November 2002 posts

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Source of Joss quote about giving fans what they need? -- Gwyn, 12:09:54 11/16/02 Sat

Does anyone know the source of the often mentioned statement by Joss Whedon that he doesn't give fans what they want but what they need? I need a source to quote it for a paper?

[> Re: Source of Joss quote about giving fans what they need? -- Darby, 13:06:19 11/16/02 Sat

At the bottom of
Most other sources using this quote attribute it to this original, but he has said it elsewhere...

Another spot, with lots of quotes:

and the source of that:

It's amazing what googling will do for you!

[> [> Re: Source of Joss quote about giving fans what they need? -- Gwyn, 13:37:53 11/16/02 Sat

Thanks for taking the time to track this down for me....

[> [> Re: Source of Joss quote about giving fans what they need? -- Gwyn, 19:24:29 11/16/02 Sat

Would you happen to know the source of Jane Espenson's
quote of how they break an asking three questions?

What's the allegory of it?
What's the funny of it?
What's the Buffy of it?

Google hates me...I've tried but can't turn the source up...

[> [> Source of Espenson quote -- Gwyn, 19:28:04 11/16/02 Sat

I meant to change the heading for my last post! I need this source and the paper is I'm desperate!

It is the JE quote about the 3 questions addressed in every episode....

What's the allegory of it?
What's the funny of it?
What's the Buffy of it?

[> [> [> Sorry -- Darby, 05:39:58 11/17/02 Sun

I've read most of the interviews available and I don't know that one. Maybe it's on one of the DVD commentaries that haven't been released in the US but have been transcribed here - I did a quick archives search and couldn't come up with anything, though. It could also be Succubus Club transcripts - those don't seem to be accessible to Google.

[> [> [> Re: Source of Espenson quote&sorry -- aliera, 07:48:00 11/17/02 Sun

I tried also Gwyn; do you remember anything else about the source and is it possible it was someone other than JE?

[> [> [> [> Source can be found on -- shadowkat, 09:49:16 11/17/02 Sun - try Jane Espenson's article on
writing a television episode - it was on the Firefly site.

Also check Spoiler Trollop Board - Rufus posted it there as well. But orignal place and copyright is ME and the Firefly site.

[> [> [> [> [> Nope isn't in that one..... -- Rufus, 13:48:59 11/17/02 Sun

I've seen that article and that quote isn't in it.

[> [> [> [> [> Aaarggh!! If Rufus doesn't know it I'm doomed! -- Gwyn, 02:49:15 11/18/02 Mon

Thanks for all your help guys...I'm 100% sure it was JE...I thought it was a Succubus club interview but I could be wrong....I thought I read it in a transcript... I knew I would need it one was just such a good quote.........I'll have to take it out of the paper if I can't source it.....

The Devil inside -- NickyJean, 12:14:40 11/16/02 Sat

I was curious on your thoughts of the demon inhabiting both Angel and Spike. When Spike lost his memory I thought it was odd that his demon, driven by instinct, didn't suffer from bloodlust or that he didn't releaize any of his vamp traits, even if he didn't know what they were. (referance to Tubala Rasa) Spike didn't really go grrr until he was in a fight.

But then in Angel's Spin the Bottle Angel started feeling the bloodlust with Cordella just because he was with her alone.

I guess my question would be why would Spike's demon without the years of experience that Angel has not want to kill the slayer, just on an instinct basis. Assuming that Spike's demon knows of Spike's love for Buffy, why would Angel, who would have more control over his demon feel the need to eat Cordellia, just a girl/maybe a part demon...? Any thoughts..

[> Re: The Devil inside -- Finn Mac Cool, 12:22:08 11/16/02 Sat

It takes something to set off the demon into manifesting itself against it's will. For Angel, it was being alone with Cordelia while she bared her neck and made some seductive sounding talk about blood pumping. In his teenage persona, Angel didn't have the self control to resist vamping out. Meanwhile, Spike maifested his vampiric traits when he started to fight the vampire lackeys. I think that if Buffy had made the same motions and said the same words that Cordelia had, Spike's bloodlust would have manifested as well.

Keep this in mind, as well: it has been implied that when someone loses their memory in the Buffyverse that they retain subconscious memories. So Spike didn't become all vampy because his subconscious was still instructing him based on his couple years of adjustment to the Scooby Gang, despite the fact that he couldn't consciously remember any of it.

[> [> Re: The Devil inside somting to add -- Blustar, 19:01:01 11/16/02 Sat

also Spikes DEMON has gotten used to helping the scoobies and drinking pigs blood.and he has always been willing to help in his intrest his DEMON was reforming.

Angel on the other hand doesn't need to repress his demon as strongly ecept whenit comes to the bloodlust a physical requirement.the demon has been represed by the curse the soul is in absolute control when it(the soul )is aware angelous has no say.
if angel has no memory of what might be angelous might have some subconsious control .
his demon never learned any contorl and sees no need for it his demon never shows remose or restarint and never even considered redeaming himself and has fought violently against it.
spike on the other hand had alttering both his consience and subconsious urges and only has one person inside who can have urges.
angel has two a very repressed demon and a guilty soul is the souled parts memorys are repressed the demons instincts could be stronger and harded to repress.

Interesting article on (spoiler for 7.6 and 7.7 ) -- Sang, 12:38:37 11/16/02 Sat

There is an article about CwDP on review page. At the end of the review, there are two paragraphs discussing about the seal Jonathan and Andrew dug out. I don't know how reliable this is, but pretty interesting.

"Okay. The seal that Jonathon and Andrew uncovered in the Sunnydale High basement was a goat-head in a reversed pentagram. This symbol can be identified as the seal of Baphomet (not the name J & A gave it, but bear with us). Originally ascribed to the Knights Templar, it was adopted by the Church of Satan in 1966. The one noteworthy adjustment to the image here was that it had signs of the zodiac around it, instead of the Hebrew letters that spell Leviathan (Leviathan being the name commonly associated with a biblical beast that devours you, um, from beneath, but usually in the ocean). This seal is also associated with the goat of Mendes, Mendes being a city in ancient Egypt where fertility worship of Ba'al was practiced.

Ba'al, in his deified form, is known as Nimrod, the Sun God. Ellen found reference to biblical passages referencing Nimrod: A mighty hunter before the Lord, and they also suggest that it was not wild beasts that Nimrod was hunting, but men. Having hunted them he would enslave them and have a tyrannical hold over them -- much like a vampire turning out sires. By Holden¡¯s admission, we know that Spike is out and siring (assuming again that it¡¯s actually Spike, and not an imposter). Now, if you¡¯re open to the idea that Joss and his writers are feeding us tiny hints even when we have almost no chance of catching them, check this out: At the beginning of "Him", when Buffy moved Spike into Xander¡¯s apartment, Xander was of course all too ready to insult Spike. He always has been, right? It¡¯s not like they¡¯re friends. But of all the words he could have used to bash our William with (and you KNOW the X-Man has quite a vocabulary of clever putdowns), what was his name of choice this time?


You can read the full review at the link below

[> Re: The demon seal - lengthy (spoiler 7.7 ) -- Tyresius, 17:30:00 11/16/02 Sat

An interesting article on the history of the Seal you refer to is at www.templarh

I also found this, which is kinda interesting: Some historians have claimed that the name "Baphomet" was a curruption of Old French for Muhammad, whose name is sometimes spelled Mahomet. While others theorized that Baphomet was really a corruption of the Arabic term "Abufihamat" meaning "Father of Understanding."

Although the seal pictured on that website is not an exact match to the one in Buffy, it does seem very similar - at least in using the demon/goat head in the pentagram.

I've also found a dozen other names for the figure we saw on the seal in Buffy - The goat of Mendes, Azazel, and at times, the image has even represented Satan.

At any rate, the figure on the seal belongs to a class of Judaic-Christian demons called "se'irim" - which has been translated as goat-demon, hairy-demons, and he-demons by different sites I've visited.

As for "one noteworthy adjustment to the image here was that it had signs of the zodiac around it," I've looked pretty closely at my tape of CwDP, and I'm not seeing any signs of the zodiac, just some celtic-y looking paterns.

I can find no references on-line to the "seal of Danzathar" (what Jonathon and Andrew actually called it) that aren't specifically buffy-related, so it's probably a creation of ME - unless I've got the spelling all wrong.

[> [> Re: The demon seal - lengthy (spoiler 7.7 ) -- Luna, 18:09:54 11/16/02 Sat

There are clearly the zodiac signs of Taurus (the bull) and Libra (the scales) Couldnt figure out the one on the forehead.


[> [> Since you mentioned seals you may want to look at this....spoilery speculation -- Rufus, 23:46:46 11/16/02 Sat

There is a Tarot deck based upon Baphomet..BAPHOMET: The Tarot of the Underworld......and to make you sit up and take notice......The Seven Seals of The Baphomet Tarot

To really give the writers credit....could there be Seven Seals that need to be found? That would make it a real quest.

[> Re: Another link about Nimrod. -- Sang, 06:47:45 11/17/02 Sun

Above article wrote
- CUPID, the winged-god of love is identified with Valentine's Day because Cupid is one of Nimrod's Roman names. The Valentine heart is associated with Valentine's Day because Nimrod was known in Babylon as "BAAL," which is a Chaldean word meaning "lord," and is a homonym of the Chaldean word "BEL" meaning "heart." -

- Nimrod is pictured as the horned and cloven-hoofed SATAN, who is the DEVIL and hidden god of the underworld. Nimrod is referred to as the "hidden god" because priests of the Babylonian mystery religion "hid" the fact that Nimrod corrupted the teachings of the one true invisible God. They also "hid" the fact that all the pagan gods were representations of Nimrod -

It was also interesting that among other names of Nimrod, you can find Osiris and Dagon.

[> Seal is too ambiguous (Spoiler )Short and long version -- Deb, 10:12:55 11/17/02 Sun

Short Version: I think grasping onto this one "clue" for the meaning of what is going on with Spike/Buffy/ Hellmouth, etc. is really not profitable. This symbol has a long, muddled history (some of it presented below if you want to torture yourself) Nimrod is not the only name Holden tosses out, and there are various other clues presented throughout the season. The one thing they have in common is another cosmic battle against chaos, which would include good and evil and everything else into one universal lump of spiritual energy. Cosmic battles are used to separate Evil from Good and thus restore order. I have seen so many allusions in Buffy to all kinds of stuff that make up our spiritual soup, I'm just saying symbols are ambiguous and mostly arbitrary, and they are tied to a culture. To hedge your bets on one clue........ Let's start talking about this "Dawn" thing too and see how many dieties we find. The Christian "God" is a relatively new name from the 3rd century A.D. and was derived from several other cultures' "God" names. It's uniqueness is the monotheistic (universal) breadth. The first, and one of only a very few monotheistic "creator" gods was in Egypt, for a very short time: The Cult of Aten -- the one and only god.


We're talking Temp. Knights here, a centuries old group of Christian Crusader Warrior Monks who supposedly found the Holy Grail and first took it to Spain and then on to Upper Egypt to protect it and hide it. The Masons are related in some fashion, which could account for the astrological symbols, and this group also supposedly was founded in Egypt during the time of Rameses I and II and the building of the Great Pyramid. The Masons have a rather secrative history, with their own bloody rituals such as taking the heads of people who tell their secrets -- another myth among many of the Mozart Myths, which by the way this whole thing is beginning to feel like the "Magic Flute" with the "Hero" not being able to speak, and Nemesis (which Holden also spoke of -- Buffy: "Is that how you pronouse that?") the "fabulous winged griffon" whose followers started a morality cult.) And this associates it with the Egyptian gods, Horus -- of names and forms -- whose primary job in the incarnation of Anubis ( claimer of hearts and works in the Hall of Two Truths where all souls must pass through and pass the heart test to reach the afterlife) was "opening if the Mouth" ceremony for his father Osiris and he fought his "evil" brother Seth for rulership. The 'Opening of the Mouth" was for protection against "evil." Also watched over cemeteries. (yes that is with all e's) Ba, early fertility god -- Egypt, later had a cult at Mendes. Ba came to represent the spirituality of a deity, often represented by
an animal or as the mortal manifestation of a god as Pharoah. Baal, represented by a calf or goat, is father of seven storm god and seven mid-wife goddesses. He was constantly engaged in chaos. Also fought forces of chaos in the underworld and is associated with death and resurrection.

Within the seal are other symbols, Star of Solomon or Star of David. Solomon supposedly was patriarch of the Masons in Egypt and is know for his wisdom. Myth has it that he sold his soul for the gift of wisdom to rule his kingdom. Anyone with the Star of Solomon in h/her natal chart in an incarnate.

Then there is Satan, who fell all the way down to the Third Heaven for his rebellion, and who was placed beneath the ground when Christians got a hold of him.

Then there is my personal favorite, Marduk, also known by at least 60-70 other names, one being Merodach (Hebrew) who engages in primordian cosmic battle. He's also associated with jens, rather ambiguous morphic beings that work for good or evil. We know them a genies, but jens don't follow their rules. (Want to read a fascinatingly intense account of a ritual to make a jen? Anne Rice's "Servant of the Bones.")

How about Loki? Not that's he's related. (though probably is somewhere in time.) I just think Spike would make a good incarnate Loki.

[> [> Re: Seal is too ambiguous (Spoiler )Short and long version -- aliera, 12:30:10 11/17/02 Sun

I agree Deb; most of these things seem to be references in the similar way to how he's using pop culture references to evoke a certain feeling or connection. It reminds me of some of the poets who filled their poetry with classical references that would create a certain connection in the reader's mind with a known person or story enriching or adding another layer to the reading.

I do love this aspect of the show and also posts like those's one of the things I look forward to each week, like the Sunday crossword.

[> [> ME writers are fans of what film would some of what we are .... -- Rufus, 13:47:23 11/17/02 Sun

talking about like Templars, seals......make one think of?

[> [> [> Almost any film that has anything to do with European and Early (6&7 spoilers) -- Deb, 08:27:05 11/18/02 Mon

American history. "Seventh Seal" The Scottish films of the 90's, "The Magic Flute", and King Arthur and Grail film, horror films, "Star Wars", I even had "Jesus Christ: Superstar" *pop* into my head during the scene with Spike/It/Him/Whatever and Buffy in the church. Maybe that's way they call it the, pop culture. Perhaps they are testing new methods of *percuasion* via pop culture and TV. "The Mummy" last year in Spike's testing. Don't those beetles (yuck, yuck, yuck) eat flesh? or was that some kind of "Fear Factor" test? Maybe they ate Spike's flesh and he came back as someone else, like a dead evil pharoah who was bloody and so when "Spike" got his soul returned, it wasn't William at all, but some ancient Egyptian Pharoah's soul? I never know what is going to happen on Buffy until I see it, because there are so many allusions. Everyone around here talks about "Once More With Feeling" and all I've been singing this season is "Jesus Christ Superstar."

"The Annotated Buffy" Update Announcement/Official "When She Was Bad" Thread -- Rob, 14:50:20 11/16/02 Sat

Well, after some good and bad time constraints--the good being a trip to visit my friend at Cornell, the bad being a huge paper I had to write in, ironically, my philosophy class--it took me a little while more than I would have liked to post the latest update at "The Annotated Buffy," but now it's all ready for readage! Please enjoy:

Out of Mind, Out of Sight...ANNOTATED!

Now, as I begin my work on...yay!!!...the last season one episode to annotate, I am opening up the floor for submissions for the first season two episode annotations-- "When She Was Bad."

Here are the usual info. links:

When She Was Bad" Transcript
My e-mail addy

Thanks! And I can't wait to see what everybody has to say about WSWB, sexy dance and all!


[> Oops! I goofed on the transcript link... -- Rob, 14:52:42 11/16/02 Sat

I just gave you the "Invisible Girl" link.

Here's the right one:

"When She Was Bad" Transcript



[> Re: "The Annotated Buffy" Update Announcement/Official "When She Was Bad" Thread -- Sophie, 17:47:33 11/16/02 Sat

When She was Bad

So the master's bones were buried in consecrated ground??? I know the Catholic church prohibits burying bodies of suicides in consecrated ground, but I would have thought no vampire bones, also!

Is this the first time we see Angel kill a vampire? I probably missed one somewhere. But this is, of course, Angel's big sin – killing another vampire (one of his kind).

Buffy torturing a vampire. This is one of the few times that we get to see what the torture activity actually is.

The bodies hung upside down, like meat in a freezer at the butcher shop. The swaying feeling of the bodies is smooth and rhythmic, dance like, in sharp contrast to the anger and harsh emotions.

And of course the grinding bones – Jack and the Beanstalk.

[> [> on consecrated ground -- anom, 23:50:08 11/16/02 Sat

"So the master's bones were buried in consecrated ground??? I know the Catholic church prohibits burying bodies of suicides in consecrated ground, but I would have thought no vampire bones, also!"

I thought that was done deliberately to keep him from being raised.

[> [> [> That's how I interpreted that too. -- Rob, 00:05:21 11/17/02 Sun

[> [> [> I can just see them going to ask the Pope, "can we, uh, bury these bones here?" -- Sophie, 18:47:54 11/17/02 Sun

[> Re: "The Annotated Buffy" Update Announcement/Official "When She Was Bad" Thread -- Alvin, 18:38:30 11/16/02 Sat

I've never posted on one of your annointed threads before, but since I recently rewatched this one, I'll give it a try.

What amazes me about this one is how much it resembles Becoming, showing us how much ME likes the first and last episodes of a season to parallel each other. For instance:
1) Both have a big library scene where Buffy insists on going alone into an obvious trap. In fact all the Scoobies are in roughly the same positions in both episodes with Kendra replacing Jenny. (And of course both have the honor of dying during the season.)
2) Both have Buffy returning to the library to find the Scoobies have been attacked in her absence with only Xander remaining. Also, both have Xander blaming Buffy for what happened.
3) Both have a smoking female vamp used as a messenger. In WSWB it's because of Buffy's cross; in Becoming because of sunlight.
4) Both have a Buffy/Angel fight (verbal in WSWB from the transcript:
Buffy (to Angel): Oh, c'mon! I mean, you must've thought about it. What would happen if it ever came down to a fight, you vampire, me the Slayer, I mean, you must've wondered! Well, why don't we find out?)
5) Both have someone being tortured for information (Giles in Becoming, female vamp in WSWB)
6) Both have Buffy in a big fight while Xander rescues the captured Scoobies.
7) Both have a scene where Joyce doesn't understand Buffy.
8) Both have a group of vampires trying to awaken something big and powerful, and in both the means is by blood.
9) Both have a vamp who hangs out of the big fight against Buffy (the Annointed One/Spike).

When I got the season on DVD, I just had to see Becoming first thing, and then I started on the season from the beginning so all the parallels jumped out at me. I think these two have at least as many parallels as Bargaining and TTG/Grave have.

[> Re: "The Annotated Buffy" Update Announcement/Official "When She Was Bad" Thread -- KdS, 06:18:48 11/17/02 Sun

Xander: I'm sorry, I can't help myself. Your nose looks so tasty.
He reaches up with his napkin and gently wipes off her nose. He takes much longer than he needs to and looks into her eyes. He brushes his hand against her cheek. After another moment he starts to move in for a kiss. She responds in kind and tilts her head. They stop just short of making contact and linger there a moment. Xander finally begins to pull back, and when he does he sees a vampire standing on the other side of the wall. Willow notices his glance and looks, too. She screams and jumps off of the wall as Xander pulls her away from the vampire.

Possibly the biggest emotional could-have-been in the history of the series. What would have been the future for everyone if W/X had ended up real?

Hank: Okay, then. This is the last of it. (puts another suitcase on the bed)

As someone pointed out a few weeks back (sorry, can't remember who) this is actually the only scene in which Hank Summers appears that is not a hallucination or memory. Is it possible that Buffy's post-NDE funk was actually what broke the bond between them?

Hank: She was just, I don't know, um... distant. Not brooding or sulking, just... there was no connection. The more time we spent together, the more I felt like she was nowhere to be seen.

It's not until Season 5 that Buffy explicitly talks about her lack of emotional connection, but it's interesting that Hank has exactly the same complaint as Riley.

Joyce: Well, welcome to my world. I haven't been able to get through to her for so long. I'll just be happy if she makes it through the school year.

She won't of course.

Cordelia: I mean, they promised me they'd take me to St. Croix, and then they just decide to go to Tuscany. (exhales) Art and buildings? I was totally beachless for a month and a half. No one has suffered like I have. Of course I think that that kind of adversity builds character. Well, then I thought, I already have a lot of character. Is it possible to have too much character?

Probably not deliberate, but this speech is astonishingly ironic given the development of Cordelia as sin- eater/Scapegoat of LA in AtS.

The student lounge. Buffy is upstairs on a couch, off in her own world. Willow and Xander come up the stairs to her.

Is this the longest dream sequence ever in Buffy?

Giles: Oh, I don't know. I mean, (chuckles) I've killed you once, it shouldn't be too difficult to do it again.

That whole Slayer/Watcher death dynamic rears its ugly head again. Quite possibly forshadowing for Helpless

Buffy: Could you contemplate getting over yourself for a second? There's no 'us'. Look, Angel, I'm sorry if I was supposed to spend the summer mooning over you, but I didn't. I moved on. To the living.

