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

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I have to find my pleasure, Spike. You taste like ashes."
11945 members | you are not logged in | 19 December 2014




Tweet







January 19 2011

Joss Whedon's letter in Buffy #40. Curious to know what he wrote?

He admits that some things went wrong.
I'm way behind on Season 8, though I fully intend to catch up once all the TPBs are available (hey, I made it through Season 6 and it displeased me greatly, so there's no reason not to go for this one, too; because the story isn't over...).

This makes me want to cry tears of geeker joy:

No matter how interesting the world stage or mystical dimensions can be, Buffy’s best when she’s walking that alley, dusting vamps, and nursing a pouty heart.


I love you, Joss Whedon. I really do. In a totally non-creepy way.
Great letter.I also like how Joss also thanked IDW,Chris and Brian for handling the Angel line.They deserve a standing ovation too for the five/six years IDW put in publishing the Angel books and for accommodating Joss and Dark Horse with Season 8.
I'm looking forward to a square oneish season 9!

And I love you, Joss Whedon. I really do.
In a totally creepy way >:-[
I like how Joss can be so honest and so humble, despite the legions of fans that he has.

Personally, I think a large portion of the fan community has been too harsh in criticizing season 8. The Twilight thing was not handled well and things have kind of gone sour for Angel and Bangel fans(not that I care much about the shippy stuff myself), but the season gave me a lot of wonderful moments.

I loved the Tokyo storyline, Faith and Giles, the story about the Buffy decoy, seeing Fray again, Buffy finally having the hots for Xander, the story where they wrote one of Buffy's real life fans into the story...I could go on and on. This season brought so much awesomeness, yet it seems I've seen mostly negative reactions to it for the past few months

It was the same with Dollhouse. It had its bad moments, but the series as a whole brought something fresh and ultimately satisfying to television and count me among those people who thinks Eliza Dushku is a wonderful actress
First, I hate to admit that the Season 8 motion comic actually makes me kinda like the series again, at least issues 1-19. And second, I hate to admit that this perfectly Joss letter makes me feel as if I might just continue with Season 9, even though if you'd asked me last week, I'd have said I was DONE. "She's hot, she's cool, she's all-temperature Buffy." I guess it's not over until Joss says goodbye.
I love reading Joss talk about his stories.
There is never progress without hateful, reactionary blowback. That’s never been more apparent than in today’s political scene in America.

I wish I hadn't read that. That was completely unnecessary.
Except it wasn't, if you read what he told EW.
I wanted to play with the idea of the world dimming a little bit. Possibly because that’s how I feel about it, or at least this country in the last 10 years.
So the comment goes directly to his conception of/motivation for S8. And it's certainly not something he's obligated to withhold commenting upon.
If you can point me to where I said he was "obligated to withhold commenting upon" anything, b!x, I'd be grateful. However...no, in fact, it is not necessary for him to comment upon his inspiration, motivation, or any other "-ation" he has going for him. And while it is certainly his right even so, I question the wisdom and the timing.

I don't mean to turn this thread into a political discussion. And I sincerely hope it doesn't happen, which is why I will try not to comment again on this thread. I know that most of the people who post on here regularly have views that are far more in line with Joss's than with mine, and that's okay. Live and let live, and all that. But I wish Joss would remember -- just every now and again -- that he's got some fans on the right-wing side of the spectrum too, who get hurt by comments like that.
Hear, hear, BAFfler (though I'd say "irritated" more than "hurt", personally). I generally don't look at anything Jossverse from a political angle if I can help it, and my viewing/reading experience tends to be much more enjoyable for it.

As to the letter, I raise a sardonic eyebrow at the line where he admits that he essentially let the lack of limitation in the form of special effects budget go to his head. Because that's precisely what I've felt was wrong with S8 from the start. (Well, one of several things.) The over-the-topness of the lore and magic and everything has been one of the biggest factors in why I've been unable to see the comics as taking place in the same Buffyverse as the show, and why I simply can't think of them as canon despite knowing that they are. From giant Dawn (no matter how much Joss loves her) to disturbing snake goddess things to the Superman-esque superpowers to the *universe* planning, plotting and possibly scheming, my disbelief has simply refused to properly suspend all season.
Political Joss makes me dance with glee. I wish there was much much more of him.
Seconding the "Yay Political Joss". Not just because he's right, but because he plays it so well.
BAFfler: "However...no, in fact, it is not necessary for him to comment upon his inspiration, motivation, or any other "-ation" he has going for him. "

BAFfler: "But I wish Joss would remember -- just every now and again -- that he's got some fans on the right-wing side of the spectrum too, who get hurt by comments like that."

Leaving aside the particular nature of Joss' politics, I gotta say, I find the - pardon me, BAFfler - arrogance of your first statement in juxtaposition with the second one I quote a little BAFfling.

