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August 10 2009

Alpha and Omega - an examination of Dollhouse's two unaired episodes. Thoughtful, critical analysis of 'Echo', 'Epitaph One' and the show itself.

Abigail's criticisms of the show do not reflect a great deal of research. Simply responding to her final points, which are what are currently at the forefront of my mind, she said that Epitaph carries the risk of making the entire show about the connective tissue between the flashbacks we've seen, and that Epitaph is out of continuity with the rest of the series, making it problematic to reach both audiences who have and those who haven't seen it.

To the first point, Joss has foreseen and specifically rejected this fate, saying in interviews that memories are fallible, and therefore Epitaph will inform but not dictate the series; to the second, it has similarly been announced by Joss at Comic-Con and in interviews that the very first scene of season 2 will be an introduction to the fate of Mag, Zone and Caroline, immediately providing a modicum of familiarity with Epitaph to new viewers.

That having been said, I thought the paragraph comparing River and Echo was particularly good, as nothing along those lines had yet occurred to me. I'm surprised to realize, upon reflection, that Buffy also fits the mold of a superheroine crafted against or by stripping away her will - for that matter, Fred/Illyria only became a superheroine after her own destruction. I wonder if this is another of the common elements Joss (says he) doesn't realize he's putting in his shows.
The point about Fox not showing "Epitaph One" due to resisting the story Joss wants to tell also seems unfounded (the reasons seem to be mainly financial - they didn't want to pay the additional licence fee).

Quite a nicely written piece though IMO, some interesting ideas even if I disagree with most of it. I don't agree that clarifying that it's rape makes it a better episode, to me that just makes it more palatable to viewers and in general one of the few things I didn't prefer about 'Echo' was that it seemed morally more straightforward (Sierra's been abused, Adelle's first "go to" is murder etc.).

That said, I also think it's a big mistake to extrapolate from a morally straightforward pilot to a morally straightforward season since Joss is a past master at starting off in one seemingly clear-cut direction and then mixing in the grey complications.

I also don't agree about the pace, really liked that Echo was revealed fairly slowly in the actual series, that we saw glimpses of her as she emerged rather than us "arriving" after she already had to some extent.

Re: non-consensual female super-heroes, Joss has said a few times that the prototype for Buffy was Kitty Pryde and in the X-Men comics the idea of their powers being thrust upon them, sometimes being more curse than gift is pretty prevalent. Seems like in Firefly and now Dollhouse he's looking more explicitly at society forcing young women into roles they may not want, rather than "just" an accident of genetics (Buffy was more a mix since she was born to be a Slayer - genetics - but it was also partly expectation and convention - society - that forced her into the role. A role which she ultimately subverted BTW, like River, with a little help from her friends). Thinking about it though, River was hella clever even as a child (i.e. we're led to believe she was born pre-disposed to be much more intelligent than average) and Caroline is very good looking so maybe even with those characters Joss is talking about a mixture of what you're born with and what your culture does to you (which is really the only way to talk meaningfully about human behaviour).
Meh, I didn't agree with a lot of that. I then read their review for BSG and they basically said how it was a shite show and I decided to stop reading. I loved both of these episodes and BSG so I don't think we have the same idea about what makes great television.
The most interesting point to me is that E1 may be used in the future as a sort of "closure episode" to the fans in the event of an early cancellation. In all honesty I don't see Joss getting the several more years it would take to bring this story to the full-circle point that has been teased in E1. Whether or not that use was intended I can't be sure, but it is kind of a comforting idea.
Many good points here. The one that I am surprised I have not really given much thought to is about Inara and prostitution. In fact, Inara is a prostitue, no matter that she is called a Companion and exalted by Kaylee and others. I need to consider what that means. I have all along been upset by the sexualization of Echo and others- the idea that this is a feminist show right now is laughable to me; Echo is often cast to wear highly sexual clothing, allowing us to gaze at her body while acting as though we are upset to be gazing at her body. There is something to the argument that this could be read as misogynist.
Surely the point is to put us in the position of consumer of exploitation (which we almost all are IMO, however strenuously some of us may deny it) and the exploited party ? True though, it's a very fine line (which Joss has talked about treading in interview).