Horribly ironic given current speculation on the board about Buffy 's emotional arrest over Angel. I know she's supposed to be self-destructive here, but maybe she should have taken her own advice...

Snyder: That Summers girl. I smell trouble. I smell expulsion, and just the faintest aroma of jail.

Yet more Becoming forshadowing.

Angel: You have to trust someone. You can't do this alone.
Buffy: I trust me.
Angel: You're not as strong as you think.
Buffy: (gives him a challenging look) You think you can take me?
Angel: What?
Buffy: Oh, c'mon! I mean, you must've thought about it. What would happen if it ever came down to a fight, you vampire, me the Slayer, I mean, you must've wondered! Well, why don't we find out?
Angel: I'm not gonna fight you.
Buffy: Come on! Kick my ass!

Horrible irony for the second-half of the season. Can Buffy really handle things alone? She can in the short term, as we see in Becoming II, but it wouldn't work in the long term (The Wish, Fool For Love).

Buffy: One more time: where are they?
Vampire: You're too late. Your friends are dead.
Buffy: (lifts her back up) Tell me where they are!
Vampire: (laughs) What are you gonna do? Kill me?
Buffy: As a matter of fact... She throws the vampire onto a pool table.
Buffy: ...yes. (yanks off her necklace) But since I'm not gonna kill you any time soon, the question becomes...
She drops the cross into the vampire's mouth and covers it with her hands.
Buffy: are we gonna pass the time till then?
The cross burns in the vampire's mouth, and she shakes her head. After several seconds Buffy pulls the cross back out.
Buffy: So. One more time.

Although it's been implied on a few other occasions that our heroes have tortured people when necessary, this is probably the most explicit example in the series' history. Anybody who thinks Buffy is insufficiently aware of her own dark side - this is one of the key pieces of counter- evidence.

Absalom runs into the burning end and is set ablaze. He backs up and screams as the flames spread over him. He makes a last desperate attempt to get Buffy and raises the sledgehammer over his head, but is too late as the flames engulf him and instantly burn him up.

There is a very clear inverse proportion between the effect of flame or sunlight on vampires and their importance as recurring characters. Compare this scene (and the opening of Bargaining I) with Redefinition.

Giles: Buffy, you acted wrongly, I admit that. But believe me, that was hardly the, the worst mistake you'll ever make. Uh, that wasn't quite as comforting as it was meant to be.

More foreshadowing for the second half of the season. Similar to Giles's speech in Innocence.

Collin: I hate that girl.

(Slightly self-indulgent speculation - this is the only time I found the Anointed One interesting as a character. He does actually behave childishly here, whereas usually he is simply an all-EVIL cipher. Given that he was created by a specialised ritual, and the fact that his personality is less explicable by the original human than any other vampire, is it possible that the Anointed One is the only real example of the Watcher's Council propaganda explanation of vampires? Is he actually possessed by a powerful, intelligent demon that has replaced his personality, rather than the more malleable (or even non-sentient) demons that possess most vampires?)

[> [> wow, talk about thorough! there's just 1 thing i'd dispute -- anom, 12:19:25 11/17/02 Sun

"As someone pointed out a few weeks back (sorry, can't remember who) this is actually the only scene in which Hank Summers appears that is not a hallucination or memory."

He does show up for real at the end of Nightmares. Remember in the Buffy's-nightmare version he shows up early, in the middle of the school day? After the nightmares are over, he comes at the scheduled time, looking happy to see her (unlike nightmare!Hank), although I don't remember if we see him do more than wave to her. Still, he does "appear."

[> One small addition -- CW, 18:37:00 11/17/02 Sun

Xander gets the dance he asked for in Prophecy Girl. It's as sensuous as Xander could have wanted for a first dance. But, it's not the private moment of happiness he'd hoped for. Buffy uses him to alienate Angel, and Willow is also tormented in the process. As the dance ends, she makes it clear it's all a tease.

[> Re:"When She Was Bad" Annotations (7.7 spoilers) -- ponygirl, 20:51:56 11/17/02 Sun

When She Was Bad is always going to be a sentimental fave for me. It was the first full episode of BtVS that I ever saw and it also occasioned my first Buffy-inspired purchase since I bought a Cibo Matto cd soon after. But it's not just sentiment that makes me appreciate this ep. in fact recent season 7 episodes make me realize how many themes of BtVS had their start in WSWB.

Buffy's "issues": One of the most important themes of the Buffyverse is that of consequences. Buffy had by any measure won in Prophecy Girl, she'd defied prophecy, defeated the Master, and got to go to the dance, yet there was a price. Buffy's brief death affected her far more than she would ever admit. It is the start of her isolation from those closest to her. She had been practiced in concealing things from her parents before, but now there is an emotional detachment. It's present in her dealings with with everyone in this episode, as she deals with an internal struggle by closing herself off. A pattern that seemed to reach its apothesis in season 6, but still seems to be ongoing in season 7.

Buffy's dream of being attacked by Giles depicts Xander and Willow seemingly unconcerned or unaware of the life and death struggle Buffy is facing. They are removed from her problems, whatever they have seen and done for Buffy it just doesn't compare to her experiences.

It has been discussed on the board before that the Slayer negotiates the border between different worlds: human/demon, night/day, good/evil. Nothing underscores this more than the fact that Buffy has died and yet still lives. It has changed her, set her apart. The detachment she feels from ordinary life after this brief death is magnified a hundredfold after her second death, and her struggle to find meaning in a life that is undefined by death will inform all of season 6.

Buffy's sexy dance: Her dance with Xander isn't flirtation or romance, it's about sex, and power. Buffy uses her sexuality as a weapon: to make Angel jealous, to hurt Willow, to prove her power over Xander. Interestingly enough this seems to mark the beginning of the end of Xander's crush on Buffy. Up until their bump and grind, he had been unwilling to discuss Buffy's questionable behaviour. Afterwards it seemed that his idealized vision of Buffy had been seriously tarnished by her casual use of him -- he's very quick to turn on her throughout the rest of the episode. And she never did thank him for saving her life...

Buffy's confrontation with Angel outside the Bronze isn't just a challenge to fight, it's a come-on. This connection that Slayers have between violence and sex is something Faith will later explain. Buffy also notes in BtVS 7.7 that vampires have a similiar attitude: "sex and death, and love and pain, it's all the same damn thing to you."

The penultimate scene in the classroom shows how forgiving the Scoobies are, and how important their support is to Buffy. However she does not articulate the problems that led her to that point, she is instead relieved and allows a semblance of normalcy to return. But since her conversation with Holden in 7.7, I suspect that the guilt Buffy felt over endangering her friends was not something that went away. Neither does the belief that they do not truly understand her. Her need for her friends and the isolation imposed upon her by her calling is a conflict that continues into season 7.

Further note: The name Absalom has both literary and biblical references. "Absalom, Absalom!" is name of the Southern Gothic novel by William Faulkner, reputedly one of his greatest and most difficult books. The source of his title was the biblical figure Absalom, a son of King David. He was known as the father of peace. Absalom was killed in battle and upon hearing of his death David said: "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (2 Sam. 18:33. Comp. Ex. 32:32; Rom.9:3), quote from

[> [> 2 comments -- anom, 08:31:30 11/18/02 Mon

"And she never did thank him for saving her life..."

Well, no. Because she's not thankful. Even from the moment she regains consciousness in Prophecy Girl, she seems harder, emotionless. Being killed had a deep effect on her. I think it scared her at a very deep level. How could she face slaying again if she let herself feel that fear? And Xander put her in the situation that caused her to feel that way. OK, ultimately the Master was responsible for that, but if she'd stayed dead, she wouldn't have had to feel it.

"The name Absalom has both literary and biblical references....The source of [Faulkner's] title was the biblical figure Absalom, a son of King David. He was known as the father of peace. Absalom was killed in battle and upon hearing of his death David said: 'O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!'"

That's not exactly the whole story. The name Absalom means "father of peace," but the biblical Absalom hardly lived up to it. He rebelled against his father more literally than most sons, making war on him & even capturing Jerusalem. So his death in battle was not in behalf of his father but quite the opposite. Handsome & spoiled, Absalom had always been the favorite of David, who said the words quoted above after his son's death in spite of his betrayal.

What this says about the vamp of the same name, who seems to have dedicated himself to the effort to bring the Master back rather than trying to take his place, I don't know.

[> [> [> When it comes right down to it's probably just a cool-sounding name :) -- ponygirl, 10:42:41 11/18/02 Mon

[> Re: "The Annotated Buffy" Update Announcement/Official "When She Was Bad" Thread -- Rook, 23:36:44 11/17/02 Sun

Small continuity note: It's hard to hear, but at the very end of the episode, after the music starts, you can hear Wilow say that Sunnydale doesn't have a miniature golf course...however later on, they visit one with Ted, and in S3, the Mayor brings it up again.

Foreshadowing: Joyce: "I'll just be happy if she makes it through the school year": The irony here is, of course, that she doesn't.

[> Absence (and heavy meta) in When She Was Bad (mild spoilers for Conversations) -- Rahael, 06:13:25 11/18/02 Mon

These are initial thoughts.

More later.

Firstly the title. I'm sure it comes from the nursery rhyme:

"There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good, she was very very good
And when she was bad, she was horrid"

This ep has so many great lines, it is no surprise that it was Joss who wrote it.

There's a great opening scene with Xander and Willow - everything is quiet. We, the television viewers, have been away for the summer, just like Buffy has. We learn that there have been no real Vamp attacks while Buffy has been away. The minute she appears of course, a vamp strikes

"It's like they knew I was coming back"

But of course they did. A new season has started.

When Buffy's face first appears in shot, she looks right at the viewer and says

"miss me?"

And it's as much said to the viewer as to Xander and Willow. Very meta. Appropriately enough, Xander and Willow are playing the movie quote game, before Buffy turns up with a few witty quips of her own.

Buffy's absence

The entire conversation leading up to her arrival circled around her absence. The hero is absent from the picture, until she arrives, signalling her arrival with some action hero-y Vamp ass kicking.

But Buffy continues to be emotionally absent for most of the episode.

Her coming back is not only from LA, but from death. The miss me is even more poignant because it is a question, not a statement, and because we might never have got Buffy back.

Throughout the episode, we get reminders of Buffy 'not being there'. Xander tells Buffy she should have been there when they buried the Master. But Buffy went away, she absented herself from the closure of burial.

She doesn't go off to see Giles, she says casually that she'll see him at school. Quite obviously, Buffy is harbouring resentful feelings toward him. The father who let her down, who didn't protect her. This is signalled by the fact that Giles is the outer covering for the Master in her dream. A sign that to her, all men are monsters underneath, even the good ones. A viewpoint hammered home by Angel, a beautiful man with a monster underneath.

Perhaps Xander, too contains a monster. Buffy hasn't found out yet - perhaps the sexy dance was her taunting him, testing the boundaries.

In fact, she punishes all the men in this ep - her father, by being distant, Xander, through sex, Angel through coldness. But underneath even that is the worry that all these men act this way to her because she is the real monster. The one who deserves to be sent out to die. The one who deserves to be killed, to be reproached, to be ignored. Her acting this way is an expression of how she feels she is treated, and also her internalisation of her low opinion of herself.

Her comment to Giles, when he asks her how she is:

"Live and kicking" is a pointed reminder she could be dead and motionless. I see more resentment in her other comment to Giles: You're the Watcher. I just work here . Meaning, I'm the person who risks my life. You just watch.

I think this ep ties in excellently to Conversations, and Buffy's superiority/inferiority complex. None of the others can understand what she goes through. It's 'her' figth. The prophecy is all about her. She's the person who has to go and fight danger. She puts everyone in danger by assuming it's all about her.

But at the same time, she feels like dirt. She acts out what she feels she is.

Hank says that She was just, I don't know, distant. Not brooding or sulking, just....there was no connection. the more time we spent together, the more I felt like she was nowhere to be seen. .

This is both an ironic metanarrative point - Buffy is invisible to Hank during the Summer, because she only lives during the TV season, but also that she's missing. She's lost inside herself, and she's disconnected herself from everyone, both physically and emotionally. Here's a another metaphor of invisibility as alienation.

As Ponygirl points out, Buffy is lost between the borders and boundaries she patrols for society.

Even in her dream, Xander is trying to get a response from a distant Buffy whose thoughts are elsewhere:

Xander: Buffy! Buffy!

Buffy: Fine! I'm Fine.

When Willow asks what she's thinking about she says 'nothing'.

She doesn't bother telling them, because they won't understand. Which is kind of ironic because this is actually a dream she is having and this particular Willow and Xander are parts of her.

When Angel visits her, he tells her that she missed him. But she hesitates too long with her much emotionally softer "missed me?". She had been harsh with him until he admitted it. But he had gone by then - he missed her comment.

And Buffy's echoing of her earlier question, missed me shows that her deepest worry was that she is of no consequence at all. She is beneath them, dead, buried. Part of her was killed, and hasn't woken up to new life yet.

Buffy's death wish

I think in this Ep, Buffy, having escaped death, longs for oblivion. Throughout the First Season, the Master's presence, lay seething underground, the hidden shadow behind all the eps.

In this ep, the Master again lies undergound, and his influence is just as baleful. He 'rises' in Buffy's dream, which is an ironic counterpoint to the fact that Colin is trying to ressurrect him. In fact, just as in Season 1, it is Buffy who allows him to escape. She is the one who is so affected by him, that she allows his influence to be felt long after his death.

In fact, Colin's attempt at ressurrecting the Master is simply a metaphoric statement of Buffy's continuing fight with him.

I think Buffy's reaction to Giles' interpretation of the Latin text of the prophecy is really interesting. She says that the Master must feel close to her, because he tried to kill her. But what it really reveals is that she is projecting. She feels close to the Master, who lies dead and buried. She feels that she too is dead. Dead inside, disconnected. Unmissed.

In fact, Xander even suggest this:

Hey, maybe when the Master killed her some mystical bad guy transference thing happened"

In fact this does seem to be what happened, but only emotionally, only physically.

So her comment to Xander, that she hadn't thanked him yet for bringing her back to life had suppressed anger in it, an anger expressed in the aggressiveness and meanness of her sexuality in that dance with him. Thank Xander? She wants to punish him!

She says to Angel that she's moved on to the living. But she hasn't really. She's lying in that grave, that space between life and death.

Buffy makes the point in the Bronze by creating a hugely tense, dramatic sitaution, where she gets to control everything, and leaves Xander, Willow and Angel, rooted to the spot, hurt, controlled by her - and then she leaves. Expressing her feeling both of absence, but also expressing all the tense, unresolved feelings she has.


It's almost as if the Master's body acts as a commentary on Buffy's emotions. She says to Giles:

" I went by his grave last night, and they have a vacancy"

She doesn't resolve her emotional absenteeism until she smashes the very physical body of the Master. A question in terms of the Show's mythology has always been why the Master left a body, unlike every other Vamp. Well, as always on Buffy, the disjuncture is really important. It signals that the Master isn't dead yet. And Skeletons are associated with death. So the fact that his grinning skeleton is left behind is a very big sign that Buffy has huge issues with mortality.

In fact, I think Buffy's afraid that she's so lost between the space of death and life (the distance of which is measured by a grave, the grave of the Master) that her fear is that her friends cannot see her, cannot understand her. That there's no more space left for her in life.

Which is why in the last scene, Buffy gets some reassurance that Willow and Xander have saved a seat for her. And that in the first scene, the real point is not that Willow and Xander can't wait for Buffy to get back, but that she's not there, and she's worried whether she still fits into Sunnydale, the land of the alive.

[> [> Re: Absence (and heavy meta) in When She Was Bad (mild spoilers for Conversations) -- CW, 07:32:27 11/18/02 Mon

I think in this Ep, Buffy, having escaped death, longs for oblivion.

My point of view is the opposite. I don't think at this point Buffy viewed death as anything, but a horror. I believe her 'nasty act' was a way to isolate all of her friend's from horrid helpless deaths she suffered in Prophecy Girl. What Buffy discovered in When She Was Bad, was that her being isolated protected no one. It just made it that much harder for her to protect people when they needed her. And it in no way eased the burden of facing death every night.

It was only after Fool for Love and especially after her noble death in The Gift, that the oblivion of death actually began to look attractive to Buffy.

[> [> [> Fool For Love -- Rahael, 08:02:45 11/18/02 Mon

But didn't Fool for Love suggest that there was a secret wish in every Slayer for the thing they dealt out?

Also, maybe I'm projecting here but it is totally possible to view death as a horror, and yet to long for it. Buffy takes risks all the time. She walks the fine line.

Sometimes, when you come too close it starts to haunt you.

I mean, this is a girl whose natural home is the graveyard. Who kills every night. Who has experienced death twice.

Who sleeps with the undead. Repeatedly. And because she finds death a horror, she repulses herself. But she is totally enmeshed in it.

But I think we just view her nasty act quite differently. I don't think she's merely protecting her friends.

[> [> [> Rob -- Rahael, 08:30:55 11/18/02 Mon

Feel free not to include stuff where I just you know do the over reachy thing. I just do my own interpretation of the ep, and usually I find that the board sees differently.

I feel bad that I'm one of your most regular annotators (thus forcing you to add in nearly everything I contribute!) and yet quite possibly provide some of the fan wankery annotations.

I'm just amazed that i go unchallenged on the annotation thread so often!

Ps - when I say that Fool for Love shows that the Slayer has a complex relationship with death (hey, she lives in both lands!) I don't mean that Spike along to fulfil the deepest wishes of their girlish hearts, and then use their blood as a grisly aphrosidisiac with his loony Vamp girlfriend.

After all, it's Spike who points out that it could be any Vamp that provides the fatal blow. It's luck not skill. Any newly risen Vamp could have that 'one good day'. It's what adds that poignancy to the Slayer dying young thing. Plus it makes them less of a victim.

[> [> [> [> Re: Rob -- Rob, 09:16:03 11/18/02 Mon

Really, please don't feel bad. I love your annotations. I honestly do.

I guess it's because I love finding symbolism in things, too, and even when things seem over-reachy, I enjoy it. I actually try to find stuff like that, too. For example, in the OOS, OOM notes, when you said how you thought that the losing of Marcie's adolescent body might be tied in to spring and Cordy's blossoming, etc might be stretching a little, I just thought, "Neat!" I don't know if the writers ever thought of it in that way, but that symbolism did work and reminds me of Bruno Bettelheim's "The Uses of Enchantment." I don't know if you're aware of that book, but it was a Freudian psychological study of fairy tales. Today, I believe, a lot of it has been contested by more modern psychiatrists, but one of the recurring themes in it was the change from adolescence (sp?) to adulthood, and how girls in fairy tales who do grow up need a brief period of rest/death in between. Snow White, for example, and Sleeping Beauty (whose pricking her finger on the spindle, Bettelheim says, was a symbol for her first menstruation). So I kind of like the idea of seeing Marcie as a fairy-tale-type figure who couldn't deal with her changing body. Hey, if you think some of your ideas are over-reachy, you should read some of the essays in "Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Some of the ideas in that book are beyond kinda far-fetched, although I enjoyed a great deal of them. In another Buffy essay book (I forget the name there were also some cool symbols, such as Glory as Capitalist Consumer/Corporation vs. Buffy and the Scoobies, the Socialists/Small Business (Magic Box). That is a bit of a stretch, too, also considering that Anya is anything but a socialist (at least now lol).

Ramble much?

I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your contributions, and if there's ever anything I flat-out don't agree with, if it makes you feel better, I promise I won't post it. ;o) But so far, I've found a place in my notes for just about everything you've contributed, and it's not just because I want to fill out the notes. I know a thing or two about having opinions that none of the rest of the board have. I posted rave reviews for both "Wrecked" and "Doublemeat Palace" and was shocked to find some scathing disagreement the next day.


[> [> [> [> [> Seconding Rob -- ponygirl, 10:57:42 11/18/02 Mon

Rahael, I thought your annotations were great! I especially liked the part about vacancy. It seemed to tie into Joss' commentary on The Body (again thanks for typing that up) about the physicality of death, and negative space - what surrounds it defines the shape of the missing object.

The contrast between the opening scene where Willow and Xander discuss Buffy's absence but are very much involved in their own dynamic, one that is interrupted first by the vampire and then by Buffy, and the end scene where Xander and Willow have made a point of saving a space for Buffy and welcome her into it very neatly sums up Buffy's journey back to her friends in WSWB... and it's not something I had noticed before. Thanks!

Insane Theory. Dawn vs...? (CWDP Spoilers) -- Harry Parachute, 16:32:11 11/16/02 Sat

Don't know if this has been brought up yet...been fairly busy these last few days and have been cleaning the house to throw a party. But I might as well just post this. Worst- case scenario, one of you regulars point me in the right direction.

