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Something We Had Better See (heavy Buffy Spoilers) -- black_eyed_veiny, 13:40:23 11/23/02 Sat

ok not really heavy, but I wanted to get the lightweights out.

We had better see, or hear, that Willow and Anya have put every last damned protection spell known to exist in the Buffyverse, on that house, after the events of CwDp. And since Willow is among one of the most powerful Wiccans in North America (by all counts), they oughta for the most part work. Or the show will lose a lot of street cred with me.

Personally I like the idea that what was holding back the evil Joyce look alike, may have been an aggregate of all the old spells (and there were many) protecting the house, or Tara's guardian spirit, or both. But that is just me.

[> Re: Something We Had Better See (heavy Buffy Spoilers) -- wiscoboy, 14:44:49 11/23/02 Sat

My thought on Joyce parallels yours. If the beast holding back the "evil" Joyce wasn't just another ploy to seduce Dawn, then one has to believe the ugly beast was actually good. Then follow it to Dawn killing the good and releasing the evil(Joyce). What I want to know: when & where has Dawn learned the magic to kill the jailer demon? That seemed like very advanced magic for her to perform.

[> [> About Dawnie's magic... -- ZachsMind, 15:20:47 11/23/02 Sat

I kinda thought she was just sorta making it up as she went along. She was casting the bad guy out with the love of everyone she knew. With everything she had inside her. She wasn't exactly calling upon Osiris or Hecate.

Dawnie was winging it. Further evidence that the whole thing could be a trick, and that Dawnie never actually exorcised anything out of the house. She was only made to think she did. OR maybe it just goes to show one doesn't have to study Wicca to be good at casting out evil -- you just need a thick head and a heart of gold. =)

[> [> [> Re: About Dawnie's magic... -- Briar Rose, 15:31:30 11/23/02 Sat

Zachs... That is the way it is done in many esoteric theologies.*S*

Many witches don't call on Hecate or Osirus or anyone that is well represented in the normal spells used on BtVS or any other show/movie that broaches magick.

One of the few spells I've ever seen on TV that actually addressed the reality was [Imagine my surprise!*L] Charmed. When the witch - chicks called on their passed family members to do a binding and protection was one of the few times that any of the writers got it right.*L That and the scene with Dawn....

Maybe thos means that Marti and crew will stop annoying me with their lack of understanding where magick and topics of magick are
concerned ? I can only hope!

[> [> [> [> Re: About Dawnie's magic... -- ZachsMind, 15:55:22 11/23/02 Sat

Hrmmm.. Food for thought. Without going into detail about my personal life or getting sidetracked to trying to describe my own complex belief structure, I do have some vague experience with pagan ritual. I'm not one myself but I'm open minded enough to accept that there's more going there than just wishful thinking. ...Okay. So, some could argue that's EXACTLY what's going on in a literal sense. The power of thought. Lining up the mind with the body & spirit. All that. I believe in the possibility.

However, in the context not of reality (or the perceived reality of one or more fans of the series) but in the fictional 'reality' of the Buffy World, there does seem to be a difference between how magic works there and how it theoretically works in 'our' world.

There are some who would argue whether this is true in this world, but generally in Buffy's world, if someone is using the powers of another entity (calling upon D'Hoffryn or Hecate) it usually turns out bad, but if they call upon the power that resides within themselves, things work out okay and one could technically call that "white" magic. Although the whole "black magic/white magic" thing is a misleading concept.

Ugh. Don't git me stahted. *smirk*

[> [> [> [> Re: About Dawnie's magic... -- aliera, 17:25:10 11/23/02 Sat

I don't know about the annoyance (which I can relate to... see season 6) but Willow's spell to call the deer did have a RL basis and there was a rumour at the time that it was more comprehensively written and then cut.

[> [> [> [> [> I still think the deer... -- ZachsMind, 18:21:49 11/23/02 Sat

..shoulda been replaced with Kitty Fantastico! It would have tied up another frayed plot just dangling out there, and it would have been more dramatic. Who cares about a random strange fawn dying? Had Willow killed poor little defenseless kitty, that woulda been massive.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I still think the deer... -- aliera, 19:11:52 11/23/02 Sat

No one that's wrong, because the deer WAS a good choice and a deer would evoke other references. Was that you that wrote about the kitty last season? Are you very concerned about the kitty plotline? (teasing font) I'm afraid I'ma dog person....

"Write upon the first part towards the East, Adonai, Helomi, Pine, ...and betwixt the first and the other quarters make The Pentacle of Salomon thus..."

...just Google I'm not Briar Rose or WW. Thanks for the funny ZM and I've been enjoying your posts lately.

And speaking of Miss Kitty (I feel much yummier now)...where is Clem? (I'm watching Graduation day right now...I do miss Faith also.)

[> [> Re: Something We Had Better See (heavy Buffy Spoilers) -- Briar Rose, 15:22:30 11/23/02 Sat

As a witch - I can say in all honesty that what Dawn did was simple magick. Dawn performed a spell that did nothing more than use herbs and symbols to cause protection and to bind the BB out. She already had the most important ingrediant in any actual spell: high emotion! Terrible Fear is a force to be recond with. So is extreme anger, love or sadness.

I agree that the residue of all the protections past would have imbued the house with a strong ability to repel all but the worst of the Big Bads. And it also would have helped Dawn's magick to become even stronger than it already was.

Willow and Tara and Giles did a lot magickal work in that house. I actually feel that the only reason why the BB was able to get in this time was because of Willow's last season loss of reason. She may have tainted some of the energy with her actions in the recent past.

Thank you black-eyed-veiny! You struck on a wonderful point where magick is concerned. One of my favorite topics, BTW.*L

[> [> Jailer demon? (minor SPOILERS for Conversations with Dead People) -- Robert, 15:22:35 11/23/02 Sat

>>> What I want to know: when & where has Dawn learned the magic to kill the jailer demon?

Two questions:
1) Besides speculation, how do you know that a jailer demon was involved? In other words, how do you know that it wasn't all an act on the part of the big bad whatever?

2) How do you know that Dawn killed anything, that Dawn's victory over the demon wasn't also an act?

[> [> [> Re: Jailer demon? (minor SPOILERS for Conversations with Dead People) -- wiscoboy, 16:19:51 11/23/02 Sat

Read my whole point...I bring those questions up.

[> [> Am I all alone here? -- Wisewoman, 16:30:46 11/23/02 Sat

Doesn't anyone else think that "evil" Joyce might just have been the spirit of the real Joyce, telling Dawn the truth?

And that Dawn successfully banished the manifestation of the BB that was preventing Joyce from speaking?

All Joyce said was that Buffy wouldn't "choose" Dawn. There are lots of scenarios wherein that would be a good thing...


[> [> [> Oh no. You're not alone in that. (Speccy spoilery for "CwDP") -- ZachsMind, 16:41:18 11/23/02 Sat

I believe in both possibilities, and the first time I watched it, assumed Cassie was the bad one & Joyce was good. However, the fact that the BBW could be both Warren & Cassie simultaneously, well that does put Joyce's identity in a state of uncertainty.

The fact Joyce's eyes were WHITE through part of it, if you look at Cordy at one point in "Apocalypse Nowish" her eyes go white during her premonition. If Joyce is evil, we have to accept that Cordy might be evil now too. I'm not sure about that one way or the other right now. Also, Joyce appeared before Dawn at the end *glowing* which is very much NOT the modus operandi of the BBW. However, again we know too little about the BBW to accept anything at face value.

Whether or not Joyce was real or faux, what she said to Dawn fits with how Buffy's been behaving recently. On more than one occasion Buffy has dismissed what Dawn had to offer the group, as if she were still three years old. Even when what Dawnie had to contribute was legitimate and mature. Buffy still doesn't trust that Dawn can take care of herself. She probably wouldn't count on Dawnie if the chips were down. She'd be overprotective and afraid Dawnie would fold under the pressure. So in that context, what Joyce said is very plausible and very believable. This doesn't legitimize Joyce's identity though. It only throws more uncertainty at it.

Just like you, I WANT to believe Joyce's presence at the end of the episode was the real deal. However, this is Joss Whedon we're talking about. Nothing's sacred, y'know? Both possibilities are equally valid. Whedon simply doesn't want us to know for certain yet. Which is fun. It gives us more to chew on in here. =)

[> [> [> [> Re: Oh no. You're not alone. -- aliera, 17:19:36 11/23/02 Sat

You're not alone or on other boards. People don't know quite what to think yet and the spec seems to be pretty much all over the place. A good season indeed .

[> [> [> But we hope she was wrong about Buffy -- luna, 17:22:33 11/23/02 Sat

[> Re: Something We Had Better See (minor SPOILER for Sleeper) -- Robert, 15:17:47 11/23/02 Sat

>>> We had better see, or hear, that Willow and Anya have put every last damned protection spell known to exist in the Buffyverse, on that house, after the events of CwDp.

Really? What happens if we don't see or hear this happen?

What exactly (please be precise here) is Willow and Anya going to protect the house from?

[> [> Re: Something We Had Better See (minor SPOILER for Sleeper) -- black_eyed_veiny, 15:36:02 11/23/02 Sat

they would be spellifying it, or "magically augmenting its latent resiliance to Evil", in order to keep out the BB. It makes little since to have them constantly re-spellifying the house after each vamp-visit, and not after a visit from the BB.

and like I said, ME would lose street cred with me. At least.

[> [> [> Re: Something We Had Better See (minor SPOILER for Sleeper) -- Rook, 15:41:43 11/23/02 Sat

The "re-spellyifying" after Vamp visits aren't "protection" spells, though. They're very specific "de-invites" in response to very specific invites. And it might not even be possible for them to put up protection spells when they don't even know what it is they're fighting. After all, all they could do with Glory was a general "alarm" spell around the house and Magic shop.

[> [> [> [> Re: Something We Had Better See (minor SPOILER for Sleeper) -- black_eyed_veiny, 15:47:29 11/23/02 Sat

I believe in Lessons Spike actually says, "When I am gone, you can close the door behind me with whatever protection spell you like" that is where I got that. I was just thinking that the Summers house, with all its extraordinary inhabitants might be something of a "Hot Spot" in Lorne- speak. Lots of residual magical energy.

[> [> [> Re: Something We Had Better See (SPOILER for Sleeper and earlier episodes) -- Robert, 16:26:47 11/23/02 Sat

>>> they would be spellifying it, or "magically augmenting its latent resiliance to Evil", in order to keep out the BB.

What specifically is spellifying?

What latent resiliance to evil? What specific evidence do you have that the Summer's house has any more resiliance to evil than any other house in Sunnydale?

What specific BB are they attempting to keep out?

>>> It makes little since to have them constantly re- spellifying the house after each vamp-visit, and not after a visit from the BB.

Exactly, how many times have the gang issued the vampire un- invitation spell? I can recall two instances; once in season two to keep Angelus out, once in season five to keep Spike out. Do you recall any others?

What evidence do you have that such a spell will have any effect on whatever big bad the gang is currently fighting?

What evidence do you have that there is anything Willow and Anya can do against a unknown enemy of unknown origin and of unknown type?

>>> and like I said, ME would lose street cred with me. At least.

That answers my first question. By the way, just how much is street credit worth?

[> [> [> [> Re: Something We Had Better See (SPOILER for Sleeper and earlier episodes) -- De-Invites, 16:31:42 11/23/02 Sat

Just to answer the Q, there have been 4 De-invites on the Summers house: Angelus, Dracula, Harmony and Spike.

[> [> [> [> [> Thanks, black_eyed_veiny -- luna, 17:29:42 11/23/02 Sat

Black-eyed-veiny, I for one appreciate hearing your point of view--not being very much aware of the technical (wiccan?) details, it's really good for me to know what you have to say. There's a lit-crit approach to the episodes, dealing with evidence from the scripts, etc., and there's a contextual approach--what kind of magic is this, anyway? How does it work?

Knowing more about the contextual view helps us with lit- crit and all the other interpretations.


[> Re: Something We Had Better See (heavy Buffy Spoilers) -- AgnosticSorcerer, 19:29:42 11/23/02 Sat

What I would like to know is what is with the continuous reference to Wicca when speaking of the Buffyverse or Willow?

Spike and Existentialism (spoilers for "Sleeper") -- Sophie, 14:33:17 11/23/02 Sat

In last week's episode, "Sleeper", we learned that Spike is being controlled by Morphy and many of you quickly concluded that Spike is not responsible for his recent evil behavior. I read the posts and tried to accept your position, but found it just not possible, which leads me to conclude that I am a hopeless diehard existentialist. Oh well. That being scary enough unto itself, I have been reading Sartre's lengthy book "Being and Nothingness" once again, searching for an answer or at least some way to reconcile Spike's behavior.

Sartre states that because we have freedom, we are responsible. We cannot shirk that responsibility unless we are stripped of our freedom, i.e., to be unable to leave or commit suicide.

So, I ask the question: Can Spike leave?

If yes, then Spike is responsible for letting Morphy cause him to commit evil deeds and Spike should leave.

If no, then Spike has lost his freedom – he has no choice - and thus his responsibility. Considering that we do not know he depth and breadth of Morphy's capabilities, it may be that Spike can not escape Morphy as long as he is on the planet anywhere. Since Spike has not been physically restrained from leaving, then Morphy would require some other method of preventing Spike from leaving.


[> When was he supposed to leave? -- Rook, 14:53:29 11/23/02 Sat

The real question is, when was Spike supposed to leave? Or kill himself, or whatever? During the crimes he was directly under the thrall of the BB, so he cna't leave then, as he's definitely not in his right mind, and is unable to determine right from wrong. Afterwards, he forgets everything about the he has no opportunity to reflect or make any critical judgment about his actions.

As soon as he does remember, he calls up Buffy to help him determine what happened...and then when he breaks free from the thrall, he helps save Buffy, and does exactly as you suggest, which is to ask Buffy to kill him.

While under normal circumstances, your points might apply, they dont here because Spike never had the opportunity to engage his free will while in full control of his mind.

[> [> Re: When was he supposed to leave? -- Sophie, 15:08:57 11/23/02 Sat

At the end of Sleeper, Spike is aware enough that someone is causing him to do things that he does not want to do. So, he should leave now.

You're point that he is unware prior to this point, thus unable to chose to leave, would argue that he is unable to leave and thus not resposible. That he calls/asks Buffy for help when he suspects something is wrong, is a choice that indicates that he is taking responsibilty. My points apply.


[> [> [> Re: When was he supposed to leave? -- Rook, 15:13:57 11/23/02 Sat

>>That he calls/asks Buffy for help when he suspects
>>something is wrong, is a choice that indicates that he is
>>taking responsibilty.

I'd take it more as a choice that indicates he thinks something may be wrong. Just because he thinks, at that point, that something may be wrong, doesn't mean he's responsible.

It's like someone slipping a drug in your drink, and then expecting you to A) Take responsibility for your behavior while drugged and B) move away because that person may do it again. The more reasonable and ethical choice is to remove the person who drugged you in the first place from society so they don't harm anyone else, rather than run away and hide.

[> [> [> [> Re: When was he supposed to leave? -- Sophie, 15:22:52 11/23/02 Sat

So your counter-argument stands: You are saying that Spike has been unable to leave because he didn't know what was happening. Thus he lost his freedom and subsequently, his responsibility for his season 7 evils to date.


[> [> [> [> [> Spike put it succinctly in "Selfless" -- ZachsMind, 16:52:49 11/23/02 Sat

BUFFY: Get up and get out of this basement.
SPIKE: I don't have anywhere else to go.

Existentially speaking, Spike was cornered. The creature was dogging him and he felt trapped. Now, whether he literally was trapped, or if the entity was making him feel there was no escape when actually there was, it's rather plain that he FELT unable to just pick up and leave.

He was also consciously unaware of his actions. Someone compared the episode to "The Manchurian Candidate" at one point and that is very legitimate. Spike was put under the equivalent of hypnotic suggestion. The entity was using an old song - probably something from his youth - which put his mind in a state of complete susceptibility to the entity's suggestions. However, when Buffy started calling Spike on his behaviour while under the entity's influence, Spike started deducing that he was being used.

I can't see how Spike can be blamed for his latest rash of killings, because he wasn't really himself at the time.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Spike put it succinctly in "Selfless" -- Sophie, 18:07:38 11/23/02 Sat

Good points.

