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*Out of the Chair* - Coda for Season Seven (a.k.a. 'The Endless S7 Review') ... Part III -- OnM, 21:21:02 07/13/03 Sun

~ ~ ~ ( Continued from Part II ) ~ ~ ~

When last we left our intrepid reviewer and his somewhat less intrepid (and mostly inebriated) evil sidekick...
well, sidekick really isn't the right term either, but until the Supreme Court decides otherwise, the chad will just
have to fall where it may, or so we've been told... they had taken a break from their normal pseudo-intellectual
Buffyverse schmoozefest to log on and Google the recent FOX News story about the possible existence of "Evil
Pills". And wow, wasn't that a really long sentence? As always, you can count on MRI (Mirror Research
, a wholly-owned front operation for PATTSI (Pennsylvania Timely Tax Shelters Inc)) for
more words for less! Anyway, the EP story has proven to be significantly less than accurate, so it's time to
re-board the bus to Sunnydale, or at least a bus operating somewhere within an alternate dimension where
Sunnydale isn't a great big hole in the ground

OnM: I told you it was ridiculous. Just another stupid scam that gets picked up on and passed around in
a blatant attempt to boost ratings. That's the real evil, I tell you. When I was a kid, the news was the news, it
wasn't dressed up as something fashionable and presented as infotainment. Chet Huntley, Dave Brinkley, Walter
C. Que es muy macho, eh?

Evil Clone: Barbara Walters? And isn't 'muy' the wrong word? Don't you mean to say 'more' and not

OnM: Please! Give me Diane Sawyer any day. Or even Leslie Stahl. Besides, it wasn't about a
male-macho thing, it was about that kind of 'just the facts, ma'am' presentation those guys were known for. The
news isn't about entertainment, it's about reporting the facts of whatever situation and keeping the democratic
institutions of the country on a proper heading. I don't think it's remotely a coincidence that the credibility of our
current governmental institutions is at it's lowest point ever when the press is a willing party to subterfuge by
evasion and spin.

EC: They've always done that, you just weren't aware of it. It was behind the scenes, which is a motif
that's far harder to pull off these days, what with the high value placed on continually feeding the voracious maw
of the electronic news. In the old days where things were mostly print-oriented, it was easier to take a break in
between events.

OnM: I know they've always done it, but there was a certain shame and disrepute attached to the act.
Now it's like they actually revel in the iniquity-- it's like 'news, schmooz-- lookit them dollars rollin' in!'. The
ends justify the means all right, but 'the ends' isn't the distribution of accurate information that is in the public
interest-- 'the ends' is about income for the network.

EC: You expect them to work cheap, or for nothing?

OnM: It's a higher calling, like medicine. The bottom line is important, I don't dispute that, but the tail
is wagging not only the dog now, it's wagging the whole damn doghouse. It's what leads to things like Saddam
Hussein's chemists creating 'Evil Pills' that give an excuse for military actions that backfire at worst and cause
inevitable death and suffering at best.

EC: Hey, Evil Pills could be worse than nukes in the wrong hands. We could have ended up with a
whole bunch of Saddams. Or even more Jerry Falwells. God would soon be removing all kinds of protective
shields around America!

OnM: (shudders) Don't go there. Thank the fates it was bogus. I was almost certain that was the case
from the time you first mentioned it, but that one report we found about manipulating DNA to strip away the
part of the code that controls the development of the ego and superego and leave only the id remaining was
pretty scary. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to extend that concept into a virus deliverable in pill form that
could genetically reprogram innocent individuals.

EC: Yeah, who was behind that? The national telemarketing council?

OnM: I think so. The one article at xf.lonegunman.org claimed it was in response to the recent national
'Do Not Call' legislation. They reasoned that if we were all creatures of the id, programming an autonomic
response of "Want that! Buy it!" to any sales presentation would be easy to accomplish. They are calling
far less people, but absolutely everyone buys something, so on balance they come out ahead.

EC: Tsk. Just think, you try to help the economy, and ya end up Evil. Go figure.

OnM: Well, I fear it's only a temporary respite. The level of manipulation is growing steadily on all
fronts, not just the electronic news one. No matter how adept we are at rejecting it, it wears us down. Eventually
dire consequences could and probably will result.

EC: Speaking of which, are we done talking about Faith and Spike now? That is, if we're ever going to
get back to discussing the show?

OnM: It's my understanding that there is a board moratorium of sorts on Spike, but I also think there
are some other boarders who dispute that. I'm not getting involved other than peripherally. I think all is cool on
the Faith front, but I pretty much covered what I wanted to say about her character last time around. You have
any final thoughts?

EC: Never. There is always another thought, no thanks to you! Why couldn't you have stripped
out the think-too-much gene before you pulled me out of the tank? Like the lady said, what's so great about
really deep thoughts?

OnM: (genuinely sad) Freedom is slavery, e tu God? I honestly did try to modulate it some, but it didn't
work. Apparently the gene is solipsistic in structure, and keeps reconstructing itself in its own original image
over and over again. The local rental shop kept threatening to repossess the electron microscope unless I paid for
another month up front, and it was either that or get the car fixed. So I had to let it go and move on to other

EC: (looks at the floor, somewhat dejectedly) My mother the car.

OnM: A Sophie's choice, but that's life in the little city. Anyway, we can't change the past, we can only
analyze it into submission. So what did you think of the Big Feminist Statement (tm) at the ending? You know,
with all those new Slayers being called and whatnot?

EC: (brightening) Yeah. Talk about dangerous choices! I loved it, 'cos it was so righteous and so evil at
the same time!

OnM: (bemused) Go on.

EC: OK, so Buffy has finally done what she has always dreamed of doing-- freed herself from the
horrible loneliness of being the one and only Slayer, to each generation etc. etc. A loneliness that only ends in
death, what a great payoff for being a hot chick with superpowers, right?

OnM: I'm still debating whether that was genuine or ironic or both.

EC: It's a moment to revel in, she should be ecstatic, all bubbly and bouncing, but all we see is that
enigmatic little smile. And it's because she knows, there is no gift without purchase. She's still somewhat in
shock about everything that's happened, so it's mostly subconscious but it's still gotta be there. She is 'free', but
she has done it by essentially enslaving hundreds, maybe thousands of other girls around the world, making them
into Slayers without first asking their permission.

OnM: You're right.

EC: (pausing) I am?

OnM: You are-- there's no arguing with the simple fact of the matter, and that's part of the genius of
the series finale, in that on the surface it appears that the cosmic balance has been tipped overwhelmingly in favor
of the side of good, but that isn't inherently true. There is now the possibility for even greater danger in future,
and Buffy and her friends are the prime instigators of that possibility.

EC: Because the presumption is that the new Slayers will all choose to use their newfound power to
serve the same side that Buffy serves, but they may not. Faith went down the dark road, and it was something
close to a miracle that she came back. But presumably Buffy and Co. will immediately set out to recruit the
newly called, and put together some kind of X-Men like organization, or a 'New Council of Watchers'.

OnM: I think that that is a given, and if there had been an eighth season, I imagine that this September
we'd be seeing the beginnings of that organization start to take shape. The original Watcher's Council may have
been misguided in the way that it treated the 'weapon' at its disposal, but the need to teach the Slayer and
connect her to her heritage is something very necessary. Now that there are a whole big bunch of Slayers, the
need is exponentially greater.

EC: And as I said before, none of the new Slayers asked to be called. It is a form of conscription,
no matter how well it was intended.

OnM: You know there were a lot of potentials in the Casa Summers living room when Buffy gives the
'do you want to be strong' speech. I think we are led to believe that the whole crowd voted 'yea' and joined
Buffy at the Hellmouth, but it was kinda hard to run up an accurate count. I wonder if any of them said no
thanks? And even if they did, what difference would that have made-- the spell Willow cast would have still made
them Slayers. I have had this odd visual running through my head where Buffy is over in a corner of the room
with five or six angry or frightened young women who are arguing that they didn't even want to be potentials, let
alone full-fledged Slayers. They just wanna be out of the line of fire and go home. Buffy needs every single
warrior she can bring to her cause, but how does she reconcile forcing someone who doesn't want the deal? Not
a good place to be in psychologically.

EC: Well, then they can just sorta die as potentials, then can't they?

OnM: I assume that would be the direction she would take with them. But the basic issue is still there,
and irresolvable. Buffy is playing up the need to meet the greater good, or as Spock put it back on Trek years
ago, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". Taking the big picture into account, she is on solid
ethical ground, but on the other hand, no means no. As I said, it's irresolvable. Someone's rights will be trampled

EC: So. Let's assume that three of the women choose to sit out the battle, and the other three join the
main group. Two of them die, one survives. All three of the rejectees live, of course. So they made the right
decision after all, assuming they bugged outa Sunnydale before the big battle, natch.

OnM: Except they are now Slayers. Do they have a right to join the New Council with the rest of the
battle survivors? Or does Buffy tell them to piss off?

EC: I would hope so. No guts, no glory, sez me.

OnM: (chuckling) That's funny, coming from someone whose idea of guts is staying awake for an
all-night drinking contest at the local pub.

EC: Hey, that was tough! You try it sometime! I was belching for hours afterward, kept me awake even

OnM: No thanks, my liver is the regular, non-enhanced 49-year-old kind. But seriously, I've never been
in the military, and frankly have less than no desire to join it, now or ever. But I sit here enjoying the freedoms
that were won by those who have put their lives literally on the line to win them. Even leaving the military out of
it, people from my generation have benefitted from the pro-union people who made the world a better place to
work in, and without the feminist movement that so many young women today look at dismissively, there would
be no Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV.

EC: Or the right to vote.

OnM: Well, yeah, that was the implication and all. You don't get the little things until the big things get
done. But when have I ever done my part to preserve the state of the union, other than of course my significant
regular contributions to the welfare of wealthy people and their friends?

EC: They run the country, you help them. Sound like public service to me!

OnM: I'm not a good example, I grant you, but the dilemma still exists. None of the protos asked to be
protos. If they don't want to be Slayers, then they shouldn't have to be Slayers. There's more than one now--
even if only half of say 100 Slayers wanted to serve the New Council, that's still 48 more than what were there

EC: Maybe Willow could come up with a de-Slayering spell, and remove the Scythe energy from them.

OnM: Possibly. But it would certainly be in the interests of the NC to bring as many fighters into the
fold as it could. I imagine that the pressure would be significant, even if it was friendly pressure.

EC: Now, as I remember, Buffy was unaware that she had become a Slayer until Merrick found her in
Los Angeles. This has always puzzled me-- how could she not know she was suddenly gifted? In
Chosen we saw that it was like a big ol' rush-- the girls knew that something happened, that's for sure.
So one day you feel this cosmic orgasm thing, the next day you notice that you can outrun the school track star
without breaking a sweat. Or that you were this big ol' spaz and now you can juggle chainsaws.

OnM: Chainsaws?

EC: Maybe not chainsaws, but you get my point, right?

OnM: I think the honest answer to this is that as the mythology expanded over the last seven years, Joss
had to choose whether the feminist viewpoint took precedence over the 'canon' of the early days, especially the
events that were depicted in the movie. For him that was an easy choice. We never got to see or even hear about
the moments when Faith or Kendra were called, and for that matter Buffy has never spoken about it even
during the entire series. So Chosen was the only time we have ever seen a Slayer called.

EC: (shaking his head emphatically) Wait, you're kidding, she... (pauses as it sinks in) O my
Honorificus, you're right! That's so freaky!

OnM: O my Honorificus? (concerned) Dude, she's mythical. Don't be doing that. This is reality

EC: Ewwww! Don't be sayin' nasty things like that! Besides, I met her!

OnM: No, that was the census lady. You were going to answer the door, and I pulled you aside, and
you tripped over the couch and bumped your head and got dizzy.

EC: But she was really well dressed! (trying to remember) Didn't you want me to be counted?

OnM: I was at a loss to explain how you look just like me but were only three years old. The normal
world just isn't ready for some things.

EC: (muttering very softly) Pot calling the frying pan burnt...

OnM: Huh? I missed that...

EC: Ferget it. Back to Buffy and the New Council and all. So the gang all rides off out of the desert and
into the sunset. Only the next day, the sun comes up again, just like Joyce said. And everyone heads out to start
locating the newly en-Slayed. Naturally, there is much skepticism on the part of the newbies, and with Sunnydale
gone, it gets tough to convince them of the supernatural nature of the world. James Randi even finds out about
the goings-on and attempts an intervention. Things get so hairy that Willow has to transport him to the alternate
universe where Martin Gardner is president and everyone on Earth subscribes to Scientific American.

OnM: Uhh... yeah, I guess that could happen.

EC: They consider moving to Cleveland, 'cause there's a Hellmouth there, even though it's only a little
one and the demons mostly just have bad hair days every day and aren't especially nasty. Buffy initially objects
because Cleveland isn't close enough to the beach and then remembers that she's the Head Hot Chick with
Superpowers and she's also a pal of the most powerful Wicca in the western hemisphere who can teleport her to
Brazil anytime she wants.

OnM: Brazil?

EC: Topless beaches. I think visually, remember?

OnM: OK, I get the general idea. But the root problem is still that if Buffy wants to be democratic about
it, she will give the new Slayers the choice, and they might turn it down, or worse yet, go the Faith route and
turn to evil, for whatever personality-driven reasons-- greed, revenge, ego-fulfillment. The NC members will
have to spend their time fighting the subjects of their own creation, women who might not ever have been a
problem if left unchosen. And in the meantime, ordinary people could get injured or killed.

EC: It was always possible for a Slayer to go bad, but there was only one. You kill her off, and another
takes her place, and hopefully things work out better. Now they have lost that advantage.

OnM: One thing to consider is that we are assuming that these young women who have been chosen are
typical human women, but that may not be the case. Whatever supernatural forces govern the selection of
potentials may require that the ones chosen are of a highly moral nature. We are citing Faith as an example, but
Faith wasn't inherently evil, she had circumstances that pushed her in that direction and she gave in to human
weakness and followed that path. As I mentioned before, it took a great deal of strength to turn away from the
darkness that had enveloped her and fight her way back out again. Having proper mentors is critical, and this was
a problem with the original Watchers Council-- they forgot their mission was to serve the Slayer and
decided to use her instead.

EC: Those Shadowmen guys were pretty clearly users. Not hard to see how the mission went missing.
So maybe they didn't forget, they never thought of it that way at all.

OnM: Or they could have been desperate, and the girl that they picked to violate was the best available
candidate. If your entire species is facing imminent violent death, it makes supernaturally raping a girl seem like a
worthwhile tradeoff if doing so prevents it from happening. We don't know, and I'm not excusing what they did.
Buffy herself acknowledged that war means death and suffering, and she also admitted thinking that she could
have been mistaken not to accept the shamans 'gift' of greater power.

EC: But you don't believe that, when that ep aired you said that you were absolutely convinced that
Buffy did the right thing, that she would find another way.

OnM: Yes, and I haven't changed my mind. But I admire how ME didn't make it easy for us, at least
not when you think about it. This is another extremely controversial idea to throw out, but if Spike hadn't
attempted to rape Buffy, and felt remorse about doing so afterward, he would never have gone to get his soul
back. If he hadn't done that, and if Buffy hadn't eventually accepted his remorse as being genuine and allowed
him to be the champion that could wear the amulet, the First Evil could have won. All cause and effect, as I
pointed out in my earlier primary review on Chosen. This is disconcerting to think about, but there it is.
Also, if Tara hadn't died, Willow wouldn't have been placed in the circumstances that allowed her to greatly
amplifiy her magical abilities, and she likely could not have been able to cast the spell that distributed the power
of the Scythe to all the world's potentials.

EC: Hummph. And folks call me evil. I'm not that evil.

OnM: Buffy won because she could see the bigger picture, although I think 'sensed' or 'intuited' would
be more accurate terms. There never was any rational reason why she shouldn't have killed Spike long ago, and
even less reason why she should have forgiven him for the attempted rape. But she did, and I think we are led to
accept this as proof of Buffy's worthiness as a 'higher being'. By contrast to Jasmine in AtS, who offers a
'rational' choice to make and thereby turns her followers into contented cattle who only have the illusion of
freedom, Buffy and her followers insist on shouldering the burden of choice and accepting the pain and ambiguity
that is unavoidably tied in with doing so.

Another item: I was really struck by how similar this endgame parallel between the two series evoked the
concept behind Ursula LeGuin's The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. Jasmine's followers were like
those people in the story who lived in absolute happiness and contentment because somewhere, a small child
suffered terribly in complete isolation from any human contact. Buffy was someone who would walk away from
Omelas, who wouldn't accept the deal, and this isn't something new with her. Back in season three, Buffy gave
the Box of Gavrok back to the Mayor because it was the only way to save Willow. Wesley insisted that this
wasn't rational, that Willow's death, while unfortunate, would nevertheless allow them to absolutely bring a halt
to the Mayor's ascension.

EC: And of course, Buffy won't kill Dawn to save the world in season five. Irrational again.

OnM: Buffy chooses life unless there is absolutely no alternative-- it is her gift. You are full of love,
brighter than the fire
. This was never a casually thrown out line, it was a statement that goes to the very
core of Buffy's heroic nature. People think that Buffy is naive, and in their defense, she sometimes is, but it isn't
a naivite born of carelessness or stupidity, it's an unwillingness to accept the easy path, to sell out when it really
counts. That was the whole point of Giles betraying Buffy in Lies. Giles falls into despair, and falls into
accepting the 'rational' path, which is to say the convenient one. Buffy has to bitch-slap him back into his
humanity again.

EC: And her 'generalissima' moments? She seemed pretty 'rational' herself there.

OnM: Thereby proving to herself that this was a role that didn't fit. We saw a number of moments over
the course of several episodes where Buffy admits to her confidants (Willow, Xander, Spike) that she's
uncomfortable in this leadership role, but thinks that this is what is expected of her. But the expectations are
those of others around her, not what her own are
. She needs time to realize this. It's there, waiting to come
out, but she needs a bit of a push to accept herself as a leader whose own methodology is valid and effective.

The final transition takes place after she is faced with rejection by her sister, the one person she can't rationalize
as being 'against' her. She has to re-evalute her actions, come to trust herself and her own instincts, not borrow
the instincts of others. That she is capable of doing so is proven when she passes the mantle of leadership to
Faith, of all people. A lesser being would never have done this, but her own instincts tell her it is what must be
done. And Faith rises to the challenge, although with some difficulties along the way, and proves Buffy correct.
And Spike, of course, comes through with the emotional support that eventually leads Buffy to the Scythe.

EC: The very nifty-looking but very deus ex machina axe that mysteriously saves the day. Sorta
convenient though, eh?

OnM: I really don't get why there is such a fuss about this in some quarters. Joss is a comic book fan,
and comic books are chock full of deus ex machinas and always have been. In the comic universes, stuff just
happens. Unpredictability is the norm.

EC: But there was never the slightest mention of the damn thing the whole time the series was on the
air. Shouldn't it have been foreshadowed somewhere? You know, an allusion or a hint or two?

OnM: Why? Isn't it more of a surprise the way it was done? I really loved the Scythe, and what was
done with it. I can see that if one thinks that 7.22 was 'the end', then the Scythe was indeed a simplistic plot
device that seemed to come in at the last minute just to save the day. But the Buffyverse continues to expand and
grow. It's not gone unless Joss unexpectedly croaks, and even if such a horrid fate should befall the world, I
think Marti and Espenson and Petrie and Fury and Greenwalt and all the others understand the thing well enough
to make it keep on living. The legacy is real, it will outlive its creator no matter what.

EC: Gee. Sorta like if I'd outlive you!

OnM: Nuh-uh-uh. Then I think we're doomed. Sorry.

~ ~ ~ ( To Be Continued ) ~ ~ ~

[> Preserving -- Masq, 12:07:56 07/16/03 Wed

[> Preserving...just wrote longish reply to Odyssey, not up for 'nother just yet -- Random, 15:30:00 07/16/03 Wed

[> [> Preserving again -- d'Herblay, 21:39:09 07/17/03 Thu

[> argh! shouldn't try to reply this late... -- anom, 00:07:26 07/17/03 Thu

...esp. when i'm also chatting! OK...save what I have so far...try tomorrow...post about it to try to keep thread up (again)....

Masq, thanks for bringing it back!

[> scattered comments--hope they're worth the double thread restoration! -- anom, 10:33:57 07/18/03 Fri

I almost posted this under d'Herblay's "Preserving again" as "Restored again." Or maybe it should've been "Thanks again"!
"...that one report we found about manipulating DNA to strip away the part of the code that controls the development of the ego and superego and leave only the id remaining was pretty scary. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to extend that concept into a virus deliverable in pill form that could genetically reprogram innocent individuals."

It's gonna be a loooooonng time before anything like that's possible. Nobody knows what part of DNA controls the development of the mind--the brain is complex enough, & we're only at the very beginning of the Genome Age. Besides, in terms of sales opportunities, it'd leave everyone broke very soon, & that wouldn't be good for sales. And how would they get it past the FDA?

"Things get so hairy that Willow has to transport him to the alternate universe where Martin Gardner is president and everyone on Earth subscribes to Scientific American."

Heehee! Well, at least cjl would have complete job security!

"They just wanna be out of the line of fire and go home."

But is anyplace going to be out of the line of fire if the Slayer side doesn't win? How much of a choice is the other side gonna give them? This is the thumb on the scale of Buffy's decision to activate potentials even though some--maybe even most--of them have no idea what's going on.

"Now, as I remember, Buffy was unaware that she had become a Slayer until Merrick found her in Los Angeles. This has always puzzled me-- how could she not know she was suddenly gifted? In Chosen we saw that it was like a big ol' rush-- the girls knew that something happened, that's for sure."

I'd like to offer a slight fanwank: the Willow-enhanced spell gave an extra boost to the awakening of the Slayer power that made it perceptible, whether any particular Potential was expecting it or not. Or having it happen to so many at once gave it a synergy that had the same effect. (It occurred to me to wonder if the Scythe had glowed every time a new Slayer was called over thousands of years.) In a way, it reminds me of the "click" that was referred to so often in Ms. magazine's letter pages, when a woman realized that something she'd always accepted as the way things were was restricting her based on her sex. When just a few women were coming to such realizations on an individual basis, they might not have connected it to society-wide conditions. But when it happens on a larger scale, when it starts to affect an entire society's consciousness, there's something to "click" into, and the women who experience such a moment are more aware of it. Maybe that's the metaphor.

"OnM: OK, I get the general idea. But the root problem is still that if Buffy wants to be democratic about it, she will give the new Slayers the choice, and they might turn it down, or worse yet, go the Faith route and turn to evil.... The NC members will have to spend their time fighting the subjects of their own creation.... And in the meantime, ordinary people could get injured or killed.
EC: It was always possible for a Slayer to go bad, but there was only one. You kill her off, and another takes her place, and hopefully things work out better. Now they have lost that advantage."

They do have a new advantage, though...their own experience w/the dark side. Faith herself, Willow, Buffy...they have an understanding the old Council never could have of what power can do to a person, & they might be able to reach possible rogue Slayers the way Angel almost reached Faith after she'd killed Finch...until the Council interfered. Of course, they're not around to do that anymore, are they? The problem is that the New Council would have to find, & try to intervene with, any rogues on a case-by-case basis. I wonder how much detail there is in Willow's ability to "feel" all the new Slayers. Can she locate them? Tell what their mental state is? Know the best approach to take for each one?

And on a more general scale, the diversity of experience among the Sunnydale Slayers (sheesh--sounds like a sports team!) may help them relate to more of the new Slayers than a smaller group could & let them bring more of them into the fold.

"Whatever supernatural forces govern the selection of potentials may require that the ones chosen are of a highly moral nature. We are citing Faith as an example, but Faith wasn't inherently evil, she had circumstances that pushed her in that direction and she gave in to human weakness and followed that path."

But isn't that always the case? Is any human "inherently evil"? We could ask this of the real world as well as the Buffyverse, but in the latter, it's made explicit that the human soul predisposes people to good, so turning to evil would always require circumstances to give a push. I don't think even Warren was presented as inherently evil.

"But I admire how ME didn't make it easy for us, at least not when you think about it. This is another extremely controversial idea to throw out, but if Spike hadn't attempted to rape Buffy, and felt remorse about doing so afterward, he would never have gone to get his soul back. If he hadn't done that, and if Buffy hadn't eventually accepted his remorse as being genuine and allowed him to be the champion that could wear the amulet, the First Evil could have won. All cause and effect, as I pointed out in my earlier primary review on Chosen. This is disconcerting to think about, but there it is. Also, if Tara hadn't died, Willow wouldn't have been placed in the circumstances that allowed her to greatly amplifiy her magical abilities, and she likely could not have been able to cast the spell that distributed the power of the Scythe to all the world's potentials."

This train of thought could indeed be disconcerting. But the "cause" events we saw may not have been the only ones that could have brought about the "effect" ones. For example, if Spike had already been dusted, or had remained soulless but survived, Angel could have worn the amulet. (I'm talking just about the internal reality of the show here--obviously he couldn't have suffered Spike's fate & still have been back for his own show's next season. And Buffy would have been devastated at leaving him behind to burn--we'd never have seen that smile at the end.) They could also have come up w/another way for Willow's powers to expand. On the other hand, it may be even more disconcerting that there were other possible causes, but these were the ones that actually did lead to the effects.

I'm really glad you mentioned LeGuin, & the Guide's line from Intervention. I hadn't thought of Buffy's forgiveness of Spike in light of "Love...give...forgive" before. Now I can hardly believe I didn't!

"Freedom is slavery,...teleport her to Brazil anytime she wants."

Yes, I'm going for the longest ellipsis interval on record here. What the hell connection could there possibly be between what comes before & after that ellipse? Why, just coincidence, of course--I happened to see the 1985 movie Brazil on Sunday, for the 1st time. It's funny & horrifying & it takes place in a dystopia w/blatantly Orwellian billboard exhortations (maybe not "Freedom is slavery," but close) & ministry names; the ending, although less ambiguous, made me think of Normal Again (just to keep from ending this post totally O/T). [BTW, I gotta digress to say I saw it at Symphony Space's Thalia theater, & it was so nice not to have to sit through 20 minutes of ads & previews. The place was actually quiet until the feature began!]

[> [> ...it's gonna be gone again, isn't it? despite my blatantly desperate attempt to preserve it -- anom, *almost* resigned, 17:25:42 07/18/03 Fri

[> so much to say about this...but not tonight--sleep 1st! -- anom, doing my part to keep the thread up, 23:13:39 07/13/03 Sun

[> 'Fascinating',I say, raising one Spocklike eyebrow.. -- jane, 23:28:48 07/13/03 Sun

[> Choices - Out of Eden -- Rahael, 03:31:45 07/14/03 Mon

One of the things that I have been thinking about re Buffy's final choice, and the argument that this is really enslaving young women. I should state up front that I don't think it is enslavement.

Will the demons go away, the vampires, the monsters, the things that lurk in the night, if Buffy hadn't made that choice? No, they would not have.

Would these girls have been spared the dilemmas and pains that Buffy has faced, metaphorically represented by these demons, if she hadn't allowed the potential to awaken? No.

What did Buffy do exactly? She gave them eyes to see the demons, and the emotional strength to fight them. And it's important that they were potentials, because it means that the power was already there. Buffy just awoke it.

I was struck by a quote from a recent Joss interview, about loneliness. How he had always been lonely. And that was something that really leapt at me. I don't think Buffy's loneliness will simply go away because she's shared her power. I think the loneliness and sadness that sometimes pervaded the Buffyverse is a loneliness and sadness that I share, and one that cannot be divested simply because one is no longer alone. I do not face death with equanimity.

But I think we are meant to understand that Buffy came to some kind of resolution when she watched Spike die. She was able to come close to the time when she watched Angel die, when she killed Angel, and once again face this crucial moment, and come to some kind of resolution. Does she know this time that it wasn't the end? Was the crucial point this time that Spike knew what would happen to him, and was able to accept it? Angel died with his eyes closed, still loving Buffy - she deceived him. Spike died with his eyes open, denying Buffy's love. A lie? A truth? Or something that was not untrue and not unkind. (I am here not suggesting that one vamp is better than the other. I am suggesting that Spike and Angel stand in for each other, especially since we know that Buffy specifically denies Angel as the one to be sacrificed this time around).

The sharing of power is linked to Buffy's fear of death in anotehr way. Throughout season 7, we learn that the most terrible thing about the Slayer line is that one slayer had to die before the next is called. This is what is so destructive about being a Slayer - not the naughty black evil, but that all these girls are just waiting for Buffy to die so they can be the chosen one. That is the destructive cycle that Buffy finally breaks. That's how she conquers death twice in Chosen. That's why the message of Chosen is Rebirth, just as the series ends.