We've got Dawn in the house...we've got the Creepy Thing...then we've got what appeared to be Joyce. What I've noticed from my very limited skimming of the board is that there are essentially two camps. One group believes that Creepy Thing and Joyce are actually both the BBW and put on a big show to convince Dawn that, since she had to go through a tumultuous ordeal to get Joyce’s statement, it must be a sincere one…and so sets in motion the BBW’s “divide and conquer” stratagem. The other group is of the opinion that, unsettling as it is, Joyce really was Joyce, and Buffy really is a danger and could “go all black-eyed veiny” or what-have-you.

But what if Joyce is the BBW and the Creepy Thing…despite it being outright creepy and employing outright icky tactics…was taking an active role in fighting it? Maybe it’s not a White-Hat, maybe not even a Grey-Hat, but something that fears the BBW and doesn’t want it to gain any headway whatsoever?

We’ve got hints from “Cassie” this episode that this shapeshifter isn’t playing by the cosmic rules.

“Fact is, the whole good-versus-evil, balancing the scales thing—I'm over it. I'm done with the mortal coil. But believe me, I'm going for a big finish.”

Halfrek in Lessons made mention that “something older than the Old Ones” is causing lots of unrest, even in the bad-guy camp…(and the only other times we’ve heard of this happening is with 314 and the First Evil. With the lack of cybernetic gizmos and the general tactics of this beastie, you can guess which one I’m leaning towards)

So, back to Dawn, do we have a case of a thing that goes bump in the night scaring the bejesus out of a little girl in order to “save the day”?

It doesn’t really fit the shapeshifter’s MO. It can take physical action against appliances and people.

The scrawling of “Mother’s milk is red today” could be construed as a cryptic, metaphorical warning to Dawn not to take anything, such as advice, from the Joyce apparition.

It makes attempts to hold back Joyce AND get Dawn out of the house.

The blows it delivers to Dawn are only illusory and disappear when it is exorcised.

Is anyone buying this, or have I gone too far?

Oh, and by the way, I know I’ve seen someone post it before, but what was the old movie on TV that Dawn was watching? The general storyline of it I mean? Could it have any thematic connections to this theory?

[> Re: Insane Theory. Dawn vs...? (CWDP Spoilers) -- meritaten, 16:39:43 11/16/02 Sat

Hadn't thought of that, but...damn. I had forgotten the mother's milk quote.


[> [> Re: Insane Theory. Dawn vs...? (CWDP Spoilers) -- bluestar, 18:38:27 11/16/02 Sat

That actually makes sence 'Joyce' seemed like the BBW mo but that deamon whatever wasn't and it wasen't trying to hurt her it wanted her gone out of the house away from the BBW.
willow figured it out by herself.
buffy may have taken more help than harm from holden. if it haden't been for spike.
and Spike?!? no real clue. do you think the electrics was the BBW or the deamon?
is somthing trying to help them resist the BBW?

[> Buffy isn't necessarily... (speccy spoilery) -- ZachsMind, 17:00:07 11/16/02 Sat

Buffy isn't necessarily going to go all black & veiny. Remember what deadJoyce said, "when things get bad, Buffy will not choose you. She will be against you." This does not mean either Buffy or Dawn will necessarily turn evil. It means sides will be taken and there will be two camps. I don't think either side will necessarily be evil. It's not gonna be about good & evil and the balance. It's gonna be about power. Joyce is warning Dawn that when things get bad, Buffy & Dawn will be divided. They will disagree on how to take out the BBW. This is what the BBW wants, and Joyce was trying to caution Dawn about that. That she loves them both but Dawn needs to be prepared that when things get dicey, Buffy's not going to choose her.

Now. Choose her for what? That's what Joyce didn't detail. We honestly don't know if the writers even know what yet.

[> [> Point Taken... -- Harry Parachute, 00:46:24 11/17/02 Sun

I was just using the "black-eyed veiny" thing as a exaggeration/lil' nod to the script, hence the what-have-you that follows.

Ultimately I agree.

What I see happening might be similar to the Scooby Gang/Knights of Byzantium conflict over Dawn that occured back in S5. They're be the Kantian absolutism where the individual matters and one acts like natural law in following that guideline to the end despite any problems along the way versus the more utilitarian, "ends-justify-the- means", result-oriented path of action. Both out to do right. Both employing very different methods.

However, I don't believe a thing the dead in Sunnydale say. They're pawns, and as far as I'm concerned, Dead Joyce is simply another manifestation of the BBW.

Cassie delivers a crippling message and disappears in a disgusting first-hand imitation of an uroboruz. Joyce delivers a crippling message and disappears with a simple and serene fade away.

The BBW seems to come in all shapes and sizes.

[> [> [> ME has this part right; Just because they're dead doesn't mean they're bright (or nice!) -- BriarRose, 15:11:25 11/17/02 Sun

[> [> Re: Buffy isn't necessarily... (speccy spoilery) -- wiscoboy, 06:08:39 11/17/02 Sun

Remember also, Dawn's abilities as the human "KEY" still have not been explored by the ME writers. Maybe we'll see a resolution to the whole 'instant sister' storyline, thus pointing us again to the 'Back to the Beginning' concept.

Crossover of BBW -- meritaten, 16:32:40 11/16/02 Sat

Is anyone thinking, or perhaps hoping would be more accurate, that we see Buffy and Angel both fighting against the same BBW? Wouldn't it be great if both teams win separate victories that work together to defeat BBW? Both are leading up to a huge battle. Since the both series are linked, even if they are now on different stations, I'd like to see this horrific, world-altering battle occur over both series.

I love this season on both shows. And, would you believe that I will miss the second half of both seasons! I'm going to be working abroad, with no access to television. As much as I am looking forward to this trip, I'm bummed about missing my shows. Thank God for fellow fans with VCRs!!!!!!!

[> My Guess (Spoilers for all aired episodes) -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:07:23 11/16/02 Sat

With all this talk of an ominous apocalypse on both shows, one that seems to have everyone running around with their tails between their legs, I think there may be a connection. But, since there's the whole "no crossover rule" which bites just as much as the "happiness clause", I'm think that both shows will simply tell us that the End Times are here, a period in time when the forces of the universe align to cause the conditions necessary to provoke demonic forces to destroy the world.

[> [> Re: My Guess (Spoilers for all aired episodes) -- Juliet, 21:28:38 11/16/02 Sat

I'll confess: I'm a crossover whore. I'm firmly of the belief that the shows should have a crossover at least once a season, and since they technically skipped last year they should have two this time around.

I kinda want to see Xander's reaction to Nouveau Cordelia.

[> [> [> Re: My Guess (Spoilers for all aired episodes) -- meritaten, 15:49:37 11/17/02 Sun

How about Buffy's reaction to Angel / Cordelia?????

In fact, that just might be the source of the apocalypse!

[> [> [> [> Re: My Guess (Spoilers for all aired episodes) -- Q, 16:40:55 11/17/02 Sun

Or Angels reaction to Buffy/Spike?
Or Buffy's reaction to Darla/ Angel?
OR Xanders reaction to Angel/cordelia--ooh baby (he still won't be as pissy about it as I am though!)

[> Re: Crossover of BBW -- Q, 16:46:50 11/17/02 Sun

I hope so, because so far it has been painfully unrealistic to me. Willow knows about the coming darkness from England, as does Giles. As does every demon and creature with their fingers on the pulse of darkness. It is big. REAL big. Really, really, BIG.

And yet, no sign of it shows up 2 hours down the freeway in L.A.

It takes the no crossover rule to a place that SERIOUSLY detriments the story, in my opinion. They wouldn't even need to have regular characters showing up on each others show. They would just need to correlate the stories, which wouldn't be that hard.

If this is truly the end of BtVS, it would make more sense too, because it could set up Angels direction in the post BtVS world, and set up future guest shots of Buffy stars on Angel.

EVERYTHING suggests a NEED to intertwine the stories of the two shows this season, and so far I am very dissapointed!

Three? -- meritaten, 16:50:39 11/16/02 Sat

As I've been reading posts here, I've seen references to the number three, but I'm not sure where this is coming from or what it means. Apparently Giles said something in Season 5, but I don't know the context.

Could someone enlighten me?

Thanks so much!

[> Not a Buffy reference, AFAIK -- Philistine, 20:51:08 11/16/02 Sat

I think it's actually a reference to Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail. A running gag in that movie is that King Arthur can't actually count to three - he keeps jumping from two straight to five, immediately being corrected ("Three, sir!") by whoever is around.

[> [> Quite Right...(and sorry for the confusion) -- Nightingale, 04:44:02 11/17/02 Sun

Yes, this was a reference to Monty Python's Holy Grail. I should have noted it in a subject line (or at least in a post). Very Sorry for the confusion. I was actually fairly surprised someone managed to bring it back to something Giles had said, since it was completely unrelated (although, this really shouldn't have surprised me at all!).


[> [> [> No one should have to explicit they're mentionning Holy Grail. It should be a natural assumption. -- Ete Holy Grail fanatic, 13:10:54 11/17/02 Sun

(The Microscopic) Classic Movie of the Week - November 16th 2002 -- OnM, 21:00:13 11/16/02 Sat


Nothing fancy here like in my previously traditional weekly movie visits, but while I was composing the early parts of
this week’s thoughts on Conversations w/ Dead People, this movie popped up as one with more
than a few similarities to possible future events on BtVS. This is indeed a ‘classic’, sez I, and I urge you to
check it out. It is available on DVD, as far as I know.

Presented for your inspection:

Angel Heart - (1987) - Directed by Alan Parker

Writing credits: William Hjortsberg (novel) & Alan Parker

IMDb User Rating: 7.0/10 (4,912 votes)

Cast overview:

Mickey Rourke .... Harry Angel
Robert De Niro .... Louis Cyphre
Lisa Bonet .... Epiphany Proudfoot
Charlotte Rampling .... Margaret Krusemark / Madame Zorah
Stocker Fontelieu .... Ethan Krusemark / Edward Kelly
Brownie McGhee .... Toots Sweet
Michael Higgins .... Dr. Albert Fowler
Elizabeth Whitcraft .... Connie
Eliott Keener .... Sterne
Charles Gordone .... Spider Simpson
Dann Florek .... Herman Winesap
Kathleen Wilhoite .... Nurse
George Buck .... Izzy
Judith Drake .... Izzy's Wife
Gerald Orange .... Pastor John

Runtime: 113 min

For a very positive review and some interesting thoughts, check out: tml


Sorry for the lack of time in which to post some of my own thoughts on this film, but for anyone who
has seen it and would like to post some comments, by all means, go for it! My loss doesn’t need to
prevent your gain! :-)


Ye Aulde Parting Shot:

Got a chance to see Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away earlier this week, which turned out
to be a very good thing, since when I checked the ads for my local multiplex today, it has been rudely
kicked out of play by the Harry Potter and 8 Mile behemoths. Please see this film in
a real theater
if you possibly can-- it’s one of the year’s best films, animated or otherwise-- a
masterwork by any definition. For a review by James Berardinelli (one of my fave net reviewers), check


E. Plur. Cine. Un,

(Yeah, yeah, actually two flicks, so sue me already!),

-- OnM


[> AH is one of my all time favorites, I'm happy to say. -- Harry Parachute, 00:24:39 11/17/02 Sun

I don't have much to say about this film when it comes to heady intellectual stuff at the moment...for two reasons.

First off, I saw this film when I was very, very young. My mother had two films which she completely refused to let me see. This was one. Blue Velvet was the other. Needless to say, Angel Heart did some serious damage to me when I was in my formative years. The last shot of the film haunts me to this day.

Secondly, I'm hammered. Friend of mine had her birthday party tonight. *urp*



I remember an IFC interview with Christopher Nolan, director of Memento, who mentioned this film as one of his personal favorites. He said something along the lines of it was a film that gave you enough information for you to actually figure out what was happening, so the conclusion wasn't completely jarring, without giving away too was a perfect balance that didn't leave you feeling either cheated/deus ex machina'd or talked down to.

Couldn't agree more. All points led to the conclusion.

Still waiting to see Spirited Away. Miyazaki makes hot fish out of cornbread any day of the season. Let's Saturday for some yak!

*Dances with Mugsy*

[> Oh, I watched Angel Heart very recently -- Etrangere, 13:07:34 11/17/02 Sun

I was striken by all the similarities with Angel the Serie, I figured it was one of their big inspiration.
Has someone on the board already commented on that subject ?

Is (name censored) smarter than everyone thinks? (Spoilers up to 7.7) -- Finn Mac Cool, 21:46:53 11/16/02 Sat

Is Andrew smarter than everyone thinks? (I censored his name before because we aren't supposed to have spoilers for recent episodes in the subject lines).

Back in Season Six, something it was very common to see was a description of the Nerd Trio as Jonathan (the Good One), Warren (the Evil One), and Andrew (the Dumb One). But I'm doubting how valid this last classification is. There have been several times when Andrew has displayed some behaviour I wouldn't expect from a true idiot:

In "Flooded", Andrew challenges Warren and Jonathan's analogy of their life of crime to an interstellar voyage. He apparently knew exactly how faster-than-light travel was supposed to work and could even pick out technical details that could go wrong.

In "Entropy", he goes to the computers the Trio had set up to see who had hacked into their system. This seems to indicate he had a fairly good knowledge of computers at the very least.

In "Two to Go/Grave", Andrew actually seemed fairly smart. He thought of every possible option for escaping Darth Willow ("Anya! Teleport us!" "I can summon a demon that could kill her." Suggesting Jonathan use some of the Magic Box's products against Willow, and trying to make his get away by holding Xander at sword point. While these tactics were ruthless and didn't pan out, they weren't truly dumb.

In "Conversations With Dead People", we find out that Andrew learned a foreign language (Klingon) in two and a half weeks. We also discover he's been fooling Jonathan about his hidden agenda with Pseudo-Warren for a while now. The second feat indicates some amount of shrewdity, and the first is truly remarkable (although I can't really comment whether Klingon is easy to learn or not).

On several occasions we've seen Andrew summon demons. I imagine that a certain level of intelligence is needed in order to accomplish this.

Lastly, no one who is truly stupid could remember quite as much movie, TV, and comic book trivia as Andrew has amassed.

Now, Andrew does have vast delusions about the line between fantasy and reality, and I doubt he'll be more than a pawn for the Great Evil. Still, I give credit where credit is due.

[> There's a difference between intelligence and wisdom... -- ZachsMind, 22:36:54 11/16/02 Sat

Years ago I worked for a woman who was a MENSA member. She had an incredibly high I.Q., but terrible social skills. When it came to interacting with people she was retarded. She could answer pretty much any question that was thrown at her, but her common sense was that of a housefly.

I think that's what we're seeing here with Andrew. He was never very good at interacting with people so he turned to books. He never seemed capable of controlling his own life or having power over others, so he sought out media that helped him escape to a world of fantasy, and amassed knowledge from books with powerful magic spells that he could use to attain power and control over his environment.

Completely oblivious to the fact that the fault was not in his stars but in himself, his efforts at controlling his environment only led to more problems. That's probably about when he ran into Warren & Jonathan for the first time. Sure. Give kudos to Andrew for booksmarts. A for effort and all that, but he's just socially inept, which is Andrew's Achilles' heel... or shin splint as the case may be.

[> [> Ditto this. -- HonorH, 22:54:02 11/16/02 Sat

Yes, Andrew's smart. He's probably got a very high IQ. When it comes to people, though, he's a dunce. He's got the emotional maturity of a two-year-old, and he's stunted morally.

The true division among the Geeks was this: Warren was a sociopath, lacking feeling for any human except himself. Andrew was deeply immature and tended to cling to anything that made him feel special--like demon summoning, or Warren. Jonathan, while socially inept, was able to grow emotionally and had empathy for his fellow human beings.

[> [> [> Agree with all things said above -- Finn Mac Cool, 06:57:53 11/17/02 Sun

If anything, "Conversations With Dead People" reinforced Andrew's dismal abilities to interact with the real world. I never denied any of this. However, I just seem to see a lot of descriptions of Andrew that describe him simply as an idiot without clarifying, so I thought I'd bring this up.

P.S. I've suspected before that Andrew may be either partially autistic or partially schizophrenic, but what I know about those two conditions isn't that vast. Can anyone tell me if this suspicion is valid or not?

[> [> [> [> Different forms of intelligence... -- KdS, 07:20:58 11/17/02 Sun

There's quite a bit of speculation at the moment about different forms of intelligence. One scheme that seems to be colonising pop psychology (and works well with Andrew) differentiates between intellectual intelligence (IQ) and a form of "emotional intelligence (EQ)" which is described as the ability to empathise with other people, predict their behaviour, communicate feelings etc. By this system Andrew would be the textbook case of someone with high IQ but zero EQ.

As far as specific mental diagnoses go, I'm no expert, but I would say that Andrew is definitely not schizophrenic. He fairly clearly seems to be in the same consensus physical reality as everyone else - he's not hallucinating or delusional in the sense of having clearly false beliefs about the external world. Right now he's seeing things and hearing voices, but this is the Buffyverse, remember :-) His emotional immaturity, social ineptness and preoccupation with trivia do seem to suggest a certain level of autistic tendencies, although I would say the same thing about Fred (less extreme than Andrew, but still noticeable).

[> [> [> [> [> Labelling Andrew -- LadyStarlight, 07:47:42 11/17/02 Sun

If I had to label Andrew as anything other than 'inept', I'd probably go with Asperger's Syndrome; a high-functioning form of Autism.

From the Centre for the Study of Autism:

lucid speech before age 4 years; grammar and vocabulary are usually very good
speech is sometimes stilted and repetitive
voice tends to be flat and emotionless
conversations revolve around self

obsessed with complex topics, such as patterns, weather, music, history, etc.
often described as eccentric
I.Q.'s fall along the full spectrum, but many are in the above normal range in verbal ability and in the below average range in performance abilities.
many have dyslexia, writing problems, and difficulty with mathematics
lack common sense
concrete thinking (versus abstract)

movements tend to be clumsy and awkward
odd forms of self-stimulatory behavior
sensory problems appear not to be as dramatic as those with other forms of autism
socially aware but displays inappropriate reciprocal interaction

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Labelling Andrew -- Blood Luvin Girl, 07:54:26 11/17/02 Sun

I have an older brother with Asperger's Syndrome. He's very intillegent, but sucks with any social interactions. Most people can't even tell that he has it. It takes getting to know him to realise that he's different.

With knowing my brother so well, I could easily see Andrew suffering from Asperger's Syndrome.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Labelling Andrew -- Tyreseus, 14:18:34 11/17/02 Sun

I have a younger brother with Asperger's Syndrome as well. Definately similar to Andrew at times.

I wonder if this was a particular choice on the part of ME (maybe one of them has personal experience with Asperger's). It's not a very commonly known condition. Of course, we could just be reading into a character who was created by ME from their observations of different types of people and they never made a conscious choice to have him afflicted with Asperger's.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Hope I don't have to say this but... -- KdS, 09:52:48 11/17/02 Sun

Note that Andrew's amorality *cannot* be explained by his Aspieness, if he actually does have it. Various sources on the condition say that people with Asperger's Syndrome are rarely guilty of violent crime and often have very rigid codes of personal morality.

Sorry if it's unneccessary, but I have friends and family with various intermittent mental conditions and I get very upset when the uneducated assume everyone with a diagnosed mental condition is a psycho-killer.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> It has been heavily implied on the show. . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:14:56 11/17/02 Sun

That Andrew would not be in the same position he is now, ethically speaking, if it weren't for the influence of Warren. At the beginning of Season Six, Andrew came down very clearly against killing Buffy in order to get the M'Fashnik demon off their backs. It was only later, after several months of hanging around with a sociopath, being slowly dragged in to a life of crime, and unwittingly becoming an acomplice to murder, that Andrew started to do become more violent.

If Andrew does have Asperger's Syndrome, or some other form of autism, I agree it can't be directly linked to his evil behaviour. However, I think it did lead to being generally cut off from most of society, and this mixture of aloneness and lack of social interaction made him more easily influenced by Warren.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Hope I don't have to say this but... -- LadyStarlight, 10:17:18 11/17/02 Sun

That thought hadn't even occured to me. Apologies if I suggested that.

The only reason I thought of Asperger's Syndrom was that from what I'd read on the subject (mostly layperson stuff), Andrew seemed to have some of the symptoms.

I don't think of people who are afflicted with mental illnesses as 'psycho-killers'.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Don't worry, Milady -- KdS, 12:42:53 11/17/02 Sun

More a preemptive rebuttal than an accusation against anyone who'd already posted.

[> [> [> [> [> Well, there was that one time. . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:23:07 11/17/02 Sun

In "Life Serial" when the Trio were talking about the X- Files, and he said "Scully wants me." So he's at least a little delusional, I'd say.

[> [> [> [> [> Agree with Kd's take; Autistic/"Idiot Sevant" type.... -- Briar Rose, 14:34:22 11/17/02 Sun

Actually I have read a lot of psyche lit that tends to state there has always been a coalation between highly intelligent people and fixations on occult and fantasy. The reasons have been given as everything from boredom with the status quo to truly empowered energy that they learn how to manipulate. (All depends on the researcher and the agenda they are pushing, doesn't it really?*L)

And it is true that there are different kinds of intelligence. You can be book smart and socially inept, you can have good old horse sense and not a lick of scholarly indentified intelligence and you can be gifted empathetically but useless in anything that has to do with common sense or formal education.