Speaking for myself, I can say that pretty much every single time I saw Echo and was turned-on my next impulse would be slight self-disgust (cheers Joss ;) followed by questions about why I should and shouldn't feel various ways about it. That's what good TV does IMO, questions your position, shakes the tree a bit to see what falls out rather than patting you on the back for your moral outrage and reaffirming your liberal credentials to yourself.

As to Inara, i'm surprised at that Dana5140 - you seem interested in this stuff and several essays linked from Whedonesque have talked about her as prostitute, whether that can be a choice, how Joss seems to be trying to draw a distinction between "companion" and "whore" and whether that's a valid distinction or if it is, whether he succeeds in drawing it.
Saje, you point about "the idea of their powers being thrust upon them, sometimes being more curse than gift is pretty prevalent" can't really be laid at Joss's feet. It's a theme going back to Euripides and Aristotle.
Someone getting superpowers and thinking "Cool! Great!" and never having any regret would be a pretty boring story.
Err, I wasn't laying it at Joss' feet zz9, as I say in my comment above it's been a mainstay of the X-Men comics since Joss was reading them as a kid (pretty much since their inception in fact - the angsty superhero with human foibles and failings is pretty much what separated Marvel from DC back then) and as you rightly point out, knowledge of the burden of great power goes back to the Greeks or further (IIRC Gilgamesh wasn't always that happy a bunny either ;).

(my point was that you can draw a "lack of explicit consent" line from one of Joss' stated inspirations for Buffy through all his female super characters)


ETA: Which I guess in some ways it's just a variant on the "reluctant hero" idea from Campbell (he reckons the hero normally refuses the call to adventure initially and has to be "forced" into it by circumstances or the mentor character e.g. Luke's aunt and uncle being killed or a mixture of Giles, her circumstances and Buffy's own sense of responsibility in BtVS).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-08-10 13:43 ]
I would like to point out that our long national nightmare spoiler tag policy for the two unaired episodes is now over. From now on, they'll be treated in the same way as the rest of the episodes of season one.

But in regards to those few who still have not seen the episodes, do have the courtesy not to blurt out major plot points in a front page entry.
saje: there is an honest if banal answer to that- While I love Firefly as a show, it has never proven itself to me to be the kind of show that leads me to intense academic study, like Buffy did. Because of its fewer episodes, there is less to study, so I have not given it the kind of thought I should. I just enjoy it, without delving deep into it. I guess I need to rectify that.

Does embarrassment of gazing at a naked body- whether male or female- mean that you are questioning your liberal credentials? Or your conservative credentials? Not sure I would position this that way; I think the human body is beautiful but do think that harnessing it for purposes of titillation is questionable (though I am not naive, of course), and for sure there are viewers for DH that came because of the constant demonstration of Echo and Sierra's bodies, not necessarily for the storyline and character arcs.
--just how many times did we see Agent Ballard without a shirt?
because of the constant demonstration of Echo


Seeing Echo in a bra in Stage Fright served absolutely no purpose at all apart from titillation as far as I could see. But then you could argue that we had to see that to understand Victor's look of horror as he discovered he had become a sexual plaything in 'Needs'.
Ah but seeing Jordan in a bra (or less) served the purpose of pointing out that women in her position are often expected to revise their ideas about what is and isn't acceptable re: nudity etc. in order to succeed in the entertainment industry (when she has to change in front of everyone else there was also an element of "You're not really a person, just meat" IMO - she wasn't a being that could feel embarrassment or modesty, she was a product that had better bloody well get changed or find other work). Even someone as tough and no-bullshit as Jordan has to kowtow to some extent.

That said, as not_Bridget points out, it's increasingly true for men too (my impression is that we see more skin from Ballard than from Echo in the series as a whole but I haven't really added it up ;).

Does embarrassment of gazing at a naked body- whether male or female- mean that you are questioning your liberal credentials? Or your conservative credentials? Not sure I would position this that way

It's nothing to do with embarrassment at gazing at a naked body Dana5140 (that's more an American thing anyway ;), the self-disgust is because just after the "Phwoar" comes the "But is she effectively being raped ? Or at least exploited against her will ?" which is less "Phwoar" and more "Ewww, errk".

