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June 11 2008

"Conservatism could handle Stalin and Lenin, but is too fragile a thing to survive Joss Whedon." A political blogger's cheerfully snarky response to the "fear of liberalism" also sneaks in some choice words for people who are horrified that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is being analyzed in our colleges.

Scroll down to the embedded paragraph that begins "But the indoctrination goes even deeper." and start reading for some delicious, Cordelia-level snark.

Er, you seem to be linking back to this post!
Oops! Fixed. Sorry!
Thanks, BAP - interesting article. I liked it when he argued that Joss had a conservative message!
So I'm not only one who thought it was a very conservative message? When I first saw the episode (as a teenager), the episode just reinforced what my religiously conservative family taught me--have sex before marriage and bad things happen. LOL! I'm not kidding. Had my mother actually watched the episode (which means I probably wouldn't have been allowed to watch another one), she would have surely said, "See what happened! No sex 'til you're married." :-)
And even then, not with cursed ensouled vampires ! ;)

The article was entertaining enough even if it was predicated on pitting "our" straw-man against "their" straw-man to see whose scarecrow kicks the most ass.
I enjoyed that article. Joss content, very witty and it used my favourite derogatory epithet, "poopy-head".
I would have thought that "don't have sex or your boyfriend will turn into an undead jerk and try to kill you" would be just about as conservative a message as one could possibly be exposed to, but what the hell do I know.

I didn't think action --> bad stuff happens is necessarily a moral stance about the action. I always thought that conversation with Giles was very important. It was handled with a lot of dignity when it could've been just another story warning teenage girls that sex is dangerous and to be avoided, rather than something that's complex and has consequences. And being an adult means dealing with the consequences. Which Buffy does, to a heartbreaking conclusion.
I thought the Joss connection was painfully thin and the article was fairly self-important and humorless in the same sorts of ways that it spent endless paragraphs belaboring the point that conservatives are self-important and humorless. Also rife with straw men, ad hominem, and more logical fallacies than you can shake a stick at, but maybe it was meant for edutainment? So whatever :)

This is coming from someone who agrees with some of (what I perceive to be, at least) the ideas behind the article, by the by, its just the way it was written and the points it chose to make by and large made me cringe. If a little less time were spent on attacking everything bad in the world as the idea of conservatives... oh, I get it now, meet the new liberals -- everything you hated about conservatives and everything you hated about liberals before, now rolled up in one convenient package. In other words, I have to say that if it was meant to be a farce-play on the battle of the strawmen, then it was pretty on target (though no more interesting to me), otherwise I don't think it really knows what the target is.

ETA - you can probably just mark me down for "what Saje said"; its battle of the straw men. Which to me, is boring and boorish. Like The Office, I see what its trying to do, but it just isn't for me. And "what Sunfire said" re: actions/consequences. I don't think that it was about sex before marriage at all.
Come on, people. We all know bad things tend to happen to Buffy when she has sex. 1. her vamp boyfriend trades places with his soulless counterpart, terrorizes her and her friends and kills her teacher (then dies, sort’ve) 2. her one night college romance acts like a stereotypical male and dumps her after fooling her into bed 3. her reliable salt of the earth bo sneaks out to give midnight snacks to vamp-oes 4. she ends up using someone’s feelings, leading them both into a dark and overly sweaty path… he ends up almost raping her… but, hey, silver lining! He got a soul because of her… but, then he died (no, really, this one vamp did. No worries, he got back. She doesn’t know though – yet)

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m waiting for (might be spoilers to previous S8 issues) We know we ain’t seen the last of her!

Um. What’s the topic again? *reads article* Politics? Buffy? Politics? Can-not com-pute..
The topic is delicious pies: discuss ;)*

*kidding
I'm just saddened that this article has to remind me that the ONLY democratic representative from my poor state is barely even a Democrat.

Though I am amused that an article about Danny-Boy Boren could include a mention of our wonderful Master Whedon.
Come on, people. We all know bad things tend to happen to Buffy when she has sex.

Bad things happen to Buffy when she doesn't have sex. In conclusion, bad things happen to Buffy.

ETA1: And then Buffy reminds the bad things why she is what they have nightmares about. I didn't mean to imply a victim mentality.

ETA2: Pie! Make mine lemon meringue.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-06-11 22:03 ]
What Joss content?