I sort of see Andrew as "The Perfect Eating Machine" he has the wits and intelligence to latch onto whomever he thinks will feed him emotionally, physically and financially. That was Warren. And it takes a special kind of natoive intelligence to do that lifestyle. Besides, the TRULY brilliant are capable of finding ways to make others do the actual work for them and they get the creamy nougat at the end. Andrew has always used his seeming lack of mental gifts to get out of the actual work by appearing incompetent while always being a least one step ahead of the plans needs and expected outcomes. MOO.

Another thought on Dawn and Joyce: (7.7 spoilers) -- HonorH, 22:49:31 11/16/02 Sat

Thought on Dawn: I've been going at my analyses from the pov that "Joyce" was the BBW. Well, what if she's not? What if she's learned something she needed to tell Dawn, and something really was trying to keep her from delivering the message? We've already had a Summers sisters estrangement, and I don't think they'll repeat.

What I think is this: Willow will come home, find Dawn sobbing on the floor, and they'll talk. Dawn will tell her there was a demon, but she won't tell about Joyce. As they're cleaning up, though, Willow will tell Dawn about her experience with "Cassie". Dawn will then admit that "Joyce" talked to her. Upon hearing what Joyce said, Willow will tell Dawn it couldn't have been her--it must've been the BBW again, messing with Dawn. They'll cry, they'll hug, and Dawn, though upset that she didn't really see her mother, will be relieved to hear that the prophecy was a fake. No problems, and she and Buffy hug when Buffy gets home from investigating Spike's recent shenanigans.

Only Joyce was real, and when things come down, Dawn and Buffy *are* caught on opposite sides. Could be very interesting, no?

[> I'll agree Halfway In. -- Harry Parachute (Yes, still drunk), 01:15:44 11/17/02 Sun

I'll side with you on the Willow/Dawn talk. Willow will do her best to convince Dawn that Joyce was just a manifestation of the BBW, and Dawn will do her best to believe her. It's the rational thing to believe, after all.

But...and I'm saying this at the risk of angering the Dawn Defenders...Dawn is ultimately not the most rational of the bunch.

She's young. She's innocent. She's romantic.

She'll so desperately want to believe that it was her mother that her distrust of Buffy will grow. I haven't seen S6 for the most part, so I can't comment on it or how much the sistery estrangement has been played out.

I will say that there have been some hints this season that Dawn and Buffy will have an ugly confrontation and that Dawn has shown some real creepiness so far.

There's her cold anger with Buffy in "Beneath You" about the omission that Spike was back, along with the extremely eerie "You're gonna wake up on fire" stare-down.

There's the morbidness in "Same Time, Same Place" with the research of Gnarl.

There's the "You were the one I trusted" comment in "Him"

There's the gruesome and wrathful image of her blood-filled mouth casting out the Poltergeist in CWDP.

...However, this is all coming from the position that Joyce really was the BBW, which I defended in my "Insane Theory" post below. So, if Joyce really was the BBW, then this prophecy holds no weight at all. If and when it comes about, it's my opinion that it will be a self-fulfilling one that works on Dawn's innocent and ever-hopeful disposition.

In my post below I half-jokingly suggested that Buffy would be the one to go all black-eyed veiny. The more I think (and drink) about it, the more I'm of the opinion that Dawn's gonna be the problem child.

Maybe we're in store for a Hell of a lot more than mere estrangement this season. *shrug*

[> [> That is another possibility. -- HonorH, 11:04:10 11/17/02 Sun

I agree that Dawn could hear and try to believe Willow. It could result in her trying extra-hard to be a good sister to Buffy, even. But I could see "Joyce's" words ultimately having a powerful impact on her, no matter how hard she tries to believe they weren't true.

Doing some number thinking (* spoilers up to 7.6 and speculation*) -- Alvin, 05:25:05 11/17/02 Sun

I thought it odd that Jonathon would blurt out his locker combination in CWDP (36,19,27) so I looked at what episodes they were. #19 is Lie to Me which ends with Buffy in a graveyard to kill Ford, a former friend that has been turned into a vampire by Spike. Now #27 is Phases and #36 is Faith, Hope, and Trick. At the moment, I'm drawing a blank on how those two apply. The only other werewolf reference I can think of is from Lessons where the female zombie complains that she was torn apart by a werewolf, and I'm at a loss as to FH&T. Also going back to Lessons, it's interesting that Morphy as Adam calls Spike #17 instead of Hostile 17. Episode #17 is Reptile Boy. At the moment I haven't even convinced myself that there's something to it, but if a werewolf or another slayer show up, I think numbers mentioned do refer to earlier episodes whose plots are being revisted. Of course now that I think about it, we did see possible new slayers at the beginning of Lessons and BY. Maybe we'll finally get back to that plotline. Now all I need is a werewolf....

random thought 7.7 spoilerish re: the duo -- jojo, 06:56:39 11/17/02 Sun

did i imagine it or did jonathan & andrew make reference to 'from beneth you it devours', right at the start, in spanish. sorry if this has been brought up before, been away a while

[> The answer is Yes. -- Finn Mac Cool, 07:02:23 11/17/02 Sun

Though they incorrectly translated it as "It eats you starting at your bottom."

My Two Dads (yet another Speculation season 7) -- neaux, 07:03:05 11/17/02 Sun

Ok... If you wonder where I'm going with the Television title... you need to twist it a bit. just a "Lil Bit"

and you Get My Two Dawns.

Please forgive me if someone else has mentioned this on the board, but since almost everyone is convinced the big bad is a Mighty morphin power ranger
Why not transform into another Dawn?

Buffy then must choose between two Dawns. Joyce's prophecy would be correct. But here it gets tricky.

The end can play out in two ways from this point.

A. Buffy must choose which Dawn to Save/Kill. Buffy does not choose the Real Dawn to Save and Kills Real Dawn.. and then the whole TV audience feels sad and crappy, but at least avoids the typical TV cliche of picking the right one.

B. Buffy chooses to Kill the Bad Dawn.. therefore NOT choosing the Real Dawn and still fullfilling Joyce's prophecy and everyone lives happily ever after.

ok.. third scenario. The Fake Dawn has a Goatee.

anyway, lets pray this speculation doesnt happen.

[> Re: My Two Dads (yet another Speculation season 7) -- chuk_38, 15:06:50 11/17/02 Sun

ah, but part A might work out really well, the whole getting it wrong and making the situation worse, just look at the time travelling farscape episode with the nuns and the war. that went all kablooey, but was one of the best farscape eps imo :)

but still, we cant kill dawn, well maybe just a little :)

[> but so far... -- anom, 21:46:04 11/17/02 Sun looks like Meta-Morphy can only appear in the form of people who've died, & Dawn hasn't. Hmm, maybe that's to avoid confusion btwn. it & the real thing--since there's always the chance Buffy (or whoever) will guess right, or figure it out, like Willow did w/Cassie.

Arizonans, the first basketball disaster of the season... -- Cactus Watcher, 08:33:22 11/17/02 Sun

Although this morning's Arizona Republic TV magazine shows Buffy at its regular time this week, a quick check of the Sun's schedule in the sports section shows, basketball will be on instead. says we, in AZ, won't get the next episode till 9:00 PM next Saturday. Sigh.

At least once last year, a later broadcast time was changed so keep a watch on the listings.

[> I hope they don't pull stunts like this... -- Sophie, 08:46:57 11/17/02 Sun

when I'm out visitin' Arizona in January. Maybe I should plan on bribing my roomie to set my VCR for those two new eps... Was planning to take a blank VCR tape and record on my parents VCR so that I can watch them in a timely fashion!


OT/PS: My parents say "Zonies" rather than "Arizonans".

[> [> Re: I hope they don't pull stunts like this... -- CW, 09:36:30 11/17/02 Sun

There are often reruns in January, so maybe you'll get lucky.

Zonies? Well, I guess there are worse names. Few people you meet here are actually from here. So it's harder to accidentally insult someone using the wrong word than in most other places.

[> Now that is just plain rude. It's happened to me too..... -- Deb, 10:15:25 11/17/02 Sun

[> Re: Only once?? -- Silky, 15:20:13 11/17/02 Sun

In Southeastern Wisconsin last spring (Jan - May) we saw Buffy at its correct time maybe 3 times - almost every week we had to sit and watch the end of the stupid Bucks game and wait for Buffy to come on. Couldn't even set the VCR because you could never be sure when the game would end. We complained.

This year - only 2 episodes will be pre-empted all season. Hmmm. Maybe complaining helped...

[> Basketball already? Does it never end...? -- Wisewoman, 15:54:49 11/17/02 Sun

I just barely got over a houseful of baseball addiction! (Thank the PTB he doesn't watch hockey...I'd never get control of the remote!)

grrrr. arrrrrgh. ;o)

End of All Things (more season 7 speculation) -- Gachnar, 08:49:18 11/17/02 Sun

Some thoughts on possible events this season:

1. Sometime soon the BBW will be able to manifest itself physically.
2. The BBW will want to all reality.
3. In an attempt to prevent the BBW from acquiring an artifact needed to bring about reality's end, Willow will take command of the four elements and attack the BBW. However, Buffy unknowingly protects the BBW and gives the artifact to the BBW.
4. In an attempt to infiltrate the Spirit Guides, the BBW will impersonate one of the Scoobies.
5. Olaf's Hammer will making another appearance as Buffy goes up against the BBW.
6. The BBW was once one of the Powers That Be. It is tired of keeping the balance and seeks to change it.
7. The BBW will initially want to use Spike to create a vampire army and possibly steal his soul.
8. The BBW will sense the Power of the Key in Dawn and seek to gain it for it's own use, dropping it's plans for Spike in the process.
9. In the physical form of a friend, the BBW will befriend Dawn and possibly convince her to move out of the Summers home.
10. During an attack by a demon horde, Dawn will access the power of the Key to protect everyone.
11. Dawn will not want the power of the Key, and allows it to be passed on to her new friend - the BBW.
12. Once the BBW has the Key's power, it will reveal itself.
13. D'Hoffryn will try to stop the BBW but be destroyed.
14. The BBW, with Key powers, will challenge the Powers That Be and possibly turn some to it's cause.
15. In the final climactic battle, the BBW and the Powers That Be will choose their champions for the fate of all reality. Spike will be fighting for TPTB and Buffy will be fighting for the BBW.

[> CwDP has prompted so much speculation I feel I must chime in (spoilers to 7.7) -- Tyreseus, 14:01:00 11/17/02 Sun

I've been trying to avoid the over-speculation thing because, as masq said, we're more out to sea after this episode than we usually are. The clues are there, but they could point in so many different directions.

So here are my two "insane trollop theories"

1. The BBW is actually an insurance company exec. After 7 years of raising premiums on life insurance, health insurance, property insurance, commercial business insurance, car insurance, and even attack by large spider- demon insurance - they're simply still losing their asses on pay-outs to Sunnydale residents who are making record numbers of claims. So one executive, swamped by the unbelievable case load of claims, just loses it and decides to end the world. (Imagine how many claims must have been made just at the beginning on season 6 when the biker demons wrought havok on Sunnydale) Using the unbelievable amount of personal information he has garnered from his investigations into Sunnydale-Weirdness-Related cases, he becomes the morphing BBW and forms a plan to destroy the world.

2. The BBW is Buffy's dad. Clues: Buffy talked about him again in CwDP, he's been missing forever (not even counting Weight of the World (flashback) and Normal Again (false reality)) and notably since Joyce's death, Dawn has no real memory of him and when Buffy is forced to "choose" between her real father and her "created" sister she is torn... Buffy has also lost the father figure of Giles and we could have some real daddy-needing emotional fun. Besides, after 7 seasons, there are definately some unanswered questions about this dead-beat dad who has played no role in his kid's/kids' lives for so long. Did the monks implant Dawn memories into him? Does he even know who Dawn is?

Okay, so I'm not really buying either of my theories either, but hey, as long as we're all speculating.

[> [> Dawn's Dad -- Sergio, 14:53:44 11/17/02 Sun

In Bargaining I, Willow and Dawn tell the Buffybot not to answer the phone because they are expecting a call from Dawn's father. For some reason Dawn is afraid she'll be forced to go to LA to live with dad.

[> [> [> Re: Dawn's Dad -- Tyreseus, 15:05:16 11/17/02 Sun

Yeah, Dawn remembers her father. But I still wonder if her father knows who she is. We've never heard as much from his mouth.

[> [> My Own Bizarro Theory -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:49:05 11/17/02 Sun

The Shapeshifter is the physical representation of fan obsession.

Let's think about it:

In "Lessons", when it imitates the previous Big Bads, it recycles dialouge they used before in a slightly tweaked format. This strikes me as oddly similar to what happens in a lot of fanfiction.

In this episode, it also espouses the line that "it's not about right, it's not about wrong". From my experience online, the fan community always seems to try to make Buffy the Vampire Slayer grayer than the writers originally intended.

In "Selfless", the Shapeshifter appears to Spike as white- shirt-Buffy. All of its behaviour here is practically an S/B shipper's wet dream.

In "Conversations With Dead People", it takes the form of Cassie because fans had been saying that Cassie was too cool for ME not to use again.

Lastly, with all the talk about meta-narraration this season, it might be oddly fitting that the Big Bad is the ULTIMATE form of meta-narrarating.

Perhaps this season will be about Buffy and the Scooby Gang thwarting fan obsession and expectation personified in the Shapeshifter and taking on their true roles.

[> [> [> By George, I think he's got it... - - KdS, 03:36:40 11/18/02 Mon

We are the Big Bad!


My analysis of "Conversations with Dead People" is up -- Masquerade, 10:19:22 11/17/02 Sun


Some observations, some guess work, some assumptions. Heck, if I'm wrong, I'll just change it.

I'm off to par-tay now. Cake, ice cream, tributes to the goddess Yeska. And the yummiest part, new salty AtS goodness!

[> PS there are partial October archives up now... -- Masq, 10:32:46 11/17/02 Sun

They just aren't being linked to yet for some reason.

Go here:

[> [> And partial November as well . . . -- d'Herblay, 14:55:42 11/17/02 Sun


[> Wow! Brilliant! Thank you! -- ZachsMind, 10:34:43 11/17/02 Sun

You took several paragraphs of my rambling and condensed what I was trying to say into one concise single paragraph. Kudos! Remind me to contact you about the possibility of being my editor should I ever get around to that Great American Novel I've always been meaning to get around to writing. One of the many things that makes me a terrible writer is that I seem incapable of brevity. Oh, and thanks for letting me be a part of it. That was fun! =)

[> Happy Birthday to you...hope the whole conjuring Yeska thing works out for ya! ;) -- LadyStarlight, 10:37:39 11/17/02 Sun

[> Wait, come back Masq! Something's wrong... -- Wisewoman, 15:36:37 11/17/02 Sun

That link only takes me to the analysis of "Him" and when I go to your episode index the link to "Conversations with Death People" takes me to "Him" as well...what am I doing wrong?


[> [> I think it's your "cache" -- Masq, 15:45:04 11/17/02 Sun

People tell me this all the time, and I think it has to do with your computer or browser pulling up a previous version of the page. All I know to do in that instance is reload the page.

[> [> [> Thanks! That worked. -- ;o), 15:51:26 11/17/02 Sun

[> Re: My analysis of "Conversations with Dead People" is up -- frisby, 20:57:55 11/17/02 Sun

Very good work as usual. But whatever are you going to do with the Angel 4.7 episode? Talk of hyperbole! And what is yet to come????

Buffy and Willow in 'Fear Itself' (spoiler for S4.4 and very minor spoilers for S6 and 7.7) -- Sang, 12:04:15 11/17/02 Sun

While I was watching Fear Itself re-run at WB, I realized that this early episod of S4 shows almost exact miniature version of S6 confrontation (sans violance) and Buffy's superior feeling to her friends.

Below is the scene from "Fear Itself".

Buffy: "Will, I'm telling you..."
Willow: "You're telling me? You're telling me?!?"
Buffy: "I can't do my job if I have to worry about each of your safety."
Willow: "It's not your decision!"
Buffy: "Got to disagree with you there."
Willow: "Oh, of course you do."
Xander: "Let's all take a breath. Buffy, maybe..."
Willow: "Being the Slayer doesn't automatically make you boss. You're as lost as the rest of us."
Oz: "What are we talking about?"
Willow: "It's a simple incantation, a guiding spell for travelers when they become lost or disoriented."
Buffy: "And how does it work?"
Willow: "It conjures an emissary from the beyond that : lights the way."
Buffy: "Conjuring. Will, let's be realistic here. Okay, your basic spells are usually only fifty-fifty."
Willow upset: "Oh yeah? Well, - so is your face!"
Willow walks off while Buffy tries to figure out what that meant:
"What?! (Walks after Willow) What does that mean?"
Willow turns around: "I'm not your sidekick!"

[> Re: Buffy and Willow in 'Fear Itself' (spoiler for S4.4 and very minor spoilers for S6 and 7.7) -- Rook, 23:21:20 11/17/02 Sun

This is the same fight the scoobs have had over and over, starting with WttH/The Harvest:

The Harvest:

Xander: So, what's the plan? We saddle up, right?
Buffy: There's no 'we', okay? I'm the Slayer, and you're not.
Xander: I knew you'd throw that back in my face.
Buffy: Xander, this is deeply dangerous.
Xander: I'm inadequate. That's fine. I'm less than a man


BUFFY: Look, this is Slayer stuff, okay? Could we have just a little less from the civilians, please?

The Yoko Factor:

Willow: Look, I'm not the one being judgmental here. I'll leave that territory to you and Buffy.

Buffy: Judgmental? If I was anymore open-minded about the choices you two make my whole brain would fall out!

Xander: (to Willow) Oh! And superior. Don't forget that. (to Buffy) Just because you're better than us doesn't mean that you can be all superior!

He walks past her and crosses his arms as he leans against a cabinet dresser behind her.

Buffy: You guys, stop this! What happened to you today?

Willow: It's not today! Buffy, things have been wrong for a while! Don't you see that?

Buffy: What do you mean wrong?

Willow: Well, they certainly haven't been right, since Tara. We have to face it. You can't handle Tara being my girlfriend.

Xander: No! It was bad before that! (he steps out in between them again) Since you two went off to college and forgot about me! Just left me in the basement to-- (turns on Willow in shock) Tara's your girlfriend?

Giles: (from upstairs) Bloody hellll!

Buffy: Enough! All I know is you want to help, right? Be part of the team?

Willow and Xander shake their heads, grumbling.

Willow: (unison) I don't know anymore.

Xander: (unison) Really not wanted.

Buffy: (raising her voice) No! No, you said you wanted to go. So let's go! All of us. We'll walk into that cave with you two attacking me and the funny drunk drooling on my shoe! Hey! Hey, maybe that's the secret way of killing Adam?!

Xander: Buffy . . .

Buffy: (hurt and angry) Is that it? Is that how you can help? (a beat) You're not answering me! How can you possibly help?

They don't reply and turn their eyes away from her. She regards them silently for a moment.

Buffy: (somberly) So . . . I guess I'm starting to understand why there's no ancient prophecy about a Chosen One . . and her friends.

Voynak Ate My Thread -- Haecceity, 12:12:26 11/17/02 Sun

Leading one to immediately wonder…
A.) Voynok—singular? as in…”Hey! That voynok ate my thread!” Plural? As in…”Hey! Those voynok ate my thread!” One singular sensation? As in…”Hey! What’s up with Voynok? Has he been eating threads again?”
B.) Will I ever get that kid from Monster Squad’s whiny little voice, “Monster stole my (don’t remember the noun—blankie? food item?)” out of my head?

Despite my best efforts,
“Big Ticking Bomb Clock” “’24’ Parallels?”
I couldn’t get to the board in time to post to my now- archived thread, so I’m starting another. Fair warning, these are Really Freaking Long. Have been wondering, in fact, if they might be Too Long. (Is that a thing on the board? Don’t remember seeing anything about it, but could’ve missed the most obvious of guidelines.)

See, there was this storm last night…
That knocked out all the power. But had loads of candles, 2 freshly charged batteries for the laptop, lots of Tom Waits- ness for the Discman…
(Now there’s a scene for Firefly—writing e-mail by lantern light.)
…and with nothing else to do, just kept on wagontraining, er, writing.


[> Dark Sides, Dark Nights: Belated(Really Freaking Long)Reply to Shadowkat, Part One(Spoilers, S5-7) -- Haecceity, 12:15:43 11/17/02 Sun


Right there with you on the Freud thing.

As for being a comic book geek---I aspire to such a state. I wasn’t big into them as a kid, but when I noticed that some of my favourite, favourite authors (Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman) were writing for comics, I thought I’d look into the genre. So I started reading Sandman, and things have never been the same. Now I’m going back to grad school (starting January, just got my acceptance letter today!) for a Master’s in Visual Narrative, and will be studying comics as a part of the program. (Have been considering doing my thesis on extended narrative arcs in visual narrative forms, hence my adoration of BtVS)

Re: Literal/Metaphorical Meanings and Exploring our Dark Sides

“We can be grateful for our enemies, for their darkness allows us to escape our own.” --Jung

Why BtVS is powerful and provocative and very, very important—the “enemies”, i.e. various demons, vamps, BBs (or, conversely and more humorously—Mutant Enemy/ies) make (will make) each character face the darkness in her/himself and come to some sort of mutually satisfactory pact with each other. Come to think of it, a recognized and well- integrated dark side would function quite a lot like late Season 5 Spike---all energizing “Big Bad” bravado, good in a fight but harmless to the Self, and dependably sharp at reading complex situations and pointing out important truths.

