alixtii: Kitty and Emma un/dressing. From AXM, "Gifted." (femslash)
So there's been this version of "Cliff, Shag, Marry" going around with surprisingly complicated rules:

1. Comment and I will give you the names of 3 fictional characters or celebrities.
2. Post this meme with your answers.
3. Provide pictures and the names of the three people.
4. Label which you would marry, shag, or cliff.

I got three lists of names, one list each from [livejournal.com profile] maechi, [livejournal.com profile] kindkit, and [livejournal.com profile] netgirl_y2k.

ROUND ONE: Summer Glau, Dawn Summers, and Joss Whedon )

ROUND TWO: Emma Frost, Buffy Summers, Hermione Granger )

ROUND THREE: Dawn Summers, River Tam, Lucy Saxon  )

Comment if you want me to do you. Alternately, if you just want to play regular Cliff/Shag/Marry, leave the names of three characters.

Random Quiz )

Thoughts

Jan. 29th, 2008 12:49 pm
alixtii: Dawn Summers, w/ books and candles. Image from when Michelle hosted that ghost show. Text: "Dawn Summers / High Watcher. (Dawn)
For the last day or so I've had the incredible urge to put Peter Pevensie in a skirt. Partly I just think he would be hot in a skirt, aesthetically speaking, and that's more than enough reason. But I think there's also a humiliation aspect that's hitting my kinks* (or else why not just put a girl in the skirt?), which is more problematic: finding it humiliating to wear women's clothing is more than a little misogynistic, no? Then again, for a teenage boy during the blitz it'd probably be perfectly in character.

*Yes, I also have an embarrasment squick. When one or the other typically takes over is still something I am trying to theorize. I think it's that I don't want to be embarrassed for them (because they did something stupid, for example), but don't mind them being humiliated if they can be so while still keeping the moral high ground, so to speak. But Belle going into the forbidden wing of the castle in Beauty and the Beast or Pete confronting Mr. Softee in The Adventures of Pete and Pete both had me covering my eyes and ears and/or turning off the television set.

. . .

I saw this post of [livejournal.com profile] mara_sho's, and in particular the icon it uses, and was confused why she was putting her faith in the possibility of a posteriori necessities.

Musing

Dec. 28th, 2007 05:55 pm
alixtii: Fred Burkle, wearing labcoat and glasses. Text: "geek" (Fred Burkle)
I've just noticed I have an image saved to my desktop (the virtual desktop of my laptop, that is) as "amyackerhot.jpg."

. . . What other type of Amy Acker is there? 
alixtii: Player from <i>Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?</i> playing the game. (Default)
embedded video )

Some people on my flist have been passing around the Prince Caspian trailer and talking about the Narnia books in general. The topics are old chestnuts--discomfort with the Christian allegory, issues with the (lack of) purity of the adaptation--but it's been making me think about how much I enjoyed a movie I haven't really even thought about for about a year. How I still have the "Anna Popplewell is a Vampire Slayer" Will/Anna RPF fic started but unfinished on the harddrive of my desktop.

Also, I've been re-reading this post by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza, on (among other things) identification and over-identification in fanfic, and especially chan fic:

My point is just that I think things are more complicated than theyseem when it comes to representation and identification. [. . .] I think that the whole process of writingfiction--giving a character interiority, backstory, emotional depth andpoint of view--is pretty much the opposite of objectificaton,however much we ooh and ahh over boys: it's personifying,characterizing, three-dimensionalizing, complicating.
Lots of good discussion in the comments, too.

In all, it's reminded me of my complication relationship with Susan Pevensie. You see, Anna was sixteen when the first movie came out, which is a bit young for me. But this didn't stop me from recognizing her as exactly the type of girl I would have been attracted to when I was, say, eighteen (William Mosley's age when the movie came out).

So Peter/Susan and Will/Anna ping me powerfully: I didn't kiss a young woman for the first time until I was 21, so reading and writing these pairings is (was? I haven't even thought about them in ages) in many ways an attempt to rewrite my own childhood, to put in the romance which was sorely lacking. (And keep in mind the way many of us in fandom, myself most certainly included, use sex as a metaphor for emotional intimacy!) So the fact is that I become incredibly invested in a pairing between two characters I don't even find myself, as the almost-twenty-four-years-old Alixtii O'Krul, particularly attractive; I nonetheless derive intense pleasure from imagining them in a romantic/sexual relationship. They're hot together--and I'm not even sure what I mean by that, but it's the terminology fandom has given to me to express myself.

