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February 21 2010

The close-to-final table of contents for "Joss Whedon: Conversations". In a nutshell, it's Joss' greatest interviews collected in a book. More info about it and the "Television Conversations" series be found at David Lavery's website.

Though for my money, IGN.com's interview with Joss conducted back in 2003 is the probably the best out there.

aw crap, something else I must buy!
Glad to hear about Lavery's compilation, as I definitely am looking forward to it.

However, I would just like to give an especially big thanks to Simon for including that hidden gem at IGN. For someone who considers themselves late to the Whedonverse only in time and not in spirit, it was incredible read--and a must read for anyone who has not yet had the pleasure.
Not a bad idea to collect them in a book, even if a lot of these are available online. Good to see the Onion AV Club 2001 interview (& 2007) - if I had to pick a single best that'd probably be mine. Shame the Joss/Bendis extravaganza seems to be missing though, that might be my second favourite (and the included 'crafts and craftiness' one might be third).
Hey thanks for that IGN one, I'd never seen it before. In the end he said there were commentaries on the Firefly DVD set by every cast member, but I don't ever recall seeing any by Sean, Ron, or Summer on mine...were they cut out for some reason? b/c I would have loved those.

I think my fave Joss interview would have to be his Gawker one though.
That IGN one needed the book treatment most of all! 10 separate web pages, no print-all function, no easy way to capture it into one neat and tidy pdf.

The Conversations book series looks like it tends to be simultaneous release of hardcover and paper, $50 and $22, respectively.
I remember reading that IGN one back then. So good.

Joss said:
...the only time I ever did one with a cast member was when Marti and Seth and I did one together.

What commentary was this? It's not on my DVD's :(
I think that might have been a new commentary for the US Buffy complete boxset. Or the R1 S4 boxset got a better deal at the time.
"On Crafts and Craftiness"!

Not to be confused with Hume's similarly titled philosophical treatise.
Worth noting the interview they end with, "Revolt of a TV Genius", may not accurately represent the views of Joss. That's from Rolling Stone, and I do believe he complained about it.
Owing to the made up quotage re: never making another TV show IIRC. Nevermind moss, they're apparently not that great at gathering truth either.

Not to be confused with Hume's similarly titled philosophical treatise.

Or "Dialogues Concerning Natural Knitwear". A personal fave.
Anna Torv gets my vote.

Could someone clear one thing up for me though? I've never seen House, but it's a doctor show right? Why's that character named "13"?
Think you posted in the wrong thread ;). But ...

Could someone clear one thing up for me though? I've never seen House, but it's a doctor show right? Why's that character named "13"?

At the start of season 4 House replaced his previous team (who'd either resigned or been fired) by taking on about 40 potential new employees and in a parody of reality TV shows, gradually whittling them down in various petty, humiliating or arbitrary ways (and every now and then, for actual sound reasons too). Anyway, they wore number tags initially (because he couldn't be bothered to learn their names) and she was number 13. Partly in an attempt to annoy her he keeps calling her that rather than her name (Remy Hadley).
Wow, that IGN interview is incredible. It gives an excellent picture of him. What was the presentation bootleg they were on about at the end though?
Or "Dialogues Concerning Natural Knitwear". A personal fave.


Now you're just showing off your superior culture and book-larning.

Seeing how Joss provided most of the content of this compilation--and almost all of the marketable content, since people will buy it for his A's, not the Q's--I hope he (or a charitable organization of his choice) reaps much of the profit.

Or he puts out the next "Conversations With Me" book himself. He's kind of running my floating, some would say non-existent, seminar in story structure and genre, so I hope he realizes he provides great value when talking off the top of his head about stuff he loves.

[ edited by Pointy on 2010-02-21 18:15 ]
Oooooh. Thanks for linking that IGN interview! I haven't read it before and it's a great look into his thought process for writing, rather than just the typical interview.
What was the presentation bootleg they were on about at the end though?

There's a bootleg of the original 30 minute (ish) "presentation" for Buffy that Joss made to show the studio/network (can't remember which). It's basically a mini-pilot but very unpolished/finished with some cast changes (a different actress playing Willow is the most notable). Presumably they mean that.

You can probably find it easily enough online if you're au fait with torrent sites etc.
^^ or YouTube.
AMAZING! I need this in my life and possession!
Correct on the second guess, Simon - the original release of BtVS season 4 in region 1 does include Joss, Marti, and Seth commentary on Wild at Heart. (There are a total of seven ep commentaries on the set - how many did they include with other regions?) I'm always disappointed to hear about omissions from one region's version, whether it's this commentary missing from other regions, or my region's lack of "Previously on"s.