Trouble is, our shadow side doesn’t come equipped with a handy dandy government chip to make it harmless and more easily approachable. Nor is there an owner’s handbook. The exploration of one’s dark side is a frightening concept that I haven’t yet found a great definition/recipe for. Does it mean mere acknowledgement? Or is there some sort of action that must be taken? I think this is where people get confused on the whole “Explore your dark side” advice. Is explore a literal or metaphorical verb? Checking the box that says “sometimes I wonder what it would be like to kill people” doesn’t equal checking the box that says “sometimes I like to kill people.” Though generally I think just asking this question wigs people. (Except maybe florists ;)

We are a creative species, and we recognize the power of the imagination, so I think we associate think/act in a causal manner. When you factor powerful emotions like fear and desire into that equation, it is understandable that we oftentimes try to avoid altogether the possibility of finding out what we are capable of.

I think dark urges are evolutionary leftovers. Capabilities we once needed that have gone unused, buried by changing social dictums. But still there, primal and almost unrecognizable, now that we act in other ways. (First Slayer, anybody? And notice how Buffy dealt with her? By confusing her, then declaring that she (Buffy) would ignore her until she (First Slayer) went away. Methinks the seeds for Buffy’s current problems lie in her refusing to deal with the source of her shadow side at the end of Restless. Notice how much more she’s been playing “The Slayer” since she’s come back?)

“Is last year about the exploration of the dark urges and this year about becoming conscious of these urges, comprehending them, and emerging from them whole?”-- Shadowkat

I think so. Teaching us how to deal with different aspects of ourselves is one of the primary functions of Art, and I think all of Joss’s shows are very good at letting us explore our own feelings through the intermediaries of his complex, incredibly “human” characters. (Terribly funny that two of his *most* complexly multi-faceted characters, the ones we readily identify with---Angel, Spike--- are vampires.)

Shadowkat wrote:

“Lots of people react to the following statement in the literal sense and get offended:
’Explore your dark side. Acknowledge and become conscious of the dark urges.’
They think we mean that someone should literally go out and explore what it's like to do nasty things. Uhm no. That's not it. Although must admit there are a few posts I've seen on the boards that make me wonder if the poster doesn't mean it in this way.”

Well, there do seem to be a lot of demons on this board. ;)

“Is that what Season 5 was about - duality: normal girl vs. slayer girl, robot vs. human, prom queen vs med student cool guy...Is Dawn - the metaphorical return? Makes me remember April's last words in IWMTLY - "It's always darkest before the Dawn."—Shadowkat

Well, I think duality is what every season is about. Duality seems to be the major theme in many, many hero stories (like every comic book hero who wears a mask, ever), and I think the reason for this stems from that difficulty in understanding dark sides we just discussed. The greatness of Season 5, though, lies (IMO, anyway) in it’s exploration of the duties we assign to, the sacrifices we demand/expectations we have of heroes.

Buffy and the role of the hero:

Much has been written of heroes battling demons, but what of that other demon haunting the hero?
Our (audience/society) expectations. We expect the hero to travel through tragedy, hardships, and we expect them to handle it heroically.

“You’re the hero, get over your griefs, fight the demons, save us. And once the day is saved, go away, end the story. We don’t want the everyday, aging, normal human side of a hero. (The example that leaps to mind is the treatment of Vietnam soldiers in films vs. the treatment of RL Vietnam vets during the late ‘80s. Oh we loved those films of beautiful boys dying for who-knows-what, but we certainly weren’t terribly interested in the survivors.) We like to see normal people become heroes, but we don’t care about the normal everyday actions/mundane life of a hero. We don’t want them to be ordinary humans. They are supposed to BE their role.

Buffy is guilty of this too, in her reaction as conflicted Slayer. She fights hard against the “Not Fair!”-ness of being Chosen, and as a result has idealized the world of the “Normal Girl”—hasn’t seen clearly/acknowledged the day-to- day difficulties of being nothing but normal with no super powers to help her through things---witness Buffy’s total comfort walking alone, anywhere, at night---a freedom few normal girls ever experience---because she knows that with her powers she can handle anything that might threaten her. Up to her return (with, perhaps, the exception of her mother’s human death), Buffy’s never been held truly accountable to the Real World, faced the consequences of being normal, thus flawed, weak, un-Chosen. The real point of Jonathon’s speech in Earshot—those who haven’t looks/athleticism (Super Powers) to fall back on can only do the best they can with what they do have.

Everyday people are resentful of any whining (justified or no) from heroes. So too for being forced to see the ordinary problems of heroes—“You can’t be ordinary, because I am not extraordinary. We are not the same! You are our chosen. You get super powers because we expect you to carry the “Weight of the World”, without complaint. That is your duty, your privilege, and your price.”

Is it any wonder that Spike has sensed a death-wish in these girls? They are servants to humanity—missing out on so many of our more quiet joys. They do not get to keep long any happiness they may earn. Everything is up for sacrifice to the needs of the society that chose them. They shoulder the tragedy so we don’t have to, their short lives delegated to a world of blood and terror. In this light, society might be the greatest vampire of them all.

Buffy’s Death: A hero’s sacrifice as giving the bird to society.
Slayers all have an expiration date on the package. Sooner or later they die, preferably while saving the world from total disaster, or at least a really nasty bad, but often as not (so Spike asserts) in giving up their lives willingly, too tired/disillusioned to go on. Since day one Buffy has been told that her Slayer duties come before her life. Of course, they refer to her ‘personal life’ mostly, but down to brass tacks Buffy is a martyr-hero who must be willing to give up everything she holds dear to save the world. Which, despite a few squabbles and lots of tears, she does. (Seasons 1-3, certainly. In 4 she’s off to college, and like so many, begins to see new possibilities)
But Season 5 asks how much pain do our heroes need to take to satisfy us? The loss of her mother, the threatened destruction of her sister (a personified duty thrust upon her, but a girl she has come to love as part of herself), a god she cannot match, an unstoppable apocalypse looming, and a society who, okay, feels sorry for her, but keeps asking what she’s going to do to solve everything. The world has wrenched the things she loves away from her one by one …
(Note that this doesn’t include her friends, who are becoming more and more important to her as time passes. This is because her friends ARE society, they are us to a great degree, and are most often the ones to express society’s wishes to Buffy. More on this later.)
…but we (through “logic”, “necessity”) go too far, we ask her to give up her most cherished desire when we tell her the way out is to kill Dawn, the innocent normal girl part of herself. We demand that she stop wishing to be normal. To us she is only allowed to be the Slayer. We expect her to give in.

But Buffy is stubborn. Buffy will win. The brilliance of this show is that it plays so powerfully with our expectations and Buffy’s desires.

(And the meta-narration blurs the line between art and audience completely, especially with the interactivity they’ve acknowledged, we’ve sensed--the creators responding to our reactions.)

It is integral to Buffy’s nature to fight not only demons, but authority, and that includes “us”. She says, in effect, okay, I’ll save the world. Again. I’ll make the gesture, but the self I wanted to be will live. I define my heroism. I determine what I will give. And she takes her Slayer Self and dives off the tower, wearing white, offering wise words to those left behind (us). (But Buffy wins. Dawn lives.) And we cry cathartically and exclaim over her greatness, see her refusal to kill Dawn as a greater level of heroism, rejoice in her very useful suicide. Then we bury her beneath a stone that defines her in our terms---Sister, Friend, Daughter--- and praises her highest (to us) quality. She saved us. A lot.

Then we brought her back. Because her friends/society/we weren’t ready to let her go, because our Tuesday nights needed her, because it’s so much easier to have a designated hero than to battle our own demons.

Any wonder she was pissed? But Buffy’s an experienced hero; she knows her “part”… Hello Season Six. The “dark night of the soul”, indeed. But again the dark side of our naked need for heroic heroes. Witness fan reaction to S6--- disappointment with day-to-day tribulations (finances, bad relationships, depression, dead-end job), “fighting HUMANS, for crying out loud!” (not seeing [at first, anyway] that the Troika represented the true horrors of top-of-the-food- chain social predators---our killing of each other, our own dark sides’ ability to destroy us.)

And we raged against her--“What the hell is WRONG with Buffy?” And her friends wondered about her abilities-- “What’s WRONG with Buffy?” And her frustrated animus (having troubles with his own dark side) saw an opportunity to claim her as his own—“You came back WRONG”. And Buffy punished herself for being WRONG, doing WRONG, wanting WRONG.
And the gentle, generous spirit who’d found a balance with her own dark side long before, who’d come through the darkness with a new light, told her—“There’s nothing WRONG with you.”

So Buffy “disconnected” from everything, began trying to put herself back together, quietly. And all of a sudden, everyone else went WRONG. Willow began getting a little darker in every spell. Xander left Anya at the altar, Anya backslid to vengeance demon, Dawn became a thief, Spike had a meltdown, and the Troika became truly evil. And the beautiful soul who’d taught us so much about how to build a strong, transcendent, loving self was killed by humanity’s dark side given free rein.

So Buffy snapped back into “Hero” mode, leaving her fledgling attempts to “find herself” undone. Again. And found herself prevented from rescuing the world, her power as “savior” usurped by Xander, the bumbler, the human, the heart.

In Season Seven, everything’s up for grabs. Including the roles of hero and rescued.

End of Part One

Join me for Part Two, in which I defend Allegory as a favourite art form. And then on to Part Three, in which I actually get back to the point. Then you can beat me with sticks and tell me to WRITE LESS!


[> [> Re: Dark Sides, Dark Nights... -- Sophomorica, munching on chocolate chip cookies, 15:10:41 11/17/02 Sun

I think dark urges are evolutionary leftovers.


Terribly funny that two of his *most* complexly multi- faceted characters, the ones we readily identify with--- Angel, Spike--- are vampires.

See, you don't really.

Everyday people are resentful of any whining (justified or no) from heroes.

No, I hate whining from everybody. I don't see Dawn as a hero, and I can't stand her whining. My apologies to HonorH.

’Explore your dark side. Acknowledge and become conscious of the dark urges.’
They think we mean that someone should literally go out and explore what it's like to do nasty things. Uhm no. That's not it. Although must admit there are a few posts I've seen on the boards that make me wonder if the poster doesn't mean it in this way.”

Well, there do seem to be a lot of demons on this board. ;)

[chokes on cookie] I, uh, mumble mumble...uh.

I suspect that exploring one's dark side, whether figuratively or literally, is necessary for a person to learn about themselves, others, and thus, grow. We have seen Buffy do exactly this. What was that fling with Spike? A primal urge. A piece of her darkness, shadow-self. She treated him like dirt and saw his reactions and responses. She learned about relationships, herself, and grew up a little bit. This is not to say that one should go out and abuse people, but without her acting out her dark side, there would have been nothing to, uh, film.

Is it any wonder that Spike has sensed a death-wish in these girls?

Ann Rice "Interview with a Vampire". Louie had a death wish. When Lestat came to grant it, Louie found that he could only choose immortality as a vampire. Louie quickly discovered a limit of his capacity and dark side – he could not choose death. We know Spike is inclined to give his, uh, victims, "the choice". He gives Willow "the choice" and she chooses death, but fortunately for us?, Spike is unable to bite/kill her. But Spike did not sense any "death wish" in Willow, or if he did, he did so mistakenly. One has to doubt his ability in this arena. This all begs the question: How does a vampire decide to vamp a living person? In the mood? Looking to make a companion? Thought the person was cute? Thought the person would make a good minion? Carry out orders? To vamp someone with a death wish is sort of ironic, as this really puts the person farther from death by making him or her immortal.

[> [> Beautiful analysis of fan reaction to season 6 and season 6. More on Dawn/Jonathan -- shadowkat, 17:23:35 11/17/02 Sun

This was truly wonderful.

What I love most about this post is it crystallized some of my own thoughts regarding how we view heros in our society.

You’re the hero, get over your griefs, fight the demons, save us. And once the day is saved, go away, end the story. We don’t want the everyday, aging, normal human side of a hero. (The example that leaps to mind is the treatment of Vietnam soldiers in films vs. the treatment of RL Vietnam vets during the late ‘80s. Oh we loved those films of beautiful boys dying for who-knows-what, but we certainly weren’t terribly interested in the survivors.) We like to see normal people become heroes, but we don’t care about the normal everyday actions/mundane life of a hero. We don’t want them to be ordinary humans. They are supposed to BE their role.

Buffy is guilty of this too, in her reaction as conflicted Slayer. She fights hard against the “Not Fair!”-ness of being Chosen, and as a result has idealized the world of the “Normal Girl”—hasn’t seen clearly/acknowledged the day-to- day difficulties of being nothing but normal with no super powers to help her through things---witness Buffy’s total comfort walking alone, anywhere, at night---a freedom few normal girls ever experience---because she knows that with her powers she can handle anything that might threaten her. Up to her return (with, perhaps, the exception of her mother’s human death), Buffy’s never been held truly accountable to the Real World, faced the consequences of being normal, thus flawed, weak, un-Chosen. The real point of Jonathon’s speech in Earshot—those who haven’t looks/athleticism (Super Powers) to fall back on can only do the best they can with what they do have.

And yet in Helpless in Season 3, Buffy is forced to be the normal girl. Unable to fight the demons with her superstrength she must use her wits. So even without the superstrength? Buffy is forced to be the hero. There's really no escape.

I find it interesting how much of the fan base adores Jonathan. Jonathan represents the weak normal guy who couldn't fight off the bullies but always wanted to, who wanted to date the popular girl but was never asked, who didn't have that many friends, and well the ordinary everyman if you will. Dawn is actually in a lot of ways, ironically enough, the female counterpart of Jonathan. Odd how many fans claim Dawn is whiny yet love Jonathan. Personally I always viewed it the opposite way around, Jonathan always seemed far more whiney and self-pitying to me and for far less reason. (But I appear to be in a minority of one on this point, so I figure it's just a personal thing.)

Anyways - Dawn and Jonathan more than Xander or Willow or Cordelia are the ordinary/joe normals. The kids who wish and dream of being the superheros, who think it's a picnic and play with the weaponery. And fantasize about what it is like.

Dawn fears her sister will turn away from her, won't save her. Yet in Conversations works to save her mother with a spell. Just as Jonathan works to redeem himself with the SG by uncovering the seal. One wonders if both caused more harm than good with their innocent attempts to be the hero?
For Dawn - it's just a game playing hero alone in her house, while her sister is outside really fighting the vampire. Dawn envies her sisters atheletic ability, super-powers and hero's life - yet, her sister? envies dawn's.
Her sister literally died so that the normal part of her could live.

Come to think of it, a recognized and well-integrated dark side would function quite a lot like late Season 5 Spike---all energizing “Big Bad” bravado, good in a fight but harmless to the Self, and dependably sharp at reading complex situations and pointing out important truths.

Interesting. Hadn't thought of that. But it's so true. Spike is the tame shadowself with the chip. But when the chip no longer works towards the self - he becomes frustrated animus, thinking the self has something wrong with it and tries to claim it for his own. And the self almost lets him. Then horrified at what it almost did?
Does the opposite extreem rejects him entirely sending the animus reeling into a complete meltdown. To survive the animus hunts it's own self separate from Buffy and returns fractured and insane. Parts of it reeling out of control and others barely kept in check. Tucked in the basement of the boiling pit of the self. Is that what the basement of Sunnydale and the thing that resides there represents?
The boiling pit of fear, doubt, pain, etc in our subconscious selves? (shrug)

At any rate - I loved your response.

[> In Defense of Allegory: Reply to Shadowkat, Part Two (All Spoiler-free) -- Haecceity, 12:18:29 11/17/02 Sun

“And as Burgess aptly states in his forward to A Clockwork Orange - if a character is not transformed in some way at the end of the story - the story is not much more than an allegory.”---Shadowkat

In an example of exquisite irony, the term Allegory doesn’t actually mean what we’ve come to think it means. Its name has been abducted by that rascal Parable, that fiend Moral Lesson, its meaning stretched thin and ill-fitting over their bloated Victorian forms, then (as of late) torn and patched scattily…
(a word? Or trying to cheat at Scrabble?*[From Eddie Izzard, the “Emperor Fabulous” of Intelligent comedy)
…over every post-modern, “high-concept” story that stood still long enough. This is a damned shame, as it’s one of my favourite art forms and people think I’m a real nutter when I say so. Allegory is not “the tale with a moral”, but rather a story that tells us a truth through lies and manipulative double talk, featuring not characters but personified abstractions—players with identities like Everyman, Love, Loyalty, Justice, Honor, Wisdom and such. So, why do I adore allegory? Because I love to play.

Allegory is to Story What Art is to Life, What Chess is to War, What Meditation is to Thought: About Metaphorical Mirrors and Reflection--------

***All quotage below is from “Allegory: The Dynamics of an Ancient and Medieval Technique” by John Whitman, Harvard University Press***

“From its beginnings, allegory has been known as an oblique way of writing. Despite various attempts to explain it in its literary form, it still conceals many of its secrets. Modern readers, indeed, may be inclined to leave it to its own mysterious ways. To us, obscurity is at best a sign of the author’s elusiveness, and at worst an indication of his bad faith.”

--Funny, this sounds an awful lot like the praise we grant Joss when we call him a genius. Perhaps we like our geniuses inscrutable and secretive?--

“In either case it seems to be an obstacle between us and the truth…In our concern for clarity, however, we might remember that what we take to be our simplest expressions often conceal a multitude of obscurities. It is not only that a single name can refer to many things and a single thing be called by many names…It is rather that our very drive for clarity generates obscurity as a by-product…If we may borrow a phrase from allegory, our language constantly tells us that something is what it is not…There have been attempts…to remove…obscurities from our language and thought. Perhaps the most successful approach to the problem, however, has been to exploit it. For the fall from our pristine state of language [simple words, plain truth, I take this to mean—plus the falling away of the concrete sensory world to the abstract thinking world of words] has not been a total loss. As a result of it, we have constructed a most beautiful consolation for our exile [from truth-only language, I assume], the solace of fiction.

All fiction—the very word confesses its exile from the truth—tries to express a truth by departing from it in some way. It may embellish its subject, rearrange it, or simply verbalize it, but in every case, that ancient dislocation of words from their objects will keep the language at one remove from what it claims to represent. Allegory is the extreme case of this divergence. It seems to refer to something in the fiction, but actually refers to something else in fact. Allegory turns its head in one direction, but turns its eyes in another. In the traditional formula, it says one thing, and means another.”

In other words, Allegory is Trickster-Truth. A fitting discussion subject given topics addressed in “Conversations With Dead People”, I thought. And you just happened to mention it…Synchronicity strikes again.

“In its obliquity, allegorical writing thus exposes in an extreme way the foundation of fiction in general. That fact is sometimes ignored by those who concentrate upon other kinds of writing. Allegory is…outspokenly reticent, proclaiming it has a secret, while other techniques tend to conceal that fact. From the beginning, the practitioners of allegory have claimed that it provides initiation into a mystery. Whatever the value of that claim, perhaps the technique offers a kind of initiation into some of the mysteries of fiction itself.”

There’s been lots of debate about whether allegories have real characters or mere personifications. This section below attempts to demonstrate that, like all creative endeavors, allegorical writing (and, perforce, its characters) experienced evolution—growth, adaptation to stimuli, etc.:

“As the figures of the ‘Cosmographia’ (a Medieval allegory) move up and down in the universe, they enact not only the program of god but the possibilities of man, who by the close of the allegory is about to emerge as an individual in his own right, confronting the very dualities which compose him. A generation later, in the “Complaint of Nature”, the individual himself is the central witness to the allegorical plot, which plays out before him his own moral and imaginative dilemmas. [When] the individual personality [eventually comes] to the narrative foreground…[it is as a]consciousness interacting with an array of abstract possibilities, systematically deployed on their own terms. In trying to coordinate such figures, that consciousness is seeking at the same time to order itself; the very operation of the allegory thus depends increasingly on the modulations of the human mind. [By the time of ] the Divine Comedy (late allegory), the individual’s constant movement outward to explore the figurative world coincides with his constant movement inward to compose himself—a center that seems forever to recede with each advance.”

In my mind’s eye I’ve always seen Allegory as an arena of story—a contained and abstracted world that we bring everything we know about life to—in which to explore our own selves, a way to consider ‘personalized’ abstractions. It’s odd, I suppose, but I’ve always felt personification was an act of endearment, an invitation to share our humanity with the very inhuman concepts/forces of the universe.
In my head this tiny reflective world looks very like that ancient game of labyrinth, but with assorted clay figures arrayed on interweaving paths, some clumped together, most alone, traveling convoluted roads that no matter their twists and turnings lead to the center.