Some of you might remember me trying to turn to the notion of "fictional desire."

So, in conclusion . . . when I was on YouTube looking for the Prince Caspian trailer, I looked for vid recs. Under the cut is the only one I found that I can rec with only one caveat (that it's black and white for no reason I can see).

vid rec )
alixtii: Summer pulling off the strap to her dress, in a very glitzy and model-y image. (River)
I'm rewatching "The Ballad of Kevin and Tess" via Netflix--unlike almost all the rest of The 4400 Season 3, I watched this ep when it originally aired.

Have I mentioned lately that Summer Glau makes me go guh?

Plz to be Sarah Conner Chronicles time, now?
alixtii: Player from <i>Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?</i> playing the game. (Default)
I've been thinking about rotating my icons, so I made some comics icons. Now my skill with icon-ing is pretty much limited to cropping and resizing, but luckily that's all that was needed. Under the cut are four Astonishing Kitty icons, two Ultimate Kitty icons, four Stepford Cuckoo icons, and a Supergirl/Powergirl icon.

The icons are gankable, alter as you feel free, but I'm most interested in which icons I should use. Remember I only have the six slots, so every icon has to do triple- or quadruple duty, which means I'm leaning towards the 'cesty ones. But which do you like best? (Maybe I should dust off [livejournal.com profile] alixtiipolls.)

11 iconses )
alixtii: Mal and Kaylee, from Serenity the Movie. Text: "I Love My Captain." (iluvmycaptain)

This post is a response to [livejournal.com profile] melannen's much-recced (and deservedly so) post on the slasher's gaze, but more directly a response to a couple of responses to her post, namely[livejournal.com profile] ithiliana when she says, "I'm going to immediately complicate it by asking about 'the femslash gaze' (because although people are convincing me that slash can be f/f as well as m/m, her meta seems to focus on the male object of slash gaze…..)," and [livejournal.com profile] kyuuketsukirui when she asks "The very fact that there are two men involved means there will be men doing the looking and men being looked at. This applies for gay porn, lit, even real life. How can it be something specifically slashy/the defining characteristic of slash?" To respond to both of these points, however, I think requires a deeper engagement with the original post that prompted these responses. In particular, I want to use lots of examples, because that is that for which Grace (=[livejournal.com profile] kyuuketsukirui, but easier to type) asked.

[Note: This was originally longer and more coherent, and then I lost that draft. Since then it's been sitting on my hard drive getting less and less topical. I really don't have the time right now to perfect it any more, so I give it to you as it is.]

The Het Male Gaze )



The Queer Female Gaze )

The Femslasher's Gaze )

alixtii: Veronica and Mac. Text: "Girlfriends Actually." (Veronica Mars)
[livejournal.com profile] cofax7 has a post on impossibly pretty casts and how we as audiences react to and fanwank the impossible attractiveness of the characters.

I think I think of Sunnydale as being inhabited by impossibly attractive people, but it never bothered me. For one thing, Sunnydale always struck me as a (white) upper-middle class community--even if many of the people were lower class people who could afford to act upper-class because of low property values. I went to a private high school and a private university and a lot of people were impossibly attractive there, too. I suppose if I thought about it it should have been a lot more of a problem on Veronica Mars, where the 02ers wouldn't have been able to afford to keep themselves looking like the 09ers.

Plus the Hellmouth lets you fanwank anything.

I only really think about this when I create OCs, because my first impulse is to always create OCs who are pretty (not so-impossibly-Mary-Sue-pretty, but pretty) girls, because I am shallow, and then I feel guilty and like a bad liberal. Then I think about the rest of the population of Sunnydale, realize an unattractive female would be really out of place, and stop feeling guilty. (I'm not someone who feels fic should be more realistic than canon. Unexpected realism--for example, witches in the Jossverse talking like real-world Wiccans--throws me out of the world of the fic.)

And I rarely mention in the fic whether the character is pretty, so it's really just my imagination I have to worry about. Although my Character Index has pictures of some of the OCs, which are usually taken from IMDb or otherwise of (impossibly attractive) actors.
alixtii: Fred Burkle, wearing glasses, holding a book, and looking sort of shy. Text: "Desire." (desire)
picspam with a theme! )

Look, ma, I can crop! )

Should Summer Glau ever be photographed in a pair of spectacles, the world would explode from the sheer amount of guh.

