Birth, copulation & death: the Joss shtick
probablecylon
     The T.S. Eliot line "Birth, copulation & death, that's all the facts When you come to the brass tacks" sort of intruded in my thoughts about Joss' plot devices -- and tonight, watching the Firefly ep "Heart of Gold", I was amazed to find all three, plus a fourth -- the conscienscious departure for the good of the person you really love (Inara leaving so Mal can keep the family of Serenity together) -- all in a 44-minute stretch. 

    Not that they aren't always heartfelt in Whedonverse, but when you've seen them trotted out under such different conditions and circumstances, one wishes for something different, especially from someone who took such unexpected turns at various points --
    

(no subject)
probablecylon
      With Bob Dylan's birthday, I think of the unexpected appearance of an authentic american singer in the most inconceivable place, Crystal Bowersox on 'American Idol', who seems like she stepped straight from that time & place as a contemporary of Dylan & Baez & Joplin rather than as a teen in 2010.

   And I recall all the times of loss & betrayal in life when Dylan's voice was there -- and of the appropriateness of Cate Blanchett's performance in "I'm Not There" . . . 

   Speaking of film, it's probably the day to recall the utterly amusing & anachronistic act of defiance "Masked & Anonymous" released during the nadir of the American junta --

   And given my nod to BSG, I have to mention the astonishment & delight when 'All Along the Watchtower' intervenes  -- absolutely blindsided & delighted with that & through the end (one of the odd ones who likes the latter part of BSG even more than the opening seasons) --

Buffy Breaks Up
probablecylon
    After 5 weeks of reading & posting comments on the past two issues of Buffy, I've concluded that the show was able to cross audiences as well as genres, I never intended to watch the show, but I turned it on out of sheer desperation at a time when the airwaves were awash in propaganda & it sounded like a nice escape. I know at least one person who was told by his then-teenage son who became a fan. These were just two instancees, but the show spread not just by tv critics, but by word of mouth. People became enthusiasts accidentally; people became fans by word of mouth; a select but unusually diverse fandom came into existence.

   But it's an audience that responded to very different interests & needs, and the show answered those audiences, sometimes within a single episode, sometimes from week to week, but pretty much everyone found something to enjoy to keep them watching.

   Many quit watching the show on Angel's departure, because they were solely interested in Buffy & Angel, and some left because S4 lost them. Many left after Buffy switched networks because they wanted a return of the warm & friendly confines of the Scoobies, and didn't get it; many left after the death of Tara.

   But there remained the possibility of gaining fans while some peeled away. The show will continue to gain fans through its run on Logo, and by dvd. There may even be fans who come in through the comics.

  But while the tv show could address a diverse fanbase, the comics will increasingly be confined to those who enjoy the comics medium as such. Even tho' that medium grew in ways never anticipated even 20 odd years ago, and now spills over into movie-going public oriented towards action folms, in itself, it isn't a genre-crossing medium. Each panel has to be sketched & inked, each bit of dialogue penned on the page. 

   Buffy the comic simply does not and can't address the people who loved the show for the way it overcame & defied its own medium.
   

  

A Time for JW to Speak About Consent Issues in Buffy S8
probablecylon

      Spike arrives at the end of #35 of Buffy with the words "You want to put an end to this Twilight crap?" If only there'd been a Spike to stop it before it started, but sadly, he is only a character in Jossverse.

      Buffy, however, within s8, did try to put an end to it, by leaving the field of battle & accepting de-empowerment in an attempt to save the Slayers from the overwhelming odds in a world where sentiment had turned against them in favor of vampires, tho' she knew that Twilight would probably still be pursuing.

     Some who've claimed that Buffy did consent to spacesex in #34 point to the panel where she lunges for Angel to initiate sex, while others saying she didn't point out that she's propelled by the glow-meta-Natural-force propelling her to be with Angel. "She went for me first, so she must've consented."

   But Buffy tried to get out of the situation she'd been placed in by Twilight, or by Angel's collaboration with Twilight, all through the season, even going to an extreme to safeguard the lives of those she'd put in danger through the Scythe spell to begin with. Even though she decamped -- the equivalent of leaving a party, say, with your friends when you feel violence brewing & suspect that you & they are targets -- Angel continued to pursue her, in order to amp up the degree of her powers, in order to have them ascend to all-powerfulness together. 

   Angel pursued her after she'd left, after she was trying to shake him off, and continued the battle in order to get her metaphysically drunker. 

    It remains guesswork how JW, so absolutely sensitive to problems of sexual assault that he didn't want Buffy and Spike shagging for fear of the spectre of a soap opera character marrying her rapist, miss this? He still hasn't addressed the concern in any manner, which is making the problem worse.

