she'd have saved Parker, and then said 'of course I forgive you', because that's the polite thing to do. It just shows how 'I forgive you' has become lip service to an idea of virtuous action, just as the cursory 'please' and 'thank you' has become cursory indicators of 'politeness'.

In my native language, there is no word for 'please' and no word for 'thank you'. Without these words, the culture is forced to act in many different ways to be gracious and polite. It may not surprise you to know that the civility, and courteousness and consideration that I grew up with is hardly matched in the culture I live now.

My scepticism about the idea of forgiveness, is that I have rarely met anyone who has convinced me that they think seriously about this issue, so seriously that they extend it into their lives. The petty feuds with their co-worker. The long running resentment against a friend, which only has to be scratched to see the anger pouring out. Yet they don't acknowledge it, saying "but I forgave them!"

In fact, I haven't met anyone who has give so much thought to this topic as I have, and agonised at great length, to decide, that when I had decided, that at the age of 11, I could, as a good Christian forgive many many things, I was fundamentally mistaken. I then spent years berating myself as a 'bad' person, before realising that something had to give, and it was, in essence my faith, or at least parts of it. It seems to me that to take parts of religious teachings from the world, which teach forgiveness, out of context distorts what they really mean. Because most religions promise a further life, where all these forgiven injustices are sorted out. And in a secular context, the idea that the meek and the oppressed should forgive, turn the other cheek, and say "but at least I shall inherit the earth" started seeming fundamentally unjust. Notice that Christianity, a prime proponent of forgiveness still has a judgement day, still has a hell.

If I had wronged someone as Parker had done Buffy, and then had my life saved by them, only a monumental act of arrogance and egotism would have then asked "but you must say the words. You must forgive me, on top of everything else you have done". The honourable course of action is to simply walk away, having thanked them.

I wonder, without the recourse to the easy words 'I forgive' the definition of which has still not been explained to me satisfactorily (either in the real world, or the Buffyverse context), how we might really behave to each other. Maybe we'd really have to examine our consciences. So I ask again, what do the outward manifestations of forgiveness look like? what does it consist of meaningfully, and why is it so important?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Words and deeds -- Sophist, 11:06:58 07/08/02 Mon

As usual, you have me thinking a lot. I need to take some time to formulate a fuller answer to your post, and may not be able to even then. A couple of quick points are all I can offer now.

It is very true that we use the word "sorry" as a front for true apologies. It works very well in cases of slights; I bump you in the street, "sorry", "no problem". No one doubts either the sincerity of the apology or that the incident is both forgotten or forgiven.

Civility and courtesy seem like cultural constructs to me. I'd be hard put to judge one culture more or less polite than another. The word "sorry" as used for slights seems to serve in this culture.

The word "sorry" is used by the wrongdoer. It's hard to know if he/she really means it in more serious cases. In the larger sense, nothing can ever undo the past. No action ever can bring a person back to life, undo a crime. All we can ever ask is that the wrongdoer live, from that moment on, in a way that shows both an understanding of the wrong done (i.e., don't repeat it) and a commitment to conduct her/his life without harming others. Words are a poor substitute for deeds in that case.

Does your language have a word for "to forgive"? "Remorse"?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Cultural Values -- Rahael, 14:47:31 07/09/02 Tue

about this; they are more knowledgable than I. In the written, 'high' version of the language, there are words that can be used to mean please and thank you. But they are never used informally, mainly cos they are very formal (e.g can you give me leave/have compassion on me, to do this) and in a way, quite flowery.

In ordinary life, one is meant to signify any of these in tone and inflection. The same phrase can be used to signify extreme affection, or extreme displeasure, depending on tonal inflection.

And then, a real understanding. Interesting that i had to go through culture, language to explain why the values that are so predominant on the board are not the way I would phrase/think of the world. I am more deeply enmeshed in my culture, for good or for ill than I have realised.

The values that are most central are these:

Honesty/objectivity; dignity; honour; courage; duty; mercy toward the helpless; social obligation; generosity;the importance of art/dance/music/poetry.

Because people do not traditionally take on the second names of their fathers (they just have their own name!) - well, they were forced to by the British, but the system is still peculiar, people identify with not so much their family, but their region, their local community.

Notice how many central Western values don't appear. It's the peculiar combination of all three that has resulted not only in what's wrong with my community, but also what is right about so much of it.

What is looked down upon:

Cowardice; weakness (except in the old and the infirm); moral timidity; arrogance; pride.

The whole cluster of ideas around those of 'strength' and 'weakness' is completely different.

These are set of values that I had gone for so long thinking that I had arrived at invidually. Am very struck by this realisation that it is nothing of the sort.

And yet one more thing: a famous couplet of an early poem (after Homer, but before the rise of the Roman Empire, sorry can't be precise without checking). The couplet declares:

"Every country is my home
Every man, my brother"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Cultural Values -- redcat, 17:13:40 07/09/02 Tue

You've got me thinking, Rah, about cultural values and the languages that em-breath them,
and about how influential they are even when we aren't conscious of it. I know what's below is
waaaay OT, but Sophist's questions and your response intrigue me, and this sub-thread has
gotten so far away from the Buffster that I hope those who do mind will already be ignoring it...

Anyway, in Hawaiian (the only language besides English and a bit of Latin I'm at all familiar
with), the word for "thank you" -- "mahalo" - is so commonly used and understood even by
non-Natives that the local gov't prints it on trash cans ( a cheery, Hawaiian-style "Thank You!"
for throwing your trash in here instead of on the street..) and tourists regularly assume the
word means garbage. In everyday pidgin, the local language of Hawai'i's mixed-ethnic people,
"mahalo" gets expanded in multiple ways, by the common additions of intensifiers like "no, nui,
nui loa," all of which mean best/much/good/extra.

The two phrases for "sorry" or "remorse" are quite a bit more rare, and like those in your
language, oddly formal. "Kaumaha" can be literally translated as "I call back my breath," and
"kala mai ia'u" is "I take your burden back unto myself." And the formal phrase for forgiveness
means "I accept the burden you give/gave me." The only phrase at all commonly used,
however, is "minamina," which actually means "I'm sad along with you [on your behalf]" rather
than "I take responsibility for your pain." You sometimes hear mothers comforting their
skinned-kneed kids with this one, along with the requisite "kiss to take away the owwie."

I think the reason Hawaiians say thanks more easily than sorry is that they so rarely hurt
others. Rape, for example, was almost unknown in pre- western contact Hawai'i (which does
not mean that sexual pressure and power/control issues were absent, simply that physical
force is antithetical to Hawaiian notions of sex). And when one does want to truly express
remorse, one generally can't appeal to a quick catchphrase but must actually discuss the issue
with the person (or god or animal or force of nature, etc.) that one has harmed, sort of like
what Dochawk posted earlier about the true practice of Yom Kippur.

The basic values in Native Hawaiian culture are:
Generosity, sharing, giving - this is the main and most important value by far. *Everything* else
is based on this.

Nurturing and taking care of - this includes the land/ocean, kids/elders/the helpless, the family
and each other. My common letter postscript, malama pono, means "nurture the good."
The local Green's Party political slogan here is Malama `Aina, nurture the earth.

Respect for others and their ways, but based on a firm sense that each person must know
their own thoughts and history. Thus, sharing is not linked to the loss of power, as in
western societies, and to be humble is not to be weak.

Respect for protocol, traditions, the gods and the elders, but usually also linked to a willingness
to embrace innovation. In the narrowest sense, this is about duty and obligation, which
is how it often gets coded in the modern society (with the innovation part left out, since
As We All Know, Innovation Is A Western Invention..), but in the older and more
spiritual sense, it's about recognizing one's place in the long scope of history and being
both humble and creative about that.

Skill in one's art or craft, a sense that there is always a best or most professional or most tidy
way to go about doing things. Hawaiians tend to dislike anything sloppy or that's only
on the surface. Hence the culture is highly competitive, especially about dance, music,
poetry and ocean sports. Pride in one's success is always shared with one's ohana,
one's extended family, however, since one never masters anything alone.

And finally, that life should be fun and that worship of the gods includes enjoying the beautiful
world that is literally their bodies-made-planet.

What is not respected:
greediness, selfishness, self-centeredness
arrogance, acting "stuck-up" or as if you're better than everyone else, especially when you win
lack of self control in difficult situations, losing one's cool
the sloppy execution of a task
disrespect for others or for nature

Traditional Hawaiian notions of strength and courage were based on the need to constantly
nurture the balance between humans, the divine and the forces of nature. Chiefs' main job
was to enact the physical and metaphysical link between the gods of heaven, earth, ocean
and the weather, and the humans who lived on and in those god's bodies. Anything that threw
the balance out of whack, including out-of-phase aggression, was considered weak, not
strong. That's why warfare could only be conducted in certain seasons and, until the
introduction of European metal weapons at any rate, actual death rates in war were extremely
low. Killing your opponent was considered weaker than winning the contest and then
generously allowing him/her (women were often combatants along with their husbands) to live.

And the most important thing that can be said in Hawaiian culture about a person after they die
is that they were generous and kind. I should be so lucky when my time comes...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Questions on Hawaiian Cultural Values -- Vickie, 14:44:40 07/10/02 Wed


Are you talking primarily about "pre-western contact Hawai'i" or about the current native Hawaiian culture? Or are there not significant distinctions between the two as you are describing?

Reason I ask is that you leave out several more disturbing trends in the Hawaiian culture I was presented when a tourist there last year. Near as I can tell, all of the qualities you describe are there.

However, according to the tourist literature, the "pre- western contact Hawai'i" culture was also extremely caste- stratified. Each caste lived according to a set of taboos, and breaking one meant death unless one could get to sanctuary. I don't know what all the taboos were, though one mentioned was allowing one's shadow to fall upon the king.

Can you please enlighten me on this? Thanks.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Some answers. Very long and OT -- redcat, 22:27:59 07/10/02 Wed

Your questions are certainly valid and I'm sure you're asking them from a true spirit of inquiry.
I'll answer them as best I can.

To all the readers who might open this post, what follows is long and extremely OT for this
board. Please only read this if you are interested in Vickie's question or Hawaiian culture in

First, in my original post (Re: Cultural Values), I was primarily speaking of pre-western-contact
Hawaiian culture, but as you note, all the values I discuss remain visibly active among
contemporary Native Hawaiians as well as much of Hawai'i's non-Native population.

As for the issue of "caste": this used to be the favored descriptor of a wide range of social
structures, each of which showed some similarities to the historic Indian caste structure.
"Feudal" was also once used as a common descriptor of certain types of somewhat-similar
social structures. Both of these words have been applied to Native Hawaiian culture,
predominantly by American and European anthropologists and historians whose training
occurred prior to the 1970s, when postmodernist questions about the nature of language as a
symbolic system and its reliance on interpretive models allowed both Native and
American/European investigators to rethink their descriptive terminology. Pre-western-contact
Hawaiian culture was highly rank-stratified and, although to a far less extent, class-stratified.
Because "rank" is not as active an analytical term in Euro- American academics as is "class," it
is only in the last thirty or so years that anthropologists and historians have begun to
adequately describe the Hawaiian rank/class structure and to theorize about its actual
differentiation from and similarities to Indian caste systems and European feudal ones.

What we do now know, however, is that Hawaiian society was the most heavily stratified of all
Polynesian societies, and that such stratification had primarily begun in the period after the
second wave of (probably Tahitian) colonization in about 1100 AD, when a contingent of
newcomers conquered/absorbed the original islanders, who most scholars now believe had
come from the Marquesas Islands at least a thousand years before the second group arrived.
This second group became the basis for the ali'i (chiefly) class, and introduced a wide range of
technological innovations in agriculture, aquaculture, construction, art and religion. It was this
group who brought with them the notion of a State religion based on the worship of four male
gods. Much like people have world-wide, commoner Hawaiians incorporated this imposed
religion into their own, and the two levels of Hawaiian religion flourished simultaneously, quite
a bit like the practice of Shinto and Buddhism in Japan. The rank/class structure is intimately
linked to this system of religious fusion, and it did operate, as your information suggests, to
literally separate na maka'ainana (commoners) from na ali'i (the chiefs) in most circumstances
of daily life. This is pretty common among highly- stratified systems. To put it into perspective,
think of King George IV, who was the British monarch when Capt. Cook landed at Kealakekua
Bay in 1779, and who did not generally spend a lot of time in the presence of British peasants,
either. As in the British case, contact events between chiefs and commoners were tightly
controlled and generally quite ceremonial and ritualized. Relationships between persons at
ranks lower than na ali'i were also ritualized, but to a far less extent. The vast array of extant
indigenous literature demonstrates that the very fact such ritual relationships and protocols
existed and functioned as they did made them the favored playground for transgressions of
persons of all ranks. The literature is literally full of tales of rank/class transgression, some
witty, some tragic, some erotic, some ribald, some historically grounded, some legendary
and/or prescriptive. Transgression stories are among the most common for all Hawaiian
literary genres, in fact. Hawaiian literature was, of course, prior to western contact completely
oral rather than literate, but was extraordinarily complex none-the-less. The primary origination
myth., for example, is a poetic chant called the Kumulipo that runs to over 2,500 lines, took
four days to chant correctly and had at least a dozen competing extant versions by the late
19thC, when several versions were published in English translations as well as in the original
Hawaiian, each of which was used by different ali'i lineages as part of their complex of
strategies for power accumulation and rank solidification.

A clear intensification of the stratified rank/class structure seems to have occurred somewhere
in the late 17thC, linked to the movement toward cross- island consolidation of political power
that culminated in the reign of Mo'i Ali'i Kamehameha, who wove the islands into one formal
political unit between 1790 and 1810, using a combination of western military weapons and
techniques, traditional Hawaiian military weapons and techniques, and traditional Hawaiian
negotiating strategies. This intensification of the rank/class structure and the solidification of
the dividing lines between ranks and classes, and increasingly between the genders, was only
heightened by the introduction of western commodities, social structures and cultural ideas,
and especially by Hawai'i's forced integration into an emerging global capitalist system.

