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June 03 2003

Weekly Standard readers say Buffy supports the war in Iraq (letter 5), confirms the Power of Myth (7), and will never be as good as The Rockford Files (8).

Of course, the Standard prints more even more dubious ideas than those in every issue.

I don't agree with the person who spoke about the Rockford Files as the best ever, but he does bring up discussion-worthy point.

It used to be that favorite shows were immortalized in syndication -- now they are immortalized with DVD. The letter-writer pointed out that the Rockford Files is still on 30 years later, and there are other shows that can lay claim to similar appeal.

Will people still be watching Buffy DVDs (and other TV shows on DVD) in 30 years and winning new fans or will this phenomenon burn quickly and brightly without stirring viewers in the future the way that syndication does?
Ha! Joss is on record in an interview (somewhere - probably on this site) calling Dubya an "asswipe"! I doubt very, very much that he supports the US invasion of Iraq - after all, he's the man who gave us Riley "I'm an anarchist" Finn going AWOL from the Initiative (altho' I concede Riley and Sam end up in some sort of independent special op in South America - no change there then - see CIA/DEA past and present). Perhaps it's a weakness in the Jossverse to have continued to use the rather currently politically loaded term "evil" with quite such abandon? Discuss...

[ edited by constance on 2003-06-03 22:06 ]

[ edited by constance on 2003-06-03 22:06 ]
Can't find ref for "asswipe" comment (still searching), but this is the man who in his early days wanted to give us "a musical parody of the Oliver North hearings" (according to Emily Nussbaum's NYT profile 22 Sept 02).
Another point against Buffy supporting the war against Iraq is that one of Joss' consistent themes is that going it alone never, ever works. Only by reintegrating with the group and sharing her Slayer power with all the other Potentials is Buffy able to defeat "evil". In fact one could argue that the First Evil's game plan all along was to separate Buffy emotionally (then physically) from her friends and allies, perhaps to push her over the edge, perhaps to convince her that she had to "go it alone" and get herself killed. If you think about it, that's not too far off from the terrorist agenda of al-Qaeda. A push here and a push there, and all of a sudden our country has turned the past fifty years of international law and collective security on its head, with no demonstrable payoff against our own "First Evil".

I've heard this line before in neoconservative circles, that BtVS is a perfect metaphor for America, with Buffy's woman of action (America) unilaterally righting the wrongs of the world while the Council of Watchers (the U.N.) debates and... well... observes. The only problem with this way of reading the show is that Joss has hit us time and time again with the theme that unilateralism doesn't take out the Big Bad. Consider the endings of Seasons 3 (Graduation Day), 4 (The "Scoobies" vs. Adam), 5 (the tag-team approach to taking down Glory), and 7. Cooperation is key.

And not to open another can of worms, but "Lies My Parents Told Me" could be read as a pretty damned good indictment of the notion of preventive war - when you take someone out for what they *might* do, sometime in the future, like Giles wanted to do to Spike, or what W. claimed Saddam Hussein *might* be capable of in the future - as opposed to pre-emptive war - when you are acting to stop an actual planned attack against you, as Buffy did by opening up the Hellmouth and attacking the ubervamps before they could pour out and end civilization as we know it.

Sorry, Weekly Standard. Buffy may be a soldier, even a general, but she's no warmonger. You could pick an episode at random and be able to find ample evidence to undermine a neoconservative reading of BtVS.
Found this from the New York Post, 22 April 2003:

"Meanwhile, as the series has been building to a violent, all-or-nothing war between spirit forces at the end, some critics have pointed out that the characters on "Buffy" are going through much the same turmoil people in the real world have experienced with war with Iraq.

"The last thing I ever wanted in the world was for any of 'Buffy's' rhetoric to be compared to anything [President Bush] was saying," Whedon says.

"Yet he goes to war and ostensibly we have a war on 'Buffy,' " Whedon said.

"So I think it was very much a concern to the writers and myself that we try and stress the pain and the uncertainty and the emotion of it as opposed to the gung-ho 'let's-go-get-'em' of it.

"None of us advocates the idea of war and I certainly didn't support the decision to go in during this particular action [in Iraq]," he said." ("Internet spoils fun as...Buffy bites dust" by Don Kaplan, NYP, 22 April 2003)

Still looking for the "asswipe" ref - does anyone know where it is??
I'm still reeling over the whole 'liberal arts major does not mean educated' comment from the engineer.
I love his comment that most of the liberal arts aren't based on science so things aren't seen in terms of right and wrong answers. Wow, cause there are never multiple view points of things in science, ask any Physicist.
The "ass-wipe" comment is here, question 67:
Joss Whedon answers 100 questions - SFX Magazine

How did you vote in the last election?
Against that ass-wipe, thank you.

Thanks v much, Ithilien, I couldn't find it even after hours of Googling. I note that the 100 qns were posted on/around 20 Feb 2003 both by AICN (in part) and slayage.com but without a note of which edition of SFX Magazine they were said to be in originally - don't s'pose you happen to know, do you? Issue #102? The SFX publisher has a rather minimalist website that doesn't give any info about back issues. Cheers.

And so it's official - Joss unlikely to be doing any hail to the thief fanfic any time soon.
Ah, no, sorry, I think I found it - the 100 qns from Joss were in Issue #100 of SFX Magazine, Jan 2003. Is that the case? Sorry to be a stickler, but I was brought up to ask what? why? when? where? how? and does that come in any other colour? and haven't been able to stop since...
I have gained insight: an engineer may be more concerned with pure "right and wrong" then a scientist. I shall mull that to death.

Loving me some Whedonesque lately, thanks to all.

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