BUFFY: Get up and get out of this basement.
SPIKE: I don't have anywhere else to go.

I thought Spike was referring to the fact that Clem still lives in his old crypt and Spike hasn't gotten/found a replacement home.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> What's up with Clem, anyway? -- ZachsMind, 18:19:57 11/23/02 Sat

Why did they have to put Xander with Spike? Why can't they just browbeat Clem into submission and put Spike back in his old digs?

Where the heck's Clem?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Wondering the same thing...maybe it's the kitten-fettish -- Sophie, 18:24:40 11/23/02 Sat

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Sleeper, why didn't he run? -- cougar, 18:48:08 11/23/02 Sat

I was wondering why Spike did not run away from Buffy. After tasting her blood and remembering he curled up in a corner. He didn't try to help her, nor did he run away. So why did he stay?

Morphy said something like"get your claws in her, play a bit". Then he tells Spike "She's Gonna kill you". Spike just submits. Maybe that uncharacteristic lack of self preservation tipped Buffy into deciding not to stake him. What did morphy want to happen here? He could have said "Run and hide your face from her Spike", but instead watched to see what would come of the confrontation. Was he trying to make Spike kill himself now that he was ripe for it? Or would that have been an easy death?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sleeper, why didn't he run? -- Sophie, 19:08:29 11/23/02 Sat

I keep thinking about this too.

2 personal thoughts on why not running -

Once got caught rolling a yard (this was a LONG time ago) - didn't run because figured there was no point - would have to face the guy the next day anyway - might as well let him decide my fate then and there and be done with it.

other - dream/nightmare - I got into a fight with some guy and he knocked me on my back and straddled me - I had a split second to decide - I could kill him and save my life, or do nothing and he would kill me. I did nothing. He killed me.

So, I know the feeling that Spike must have felt - kind of sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, but WHY, SPIKE? WHY NOW?

Maybe he wanted Buffy to know he trusts her? Maybe turn himself over to her for ___________?

Keep thinking about that scene, though.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sleeper, why didn't he run? -- cougar, 20:15:01 11/23/02 Sat

I guess I was wondering why morphy was spending so much energy on Spike only to then let him offer himself up to be "staked good and proper".

It seemed the closest Buffy has ever come to doing it, she has sacrificed Angel, Anya and even herself now. Then again at that moment he was so literaly beneath her that her insight with Holden prepped her to help Spike. So it has been systematically set up to manipulate her motivations.

What if the Buffy that Spike imagined saying "it's you, it's me we'll make it work" was a "Future Buffy" or "Replay Buffy". But it seems it was a really a hope projected for Spike to make him ready for a "transference" to the slayer.

I think the key question about not running is, whose decision was it, Spike's or Morphy's.

I can't shake the image either. Buffy said to Holden "I let him completely take me over", now evrything has taken over Spike.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Maybe a gambit? -- Sophie, 20:29:13 11/23/02 Sat

If Morphy's choice - Spike is a pawn and this is Morphy's opening move with the Slayer?

If Spike's choice - maybe he fears that if Buffy kills him, he is free; or if Buffy takes him and protects him from further trouble from Morphy; or he fears that running out the door will land him smack in Morphy's mercy.


[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> The decision was the Slayer's.. -- ZachsMind, 23:37:45 11/23/02 Sat

Spike didn't run because he's got nowhere to go. He wants the suffering to end, and the only person on the planet who COULD kill him feasibly is Buffy. Oh, he could commit suicide. He tried that once soon after he got the chip but he failed. He probably can't think of any way to off himself that would be 'quick.' Remember, he asked her to do it to him quickly. He may only trust Buffy to kill him, and she won't metaphorically 'pull the trigger.'

The Big Bad Whatever apparently has no way to get directly to Buffy. Somehow (so far) she's free from its direct influence. She can't see it. It can't apparently directly communicate with her. She's immune. It can get to her friends. At least Spike & Willow and maybe Dawnie. Why? We don't know that yet. It also hasn't gone after Xander or Anya yet. Again, we don't know why. Either they could be immune or they're just flying under the BBW's radar. Xander & Anya don't appear to be a threat so its ignoring them.

The BBW tried to set things up so that Buffy would feel she had no choice but to kill Spike. Maybe the BBW has been influencing things since day one, and no matter what it does it can't get the variables to fall into play so that Buffy dies (or kills an innocent, like when Faith killed the assistant to the Mayor). It can't win, so its more recent efforts have been more blatant than the past.

If this thing is pure evil. The FIRST evil, it's feasible to suggest that it has the power to influence things subtly, trying to upset the balance of good and evil in its favor, but now it's just gotten more desperate and is going at things a bit less subtly than it has been, because though it's failed to take out Buffy time and again, it wants to go for that "Big Finish."

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sleeper, why didn't he run? -- frisby, 19:24:08 11/23/02 Sat

I think we don't know enough about the relation of Spike and Morphy (or the first evil I think) to draw conclusions regarding the motives for his actions. Whatever the case I don't think Morphy has any kind of complete control like a puppeteer but instead exerts an influence which controls Spike's behavior to greater or lesser degrees. Morphy tried to force Angel to kill Buffy but inadvertently persuaded Angel to opt for suicide but even then Buffy almost changed things once again -- in the end though the powers that be had to provide the miraculous snow in Sunnydale for the first time ever to save Angel from exposing himself to the dawn. So, in this case, nothing is set in stone, but there are forces exerting influences to harder and softer extents. Morphy did not want Spike to remember the killings but he did. I think the first evil is a participant but for the most part always falls back on the role of spectator, wondering how things will work out, given his prod or push here or there. In this special case though, the case of the apocalypse, the one wherein a vampire with a soul will save the day or make all the difference, I hazard that the concern the first evil has with Spike is a bit more urgent than usual, given its giving up with the mortal coil and such, and its going for the big finish. Adding to the complexity is the utter haecceity or singularity with regard to any ensouled vampire -- the usual partial demon inhabiting a human host has no soul, but somehow with this unique case, we have the mortal William, the vampire Spike, and a new ensouled vampire that somehow includes not only William and Spike, but who is also (as Morphy posing as Drusilla says in 7.1) "not his own man" any more. That is, "Spike or Will-iam" is possessed or controlled or belongs to the first evil to some degree. A great fight is brewing in the being we still generally refer to as Spike (the one with a soul), a fight to some degree between light and darkness, and it's my bet that his sacrifice out of love for Buffy will save us all, or at least, make it possible for Buffy and the Scoobies (and perhaps some other allies, perhaps even darkness itself, since it also fears the first evil) to do so.

[> Once more with the existentialism -- Slain, 08:24:24 11/24/02 Sun

I didn't see at first how your argument fitted in with existentialism - but I do see now, in the sense that because everyone is responsible for their own existence, therefore Spike is responsible for his own actions, because as far as we know he's still capable of, at least, killing himself. He managed to immolate himself on a cross in BY, so I don't think it's an unfair assumption to say that Spike still has the freedom to orchestrate his own death; many existentialists would say that death is the ultimate freedom, and the only surety in life. So Spike is in this way sufficiently responsible.

However we can look at it in another way - in Albert Camus' 'The Victim', the pressure of living in the world with others causes the protagonist to murder. Throughout, he feels that other people are determining how he should behave and act. Spike is pressured, in a very literal way, by the BB; the strain of living in a world which doesn't accept him, which judges him based on its own rules, causes him to act; or, rather, it passes judgement on the morality of his actions. Satre probably wouldn't have agreed with this as, being a Communist, he would probably have thought that Spike's actions were unjust, as they impinged upon the freedom of others (by killing them). The hero in 'The Victim', however, might well have said that, as Spike was a vampire, he was being true to his self, and that by trying to be good he was being controlled by Buffy. Possibly.

But ultimately Spike's actions haven't been covered by either Satre or Camus. Spike doesn't remember what he's done, and the BB has even gone far enough to wash away the taste of blood (I assume), so that Spike has no recollection. His freedom to decide has been taken away, with the knowledge of his actions; he can't be his authentic self, because a portion of that has been taken away from him. But, from an existential point of view, Spike does take responsibilty for his actions; when he finds out what he's done, he tries to die. Admittedly he expects Buffy to do it for him, but traditionally suicide hasn't been a way out for existentialists; rather their life ends because society or bureaucracy has decided it for them.

Spike accepts death, however (and he does seem to genuinely believe Buffy is going to stake him), which seems to me to be the only avenue he has open to him. Had Buffy carried out this sentence, and killed him like Mr. K is killed at the end of 'The Trial', then Spike's journey would be complete; he would have taken responsibility for his actions. Buffy, in showing mercy, shows herself as not coming from an existential frame of mind; she doesn't seem to believe that everyone is only control of their own self, and that others and society cannot help them through their existence. Buffy believes that, not only is Spike not responsible, he is not unredeemable.

(I'm not using the appelation 'Morphy', by the way, because where I come form Morph is an animated character made out of putty, and not remotely scary or foreboding-giving. ;) )

[> [> Excellent post! So eloquent! -- Sophie, 08:48:07 11/24/02 Sun

[> [> Another thought -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:21:45 11/24/02 Sun

Unlike most cases of demonic/hyena/magic possession we've seen on BtVS, the Shapeshifter didn't totally control Spike. When it tried to get him to feed off of Buffy, Spike pulled away. Thus, his free will wasn't completely gone and he still had the power to resist the Shapeshifter. I'm not sure whether this makes him partially responsible for the murders or not. Anybody have opinions on the matter?

[> [> [> Re: Another thought -- alcibiades, 10:56:56 11/24/02 Sun

It may not be like the hyena possession, but it is exactly like the magical possession on Him and also has resemblances to NA.

In Him, Buffy quite gleefully set about the task of killing Professor Wood for jacket guy. She would have gone through with it too, except in her case, someone stopped her. Then she tried to get back the gun because she still wanted to do it.

But when it came down to letting Dawn die by suicide, Buffy was able to break free of the compulsion and even, reluctantly, consign jacket guy to Dawn to the extent that it was in her power. It took the burning of the jacket to free her the rest of the way.

Furthermore, this situation is also similar to Buffy's actions in NA. She broke free of the compulsion after inflicting physical damage on Willow and Xander and Dawn when she was about to kill them. Love rescued her at the moment of crisis. Then she needed to drink the formula to break free of its compulsion entirely before she sunk back into it.

How does this differ from Spike in your opinion?

In Him, Buffy had an external brake on her (namely Spike) preventing her from exercising her free will that was stripped of inhibitions under a spell and killing the principle. And it is only fortuitous that she had that external brake. Anya, frex, who interestingly Xander was not worried about that night, went through with her crime spree. Spike also didn't have an external restraint on him when he was killing the girls and boys.

Yet, at the moment of crisis, both Buffy and Spike broke free of the spell, enough to stop themselves.

It's a clear parallel. Also, in Him, all the girls are happy to accept Anya's little summation, that while under the spell they didn't bear legal or moral responsibility for what they did. Why wouldn't the same apply to Spike? Especially since in the girls' cases, they were all doing what they wanted to stripped of inhibitions. In Spike's case, the way he is now, this is much less clear. Even under the song spell, after he bit the girl in Sleeper's he looked more deeply upset than happy about having killed and drunk. That is why he got out of there as soon as he can.

Finn, have you ever analyzed what it is about Spike or yourself that makes you so want to tighten the screws?

Just curious, in a very polite way. ;-)

[> [> [> [> Spike's possession -- Slain, 11:58:29 11/24/02 Sun

Thanks - I was going to make the point about this episode coming so soon after 'Him' - hence, perhaps the fact that Buffy was less keen to judge, but I completely forgot!

I don't think there is a difference between Spike in 'Sleeper', Buffy in 'Him' or NA, or Willow in the season finale. All of them were controlled by an external power, and the extent of this control was always arguable. The important part for me is not so much how responsible they are (it can be argued that they're all responsible), but how much remorse they have shown. Willow and Spike are both in a simlar situation, in that instead of absolving themselves of responsiblity by blaming the power/BB/etc, they have taken the blame on themselves. It's true Buffy doesn't go into the blame route after 'Him' - but I think that was simply a case of it being a silly episode, and not one that was intented to impact the season as a whole.

If anything, though, Spike is less responisble than Willow or Buffy. From Angel's description, being a vampire with a soul is like being an undead human, with a demon inside. I don't entirely trust Angel's descriptions of himself, but I think many of the things he's said have been borne out by the show. The BB used Spike's vampire self, as if it were capable of negating the soul, or bypassing it. While I think, generally speaking, a souled vampire is much more of a single being (rather than a soul/demon dichotomy) than Angel would have us believe, it is still true that the demon is capable of taking control, as happened to Angel in PLRTZ GLRB (sp?).

So while Buffy's actions on NA were based on some of her own desires (to have a 'normal life'), and Willow's were based on her own desire for revenge, I think when Spike was being controlled by the BB, it induced him to act against his own character; I believe that Spike is honest in being horrified by the idea of vampirism, much as Angel was. When he was controlled by BB, not only did he not know what he was doing, what he doing didn't play on his own desires, like Buffy's hallucination of the mental hosptial in NA did.

I'm sure most people would agree that Spike hasn't turned evil; but I think it goes deeper than. Pre-souled Spike would have felt no remorse for killing humans, and would probably have been glad that he'd got round his chip. He would have worried that Buffy might have discovered him, and would have felt guilty in that way. But he wouldn't have felt remorse.

Souled Spike does; his reaction is completely different. The episode shows that not only has Spike not returned to evil; he no longer is evil. I was always unconvinced by pre- souled Spike's protestations of being good, because it seemed clear that it stemmed purely from a selfish desire to please Buffy. Initially, souled Spike seemed to be equally self-centred, focused around his own pain rather than about the pain that he'd caused. But I think Angel was the same way, and it took him decades to feel true remorse. Spike's actions have accellerated the process, and I think that was the purpose of the episode. Spike has transcended his own pain, and his own desire for self preservation, and seems to me to be in the same place that Angel was, at the start of Season 1.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Spike's possession (spec for this week's episode) -- leslie, 16:07:17 11/24/02 Sun

"I don't think there is a difference between Spike in 'Sleeper', Buffy in 'Him' or NA, or Willow in the season finale. All of them were controlled by an external power, and the extent of this control was always arguable."

As I pointed out in the "full circle" thread, it seems that the addiction metaphor has shifted from Willow to Spike this season--at least the trailer for this week (11/26) seems to show Buffy and Willow discussing Spike's need for blood in terms applicable to addiction, and his running amok shown immediately afterward looks, in this context, like withdrawal symptoms. So how much responsibility does an addict have for his actions? The physiological axis of addiction absolves the addict of a certain degree of responsibility, I think, but unless going clean will literally and inevitably kill you, the physiological addiction merely makes it extremely difficult to decide to withdraw and makes it more likely that you will fail to do so. Addiction also makes it much more difficult to refrain from doing what you know is wrong in order to feed your addiction, whether you are knocking over liquor stores to get money for a fix or munching on the necks of nubile young ladies. If someone manages to kick an addiction, however, what is your attitude toward them? Does the fact that they have committed crimes while addicted make them irrevokably beyond the pale? In that case, why put yourself though the pain of withdrawal? I think the only compassionate way to treat a former addict is to acknowledge the reality of their previous crimes--and for the addict to acknowledge it as well--but to take the attitude of "as long as you stay clean, we'll try to make a new start." I'm not saying give them a get-out-of-jail-free card, literally or metaphorically, but that you have to make it possible *and desireable* to live an unaddicted life.

[> [> [> [> Response -- Finn Mac Cool, 12:04:40 11/24/02 Sun

I never said that Spike's ability to resist made him culpable. I was wondering if it was, and your explanation here does make sense. I guess the reason that Spike's case seems to incite more blame is that, while the other characters have tried to kill others while contolled by an outside force, this is the first time one of them actually succeeded in killing someone. For instance, my reactions after "Normal Again" or "Him" would probably have been more harsh if Buffy had gone through with killing people. I still wouldn't have held her guilty, but on a gut level I would feel less forgiving.