The particular cultural practice that you describe, the killing of someone whose shadow fell on
the "king" (BTW, the use of this word rather than the Hawaiian one, ali'i, or its English
equivalent, chief, leads me to believe that the tourist literature you were given was written by a
westerner, not a Native) was, in fact, a long-standing historical practice that was most likely
almost never enacted in pre-western-contact society, exactly because of all the firmly-
embedded social and cultural dividers between the physical bodies of the chiefs and those of
their "lesser relations," the maka'ainana. (The ali'i were understood to be literally the most
recent descendants of the gods, while maka'ainana were their merely distant cousins.) As the
19thC progressed, the Native Hawaiian economic, social, political and religious systems began
to break down quite rapidly under the onslaught of western peoples, technologies, power and
land grabs and, most deadly of all, western-introduced diseases, which led to a 95% - think
about this carefully, 95%!!! - population collapse in less than 80 years after the first western
contact. During that period, western observers document the increasing disruption of
traditional social structures that would have normally given kapu breakers (law breakers - our
word taboo in English comes from a mis-hearing of the Hawaiian word by Capt. Cook) the
chance to flee to a pu'uhonua (religious sanctuary) in order to cleanse themselves of the bad
mana (spiritual power) that such kapu breaking would inevitably bring down on their ohana
(family) and ali'i, because breaking sacred laws given by the gods would surely incur the gods'
ill-will. For a commoner to come close enough to a chief for her/his shadow to fall on that
chief, without the specific ritually-necessary protocols that would loosen the divisions between
them, was seen as a violation of the essential balance between gods and humans that could
result in life-threatening destruction. As the systems collapsed, as the gods and their
representatives on earth could no longer protect the people, the old rules of kapu were thrown
out. But the 50 year period prior to the collapse of the formal kapu system in 1819 certainly
included an increase in the ali'i's exploitation of the commoners and their manipulation of the
traditional rules of kapu to increase their own power bases. The few western-documented
cases of the immediate killing of a commoner by the guards of an ali'i all occur during the last
and worst phase of this cultural transformation, as the ali'i's power began to be usurped by the
American and British haoles, and they began to impose unreasonable demands on those who
their western advisors now told them were their "subjects," a concept quite foreign to traditional
Hawaiian culture and language. None of the indigenous literature, none of the contemporary
responsibly-researched anthropological accounts and none of the contemporary archeological
research suggests that the of killing kapu-breakers of any kind (other than during times of war)
was either immediate or common. In fact, the elaborate system of na pu'uhonua which are
found in every region of every island suggests that most kapu-breakers (again, with the
exception of war criminals and, possibly, political traitors - although this interpretation is
controversial) were formally assisted in reaching a pu'uhonua, where they could undergo
cleansing and ritual rehabilitation into their communities. This could take from weeks up to
years, depending on the severity of the crime.

I don't know if this answers your questions, Vickie. I hope so. Pre-western-contact
Hawaiians, like all peoples, came in many shapes, sizes and personality types. They were
neither always gentle nor always cruel; their culture was neither perfect nor a failure. They
were very human, and probably a whole lot like any one reading this. But their culture was
very different than most modern urban peoples', and their ways of understanding the world
and reacting to it came from a different set of values than most westerners are comfortable
with. The interpretations of Hawaiian culture that most westerners are most familiar with do
not derive from within Hawaiian culture itself, but have been translated through foreign eyes
and value systems. Again, to put this in perspective, it is easy to condemn Hawaiians for
killing someone merely because their "shadow fell on the king." I grew up and still live in a
colonialized Hawai'i where such interpretations and condemnation are common. But think
again about late 18thC or early 19thC Britain, where a man could be hanged for stealing a loaf
of bread, or have a hand cut off for picking a pocket, and a woman could have her faced
branded with a "W," for whore, because she couldn't feed her children without selling her body.
Each of these "crimes" would not only NOT have been crimes during the same period in
Hawai'i, Hawaiians could not have imagined living in a world in which a person would be
allowed to go hungry or in which sex could be bought and sold. It is a great tragedy that their
descendants now must live in a world where these things arfe still crimes, and only the punishments have changed.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Class, Rank and Weber -- Rahael, 05:16:42 07/11/02 Thu

Fascinating stuff, Redcat!!

It is very interesting that you bring up the terminology of class, that Western Anthropologists applied to Hawaiian society. This is an issue which comes up for historians of early modern Europe. The word "class" was routinely applied to describe the social hierarchies of European society, but contemporaries did not use that word, and would not think of their society thus.

There was a whole range of language to describe an extremely complex and layered society, from peasants, the menu peuple in France, to middling sorts, to the gentry, to the aristocracy, to all the other groups and ranks. The judiciary in France, for example had a highly distinctive place and self image in early modern French society. The clergy. Even the gentry divided themselves (in a highly ideological rather than practical) way as 'country' and 'court' in England.

The idea of physical contact with Royalty being a potent one - that of course is also present in Western culture, where monarchs touched people on special days to cure them of illnesses.

Terminology and words are so important because they carry a whole cluster of meanings which are rooted in specific historical and cultural contexts (like forgiveness lol). By talking of the middle class, rather than middling sorts in early, early modern England is to be blind to all sorts of important nuances. It is to misunderstand, and refuse to see, society through the eyes of its inhabitants. And, it would be to misunderstand why they made the choices they did.

The European stratification of society was just as much infused by the vocabulary of religion, of God, and of harmony. Just as God had made the world, he had made society, and his divine approval was the foundation stone for the groupings in society (reflected, late into the Victorian period by the hymn 'the rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate' - and all is well with the world!)

It was Weber of course, who posited a totally different way of looking at European 'class' structures, based on contemporary outlooks. He may be a little dated now, but historians have built on his observations. I for one, have never used the word 'class' in my essays. Or in seminars. We all laughed self consciously as we tried, at all times, to understand the European past in its own terms.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Wow! Thank you -- Vickie, 07:37:47 07/11/02 Thu

It certainly does answer my questions--and raises a bunch more. I don't want to hijack the board any further. Can you recommend some decent literature?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Wow! Thank you -- redcat, 11:57:01 07/11/02 Thu

Send me your email and I'll send you a list. Also got up this morning and wrote out a great story that addresses the other side of my responses to both you and Finn, but don't want to take up more OT board space. I'll send that as well if you'd like. And thanks for your questions, which obviously really got me going. You know what they say, scratch an historian and you don't get blood, only text.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> redcat please send it to me too! -- shadowkat, 13:14:46 07/11/02 Thu

Haven't participated as much in this thread, but have
loved it. One of the best on the board right now.

Thank you for sharing. It really is more on topic than you think. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> 'kat - thanks! and check your email -- redcat, 15:41:58 07/11/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Like Willow in "Two to Go"? -- d'Herblay, 16:14:48 07/11/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I know this will only encourage you, but LOL. -- Sophist, 16:42:54 07/11/02 Thu

And your Rashomon post was wonderful.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Sex and Hawaii -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:09:06 07/10/02 Wed

Rape was probably so low in pre-colonized Hawaii because sex was a very open thing. Even if you were in a relationship with someone, you could still go sleeping around, and there were always plenty of people willing to sleep with you. Why take it by force when people are giving it away?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Rape is a power crime -- Vickie, 17:40:41 07/10/02 Wed

and not one of honest lust--at least as it has been explained to me.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Rape is a power crime -- Finn Mac Cool, 19:38:53 07/10/02 Wed

In our society, sex is often considered to bind someone to another. Therefore, raping someone gives the delusion of forcibly binding them, greating a power high.

However, pre-colonized Hawaii didn't see sex as binding, so rape wouldn't be linked to power.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> And you know this how? -- redcat, 20:21:46 07/10/02 Wed

I'm not sure why you posted this. I do hope it is not simply an attempt to provoke an argument
because of our recent disagreement on another thread. I am willing to give you the benefit of
the doubt and assume that you truly believe that you do know something about Native
Hawaiian culture and society, and will extend that benefit of the doubt to include an
assumption that you also believe that what you think you know is actually the truth.

However, what you have posted above demonstrates an enormous degree of ignorance about
the actual facts of both pre-western-contact and post- western-contact Hawaiian culture and
society. That ignorance is unfortunate, but not surprising, given the dearth of most non-
Hawaiians' actual exposure to the culture and their over- exposure to highly-mythologized
western reconstructions of it. Your assumptions and the conclusions you draw from them, in
fact, are based both on classical western assumptions about gender and sex, rather than on
Hawaiian ones, as well as on a set of well-regurgitated misinterpretations, misrepresentations
and outright lies propagated primarily by American and British colonialists, beginning with
politically-motivated "histories" of Hawai'i, written in English for non-Hawaiian readers, initially
constructed by a generation of American missionaries who spoke Hawaiian poorly, if at all.
Their tradition of providing "explanations" of Hawaiian culture and "descriptions" of Hawaiian
society were continued throughout the 19th and 20th centuries as succeeding generations of
their descendants, no longer missionaries, became sugar factors, bankers, plantation owners
and budding industrialists who joined their co-nationalists in eventually claiming the islands for
their own, in part, by manipulating such histories "to prove" that Hawaiians were amoral, child-
like creatures who could not control their animal appetites. No doubt you have also heard
tales that Hawaiians practiced infanticide, or that Native women threw themselves at Capt.
Cook's sailors because they thought the white men were gods. Competent contemporary
histories and anthropological studies, based on sources written in Hawaiian by early post-
contact Hawaiian scholars about their own culture, on careful contextualizations and
reexaminations of earlier haole (white foreigner)- written sources, and on actual cross cultural
research on Polynesia and Hawai'i (based, I'm sure you will be delighted to know, on western
academic research principles) has proven that many such assertions, including those similar to
your own, are simply erroneous.

I've no idea if you are interested in a more fact-based interpretation of Hawaiian sexual
practices, but if you are, perhaps you might like to continue reading.

The actual historical realities of Native Hawaiian, and more broadly Polynesian, pre-western-
contact cultural ideologies about gender, sex, power, exchange, age, rank and the sacred
demonstrate an extremely high degree of cultural complexity and social imbrication.
Understanding them fully -- or even somewhat adequately as an outsider -- is the work of a
lifetime. However, suffice it to say that Native Hawaiians did not generally engage in forcible
rape NOT because they were "sleeping around," NOR because people were "giving it [sic]
away," but because within Hawaiian cultural constructions, sex is not something that can be
taken by force. This is probably so foreign an idea to you that you might have a hard time
understanding it. I take it that you do not come from a culture in which the very essence of sex
is understood to be that sex is an act of reciprocity between humans and gods.

However, this was the case in pre-western-contact Hawaiian culture. It is absolutely true,
therefore, that traditional Hawaiian society encouraged maka'ainana (commoners) of both
sexes to experiment widely with multiple sexual partners prior to their settling down (usually in
their mid-to-late twenties), at which point they were expected to take up the responsibilities of
becoming na makua (parents) in ka ohana (a collective, extended and multi-generational
family grouping). This experimentation, as was all sex, including sex between long-term
partners, was a very conscious form of worship of the gods, an active, embodied, immanent
dedication of one's strength, and sexual prowess and joy - and at certain life-stages, of one's
youth and beauty - in service to and in worship of the gods from whose literal bodies all those
wonderful qualities came in the first place. Sex was simultaneously seen as a celebration of
the strength and beauty of one's ohana, one's family and its generative powers. Hawaiian
gods are VERY sexual, because life is very sexual in these islands, and a fair portion of
traditional Hawaiian chants celebrate the actual sexual organs, both male and female, of
individual ali'i (chiefs), na akua (the gods) and, less commonly, historically-important ka

But in Hawaiian culture, life and sex and power are also linked to responsibility. This is a major
value in the culture. Kuleana means that what one has a right to, one also has a responsibility
for. So young people have the kuleana (responsibility) to enjoy their youth and beauty and
sex, and it's also their right to do so. And if children are born from these unions, and the
young parents are not ready to settle down yet, the child was usually given to the parents or
grandparents and was ALWAYS considered the most special and sacred of gifts. Even today
in Hawai'i, children that are hana'i (adopted) are considered the most special and blessed of all
children, and that's saying something, because this is a culture that recognizes all children as
special gifts from the gods. I have seen people, perfect strangers, when they find out that a
child is hana'i, come up and gently rub their head for good luck - one gets used to it if one is
adopted here.

Further, it is also absolutely true that because of their very differing notions about sex and the
sacred and the links of both of these to power, maka'ainana persons of either gender who held
sufficient mana (spiritual power) within themselves to successfully create positive aka (cords of
energy that connect people, these grow from the center of one's chest/gut, where one's
na'auao [self-knowingness], mo'olelo [stories] and mana'o [thoughts, feelings] come from, and
then intertwine between people) with more than one person, or with persons of more than one
sex/gender, were celebrated for being able to contribute that much more spiritual power and
grace to their na ohana, and were often seen as powerful links to the gods, as well as between
the members of neighboring ka ohana. Such folks were especially useful (in a social sense)
during times of famine or resource shortage.

Do you begin to see, Finn, how complicated the issue you so blithely toss away with your
presumptive assertions is? And I haven't even begun to address the differences between
maka'ainana culture and the sexual and reproductive ideologies linked to the ali'i class,
which are far more complicated because the ali'i were understood to be the actual
descendants of the gods themselves, and were therefore much closer to them even than
commoner humans, especially during sex and childbirth.