The "liberal credentials" comment is also nothing to do with nudity, it's because (to me) it seems like many fans don't want the show to in any way risk crossing the exploitation line in the process of exposing exploitation and asking uncomfortable questions about how much each of us is involved in perpetuating that exploitation. They want it to stay safely on "our side" all the time, to let us sit back in liberal self-satisfaction and easy outrage rather than perhaps point out how we're all complicit. Which I don't find as interesting.
The bra scene made sense to me. All those scenes with Jordan becoming the backup singer were a disorienting mix of deeply personal and impersonal interactions. She's being given a shot at her dream, what else is more personal than that, but really she's just the new body and voice on display. And as such she's not in control of how she gets displayed. Fit with the themes of the show pretty well I thought.
Point taken Saje. Didn't mean you were "blaming" Joss for that, just that singling it out when its a basic story theme. Maybe my comments would have been better addressed to Mercenary, who you were commenting on. The fact that its a common element in Joss's writing when actually its a common element in lots of writing.

Re Echo in a bra, I thought it made sense showing how subservient she was, though in a situation where many performers have to do the same thing, which then contrasted how authoritative she became when her "Protect Client" programming kicked in. Maybe that could have been achieved with a scene that didn't involve taking clothes off, but it did serve a purpose.
Hmm, I think maybe it's time for me to once again trot out my ever-evolving theory about Joss...

This essay was perhaps not well-researched and unaware of the dramatic possibilities opened up by a flash-forward. (Babylon 5 did it brilliantly, and demonstrated that when you know the ending of a story, the unexpected twists in getting there can be even more fascinating.) However, it did raise some very, very good points about Dollhouse and the Whedon oeuvre in general. The superpowered women really do have their powers thrust on them, however much they may come to accept them. And Inara is a prostitute, even though in that setup (almost) all the power in such a profession has shifted to her hands. Joss has written these women as powerful, but with the string attached that all their blessings are also curses.

I think Joss feels guilty about this, on some level. Witness his favorite scene in Buffy, the bedroom scene in "Innocence," which is amazingly painful, and made him wonder where his cruelty towards his characters was coming from. I think this guilt is expressed by Joss writing himself into his shows, in the form of Andrew, Dr. Horrible, and Topher. Men who, through their geekiness, can wield substantial powers, but also abuse the women in their lives horribly. Dr. Horrible in particular gets "everything he ever wanted" by hurting/killing the woman he loves, just like Joss got all the cash and all the fame because on BtVS he put his characters through the wringer and we all turned up to watch it happen. Even Xander, by summoning a dancing demon, inflicts a fair amount of harm and pain by forcing all the people he loves to bare their souls (to say nothing of the accidental deaths), all in blundering pursuit of a happy ending...

I think Joss is very much aware of what's going on in his shows, and while he keeps writing them the same way, he also takes it out on himself. Which puts Topher's development in Epitaph One in a new and interesting light.

This may mean that Joss is, perhaps, an imperfect feminist but a master storyteller, leading us down the very, very dark roads inside his head.
"The bra scene made sense to me. All those scenes with Jordan becoming the backup singer were a disorienting mix of deeply personal and impersonal interactions. She's being given a shot at her dream, what else is more personal than that, but really she's just the new body and voice on display. And as such she's not in control of how she gets displayed. Fit with the themes of the show pretty well I thought."

Let's not conflate the reason the woman in the show is in a bra with its impact on the culture that show exists in. In the end, whatever the reason, you still have a woman in a bra, and that has implications for the larger culture and cuts at Joss' feminism- that woman did not need to be in a bra, but was written into the story wearing one.
It's nothing to do with embarrassment at gazing at a naked body Dana5140 (that's more an American thing anyway ;), the self-disgust is because just after the "Phwoar" comes the "But is she effectively being raped ? Or at least exploited against her will ?" which is less "Phwoar" and more "Ewww, errk".

The "liberal credentials" comment is also nothing to do with nudity, it's because (to me) it seems like many fans don't want the show to in any way risk crossing the exploitation line in the process of exposing exploitation and asking uncomfortable questions about how much each of us is involved in perpetuating that exploitation. They want it to stay safely on "our side" all the time, to let us sit back in liberal self-satisfaction and easy outrage rather than perhaps point out how we're all complicit. Which I don't find as interesting.

Saje | August 10, 14:26 CET


Let's not conflate the reason the woman in the show is in a bra with its impact on the culture that show exists in. In the end, whatever the reason, you still have a woman in a bra, and that has implications for the larger culture and cuts at Joss' feminism- that woman did not need to be in a bra, but was written into the story wearing one.