On another issue, Spike's case is different from other cases of possession and hypnosis that have come before: we know that Spike is being controlled by the Shapeshifter, but the characters on the show aren't sure. I agree that Spike isn't reponsible for the murders, but that's because as an audience member I got to see Spike's genuine confusion at what had happened and saw the Shapeshifter playing with his mind. Buffy and the Gang have to take a leap of faith to believe that an external force was making Spike kill those people. Buffy believes this because of how Spike looked in the basement, she could tell in her heart that something was controlling his mind. But she can't prove it, and everyone else has to take a large risk and trust that she was right.

I repeat: I don't think that Spike should be held responsible for the murders that were seen in "Conversations with Dead People" and "Sleeper". However, I also believe the Scooby Gang is not wrong for mistrusting Spike and feeling he is to blame as they can't tell whether he acted of his own free will or not.

OT: of Speilberg, Julie Benz and Angel -- yabyumpan, 20:28:21 11/23/02 Sat

From the Houston Chronicle, a story about JB in the new Steven Speilberg mini-series. The first line is "Filmmaker Steven Spielberg must watch Angel regularly."
Pretty cool huh? Maybe WB could use that in their promotion!!!!

[> Re: OT: of Speilberg, Julie Benz and Angel -- Masq, 08:27:31 11/24/02 Sun

A 20-hour mini series does make it unlikely that JB will come back to play a Darla cameo, even if she wants to.

[> Let's just hope he doesn't want to direct an episode... -- Apophis, 10:37:22 11/24/02 Sun

He'll want to digitally replace all the stakes with walky- talkies.

The return of Angelus - arranged by whom? -- Darby, 20:40:23 11/23/02 Sat

Okay, so I pick up the 3rd Volume of Season 2 scripts, and I'm reading Innocence and run into a line that I'm not sure ever registered before...

Jenny ...if it's happened, then Angelus is back.

Gypsy Man I hoped to stop it. But I see now that it was arranged to be so.

This seems a credible witness in an episode written and directed by Joss (and, aside, there's lots of good bits here and in Surprise that didn't make it to the screen) making a very important statement that never again is addressed. Or is it?

Who was Whistler working for, and did they know that to hook up Angel and Buffy would inevitably return Angelus? Was Whistler not a credible witness when he claimed to be an agent of balance, or did balance demand an uber-vamp for an uber-Slayer?

This potentially could change a lot of the Angel mythology...or it could be a line that was eventually forgotten about a plot twist that was abandoned. Were we ever given any more clues about this?

[> One possible interpretation -- ZachsMind, 23:26:24 11/23/02 Sat

"I hoped to stop it. But I see now that it was arranged to be so."

The gypsy man was probably inferring that it was fated to be. Actually that's not necessarily the case, but the gypsy man's not a credible witness. I think Whistler is. Maintaining the balance is a misleading statement. Whistler never said he was for good or evil. Only that the balance had to be maintained, probably to keep him and whomever he worked for in business. Shame the actor couldn't hang with the Buffy crowd, or join up with the cast of Angel in season one. I liked the character. Playing neutral means sometimes you're the bad guy and sometimes you're the good guy. Had they kept Whistler in the mix for Angel, it would have potentially made it even edgier. Having never seen season one of Angel myself, I don't know how Doyle filled Whistler's shoes in that capacity.

The Role of GrimWes (spoilers and speculations for AtS 4 and BtVS 7) -- PurpleMarrow, 20:52:02 11/23/02 Sat

or “You Gotta Have Faith”

I’m fairly new to the board, so I apologize if this topic was raised previously. I wanted to speculate on what was going to happen with Faith this year on AtS and BtVS, since there are reports stating that she will be on both shows. My theory ties in heavily with Wesley, now that he’s become GrimWes. Faith is obviously going to get out of prison somehow (escape on her own, extraction by the Watchers, etc.), most likely so she can help fight the Apocalypse (Apocalypses? Apocalypsi?). Faith and Wesley don’t have the best history (that’s an understatement), and if Wesley was still the person we saw in “Spin the Bottle”, she’d probably ignore him, or kick him once for good measure. GrimWes is another story. I doubt that Faith will ever play well with others, but she understands the practicalities of battle, and I think she will realize that Wesley can now be an asset to her.

Faith will presumably have grown enough to want to try and do the right thing, although it unlikely that she’s going to fall in line with whatever everyone is planning. She might take some direction from Angel (and maybe appreciate Gunn’s fighting skills), but what about Cordy? Lorne? Fred??? I doubt it. GrimWes is another matter. He has shown his skills in battle (no more squealing and falling down), and he has shown (e.g. Justine) that he is will to do whatever is necessary to achieve his goals. He is now capable of NOT being a nice person.

GrimWes has become the perfect Watcher for Faith.

Wesley is no longer on the Council, but it didn’t stop Buffy from choosing Giles, and I doubt that it will stop Faith from choosing Wesley. A renegade slayer and a rogue ex- Watcher may not be what the Council wants, but it is probably the best option for a good outcome to the Apocalypse, and it’s definitely what the Council deserves.

This team-up also provides the basis for some really juicy interactions. Even if it’s strictly a Watcher-Slayer relationship, how is Lilah going to perceive and react to Faith’s involvement with Wesley? And what about Fred, particularly if she has started to pull away from Gunn and move closer to Wesley? And if the networks can figure out a way to agree to crossovers, we have the possibility of seeing GrimWes and Faith showing up on BtVS. Faith and Wesley, Buffy and Giles; seeing how the contrast with each other (and how well each pairing works). Not to mention how the Scoobies will react:

Xander: “Hey, it’s Wesley! Pip pip! Sorry, but we’re all out of scones.”

GrimWes: “I’m not hungry. We killed a boxcar full of demons to get here, and we have plans to make.”

Xander: “ You mean Faith killed a boxcar full of demons. You cowered and flailed in the corner.”

GrimWes: “Faith killed twelve. I killed five. Now sit down and shut up.”

I think this is a reasonable course of action for the characters to take. Any thoughts or comments about the likelihood of this occurring?

[> Re: The Role of GrimWes (spoilers and speculations for AtS 4 and BtVS 7) -- luvthistle1, 01:45:44 11/24/02 Sun

I would love to see that. but at this point, although Faith might have change, Wesley have also. I do not see him trusting Faith enough to help her in anyway. I thinking at this point (remember the bucket) he might try to kill her. He have to have a very, very good reason to be able to work with Faith.

But "Faith and Wes" would make one wicked team.

[> [> Re: The Role of GrimWes (spoilers and speculations for AtS 4 and BtVS 7) -- Kenny, 08:36:32 11/24/02 Sun

I don't think trust is necessarily an issue. The way I see it, Wes doesn't trust anyone right now. Not Lilah, not Angel and gang. Doesn't keep him from working with them when the need arises. He's really cut himself off emotionally from everyone (even himself) enough that he's capable of seeing what's practical and going with that.

[> Future spoilers in first post -- Masq, 07:34:15 11/24/02 Sun

[> [> Okay, is it me... [no spoilers, speculation or anything else!] -- Slain, 07:56:14 11/24/02 Sun

Or has the board gone back to the crazy days of vauge spoiler warnings, only more so? There're hardly any threads today which I feel comfortable looking at, and I really need my AtPoBtVS fix!

So will someone please tell me what "speculative spoilery" or variations on that theme means - does it mean speculation based on future spoilers, or speculation including references to past episodes?

If 'speculation' just means idle thoughts which aren't based on reading any spoilers, what is the point of labelling the post? I can understand people labelling speculation if they've read future spoilers, but surely the spoiler board is the place to speculate about future spoilers - as that's its raison d'etre, after all!

[> [> [> Agreeing with Slain -- Arethusa, 09:10:57 11/24/02 Sun

(start gently scolding font)Why are people using this board instead of the spoiler board to discuss future episodes?(end gently scolding font)

[> [> [> [> Re: Agreeing with Slain -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:16:21 11/24/02 Sun

Some of us may stumble across spoilers accidentally. We may catch a future casting spoiler here or a brief blurb about next weeks episode there. We feel like we have to discuss it, but we really don't want to become any more spoiled than we currently are, so we dare not visit the spoiler board.

[> [> [> [> [> I think... -- Masq, 10:30:15 11/24/02 Sun

This particular person is just new to the board and tried her best to follow the rules as she understood them. Doesn't mean the board as a whole is slipping in its spoilerlessness.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: I think...(My Apologies) -- PurpleMarrow, 11:16:15 11/24/02 Sun

...(humble contrition font) for not specifying "future" or posting on the Spoiler Board. I had seen spoilers and speculation on this board, and tried to imply future spoilers by referring to the season numbers, without realizing that it could also refer to just the season to date. I'll keep this in mind for future posts.

[> Re: The Role of GrimWes (speculation based on future spoilers) -- Masq, 08:02:28 11/24/02 Sun

I'm not sure how the Faith-Wesley interaction will go, but now you have me looking forward to it! I think Wesley is someone who Faith can respect now, and I think some of "GrimWes" is the result of what he endured with Faith's torture in season 1.

As for Lilah, she knows exactly who and what Faith is, having tried to hire her once to kill Angel. She was betrayed by Faith, who took W&H's money and allied herself with Angel.

So should be interesting!

About buffy choosing (Spoilers for CWDP) -- Ferthepoet, 21:48:44 11/23/02 Sat

Joyce or Whoever it was said Buffy is not gonna Choose dawn, and one possibility that came accross my mind is that Buffy somehow is going to have to decide who the next slayer would be, and Dawn would be among the candidates but buffy is not gonna choose her

[> Re: About buffy choosing (Spoilers for CWDP) -- luvthistle1, 01:20:58 11/24/02 Sun

You could be right. But although Dawn might have recieve a visit from "HER" mother, it might not have been a visit from "BUFFY'S mother Joyce. While buffy was born into Joyce, Dawn was "Made" human by the monks. so, that saying could have a lot of meaning, or it can be forshadowing of what to come.

[> [> or maybe...... -- Ferthepoet, 07:43:52 11/24/02 Sun

Or maybe Morphy is actually the mom of the Key

The song MorphySpike was singing in "Sleeper" lies within... (Speccy spoilery) -- ZachsMind, 23:16:41 11/23/02 Sat

Haven't seen this mentioned yet but maybe I overlooked a thread that's already scrolled off? Apologies ahead of time if this has already been covered but I just found it myself. I went searching on the 'Net. I googled the first line from the song that Morphy Spike sang in the episode, and nabbed this:

Early one morning, just as the sun was rising
I heard a [fair] maid sing in the valley [down] below
"Oh don't deceive me, Oh never leave me,
How could you use, a poor maiden so?"

Remember the vows that you made to me truly
Remember how tenderly you nestled close to me
Gay is the garland, fresh are the roses
I've culled from the garden to bind over thee.

Here I now wander alone as I wonder
Why did you leave me to sigh and complain
I ask of the roses, why should I be forsaken,
Why must I here in sorrow remain?

Through yonder grove, by the spring that is running
There you and I have so merrily played,
Kissing and courting and gently sporting
Oh, my innocent heart you've betrayed

How could you slight so a pretty girl who loves you
A pretty girl who loves you so dearly and warm?
Though love's folly is surely but a fancy,
Still it should prove to me sweeter than your scorn.

Soon you will meet with another pretty maiden
Some pretty maiden, you'll court her for a while;
Thus ever ranging, turning and changing
Always seeking for a girl that is new.

Thus sang the maiden, her sorrows bewailing
Thus sang the poor maid in the valley below
"Oh don't deceive me, Oh never leave me,
How could you use, a poor maiden so?"

The song's not about a woman fretting over a man who has left her for another woman. That's often a misunderstanding of the text. The woman is pining for a love that has died. The roses that she culls to bind over the man. That means she collected the roses to place over his grave. This song could be words coming from Buffy's mouth just as easily as they came from Spike's. In more ways than one, he was dead to her, but now things aren't quite clear.

The Poor Maiden Song is an actual ballad that young William the Bloody would probably have known before he was turned. Sarah Brightman has covered it recently, but it's actually a traditional folk song from Great Britain, written centuries ago. The actual author's name has been lost in antiquity. One source I found atributed it to someone named Benjamin Britten who was born in 1913 but I think he just arranged it; gave it the melody that's used today. Percy Grainger is also attributed, and he was born in 1882. Other sources say the song dates back to the Dark Ages: Medieval Times. It could be as old as the 1500s. It also uses a similar poetry structure to an old Irish song called "Cockles and Mussels." Here's a sampling.

In Dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
She wheeled her wheel-barrow, through the broads and the narrow
Crying "Cockles and mussels" Alive, alive oh

Speculation here: The BBW could have used that song as a hypnotic regression trigger. At the end of "Sleeper" Spike yells out to the Beast that he wanted it to make him forget what he did again, like before. It's possible that the BBW posed as Dru and sang that song to him, and promised to make all his painful memories go away. Remember what the BBW said to Spike in the first episode this season, "Lessons." The BBW posed as Dru and said this:

DRUSILLA: "You'll always be mine. You'll always be in the dark with me, singing our little songs. You like our little songs, don't you? You've always liked them, right from the beginning. And that's where we're going."

While under the influence of the hypnotic regression, the Beast could then give Spike suggestions, like he was under a hypnotic spell. It would then have him kill & feed without worry about the Chip kicking in. Spike was like, sleepwalking. Hence the name of the episode: "Sleeper."

Now that Spike's consciously aware, he might be able to fight it. Depends on how strong the influence is. I just thought the context of the song was a good choice, given Bloody William's interest in poetry, and also given how Spike & Buffy have treated one another.

Though love's folly is surely but a fancy,
Still it should prove to me sweeter than your scorn.

This song could have been tailor-made, but instead Whedon's gang researched and found the perfect traditional song, already written and waiting to be plucked. The copyright's expired on it too. Public domain. Very cost effective. =)

This brings about a whole new issue though. Could the BBW do the same thing to the others? Could it put any of them under a hypnotic spell? OR maybe it was just that Spike's particularly weak to this kind of thing, but the BBW is not strong enough to do this to the others? We simply don't know enough yet.

[> Re: The song MorphySpike was singing in "Sleeper" lies within... (Speccy spoilery) -- Sci, 23:29:10 11/23/02 Sat

Hallu. I'm new around here -- y'all look smaht. ;) Delurking for the first time...

Is it just me, or is attributing the Evil's control over Spike to hypnotism rather a bit... mundane? I mean, hypnotism only works if the things the hypnotist is trying to get the subject to do is something the subject would not object to doing. Now that Spike has a soul, I think he'd very muchly object to killing people. Not to mention that a subject can only enter a hypnotic state if she or he choses to. Whatever the Evil is doing to Spike, it has to go above and beyond hypnotism.

Not to mention that the whole "little songs" thing seems way too literal.

Myself, I'd theorize that the Evil has some sort of control over the anger and pain Spike feels, and is able to alter Spike's mind temporarilly in such a way that his anger and pain take over, motivating all his actions -- bringing out the Angelus like side of him, the one that takes pleasure in hurting others, if you will. Temporary insanity.

But that's just me.

It's a good theory, though!

[> [> The theory... -- ZachsMind, 23:42:59 11/23/02 Sat

I think the guy's name is Josh. He's on BuffyRadio. He was talking about how maybe Spike was able to kill without interference from the Chip because the BBW managed to get Spike's mind to a place that was "pre-chip" so if Spike thinks he's a vampire in the 1800s before he ever met Buffy or the Initiative or before he knew there was something wrong with killing & feeding, then yeah sure the BBW could hypnotically suggest to THAT Spike feeding & killing and THAT Spike wouldn't object to doing it in the hypnotic state. The Chip wouldn't kick in because THAT Spike didn't even know that Chip was there, so he would unconsciously ignore its effects.

As for hypnotism being 'mundane' I have a feeling we're gonna find out this BBW is kinda like that mean demon that was the problem in the season four Halloween episode. Turned out he was a bunch of sound & fury signifying nothing. Barbie coulda taken that guy.

This BBW feeds on fear and chaos. Take away the fear, stop being afraid of it, and it's really got very little bite. Willow already learned that.

[> [> [> Re: The theory... -- Sci, 00:15:41 11/24/02 Sun

Well, I don't think there was much to be learned from the Evil's attempt to have Willow commit suicide, except that it knows a great deal about her relationship with Tara (suggesting that this Evil is able to monitor the Scoobies' activities, and has been for some time) and that it apparently believes Willow will be a threat to its plans in the future, hence the preemptive attempt to remove her from the picture.