All I read (insfra s i could stomach it) was some piece of f***h telling the world that because I'm a Republican I carry a noose ready for whenever it's needed. Liars like that produce nothing worth reading, and I don't care if his subject is other liars he happens to disagree with.
Yeah, that's precisely the problem DCA. Even though the article is actually only attacking what sounds to me (as an un-American ;) to be a fairly extreme representative of the right, a lot of conservatives (even moderates) probably aren't going to get to the end. So then who's the author actually talking to ? Yep, it's just more self-congratulatory back slapping by liberals for liberals. To paraphrase the old adage, "You can pick your friends but you can't pick the people ostensibly on the same side of the political divide as you" ;).

(unless it's satirising the aforementioned smug self-congratulation, in which case, great job ;)
I see your sarcasm is as big as mine ;) Let's try not to call the author names.
Hiiieeeeyaa ! Our sarcasm-fu is ... moderate ;).

(just realised I meant to ask DaddyCatALSO what "f***h" actually was, been turning it around and I just can't think of anything asterisk worthy that fits. Maybe some things are best left unknown ;)

[ edited by Saje on 2008-06-11 22:57 ]
As someone who spends a LOT more time reading/responding to liberal political blogs these days than, well, hanging out here (not that I don't love, love, love this place), I can tell you that Hunter can be a funny writer, but he's not exactly the one you go to for the penetrating, objective analysis. This article was simply too long and too much a case of shooting fish in the barrel for me to bother reading all of.

Still, if you actually look at the article he's discussing, it really is an unusual combination of idiocy and intellectual snobbery and was singled out for snark by many a liberal blog yesterday. Of course, I'm biased, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool lib, probably quite similar to Joss himself (in terms of opinions, I mean).
Yep, it's just more self-congratulatory back slapping by liberals for liberals.


Enh, sometimes it doesn't hurt. Liberals do tend to be more temperate in opinion on the whole, and therefore liable to get shouted over; occasionally we need to rile each other up, too. ;) (The trick, of course, is actually doing something productive once you've built up all that Righteous Irkedness, but, y'know. 'tis the internets for ya: home of endlessly-irked opinion-airing of every stripe.)
This is why* I'm independent. I make fun of everyone. Except Obama, currently. But once he does something ridiculous, I'm there.

* not really but it is a plus.
I'm a liberal and I was turned off by the article, in it's tone and message.

Also, I agree with Sunfire, there would be no show if only good things happened to Buffy. Or we wouldn't watch it because deep down, we love it when one of the Scoobies' life hits the shit.
Still, if you actually look at the article he's discussing, it really is an unusual combination of idiocy and intellectual snobbery and was singled out for snark by many a liberal blog yesterday. Of course, I'm biased, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool lib ...

Well, me too and that Townhall article is very worthy of lampooning, it encapsulates everything liberalism stands against but as with Michael Moore's films, this just smacks too much of fighting fire with fire to me (which, it barely needs saying, isn't usually all that effective ;).

Liberals do tend to be more temperate in opinion on the whole, and therefore liable to get shouted over ...

If you're shouting at each other the argument is already pointless (the master engages only the worthy opponent ;). We don't need to beat "them" at their own game, we need to encourage everyone to stop playing and you don't do that by stoking their fires with insulting rhetoric IMO.

(and by "them" I don't mean all conservatives as the linked article strongly insinuates, I mean the extreme right, as represented in this instance by Ms Grabar IMO)

[ edited by Saje on 2008-06-11 23:18 ]
I loved the article. It was entertaining. Joss Whedon is more of a threat that Stalin or Lenin! :)

I'm going back to the campus to mess with some virgins.
I'm with you, Saje; I consider myself fairly well-versed in vulgarity, and I can't think for the life of me what letters those asterisks are masking that would fit the context.

Piece of flesh, perhaps? Filth? Flash? I'm lost.

As for the rest, oh how I love the smell of politics in the afternoon. There's nothing like snarky commentary and a good helping of partisan grandstanding to brighten up a dull Wednesday.
Oh *phew*! For a moment there, I was afraid Saje wasn't a liberal and I was going to have stop worshipping him. ;-)

As fond as I am of DaddyCatALSO, is it possible that with his...erm, creative spelling habits he spelled 'filth' as 'fitch' and the filter didn't like its proximity to bitca? Guess I'll see when I post this... :-D

ETA: Guess not! Curiouser and curiouser!

[ edited by OzLady on 2008-06-11 23:46 ]
frac.....h? Perhaps he's Tigh really drunk and - wait, wrong board.
We don't have a filter :)
Thank f*ck for that.
Hey, wait a minute...

ETA: Also, OzLady about the burnt offerings, it's err, nice and all but it's really not necessary.