On the one hand, you feel comfortable defining what's "necessary" for Joss to comment on, and on the other, you express "hurt" because his politics are - what, different than yours?

Joss should remember not to hurt some of his fans' feelings by discussing his differing political perspective, but you don't have any problem telling Joss what's appropriate for him to say in interview?

Huh. I find that a little unfair, or contradictory, or just plain odd.
An artist is under no obligation -- zero, zip, nada -- to only ever be The Artist in public, never being The Person in public. There are many artists who choose to refrain from discussing, say, religion or politics, but they don't owe their audience that choice. They don't owe their fans some sort of real world muzzle.

People are complex. They can make art you love but have politics you do not. The world requires us to be able to balance all of that as it comes our way. It doesn't require that any of us hide our opinions.
Again, b!x, I really hope you're not claiming that the statements you've made are somehow answering points I've made. I did not claim that Joss is under any obligation to me -- far from it, in fact. And he certainly has the right to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants. I can believe those things, however, and still be vaguely insulted by what he does choose to say. When, y'know, it sounds like an insult. Directed at people like me.

QuoterGal --

On the one hand, you feel comfortable defining what's "necessary" for Joss to comment on...


Ummm, no. But I do feel comfortable saying that it wasn't necessary. Because it wasn't. Granted, it's not (strictly speaking) necessary for him to comment on a great many things. Granted, it's not (strictly speaking) necessary for him to make public comments at all. But then again, we both know that's not what I meant by "necessary."

Having said that...no, I happen to believe that his message to the fans was not improved one iota by the inclusion of those two sentences. Here's a test: Delete them. Then read the revised message. Anything important obviously left out? I thought not. The connection Joss wants to make between Buffy's and Fray's worlds still clear? I thought so. Totally unnecessary to the essay, serving only to deliver a backhanded slap at an entire group of people.

...and on the other, you express "hurt" because his politics are - what, different than yours?


Really? That's what you dug out of there? It's not the content of the beliefs, QG; it's the packaging. I quoted the phrase "hateful, reactionary blowback." If you don't see what about that might hurt someone (or "irritate" them, in a nod to Taaroko, who I think has chosen a better word), then there's really no point in my trying to explain it.

Joss should remember not to hurt some of his fans' feelings by discussing his differing political perspective, but you don't have any problem telling Joss what's appropriate for him to say in interview?


May I just take the opportunity to tweak something here? Thank you so much.

"Joss should remember not to hurt some of his fans' feelings by gratuitously insulting their differing political perspective, but you don't have any problem telling Joss what's gratuitously insulting for him to say in interview?"

There we go. Much better. Seeming contradiction resolved, once your framing is corrected. And you'll notice, please, that I have not returned the shot to Joss -- that would be the contradiction here. I have many disagreements with him, but I believe he and his take their differing stands on principle, and honestly fight for their beliefs. I only wish he would give me and mine the same credit. Is that too much to hope for?

Now I think I really am done -- because if anyone who reads this after my post still doesn't get where my objection takes root, then I'm not sure they ever would.

[Edited to remove a slap at QG -- if I'm going to criticize Joss for taking unnecessary shots, the least I can do is be consistent]

[ edited by BAFfler on 2011-01-20 10:33 ]
I'm baffled. None of that made any sense to me. Differing politics is differing politics. I love Chuck and I love Casey on Chuck. I adore Jayne. I would never (in a million years) subject myself to Adam Baldwin's twitter. His politic views don't hurt, don't offend, don't irritate. They are ignored and disregarded. Seems easy to do the same if you don't subscribe to Joss's views of equality, fairness, and liberalism.
IrrationaliTV: In case you didn't notice, this wasn't a political letter posted on a website, or some comment on a Twitter feed. It was a letter to fans included in an issue of a comic book, not obviously political at all. I'm thrilled to live in ignorance of how hateful and reactionary Joss thinks my politics are -- if he'll let me.
*loud histrionic sigh.*

Think I'll wait 'til tomorrow to post further.

Tomorrow is another day...

; >
As fascinating as this left/right squabble is, perhaps we could actually back to the letter and Season 8 and not take potshots at each other.
I stopped reading the S8 comics somewhere around...#10 or #11. They just didn't feel like Buffy to me. I have followed all of the issue, um, discussions on here though because I couldn't quite let go. It's Buffy for Pete's sake!

I'd like to say that I'm grateful for all of you here who explained the issues with highly detailed descriptions and debated their good and bad points. It's because of you and this letter of Joss's that I will be giving S9 a shot when it's released. And because it's Buffy. : )
OK, I lost track of Season 8; I haven't regularly bought comics since my childhood. (If Mom hadn't tossed those Fantastic Fours...) So I'll check out the digests.