Dana5140 | August 10, 17:04 CET


This is interesting. I generally agree with Dana's opinion of the show, but also agree with what Saje says about nudity...while disagreeing with Saje about the success of what Joss was trying to do on the show.

I agree that nudity or even tittillation is not in itself a bad thing. That that is combined with people who are being used to fulfill fantasies without the benefit of freewill is what makes it a bad thing. What I do not agree with is that many people will have that Ewww self-examination moment. To me, the exploitation in those first episodes was just like in any of the old "anti" rape movies that made the rape scenes as sexually exciting as possible. I think a whole lot of the audience was pretty much in the position of the evil trio in Dead Things, "Oooooo, wouldn't it be cool to be able to have E.D. WANT to do anything for me?" and there was very little to point out to them that this was not a good feeling to have.

ETA: Oh, I forgot. In terms of information being given in Epitaph One, I'm surprised no one has pointed out the comment about November by Victor and Sierra. One says something about what happened to November, and the other one asks, "WHich one?" It seems like that is the most obvious of moments and things that are meant to open various possibilities for coming story lines.

[ edited by newcj on 2009-08-10 18:49 ]
Whether you feel it's successful or not is subjective, the point is there're valid narrative and thematic reasons for it beyond "mere" titillation.

Could they have done it another way ? Maybe, I try not to second guess the writers that way. But I suspect you couldn't do it another way that would also have some viewers questioning their own role in that sort of exploitation. Because you have to involve the viewer to show them they are involved in what's going on, you have to make people like it to get them to wonder if it's right that they do and to make them then wonder about the choice issue (Eliza chose to be an actress, Jordan chose to be a singer and then chose not to cause a fuss in case she blew her big shot and then chose later - with a little help from Echo - to do what she knew to be right and fuss be damned).

As to what a whole lot of the audience are thinking, I can't vouch for that. What I can say is, anyone wanting to be titillated has plenty of avenues other than a (very tame) US network TV show to pursue it. Are some people watching purely to imagine Eliza wanting to do stuff for them ? Quite probably. But a lot of people aren't so why not write stories for them and worry less about the people you're probably never going to reach anyway ?
there was very little to point out to them that this was not a good feeling to have.


I'll be uncharacteristically brief and just say that you can lead people to knowledge, but you can't make them think. If people watched the whole show and thought about it at all, I think there was plenty to suggest to them they should re-examine not only what was presented to them in the context of the show, but that their might be food for thought to carry over into their interaction with the show and their own daily lives. Of course, your mileage may vary.
IMHO the "Eliza in a bra" scene is nothing compared to the "Get the lead actress to strip off and climb into a tank" scene in Fringe, an act that had no plot justification that I can see.

And if we're talking about what Joss does, consciously or unconsciously, then we have to consider that he is writing a script for an actress that he knows well, with SMG in Buffy or Eliza in Dollhouse, and is giving them as an actress a fantastic scene to play.
From the actors I've talked to I hear that they love scenes like this, just as actors love playing the baddie, as it gives them something to really get their teeth into.

If Joss was writing a spec script then maybe, just maybe, I could believe that he has some dark motive.
But I can imagine that when he's writing a scene like Buffy and Angel in Innocence he's thinking "Wow. Sarah will love this!", not "That's right bitch, suffer!"
Except that he was thinking, essentially, "That's right bitch, suffer." Pain is what he is about.

And none of your first two paragraphs are really about the issue. Just because Fringe had an egregious scene does not excuse Dollhouse having one (or many), as if being worse wipes out any sense of "wrongness" in something else. The fact that his actors love the scenes he writes does not excuse what occurs in those scenes, nor how people interpret them.

More importantm, re: saje. There is the rub: "...the point is there're valid narrative and thematic reasons for it beyond "mere" titillation." Yes, that's so- there can be a valid reason for an actress to appear nude in a scene. That does not excuse how the viewer reacts to that scene, and just because a writer has something in mind when writing, does not excuse the effect that scene has in the larger culture. As a most radical example, Chloe Sevigny performs oral sex on Vincent Gallo in the movie Brown Bunny. It is graphic, it is not at all erotic, and it is actually very sad- and Gallo had a point (he was the writer as well), but I am 100% certain that most people will remember this movie just for that scene, and not for what that scene implied. I know that I am hard reader response, but this is one of those areas where reader response is really in play, because that graphicness, whether a bit more modest such as Eliza in bra and panties, or more hard core, is driven by the viewer alone. saje notes this problem in his last post- that we are complicit in this, and we should question that complicity- but my point is that most people will not, cannot and could not even consider the possibility of doing so. And I think Joss knows this- so what is he really doing here?
...so what is he really doing here?