;-)

[ edited by Saje on 2008-06-12 00:15 ]
Burnt offerings? But, Saje, you told me live sacrifices! Now what am I supposed to do with all of these sheep?
Yeah, it was long and self-congratulatory but some of it was pretty funny. 'Tantric recitations of civil rights codes'

"I didn't think action --> bad stuff happens is necessarily a moral stance about the action. I always thought that conversation with Giles was very important. It was handled with a lot of dignity when it could've been just another story warning teenage girls that sex is dangerous and to be avoided, rather than something that's complex and has consequences. And being an adult means dealing with the consequences. Which Buffy does, to a heartbreaking conclusion. "

Maybe but I think the moral stance against it was stronger than that. In 'I Only Have Eyes for You' Buffy says it was 'wrong' - and we're talking about sleeping with her boyfriend here. And even in that awesome conversation with Giles in Innocence, Giles does tell her that it was foolish. It does strike me as a conservative message. These damn vampires ravishing our virgins
My first real Whedonesque post! Be gentle with me, ye Whedonny liberals.

I grew up surrounded by people who would happily swallow anything Grabar (or James Dobson, or FOX News) could serve up. I saw this blog entry as the author's way of letting off steam, and as such it worked well for me. I didn't learn anything new, but I laughed a good laugh, and I think now I'll be able to bite my tongue and be a little more patient the next time I'm home.
bobster, I completely agree with your assessment of Hunter. He often makes me laugh, but he's hot-headed and not nearly as clear-thinking (or clear-writing, anyway) as some of the other writers on DK.

And yeah, bad things always happen to Buffy. After all, the Master killed her, and she didn't have sex with him.

piece of f***h

piece of fish?

[ edited by jcs on 2008-06-12 00:58 ]
I thought it was supposed to be funny.
If wishes were fishes (and I think DCA thinks this guy is a fissh, assuming the number of asterisks was a representation of the number of letters replaced)...
Saje OzLAdy jcs zeitgeist; Well, "filth" is bad thing to call a person, so even tho it isn't one of the FCC's seven words, I censored it because that was how I meant it. It was a kind of self-control. Exactly what kind is open to debate.
I grew up surrounded by people who would happily swallow anything Grabar (or James Dobson, or FOX News) could serve up. I saw this blog entry as the author's way of letting off steam, and as such it worked well for me. I didn't learn anything new, but I laughed a good laugh, and I think now I'll be able to bite my tongue and be a little more patient the next time I'm home.


Yep. That's my hometown to a "t". So, needless, to say, I enjoyed the article a teensy little bit.
randomfire, you aren't from Calgary, are you? That would be spooky.

[ edited by TawnyJayne on 2008-06-12 02:13 ]
I'm a "liberal", and I couldn't get through the article. It kind of annoyed me.

Most of the time I think the political terms liberal, conservative, Republican and Democrat have become too convoluted to have much meaning. I.E. I agree with conservatives on the idea of small federal government, but I'm a liberal because I believe the top 3 things the federal government should butt out of is life, death and marriage....you know, the little things like Janet Jackson's pierced nipple or the Spirit of Justice's boob.
Read the comments before reading the article, and now I can't bring myself to read it because it sounds so boring. So I am entirely unqualified to offer the following opinion, but will that stop me?...I think not.

I used to get terribly annoyed listening to fellow lefties "preach to the choir",partly because it was boring, but also because it seemed so transparently useless. Certainly it has never been the sort of thing to convert anyone.

But I do see where Tawny/Jane is coming from, and sometimes it is nice, especially when you are surrounded by folks who won't begin to consider your point of view, just to know you are not entirely alone.
I wouldn't say that Whedon has a conservative message, but he has definitely come up with a non-liberal message. Whether vampires or Reavers, Whedon has created characters so irredeemably evil that it is appropriate to kill them wherever found, to give them no quarter or consideration of any kind. In one episode of Buffy, torture was appropriate.

Liberalism is about tolerance, indulgence and appeasement of evil.
Dear Jim Austin:

Well...if you put down the Ann Coulter and watch the Whedonverse, you might realize that it is about tolerance of different ways and points of view. Not even demons are all evil. Love those balancing demons. Certainly it is about respecting different sexual orientations, some of which, by the way, conservatives view as evil. Gots to spread some love dude!
Jim Austin said

Liberalism is about tolerance, indulgence and appeasement of evil.


Start Rant

Really? I'm mean, really? I really hope you are kidding, cause that statement really, really bugs me.