And Joss's brief comments on the way he views The Real World today don't bother me in the least. (Google's homepage today commemorates the 50th anniversary of JFK's inaugural address. Damn, I'm old.)

[ edited by not_Bridget on 2011-01-20 13:55 ]
If I could throw in a word on the "political Joss" topic without starting up anything, my thought would be the smartest point Joss makes on that subject is that what he brought from his politics is the idea of a dimming world... and ONLY that. I couldn't disagree more vigorously with Joss, and I'm gonna guess about 99.33 (repeating of course) % of Whedonesque, on politics... but I, too, see a dimming world in many ways, over the past 10 years or even more.

See the genius of it? He grabs an emotion created by his politics and writes about the emotion, not the politics. Then all the reader needs for the story to resonate is to relate to the emotion, not the politics. In Inception, a movie which is in many ways about the making of movies and fiction, as many have discussed, Dom describes the process of shared dreaming -- "You create the world of the dream. We bring the subject into that dream and they fill it with their subconscious." Joss builds the world of the Buffyverse dream, using the things that are familiar to him, and it's the audience that fills it with their subconscious. So if he shows me a dimming world, I can say "yes, that resonates and relates to things I see in the world". That they are not the things that make him feel that way is beside the point.

I think, for the same reasons, that Joss making Season 8 more explicitly political would have been a catastrophic error, and even said so early on in the season on every forum where the season was discussed.

I liked the letter in general, his winking at the reaction to things like Mecha-Dawn, his gratitude and solidarity with the creative and editorial team. Definitely his conclusions about what Season 9 is and should be, although the execution remains to be seen. Season 7 was described in similar terms, after all, of "square one-ish"-ness, and it actually introduced the "world stage" angle to the Buffyverse in the first place.
Well said, KoC :)! Let's all try to avoid reading too much into one another's statements until I've finished inventing a tonal markup language.
Ok that does it... I'm loosing that pesky comicbook virginity of mine! Just hit confirm on my order so now I will just have to stalk my mail guy.

I can't believe it took me this long to get with the program. And that it took a frigging letter from Joss to seal the deal. My seeming lack of faith makes me sad but I will spend a lot of time making up for it!
Let us know how well it hangs together read in short order. Beyond the complaints of budgetary madness there was a lot of "wait, what just happened?" from readers who aren't regular comics types.
@zeitgeist - will do! I am both scared and excited about this project of mine... *wonders if it will help is I wear my 'Joss Whedon is my master now' tee while reading. Can't hurt right */epic dorkness*
That, my friends, was a great letter. If there was ever a question in my mind that what I like to see in a Buffy story no longer aligned with what Joss likes to see in a Buffy story, that has now been answered and the worry removed. Thankfully. I'm firmly expecting to like S9 a whole lot more than I did S8 (despite some great moments) and I like that Joss acknowledges many of the problems I - and others - have had with the comic book so far.

Also, with regard to the political issue: what KoC said (apart from the fact that I do agree with 99.33 (repeating of course) % of Whedonesque, on politics ;)).
I realize people want to get off the political talk, but...FWIW, BAFfler, while I understand that you might feel under siege these days (especially with all the accusations about who's to "blame" following the AZ tragedy), just because Joss refers to "hateful, reactionary blowback" doesn't necessarily mean he's painting the whole of the right with that brush.
Without getting into the left/right argument, I believe it's rare for a creator's politics *not* to show up in that creator's work. Creation of a fictional world requires a world view, with elements that are presented as positive and negative. For example, in "Buffy," friendship good, if complicated; leaping to conclusions bad. I mean, I guess it's possible that in real life Joss Whedon despises friendship and likes leaping to conclusions, but from the way he writes about these things (let alone from other things we know about him), that seems unlikely. I think what we know of his politics shows up regularly as both text and metaphor in his work, because that is his world view, so it's of course showing up in the worlds he creates. JMHO.
I realize people want to get off the political talk


Without getting into the left/right argument


Ahem.
I want to second GVH's comments. I loved Joss' letter and I am definitely on board for Season 9! I felt that Season 8 had great moments (issue #5 was brilliant, and I personally loved all of the Faith arc and the Harmony silliness), but it took way too long. I do kind of hope that Joss will go ahead and do the comic book thing and bring Giles back, because I want my entire scoobie gang in S9.
The thing with this letter is that a lot of fans on both sides of the divide (pro/anti Eight) have been waiting for Joss to say something at length about this season for a long time now. I'm glad Dark Horse put it online (*whistles innocently*).