And yes, the Choice she makes isn't all light. The girls will face hardship because they will use their power in the service of others. But, can anyone on this board say that they have not faced hardships and pain? I am the last person who says that pain ennobles. But I do think helping others, reaching out, and finding a place in the world through a sense of community mitigates the loneliness, the sadness, and enriches our sense of our own self, because the idea of self is only made meaningful by the existence of others. Other, important, loveable, respectworthy selves.

[> [> Entirely positive post about S7! Catch them while you can! -- Rahael, 03:32:58 07/14/03 Mon

and yes, this is a blatant attempt to keep the thread alive.

[> [> [> *sob* You don't know how happy you've made me, Rah! -- The Cheerleadery One, tissue-box in hand, 08:38:37 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> Hehe, Rob! and Thanks, OnM! -- Rahael, 16:24:28 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> Rah! You *know* we resolved at the last meeting that... -- Random, 23:12:52 07/16/03 Wed

we weren't allowed to make Rob any happier. He will explode from joy and that would be bad...I mean, the mess will incredibly icky to clean up. So remember: Miserable Rob = returned security deposit.

[> [> Very nice - an excellent defense of the situation. Thanks! -- OnM, 07:36:16 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> She liked it! -- ponygirl, 09:46:46 07/14/03 Mon

Well, at least that part!

Very nice, Rah. I don't quite get the problem some have with Buffy's decision in Chosen. Yes, we have been trained to see the negative side of Slayerdom, to understand that it is a burden more than a gift. But in many ways it is the burden of living. Hot chick with superpowers aside, what Buffy faces are the problems of being alive in the world on a grand metaphorical scale. None of us ask to be born, but I think most parents would wish for their child to be powerful, to have the strength to make choices, for good or for ill.

Buffy is giving these girls something that she never had - a shared burden. None of them will ever have to be the only girl in all the world. Their deaths will be their own, not the condemnation of another to the same fate.

[> [> [> And of course one of the major signs that the spell was of the good...Will went WHITE. -- Rob, 10:08:16 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> Actually that I didn't like so much -- ponygirl, 13:44:12 07/14/03 Mon

I don't think Willow should have to be checking her roots for reassurance about whether a spell is good or bad... but they had established the dark hair thing from last year and of course the Gandalf tie-in.

[> [> [> [> [> As a visual symbol, though, it was a concise way to display this w/o saying it expositionally. -- Rob, 14:23:02 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> Agreed -- ponygirl, 14:38:18 07/14/03 Mon

[> So Where are Parts I and II? -- Dochawk - who misses too much when he goes on vacation, 07:00:11 07/14/03 Mon

Though the vacation was clearly worth it and necessary.

[> [> Apologize on the slowness of the archives -- Masq, 07:11:12 07/14/03 Mon

Breaking in some new archivers, and having some busy life stuff going on myself. I can find the first two parts on my hard drive and send them to you if you want.

[> [> I'll get 'em mailed to you, Doc. You should already have the main review. -- OnM, 07:29:29 07/14/03 Mon

I mailed that out last week or thereabouts. If you didn't get it, let me know.

The Dawn Paradox (potential spoilage of overall series - enter at own risk) -- ZachsMind, 09:14:06 07/14/03 Mon

Now that the entire seven year run is behind us, and we can see the entire tapestry laid out without concern for that which is missing, there's one thing which I find intriguing. And granted, we can surmise that the story will continue to unfold in Angel in an indirect way but for all intents and purposes the story of Sunnydale itself has been capsulized with the cratering of Sunnydale. So the events inside Sunnydale, except where affecting the outside world, can be dissected, reversed, turned inside and out, etcetera, without much fear of continuity reprisal. I mean, I couldn't ask the question I'm about to pose at the end of season five, but I should be able to do so now.

That question is this: what if Dawnie was there from Day One? What if Joss had thought that far ahead? What we know is that immediately after Dracula's appearance (and subsequent disappearance) from Sunnydale, Dawn just magically appears, and all the Scoobies (apparently everyone in Sunnydale except the occasional lunatic) just immediately accepts her in their continuity. Even the godlike Glory can stare right at her and not see the truth, despite the fact that half the time she was insane herself.

So we're led to assume that temporally, Dawn was a green glowing glob somewhere in a monastery until September of 2000. However, after September of 2000, everyone had memories of Dawn having been in their lives. We're given hints throughout the rest of the series precisely what those memories are, and that after the initial shock in season five, the Scoobies just naturally accept this rewrite of their past to accomodate Dawn's presence. So that, for all intents and purposes, Dawn is subjectively real. From the perspective of Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles, Dawnie was there with them since Buffy's first day of school in March of 1997.

Precisely what happened in those interum years, at least in the memories of our Scooby gang? It's theorized that had the animated series been successful, this rewrite would have been made more clear. However, since that may not be the case, and since we fans of the series are now facing an indeterminate amount of time where the stories of the Scoobies' future are left in doubt, perhaps now's an opportunity for a little retcon. Can we reverse engineer the first four years of Buffy's history to ascertain where Dawnie might have fit in? Can this be done without adversely affecting the history, or would her presence have naturally made dramatic changes, like bring Jonathan or Amy more into the Scooby fold, for example? Or since she would have been in junior high while Buffy was in high school, and then high school when her sister was in college, would Dawnie have had little to no effect those first three years?

When did Dawn learn of Buffy's Slayer powers, and why didn't she tell Joyce? How did Dawn's infatuation with Xander develop? How would Dawn have interacted with Cordy, Angel, Oz, Snyder, Faith or other characters?

Would this make the overall story more enjoyable, or less? What do you think?

[> What Do We Know? (The Dawn Paradox continued) -- ZachsMind, 13:51:40 07/14/03 Mon

Since no one else is taking the bait, I'll try to sweeten the worm a little bit.

Dawn's first appearance in the BuffyVerse is Episode 1 of Season 5 at the very end. The original airdate was September 26th, 2000. This is like, Ground Zero. Everything after this point lends us potential clues for what went on before, if only in the memories of our principal players. The source material confirms that Dawn was ten years old in season one ("Shadow") and fourteen in season five ("Crush"). We're never told when (they believe) her birthday is. That may be because it's in the summer some time.

In "Real Me" we learn that Joyce often leaves Dawn in Buffy's hands to watch over, even when Buffy is doing her Slayer training duties with Giles. We learn Dawn has decided opinions about each of the principals, recalling that old-timer Giles once used the word "newfangled." Ironically, I can find only one other instance when that word was used, and it wasn't Giles who said it. Dawn seemed to always look up to Tara & Willow, and she had a crush on Xander early on, who apparently had often been her babysitter in the first four years. Apparently this was the first time she met a crazy person. Until this moment she had no clue to her strange existence.

The pickings get a little slim after the first episode, but glimpses into the memories of Dawn & the others are given throughout the bulk of the fifth season. In the episode "No Place Like Home" Buffy hints that Dawn never could take an apology, which insinuates Buffy's had to apologize to her before. "Ever since.." Buffy's voice trails off. We do not know the details, only that there was one other time. Perhaps a painful time.

In season five's "Family" we learn Dawn has a biased opinion against alcohol, but appears oblivious to the fact many of Buffy's friends occasionally partake. Why she has this opinion though is not made clear.

In "Shadow" we learn Dawn has a memory about riding a carousel with Buffy and Joyce for a full hour on her birthday. This was when she was ten, and was according to Dawn during her first year in Sunnydale (some time in season one). We also learn there is some kind of history between Riley & Dawn which may or may not have leaked into the preceding year (season four). Dawn notes that Buffy cried less while dating Riley than she did when dating Angel.

"Into The Woods" Dawn reported a memory where she used to put chopsticks in her mouth like fangs, and Buffy would chase her around the house yelling "I'm a slayer, I'm gonna get you." This may have only happened once, or perhaps a few times. It may have been soon after Dawn learned Buffy's secret some time in season two or three. Probably when Joyce wasn't around, because if Joyce saw Dawn running around with chopsticks in her mouth it woulda been worse than running with scissors to a parent. Dawn later points out whenever she plays games with Anya & Xander (potentially late season three onward) that Anya always wins. There's also a moment where Dawn admits that on more than one occasion, Buffy has managed to have Dawn put into the custody of someone else (usually Xander) "so Buffy and Riley can bonk." Although Buffy spent most of season four away from home, it's apparent that this behavior has been going on for awhile. It might have happened once or twice before "Real Me."

In "Triangle" we're given a hint that Dawn had to warm up to Riley. That at first she didn't like him but just before Buffy & Riley broke up she was warming up to him, probably because of the Buffy doesn't cry around Riley like she did around Angel thing.

The first time Dawn & Spike really talk to one another is in "Blood Ties," but their interchange indicates they were familiar with one another already, probably on a very peripheral level (like in season two when Spike was still all GrrrArghy). This may be the first time they were alone together. Had Spike & Dawn actually had words prior to "Blood Ties," it was when Spike was decidedly more evil, which would have given Dawn's attitude towards him in that episode much more weight. His first nickname for her is 'Nibblet' and he says it as if he's referred to her in that manner before.

However, in "Crush" we're led to believe Dawn had never been in Spike's crypt before, that she only then realized how Spike travels by the sewers in the daytime, and that she wouldn't have even dared be around Spike alone before she realized she wasn't really human. So if Dawn met Spike back in season two, it was definitely while she was tagging along with the other Scoobies, and NEVER by herself.

By "Blood Ties" Dawn has learned about her true nature, and even cut herself in an attempt to prove her humanity to herself. Joyce & Buffy try to comfort her but she begins to feel the weight of having memories of a life unlived. This begs the question: never in the history of the series have WE seen Dawn and Hank (her father) together. Hank only made a couple appearances in the first two seasons of the series ("Nightmares & "When She Was Bad" predominantly). Having not been in Sunnydale from that point onward, would he even recall Dawn? Or did the monks' magicks have no affect on him? WE know that the monks made Dawn out of Buffy's blood, so technically she's a magical clone of Buffy. She's not really Joyce & Hank's child. Although Dawn remembers Hank as her father, would Hank have any recollection of Dawn? And would prolonged exposure to Dawn cause Hank to slowly get brain cancer and die, like what happened to Joyce? Has this already happened anyway?

We learn from Glory in "Blood Ties" that Dawn's true nature is "a bright green swirly shimmer." At least that's what she looked like when Glory last saw Dawn's true self (probably circa 12th century in Tarnis). However, Dawn's never revealed in that way throughout the series, with the potentially apocryphal exception of season seven, when Willow does a magic spell that goes through Dawn & the door and hits Amanda, we see a glimpse of a YELLOW ball of energy inside Dawn. This could be cuz the energy Willow shot out was yellow. It may have no bearing on Dawn's true self, but it sure looks suspicious.

Hmm... twelfth century. This means Dawn is almost as old as Anya. Possibly older. Trivially, we're told Dawn got an allowance from Joyce but we don't know how much it was.

[> [> Re: What Do We Know? (The Dawn Paradox continued) -- O'Cailleagh, 15:39:14 07/14/03 Mon

"Hank......Having not been in Sunnydale from that point onward, would he even recall Dawn? Or did the monks' magicks have no affect on him? WE know that the monks made Dawn out of Buffy's blood, so technically she's a magical clone of Buffy. She's not really Joyce & Hank's child. Although Dawn remembers Hank as her father, would Hank have any recollection of Dawn? And would prolonged exposure to Dawn cause Hank to slowly get brain cancer and die, like what happened to Joyce? Has this already happened anyway?"
Hmmmm... ok..First off, I think that since Angel and Faith both remember Dawn (neither of them actually being around when Dawn was introduced), its a pretty safe bet that Hank does. After all, he was her 'father' and therefore more likely to go visit the family in Sunnydale than the imprisoned psycho Slayer, or the vampire ex-boyfriend.

Secondly, and I realise that this is a common theory amongst some, why is it that people think that Dawn somehow caused Joyce's tumour?
It was stated time and again by the writers that Joyce's illness was there to show A) that Buffy can't fight *everything* and B) that sometimes people die from non-demonic causes ('no monsters involved' say officials).
And if prolonged exposure to inter-dimensional energy-based artificial life-forms who happen to unlock portals between worlds caused brain (or any other type) cancer, why aren't any of the scoobs dead, or suffering, from it? Not to mention the fact that Hank clearly has not had prolonged exposure to Dawn (he may have memories of her, but so far as we know, he has never actually met her) so wouldn't have been magickally irradiated by her.

Oh, and although we didn't see it ourselves, Willow could see Dawnie as all green and glowy at the end of S6, when she was all evil and veiny.
I always wondered if Dru would be able to tell, you know, what with being psychic *and* crazy.


[> [> [> Why Dawn caused Joyce's brain tumor... -- ZachsMind, 06:54:46 07/15/03 Tue

There was no history of Joyce having medical conditions prior to season five - Dawn's first appearance.

The writers established that as her condition worsened, Joyce was becoming erratically psychotic, which allowed her to see Dawn's true nature. Joyce's psyche could not accept the fact that she had given birth to two children when her body knew otherwise. Ask any mother, anyone who's experienced the process of birth, if a magic spell could convince them it's happened more times than they have experienced, and they'll tell you no way.

Dawn's presence was messing with Joyce's mind, which just happened to be where the tumor was located. Coincidental and circumstantial, but coupled with the time factor and the whole "crazy people can see Dawn" thing, it's enough for me.

If Joyce had been dying of anything not related to the brain then I'd agree with you. However, I firmly believe that if Dawn never showed up, Joyce would have still been around. She wouldn't have died from after-effects of brain surgery.

In season six, we're given a glimpse of either a delusional world inside Buffy's head, or an alternate reality accessed by a demon, that shows us a world where Buffy didn't have slayer powers but was instead stuck in an insane asylum. In that alternate reality, Hank and Joyce were together, and six years after the events depicted in the motion picture, Joyce was still alive and well, and there never was a Dawn. So IF that was an alternate reality and not a figment of Buffy's imagination, then that solidifies it.

[> [> [> [> Re: Why Dawn caused Joyce's brain tumor... -- O'Cailleagh, 07:35:45 07/15/03 Tue

"There was no history of Joyce having medical conditions prior to season five"

How about before the show began? We don't know Joyce's medical history, or that of her parents etc. Besides which, illnesses of all kinds can manifest without a person having ever been previously ill.
It *could* have been any number of things that caused the tumour, such as using cell phones, living in close proximity to power lines, or a very large amount of physical and/or emotional stress.

"The writers established that as her condition worsened, Joyce was becoming erratically psychotic, which allowed her to see Dawn's true nature. Joyce's psyche could not accept the fact that she had given birth to two children when her body knew otherwise."

Brain tumours are known to cause odd behaviour and the like...I hesitate to use the term psychotic...the reason for this is the tumour presses on the part of the brain it has formed in, this affects the working of the brain.

"Ask any mother, anyone who's experienced the process of birth, if a magic spell could convince them it's happened more times than they have experienced, and they'll tell you no way."

Well since most people don't believe in the existence of magick, this wouldn't surprise me. However, it would be entirely possible to convince a mother that she had given birth a different number of times through hypnosis, for example. Also mental illness could have a similar effect. My grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer's, was convinced that my sister and I were her children, in addition to the four children she had in 'reality'.

"Dawn's presence was messing with Joyce's mind, which just happened to be where the tumor was located."

The tumour was located in the brain, not the mind, they are two different things, connected, but different. Unless you're saying that the tumour was located in the part of the brain that was producing the odd behaviour. In which case, I addressed that above. To reiterate, it was the tumour causing the odd behaviour, not the other way around.

"In season six, we're given a glimpse of either a delusional world inside Buffy's head, or an alternate reality accessed by a demon, that shows us a world where Buffy didn't have slayer powers but was instead stuck in an insane asylum. In that alternate reality, Hank and Joyce were together, and six years after the events depicted in the motion picture, Joyce was still alive and well, and there never was a Dawn. So IF that was an alternate reality and not a figment of Buffy's imagination, then that solidifies it."

Yes, it was either a delusion, or it was an Alternate Universe. If it was delusion, then..well that explains itself. If however it was an AU, then that also explains itself. It was an Alternate Universe. Emphasis on Alternate. They are called this because things turned out differently causing alternate events to happen. This would be why Hank is still with the family, why they are still in LA, why Buffy isn't a Slayer, and why Sunnydale doesn't even exist. Choices affect the future, you make different choices, and different events unfold.
The fact that Hank and Joyce divorced had nothing to do with Dawn in the 'real' Buffyverse (since she was still just the Key at this point) so obviously, her not being in the Asylumverse had nothing to do with why Hank and Joyce are *not* divorced. So why is it that Joyce still being alive does?
Maybe, in the Asylumverse, the lack of Slayer related stress for Joyce (emotional trauma), and the deficit of attempts on her life (physical and emotional trauma), are what saves her from developing cancer. Or maybe her diet was better, including more anti-oxidants and less free-radicals. Who knows?
Its an interesting theory, it really is, but it doesn't stand up to any kind of scrutiny, plus it flies in the face of what the writers told us about Joyce's death. They maybe contradictory sometimes, or misdirect us on occasion, but outright lying about the show isn't something that they really do. Except when spoilers are an issue of course.


[> [> [> [> That argument ONLY works if the asylumverse is real... -- Rob, 07:36:59 07/15/03 Tue

And the important thing we learned in that episode was that it was not important which reality was really real, but what was most real to Buffy. Buffy chose the red pill, or the blue pill, or whatever. She made her decision. Thus that is what really happened. Also, as stated before, there is more proof in that episode that the Asylum is the dream than vice versa, such as the fact that we are almost always in Buffy's POV in the Asylum scenes (except for the end), but not always in the Sunnydale scenes. There are no scenes in the Asylum without Buffy in them; Buffy is not in every Sunnydale scene.

The writers established that as her condition worsened, Joyce was becoming erratically psychotic, which allowed her to see Dawn's true nature.

And that, IMO, is all that is important. To begin with, we were given a red herring, when Joyce was able to see Dawn wasn't there, then fainted. It was a direct mislead to get us to believe that Dawn might possibly be evil, or, at least, causing the tumor. At that time, many of us were suspicious as to her true nature. Later though it was clear that Joyce's sickness was of completely natural causes. It allowed her to see Dawn for who she really is, just like all people with mental afflictions, but as you said, it's completely circumstantial and coincidental. The fact that her death in The Body is completely non-supernatural in anyway is very important.


[> [> [> [> [> So are we to assume... -- ZachsMind, 12:45:29 07/15/03 Tue

So are we to assume, had Dawn never showed up, Joyce would have died of complications from a brain tumor anyway? I don't buy that.

Yes of course the writers wanted us to believe Dawn was evil. It helped with the suspense and allowed for opportunities of surprise and reveal. I'm not insinuating Dawn ever was evil. She's not. However, her arrival was a catalyst that caused Joyce's illness. There was no indication Joyce was sick before Dawn's arrival. Dawn shows up in 5.1, is featured prominently in 5.2, and Joyce starts getting headaches in 5.3.

JOYCE: (sighs, puts hand to her forehead) This must be my "two teenage girls in the house" headache. I thought it felt familiar.
BUFFY: Good work, Dawn. You gave her a headache.
DAWN: I did not! (to Joyce) Did I give you a headache, Mom? I'm sure part of it is Buffy's.
BUFFY: But part of it is Dawn's.
JOYCE: It's so nice you've learned to share.

It is insinuated this is not the first headache she's had because of having "two teenage girls in the house." I'll grant that, but it's only because the infiltration of artificial memories grew retroactively from the point of "Temporal Ground Zero" which is around September of 2000. There's no previous indication in the first four seasons that Joyce got head aches. In fact the only other time I can recall headaches being mentioned prominently in the series was in season one, during The Puppet Show. And it was about one of the Scoobies' classmates, not about Joyce at all.

And to be fair, Dawn was only indirectly causing Joyce's cancer. The direct cause was the powerful magic that the monks introduced into the world. Dawn can't actually be blamed for it. As Willow would be the first to attest, powerful magic like this does not come without a price. In order for Dawn's life to begin, there had to be a sacrifice.

Ultimately that's what this was. The trading of one life for another. The one closest to Buffy. Had Dawn not torn that picture in half in "Forever" Joyce would have come back completely normal, and Dawn would have died. Probably right there on the spot. There's a curious balance and order to the universe that not even magic can prevent.

Of course then there'd be this green glowing thing where Dawn had been, everybody would have immediately forgotten about Dawn cuz the spell would have been broken by another spell, and then Glory woulda found the green glowing glob and destroyed the world before Buffy had a chance to figure out what was going on, so everything turned out for the best but we still had to lose Joyce in order to get Dawn. Dawn's life meant Joyce's death.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: So are we to assume... -- O'Cailleagh, 01:33:01 07/16/03 Wed

Well...you're clearly not willing to listen to other people's points of view on this whole thing. Rob, Anom and myself have all given you very good reasons for Dawn not being the cause of the cancer. The most important one being because the writers said so. You may as well say that Joyce's illness was caused by Buffy saying (in S1?) "I hope it's a funny aneurism".
Like I said, it *is* an interesting theory, it just doesn't pan out. Apologies for any typos or if this came off as snarky, I'm very tired cos I've been out all night, but wanted to respond before Voynak came a-chomping.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> it wasn't me -- anom, 09:34:44 07/16/03 Wed

Thanks, but I can't take credit. I didn't address the issue of whether Dawn's existence had anything to do w/Joyce's tumor.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Oops! My bad, sorry anom. -- O'Cailleagh, 13:29:48 07/16/03 Wed

It seems my sleep-deprived state twisted my memory of your post around!


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I do listen to other points of view... -- ZachsMind, 13:25:22 07/16/03 Wed

Doesn't mean I have to agree with them. =P

[> [> 3 things, for now -- anom, 10:36:21 07/15/03 Tue

I should start by admitting I haven't had time to read this whole thread, so I hope I'm not repeating anything that's already been said.

"Apparently this was the first time she met a crazy person. Until this moment she had no clue to her strange existence."

Since Dawn had existed for only a short time, it may well have been the 1st time. She may have memories that she was created with of meeting crazy people before, but those memories would have been of "normal" encounters with crazy people, meaning the same kind people who aren't the Key have w/them. Dawn's memories of the time since she was imposed on reality (that's a Borges reference) are real memories & need to be distinguished from the ones that were created by the monks.

"Having not been in Sunnydale from that point onward, would he even recall Dawn? Or did the monks' magicks have no affect on him?"

This q. has come up before (I was one of the ones asking them). We've seen that Angel & Faith remembered Dawn even though they weren't in Sunnydale when she was created (or transformed from the green energy). Angelus retains the memory back in LA--he calls & talks to Dawn to find out if Buffy is the Slayer he hears is around, & it's implied Angel had previously kept in touch & knew of her, probably before he came back to Sunnydale for Joyce's funeral. So Hank probably has memories of Dawn too.

One difference I can think of in how the earlier storyline might have run is that when Buffy sent Joyce out of town before graduation, it might have been a lot easier to convince her to go if she'd been taking Dawn to safety. Joyce would probably have put up less of an argument & felt less as though she were abandoning Buffy in the face of a threat.

[> Re: The Dawn Paradox (potential spoilage of overall series - enter at own risk) -- Wolfhowl3, 09:43:56 07/14/03 Mon

My guess is that Dawn found out about Buffy being the slayer at the same time the Joyce did. (end of Season 2)

I'm guessing that one of the major differences is that Angelus would have targetted Dawn as well as Buffy's Friends, maybe even trying to kill her when he showed up to kill Joyce.


[> [> Re: The Dawn Paradox (potential spoilage of overall series - enter at own risk) -- ZachsMind, 10:10:02 07/14/03 Mon

Just Angel? Would the Master not have targetted Dawnie in season one? Dru in season two? Adam in season four? What about Faith? Dawnie being added into the mix brings about a lot of possibilities not otherwise available.

As for learning the same time Joyce did, I can't quite agree with that. The reason is because of "Ted." Buffy reacted coldly to Ted. Dawnie would have been even moreso. In fact this is one of the areas where the girls had something in common - they would have percieved Ted as an interloper, trying to replace their father. Dawn would not have warmed up to Ted any more than Buffy did.

I surmise from this that the sharing of a common enemy would have temporarily forced a truce between the two siblings, and in the course of fighting Ted, Dawn would have seen where Joyce was still oblivious. Basically her big sister being ubernatural in kicking butt against a robot. If prior to "Ted" Dawn hadn't figured out Buffy was up to the same old tricks she before the three of them had to move, after that episode it would have been impossible for her to deny it.

Sexy Riley? -- Rina, 09:58:00 07/14/03 Mon

It's ironic how many people either assume that Riley wasn't a very sexual man. Or that the actor Marc Blucas, wasn't very good at projecting sexuality.

A few days ago, I watched the episode, "Something Blue". Remember the scene where Riley took Buffy on a picnic? And when she revealed that she doesn't drive? Well, Riley was stating the pleasures of driving and I had the unusual feeling that he was using it as a metaphor for sex. And I must be honest, I was just as turned on by his description as Buffy obviously was.

[> Re: Sexy Riley? -- LadyStarlight, 10:12:55 07/14/03 Mon

I caught that too when I was rewatching that, Rina.

I think it was the whole package (tone of voice, the look on his face) that sold that scene.

[> [> Re: Sexy Riley? - or Marc Blucas? -- curious, 10:29:29 07/14/03 Mon

I always thought Marc Blucas was a pretty competent actor and liked Riley well enough - especially after he grows past his black and white trust of the Initiative and Maggie. I just didn't find that he and SMG had a lot of sexual chemistry together. Part of it was that he is sooo much bigger than she is. (Seth Green comments on his size on the s4 DVD.) But petite women seem to go for big guys so maybe that's just my predjudice.

I also recall a JW comment to the effect that they tried to give Buffy a nice boyfriend and the audience thought she walked all over him. I wasn't sure if he was kidding and that was his intention in writing B/R or if he was frustrated that the audience couldn't see Buffy with anyone but Angel.

BTW, Blucas is in a new movie called "I Capture the Castle" based on J.K. Rowling's favorite book. I think he plays a romantic character. Might be interesting to see how he pulls off that role.

[> [> [> I Capture the Castle -- LadyStarlight, 10:39:32 07/14/03 Mon

That's one of my favorite books (and a big reason why I spent money I really didn't have when QPBC released it a while back) and I'm waffling about making a movie out of it.

MB will fit the role, I think, but I've been terribly disappointed by movies based on books before. (I'm still traumatized by "Clan of the Cave Bear") But I'll reserve judgement until I see the movie.

I liked him in "We Were Soldiers" and thought he did a great job.

[> [> [> Sexy Marc Blucas? ::light goes on in my lil pointy head:: -- Wicked Buffy, 10:45:12 07/14/03 Mon

Interesting point!

Just now, when I tried separating the actor from the character, I discovered it was Marc Blucas I didn't care for - not Riley. I always thought I didn't care much for Riley, but it wasn't that.

Just my personal taste, of course. If I try imagining someone else, anyone else* playing the role of Riley, I like the character MUCH more.

What a nice way to start the day. I don't like not liking an ME character. :>

*possible choices that I mentally substituted in Blucas' role: Johnny Depp, Antonia Bandaras, Barbara Streisand, Sylvester Stallone, Marilyn Manson, Al Gore, PeeWee Herman. see? I really did give MB a chance! :>

[> [> [> [> Re: Sexy Marc Blucas? ::light goes on in my lil pointy head:: -- purplegrrl, 11:04:30 07/14/03 Mon

**Sylvester Stallone**

My brain just went to a "Yo, Buffy" place, which made me laugh!!

Personally I think Marc Blucas had just the right look for a wholesome, corn-fed Iowa boy -- sort of that "Jack Armstrong, All-American Boy" look.

Some victims less important? -- K-Dizzy, 10:50:15 07/14/03 Mon

Gosh, all this ongoing talk- still!- about the "AR" in Seeing Red. And some mention of how posters/ME have "trivialized" this issue, including the forgiveness part....

But how come no one EVER talks about what happened to Drusilla?

I mean, if people insist on discussing- at length- the sexual violence committed by an unsouled vampire on BtVS, how can anyone overlook the most terrible example of this, possibly one of the most horrifying scenes ever witnessed in the series? By this I mean Becoming, Pt. 1, with unsouled Angel and Drusilla in the church. Angel has already admitted that of all of his unsouled acts, what he did to Drusilla "was the worst." So, we know that after being stalked by unsouled Angel, innocent virginal Dru fled to a convent, hoping to save herself in every interpretation of the word- religiously, psychologically, physically- and is about to take her vows when she is mercilessly violated. We see a disheveled Drusilla sitting there collasped on the cold, hard stone floor like a broken, tossed-away doll, hysterically mumbling about "snakes in the woodshed," with her tear-stained and distraught face turned up to the God who has forsaken her, and see an unsouled Angel just staring at her with those calculating eyes and the faintest trace of a leer.... And then Darla joins in the depraved fray and laughing together, delighting in her terror, they practically roll over onto Dru, who softly issues a mad giggle from the sheer horror/evilness of what she's experiencing- it's like the audience can literally SEE her sanity slipping from her....