“At once slipping away from its object and toward it, allegory is always seeking to come to terms with the disparities of its world and its own technique. The technique of allegory seems to make a comment not only about itself, but upon those who explore it—and finally, about every search for the causes of things. Such explorations are forever aspiring toward a fulfillment that lies beyond them. They may point the way toward an end; in themselves, they remain always a beginning.”

Some folks may not like the idea of allegory because it smacks of formality and intractable pre-destination of characters, but I find taking a form with strict rules and playing between its boundaries, examining permutations and possibilities, mucking about with time-tested notions in a self-contained world, is exhilarating. In classical ballet a movement must begin and end in one of the five positions. In between is dance. In chess you start at one end of the board and move toward the other. In between is a world of conflict, strategy, gain and loss. We are bounded behind by birth, ahead by death. We live free between these thresholds—the in-between is where we fly.

Allegory is very much a mirror. It doesn’t show you the truth (the actual thing), just a reflection of a truth. It is an abstraction, a distancing technique, like meditation. It helps one focus on the problems of abstract thought, much as playing chess distances one from the trauma of actual battle with its life and death decisions. Allegory is not for the everyday, or for a majority of fiction exploration. It is a highly ritualized contemplation, and I think it’s very important to remember that allegories are not often for the benefit of their characters* (see confessional note). They are for the elucidation of their audience/author. And I like that while the invitation reads bring/create your own interpretation, allegory keeps its secrets. Eternal mysteries are always exciting and new, even more so when they are as familiar as your own ever-evolving self.

Remember: Narrative is not Life. It just feels like it. ;)

So, enough verbiage off what you thought was a throwaway quote? That’s a lesson from the Buffyverse right there, isn’t it? Careful what you throw away, someone could come along and write 3 pages about it and never get to the topic you *wanted* to talk about ;)


Who (‘fessing up big time here) has actually written an allegorical Buffy script
(* in an earlier form of allegory, that of the “Dream” or “Revelation”, wherein a character’s [Everyman Xander, of course;) Everyman is the name of a very well-known Allegory] conflicts are played before him, but in which he participates, and at the end must act to affirm/reaffirm his place in his own life)
which, (had she known as much about the TV industry as she thinks she does about film), she might have got sent in before the last season got underway! Oh the consequences of being trained a film snob!

[> [> Very intriguing and thank you for it. A little more on Burgess quote -- shadowkat, 13:39:42 11/17/02 Sun

Burgess's quote for all fairness should be explained, so here it is in full from the new edition of A ClockWork Orange where the 21st chapter is included. (It always was included in the European version. The New York publisher felt he sold out, so didn't include it. And Kubrick's film also left the chapter out.)

Before i do the quote - a brief description of A Clockwork Orange. It is a story of a boy who rapes, kills and vandalizes with a gang of juvenile delinquents. After a pretty gruesome rape and murder, he is captured by the government and conditioned to abhor violence - basically all violent acts make him physically ill along with his favorite strand of music Beethoven's Fifth which they play in the background while conditioning him. In the movie and American and Europe versions - a group of dissidents which include one of his victims, capture him, torture him, and break his conditioning. Then he has the choice whether to go back to his old ways or move past them, learning nothing. There are 21 chapters in the European novel and only 20 in American and in Kubrick's film. In 21 chapter which numerically was supposed to symbolize growing up - the boy realizes how horrible his past was and wants a different type of future.

Now here's the quote:
" There is no hint of this change of intention in the twentieth chapter. The boy is conditioned, then deconditioned, and he foresees with glee a resumption of the operation of free and violent will. 'I was cured all right.' he says, and so the American book ends. So the film ends too. The twenty-first chapter gives the novel the quality of genuine fiction, an art founded on the principle that human beings change. There is, in fact, not much point in writing a novel unless you can show the possibility of moral transformation, or an increase in wisdom, operating in your chief character or characters. Even trashy bestsellers show people changing. When a fictional work fails to show change, when it merely indicates that human character is set, stony, unregenerable, then you are out of the field of the novel and into that of the fable or the allegory. The American or Kubrickian Orange is a fable; the British or world one is a novel."

Okay...I'm not sure Burgess is saying doing allegory is a bad thing so much as he prefers the novel as the completed work of art.

Kubrick loved allegory. Besides A Clockwork Orange - the Shining fits this. Stephen King's the Shining ends with a redemption of the main character. Kubrick's ends with the main character condemned. Stephen King viewed Kubrick's version as hurting the audience. Having read and seen both versions? I prefer Kubrick's. Why? Because it says something about evil and the human condition that I felt lacking in the original - it scared me. It also says that sometimes, we can't climb back. But allegory and fables are useful - in a different way - they show us a problem and make us look at it. As one might stare at a distorted photograph and suddenly see something they hadn't before.

Short fiction often operates in this fashion. But from a visual media perspective? Try the old Twighlight Zone series. Those were a series of fables and allegories. Or Outer Limits.

Film - i think is a perfect medium to explore the allegory or fable - partly because you are so limited by time and budget, etc.

Comics also occassionally delve into this - the one shots are great examples. A one-shot comic is a story that is self contained in one magazine and not continued over a numerous number of them. Most of the comics I've read are serial - they go on forever.

I'm not sure which narrative style Whedon and Me are pursuing here. I doubt it's totally allegory - since the show is not anthology in nature. But there are episodes that I would define as allegory. The Wish - perfect example.
Where we see a slice of what could be and no character is truly transformed at the end by their experiences. No one appears to remember the AU.

Throughout time - we have taught each other morals and solved problems through the use of fables, myths, parables.
A novel may just be an advancement of this narrative form.
But to disparage the allegory in defense of the novel is to do both a disjustice. It's like the sculpture disparaging the drawing. Yes, one may be three-dimensional, but the other is just as valid and just as wonderful.

Thanks again for making this clear. When i read Burgess' quote, I wondered about allegories, having written quite a few myself, not about Btvs...


PS: No where near tired of your writing, you are rapidly becoming one of my favorite new posters. Where have you been hiding yourself? ;-) And Congrats on your acceptance to grad school. Quite envious that sounds like an intriguing area to study in.

(Oh and apologies to the copy-editors for typos, spelling errors, etc - was trying to get this posted before got cut off and my typing is atrocious.)

[> [> [> Burgess and Chapter 21 (Spoilers for Clockwork Orange) -- Fred the obvious pseudonym, 18:35:06 11/17/02 Sun

I've read both versions of the book & seen the film.

Disliked Chapter 21. It seemed to me as out of place as "The little boy fell out of bed and woke up."

There was nothing in the Alex of Chapters 1-20 that implied such a transformation. Sloppily handled, in my opinion.

I prefer my redemptions foreshadowed.

[> [> [> [> Re: Chapter 21 (Spoilers for Clockwork Orange) -- lachesis, 08:52:14 11/18/02 Mon

I see what you mean, but I have to disagree in defence of Burgess. There is one thing, and one thing only, which connects Alex in the other chapters to Alex in Chapter 21 - his humanity.

The main part of the text incorporates a number of distancing factors (the language, the subcultural context, the bonded male 'tribal' group, and the ultraviolence) which allow the reader a comfort zone from which it is equally and simultaneously possible both to demonize Alex, and to revel vicariously in the utter amoral 'freedom' which he represents. The conditioning then becomes a critique of the rights of authority.

But as such it is in no way radical: for this is the answer that we all already know. Personal freedom is attractive for ourselves, but terrifying in others. We, who are responsible (as society defines it) should have freedom. They, who are not, should not. The distancing factors above create Alex and the Droogs as 'They.' Whatever the reader's abstract position on the political and moral issues raised about authority and the *degree* of its rights over the individual, this underlying social issue is not in question. It is the reality and mainstay of 'civilized' life.

Conditioning, control, do not redeem Alex. Instead, they remove his last connections to society (his cultural appreciation) and reduce him to the level of an animal/automaton. Thus we can sympathize with his successful struggle against them. At the end of Chapter 20, therefore, he is simply an anti-hero. An enemy of the state, whom we love to hate, are ashamed to love, and hope never to meet.

Chapter 21 is certainly essential to the text as an exploration of the relationship between mainstream and subcultural British societies, which was (IMO) its main contemporary relevance. The violence/style combination of the film is extreme and deliberately iconic, but this is too often allowed to obscure the fact that the book is a perceptive and relatively realistic extrapolation of this linkage in British subcultures, and that this was a serious social issue at the time (and later, and still, to an extent, today).

As such, Chapter 21 says two things: firstly, that young men, despite the slang, and the violence, and the weird makeup, are not demons - they can grow up to be husbands and fathers, simply because they are human. And the wider point: that true freedom is not found outside of society, in automatic rebellion, but within the individual.

For most of the book, Alex is restricted to gratification. As a clockwork orange, he is just restricted. Chapter 21 raises the possibility of *fulfillment* as opposed to gratification. Only in Chapter 21 is Alex free, not enslaved by his violent desires, which isolate him from other people, or by the state. But he doesn't get redeemed. His sins, the sins of the state against him, can hardly be forgotten, and are not redressed. He just grows up, realising that the choice is, and has to be, his. Both of his previous states (Droog, Clockwork Orange) are presented as adolescent/infantile, static, and therefore undesirable. This is a fundamentally different social and philosophical statement from that of the rest of the book (which represents the conflict between the individual and society as unresolvable) but it is not unrelated because Alex has *learned* from, been changed by, experiencing both perspectives. It is in doing so that he demonstrates his humanity (animals/automata don't learn so well) and collapses the distance between himself and the reader, so that he is no longer safely 'beneath us.'

And to link this to BtVS, Spike has experienced the same three state evolution: static adolescent (vampire) static infantile (chipped vampire) and dynamic/free-willed (vampire with soul). The consequences remain to be seen.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Chapter 21 (Spoilers for Clockwork Orange) -- Rahael, 09:17:34 11/18/02 Mon

"And to link this to BtVS, Spike has experienced the same three state evolution: static adolescent (vampire) static infantile (chipped vampire) and dynamic/free-willed (vampire with soul). The consequences remain to be seen."

Well put, Lachesis!

Can I just say how satisfied I am with the way ME have handled Spike? All my fears about the soul and redemption have been dismissed. They've laid the emphasis on free will, and how we constitute ourselves as members of society, and not on some kind of metaphysical, glowy redemption.

[> [> [> [> A Clockwork Castration -- Tchaikovsky, 09:13:44 11/18/02 Mon

Disagree really strongly here, for several reasons.

Burgess had a very carefully constructed structure going on, which was formal and crucial to the understanding. There are three parts to the original British edition. Each have seven chapters. Each section begins with the mantra, 'What's it going to be then, eh?'. It seems an unspectacular mundane sentence. That's part of the point. It's about Alex having a part of himself which is entirely normal- which is about having a quiet drink with his friends. Without Chapter 21, the formal structure goes down, which castrates the novel, like taking out one of the playing cards from those elaborate triangular towers.

In terms of just the story? It weakens it too. In part one, our, (the reader's) reaction is to think that anything that the Authority can do to stop Alex is justifiable. Despite being apparently cultured and talking to us first person, his actions come across as too nasty for words. We almost cheer when we see him taken in.

In Part Two, we reform our opinion, as Alex is forcibly reformed himself. This is not right. It not only denies free- will, (like a prison), but it almost denies humanity. It reprograms, at a basic level, what intuitive responses to behaviour are. And this is even more wrong than Alex's hedonistic binges. The Beethoven is like the final twisting of the knife. Even the most innocent pleasures of our narrator become horrible.

In Part Three, we see how this hasn't helped at all. But we are made to reform our opinion once again. Time can heal what forcible behavioural change can't. People will grow up and calm down. Allow time for growth, and human interaction, (there's none from parents or authority figures to Alex in the book which trusts him or even believes that he is worth talking to), and the violence can be got out personally.

It is a truthful ending. One which Burgess wanted and needed. Without it, the book both destroys the author's message, and distorts its tidy structure. Long live Chapter 21.


[> [> Excellent Defense of Allegory -- lachesis, 15:42:23 11/17/02 Sun

Thanks for this, it was fascinating, and I shall be looking out for the book. I agree particularly with you here:

"In my mind’s eye I’ve always seen Allegory as an arena of story—a contained and abstracted world that we bring everything we know about life to—in which to explore our own selves, a way to consider ‘personalized’ abstractions. It’s odd, I suppose, but I’ve always felt personification was an act of endearment, an invitation to share our humanity with the very inhuman concepts/forces of the universe.
In my head this tiny reflective world looks very like that ancient game of labyrinth, but with assorted clay figures arrayed on interweaving paths, some clumped together, most alone, traveling convoluted roads that no matter their twists and turnings lead to the center."

One of the things I find so fascinating about BtVS is the way in which the characters manage to function *both* as convincing and evolving personalities, and as figures in the cosmology of the Buffyverse, or 'personalized abstractions.'Also, it strikes me that we sometimes overestimate the need for consistency on the allegorical or figurative level - to an extent, each episode can be a (somewhat) independent arena, I think.

Thanks again!

[> Rambling Through the Dark Woods: Reply to SK, Part 3(Tiny Restless Spoiler [hee,hee, neat visual]) -- Haecceity, 12:22:01 11/17/02 Sun

“I think we are revisiting past seasons. Flipping them on their side and looking at them from a more cynical and darker perspective. The dark night of the soul indeed.”--- Shadowkat

I think so too. “The past is prologue.”—The Tempest

“Buffy and Angel are experiencing their own versions of the dark id. Angel from the perspective of an old man - looking back - dealing with his son, his friends, and his own baser impulses. Angel's story is more like Humphrey Bogart's in Casablanca, it is about the man who must incorporate the dark baser impulse and use it to understand and defeat a greater menace, without letting that impulse overtake him or giving into it's temptations. It parallels Buffy's story but is not the same as it, what ATS says metaphorically is quite different than Buffy in some ways - it goes to a different place. As Whedon states - ATS is about noir - film, detective...and we can use the more fantastical mythical elements in that but must make sure they fit the noir. Buffy on the other hand is more about growing up. About the emotional journey we take as we mature.”---Shadowkat

Agree—see my answer to Age, “Quick half-answer and a note on ‘Supersymmetry’”, for more on Buffy/Angel/Ripper parallels.

” So Buffy's friends like Buffy are experiencing their own dark nights of the soul - but we are watching their journey's through Buffy's perspective.”

I’m not at all certain we’re seeing all that much from Buffy’s perspective. As you’ve commented before, each episode this season seems to be written from different character’s perspectives---which fits very nicely into the whole post-modern, interactive art paradigm BtVS seems to inhabit. I think Buffy, as the hero, is certainly the catalyst, but we’re being drawn into other characters’ POVs pretty intensely/regularly these days.

“I think the key to understanding what is going on with Spike and everyone else this season is understanding the importance of and meaning of understanding and acknowledging the darker baser impulses, the primal if you will. And I think this theme was foreshadowed in RESTLESS, the first slayer representing that impulse and what happens when it goes unacknowledged in each characters psyche.” --- Shadowkat

Yes! See my first really long response for more on this.

Ok, think I may have exceeded my word-limit for the week. Especially on a thread “destined” to be buried by new “Angel” talk tonight and new “Buffy” by Tuesday. Have to admit, though, this “really long post” volley has been fun. Thanks!


[> On Free Will, Art and Why Firefly Works (Or Will)—Replies to Age(very vague spoilers, Firefly) -- Haecceity, 12:25:31 11/17/02 Sun

In reply to--- Subject: Re: A few comments including this week's(Spoilers S5,6,7/S4 AtS)Spec In Archived Thread--Post- Dramatic Stress


Truthfully, finding it hard to come up with anything clever in response. The only thing I’ve been able to say so far in checking through your post is…

Agree, agree, agree!

Especially love your notion regarding the BBW as cranky adolescent. And your idea of old notions/external forces vs. new ideas of self/internal drive is really beautiful. That seems to be what this quote I dug up is about:

“A more fully differentiated nature, in Jungian terms, means being more conscious of each of the four functions of consciousness; Thinking (Mind/Giles), Feeling (Heart/Xander), Intuition (Spirit/Willow) and Sensation (Hands/Buffy)…Once a more differentiated consciousness has been attained, however, another process takes over whereby life and life activities become more directly driven by the Self. It is as if to say, the initial task of individuation is to develop a more complete, less one-sided consciousness and then the task becomes being an instrument of the Self.”

“What Jung referred to as the individuation process remains a natural movement of life; it is not something outside of life or special in any way, but it does involve a deliberate concentration of this natural dynamic and eventually a spiritualization of nature.”
---Both from “The Individuation Process and Creative Life”, David A. Johnston, Ph.D.

Seems to go along well with the differences between BtVS and AtS (and hoped-for Ripper) we discussed, this first bright spark/leaping flames/steady blaze notion of a spiritually aware being.

In Reply to-- Subject: Re: On Free Will, Spoilers for Firefly, Buffy S5-7.

You wrote:
“Joss Whedon is certainly making this [instinct toward individuation vs. drive toward security/stability] clear in his new series 'Firefly' where the need for security and stability has overtaken the central planets in the form of the Alliance. This is not to say that the dichotomy in this series is between the haves and the have-nots, the modern city dwellers and the rural inhabitants on the outskirts (although quite clearly the gap between the two has been shown in several episodes). No, in a recent episode Whedon used the inhabitants of a rural community to illustrate the type of society one gets if you try to make your life simple and easy: you give in to myth for expediency; you kidnap the people that you need; and when things don't work the way you want them, you get rid of your problem no matter what the human cost.”

This is a remarkable clarification, Age. I can’t help but think that this would clear up a lot of confusion some folks seem to be having regarding the ‘point’ of Firefly.

“Whedon seems to be hitting home in all three of his series how difficult it is to live as a human being in this world.” ---Age

This IS the function of art, no? To be the mirror we hold up to our lives? Though sometimes I wonder if Joss throws a Fun- House glass into the mix every once in awhile;)

Re: Free Will
I’m not much beyond Buffy’s point on the path yet, so I’m not at all certain of the existence of either Free Will or Destiny. I know I have a violently negative thought reaction to the idea that all things are pre-determined, but that is probably a function of my age rather than anything inherent in the notion of destiny. And I concede the point that there is incredible personal freedom to be found once one accepts his pathway…

(See my Defense of Allegory post to Shadowkat for more re: the life as in-between-ing and just about anything Jung wrote on the idea of synchronicity)

…but I’m young and my future still seems so full of ever- branching paths. From this perspective it is hard to believe faithfully that they all lead to the same place. But I do love this idea of yours—

“awareness [is what] changes the situation from simple determinism. The act of being alive, of being aware, is a special causal element. I think this is what Whedon is getting at in his series: it's all determined, even having will and awareness; and these latter two are still part of the chain of cause and effect, but being alive, being aware gives us the opportunity to make choices in our lives. The exertion of will from awareness also allows us to let go of what we call ourselves and our situation in order to balance out our struggle between the need for fluidity and stability in our lives.”

Seems to support the notion of synchronicity as I understand it, that notion of the universe rewarding awareness with possibility.

And this is some of the highest praise I’ve ever heard for an artist (hope he reads it!):

“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Children don't live in this world, they play in it; robots simply follow the dictates of their programming; and vampires try to take the easy way out, try to simplify their lives through aggression, and die to the their human selves. Whedon is charting metaphorically the difficult journey that we have in becoming adult human beings. In doing so, in acknowledging how difficult it is, he is both exhorting us to remain alive and not throw away our birth right as human animals, and telling us, through the most universal of media, television, that we aren't alone in our struggle: we're all connected.”

I love your writing style—fluid, pure, powerful in its seeming simplicity.

Not all rambly, disconnect, toss-everything-in-at-once with threaded parentheses like mine. I once had a professor who said my casual writing was reminiscent of Delerium’s (Sandman character) thought process. Still don’t know if that was praise or censure. Probably both. He was a ringer for “trickster of the week”. Oh well, so long as you get what I’m saying and no fish begin appearing out of thin air it’s all good, right?

Really looking forward to tonight’s ration of doled-out puzzle pieces. Funny how high the pitch of anticipation is in the audience this season. My feeling is that it is in direct response to how closely ME is playing their cards, and that they are deliberately slipping more subtle, intriguing (in the original sense of the word) clue-age in just to heighten their own pleasure in the “what if…” game. With all this fever-bright excitement and wild bounding theories on the board, I can’t get that old Chinese proverb out of my head… ”You should not confuse the sound of your heartbeat for the hooves of approaching horses.”

Thanks for your insight and wisdom and beautiful writing.


[> [> Agree. thanks for the insights on free will/determinism. (Spoilers for Help, 7.4) -- shadowkat, 13:58:29 11/17/02 Sun

"Re: Free Will
I’m not much beyond Buffy’s point on the path yet, so I’m not at all certain of the existence of either Free Will or Destiny. I know I have a violently negative thought reaction to the idea that all things are pre-determined, but that is probably a function of my age rather than anything inherent in the notion of destiny. And I concede the point that there is incredible personal freedom to be found once one accepts his pathway…

…but I’m young and my future still seems so full of ever- branching paths. From this perspective it is hard to believe faithfully that they all lead to the same place. But I do love this idea of yours—

“awareness [is what] changes the situation from simple determinism. The act of being alive, of being aware, is a special causal element. I think this is what Whedon is getting at in his series: it's all determined, even having will and awareness; and these latter two are still part of the chain of cause and effect, but being alive, being aware gives us the opportunity to make choices in our lives. The exertion of will from awareness also allows us to let go of what we call ourselves and our situation in order to balance out our struggle between the need for fluidity and stability in our lives.”"

