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March 30 2007

Why Buffy (and Joss) matter. Remember that 'Win a role in Buffy season 8' competition? Now a blogger gives feedback on the entries she read. It's quite an insight into how Buffy changed people's lives.

Yay Rachel! And a plug for too, awesome. :D
Thosands of entries, huh? Well, I didn't think I stood a strong chance anyway.
I guess that she couldn't go into a lot of detail but it would be interesting to find out which ones she recommended to go forward. What sort of essay she found compelling.
As a white middle-class male, I was never going to win this contest, right? ;-)

I mean, I said something in regard to coming to terms with my homosexuality... but still - thousands of entries!
Yay for Buffy-inspired changes to people's lives! :)
Very nice read. I wondered how many entries they would get. Thousands is good news. Of course I say this as someone who didn't enter. Good luck to everyone who did.
Yeah, I entered without any expectation of...anything. Friends who read my entry kept saying they thought it had a shot, while I kept trying to explain to them that Buffy fans are really smart, have some really impressive stories to tell and are...well...numerous.

It would be interesting to know what they end up judging the essays on. Would a compelling story by a young girl automatically be taken more seriously than the same story by an older woman or a man of any age? I have no idea.

In any case, I hope the best of these essays are available somewhere to read some day.
That's odd, I came across this same thing completely randomly last night.
I would love to read some of the essays, with the authors' names redacted of course, but wonder how the permission would be gotten.
I'd love to read all the entries too. So many participants is exciting. Buffy lives.
"I would love to read some of the essays, with the authors' names redacted of course, but wonder how the permission would be gotten."

Most contests state that all entries become the property of the company running the contest, so I doubt that they would need permission.

"That's odd, I came across this same thing completely randomly last night.
theonetruebix | March 30, 15:51 CET"

...and yet you did not post it. For shame. For shame. ;-)
Yeah, I wanted to contribute my essay just because I needed to write it, and with very faint hopes of winning. It's good to see that there were so many good entries. Good luck to everyone.
newcj- unless you specifically transferred copyright to them, this is not the case. I think they mean it in terms of not being obligated to return anything to you, or perhaps for contests where you send in forms to enter. But writing is covered under United States Copyright law, and in such cases there are transsfer forms that have to completed, that you sign off on. Just to clarify, hope you don't mind.
I almost didn't enter since I suck at writing, but a sucky entry is still an entry...

From what I've read (not from the contest but articles from critics and fans alike), the Buffy experience tends to be very personal, and there are so many inspirational and touching stories that I knew this was a very long shot.
That's a lot of entries... awesome! I doubt mine is anywhere in the top quarter for heartstring tugginess. Hopefully, creative presentation counts for something :)
"Just to clarify, hope you don't mind."

Not in the least. I'm no expert on copyright law and did not intend to present myself as one, so fire away.

"I doubt mine is anywhere in the top quarter for heartstring tugginess. Hopefully, creative presentation counts for something :)"

Right thar with ya Lady Brick. ;-)
You guys had a hard time keeping it under 250 words??

I entered, and I think I wrote maybe three sentences.
Oh well, perhaps there will be a prize for being succint!
A really, really small prize.
A teeny-weeny picture of Xane standing next to Giant Dawn.

Who is the geeky gawky girl superhero she refers to?

[ edited by jcs on 2007-03-30 21:27 ]
I think it was harder getting it under 250 words than it would have been getting it over 250 000 words.
Who is the geeky gawky girl superhero she refers to?

That would be Kitty Pryde. She's all confident and ninja-y now, but you should have seen her when she first joined the team.
Yeah, 250 words was really a tough limit. My first draft, even trying for 250 and knowing how hard it would be, was nearly 400.
Oh, wow, do I wish I had known about this. The ways that Buffy has changed my life? /boggles
I was well under 250, myself. I hope some of the essays are available to read at some point (if the writers are willing, of course.)