   A month has gone by, and four months will pass, before even the first installment of an answer is given.  This is far too long, and the line-crossing has been far too explicit and far too transgressive, for Joss to say "Wait and see how I resolve it." If he reserves his right to stay silent & not to offer any more spoiling of the last issues of the season, nothing can jar him from that, but apart from following Buffy's example and leaving the rest of the season alone, I don't see an alternative. 

   Meanwihle, the most feminist section of Joss' audience is radically uprooting & re-examining everything that even contains a whiff of what happened with this story arc.

    It's time for Joss to speak.
  

When Presentation of Violence Becomes Promotion of Violence
probablecylon

    Censorship has a long life because, from the earliest times, writing has had a sacred function, and its practical and entertainment value derived from the original purposes of invocation, inscribing sacred deeds, duties, and lineages . . . so when writing began to be more and more detached from sacred functions, people felt that presenting an action or behavior must be accompanied by a distinct moral judgment in the presentation. In the 19th century, this tie was severed when writers decided they would present actions & reactions of characters & let the production stand or fall on the basis of the integrity of the piece, how well it reflected social or political or emotional realities.

    Tho' this is the official stance of most writers or entertainers currently, it's hard to sustain or defend; it may be only a useful fiction that serves when a society is trying to disempower the official state or church censors. When there is no official censorship, film companies & publishers have to be self-policiing, and the liberal-capitalist fiction that market economics will eliminate the undesirable or destructive helps reinforce the writers' and artists' standard line, that they don't intend to promote behavior they depict. Now the common defense is that they have to present it to subvert it.

   It's not possible to address this pretext without referring to the work of Slavoj Žižek. The pricey books from Verso are worth the expenditure, as is the necessary reading of Freud & Lacan involved.  Summarizing SŽ is problematic, as problematic as summarizing Buffy -- Žižek has an immense knowledge of po culture & the philosophical and social-critical debates of this age, and his reversals and rapid leaps across genres has to be experienced, not packaged for someone who needs to have their splainy in two lines before they begin complaining. But he analyzes at length the 'obscene underside', the way in which emphatic disavowals affirm the actual presence & insistence of the disavowed.

   The preoccupation of contemporary entertainment culture with violence, particularly sexual violence, is more than merely troubling -- the fascination with dissection of corpses, of rotting and mutilated bodies, with militaristic metaphors & themes, while maintaining the whole terminology of open democracy & individualism, signals that the makers of that culture are not actually engaged in a critical enterprise of undoing what they profess to be stigmatizing, but are fostering, even giving greter immunity to the forces which they consciously and conscienciously deplore when called on to do so.

   I didn't see Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" not only because QT is one of the more prominent cases of this difficulty -- "You're not supposed to take it seriously, his movies are OTT, etc" -- but because the inability to reduce the phantasmic proportions of Naziism within popular culture allows the public culture to function as if what were morally appalling about the Third Reich were alien to, absent from, abolished within our own culture: as if the Third Reich were merely an aberration rather than the 'obscene underside' of the exercise of colonial power. By making the Nazis exceptional bad guys in entertainment, and their routine invocation as a term of mere abuse in political or cultural argument, we miss the reality that Hitler & the Nazis remain contemporary, that they are at the core of contemporary identity. Just as it horrified early 20th century custodians of decency or moral order for Freud to announce child sexual desires, it would horrify them now to recognize the centrality of the Nazi cult to 21st century imagination & even to 21st century desire. The desire for Hitler is the obscene core of public imagination/creation in the 21st century. 

    
There isn't a Hitler-ectomy procedure available, an anti-Hitler pathogen that can be introduced. We have to analyze its presence, what the obscene icon invoked by execrating it actually means, how it functions, why it functions, what its presence within our psychic and social apparatus shows us about what's going on within the mechanism of self-evasions.

   Just as the anti-Freudians thought it was self-evident that they didn't really want to have sex with their fathre or mother, or that women were not really deprived by the absence or haunted by the envy of an actual penis, the most routine response is "Hmmmpf! I don't 'desire' Hitler! How disgusting!' 

    I'm not sure whether Žižek would concur with my usage of his work in this particular way, but I think it's an accurate application, and in dealing with any imaginative production, whether explicitly fantasy-oriented like Buffy, or whether superficially realistic as, say CSI or Breaking Bad, we need to get past old individualist & rationalist scenarios which can't account for the imperatives & powers that hold sway in the plague of fantasies within and around us. 