Agree entirely. I too am uncertain about this free will vs. determinism thing. And find I have a negative reaction to the view that all our actions are predetermined on our biological makeup and environment. It seems, well a bit pat,
to me. Does this mean we're doomed to never rise above our imperfections? Doubtful - I was born with visual and auditory dyslexia which made it difficult for me to learn how to read and write, I did not in fact read a novel until the 4th and 5th grades. Once I figured it out? I read Lord of the Rings in 6th grade. So clearly my biological limitations did NOT determine whether I could become a writer.

But I'm not sure that's what Age and the other's mean.

Since Age states: "The act of being alive, of being aware, is a special causal element. I think this is what Whedon is getting at in his series: it's all determined, even having will and awareness; and these latter two are still part of the chain of cause and effect, but being alive, being aware gives us the opportunity to make choices in our lives. The exertion of will from awareness also allows us to let go of what we call ourselves and our situation in order to balance out our struggle between the need for fluidity and stability in our lives."

That i do believe is true. So clearly determinism does not rule out an ability to choose. But what does it mean exactly? That our choices will inevitably lead to the same result? But like Cassie, Dawn and others state in the episode HELP - sometimes the littlest things make a difference. Yes - Cassie died in HELP, but Buffy made her death less solitary and worthwhile. Cassie made friends with Dawn and was able to give Buffy and Spike a chance to save her. Small things maybe. But sometimes it's the small things that count. So maybe the idea of free will is we have a small window of choice within the determinism - the will to choose whether to get up in the morning, smile at our neighbor, quit a job before killing our boss...not jumping off a bridge...or writing a book?? Just like buffy can choose who she slays - I mean what would have happened if she chose to kill Angel in Season 1? Or to take another view? Whedon and the writers chose the major strokes, but if James Marsters portrayle of Spike hadn't been so charming, Whedon would have staked him. The actors choices, however minute may change how the character evolves in the writer/god's mind - maybe taking the character in a different direction than writer/god had determined?

[> [> [> Interpretations -- Fred the obvious pseudonym, 18:40:16 11/17/02 Sun

Point: in some ways the characters and stories depart from the control of the writer. He/she cannot push them in other directions without being untrue to what she/he has made them in the past. This may not be literary predestination but could be a limit on the freedom of the writer.

Second possibility: "from beneath you it devours." I'm not up on my Freud. Could this be a reference to the "id?" I was under the impression that under some interpretations of Freud that the id was seen almost as the "basement" of the human mind -- "beneath" the ego and superego. Could this be a reference? (IF this has been brought up before, I apologize.)

[> [> [> Another Descartian duality -- Tchaikovsky, 09:39:43 11/18/02 Mon

It's always interesting to think about free-will and determinism. Is there fate in the real world? Probably not. It's probably just the disguising we do of being unable to interpret and understand all the choices we make both scientifically and psychologically. If we had 20/20 vision, we could see our path clear to doing anything, taking in everybody else's motivations, and the scientific results of our physical actions.

But is there Fate in the Buffyverse? A force which denies free will? Well, there certainly appears to be something close to that. There's Tara's death. But then there's things which appear to be co-incidental, but actually aren't. Angel may never have met Buffy, and not become fascinated by her, if it wasn't for Whistler. Whistler was a crucial link in the mythos. But Whistler is almost an allegorical (dare I use this word after such a masterful essay by H?) personification of Fate. It is his job to make Angel meet Buffy. To turn him into a force for good. He has been sent. He is not so much deus ex machina as deus ex mundi- his intent is for only one thing, but he is entirely believable in the context of our story.

Whether or not there is Fate or merely Free Will, there is an interesting interaction between real life and the life of Sunnydale. As you mention, James is charismatic, so they don't kill Spike. If Sarah and James have such marvellous chemistry in 'Fool For Love' it is a factor in getting them together. Actors interpretations prefigure character development, and characters development prefigures actors interpretations. There's a duality between what needs to be in real life, and what happens in Sunnydale. But also between what happens in Sunnydale, and what needs to happen in the story configured in Joss' mind.

If Seth Green has to leave, then it brings in Tara. To an extent, the 'fate' aspect of the Buffyverse could be seen as an aspect of real life. Because of considerations of actor's contracts, relationships happen as they do.

If Whedon is God, (the big bad of 7.22, of course), then he can change the Fates of the characters. But the character's representations through the actors can change God's mind. Does Buffy have free will over Joss, in a perverse sense? Can we affect our lives' courses by determination to accomplish or become one particular thing? Of course we can. Ultimately, Fate is an excuse.

TCH- rambling incoherently, but coming to a melodramatic conclusion nevertheless

[> [> Another Descartian duality -- Tchaikovsky, 09:42:14 11/18/02 Mon

It's always interesting to think about free-will and determinism. Is there fate in the real world? Probably not. It's probably just the disguising we do of being unable to interpret and understand all the choices we make both scientifically and psychologically. If we had 20/20 vision, we could see our path clear to doing anything, taking in everybody else's motivations, and the scientific results of our physical actions.

But is there Fate in the Buffyverse? A force which denies free will? Well, there certainly appears to be something close to that. There's Tara's death. But then there's things which appear to be co-incidental, but actually aren't. Angel may never have met Buffy, and not become fascinated by her, if it wasn't for Whistler. Whistler was a crucial link in the mythos. But Whistler is almost an allegorical (dare I use this word after such a masterful essay by H?) personification of Fate. It is his job to make Angel meet Buffy. To turn him into a force for good. He has been sent. He is not so much deus ex machina as deus ex mundi- his intent is for only one thing, but he is entirely believable in the context of our story.

Whether or not there is Fate or merely Free Will, there is an interesting interaction between real life and the life of Sunnydale. As you mention, James is charismatic, so they don't kill Spike. If Sarah and James have such marvellous chemistry in 'Fool For Love' it is a factor in getting them together. Actors interpretations prefigure character development, and characters development prefigures actors interpretations. There's a duality between what needs to be in real life, and what happens in Sunnydale. But also between what happens in Sunnydale, and what needs to happen in the story configured in Joss' mind.

If Seth Green has to leave, then it brings in Tara. To an extent, the 'fate' aspect of the Buffyverse could be seen as an aspect of real life. Because of considerations of actor's contracts, relationships happen as they do.

If Whedon is God, (the big bad of 7.22, of course), then he can change the Fates of the characters. But the character's representations through the actors can change God's mind. Does Buffy have free will over Joss, in a perverse sense? Can we affect our lives' courses by determination to accomplish or become one particular thing? Of course we can. Ultimately, Fate is an excuse.

TCH- rambling incoherently, but coming to a melodramatic conclusion nevertheless

[> [> [> Re: Another Descartian duality -- Pilgrim, 11:30:40 11/18/02 Mon

Hmmmm. Duality? Or, I don't know, what you're describing seems more like a dialogue, give-and-take, back-and-forth. Fluid, even. Not so much a line between opposing or distinct phenomena. I do think there's something to "fate," perhaps because I can't quite believe that I'm utterly free to create of myself any sort of person I choose. But maybe there's a creative dialogue between what I choose, and what I want, and what outside forces (biology, upbringing, past choices, etc) seem to want of me.
Loving this thread.

[> [> [> [> Free Will, Determinism, and Another Metafictional Meditation -- cjl, 11:58:15 11/18/02 Mon

In the modified version of my little playlet about Buffy's final encounter with the Evil Demiurge (I think it's still in the BC&S archives if you want to look), Joss says to Buffy that he's the Creator, but he's not God. I think to Joss, the concept of "God" implies omnipotence and the deterministic outlook on the universe, and Joss is a proponent of free will. I think that's why, in the end, my version of Joss perversely (and yet logically) betrays his own aesthetic principles as a storyteller and artist and allows Buffy her happy ending.

Or, if want to look at it from another angle, you could also say Joss loves all his characters very much, and love is something that the PTB can never take into account...

[> [> [> [> This thing called fate and the dark side -- Caroline, 07:47:44 11/19/02 Tue

I think that in psychological terms, it is really difficult to reduce our behaviour and our relationships to both the external and internal worlds to the fate/free will dichotomy. So often what seems 'fated' in our lives is some previously unknown part of ourselves, some unrealized potential rearing its head to our conscious mind. Part of the individuation process is precisely getting to know these parts of ourselves consciously, whether through an internal process of event or something from the external world that challenges views/ideas/identities that we hold dear. Once these elements are made conscious, the power they have over our lives in terms of compulsive actions, whether conscious or unconsious, is diminished. We use the term 'fate' to describe a event or process that comes into our lives that we somehow seem helpless to prevent. And looking over it afterwards, we see the 'rightness' of that process or event in terms of our own psychological growth and think that it was 'destined'. Whether it is fated or not, I don't know. Whether there is a 'divine creator' of some kind, whether there is a collective unconscious that we tap into or whether we are our own divine creators and our minds are like icebergs and only a small part is visible I don't know. It would seem to be that all of these are constructs that could be used to describe the origins of 'fate'. But we also have a conscious mind and a personality which does have the capacity to choose how these unrealized potentials/parts of Self are used. Perhaps if we were perfectly rational minds without any unknown or repressed elements of our personalities then we could argue that we are 'free' to create ourselves. But it appears to me that the process of the development of identity is a mediation of the polarities of conscious and unconscious, of what seems fated and what seems will and it's difficult to know where one ends and the other begins.

There's a quote by Jung which I've quoted before but I think is very apt here: "Free will is the ability to do gladly that which I must do".

Since this seems to be coming up again and again, (in Haeccity's and shadowkat's posts) I reiterate my earlier points about the exploration of the 'dark side'. I do not think that there is any responsible theorist of practitioner of psychology who thinks that it is ethical or moral to explore one's darker impulses in such a way as to cause harm or injure others in any manner - emotionally, physically etc. But at the same time, by denying these elements of our psyches, we lay ourselves open to causing harm to others and ultimately ourselves because of the compulsive nature of repressed or unknown elements of the psyche. One of the benefits of any form of therapy is precisely to stop destructive and self-destructive behaviours. One of the goals of therapy is greater self-knowledge, not greater harm. We try to get a greater understanding of ourselves and precisely what our darker impluses are so that they can be understood, known and contained. We learn who we are and the unconsciously destructive elements of our lives then lose their power over our behaviour. We are then free to live lives that are less destructive to ourselves and others.

Perhaps I should just save a standard response in a file on my hard drive and post it every time this point comes up.

Otherwise, I am really enjoying this thread.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: This thing called fate and the dark side -- leslie, 09:30:56 11/19/02 Tue

"I do not think that there is any responsible theorist of practitioner of psychology who thinks that it is ethical or moral to explore one's darker impulses in such a way as to cause harm or injure others in any manner - emotionally, physically etc. But at the same time, by denying these elements of our psyches, we lay ourselves open to causing harm to others and ultimately ourselves because of the compulsive nature of repressed or unknown elements of the psyche."

This is how I would put it: By denying THE EXISTENCE of the darker elements of our psyches, we become doomed to express them in socially acceptable but still (self)-destructive ways. Acknowledging "darkness" doesn't mean you must act upon it by going out and indulging every random urge, any more than acknowledging that you are hungry means you have to eat two dozen donuts at one sitting.

[> [> Re: On Free Will Spoilers -- Age, 10:57:44 11/18/02 Mon

Thanks. I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to your thread.

In this free will and determinism discussion, I just wanted to say that by changing free will to will and awareness, I was trying to synthesize the two opposites. I just don't think that our condition can be reduced strictly to either category.

Thanks again.


[> Haecceity you rock the free world! Amazing posts all! -- ponygirl, 08:21:31 11/18/02 Mon

[> [> (Blushing) Thanks. But does this mean... -- Haecceity, 12:18:50 11/18/02 Mon

...that I get to roll the Destined World? 'Cause sign me up for some of that Cosmic Bowling right there!

---Haecceity, appreciating the thought

[> [> ditto, this is a thread full of many philosophical depth, kudos -- Etrangere, 15:54:09 11/18/02 Mon

[> [> Likewise on the amazing. And don't worry, Haecceity-- 'cos *FreakingLong ' r' Us" !* -- OnM, 20:34:52 11/18/02 Mon

[> [> [> Hmm...wonder if I could get that on a novelty mug... :) (NT) -- Haecceity, 22:54:03 11/18/02 Mon

[> Here’s Where I Confess… -- Haecceity, 12:14:15 11/18/02 Mon

I’ve not read the book, Chapter 21 version or otherwise, so don’t feel I can really comment on it much. Saw the film, but am not terribly objective because I (Sorry, Shadowkat) despise Kubrick. (Kind of surprised no one kicked me out of film school for that one;)

The story seems less Allegorical, though, than---(I don’t have the “right” word for it.) Symbolist? Iconic? These type of works seem to focus on telling stories where one *thing* "Stands For" some*thing* else, which is slightly, so very slightly different from Allegory’s typical m.o. of *action and speech* implying one idea, but meaning another. Also, allegories seem to be less about nouns and ideologies than larger, more intangible Intangibles—things like Love or Wisdom, etc., something that is a quality rather than a noun.

Which is why I think there might be some confusion remaining over the whole “Allegory = a story in which characters do not change/grow” idea. If you look at a large number of allegories, there is at least one (usually just the one) character that does—Man, Everyman, etc., whichever character represents the “human” POV. All of the other characters (personifications, all) CAN NOT change, because they are qualities only, the great intangible forces of the universe. They are what they are and cannot be anything “other than”. One of history/art/philosophy’s strongest arguments of what makes humans “Human” is their capacity for change. Allegories illustrate how interaction with unchanging forces affects (consciously and subconsciously, thus the “trickster” delivery of meaning) a person. Man reveals/defines his character in his action/reaction to Love, Truth, Death, etc.

I think the personification angle comes in because we fear/don’t particularly understand these Cosmic Forces. Personification/anthropomorphization (a word? I’m winning at Scrabble today!) makes them “relatable”, as though Love’s caprice is more understandable if she’s a vivacious, irresistible woman who’s dyed her hair. Personhood gives them reason, desires, motivation—whereas in RL they are amorphous. Not “Good”, not “Bad”, just Powerful.

Sound familiar?


P.S. I really want to get into this deeper—all of you have posted such exciting/intriguing notions—but I’m stuck at work at the moment. So, more later!

[> [> Question for the King of Allegory -- Tchaikovsky, 12:44:09 11/18/02 Mon

If you have a moment before you start bowling the world, that is!

Anyway, is 'Pilgrim's Progress' an allegory? I'm trying to think back over novels/books (I don't suppose Bunyan's book really is a novel), that would fit into your description. Is our hero the everyman, while the people who represent Anglicanism and Catholicism and Lust and so on are only qualities which people espouse?

I don't think I'd consider either the novel or the film of 'A Clockwork Orange' an allegory, incidentally. However, I think the book is more worth reading than the film is worth watching. Particularly if you're not a fan of Kubrick.
If nothing else, there's the crazy and compelling 'nadsat' language.


[> [> [> Allegory defined, Spike, and more quotage on what Burgess thought -- shadowkat, 15:29:41 11/18/02 Mon

Getting awfully confused about allegory so for purposes of arguement -I did look it up in the American Heritage Dictionary:
1. The use of characters or events to represent ideas or principles in a story, play or picture.
2. A story, play or picture in which such representation occurs.

Under this definition? A Clockwork Orange the movie is an allegory. The journey of Alex is meant to represent a specific idea - the idea of how society should not recondition its inhabitants. Alex himself is not transformed in any way. The main point of the movie is NOT Alex's transformation or the characters growth as it is the "idea" of how conditioning, while on it's service a good idea, is possibly bad in practice.

Another example of allegory? George Orwell's Animal Farm.
The point of Animal Farm is to explore how the idea of socialist reform by revolution does not work. The characters are used to re-inforce the idea.

Let's try another example: Twilight Zone.

There's an episode in Twilight Zone where a woman is undergoing surgery, she wants to be beautiful. We spend 30 minutes never seeing hers or anyone's face. But lots of dialogue about Beauty. At the very end: We see her and she to us is beautiful not ugly, then we look at the doctors and they are pig-faced and to us ugly. The message? Beauty is what society dictates. We don't remember the characters - we remember the idea.

While there can be well-developed characters in an "allegory" - the point is the idea or principle that the author wants to push. The main point of Burgess' novel was not that we shouldn't condition people, that's the allegory and he was unsatisfied with that. He didn't like the moral that stuck out like a sore thumb and states in his forward how disappointing it is that he will be remembered for this novel over works he far prefers. Here is some quotes to give you a better idea what Burgess says about those who loved the film and what he thinks of his own work;

"I first published the novella A Clockwork Orange in 1962 which ought to be far enough in the past for it be erased from the world's literary memory. It refuses to be erased however, and for this the film version of the book made by Stanley Kubrick may be held chiefly responsible.....

It seems likely to survive, while other works of mine that I vlue more bite the dust."

" New York publisher believed that my twenty-first chapter was a sellout. It was veddy veddy British, don't you know. It was bland and it showed a Pelagian unwillingness to accept that a human being could be a model of unregenerable evil. The Americans, he said, in effect, were tougher than the British and could face up to reality. Soon they would be facing up to it in Vietnam. My book was Kennedyan and accepted the notion of moral progress. What was really wanted was a Nixonian book with no shred of optimism in it. Let us have evil prancing on the page and, up to the very last line, sneering in the face of all the inherited beliefs, Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Holy Roller, about people being able to make themselves better. Such a book would be sensational, and so it is. But I do not think it is a fair picture of human life. "[this is not to say of course that allegories don't provide fair pictures of human life of course.][brackets are my thoughts]

"I do not think so because, by definition, a human being is endowed with free will. [funny how we get back to the free will debate..isn't it?] He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange - meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or (since this is increasingly replacing both) the Almighty State. It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil. [Hmmm Age's robot metaphor comes to mind]. The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. [Perhaps this is what the BB wants to do away with? Maybe this is why it has grabbed control of Spike? It doesn't like balance?] Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities. This is what the television news is all about. Unfortunately there is so much original sin in us all that we find evil rather attractive. To devastate is easier and more spectacular to create. We like to have the pants scared off us by visions of cosmic destruction. To sit down in a dull room and compose the Missa Solennis or The Anatomey of Melancholy does not make headlines or news flashes. Unfortunately my little squib of a book was found attractive to many because it was as odorous as a crateful of bad eggs with the miasma of original sin.

It seems priggish or pollyannish to deny that my intention in writing the work was to titillate the nastier propensities of my readers. My own health inheritance of original sin comes out in the book and I enjoyed rapping and ripping by proxy. It is the novelist's innate cowardice that makes him depute to imaginary personalities the sins that he is too cautious to commit for himself. But the book does also have a moral lesson, and it is the weary traditional one of the fundamental importance of moral choice. It is because this lesson sticks out like a sore thumb that I tend to disparage A Clockwork ORange as a work too didactic to be artistic. It is not the novelist's job to preach; it is his duty to show. I have shown enough, though the curtain of an invented lingo gets in the way - another aspect of my cowardice.Nadsat, a Russified version of English, was meant to muffle the raw response we expect rom pornography. It turnes the book into a linguistic adventure. [The book is written in a made-up and somewhat offensive slang - including descriptions of sex such as the "old in-out, in- out".] People preferred the film because they are scared, rightly, of language."

Okay and finally - he states that it is up to the reader to decide if the twenty-first chapeter enhances the book or is a discardable limb. He meant it to end this way, but admits his judgement could have faulty. "Writers are rarely their own best critics, nor are critics. [Wholeheartedly agree with this!]....We can destroy what we have written but we cannot unwrite it....Eat this sweetish segement or spit it out. You are free."

Methinks Mutant Enemy tells us the same thing. If you don't like the story we have decided to tell you? Turn it off. But we can't undo it. It is done. And there it is for your critique.

Regarding free will? I'm somewhat confused regarding the philosophy here. I tend to agree that our biological makeup, environmental factors, experience will to one degree or another pre-determine our choices, but we do have a will separate from nature and any gods that may or may not exist. We also have the ability to be aware of the choice and the consequences resulting from it. To say what we choose does not matter or that our actions do not derive from the choices we make? Seems to be an excuse. I don't believe we are robots. We are connected to one another - true. And our choices influence each other. Just as Burgess' decision to write ClockWork Orange influenced numerous artists. But within all that lies the choice whether to be influenced by it, to see the movie, to read the book. And what notions if any to accept from the work.

Back to allegory - I think there can be allegorical elements within a work. Sometimes characters do represent ideas. For example - see C.S. Lewis' Narnia novels - where numerous characters represent Lewis' Christian notions.
Or the use of Buffy as a feminist icon. Or Spike - the idea of arrested development, then the government's desire to condition criminal elements, and finally the idea of moral choice.