I don't think we can say that it has very little bite so far, because what we saw of it in CWDP did not have the Evil making any assertive attempts to kill Willow; it was attempting to manipulate Willow into doing this, suggesting that it is either unwilling or unable to kill Willow itself AT THIS TIME. However, this does not mean that it is a permanent state, nor does it mean that its inability/willingness to kill Willow is a blanket trait -- it certainly didn't seem to have many problems physically attacking Dawn at her house.

This, of course, raises the question, "If it can hurt Dawn, why not Jonathon?" Well, for all we know, the death of Jonathon was part of a ritual necesitating that a sacrifice be made by a follower of the Evil.

And who's killing all these girls across the globe? And why doesn't the Evil kill them itself? Well, I dunno. What we can conclude is that this Evil is very powerful, apparently have a controling influence over the highest levels of the cosmic battle between Good and Evil, and that it seems to be more into manipulating people into doing its bidding than getting its hands dirty. Inability to physically harm people? Or unwillingness? Maybe it likes corrupting people into doing its will more than getting its hands dirty. Evil- As-Corruption and all that jazz.

Bottom line, we simply know too little about this Evil to be certain of much of anything. We can make educated guesses, but not much else.

[> [> [> [> Modus Operandi.. -- ZachsMind, 14:01:29 11/24/02 Sun

"However, this does not mean that it is a permanent state, nor does it mean that its inability/willingness to kill Willow is a blanket trait -- it certainly didn't seem to have many problems physically attacking Dawn at her house. This, of course, raises the question, "If it can hurt Dawn, why not Jonathon?"

That's provided your assumption is correct that whatever attacked Dawn & posed as Joyce was the same BBW that was manipulating Andrew and communicating with Willow. I'm still not convinced of that.

IT had to trick Andrew into killing Jonathan. IT had to trick Spike into feeding and turning all those people. If IT had the ability to do any of that, IT would just do it. IT wouldn't be pussyfooting around like IT's doing.

IF the BBW could affect the house like that, and slice at Dawnie, why doesn't it just do the same thing to all of Sunnydale -- or the world for that matter? The BBW can only tempt desires and attempt to manipulate thought. It can't actually manhandle anyone, otherwise it would have by now.

So, that gives further credence to the theory that Dawn wasn't being coerced by the BBW. What Dawn battled to get to her mother was a separate malevolent presence. After Dawn succeeded in scaring that baddie away, that really was Joyce at the end there.

[> [> [> [> [> This case is still open -- Traveler, 15:11:49 11/24/02 Sun

"IT had to trick Andrew into killing Jonathan. IT had to trick Spike into feeding and turning all those people. If IT had the ability to do any of that, IT would just do it."

Not necessarily. The BBW could be trying to soften up the scooby gang for a decisive strike later by attempting to divide them. IT didn't just kill Johnathan; it also turned Andrew. That may be a worthy goal to IT on its own merits. Maybe the BBW is relatively weak now and trying to gain power. Or, if you don't buy any of those ideas, IT could simply be cruel and enjoy tormenting them.

"IF the BBW could affect the house like that, and slice at Dawnie, why doesn't it just do the same thing to all of Sunnydale "

You seem to assume that the BBW is either powerless or omnipotent. Maybe IT's strong enough to blow out a few windows, but not powerful enough to level Sunnydale with a thought. We really don't know enough about IT to make those kinds of judgement calls.

[> [> Keep in mind Spike isn't all soul. -- HonorH, 10:49:02 11/24/02 Sun


Spike's part demon. That part of him, as we've seen with Angel, can be brought forward and augmented, especially when the body and mind are under stress. (See Buffy's method of getting Angel to feed from her in GD II.) It would be only too happy to be killing. Thus, what the BBW could have done is used the song to repress Spike's conscious mind and placed its suggestions in the demon part of Spike. The soul wouldn't even factor in until Buffy's blood woke it up.

[> [> Re: The song MorphySpike was singing in "Sleeper" lies within... (Speccy spoilery) -- Kay, 21:11:06 11/24/02 Sun

"Is it just me, or is attributing the Evil's control over Spike to hypnotism rather a bit... mundane? I mean, hypnotism only works if the things the hypnotist is trying to get the subject to do is something the subject would not object to doing."

Actually, there is some evidence that isn't true. That people can be hynotised and do things they would object to. It has more to do with the will of the person being hypnotised. Some people cannot be hyponotised at all, some can be quite easily and some it depends on if they allow themselves to be or their mental or emotional state. Spike isn't in the best emotion or mental condition, so it probably wouldn't be that hard to hyponotise him. Also there is an analogy to the drug given to Angel in Eternity and his reaction. The drug didn't take away his soul but simply losened his inhibitions letting the demon instincts take over. Hyponotism could probably accomplish the same thing.

[> Re: The song MorphySpike was singing in "Sleeper" lies within... (Speccy spoilery) -- Rufus, 01:10:41 11/24/02 Sun

This brings about a whole new issue though. Could the BBW do the same thing to the others? Could it put any of them under a hypnotic spell? OR maybe it was just that Spike's particularly weak to this kind of thing, but the BBW is not strong enough to do this to the others? We simply don't know enough yet.

First off Spike has been traumatized in a way that left him open to insanity and manipulation and further to that there could be the classical hypnotic stuff with a magic boost. So, the evil that got Spike just got him at the right time, a time where he was so sick about what he did that forgetting was all he could think of and long for......but one thing holding him to this reality is Buffy.....for once it being "all about Buffy" just may be the thing that saves him.

[> [> Agree...w/ Ruf and Zachsmind (Him spoilers and future spec) -- shadowkat, 08:40:17 11/24/02 Sun

(Hi, still away on vacation, but briefly delurking to comment.)

Thanks Zachsmind for additional info on this dang song which for the life of me I can't get out of my head. Curse ME for this.

"This brings about a whole new issue though. Could the BBW do the same thing to the others? Could it put any of them under a hypnotic spell?"

While Spike is the most vulnerable of the bunch right now - due to his recent trauma (a trauma that would make literally anyone vulnerable, don't know a soul online or off that it wouldn't), Xander has proven himself in the past to not only be highly vulnerable to hypnosis but also to possession.

1. The PAck - the hyenas possessed him
2. Buffy- vs Dracula - Dracula made Xander his "butt- monkey"

We also have a Xander who has in the past due to his insecurities used magic or summoned something. OMWF, BBB.

So I bet money that Xander has either already been co-opted or is about to be. And what the BBW has planned for Xander is probably far worse than Spike.

Hence the importance of the episode HIM - where the four women were seduced by a jacket and shown to do anything, including blow away a Principal with a rocket launcher or change a boy into a girl. In that episode Spike and Xander were the sane ones and saved the day. Now it's up to the women to see past the "trigger spell" and save the day.
Except I think if Xander starts betraying them, they won't see it at first...only we will.

Another possiblity? The Watcher Council and Giles.

And finally Dawn - I think could also be easily manipulated by BBW - she's very vulnerable right now and the second best way of getting to Buffy.

Okay that's it for now.

[> [> [> Now why did you mention... -- ponygirl, 10:41:38 11/25/02 Mon

The Watchers and Giles?

Going over some old tapes this weekend and ended up having another look at Spin The Bottle. In that episode Wesley talks about the CoW test of the Slayer, the one that we saw in Helpless. At the time it seemed to me to be just a cute reference to an earlier episode, but now I'm wondering if we were reminded of Helpless for a reason. What happened in that episode? Well, Giles hypnotized and drugged Buffy, quite easily. Obviously hypnosis is part of the Watcher training.

My spec is all over the place right now, but I do keep thinking that the Council is a far more ominous organization than it seems. They also seem to deal exclusively in the big picture, while Buffy herself has always been about the details.

[> what can the morphy-thing do & what can't it? & q's. about the song -- anom, 11:23:51 11/24/02 Sun

"Could the BBW do the same thing to the others? Could it put any of them under a hypnotic spell? OR maybe it was just that Spike's particularly weak to this kind of thing, but the BBW is not strong enough to do this to the others? We simply don't know enough yet."

I think it may be simpler than that. Maybe it (or It) can control vampires, specifically. The new vamps' attack on Buffy seemed pretty coordinated, considering that they'd just come out of the ground--no one (audibly) told the 2 who grabbed Buffy & held her for Spike to "taste" to do that. Maybe Morphy was exercising some control over them too. If true, this could make it extremely dangerous, depending on how many vamps it could control at a time. Maybe it can only spread itself so thin. It probably wouldn't need to assume control most of the time (their agendas pretty much coincide w/no interference needed), but it could step in to get them to pick off Scoobies 1 at a time; Xander & Dawn might be particularly vulnerable to opportunistic attacks like this. But I don't think living people are susceptible to Morphy's direct control. This may be related to its being limited to appearing as people who've died.

This possibility raises a couple of other questions.

1) What is it actually doing to Spike? From what we saw in Sleeper, it seems to be able to mess directly w/his brain, controlling what he remembers or forgets & whether or not he feels the pain from the chip.

2) Was it controlling Holden? A lot of his interaction w/Buffy seemed spontaneous, but remember when we saw Spike in that ep, he showed an ease & freedom we haven't seen in him since he got his soul back, laughing as he walked w/his victim-to-be (even at that distance, I could swear he was wrinkling up his nose [in a way that's supposed to be cute but that I've never seen that way] when he turned toward her laughing & hunched his shoulders)--his entire affect was different. And we still don't know how much was set up-- certainly Morphy could've made Spike tell him his name, but if it wanted Holden to tell Buffy, it sure let him wait a long time for it to come up "naturally" in the conversation; there was every chance Buffy could've dusted him before he told her. So was her finding out Spike was killing again part of the plan or not? In Sleeper, Morphy tells Spike that his calling Buffy isn't the way it had things planned. Apparently, things aren't going according to its schedule.

About the song:

"The song's not about a woman fretting over a man who has left her for another woman. That's often a misunderstanding of the text. The woman is pining for a love that has died."

This doesn't make sense to me. Why would she see his having died as betrayal, slighting, & scorn? If he's dead, he's hardly going to court another maiden & always be looking for a new girl. And as for the flowers, I've heard of a "garland" being placed around the head or neck of a love, but I've never heard it used for the flowers on a grave, & if they were called a garland, it certainly wouldn't be "gay."

All sortsa new questions!

[> [> Holden as Morphy's agent to Buffy -- Dariel, 16:11:56 11/24/02 Sun

On the Holden question: I think he was controlled by Morphy. But not for the obvious, Spike-related reason. Several people have commented that Morphy doesn't seem able to get inside Buffy's mind, as it has with Dawn, Willow, and Spike to varying degrees. But Holden did get inside Buffy's mind; he found out a lot about her. Holden was sent by Morphy to find out what made Buffy tick.

[> [> [> CWDP. Spoilers for that ep -- Rahael, 16:29:08 11/24/02 Sun

Probably Holden was part of the Big Bad manifestation, but just a minor quibble which probably is my own personal reaction.

Since when did the villains have to work so hard to find out what made Buffy tick? I mean, didn't Sunday have her down pat? Didn't the mayor have greater insight into her relationship with Angel than she did? Didn't Spike show insights into her that her friends didn't have?

If Holden was part of the big bad it seemed more likely to me that he was stopping Buffy getting to Dawn, and was doing exactly the same thing to Willow - in fact, the attempt to get her to top herself was so over the top, I don't think it was serious. WHich means we have to take very seriously that it was targetting Dawn, and that Dawn's conversation with her 'mother' was so important, that delaying tactics were being employed with Buffy and Willow.

[> [> [> [> Re: CWDP. Spoilers for that ep -- Dariel, 16:05:28 11/25/02 Mon

Actually, I think it's both--the BBW was out to keep Buffy away from Dawn, and to learn something new about B at the same time.

I think our evil whatever is in a study phase at the moment. Playing with people to see how they react. It's just getting started, in other words.

I agree about Dawn's conversation with her mother being very important. I don't believe, as some have conjectured, that the "Buffy not choosing her" bit is about something minor. Whatever it is, it's a big deal--why else have Joyce deliver the message?

[> [> Re: what can the morphy-thing do & what can't it? & q's. about the song -- aliera, 05:04:11 11/25/02 Mon

It's another interpretation. As Isabel mentioned in the original thread, she has a friend that "filks" and has done the song and that's pretty common, I think. It shows up on quite a few websites other than the history ones. The tune sans lyrics has also been used for some other things. I like what Zach added here; it's another layer. Just the the famous gossip game where a bunch of people sit in a circle and whisper a secret to their neighbor who then passes it on to the next person slightly altered - the interpretations can shift over time and distance and artist. Come to think of it, that's acually the mark of a good song or poem or fairytale/story. The story speaks to something so basic to the human condition that it is true even after people and culture have changed. It does seem that the most common interpretation is loss of innocence and betrayal.

Parallels : The key and the first evil -- luvthistle1, 01:29:22 11/24/02 Sun

I notice that what was said about the first evils almost parallel to what was said about Dawn (aka the key)

Season 3"Amends"

Evil. Absolute evil, older than man, then demons ? very few have
heard of it, fewer believe in it. But it is a force that transcends
all realities, all dimensions, and if focused, could have had the
power to bring Angel back."

Season 5 "Spiral"

"The key ... is almost as old as the beast itself. Where it came
from, how it was created ... the deepest of mysteries. All that is
certain is that its power is absolute. "GREGOR: You were created ... to open the gates that separate dimensions.

What do you suppose the comparison might foreshadows?

[> Re: Parallels : The key and the first evil -- frisby, 13:09:16 11/24/02 Sun

I read that one of the titles of the later episodes of season seven will be titled the Battle of the Fates, and that seems to me the proper scope for a confrontation between the key and the first evil. Maybe this will be battle where an ensouled vampire makes all the difference?

[> [> Future title spoiler here and in above post -- Rook, 13:21:41 11/24/02 Sun

I've read a couple of versions of the future titles..."Duel of the Fates" being the most recent one for the ep. in question here.

[> [> [> Where? could you email it to me?Please -- luvthistle1, 14:53:06 11/24/02 Sun

I would love to know more about future title, it help to tell which direction the story might take. :)

[> [> [> [> Future title spoilers -- Rook, 16:45:49 11/24/02 Sun

Charles Taylor in "The New York Times" on Blood, Sweat and Fears -- d'Herblay, 02:06:04 11/24/02 Sun

A very respectful summation of the East Anglia conference written by the always pro-Buffy Taylor and published in the historically anti-Buffy Times. For those keeping score, leslie is not mentioned, at least by name, and Maeve Regan is not mentioned, at least by pseudonym.

(Registration is required to access this link. It's free, but remember to accept the damn cookies or you'll never get through.)

(Oh, mole? You out there? I thought you might like this.)

[> Thanks -- Rufus, 04:49:05 11/24/02 Sun

You just helped contribute to the delinquency of Trollops....:):):):)

[> [> Always an enabler . . . -- d'Herblay, 16:07:39 11/24/02 Sun

. . . though it should be noted that nothing in the article will make one a trollop. In fact, one of my favorite parts of the article is the image of North America-based scholars mentioning developments in Season Seven to receive cries of "No spoilers!" from the Europeans and antipodeans. This is a technique in scholarship I wish I had known back in Contemporary Civilization. "Now, class, let's discuss the allegory of the cave . . . " "No! I haven't finished The Republic yet and I don't want to get spoiled!"

[> Both articles are very interesting -- Rahael, 05:13:02 11/24/02 Sun

And Palmer Eldritch is still giving me the spooks, months later.

[> [> Who is Palmer Eldritch? BTW... -- alcibiades, 07:39:21 11/24/02 Sun

I once saw brief but highly positive comments by Caryn James on BTVS in the Times.

[> [> [> Spoilers for the three stigmata of Palmer Eldritch! -- Rahael, 13:57:41 11/24/02 Sun

Okay, I've only read this book once, and it's possible I'll get some of the details wrong, but it's a book by Philip K Dick, where there is a mysterious villain called Palmer Eldritch who was involved in smuggling a dangerous drug. I'm sure Matching Mole and dH would be able to explain the plot much better, but Palmer Eldritch is almost a satanic figure who can take the shape of almost anyone, but who really is a robot with a grinning skull, a metal arm and a fake eye (I may remember this incorrectly!!) and sometimes the illusion can go away, and the 'three stigmata' (the characteristics I've listed) of Palmer Eldritch can appear. So a character can think they are talking to a friend, and suddenly, it's clear they've been talking to Palmer all along.