I've no idea if you've read any of this, if any of it makes sense to you, or if you even care. I
cannot, of course, either stop you from posting anything you like about anyone or any group,
no matter how ignorant it is or how inappropriate it might be in others' views. Nor can I help
educate you about Native Hawaiian culture if you have no interest in it. I offer this post,
however, in the hope that it will allow you to challenge at least some of your own assumptions
about what you think you know.

Malama pono a hui hou,

PS - the prefix "na" in ka olelo makuahine Hawai'i nei (the Hawaiian language) indicates the plural case, while the prefix "ka" indicates the singular case.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: And you know this how? -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:56:13 07/10/02 Wed

I ran across it on a website about Hawaii. Course, you can't trust everything on the Internet, and I was basing that all on one source. I plead misinformation.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: And you know this how? -- Finn Mac Cool, 22:45:10 07/10/02 Wed

Would just like to add that I wasn't trying to offend any Hawaiian aboriginals. I guess it was pretty stupid to assume everything on this one website was true (it seemed legitimate). Just like to say I'm sorry.

P.S. Redcat, I am just not making a favorable impression on you, am I? I stand by what I said in the first thread, but I do retract this one. Please, try reading a different one of my posts. You've replied to the two worst case examples.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Apology accepted. -- redcat, 23:05:46 07/10/02 Wed

But do me a favor, Finn. If you go see "Lilo and Stitch," just remember -- it's Disney. Take it with a grain of salt...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Taking or not taking second name of fathers (long,btvs, history) -- shadowkat, 07:28:08 07/11/02 Thu

"Because people do not traditionally take on the second names of their fathers (they just have their own name!) - well, they were forced to by the British, but the system is still peculiar, people identify with not so much their family, but their region, their local community."

This comment caused my poor brain to go rambling off on a tangent last night. I'm working on an Atonement with The Father essay and started thinking how much your comment fits with it.

redcat and rah - your cultural values discussion is not as far off topic as you may think. (yes - I can link anything
back to btvs!)

In Btvs - there are four characters that do NOT have last names or surnames. They are Darla, Drusilla, Spike and

Now here's the interesting thing - Darla and Dru do not choose their vampire names. Darla is given her's by the MAster. Drusilla keeps her human name which was given her by her biological father.

William chooses his vampire name - Spike.

Liam chooses his, he picks the name his little sister calls him - Angelus. When he is cursed with a soul, he lops off the end and shortens it to Angel.

William and Liam were both names given by their fathers.
In Western Culture - it is traditional for the first male child to take both the first and second names of their father.
My own father was named William, after his father, and
after his father before him. This causes confusion: hence
the William....Sr. William....Jr. or William...III.

Women are often named after their mother or given new names.
But, when they marry, they drop their father's surname and take their husbands. In recent years, some women have kept their father's last name and joined it to their husbands surname.

The practice of taking on a surname, started ages ago in Western society - the purpose was originally to determine whose kid the child was. By giving the child the father's surrname - the father claimed that child as his property and his responsibility. Women dropped the father's name, because when married, they ceased being his property and became the property of their husband and his family, often moving into their husbands' families house. The head of the husband home was not his new wife, but his mother.


If his father was still alive, the father would rule the household until his death.

The surrnames came from locations, occupations, or description - really less to do with family initially than one might thing. In Wales for instance the name Lloyd refers
to the color Gray. While in germany Konigsberg - refers to Kings Mountain. All the people living near Kings Mt = Konigsberg. All the people with a father with gray hair, may get the name =LLoyd. If you're father was a Black -Smith, ie. created horseshoes and ironworks?
You're last name became Smith.

In some tribal cultures, children earned their own names, not unlike the male vampires on Btvs. The child was given the name by its parents, then when it came of age - it went on a vision quest to search for a name. The name it earned
was the one it would have in adult life. Last names were seldom necessary in the tribal community.

In Matriarchial societies - last names are also seldom given. The mother ruled the roost. She knew who her children were and did not need to brand them with names.
The reason for the naming or branding is who the kids belong to. If the father rules - he wants to know who he has responsibility over. So he gives the kids his surname.

I've known of some cultures that give the child the mother and father's names - combine them into one name.

In US - I have friends who did not like the name their parents gave them and had it legally changed. My own grandfather actually did this in the 1920s, changing his first name legally from August to Fred. Other friends have
legally adopted their mother's maiden names.

The use of names in our society has connotations of ownership. When we place a name on a location or item, we classify it or catergorize it and render control over it.
In Btvs - the Initiative names the demons, they put them in glass zoo-like cages and give them names like Hostile 17.
The male vampires create their own names, while the female vampires get the names the males give them. They have no last name.

In some magic books I've read - knowing something's name gives us control over it. Giving it a name, puts it in our power.

Which brings us back to rah's point - we didn't have surrnames, we were forced by the British. Interesting.
The British when they colonized territories, placed their own names on locations and the people. In the US, slaves were given their master's names. Part of the reason Cassius
Clay changed his name to Mohammed Ali was to lose the slave name he'd inherited. In US we have Native American names
for locations and the names created by the colonizists.
When the British invaded India - they enforced their own names on the cities. They did the same thing in Africa.
It was a way of controlling the country and making it theirs. The Normans did the same thing to the Saxons, and the Romans were notorious for it.

Back to bTvs - Miss Kitty Fantascio - Willow and Tara discuss on many occassions what to call her. Should they give her the name or will her name come to them. Is it right they should give her the name? Tara even wonders why Miss Kitty hasn't told them her name yet in Willow's dream.
In Joss Whedon's interview on the DVD he mentions that
the metaphor is how women seem more willing to wait to hear the name or have it come to them, while men immediately name it. Again naming = control, ownership. The mother
who has many children in the tribe sees no need to give them all last names, she knows they are hers. The father does. He doesn't know which are his.

Okay...sorry for the ramble. Will hopefully come up with something more coherent in my essay, assuming I ever finish it.

thank you redcat and rah for one of the most interesting threads I've read in a while. You brought back vivid memories of my old Anthropology classes. An interest that never quite dies.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Naming and identities -- Rahael, 08:40:12 07/11/02 Thu

Intriguing and thought provoking Shadowkat!

I'm thinking of 'names' and 'identities', which I was discussing with Ponygirl and Redcat in the Angel annotation thread above, and in particular, Ponygirl's thoughts about the names/identities the characters take upon themselves.

Very often, the characters are associated strongly with a particular activity.

Tara, the witch/practising magic
Willow, first a geek, then a witch, and finally Dark Willow
Buffy, the Slayer of Vampires, sister of Dawn and 'friend' who 'saved the world alot'
Xander, the 'cavalry', the carpenter, the Comfatador/Conquistedor
Giles, librarian, Watcher
Jenny, technopagan
Oz, plays in a band

And now I'm thinking of Redcat's thougths on the search for self identity in BtVS, and how illusory is the thought that one can find a true 'essential' self. Who am I, who is the real me?

Several people are strikingly lost in terms of self identity - Dawn, (am I evil or good? 'Real Me')
Spike - his black leather coat, his attitude, all smacks of 'protesting too much'. After he's chipped, he has no place in society proper, no purpose.

Perhaps all the people who take on identities, such as Slayer, Witch, Librarian, all of them are equally lost, and in search of themselves?

Leading back to Angel, and what constitutes human beings - perhaps the most difficult, and consistent theme that BtVS explores is - What does it mean to be human? to be alive?

How do we relate lived experiences, the tragic, difficult complex messy world, to the world of prescription, books, teachings?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Naming and identities -- shadowkat, 09:09:40 07/11/02 Thu

"Perhaps all the people who take on identities, such as Slayer, Witch, Librarian, all of them are equally lost, and in search of themselves?

Leading back to Angel, and what constitutes human beings - perhaps the most difficult, and consistent theme that BtVS explores is - What does it mean to be human? to be alive?"

I remember a while back, someone telling me
that they made up their own name, first and last
and got it legally changed. I asked didn't that cause all sorts of confusion. They said no and that "wasn't it their right to create their own identity their own name?"

Reminds me of the episode Choices. In this episode, Buffy tells Weseley and Giles that she shouldn't be completely defined by her job, by being a slayer. I'm not just the "slayer" she states. I'm Buffy too. She does this over and over again. In Witch she tells Giles, she wants to be a cheerleader, because she wants to be more than the slayer, doesn't want to be just defined as the slayer. In AYW - she tells Sam, she doesn't want to be defined by who she's with.
Very interesting remark. When she was with Riley - she was defined by him. HE was part of the Initiative - she initially tried to join him - then when he left it, he joins her cause. IF she ever married him - would she become
Mrs. Riley or would he become Mr. Summers? Before he leaves, his friends are starting to refer to him as Mr. Summers and he can't deal with it. He is becoming defined by her.

"what constitutes human beings - perhaps the most difficult, and consistent theme that BtVS explores is - What does it mean to be human? to be alive"

You're point is an interesting one and one I've been thinking about a great deal in my own personal life. What defines us? Am I defined by my career? The country I come from? My culture? Have I allowed such things as religion,
politics, nationality, race, my own name, my occupation to limit me?

Age and I were discussing over email the theory of oneness, how while we're all individuals, there should be no boundaries between us, we should be in harmony and not defined separately. But in some cultures oneness is achieved by creating the hive mentality - where everyone functions as one entity, a danger we all wish to avoid.

Ayn Rand was terrified of being defined by others. Her theory of objectivisim is based on the view that I define myself. By my acts. Deeds. I name me. Except does that work when you forget everything surrounding you?

Aren't we to some extent defined by what surrounds us?
Isn't how we interpret what we see and feel and how others interpret us - part of what makes us, us? Angel interprets himself and his role as one of a champion, someone who helps people who tries to make the world better, who tries to make up for past ill deeds.
But his son Connor interprets Angel as the demon that killed Holtz's family, Holtz himself and will always be a monster, who should pay. Whose interpretation is correct?

Willow sees herself as an avenging Angel. Ridding the world of pain and grief. Her friends see her as nutty witch with an addiction to magic. Some of the audience as evil. Some as a junkie. Which is the true interpretation? How about all of the above?

Buffy sees herself as a normal girl burdened with a weighty responsibility that exhausts her. The matyr. Her friends see her as the hero. Some of the audience as the quippy hero who always saves the day and deserves the heroic guy.
Spike and Angel - as a girl fighting a daily battle against their kind? Will the real Buffy please stand up?

I find it interesting as human beings, we are so obsessed with classifying and naming things, including ourselves.

Willow = witch. Giles = librarian. Spike = evil vampire.
Xander = carpenter.

Placing ourselves in boxes. But what if we don't fit the box we've put ourselves in? What if the names we've given things don't fit them? For instance I've been told Panda Bears are in reality nasty creatures, horrible. But a snake could be a good thing, isn't bad at all. Did we name them
wrong? (Don't know this for sure. Love Panda Bears...really
hope that wasn't true, just an example.) Or how about Spike?
Was he named wrong? Is he just = evil vampire? Was Buffy?
Is Buffy just = vampire slayer?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Naming and identities -- ponygirl, 12:38:11 07/11/02 Thu

Maybe the question is not how we define ourselves or how others define us, but how to integrate all the different components of ourselves -- how to live as a whole person. There are so many different parts all of us must play at work, at home, in the world-- no matter how much we would like to compartmentalize, it all comes from the one source.

When I think about Rahael's and shadowcat's posts I keep coming back to Oz. He seemed to be the one character who didn't seek to define himself. He just was. He may have been the cool guy, or the guy in the band, but those were labels others gave to him, he never claimed them himself. The one label he couldn't avoid, werewolf, was thrust upon him and for a long while he thought it was only him for a few days out of the month. He quite literally placed a part of himself in a cage and thought that was enough. When he realized that the wolf was actually a much deeper part of him, he left to try and remove his werewolf aspect. He seemed to succeed, but in truth he only made the wolf more a part of him, connected more completely to the emotions he thought he could control.

How can we remove a part of ourselves? The goal it seems is to take all of the different parts, even the ones we hate, and rather than separate them, see them as what they are: a whole, complete, complex person.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The Real Me -- fresne, 12:45:33 07/11/02 Thu

I'm afraid this won't be nearly as elucidating as some of the other posts. My historical background does not to naming traditions tend.

Although, I'll randomly mention (with no real historical whosit whatsoever) the trend for immigrants to America to either pick or be given new last names because the old name wasn't "American" enough. My housemate's great-grandfather altered his last name to be more American, although interestingly the new name had the same meaning as the old name.

Also, I'd like to point out that even when people had last names (however, they got them) there was, even into this century, a certain fluidity to spelling. My great-great- grandfather (?-1905) spelled his last name four different (and if I may say highly creative) ways on various documents. Same name, lots of interpretations on a theme.

Anyway, any discussion of identity always makes me think about the book Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold (in itself a statement - given name, maiden name, (ex)husband's last name).

In this book, the main character has for various career/psychological reasons (he's a spy, he has issues), developed two identities. Miles Naismith Vorkosigan and Miles Naismith. He is named (and this is fairly important) after his mother's father (Miles), his mother's maiden name (Naismith), and his father's family name (Vorkosigan). These names were chosen because his grandfather refused to allow his parents to name their son after him.

Over the course of the series, Miles gradually gives the Naismith identity all the best bits of himself.

Naismith has a successful career. Naismith has a love life. Naismith goes places and has forward momentum. Naismith flims and flams and con's experts into achieving results. Naismith speaks with his mother's accent and identifies himself as a Betan (it's a place) like his mother.

Vorkosigan's career is top secret. Vorkosigan does not date. Vorkosigan goes very specific places, spends most his time in transit and is bound by centuries of cultural responsibilities. Vorkosigan is a role model. Vorkosigan speaks with his father's accent and identifies himself as a Barrayaran (also a place) like his father.