It really is a pity if this particular track isn't readily available worldwide, though, as it's absolutely hilarious. While they do spend more time discussing the episode with more insight than they give themselves credit for, the three of them also just have a very funny, free-wheeling converstation. It's one of my favorite commentaries to re-watch, so I do hope it is available worldwide at least in newer editions (or, failing that, on the internet), because there's no reason fans shouldn't be able to share in the looking back and catching up and general fun of the track.

(There are two or three "vulgarities" on it - an "f-bomb" or two, iirc; could that have hampered its inclusion on some regions' sets?)
Yeah LKW, I have the Region 4 (Australia) box set and there's only the six commentaries for S4. I doubt a couple of "f-bombs" would cause any hassle's if commentaries for shows like The Shield are deemed alright.

What else are we missing!
I am confused. If, as Pointy says, Joss Whedon provided most of the content for this book and he's not happy about the Rolling Stone interview, why is that included?
What I meant, Shapenew, which I put not very clearly artfully, was that the content is basically stuff Joss said in interviews. It's his answers to questions. Since it's basically his words, I hope he (or a charity of his choice) is getting a big share of the profits. All the book does is compile the interviews.

The presence of the Rolling Stone piece, with its inaccuracies, suggests he may not have been even consulted on this project.

[ edited by Pointy on 2010-02-21 18:02 ]
Pointy, ah, I see what you mean now. Makes me feel better about the lack of inclusion of some other interviews that I'm partial to :)
It's curious from a copyright point of view how they're managing to reprint all these interviews.
Presumably they've obtained permission from either the interviewer or interviewee (or both) depending on who holds the copyright in each case. If they have great, if not it's just in breach of copyright. Seems reasonably straightforward.

(which may explain why the IGN interview isn't included BTW - permission wasn't forthcoming)
I found most of the interviews online and made a links page.

I added a link to the IGN interview Simon linked above.

[ edited by Pointy on 2010-02-21 19:16 ]
That's cos you're a very nice man. Although admittedly i'm saying that in my capacity of not being David Lavery ;).

(kidding of course, i'm sure Mr Lavery - and his puppy eyed and now starving children ;) - realise they'll only sell to people that specifically want a bound copy since one way or another, all of them can be got elsewhere)
The University Press of Mississippi sells clothbound volumes in its "Conversations" series for $50.
And paperback for $22.
@Saje Ah, yes, that one. Got that. Thank you. My Whedon cred is intact. :)
Simon, that IGN article you linked to was amazing. I hadn't read it before. Thanks for that!
Once again, someone's managed to miswrite Mike Russell's website as Culture Pop instead of Culture Pulp. It irks me not only because such things always irk me but because Mike's a Portlander and that interview is awesome and I remember being at an advance Serenity screening when he told me he'd scored it. Afterwards he said that it was meant to be the usual quick hit sort of interview people like Joss have to do tons of, and they ended up talking for an hour or so.
It's fascinating to re-read some of these interviews so many years after they were conducted. Some of my faves are Must-See Metaphysics with Emily Nussbaum/NYT (Sept. '02), the Jim Kozak/InFocus one from August/Sept '05 and the IGN with Ken Plume linked above. Oh, and of course - Kim Werker's definitive Joss interview "Joss Whedon on Crafts and Craftiness" - so artfully crafted and beautifully woven together. ; >

There's a lot of great stuff in all of them, but in re-reading the Plume-Joss interview again today, I was struck again by this, from Joss in re: his time w/ Roseanne:

"It made me realize, at that moment, that every time somebody opens their mouth they have an opportunity to do one of two things – connect or divide. Some people inherently divide, and some people inherently connect. Connecting is the most important thing, and actually an easy thing to do. I try to make a connection with someone every time I talk to them, even if I'm firing them. Because a connection can be made."

Yup, that's the ticket.

And I, too, find myself troubled by the fact that Lavery's compilation will be basically be Joss' words, and other interviewers' questions, so... cui bono? (and why) strikes me as a relevant question here. There may be a good answer, but I'd like to hear it.
A lot of harshness about the book, but consider, the editors may have created an index.

Buffy. pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13...

Seriously, I don't object to this sort of compilation book. It puts these interviews into another form, one that may outlast some of the websites. And as an academic resource, it is handy (especially if there is indeed an index).
While it would be nice to have these interviews in one place to refer to, to immerse oneself in from time to time, I'd feel a lot better about the book if Joss were part of the process (and if there were photos and commentary to justify $50 for a hardback version). I wouldn't have even known about the Rolling Stone interview being iffy if I wasn't a member here.
As an academic resource, a book like this is less handy, and more costly, than Google.