Writing TV that not everyone will appreciate on every level possible. But what's he supposed to do, write TV that offends no-one and is, therefore, basically unimportant entertainment ? I've nothing against that sort of TV myself, I enjoy a lot of shows that are "just" entertainment but it doesn't really strike me as the sort of thing Joss wants to make.

The crux for me is this: Joss Whedon (or any other writer) can't be held wholly responsible for how J Random Dude (or Dudette ;) watching their show is going to react, the responsibility has to be shared by both creator and viewer. Personally I hope we never get to a stage where creators are too scared of offending some segment of the population (or providing wank fodder for some other segment) to make TV that actually has something to say. Dollhouse is aimed at fully grown adults more than capable of making their own viewing decisions and even of turning off the TV if they so choose - it doesn't need to pamper its audience or hold their hands through the nasty bits IMO.

That said, it's a fine line to tread, deciding what to put out there into the public consciousness and not necessarily a responsibility that i'd want myself (beyond the tiny bit of the public consciousness that i'm able to affect ;). It's one i'm pretty sure Joss takes seriously though.
When a writer writes a scene and there are many possible explanations for having one character suffer, it will be a great scene, it will advance the plot, it will give the actor a chance to shine, it will have an emotional impact on the viewer and so on plus the possibility that the writer may actually hate the group that that character belongs to and therefore that writer must actually want people in that group to suffer, some people automatically select that reason as the "Real" reason.

That all those other possibilities are to be automatically eliminated? That they cannot possibly be genuine?

I think that says more about them than it does about Joss.

Drama is about suffering, conflict, pain, loss. We take characters we like and put them through hell. Think the writer of Saving Private Ryan just really hated white Americans with Irish ancestors?
Think the writer of Schindlers List really hated Jews? He certainly made a lot of them suffer.

Can they not accept that the most likely, by far, explanation for a writer making something bad happen to a character is that they think it will make good drama and reach and entertain the audience?

"The fact that his actors love the scenes he writes does not excuse what occurs in those scenes, nor how people interpret them."

Does a writer have to justify what they write?

"Except that he was thinking, essentially, "That's right bitch, suffer." Pain is what he is about."

But that's not the motivation for the writer. The writer is not thinking "What can I do to make this (fictional) character suffer?"
They are thinking "What can I write that will really reach and affect the audience?"

[ edited by zz9 on 2009-08-10 22:31 ]
Whether you feel it's successful or not is subjective, the point is there're valid narrative and thematic reasons for it beyond "mere" titillation.

Not that I recall from the first 5 episodes. Admittedly I saw them only once and have no desire to see them again, but they seemed pretty much the standard "Let's think up a story line that will give us an excuse to show skin and the sexual use of our characters in a titillating way." IMO, the only reason people felt any pang of guilt for feeling that way was because they brought it with them to the show. I don't feel that is enough to make something thought provoking.

zeitgeist I was talking about the beginning of the season, not the whole season.
saje: So, following your argument, if some dittohead or Glen Beck-anoid goes out and decides to act on what he believes those demagogues are saying, Beck and Limbaugh are in no way complicit? That they are not responsible in any way for how people react to their show?

zz9- I really don't understand what you are saying. First, I would agree that there can be many interpretations of a given scene, and that it is possible for some people to see that their interpretation is the "real" interpretation. You may not agree with the kittens about Seeing Red, and Tara's death, but that does not make their interpretation "wrong." It is simply their interpretation, even if it is not Joss's. But in good reader response fashion, yes, this says more about them than it does Joss- and rightfully so, since they are the ones constructing meaning. Drama is not about "suffering, conflict, pain, loss." That is simply your interpretation of what drama is about. I do not know why the writers of Saving Private Ryan put those specific characters through what they did, but they certainly made a conscious decision to use those specific characters. And it is a nonsequiter to ask if writers need to justify what they write, since that is not an issue I came close to raising. Even if Joss gave me his justification for a scene, that does not mean I have to accept it or his interpretation. It is not the issue here. With best intentions, writers can write scenes that are taken in ways that they never intended. Again, Tara's death, anyone?