Where are the wails of outrage and posts of indignation over this scene? (And not even factoring in the murder of her entire family and siring.) I mean, it's an oft-viewed and "classic" episode, right? One wonders how much more graphic it would have been if it aired on UPN.... So how is it that "Seeing Red" can be endlessly cited, but the (very strongly implied) sexual assault of Drusilla is never even brought up, in all these dedicated discussions about ARs and such? In fact, for those who absolutely insist on labeling characters, why is it okay to have a recent TV Guide cover featuring Buffy pictured right next to "her attempted killer/Drusilla's rapist"? Clearly, if ME's gonna play around with hot topics, they've got to expect that certain characters will be equally roasted, eh? But somehow the actual/admitted rapes (ARs) of unsouled Angel rarely get mentioned- and his viability as a 'suitable' romantic partner never questioned- and only one woman's experience is discussed. This can't be the real message of "feminist" BtVS, can it? That some victims are less important? That sexual assault is only worth talking about by the writers and the fans when the title character is involved...??

[> Re: Some victims less important? -- ZachsMind, 11:19:34 07/14/03 Mon

Are some victims less important? Yes. Dru was already turned when we are introduced to her. Her story is told to us after the fact, and the damage had already been done. However, Buffy's experience was shown to us inside the confines of the series subjective "real time" and not a flashback. So for most, the experience of Buffy's near AR was more emotionally evocative, than Dru's even more objectively formidable rape experience.

Furthermore, the show's named after Buffy. She IS the lead, so what happens to her is naturally going to carry more weight than a more peripheral supporting character - especially if that character had been previously established as the villian.

Which further proves the injustice in our perception.

Take for example Anya in s.7's "Selfless." We learn in flashbacks that she has done far worse than kill a handful of frat boys. However, her causing the Bolshevik Revolution held less weight having been told to us in flashback, than the experience detailed to us in the 'real time' present. Especially since she'd already known what it was like to be human, felt the guilt of her act as she committed it, and did it anyway. It evoked more emotion on many levels from the viewer, as opposed to her even bloodier and more horrific past transgressions before she ever even met up with the Scoobies.

[> [> Nice to see you back -- KdS, 15:23:01 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> [> Good to be seen. =) -nt -- ZachsMind, 06:42:12 07/15/03 Tue

no text

[> [> Re: Some victims less important? -- Rina, 08:11:46 07/15/03 Tue

So are you saying that the attempted rape of Buffy was more important? Or that viewers simply see it as more important than what happened to Drusilla?

So, why aren't they up in arms over what Willow did to Tara in "All the Way"? Or what she did to the Scoobies in "Tabula Rasa"?

[> [> [> Re: Some victims less important? -- ZachsMind, 09:31:03 07/15/03 Tue

"...are you saying that the attempted rape of Buffy was more important? Or that viewers simply see it as more important than what happened to Drusilla?"

This is why our judicial system is as complicated as it is. Why twelve people are chosen for a jury instead of one. Why a man is considered innocent until proven guilty, regardless of what some people's emotions say. Why the victim is not given an opportunity to decide the level of punishment. Why lynch mobs and the like are considered illegal and unethical behavior.

There is inherent in the human psyche a very subjective tendency. People who we like up until a point where they do something wrong, emotionally we want to let them off the hook. Whereas someone who's been a meanie to us in before has a lot of catching up to do if they want to be a nice guy. Spike was all about that throughout the series. That was his journey towards redemption. The attempted rape of Buffy was an example of the runner stumbling along that journey.

Objectively speaking, there's no comparison between what happened to Buffy in that bathroom and what happened to Drusilla centuries before. It's like comparing apples and oranges. One is not more or less important than the other. Viewers naturally feel the weight of Buffy's plight moreso than Dru's, for the reasons I explained before. Had the show been named "Spike & Drusilla" her story would be given more attention and would be presented differently, naturally we'd feel more strongly for her. However, the show was called "Buffy" so the cast & crew focused more on her overall, naturally we the audience were looking from that perspective, and Dru's plight got much less attention.

"...why aren't they up in arms over what Willow did to Tara in "All the Way"? Or what she did to the Scoobies in "Tabula Rasa"?"

I think one of the reasons why so many disliked season six was not because it was done badly. On the contrary, it was done too well.

The crew pushed the envelope and in so many ways broke from tradition and bent the rules that had been established for six years. Buffy did a couple naughty things when she was turned invivisible by The Triad. When she went mental because of poisonous demon blood and thought her friends were delusions she had to destroy? That's good girl going bad again. Willow's struggle with black magic was yet another example. Her selfish spellcasting on Tara in "All The Way." Stealing the car and inadvertently breaking Dawn's arm in "Wrecked." People were arguing that the writers were showing how magic is evil all the sudden. That's not the case at all. Not any more than the insinuation that homosexuality was evil when Warren killed Tara. There was no connection. No bearing. Sometimes these things just happen. When Dawn wanted to bring her mother back to life in season five's "Forever" Tara explained to her that magic wasn't to be used for such selfish purposes because there were dire consequences. And then in "Villians" we learn that not even Osiris, god of the dead, will toy with "human death by human means." The guy just knows better, and he's a god! However, despite her fight against using power for selfish deeds up until then, Willow had come this far and could not turn back.

At least until Xander's SELFLESS gesture set her straight.

Up until this point, the battle against evil was always outside the circle of four. Giles, Xander, Willow and Buffy were inseperable. After "The Yoko Factor" that was no longer the case. There were cracks in their armor and The First had been trying to break through that armor since "Restless."

This is what makes season six so controversial. This time, evil was creeping into the circle because it was the only way it could defeat them. And in season seven it realized it couldn't even do that, so that's when it decided to pull all the stops. But in season six the writers had already decided to break all the rules. They checked their boundaries and found what their limitations were. What they could get away with and still call it a Buffy story. In season seven they went back to basics and drove the entire thing home. The mantra "it's not about right or wrong it's about power" permeates the whole of the final season, and if you look back throughout the series that sentiment is echoed in many ways.

No victim lacks importance. They are all important. Dru had no champion to protect her, short of her god who was most decidedly not doing house calls at the time. Objectively, directing and writing aside, Dru's plight left her a victim, and the villian we saw in the present was the consequence of Darla & Angel's cruelty towards her when she was still alive. They drove her insane, and they turned her into a tool of evil.

Again. Apples & oranges. What was going on between Buffy & Spike in that bathroom was a role reversal. It wasn't really what it appeared to be on the surface.

So, who was the victim there? Buffy? Buffy is no victim. She was her own champion. She stopped him. She threw him off of her, cuz she's a Slayer and she's got that kinda power. Spike was a victim of his own desire, because he gave in to the power of his infatuation for her. Just as Willow gave in to the power of guilt and remorse and vengeance. Spike was weak. He gave up control. That's why he went to get the soul after his realization, because he thought it would give him power. Buffy was a champion, and had the power to stop Spike, because he was too weak to stop himself.

The power is not just being a slayer. It's HAVING a choice. Choice IS power. Think about THAT the next time you vote for or against a political figure who is "Anti-Choice." =)

[> [> [> [> Re: Some victims less important? -- Rina, 11:57:11 07/15/03 Tue

"That's why he went to get the soul after his realization, because he thought it would give him power."

I gather this is merely your opinion and not a fact. Right?

[> Gotta agree here but... -- curious, 11:23:09 07/14/03 Mon

*I* very much agree with you here. But I think the some members of the audience - not ME need to ask these questions. Not only was Drusilla a victim of a horrific crime - she was turned into an insane monstor who victimized others for over a century. I think ME does remind us of Angel's past. It is the audience that places more emphasis on one act than the other.

Angel was in the same unsouled state at the time of that crime as Spike was when he attempted to attack Buffy and was stopped. What about locking the lawyers in the cellar with Dru and Darla.

Not saying Angel is "better" than Spike. Just saying we have seen Angel do much worse things on screen.

[> [> oops! -- curious, 11:42:32 07/14/03 Mon

I meant:
Not saying Spike is "better" than Angel.

[> [> [> Re: oops! -- Dochawk, 12:01:57 07/14/03 Mon

Both Angelus and Spike were vicious/sadistic vampires. But this seems to be the nature of vampires (though the Master does claim that Angelus was particularly vicious). Angelus had more years to wreak his havoc and has been a central character for much longer so we see more. Remember Spike told us he didn't want us to know what he did to girls Dawn's age.
Why was the AR so horrifying? because it happened to us, we are in Buffy's POV (well we are supposed to be). And because we are supposed to empathize with the protagonist. Is it worse than what Angelus did? or Anyanka? Only because its to "my family", but not on a moral scale. You are much more likely to ask for the death penalty on someone who killed your sister than for someone who killed a drug dealer (its why we can let Willow off the hook easier - she killed a murderer and a drug dealer/rapist). its also why its morally repugnant to me for Spike to have a romantic relationship with Buffy, but not Angel. But that's just me I suppose.

[> [> [> [> Feel the opposite -- curious, 12:14:34 07/14/03 Mon

its also why its morally repugnant to me for Spike to have a romantic relationship with Buffy, but not Angel. But that's just me I suppose.

I feel the opposite - mostly because Angel was "old enough to know better" when he initiated his relationship with an underage Buffy - with a soul. And because Spike attacked Buffy in the AR scene - and stopped. But I assume that Spike and Angel both have committed horrific crimes as unsouled vamps and neither should be "the long haul guy" for a vampire slayer.

I like Angel's character development on AtS but have trouble with the fact that ME hasn't finally closed that chapter for either character. I think B/S is more definitively over - and hope both characters move on because it was an unhealthy relationship. But I really think B/A was at least as unhealthy but for somewhat different reasons.


[> [> [> [> [> Re: Feel the opposite -- Dochawk, 12:26:37 07/14/03 Mon

Oh please don't confuse me with a B/A shipper - I'm not. I still think Scott Hope was the best guy we ever saw Buffy with (of course he's gay now). The age thing never bothered me, because Angel didn't look his age, if he did it wouldn't have happened anyhow. its what we are shown that makes the greatest impression. I've wanted Buffy to move on since Tabula Rasa, hopefully she'll find someone who treats her well so she can bake cookies for a long time.

[> [> [> [> [> [> ::pointing out that Buffy herself has been seen eating raw cookie dough:: -- milkchocolatechip, 12:38:16 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Feel the opposite -- Rina-, 08:23:19 07/15/03 Tue

Or maybe Buffy can find someone she can treat well. Buffy wasn't the only victim in Season 6, as some people seem to believe.

[> [> [> [> I agree with your psychological point -- Sophist, 12:53:00 07/14/03 Mon

I think you've accurately described the psychology of the situation. But it disturbs me for the same reason that the death penalty generally does. It's why I find it so troubling that ME never really addressed Willow's behavior in torturing and murdering Warren.

[> Re: Some victims less important? -- btvsk8, 13:23:47 07/14/03 Mon

With regards to suitability as romantic partners- Whether Buffy and Spike get together in a relationship that is portrayed as positive has greater importance than Drucilla and Angelus getting it on because of their souled/unsouled status and the fact that we are encouraged to identify with spike (in some ways) and with Buffy to a large degree

[> Context and topicality are not inconsequential -- Random, 14:26:16 07/14/03 Mon

We're not watching a show about Angelus' and Spike's behaviour in the distant past. We see Angelus as a monster in Victorian England, but the Angel we meet has paid a terrible price for Angelus' crimes. Spike, on the other hand, is being witnessed commiting his crimes in the topical context. If Angelus were still around -- if he still stalked the city instead of being trapped by Angel's soul -- he would evoke much stronger reaction. But we're watching Angel-with-a-soul's story, not Angelus'. Even the S2 Angelus arc was more about Buffy and Angel. Spike, on the other hand, was still soulless, and thus we are forced to confront all his actions in that light. It's not a question of trivializing Drusilla's torment, but of how harshly we must deal with the souled Angel for the acts of the unsouled Angelus. From what we saw, Angelus was far more a monster than Spike could ever have aspired to be. Had S2 Angelus and Buffy ended up as lovers, I rather think I might have stopped watching in disgust unless ME did something miraculous with the script.

With Spike, much of the interest has revolved around the S6 relationship, not the S7 one. We can't fastforward to S7 and say that "Seeing Red" was not as terrible as Angelus' treatment of Dru. It wasn't, I believe that. But contentious questions about whether we're being deliberately blind toward one in favor of the other completely miss the point, IMO. We're examining the here and now. We can acknowledge that Angelus' treatment of Dru was horrendous without banging the current souled Angel over the head for it. We cannot acknowledge that Spike's treatment of Buffy was horrendous without examining it in the context of the then-current Spike. When one talks about the B/S romantic relationship, one is generally talking about S6...S7 was distinctly lacking in anything except a platonic friendship, at least from what I saw. To condemn Spike's crime without similarly condemning Angelus' one is not an act of willful blindness. It is an act of acknowledging that the here-and-now Spike (as of S6, which is really what we're talking about, since we're only analysing an episode from then, not the character as he ended up being)is the one we saw onscreen. The here-and-now Angel isn't. If we continue to blame the S7 Spike -- which few people, with a couple notable exceptions -- do, then we are guilty of a hypocrisy unless we include Angel's victims.

More importantly, there is one other issue -- we're not talking just about Angel and Spike. We're talking about their victims. Dru is mad, and we must accept her relationship with Angelus. What causes the firestorm about Buffy is the fact that she makes rational (or irrational, as the case may be) decisions. Should she end up with Spike? If one looks to S6 Spike to make that decision, one has to look to unsouled Angelus when evaluating Seasons 1-3. Anything else would be hypocritical. I personally believe that blaming a souled vamp for the crimes of his/her unsouled counterpart misses several very large points.

~Random, the Clemdrew shipper

[> Because I don't see the Angel vs. Angelus distinction with Spike -- Earl Allison, 09:45:39 07/15/03 Tue

You are technically correct, Angelus is as bad as, if not worse, than Spike pre-soul.

I guess that to me, the biggest difference is the way ME presented Angel versus Angelus, and the (IMHO) startling LACK of real difference between Spike pre- and post-soul.

Also, ME's party line at that point was that vampires were soulless, remorseless killers. Then Joss/ME decided to change things, either to make them more morally complex, or to cater to favored characters (depending on your views), and suddenly we were seeing vampires like Harmony, who were quite a lot like their previous selves.

I can forgive Angel for Angelus because he is sorry. We see it a lot of the time in what he says and does. He feels enough guilt over what he did to Drusilla to offer her a chance to walk away from Sunnydale (a mistake, I think it would have been more kind to stake the monster she became).

Spike? Spike continued to wear the kill-trophy of a pre-soul victim, showed (to me) almost no empathy for anyone other than Buffy or those close to her, and seemed remarkably unconcerned over those he had killed (aside from one or two episodes, which do not penance make, IMHO). I've seen Angel act to save people he has no connection to at all -- I've yet to really see it with Spike; it's all about Buffy or those close to her (that I can recall).

Add to that the fact that, largely, Spike through S6 was still the soulless vampire. Somehow, I am asked by ME to find Spike better in S6 than he was in S2 -- and then we have the attempted rape. Me tried to have its cake and eat it too, to claim that Spike was different, somehow better even without the soul than any other vampire, and yet he assaulted Buffy. I don't really care what the circumstances were, I can find NO reason to excuse Spike's actions then, or now.

Worse, ME continues to shoot itself in the foot by talking about how and why Spike did what he did. Fury claims that Spike had a little bit of soul, that he was somehow special among vampires -- of course, if I REALLY believe that, his actions prior to falling for Buffy become all the MORE horrible. Spike, who was different, CHOSE to embrace the evil and murder of the past century or so. Angelus is simply what he is through basic nature, but Spike (if I am to accept the "special" argument) didn't, he made a choice.

ME made a very clear distinction between Angel and Angelus, but never the same thing with Spike. He continued to call himself Spike, act a great deal like he did pre-soul, dress exactly as he did (and the coat is a MAJOR issue to me), and largely call attention to how much he was STILL like he was earlier.

I don't FORGIVE Angel, per se, but I can clearly see that he is NOT Angelus. More, he generally (until this most recent season of Angel) didn't claim that Angelus was totally different, but that he was always inside, a part of the whole. Spike generally didn't behave that way, and to be totally honest, if we the viewers had never been told he had a soul -- would it be obvious to you? It wouldn't to me -- although Buffy couldn't parrot "but he has a soouuulll now" over and over, so S7 would only be two episodes long :)

Maybe ME was trying to say that having a soul guarantees nothing, that it doesn't change us all, but they picked a poor choice to show it with, IMHO.

The weirdest part? I'm not much of an Angel fan. I just think the two were handled differently, and for consistency, Angel was handled better, IMHO.

Take it and run.

[> [> It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear.... -- Sophist, 10:48:58 07/15/03 Tue

ME's party line at that point was that vampires were soulless, remorseless killers. Then Joss/ME decided to change things, either to make them more morally complex

I think this progression is pretty much inevitable. Without it, you get truly one dimensional characters like the original Terminator. That was so limiting they couldn't even carry it through 2 movies -- they had to give him something different in T2. For a long-running TV show, it would be hard to sustain the sameness over many years.

What I find interesting is that ME approached this with small steps. They gave Xander these characteristics for one episode (The Pack). Then they gave them to Oz permanently, but only 3 days out of the month. Then we see that Whistler, a demon, can act for the forces of good. And so on until vampires become more complex.

Really, would you rather have a show in which the vamps all behaved like Turok-han, or one in which there could be a Holden Webster? I've gotta say, the latter seems much better to me.

[> [> [> Re: It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear. -- Earl Allison, 11:16:46 07/15/03 Tue


A great statement, but it didn't really answer what I put forth. Did ME have to go that route? Maybe, maybe not. Please don't assume I wanted Turok-Han over Holden. I didn't change the rules mid-stream, ME did. And mostly, those rules changes applied to main characters or major supporting ones (which ties neatly into the thread about certain deaths counting more than others).

The original question was, why is Spike more accountable than Angel.

I only posted the reasons as I saw them, please don't hold me accountable for ME's story choices and method of execution.

I stand by the rationale; Angel and Angelus had very distinct differences, Spike, as I saw him, did not. Inevitable or not, I didn't invent the (IMHO) glaring inconsistencies OR the "Spike is special" argument, ME did. And since they decided not to actually address anything of substance, it falls to fans to theorize and put forth ideas.

Add to that the issue of many fans (and the writers) wanting to give Spike credit for his actions between S4 and S6, and you should also accept the negatives for the bad things he did as well, or you assume that the slate is clean -- ENTIRELY. That means no positives or negatives -- no one seems to put that forth as an option, though.

I should have known better than to post on this topic, I really should (and I don't bear you ill will at all, Sophist, I should just avoid Spike entirely).

Take it and run.

[> [> [> [> And here I tried so hard to avoid mentioning S**** :) -- Sophist, 12:59:30 07/15/03 Tue

I was deliberately shifting the topic away from a certain vamp to a related issue. I know we'll never agree about the merits of bleaching one's hair.

Continuing on that theme:

And mostly, those rules changes applied to main characters or major supporting ones

That's what I would expect. Weekly disposable villains can be one-dimensional. Continuing characters cannot. Anneth's example of Harmony is a good one; so is Dru. For lack of a better word, they have personalities superimposed onto the face of a soulless killer. Of course, once you give a character real personality, you face exactly the situation you described. The difference between us is, I don't regret that choice, I see it as enriching the show. YMMV.

[> [> agree with Sophist; also, -- Anneth, 11:04:03 07/15/03 Tue

Also, ME's party line at that point was that vampires were soulless, remorseless killers. Then Joss/ME decided to change things, either to make them more morally complex, or to cater to favored characters (depending on your views), and suddenly we were seeing vampires like Harmony, who were quite a lot like their previous selves.

I don't think ME ever veered from the premise that vampires are soulless, remorseless killers. The "more like previous selves" change is not so much a sea-change from the original idea than an evolution of it - Harmony is a soulless, remorseless killer version of Harmony the Cordette. Just adds a little complexity to the mix; without which, as Sophist mentioned, vampires would become pretty dull adversaries.

[> [> Re: Because I don't see the Angel vs. Angelus distinction with Spike -- Rina, 11:25:02 07/15/03 Tue

"I don't FORGIVE Angel, per se, but I can clearly see that he is NOT Angelus."

I disagree. As far as I'm concerned, Angeleus is a part of Angel. Spike had the good sense to finally realize that he has both light and darkness within. As long as Angel continues to see the two sides of his nature as separate entities, he will never be at peace. He will never grow.

grrrrr argh! Where did the 'writing into a corner post seeing red ' thread go? -- WickedBuffy ... it is VERY active!, 11:01:34 07/14/03 Mon

I thought post were automatically archived by some machine thingy according to activity?

[> Who can understand Voynak's appetite? see thread above -- curious, 11:12:03 07/14/03 Mon

Maybe it is just as well to start a new thread. That one was getting pretty ragged.

[> Re: grrrrr argh! Where did the 'writing into a corner post seeing red ' thread go? -- btvsk8, 13:14:59 07/14/03 Mon

Phew! was so relieved people responded to it in the first place. I feared it would sit there all rejected. Only prob is, the original question remains unanswered- what of our celibate heroine and the message that sends? I was more concerned with that than spike's soul issues. I liked the point that someone made about the cookie speech. I guess that does excuse her lack of sex to a certain extent...

[> [> Why does cookie dough = celibate? -- Masq, 14:08:42 07/14/03 Mon

Who assumes Buffy meant she had to be celibate? The cookie dough speech simply meant she wasn't going to be looking for a long-term relationship until she was ready for one.

People have sex outside of long term relationships all the time.

I say more power to Buffy to not feel the need to throw herself into relationships before she's ready and to satisfy her sexual needs anyway she wants to.

[> [> [> Rock on, Masq! Abso-friggin'-lootley! ;o) -- Rob, 14:17:30 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> [> And, finally... -- KdS, 16:07:54 07/14/03 Mon

After Faith/Wood and Gunn/Gwen, (and also possibly Willow/Kennedy, depending on long you see them lasting), sex outside lifelong commitment is no longer an Official MEverse Bad Thing.

[> [> [> [> Gunn/Gwen is the best example here -- Masq, 16:32:51 07/14/03 Mon

If you assume ME won't pursue that relationship next year. I think they implied in "Chosen" that Faith and Wood might pursue a relationship. And certainly I think, regardless of how long it actually lasts, Willow and Kennedy perceive themselves to be in a steady relationship. So I don't count W/K sex as "sex outside of a long-term relationship".

But if by this you mean that characters no longer get automatically punished for having sex outside of long-term relationships, this is still a bit fuzzy in the Buffyverse, since most of the characters we've seen in both BtVS and AtS have had sex in the context of committed relationships, either real or perceived.

There are a few examples of sex outside of committed relationships. Buffy and Parker come to mind. Xander/Faith is another example, and I'd argue that both Buffy and Xander did get "punished" for these sexual liasons in a sense. In those two cases, though, Buffy and Xander got "punished" by their sexual partners for being presumptuous after the even took place. Buffy percieved herself as being on the cusp of such a relationship with Parker, and he didn't. Xander assumed he had a connection with Faith that Faith didn't.

[> [> [> [> Re: And, finally... -- btvsk8, 17:29:23 07/14/03 Mon

Just to repeat myself- your arguments would work if buffy was actually having sex despite not being ready to find "the one". but she isn't. which is why the cookie dough speech does not in fact excuse (the writers) in buffy's lack of a sex-life, because, as you rightly point out she can still be cookie dough and have sex. but she doesn't because her only prospective sexual partner is Spike- attempted rapist. hence my original point that the writers did not consider the long-term implications of Seeing Red.

Hope that makes some kind of sense!

[> [> [> [> [> For whatever it's worth, Buffy was also celibate in S1 and S3. -- Sophist, 20:08:20 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> [> Re: Why does cookie dough = celibate? -- btvsk8, 17:20:55 07/14/03 Mon

I didn't mean that her cookie dough speech was her declaring her wish to be celibate. The fact of her not having sex for over a year (probably not "satisfying her sexual needs") was where I got that from. Not that there is anything wrong with not having sex, its just that I feel that Joss, as a feminist would have prefered to go against the tradition and have his heroine in a healthy sexual relationship (cough-but couldn't because of the "AR"-cough). What I do think is that her cookie dough speech could be the solution to this issue... but i'm still not convinced

[> [> [> [> Re: Why does cookie dough = celibate? -- Yellow Bear, 22:30:10 07/14/03 Mon

The contention that the AR in 'Seeing Red'prevented ME from creating a sexaul realtionship with Buffy & Spike in S7 is probably accurate but the belief that they could not see this consquence coming seems hollow. Clearly, the AR was going to be deeply traumatic and any sexual relationship thereafter would be difficult. I find it very hard to believe that ME did not go into the AR with eyes wide open about what directions this would take the story in S7.

[> [> [> Maybe celibacy will be part of her decision. -- WickedBuffy, 08:18:02 07/15/03 Tue

I thought it just meant Buffy wouldn't attempt anymore serious relationships (like Riley, Angel, maybe Spike) until she was ready. Which was a great piece of self-realization for Buffy.

If she was frigid or had some type of sexual problems, then I would have gone with the cookie dough speech meaning celibacy. But she appeared to be ok in that area.

Her problem was in relationships. But these posts about celibacy and her frequency of sex is something I hadn't even considered. I still feel it wasn't specifically about celibacy, it was more about relationship, but now can see how celibacy might possibly be part of how she helps bake her cookie dough to completeness.

Thanks for pointing out a whole different way to look at it.

Hanging From a Star: 'Winter's Tale' and the Dream of a City (Book Melee) -- Rob, 12:19:40 07/14/03 Mon

Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale is my very favorite book. It has played a particularly significant role in my life, for, while I had always adored reading (throughout my childhood, I was best known as the kid on the playground during recess more likely to be sitting on a bench, reading The Hobbit or A Wrinkle in Time than throwing a dumb ball around with my friends), Winter's Tale is the book that made me want to be a writer. I first read it when I was 12 years old, at an age I now admit was perhaps a bit too young to fully grasp all of the nuances and complexities of this rich and cavernous novel. Or perhaps not. What first truly swept me away into the kaleidoscopic, mystifying world of the novel were the words. The back cover of my edition quotes a book review from Newsday, proclaiming the novel "a gifted writer's love affair with the language." I could not describe it better myself. Here's one of my favorite passages:

The upper Hudson was as different from New York and its expansive baylands as China was different from Italy, and it would have taken a Marco Polo to introduce one to the other. If the Hudson were likened to a serpent, then the city was the head, in which was found the senses, expressions, brain, and fangs. The upper river was milder, stronger, the muscular neck and smoothly elongated body. There was no rattle to this snake. Albany sometimes tried to rattle, but failed to emit an audible sound.

I wish to God I could write that mellifluously. Not only does the prose poetically flow in a manner extremely soothing to the ear in meter and tone, but the metaphors are strong, carried through in surprising ways, and are even quite funny. This book proves that one does not need to simplify or dumb down one's writing in order to be clever and engaging. This is what saves the book from, what in the hands of a less gifted writer, might have sunken into pretension. Helprin's sense of humor and heart save it. Upon first reading the book, I was struck by just how big Helprin's heart seems to be. There is a rich love of life, writing, New York, and love in this book that one cannot counterfeit; there is also a palpable sense of literal and metaphorical flight in the prose. Reading the prologue and epilogue to the novel, the reader feels as if he or she is literally descending (and later ascending) on the back of the flying, white horse, Athansor, to take in all that life has to offer before us.

One of the book's strongest points lies in its imagery. Even long after all of the mechanics of the plot had escaped me, years after reading it for the first time, many images of the novel left indelible marks on me. For example, the scene of the young girl, standing alone outside her father's hotel and watching a white horse attempting to (and finally succeeding in) gliding over the water; the murderous, villainous (and ironically named) Pearly Soames, whose love of cutting throats and robbing banks is eclipsed only by his remarkable love of color; the thick cloud wall drifting over the Hudson that eclipses both time and memory; the stack of girlie magazines hidden under a young boy's bed, which literally sear a hole in the floor beneath them and fall onto the lap of the boy's unsuspecting father, due to the boy's Tell-Tale Heart levels of guilt alone; the two Pyramus and Thisbe-like lovers separated by a wall throughout the long winter; the dying girl, lying in her small tent above the city, communing with the stars; the winter village that exists outside of all boundaries of time and forward movement, hard to leave and even harder still to find; the bridge whose roadway is made of nothing but pure light; and above all, the image of a thief stumbling across the (nude) owner of the house he is robbing and falling instantly in love with her, and even more significantly, having this love be instantaneously reciprocal.