Oh, Tina?

Sep. 26th, 2006 09:13 pm
alixtii: Mac and Cassidy. Text: "*squee!* (Cindy Mackenzie)
Tina: I don't know if they are going to actually introduce a new boyfriend for her [i.e., Mac].

Alixtii: Girlfriends are totally allowed.

Also, that dress (in the video, on the right) is really, really distracting. In a good way, I guess. (Although it isn't really an attractive dress.) Because of, yeah, you know. This dress )

ETA: It just occurred to me that I have an excuse to write dirtybadwrong cross-gen Tina Majorino/Miranda Richardson RPFS, with all kinds of fun symbolic resonances. Yay?!
alixtii: Summer pulling off the strap to her dress, in a very glitzy and model-y image. (River)
Searching on YouTube for clips of Summer, I found . . . clips of Summer. Whodathunk?

X. Summer-and-Alan recreation of the dinosaur scene at DragonCon (I've previously link to [livejournal.com profile] thenyxie's verbal description of this): here and here.
X. There-For-You. The 4400 vid, Tess Doerner to "There-For-You" by Flyleaf.
X. The Ballad of Kevin and Tess. The 4400 vid, Kevin/Tess to "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie. They are such an adorable pairing.
X. Just a Little Silence. The 4400 vid, Kevin/Tess to "Juste un Peu de Silence" by Calegero. The lyrics are in French, but from what I could figure out they seemed to fit fairly well.

Oh, Summer. Guh.

Top 10 Commenters on This Journal )

And things I might be interested based on my 'rarer' interests )

According to this script, my "rarer" interests include: time enough for love, motifs, liberal catholicism, naomi wildman, roger wyndam-pryce, kaylee/mal, canon whores, world-as-myth, third order irony, froplay, edwardian literature, eris discordia, watchers' council, interdisciplinarity, mesektet, liberal theology, theories of truth, recurring characters, metafic, noumena, futurefic, german idealism, intentional fallacy, death of the author, tess doerner, paratextuality, transcendental idealism, mac/madison, philosophy in literature, the immortal, dawn/giles, socialist literature, quentin travers, metatheatricality, post-"chosen", fictional incest, social construction, ethan/dawn, the emh, antifoundationalism, metapoetics, metatextuality, antirealism.
alixtii: Fred Burkle, wearing glasses, holding a book, and looking sort of shy. Text: "Desire." (desire)
. . . movieverse!Kitty Pryde is sitting in her underwear on a hospital gurney surrounded by Storm, Wolverine, and Colossus, who can't figure out how to use the mansion's super-advanced medical equipment ever since Jean died, because all of sudden she [i.e. Kitty]'s become really strong and stuff, and they think it might be a secondary mutation and Kitty's really afraid her skin is going to turn blue? And then an obscure script doctor named Joss Whedon enters with a ballerina named Summer Glau and announces that Kitty is a Vampire Slayer (Summer is one too), because Joss is a member of the Council of Watchers. But Kitty doesn't believe them, so they have to go wake up Tina Majorino and have her vamp out, because Tina is a vampire who was cursed with a soul two-hundred years ago. (All of her "daytime" scenes are done with CGI.) And Joss reports to his boss Alexis Denisof and they have sex and Kitty and/or Summer has sex with Tina who then turns evil and kills everybody, then cackles evilly. Where is this fic?

Because that is completely what RPF should be about.

Guh

Sep. 8th, 2006 09:37 pm
alixtii: Summer pulling off the strap to her dress, in a very glitzy and model-y image. (River)
Oh, Summer. Even just reading the words on the page makes me go guh.
alixtii: Player from <i>Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?</i> playing the game. (Default)
If there is one or more people on your friends list who makes your world a better place just because they exist and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.

For those of you recognizing that the proportion of memetic content to non-memetic content (which, if we're being technical about the actual meaning of "memetics," is an oxymoron) has grown, this is because . . . er, uh . . . this is because I am conducting a super-secret experiment in memetics.

Yes, I am an experimental memeticist, and you are my guinea pigs. So, erm, stay tuned anyway?

In case you don't believe that, I promise that there will be real content eventually. I have a lot of different fics in a lot of different fandoms planned; I just never seem to have any energy or time to write any of them. Not to mention re-applying to grad schools or searching for better jobs than the summer job I have now, neither activity being one that I've really done as much or as well as I should.