My day job involves preparing historical material to be made available to scholars (and anyone else interested) as an online resource. A decade ago we put this information out in books, but now we issue it on the web. Online references are easily updatable (unlike a book), easily accessible to anyone with internet access, and easily corrected (try changing Culture Pop to CulturePulp after the book's published).

ETA: And did I mention search-ability? Clearly I did not, until now.

There is a risk that a database may go off line, just as there is a risk that a book may go out of print. Overall, information in electronic format is much more convenient.

The idea that someone can take material that's available for free, put it between covers, and sell it for $50 is actually kind of funny.

Until I remember that this kind of reference book will wind up, if anywhere, on college and university library shelves, or worse, on students' lists of assigned books, where it will amount to an unnecessary, unjustified and easily avoidable expense.

ETA: And did I mention how heavy? In a back pack? With all those other heavy pricey books? Again, no.

Teachers, if you want to assign Joss Whedon interviews, please check out what's available free of charge..

[ edited by Pointy on 2010-02-22 00:01 ]
Thank you, Simon, for the link to the IGN interview. That came out before I knew anything about Whedon, Buffy, Firefly, etc. It's nice to read it now.

And thanks, Pointy, for your comments re: online vs. potentially assigned texts for students. I'm trying to avoid a rant here, and I'm not trying to be specific, but I do find it troubling that some people make their careers off what I see as a kind of parasitic attachment to the work of living creators--and then assigning their own work instead of that of the creator him- or herself. I see this fairly frequently among some faculty. I don't know if this text will be assigned to students, and I'm sure the justification on the part of the author and publisher IS that these will likely disappear from the web. But my guess is that this volume will find its way to the college classroom long before the originals are removed from the internet. And that's too bad for the unsuspecting students.
[Deleting my snarky response, except for the bit at the end which is referenced in a later reply]

I've even seen DVDs for sale of Joss Whedon speaking to students. I even own one or two. If anyone really wanted this, they could have sat in the audience.

[ edited by will.bueche on 2010-02-22 00:35 ]
I really don't think DVDs of Joss speaking are of the same ilk, whatever one thinks of the linked book project. Not everyone can attend Joss speaking events, and not all of them necessarily end up free on YouTube.
"Overall, information in electronic format is much more convenient." Well that's true, and I'd rather buy an electronic version of this book rather than a $22 paperback. More searchable.
"I really don't think DVDs of Joss speaking are of the same ilk." Really, how so? He's the talent, they are his words, and yet they're being sold to enrich the Creative Screenwriting program or some such (just as this book will enrich the University of Mississippi).

Granted, I am playing devil's advocate here, but I am rather shocked at the negative reaction to what appears to be a rather harmless packaging of interviews. And for all we know it might have nice call-out quotes or other nice flourishes.

I also am disappointed at the tactic many are employing of finding the most expensive option -- the hardcover version -- and touting it without mentioning that the paperback will be twenty-something.

[ edited by will.bueche on 2010-02-22 00:30 ]
Tell everyone what -- let's call a truce and try to get responses from the interviewers who allowed their interviews with Whedon to appear in this volume, and find out their opinions. I've also asked the editors of the volume to post a blog about why they made the book (and to address the Rolling Stone inclusion). Let's see if the negative response from fans can be tempered when we hear from the creators of this material.
If it helps, Will, there's some indication that they were touting the presumptive list of articles without getting the clearances from everyone yet. That's different, of course, from publishing without the clearances, but still a little lame.
One of the editors has posted a reply for everyone here on Whedonesque. He also asks for help in tracking down the author of the IGN interview:

http://thelaverytory.blogspot.com/2010/02/response-to-whedonesque-posts-re-joss.html
It's really not harsh or negative to mention it when people try to sell you things you can get for free.

Some of the interviews are quite good. And the ability to read them without paying for them--entirely legally--is also quite good.
Mike Russell here; my 2005 "CulturePulp Q&A" with Whedon ( http://bit.ly/aw3Usd ) will apparently be appearing in the book. Here's how this went down for me:

I first got a permission request from editor Lavery late last year. I let it get buried under a bunch of other, more urgent e-mails and promptly forgot about it. He sent me another reprint request a few days ago.