When the Naismith identity self-implodes/crashes into the Vorkosigan identity, Miles must determine who he is at the rock bottom core center of himself. Must learn to reintegrate all aspects of himself into one being. Must choose who and what he wants to be.

A process which is particularly interesting from a character that thinks of himself as a Venn diagram. At one point,
(Lord Vorkosigan (Lieutenant Vorkosigan (Miles Naismith Vokosigan ( Miles Naismith (Miles(?)))))).

I'd recommend the book, but it really doesn't have quite the impact if you haven't read all the previous books. Like coming into BtVS at S6. You could, but it's all consequences, without the leavening lighter seasons and useful background.

Personally, I'm inclined to see identity as a 30 million sided garment, of which I only expose one or two sides at a time. They're all simultaneously me, but different aspects that I choose/or can't help but use. As I've mentioned previously, this is something that I explore quite a bit with costuming (all clothes are a costume.)

I see myself putting forward different aspects of myself when I am, for example: at work, in my home with close friends, at a dinner party with unknown but likable people, dancing, etc. At the center, I can be no less than me, and yet I cannot help but being defined by my context.

And after all, consider the current context. Fresne is not my given name, nor do many of the posters here post with their given names, ranks and serial numbers. Posters tend to pick a personally signicant name and stick with it (except trolls - but they're a strange irksome breed). We're choosing our identities. Identities, which are probably contextualized because of the medium - i.e., typed not spoken, long essay style posts, opportunity to think and rethink statements, communicating with a wide variety of people of different backgrounds over however long the post stays listed, etc. Which isn't to say that we aren't displaying a real me, but quite probably not all the real mes.

So, to bring things on topic, Buffy is simultaneously Buffy, the Slayer, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an acquaintance, a girlfriend, a lover, an ex(girl-friend, lover, friend), a student, a Summers, an employee, a Scooby (which is kind of like being the Slayer, but more group oriented), a girl, a child, a woman, 16-21 so far, etc. At various points in time, she puts forward the aspects of herself most useful to that role or in some cases not useful.

The difficulty in growing up/out/in often seems to be learning how to transition through all the disparate selves.

One of the ways, in both "the real world" and on BtVS, people point to these shifts in identity is through clothing/hair style. I only half joke when I mention the leather pants of evil. The wanna-be "Lonely Ones" in LtM were trying to code their meaning, who they were, by how they dressed. When Dawn puts on her would be Vampire Lover's coat, there was a cultural significance (and okay a resonance to Buffy wearing Angel's coat) to the act of wearing a boy's lettered jacket. There's something fairly evocative to the various tattoos that we see in the series (Angel, Lily, Giles, etc.). A tattoo being a meaning/identity that may be hidden, but is very difficult to remove.

And as we discuss identity, I reminded that one of the first things we do when learning a language is to learn the names of things. "You Tarzan, me Jane." As time passes, the names get more complex, the nouns are verbed, shades of context congeal with culture and history.

All of which might (as a lawyer's daughter I often prevaricate, except when I'm being a technical writer, or a bonne vivante) boil down to, if the "Real Me" stood up, I'm afraid the interior of my brain might get a mite crowded.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Real Me -- redcat, 13:10:01 07/11/02 Thu

Wonderful post, fresne! Your insights about the links between costumes and identities also
make me think about the reasons both we, as board posters, and the characters on BtVS,
"need" such separate costumes. They keep us safe. On the board, our anonymity protects us
from the "weird breed" of trolls, but also from their far more dangerous cousins, RL stalkers
and identity thieves. At the same time, our fictitious names allow us to connect with each other
across time and space, while also allowing us to tell each other apart.

In the JossVerse, the characters often cannot afford to show their "real" inner selves to the
world, or they feel as if they can't, because to do so would make them vulnerable to all those
who would not understand them (Buffy cannot tell her mother, teachers or principle the truth of
her calling; Willow cannot tell her friends about Tara; Xander cannot tell Anya about his
deepest fears) or who would use their vulnerability to harm them (Angelus hurts Buffy where he
knows she will be most vulnerable, i.e., her guilt over not being able to protect her friends,
etc..). And like our board's "costumes," the characters' personas allow them to function with
each other and a potentially dangerous world more safely than they could without them.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Just wanted to add -- Sophist, 16:49:11 07/11/02 Thu

that the word person comes from persona, the mask actors wore on the stage to conceal their true identities.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The Real Me -- Etrangere, 13:23:09 07/11/02 Thu

And if I remember correctly Miles gave his name (and freedom) to Mark. And didn't he do that too for Taura ? Both didn't have real identities prior to that. They were treated as things.

"Anne" is also an interresting episode about the power of names. Buffy flees her identity as the Slayer by using her second name. Lily does the same, she's always fleeing / changing her name, letting her identity be forged by others. Then she choose to use the name discarded by Buffy, Anne, as a new brand of strength for herself.

Anne means Grace.

Buffy in TR is the only character who chooses her own name, forges her own fate. Spike let his identity be dependant of his appearance (name on the coat). Like he took the name Spike after the comments of people on his poetry.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ooh, good insights on TR, Ete! -- redcat, 13:27:14 07/11/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Double ooh! -- ponygirl, 13:54:07 07/11/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Invented naming customs and Anne -- fresne, 14:40:55 07/11/02 Thu

Nice catch. Taura was a straight across the board naming/identity creation thing. Heck, Miles got Taura nifty new clothes/a uniform to wear and create a life within. The frilly lingerie, that she picks herself.

However, Miles not so much names Mark, as gives him access to his Barrayaran identity. Mark's name, as the "second son", is determined by Barrayaran custom. Mark (after their maternal grandfather's middle name) Peter (after his paternal grandfather's middle name). Thus Miles gives Mark what he himself has been denied. Miles should have been Piotr Miles (6 ft tall and patriarchal culture strong) and is instead Miles Naismith (4'9 and very breakable).

Mark, by being named, is then given a context to relate to Miles' family (son, brother, cousin) and Miles' world (Lord Mark). I don't suppose that it is a coincidence that is only after Mark has been Miles one last time (in Mirror Dance) and Miles is (temporarily) gotten out of the way through authorial slight of hand, that Mark can go to Barrayar and try on the Mark identity. Of course, then he gets to go through his own fracturing of self. And I'll pause and consider that he can only get the help/therapy he needs to re-integrate by going to his mother's world. Whereas Miles needed to visit the backwoods of his father's world to get some clarity. Hmmm.

Okay, nice bit on Anne. I had no idea that it meant Grace. That's just cool.

Buffy, Anne, Joan - the Slayer. No matter the name, the Slayer creeps in. Like the 1st Slayer, who was before language and therefore I assume, unnamed. Perhaps, to bring things back up to the Gaiman thread, like the cat in Coraline, the 1st Slayer knows who she is and therefore does not require a name. Or perhaps, it means that her role was so defined that she never got the fractured identity which allows for both shopping and being a fireman when the floods role back.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> ahhhh (soft sigh of pleasure) ... thanks -- redcat, 14:57:03 07/11/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The name game in TR and others -- shadowkat, 18:38:04 07/11/02 Thu

"Buffy in TR is the only character who chooses her own name, forges her own fate. Spike let his identity be dependant of his appearance (name on the coat). Like he took the name Spike after the comments of people on his poetry."

Oh this is interesting. Dawn takes the name on her necklace.
But it's Buffy who says Dawn. Dawn says : "OR Umad"
Dawn wants to name Buffy, buffy insists on naming herself
and Dawn urks her name.

Spike does take the name on his jacket - his custom always appears to define who he is. In the 70's it's the punk rock star, complete with body piercings. In the 1880s, it's the peasant clothes, suspenders and shirt and pants. In the present day, the long leather duster, tight black jeans and red shirt of the big bad. When he hides in the tweed suite,
and loses his memory and they ask his name, his first impulse is to look inside it and it says Randy. Who does he blame for it? Giles. "You called me Randy? What about Horny? Desperate for a shag Giles?" And Giles' response?
"It must be a family name." Reasserts my theory that William came from his father.

Even when he takes on the name Spike - he and Angelus argue over it. Angelus insists on calling him Willaim the Bloody,
Spike insists on Spike.

All the others get their names from cards - drivers licenses etc. Except for Anya who finds her name on a balance sheet - she mispronounces the name. Saying Ayna instead of Anya. She also assumes it's hers because it is with Giles. I wonder what would have happened if she had assumed she was with Xander or woke up wearing Xander's jacket?

More name games: Clem = Clement = Clemancy = forgiveness?
Sophie = wisdom (Sophis...)The two get along in older and
far away.

(With all this effort spent on names - will someone please explain why oh why did Doug Petrie pick the name The Doctor
for Spike as dealer of eggs? It just doesn't work logically for Spike to use it since - the master of his defeat was Doc?)

Oh and of course the name ADAM = meaning first one. "Speaking of names," Buffy asks in her dream in Restless, "what was yours?" Adam: "Before Adam, not a man among us can say."

this echoes Willow's dream where Tara says : "I think it's strange that we don't know her name..."
And to Willow, she suggests she doesn't really know her and Willow asks if its her real name. Tara says - oh you know

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Clem & Sophie -- Ete, 18:57:42 07/11/02 Thu

check this out : http://www.ivyweb.com/btvs/board/archives/feb02_p4.html#97

it is my theory that Ice / Wisdom and Fire / Forgiveness are linked thematicaly too...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Some qualifications -- Sophist, 10:35:46 07/11/02 Thu

In the US, slaves were given their master's names.

It's more complicated than this. Slaves were typically given just one name by the master (part of the de-humanizing process was to deny the familial connection implied by a last name). That name was generally not the name of the master. Fashions on this varied, but in the 1700s names from Greece and Rome were common.

After the Civil War, the freed slaves were able to, and did, take last names. It also became necessary for them to do so for cultural record-keeping purposes. Some of them chose the surname of a former master. Others honored someone considered a great man (Washington, etc.). Some of them were given a last name by whites during the period after the Civil War when the South instituted its Black Codes that forced the former slaves back onto the plantations.

Malcolm X was the first (to my knowledge) to make the point that Africans had lost their original names when they were abducted and brought here as slaves. He used the X to show that his "real" name had been lost. Muhammed Ali was a follower of the Black Muslims and adopted an Islamic name in accordance with those beliefs.

The practice of taking on a surname, started ages ago in Western society - the purpose was originally to determine whose kid the child was. By giving the child the father's surrname - the father claimed that child as his property and his responsibility. ...

The reason for the naming or branding is who the kids belong to. If the father rules - he wants to know who he has responsibility over. So he gives the kids his surname.

As the discussion above about slaves indicates, the issue is much more complicated than this. First, the practice of giving surnames is fairly recent. In England, surnames were not common until the 14th Century and not "universal" until the 16th. In Poland/Russia, Jews did not adopt surnames until the 19th Century.

Since fathers were always the head of household, it's clear that the use of the father's name was not instituted for power purposes per se. It was necessitated by the rise in population and the need for record-keeping. It may have reinforced paternal authority, but it was not motivated by that.

Moreover, as the case with slaves indicates, the adoption of surnames was seen sometimes as a statement of one's humanity, as an acknowledgement of familial ties, including marriage, that were denied to the slaves.

In Western Culture - it is traditional for the first male child to take both the first and second names of their father.

This is fairly uncommon (your own family notwithstanding). In England and the US in the 17th and 18th Centuries, the first male child was commonly named after the father's father, the second after the mother's father. Even this was hardly a rule; children also were named after royals, Biblical figures, etc. Jewish parents, as I think is well known, specifically did not name their children after the fathers (or any living person), but honored a deceased relative. Spanish names are even more complex. I don't even want to get into Roman or Russian.

The British when they colonized territories, placed their own names on locations and the people.

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Names of Native American tribes and individuals are generally those of the native peoples, not the British (or Spanish or French). Landmarks and rivers in the US often follow Native American names.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thanks for the clarifications, Sophist! -- redcat, 12:19:56 07/11/02 Thu

You beat me to it. As one of that weird minority who've legally changed their names, I applaud the complexity and interwoven significance of the act of naming. I legally changed all of mine, first, middle and last, in what my mother once called "a fit of feminist pique." In those days (more than 20 years ago), it cost $107.35 and took about 3 months. I didn't start the paperwork until after the first night I dreamed of myself with my full new name - all three parts -- following long-standing pagan traditions of self- naming, even though I had used the name for more than 4 years at that point and most of my friends had to think for a minute before remembering what they'd used to call me.

Sometimes now, I can't remember that old name either, although that's probably just an unexpected effect of aging....

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Some qualifications -- shadowkat, 18:14:48 07/11/02 Thu

You are right of course. Got caught on stream of consciouness posting without academic backup once again.

But would like to make one qualification. Fathers in American Irish Catholic Families, as well as the Irish
ones - do have a traditional practice of giving their
son their name. The idea is to pass on "good reputation"
and "value" of the name to the son. My Grandmother - true blood Irish Catholic insisted on it. She couldn't understand why my mother didn't want to pass the name on to one more generation. Italian American's have a similar practice - as has been evidenced by the people I know in my neighborhood. Guess I should have been more specific about the cultures I was referencing. I did ask a friend who comes from the African-American culture - and she stated that they have a similar practice of handing down the father's name.

Now this is dating me back to an Anthro class I took back in the 1980s, but in South America and in Africa, certain tribal cultures took the father's name to determine who the child belonged to. They even combined the name with the mother if the father had more than one wife. I remember it b/c it struck me as odd at the time. This practice still goes on today.

As for the names of locations - I remember in Kansas City where I once lived, some places had the traditional Native American names - these were given by the white settlers actually. Others were given names based on war heroes.
Or forts.

Cassius Clay - yes he did do it as a result of his Islamic
beliefs, but as he stated a couple of years back, he also did it for the same reasons Malcolm X did. Ali and Malcom X were compatriots and very strong believers in both Islam and
not carrying the names they believed given them by plantation owners. (I wish I could remember where I heard this...ugh! I think it was in a movie review in the New yorker.)

