This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"You gotta do what you can to protect your family. I learned that from my father."
11945 members | you are not logged in | 25 October 2014




Tweet







March 15 2008

Buffy the PhD Slayer. Another call for papers, but NOT for the upcoming Slayage Conference.

Given my success rate at posting story links here this could conceivably be my last attempt. Hopefully this hasn't been linked before (not sure how to search besided scanning the entire archives, which I did) or contains any copyright infringements. *crosses fingers*

I might try to write something for this... Maybe something on "music and truth" (Caritas, OMWF) versus "silence and truth" (Hush). It occurs to me that both imply a bypassing of speech, as though speech is, contrary to common sense, a hindrance rather than an aid to "true" communication.

That's not a half bad idea for 1:00 in the morning!
Oooh, I really like that. Please write that so I can read it. ;)
That belief that music and deep emotional truth are connected in OMWF has always seemed wrong to me. Or at least only true sometimes. Does singing about math or trying to weasel your way out of a ticket have any connection with truth? Or being happy they got the mustard out? Or dancing a happy dance with your fellow street-cleaners?

Buffy actually uses her song about what can't they do if they're together to mislead the other scoobs. She's expressing complete indifference to the threat and lets them think it's a can-do anthem. And does Spike really want Buffy to let him rest in peace? Xander and Anya's duet never plumbs the true depths of Xander's doubts. I did hear or read somewhere though, maybe something Joss said, that Anya broke into a dance to prevent the song from getting any deeper, because it was freaking her.

The most I think you can say is that the songs express the truth of what someone is feeling at a certain moment, whatever's bubbled to the surface. But there's more underneath.
I dunno if she's misleading them so much as "going through the motions", normally that's where she'd rally the troops so that's what she does (though obviously strictly she's misleading them because she doesn't really feel it herself). Only Giles sees through the false pep-talk but even he realises the importance of a positive attitude/gets caught up (reluctantly) in the moment.

I did hear or read somewhere though, maybe something Joss said, that Anya broke into a dance to prevent the song from getting any deeper, because it was freaking her.

That seems fairly apparent from the episode itself - when Xander starts to really talk about how he feels Anya goes into her "dance solo" as a distraction, like she's trying to "paper over the cracks" (we even see a slightly exasperated expression cross Xander's face, as if he hasn't said his piece but then, significantly, he joins her in crack-papering).

Also, lyrics are "speech", right (i.e. verbal communication) ? If OMWF was purely instrumental and the actors were silent otherwise I could see more point in drawing a distinction.

Still, it's an interesting angle to take a look at, even if the paper's conclusion is "Actually it's not truer, just different" (and they do get the mustard out - that bit's definitely true ;).
This has such great possibilities. " ...with an anticipated publication date in 2009."
And the Buffy beat goes on. :)
Also, lyrics are "speech", right (i.e. verbal communication) ? If OMWF was purely instrumental and the actors were silent otherwise I could see more point in drawing a distinction.

That's absolutely right -- it's the music that's somehow "true"... or at least that's the idea. I'm thinking of Schopenhauer's belief (enthusiastically appropriated by Wagner) that music is the ultimate art because it bypasses the discursive intellect in order to express directly the "will" that is the "true reality" underlying the phenomenal world of the senses (i.e., for Schopenhauer, the "will" was equivalent to Kant's "thing-in-itself," which Kant said we cannot know -- Schopenhauer thinks that we can know the "will/thing-in-itself," especially through music).

So, for instance, in Wagner's operas, the music is supposed to express the "truth" that is hidden or obscured by what the singers are actually singing.

Now, as for truthiness in OMWF, I think the idea is that the lyrics people sing very often get at the "truth" of their feelings -- at least, that's what we're supposed to think. (Not in every instance, for not all feelings are "deep truths" -- some express nothing more than excitement over mustard having been gotten out, a perfectly "true" but not terribly "deep" truth. But certainly we're supposed to see Buffy's opening number as a "deep truth," as well as Spike's song and others. Then, of course, there's the complex dance of truth-telling and obfuscation in Xander and Anya's number...)

I think I might actually write this paper!
You should, seems like there's meat there ;).

Schopenhauer's perspective sounds interesting because music and maths are quite closely linked and, certainly back then, a lot of people thought that maths would eventually furnish us with a complete and accurate description of reality (that it was fundamentally "true"). An idea (like many) that's very much of its time.

Totally agree though that the lyrics were mostly truer than the dialogue (or at least elaborated on truths only hinted at in the dialogue).
I'm thinking of Schopenhauer's belief (enthusiastically appropriated by Wagner) that music is the ultimate art because it bypasses the discursive intellect in order to express directly the "will" that is the "true reality"

It bypasses the discursive intellect, especially in those who don't know how to make it themselves, and also the "will" created is simultaneously molded by dogma (the true reality). Responsible philosophers never postulated a truth that could be "known" by a single emotional moment.


And don't make me go through Wagner's cultural (Or Moral) geneology, delavagus.


eta: Oh, you're going to do that. Good idea.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2008-03-16 15:21 ]

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2008-03-16 15:22 ]

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.



joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home