I was a little surprised to find my name on the prospective table of contents (with my Web site's name misspelled) before I'd granted permission. So I wrote Lavery an e-mail pointing this out and asking him to fix this typo earlier today. He fixed it in about 10 minutes. Pleased by this -- and not really seeing any problem with a four-and-a-half-year-old Q&A possibly reaching a few more readers in something with a spine, printed on the miracle of thin slices of wood -- I agreed to give the publishers "non-exclusive" world reprint rights (which means I can still do whatever I want with the interview, to which I own the copyright) in exchange for a hard copy of the book and a modest reprint fee. Fairly common procedure.

It's not like anyone will be getting incredibly wealthy off of this, and of course these interviews and many more are already online for free, and will remain so, thanks to the non-exclusive agreements the included authors will be signing. So that's my take, anyway.
Thank you, Serenity Tales!

I posted this comment on David Lavery's site:

Hi, I’m Pointy on Whedonesque.

Here are my concerns:

1. You’re making money (not “in advance,” but if the book sells) off Joss Whedon’s words--off his witty, thoughtful, insightful comments about his work.

Is Joss Whedon going to be making money off these words of his, too?

2. You’re charging for things that I and anyone can read free of charge. Not all of the interviews, but most of them, are available online.

Links are available here:
http://jaynelovesvera.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/joss-whedon-interviews-with-links/

Do you think students or libraries should pay for interviews they can access online without charge? Did you pay to read these interviews?

ETA At least I tried to post this comment on David Lavery's site. It has not appeared.

ETfurtherA I try again. It says, "Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval."

[ edited by Pointy on 2010-02-22 01:25 ]
The "Is Joss Whedon going to be making money off these words" question doesn't even make sense to me. When you're interviewed, the interviewer (or their employer) owns the rights to the interview. The interviewee for the most part is out of the picture.
Gotta concur with my buddy b!X: IMO, this strikes me as really not worth getting worked up over. Small-run academic interview-reprint anthologies are NOTHING new, the usage agreements are fair, and the online versions of the interviews will remain there for your enjoyment.
You're talking about an individual newspaper interview, B!x, but the situation changes when someone publishes an entire book of interviews with a single subject, since the book's sale-ability comes from the reputation and fame of the subject of the interview, not from the reputation of an individual publication or an individual interviewer.

Often, when a book of interviews with a single subject is published, the subject has a part in preparing and profiting from the book. It's not a matter of legality, but of fairness.
I also agree, Serenity Tales, that this is not worth getting worked up over.

It is worth laughing over.
But you know who would have the right to be angry about this: Any student required to purchase the book for a class.
It'd be one of the few books I'd keep, though.
Pointy: In the overwhelming majority of cases, journalists or the publications they write for (depending on the contractual agreement w/ the writer) own the rights to interviews they researched, conducted, transcribed, and for which they provided the first publishing venue.

If the publisher secures the appropriate rights permissions, they have every legal right to take a risk on printing a collection on paper -- to collate information from disparate sources into a physical object -- and then to attempt to find a paying audience for the physical object they produced. Just as you have the right to laugh at that effort.

But I have to politely disagree with you here, because I think calls to "fairness" are somewhat off-the-mark in this case.
Again: It's not a matter of legality, it's a matter of fairness. You say you disagree on the question of fairness. Care to say why?
Pointy, for what it's worth, David Lavery is most likely not out to get rich at the expense of Joss Whedon. I met Dr. Lavery at a Can't Stop the Serenity event last year where he was our "keynote speaker" and he's all about the Joss-man, huge fan indeed. At least a few people have referred to Lavery as the "Father of Buffy Studies" so his main concern is scholarship (more specifically legitimizing academic study of the works of Joss Whedon), which is the purpose for which I'd use a resource like this book. He won't get to set the price; a publisher would/will/has, and he'll make a very small cut of it. (I've taught a little at the college level, and I'm somewhat aware of how these deals usually work out for the author, based on talks with colleagues).

As for why someone would put this into an expensive academic book when the information is accessible for free on the net, for one reason it does lend more academic credibility to the source, if it is indeed being used for an academic setting. It's much less prone to change than a website out in the void, and when it comes to research, many professors still shy away from electronic sources (old-fashioned though that may be).

Is it fair? Not to students, that's for sure. Of course, the textbook industry never will be fair with capitalism around. ;) It's a rare privilege for one's professors to take cost into consideration when selecting textbooks. Some profs really are cool with handing students lists of websites!

Is it fair to Joss? Well, I'll have to defer to what others who know more than I do have said.

Personally, I'd rather have a hardcover volume on my shelf, but I'm aware I'm something of a relic! =)
I, too, doubt the book will make anyone rich, CellarDoor, but if it is assigned reading in a class, it will squeeze some more dollars out of students by requiring them to buy interviews they can get free.