If it wasn't because a bunch of liberals fighting an "evil empire" who tightening their grip on the colonies, the United States may have not separated itself from the British Empire until several decades after 1776. The greatest president, in my opinion, Abraham Lincoln was considered a radical and had a liberal policy of limiting the growth of slavery and then outright banning slavery, an evil, evil practice. There are several other cases where liberalism has fought and defeated evil. To put such a blanket statement about liberals is just wrong and is not needed in public discourse.

/End Rant

Anyways, how much does Buffy rock?
But I do see where Tawny/Jane is coming from, and sometimes it is nice, especially when you are surrounded by folks who won't begin to consider your point of view, just to know you are not entirely alone.

Yes, as someone from the Bible Belt, believe me when I say I understand this very well. I still remember very clearly the first time I realized that people around me did not generally think I was immoral by definition. But I'm very wary of the knee-jerk groupthink, and it is not any less present among liberal circles than among conservatives. Comfort is one thing, but letting the comfort turn off your brain is another. This article strays too close to that for me to enjoy it much myself. I see the non-thinking as much with people I agree with as people I don't, but it's much more disappointing from liberal writers because they're often failing to make a point I think needs to be made. I think the unrecognized gift of being a person of strong yet locally rare convictions is that you can't ever afford to stop thinking critically. And from personal experience, I can say it makes me not relativist but more willing to try to understand another point of view. Because I've always had to. It doesn't mean I'll agree or not fight tooth and nail against something I disagree with, either.
Sunfire, and others claiming to come from Podunk. I don't think that you're from my bible belt. Very few people where I come from would bother to read something as verbose and full of obscure phrases, or so concerned with irrelevant things like academia, as this "conservative" diatribe here ridiculed. I'm sure there are many Podunks, but I'm pretty sure mine is where our most currently powerful strain of conservatism comes from ... because it just geographically does.
Ooh battle of the bible belts

(Jim Austin: wtf? My arrogant suggestion for the day is that you read John Stuart Mill or someone because you're liberalism sure aint my liberalism ... or even liberalism really)
Ooh battle of the bible belts

Bring it on! Canadians - oh, please. When was the last lynching in your hometown? Mine? 1928 (official).
Tldr.

Liberalism is about tolerance, indulgence and appeasement of evil.


Oddly enough we're not Kos or Red State or one of those tedious "wah wah wah other side is bad" blogs. So can we refrain from making comments like that. I regard political flamebait stuff in the same way as agressive shipping. So if people do want to put down other people's beliefs do it somewhere else.
Saje -

pitting "our" straw-man against "their" straw-man to see whose scarecrow kicks the most ass.

Well, Saje, in a battle of the scarecrows, the Oz Scarecrow is immediately out of the running because he has no brain and almost zero fighting skills. After giving it some serious thought, I think I'd have to give it to DC's Scarecrow because his fear gas would paralyze Marvel's Scarecrow with fear - thus neutralizing Marvel Scarecrow's greater combat ability, if not his flock of trained . . .

Wait. I think I might have misunderstood the question. :P

Jim Austin -

Whether vampires or Reavers, Whedon has created characters so irredeemably evil that it is appropriate to kill them wherever found, to give them no quarter or consideration of any kind. [...] Liberalism is about tolerance, indulgence and appeasement of evil.

Yeah! Those Reavers sure were evil, you betchya! Hey, do you remember the part where an oppressive, lying, militaristic government created the Reavers because they wanted to force people to behave in only one way? If liberalism is really about letting all those bad people live their own lives, you must see Serenity as a terribly tragic film. All the independent voices won and the iron fisted government lost, leaving all the naughty folk to run about and indulge in all sorts of sin. And, ooh! They killed a preacher. That's gotta smart.

In seriousness, while the article itself is way too self-congratulatory and overlong (I should have said "No, seriously - just SCROLL DOWN"), it is nice to see it sparking some discussion. :)

[ edited by BloodyAwfulPoet on 2008-06-12 07:48 ]
Wow, BAP, I'm quite glad to have seen and taken your advice--what I read about BtVS was quite enough, though it sparked a modicum of interest. :)

As for liberals/conservatives/what-have-yous...I would consider myself to be quite the liberal in how I think, talk, and act. However, I am not of the camp who thinks, "If I am a liberal, I must think ___."

If I've learned anything from learning about and exploring ideologies, it's that to condone one and condemn the other makes you a true member of neither camp. There are people who say they are "liberal" because they hate [insert "conservative" politician]. There are people who say they are "conservative" because "liberals" are "godless." Honestly, I've come to be very annoyed with over-zealous members of either camp. There is expressing your views and inviting others to consider them, and then there is shouting your views to the high heavens and insulting or attacking anyone who does not share or understand them.