Gah!!! It still spooks me now! Though now I feel compelled to reread it (I read it really fast because it scared me even while I read it, and I wanted to finish before daylight went away and night came.)

There's also another Philip K Dick book I read shortly afterward where there are lots of drugs floating around, and a man is convinced that the girl sleeping next to him suddenly turns into someone else and back again. The whole house is is being spied on by himself so he watches back on videotape and she does turn into someone else. Did I mention that there were drugs involved? Anyway that scared me too!

[> I just finished going through my NY Times and was just about to post this! Ya beat me to it! -- Rob, 06:39:53 11/24/02 Sun

[> Palmer Eldritch and the Big Bad -- matching mole, 15:19:01 11/24/02 Sun

Thanks d'H. I thoroughly enjoyed both articles. I haven't read any PKD for a long time now and that article really made me think about his work in a new way.

Rahael's description of Palmer Eldritch (which I couldn't better as I read the book about the time she was born) reminds me a lot of the current big bad. Shape shifting and reality distorting - sound familiar?

[> [> That struck me while I was writing my post (Spoilers for BtVS S6, and Lessons) -- Rahael, 15:47:50 11/24/02 Sun

In fact the ep last season where the evil trio make Buffy believe she's killed Katrina is something I wouldn't be surprised to find in PKD.

KdS, Yaby and I were talking about fantasy/SF writing, and the Geek Trio's interests, and how this influenced not only their portrayal, but their actions. I wonder if Warren got his idea about making Buffy believe she'd committed a crime when she hadn't, from PKD? And remember who asked that demon to inject Buffy and cast her into that asylum in NA? That Asylum ep, and it's conclusion is very PKD. And if someone like me has read him, surely Warren, Andrew and Jonathan would have?

I first read him in my teens (when I was still reading whole shelves of books in the library picked at random) and read quite a lot of PKD this summer very quickly. He's a great author, with startling ideas. Gloomy, but compelling. I found myself picking up book after book despite myself.

Spiders, Webs, Superstring Theory, & Connectedness - - Yoda, 09:15:40 11/24/02 Sun

We have been seeing alot of spider and web images on BtVS lately. In STSP we had the boy in STSP spray paint the word “Spider” on a wall before the flesh eating demon kills him. We had the spider demon in Selfless with its sticky web. We had Holden Webster nicknamed Webs on CWDP. All this spider & web imagery must mean something so I did a google search on spider webs and connectedness and came across this really neat essay on how all things are connected. It has a wonderful poem by French poet Gerard de Nerval on how everthing is connected and has power over us; it details the myth of how Spider Woman created the world; there is even a mention of the Superstring theory. Which is a neat tie in with AtS and how both shows are connected (no pun intended).

Where ME is going with this theme of connectedness I have no idea but it has made me think about things I ordinarily wouldn’t have, which is way cool! Anyway I thought I’d share what I found with you guys and maybe you can come up with some ideas on what all this means.

The Anonymous String - A Meditation On Connectedness

You may remember the "Miss Peach" cartoon by Mell Lazarus about a teacher's observations of her small but precocious students. Two of them are talking. One says: "Hi, Shirley! Are you still into that metaphysical stuff?" To which Shirley replies: "No. I used to be one with the universe, but now we've decided to go our separate ways."[1]

That cartoon came to mind as I contemplated the words of Don Elder Camara, the Brazilian Roman Catholic Archbishop - words that have intrigued me since I first read them: "In a fabulous necklace I had to admire the anonymous string by which the whole thing was held together." What is that necklace? What is the whole thing? Humanity? The earth? The church? And the anonymous string - what of that? Nature? Cosmos? God?

The French poet Gerard de Nerval, in "Lines in Gold" reminds us of our connection with all that is. He begins with the words of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras, "Why not! Everything feels!"
"Man, do you think yours is the only soul?
Look around you. Everything that you see
Quivers with being. Though your thoughts are free,
One thing you do not think about, the whole.
"Beasts have a mind. Respect it. Flowers too.
Look at one. Nature brought forth each petal.
There is a mystery that sleeps in metal.
'Everything feels!' and has power over you.

"Be careful. The blind wall is spying on us.
All matter is connected to a word . . .
Do not make it serve some unholy purpose.

"A god in darkness often walks obscured.
As eyelids of a new-born infant open
A spirit wakes and gazes in stone."

Connection. Connectedness. How are things connected? How are we connected? From time to time we speak of that "interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part" - from our Unitarian Universalist covenant. I like the image of the web, and the strings which comprise that web, as a symbol of connectedness.

The web of existence is not a new image. There is an ancient myth of how Spider Woman created the world. Long before there was a universe, Spider Woman went wandering up and down, looking for something. She was lonely and so she went up on a high mountain and sat down to think. Suddenly she had an idea. Spider Woman was the Weaver. And so she set up her loom on top of the mountain, took up her shuttle and began to weave.

As she wove, something amazing happened. Every time one thread crossed another, a star appeared, and before long she had woven thousands and thousands of stars into her weaving, and each one was tied to every other one in the web. Then she stopped and looked at it. It shone and sparkled and was beautiful, but it was not quite what she wanted, so she decided that she would do a little more with this web of stars.

She chose one star that happened to have some planets circling around it. And she chose one of those planets that had bright blue oceans and sparkling white clouds, and set up her loom again, right there on that planet. And she began to weave again.

This time as she wove, whenever one thread crossed another, a living thing appeared. She wove roses and pansies and carnations into this world. She wove fruit trees and nut trees and great redwoods. She wove all manner of birds and fish and insects into her web. She wove deer and buffalo and coyotes into it and all of the animals. And every one of these living things was connected to each other thing in her weaving. Then she stopped weaving to look at it. It was very beautiful and very full. Yet it was still not finished. There was still something missing, so she started to weave yet a third time.

This time the crossing threads created human beings, men and women and children. And each human being that she wove into her Great Web was connected to every other thing, to the other animals, to the plants and trees and flowers, to the mountains and seas and deserts, even to the distant stars. Every human being - and indeed everything that Spider Woman wove into her Great Web - is connected to every other thing. Spider Woman must still be weaving.

This interconnectedness of things appears not only in myth, but in science as well. Take the increasing interest in Superstring theory by theoretical physicists. Albert Einstein spent a lifetime in search of what is called a "unified field theory," one concept that would explain the ultimate nature of reality. He never found it. Now some scientists have suggested that reality is composed of one- dimensional "string-like" objects rather than dimensionless points in space-time. The strings vibrate, and each different mode of vibration corresponds to a different particle.

These strings are part of what is called - one cannot help think of the theological connotations - "the strong force" and is in ten dimensions instead of the usual three. I don't pretend to understand even the rudiments of superstring theory but I am intrigued at the convergence of myth and science in this idea that everything connects. We are part of one web of reality.[2] That gives fresh meaning to the word "unitarian" - there is a cosmic unity of which we are a part.

That idea that everything is connected to everything else was put poetically by the 19th century English poet Frances Thompson: "Thou can'st not pluck a flower without the trembling of a star."

Even time can be understood as part of a string. It is like a necklace of beads - the beads are moments or events, the inner thread of the necklace, the unimaginable continuum, is time itself.[3] We live, then, somewhere in the necklace held together by an anonymous string that is space and time. What is this anonymous string? We may give it many names. Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said that "(God) is the binding element in the world."[4]

A few years ago the American poet Louis Simpson traveled to Australia as writer-in-residence at a college in sheep and cattle raising country. He wrote a poem about what happened there. At night he would go outside at night and, with the aid of a map, try to find the positions of the southern constellations. One day Simpson was invited by a friend to travel with him and his girlfriend to a party. They were to stay the night. The poem continues:

"We arrived. I was introduced,
And they made up a bed for me
on the porch at the back.
Then the party began to arrive:
Australians, lean and athletic.
They put a tape on the stereo,
turned it up full blast,
and danced or stood and shouted
to each other above the noise.

"I danced with two or three women and tried shouting. Then I went
and sat on the bed on the porch.
There was nowhere to go, no door
I could close to shut out the noise.

"So I went for a walk
in the dark, away from the sound.
There were gum trees, wind rustling
the leaves. Or was it snakes?
"There are several venomous kinds.
The taipan. There's a story
about a child who was sitting
on a log and fell backward
onto a taipan. It struck him
twenty-three times.

"There's the tiger snake and the brown.
When they have finished telling you
about snakes, they start on spiders.
You don't need these - you have only to walk
into the bush. There are stories
about campers who did, and were lost
and never seen again.

"All this was on my mind.
I stepped carefully, keeping the lights
of the house behind me in sight.
And when I saw a clearing
in the trees, I walked to it.

"I stood in the middle of the clearing
looking at the sky. It was glittering
with unknown constellations.
Everything I had ever known
seemed to have disappeared.

"And who was I, standing there
in the middle of Australia
at night? I had ceased to exist.
There was only whatever it was
that was looking at the sky
and listening to the wind.

"After a while I broke away
and went back to the light and the party.
A month later I left Australia.
But ever since, to this day,
there has been a place in my mind,
a clearing in the shadows,
and above it, stars and constellations
so bright and thick they seem to rustle.
And beyond them . . . infinite space,
eternity, you name it.

"There's nothing that stands between me
and it, whatever it is."[5]

Whatever it is. Space! Time! Nature! Cosmos! God! Ralph Waldo Emerson rhetorically asked: "Why should we not have an original relation to the universe? . . . . As there is no screen or ceiling between our heads and the infinite heavens, so there is no bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases, and God, the cause, begins." Emerson said he became "a transparent eyeball. . . the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God."[6]

The late Deane Starr, a ministerial colleague once described his experience of The Great Living System, feeling intensely part of an Ultimate Environment. On a trip west he wanted to pay homage to the General Sherman Tree in the Sequoia National Forest in the High Sierra. The tree is at least 2,500 years old, perhaps the oldest living organism on the earth. "Two thousand, five hundred years! It boggles the mind!" exclaimed Starr. "Five hundred years before the time of Jesus! Two thousand years before the time of Columbus! Two thousand, four hundred and twenty-three years before the time of Deane Starr!"

He sat in awe in the presence of the tree bathing himself in its grandeur. It is 272 feet tall, about 25 feet in girth at the base. "The trunk is scarred and blackened, the brands of countless forest fires that it has endured and survived. It is almost perpendicular to the earth, and all the way to the top, it is a mass of scars. Great branches, easily four feet in diameter, have been broken off, leaving jagged and painful edges, stumps of limbs without prostheses. Here and there as the tree lifts to the sky, tender new shoots of branches and leaves, thirsting, and throbbing with green life, cling to the giant trunk, while straining toward the light."

"I am in communion with this tree. It does not speak English, and I do not speak Sequoia. But no matter. Our communion is not a communion of common language, nor of common experience, nor of common consciousness. It is much deeper than these. It is a communion of common being, of common participation in Life, of the infusion of eternal energy into eternal matter, an infusion that has formed two separate discrete organisms which are still, in their essences, one. The tree and I are not only infused with this common Life: we are this common Life, the Life that was, and is. and is to be, world without end!"[7]

Herman Melville, the Unitarian novelist, wrote about the anonymous string, not as our connection to God but to our fellow human beings: "We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us. . . . And among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects. On a daily basis, we affect the web of all existence, just as we are affected by it."[8]

I couldn't help think of that at our Union Thanksgiving Service Thursday across the street at Temple Beth El. A Muslim gave the call to prayer in a rising and falling voice that pierced the ear - and yes, perhaps the heart. Lively Jewish chants from the cantor were juxtaposed around readings from the Jewish prayer book - a rather incredible sight when you stop to think of the tensions in our community because of what is happening in the Middle East. And the, a Unitarian Universalist sermon, so different from what had gone before, yet somehow testifying to that anonymous thread that holds together all people despite their differences of religion and politics. We are all more human than otherwise.

We are a community of memory and hope. That anonymous string that binds us together stretches back in time to the early heretics - Akhenaten and Socrates, Isaiah and Jesus - through the heresies of Arius and John Hus - through the unorthodoxy of Benjamin Rush and Margaret Fuller - through the wisdom and compassion of Jane Addams and Susan B. Anthony - at last resting in our timid hearts.

There is a tug not only from our past, but from a time to come. For us history is a human project whose outcome is not guaranteed by any cosmic life guards. It is what we will make of it - a thought to sober the soul. Our belief that history is radically open-ended and subject to human control likewise rests in our trembling hands. We are part of the anonymous string of history.

We are held together by an invisible link with the earth on which we live and move and have our being.
We are part of a mystic oneness with all who have gone before, of prophets and poets, fathers and mothers, saints and sages.
We are members, one of another, in religious community, sharing our joys and sorrows, victories and defeats.
We are citizens of humanity, nestled together to strive for the common good.
We are actors on the stage of history, bound to one another by a common destiny of weal and woe.
We are sparks of divinity, glowing in a cosmos whose origin and destiny we do not know, but whose mystery we celebrate.
We rejoice in that which binds us to one another, to the world of nature, to the cosmic mysteries.

Behold the beauty of the necklace, no bead like any other
Yet each part of the pattern.
And behold the anonymous string no longer without name -
We call it faith;
We call it hope;
We call it love.

Kenneth Boulding puts it in unsurpassed poetry.

"Can I, imprisoned, body-bound, touch
The starry robe of God, and from my soul,
My tiny Part, reach forth to his great Whole,
And spread my Little to the infinite Much,
When Truth forever slips from out my clutch,
And what I take indeed, I do but dole
In cupfuls from a rimless ocean-bowl
That holds a million million such?
And yet, some Thing that moves among the stars,
And holds the cosmos in a web of law,
Moves too in me: a hunger, a quick thaw
Of soul that liquefies the ancient bars,
As I, a member of creation, sing
The burning oneness binding everything."

Richard Gilbert
November 26, 2000

[> Oh, that is truly beautiful... -- Wisewoman, 09:38:23 11/24/02 Sun

Thank you, Yoda. That was wonderful.

And, of course, there is our community, here at ATPoBtVS, linked together in the world-wide Web...


[> [> Re: Oh, that is truly beautiful... -- Yoda, 10:29:54 11/24/02 Sun

Wisewoman, I love your comment on how we are connected by this technology called the World-wide Web.:
"And, of course, there is our community, here at ATPoBtVS, linked together in the world-wide Web..."

I also loved the part in the essay that quoted English poet Frances Thompson: "Thou can'st not pluck a flower without the trembling of a star."

This reminds me of Willow making that passon flower come from the other side of the world. If plucking a flower would make a star tremble then what effect would raising someone from the dead have?

[> [> [> Re: Oh, that is truly beautiful... -- Wisewoman, 20:38:15 11/24/02 Sun

And then that lovely line, Thou can'st not pluck a flower without the trembling of a star.

Makes me think of As above, so below, and the idea from astrology that perhaps it is the trembling of a star that causes one to pluck the flower?

I can only hope that ME is willing to explore these metaphysical aspects of connectedness in this season.


[> Thanks for that essay, Yoda (spoilers up to 7.8, 4.7) -- Scroll, 10:59:52 11/24/02 Sun

I'm very interested in where ME goes with this whole connectedness that seems to pervade Buffy and, to a lesser extent, Angel. Right now, the Buffy chararcters are drawing closer together, are learning to work together, except perhaps Dawn whose visit from Joyce may have planted seeds of doubt. OTOH, the Angel characters are divorced from each other; the Angel Investigations team is fractured and broken, some of them -- Gunn -- literally so. It's going to take time and healing before the team can work together again, to trust each other again. The rifts between Wes and the gang, between Angel and Connor/Cordy, between Fred and Gunn, might stand in the way of their defeating the Beast.

Buffy dropped her cellphone in CwDP. Dawn couldn't connect to her. Joyce warns that the sisters will be against each other. Spike is being isolated through hallucinations and madness. Anya can't hear what Xander is saying; in "Sleeper" she misses two of his lines, and Xander refuses to repeat his words. What happens when nobody talks? Do we lose that connection? Or do words matter at all? Dawn calls her cellphone a weapon. If her weapon (Buffy on the other end) doesn't work, doesn't connect, won't she be left defenceless?