As for "legitimizing academic study of the works of Joss Whedon," there are those publications that elevate a field's academic standing and those that do not. The ones that do generally involve original research; they're often subject to peer review.

Scholarship advances our understanding of a field of study. To call this book scholarly or academic would be like calling my page of links scholarly or academic, and it was the intellectual labor of a lunchtime.

Capitalism is not the problem that you suggest. A problem is that students, once enrolled, are pretty much a captive audience, so free market forces cannot exert themselves. I think only a clueless (or sadistic) professor will make students pay for things they can get free. So for the good of Whedon studies, I'll leave my page of free links up and smile at the thought that I might save a student or a fan a buck or 20 or 50.

As for fairness to Joss, the presence of the Rolling Stone piece, for example, might give the unsuspecting reader the impression that he is not going to work in television again. It quotes him as saying, "I don't see myself creating another TV show." He didn't see himself creating another TV show when he went to lunch with Eliza Dushku; he may not be creating another TV show as his next project after Dollhouse. Rolling Stone appears to have gotten (and given) the impression that he had called it quits on TV. ("In the current issue, Joss Whedon, the George Lucas of television, reveals why working on his triumphant return to the small screen, Dollhouse, has convinced him to abandon TV for good.")

The editor doesn't quite some to understand the problem. He writes:

The complained-about Rolling Stone piece was certainly not our first choice, but we wanted to have something that dealt with Whedon, the internet, and his dream of being the web's Roger Corman. Can anyone direct us to Whedon's criticism about the Kushner piece?


As an editor of a book of Joss Whedon interviews should know, the comment in the Rolling Stone interview, at least in the context it was presented, just doesn't jibe with his other comments in other interviews at the time.

TVWeek: Do you think it would be interesting for you to try a show for cable?
Mr. Whedon: I think it would. Ultimately I’ve never really had a relationship with anyone in that field, and nobody’s ever approached me and said, “Do you want to do this cable show?” I wouldn’t say no to anything wherein I get to tell people stories.


What I just did there? That was tiny piece of scholarship. If the editor notes in his book that the quote in the Rolling Stone piece doesn't jibe with other Whedon quotes from the time, that will slightly add to the intellectual value of the book. Still won't make the book a work of scholarship, though. Note that fairness to Joss in this particular case would also be fairness to his readers.

He can speak or remain silent on the general subject of whether the project is fair to him or his fans, but does anyone think he'd charge $50 for a collection of interviews he published himself?

A question for anyone: Will you actually buy this book?

[ edited by Pointy on 2010-02-22 05:48 ]
firstly: thank you thank you thank you for the link to the 2003 IGN interview! Wow, that's the longest and most in depth one I've read, even if it is seven (already??) years old. Secondly: I will probably buy a paperback version of this if it is easy enough to order.
Pointy - your question about whether this is fair is rather confusing. What are we comparing it to? Is the rest of the world supposed to be fair while this is unjust? In terms of people who have got rich off the words of Joss Whedon, David Lavery will never make the top 1,000, I wouldn't think. There are a lot of people who have made a lot more money out of Joss's TV shows than he ever did. If you think that the economic system we use is unfair (and I do) then I understand being worked up about the general question. But why about this in particular?

David Leary isn't neccessary doing any less work than any other editor of an edited collection, and it is work. There's no deceit here, on anyone's part. Joss knows, when he does the interviews, that he's giving up the copyright. The holders of the copyright will have to negotiate with David Leary. People who buy the book know what they're getting, and if they think it's worth having then they can pay for it.

And I will absolutely buy this. Both for the interviews that I haven't been able to read on-line, and so that I don't have to worry about not being able to read the crochet me interview, or the Onion AV club if either of htose organisations ever change their structures (and believe me never being able to read those interviews again would worry me for sure).
Well, you can always save the webpages in question to your computer and they'll then be around as long as you are (provided you back up regularly. You all DO backup regularly, right ? ;). In Firefox for instance just go to File -> Save Page As ... Or Ctrl + S will also do it.

...but if it is assigned reading in a class, it will squeeze some more dollars out of students by requiring them to buy interviews they can get free.

Hmm, but doesn't "assigned reading" mean you have to read the content Pointy, rather than necessarily the book itself ? I can't see many students NOT figuring out pretty quickly that they can get this stuff online for nothing, they're not daft, particularly where the innertubes are concerned. And as always, apart from the odd person who might be required to buy it, everyone else has the choice whether to spend their money or not.