From my cursory glances elsewhere I can see that it reassured some people who were not happy with the direction that Eight took. It's made other fans very enthusiastic for Nine and given some form of satisfaction to those who wanted Joss to acknowledge that Eight was not perfect in parts. It's also thrilled those who liked what happened in Eight. And pleased fans of Mecha Dawn (namely me).
Hello. Mr. Reader Response guy here! :-) Joss said "Possibly because that’s how I feel about it, or at least this country in the last 10 years." There is no mention of names, political affiliation, or even any meaningful point of reference at all. Any belief that this is a direct slam on the right is an interpretation made by the reader, not a fact supported by factual information in the quote, despite whatever one might think Joss believes. No more need be said on that.

My take on the letter is a bit more problematic. I think I see it as an admission of things gone wrong; otherwise, why note that he has changed his direction for S9? I think he knows he has upset some fans- and fans are what makes this work, despite anything else. I think he wants to try to get them back- he is responding to fan concerns and fan unhappiness, at least to some degree. I think he realizes he lost sight of things in S8, perhaps arising from having a larger pallet to work with- the message of the show got buried, perhaps transmuted. Did he want to send a message of female disempowerement? Did he wish to raise all the subtextual issues he did? I am not sure; I still believe he wanted so much to reconcile Buffy and Fray that much of what he built was sort of buried in the crush.I'd like to hang for S9, but don't think I will, since I just did not really like much of this outside of the chance to talk issues...And yes, what Simon said about its direction.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2011-01-20 18:49 ]
For all the things I've disliked about S8 (which I haven't yet finished), there were many things that I greatly enjoyed. And I'm fairly certain I'm not alone. This letter seems to speak to all camps associated with this particular piece of the fandom and speaks beautifully, it does.

Ya know...I'm starting to think this Joss guy has a future as a wordsmith.
Gorammit. Been a while since I posted, but I read this thread and HAD to read the source material, and then got spoiled. Tant pis!

I have to say what I take away from Joss' words is how gracious he is. It must be hard as an artist to create something, and then hear criticism of that work, gratuitous or justified. It's to his credit that he doesn't claim to be misunderstood but seeks to nurture his fan base by addressing their concerns and voicing his own.

For the record I liked Mecha-Dawn too.
Hmm. I admit, the comics just have not been doing it for me the way the TV show did and I was thinking of giving up at the end of season 8. But maybe I will give it another chance.
KingofCretins: "...my thought would be the smartest point Joss makes on that subject is that what he brought from his politics is the idea of a dimming world... and ONLY that...See the genius of it? He grabs an emotion created by his politics and writes about the emotion, not the politics. Then all the reader needs for the story to resonate is to relate to the emotion, not the politics."

Dana5140: "There is no mention of names, political affiliation, or even any meaningful point of reference at all. Any belief that this is a direct slam on the right is an interpretation made by the reader, not a fact supported by factual information in the quote, despite whatever one might think Joss believes."


Yessage. Major yessage.

That is Joss the Storyteller - and it's why his work resonates, for the most part, with so many different kinds of people and their many & varying viewpoints - he gets at something universal and shared, and conveys that - touches those chords. I think more than anything that is the "political" message he communicates, and it belongs to no one political position.

My point earlier of course was simply about Joss' not being confined, and not being required to be confined, to fan expectations about what kinds of things are appropriate to say. I was emphatically and purposefully not chiming in on a left/right debate - to conclude that I was is bringing one's own subtext about my political beliefs to my post.

Below are a couple of things Joss has said in interview that I think explain the kind of "political expression" Joss is careful to adhere to in his work.

"Well, inevitably, a person's beliefs are going to become part of what they write about. There are times when you have to be very careful. You have a responsibility not to put out a message that is inherently against what you believe. At the same time, you do have to be able to tell a story; you're not making a speech, or propaganda. If fiction doesn't speak to people, it's not genuine fiction about people. There are a lot of Republican and very conservative fans of the shows, and there is something in there for them; we want everybody who watches these stories to get something from them. They should be about the human condition, not just my political leanings or my beliefs. Yes, they're going to be my stories and the things I want to talk about, but they're for everybody. If somebody starts to feel not included, then that's a bad thing." - High Stakes 2004: Whedon Fans for Kerry by Billie Doux

---

[Re: Roseanne]WHEDON: "You know what I learned? And this was one of the most important things I've ever learned, one of the defining things about humanity. It was when she made a speech at the beginning of the season about how the tabloids were really giving her s**t and how they were infiltrating the crew and stuff, people were feeding them stuff – 'So you f***ing writers better keep your mouths shut or I'll have you all fired.' I realized, this was the perfect opportunity to make a speech that brought everybody closer together, that said, 'It's us against the world, and dammit, we've got good work to do here, let's all get it done' – and instead she used it to attack. 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." - An Interview with Joss Whedon by Ken Plume

I don't always adhere to the second one myself, but it is what I aspire to.

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



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