[> [> Do words matter at all?- quickly becoming stream-of- consciousness burbling -- Tchaikovsky, 09:06:21 11/25/02 Mon

Joss Whedon said in his DVD commentary for 'Hush' that his moral in the episode was, 'When we stop talking, we start communicating'. This is an interesting thought in a programme often praised by critics above all else for its snappy dialogue.

But Riley and Buffy stop communicating when they regain their voices. And it's arguable that the exposition scenes and other functions in 'Hush' happen more professionally than in many episodes where the vocal cords are functioning perfectly.

It's an interesting theory that OnM puts across, that the excellent communication and revealing secrets from the Scooby Gang in 'Sleeper' is unusual. If the First Evil had found the group at a similar time to their state in 'The Yoko Factor', one assumes IT would have been much more able to split them up than the perceptive yet fundamentally incompetent Spike of Season Four.

This suggest, to me at least, that the splitting up of the gang, with memebers on both sides of the battle, is unlikely. At least, if they do split up, it is to be expected that there will be some tragic reason, not entirely to do with the group's relationships and ambitions. To whit, Dawn turning into a vampire would be a possibility, considering the foreshadowing in 'Conversations With Dead People'. It will be interesting to see if Joss can bring himself to cause that much pain to Buffy. I personally think it will be a step too far. I don't think he has the bottle. But we wait to see.


[> [> [> Dawn's soul -- soul drift, 14:50:48 11/25/02 Mon

Dawn has Summer's blood and her blood is the key, it's always the Blood. What would whoever sired her gain from such a power drink?

Maybe Dawn will get vamped but Spike will help Buffy and Dawn to get her soul back and they will all live happily ever after.

[> [> [> [> Cute but doubt it -- Tchaikovsky, 16:26:32 11/25/02 Mon

I think that were Joss Whedon to vamp Dawn, he would do it for the long run. I know he has been the master of the misdirect before, but, on this occasion, I can't imagine him turning Dawn before re-ensoulling her- particularly without Dawn's explicit commendation. I don't think that Buffy and Spike's dismay will be enough.

But I do hope that ME won't vamp Dawn in the first place. For both Buffy and Dawn's sakes.


[> Community spirit -- cougar, 18:45:56 11/24/02 Sun

Wow, I think our little tribe here just sat around your fire this night, and and followed the sparks as they rose to a jeweled galaxy. This board feels like a river to me, curious, passionate and playful souls flowing with human searching. I sit by it often, watching the everchanging current of wonder.


[> [> Yes, the web of comments are much more amazing even than the shows themselves -- luna, 10:49:26 11/25/02 Mon

poor choice of words... (the LA Times' description of this week's BtVS) -- leslie, 10:29:35 11/24/02 Sun

Perusing my morning paper, I see the LA Times' capsule description of this week's episode--you know, the one that the trailer showed Spike getting all uncontrollably hungry and apparently grabbing Andrew?: "The gang grills Andrew."

I just hope they baste him occasionally or he will get really rather tough, not to mention charred on the outside.

[> LOL! -- Deb, 10:36:43 11/24/02 Sun

[> Geeks *can* be good eating, mind you. -- Honorificus (The Epicurean), 10:39:28 11/24/02 Sun

You're quite right in saying that they need to baste him occasionally if they're going to grill him. Personally, however, I find that poaching works best with geeks. It makes the most of their limited muscle mass and keeps them moist and tender on the inside. There are other culinary options, of course. I've a friend in England who makes the loveliest Geek Pie with mince and currants. Oh, and Geek Brain Souffle? Absolutely divine! I must make some this week. Note to self: go hunting at Bosco's.

[> [> Yikes! -- Sophie, who built her own computer, runs and hides!, 11:39:20 11/24/02 Sun

London Board meet report! -- Rahael, 14:05:05 11/24/02 Sun

I've just come back from meeting KdS and Yaby, and we had a great time!

We met on a typically rainy afternoon in London, sat and had coffees and orange juices in a cafe in a church for a couple of hours and then we got kicked out because it was closing. Then we went to have dinner: Pizza (and dessert!). So that's roughly 6 hours talking about Buffy, the board, life and everything.

It transpired we all lived pretty close together, and that KdS and I had been to the same university at roughly the same time. Even more "the world is such a small place" we had a mutual friend in common, not at university but where we grew up!

So Yaby is going to lend me her Angel S3 tapes and KdS is going to lend me his Sandman comics, and I can declare that this mini board meet was a great success!

[> Speaking of Sandman -- Wisewoman, 14:39:30 11/24/02 Sun

I just started reading American Gods and I'm enjoying it immensely. I know, I's about time!

Sounds like the London meeting was great fun. Can't wait to get you all to Vancouver...


[> [> American Gods=my favorite book of all time! -- Rob, 20:47:44 11/24/02 Sun

In fact, I finished reading the last twenty pages less than ten minutes before meeting Neil Gaiman himself! There was a book-signing at the Barnes & Noble at Union Square (in New York City), and I literally finished reading as I was standing on line to get it autographed. Probably have to say that that was one of the coolest things I've ever done.

Neil Gaiman, btw, is such a great guy. He stuck around for over 2 1/2 hours longer than he was scheduled, to make sure that everyone who had tickets had got their books signed. I know because I was one of the last ones to get an autograph. I also got one of my "Sandman" comics signed, and a copy of his great new children's book, "Coraline" signed. When you're done with "American Gods," I'd highly recommend that one next, for some quick...but really terrific and dark reading.


[> [> [> Thanks, Rob, for reccomending Gaiman. -- Arethusa, 06:31:56 11/25/02 Mon

I just read Neverwhere, because you spoke so highly of Gaiman. It was great, but I have a horrible feeling that I now know what the BBW is. Fortunately, I usually guess wrong!

[> [> [> [> Re: Thanks, Rob, for reccomending Gaiman. -- ponygirl, 07:57:42 11/25/02 Mon

Hehe, I really have to go back and reread Neverwhere, the BtVS s5 parallels are really interesting.

Let me add onto the praise of all things Neil, while I still love his comics best, his books are always excellent. Coraline is delightfully creepy, I'd say the Other Mother ranks up there with the Gentlemen for Most Disturbing Fictional Monsters.

[> [> [> [> [> BtVS S5/Neverwhere parallels -- Rob, 08:16:35 11/25/02 Mon

Yes, there really are a lot, aren't there? From the "key" girl, Door, to the henchmen tracking her down (reminsicent of Glory's hobbits) and on and on. Also the seemingly ancient power guiding Vandemar and Croup remind me of the BBW of this season on Buffy.

And The Other're so right. Very creepy. I can't wait to see how they portray her in the upcoming movie, which I'm very excited about because it's going to be done by Henry Selleck (sp?) the guy who did the creepy stop- motion animation for "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "James and the Giant Peach," and "Monkeybone."


[> [> [> [> I'm so glad you enjoyed "Neverwhere." You should also try "Stardust" when you get a chance. -- Rob, 08:10:22 11/25/02 Mon

[> Re: London Board meet report! -- yaby, 14:53:48 11/24/02 Sun

How funny, we arrived back and posted at the same time ! we'll speak soon Rah :-)

[> Re London board meet... -- KdS, 03:13:21 11/25/02 Mon

Sorry to be the last up - had to actually do some work once I got home :-(

It's amusing that after all the hype about the web connecting people across the globe, Rah and I discovered that we'd paralleled each other so much. Might tell my class about it if people start discussing the "six degrees" thing. (Respecting privacy naturally).

Email me re Gaiman...

Minority representation on Buffy -- Shambleau, 20:19:10 11/24/02 Sun

The white bread nature of Sunnydale and BTVS has been commented upon before, even to the point of occasional accusations of racism. These have been partly based on the charge that minorities very rarely appear on Buffy, or when they do, they're killed. Having a long afternoon stuck in an office with literally nothing to do, I decided to do a mental inventory of all the eps to see how many minority characters I could recall being on the show. I came up with forty-six. Five were continuing characters and the others were one-timers. They appeared in slightly over 60 eps of the 130 broadcast so far. This is all from memory, so there may be more.

Here's the criteria I used. Non-speaking extras didn't count. If you included them, almost every ep of Buffy would have minorities. Since they're basically wall-paper, like all extras, I left them out. I made three exceptions, based on the idea that if they made a strong impression, dialog or not, I'd include them. So, the New York slayer killed by Spike made the cut, as did the fat vamp chased by the Scoobs in the teaser of Bargaining, and the football player in The Zeppo that Xander talks into throwing the football to him.

There were some conundrums. What about Quinton Battle as Sweet? I didn't count him. What about Jenny Calendar and the members of the Calderosh gypsy clan? I didn't count them either. I ruled out the Chumash raiding party that Hus conjured up as basically extras. I did include the two Japanese girls of Cibbo Matto and Julian Lennon, who was playing with them.

A continuing character was defined as anyone appearing, however briefly, in 3 or more eps. So, the First Slayer-4, Kendra-3, Mr. Trick-6, Forrest-12 and Principal Wood-4, for a total of 29 eps. This is roughly 22% of the 130 eps so far.

Here's a breakdown of the one-ep appearances. My criteria were that they had to have a line of dialog, however short, except for my three exceptions. Some of them spoke only a line or two and some were prominent.

Hispanics-two. Carlos in Lessons and the groundskeeper Cordy talks to in The Wish. American Indians-one, Hus. South American Indians-two, Inca mummy girl and her guard. Pakistani or Indian-Two, the CoW guy in Checkpoint and one of the pretentious college guys in Beer Bad. East Asian- nine, Cibbo Matto, the girl in the closet in Selfless, the Jonathan fan, the girl beaten up by Faith for her clothes, the girl competing for Homecoming queen, the Cordette from The Wish, the slayer in Peking. All women.

African-Americans number about 22. The bouncer killed by Luke at The Harvest, the teacher Marcie tries to kill with a plastic bag, the band girl interviewed about the death of the ballerina in The Puppet Show. There's the woman detective who interviews Giles and Cordy in Dark Age, the nurse in Nightmares, I believe. There's the Annointed One's second-in-command, the school counselor in Beauty and the Beasts, the record four guys in Fear Itself-the kid in a mask, the guy in the RuPaul costume and the two fratboys. Others include the female doctor who doesn't want Riley to leave the hospital in OOMM, the Knights of Byzantium warrior in Spiral, the kid whose brother was being drafted, the doorman and the girl vamp in Sleeper, the EMT who tells Buffy Joyce is dead, the moving man Drac kills, the armored truck guard who wants to get pizza in Seeing Red, Xander's foreman who promotes him, the crazy guy Dawn talks to in the hospital in Blood Ties, the EMT who works on Buffy in Villains, the school security guard knocked out as he finds the Bezoar's lair in Bad Eggs, the psychiatrist in Normal Again and the fat running vamp.

I'm not arguing anything here about what it all means. I just wanted to see how true the generalization was. The number may or may not surprise people, but I thought it was a surprisingly high number. I probably missed a few people, too. Anybody remember any more?

[> surprising -- Helen, 01:42:37 11/25/02 Mon

I have often read suggestions that there aren't enough ethnic minority characters in Buffy, and have always been conscious that the main characters are all white. But then, as the story is located where it is, they would be. Angel has more ethnic minority characters because its set in a mjor city.

Just to compare, this happens in all TV shows and I think show should have a realistic representation of their location. In UK we have a soap called EastEnders, which you've probably heard of (actually you may be a Brit too, I don't know!) - its set in a fictional borough of London and has loads of ethnic minority characters, not for tokenism, they're just there. On the otherhand, another soap opera called Emmerdale, set in a rural farming community, has no ethinc minority characters. Again, this is a reasonably accurate protrayal of that community. I live in a rural village of pop 1000ish and we have no ethnic minorities whatsoever.

[> [> Hot buttons? this topic is explosive -- Rahael, 02:11:34 11/25/02 Mon

And it explodes on this board every time.

But I think Shambleau brings up an interesting point. How we 'see' things depends upon our perspective. What we see, what we notice etc.

Anyway, I've always argued that BtVS isn't racist, but ..sigh, it gets me into deep trouble with both camps. I end up being both an apologist and a traitorous chip on the shoulder person, daring to complain about racism.

Funny isn't it?

One thing I would plead for - let us not have the argument that BtVS doesn't have black people because they don't need to because BtVS is a 'white' story. Because you know, last time I looked Southern California doesn't have a lot of Vampires or demons either. And Joss said explicitly on the Season 5 DVD that it's meant to resonate beyond America - that it's the story of human beings, not of Southern California.

And that's what metaphor is all about. That I, a black woman can identify so much with Buffy. I don't notice her colour. I can empathise with all sorts of people in white European fiction that aren't from my culture or my race. And the world of Shakespeare and Marlowe has passed, and the world of Thomas Mann is fading, and Herbert and Blake speak to me over the centuries. Feelings of pain and alienation, joy and awe are not confined to one specific culturally contextualised experience. It's something human beings seem to feel in all sorts of society, and feel moved to write about and express.

That's what art is about.

[> [> [> Re: Hot buttons? this topic is explosive -- luna, 09:23:40 11/25/02 Mon

I wasn't around for the earlier discussion, but I have to say that the lack of diversity has bothered me. I don't like AtS nearly as much as BtVS, but I do like the diversity in Angel.

There is so much emphasis on the human/non-human issue that it seems to me really essential for the humans to really represent ALL humans. And I've heard that Sunnydale is more or less Santa Barbara, which certainly is not without minorities, even if not the equal of LA. I regard this lack as a flaw in the show.

Has ME ever addressed the issue?

[> [> [> Well said. However... -- yez, 09:41:36 11/25/02 Mon

"And that's what metaphor is all about. That I, a black woman can identify so much with Buffy. I don't notice her colour. I can empathise with all sorts of people in white European fiction that aren't from my culture or my race. And the world of Shakespeare and Marlowe has passed, and the world of Thomas Mann is fading, and Herbert and Blake speak to me over the centuries. Feelings of pain and alienation, joy and awe are not confined to one specific culturally contextualised experience. It's something human beings seem to feel in all sorts of society, and feel moved to write about and express."

Well said, and I empathize, too, despite the fact that I don't share the same ethnicity or culture with the main characters, either.

Yet, it does bother me that there's been a distinct shortage of racial/ethnic diversity in the characters that have any sort of impact on anything. It's not that I notice so much that the characters are "White" than that I notice that there's hardly anyone there that *isn't.*

To some extent, though, you can read Buffy as a character who faces the challenges of being Other, similar to the experience of being part of a minority population/culture. She has the challenges of constructing her identity in a world where she doesn't have a lot of successful role models to look up to, people she can model herself after. Her differences lead to discomfort and clashes between her and the majority culture -- both on her part and their parts. Etc.

And Willow, being Jewish and then lesbian also can address those "minority" challenges. Though, she's had quite the easy outing process.


[> [> [> The Other: Skin deep, soul deep. -- Rahael, 11:11:06 11/25/02 Mon

Oh, I completely agree with you, Luna and Yez. That was me treading carefully! I'm a veteran of the minorities-on-buffy issue, which has come up a number of times here. And each time, it got nasty and vituperative.

So, I'm still treading carefully. When it comes to issues of racism, and race, I find that most of the board do not see things the way I do.

All I will say is that Buffy speaks to me more about my experience of racism than any other show. And I don't mean that I identify with the Vampires either. I mean that one of the things that attracted me was the overwhelming message about how the odd, the strange, all things sour, sweet, adazzle dim, all of those were special. How Buffy could have an otherness inside her which powers her strength, gives her specialness. Gives her the strength and ability to help others. She is marginalised in society. But she doesn't kill in revenge. She doesn't ask for reward.

She turns otherness into specialness.

Also, I think my experience of racism may be even more complicated by the fact that the more tragic and heartbreaking racism I have witnessed was within two communities which looked exactly like each other; where the definitions which separated groups of people were so flimsy and the arguments for discrimination so stomach turningly hypocritical. Which is why I don't immediately always place racism in terms of 'looking' different. I am too used to the dawning of a new attitude when someone hears my second name, or finds out which region I was born in. I encompass too many complexities for crude racism to take. I was born to parents from opposite sides of civil war. And each were viciously persecuted by their own community for being 'traitors'. They encompassed too many complexities for nationalists and racists - so they attempted to eliminate their existence.

And at the same time, I also know what it's like to be treated differently because of how I look and the colour of my skin. So my otherness is both skin deep and soul deep.
And that's why Buffy gets to the places other shows don't reach.