To be clear though, it' not "harsh" to ask these sorts of questions, seems perfectly valid to me (though I do appreciate both the editor and contributers being so quick and helpful in their responses).
Ah. First-time poster. Welcome, Maia!
Is the rest of the world supposed to be fair while this is unjust?

Speaking of confusing questions . . .

In terms of people who have got rich off the words of Joss Whedon, David Lavery will never make the top 1,000, I wouldn't think.

It's not how much money he may or may not make, it's how he would make it--by selling people things that are available free of charge.

I do not stand in the way of you or anyone who would pay for that which you or anyone can get free. But if teachers do not wish to make students pay for free articles, and students do not wish to pay for free articles, that makes better sense to me. Again, do with your money as you like. I'm providing links for people who don't want to pay for things that are available, legally, free.

People who buy the book know what they're getting . . .

People who read this thread know what they're getting in this book, but how can I be sure that people who consider buying this book know how much of it they can get free?
Hmm, but doesn't "assigned reading" mean you have to read the content Pointy, rather than necessarily the book itself ? I can't see many students NOT figuring out pretty quickly that they can get this stuff online for nothing, they're not daft, particularly where the innertubes are concerned.

I hope you're right, Saje. I remember it being a hassle in my university days, when more than one of us students would converge on the reserve desk to borrow the same parchment scroll.
People who read this thread know what they're getting in this book, but how can I be sure that people who consider buying this book know how much of it they can get free?

The counter side to this is how can we know how many people will see these interviews for the very first time because they're in a book, and otherwise would never have had the pleasure of reading them?
Well, for those who will see the interviews for the first time because of the *announcement* of the book, I have added additional information to the links page to make it easier to find.
So, has anyone stopped to think about the fact that it costs money to print books? Someone has to pay farmers and loggers and carpenters and construction paper guys and all the monkeys that sit there hammering out Shakespeare. Also, it costs money to sell things, there are taxes and shipping and handling and looking-but-not-touching fees. Ridiculous. Very. But man has to make a living.

I say all this because I like to get some sun from time to time. Go out and chill with peeps, sometimes I sit at a Starbucks or a park. And when I do that I like to have a book with me, even when I’m with peeps because it makes me look smart. Have I mentioned that I like to look smart? No, well I love it. Anyways. Topic? Books. I love books. I love the feel, the smell, the bookishness of books. Books are also quite novel, (get it?), and by that I mean super handy. No worries of black outs or downed sites or slow internet speed, it’s convenient. They’re nice when I don’t want to stay inside staring into a monitor and getting a headache. They’re nice when I’m sitting in bed with my lamp on not harshing my eyes. They’re nice when it keeps me from having several tabbed browsers opened at once.

At the end of the day you’re just going to have to accept the fact that some of us will buy this out of the respect it took to gather it all together and get it printed, to have that resource when we’re out and about or when we forgot to pay the electric bill. And some of us just have to accept that others won’t buy it out of sheer spite because the all powerful interwebs makes life easier.

BTW: I did favorites and thumbs up the StumbleUpon for the site with all the links, but I still plan on getting one of the books.

[ edited by The Goose on 2010-02-22 08:27 ]
The Goose: At the end of the day you’re just going to have to accept the fact that some of us will buy this out of the respect it took to gather it all together and get it printed, to have that resource when we’re out and about or when we forgot to pay the electric bill. And some of us just have to accept that others won’t buy it out of sheer spite because the all powerful interwebs makes life easier.

I suspect you didn't mean by this to imply that folks that don't intend to buy the book because they've already downloaded all the interviews from the internet will not be buying it from "sheer spite", right? It just sounded that way? Or that they are adverse to going outside with a book in their hands?

I'm a HUGE (long) lifetime fan of books and the printed word, myself (she said from the comfort of her book-lined apartment) but I'd have to say that of all the many, many reasons I've had for purchasing a book (including "because it looked pretty" or "it's wicked old" and "it smelled like my childhood"), my reasons have never included respect for the effort and cost of producing said book - I might've ended up with an even more random, extensive and bizarre collection than l have. In fact, it seems an odd reason to me, but then, chacun ŕ son goűt.

I shan't be buying this one, though. I've collected all of these (admittedly interesting) Jossian interviews and and many more besides, and that seems enough for me.

I have no opinion, negative or otherwise, about anyone who chooses to buy it, though. Buy it in good health and glad to hear you're doing well.

I'd prefer not to have anyone decide that folks like me that don't intend to buy it are being, what, seriously, spiteful? Anti-book? Lacking in respect for the labor of compilation and the high cost of printing and binding?