   

   

Forget the dead you've left they will not follow you --
probablecylon
  I left a post on Buffyforums for one of the nastier little pills on that poisonous board that is certainly going to get me banned, so don't look for Ravynnia there any longer. I'm not sorry for the posts that people loved or for the work that 'Wolfie Gilmore' and I once did under the aegis of Buffyworld, but I am sorry that it was impossible to have any sort of deep discussion without the sorority and debate team types popping up to declare who was too nasty and who was to showy and who was too smarty, etc., when it was just a forum, and posted with the usual rules that lazy mods never enforce to help improve their boards. The trolls move in and become squatters and it comes to be normal. I tried forcing the trollish into the open, which always gets them angry enough to start throwing charges the mods' way. Finally, I just levelled a straight post at one of sexist arseholes and fired it off. So that's the end of that tale. "And it's all over no-ow, Baby Blue" --

  

Don't Fear the Meltzer (work in progress with thanks to Blue Oyster Cult)
probablecylon
 

Only five more issues to come
Glowy groany streams of sweat have run
Whedon didn't fear the Meltzer
No those aren't really spatters of rain
(be careful cover your hair)

Come on Bangel
(Don't fear the Meltzer)
Buffy make my ******* expand
(Don't fear the Meltzer)
We'll be able to fly
(Don't fear the Meltzer)
Nature needs us to bang
there's no Curse on my whang
Romani magic gone
(yes that looks like your  uhm)

la la la la la
la la la la la la

Romani curse is done
a couple hundred Slayers gone
Lameo and Bullyshit
In cartoonyternity
Lameo and Buffyshit

Don't fear the Meltzer
That's not just thicker selzer

Seeking merciless Spuffinian . . .
probablecylon
. . . capable of making a banner involving some panel from #34-35, with the legend beneath "Buffy & Angel 4Eva -- because drunken space sex is PARADISE!"

  

The Frakking Alternative: Tactical Sex
probablecylon
   I've said it on other forums, so I'll place it prominently here:

   Did Buffy decide to use sex to find out what the whole Twilight gig meant? to find out what was deranging Angel into Twangel?

    Unparsed out, it looks like a mess, and may in fact be a mess.

    But parse it.

    Buffy's is furious with Angel once he reveals himself. But because the glow is showing the metaphysical link established ages and ages and ages ago -- a link which Giles believes exists -- and preventing Buffy from staking Angel or kicking him in the groin effectively, she stops the combat, and takes a jump. She affirms, before, that there is no us: jumps into the supersex: recovers from it almost instantly when it's down, with almost Faith-like alacrity in "The Zeppo", except she takes the trouble to talk Angel out his delusion that she would stay there with him, and jumps back with him into the real world. 

    Buffy once had sex with Angel which caused him to lose his soul. Perhaps she yielded to the sex here because she recognized something was terribly WRONG with that soul, and she couldn't punch him out of it. She might, however, be able to bang the key out of him (figuratively speaking).

    Now that would be a very Joss-ish use of sex. It would show that Buffy was only marginally influenced, and that she used a recognizable martial arts technique in the big boff. Would Buffy have HAD sex with Twangel IF she remotely suspected that doing so would've robbed him of his soul? No. Therefore she must either have been brain dead herself, or she must have known that the sex would not produce the True Happiness that would bring out Angelus.

   Would Joss somehow not get the very bit that he established? Pretty sure not.

   Buffy tells Angel, after he snaps out of it (or appears to snap out of it) "I missed you" -- that is, the post-sex Angel appears, in some way, to be, if not wholly cured, more Angel than Twangel.

   It would, of course, be a gigantic mislead -- it would be a deliberate and calculated move on Joss' part -- and would mean that it was carefully planned, and not pure pandering . . . pandering still, but one with a more acceptable motive on his part, rather than just "Buffy and Angel fans need to see a supersex scene".

  

"It's jus' a harmless li'l BUNNY, i'n't?"
probablecylon


   Very first reaction from one of the "Oh-my-stars-and-garters"- #34-ites promises that #35 will be universally hated. 

   Now for some true critical reaction to this fact:

TIme for some Python quotes, like:

[B]TIM: I *warned* you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you *knew*, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little *bunny*, isn't it? [/B]

And of course the follow-up to the SuperBoff:

[QUOTE]Dingo: You must spank her well, and after you are done with her, you may deal with her as you like... and then... spank me.
All: And me. And me too. And me.
Dingo: Yes. Yes, you must give us all a good spanking. [/QUOTE]

  ****

  I knew Meltzer was going to pour shite on shite. Just knew.



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