Alex is not redeemed at the end of A ClockWork Orange. Nor is he condemned. The author leaves that up to us. Whether Whedon will do the same with Spike is well anyone's guess. I am waiting to see how Spike reacts once the chip is removed and he is free from the BB's control or I have evidence of that, to make a determination. Right now Spike still resembles a clockwork orange to me or at least to the BB. Doomed to do evil acts. I haven't seen him freely choose evil yet. Angel on the other hand - I've seen do this on more than one occassion - killing the lawyers, and
a few other acts in Season 2 Ats. So the jury is out right now on where Spike is going and whether the writers plan on him being more than a metaphor for Buffy's subsconscious urges or a metaphor for the inability for something evil to change.

Tis true - we've seen Spike as arrested adolescent (vampire), conditioned infantile - doing good but no harm since the urge for instant gratification is contained (chipped vampire), now we're at chipped/vampire with soul (which I guess is where Alex was in Clockwork ORange - the man with the conditioning). We're not at free will quite yet. Or awarness. Since Spike may not be aware of anything he does - and if he isn't? Where's the choice? So we may have will but no awareness. And the will may be another's.
(quite depressing when i think on it). Which means - until Spike can choose for himself whether or not to bite or kill or maim without something forcing him to do it or something like the chip preventing him from doing it - he's still a clockwork orange - isn't he?? And the soul as defined by Whedon? Means zip. Except that as Willow states - he feels awfully bad about everything he does. (ie. He can't choose not to leave the towels on the floor, but he can feel quilty once he realizes he left them there. (sigh.).)

Okay hoping now that I haven't confused everyone else trying to make sense of the free will and allegory posts above. I'm a bit dense I'm afraid - sometimes need to write it out to figure it out. Assuming I did and I'm still not horribly confused. ;-)

[> [> [> [> Heart attack alert: Shadowkat claims: 'I'm a bit dense I'm afraid' in above post -- Tchaikovsky, 03:04:12 11/19/02 Tue

What does that make the rest of us?

And thanks to everyone involved in this thread for their deeply intelligent (and in no cases dense, in this sense at least) comments.

[> [> [> [> Free? Will? -- lachesis, 12:41:53 11/19/02 Tue

I've always found 'free will' one of the most difficult concepts to discuss, maybe because it is basic to how I see the world. (Shadowkat, your posts are never dense in that sense, and even if you were to be confused, I'm sure it would be interesting and not horrible for the rest of us. I always admire your clarity).

I actually think that the Clockwork Orange angle is fairly fundamental to what is going on with Spike in S7 (and in general, because although the accent and look were there from the start, the aspect of characterization which really constructs him as a *British* Punk – various movement mannerisms – are more recent). And, although it has been discussed quite thoroughly before, I do think that the terms of the discussion have been completely altered by Spike’s acquisition of a soul. Conversely, it seems to me that the argument from Clockwork Orange is one of the main signals so far that the soul means more than zip.

I agree with you that in real terms, Alex as clockwork orange, and Spike with chip *and* soul, are equivalent – both have the potential for free will, but are conditioned. But I would argue that in terms of the Buffyverse, this equivalence breaks down, because, whereas Alex’s transformations are effected on a purely psychological level (not until the final transformation is he capable of 'actualizing his potential' for free will) Spike’s are changes of state, or of nature, and it is by his *reacting* to them that psychological change is effected, just as Spike’s conditioning had two distinct forms, the implantation of the chip, and his gradual adaptation to the lifestyle it enforced. And so, although the chip remains, Spike has still changed state in a fundamental way.

Also, Alex pre-conditioning was just adolescent, not artificially arrested, and simply ignorant of his potential for free will, as someone might be poor because they do not know that they have inherited riches. Alex could have spontaneously achieved maturity at any point, and in the end, his experiences are catalyst, not cause, of the final revelation. Spike on the other hand, as a vampire, had already had his potential for free will removed by demonic possession. His transformations must therefore have an external component.

Because of the extra layer that the Buffyverse adds (not just change of psychological state, and of behavior, but also of nature) I think that the analogy between Alex and Spike is really only exact on a basic level of ‘state of being:’ both are static, static, dynamic. (And until ‘Grave’ the analogy might equally have been with the 20, or the 21 chapter, text). But I think that the analogy is still relevant. Alex’s revelation hinges on the realization that he was not really more free before the conditioning than during it. Sure, he didn’t live by society’s rules, and he had himself a gang, and maybe that looked to us and felt to him like freedom, particularly in contrast to the alternatives presented by those around him. Certainly, it was all of freedom that he had ever known, and he missed it once it was gone. All of which one can also say of Spike.

Before ‘Grave’ we expected Spike to break conditioning in the same way as Alex did, removing the chip, as a pre- condition of any eventual change. But that would still have left him unable to “choose for himself whether or not to bite or kill or maim without something [demon] forcing him to do it.” Perhaps more significantly, he would still be no “more than a metaphor for Buffy's subconscious urges or... for the inability for something evil to change.”

S6 Spike also experiences a revelation. We are initially misled into thinking that he has finally found reason to do what he could have done at any point, remove the chip, break the conditioning. Only once it is revealed that he has gained a soul does it become clear that Spike has realized that, whatever else he was as an unchipped vampire, it wasn’t *free.* But you are quite right – with the chip in place, he cannot *manifest* free will. Nevertheless, the essential change is that for the first time since 1880, the potential for it is again part of his nature. And this time, the psychological change actually came before, and effected, the change of state. This demonstrates that he is no longer a metaphor for the stagnancy of evil, while simply possessing a soul automatically puts him on the same level of metaphorical expression of Buffy’s subconscious as other ‘people.’

I think that my real difficulty with ‘free will’ is that I regard it as a quality of self, not of circumstance. As human beings, we can make choices and be responsible for our own mental, physical, and spiritual well-being (this would be my very simplistic definition of free will). However, the specific choices we make (as opposed to our capacity for choice) are constrained by circumstances, ranging from our culture and how we were raised and educated, right through to whether the item we planned on buying is actually available. Sometimes I choose to make mushroom soup, but there aren’t any mushrooms in the shop. So I don’t, I make carrot soup instead. My choice has been compromised, but not my ability to make decisions.

Which brings me to insanity, and awareness, and here I have to disagree with you. I do not believe that to be insane is to lack self-awareness, but rather to lack
a) accurate or consistent perceptions of how others see you (which would let you pretend to be ‘normal’) and
b) the ability to communicate your self-aware perspective. I’d point out that madness is an excellent metaphor for fluidity and dynamism, and also that these are the qualities of thought and experience that often characterise the state of madness.

So, at the moment, Spike is very much constrained by circumstance, but this does not change his *capacity* for free-will. Acquisition of the soul seems to have driven him mad. Some kind of entity is messing with his vulnerable mind. He appears still to be conditioned by the chip (CWDP, not even going there for the purposes of this discussion). His freedoms of action, reaction, and expression, seem, in short, to be much more limited than last year. But his state of being is fundamentally different: he can choose now to be evil if he wants, to be disgusting, but he *cannot* choose to be a thing.

Hmmm. I'm not actually sure if that made sense, but thanks for making me think more deeply about it. And thanks to Haecceity for starting an excellent thread.

[> [> [> Allegory, Yes? Or…No? (Or maybe “Hell, why not?”) -- Haecceity, 22:37:22 11/18/02 Mon


Were I to accept that mantle, (which I sooo am not *near* qualified for), it would be more like “princess” or better yet, “minor countess and the youngest of ten to boot”. Anyone suggesting “goose girl” would not be far off. ;)

As to your question re: Pilgrim’s Progress---

Oh, I don’t know. It’s been so long since I’ve read it, but my *very* hazy recollection of it suggests that it is a work that was inspired by the traditions of Parable and a form of allegory know as a Morality Play. But as the Personifications you mentioned,

“Is our hero the everyman, while the people who represent Anglicanism and Catholicism and Lust and so on are only qualities which people espouse?”---Tchaikovsky

are a mix of ideologies and Forces, my helpfully definitive answer would be…“Maybe, Maybe Not, but I think not.”

Of course, I’m basing my answer on my *very* rigidly defined term of Allegory, which may not even be the correct one. I think part of the problem we face in saying “this is allegory, but this is not” is that there is an historical line of evolving story technique under the heading of “Allegory”. One comparing the Psychomachia (“Battle of the Soul”) to Dante’s Inferno, both defined as Allegory, would see the huge chasms between the two, due mostly (oh, I presume much in these next few sentences!) to their form of delivery.

The allegories I’ve referred to in the majority of my posts are those that take the form of Plays or Visual Art, whereas the works we’ve been discussing—Pilgrim’s Progress, the novel A Clockwork Orange, etc. are meant to be read. I assert that allegory requires a visual component, mostly because it deals in making abstract principles concrete and ‘graspable’—it grants corporal existence to the intangible. This can only be conveyed completely through use of visual (concrete, existing in time/space) clue-age. Remember that verbal/written language is an abstraction of the world and can only suggest being. What that means for the presentation of allegory is that the written forms of the art must “put more stuff in” to clue us in to the being-state of a personified intangible. That means the subtle/symbolic must be “explained/translated” more explicitly, requiring more subjective characterization, less “universal convention”. The change-over from visually presented allegory (created mostly for a populace that could not read) to that of the written allegorical work represents a significant step in the evolution of storytelling. And maybe this is the point where the definition of Allegory shifts. Maybe what I’ve been referring to is really “Classical” Allegory, where others have been speaking of “Progressive” Allegory.

It wouldn’t be the first time I was completely talking to cross purposes. ;)

Frantically dragging this discussion back to BtVS before Masq tells us to take our “book club” to an elsewhere…

Someone up above suggested Whistler as an allegorical figure, which I think I’d agree with. (By the way, notice how much talk there’s been of Whistler lately? Weird.) In that he represents bodily the notion of “Calling”. He prods Angel into action, makes him evaluate his place in the world, and, most intriguingly, convinces Angel that he is a creature of Destiny, but that he must choose to participate in that destiny. His words to Buffy are also about duty, about doing what she must in service to her destiny, but also to her Self.

Okay, hope that cleared up or at least interestingly muddied your question. But please, folks, if I’m all out of line and you’ve got the info to set me on the straight and narrow, please speak up. It is my life goal to try to cure myself of ignorance, but I relapse sometimes. ;)

Begging your indulgence, but doing it for love…
Here’s a poem that speaks directly to our modern-day skepticism of the value of Classical Allegory:

The Death of Allegory

I am wondering what became of all those tall abstractions
that used to pose, robed and statuesque, in paintings
and parade about on the pages of the Renaissance
displaying their capital letters like license plates.

Truth cantering on a powerful horse,
Chastity, eyes downcast, fluttering with veils.
Each one was a marble come to life, a thought in a coat,
Courtesy bowing with one hand always extended,

Villainy sharpening an instrument behind a wall,
Reason with her crown and Constancy alert behind a helm.
They are all retired now, consigned to a Florida for tropes.
Justice is there standing by an open refrigerator.

Valor lies in bed listening to the rain.
Even Death has nothing to do but mend his cloak and hood,
and all their props are locked away in a warehouse,
hourglasses, globes, blindfolds and shackles.

Even if you called them back, there are no places left
for them to go, no Garden of Mirth or Bower of Bliss.
The Valley of Forgiveness is lined with condominiums
and chain saws are howling in the Forest of Despair.

Here on the table near the window is a vase of peonies
and next to it black binoculars and a money clip,
exactly the kind of thing we now prefer,
objects that sit quietly on a line in lower case,

themselves and nothing more, a wheelbarrow,
an empty mailbox, a razor blade resting in a glass ashtray.
As for the others, the great ideas on horseback
and the long-haired virtues in embroidered gowns,

it looks as though they have traveled down
that road you see on the final pages of storybooks,
the one that winds up a green hillside and disappears
into an unseen valley where everyone must be fast asleep.

---Billy Collins
From his book “Questions About Angels”, which I cannot recommend heartily enough.

Thanks, guys, for the opportunity to ramble on and on and on…


[> [> [> [> Re: Allegory, Yes? Or…No? (Or maybe “Hell, why not?”) -- Pilgrim, 04:41:54 11/19/02 Tue

What you say about the possibilities of allegory in a visual versus a written medium .. . Spenser's Faerie Queene was an allegory, but one that was deeply troubled by the dangers of the written word. Published at a time when mass produced books were new things, the poem contains all kinds of references to the risks of writing, and what might happen if the word gets into the wrong hands. Spenser couldn't control the uses made of his work--the meaning he meant for it to have was in danger of warping into other meanings.

Reminds me of Tolkein's famous putdown of allegory in his forward to LOTR: "I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' and 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author." This is probably the sort of allegory-bashing that any appreciator of allegory will hate. And it's kind of funny to me that Tolkein is so completely invested in his creation that he's convinced himself that it's history. Maybe all creators of fictional worlds do that.

Perhaps, as you say, it's just too difficult for the author to control the written word, especially in long and involved works, so that what might be allegory morphs into "history." But Buffy is also a long and involved work, contradictory even to itself, even though visual. And it feels to me like "history," rather than a more straightforward depiction of principles/ideas.

Allegory actually seems to me appropriate for our contemporary age, with our materialist perspective. We tend to believe that the material is all there is to existence. We can create works of art in which the reader/audience will accept a one-to-one correspondence between the thing (the body, the person) and the idea that the person represents. In another age, faith in a reality other than the body may have clouded the message: In Christianity, for example, what does the communion wafer represent? It's unclear--or rather, it represesnts multiple ideas--the body of Christ (as human, as divine, as a unity, as a trinity), the body of the Church (in its earthly state, as perfected), the remission of sin. In a contemporary age, perhaps "things" resonate less for us with multiple imbued meanings, so the author/writer is better able to control the meaning he puts into the things he uses to create the story?

[> [> [> [> [> Except... -- Tchaikovsky, 05:04:29 11/19/02 Tue

As Philip Pullman has repeated so eloquently, that humans love stories which are just stories. The Harpies in 'The Amber Spyglass' are nasty, evil creatures, (much like the classical Harpies), guarding the stretches of darkness which all people go to when they die, to decay forever, (somewhat like the Elven Halls of Mandos in Tolkien). But when Lyra tells them the story of her adventures, they stop being evil. They sit back and are drawn into the story. Eventually Lyra and Will make a deal that the Harpies will guide the dead through the caves if, in return, the people who come down there tell them the stories of their life.

So we love stories. Straight out, straight forward narrative. Soap opera. Action novel. When a work of narrative becomes invested with forms of symbolism and applicability, it is more multi-layered than being merely a cracking good yarn. But, ultimately, do we really enjoy stories which are strict allegory? Shadowkat cites 'Animal Farm' above. Its title page reads: Animal Farm: A Fairy Tale. This is partly to confuse the readers. Partly to get it past the Russian authorities. But it's arguable that we get more joy out of reading the beautifully written tragic fairy tale of Animal Farm, (the pigs become indistinguishable from the men), as we do from realising that it's an allegory.

Maybe allegory is more appropriate in some senses. But it may also deny some of our characters a humanity, as they are pre-programmed to stand for something else. Even if it is the events that stand for something, there is a degree of pre-determination in their consequent reactions and opinions. So humans who can grow in any direction are more compelling to me. I wil always prefer straight narrative over allegory. I can cope quite happily with the Buffyverses allusions, parallels, metaphors. But I will never watch it as an allegory, either of classical or progressive type.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Except... -- Pilgrim, 06:39:30 11/19/02 Tue

Thanks for the reminder--I've really got to read some Pullman!

Can a strict allegory also be a cracking good story? Trying to think of one. Ah--What about Melville's twinned short stories, Paradise of Bachelors/Tartarus of Maids? Hmmm. Or Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown? Okay, maybe these aren't the most enthralling stories, but I find them fun to read, and the Melville stories are really quite chilling--the image that female laborers in a paper mill are reduced to sexless, white, blanks who mate with the machinery they operate to produce a product, yikes. And the stories work mostly as allegories, where the author clearly is trying to control/capture the meaning that the characters and plot represent.

Actually, I'm not sure there really is such a thing as strict allegory, since it seems almost inevitable that we read into/add meaning from our own experiences. Even with that epitome of allegoriness, Everyman.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Except... -- MaeveRigan, 12:52:31 11/19/02 Tue

"As Philip Pullman has repeated so eloquently, that humans love stories which are just stories."

Pullman's right about that, but it's kind of ironic from him, since The Amber Spyglass and its 2 companion volumes are part of an allegorical trilogy. Don't tell me they're not. All those Blake and Milton allusions? Please! Hard as he may have been trying to write "just [a] story," his allegorical agenda certainly went into overdrive in volume 3.

Rant off. Back to Buffy now!

[> Going To Need Another Power Outage To Respond *Properly* To You All ;) -- Haecceity, 23:38:22 11/18/02 Mon

So all you weather-workers get your twirl on and rustle up a good bluster for the east coast—you know, nothing Hurricane Andrew, just enough to get me out of work for a day or so…

(to be spent profitably wading through esoteric texts searching for answers, of course---I am sooo Giles)

…shouldn’t be too hard. I work about two blocks from the beach, so maybe a minor little wavelet, aimed directly to my workstation….….wading off into increasingly eeevil thoughts regarding worksite wreckage…beginning to wonder what I should call my own demon side. Haecceitas? (On the theory that everything is evil in Latin translation.)...okay, back now, but scratching my head ‘cause don’t remember what I was going to say. Plus, horn nubbins? Itchyyyyyyy!

All-Natural, No Preservatives Required Night Owl who is SO looking forward to grad school in January so that I can stay up all night reading/writing to the board!!! But who now has to sign off, having only responded to one post in any sort of meaningful way, ‘cause those fiends who designed the workday did so without consulting the nocturnal!

[> [> Addendum Note to the Weather Witches -- Haecceity, 03:47:46 11/19/02 Tue

The afore-requested storm should abate by 8 p.m. Eastern tonight, though.

There’s this show I want to watch…

[> Why I Love This Board and All About Land Sharks (*minor*spoil/spec S4-7) -- Haecceity, who couldn’t sleep ‘cause the moon is so bright!, 03:54:35 11/19/02 Tue

“There is set before us for general use a bowl of myths and stories combined. And where could one meet with more kindly listeners for testing these stories?” ---Plutarch

There I was, hesitating long minutes over hitting ‘approve’ for a post I felt sure was going to hit some buttons of its own regarding the great Season 6 Love/Hate Debate (“Dark Sides, Dark Nights”), and what happens?

You all glom onto my jazz-riffing, tossed off, obscure literary method post.

Love that!
Currently tossing any remaining pre-conceived notions out the window.

On Fever-Pitch, Restless Sharks and Why Joss et al Are Total Story Gods:

“What is up with Season 7?” Is rebounding all over this board these days, and everybody’s “Got a Theory”. Some apocalyptic, or spin-offy (“Dawnie the Vampire” Slayer ;), others displaying the strange beauty of twisting insane troll logic. But I’ve got one that’s not about the story arc or what will happen to who, etc. Mine is about the audience and Mutant Enemy and it’s really, really simple—there’s blood in the water.

We are odd creatures, we humans. We have all the animal drives, but inexplicably we seem to have gotten an extra one from the evolutionary “Wheel of Fortune”. We require meaning. We need to consume it, we need to create it. We can withstand the severe depletion/loss of other drives as long as there is meaning to that. We can die from its lack.

Our richest sources of this meaning meat are myths and stories. That’s what fills Plutarch’s bowl. It is the invisible bowl on the table of society. We gather together to share not only our meals, but our meanings, our stories, ourselves.

Meaning is a hunger drive. We are like sharks in the ocean of creation, swimming constantly, “Gotta keep moving forward…Like a shark. On land.” snatching at meaning, searching it out, and when we find it, we internalize it. Through some mysterious metaphysical chemical reaction, meanings become part of us. They are our beliefs and laws and faiths, our notions, whimsies and operating systems, our internal steerage.

And our drive for meaning is being kicked up higher and higher toward full gear with every ME chumming of the water. We’re tearing into each chunk of doled out story , thrashing through its bits, but swimming on again, ultimately unsatisfied, knowing that a real feeding is weeks and weeks away.

The wonder of ME is that they know exactly how this works. Because the tension isn’t just getting folks to watch the show, it’s directly contributing to the meaning of the story they are constructing. The “end of it all” is not just about the possible end of Sunnydale, it’s about the end of all of it. Our panicked and frenzied behavior has as much to do with our worry over the end of this involvement we have with the Buffyverse as it has to do with the supposed “apocalyptic ending” of an epic tale. We are feeling the same unease about unfolding events as the characters are. We are caught in the exquisite tension of being offered full access to the heart of this story’s meaning, but having to wait for it.

Who liked Season 6 very much, but thanks to FX finds herself missing the chumminess of early Season 5 Scoobies. “Chumminess” as in their fun, affectionate “family” aspect, not their chopped-up fishy-food aspect.

And who also wonders if sharks have some sort of shark-word for chumminess, like our “yumminess”. Or how about “Salty Chum-ness”?

Maybe need more sleep after all. Having priorities straight, will nap at work!

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