Just thought I'd mention that I thought the tone got a little bizarrely judgmental in here...
Pointy - Sorry I had misunderstood your objection. I thought it had been that David Lavery was going to gain from Joss's work. Not simply that this material is available elsewhere for free. There are lots of things that are available for free, either in libraries or on the internet. You point to the parts of a book that are available for free on google books as a reason not to buy that material in another form, but argument could be made for any book on google books (and that interview is one of hte reasons I'm buying it, as I'm not going to buy a bookful of interviews with other people for one interview with Joss, but a bookful of interviews with Joss for some I haven't read - and I'm there).

I think it is the responsibility of hypothetical lecturers's responsibility to their hypothetical students to make sure they consider these factor's before they assign the text (although I'm in hte 'how come you get to read such cool books for class' camp myself and can't feel much sympathy for hte hypothetical students).

I'm glad you've put those links together, and I'm hardly a sales person for the book. But I don't understand why anyone would care that this was available for people who wanted to buy it.
The flip side of charging people for what they can get for free is that the book is charging for finding all this material for the people so they save the time of looking for it (time is money, right?) and for portability (a book is easier to lug around than a laptop and does not require a location that gets wireless). Also, not everyone has regular computer access :) For any number of reasons, some people will find a book preferable to online research.

Oh, and new people, welcome!

[ edited by Shapenew on 2010-02-22 14:01 ]
QuoterGal - I think The Goose was reacting to the particular vibe which Pointy was putting out there, not talking about all people who might not buy the book.

For what it's worth, if I were still in college, this is certainly one of the books I'd be happiest to spend my money on. And I do feel that there is something to be said for having a bound, tangible copy of something which you're really interested in and/or enjoy. I would definitely consider buying this text.
Yeah, I got the point, but I was pointing out the language issue for clarity and fairness' sake.
QuoterGal, I apologize to you and those of your kin that felt as though my tone took a “holier-than-thou” approach. Yes, I could have ended my pro-book view in a less judgmental phrasing, but I was annoyed and it was late in the evening for me. Shallow excuses for my composure. I simply wanted to point out that there was a lover of Joss who wanted to compile his interviews for people who may have never known of them, and also present it in a format that most people could access. Also I wanted to take into account that people have to pay to get this done and therefore must charge others to at least break even financially. It seemed, and I stress the “seemed” part, again it was late and I was already annoyed, that most of the people here were getting snob nosed in their thinking that they shouldn’t have to pay for this book because it’s already on the internet, albeit not cohesively. From the stance of wanting this in a book form it felt abrasive that people were undermining the process it takes to gather the interviews and the cost to get them in our hands. Some of us would love to have this on our shelves, and some of us are fine to have it on a favorites cache. I noted that I did already favorites the page with the links to all the interviews, but that I would still be buying the book based on the principles I mentioned. Again, my apologies if your feelings and intellect where abused in my statement.
Not abused and not hurt, but thank you. Just have a deep and abiding love for fairness and language precision.
I though I made my thinking pretty plain, but I'll clarify my vibe.

My initial response was, yay for the knitters! My second was that since the book would sell based on the quality of Joss's responses, I hoped that he or a charity of his choice shared in the profit. Shared. Not got all of the profit, but shared in it.

As I mentioned to B!x, it's not unusual for the subject of a book like this to take part in the selection of articles and to share in the profit for the reason that he or she created its market.

Also, because compiling a book like this is not an intellectual effort at all. It's a clip job. The literary equivalent of a clip show. It recycles previous work. It doesn't add value. It's not something new. It's several old things put under a new cover.

Take a look at that previous paragraph. It's not a personal attack. It's a review. Preliminary--based entirely on the description of book provided by one of the editors. A common criterion for review is whether something is worth one's time or money. Clip shows are generally considered to be less valuable than original ones, because they contain little that's new.

As a viewer, I tend to avoid clip shows. As a reader, I tend to avoid clip jobs. The rare exception are compilations from publications to which I lack direct access--in that case, the compilation does me a favor. Compilations that merely put together things I already have access to do me no favor.

I do not care to be exploited and I do not like seeing other people exploited. I don't think Joss will be harmed financially by this, but I'm sure he won't be helped. Because the price tag of the cloth-bound volumes answers my question of whether he has any involvement in this -- a question David Lavery should have answered explicitly, lest any potential buyers think that a book with "Joss Whedon: Conversations" on the cover was an offering from Joss Whedon. I am certain -- and it would be so easy to prove me wrong if that's the case -- that Joss did not take approve this compilation because he just wouldn't charge $50 for this. He has too much respect for himself and his fans. (A clue: He doesn't make clip shows.) He insists on providing value for money. (A clue: The Commentary! extra on the Dr. Horrible DVD.)