No mistake about it, this story is a fairy tale. Despite its ostensibly realistic setting, the book courses with magic, from the flying horse to Peter Lake's later abilities of telekinesis, and perhaps most remarkable, the magic of first love. At the age of 12, and even now, I find it just delightful how easily characters fall and stay in love in this book, and most importantly, the fact that it does not come across as coincidence or foolhardiness. Whenever two people who are right for each other meet in this book, it is like a meeting of two minds, two souls that were created for each other; fate deemed that one day they would meet, and in each case they finally do: Peter Lake and Beverly; Hardesty and Virginia; Asbury and Christiana; (the most unlikely pairing of) Craig Binky and Sarah Gamely. And why does this happen? The answer, I believe lies in this passage:

Their throats tightened, and they shuddered the way one does when one discovers or reconfirms higher and purposeful forces brazenly and unconvincingly masquerading as coincidence.

By denying the existence of coincidence, Helprin strips bare the fabric of the universe and reveals that, yes, everything is connected. A dying child in an abandoned tenement can finally be saved nearly a hundred years later; a shiny salver given to a young man by his dying father can help bring about the demise and Phoenix-like resurrection of an entire city; an out-of-place figure in a photograph or painting from the 1900s can stumble down the street across from you, having not aged a single day. Helprin's novel is Dickensian in sprawl and characterization, but it convinces in its coincidences where Dickens sometimes fails by completely disqualifying the notion. For example, the revelation of Magpie's connection to Estella in Great Expectations might have come across as far less far-fetched had Dickens metanarratively commented on coincidence in the novel as Helprin has done. By admitting and reveling in the fact that these situations are unlikely at best, Helprin allows for a more natural suspension of disbelief.

Winter's Tale is dense not only with imagery and otherworldly forces but symbolism and allusion. I don't find it merely a coincidence (sorry for the sledgehammer!) that Beverly, Peter Lake's one true love and the woman who has inspired him throughout his life to eventually reach the pinnacle of his existence of bringing a young girl back from the dead, shares in common the first two letters of the name of Dante's muse, Beatrice. This was nearly confirmed for me when he sees her appear to him, glowing and white, in the cellar, the night before the Short Tails drive Peter Lake into the cloud wall, and I have no doubt as to whose hand was guiding him on his tour through all the graves of the (under)world. I also don't find his name, Peter Lake, merely coincidental, with Biblical references to St. Peter not only in the name's association with the lake, but in St. Peter's status as the maitre d' at the gates of heaven. The circumstances of his childhood also, of course, draw echoes to Moses, and his burgeoning abilities in the final third of the novel call a certain Nazarene to mind. Unlike Jesus, however, he is not a carpenter who creates new things out of assemblages of wood, but is a mechanic, fixing, repairing, and patching up problems that have already occurred in large, metallic structures. His revelation that he has the ability to control other people's motions telekinetically is as similarly methodical and logical as his uncanny ability to break down a large piece of machinery into its basest elements, then reassemble it again. A kindred spirit, Hardesty, is the only other character with such a singular ability: his seemingly miraculous one-shot win at a pool table foreshadows and complements Peter Lake. Significantly, it is Hardesty's daughter whom Peter Lake brings back to life, and it is Hardesty who begins to bring Peter Lake closest to discovering his true identity.

The tone of the book also suits its fairy-tale like setting. There is a deliberate quaintness and out-of-time-ness to the prose that cannot be explained merely by the fact that, having been written in 1983 (when I was three years old), Helprin could not have foreseen such everyday, prevalent parts of our modern early 21st century society such as cell phones and the Internet. The New York City that Helprin creates does not exist in any time but its own, to the point that even the sections that I know are meant to occur in the late 1990s seem to me, while reading, to have occurred in the far past. Hardesty's cross-country journey seems as if it would be more at home in the 1920s or 1930s, as does the descriptions of The Sun and The Ghost (another Biblical allusion). And yet, still, remarkably, Helprin nails New York City. He could not have known what the end of the millennium would bring, and so he creates an alternate New York City, that is in some ways idealized (in what but an ideal world would Praeger de Pinto actually win the Mayoral election for New York City?) and yet at the same time harshly accurate. He describes the city as a monster that could devour the unsuspecting person up whole, and he is right; he also describes the city as a glowing superlative of justice and beauty, and he is right. Who else but a lover and connoisseur of New York City would be able to so accurately predict the complete rebirth that could occur after a major, apocalyptic crisis? While the city did not completely set ablaze on the eve of the millennium, as Helprin predicts, the aftermath of the catastrophic events of September 11th, 2001 is uncannily alive in Helprin's words:

'I'll tell you why, Governor,' Praeger returned, his words rising all over the place. 'The city's not going to burn forever. We're going to rebuild it. By summer, you'll see, it will become something that you've never dreamed of. Do you know what else? If this fire stops at night, we'll begin to rebuild on the next morning. If it stops in the morning, we'll begin to rebuild in the afternoon. When that happens, I want all the arsonists to be dead, and I want anyone who even entertains the idea of lighting a match to be able to remember what happened to the people who started the fire.'

'I'll believe what you said about rebuilding,' the governor said, 'when I see it.'

'You'll see it. We're the quickest rebuilders in the world-we don't talk as fast as we do for nothing. As much as the fire takes from us, we'll take from it. We'll pretend it's a tourist.'

This passage is indescribably brilliant, not only in its hilarious punchline, but in the absolute truth behind every statement. Uncannily, every part of Helprin's passage occurred to the letter, including the attitude regarding the "arsonists." The last line, of course, is wrapped in good ol' New Yawk city resolve and ballsiness. Prager admits that the city is a bastard, but a beautiful creation, too.

On a brief aside, my two favorite sections of the book are the entire first part, which reads like a self-contained novella, with a heartbreaking love story that never fails to spill a few tears from my eyes, and the tragicomic story of Hardesty's journey to New York City, including his hilariously frustrating time spent with the unfortunately named, mountain-climbing dwarf, Jesse Honey. In the movie of the book that plays in my head, Jesse is played by Danny DeVito. His calm assuredness that he is the smartest, most athletic, and most capable man in the world, despite his diminutive side, missing appendages, and complete inability to bring any plan to successful completion all screaming that he is not any of the above, is not only oddly inspiring but outrageously comical. Yes, I imagine a Romancing the Stone-era DeVito in the role.

In my mind, Winter's Tale is one of those all-encompassing texts in which one can find everything: the meaning of life, 42, and all that jazz. I see it as not one novel but a multitude of novellas, short stories, and asides all commenting on the central themes of justice, love, death and rebirth, swirling all the characters in a non-linear kaleidoscopic whirlwind that takes them all spinning in unforeseen directions and turns. I admire how Helprin was able to capture New York City, as a living, breathing, moving character better than in any novel I have ever read; I admire how he is able to completely captivate me with his perfect command of the English language and deeply clever turns-of-phrase; I love him for crafting what is to me the perfect book.


[> Shameless self-preservation. -- Rob, 12:52:18 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> Okay, one more for now. Voynak is glaring at me. -- Rob, 13:19:37 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> [> 'And I am all alone,/ There's nobody here beside me...' -- Rob, whose gotta have friends ;o), 14:20:56 07/14/03 Mon

[> Lovely! -- ponygirl, 14:35:45 07/14/03 Mon

Ok, let me get this out of the way. I still haven't finished reading the book. I will, I will, and I think Rob's essay helps. I wish I'd had taken the approach of seeing the book a series of inter-connected novellas from the start, I kept looking for the connections to previous sections rather than letting them just come upon me. I do think this is one of those books where you just have to surrender to it. It had the quality of a dream, I just had to let myself drift along with the narrative.

One problem I had was with the dialogue. Everyone seemed to be speaking in a similar heightened fashion. It would have been nice if someone like Pearly wasn't able to express himself like a poet every time he spoke.

I also wonder if the character of Asbury was a shoutout to Herbert Asbury, author of the Gangs of New York, whose influence could certainly be felt in the earlier sections about Five Points and Pearly's gang.

Hopefully I'll have more later, but great essay Rob!

[> [> Re: the dialogue -- Rob, 14:57:12 07/14/03 Mon

"One problem I had was with the dialogue. Everyone seemed to be speaking in a similar heightened fashion. It would have been nice if someone like Pearly wasn't able to express himself like a poet every time he spoke."

That's certainly a valid criticism, although I usually just surrender myself to the whole world of the novel so end up not finding the highly poetic dialogue distracting. From an interview Helprin gave (and sorry, I don't think I'd have any way to find, because I don't remember when or where I read it), he said that in this book, he wanted to create a perfect world, and in his perfect world, everyone, from the pettiest criminal to the millionaire, would use the English language as an art form every time they spoke, thus the emphasis on Mrs. Gamely's unique, labyrinthine speech, and his humorous aside that the book reviewers are like gods. He himself said he realized that this would never be, but in his dream world, people would talk like this. And Winter's Tale was certainly his dreamworld, so that explains that. So, at the very least, this explains why everyone spoke like this. Whether ya like it or not is of course a separate issue, but at least it's good to know that the formalized dialogue was deliberate. And yes, this was complete paraphrasing, and I have no way to back it up!

And thank you for complimenting my essay. :o)


[> Building a preservation bridge -- fresne, 15:06:17 07/14/03 Mon

Can't talk.


Routers. Switches. Bridges.

Bridges in space. Bridges in time. Slender massive columns and graceful cabled lengths to tether floating lands together.

New York to San Francisco. Clouds to sky.

Thinking as I read of the family vignette in which my father, a little boy at the time, and his parents drove to S.F. in their model T to go cross the newly minted Golden Gate bridge. Camped out in S.F. and then crossed when the bridge opened in the morning.

Of High Steel workers, walking the sky.

So, what parallels, if any with Shakespeare's Winter's Tale?

Exeunt fresne, pursued by a deadline.

[> [> And see that, fresne? -- Rob, 09:20:32 07/17/03 Thu

I managed to slip in a Dante reference! Go, Inferno! ;o)


[> Let me tell you something, Robert William... -- Sara, with her hands on her hips, 19:45:12 07/14/03 Mon

You are a writer.

I may feel a little lukewarm on the book, but I loved your essay, it was both a lovely piece of writing, and an excellent analysis. Even though I do not have your high regard for this novel, there isn't anything that you've said that isn't spot on right. I'm afraid that I'm just not into mellifluous writing - I like a more direct and concise style. But although not my piece of cake (which won't stop me from finishing it sometime this decade) it is clearly as beautifully written as you say. What can I say, as soon as someone describes a book as lyrical I'm out of there!

Somehow the fantasy never quite drew me in, although the imagery is really, very strong. Helprin certainly creates a New York that is both true to the city that is and was, and yet is also otherworldly. I did love the way Beverly's fevers were described where I could feel the burning eyes and the hot skin. And the cold air had that crispness to it that we feel in a really wonderful winter day. I'm still in the second part, where Virginia has just reached the city - so much more for me to go. I did love the description of the oh-so harsh winter, and the precarious coziness of Mrs. Gamely's home. The winter carnival period felt like what I always want a winter to be, but never really is.

So, yes, this is a work of tremendous imagination, and beauty - if you like that kind of thing...Actually, I think my biggest problem, is that I don't find Peter Lake all that interesting, and I did find the Baymen to be somewhat contrived - but I'm willing to keep the jury out on the last thought. I wouldn't be surprised if the Baymen subplot comes together for me in the end, but I'm not convinced yet.

My final thoughts are, even if I don't love the book, it was worth reading to be able to appreciate your essay!

- Sara, still turning the pages (when not in chat...)

[> [> Honestly, I am *so* touched and greatly humbled, Sara. Thank you so much. :o) -- Rob, 23:39:16 07/14/03 Mon

[> Lovely...I haven't read this one for time and monetary reasons -- s'kat (doing her part to preserve thread!), 22:20:34 07/14/03 Mon

but your wonderful review makes me want to.

I passed b/c I only had three weeks left when I got around to actually looking it up at the bookstore, it's a large book and 17 dollars more than I can afford to spend at the moment. Budgets are tough. ;-( Also I was reading The Lovely Bones - Winter's Tale sounds like it would have been more uplifting and fun without the MArySue character that was in the Lovely Bones - agreeing with your assessment of LB poneygirl, hmmm beginning to prefer my online book clubs recommendations to my offline ones - I get to read East of Eden next - have until September 19th, luckily. We'll see, incredibly slow reader...took me three months to read Grapes of Wrath. Two weeks to read Lovely Bones. And four days to make it through Screwtape. See slowww reader.)

Anyways... I loved this review. You write very well.
I have only one suggestion: if you haven't read it already?
Please read Jack Finney's Time and Again. It is much like
a Winter's Tale in it's exploration and love of New York City. The difference is - instead of moving forward in time, you move backward. You see the city of 1800s New York through the eyes of an artist, complete with illustrations.
It is a detailed romance that I think you might appreciate.

sk (hoping to get the chance to read Winter's Tale someday soon)

[> [> If I've finished it by the NY meet... -- Sara, still reading, 22:35:09 07/14/03 Mon

I'll lend it to you sk. And if I'm not done this meet, I'll have it for you the next meet!

[> [> Yes! I LOVE Time and Again! -- Rob, 23:37:55 07/14/03 Mon

You definitely know my taste in books. ;o)

This may not have been a great melee choice, just due to length and size, but I'm glad that I got the chance to put that review together, so I can maybe inspire some people to read it in the future. And thanks for the nice things you said about my essay. :o)


[> Preserving in amber... -- Masq, 13:03:59 07/16/03 Wed

Or is that formaldehyde?

[> Re: Hanging From a Star: 'Winter's Tale' and the Dream of a City (Book Melee) -- e., 13:15:57 07/16/03 Wed


oh, my.

this is a book i read once, the library lost; and then i found again in the small town i'd moved to. oh, what a pleasure it is. this is a modern fairy tale in every sense of the word. as turn-of-the-century books go, i find it much more accurate in its brothers grimm attitude; than books like 'city of light' that are written with such a distinctly 21st century voice.

and such a well-written review to boot. thank you for reminding me of good things.

Joss interview on Buffy season 6 in Cinefantastique (CFQ) magazine -- ECH, 13:57:06 07/14/03 Mon

"Of season six Whedon adds, ok Buffy has come back from the dead and you have to deal with it in a big way... We are dealing with someone who is practically suicidal depressed. It's weird but people don't respond to that too much. Also, the metaphor for sex has become very graphic and real. What were mystical demons have become three nerds with guns. Very real death, very mundane. The idea was to break down the mythic feeling of the show because there is a moment at childhood when you no longer get that. Everything isn't bigger then life; its actual size. Its real loss. At the same time there is a darker side of power and Buffy's guilt about her power and her feeling about coming back to the world. And, her getting into a genuinely unhealthy relationship with Spike that was all about dominance, control, and deep misogyny. How lost did we get? Well, our villain turned out to be Willow."

I might type up what Joss had to say about season 7 later tonight or tomorrow if I have any time.

[> Suffice to say I strongly disagree with certain comments. -- Miss Edith, 14:53:37 07/14/03 Mon

B/S was about deep misogyny?!! Still what else could I expect from a man who saw Innocence as his favourite episode, season 2 as the best season, and B/A as transcending all other stories ever told.

Thanks for the transcript though :) I would definately be interested in Joss's comments on season 7.

[> [> Take it back! -- Alison, 15:02:54 07/14/03 Mon

Just kidding. I agree with the dislike of the comment- but fear the responses this post may get.

[> [> I thought Innocence was a marvelous episode -- Random, 15:19:24 07/14/03 Mon

and Season 2 is still my favorite. What's the problem with that?

Still not a B/A shipper, though. Never was.

[> [> [> Hear, hear! (Don't agree on Season 2 being my favorite, but the rest...yup.) -- Rob, 15:26:51 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> [> Season 2 lover unite! -- Masq, 21:04:00 07/14/03 Mon

My favorite then, now, and it looks like, forever.

Doesn't mean I'm stuck in the past. Just means I like the writing and the story line from that season best of all.

[> [> [> [> You know...it is in my opinion the most -- s'kat, 22:44:28 07/14/03 Mon

enjoyable next to possibly S5 in rewatching.

Let's see: Season 2 or Season 5?

While I love 5, I think S2 was better and more enjoyable over all - the relationships, the characters, the villains, the overall story arc - yep. S2 wins. I've changed my mind
regarding my old line-ups : 2,5,3,6,7,1

I certainly loved the arc in Season 2 the best and the villains in S2 the best and the relationships and the Scooby Gang and Giles....okay outside of maybe four or five episodes, there wasn't much not to like and even those episodes I've found easier to re-watch than some later ones.
And sorry, but no finale has beat Becoming I & II in my humble opinion. Those two episodes were close to flawless.

So I guess you can sign me up in the group that likes Season 2 the best. At this point, it may be the one BTVS
DVD that I make a definite point of getting. It's certainly the season I look most forward to when it comes around on syndicated reruns. F/X is starting S2 again on Thurs.
Hurray! And I'm eagerly awaiting our board to get to it.

[> [> [> [> I'm a season 2 lover-- I will unite! -- Q, 23:06:06 07/14/03 Mon

I consider my favorite season to be a three way tie between seasons 2,3, and 5.

Season 2 had the BIGGEST, and BEST episodes, but lacked consistency-- it had some bummers.

Season 3 was THE most consistent season-- I loved EVERY ep.

Seaon 5 was a great mix of BIG episodes and consistency. It didn't have quite as many BIG episodes as 2, but close. It didn't have *quite* the consistency of 3, but really close, so it had the best of both worlds.

Then again, I agree with most all Joss says. Innocence is my favorite episode, I think B/A transcends all other stories told(though I'm not a "shipper"-- I don't think they should be together no more than her and Spike should be), and the Spike as misogenist (however it's spelled) riff, well, thats a gimme.

[> [> [> [> Count me in. -- Sophist, 07:49:29 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> Buffy Season 2: My all-time favorite season -- cjl, 07:50:33 07/15/03 Tue

Yes, you can debate the quality of a few of the standalones: Go Fish, Bad Eggs, Some Assembly Required. But I'm not buying the general opinion of Great Arc, Bad Standalones. We had two magnificent Giles episodes, The Dark Age and Halloween; the ground-shifting Lie to Me; Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (only the funniest episode in the universe); and the Oz-man's time to (moon)shine, Phases.

And then, of course, we get the mythology episodes, which all but burned through your TV screen: When She Was Bad, School Hard, What's My Line, Surprise/Innocence, Passions, IOHEFY, and Becoming I/II. No, we don't have Faith and the mayor, but we have Spike/Dru/Angelus; the luminous Jenny Calendar; Jonathan at his "red shirt"-est and Larry coming out of the closet. We hit the pinnacle and the nadir of the B/A melodrama, and the Xander/Willow/Cordy/Oz quadrangle defies all laws of geometry and common sense.

Season 3 may be more consistent, but S2 has the fire.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Buffy Season 2: My all-time favorite season -- Miss Edith, 15:37:30 07/15/03 Tue

My order of favourite seasons would probably be:

Season 5

Season 3

Season 4

Season 2

Season 6

Season 7

Season 1

[> [> I was refering to Joss saying misogyny characterised the B/S relationship -- Miss Edith, 16:28:26 07/14/03 Mon

When saying I strongly disagreed. Now I liked Innocene a lot, it was definately one of Joss's better episodes. And I enjoy season 2 and the high school years just fine. But Joss placing Innocence above such classics as OMWF, Hush, and The Body? In his top ten list he said Innocence was his best ever work, and he never topped season 2. Now that I find ridiculous. I tired of all the people saying Buffy was never the same after graduation, but apparently Joss agreed with them. Now that I find disapointing as season 5 was the season I enjoyed the most.

As for misogyny maybe I have been seriously misunderstanding the word all these years? Caleb hates all women, no question. Buffy comments that Warren has a problem with strong women, I accept that. But Spike hating all women, and that applying to Buffy? I don't see it personally.

Maybe he meant season 6 and 7 featured misandry and misspelled it *cough*

[> [> [> Sorry, I seem to have misunderstoood... -- Random, 16:50:45 07/14/03 Mon

It sounded to me as though you were implying that someone who considers Passion to be one of the best episodes in the series (which I do) and considers S2 to be his/her favorite season (again, I do) has suspect judgment. My mistake.

[> [> [> Re: I was refering to Joss saying misogyny characterised the B/S relationship -- Deb, 13:08:28 07/15/03 Tue

Every time I read an interview where one of the writers or Joss or James Marsters comment on what makes a man "abusive" I want to send them educational material so that if they insist on telling women what to look for in a man -- Marsters' 'Treat friends well. Treat your family well.' -- they will be giving out the correct information. Obviously these must be nice guys or big liars. I choose to believe nice guys.

The number characteristic a woman will say is what attracted her to an abusive man is that he was "nice" to her, her friends, her family. He was "charming." He was "considerate." He was too good to be true.

With Spike, everything is up front. He doesn't have the "cool facade" to keep his feelings hidden for five minutes, let alone months or years. Why does everyone say "Shut up Spike"? I do when a crass verbal remark that will get him punched in the fact and flat on his back to start all over again. He is a Trickster character, even in season 6 and Tricksters are neither good nor evil. They are supposed to eat at our consciousness ...es(?) so we examine our own feelings, ethics and our society's morals. Spike's "selfless" ending was a perfect Trickster device. The one thing Spike said to Buffy that was strictly verbal abusive (right off the top of my head and in the last ep.) is his comeback of "No you don,'t..." to her saying she loved him.

Well, now hold on. Spike was always telling Buffy how she felt in season 6 and where she should be (in the dark). But we're not talking about a woman hater here.

Most of his earlier deeds were that of the trickster villan trying to kill the slayer (Hello Road Runner and Cyote (God, I can't spell today.)

Oh, for those of you who might question how I have been since I left with a personal problem (in more ways than one) oh so long ago it feels. It's been hellishly productive. I have been places I hope never to be again, but I brought a lot of really great stuff back with me on the return trip. I will graduate Aug. 2 too!!

Oh. One bit of news. ABC will have a sitcom on Friday night called "Back to Kansas" (which is really a suck ass name.) It was created and written by the brother of a good friend of mine and one of the characters is based upon her. She is hilarious in real life and she is a huge Buffy/Angel fan.

So long.

[> [> [> [> Trickster? Ethan Rayne maybe, Spike, no. He evolved out of that for sure. -- Q, 14:32:34 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> Buffy and Spike represented the twins.............. -- Deb, 15:24:53 07/15/03 Tue

Buffy and Spike represented the twins in the fourth level of Tricksterism, where one dies for a greater good. -- Jung

[> [> [> [> Excellent points about abusers -- curious, 14:50:48 07/16/03 Wed

The number one characteristic a woman will say is what attracted her to an abusive man is that he was "nice" to her, her friends, her family. He was "charming." He was "considerate." He was too good to be true.

This is very true - at least in heterosexual relationships where the man is the abuser. Abusers tend to fool people (and themselves) into thinking they are great guys and the victim is crazy. They quickly learn what to say to counselors in mandated abuser programs. They are rarely the stereotypical quiet, broody, ax-murdery types - those guys don't attract women. If anything, abusers are often MORE charming than the average guy - that's how the cycle begins.

(Obviously, nice guys can be charming too.;-))

[> [> Re: 'Innocence' Among the Best? -- Rina, 07:30:52 07/15/03 Tue

Joss Whedon really considered "Innocence" among the best? I certainly didn't. In fact, I still can't see what the big deal about that particular episode, along with Season 2, was about.

[> [> [> It's okay, you can dislike S2 just as certain posters can dislike S7 -- Random, 08:28:05 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> Re: It's okay, you can dislike S2 just as certain posters can dislike S7 -- Rina, 11:46:27 07/16/03 Wed

I have no problem with that. However, I don't dislike Season 2. I simply found it disappointing.

[> [> [> His all time best episode, in his top ten list. He never topped it apparently. -- Miss Edith, 12:30:26 07/15/03 Tue

[> Hate to say this, but couldn't disagree with Joss more, in some areas. -- Rob, 14:59:15 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> Another case of ignoring the nerd behind the curtain and enjoying the show ;-) -- s'kat, 19:18:28 07/14/03 Mon

After reading all the contradictory interviews and statements these writers, actors, directors have said in commentaries and reviews and interviews - I've finally come to the decision that we should follow the age old advice - of James Joyce, MArk Twain and Bill Faulkner, who were wise enough not to give in to the somewhat self-indulgent desire to explain their works:

Don't ask the writer after he wrote the piece what he intended, it changes day by day, I haven't a frigging clue.
But I can make something up to tell you if you want me too?


So that I can continue to enjoy these shows and characters
and write half-way coherently on them - I have decided
to ignore the nerdy writers behind the curtain and watch the show.

Doesn't really matter what they have to say after it's out there and they can't change it, anyway. What matters is how we the audience views it. Their intent whatever the crap it was, can change when it goes through the hundereds of hands and filters that television as a medium goes through including the filter that is our eyes, our experiences and our perceptions.

For instance: I see Wood as misogynistic.
Joss Whedon probably doesn't see Wood that way. Doesn't matter. I do.

My view is as valid as his. I'm the viewer - my interpretation counts.

I did not see Spike as misogynstic. Or at least no more so than Angel or Giles or Xander or Wesely. Spike seems to adore women and changed his whole being for one. Hardly the act of a misogynst. He also always seemed to praise her.
I have not seen any evidence on the screen that changes that perception. And no, I do not consider sexual assault as a purely misogynstic crime since I don't consider it gender specific for the reasons I've stated at length elsewhere from my own experience. Nor do I see the AR scene as in any way misogynstic. If it had been, Spike would have tried to kill her or continued with the crime, like Warren did with KAtrina. My filter, my experience tells me that Spike was not a misogynst, just Angel, Wood, Giles, Xander and Wes are not misgynsts. The only way you can convince me otherwise is if you say the exact same thing about those five characters who have done equally brutal acts against women. ie. If Spike is a misogynst? Than so are they.

My filter and experience tells me that Warren and Caleb were misogynsts and were in different ways.

I'm positive someone else out there sees it differently due to their own experience and filter. All I ask is they respect my view. And don't insult my intelligence by telling me I'm wrong based on a quote by a writer who has admitted he was only half-involved with season 6 and 7
to begin with. If he was the sole author - I'd still question whether his authorial intent is necessarily what translated to screen, particularly when he seems to contradict himself and be contradicted by his writing team in every other interview. Geeze, if were to take all the interviews together and examine them - we'd think they had written ten different versions of the same series and televised them all.

Okay before I close would like to add a bit of personal experience regarding authorial intent. Long ago in a creative writing course I learned a valid lesson about the relationship between readers and writers. I had written a short story - it was a story about a boy away from home in art school writing his girl friend, feeling lonely and a bit nuts. My readers interpreted the story in three ways
the teacher as the story about a boy dying of cancer, one as the story of a post-apocalypse survivor, and the third as the story of a nutty boy writing his girlfriend. All three interpretations were possible within the context of the story. I've read and analyzed works of literature both from a reader and a writers perspective, while the writer's perspective is informative, I take the objective reader's over it. Why? The writer is too close and often doesn't see all the angles. Also the writer's opinion of his own story changes each time he interacts with the audience or reader.
The writer often forgets his original intent. And in most cases may not have read or seen his story recently or perhaps sees it too much. Writers in my view, while informative, are in some ways far less reliable when it comes to interpretation of their art than the objective viewer sitting at home seeing the work for the first time on their tv screen.

So I'll repeat, ignore the little man with the scruffy beard muttering behind the curtain, and his muchkin minions and watch the show.
Don't let the Wizard of OZ and his co-horts spoil OZ for you. Your view and what you see is not affected by his insane mutterings but by whatever is projected on the screen which you see through your own individually unique filter.

Just my humble opinion.


[> [> [> Re: Another case of ignoring the nerd behind the curtain and enjoying the show ;-) -- Dochawk, 20:57:24 07/14/03 Mon

We have vastly differing views of Spike, as we have discussed many times, but I can't find evidence of Spike as misogynist anywhere (manipulative and obsessive, but not misogynist). Course I don't see Wood as being the slightest misogynist either (I think you filter your views of Wood through the person whom he reminds you of- but that's where all our worldview's come from).

Anyway, I was going to echo your comments about interpeting art after its left the artists hands. once out our opinions are just as valid as the artists and if he has to explain what he means to us, he didn't do a very good job of showing it.

[> [> [> [> Agree absolutely. Oh the bit about Wood? Ignore that. Should've been deleted. -- s'kat, 22:34:46 07/14/03 Mon

Dang it! I thought I deleted the bit about Wood as a misogynst, ugh!

You are absolutely right. Wood is NOT a misogynst. My old boss was. Wood isn't. I realized that and thought I deleted it...damn voy. Voy is just evil, I tell you.

Thank you for both your post, Doc and for pointing out my mistake. I agree with you on all points!

Love this line, you state it even better than I do:

Anyway, I was going to echo your comments about interpeting art after its left the artists hands. once out our opinions are just as valid as the artists and if he has to explain what he means to us, he didn't do a very good job of showing it.

[> [> [> [> [> What if? -- Diana (you should know this is lunasea by now), 09:18:27 07/15/03 Tue

Anyway, I was going to echo your comments about interpeting art after its left the artists hands. once out our opinions are just as valid as the artists and if he has to explain what he means to us, he didn't do a very good job of showing it.