There was a wonderful post by DarrenK, on one of the occasions we had this debate. I just want to requote a large chunk of it here:

"Buffy is an allegory, a huge set of metaphors meant to mirror us back at us. We know this. We talk about it everyday.

And many of the ways it comments on race may be bigger than I'm able to understand or explain. That doesn't mean I'm not going to try.

But first, I want to say that casting is not the best way to track the way Buffy talks about Race. Casting is affected by and sometimes mandated by, THE NETWORK. The network in this case, the original network, the WB, could care less about the deep inner thematic meanings of BTVS. They care about demographics and ratings. They care about advertising.

Believe me I know, I'm typing this from my office in a New York ad agency owned by the second largest advertising conglomerate in the world.

Week after week, networks, cable channels, magazines and newspapers troop into our boardroom to make presentations. They say nothing about the thematic power of their content. They don't talk about the edifying effect of the powerful multi-layered storylines their writers produce.

They tell us about demographics and ratings. Who we can reach. When we can reach them. How long those groups will tune in for.

What's the goal? Money. Ad dollars.

Whose dollars do they want ? Everyone's. Black. White, Jewish. Asian. Hispanic. Gay. If a demographic has dollars then the WB wants them.

But they can't have all the dollars from all the demographics. So they divide the pie, trying, as best they can, to deliver to advertisers a solid block of viewers with cash to spend. The more cash, the better. This guarantees the "right audience" to Maybelline, Jeep, Revlon, and Tommy Hilfiger.

The networks mandate that shows be cast to appeal to these highly calculated demographics.

And these demographics aren't just measured, they're focus grouped. The shows are shown to thousands of different people. The ads for the shows are shown to thousands of people. And the ads that will be shown during the show are shown to thousands of people.

Their every opinion is quantified and analyzed by Strategic Planning departments in ad agencies like this one. Then it's delivered to people like me in the form of a "Creative Brief," so that I might write an ad that appeals to this now "highly targeted" demographic.

They don't consider this racist, they consider this commerce.

Originally, the executives sold BtVS as a show for white teens and that's who they cast.

So, all those posts about why "Joss" cast who he cast are FUNDEMENTALLY flawed. Joss did his casting with the WB execs sitting on either side of him. He even says this in the commentary for the Season 1 DVD's.

He even had to fight with them to cast a woman who was not conventionally pretty to play our beloved Willow.

And he didn't have any leverage to do as he pleased. He was new to TV, with no track record and no fan following. The network could dictate any terms they wanted and he had to please them to get his little show on the air. Only a half- season of BtVS was ordered and it was going to possibly be a mid-season replacement. There was no guarantee that it would ever even see airtime.

But Joss did something that made him a hero to many of us, and in doing it, he seemed to invent a genre of TV all his own, he cut the legs out from under those same executives.

He did something as beautiful and redemptive as Buffy herself would ever do, he made his show about "otherness" and about "individuality."

Otherness is that feeling that you don't belong, that everyone else fits in and you don't. Or it's the opposite, when someone is "selected" by the group to be the goat, the one who is picked on. That person can be selected because of race, gender, religion, sexual preference, perceived sexual preference, smartness, dumbness, richness, poorness. bigness, smallness, or even, ugliness. I'm sure that there are quite a few people out there who've even been singled out for persecution because of their beauty.

On it's most obvious level, the victims of racism are singled out for "otherness". A group is singled out as "other" by a culture and persecuted usually just for looking different or having different practices or beliefs. It happens all over the world and you certainly don't have to have dark skin for it to happen to you.

You only have to be a Jew on a Christian continent. A Catholic in a land conquered by Protestants. Black in the Western World. Tutsi in the Hutu world. A Muslim among Serbs or an Armenian or Kurd among Turks.

You don't have to wake up as an insect to be other, you only have to be a human being among the homo sapiens.

Any person cast in the role of "other" serves as an allegorical signifer for everyone who is made to be other or has volunteered for the martyrdom of "otherness."

Right upfront in Welcome to the Hellmouth, Buffy is given the opportunity by Cordelia to not be "other", to be among the "ruling class," the strong. Those that are beautiful wear Prada and are unquestioned.

But our Buffy has already learned this lesson. She knows that the secret she harbors makes her "other." She sees more hope in the "softer side of Sears," the "other" as represented by a poorly dressed Jewish wallflower, a nerd set apart by her brains, her looks and her manner.

And Willow is not our last character representing "the other," she's our first.

Buffy puts together a whole crew, an alternative society based on "otherness." These people might not be black or Asian or any other racial minority (other than Jewish), but they represent those people allegorically by being signifiers for the "otherness" that every individual faces, no matter how they come by their "otherness."

Xander has learned loyalty and compassion from his otherness. Willow has, in Joss' own words "developed an eccentricity instead of resentment." But we see the pain of her role as a societal outcast even today.

Or Marcy. She might not be a racial minority, but her invisibility surely parallels the invisibility that many minorities feel in "White America."

And the list of characters set apart by their "otherness" is endless:

Angel--not a human, not a vampire.

Jonathan--Scrounging on the bottom rungs on Sunnydale High's social ladder, his name isn't even important to Buffy, the champion of the outcasts.

Faith--rejected by Buffy and the Scoobies and her parents. She couldn't be more self-loathing if her name was Shylock.

Speaking of Shylock, what about Dawn? "Is this blood?" she asks in Blood Ties, in a clear parallel to Shylock's own speech in The Merchant of Venice. Her own recent creation was more of a metaphor for adoption, but her keyness sets her apart as surely as race or religion does. "I must be something so terrible, to cause such pain..." she says to Spike.

And I could keep going but it's certainly clear to me that if BtVS pays less attention directly to race it's because the show's mission statement is so much about the way issues of identity affect individuals, not the way they affect groups.

But that doesn't mean we never see groups. What about the anti-demon racism of human supremicist organizations like the Initiative or The Watcher's council? They certainly become Buffy's enemies just as surely as vampires do. In Buffy's tolerant worldview, Demons and Humans can, side-by- side, fight on the side of Good. And as such, she doesn't discriminate in who becomes her friends or her allies.

In fact, as I've stated in a previous thread, Buffy is not a warrior for Humans, she is a warrior for balance, for tolerance. It's a balance she's willing to carry through into her own life, with her romances with vampires, friendships with demons and sisterly feeling for a blob of green energy.

By the way, for anyone who didn't notice, Xander's marriage to ex-demon Anya is a clear metaphor for inter-racial marriage. Look for this to become VERY explicit in the next few episodes.

Race doesn't exist. How's that for a provocative statement?

It's an artificial construct born at the same time that "doctors" were bleeding people to let out the ill humors that cause illness. Somehow our understanding of medicine improved but our understanding of our own humanity didn't

But, individuality does exist and the way that it's affected by the artificial construct of race, the rejection that kids feel when they are singled out as "other" or even the strangeness that comes from being different is something we all have to bear. Some of us bear it as a chip on our shoulders. Some of us as a chip in our heads. But all of us can tune in every week as the characters on Buffy wrestle with these very same issues couched in metaphors to give us all hope in the daily battles we all have to fight in order to get the respect and approval that should be our natural right as human beings."

[> [> [> [> Re: The Other: Skin deep, soul deep. -- shambleau, 11:39:15 11/25/02 Mon

Terrific post and DarrenK repost, Rahael.

[> [> [> [> Re: The Other: Skin deep, soul deep. -- yez, 12:25:29 11/25/02 Mon

Wonderful essay, thanks for reposting it, Rahael. DarrenK put that all beautifully. But at the same time that he explains why there are no people of color among the core cast (because it didn't fit the target audience), doesn't he also confirm why it bothers people who aren't in the target audience that there are no people like them among the core cast?

If millions of ad research dollars have "proven" the theory that it's important for people to see themselves -- or the selves they'd like to be -- reflected back to them when it comes to the consumption of products, then why would that theory not apply, generally speaking, to the consumption of stories?

So it's not something Whedon did deliberately (and I truly believe that), it's the studio. But it's not really the studio, it's the advertisers. I mean, who's going to take responsibility to help make a change? Everybody points at someone else: TV points at ad companies who point at the companies that contract them who point at their focus groups (us) who point at TV. Truth is, it's the aggregate of millions of individual-level decisions, accumulating over time, that amounts to the situation we have. And of course, some decisions are more powerful than others, they resonate more.

And yes, the stories in BtVS speak powerfully to the issue of being Other -- no matter what kind of Other you may happen to be. And yet TV is a visual medium and those of us who are sighted rely very heavily on the visual to inform our experience. Visually, BtVS doesn't tell a story that's heavy on the inclusion of people of color. And that does something to you. Maybe not on its own, but it just adds to what already is, instead of, well... *not* adding to it.

And it's even *more* ironic -- and perhaps bitterly so -- because the show is so much an allegory for Otherness. If it was 90210, you wouldn't expect more, but precisely because it *is* BtVS, we do expect more. I guess in this regard, the show is a victim of its own excellence.

An example: I'm Mexican American. And I remember when I was younger, my first attempts at writing fiction, and suddenly realizing that all my characters were white. White, even though I was Mexican American and I'd grown up in a town that was 99.9% Mexican American (no exaggeration). I realized that just like I had been learning the rules of grammar, subconsciously, I'd been learning other "rules," too -- the rules of how stories were constructed and who got to be in them. The rules of who got to be important and have adventures and save the day and live tragic lives and have romance and be funny and be sexy. Beautiful white people, virtually always, virtually every one.

And so they say it's commerce, not racism. But the two aren't mutually exclusive. Slavery was also commerce. So is exploiting illegal immigrant farm labor, sweat shops, etc. Racism is so institutionalized in our culture -- and gravitating toward the familiar is so much a part of our species -- that I think we are only aware of so very little of the trends that get magnified and concentrated in the media and in our consumer culture.

Don't get me wrong, I love BtVS. I think it's a wonderful, wonderful, amazing series and I remain a faithful viewer. But always, the lack of ethnic diversity in the characters of any importance is something that will bother me.

Rambling done.


[> [> [> [> [> Completely agree with you Yez -- Rahael, 14:44:19 11/25/02 Mon

I've expressed the very same sentiments here before. Unfortunately, I think there is some extent where this is still controversial. Complaining too much. Asking for too much.

It's because Buffy speaks to us so much that we want so much more, expect so much more. It's because I feel so at home in the Buffyverse that it's almost a surprise when you notice who is missing.

Something strikes me whenever I wander around an art gallery filled with paintings from my favourite period in history (early modern European). If you did a count of black faces, of non white faces, you might be surprised how many there are.

Is that the point? No. If BtVS has lots of hispanic and black people wandering around the background, is that enough? The people we identify with belong in the core Scooby gang. People judge the Scoobies when Jonathan can't find a way in, any acceptance within the group.

If I'm told, "it doesn't matter, there are lots of people like you who never speak but just wander around the background, isn't that enough?" I would find it fundamentally unsatisfying. I want the person like me to be a central character, and there is one - Buffy.

I think the thing that is so hard to communicate to other people sometimes is that this isn't some superficial check list we politically correct go around judging shows on. I don't get moved by other tv shows the way Buffy moves me. And it moves me because it speaks to me about the feelings of alienation and otherness, and discusses them in a complex way.

It isn't about moral highgrounds and low grounds. It's not about making other people feel guilty. It's about certain functions that art performs for us. Art, literature, poetry, Buffy are absolutely essential to my life. It keeps me human, alive, open, when I could become bitter and cynical and closed. And in any dialogue, there is a creative tensions. There are tensions, full stop.

Let's not make those invisible too

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Completely agree with you Yez -- aliera, 17:10:38 11/25/02 Mon

"I've expressed the very same sentiments here before. Unfortunately, I think there is some extent where this is still controversial. Complaining too much. Asking for too much." Rahael

It is very difficult to find a balance in discussing alienation or a sense of Otherness. What I find is that is even more difficult to really inspire or enable change when it's not in part already coming from the reader (or in real life person you're talking to.) Really deep change seems to come when the individual is ready ie at a low point. I don't know that I've really read many or any posts here that I felt asked too much. Sometimes, I've seen posts that were difficult to read. This is because I felt that the writer was in pain. Most people reading a post on controversial topics, I feel don't know what the answer is. Other things that can happen are a fear of responding and being misunderstood and inspiring anger or even being understood and inspiring hard feelings. But, I believe if problems aren't noticed and discussed that change doesn't happen. I also believe that any of my beliefs could be wrong. I don't have the answers either but I appreciate the posts we've had here on the "difficult" subjects even when they've become "difficult" in fact, I appreciate these posts as much or perhaps more than the discussions of the show. Not as much as I enjoy the poetry but that's a personal flaw.

"It's because Buffy speaks to us so much that we want so much more, expect so much more. It's because I feel so at home in the Buffyverse that it's almost a surprise when you notice who is missing."

I very much agree Rah. I'm 41, and I get these feelings about age and responsibility and gender roles and other things too. I feel the same - the connections seem to not just make me think but especially (given the possible ending of the show) make me yearn for some answers. And then I wonder why in the world I'm expecting Joss to have the answers? I guess I don't. I want the rest of us to continue to think about the answers which we do. So I should be happy but I'm not. But, it's a personal truth that this disatisfaction is causing me to continue to think about the questions.

"Something strikes me whenever I wander around an art gallery filled with paintings from my favourite period in history (early modern European). If you did a count of black faces, of non white faces, you might be surprised how many there are."

"Is that the point? No. If BtVS has lots of hispanic and black people wandering around the background, is that enough? The people we identify with belong in the core Scooby gang. People judge the Scoobies when Jonathan can't find a way in, any acceptance within the group."

I think this is part of the point of Jonathan or Spike or even and especially Buffy who is the core yet so alienated.

"If I'm told, "it doesn't matter, there are lots of people like you who never speak but just wander around the background, isn't that enough?" I would find it fundamentally unsatisfying. I want the person like me to be a central character, and there is one - Buffy."

I'm just writing what I'm thinking as I read...what I thought was...there is no one like you. Or me or anyone else here. I don't know your physicality here but the pieces of yourself that are revealed in your writing. Although I've seen some pictures of other posters...the voice I hear and the mental image comes from their writing. I relate primarily to Buffy but not in the physical sense but more in her journey. I think her real Gift is in living.

"It isn't about moral highgrounds and low grounds. It's not about making other people feel guilty. It's about certain functions that art performs for us. Art, literature, poetry, Buffy are absolutely essential to my life. It keeps me human, alive, open, when I could become bitter and cynical and closed. And in any dialogue, there is a creative tensions. There are tensions, full stop."

No that's true also although possible that they have their place. I know I've said this before and it probably continues to sound trite...But the discussions that you all have on the board, with all their pain, continue to provide me with hope with faith for the future at points when I am doubting this and I personally am grateful for them. They are another reason to continue to visit (I admit to more lowbrow reasons for visiting since I can't always function at that pitch) and to try to work towards different ways of seeing of thinking when there is not much reinforcement in other areas of my life for this, when in fact the opposite is rewarded.

"Let's not make those invisible too."

One of the points of the season, I believe...seeing truly.

Thank you everyone for your posts...I responded under Rahael's which was the last read but appreciated all.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Really nice posts Rah and aliera... -- KdS, 06:20:30 11/26/02 Tue

And as for "political correctness" - it's one of the most ironic developments of modern politics that conservatives now feel the need to claim to be a persecuted minority culture ;P

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Seeing truly -- Rahael, 06:50:55 11/27/02 Wed

Very nice post Aliera, thank you!

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: truly -- aliera, 10:09:42 11/27/02 Wed

You're welcome Rah and thank you KdS...I wish my concerns about offending people would act as more of a deterrant to my posting this kind of stuff...I never know how things will sound to the reader and I always worry so once it's gone off into the ethernetsphere. I think if there were anything within my power to do to make things right for people (whatever "right" is... choose your own definition) that would be the best magick during the holiday season and beyond. So double-thanks for your responses. :-)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Completely agree with you Yez -- yez, 07:38:12 11/26/02 Tue

Rahael wrote: "I think the thing that is so hard to communicate to other people sometimes is that this isn't some superficial check list we politically correct go around judging shows on. "

Exactly. It's just something that gets noticed as a fact. Though sometimes, conclusions can be drawn, I think, speculation can be made about causes, motivating factors.