Finally, from Merriam's: Drama:
1 a : a composition in verse or prose intended to portray life or character or to tell a story usually involving conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue and typically designed for theatrical performance : play compare closet drama b : a movie or television production with characteristics (as conflict) of a serious play; broadly : a play, movie, or television production with a serious tone or subject
2 : dramatic art, literature, or affairs
3 a : a state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces b : dramatic state, effect, or quality

Be awfully nice if we got back to discussing the actual topic instead of rehashing well trodden arguments. As I get the impression we're going off somewhat at a tangent here.
Dana, you said "The fact that his actors love the scenes he writes does not excuse what occurs in those scenes"
So does the writer need to "excuse" what he wrote in those scenes?

That's what I meant when I asked if the writer needed to justify what he has written?

As for drama, Aristotle in Poetics talks about suffering, tragedy, terror, "reversals of fortune" and misery as basic elents in drama.. I don't think "suffering, conflict, pain, loss" is a million miles out.

ETA: Sorry Simon. Moving on...

[ edited by zz9 on 2009-08-10 23:00 ]
Err, come again Dana5140 ? What exactly is it about (to quote myself ;)

"Joss Whedon (or any other writer) can't be held wholly responsible ..." and

"the responsibility has to be shared by both creator and viewer" that leads you to believe i'm saying

"That they are not responsible in any way for how people react to their show?"

??

I know it's not the words, is it the font maybe ?

IMO, the only reason people felt any pang of guilt for feeling that way was because they brought it with them to the show. I don't feel that is enough to make something thought provoking.

OK, that'll be the subjective aspect I mention. I think there's more there, you don't agree. Old ground ;).
Except that he was thinking, essentially, "That's right bitch, suffer." Pain is what he is about.

For the record, this isn't "reader response". This is "I know Joss' thoughts". ;)
"Mindreader response", it's the next logical step ;).
It was the font, yeah, that's the ticket... :-)

Writers do not need to excuse what they write, except when they have really badly hurt people, in my opinion. Especially when that was not what they intended.
I agree.

Not to anything in particular, I just couldn't think of anything better to say.
I disagree ! Not to anything in particular, just to everything in general ;).

Writers do not need to excuse what they write, except when they have really badly hurt people, in my opinion.

Ah, once again up pops the strange attractor around which most of your comments appear to orbit Dana5140. Plus ca change ...

(maybe we should invent our own version of Godwin's Law ?)
Huh. I don't feel as though I'm here infrequently, but so much tends to happen whilst I'm absent. Am I disconnected and antisocial, or do many other people have no lives/boring jobs/diurnal schedules?

zz9, sorry for the (relatively) slow response, but with regards to reluctant superheroes: I know that the theme is far from unique to Joss's style, in the same way that witty banter is also something that many other people explore; my quest is to understand the particular combination of basic elements that make up his works, and I wanted to give credit to the author of the article for one of the genuine insights I'd gleaned from her work.
saje: What is Godwin's Law? (Sorry, too tired this morning to look it up, and shortly have to go to teach). But in fact, I've felt that since long before Tara's death, which is what I think you think my every thought revolves around. This is because I write, and have inadvertantly written things that hurt people, and did apologize, and think politicians should do so as well. Joss is just part of the larger pic.

I agree to disagree that I agree with disagreeing. I think.
I think I largely agree with that although I small-ly disagree.

...which is what I think you think my every thought revolves around.

I didn't say "every thought" I said "most of your comments" Dana5140, lately it's started to feel that it's an ever present shadow lurking at the edges of every discussion (though confirmation bias is very likely skewing my impression). As a related aside BTW, I get and sympathise with the real life interference (it's a bloody nuisance if you ask me ;) but as with the "responsibility" misreading above, might it not be more fruitful for all of us (yourself included) if you wait until you have time to properly read the comments you're responding to before posting ("reading" is surely an essential component of "reader response" ;) ?

Godwin's Law:
"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."


It used to be a convention on Usenet that if a comparison to Nazis came up the person making it had automatically "lost" and the thread ended or changed topic. I'm not seriously suggesting that for "Tara's death" BTW, I wouldn't want to stifle debate like that even if it were my place to try (which it emphatically isn't), it's just that for some of us (yourself included), all roads seem to lead to that particular Rome and personally i'm starting to tire of even such sights as the Spanish Steps and the Colosseum ;).