I understand the desire to make a quick buck without doing much work. It's not my thing--I do a lot that people would consider work because I think they're fun or just worth doing--but I have encountered people who take the other approach. I'm just not a fan. And I think I have as much right to review their work as I have to review, for example, Joss Whedon's.

But I'm not just concerned about me. I remember being a student and being required to buy books of little or no value but of great cost, and I am aware of the existence of academic authors (and academic presses) that take advantage of the captive audience that students are to force them to buy books that are not worth what they're priced. Saje thinks students will know better than to buy what they can get on line. I hope he's right, but I recall my own pre-semester trips to the campus book store (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth). I just bought whatever was on the list of assigned reading.

For teachers and students who don't want to waste their money, here's a page of links to the interviews that are available on line for free.

Those of you who ultimately decide to buy the book because you think it's valuable, go right ahead. Not trying to stop you. In fact, I hope you keep the receipt, take a digital picture of it, and post it on line. And I hope that, one year after purchase, you take another picture of yourself with your copy of the book in one hand and a contemporaneous newspaper, date clearly visible, in the other. Post that online, too. I'd like to see that.

Odds and ends: A couple of people suggested this book was a handy academic resource or that it would elevate the academic study of Joss's work. It is not and it will not.

David Lavery has not responded to any of the questions or concerns I've raised here. I will not feign surprise or shock. I will note, however, that if he wishes to make a contribution to the study of Joss Whedon's work, he should add links to the table of contents he posted online so that students and teachers of Whedonworks realize they can get ready access to most of the interviews online without paying him anything. After all, their money is scarce and could be better spent on the original works or on scholarly works.

I doubt that anyone really doubts my love of books, but just in case: I can't tell you how many hundreds of them I own. I'm embarrassed to tell you how many I've taken to bed. Like most lovers of books, I do not love all books; in fact I hate some. Most relevant to this conversation is my hatred of books that tell me what I already know and charge me a premium to do so.

[ edited by Pointy on 2010-02-27 00:59 ]
This isn't the first time this has been done. I own a "biography' of Joss which uses a lot of what he has said online, at the Bronze, and probably here on Whedonesque, (It's been awhile since I read it) as well as articles and interviews.
While I was disappointed it was not the biography it was supposed to be, I did appreciate that someone had gathered in one place some of the more ephemeral, uh, ephemera.
However, I am far more likely to make use of Pointy's excellent list o'links than I am to buy this book.
So, Pointy, you know what I heard? Blah blah blah, pretentious elitism arrogance. You did not make a clear enough argument as to why this shouldn’t be purchased nor did you go to any lengths to alleviate your vibe. I highly doubt that this guy wants to make a quick buck. Most professors do not get in to professing because it is a sweet job. Maybe some, but not all. As having for a resource, it will be because a resource is anything we can go to for inspiration and or information. It might not elevate the academic study of Joss’s work, but it will not hurt it. As pointed out this person has a great love and respect for Joss, even has a love and respect for his fans since he is a fan himself. If he did not then I could see that maybe he is trying to pull a quick one. In addition, why do you demand that your questions are answered? You are not Joss’s lawyer to my knowledge and from the looks of it, you won’t be purchasing the book so why do you care if proceeds go to a foundation? Nevertheless, hey, I guess you know what is best for Joss and his fans so expect a picture of my receipt.

I understand that this is not a place for arguing so after this post I will not be coming back to this particular thread.

[ edited by The Goose on 2010-02-23 18:35 ]

I understand that this is not a place for arguing so after this post I will not be coming back to this particular thread.


Good because if you carry on attacking other posters, you'll be put out.
If I wanted to demonstrate "pretentious elitist arrogance," I would claim that the intellectual labor of creating a web page listing great Joss interviews was of such incredible value that readers should pay me $50. Each.

Doing that would meet the definitions of pretentious ("affecting greater importance . . . than is actually possessed"), elitist ("claiming to possess high abilities or simply an in-group or cadre grant [of] extra privileges at the expense of others") and arrogant ("having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities").

So, you see, I'm demonstrating the opposite qualities. (Thank you, Wikipedia and the New Oxford American Dictionary for the definitions.)

Those who would like to join me in down-to-earth, democratic, inclusive celebration of Joss Whedon interviews -- if you kool kats and kittens dig that vibe -- join me here. Freely.

Also, feel free to suggest any additional links to your favorite Joss interviews.

[ edited by Pointy on 2010-02-24 00:34 ]

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