So that pictorial LJ interests collage meme thing, with the tags not even pretending to be represented by the pictures with which they are paired:

My Interests Collage! )

ETA:I particularly like how it translates Mac/Madison as a Fleetwood Mac album. But that's okay; I like Fleetwood Mac (I'm pretty sure?).

And, Summer. Tina. Juliet. Michelle. Iyari. Amanda, Eliza, Jewel, Miranda, Amy, Elizabeth. (Not to mention Aly, Sarah, Cynthia, Kate, Kristen, and whoever that woman who plays Discord is.) Guh. Just guh. (As Ari would say, actors are paid to be pretty.)

ETA2: And, upon googling Kristen to make sure I spelled her name correctly (I did), I have learned that she will be starring in the animated film Flatland: The Movie. How cool is that?
alixtii: Summer pulling off the strap to her dress, in a very glitzy and model-y image. (River)
Anyone who has been following this LJ knows I am a defender of seriality. I (in theory if not always in practice) wait until a work is finished to start posting but still serial post it anyway, and always use the same anecdote about my brother complaining about how shows on DVD are missing something without the commercials. It's an intellectual position designed to give the author as many tools in their toolbox as possible, because most of my flist are talented writers whom I trust to use those tools effectively. The anticipation, the frustration, the withdrawal: these emotions, while not always pleasant, are sometimes what we need even if they aren't what we want. (Yes, I will go to the grave defending Joss for that quote.)

But don't think for a moment that I'm immune to the pleasure of inhaling an entire chaptered fic or season on TV. There's something wonderful about being so caught up in a fictional universe that one loses track of the soi-disant "real world" (which makes me think about how it has been way too long since I've read a novel, especially a long one).

Of course, the simple truth is that for the most part, the only practical mechanism for producing such detailed worldbuilding and depth of story is a serial one. So we have a paradox; we must embrace seriality in order to eschew it.

Which is a (characteristically, for me) long-winded way of saying that I've spent the last week or so mainlining episodes of The 4400. I watched season 1 (such as it is) last Saturday, and watched season 2 (again, such as it is) Thursday and Friday.

The 4400, while excellently done science-fiction, isn't nearly will-to-powery enough (which is one of its strengths, actually) for it to earn the sort of love I have for Buffy or Veronica Mars. (When they start the spin-off series Tess of the 4400, on the other hand....) But I think it'll settle in comfortably with my other minor fandoms.

Vaguely spoilerish? )
alixtii: Player from <i>Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?</i> playing the game. (Default)
Statler and Waldorf deliver the meta once again. Not quite as slashy this time, though.

*

I really love this icon. Summer is just so . . . "guh," and I like the red-against-black-and-white. The "problematizing desire" River/Kaylee one's not bad either. (I figured I needed "desire" icons after the recent meta.

*

If it weren't for 'thons I wouldn't be writing fic at all, since I have so much schoolwork ("thesis? what thesis?"), but I do miss working on my chaptered fic. To Live in Hearts, I'm thinking about you.

*

I gave a couple of (female) students rides home from a class dinner on Thursday, and it wasn't until I was exiting my car that I realized I let the conversation be about me the entire time. I shrugged it off--I already have a girlfriend (and wouldnn't have been interrested in those girls anyway), and I'm graduating in a little more than a month, so who cares if my social skills are horrible?--but one wonders how I got a girlfriend in the first place. (Answer: Geeks don't date the same way mundanes do.)

*

Wrote my first Veronica Mars fanfic over the weeked, Veronica/Mac/Lilly. Is that my first threesome? I think so, although since Lilly's a ghost I'm not sure it actually counts. Oh, right--there was the Joss/River/Ari, but I don't think that counts either. Been thinking about threesomes I could write, such as Wes/Faith/Buffy (which I have a plot for and everything, even), Buffy/Giles/Cordelia, or Veronica/Mac/Cassidy. But I want to finish To Live in Hearts first, and that won't happen until after I'm done the thesis. And I've been planning to write Amy/Rack/Drusilla forever. (Well, since last summer.)