(and the middle one Mercenary. Or at least, that's the only one i'm admitting to ;)
Isn't the point of the show the discussion you guys are having?
Well, it is the posts that allow such discussion which draw my interest, of course, saje. So I end up posting a lot on those threads, working my arguments with a largely sympathetic audience (in the sense that debate here is usually not stifled, even if it may exasperate), and there it is. I get that I appear a one-trick pony- though I do post on lots of other threads over lots of fun issues- but every argument helps refine the issues, opens up new directions (as this one did, ie, Inara and prostitution), etc.

I am usually fairly careful in parsing my words so that they mean what I say, not seem to imply more than I mean to say- though of course I slipped when I said that you think all my thoughts revolve around Tara. Did not mean that, but did mean that most people here recognize that as my issue du jour, or perhaps du annum. :-) Uh, what is Latin for "decade?"

And like most, sometimes I read too fast so do not catch everything. Because, see, this is fun, and does not typically require the kind of academic rigor I have live to with every day, so if I miss something every now and again, apologies.

And Godwin's Law is operative today in the US, where one right-wing demagogue has equated Barak Obama's healthcare intiatives to Hitler youth and eugenics. The last bastion of the scoundral... since I am Jewish I find these attempts particularly loathsome.
Yikes, has the Red Menace finally lost its teeth over there (socialism seems like a much easier straw-man argument against universal healthcare. I dunno, what are right-wing demagogues coming to these days, eh, no sense of tradition ? ;) ?

(see, if real life were usenet someone could just say "Dude/tte, you totally Godwinned all over the Obama administration. Next topic". Stupid real life)

So I end up posting a lot on those threads, working my arguments with a largely sympathetic audience (in the sense that debate here is usually not stifled, even if it may exasperate), and there it is

OK but I suspect that at this point it's not really an argument re: "Tara's death" (on either "side" BTW) and to be honest I don't see much refining going on either, it's more like restating our respective fixed positions what sometimes feels like over and over again and in threads that're barely related.

Which I guess is a long way of saying that for me that particular well has run dry with regards to interesting, novel discussions so i'll endeavour to include myself out in future (and not spoil whatever fun others are still having with it).

...most people here recognize that as my issue du jour, or perhaps du annum. :-) Uh, what is Latin for "decade?"

Du infinitum ? ;-)

(think we hopped nimbly from one language to another there but what the hell, let's live a little ;)

Because, see, this is fun, and does not typically require the kind of academic rigor I have live to with every day, so if I miss something every now and again, apologies.

Sure (and accepted with no hard feelings) but we need some rigour (or at least just to read the actual words) or else we end up accusing other people of saying things they actually explicitly took pains not to say. It is fun but if it's gonna stay that way we need to listen to the "other side". Otherwise centres don't hold, chaos ensues, mere anarchy is loosed, all that bad stuff ;).
Yikes, has the Red Menace finally lost its teeth over there (socialism seems like a much easier straw-man argument against universal healthcare. I dunno, what are right-wing demagogues coming to these days, eh, no sense of tradition ? ;) ?


No, you silly boy. But they've been calling him a Marxist so much and for so long they had to find something new. Palin brought "evil" to describing the plan, what is the next logical step?
I dunno'; party affiliation precludes Palin using what to me would be the next logical term, "Cheney-ey," (that which crosses through the territory of evil and shoots out the other side into the featureless void). Then again, a logical step would be out of character for her.

Um, um, and the criticism was insightful! Moving on...
A writer should't have to construct their stories while constantly keeping in mind that half or more of their audience may be half-wits. I'm sorry, but I believe the viewer/reader/listener is much more responsible for their reaction to fiction (and essays, and anything that tries to make a point or even just entertain) than the creator, if not solely.

Too bad if you're worried it'll have a negative and noticeable impact on society's perceptions of homosexuality if one of the best lesbian coupled-off characters on TV is killed off, the relationship existing in the first place already did its positive job and likely outweighed the potential negatives of the death a hundredfold (random!). It is not TV's responsibility to shape North America and Joss already gets a few hundred get-out-of-jail cards anyway for contributing far more to the entertainment/rational thinking landscape than he could've possibly taken away, thus far.

I know this thread is long-dead, but I'm only able to read the last month's worth of Dollhouse threads after having seen "Epitaph 1" and "Echo" yesterday.

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