But it is hard to explain. It's hard to explain why I try to tune in to watch "The George Lopez Show" when I can. It's not that it's a great show -- it's not hysterically funny; I usually only get a couple of chuckles each ep. But yet, there's something about seeing those faces, about hearing that accent, about hearing certain Chicano slang words that just makes me smile. So this is how powerful the lack of representation is that even a mediocre show can grab me simply because it does something that virtually no other shows are doing.

And yet I want more. I want my favorite show to do that, too, in a way that includes *this* way.

And do we want them to create speaking parts for minorities just for the sake of having them? My answer is no. I don't think anybody would want to compromise the show's artistic integrity. But are there no talented minority actors who can also move us like these actors do? I find that hard to believe.

I don't know how it works, but sometimes I wonder if part of the problem isn't that role default to "white" unless someone specifies the character's ethnicity -- unless the character happens to be a cleaning person, a gardener, a prostitute or drug dealer, in which case, the default appears to be a minority. And so when casting people are trying to fill the roles, do they just assume they need to look for white actors unless they're specifically told otherwise? Does anyone know anything about this?


[> [> [> A Girondist perspective on actually counting -- Cleanthes, 11:31:32 11/25/02 Mon

How we 'see' things depends upon our perspective. What we see, what we notice etc.

I generally get in trouble with both my left and right wing friends for doubting that either side has dibs on the moral high ground.

I'm pleased to see some actual COUNTING. Interpretations will push buttons, true, but it does pay to actually look at the evidence before launching into interpretations. Too often it seems that some "study" or perception is presented even when anyone could actually look for themselves.

As an example, I notice that on US TV, far, far more male "eye candy" shots occur than female, even though this is NOT the perception. The reason for this is the huge over- representation of males on US TV generally. Anyone with cable can do the experiment for themselves: turn all your channels on (ie. the Spanish language ones, the religious ones, the golf channel and the fishing channel, etc. if you're like me and have those deleted). Now channel flip taking note of the very first image you see. I have 65 channels when I do this. If you don't know the sex of the first image, mark it "other".

I have done this quite a few times over the years and I can tell you that you will get around 60% males, 15% females and 25% couples/landscapes/graphics. That is, males outnumber females by between 3 and 4 to one in screentime.

Okay, I just went into the other room and ran the experiment:

Male(s)37 channels (including one of Bugs Bunny)
Female(s) 10 channels
Couples 9 channels
Other (landscapes, graphics, cartoon animals of unspecified sex)10 channels

So, of 65 channels, we had 37 with a man or men on the screen. That's 56%. Of course, this is daytime TV (2 in the afternoon) I suspect the percentage varies, but still, Buffy, with a predominently female cast and with females onscreen quite a lot, is STILL surprisingly a rare thing on TV. Even in daytime TV, female images filled only 15% of the channels.

Anyone can perform this experiment. For some reason, when I've brought this up on other internet forums, people refuse to believe that such experiments have validity - I guess only credentialed social scientists are supposed to do any actual counting!

[> [> I disagree!!!!:-( -- black_eyed_veiny, 09:27:43 11/25/02 Mon

Helen Said:

"Angel has more ethnic minority characters because its set in a major city."

I think this is way off base. I think angel has one re- curring, steady, black character because it is on a predominately African-American dominated network. Gunn is somebody for black viewers to connect to. To keep them watching. IMO.

[> [> Doesn't necessarily apply -- Dariel, 20:41:27 11/25/02 Mon

There are many small towns in California with a good percentage of Latinos. I went to elementary school in S. California, in a town that's smaller than Santa Barbara (the model for Sunnydale). At least 15-20% of the kids in my school were Chicano or Mexican.

[> [> minorities on angel, then & now -- anom, 22:53:43 11/25/02 Mon

"I have often read suggestions that there aren't enough ethnic minority characters in Buffy, and have always been conscious that the main characters are all white. But then, as the story is located where it is, they would be. Angel has more ethnic minority characters because its set in a mjor city."

It does now. But in its 1st season, Angel had far fewer minorities. In the 1st 6 episodes, there were 3; only 1 played a major role (the bartender at D'Oblique), & 1 didn't even get a line. Soon after that, there was a brief appearance of a W&H lawyer at the auction where Cordelia's "eyes of a seer" were offered for sale, & a couple of Koreans in 1 or 2 scenes that took place in, well, Koreatown. This 1 ep doubled the no. of "racial" minorities appearing on the show. But until Angel's 1st run-in w/Gunn's gang, he seemed to live in an LA that was whiter than Buffy's Sunnydale (see Shambleau's list). All this while Angel was griping about cheap stereotypes of vampires (like that they sleep in coffins) perpetuated by hack writers!

(Most of the above was part of a rant composed in my head about 1/2-way through the 1st season of Angel, which I probably would've posted on this board--or its predecessor-- if I'd known it existed. Nice to finally get it out of my system!)

[> Re: Minority representation on Buffy -- yez, 09:54:55 11/25/02 Mon

I think Jesse, Xander's friend who gets vamped from season 1 might've been Latino -- at least to me, the actor read as Latino.

Also, it looks like you forgot the new principal in your list of African Americans, and didn't Dawn's new friends this season include a Latino kid?

Anyway, one thing I wanted to point out is that once you establish the core characters in a show which all end up getting cast with Caucasian actors, it doesn't leave a lot of room to feature people of color in any significant roles. And because of the nature of BtVS, most of the new characters are evil-related, which means Buffy et al have to kill them, which means that there's going to seem to be a disproportionately high percentage of characters being played by minority actors that are evil and get killed, IMHO.

So to get a more accurate read, what you may want to do is tally up all the notable new characters introduced over the show's history, then figure out the proportions by ethnicity.

Speaking of wallpaper, though, has anyone else noticed that there seems to be much more diversity in the show's extras this season in hallways and crowd scenes? I wonder why the change.


[> [> Re: Minority representation on Buffy -- Michael Van Hoek, 10:19:41 11/25/02 Mon

Don't forget Giles' lady friend who came to visit for a couple of episodes in season 4. (Hush for example). There was a romantic relationship there also.

[> [> [> Re: Minority representation on Buffy -- shambleau, 11:07:17 11/25/02 Mon

Ooh, that's right! And she was in three eps (The Freshman, Hush and Restless), so she qualifies as a sixth continuing character. That means that continuing minority characters have been in roughly a quarter of all eps.

I also remembered the female professor that Willow talks to about rejoining classes in Selfless, so we're up to 48 characters.

[> [> [> [> Look at it this way..... Joss' keen sense of irony and humour.... -- Briar Rose, 12:21:44 11/25/02 Mon

Is it believable that people of a strong cultural back ground and belief system that allows them to actually see and identify EVIL as a viable component of the Universe would choose to be in (let alone stay in) Sunnydale a legitimate proposition?

I can see where many people of "minority" standing wouldn't stay one DAY in Sunnydale, where the typical White, European dirivitive basically non-culturally developed and shallow or unbelieving as to the forces beyond work and the all mighty dollar would stay and choose to forget what's around them every day and live on the Hellmouth?

Speaking as a Honkey chick myself - I have known the vast majority of "White" "cultures" I have grown up in and known throughout my life to be completely clueless to anything beyond their immediate experience and if they don't like their experience, they pass it off as just an aberition and move on.*L

I think Joss and company have given the majority of the monorities the ultimate compliment in the Buffy-verse. The minorities are smart enough to get the HELL out of the Hellmouth, while the less ethnically educated stick around and suffer. Someone who has traditions that include the Universe and the spirits as viable entities that interact with the human world is not going to just ignore some Big Bad that pps up and destroys regularly. They leave.

Laugh people! It's not worth agonizing over something that would seem to show a great respect to diversity of culture when all we're talking about is counting colored faces. If anything, it's almost impossible to place a person's ethnicity by the skin tone. Look at the seemingly white bread, blonde girl who was on Family Ties. She was Hispanic. And there are many ethnic actors and actresses who people forget aren't "White" because they have always played non-ethnic-centric roles.

[> [> [> [> [> Got a question. . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:11:11 11/25/02 Mon

Is Charisma Carpenter part of a minortity group? I'm just asking becasue she always seems to get pegged as white when this discussion comes up, but her skin is always so tan I thought she was part-Hispanic or part-black for a while.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Got a question. . . -- Juliet, 14:37:48 11/26/02 Tue

She might just be very good friends with Mr. Tanning Bed.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> I'm w/ Juliet... But she could be Spanish or Amer- Indian! -- Briar Rose, 00:53:08 11/27/02 Wed

[> [> [> [> Re: Minority representation on Buffy -- Rook, 00:20:53 11/26/02 Tue

IIRC, the girl that finds the body in the locker in WttH, Aura I think, was African American...and though she didn't appear, she did get a mention on Angel I believe.

[> Does anyone know.... -- dream, 10:35:55 11/26/02 Tue

the viewer demographics on Buffy? I know that the average viewer is supposed to be a white female professional in her early thirties, but does anyone have any stats on minority viewership? I am curious in part because I notice that the commericials that play during Buffy seem to be much more minority-inclusive/focussed than I would expect. This may be because I don't have much exposure to other television, and ads may have become much more racially diverse in the years since I was a regular viewer, but I don't think that's all that's going on. Anyone know?

[> Oh, and an aside on perceptions versus numbers -- dream of the consortium, 11:14:17 11/26/02 Tue

I work for an academic polling group. There's one interesting piece of data on race that is relevant to this conversation: Americans - white, black, and everyone else (except census bureau workers)- tend to overestimate the percentage of minorities in the country.

On average, white respondents believe the country is 55.0% white, 29.0% black, 22.7% Hispanic/Latino and 15.4% Asian American. Black respondents believe the country is 59.7% white, 37.1% black, 28.4% Hispanic/Latino, 21.0% Asian- American. Asian-Americans' and Hispanic/Latino Americans' averages are similar.

The U.S. Census finds 75.1% whites, 12.3% black, 3.6 % Asian- American, and 12.5% Hispanic (identifying as Hispanic white or Hispanic black).

There is a serious difference between perceptions and actual numbers. Unfortunately, this difference can cause problems. Whites who feel "threatened" by minority political issues might not be so concerned if they had a more accurate sense of the numbers involved in things like affirmative action in college applications. And minorities who are constantly frustrated by their lack of representation in the media, politics etc - well, actually, they still have a point, because even adjusting for the actual numbers, there's still a problem. But the problem is not nearly so severe as it would be if the actual population percentage were as high as people believe. It's an interesting phenomenon.

[> [> Thanks. Surprising -- I also was overestimating. -- yez, 20:24:56 11/26/02 Tue

Thanks for acknowledging that it is still a problem.

[> [> But California's #s are actually way off national average. -- yez, 11:54:19 11/27/02 Wed

Was telling my girlfriend how far off I was on my estimates of natl. minority pops., and she told me that she'd recently been shocked to learn that California's numbers are actually way off the national average. So did some digging. Check this out -- CA's 2001 numbers:

White -- 59.5
Hispanic -- 32.4
Asian -- 10.9
Black -- 6.7

Santa Barbara County's numbers:
White -- 56.9
Hispanic -- 34.2
Asian -- 4.1
Black -- 2.3

Now, couldn't quickly turn up numbers for Santa Barbara City, though -- they could be very different. However, if they're anything close, then ME and the studio are even farther off than we thought. :(


[> [> [> I found the Santa Barbara City numbers -- Sophist, 13:02:40 11/27/02 Wed

They're here.

In summary, the total population was 92,325. This broke down as follows: white 68,355 (74%); black (I'm using the census bureau category names) 1636 (1.8%); American Indian 990 (1.1%); Asian 2554 (2.8%). Based on these numbers, and for these groups, I'd say the show probably gives a fair representation of the city. BUT.......

The difficulty is in interpreting the Hispanic category. This totaled 32,330. However, under the reporting guidelines "Hispanic" is a multi-ethnic category. For this reason, there is no way to know from the numbers I found how many of the "Hispanics" also categorized themselves as white, black, American Indian, etc. Adding up the other categories (and ignoring the fact that some people gave more than one response) gives us about 20% who self-identified solely as "Hispanic". It does appear pretty clear that yez is correct about the underrepresentation of "Hispanics" on the show (and on TV generally).

Of course, neighborhoods in Santa Barbara, as elsewhere in CA, are much less mixed than the city as a whole. FREX, my area of LA is much more white and Asian than the citywide numbers, and much less black and Hispanic. Any particular area of Santa Barbara could well be as white as our perception of the show.

[> [> [> [> Thanks. -- yez, 14:44:41 11/27/02 Wed

You're exactly right about things being radically different depending on city and neighborhood.

The thing is, it's perfectly logical that the core group is all white -- like attracts like, people stick with what they know. It's just too bad that in creating such a stylized world where characters can be smarter and stronger and braver than they'd be in reality, where they can wear more expensive clothes and have better housing than they probably would in reality, that there can't also be more diversity than there might be in reality.

yez, kicking that dead horse one more time

[> [> [> [> What year is this from? I have a question.... -- Briar Rose, 22:45:31 11/27/02 Wed

When the last census was taken and results actually released(2001?) I remember hearing that Hispanics/Latinos were actually accounting for 40% percent of the total California population with Whites being in the 35-40% catagory. Therefore, Hispanics/Latinos were no longer a "minority" in California, for all intents and purposes, they accounted for the equal measure to Whites. And when they took into consideration all ethnic groups, Whites were in the minority over all.

I'm not saying your numbers are wrong. I may have been hearing it wrong when the report was read. But I am interested in what the actual answer is to the question of which info is closer to correct. I distinctly remember them saying that "For the first time in the US possession of California, Whites are now a minority in the state..." and they went on to say that the large numbers of Hispanic/Latino people had caused the greatest reason for the shift when added to the larger numbers of non-Whites also in California. Part of the reason I remember this is that my entire department was just layed off at the time of the announcement and a few of us were laughing about being able to apply under "Affirmative Action" when we went out for new jobs. Except the two Latinos decided that being a majority wasn't a good thing anymore.*L

I know a lot depends on the area of California. In Los Angeles' environs Hispanics are definitely not in the minority - while in the San Fernando Valley they are only holding about 30% of total population and in Ventura/Camarillo and Santa Barbara it's about 15% of the total population.

And I still say - the problem with trying to figure ehtnicity from skin color and other physical attributes doesn't work. Tina Yothers looks whiter than Wonder Bread and I can think of a few other actors that unless you actually read up on them you don't know they are Hispanic/Latin. Especially when the surname isn't a help in catagorizing. Freddy Prinz sure doesn't sound Latino either.*S*

[> [> [> [> [> Re: What year is this from? I have a question.... - - Sophist, 08:54:49 11/28/02 Thu

These numbers appear to be from the 2000 census.

It's a little hard to answer your question. Under census rules, "Hispanic" is not a racial category. Therefore, one can be Hispanic/white, Hispanic/black, etc. These are social constructs and depend on how someone chooses to identify him/herself.

Using the figures given on the hyperlink I provided above, CA had 32,000,000 residents, of whom 20,000,000 referred to themselves as "white" and 10,000,000 as "Hispanic" (remember these categories can overlap). In this sense, CA is still majority "white".

Having said this, my memory is that they have been saying for a while now that non-Hispanic "whites" will soon constitute less than 50% of CA's population. However, I think this transition is still a few years off. If you look at the US census page, you can probably find the answer somewhere.

[> Line from FH&T -- Tchaikovsky, 03:21:55 11/27/02 Wed

[From Psyche]

Sunnydale. Town's got quaint, and the
people: he called me sir, don't you
miss that? Admittedly, not a haven for
the brothers -- strictly the caucasian
persuasion in the Dale -- but you
gotta stand up and salute their death
rate. I ran a statistical analysis
and Hello Darkness -- Makes D.C. look
like Mayberry. And nobody sayin' boo
about it. We could fit right in
here. Have some fun.

This was written by David Greenwalt. Interesting to consider just what the 'Caucasian persuasion' line was intended for. Jibe at the network? Self-parodying? Or just a slightly off- kry justification for a lack of black characters?


[> [> Re: Line from FH&T -- Rahael, 06:46:28 11/27/02 Wed

I think ME were getting self concious about this issue, but had yet to find a way of dealing with it. I am very optimistic that they will, even at this late stage.

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