Outside of that - everything you said is right. Thanks for the qualifications. (Apologize if I gave any offense..;-) )

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Absolutly fascination subthread ! -- Ete, 06:59:39 07/11/02 Thu

Thank you red cat, Rahael, Sophist and Vickie for those posts. And keep 'em going, I love to learn more about different cultures...

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The Scott Hope theory of posting -- Sophist, 13:26:56 07/08/02 Mon

From FH&T (Psyche):

Buffy: Um... There was someone a while ago, and, uh, the ring sort of confused me. But I liked what you said about friendship. (begins to ramble) I liked it a lot. And Buster Keaton. Big fun. And I'm capable of big fun even though there's no earthly way you could possibly know that
about me. Wow. If I knew I was gonna go on this long, I probably would've brought some water. Uh, (exhales) what I'm trying to say is, um... if you would still like to go to the film festival--and I would understand it if you didn't--I'd pretty much love to go with you.

Scott: (looks around awkwardly) Uh... Ahem. (shrugs) I don't know, Buffy. I'm, I'm really gonna have to think about this.

Buffy nods in understanding. He starts down the hall for a few steps, stops and immediately comes back.

Scott: Okay. You know what, I thought about it, and I'm in. When do you want to go?

The hour or so I've had to think didn't lead me to any revelations. It just caused me to recognize the limits of my own presumption. Here's what I mean. In general, I'm skeptical of claims that you have to experience something for yourself in order to know what to do or how to feel in a given situation. I think that, in most cases, such a claim denies the capacity for empathy.

In extreme cases, however, I think that even the capacity for empathy breaks down. I can't really say how one "should" react to slavery, to the Holocaust, etc. It would be presumptious of me -- a relatively privileged sort -- to suggest that I have any wisdom to offer. Indeed, there may be no general answer, only a personal one.

I can say only this. The concept of forgiveness seems to me to have 2 parts. One part involves one's internal, mental state. How much does the event prevent you from leading the life you want to live? The other part is how (and whether) you interact with the wrongdoers. There may very well be a close relationship between the 2 parts.

To say more would be to multiply words without knowledge.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very good post. Agree with this. -- shadowkat, 20:07:36 07/08/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Easy forgiveness/ Honesty -- Dochawk, 23:53:54 07/08/02 Mon


I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the concept of forgiveness. Forgiveness in myself as well as with others. Much of this has to do with the depth I have been exploring my own religious beliefs in the last two years. Every year, Jews are required to ask G*D for forgiveness for their transgressions. But, on the day before, you are required to ask forgiveness from the person against whom those transgressions were committed. And part of that request is supposed to be soul-searching. Why did I do this act? Guilt? Anger? Petty jealous? A number of other reasons. And how can I avoid repeating it. The best example I can give, For many years I had developed a very strong friendship with a woman. When things changed in her life I reacted with anger and distance and she responded with much the same. We failed to talk for almost two years, but this past Yom Kippur I approached her. We had a long talk about what happened and I must admit it was somewhat painful, but we both forgave each other and a wonderful friend has been returned to my life. I could go on, but I don't think you are as alone in this as you might think.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Forgiving -- leslie, 12:21:30 07/08/02 Mon

"The fact that Giles did or didn't forgive isn't dispositive of what Buffy should do."

I think this also parallels the situation between Buffy and Jenny--when Jenny wants to make up with Giles, he tells her that he is not the one whose forgiveness she needs (becuase it is Buffy whom she has harmed the most); likewise, Buffy is not the one whose forgiveness Angel (or Angelus) needs, it's Giles's forgiveness, since by killing Jenny, it is Giles that he harmed the most.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Good point. I agree. -- Sophist, 12:48:54 07/08/02 Mon

In both cases, there was harm to others, but the greatest harm was as you said.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> But -- Rahael, 08:22:01 07/08/02 Mon

You have enumerated examples of forgiveness that many of us would find hard to emulate....and was she so much unforgiving of Faith as untrusting? the person who was prepared to betray her duty and deliver Sunnydale up to the Mayor, all because she felt unloved? The actions that Faith committed on waking up proved how right Buffy was not to trust her.

As for her comment on James, it's not for her to forgive. She simply comments on him being forgiven by the only person who had the right to forgive him. She may have wacked Parker on the head, but she still rescues him! I think that's the sterling test of a deeper forgiveness.

In the most important cases, Buffy is almost instantly forgiving. If a few instances are quoted to then say "she is not a forgiving person" will any of us ever be ascribed a quality? How many of us could properly describe ourselves as truthful? or loving? or wise? None of these qualities are ever meaningfully present without a few examples to the contrary.

"In IOHEFY, she says that James doesn't deserve forgiveness. Even when she gets cast in his role in the repeat drama haunt, it's not clear that she gets it."

Well you see, you'll have to explain to me. I don't get it either.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I *so* will not go there -- Vickie, 09:50:14 07/08/02 Mon

Let's not do that one again, ok? I respect your POV, try to respect mine?

I agree, Buffy should not "forgive" James. There, I fell into a shorthand used commonly on this board that is not accurate. One cannot forgive wrongs done to another, only those done to oneself.

That being said, you are right that Buffy forgives her friends easily and constantly. I am not so comfortable with the follow-on statement: "Buffy is an easy forgiver because she'd rather avoid the pain and take a shortcut." This implies a weakness in what I prefer to interpret as a strength. Clearly a matter on which we differ.

What Buffy does do is judge. She is very judgemental. She puts beings into categories: Vampire (stake it unless it's Angel), demon (kill it if it's causing any trouble), human (protect it, if necessary turn it into the police). I think she does this because it's the only way she could handle her job, particularly in the early years.

In the human category, there are some subcategories: authority figures--teachers among them (tolerate as necessary), friends (forever, and this is a very hard group to break into), nerds (avoid, protect if necessary, but never to become friends).

It's interesting to examine how things would have gone differently if the gang had been more open to new friends. After the fab four, no one has ever broken into the circle except as a significant other (Cordelia, Oz, Tara, Riley). Spike is still not accepted (properly IMHO).

Faith couldn't get in (mostly because of her own limitations). Had they managed to really befriend her, the whole Mayor thing would have gone differently (maybe worse?) and Buffy would be missing a major load of guilt.

Jonathan is fascinating in this light. They could have befriended him (realistically) as early as Earshot. Given an accepting group, and maybe even a chance to make a contribution, would Jonathan have ever cast the Superstar spell or joined up with Warren and Andrew? Not likely. The end of Superstar is particulaly poignant:

BUFFY: Jonathan, you get why they're mad, right? Not just the Monster. People didn't like being, you now, the actors in your little sock puppet theater.

JONATHAN: You weren't! You weren't socks! We were friends.

IMHO, Buffy should have seen the truth of his statement. Would it have killed her to invite him over to the gang's little picnic, let him apologize in person to Tara?

I've gotten completely off the original topic, but I think exclusion is a theme that might bear looking into. Shutting up now.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Inclusiveness -- Sophist, 10:04:41 07/08/02 Mon

I agree with you about Buffy's forgiveness. The point of IOHEFY was not for Buffy to forgive James, it was for Buffy to forgive herself (for Angel and, maybe, for Jenny).

OTOH, I can't agree that Buffy doesn't befriend nerds. I can't think of a better word to describe Willow in S1. It is true that she doesn't befriend some others, but that's less a criticism than a recognition that there are limits to anyone's ability to make true, significant connections with large numbers of people. Our capacity for friendship is simply limited to a few.

I also can't agree that Buffy is judgmental or categorizes. Her openness to loving Angel as early as S1 shows a very inclusive personality for a 16 year old who has been told the things she has been told. And Buffy accepted Cordy before Cordy started dating Xander. To say nothing of Oz.... Buffy hasn't always been perfect here -- she wigged out a little about Willow in NMR. But she recovered quickly and certainly compares well to someone like Xander. Now he's judgmental.

As for Faith and Jonathan, I think their own flaws are far more responsible for their paths than the SG (especially in Faith's case).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Inclusiveness -- Rahael, 10:33:11 07/08/02 Mon

This is a bit of a cheat really - but it seems I can't post these days without immediately replying to myself!

This is an addendum to my 'Sorry' masquerading as a reply to Sophist.

Vickie, I am sorry if it appears that I do not respect your views on this issue. It is one which I have confessed, perhaps with some emotion, my genuine lack of uncertainty or puzzlement. I can see however, how it might appear that I'm waiting to drop the 'mom-bomb' as I was told that I had done a week or so ago.

All I can say is that I lack the detachment, to explain my positions on the world with recourse to analogies distant from me. That the only meaningful explanation for my views is the real crucibles of change in which they occurred. I tried to make that explanation as ugly and as brutal and unlikable as I could, so that it would not appear as an attempt to garner sympathy - which is really not any sound basis for arguing for a point of view.

It is difficult to come to the realisation that however it is dressed up, the defining moments of my life, no matter how much the public property of politicians and peace campaigners and others who capitalise on it, will never properly be mine to discuss. This is yet one more thing I have to find an answer to, if any such answer exists.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Inclusiveness -- Vickie, 11:15:24 07/08/02 Mon

I think Sophist has said what I would have liked to above, in Words and Deeds.

I doubt anyone here is advocating false forgiveness. Saying "I forgive" when one doesn't simply suppresses resentment over the injury.

And, Rah, no toes smashed here. Still love ya. :)

I simply do not want to get into a serious discussion of the merits of forgiveness on the board, because I truly believe that the tragedies you have experienced make it more appropriate to a private forum. It's (deservedly) a very sensitive topic for you.

I'm at work, but email me at home and we can talk all you want.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Private & Public -- Rahael, 11:49:22 07/08/02 Mon

You are right - what I posted a couple of weeks ago was totally inappropriate for this forum, which is why my above post on the same subject tried to tackle it from a different perspective - still personal, but more appropriate.

But I have to put it in context this one last time, so I don't appear to be some wanton exhibitor of private grief. I open up newspapers from home, even 10 years after the event, and that name, that face still stares up at me. She gets mentioned in speeches by all kinds of people, including the President of my country. Redcat had heard of her name because she was briefly discussed by a student of hers in an essay. Google searches turn up hundreds of web page matches. There are remembrance committees. There was even a film made about this. There has been attention from the British press,and a motion passed in the British Parliament.

Her name, that tragedy is public property. It is still a forum for discussion of current, high, political concerns, and is central to current concerns in my country. How do we go forward? how do we establish peace? how do we deal with all this injustice and murder and bloodshed? So these ethical ideas and questions are discussed using her name, by a whole host of people I do not know. The only person who does not use her name in a public forum, is myself. I have plenty of platforms available to me, but I cannot utilise them, because it is simply too dangerous. The we have a special hotline to the terrorist squad kind of dangerous. So see this as my private rebellion, if you would like. Who would think to look on a Buffy forum? None of you could possibly rat on me, or be endangered.

Among all the poetry, history and literature in which I seek to understand my life, Buffy is the one thing which cuts through everything, in a way which constantly bemuses me. Once I start discussing it, it opens the doors and chambers I never knew existed. Which is why I end long discussions so apologetically - part of me regards the open exibition of my heart as ill bred. Part of me simply has not learnt to shut up.

So, I just needed to explain that
a) forgiveness and other associated issues are a big political and cultural issue for my community, now more than ever.

b) and the issue is a huge, messy public tragedy, and I regularly watch other people use it for their own gain, political, material and social.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Private & Public -- redcat, 16:58:16 07/08/02 Mon

This is a very difficult post to write. I want to start out by saying that I don't think what Rah
posted before (in a sub-thread on forgiveness a week or so ago) was inappropriate for this
forum. Although I was gone at that time and unable to post any response, I supported Rah's
right to be honest about her situation then, and do so now publically.

I also understand the impulse to keep such thoughts, feelings, history behind closed doors.
Certainly, the seemingly cross-cultural sense that we shouldn't bring up bad or painful things in
public is one of the great strains that the folks who've survived those things live with daily. Rah
wrote at one point quite movingly about how difficult it is to find someone to speak with about
what happened to her mother and thus to her, to find someone who doesn't flinch in the face
of her very serious questions about the nature of true forgiveness. I have no answers for the dilemma
of a pain both public and private.

I have a good friend, an old lover actually, who lost his twin sister on September 11th, one
month to the day after his first child was born. For him, the birth of his child has balanced the
loss of his sister, and while he mourns for her and always will, he has been able to get on with
his life. His mother is a different story. She and I had been close at one time and when I
found out what had happened, I called to offer my condolences. She was very, very angry
and, after much conversation, it became clear that -- in addition to all the ways in which a
grieving parent grieves and is angry - she felt two additional types of anger that are specific to
this type of crime.

The first stemmed from a sense of betrayal, that because her daughter had been killed in a
political act, her death had immediately become a political symbol. For my friend's mother, her
child's death was neither symbolic nor political at all, of course, and she (still) feels terribly
angry at all those, especially her friends, neighbors and workmates, who think they "know"
something about her daughter's death and her own grief because they, too, experienced the
terrible ripping of that tragic day. On an even deeper level and, I think, one that will be longer-
lasting, her fundamental anger is aimed at those who are using the event for their own
purposes and within their own agendas, from the government to commercial companies.
"They act like they own her," she croaked to me that day on the phone, her whiskey-and-
cigarette, Louisiana-Delta voice deep in tears. She has refused to go on local talk shows to
perform her grief in public, and has been accused of being un-patriotic. I do not think that she
will ever "get over" her baby's death. And while she will never forgive the men who killed her
child, she also will never forgive those who've made use of it. I think she is beginning to
forgive some of her friends, those whose children were not killed, but whose country, like hers,
was viciously attacked.