What if he doesn't have to explain it to most of us? What if most of us saw it pretty much how he explains it? What if he is just explaining things for the minority, whom for whatever reason, just didn't see what he meant?

Did he do a very good job then? What percentage constitutes a failure? What percentage is a success?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What if? -- Dochawk, 16:03:42 07/15/03 Tue

The larger point is that once art is published or shown, its interpetation no longer belongs to the creator but to the audience. What Joss has done is heard what he believes is alot of misinterpetation (particularly about Spike in season 6, course I saw what he intended except for his going for the soul) and tried to correct it. What consitutes failure? I guess its like pornography, we know it when we see it. And in this place we definitely get a skewed (mostly much more sympathetic to characters other than Buffy)view, which frequently differs from what Joss and the other writers stated intentions are (course there is no consistancy either between writers or with the same writer when interviewed on different occaisions). on the other hand, Joss wanted to create something that would be discussed in this depth, so perhaps he really succeeded?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: What if?Agree -- sdev, 18:57:31 07/15/03 Tue

"I guess its like pornography, we know it when we see it."

I was going to use that quote to express my feeling that Spike was not a mysogynist. Sometimes it's just in the little hairs.

And yes I do think he really succeeded otherwise many of us wouldn't still be talking about it. And that is much bigger than whether we agree with post-production spin.

[> [> [> Re: Another case of ignoring the nerd behind the curtain and enjoying the show ;-) -- Dochawk, 21:53:13 07/14/03 Mon

We have vastly differing views of Spike, as we have discussed many times, but I can't find evidence of Spike as misogynist anywhere (manipulative and obsessive, but not misogynist). Course I don't see Wood as being the slightest misogynist either (I think you filter your views of Wood through the person whom he reminds you of- but that's where all our worldview's come from).

Anyway, I was going to echo your comments about interpeting art after its left the artists hands. once out our opinions are just as valid as the artists and if he has to explain what he means to us, he didn't do a very good job of showing it.

[> [> [> Thank you, s'kat. Agreed. -- Rob, 07:05:54 07/15/03 Tue

The writer is too close and often doesn't see all the angles. Also the writer's opinion of his own story changes each time he interacts with the audience or reader. The writer often forgets his original intent. And in most cases may not have read or seen his story recently or perhaps sees it too much.

Great points, s'kat. That's exactly what I think is happening here, particularly since Joss is speaking of the Buffy/Spike relationship in this interview after having had his mind stuffed to the brim with fans' opinions the last two years, which have colored his perception. While from the surface alone, one might argue signs of misogyny in Spike last season, it does not fit with the character or the particular situation of the relationship; just his undying affection for Dru and then Buffy alone, the entire Love's Bitch scenario, indicates that he does not hate women. In fact, his flaw may be in loving them too much. Spike did not stop Buffy from dancing to death in OMWF and then kiss her passionately because he hated her. And any control he tried to exert over her last season had more to do with the darkness with which she was flirting within herself, and which she was externalizing in their relationship. And anyone who would argue that Buffy was allowing herself to be dominated in the relationship, I would refer to "Gone". Enough said. The important aspect of the Buffy/Spike relationship IMO was not Spike's supposed hatred of women (which I don't believe), but Buffy's, at the time, hatred of herself.


[> [> [> [> This also reminds me of... -- Rob, 07:17:40 07/15/03 Tue

...William Golding. Despite the fact that Lord of the Flies is one of the books most analyzed for its complex symbolism, he claims that no symbolism was intended and he leaves it to the readers to bring to the story what they wanted. Kind of a reverse situation from Joss, but great example of your point, s'kat, about authors sometimes either not "getting" their work the same way readers do or at least having a different intention than what readers finally take from it. If to this day high school kids are still learning the symbolism of the white conch shell and Piggy's broken glasses, despite the author's denial of a deeper meaning, I think it's safe for us to at times disregard Joss' interpretation of his creation. Because that's all it is...an interpretation, not any more or less valid than any viewer's interpretation. Once an author's work enters public domain, it's the public's.


[> [> [> [> Re: Thank you, s'kat. Agreed. -- Yellow Bear, 16:42:50 07/15/03 Tue

I guess I will just have to disagree with the majority on this one. I remain deeply uncomfortable with this 'Kill The Author' school of thought but the opinion seems to be prevailing here. I am even more uncomfortable with the asseration of both Rob & S'kat that Whedon does not even understand his own text, that he is so pollutated by fans or so addled by time that he can no longer see what his story is about.

So, I can assume that the majority of people in this thread will no longer be looking to Whedon interviews?

[> [> [> [> [> I think it's a mistake to try to identify a 'Board view' -- Sophist, 17:14:54 07/15/03 Tue

The range of opinion on almost any topic is generally so broad, with so many nuances, that we can only say "X" believes this, "Y" does not.

We've had this discussion about authorial intent many times. If I understand correctly, the views range from "it's controlling" to "it's meaningless" (though the latter might be a slight overstatement).

This issue is not unique to literary criticism either. It arises every day in the legal profession: how should we interpret language in a contract, a statute, or the Constitution?

In none of these situations does the law treat the stated intent of the author, after the fact, as controlling. Instead, the interpretation starts with the words used and how they appear to a (fictitious) reasonable person. From there it proceeds to other factors as necessary. If you're interested, I can run through them; it actually may throw some light on this topic.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Arguements here make me reevaluate my views daily (well except about the blond-haired souled one) -- Dochawk, 20:58:48 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Heh heh. BTW -- Sophist, 21:06:05 07/15/03 Tue

Thank you very much for the suggestion about the R2 player. My parents are now half way into S5 and it's working perfectly. I appreciate it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Me too! Even about the blond souled one believe or not. ;-) -- s'kat, 21:53:08 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I think it's a mistake to try to identify a 'Board view' -- Yellow Bear, 00:18:45 07/16/03 Wed

I agree that there is always a wide range of opinion on this board but I was merely suggesting that the majority (in this thread,at least) had come down on the side of unimportance of authorial intent.

While the legal angle to this may be intriguing, I don't know how much weight I would put on it personally as this is more an artisitc interpretation than a legal one.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Authorial intent -- Sophist, 08:22:13 07/16/03 Wed

the majority (in this thread,at least) had come down on the side of unimportance of authorial intent.

I think it's accurate to say that you appear to be giving more weight to later statements by the author than most of the posters in this thread. But I know from previous discussions that Rob, S'k and Darby do consider the author's comments and don't think them "unimportant". They just feel free to disagree after considering all the factors.

While the legal angle to this may be intriguing, I don't know how much weight I would put on it personally as this is more an artisitc interpretation than a legal one.

The question of authorial intent arises in many areas: Biblical exegesis, lit crit, art history, law. The legal system has given more sustained, detailed examination to the problem than any of the others, even Bible scholars. There definitely are similar issues that arise in each genre. In fact, there are many books discussing and comparing legal doctrines to other systems of textual analysis; they each have something to teach the other.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Very well said. Agreed. -- s'kat, 12:43:25 07/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Thank you. Ditto on the very well said. -- Rob, Joss' Bitch ;o), 14:43:32 07/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> Not at all..I disagree with Rob and s'kat to some extent -- Random, 18:22:13 07/15/03 Tue

I still have enormous respect for the author's perspective. No matter how much people might want to, they can't ignore it, and dismissing is, from my perspective, inevitably a mistake. I feel -- after too many years of literary studies -- that we've gone too far in co-opting the Text for the reader and edging the Author out. The author provides a framework, a very substantial, even rigid, framework within which the interpretation by the audience occurs. The reader as the Author is still valid...but not as valid as current critical trends believe, IMHO. I've even started developing my own lit crit theory, re-construction. Derrida would faint in horror at some of my ideas.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Okay a little clarification...incredibly ironic clarification -- s'kat, 20:46:00 07/15/03 Tue

No matter how much people might want to, they can't ignore it, and dismissing is, from my perspective, inevitably a mistake.

I didn't mean to dismiss the author's intent entirely - by that I mean the intent we can find within the text. Nor do I mean to suggest that the author should and can never comment on his/her work. If you'll look back on the original posting thread you'll notice something ironically contradictory.

My first post mentions Wood as a misogynist - I tried to delete it - but voy grabbed it and posted it the original not the proofed one. So when Doc commented on it. I quickly amended with - that should have been deleted. However, if the reader didn't see my correction - they would be left to intrepret what was in the original post. My intent such as it were would get skewed by the mistake.

Now here I'm posting a further clarification - stating that while I think we should pay more attention to what is on the screen and less on the mutterings going on behind it, I don't mean to say we should ignore it completely - or well,
I'd be telling you to do as I say and not as I do, wouldn't I? Incredibly contradictory of me, don't you think?

How to explain this? I guess I'm cautioning against extremes and hoping for a happy in between which I think,
Random is suggesting above in h/ir post.

Some posters seem to state that what Joss says is law and nothing else should or can be interpreted, the audience's view does not count. Which I obviously consider a bit
bizarre since if that's the case, why waste time visiting a posting board to discuss it?? Also sort of takes the fun out of the whole thing. Plus, I don't believe Joss himself would agree with that view - sort of goes against everything he was ever taught. The audience view is important, perhaps in some cases more so - since without an audience or reader, you are pretty much talking to an audience of one, yourself.

On the other hand, I'd caution against taking the opposite extreme which is that the author's view does not count. It does of course. And it is interesting to compare his view before creating his work, during the creation, and after with the views of the audience looking at it. Without going into too much detail - it's pretty clear each view will be significantly different, since each person involved is.

That said - sometimes it helps to look at work without knowing the author's view or intent, like say the books of the Bible (do we really know what the writers intended? and how would it change our interpretation if we did, assuming of course you don't believe God wrote it, which is an entirely seperate debate). There are sooo many literary and television and movie works that have been analyzed without the benefit of some auteur coming out and saying - no, no, this is what I meant, you got it all wrong. Actually, Oprah Winfrey recently made the decision to do books by dead authors for her book club to avoid dealing to some extent with the author of the book (she'd gotten burned by a couple apparently). Now, I've had the experience of doing a book club with the author of the work present and one without. Very interesting. I prefer the without by the way.
Why? People don't seem to feel free to say what they really think of the work with the author of a published work present. They are intimidated by them. This is a published author, they think, someone famous, who knows more than me, so his/her word must be law. Not so. Actually in some cases,
the author doesn't even remember his/her original intent while writing the book, they wrote five-ten years ago, they've changed since that time, they aren't the same, what they were going through at that time affected what they wrote, and they don't remember all of it, when they read it now -- assuming they've re-read it or maybe going by memory, their interpretation as actually much more similar to their readers.

The same exact statement can be said of Joss Whedon. It's been a year since he did Season 6, within that time period he has worked and written Firefly scripts, wrote and written S7 Btvs, wrote and written portions and story arcs for Angel S4 and S5, and read numerous novels, seen Matrix Reloaded, had a baby - you cannot tell me that all of that has not in some way shape or form changed his views and him in some major way. I've heard having a child is an incredibly life-changing experience all by itself. So the Joss Whedon who talks about S6 now is in effect talking from a distance from his original intent. He may not even really recall it. He is no longer the same person. Add to that he is not truely the "auteur" of it in the classic sense of the world - if anything he is closer to what William Shakespear may have been for his plays - part of the process. Except possibly more so. Not every script was written by him, not every episode produced by him, he put a great deal of it in the hands of co-executive producers Fury and Noxon. Also we have actors, make-up artists, crew members etc adding their two cents. So in a way, Joss Whedon's view of his is really no different than ours, it holds no greater weight than our view does.

So I guess what I'm saying is the viewer and the writer in this case both have valid views - one is not more valid than the other, they have equal weight in the analysis.

Oh -- sophist mentions legislative interpretation - this is taking me back 8 years, but, if I remember correctly,
when we interpreted statutes or laws - we did it using three methods:

1. Supreme Court and Appellate Court rulings involving cases that dealt with the statute - this went to how a "reasonable" person may see the law.
2. Original court cases and how the law worked in practice (also to how "reasonable" person would view it)
3. Legislative intent - we would review the debates in the legislature at the time the law was to be passed, you can find this in the Statutes - they have a section that includes everything the legislature said about it at the time it was written into law.

Note we do not go back to the legislature and ask what they intended a year, six months, five days after the fact. What we do is look at what they intended when and at the moment it was passed. This is important. Because as I cited above,
intent can change over time. What the lawyer or interpretor of a law wants is the most accurate interpretation of the original intent of the people who wrote and passed the statute/law - to get this, outside of traveling backwards in time, you must look at the published debates that were transcribed at the time. Anything taken after that? Has the same weight as you or I reading it.

The same is true somewhat of literary criticism. Because, outside of literally taking a trip back in time and inserting ourselves in Joss Whedon or James Joyce or Mark Twain's brains...we have no idea and never will what their original intent was nor do I believe they do.

But that does not mean we shouldn't read interviews or listen to commentaries. Just that we shouldn't place any more weight on the opinions expressed in these than we may place on each others.

Hope that made some sense. Again this is just my view. YMMV.
(BTw - does YMMV - mean you may have your own view?)


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Arrgh typos galore...hope it doesn't hurt what I intended to convey -- s'kat (continuing to appreciate the irony), 20:50:33 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary. Which means pretty much what you suggested. -- Sophist, 21:11:02 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary. Which means pretty much what you suggested. -- Sophist, 21:17:57 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> heheh...irony, thy name is ATPo poster... -- Random, 00:12:13 07/16/03 Wed

I wasn't actually replying to you specifically, but to Yellow Bear. I should have just said, "I have my own thoughts on the matter and, while I listen to s'kat and Rob, I make up my own mind." Woulda saved you a lot of typing;-}. In any event, I personally go a little further in the weight I give authorial voice, but that's, in a large part, a reaction against 8 years of reading critical theory in English Lit and growing roundly sick of modern LitCrit. If I had suffered through another supercilious first year grad student tell me that the Author was meaningless and that I just didn't understand critical theory.... (The latter inevitably awakened the bully in me and I would bring to bear all the learning advantage I had over the student to demonstrate that not only did I understand, but I could literally take the first year grad student to school on the issue, heheh.) In any event, I largely agree that a happy medium is best. I just happen to, like you, have my own particular ratios and assign my own particular values. I'm just bitter, I suppose.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Agreed, also, actually. -- Rob, 06:42:28 07/16/03 Wed

If I sounded completely down on the importance of the author's intent, it's just because lately, Joss has been kind of irritating me in his interviews. Although I love the show itself, a great deal of time, I don't think it seems like his recent interviews about his intent on the show actually reflect what we saw on the screen. Ever since he said in an interview that Joyce was The First, I've frankly been a bit annoyed with him, because...uh, if that's so...didn't he ever say it on the air? Just about any non-Internet fan (or fan who doesn't read the Buffy magazine) wouldn't know that; it's not fair that there is plot information that we never learned on the air and he filled in later. Obviously, that's a completely separate issue, but more so, I think Joss lately has been caving in to audience opinion rather than stand his ground, perhaps because he worries about ratings for Angel next season. Last season, in interviews, he never used the word "miosgyny," and I think where he's using it here, he's either not using it correctly or it is being taken out of proportion. If it's the latter, obviously, it's not his fault. But sometimes I feel like the last two seasons, he's been trying too hard to overcompensate for the problems the audience may have had with the text (even though many of us--um, or at least me heheh--pretty much liked all of it), by apologizing for certain aspects. In the season 4 commentaries/interviews, Joss speaks a great deal about where the season failed. I don't agree with him there at all, because I don't think the season failed at all. It's still one of my favorites. Don't worry, I'm not turning on Joss or anything. But I just feel that lately he's been making the situation worse in Internet fandom, and should maybe just quit while he's ahead. I just find it very telling that I agree with all of Joss' Season 6 interviews while the season was airing, but tend to not agree with his in-retrospect ones. I trust Joss' earlier interviews, which I think more accurately reflect his feelings as he was writing the story rather than his later ones.

I am very hypocritical on this whole topic, though, because whether I think the author should be trusted or not usually depends on the author, for me. When I read Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" interviews, for example, I always agree with him and argue against any criticisms some have had about supposed failings in the book. And why? Because they didn't understand what he was trying to say! I know, hypocritical.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Okay a little clarification...incredibly ironic clarification -- Yellow Bear, 00:47:17 07/16/03 Wed

I hope that when you say some posters see Joss-words-as-law that you were not referring to me. The last thing I would want to suggest is that we should all listen to Joss and then keep our mouths shut (I think I referred to this as being Jasmined in an early post). I merely mean to suggest that authorial intent has meaning and more meaning for me than you clearly find in it. I have to take the creators words at some value over the guy/gal in his undies at 8 on Tuesday with hands covered in Cheetos dust (or snack food of choice). Clearly, the audience interpretation is a key part of any art form particularly a popular one.

Again, I am uncomfortable (used that term way too much today) with the asseration that Joss cannot tell us what his intent was at the time of creation, that somehow the passage of time has obsecured that memory for him. Recently watched the 'Restless' commentary and he seems to do an excellent job of covering intent/meaning he wished to express at that time, and the commentary seems to have been recored at least a year or more after filming.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The difference, though, with the example you gave... -- Rob, 06:46:35 07/16/03 Wed

Recently watched the 'Restless' commentary and he seems to do an excellent job of covering intent/meaning he wished to express at that time, and the commentary seems to have been recored at least a year or more after filming.

...is that in this case, Joss does not have to defend anything. Restless is regarded a classic by most fans of the show, and he wrote it with very specific, purposeful symbolism. That's a different case than when he's discussing a season like 6 or 7, on the whole, which garned such controversy and has so many detractors. In those cases, there are differences between his pre- mid- and post-season interviews.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The difference, though, with the example you gave... -- Yellow Bear, 08:41:45 07/16/03 Wed

Fair point. Although I will say that I don't view Joss's comments as being in defense of S6/S7 (at least in the specific interview we are discussing) but merely trying to state intent & discuss (S6 specifically) some audience disatisfaction.

One thing I found intriguing about 'Restless' commentary is that Whedon mentions a couple times how he knew a portion of the audience wouldn't understand it or want it, which is kinda how I feel about S6.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The difference, though, with the example you gave... -- Rob, 08:54:12 07/16/03 Wed

Fair point. Although I will say that I don't view Joss's comments as being in defense of S6/S7 (at least in the specific interview we are discussing) but merely trying to state intent & discuss (S6 specifically) some audience disatisfaction.

Also a fair point! I think my problem is that I find his statements now to be almost overly-apologetic for something I don't think he needs to apologize for. Hey, I think you may have just helped me nail my problem with his recent interviews. In his tone, I sometimes feel like he's saying, because a large, vocal majority has these feelings about Season 6, for example, he has to modify his own feelings about the season (I'm among those who usually agree with him in the first place, but not so much in his later, in-retrospect evaluation of the seasons). I think the use of the word "misogyny" is also overly-apologetic, in order to placate those who would label Spike as that for the AR alone, without taking the action into the context of his character or the plot. It may not be his intention, but in his words, I feel like he takes audience criticism to heart too much. He seems IMO to be always either overly-defensive or overly-apologetic about controversial plot points.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Agreed. That was my problem with it as well. -- s'kat (who also oddly enough liked S6), 11:50:12 07/16/03 Wed

I have troubles with the author getting defensive about the work. Yet, being human, I guess it is something we all inevitably feel a need to do.
Just look at how we respond to those who respond to our posts? ;-)

So I give less weight to the defensive/almost apologetic interviews than the commentaries. I find the commentaries very informative. Restless, The Body, Fool for Love, but
the individual interviews? Less so. Maybe because the
interview is filtered through a third party - the interviewer/writer of the interview, while the commentary comes to us far more directly.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Restless is a good example to use -- ponygirl, 12:17:27 07/16/03 Wed

Joss' Restless commentary also demonstrates how intent can change after the fact. Joss mentions the interpretation of Riley and Adam's naming scene as a masculine counterpoint to the Willow/Tara exchange about letting Miss Kitty find her own name. This idea was put forth by viewers and Joss claimed that it was not his intention when writing it, but he accepts it as being valid.

Poor s6! I don't like the idea that it has to be apologized for or have its meanings explained in more acceptable terms. I loved the season and think it more than holds its own - in my books it gives s2 a run for its money. Maybe it's time to saddle up the old s6 Defenders Brigade and charge the barricades of accepted opinion! Tally-ho!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Woo hoo! The Season 6 Anti-Defamation League rides again! :o) -- Rob, the President, 12:40:04 07/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Anti-Six-ites beware! We will crush you with our mighty angst! -- ponygirl, Treasurer (we have money?), 12:46:59 07/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> can't be the president if you don't have a preference :-) -- Diana (and the 32rd Lunatic Division), 14:22:48 07/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Heh-heh. The reason I have the title is... -- Rob, 14:37:52 07/16/03 Wed

...during the sixth season, I was one of the first to start the rallying cry for all those woeful, lonely fans here who felt like the anti-Season-Six-ers were too powerful, to band together and cry out: "Season Six is the best!" ;o)

Hey, I posted a glowing review of "Wrecked" AND DMP the day after each aired, so that was enough to secure my position. ;o)


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm staging a coup -- Diana, 15:13:24 07/16/03 Wed

As President of the "Marti is the Goddess of all things Twisted and if You Want to Say Anything Negative about Her You Better be Prepared to Feel the Points of my Stilettoes and the Sting of My Whip" Club, I challenge you to lead the charge.

Be forewarned, my defense of Season 6 is 98 pages long :-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'd love to read it, partner! ;o) -- Rob, fellow Season 6 and Marti devotee, 19:13:39 07/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> It's in the archives under 'Dark Night' -- Diana, 09:54:41 07/17/03 Thu

or I can email it to anyone who wants. just email me.

It is pretty harsh on Spuffy, be forewarned.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Love to Read It (as a fellow S6 lover) -- Yellow Bear, 01:04:04 07/17/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Getting my pro Season 6 pony ready to ride with you! -- jane, 13:59:54 07/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: The difference, though, with the example you gave... -- Yellow Bear, 08:51:56 07/16/03 Wed

I wanted to add that I do see some of the writer's interviews taking on a defensive turn as of late (since mid-season 6, actually), which irks me as I don't think they have anything to be defensive about. They've done so much great work that if they slip, they slip and I don't need them to defend themselves to me.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Completely agreed. -- Rob, 08:55:22 07/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> Re: Beautifully said -- sdev, 19:00:13 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> Thanks. :) -- Rob, 08:56:25 07/16/03 Wed

[> [> [> Re: Another case of ignoring the nerd behind the curtain and enjoying the show ;-) -- Rina, 07:34:56 07/15/03 Tue


Wiser words have never been spoken. It's too bad that most fans, and even the show's writers do not understand such a viewpoint.

[> [> Uhm? What happened to my post? -- s'kat, 15:06:11 07/15/03 Tue

I leave the board for six hours, come back and notice my lengthy post on ignoring the nerd behind the curtain has
disappeared, along with Dochawk's and my response to him.

Has voy gone wacky again? Has my computer blocked it out?
Can't imagine anyone deleting it - it was tamer than most things I've written lately ;-)

[> [> [> Ah! IT's back, thank you muchly!! -- sk, 17:30:54 07/15/03 Tue

[> Voice Of Dissent -- Yellow Bear, 16:37:10 07/14/03 Mon

Loved the quote. Summed up everythig I saw in (and loved about) S6, and also the reason a portion of the audience rejected it.

Don't know if I see Spike as particularly misogynistic though but he's narcissistic & morally bankrupt so why split hairs.

[> I totally agree with Joss, B/S was all about deep deep misogyny. -- VGR fan, 18:05:25 07/14/03 Mon

Spike tried to freeking rape her in her own bathroom as an act of hatred to get back at the bitch by hurting her for breaking up with him. I can't even imagine a more horrible act of misogyny, hell it would have been much better if he had simply tried to kill her. The AR stands as the ultimate example of real evil and misogyny in the Buffyverse, I can't even think of a more horrible example. And, soon thereafter Spike was yelling about and blaming "the bitch" for it. And, I also agree with Joss that he was all about trying to dominate and control her, even trying to keep her from going to the police in DT was all about him trying to keep her for himself and not letting her do the right thing.

[> [> I don't think that was his reason. -- abt, 00:31:25 07/15/03 Tue

VGR fan, you wrote:- "Spike tried to freeking rape her in her own bathroom as an act of hatred to get back at the bitch by hurting her for breaking up with him."

I don't think he tried to rape her as an act of hatred or revenge.
His words weren't 'I'm going to hurt you/show you who's in control here/show you that I am more powerful'.
Spike did not enter that bathroom with intent to hurt Buffy, he went in there to apologise.

His words indicate that he tried to force her into sex in the misguided belief that if they were physically close the emotional connection would happen.

Yes, this is still horrible, yes forcing someone into sex is rape, yes this is still Spike trying to force Buffy, and make her do something she doesn't want to.

But IMO it was not done as a deliberate attempt to cause pain or get revenge.

[> [> [> I think VGR was being sarcastic... -- KdS, 04:22:57 07/15/03 Tue

[> Spike IS a misogynist! -- Q, 19:34:35 07/14/03 Mon

I have argued with people on this board about this for quite some time, and still, people try to get WAY too literal and split WAY too many hairs when it comes to the word.

Misogeny is the hatred of women.

Spike hates Women.

People will point out his love for specific women like Drusilla, Dawn, or Buffy, but to me it adds up to a racist pointing out that "a lot of my best friends are black". Or somebody who discriminates against gays saying "some of my best friends are gay". Just because they don't squirm with displeasure at the mere thought of a gay or black does not mean they are not a biggot. If they support legislation that holds back the minority group, or if they show even SUBTLE signs of wanting to hold that group back, they are a biggot.

Spike may not have had big plans to wipe out the female gender from the face of the earth, but he DEFINATELY showed many signs of bald faced misogeny.

Threatening to "have" Willow, threatening to torture Drusilla, trying his damndest to brutally rape Buffy are all signs of this misogeny. The effort to rape Buffy is particularly important because of the way it was used as an OBVIOUS symbol of misogeny during a WHOLE SEASON about misogeny.

Even subtler signs of his misogeny are ever present. The way he feels threatened, just like Caleb and Warren, by powerful women is misoginistic. He is fine with Buffy when she is miserable and depressed-- but whenever she tries to re-claim her power, he gets extremely volatile. He did the same with Drusilla.

The way Spike tried to keep Buffy "in the dark" with him, like the conversation on the bronze balcony showed, was evidence of him holding the strong woman back. It was OBVIOUS, surface level, misogeny.

Whenever Buffy's power trumped his own, he would refer to her in gender specific derogatory terms such as "Bitch". After his failed rape, he said specifically "The Bitch is going to get what she deserves."

Spikes treatment of Harmony as a sex object not to be taken seriously for any other reason is some of the most severe examples of misogeny we have seen on the show.

I understand that some people have a different opinion, and that is fine. I can understand when people have gotten so VERY hot at me for stating this opinion, too. It is obvious I possess nowhere near the intellect of many on this board, and I will readily admit that. That is another reason why I am so confused at the blindness people have over this issue. When someone as shallow as me sees the OBVIOUS subtext, I can't believe the higher level thinkers are missing it.

For half a second, I started questioning myself, and wondering, even though I couldn't see it for the life of me, if I could POSSIBLY be wrong about this subject. I mean, so many people, so much smarter than me, were disagreeing. But, when the artist himself explains what was meant by the art, and it happens to jive EXACTLY with what I have been saying for over a year, I feel justified that I have not been wrong. It only leads me to feel more confident in my opinion (I admit it is just MY opinion) that people on this board KNOW in their hearts the truth, they see it with all their amazing intellect, but they REFUSE to accept it. They have LONG AGO put on the blinders when it comes to Spike, and refuse to follow the obvious symbolic possibiliies of Spikes misogeny.

I could understand when people argued with me. I am shocked that they would say that Joss doesn't know what he is talking about. HE ONLY CREATED THE SHOW AND OWNS ALL CREATIVE SAY ON THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF SAID SHOW!!! That's not too much!

Now I know that people will say that what the artist says isn't as important as the interpretation created in the viewer of the art-form. That the impression created in the observer is the most important aspect of art-- and what the artist actally intended is just another nuanced aspect. I can understand the point of view, and respect it-- even agreeing to a large extent. If, however, you follow that, I don't think you can TOTALLY throw out the artists intent. Even if it is not what you get out of a work of art-- it is still a very valued opinion on the art-- and I think a VERY valuable argument could be made that it is THE most valued opinion on the art.

So if anybody agrees with that last paragraph, maybe I will be less attacked now by the Spike apologists who seem to have fits whenever I state my opinion that Spike, along with Ted, Caleb, and Warren is the HEIGHTH of misoginistic symbolism. We'll see.

Thank You.