*

Silent retreat this weekend at a not-really-local monastery. I'm going to bring some books which hover in the grey area between schoolwork (which is forbidden) and devotional literature (which is encouraged). I have a lot of books from the thesis research on the role of mysticism in analytic philosophy--Russell and Wittgenstein, mainly. Or maybe I'll bring the St. Augustine to reread or finally get around to reading the Thomas Merton. Any suggestions?
alixtii: Dawn Summers, w/ books and candles. Image from when Michelle hosted that ghost show. Text: "Dawn Summers / High Watcher. (Dawn)
[livejournal.com profile] executrix responded to my meta post on "fictional desire" and went to a place that was (somewhat) less theoretical and more focused on what happens when we read and write fics. And since our theorizations are all but useless if they don't fit our fannish experience, I think that's a good instinct. Likewise, [livejournal.com profile] thelastgoodname also went to a place that focused on the fanfics which exist in fandom and our relationships with them, asking a craft-of-writing question about sex scenes and [livejournal.com profile] hermionesviolin asked an empirical question about who and how we desire, bracketing the more theoretical issues.

So I want to discuss the specific way that I tend to approach a fic and the way that it interacts with my desire (without going TMI). Partially this is because we can't have any idea of how much of our experience is generalizable--and thus cannot construct a theory out of it--if we don't gaze at our own navels sometimes and share our experience. [livejournal.com profile] executrix focused on the reader who reads fanfic for the sex scenes, and has a lot of good stuff. Let me put forth myself as a somewhat, but not completely, different sort of reader.

When Alixtii reads about t3h sex )

By why should we turn to fanfic for that? )

Part of it is, of course, the nature of our fandoms, and just how multitextual they are. It's been joked that Serenity is fueled entirely by the sexual tension of its crew. Mal/Kaylee, while not a common pairing, has its canon foundation in their physical intimacy and clear devotion. Homoeroticism has been a staple of literature since time immemmorial. But in part these tensions are revealed in the text because we have trained ourselves to look for them, and in extreme cases it might be unclear if they have formal existence at all. (Of course, as a post-structuralist I eschew the concept of formal existence completely, but there is a continuum between the eisegesis which is an inevitable consequence of using language and reading things into a text merely because we want them to be there. Not that either extreme is necessarily illegitimate, mind you.) So the question remains: why?

And for me, at least, I think the answer is: for the love of the game (utilizing a play on "The Game" that [livejournal.com profile] wisdomeagle pointed out to me). After all, I was writing, reading, and (most especially) imagining fanfiction scenarios (as well as original fiction scenarios in which the id-vortex was close to the surface) long before sexual desire became a meaningful component of how I approached my source texts. My first ships (e.g., Doc/7) were based on the characters with whom I identified rather than those I desired. Nowadays I'd probably explain it as the difference between the lense of the het male gaze (which both I and various characters with whom I identify--the EMH, Wesley, Mal, Simon--share) and the lense of the disembodied quasi-omniscient author/viewer/reader. But the desire to write my own stories in which the characters--the EMH and Naomi Wildman were my self-inserts, but never Mary Sues--achieved their desires is rooted in an "adolescent" fantasy, a will-to-power which is really pre-sexual (but at the same time fundamentally sexual in certain implicit ways). There is a reason why my fandoms deal with starship captains and vampire slayers and teenaged detectives and computer whizzes and presidents, after all. There is something larger than life in each and every one of them.

I identify with the characters I write (all of them, as a necessary result of writing them, but most deeply with my viewpoint characters), and thus I want them to achieve their desires even when they are not the same desires I have. So sure I sometimes shift their desires to be a little more in line with the sort of desire I am likely to have, or would be likely to have (rather than those exact desires that I do have) so that we end up with Amy/Dawn; but I'm also able to write Dawn/Giles from Dawn's OTP, because I want her as a authorial insert to achieve her desires, and I recognize that her desires won't always be the same as mine. (Also, I recognize that many of the reasons that Dawn desires Giles or similar to the the reasons I might desire a female, and so I can identify with the desire in that way.) Similarly, I identify with Peter's desire for his sister not because I desire Susan, but because I recognize Susan as the sort of person whom I would have desired when I was Peter's age.

I think it makes perfect sense to say that I "pretend" to desire Susan or Giles, but it is only when I pretend to desire a character who isn't too far from the sort of desires I am likely to have (note again that I don't have to actually have these desires) as in Amy Madison, that the identification with the desire becomes so strong that the pretense of the desire passes into that liminal stage when it becomes paired with real arousal (now defined by [livejournal.com profile] wisdomeagle and I as "desire-for-orgasm").