(Am I running out of quote marks? I don't want to cause a shortage!)

I've come to respect anyone on any part of the liberal/conservative spectrum who can back up his/her beliefs with solid facts and knowledge, and who can express those beliefs eloquently and rationally.

Or maybe I'm 0ver-simplifying the whole issue. But (as a female especially) I view it as not only my right but also my civic duty to know about the issues, vote, and do so knowledgeably. If you don't know enough to make an informed decision, learn more. Ask people. Read.

Ooh battle of the bible belts

I have lived in my share of places, all with...interesting...little quirks in the way of government and politics. I'd say that Naples, Italy was one of the more corrupt places I've lived. And I lived in Florida when Jeb Bush was elected governor (though I thankfully moved in 1999).

Montgomery, Alabama was one of the most conservative places I've lived. Yup, that is the Bible Belt. The first three things I was asked on my first day of school (1st grade) were: who's your daddy, what church do you go to, and "who ya for [Auburn or Alabama]?"

Though...slightly appalling sidebar: when I lived in Florida, I attended school in a district that was still desegregated by national law according to Brown v. Board. And this was in the '90s.
Can't we all just get along?! ;-)
korkster: Now what am I supposed to do with all of these sheep?

Burn 'em ;-).

(for further details see Leviticus, don't remember the chapters, it's been a while ;)

Ooh battle of the bible belts

Well if we can count places we've lived rather than home towns ... Iran (pre and post revolution). Admittedly it's a different bible though ;).

I think I'd have to give it to DC's Scarecrow ...

Well exactly. All other scarecrows are mere pretenders (with the possible exception of Worzel Gummidge. Sure it's all innocent hijinks and trailing after Aunt Sally but he could be mean when he had a drop in him).
If liberalism is really about letting all those bad people live their own lives, you must see Serenity as a terribly tragic film. All the independent voices won and the iron fisted government lost, leaving all the naughty folk to run about and indulge in all sorts of sin. And, ooh! They killed a preacher. That's gotta smart.


The iron fisted government was a government with the best intentions and by all accounts a fairly liberal one (or at least started that way). They just wanted everyone to see the 'light of pure civilization'. I've always thought that Serenity was a case of the road to ruin being paved with good intentions and nothing to do with political nonsense at all. I find support in this from the fact that many of my liberal friends see the Alliance as conservative and many of my conservative friends see it as liberal. Which makes me smile. You know you've told a good tale when everyone loves it and they all have a slightly different angle of view. Brilliant. Makes me want to go marathon the series and follow it up with the movie.
Sunfire, and others claiming to come from Podunk. I don't think that you're from my bible belt. Very few people where I come from would bother to read something as verbose and full of obscure phrases, or so concerned with irrelevant things like academia, as this "conservative" diatribe here ridiculed. I'm sure there are many Podunks, but I'm pretty sure mine is where our most currently powerful strain of conservatism comes from ... because it just geographically does.

I'm not sure what that I said that you're responding to? I certainly wasn't trying to start "more Podunk than thou" or anything like that. Sort of the opposite really. I was trying to explain why I can sympathize with the feeling of people from similar places but still didn't like the Daily Kos writing, is all. I wasn't saying anything about the original stuff Daily Kos was responding to.
As a VERY liberal democrate I always felt connected to Joss' shows on a political level. It sort of shocked me when I found out that republicans were fans of his shows as well. I guess it is all about the interpretation, but most of the time though, even on a superficial level, one has to admit all his shows has very basic liberal connotations.
Damn, the link took me to Kos! In addition to the liberal/conservative split, there's a whole lot of us feminists who won't go to Kos any more because of its misogyny. Vanity Fair talks about the election split: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/06/wolcott200806
Wow this thread sploded since the last time I was here.
randomfire, you aren't from Calgary, are you? That would be spooky.


Naw. Just an oddly conservative little town in the otherwise-liberaly Michigan.
My point is that I don't really think the "culture wars" right has much relevance remaining. The "grassroots" constituency that they claim to have or are assumed to have in places like the bible belt is, in my opinion, mostly really anti-intellectual and indifferent to such debates. I think it makes sense to ignore cant like this and concentrate on areas where there is grassroots potential. Economic issues should be paramount, IMO.
I thought it was really funny, if overly long. And it did make one serious good point, that conservatives (the ultra-right wingnut Bushie variety), when in power, want all the power. But if liberals get some power, those same right-wingers are the first to demand a bi-partisan table and a seat at same.

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