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July 18 2004

Would Freud have seen Buffy as just Buffy? "The endless pseudo-scholarly theorising over Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer reflects a culture that finds it increasingly difficult to distinguish between childish entertainment and adult intellectual nourishment."

A tenuous a link to the Whedon-verse given that Buffy is mentioned only briefly in this perspective on the validity of Harry Potter as a metaphor; however, I think it is interesting to apply the same critical eye towards our analysis of the works of Whedon & Co. While I disagree with the notion that Buffy is devoid of subtext, I wonder if we don't create metaphors where there were none intended.

"I wonder if we don't create metaphors where there were none intended."

Of course we do, remember all the cheeseman theories? Theres lots of metaphor and literary themes in the show but I doubt Joss thinks about all of this as much as the fans do, BUT he'd probably rather us think about it than not.
Joss Whedon has in the past stated that every episode of the show is supposed to have double-meanings. The fact that I could take any episode and delve into it as a metaphore without any preparation definately seems to proove that point.

Perhaps some delve too deeply, but I could make the same claim about any litterature.
I also take offense to Buffy the Vampire Slayer being labled under "childish entertainment" Honestly it's one of the least childish shows I've seen on television. Even if you want to look at it at a surface level I wouldn't dare call it childish.

I would like for the writer of this article to watch "Restless" and still admit that this show is childish entertainment not worth any form of literary analysis.
Or Hush, or The Body. Hell, even Family.

Just keep me the hell away from these cavalier assholes who think they know what they are talking about. They seem to be coming out of the woodwork.

*shaking hands in frustration* grrrrr.
Oh my goodness, has the author of this article even watched the show or just took it to be 'childish entertainment' based on its title? BtVS is made up of a whole bunch of metaphores. Yes, of course, some go a little bit beserk in the analysis of certain things (but, like rabid stated, this is common with the analysis of many kinds of literature) and I've seen people look for meaning in some things where there probably isn't any meaning but really! Really, really, really! And just the fact that the author inserted 'even' before 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' makes me wonder if they have even bothered with the show ..! Tres boo.
LOL. I imagine this guy is gonna get so many letters from Buffy fans. :)
Of course we do, remember all the cheeseman theories?

I find that particular example funny as Whedon specifically stated that their is no meaning behind the cheeseman, yet we insist on connecting dots; however, I think it's great that we do and I think Whedon does too. Better we think too much than too little :)

In one of the commentaries for season 6, Marti Noxon makes a similar declaration of “no hidden meaning” with regard to the numbered shirts worn by several characters.

Of course, it's likely that Whedon and Noxon are just trying to throw us off the trail—the truth is out there TM!
what a snob. many of dickens' contemporaries thought he was mindless entertainment for the masses too. and he obviously has never watched the show. arrogance AND ignorance.

people like that frustrate me, even though they're really not worth the energy.
LOL. I imagine this guy is gonna get so many letters from Buffy fans. :)

Yeah, he's really stepped in it!
Well, I wrote my senior thesis on BtVS, so if this guy's right, I suck, huh?
did you really, grrarrgh00? i'm actually thinking of writing my masters thesis on buffy. :D!
As Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes a children’s book is just for children.

And sometimes an uninformed, elitist, cultural generalizer is just an uninformed, elitist, cultural generalizer, eh? ;)
"And sometimes an uninformed, elitist, cultural generalizer is just an uninformed, elitist, cultural generalizer, eh? ;) "

Exactly. (Btw, are they still actually quoting Freud? He was one to talk by the way since he's the man who saw sexual undertones in literally everything we say or dream)

But this whole article...good grief. Save me from intellectual snobs of that caliber. Note how he writes : "Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

Because Winnie is of course, far more adult than Buffy.....I doubt the man ever looked past the name of 'Buffy' or ever sat down to actually watch the show.

Hey we all have things we think are crap. Or think we know are crap but consider guilty pleasures. But this type of cheap labelling is merely pseudo-intellectual snobbery.

It reminds me of what Stephen King said, when he was chiding the american literary world (in an acceptance speech) for only reading what is 'officially' dubbed "literature" and looking down on everything else in pop culture. He asked if it was really something to be proud of for writers to be deliberately cut off from their own culture and what goes on in other media and genres and in most of the population's minds. Kind of enjoyed that one.

Buffy was filled with symbolism and metaphors. Probably not as much as some fans see, but you'd have to be a complete and utte moron not to see the majority of them. If you actually watch it of course...
Any metaphors, ideas, observations, themes, etc. that can be taken from any work of art that were not intended by the artist are as valid as those that were intended. It is a poor artist (and a poor critic) who thinks otherwise.
"He asked if it was really something to be proud of for writers to be deliberately cut off from their own culture and what goes on in other media and genres and in most of the population's minds."

Yes exactly.

And why should anyone consider children's literature to be of any less value than 'adult literature'? (Say it with me: "Because they're snobs.") If it ever meant anything to us, at any age, why should we consider it something lesser when we grow older? (Imagine if people lived 500 or so years longer than we do - would they act condescendingly towards the works of art that we as adults take so seriously?)
Wiseblood and prufrock: Hear, hear!
Any metaphors, ideas, observations, themes, etc. that can be taken from any work of art that were not intended by the artist are as valid as those that were intended.

Yeah I tried to say the same thing earlier only I used more words and less eloquence.
I'm off two minds on this piece. On the one hand, the guy is definitely a snob. The moment a cultural creator or a cultural consumer says something is "just" a children's story/fantasy/horror movie/comic book, etc. all is pretty much lost.

On the other hand, most of the people he points to do kind of sound like idiots.

Still, anything that keeps intellectuals off the streets is probably to the good.

[ edited by bobster on 2004-07-19 02:00 ]

[ edited by bobster on 2004-07-19 02:00 ]
Still, anything that keeps intellectuals off the streets is probably to the good.

Now, not all intellectuals are bad. Some of them actually make significant contributions to culture. ;) Being a person "endowed with intellect; having the power of understanding; having capacity for the higher forms of knowledge or thought; characterized by intelligence or mental capacity" (good 'ol Webster) could well describe individuals as diverse as any of us, JW himself, and certainly any of the writers thus far responsible for inspiring our continued devotion.

It's just when analytical ability isn't armed with knowledgeable awareness of a subject, or when that subject is denigrated unfairly or baselessly, the inequities of argument are all the more glaring. We should all hope to be intelligent. I mean, it's not a term I'd consider an insult. A sharp knife in the hand beats a half-dozen dull ones in the kitchen drawer any day.

The gentleman is, however, clearly unacquainted with the particulars of the Whedonverse. If he's truly intelligent, and at all interested in maintaining his credibility, the feedback he'll no doubt be receiving from fans should spur him to enlarge the scope of his assumptions. A little Freud, a little Buffy ... there's room for both and maybe he'll figure that out. Moderation in all things...

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