Kitty Pryde was indeed pretty dorky.
I had convinced myself I wasn't going to enter because of the hardness of keeping it at the given word limit, but I did anyway, finally. And while I was trying to do that, I earwormed myself, and I still am, with Lulu singing "To Sir With Love," but inserting Joss' name instead. Because how do you thank someone who's given the world what he's given? Particularly in terms of empowering women. I figured if some power was out there pulling for me and I made it as far as being a finalist, he'd get to see what Buffy's done for me. And even if I don't, actually writing the words ingrained it even more.
Oh no, now you have me singing 'To Sir With Love' in my head...
kill me now.
I'm sorry embers ... hangs head in shame. I do like the British Invasion music and having seen Lulu last week on A.I. made it worse (yes, of course she sang it).
Knowing how much most writers like to be read, I suspect that eventually we'll be allowed to read at least some of the contributions - maybe the finalists.

(Wow, To Sir With Love - now I've got the earworm, too, TonyaJ, and the only known cure for the earworm is the Leave It To Beaver theme song, which is yet another case of the cure being worse than the disease.

To Sir With Love was one of the first movies I was allowed to attend with my friends and without my parents... um, although I was only an embryo at the time...)
Oh, I can top TSWL. I was sitting here at my desk minding my own business, and all of a sudden the Green Acres theme song came into my head and I was very softly starting to sing, "Green Acres is the place for me ..." Why? I have no idea, and thank goodness I can't think of a Joss-related theme to keep the horror going.
Though I didn't watch Green Acres, that song is so in the culture. I get it stuck in my head now and then... um, my partner and I sing it and act it out at home for giggles, but please don't tell anyone, or I'll get my library cards taken from me and ritually destroyed in front of my eyes, like the military and their swords.

Not to mention the mocking by all right-thinking people...
Suuure you didn't watch Green Acres. Suuure. Hand over your library cards.
barest_smidgeon, I am so pleased you didn't enter because it gives the rest of us at least a bit of a chance.
QG, you and I need to get out more or something. We should be in our kitchen or living room, wherever, singing "I'm too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts ..." !!
I'm happy to hand over my library cards, Lioness, especially to one such as yourself, who will keep them safe for me, but honest-to-gods, in my house while growing up, many things were forbidden to us, including but not limited to: the Green Acres-Petticoat Junction-Beverly Hillbillies triumvirate, Andy Griffith and Gomer Pyle, the Three Stooges, and anything whatsoever containing either Ethel Merman or Minnie Pearl. They didn't object on some kind of moral grounds - they just found them all annoying. (We used to sneak-watch the Stooges at 5:00 a.m. on Saturdays, anyway.)

I've certainly seen episodes of each since then, but honestly, if some of this stuff doesn't get into your wiring when you're a child, it just doesn't happen later on.

To this day, I physically flinch if I hear the voices of either Goober or Gomer Pyle - but I can do a killer impression of Ethel Merman singing, "Blow, Gabriel, Blow."

And TonyaJ, I promise to dance around immediately to Lily Allen singing "Smile" right after I sign off here...
It is a researched and certified fact that jingles, theme songs and trashy music being stuck in one's head is an affliction, not a choice. (I'll find the link to the research later...much later.) Therefor, no organization or governmental body should ever be allowed to confiscate, much less bend, fold or mutilate anyone's library cards based on that particular condition, no matter how severe. I am told there have been some lobbying to allow quarantine, however for those who willingly or purposely pass the condition to others through either actually vocalizing said melodies or even telling others who are known to be maybe we should all think before we type.

Geez, the mods are usually so on top of this kind of stuff.
Geez, the mods are usually so on top of this kind of stuff.

We would be if we actually knew what you guys were talking about.
Simon, I believe they are coming up with ways to get Lulu's song out of their heads by putting something equally inane in there (I found myself going to 'It's a Small World', but it was too painful, clearly it is better to allow 'To Sir With Love' to run on a loop while thinking of Joss:
The time has come,
For closing books and long last looks must end,
And as I leave,
I know that I am leaving my best friend [Joss],
A friend who taught me right from wrong,
And weak from strong,
That's a lot to learn,
What, what can I give you in return?