And so ultimately I do think it comes back to the question of where the reader/writer is located in the text, as [livejournal.com profile] executrix recognized. So if you haven't already, go read that post.
alixtii: Player from <i>Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?</i> playing the game. (Femslash)
I read Kendall Walton's Mimesis As Make-Believe over Christmas break, but it was simply too large to connect my thoughts on fandom. Here's a more manageable secondary souce (Feeling in Imagination" by Richard Moran) I am now reading as I consider the nature of satire (why isn't Nineteen Eighty-Four triumphant?):
[T]o be afraid you must think you are in danger, and yet you seem to be stricken with fear. [. . . O]ne is experiencing what [Watson] calls quasi-fear, pretending really to be afraid, as part of a game of make-believe in which the movie or story is a prop.

The implication here is that while I could perhaps desire Eliza Dushku or Iyari Limon or Michelle Trachtenberg, I only "quasi-desire" or "fictionally desire" Faith or Kennedy or Dawn as a move in a game. I could desire Dawn Summers in the way that I could desire Iyari Limon (but don't, since I've never met her), but such desire would probably not be completely healthy. This strikes me as correct (although I have doubts about Watson's schema as a whole). Fictional desire isn't the same thing as normal desire. If Faith or Kennedy or Dawn were to walk in my door right now, what would my reaction be? "Sorry, I have girlfriend"? Possibly I'd say that to Kennedy, but I'd probably be turned off by Faith's anti-intellectualism. I'd be repulsed by my Watcher!Dawn's monstrous nature iff she were a real person. But even though I have no real desire at this moment for anyone but my girlfriend, I enjoy immensely playing the game as if I did. To put it in Watson's terms, I desire my fictional desiring.

This sort of desire, then, is constituted within a fictional "game" with a TV series as a prop. In light of this, my turn as a het male to femslash makes perfect sense. Since the desire I (pretend to) feel for a fictional character is constituted wholly in the context of a fictional game, it is never truly mine. It is just as easy to hand it off to another fictional character (who already resides in the world of the object of fictional desire). Since I identify most strongly with the female characters (for whatever reason) I pick a female as my avatar, and thus femslash.

It is also important to remember that I am not the only player in this fictional game (or games). Watson describes multiplayer fictional games extending from children's makebelieve to the more sophisticated sort of make believe that occurs when actors play characters in front of a present audience. But the type of community play that we've instituted in ou fanfiction circles is, I think, very special.After all, it is ultimately you guys who make the game so much fun to play.

That said, I'm not 100% certain about the usefulness of these conceptual categories. If someone is reading [livejournal.com profile] secretary_fic one-handed, what sense does it really make to call the desire which they are feeling merely "fictional"? Is that really only a "quasi-desire"? And what about when we use real people (for whatever value of "real") as props in our fictional games. I don't see anything wrong with that, but I can just see a man explaining to his wife, on being caught checking out a much younger woman: "I was only pretending to desire her!"*

*But this distinction strikes me as quite reasonable, however much the wife might not accept it. I can enjoy pretending to desire characters both real and fictional to whom I am not actually sexually attracted, after all, for whatever reason (too young, too old, wrong gender, unattractive, whatever). And my fictional desire may be of a nature (incest, chan, noncon, BDSM, whatever) not applicable to my actual desire. Or so I tell myself.
alixtii: Player from <i>Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?</i> playing the game. (Default)
Quotes )

It's Bufferverse Day 2005. So. . . .

Why do I love the Buffyverse? Well, why do I? ) Buffy allows me to vicariously live out the adolescent fantasy without ever treating me like a child: it assumes that I'm culturally literate and can get a joke about Sartre or Arthur Miller, that I can follow a complex plotline drawn out over several years, that I'm interested in the depths of human emotion, and that I care about the characters as more than just fighters of evil. That I am prepared to face some of the darker sides of human nature. That I will notice the gender and racial politics at work within the show. That my desire for knowledge, my desire for power, and my sexual desire are all intertwined and that it is possible to engage them all at once.

Buffy is intelligent television.

The show isn't afraid to blur the line between hero and villain. Angel, Spike, Darla, Drusilla, Amy, Willow, Faith, Wesley, Giles, Anya, Lilah, Lindsey, Eve, Quentin, Roger, Illyria, and even Buffy herself challenge the clear and easy distinction between hero and villain and make it extremely clear that "normative" is not always the same as "good." In doing so, the show flirts with the fascination I and others feel for the villain, recognizing it as not essentially something belonging to the Other (the monstrous, the vampiric), but something which is essentially human. We empathize and identify with Faith and Willow as they go evil--and as we confront them on the screen, we confront ourselves.

Read more... )

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