She is right, as is Rah, to say that the most "appropriate" public forums, the ones where these
things are "supposed" to be discussed, are oftentimes the places most closed to the family and
survivors of the politically murdered. In Rah's case, the constant and very real threat of danger
to her and her family adds one more layer to an already sick situation. It is often painful for me
to read what Rah needs to write about this issue and about her mother, but I refuse to allow
my discomfort to add to her experience of being silenced. Her questions about forgiveness, its
nature and relationship to deeds, about what's at its center and what constitutes only its
periphery, are important, and not just for her or others who have suffered the terrors and
tortures of this modern world. Like Sophist notes above, I too need to believe in the power of
empathy. Yes, my students, and even I as a scholar, have "made use" of Rahael's mother's
life and her murder for our own academic purposes. I hope that I did so in a good way and
that I taught my students to be respectful and careful and humble in the face of such courage,
to use the story well and only for the good, and to be aware of just how privileged we are to be
able to use it at all.

But this is a privilege her daughter has never had. My tears for Rahael's pain are effervescent
compared to the ones she cannot shed. If she, if we, cannot say here what needs to be said,
where can she? And where and when do we learn to hear it?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Clarifying my poor feeble words -- Vickie, 17:06:30 07/08/02 Mon

I never meant to imply that Rahael shouldn't talk about whatever she wanted, here or elsewhere. I'm sorry if I gave that impression.

I simply meant that, given how fraught with the peril of offending the conversation was (foot in mouth disease over here) I would prefer to have the conversation in private. Meaning, I don't want to participate on the board, not that she shouldn't.

Rah should, of course, do whatever seems best to her.

I also see the danger of hanging her tragedy out where trolls can come by and take advantage. But that's her risk to take or not.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Ditto Redcat -- Ete, 17:22:14 07/08/02 Mon

can't say it as well as she did, but, Rahael, nothing you've ever written here was not interresting, enlightening, deeply moving and appropriate. It's your feelings and they have their place here like anyone's.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> This is my hardest post -- Rahael, 18:10:22 07/08/02 Mon

I'm still not sure. But I would really like to thank redcat and Ete, both of whose friendships have countless times been life affirming. It's really miraculous that such strong relationships can be forged through such a medium.

It's okay, Vickie, I can promise at least that I would not have gotten offended. You will not believe the myriad of reactions I have receieved. Actually, when I had my first run in with the troll, it immediately seized on my words as evidence of its arguments! (to my impotent horror!).

But redcat's depiction of the situation that people such as myself are thrust in is all too perceptive. The day after the murder, I found myself with a television camera in my face. When asked "how I felt", I could not reply, to the annoyance of everyone. I could not perform what was asked of me. There was not a single moment of privacy - the burial was attended by hundreds and hundreds of people. I was never given a moment alone. I was, literally, one of the crowd, and most of the people around me had no idea who I was. Just a stray, lost looking child.

The bitterest irony about the silence imposed on her, and on us by virtue of blackmail, is that it performs an object lesson : do not resist, do not speak out, do not challenge. The loss of our voices is not only a private burden, but one that plagues a whole community.

Try as I might, I can never transform my grief into a private one, it remains resolutely public. My heart gets ripped in two when I see what has become of the home I deserted, that I fled from. I long, I so long to let go of my burden. But I can't. It's not my private one. It's the burden of duty, privilege and obligation which was handed to me.

I not only lost something very dear to me, overnight, I gained a destiny that seemed to imprison me. During my teens I agonised about whether I should return. Was I immoral for wanting a normal life? Every couple of years, I think about going back. Certain that it is the right thing to do, certain also, about the end I will meet. Before I got my current job, I was getting ready to go back.

It is at this basic core level, that Buffy's resoluteness in PG and the Gift is so utterly disturbing to me. I have seen it on someone elses face before. That moment of utter peace? it's the look of someone prepared to die.

I fear ever forgiving, for at that moment, I will truly be at peace, and there is only one moment that will grant me that, grant me respite from my burden. I can only forgive the murderers when I am prepared to take the huge risks they take, and I only have the right to forgive them, when I give my all. And that is the choice facing us in our community, and some of the people I love most dearly make that choice everyday. They have earned the forgiveness they give, and oh, it is so costly, and oh, I am not prepared, and not brave enough to do it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Courage is not a quality of the fearless, but the act of those whose fears are real. -- rc, who believes you are already more brave than you know, 20:56:50 07/08/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: This is my hardest post -- Caroline, 06:21:27 07/09/02 Tue

I admire your courage in sharing your story with us. Those of us who lose very important people to us at such a young age are scarred by the experience, being without the emotional skills to cope. It can take a lifetime to heal and is difficult enough to deal with. If one puts fame into the equation, the complexity of dealing with the situation multiplies, without the requisite skills. And then if one adds blame to the equation - that is, there is a someone or a group responsible for the loss, the complexity multiplies yet again. Part of the worst thing about it is walking around in a world where your experience is so atypical of those around you and you feel so different to everyone else. I do not have the courage to share my own experiences in a public forum as you do but I find great comfort when you express your thoughts and struggles because I no longer feel apart. Thank you.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> "Hedges freaked with snow" -- Rahael, 03:19:11 07/10/02 Wed

No, thank you Caroline.

These questions, these dilemmas are so irreducible, so complex, so human. Perhaps our 'redemption' is that there is no right answer, no right path, no prescriptions.

The following is a love poem by Robert Graves but I still think it's appropriate:

No arguement, no anger, no remorse,
No dividing of blame.
There was poison in the cup - why should we ask
From whose hand it came?

No grief for our dead love, no howling gales
That through darkness blow,
But the smile of sorrow, a wan winter landscape,
Hedges freaked with snow.

Perhaps what Angel experienced in Amends was nothing so simple as a heavenly intervention signifying forgiveness. It certainly didn't tell us that all the complexities of his situation had vanished - all the things that he and Buffy had argued about. Sometimes, we are just left with the situations we are left with, and like all human beings, just find a way of muddling through.

I think truly having compassion and understanding is having empathy with those choices, and not deciding beforehand, that there is a way that is automatically the best, right way forward.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Truly beautiful post. Agree. -- shadowkat, 06:24:55 07/10/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Cultivating our Own Gardens -- Arethusa, 10:12:01 07/09/02 Tue

You may think you'll need to die or sacrifice yourself to have peace of mind, but you're wrong. We're not heroes, and we don't have to be. I can spend my life fighting war (my father was killed in Vietnam when I was four) or child molestation or social injustice, or I can, like Candide, stay home and cultivate my garden (as I said before). I have the right to a private life, and so do you. If nothing else, I've learned this body and mind belong to me, and I have every right in the world to do with them as I want. No person or group or ideal owns us, our future is ours to decide, within the constraints of being part of society. What would you have done if your mother lived? Would you have let the circumstances of your birth dictate what you want to do with your life, then? Or would you decide to follow your heart? Is it cowardly to want to live, especially when so many others are so eager to see you die to further their causes, crimes, or schemes? In _Angela's Ashes_ the Irish Catholic schoolboys are told to burn with ferver to Die for Ireland! Die for the Church! Little Frank McCourt mutters, "Doesn't anyone want us to live?"
You have the right to enjoy poetry, work in safety, live in peace. If you do go back to fight your country's battles, do it because it is what you want to do, and you are ready. Don't do it out of guilt or feelings of obligation. Don't do it for your mother, who surely wanted most of all for her daughter to be safe and happy.

I apologize if I'm being presumptuous, or misunderstanding what you say.

In Voltaire's _Candide_ a self-described philosopher and his fellow travelers enter the world to do great deeds and learn from the wise. They meet with a very wise man:

"Master, we come to entreat you to tell us why so strange an animal as man has been formed?"
"Why do you trouble your head about it?" said the dervish; "is it any business of yours?"

"But, Reverend Father," said Candide, "there is a horrible deal of evil on the earth."

"What signifies it," said the dervish, "whether there is evil or good? When His Highness sends a ship to Egypt does he trouble his head whether the rats in the vessel are at their ease or not?"

"What must then be done?" said Pangloss.

"Be silent," answered the dervish.

"I flattered myself," replied Pangloss, "to have reasoned a little with you on the causes and effects, on the best of possible worlds, the origin of evil, the nature of the soul, and a pre-established harmony."

At these words the dervish shut the door in their faces.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Cultivating our Own Gardens -- Rahael, 10:53:40 07/09/02 Tue

Not presumptous, you understand me perfectly.

Why do I struggle to say, so often in my postings that there is no fate, no predetermined journey with the emotional achievements to tick off, no Shansu, no redemption? Because I have to struggle to believe it, to drown out that voice which says

"Why are you so special, how come you get to escape, to live? how come you can derelict the duty that keeps others working to keep humanity alive?"

and the other part of me says "what makes you think you are so special, that you are the one that's called to make the sacrifice? Stop with the hero trip"

These two voices leave me completely torn. Because I know that I could be willing, I have the education, the name, the clout to do something. And when I went back home for the first time in 12 years, a terrible recklessness and feeling of freedom overwhelmed me - it terrified me - I stayed two months more than I intended to, and I made plans to return.

I wish I could do both, have an ordinary life, and go and live at home. I wish I could contribute to rebuilding. I wish I could witness my country, beautiful already, grow even more beautiful. I want to see justice prevail, and injustice redressed and everyone being allowed to live those normal lives, not just me.

The fact that I escaped purely because of my wealth, and connections, the fact that I have a safe haven because my circumstances were so tragic we had to be given asylum, while those poorer, and even more needy in some ways have to stay behind? Life is so fundamentally unjust. It's hard to think of ways you can best mitigate it. I keep thinking, all the time.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Cultivating our Own Gardens -- ponygirl, 11:31:02 07/09/02 Tue

Not much to add to this discussion except that I feel very privileged to be able to read these posts and to be offered glimpses into all of your lives. Thank you.

And also... Rahael, have you read Ken Wiwa's book In The Shadow of a Saint? He's a journalist in Toronto now, but his father was Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nigerian activist and poet who was executed in 1995. Wiwa's a wonderful writer, and I can't imagine there are too many other books dealing with the difficult legacy of having a famous and martyred parent.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Cultivating our Own Gardens -- redcat, 14:56:52 07/09/02 Tue

Just a thought - another excellent book about being the child of a famous and oppressed parent is Kim Chernin's autobiographical "In My Mother's House." It's told from the perspective of the author as a teenager trying to be a "normal" girl while her mother, Rose Chernin, was imprisoned during the McCarthy era for her pro-labor, pro-Socialist activities, especially in organizing Mexican, Black and immigrant women in L.A. food and garmet factories after the war. Being an American political prisoner, though, Rose Chernin was not killed, only convicted on trumped-up charges, imprisoned for several years and then threatened with deportation (she was a Russian-born Jewish immigrant), after which she was returned to her family and was able to continue her activism for several more decades. And her daughter was able to became a celebrated author, rather than being forced to live in asylum. Still, it's an interesting read and quite well-written.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: This is my hardest post -- leslie, 11:09:09 07/09/02 Tue

"I fear ever forgiving, for at that moment, I will truly be at peace, and there is only one moment that will grant me that, grant me respite from my burden. I can only forgive the murderers when I am prepared to take the huge risks they take, and I only have the right to forgive them, when I give my all. And that is the choice facing us in our community, and some of the people I love most dearly make that choice everyday. They have earned the forgiveness they give, and oh, it is so costly, and oh, I am not prepared, and not brave enough to do it."

Forgiveness is not something you can force. It may come to you at the end of a long life, it may never come to you, it may come in the next fifteen minutes out of the blue. I don't think it's something you "earn a right" to, nor is it something that your religion can require of you; it's something that comes to you when you are ready for it. Strange as it may sound, there's no rush here. You don't have to resolve this immediately, painful as it is. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to stay alive. Don't pile guilt on top of grief.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thank you! -- Rahael, 15:04:04 07/09/02 Tue

If I think way to much about Buffy, then times that by ten, and then you'd have how much time I spend thinking how I should go about living my life.

I am often torn by the idea of duty, and obligation, and the apparent lack of necessary courage to do something I feel I ought to do. Every now and then, not often. And I am particularly susceptible to the notion that I must somehow be faulty inside, somehow try to change so I can more resemble other human beings.

But then I think, hell, it takes duty and obligation and courage enough to live my life just as it is, with enough joy/exhuberence and happiness to spare to beautify it. And, if I don't have something, I can't feel less whole cos it's valued more highly by others than myself.

Forgiveness maybe something that I can eventually dole out to others - but I'm not sitting around holding my breath.

As for the guilt thing, well the heart doesn't obey the directions of the mind. It seems to go it's own wilful way. It takes me to more interesting places than my more timid mind.

I think what I wanted to put for consideration is that all our Scoobys are fully formed already. They may be faulty, may be less than they should be at times, but as George Orwell said:

"The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection"

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> "Life is just this, it's living" -- Sophist, 16:27:55 07/09/02 Tue

I am often torn by the idea of duty, and obligation, and the apparent lack of necessary courage to do something I feel I ought to do. Every now and then, not often. And I am particularly susceptible to the notion that I must somehow be faulty inside, somehow try to change so I can more resemble other human beings.

But then I think, hell, it takes duty and obligation and courage enough to live my life just as it is, with enough joy/exhuberence and happiness to spare to beautify it. And, if I don't have something, I can't feel less whole cos it's valued more highly by others than myself.

I sometimes think we analyze our lives so much we forget to live them.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "Life is just this, it's living" -- shadowkat, 06:39:28 07/10/02 Wed

"I sometimes think we analyze our lives so much we forget to live them."

I tend to agree. Was discussing this with a friend at
work recently. She said that sometimes you need to just do it, without thinking about it. That she gets furious at herself for all the time she's wasted thinking things over that by the time she acts, the opportunity or task has passed.