[> [> What is Misogeny? -- sdev, 22:01:11 07/14/03 Mon

"Misogeny is the hatred of women."

No. I think it may be the hatred of offspring which may apply to Spike because as a vampire he can not have children. I couldn't help it with the volatility lately.

[> [> Re: Spike IS a misogynist! -- Yellow Bear, 22:21:19 07/14/03 Mon

Now, that's an opinion. :)

First, I am an auteurist by nature so I agree that authorial intent is important. I certainly view it as more important than the majority of people on this board . The belief that a fan opinion, no matter how ill-informed or unsubstantiated, is the equivaeant of authorial intent strikes me as the height of arrogance.

I stated that I did not find Spike to be particulary misogynistic but that's a bit of a mistatement on my part. Misogny is certainly a central part of Spike's make-up but the character's strange sense of victorian romanticism has offset his misogny for me. I certainly can't see him as straightly analogous to Caleb. However, Warren is an analogous figure to him as stated specifically in Dead Things & Seeing Red. Warren & Spike are pushed forward by there seething 'angry nerd energy' (to quote the great Emily Nussbaum) and the both have severe problems with letting go of the women in their lives. Perhaps, I simply don't want to see Spike as misogynistic because I enjoy the character so much.

Finaly, I would like to point out that with a show this complex and nunanced that any quote from the author is not going to include all the variations of theme & character that make up a plotline so expecting Whedon's brief comments to cover the entire gamut of thought that went into a season is rather ridiculous but we all seem to do it everytime he says something.

[> [> [> I hate not having spell check -- Yellow bear, 22:25:21 07/14/03 Mon

How funny to write a whole thing about misogyny and to mess up the spelling two times.

[> [> [> [> not you, Q -- sdev, 22:30:58 07/14/03 Mon

I was just kidding!

[> [> [> [> [> Re: not you, Q -- Yellow Bear, 22:58:50 07/14/03 Mon

OK, I will plead stupidity and say I don't get it.

[> [> Thin line between love and misogyny -- Valheru, 23:20:46 07/14/03 Mon

While I think Spike indeed has some woman issues, I don't think misogyny is one of them, at least not in the way that you describe it. He certainly doesn't hate women as a gender. In fact, of the three people toward whom Spike has shown the deepest hatred, two of them are men (Angel and Xander).

Has Spike ever tried to hurt a woman out of hate, either emotionally or physically, simply because they were a woman? Most of his attacks are motivated by sexual desire, not hatred. And the times that aren't sexual? He goes after Slayers because they pose a physical challenge, which he would do if all Slayers were men. He condescends Harmony because she's Harmony (he's actually the first male to do so; previously, all of Harmony's attacks were from females). And while he speaks misogynistically toward Buffy, he does so to hurt Buffy specifically, not to hurt another woman.

Just because I hate a lot of black people doesn't mean I'm a bigot. I could have many reasons to hate them that have absolutely nothing to do with their race.

Besides, misogyny isn't selective. Misogynists hate ALL women, in the same way, out of knee-jerk prejudice. A misogynist wouldn't be able to take care of Dawn, talk soaps with Joyce, ruminate the old days with Anya, dote on Drusilla, or seek out a soul for Buffy. His prejudice never would have allowed it.

[> [> [> Agreed very well said. -- s'kat, 09:25:23 07/15/03 Tue

Only one little nit-pick - Spike wasn't the first man to attack Harmony, exactly. I think Xander did it more than once back in high school when she was human. The BBB
spell and his snide remarks to her. Again, they had more to do with Harmony than anything else and were, I'd say largely in self-defense. ;-)

Outside of that agree with every word. I wrote a similar post below, but I think you said it far more succintly and clearly than I did.

Well done.

[> [> [> Re: Thin line between love and misogyny -- Yellow Bear, 13:08:53 07/15/03 Tue

Sorry but I think a lot of people are in this game of desperatly trying to not to call Spike a misogynist despite the evidence. When we are justifying a character's tendency to be a rapist with his attacks "being motivated by sexual desire & not a hatred of women" then I would say we are blurring the line on misogyny to the point that it no longer matters. Unsouled Spike is a rapist therefore he is a misogynist. What could be a more basic form of hatred than forcing yourself sexually on another person whether that hatred is personal or not hardly matters as the action speaks for itself.

[> [> [> [> Re: Thin line between love and misogyny -- ECH, 19:57:18 07/15/03 Tue

I don't think the AR even had to do with his sexual desire or lust for Buffy. To him violent sex was the only tool that seemed to work to get her to spend time with him and want to be with him. If Buffy showed him she liked torture like Dru did he would IMHO have tried to use torture to get her back. This is the one think that I think some viewers have trouble understanding about Spike. He basically does everything and anything to give his love what he thinks she wants and be the kind of person he thinks she wants him to be. Spike would have never thought that Buffy would want to become a vampire which was why I never believed for one minute he would ever try to vamp her. Spike did believe that she was attracted to the dark starting in mid season 6 as Spike said later in Normal Again. So, IMHO Spike going darker, increasingly violent, and sexual was very much in character. When it became clear to him after TR and Smashed that Buffy wanted someone dark and violent to seduce her and that she didn't want Spike the nice heroic boyfriend he changed himself. The thing about the AR is that it could have been Spike trying to force anything on her that he thought she wanted, sex was just what she showed him she wanted the most from him. In real life very very few date rapes occur because the guy or girl is doing what he honestly think his or her partner wants him to be doing.

Yes, there are many many cases were the attacker wants to claim that the victim really wanted it, but deep down in the vast majority of those cases it was because the attacker just wanted sex, but the case of SR was different IMHO. Spike wasn't trying to rape Buffy because he really wanted sex from her. He wanted her, the sex was just a tool that she seemed to like and that appeared to work in the past to be with and spend time her. The scene itself was created based on a female writer using sexual violence to get her boyfriend back. But, in that instance I don't know if the female writer just wanted sex from her boyfriend or she thought he wanted sex from her so if she gave it to him he would want to be with her again. I would probably bet the latter occured. The point is there is no way in hell IMHO that such an act is based on the hatered of any gender.If Buffy wanted Spike to litterly castrate himself in season 6 and only then would she spend time with him and have feelings for him IMHO he would have been willing to chop off his own freeking balls. If Buffy just wanted to cuddle with him in season 6 he would have been perfectly happy to cuddle with her. This may seem messed up, but it does not demonstate that Spike wants to dominate or control Buffy, only to be with her. And, there is no way in hell IMHO that it shows that Spike hates (Buffy) or women in general.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Thin line between love and misogyny -- Yellow Bear, 09:30:20 07/16/03 Wed

The 'sexual desire' thing was actually a quote from another post (sorry, if that wasn't clear). It's what got under my skin a little and led me to post this rather harsh diatribe on the subject.

[> [> [> [> Miso Gyny: The soup your OB recommends! -- Valheru, 23:32:26 07/15/03 Tue

Two points:

1) A true, 100% misogynist wouldn't rape a woman. As horrible as rape is, it is itself a sexual act, which is a chemically pleasurable experience. The man will definitely enjoy it, and there is even the possibility that the woman will (not psychologically, of course, and it's not very fun physiologically, but the horomones and endorphines can still kick in). And a true misoginist would abhor it all. He would hate being pleasured by a woman and hate the possibility of pleasuring her.

Not that I think you're referring to Spike as that extreme a misogynist, but it's important to understand the purest form of something before discussing the watered-down variety.

2) If Spike were a misogynist, he never would have left the bathroom. All Buffy did was get him off of her, but she didn't (nor was she in any shape to) prevent him from trying again. Hell, if Spike had really been trying, there's no doubt in my mind he would have succeeded with Buffy injured and clearly not at the top of her game.

And just because something violent happens does not mean that hatred is involved. Buffy skewered a re-ensouled Angel and sent him to hell for 100 years, but it wasn't out of hatred. Willow mind-wiped Tara (and later, the whole Scooby Gang), but she didn't do it because she hated Tara (and Willow certainly isn't a misogynist). There have been many violent acts on the show that had nothing to do with hatred of any kind; Spike's AR is no different.

Hatred is a very profound emotion. Basically, it's a sustained form of anger, not to be confused with dislike (which is sustained irritation). It's also very rare. Hatred will smack you in the face harder than any other emotion besides love (and raging hatred even harder). If it's not knock-your-head-off-obvious, then it's probably not hatred.

Group hatred is even rarer. I'm not talking about prejudice, which is a natural social phenomenon that is relatively tame--I'm talking about bigotry, the kind of hatred that gave us the Nazis and the KKK in its most extreme form. Misogyny is essentially female bigotry. A bigot will have a giant "BIGOT!" sign over their head, like Archie Bunker. And most importantly to this discussion, a bigot will always act like a bigot.

Does Spike always act like a misogynist? I personally don't think so. Heck, maybe you do. If so, then you are certainly entitled to that interpretation. But Spike has been around for 6 years and has had many interactions with women, so if he's indeed a misogynist, then it will present itself in every female encounter. If it doesn't, then one act against one woman does not a misogynist make.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Miso Gyny: The soup your OB recommends! -- Yellow Bear, 09:24:28 07/16/03 Wed

I may have overstated in my original post. Oh heck, I did overstate. I am just a little distressed to see so many people coming up with validations for the actions of a rapist (and Spike is a rapist at some point, see his speech in NLM). The whole 'sexual desire' angle puts your foot on the slippery slope to she was asking for it. Not saying it gets you there but your foots on the slope. Besides, to the vicitim does the difference between hatred of women and sexual desire really matter all that much.

Perhaps we can all agree that there are different levels of misogyny, with Caleb's being at the top of the scale.

[> [> [> [> [> Hmmm...disagree a little on the rape bit -- s'kat, 14:56:28 07/16/03 Wed

You make some excellent points about misogyny and I whole-heartedly agree with most of them, but you overstate your case a bit on rape - by assuming that rape is necessarily a sexual act or requires "pleasure" in either party.

1) A true, 100% misogynist wouldn't rape a woman. As horrible as rape is, it is itself a sexual act, which is a chemically pleasurable experience. The man will definitely enjoy it, and there is even the possibility that the woman will (not psychologically, of course, and it's not very fun physiologically, but the horomones and endorphines can still kick in). And a true misoginist would abhor it all. He would hate being pleasured by a woman and hate the possibility of pleasuring her.

Actually, you can rape someone without any pleasure. A man can rape a woman without using any part of his body.
Just as a woman can rape a woman. Or a man a man. Or a woman a man. Rape is an act of violence and more often than not generated or motivated by hate. Sometimes towards women as gender (this by serial rapists who rape strangers), sometimes towards just the person (stalkers can fit into this category).

But Val is right to an extent: Not all rapes are motivated out of hatred. And I honestly don't believe the vampires rapes are - soullessSpike and Angelus raped for the pleasure of it and using their bodies, they also worked to stimulate pleasure in the other party - this shown metaphorically with siring. As Angel explained to Cordelia in Billy. They enjoyed taking whatever they wanted. Just as you could say HyenaXander and Faith do attempted rapes out desire to take, I honestly don't think hate was really a key component.

Spikes attempted sexual assault on Buffy was not really a rape, because it lacked clear intent. It was a sexual assualt b/c there was 0 consent. Intent is a very important factor when determining rape, as is carrying out the act. Also Spike's act was in no way motivated out of hatred. We have tons of evidence proving Spike did not in any way shape or form hate Buffy, he may have wanted to, because loving her was in effect destroying him - but that's not the same as hate. Frustration, desire, fury, confusion - yes, but hatred? no. In that Val is correct.
I honestly see Xander's fears in Hells Bells as fitting the concept of misogyny far better than Spike's actions in the
bathroom scene. But, I can understand why some watching that scene feel the need to see it as hatred, it is far harder to deal with the possibility that it can be motivated by other emotions - b/c that would be akin to admitting you yourself could find yourself doing something like that and/or could be the victim of it, or maybe were and that, understandably is not something any of us want to deal with. To be honest the scene would have been easier for me to handle if it was more black and white, an evil monster, Buffy stakes. But it wasn't. And that is the reason we're still debating it over a year later, no matter what thread we're in at the moment. It is also the reason that I think the actor, James Marsters came very very close to having a nervous breakdown and leaving the show over doing it (as he implies in some interviews, stating CrazySpike in S7 was a bit too close to what he himself was going through for comfort, the reason he threw method acting out the window)...b/c he himself had troubles understanding what was going on in that scene. The Angel/Angelus story line in S2 was sooo much easier for us to deal with emotionally. This was not. But to put lables such as misogyny on it, I think is trivalizing it or may even be a means of stating that oh, I'm a guy and not a misogynist so no fear of me going there (I'm not implying that anyone on this board is thinking or saying that - just speaking generally - I have no clue what gender most posters are or their experience) or a woman stating, oh my boyfriend isn't a misogynist so no fear of that and since I'm a woman? No fear of me ever doing it either. What the AR scene suggests in its murkiness is when you get involved in a S&M type of relationship - then the possibility of sexual assualt and/or rape always exists. When the two parties are playing domination games with each other, mixed signals can always happen. No matter how much you trust one another. And that I think is far more frightening to some of us than the idea that Spike hated women/hated Buffy and tried to rape her. Because the misogyny view - let's Buffy off the hook and us through her. "It's all Spike's fault...I feel better now. Stake him. Torture him. I don't have to think about it any further." etc.

The counter to that is equally true by the way - the posters who couldn't deal with the concept of Spike attacking Buffy in that way - make it all Buffy's fault, and that view in some ways scares me even more than the other one does. And is why I had problems with the scene.
It wasn't Buffy's fault. It's not that simple. She had no way of predicting it would go that far. Did her actions propell it there? Maybe. But that does not make it her fault. (Again not saying anyone on this board is suggesting this, just speaking generally). So validating Spike's actions - is another way of letting ourselves off the proverbial hook. "Buffy drove him to it. It's all her fault.
Torture her. The bitch. She should have kicked him off sooner. Spike would never do that." etc.

I honestly think the scene the way it's written doesn't give us that easy an escape route. There's no way out. No pat explanation. No safe answer. And ECH may have come closest to seeing what happened due to the fact that his own experience oddly parallels it as well as the writer's whose experience the whole B/S relationship was based on. I honestly believe that if you've never been in this type of relationship or situation it is nearly impossible to completely wrap your emotions or brain around it without losing it a bit or wanting to come up with some nice answer to explain it away. And I think from Whedon's quote - that may have been Whedon and Company's intention - not to give us an easy way out because in real life things tend to be ambiguous and not so easy to explain away.

I don't know if that made any sense. Just wanted to clear
the rape stuff up a bit more...although methinks I just made it murkier.



[> [> [> Re: Thin line between love and misogyny-Agree -- sdev, 13:42:33 07/15/03 Tue

"Besides, misogyny isn't selective. Misogynists hate ALL women, in the same way, out of knee-jerk prejudice. A misogynist wouldn't be able to take care of Dawn, talk soaps with Joyce, ruminate the old days with Anya, dote on Drusilla, or seek out a soul for Buffy. His prejudice never would have allowed it."

Absolutely. While it may be arguable how Spike treated Buffy, where is the misogyny with Dru? To me it is non-existent. I don't think misogyny comes with an on and off switch.

Did anyone read this article? Did JW explicitly identify the misogynists?

Also, I don't think chauvinism and misogyny are interchangeable. While all misogynists may be chauvinists, the reverse is not true. Chauvinism is more of a social phenomenum.

[> [> [> [> Re: Thin line between love and misogyny-Agree -- Yellow Bear, 15:37:59 07/15/03 Tue

I read the article and while Whedon does not say 'Spike is a misogynist', it's pretty clear that he considers that part of the B/S relationship. He refers to the relationship as being "all about dominance, control and, ultimately, deep misogyny". I take that 'ultimately' as being in referrence to the attempted rape but the quote is certainly vague enough to support another interpretation of it. As I stated earlier, this a very brief quote about a very complex relationship so maybe we should try not to read too much into it.

[> [> [> [> [> Good point, particularly when you read S7 quote, now in archives -- s'kat, 17:07:36 07/15/03 Tue

As I stated earlier, this a very brief quote about a very complex relationship so maybe we should try not to read too much into it.

After getting around to reading his S7 blurb in archive one,( boy that got archived fast. Probably b/c we all agreed with it. ;-) ) I realized that we may be reading too much into it. It's possible the interviewer misquoted or misheard the word. It's possible that Whedon is as confused about the meaning of misogyny as many people are. Or and a friend of mine came up with this explanation - it could just be that he sees all negative acts towards any women as misogynistic, the broad labeling thing. Just as James Marsters does. I find the use of the term puzzeling, b/c while I see the B/S relationship as manipulative, obsessive, abusive, ugly, disturbing, violent, S&M, dominance, and dark side of power - I fail to see anything remotely misogynistic about it. But hey, I've known of relationships between two women and two men that reached the same levels of horror, so I don't identify anything in that relationship as misogynistic. Xander and Anya? more so actually. Even though I'd hardly call Xander a misogynist by any stretch of the imagination. It may be that Joss is confused as to the term and just using it wrong?

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Good point, particularly when you read S7 quote, now in archives -- Yellow bear, 00:34:51 07/16/03 Wed

I think your friend may have hit on the answer to our little quandary in that Whedon may see all negative acts (particularly violent ones) towards woman as being misogynistic.

Man, that one little word has sure caused a heck of long thread.

[> [> [> [> [> [> I saw it in a fairly simple way....... -- Rufus, 03:41:30 07/16/03 Wed

Misogyny is the precursor to patriarchy and as Spike was brought up in a patriarchal society he had certain ideas of women as possessions. In season four we saw a glimpse of partriarchy in Giles's dream.....

(A pocket watch on a chain, swinging back and forth in front of a chest wearing Giles' tweedy conservative clothes.)

GILES VOICEOVER: You have to stop thinking.

(Fade to Buffy's face, looking pleased. The reflection of the watch moves
across her face.)

GILES VOICEOVER: Let it wash over you.

BUFFY: Don't you think it's a little old-fashioned?

GILES: This is the way women and men have behaved since the beginning...

(We see Giles' apartment, with no furniture except one chair, which Buffy is sitting on. Giles stands in front of her with the pocket watch.)

GILES: ...before time. Now look into the light.

Joss said that some of what Spike did was based upon deep misogyny, but does that mean that Spike was only a misogynist or did that mean that some of his actions were based upon his patriarchal upbringing and that as a soulless creature his natural bent would tend towards acting out (in extreme circumstances)in a misogynist way? Add in that the actions of Warren who acted out along the extreme end of the spectrum of possible misogynist thoughts. The difference is that one of them was able to see the err in his ways and do something to change themselves and the other thought to the end that he was right and everyone other than him was wrong.

Before there was patriarchy there had to be misogyny and any extreme actions of violence and domination towards women could be seen as sourced from deep misogyny. I think that Joss was showing us what happens when we act in ways that bring out the worst in each other. The miracle was that Buffy and Spikes relationship ended with love in season seven.

"By our interactions with each other we redeem us all." ML Von Franz

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Excellent Reading, Rufus -- Yellow Bear, 08:46:09 07/16/03 Wed

I think you get to an underlining cause of the statement with this post. Clearly, Whedon has an obsession with the nature of patriarchal society, and the constructed roles within it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I saw it in a fairly simple way....... -- s'kat, 12:55:41 07/16/03 Wed

Hmmm...I think you are right here, this fits with what Minear said about Whedon's addition to the episode Billy - the line: "the primoridal misogyny".

I disagree with Whedon's views on misogyny somewhat, I think he's confusing Patriarchy and Misogyny or the male desire to control and possess with the misogynist's desire to destroy and women by the way can be misogynistic, just as men/women can be misanthropic - they wish to destroy themselves and everything female. (I've met a couple in my lifetime).

At any rate while misogyny may have some root in the control/possess patriarchial aspect, I don't believe that it is the cause of that. If anything it seems to be the other way around - hating that which you cannot control or possess. Which come to think of it - might be what Whedon was going for...that when the man couldn't get what he wanted he became somewhat misogynistic? (shrug)

At any rate I do agree with the following statement, even though I'm not sure I can agree with the view that misogyny preceeded patriarchy, I remain unconvinced that it's not the other way around,:

think that Joss was showing us what happens when we act in ways that bring out the worst in each other. The miracle was that Buffy and Spikes relationship ended with love in season seven.

"By our interactions with each other we redeem us all." ML Von Franz

Yes - I think that was the point of both Season 6 and 7.
Whedon should hire you as his interview interpretor. ;-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The quote said 'deep' misogyny -- curious, 13:15:13 07/16/03 Wed

so did "deep" mean far under the surface where it unconsciously affected Spike or all the men or all the characters because they live in a patriarchal culture?

Or did he mean "deep" as in incredibly, extremely misogynistic? Did he mean just Spike - or misogyny in general?

I don't think there was enough in that little quote to be sure what he meant. Wasn't Buffy abusing power and being controlling too? Willow?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Agreed. We really don't have enough to go on. -- s'kat, 13:34:04 07/16/03 Wed

Perhaps this is a case of needing the author to come back once again and interpret the intent behind his quote about intent?

Ahh...the difficulties and permutations of authorial intent.

In some ways, I think it would have been better if Joss kept his mouth shut, let his work speak for itself, instead of just muddying the waters further. OTOH, I like some of the things he said, so am glad he tried to clarify. Maybe if he'd just left out the word misogynist. Oh well.

[> [> If Spike is a misogynist, who isn't? -- Moscow Watcher, 04:54:08 07/15/03 Tue

Maybe Angel, who loved torturing Dru and Buffy in his unsouled state?
Or maybe Xander who jilted Anya at the altar?
Or Riley who left Buffy because he could't stand her strength?

[> [> Re: Spike IS a misogynist! -- Miss Edith, 15:18:02 07/15/03 Tue

A misogynist hates all women, therefore Spike cannot possibly qualify, you yourself acknowledge his relationship with Dawn, Buffy, Drusilla (I would add Joyce, and Spike's grieving for her in Forever talking of having liked the lady and leaving flowers in rememberence of her).

He planned to torture Drusilla to prove he could be a demon. She dumped him because he was letting his inner core of humanity affect his behaviour towards her. Spike was incapable of hurting Dru as Angelus had, he wasn't demon enough for the likes of her. His torture of Dru says nothing about Spike's true desires, as he was only planning to torture Dru because it was what she wanted from him.

As for "trying his damndest to brutally rape Buffy" I wouldn't agree with that. I never saw the AR as being about dominance or control, it was more a nervous breakdown. Not a premeditated act arising from a need to control Buffy. He is repulsed by his actions, he flees from the bathroom with tears in his tears after acknowledging what he's done. In his crypt we saw him struggling with flashbacks, and eventually deciding to change his entire self for love of a woman. How can you hate women, and yet characterise yourself as loves bitch?

Spike openly admired strong women, he longed to fight duels with the slayers as equal warriors. Yes he was a vampire, and his purpose was to overpower and kill them, but he still showed respect towards them as opponents. Hardly ranting about taking the bitches down, more "I could have danced all night with that one".

And I don't remember Spike ever trying to keep Dru under his thumb. On the contrary in season 2 he talks of not being able to stand seeing Dru so weak, he searches tirelessly for a cure.

And again with Buffy I never saw Spike as wanting to keep Buffy depressed. In episodes like Hells Bells Spike is pleased to see Buffy happy with her friends. In Normal Again he informs her she is addicted to misery, he has realised she is not drawn to the dark as he once suspected. Spike did try to drag Buffy down to his level on occasion it's true. Smashed, "I may be dirt, but you're the one that likes to roll in it". Dead Things with his trying to convince Buffy to join him in the dark. But I disagree that he had a need to see Buffy depressed and under his control. More a desire to see Buffy become just as dark and evil as she frequently told him that he was. Buffy repeatedly made it clear Spike had no chance with her. I believe the demon in him longed to change that, to see Buffy accept him and beocme one with him and the dark. But the human in him acknowledged that Buffy was always about the light to him, he eventually made the choice to pursue that and also fought to arise to the light himself in Grave.

And Smashed saw Spike tell Buffy some harsh home truths sure, but he delighted in her giving back as good as she got. He made sure that she threw the first punch, Buffy iniated the sex taking control. In Dead Things Spike attempts to take control in the balcony scene, but shortly after that he allows Buffy to brutally beat him in order to release her frustrations. I always saw B/S as being less about deliberate abuse on either side, but more just being very sad with two very confused people who no longer knew where they fit in the world. For Joss to take up Marti's talk of Spike being the bad boyfriend, and our heroine being his victim disapoints me greatly.

Spike worshipped Buffy, he mourned her death for months. His grief is expressed in the "every night I save you" speech which is overflowing with remorse. Not to mention spending the summer with the scoobies, and babysitting Dawn in order to fullfil a promise to a woman that he admired, "I made a promise to a lady".

Spike was perfectly happy to defer to women. I cannot match that with him wanting to beat down all women, and make them submissive to him. I would agree he does have some sexist notions of women, he throws around words like "bitch" and "bint" freely. But if Joss thinks that makes Spike a misogynist then he is failing to understand the term IMHO.

B/S was about them both feeding on each others unhealty desires, they were both incrediably f*cked up. For Joss to claim the relationship was all about Spike hating women, and wishing to dominate Buffy is just ludicrous to me. Althought it does support my theory that Joss was so wrapped up in Firefly that he paid little attention to Buffy episodes. I find myself wondering if he even watched some of them *shrug*

[> [> [> To follow up on my thoughts on the AR -- Miss Edith, 15:32:15 07/15/03 Tue

It was to me clearly about desperation, not misogyny. To say the AR saw Spike hating Buffy is to completely misinterpret the scene. It was Spike's desperate attempt to make Buffy feel it, to awaken her love for him through the use of sex, the closest he had managed to get to her in the past. We all know how desperate he was to have Buffy love him, he sought the soul to become worthy of Buffy, to feel wanted by her. Therefore in his right mind he would know that taking buffy by force would pretty much be the stupidest thing he could do.

Morever the fact that the AR was based on a female member of staff trying to force sex on her ex boyfriend, just makes it even more ridiculous to label it misogyny.

[> [> [> [> Re: To follow up on my thoughts on the AR -- Q, 19:40:57 07/15/03 Tue

>>>To say the AR saw Spike hating Buffy is to completely misinterpret the scene<<<

Actually, I would say that to say this is just a *different* interpretation of the scene. Your posts read like everybody else is an idiot and that yours is the only "interpretation". I would think the fact that Joss himself is "misinterpreting" the scene would humble you a bit, but I guess there is just nothing that will let you view any other point of view than the one you are so determined to see.

I think that some good points have been made saying Spikes motivations are not about misogeny, and he wasn't symbolic of misogeny.

But I think just as good of points have been made for the fact that he IS a misogenist. If these points weren't totally valid before, they HAVE to be given more weight if Joss agrees with them.

I'm not saying that audience interpretation isn't valid. Sometimes it is just as valid as authorial intent-- but it shouldn't be MORE valid, I don't think.

The world is full of "experts", people with expertise in certain subjects. If I had to pick just one "expert" to find out about subtext and the inner depths of BtVS, I'm pretty sure I would pick Joss Whedon over most people on this, and any other board. I might pick some people on this board if I needed an expert on classic film or literature. I might pick somebody on this board if I needed an expert on dream analysis or Nietzsche, but If I want an expert on Buffyverse, I think I will trust that the man who INVENTED the Buffyverse is less likely to "misinterpret" a scene than a bunch of people sitting around on line arguing about it all day!

[> [> [> [> [> Re: To follow up on my thoughts on the AR -- Yellow Bear, 00:30:34 07/16/03 Wed

Your final paragraph contains an excellent point (close to what I've been trying to say) about the nature of authorial intent. The writer does have access to an experience that we simply can't have (just as our experience will be different than his/hers) so that experience has to carry some weight. I believe it has to carry more weight (at least on some level) because this experience began with him/her and we are just the interpretors of his/her work.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: To follow up on my thoughts on the AR -- Miss Edith, 13:09:16 07/16/03 Wed

Well Joss himself has acknowledged Spikes love for Buffy as real. He previously talked of Spike being confused by previous sex games during the AR, because of their violent relationship. The soul helping him to understand when Buffy says no, Joss seemed to feel Spike couldn't really understand Buffy saying no and meaning it before that. How does previously calling the scene a misunderstanding, based on Spike's soulles status, square with Joss now implying that Spike was always a hater of all women, and apparently it was the soul that changed that?

I do generally write IMO a lot, so I wouldn't say my posts are necesserily always claiming that my interpretation is the only valid one. But yes I do feel strongly about Joss's interview implying the AR was about Spike hating Buffy. Because frankly it makes no sense to me to characterise a character who is all about love, as secretly hating all women. Spike is constantly living his life depending on what his women want. He became a vampire because of Ceciley, Dru had Spike wrapped around her little finger, he got his soul for Buffy. That to me does not add up to a man who hates women, and wishes to dominate and control them. I suspect the writers are trying a little too hard to stress the differance between souled and unsouled Spike. We all know unsouled Spike messed with their canon in season 6, that was why he was given a soul.