I did participate in the contest, but I couldn't think of anything clever or meaningful to write, so I just sent the link to me dressed up as the Guardian with my very own paper-mache Slayers' Scythe (because surely dressing up as a fool is the sincerest form of flattery?).
True, embers, and then the discussion morphed into a discussion about how Tonya & I need to get out more, or at least be exposed to a whole newer class of different earworms. Finally newcj felt that acting out the Green Acres theme song did not warrant the destruction of anyone's library cards, as earworms are known to be pathology and not indications of moral or intellectual failure.

She felt that the mods should protect us from unprovoked earworm-triggering.

Digression Translation A Speciality - No Waiting. Senior Discounts Available.

How could this exchange about earworms be relevant as to why Buffy and Joss matter? Well, for one, it's exactly the type of convo Buffy, Willow & Xander might, and have, tossed around on the show. Give me a few hours and I might come up with something specific. It just goes to show that in the end, they are folks just like us, who laugh and joke about the inconsequential along with the more deeply meaningful (not that earworms can't be painful ... ow).

[ edited by Tonya J on 2007-03-31 20:52 ]
Thanks, mods, for setting me up with an account so quickly so I can try to field some of the questions that have come up.

The necessary background: I'm Rachel. I write Inside Out for Girl Wonder; I'm also an assistant editor at Dark Horse (in which capacity I ended up reading for the essay contest).

Because of the volume of entries we got, they were divided among ten (I think) readers, each of whom chose two finalists. I don't know about the other readers, but for me, it was a tremendously difficult choice: the stories I read were incredibly powerful, and I genuinely wish I could have chosen, well, most of them. I read with no particular (deliberate) bias based on race, age, or gender--the thing that got the most points from me was sincerity. I don't know who the winner will ultimately be, but I do know that no matter who wins, a lot of incredibly worthy entries will have lost.

I would LOVE to post some of these essays publicly--the sheer breadth of the stories I read blew me away, and I think it would be great for the general public to see how much positive impact a series and character like Buffy can have. I'll talk with the folks who organized the competition, since they know more of the legal ins and outs than I do, and I'll post back here as soon as I have an answer.

In the meantime, thank you so much to everyone who read my column and who responded to the essay contest. You are incredible, and reading your stories has been a pretty damn powerful reminder of why I love the work I do. Thank you.

If you're interested in more discussion of this, I highly recommend moseying over to the Girl-Wonder forum, where there's a thread set up for just that purpose (there's also a link straight from the column).

Hey Rachel, thanks for coming by and for the information and your feelings about the essay contest. It's wonderful that it was ultimately so satisfying for you to participate in the way you did!
Rachael, very cool of you to drop by and say all of that for our edification... and cool job you've got.

I'm absolutely sure that folks are very interested in reading the winning entries, as well as any other entries that are made available to us.

We tend to go off on the subject on whedonesque - how we started watching Buffy, what it's meant to us, what else Joss had done that's affected us - yet we never seem to tire of reading each other's stories.

Here's one of my favorite such threads:
click here.
This is awesome! Thank you Rachel, I have high hopes now that the winning essays ... and hopefully a lot more ... will at some point be available for a read. I thought about entering but if it's a discussion about BtS in any context, I have a hard enough time keeping a post under 250 words, much less an essay :)

Thanks Quoter Gal, I'm off to check out that link ASAP.
And that’d change my life. How have women in comics changed yours?

Well, Wendy Pini is primarily responsible for getting me interested in comics, or at least fanatic about them. And now I'm trying my hardest to make a career out making them. So yeah, I guess you could say women in comics have changed my life a bit. :-)
I've never before thought of myself as a feminist
(sexist connotations) but lately I am really enjoying seeing strong girls + women kick arse in a different way to men. I do of course admire real strong women eg. the suffragettes, some political prisoners... but strangely my favourite female icons - Buffy Summers, Vanessa Lutz (Freeway) + (Alan Moore's) Halo Jones - are fictonal ones created by men. I don't know why this is?
Pini fan here too, Telltale. Still waiting for the long-ago promised Elfquest animated saga. *sigh*
Willowy, look here. Not quite a saga, but it is kinda animated. (More links in the text here.)

Personally, I'd be happy if I got to read 'The Final Quest.'
For those of you who've asked:

Yes, we will be posting the runners-up. We're just waiting for all of them to give us official permission to do so.

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