Relating this back to Btvs - Xander spends so much time worrying over his marriage, that he loses Anya and doesn't go through with it. What would have happened if he had?
The demon was able to get to him because he'd spent too much time worrying over it - clearly evidenced by his summoning of the demon in OMWF.

But is the other extreme a good one? Not thinking or analyzing at all? I've just started a book called Sophie's World, A Novel About the History of Philosophy, by Jostein Gaardner. In the book, the author makes the point that
we shouldn't lose our wonder about the universe, take life for granted, stop asking questions.

Here's a direct quote: "To children, the worl and everything in it is new, something that gives rise to astonishment. It is not like that for adults. Most adults accept the world as a matter of course..
This is precisely where philosophers are a notable exception. A philosopher never quite gets used to the world. To him or her, the world continues to seem a bit unreasonable - bewilding, even enigmatic...

Now you must choose, are you a child or a philosopher?"

I think part of Buffy's problem in Season 6, is she had lost her wonder for the world, it became a matter of course, an obligation. It's not until Grave, that she remembers how wonderful it is. Buffy had stopped thinking, she just did. Whatever came to mind. Went throught the
motions. Willow does the same. Just does. Regardless of the consequences.

So what we need is a balance between the two. Thinking and doing and taking the time to look around us in astonishment and ask questions such as Who am I? And Where did the universe come from?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The Self Unseeing -- Rahael, 06:47:44 07/10/02 Wed

Here is the ancient floor,
Footworn and hollowed and thin,
Here was the former door
Where the dead feet walked in

She sat here in her chair,
Smiling into the fire;
He who played stood there,
Bowing it higher and higher.

Childlike, I danced in a dream;
Blessings emblazoned that day;
Everything glowed with a gleam;
Yet we were looking away!

Thomas Hardy

Very nice post, SK

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: "Life..." -- aliera, 18:51:44 07/10/02 Wed

"Now you must choose, are you a child or a philosopher?"

Or as you are saying you must find the way to be both?

"So what we need is a balance between the two. Thinking and doing and taking the time to look around us in astonishment and ask questions such as Who am I? And Where did the universe come from?"

There is great comfort in the breaking down of things to their smallest bits. We have figured out the mystery. We now have control or so we feel.

But like a set of nested boxes, inside each mystery is a deeper mystery and another and another and another ad infinitum and we realize that the more we know the less we know. And that collection of knowledge is not understanding.

And in focusing on the minutae we have lost something precious. To even attempt to describe these things is in a sense to diminish them.

Do I believe that to learn about philosophy, history, or religion is valueless? Of course not. Do I believe philosophical debate is valueless? Not at all. Does it bring us closer to understanding? I believe the child may be closer.

But tomorrow I may believe something else for part of being human is this ability to question ourselves and the accepted truths. And this is not a safe place to be.

One of the great values of the internet and this board is to be able to read somewhat of the thoughts and feelings of others who I would not normally meet in my non-virtual world. I do not know if it brings us closer to mystery; but, it certainly invites understanding of others and at it's best does this very well.

It also gives us a place to express thoughts such as these. This to me is a very precious thing.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hard to answer too -- Ete, 18:27:00 07/09/02 Tue

I wish i could have any insight, any wisdom I could give to you and ease your pain. I feel so unable to help you when I read those words and yet feeling so much pain for your trials.

I don't know, I really don't know... the questions what you say ask about what is forgiveness, and courage, and duty... this is so hard to consider, to be sure of what's right and wrong about.

Maybe the problem is just that there is a point where you can't help the others... I mean, the most important things they must be learned, discovered by oneself. You can't just tell them what should be done, they have to err and through their mistakes find their own way.
Yes, I think maybe, our first duty is to ourselves, to save ourselves before we save the others. Isn't there so many ways we can wrong others by trying to save them ?

Again, I hardly know. I'm think about that book by Mike Resnick, Inferno, that showed how good willing terrians wishing to teach the primitive inhabitant of an extraterrest planete without doing the usual mistakes of colonisation. Of course the results was even worse than any other colonisation of a planete. The book was inspired by Ouganda.

I feel compelled again by reading this to discuss the nature of forgiveness, but then I'm afraid to hurt you by bringing it in such an abstract way. What could I claim to know about ? But then... is it forgiveness, can it be, that to consider oneself so above the others as to be ready to die in utter peace for some ideas ? There's a form of great pride in that kind of humility. This is saying i'm above anything you can do to me. I dunno, maybe it's a rightous pride, it could be.

Or maybe it's in the humility, in the saying I only want to live my life without keeping this grundge as the meaning giver of my existence. I don't know much about forgiving but that moment when I gave up hating those who picked on me as a child so as to have the freedom not to let my life depend of their judgement of me. But that's awfully shallow a compareason, sorry.

Anyway, I can still say again how much I have a great respect and admiration for you, and send you all my affection hoping that can at least help you.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Ditto Redcat -- shadowkat, 20:24:23 07/08/02 Mon

Having been part of that subthread. I in no way felt Rah's
words were inappropriate. They made me think. (Pretty sure I expressed that. Actually I thought my response may have been inappropriate...and I think Rah told me it wasn't at
the time - returning the favor.) I certainly got emotional on the thread as well...part of the reason I've stayed away from certain topics myself of late. For fear of being inappropriately emotional myself. And getting blasted. (yes as someone recently said, my ego is a pink and tender thing.)

When you expose a part of yourself to strangers on a board, it is always a little frightening. But as shygirl pointed out on that old thread - it does broaden minds, I think. And as a friend of mine pointed out to me recently the great part about posting boards - is we can choose whether to read or respond. It's not like meeting someone in person or chatting on the phone...the fact that we choose to respond to each other and discuss these difficult and often frightening topics - is both a compliment to the television show we all adore and ourselves.

Thank you redcat and Ete for reaffirming that.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Private & Public -- shygirl, 05:26:36 07/09/02 Tue

I go back and forth between feeling guilty at sparking this whole conversation with what may have been inappropriate and poorly considered comments and awe at the capacity of people to reach out to one another. We are what we bring to this board and what we say reflects our experience, our knowledge, our understanding. I don't think that's a bad thing. I agree with Redcat, if we cannot be honest about where we are coming from when we express our opinions, theories, and values on this board, then where can we. It's just my opinion which may not be worth the breath it takes to express it, but I'm glad I know Rah's story. It helps me to remember that I am not the center of the universe and my opinions are only one among many more eloquent and learned.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Don't feel guilty!!!! -- Rahael, 14:51:28 07/09/02 Tue

This whole thing I have with 'forgiveness' - was already present before you posted, and I find that no matter how much I try not to say something about a particular topic, it just bubbles up in a post a week later. Me and my idee fixes.

I have learnt an immense amount from all this, not only about life, but about myself.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> And learning about yourself is... -- shygirl, 07:01:00 07/10/02 Wed

ultimately what your life's journey is all about. If I have added to your learning then I'm happy. I think of the cycle of life as a flower which comes from a seed, which matures into a plant, that produces a unique flower which is beautiful in it's blossoming, and then slowly fades, creates a seed and the cycle begins again. The beauty and health that flower has depends depends on the strength and viability of the seed, the soil in which it is planted, how it is nurtured by the elements. Even a weed may have a beautiful flower so we must be careful how we judge beauty. You have definitly added to my understanding of experiences and I am grateful for the mulch! ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: James and Parker -- Malandanza, 20:38:18 07/10/02 Wed

I think you missed the point of IOHEFY. When Giles mentions forgiveness, Buffy reacts as follows:

GILES: To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It's not done because people deserve it. It's done because they need it.

Now Buffy goes off - her spite palpable.

BUFFY: No. James destroyed the person he loved the most in a moment of blind passion. And that's not something you forgive. No matter why he did what he did. No matter if he know now that it was wrong and stupid and selfish. He's just going to have to live with it...

But Cordelia's comments puts Buffy's diatribe into perspective:

CORDELIA: Okay... over-identify much?

This wasn't about James, this was about Angel. Buffy was feeling as though she could never forgive Angel for what he had done to her and her friends (this was shortly after Jenny's death -- Buffy had unresolved guilt on that account as well). For her, forgiving Angel seemed impossible. And yet, at the end of the episode:

BUFFY: He picked me. I guess I was the one he... could relate to. He was so sad...

GILES: Well, now they can both rest.

BUFFY: I still... part of me still doesn't understand why she would forgive him.

GILES: Does it matter?

BUFFY: (thinks) No... I guess not.

James had related to her. She realized how full of hate she had become and while "a part of [her] still doesn't understand why she would forgive him," there's also a part of her that does understand, and, by extension, is able to forgive Angel.

This episode was back in Season Two, during the formative years of Buffy's life. It was an important turning point for her (perhaps even the most important): she made the first step in abandoning vengeance and hate, no matter how justifiable, and moved towards becoming the young woman who offers unconditional friendship and forgiveness, not just to her friends, but to everyone (including Glory/Ben -- remember, it was Giles that killed Ben). I believe that Buffy forgave Angel the instant he got his soul back, and that is one of the reasons that B2 is so powerful.

As for the thing with Parker, Parker had just spent several minutes trying to get Willow in bed only to be shot down rather dramatically. He was looking for a rebound girl -- and there was Buffy. He was not looking for forgiveness (and had Buffy not been Cavegirl at the time, he probably would have succeeded since she is far too ready to believe the best in people).

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The lesson of IOHEFY -- Sophist, 12:58:00 07/11/02 Thu

When I first saw IOHEFY, I thought that the message was for Buffy to forgive Angel. Now, it seems to me as though the message was to forgive herself. As I see it, she was blaming herself -- it was BUFFY who "destroyed the person she loved most in a moment of blind passion". Her comments about James seem to apply to herself, not to Angel.

I agree with you about Parker.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Sorry -- Rahael, 10:09:50 07/08/02 Mon

I brought up this issue again in another post - before I read this, feel free to ignore it.

This is clearly an uncomfortable topic, so I'll leave it be.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Buffy forgives to others easily, she has a harder time to forgive herself -- Etrangere, 09:51:44 07/08/02 Mon

For James like for Faith, Buffy had a hard time forgiving them because she identifies with them. Her harsh words toward James was all about her guilt for bringing the "death" of Angel via transformation into Angelus.
As for Faith, we all know that they are metaphorically the same. Buffy couldn't forgive what Faith did because she could not forgive herself if she had done what Faith did. There we must also remember that she almost did like Faith in Ted, killing a human by accident due to her Slayer Strength. Faith couldn't forgive herself either, that's why she turned to the Mayor. Because it meant she couldn't be "good" anymore so she had to be "bad".
I think we could argue the same about Parker. Her hitting him was more about giving up her stupid fantasies of going back with him because of his apologies (beginning of Beer Bad) than about punishing him. She was crushing that hope, not Parker as Parker.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Great insights, Ete -- Vickie, 10:00:43 07/08/02 Mon

I agree. Buffy is a very harsh critic, but harshest on herself. If she identifies with you, she's very hard on you.

Applies to her criticism of Dawn, methinks.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Good points -- Isabel, 18:08:50 07/09/02 Tue

"I think we could argue the same about Parker. Her hitting him was more about giving up her stupid fantasies of going back with him because of his apologies (beginning of Beer Bad) than about punishing him. She was crushing that hope, not Parker as Parker."

But if anybody deserved a whack to the head, it was Parker.

[> [> [> Re: Because its Buffy's story not Spikes -- leslie, 12:15:10 07/08/02 Mon

"So the question is, will getting Spike and Buffy back together advance Buffy's story? I can't see a way that there is a yes answer to that, but I am sure the writers will find one."

I think there's a very important way that Spike can contribute to Buffy's story: she is a young woman whose entire existence has proven the point that men abandon you, whether they are lovers (Angel, Riley, Parker, whatever that short-term boyfriend's name was in high school right around the time that Angel returned) or father figures (Hank, Giles). Now she thinks that Spike has bailed on her--even though she says she doesn't love (or trust) him, even though he attempted to rape her, her immediate reaction when she takes Dawn to his crypt and Clem tells her that Spike is gone is one of "well, here we go again: abandonment." For all the messy problems that each brings to the relationship, I have always felt that the one thing that Spike can give Buffy is that he's the one who just won't leave. That's something that she really wants (and deserves?) but it's also something that opens another whole can of worms, because once you've both realized that you're not leaving, you have to work things out or else.

[> [> [> [> You noticed a basic and interesting fact about Buffy! Good for you! -- shygirl, 13:37:58 07/08/02 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Re: In that case, let me elaborate.... -- leslie, 15:18:58 07/08/02 Mon

All the discussion tends to focus on why Spike would be in love with Buffy, but let's stop to consider what his attraction might be for her (because, love or not, there is certainly attraction). Okay, there is the sheer fun value of Naked!Spike. But in addition to that, even before their relationship, in fact, even before he fell in love with her, Spike evidenced an utter inability to stay away from Sunnydale for any extended length of time. Indeed, I would be interested for some back story here--his *very first words* in the series are "Home sweet home." Had he been there before? No matter what, Sunnydale is Spike's spiritual home and he cannot leave for good. Therefore, from Buffy's point of view--which includes a realization that *she* is never going to be able to leave Sunnydale--Spike is a good choice of mate. He is as bound to the place as she is.

Furthermore, one of the things that has made Spuffy such an irritating relationship for both viewers and Spike is that Buffy keeps playing the go-away-come-back-here game. Her modus operandi is to keep coming over to his place to tell him that she doesn't want him. Naturally Spike is getting mixed signals, but what seems to underlie her behavior is that she is (unconsciously) testing him; every time she tells him she hates him and he doesn't go away, that eases some of the residual pain from all the men who *did* go away. I think that's the thing that she finally realizes is "killing" her. The problem is that simply ceasing to sleep with him eliminates the symptom, not the etiology.

