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June 08 2010

Local news on SC4: Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses. SC4: Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses 4 was held in St. Augustine, FL, June 3-6. Local reporter thinks it's weird.

Comments from Flagler College conference organizers and a couple well-known writers in the field.

Wash said that some people don't get him and Zoe at first glance. Most journalists don't get Slayage at first glance, either.

Trust me, it was a great gathering! These are some passionate, scary-smart people, their critical eyes are sharp and their delivery is spot-on.

Just wish I'd had time to actually see the city a little more.
Not sure where "local reporter thinks it's weird" came in. Seemed like a pretty straightforward and unbiased story to me.
Yes, this was a fair report.
One of my favorite aspects of the Whedonverse - literally everything he's done: Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, and even Dr. Horrible - is that it withstands literary (cinematic?) criticism. Joss' work isn't flat and you can easily view it from any number of critical lenses and it will withstand whatever you throw at it.

I consider myself to be an intellectual and that's why I keep coming back to Whedon shows. They are intellectually stimulating. Choose literally any episode of any of his shows and you'll find that there are several essays that can be written that explore a variety of aspects of society, the human condition, relationships, etc. That's why I've watched Buffy at least 10 times... there's always something new to explore.
My wife and I have been to all four Slayage Conferences to date, and every one has been better than the last. This one is easily the best to date, not only in terms of the quality of papers and presentations (mockingbird, your keynote speech was amazing!) but also the location. St. Augustine was stunningly beautiful and Flagler campus was appropriately historical.

So over the course of three days I gorged myself on as much academic analysis as I could. From studies of the Apocalyptic Bordello to the musical Alpha and Omega of the entire BtVS series. Rhizomatic Fireflyology to "The Gorilla Thing" and the Nerds and Dr. Horrible's aspirations to villainy. I sat through the single most entertaining (and educational) economics class ever, and was amazed to learn how season five of Angel was actually Animal Farm. Marcus Recht reminded me that there is likely not a single frame or image of a Joss Whedon series that doesn't mean something with his study of visual iconography. Cynthea Masson did the impossible by not only making Chaucer comprehensible but also using that to convince Mrs. Haunt and I to take another look at Dollhouse.

And for the love of god we got a pretty great comparison of the works of Joss Whedon to my boy Neil Gaiman!!

Oh yeah, and let's not forget the sing-along... "Oh Mandy / you came and you gave without taking..."

Two more years. Two more years and maybe, POSSIBLY the first West Coast Slayage. Bet your ass I'll be there again... perhaps with my own paper.
West Coast, West Coast, West Coast!
Wow, Haunt, you should write the brochures! I don't read anything Whedonian beyond what's posted here, but you've really made me want to go to the next Slayage. And if it's on the West Coast, I surely will.
Haunt I'm re-watching the series right now (Just started "Gone" tonight) and noticed something pretty cool for the first time while watching "After Life."

Buffy gets all antsy in the Magic Box and decides to go on patrol. As she's walking through the cemetery, she passes an angel statue. The camera angle shifts just slightly as she walks by so her body blocks the body of the angel and all you can see are the wings, seemingly sprouting from Buffy's back.

Wonder if Marcus Recht caught that?
I think we can all agree that the Buffy television series is his penultimate work as of yet.

Everything else has contained untold nuggets of gold, this article does have an undertone of a skeptical writer.
Trust me, ShadowQuest, if it's in there, Marcus Reicht caught it. It was an amazing presentation. And I agree with Haunt that Cynthea Masson's "Who Painted the Lion?" presentation on Dollhouse's "Belle Chose" was, quite frankly, incredible.
I was very sorry to miss SC4 this year; wish I'd been able to attend. Haunt, thanks for your report, and perhaps I'll see you again at SC5.
I should note that I'm an entertainment editor at a newspaper, so I probably read this a little differently than others. That said, I don't think the article is so much "skeptical" as it is "trying to avoid any appearance of bias," which a good news story should always do. The tone isn't "look at the freaks," as we might fear, but nor is it, as we might wish, "how cool is this?" It's, "hey, a bunch of people got together and this is what they did."

Of course, if some editor at the paper didn't find something about the conference interesting or unusual, the story wouldn't have been done at all. "Academics gather at college to study" isn't a story -- that happens every day. "Academics come from around the country to gather at a college to study 'Buffy' " -- or for that matter, "Harry Potter," which happened in my neck of the woods recently -- is a story. It's the old "man bites dog" thing (dog bites man happens every day, but man bites DOG, that's something you don't see every day).

But otherwise, it's a pretty straightforward news story. A news reporter can't -- or shouldn't, anyway -- be cheerleading for a particular point of view in his story. If this were a column or other opinion piece, I would imagine it would have more of a point of view -- and that'd be fine.

(I could debate all day whether reading an agenda into a straightforward news story isn't the result of overexposure to those with low journalistic standards in the mass media that allow their agendas and opinions -- or those of their employers -- to cloud reporting. I'm thinking mostly of cable news networks here, but a lot of entertainment news in print and online is guilty of this, too. But that's probably a geeky debate of the wrong kind for this site.) :)
this article does have an undertone of a skeptical writer


Where? All I'm reading is an unbiased account of an academic conference.
It's a pretty fair report, but if there's a skeptical undertone, it comes through, perhaps, in the examples of paper titles, chosen for maximum weirdness. This comes from years of reading Modern Language Association conf. coverage, where 98% of the papers can be relatively conventional literary analysis, but the reporter always picks out the two or three shock-value titles "Emily Dickinson's Masturbatory Metaphors" or "Sado-Masochism in War and Peace." But that's journalism.

Hey--at least we made the news!

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