How does Joss's claim that Spike hated Buffy in the AR scene (if he is saying that scene shows Spike as a misogynist I can only assume that is what he's saying) match up with Spike feeling torn apart when realising he had hurt Buffy, instead of becoming closer to winning her heart. Spike felt guilty after the act, once he realised what he had done. Surely that supports Joss's original statement more, that the AR was a minunderstanding on Spike's part, because Spike lacked a soul to let him truly understand Buffy, and be good for her.

IMO breaking through Buffy's barriors and forcing her to admit she loved him, was Spike's real intent in that scene, he is even telling her to let yourself feel it, I will make you love me. I sensed real desperation, Spike experiencing a nervous breakdown. He went on to seek a soul for Buffy so that he would never hurt her like that again. And yet the scene was, according to Joss, about hate from Spike. That is what I am questioning.

I stand by my opinion that Joss is not intepretating the scene in a way that makes sense. Espcecially as it's well known he wasn't even on set much during season 6, he was concentrating on Firefly and the rains were handed over to Marti almost totally after Smashed I believe. Therefore it's highly likely Joss was not involved in planning the scene (indeed it was Marti pushing for it) or even on set when it was filmed. In that case then yes I don't see why Joss's opinion should be held up as right. In season 6 the writers admitted portraying certain characters based on their own interpretations, and not all sitting together and coming to a common agreement. So sorry Joss suddenly giving his opinion on a scene that he most likely was not even involved in does not humble me, or my views.

I would agree that Spike does have some sexist notions of women, I just don't think that means he hates all women. That is what Joss is saying.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: To follow up on my thoughts on the AR -- Miss Edith, 13:43:51 07/16/03 Wed

Joss did invent the Buffyverse, as you point out. But many fans are arguing that he abandoned his baby for Firefly. In several interviews he compares Buffy negatively to his experiences with Firefly (even the Firely cast are praised in his comparision with Joss subtly taking digs at the Buffy cast, with certain people thinking they are "stars")

Anyway my point is yes Joss invented the Buffyverse. And actually I would probably agree with most of his comments from the first five seasons, and really believe he knows what he's talking about. But he himself has acknowledged that season 6 was Marti Noxen's thing. She talks of being the queen of pain, and I saw her influence throughout season 6.

I'm aware that Joss approved of all the angst, but I don't think that stretched to discussing particular storys. IMO he gave the story outlines. A the beginning of the year his guideline to marti was in being interested in getting inot the following; Buffy's ressurection will have consequences, all season she won't be right. Spike will sleep with Buffy. Willow will be seduced by dark magic. Xander will fear committment. Giles must be written off in some way. And Marti supervised the bulk of the season, Joss simply looked through scripts that were already completed, and added his opinions. (He did rewrite a scene from HB).

I'm sure there will be plenty of people arguing that Joss was heavily involved in season 6, I never saw that, even the cast have mentioned Joss not being on set much. I saw his supervision of Bts as being him simply having final approvel, but not really being invested enough to discuss possible changes, and ways of making the show better. Rather he was trusting Marti completely to handle things, it was basically Martis' vision guiding the show for season 6. Joss was more like the adviser, playing a minor role in looking over a student dissertation, but the work not really being his.(Probably a controversial view, but that's how Joss's work on the last two seasons came across to me personally). The season was Marti's to shape, therefore why do Joss's views count simply because he invented the show seven years ago, and then drastically limited his involvement?

Admitedly if I did agree with what Joss was saying, I probably would say his views as author should at least count for something :) Joss's words in this interview just make no sense to me, so yes I do feel treating his word as the definative one is a mistake. Maybe if Joss clarified his views more, and went into what he felt goes into Spike's hatred of women. It was just a throw away statement, so I really cannot make sense of it at the moment.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: To follow up on my thoughts on the AR -- RJA, 14:02:12 07/16/03 Wed

I'm not altogether sure that Joss lack of involvment isnt being overstated here. What changed in season six is that he was no longer the show runner. What we're talking about here is being on set all day everday, approving the music, the editing, the way a scene looks, and every single aspect of every single scene. Because this is his level of involvment in the early days.

Thats a big jump from going from that to very little involvment other than checking what is going on from time to time.

The writers still maintain that in season six he was involved on every aspect of the story, and breaking it, and coming up with ideas.

He came up with the idea of Buffy being in heaven, Spuffy, the balcony scene, wrote many uncredited scenes (such as Hells Bells, Grave and others), and went over each outline with the writers before they wrote this. And this is what the writers at ME continue to back up.

I think its often said that Marti wrested control from Joss because people are not so happy with season 6 and 7, and so dont want to attribute the creative decisions to him. Yet most evidence suggests he was very much involved in a very real way. For instance, season 5 is very similar in tone to season 6, yet the two are rarely considered together.

Ultimately, Joss claims responsibility and big creative involvment with all seasons of Buffy (and his comments about favouring one class over another do not indicate that his creative involvment was less). Therefore we have to take what he says as indicating the thought processes that went into this. The real question is how far the audience has to listen and take account of that, which is dicussed elsewhere in this thread by people far more intelligent than me :-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> But DID Joss say Spike was a misogynist? -- curious, 14:36:42 07/16/03 Wed

That is what Joss is saying.

I'm not sure he did.The tiny little quote that has everyone so hot and bothered says:

And, her getting into a genuinely unhealthy relationship with Spike that was all about dominance, control, and deep misogyny. How lost did we get? Well, our villain turned out to be Willow.

It looks to me like he was saying that B/S was an exploration of an unhealthy relationship that contained elements of dominance, control and misogyny - on both sides. That Buffy's self hate was also a form of misogyny. And there really isn't enough to the quote to know exactly what he meant.

The quotes about S7 B/S as "romantic" and "beautiful" also change the interpretation of the first quote.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Valid points! Agree. Perhaps Joss was implying something else? -- s'kat, 15:15:18 07/16/03 Wed

Ms. Giles actually sort of pointed that out in response to my response to her post below...that perhaps this may refer to Buffy as well, then backed quickly off of it. I'm beginning to think she may have been on to something. (It just sounds sort of ironically ludicrous, yet isn't if you think it through). It certainly is more consistent with the other Joss statements:

S6 was about hating the power and trying to give it away, S7 is about appreciating it and sharing it. (one of the articles I posted a link to some time ago but can't remember, it was part of my Fatals essay) Which if you consider "power" is Whedon's metaphor for women power or feminism - could very well be S6 about hating being female and S7 about loving it?

Also the show is all about Buffy, not about Spike and Spike has often been characterized as Buffy's shadow self. Not to mention the observations of many fans that Spike took on some very feminine, albeit potentally negative feminine traits, in season 6 - so perhaps Buffy projected her own distaste on to him? This would fit with her comment in cwDP to Holden and Spike's statement to her in NLM - "you hated yourself last year and you put all that hate on to me".
So perhaps the misogynist in the picture isn't Spike but Buffy?? Buffy's hatred of herself and her feminine nature and all that implies? Interesting twist. And possible, because as I've stated elsewhere, even though it sounds like a contradiction in terms, it is possible for a woman to be a misogynist.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Quick agreement -- curious, 15:27:57 07/16/03 Wed

so perhaps Buffy projected her own distaste on to him?

I'll have to think about this some more - but I think that is what he was saying. I think there was a lot of interesting gender role bending with Spike. Spike was arguably the most nurturing character besides Tara. And, in many ways, the most "feminine". Lots of juicy stuff.

I really don't think JW was saying Spike was a misogynist. I think he was saying much more than that.

[> [> [> Re: Spike IS a misogynist! -- Q, 19:24:01 07/15/03 Tue

>>>For Joss to claim the relationship was all about Spike hating women, and wishing to dominate Buffy is just ludicrous to me. Althought it does support my theory that Joss was so wrapped up in Firefly that he paid little attention to Buffy episodes. I find myself wondering if he even watched some of them<<<

Well, some of us got this out of watching the show long before Joss said a word, so I think Joss knew exactly what was going on. Most people attacked my opinion like it just wasn't valid. I thought for sure that with statements like Joss' people would at least accept this opinion as a valid viewpoint, one to be considered. I mean, Authorial intent may not be EVERYTHING, but is it not SOMETHING? But I see now that I never even had a HOPE of having anybody consider it, if they'll even attack Joss himself about his views on the show. sigh.

[> [> [> [> Re: Spike IS a misogynist! -- Miss Edith, 16:08:45 07/16/03 Wed

Well I don't remember ever attacking your views of Spike being a misogynist. And I don't think I am attacking Joss, simply by saying I don't think he had enough involvement in season 6 to talk in depth about it. Not an attack, just my opinion that Marti is the more qualified person to judge season 6. (And actually season 6 has astonisingly grown on me a lot since I have purchased the DVDs and watched episodes in a marathon seassion, and checked out the special features. So saying it was mostly Marti's work isn't really the slam that some people seem to be taking it for. It's just the facts as I personally see them).

Anyway to get back on topic, if Joss had said something about an aspect of Spike's personality that I saw differently, I most likely wouldn't care all that much. I would just present my own opinion, and leave it as that. (I have never seen the author as the be all and end all anyway *shrug*) My problem with the characterisation of B/S as being about deep misogyny is this. Spike was guided by his heart for over a century with Drusilla, he proudly labels himself loves bitch to B/A in Lover's Walk. He calls Dru his princess, his black Goddess, claims she transformed his life, delivering him from mediocraty. His love for Buffy later transformed Spike. Sure the demon occasionally came to the fore, and showed a very unhealthy obession, and manipulative tactics (I am thinking mainly of after sex was being had). Still Spike's interaction with the scoobies over the summer, his friendship with Dawn, all started because of his feelings for Buffy.

To call Spike a hater of women to me is to reject the fundamental aspect of what Spike is all about. I post on fan forum in the Spike thread (under a different name). Not to generalise, but a lot of those posters are women. Many of them see Angel and Riley as chavanistic with Buffy. They generally see Spike as admiring Buffy's strength, and revelling in the power of a strong woman. There are many examples of Spike delighting in Buffy's power with him, and seeming to desire a relationship of equals. Buffy was not IMO a victim of Spike, she was a victim of an unhealthy relationship that it took two people to create. Indeed far from being the victim of the bad boyfriend, Buffy consistently tore Spike down. E.g in AYW ordering Spike to say he loves her. You see the hope shining on his face, Buffy was aware of that, and using Spike's love for her. Spike too attempted to use Buffy for his own purpose. He needed Buffy to be interested in order for him to physically express the love he felt, and hope it would someday be returned. In Smashed he is delighted at Buffy having come back wrong, he sees his opportunity for sex now he is, in his opinion, no longer beneath Buffy. Again in DT he attempts to use Buffy's depresion and confusion for his own ends. I can totally buy B/S being about dominance and control, it was horribly unhealthy. But the hatred was always on Buffy's side IMO (mainly directed towrds herself). Spike was about twisted love and obsession, not hatred of Buffy. I cannot call Buffy a victim if Spike being a bad bf, because of the active role she took in B/S (excluding the AR obviously).

Spike's worship of Dru, and later Buffy was what got interest in his character sky-rocketing, whilst some mourned for the loss of the season 2 baddy. For Joss to suddenly remark that Spike is a misygynist has caused quite a stir. I could have accepted Joss saying something like Spike had sexist notions of women. I probably would still be arguing, but using less words like ludicrous:) To me Joss has just attacked the very core of Spike's character, the reason why people became attached to him in the first place. It was after FFL that he became the most complex and interesting character to me. And a big part of that growth was his love for a woman. I really wish Joss would clarify what he meant when suddenly out of the blue stating that Spike hates the female gender. Particularly as he seems to be contradicting what he has said in past interviews. I feel he shouldn't have made such a controversial point, without expanding on what he actually meant.

[> [> Ahem.....Vampire here. Equal opportunity predator. N/T -- Deb, 22:46:44 07/16/03 Wed

[> I always thought B/S was more about *self*-hatred than anything. -- HonorH, 21:01:06 07/14/03 Mon

[> [> Two Little Things -- Yellow Bear, 23:26:24 07/14/03 Mon

Two things I noticed while going through this thread...

First, S'kat's post reminded me (as if I needed it) of the finer aspects of Spike's nature, chiefly his ability to transform himself completely (that pesky soul) for the sake of a woman. This is hardly the act of misogynist so how do we reconcile it with some of Spike's other actions? Simply, Spike is a character in constant conflict with himself. The facets of his character, the misogyny and the romanticism, are in battle with each other. These are just some of the wars going on inside the psyche of William the Bloody which is what makes him such a facinating character although it seems that some of his biggest fans want to smother this aspect of him.

Secondly, this concept of Whedon having to explain the narrative to us. I have never needed Whedon to explain the narrative to me but I enjoy hearing the process that went into creating it. Are we not to listen to the authors at all anymore? As I stated above, I loved the quote that started this all not because it explained the text to me but confirmed my reading of it. There is nothing quite as thrilling as being in sync with a storyteller.

In addition, I have rarely (if ever) found ME quotes to contradictary. As I stated above, these are complex shows so a brief little snipet in an interview will only give us one facet of the thought process that went into creating the storyline. A poster on this board recently stated that Espenson & Whedon gave contradictary motivations for the AR in Seeing Red, namely that Whedon stated it was about the lack of a soul & Espenson stated that it was a a result of the B/S relationship. I don't see this a contradictary but as two points along the same line in that Spike's lack of a soul leads to his inability to reconcile himself with the end of the B/S relationship. Again, we are getting a small peak at a larger canvas in these interviews so they are going to be unable to give us a complete look at all aspects of the process of creation.

[> [> [> Authorial intent -- Rahael, 02:56:13 07/15/03 Tue

It is quite unfashionable isn't it? I have to say that I pay quite a lot opinion to what the author says. I think it's an offshoot in my interest in the contexts of the work of art. For me, it simply adds to the richness to understand where the narrative is located. I don't really go in for universal narratives.

I grew up reading most of the classic works of English literature in a place far from its creation, temporally, culturally, geographically. I immediately understood that I could participate in the narrative, but also came up against the tensions of 'not belonging'. It's hard to feel that the narrative is universal when you come up against a sentence which describes women of your community as looking like animals, and what's more, as stupid, as unattractive as animals. That's an extreme opinion. But even some of my most loved authors can provide moments of difficulty for me as a reader.

This wasn't written for me in mind. This narrative not only doesn't include me, it was created in opposition to some of the things I hold dear. It defines itself against people like me.

So I think reader and author and narrative take part in quite a complex relationship, where it is not passive acceptance on the part of the reader, nor is it that my opinion (certain works, for instance, I don't value as important to me, neither do they speak to me) is better, more 'right' than the narrative.

But my own response, my very individual, contextualised, response is very valuable to me. It may not be valuable for any one else, but that doesn't decrease its resonance. If I can take a hostile text and make it work for me, so much better is my satisfaction.

And finally, I also say that art can transcend the particular local contexts in which the author resides. The power of the narrative is such that prejudices and unpleasantnesses and bitterness and all the little things that make our authors so human get transmuted into something beautiful. That is why I can read something by an author whose views I do not really agree with it all and still own it, still feel inspired. And the tensions inherent in the idea of author and reader's sometimes clashing interpretation, in my opinion, just makes being a reader even more fulfilling! There's so many layers.

(PS, I tend to pretty much pay attention to what the writer says, even when I really don't want to hear what they are saying. Because it's fascinating to see how they tried to convey their ideas, and why, perhaps, they may have not succeeded in the way they would have hoped)

[> [> [> [> Re: Authorial intent -- Yellow Bear, 12:49:53 07/15/03 Tue

Authorial intent is a tricky subject. I hope it's clear that I don't think we should just listen to what the author says and nod our head in Jasmine like agreement. However, the author can supply important context to his/her story.

My main point is that the author's opinion on these boards is becoming increasingly devalued, and it makes me uncomfortable. We are all entitled to our own opinion of the text but when we value any opinion, no matter how illogical or ill-informed, above the voice of the person who created the text then I think we are entering into a very dangerous territory where perhaps we should just abandon the text all together and start making up our own (which I would argue that some people are already doing).

Long form storytelling such as BTVS is a dangerous animal in that the audience does not get a completed text but merely stones to assemble the mossiac of the text. That some wish to take these stones and make their own mossiac is logical but when you start throwing stones away or smashing them into different forms in order to make that mossiac then you are doing a disservice to the creative enterprise. And I do think we as the audience owe the creative team some amount of respect. For seven years, ME has only sought to entertain us (and it would seem that most people on this board think that they succeded) at the very reasonable cost of an hour of our lives every other week so attempting to understand their story, and not our fantasy of their story, seems like a fair exchange.

[> [> [> [> [> Wow... best post I have read in a long time! With you on everything! -- Q, 14:42:38 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Authorial intent -- Darby, 17:20:00 07/15/03 Tue

One can't forget the medium here - what Joss says about the Buffy-Spike relationship could be what he intended and made sure to get out there (as he did in the early seasons), or what he intended but didn't make clear to the rest of the staff who put their own interpretation / spin on it, or what he understood the staff intended to flesh out the seasonal arc with, or how he retcons what actually wound up on screen with his original intent. All filtered through an ego that has no intention of admitting when they've failed at storytelling.

It's useful to know what they meant, but there are myriad reasons to still cast doubt on that as the be-all and end-all of intent.

And that doesn't really even touch on the other issue of execution.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Agree with this. Well said. -- curious, 13:58:11 07/16/03 Wed

[> Re: Joss interview on Buffy season 6 in Cinefantastique (CFQ) magazine -- Rufus, 01:40:12 07/15/03 Tue

Everything isn't bigger then life; its actual size.

At the same time there is a darker side of power and Buffy's guilt about her power and her feeling about coming back to the world. And, her getting into a genuinely unhealthy relationship with Spike that was all about dominance, control, and deep misogyny.

How lost did we get? Well, our villain turned out to be Willow."

Interesting few comments that Joss Whedon made and I agree with him. Season six was all about growing up and how our perception of the world goes from bigger then life; its actual size. I loved season six because the barrier between reality and wishful thinking was shattered a few times. With Willow it was about the power she thought she was in control of only to find out the opposite was true. She became a villian because of her inability to get past her own inner insecurities and selfish wants. In the Buffyverse you may get what appears to be something for free only to find that the balance due is staggering.

With Buffy we have the relationship with Spike that if she hadn't died and been taken from heaven would never have happened. Buffy would have always been firm with her inability to trust that Spike could be trusted without the chip. Being dragged from heaven by her friends left Buffy afraid of what she was and resentful of her friends. It also made her act upon her deeper desires while hoping that the man who could count the days she was dead with such grief was the only Spike that existed. Now how Spike acted does smack of misogyny. Without a soul, Spike couldn't feel much past what he wanted and what it would take to get it. As touching he could act and speak, he still did try every trick in the book to get what he wanted. He thought that without a soul that he may not have been good but he was okay. His actions prove that though his initial intentions were good he didn't have the emotional maturity to consider Buffys feelings. He was stricken with want and tried to possess Buffy using what it took to get what he wanted. The ultimate result was the attempted rape in Seeing Red. Spike may never have intended to rape Buffy but without a soul it was easier to use the shortest route to get what he wanted using misogyny fuelled force. Spike may not have felt he hated women but the bottom line was that even the Bloody Awful Poet was capable of giving into the type of thinking that is based in fear and hate.

Then there is growing up. Spike without a soul could only get so far before his moral compass came up against his desire to possess and dominate. Something else happened in Seeing Red....Spike tried to rape Buffy but he also reacted to that impulse to rape with a revulsion that just months ago he could never have felt or considered. Doug Petrie said that in The Initiative they "Clockwork Orange'd" Spike and that chip was the catalyst that allowed Spike to move from being proud of being a killer of Slayers to loving one. But without a soul love just wasn't enough to cure everything that is lacking in the soulless, but it did start Spike on the road to being able to work past the misogynist impulse to seek a soul so he could change that. What he did for Buffy for selfish reasons or not was the start of his redemption in Chosen.

[> Spike and Billy (AtS) -- MsGiles, 06:37:19 07/15/03 Tue

Having just seen 'Billy' (AtS3), the mention of misogyny is interesting. 'Billy' being all about misogyny, and not as subtext. I know it's not a Joss episode (I just checked), and I don't know how much Joss had to do with S3 (given that Buffy S7 would have been in production) but I know he had been involved with gender issues at college, and if he used 'misogyny' of S6, and B/S, then he would have been aware of what he was saying.

Spike is not Billy, though. Billy the character encapsulates an extreme misogynistic outlook, and communicates it to other men via touch and body fluids
Billy: "I don't hate women. I mean, sure, you're all whores who sell yourselves for money and prestige, but men are just as bad. Maybe even worse. They're willing to throw away careers or families, or even lives for what's under your skirt!"
Under the influence of Billy, men start attacking female co-workers and friends. It's implied that the billy effect works on suppressed resentments; rather than changing the men's thinking, it removes inhibition and increases anger and the tendency to physical violence. The junior lawyer Gavin, normally dismissed by Lilah, attacks her verbally: "You *think?* Who told you, you could *think?* You know, why don't you try *listening* once in a while instead of constantly flapping that fat mouth of yours?" before beating her up. The police officer helping escort Billy turns on his female colleague, accusing her again of not listening, prior to attacking her. And worst of all, Wesley, who has been confessing an attraction to Fred, finds his frustration and repressed affection turning into a murderous rage:
Wes stalking closer to her: "You think you can taunt a man and get away with it? You brush up close, bat your eyes - and then when our backs are turned, you *laugh* at us."
Fred: "No, I would never..."
Wes: "Humiliate us. You think you can do anything you please because you're connected to life, because you bleed, is that it?"

Wes pursues Fred intending to rape and/or kill her. Although she eventually succeeds in knocking him out, when he recovers he is tormented by the knowledge that at least some of the motivation for the attack did come from his own feelings for her.
The episode implies that male violence against women is fuelled by a sense of inferiority: not being listened to, not being taken seriously, being laughed at. Unable to dominate verbally, unable to feel secure in their relationships with women, the men define women as the enemy, and thereby, in their own minds, legitimise the use of physical violence against them.

It may be that Spike's behaviour in SR was intended to be based on this interpretation. Unable to understand her rejection of him, put down by it, he resorts to violence (as he originally threatened, and held back from, in FFL). I thought LeeAnn's comment Spike has always existed in the tension between the negative way he was written and the sympathetic/funny/cool way JM plays him. very perceptive here, and I thnk this is one of the things that makes Spike's role in SR so emotive, and so ambivalent.

It might be possible to trace some misogynistic traits in Spike's behaviour (over and above his general soul-less disregard for human life and happiness, that is) When he thinks he's freed from his chip, his first victim is the most helpless woman he can find, and he works himself up to the bite by scaring her silly. When he has to find a date for the wedding in HB he finds a goth girl who he exploits in the most heartless manner. And then there's Harmony. I agree his relationship with Harmony is a very cruel and exploitative one - unlike Buffy, she is his physical and mental inferior, and he never does more than use her. But then this is S5, and he still has a lot of moving forward to do.

And then again. Angel doesn't succumb to the billy effect, as he tells Cordy:
Cordy: "So why didn't Billy's touch affect you?"
Angel: "Well, maybe because - I'm not human."
Cordy chuckles: "Oh, right. And a *vampire* could never be turned into a monster."
Angel: "Well, that thing that Billy brought out in others? - The hatred and anger...that's something I lost a long time ago."
Cordy: "Even when you were evil?"
Angel: "I never hated my victims, I never killed out of anger, it was always about the - pain and the pleasure."
Cordy: "Huh. - So I guess you could say that your demoness makes less petty than humans. Almost noble - I mean, in a twisted, dark and *really* disturbing kind of way."

and if that goes for Angel, does it go for all vampires, Spike included?

[> [> Re: Spike and Billy (AtS) -- Liam, 06:45:32 07/15/03 Tue

The exchange between Angel and Cordy reminds me of the black comedian's joke about a racist cop who never hit a black man in anger; it was pure pleasure for him.

[> [> Very nice post -- Rahael, 06:59:15 07/15/03 Tue

And illustrates that no character ever really stays in one state, but grows and learns and moves on.

And Harmony is a very good point - I hadn't remembered that.

Also would like to make the point that putting certain women on a pedestal doesn't mean you love all women. It means you define other women against them, often detrimentally. It means that you can put Dawn and Joyce and occasionally Buffy on it, and then, when one of them falls off, they may become nothing better, belonging in the dirt and the gutter with him.

Billy is an interesting parallel. Tim Minear tells us that it is Joss who brought the phrase 'primordial misogyny' to that episode. Which certainly means that Joss and I have quite different ideas about misogyny! So I don't know where that really leaves me with Spike and Misogyny, apart from to say, that I wouldn't say that just because someone, has on several occasions, exhibited certain attitudes, - it doesn't mean they can't change, nor that it is the be all and end all. Human beings (man/womanpires) are complex.

On a personal example, my father grew up in a very traditional setting, in a village, where his father was very much the patriarch, not only of the family, but the whole village. Just because he's up with all the feminist theories and what not doesn't mean he can't occasionally exhibit a chauvinistic streak. Part of him is most comfortable with women who conform to expectations and don't really challenge him, and who are conventional, in appearance and behaviour. On the other hand he married my mother; and nowadays, he keeps dating women he *should* like (traditional), and yet he says, with sadness, that he finds them dull after being with my mother.

Before I totally blacken his reputation, I should say that in the time he has been our sole caregiver, he has cooked every meal for us, made us our lunches to take to school, cleans, and then sat down and helped me with my school work.

(so, some element of chauvinism can still co-exist with more enlightened attitudes).

[> [> Spike's Behavior -- Rina, 08:04:46 07/15/03 Tue

It's interesting that so many try to point out that Spike's AR of Buffy in "SR" spawned from some misogynist traits he may possess. And yet, no one wants to acknowledge that his attack may have also been partly spawned by Buffy's own behavior toward him in Season 6.

[> [> [> That has been acknowledged several times, but without the implication that she was asking for it. -- O'Cailleagh, 08:28:45 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> Quite right. I fail to see how one excuses the other in any degree -- Random, 13:14:30 07/16/03 Wed

[> [> My Difficulty with this use of the term misogyny -- s'kat, 09:10:57 07/15/03 Tue

I think my difficulty here is with how people are using the term misogyny, they are defining it a bit too broadly, just as some define feminism. I've been having this difficulty with a great deal of Whedon's interviews, to the extent that I'm beginning to think he is better at writing fiction where his subconscious takes over, as opposed to giving interviews and interpreting his work. The difficulty is with the short-hand generalities he uses to describe it.

Whedon reminds me a lot in this instance of some male women studies majors I knew in college, (they used to drive me up the wall - you think women can be obnoxious feminists? try a guy, sometime) who have decided for reasons that make little or no sense that all men are chavinists and all men are misogynist at times - sort of a defense against being a man and a feminist, I suppose. Or perhaps their guilt at being a man. Akin to what an African American friend of mine calls - "white liberal guilt."

I would caution against defining misogyny so broadly. Misogyny means hatred of women. Acts committed because you hate women, the person does not matter - you are acting against the woman, she could be a nondescript person on the street - or a transvestite, as long as it walks, talks and acts like a woman - you will hurt it. Spike - I really never saw this way, he does not appear to act towards women out of hatred, any more than Angel does, or Wood, or Xander or Wesely. His acts against Harmony - seemed to me to have more to do with how incredibly annoying she was than that she was a woman, his date at the wedding - he was not overly cruel to and had to with his feelings and frustration with Buffy, not women, his sex with Anya had nothing to do with hate or women just with the desire for solace, and dealing demon eggs - nope nothing to do with women, and the biting woman on the street? I got the feeling he would have gone after the first treat he saw and he had to talk himself into it. And the AR scene? A) I never got the intent to rape or hurt Buffy, he seemed out of control, and B) It was about Buffy not women, he never said anything that suggested otherwise. IF he'd been in love with xander - he'd have done the same thing. Again, Xander, Wood, Angel and Wes I'd like to point out have done some horrible things which could also be defined as misogynistic but are really more to do with the person.

Xander - the Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered spell - had to do with Cordelia, his
attitude towards Buffy at different points in S1, S2, S3 - had to do with Buffy.
How he treated Anya as beneath him, his leaving of Anya - all to do with Anya and his frustration with himself.
How he treats Cordelia. (You could argue these are misogynistic acts - they aren't, of course, they are human acts.)

The character in Taming of the Shrew - Kate, continuously screams she hates men - yet she is hardly a misanthropoist.
She is just frustrated with the men around her, her father,
her suitors who seem to prefer her sister.

Andrew - my god the horrible acts this guy does, yet I wouldn't call him misogynistic. More guillible, follow the leader. Yet his attitude towards KAtrina and Buffy and Willow in S6 - seems to be, it's not it's all about Warren
for Andrew.