I also think that this is why Buffy does not seem as devastated by his attempted rape as one might expect. She knows that this was violence against her, but it was violence that she was able to avert (because that is, after all, What She Does) and underneath, there is a small satisfaction that it occurred because he couldn't let her go. It was a sign of her power over him. (Just as her constantly bursting into his crypt without knocking, kicking the door in, is a statement of her power--metaphorically, she has "raped" his personal space more often than he has hers.)

Buffy keeps telling Spike that he can't really be in love with her because he's a dead thing, he's a demon, he's just plain deluded. ("Well, I beat him up a lot. For Spike, that's, like, third base.") Part of her may reject the idea of being loved by someone she ostensibly despises, but for someone with her history, there's a further advantage in refusing to believe that he loves her: men who claim to love her leave; therefore, if Spike doesn't really love her, then he *won't* leave. This inescapable part of her that drives men away won't be activated. (Side note--this seems to have been part of the reason why she never has gotten involved with Xander, either--I think she's being really honest, back there in S1, when she says she doesn't want to date him because she doesn't want to risk losing him.)

Ultimately, I am not saying that Buffy *has* to love Spike or reinitiate their relationship. But she does have to understand why she reacts to him the way she does, and she has to accept the fact that he does really love her--that someone is capable of loving her and *not* leaving--before she can get herself out of this endless loop of men-who- leave.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Well done... ;-)) Buffy's motivation is so ambigiously written.... -- shygirl, 15:49:54 07/08/02 Mon

I think your elaboration raises interesting questions for any grown woman who has been abandonded by men as a child and certainly fits nicely with the seemingly "flat" responses Buffy has to much of Spike's behavior. She is extremely well defended... and beginning with the scene telling "William" she can no longer see him (interesting that she uses his Christian name) and ending with the one between her Dawn in Grave... I think we will begin to see some walls come down... what that means who can say for sure... all we can do is speculate.

[> [> [> [> [> [> This is a great post. But is it really Spike -- Sophist, 16:34:42 07/08/02 Mon

who's coming back? One interpretation (mine, at least) of the soul issue, is that "Spike" no longer exists, any more than Angelus did when his soul was restored. In that sense, Spike, like the others, has left her. Whether the replacement (word used advisedly) can give her what she deserves remains to be seen.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Here's hoping -- Caesar Augustus, 17:11:01 07/08/02 Mon

I wrote something further down (My latest *crazy* thoery) about how souled Spike may be a helluvalot similar to chipped Spike. If this is the case, then Spike is certainly what Buffy wants and needs.

If not, then there are a wide variety of Spikes we might see - broody (been done), no longer feelings for Buffy, suicidal, etc. For complete shock value, which ME seem to like, maybe a soul (if it actually replaces the chip) could make him more EVIL, since William may simply be too weak to overcome his demonic soul. This of course violates the "give Buffy what she deserves" statement though. From my point of view, the solution is something which will make sense but will be a surprise. It will be very unlikely Spike will tread down Angel's path, or any other fairly predictable path. Then there are other even wackier theories, like Spike's demonic soul being the soul that was returned, but all we can do is speculate given the wealth of information we were NOT given in Grave.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Not what Buffy wants and needs, but what Spike thinks she does -- Dochawk, 20:06:42 07/08/02 Mon

Spike is what depressed and uncaring Buffy needs, he is not what peppy and life affirming Buffy needs and even with a soul he can't be.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Not what Buffy wants and needs, but what Spike thinks she does -- Caesar Augustus, 22:15:18 07/08/02 Mon

I did make quite a bold statement without any backing up.

Probably comes down mainly to opinion, but we can discuss what the issues are. I'm assuming there's no problem with Spike being what Buffy wants - there's clearly a sexual attraction there. And we've seen Buffy "needs some monster in her man."

Pros for Spike being what Buffy needs:
- Needs someone to affirm that men don't always run away
- Needs someone so devoted to her that he keeps coming back even when she pushes him away (the Riley problem)
- Someone to watch her back
- No problem with the whole Slayer thing (what are her odds of actually getting a normal guy?)
- Can act as a father figure to Dawn, just like Buffy acts as a mother figure (though after the AR in SR, this may become untrue)

Cons (several similar to the reasons Angel left):
- Life in the shadows, danger of Buffy being drawn into a dark life.
- No babies. Is Dawn enough to satisfy Buffy's need to have children?
- Spike's immortal. Buffy's not. Resentment like Mayor and Edna May.
- Getting back with Spike would probably be taking a step back towards season 6 rather than forward.
- Probably a few others I can't think of right now.

An interesting issue, I think. The effects of the soul will change the equation, but how? Will Spike be a character with more light? Will he be as devoted to Buffy?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Are you sure it's Spike you're talking about? -- Malandanza, 22:09:58 07/10/02 Wed

"Pros for Spike being what Buffy needs:
- Needs someone to affirm that men don't always run away
- Needs someone so devoted to her that he keeps coming back even when she pushes him away (the Riley problem)
- Someone to watch her back
- No problem with the whole Slayer thing (what are her odds of actually getting a normal guy?)
- Can act as a father figure to Dawn, just like Buffy acts as a mother figure (though after the AR in SR, this may become untrue)"

It sounds like you're describing Xander -- are you sure that's what you want for Buffy? :)

Okay, Xander ran away from Anya, but he's always been there for Buffy. There has not been a more steadfastly loyal character for Buffy (at least since Season 4). And many of the "cons" don't apply.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The problem with Xander is that she NEEDS him but doesn't WANT him -- Caesar Augustus, 03:06:13 07/11/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I certainly wouldn't want Xander as a father figure for a my sister ! -- Ete, 07:11:34 07/11/02 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> But an attempted rapist is ok? -- Malandanza, 08:20:41 07/11/02 Thu

I can remember Xander taking Dawn to school before work in the early episodes of Season Six. He's a good guy, solid, stable and dependable. He loves Buffy and, by extension, would never let anything happen to Dawn. But he also cares about Dawn in her own right.

It seems to me that are a great deal of similarities between Xander and Spike -- they've both had Buffy obsessions. Granted, Xander never built a Buffy Shrine, dressed up his girlfriends in clothes stolen from her house or commissioned a sex-bot look-alike, but he still made comments like "Please don't let that be sarcasm" (when Cordelia asked if she should dress like a slayer) or "Okay, sometimes when it's dark and I'm alone I think, 'What is Buffy wearing?' ." They each have fought the good fight for Buffy's sake and put themselves at risk. They have both treated women badly (Anya faired a little better than Harmony, though, and Xander never offered to kill his ex for a date with Buffy) but Xander has not extended this behavior towards Buffy the way Spike has.

Essentially, every reason the Spikephiles come up with for why Spike and Buffy should be together works for Xander as well, but Xander doesn't have all the drawbacks that Spike has. My point isn't that Xander should be with Buffy, but that he would be a better choice than Spike.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Well... yes :) -- Ete, 11:45:47 07/11/02 Thu

I agree with you that both Spike and Xander have some big qualities in common... a great loyalty to theirs, mainly. What could be described as the Heart / Animus assets?
But there's differences too.
You remember how Xander reacted in Crush when he discovered that Dawn had no longer a crush on him ?
That's why I wouldn't wish Xander as the father of someone. He's got too bad a self-esteem, too many issues with family... he projects those issues on others, like he did with Anya trying to correct her perks. He would pass this on children.
Spike also have some self-esteem issues, but he expresses it differently. He has learned that whatever those are, it's worth to keep goin' and giving the best of oneself. And when it comes to Dawn, he would always reassure her confidence.
'nother difference between Xander and Spike is that, as weird as it may sound, I'd trust more Spike to teach good moral directions than Xander. But then I'm a relativist and I think that morality comes with questionning not with certitudes :)

Anyway I think making lists of one's adventages and disadventages when it comes to pairing with Buffy is kinda silly. Love is not a rationnal thing. You don't love someone because one's the perfect fit for you.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Good list of the pros and cons...the world is not black and white.. -- shygirl, 05:50:15 07/09/02 Tue

it's full of colors and shades and hues. I'm sure others can come up with more pros and cons. The relationship between Buffy and Spike/William is very complex no matter how much we'd like to make it simple. Life is a messy business and so are relationships. We can enjoy the complexity and variety or try to fit everything into our own personal little boxes. I like the variety of motivations presented myself... makes the characters more interesting.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Not what Buffy wants and needs, but what Spike thinks she does -- leslie, 08:42:34 07/09/02 Tue

"Spike is what depressed and uncaring Buffy needs, he is not what peppy and life affirming Buffy needs"

The thing is, it seems that depressed and uncaring Buffy is always lurking underneath peppy and life-affirming Buffy. Hence her tendency to go catatonic in moments of extreme psychological stress, and why she needs to deal with this issue.

As for "and even with a soul he can't be," I think that's up to ME.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Issues, lots of issues -- fresne, 14:56:45 07/09/02 Tue

Well, yes, it's virtually a mantra in our house, "Buffy has issues. Lots of issues. And she's earned them."

Buffy began the show with issues of abandonment. Her fears given life in first season were that her father (the man in her life) left because of her, that she'll become the thing that she hates (a vampire, the other, a monster), oh and incidentally that she'll get buried alive.

With each abandonment, her fear grows deeper roots. Entrenching itself in her psychology. How can she not fear that she is driving people away when it keeps freaking happening.

And while Buffy is often the tank top wearing perky Slayer, as the years pass, Buffy holds herself to an increasingly high standard of responsibility. The weight of the world on her shoulders.

I completely agree with Etrangere that Buffy has a tremendously hard time forgiving herself. How can she? She is the chosen one. When she makes mistakes, people die. If only she hadn't slept with Angel, Ms. Calender/and others, would have lived. If only she'd come home sooner, she could have saved her mother's life. If only she were doing something slightly different with Dawn, there'd be less Tuesday night frolics.

If she'd been more this/that/or the other then Dad, Angel, Parker, Riley, Giles would have stayed. Although, the one I always want to add to that list is Faith. The romance in Season 3 is not Buffy/Angel. Angel isn't Buffy's Other in S3. They love/desire each other, but (and maybe it's just me) they don't share that oneness of nature which defines an Other. Faith is Buffy's Other. In many ways, Faith is a part of Buffy that she denies and represses as "wrong". That final fight between them in Graduation is filled with language more appropriate for betrayed/estranged lovers than enemies. The dance scene in BG, actually the entire episode, is an incredible moment of connection between the characters.

It's one of the things that interested me about Spuffy in the first place. While it certainly didn't go where I expected it to, come on I didn't really expect it to happen in the first place, I was kind of hoping that Buffy'd deal with some of the unfinished Faith issues. Spike relates to Buffy in much the same way, pushes the same buttons that Faith did.

Unfortunately, Faith caught the train out of Dodge and Buffy's little appearance on Angel was more about Buffy/Angel than it was about Buffy/Faith. And since what I really want is for Buffy and Faith to sit down and have a nice cup of tea and some ice cream and talk things out, I'll settle for Buffy and Spike being friends who shouldn't be lovers. On a show where none of the characters have really had to deal with ex's long term, (Angel, Cordelia, Faith, and Oz all left) I really want to see how characters deal with someone who was an intimate part of their life and does live that role anymore.

Can Buffy forgive Spike for SR? I don't know. Yeah, probably. He's a regular on the show and they will have to work together to save the world (again) next season. Actually, I have such mixed, complex emotions about the whole relationship; I'm inclined to declare relationship amnesty.

Because that's the hardest lesson that I think Buffy needs to learn. To forgive herself. To get over herself. To get over her messiah complex.

The more she tries to protect Dawn from the world, the more that Dawn will struggle to get to the world. The more she hides the truth from her friends, the harder it is for her to connect to them. Her friends drag her from heaven and she ends up hiding the knowledge and carrying quite a bit of anger around for most of the season. When Willow's magic problems come to the forefront, somehow it's about Buffy's personal responsibility. Her delusion is that the entire world exists to attend the fears of a girl in an asylum, which is also why I reject the "It's all about Buffy" approach to examining the story, even if her name is baked right into the title.

I see Buffy's conversation with Dawn at the end of Grave as an important first step. Not furiously protecting Dawn, which puts Buffy in the eternally weighed down responsible position, but teaching Dawn to protect herself. Letting go of the responsibility and entering into a partnership. A partnership that she couldn't accept from either Riley or Spike.

Until she has given up responsibility for everyone's actions, she can't really take responsibly for her own actions and her own negative patterns. So, maybe it was Dawn and Buffy that I wanted to go off and have tea and ice cream and talk after all. Dawn is after all Buffy's sister, her daughter, her Other, the best/newest part of herself.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Hear hear!!! well done. -- shygirl, 07:05:11 07/10/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Great post! Tea and ice cream for you! -- ponygirl, 07:56:34 07/10/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Lovely! I third that motion... -- Scroll, 23:14:29 07/10/02 Wed

I think you're absolutely right in saying that Dawn is now Buffy's partner, which is why I think ME will keep Buffy single from now on. Buffy doesn't need another boyfriend, she needs herself. She needs to take care of herself, and her future-self. If Season 7 is returning to Buffy as the strongest woman on the planet, a person of power, I think she needs to stand on her own. Yes, she has friends and backup, but she doesn't need a man to complete her (as she realises in "I Was Made to Love You"). Dawn is Buffy's legacy and I look forward to seeing what the writers do with this pairing.

Btw, I think you mean "martyr complex" not "messiah complex". But wonderful insight in this post!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very nice post, fresne!! (for what it's worth, I think the use of "messiah conmplex" is just right) - - redcat, 23:52:12 07/10/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Good post. Declaring relationship amensty myself -- shadowkat, 11:53:16 07/11/02 Thu

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