Wood - patronizing, very manipulative, often belittling,
pushing women to build himself up -- none of this is misogynistic - it's about Nikki and his fears regarding his loss of her.

Angelus - patronizing, belittling, rapist, cruel

I'm sorry, I think people are using the term misogynist way too broadly. As short-hand to describe violent acts as opposed to doing the work to understand why they are done that they come from the characters own history and difficulties and aren't so easily described. Doing so belittles the story, the viewer, and the characters, not to mention the acts in my opinion. Spike's attempted rape of Buffy did not come from hatred of women or misogyny any more than Wes' chaining of Justin in his closet did or Angelus' rape of the gypsey girl and rape of Dru or Angel's decision to roughly have sex with Darla. Those acts had to do with the individual person, they had to do with the situation. To say they are misogynistic acts, removes us and the writer from the responsibility of understanding them
and growing from them and learning not to do it again. It takes away the need to understand why. It's a bit like saying - he's a serial killer - that's why he killed. OR you are just insane.

Misogyny isn't about a person or situation. IT is about well hatred in general. IT means hatred of women. It has nothing to do with the person, it is an act against her gender. Sort of like racism - which is an act against the race. The Holocaust for instance had nothing to do with individuals - it was a horrendous act of hatred against people based on religion, race, sexual identity. (Jews, Gypsies, and Homosexuals). Same with slavery in US - act against a race.

Billy - yes that is misogyny and how the characters acted in that episode equaled misogyny - Wes went after Fred, not because she was Fred but because she was a woman. It wasn't personal it was because of her gender. The fact Fred was Fred - was why Wes hated himself during it. But he would have gone after any woman under Billy's influence.

Caleb - he went after women because he hated women, he didn't see them as individuals. He hated them just because they were women. Warren was a watered down version of this.

Willow in S6 went after individuals not all men in general.
But Anyanka was a misanthropist or whatever hatred of men is - she went specifically after all men in general. She hated men. That was her calling to hurt men. They make a point of that. They never make that point with Spike and it wouldn't have been hard to make it - if they wanted to, they do it with Anya, they do it with Warren, they do it with Caleb.

So I think if you say Spike's acts were misogynistic?
Then you end up saying Xander's, Angel's, Wes's, Wood's were too. Just as you say Willow's and Buffy's were misanthropic. And to put such a broad lable on something belittles and trivalizes the individual acts in my opinion.
Almost excuses them through the generalization.

I am beginning to hate generalizations. I dislike the human tendency to categorize things, throwing them in boxes and lable them like fruit. Saying okay if I can give that a name and file it, I can control it - a la the Initiative. Instead of doing the work and figuring out the context. Some things can't be easily filed away or labeled and shouldn't be. Each act is separate and based on the context and situation. Labeling and filing it under some generalized category in my opinion at least is well...a bit easy, a cop-out, a way of not dealing with the act itself. Oh he did that to me because he hates women. No, he did that to me b/c we entered an mutually abusive sexual relationship where I gave him mixed signals and he was a soulless vampire who doesn't get certain concepts and has issues. Some based on things I don't know about. This isn't my fault - his issues are based on what he is, but at the same time getting involved in an abusive relationship with a vampire was probably a bad idea. Just as stating that Angelus' actions to Buffy in S2 aren't the result of misogyny or hatred of humanity, but Angelus' issues which have more to do with Buffy herself. To put it under the broad lable of misogyny
is in a way sluffing it off, just as saying oh, he did this because he was a vampire. No, he did it based on what happened - not all vampires fall in love with slayers and want to possess them, most run away when given the opportunity or just fight to the death.

I think we do ourselves and others a huge disservice when we rely too heavily on broad lables and categories to explain violent or non-violent actions. Also, I'd like to add that by throwing all acts that appear misogynistic or racist on surface in these categories, we trivalize the ones that actually were misogynistic or racist. I think it is important to keep the distinction between acts against a whole race of people such as the Holocaust and acts against an individual who just happens to be Jewish, but would have been mugged regardless. Or acts against a whole gender such as some of the early laws regarding women as property and acts against an individual who just happens to be a woman but would have been attacked because she's Buffy and they had relationship. The distinction is too important to cast aside so haphazardly in my opinion.

Oh this isn't saying that you said this or meant any of this, Ms. Giles, I only responded here - b/c I liked your post and felt it was as good a place as any. So please do not take any of this as a "direct" response to your thoughts - so much as a response to the idea that Spike's acts should be described in this manner.


[> [> [> I wasn't sure myself about Spike -- MsGiles, 04:50:31 07/16/03 Wed

Sexist maybe, in a fairly conventional sort of way (putter on pedestal of some women, dismisser of others variety), but I admit I don't see systematic misogyny. Trying to think why Joss would have said it though, that was about as much as I could turn up.

I was wondering if a case could be made for Buffy being the misogynistic one, given the gender-reversing themes Buffy's strength and dominance gets us into. Buffy's perhaps more something..ist (monsterist?) in her treatment of Spike, constantly trying to depersonalise him, identify him as an generic evil soul-less monster so she can dismiss him. Beating him up to try and get rid of her mixed feelings. Because he represents the monster in her, more than because of who he is. Complicated because Buff's job is to be a monsterist, but if she starts enjoying Slaying too much, she loses something, some humanity. Like Faith, slaying with extra viciousness when she's feeling down.

[> [> [> [> PS, not really suggesting that last bit -- MsGiles, 06:39:56 07/16/03 Wed

at all seriously as Joss's intention, just following a train of thought. I take all your points BTW.

Reading over posts, the theory that Joss mind went 'act of violence against a woman =misogyny' seems possible to me, also not discounting fresne's subversive thoughts on spin..

None of the characters on BtVS personify misogyny in the way Billy does, although there are plenty of bits of chauvinism/sexism (from early Cordelia among others)

[> [> [> JW and his definitions of feminism and misogyny -- curious, 12:26:39 07/16/03 Wed

As usual, I agree with you s'kat - and share your irritation with those college male ultra-feminists or rather well intentioned but ultimately patronizing guys who thought they understood feminism in college. I think JW has very different definitions of feminism and misogyny than I do - and some of his "radical feminism" is colored by a certain amount of male guilt. I always snort when I hear that he claims to be a "radical feminist" - a mainstream, bourgeois feminist -sure - but RADICAL?

I was, am and always will be a feminist - but what that means to me has changed quite a bit over the years. It has gotten deeper and more nuanced than it was in the days when I religiously marched in "Take Back the Night" events. In the meantime, I had real world work experiences, had kids, read more widely, etc. - and feminist theory has changed and gotten more sophisticated than it was in the '70's and '80's. I look back at some of those arguments I had in college and see them as thinly veiled "Girls are better than boys." arguments. For me, women don't want or need special protection and they don't need to be placed on a pedestal of moral virtue. People should be treated as individuals - regardless of their gender. Some versions of "feminism" that make generalizations about the experiences of all women are just as sexist as the patriarchal views they claim to be fighting. But that's another essay.

I was thinking about the girl/boy socialization thing while I was trapped in the car with my nine year old daughter and her same age male buddy on the way to an incredibly cheesy tourist trap town. Her friend's mother is my best friend and these kids were both raised by strong feminist homes that try to be gender neutral and respectful of men and women. These kids have been best friends - literally since birth. We gave our boys dolls and our daughters trucks. We tried. We really did all those things that our Women Studies classes said would make our children act differently than the kids we grew up with. And they did to a certain extent - but our boys crashed the dolls and the girls nurtured and talked to the trucks. Alright - it wasn't that black and white as that. We both have great kids who are respectful of each other but it was shocking for us to find that some of this stuff was hard wired.

The thing that struck me yesterday was - that both of these kids have somehow internalized that it in not OK for boys to hit girls. I'm not sure where that came from - explicitly. (Of course we all try to teach our kids that it is not OK to hit anybody but I am exploring this particular hitting taboo.) It came up when the two kids were sitting together on a boat trip and we came to a part of the river called "Lover's Lane" and you were supposed to kiss or hug the person you were sitting next to. Well, these kids are NINE and were horrified so they moved as far apart as they could and spent the rest of the trip poking and thwacking each other - and then forgetting themselves and holding hands like they always have since they were toddlers.

Then the boy said "You can smack me as much as you want as long as it isn't with your lips." On the one hand, I thought that was incredibly sweet, clever and funny. This kid is very kind, gentle and considerate - but more than a little squirrelly. But later it made me stop and think. In the context of what the kids were doing - he was saying - "I know it's not OK for me to hit you because boys don't hit girls - but I don't mind if you hit me because it is fun and it doesn't hurt me." The kissing part goes without saying - nine year olds think kissing is gross.

Then I thought about my sweet brother and a lot of men I know who were socialized the same way - that it is never OK to hit or hurt a woman and any man who would is very, very bad - even if they are defending themselves against a strong woman with a frying pan or a baseball bat. I remember arguing that this attitude could be considered sexist because it is a generalization and it assumes that no woman can take care of herself physically - but I think I failed to realize how deeply entrenched and visceral this feeling is in many men and some women. It helps me see how some people hate Spike - and why I find that, to a certain extent, Spike's violence toward Buffy (and Dru for that matter) is VERY specific and is, in a way, a sign of respect - that she is his equal. His violence toward other women can be considered misogynistic but - I agree with s'kat - you would have to apply that label to almost all the men in the show too.

I am also rethinking that the quote may have been taken out of context, had a different emphasis than intended, etc. - especially in light of the S7 quote.

Hope that makes sense.

[> [> [> [> Modification -- curious, 14:20:00 07/16/03 Wed

I've decided that I don't really know what JW meant by the use of the word misogyny and am somewhat confused about how he views feminism, patriarchy and sexism - so I take back I think JW has very different definitions of feminism and misogyny than I do because I am not sure what he meant or how he defines feminism.

But the rambly stuff about men having strong, deeply ingrained feelings about hitting women - that stuff I feel is important in helping me understand some people's reaction to Spike.

In re-reading the quote that generated this post - I'm not sure that JW was simply calling Spike a misogynist. I think he was saying that B/S was about exploring dominance, control and misogyny - in general. That they both had those issues. So did Willow.

ahh. Now I feel better about S6 again.

[> [> [> [> [> Agreed. On all points. -- s'kat, 15:04:00 07/16/03 Wed

In re-reading the quote that generated this post - I'm not sure that JW was simply calling Spike a misogynist. I think he was saying that B/S was about exploring dominance, control and misogyny - in general. That they both had those issues. So did Willow.

ahh. Now I feel better about S6 again.

Felt the same way, especially after reading S7 quote.
I honestly think some of us misinterpreted the quote. I admit misogyny is a hot button for me, due to the continued misuse of the word by some fans. Hence my reasons for the posts.

I also still remain foggy on Joss and feminism. But hey, I don't have to understand the man, to appreciate his creative out-put. ;-)

[> [> [> Re: My Difficulty with this use of the term misogyny -- Malandanza, 19:02:07 07/16/03 Wed

"I would caution against defining misogyny so broadly. Misogyny means hatred of women. Acts committed because you hate women, the person does not matter - you are acting against the woman, she could be a nondescript person on the street - or a transvestite, as long as it walks, talks and acts like a woman - you will hurt it."

I think you've defined misogyny too narrowly. My dictionary says "Hatred of women, especially by a man" and that's it. It doesn't say hatred of all women, children, nuns, and grandmothers included nor does it mention "acts
committed because you hate women". It would be perfectly consistent with the dictionary definition for a person who did hate women, but never acted on the hatred, to be defined as a misogynist. Billy would fail the misogyny test by your standards as he never committed acts against women -- he just enjoyed watching others commit the acts.

Neither does the dictionary require that misogyny be the exclusive or overriding personality trait. Certainly I've seen examples of people (both real and on screen) where people are both misogynistic and racist. A person can be a misogynist and still have hobbies -- he need not eat, drink, and sleep misogyny. It's even possible that misogyny isn't the dominant trait. The misogynist might even have a few positive traits.

Your transvestite example would also exclude Caleb as a candidate for misogyny -- after all, the First only appeared to him as women, usually Buffy. Caleb deferred to the First's judgment, he chatted amiably with her (she was the closest thing he had to a friend), he played his disturbing games with her, he did her bidding. And yet I'm comfortable saying Caleb is a misogynist simply because he kills women for pleasure and gets a sort of sexual charge from remembering his past kills.

And so, too, for pre-soul Spike. He defined himself by his ability to murder powerful women (women, I might add, who symbolize female empowerment in the Buffyverse) and he gets a sexual thrill from remembering his kills. Yeah, he can talk a good game when he's pretending to be Heathcliff, but in his candid moments he sounds more like Caleb or Warren.

Finally, I'd point out that while dictionaries are helpful, the real meaning of words, their connotations, are found in their use. Just as an example, consider the following sentences:

I met a beautiful woman last night in a bar.
My three year old niece is a beautiful child.
I watched a beautiful sunset the other day.
Mother Theresa was a beautiful person.

Now, you can look up beautiful and find it means "pleasing to the senses, especially sight", but these four uses of beautiful each have slightly different meanings. Google misogyny and definition and see how many different meanings of the word you come up with -- and I'm pretty certain you won't find very many definitions of misogyny as narrowly defined as you've defined it.

[> Words and why -- fresne, 07:31:04 07/15/03 Tue

Actually, what I find interesting is that Joss would make this comment now.

We have the Casting Spoiler that everyone in the World knows and has turned into a cast recording with T-shirt. There is AtS, which was on the bubble last year despite a tour de force of a whirling season. There is the undoubted effort to seduce those fans who watched BtVS, but never really got into AtS.

So, you're bubbling and you're seducing and you've got this carrot with which to carry out your seducing. What a very interesting thing to say under the circumstances.

After all at this point S6 is so yesterday. AtS S5 is tomorrow. Heck, it's next minute and it's the only child left in the house.

I'd be curious to hear Joss tease that statement out into a nice ten page essay or so. Well, you know how we are here. I need to hear him articulate the meaning of each word, for him. The slice and dice of it. Words, as we sometimes play here, mean different things to different people. For all the a potato is a potato and a tomato is a tomato. Each carrying past associations, flavors, context, definition.

Anyway, I'd be interested to know Joss' thinking behind making that statement now, there, why. He deals in precision of words. What is he trying to do, not just in context of S6, but here and now? The next minute.

[> [> I like how you put that. We await the next episode of 'Joss'. -- WickedBuffy, 08:21:59 07/15/03 Tue

[> [> I think -- lunasea, 09:48:48 07/15/03 Tue

He seems to be making various "and this is what season 6 was" and "this was what season 7 was" in relation to a certain relationship lately. I think they ran into the same problem with WKCS that they did with Cordy. Only so many characters on a show. If you need one for the lead to develop a romantic relationship with, you tend to choose from that list. There is already a relationship to build on there. Doesn't matter if that new relationship pretty much steps all over the past. Past is past. Let's move on.

Joss needs two sides of his mouth to talk out of for that relationship. S6 was unhealthy and all the other negative words. S7 was healthy and all the other positive words. Both need to be understood in order to get ready for WKCS's appearance. You can't just look at season 7 and say "I told you it was a good thing." It wasn't. You can't just look at season 6 and hold tight to the idea that it was a bad thing.

Both seasons have to examined separately. The soul is THAT important in the Buffyverse. That is why we heard about it over and over and over again. ME wanted us to forget that this was the character that he was season 2-6. They needed us to. Not sure they did such a good job with that, but they didn't have much of a choice. Xander was needed for the story with Anya. Andrew didn't have a real history with Buffy and Giles would be just creepy.

That's just how I see it.

[> [> good point, not sure about all this seducing with carrots tho' ;-] -- MsGiles, 06:21:32 07/16/03 Wed

[> A brief note about ME -- Diana (because we could all use a little less Lunasea), 09:06:56 07/15/03 Tue

This past week taught me something about myself. I love the story that Joss has been telling for the past 7 years, both on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and on Angel. One universe and really one story. That may come as no surprise to anyone here, seeing as for the past 6 months I have written extensively about it, but I don't mean that I enjoy the show or even think about it. I mean love, truly love.

Joss has said that the story is god. In many ways, his story have become my god. It has managed to touch me in places that I needed to have touched. I love it and I tend to be protective of it. Not the characters, the STORY. I am only protective of the image of the characters as is required to tell the story.

I will admit that I think that a lot of the perceptions and comments about certain characters are built more on what sort of character people want to see than the needs of the narrative. The story is often denigrated because certain characters have to do certain actions for the good of the story and people don't like this. Thing is, the characters serve the story. The story doesn't serve the characters. The STORY is god, not the characters.

Then there are the writers, especially the creator of the story, my prophet with his lesser prophets. The story is told through their words (and the images created by the director and actors). If all you are interested in is your own perception, if your perception is God and the words of no one else matters, then why read interviews and post on a message board? Why let what the writers or other people say upset you?

I know why I come here. I like seeing layers of the show that I missed. I'll admit that on first viewing I completely missed the lesbian subtext of "Bad Girls." Learning about this layer makes the show even better. I share my layers in the hope that someone may show me another layer that I may have missed or my layer may trigger discussion of another.

I know why I read interviews. I like seeing what the writers are trying to do. About 99.9% of the time, I completely agree with what they say. I would say they are doing a good job of conveying their story, if I see what they intend for me to. Every once and a while, most recently why Spike went to Africa, I see something different. I can either hold tight to my perception or I can adjust to what the writer said (especially if that writer is Joss).

As I'm sure people here know, I am not one to give up my opinions lightly. I tend to be very opinionated and can strongly defend those opinions. However, when it comes to this story, I have no problem dropping my opinion for Joss'. The reason: what comes after is built on HIS opinion, NOT mine. I am not so self-centered to think that my perception is always right. It is colored by me and I'm not Joss. If I hold tight to my own opinion, what follows often makes little, if any sense. At the very least, it won't be interpreted in the context of the story. The story I am now seeing differs from the story Joss is telling. I see interviews as a way to correct this, so that I am on the same page as Joss. If it isn't important, chances are he doesn't speak about it. If my interpretation fits in with what he says, then it is fine.

It is like fan fiction. There is plenty of room in his universe to write stories that don't step on canon, on the story. We have all been Jossed before, but at the time of the story, we fit into the story that Joss is telling. If I held tight to what I wrote, what I wanted, what he writes makes no sense. In a lot of ways, our interpretations are like this. They are snowballs. We think we see one thing, something the writer may not have intended. Then they write the character doing something built on what THEY intended, not what we saw. We still hold fast to what saw, so that messes with how we see the new action and so on and so on, until what we see is vastly different from the story the writers are trying to tell.

It really depends on what you want to get out of it. I love the story that Joss has been telling. I want to know that story. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and go with what he says is that story. It is an imperfect medium and often does need a few tweaks here and there. You'll have to pardon me if I tend to get a bit overzealous defending that story.

I really love it.

[> [> Re: A brief note about ME -- Rina, 11:53:07 07/15/03 Tue

"Then there are the writers, especially the creator of the story, my prophet with his lesser prophets. The story is told through their words (and the images created by the director and actors). If all you are interested in is your own perception, if your perception is God and the words of no one else matters, then why read interviews and post on a message board? Why let what the writers or other people say upset you?"

I understand what you're saying. But if what the writer is saying something about the story that simply doesn't mesh with what you feel, why bother to blindly accept the writer's view of what it was about? Yes, I have no problem with reading the writer or creator's viewpoint of the story and what he or she is trying to say. I say read it, think about it and if you finally agree, fine. If you still find it hard to agree with the writer, then don't. There is no law that you have to do one thing or the other.

[> [> Re: A brief note about ME -- sdev, 14:22:58 07/15/03 Tue

The story JW is telling is on the screen not in the interview. The interview is like what we are doing here. Obviously you can weight it differently because it is coming from the author but it doesn't replace the actual work. On the author's description of his work-- you can analyze it, agree or disagree, you can find it illuminating or crap, you can feel it is retconning, you can even find it has its own subtext. But it is not canon. You read it, or not, because it may or may not add something to your experience and understanding, as you said.

The same artist that is brilliant in his art is not necessarily brilliant in didactic or analytic ability. Sometimes artist fall flat on their faces in that medium. It is not disrespecting them to feel that way. You respect them by commending their work not their opinions about their work. My guess is most if not all artists would prefer you to value their work not their words on their work.

[> [> [> The story Joss is telling is in his heart -- Diana (of the clubbed una seals), 15:53:54 07/15/03 Tue

It may come across on the screen, or it may not for various reasons. Both the interviews and what we see on TV (and in the comics and eventually in the movies) is all from the same source. THAT source contains the story I am interested in.

It doesn't replace the work, but since it and the work comes from the same source, figuring out how them mesh tells the story that I am looking at.

If what the author says isn't canon, than nothing beyond "Buffy said X" is canon.

[> [> [> Re: A brief note about ME -- sdev, 09:10:54 07/16/03 Wed

Having expressed a cynical view about spin, I also wanted to mention a kinder view. The artist's relationship to his work and characters can be like that of a parent to a child--overprotective and reluctant to let go. Some writers and artists never let go. Like a parent, a writer may sometimes feel the need to keep fixing things. A repeated need to comment and point out what the viewer is supposed to see after the fact may be indicative of that. And though a parent tries to shape a child, in the end it has it's own life

[> [> [> [> The thing about children -- lunasea, 11:04:43 07/16/03 Wed

I almost used the analogy myself. One thing to add, a child is a living sentient being. I tell people that my children don't belong to me; I am just borrowing them until they can take full possession of themselves. A work of art isn't just our child. It is us. When we see it denigrated or misunderstood, that goes to a very deep place inside of us. We aren't protecting our child, so much as ourself and our need to be understood.

Joss is very brave for putting himself out there like that. When people say things that to him are completely against what he is trying to say, I don't blame him for getting upset. Heck, I admitted that I get upset when people say things that to me are completely against what he is trying to say, and I'm not him.

I think lately, he is just trying to set up WKCS better. All this crap because of one misunderstood dream. It snowballed from there and this sucker is so big that it can even survive the firey heat of hell. I don't blame him for wanting to take a blow torch to it every chance he gets.

If anything, I feel bad for him that he has to do this.

[> Sat on my hands long enough -- Diana (who has had enough of this lunasea), 13:57:08 07/16/03 Wed

Mysogynist. Interesting word choice. Now is the part where the people that didn't like Spuffy say "I told you so," and the people that did say "Joss doesn't know what he is talking about." That is simplifying things a bit, but then again that is EXACTLY what this thread is doing, taking a SINGLE word out of context.

Joss is a master wordsmith. He can convey in a single line, what it takes me an entire conversation (or if I am lucky, a paragraph) to do. There is a flow to his scripts that is amazing. Even in interviews he undercuts what he is saying. Perhaps it is this sense of humor that is strange and off-putting for some. It is one thing for a TV character to talk that way, but for a flesh and blood writer to do so may be hard for some to take.

What does Joss say? "At the same time there is a darker side of power and Buffy's guilt about her power and her feeling about coming back to the world. And, her getting into a genuinely unhealthy relationship with Spike that was all about dominance, control, and deep misogyny. How lost did we get? Well, our villain turned out to be Willow."

What is Joss trying to say? His intent was to use her relationship with Spike to show something specific. I think Marti nailed it in "Wrecked." She is almost as good at Joss at saying something with just one line. Then something happened. Buffy was "Gone." She just wasn't there any more and they didn't know what to do.

What an incredibly dark place to take Buffy to. How to do this without going all "9 1/2 weeks"? I think they would have done better to do something that would have invoked that classic movie about "dominance, control, and deep misogyny." As Joss admits, "How lost did we get?" They lost Buffy and they lost the story.

A similar thing happened season 4. These two seasons tend to be rated at or near the bottom in rankings. Some make a lot of allowances for season 6 because of the theme and rank it higher. I think season 6 was their most ambitious season and tend to make allowances because of this. Marti's job is to make sure that Joss' head doesn't explode. Who makes sure hers doesn't?

Was Spike a mysogynist? That question completely misses the point. This debate completely misses the point. So does the whole authorial intent v supremecy of the audience. That isn't what Joss is saying. He agrees that what he intended didn't come across clearly on the screen. He admits that they got lost.

So the debate should be about how season 6 got lost. Why did it get lost? How could they have kept the focus on control, dominance and deep mysogyny? How did Willow end up becoming the villain in THIS particular season?

Buffy is representative of WOMAN. Buffy's self hatred and Dark Willow's jealousy of her are as much an example of mysogyny as Spike in "Dead Things." Joss did NOT specifically say that Spike was a mysogynist. He said that the relationship was about deep mysogyny (control and dominance as well). Joss' art form is words. He chooses his words carefully. I think we should be looking at the flow of those words rather than seeing red at a particular one.

Just me, though.

[> [> I actually agree with most of this -- curious, 14:07:10 07/16/03 Wed

Especially this:
Buffy is representative of WOMAN. Buffy's self hatred and Dark Willow's jealousy of her are as much an example of mysogyny as Spike in "Dead Things." Joss did NOT specifically say that Spike was a mysogynist. He said that the relationship was about deep mysogyny (control and dominance as well). Joss' art form is words. He chooses his words carefully. I think we should be looking at the flow of those words rather than seeing red at a particular one.

I think he was talking about S6 exploring mysogyny,control and dominance in general - rather than calling Spike a misogynist. That's how I read that line too. I also think he confused the hell out of a lot of people in S6.

I think we should be

works much better than telling us how to think. Thanks Diana.

[> [> Okay - let's refocus the debate then? -- s'kat, 15:43:05 07/16/03 Wed

It's certainly not too late to refocus it. Perhaps even have a whole new post so this one doesn't eat everything in site, like it's doing now ;-)

So the debate should be about how season 6 got lost. Why did it get lost? How could they have kept the focus on control, dominance and deep mysogyny? How did Willow end up becoming the villain in THIS particular season?

I actually like these topics better. Although I did enjoy discussing authorial intent and misogyny, it helped me figure out what the quote meant and how I felt and considered these terms, I don't know about anyone else, but I figure out stuff through my writing.

So do you want to post a whole new thread on the topic or should I?

[> [> [> I'll do it -- curious, 16:01:00 07/16/03 Wed

Maybe Diana could repost this post in the new thread at the top of the board. I think this thread had gotten pretty ratty.

[> Re: Joss interview on Buffy season 6 in Cinefantastique (CFQ) magazine -- RJA, 16:03:46 07/16/03 Wed

As a mainly lurker here I'm hestitant to put forward my thoughts, especially since its about such a very sensitive subject. Some great thoughts in this thread though.

On the misogyny issue though, I think perhaps that if Joss did mean that the relationship dealt with it, he could be referring to how it was handled in Seeing Red, and more specifically, they were looking at the human weakness that could lead to that, and in a wider sense that went futher than the issues of misogny.

I viewed Warren in many ways as a counterpoint to Spike (not all the time, but where their paths crossed he seemed to be). The first distinction came with their respective Bots. Warren created one because he couldnt get girls - April existed as his example of the perfect woman, which essentially was a subservient sex machine. Whereas Spike's Bot wasnt a subsitute for women, but instead a way of being closer to a particular woman he couldnt have. Whereas April was designed to eradicate the flaws and complexities of women, Spike had to settle for something that didnt have those flaws - and it was settling because he wanted the real thing. So thats the first comparison the show made, IMO.

Carrying it to the end, I think another parallel was made with Warren and Spike in Seeing Red. I think both their actions came from the same place, the same spark. And that was fear, desparation, and an inability to be in control.

Warren ended up shooting Buffy because she represented everything that was wrong in his life, and as he saw it, women were to blame for everything that went wrong. And as the most powerful woman, the Slayer had to be taken down. BY feeling so powerless and emasculated, he had to take it out on the person who symbolised those feelings of emasculation. And as subsequent episodes showed, he had no remorse.

And I think Spike's actions came from a similar place. That fear - his life was shot, he no longer knew his place in it, and his relationship with Buffy made him even less sure of that. I think part of his actions in SR was a desperate attempt to put some control back into that relationship - not to control Buffy, but a desperate need to put some control back into his life.

Thats the difference as I see it. Whereas Warren blamed his failures on women, and saw Buffy personifying this, Spike didnt have that same opinion of women. Instead of blaming Buffy for all that was wrong, he turned it onto himself. He was to blame, and he made a change because of it. He took responsibility out of that moment of desperation, whereas Warren didnt.

And there is also the connection with Willow. Magic as a means to control, which also happens in Seeing Red. But thats maybe subject for another post.

So I guess I have no real idea of what Joss meant by his above comments, other than that this particular episode contained an examination of the spark of what can make good people go bad, and what can be the basis of wrongs in society.

Anyway, be kind :-)

[> [> Great post! -- curious, 17:00:20 07/16/03 Wed

I agree with a lot of your points. I'm a little too burnt out to respond right now. ;-)

Would you like to repost this in the new thread at the top of the board? I think you add some new thoughts that haven't been mentioned yet.

[> [> [> Thanks, and okay then :-) -- RJA, 17:02:45 07/16/03 Wed

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