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  1. Robbie added a post in a topic Excited to be here!   

    Welcome, Katie!
  2. Mister Antrobus added a post in a topic There And Back Again 6: The West And The Wild   

    Confound it, I was so excited to attend my first live session on Thursday, but after a stressful week, I tuned in and promptly fell asleep! But I am all caught up now. A few things . . .
    1. On the improvised songs, I like what tensen said:
    Also, I think Tolkien consciously hearkened back to ancient cultures with stronger oral storytelling and song traditions. To dwarves and goblins, using songs to tell stories, even on the fly, may have been a pretty normal part of their culture -- as it was for, say, the Geats of Beowulf.
    2. On animals speaking: Alastair missed at least one powerful instance of animal speech in LOTR. 
    3. I was hoping to hear some commentary from Alastair on the very last sentence of this chapter, which I find striking and enigmatic:
    But all night [Bilbo] dreamed of his own house and wandered in his sleep into all his different rooms looking for something that he could not find nor remember what it looked like.
    What are we to take from this? Taking time out from the narrative to describe a dream is a curious choice at this point in the story. It is almost certainly not a prophetic dream, but it may yet have significance.
    How shall we interpret it? Could it be simply that Bilbo has been away from home so long now that he is starting to have trouble remembering? Could the lost thing he is seeking have something to do with Bilbo changing as a person, leaving behind some portion of his old self as he now leans into the Quest? 
    Or might it have something to do with the ring? Perhaps that's a bit of a stretch, but the anxiety of searching for an unknown thing, and of finding one's home suddenly alien, seems in keeping with the ring's subtle influence on the bearer's personality. Maybe I am reading too much "future" knowledge about the ring into this passage, but given the already well-established connections (and the major retcon in Ch. V) between The Hobbit and LOTR, I think it could be a valid reading. 
    What do you think?
  3. xallanthia added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    I actually read a post-Chosen fic in which a new sexual partner explained safe words to Buffy and her reaction was to burst into tears - basically, finally letting go of "what good girls like" and getting into enjoying herself without guilt.  But I also agree that it's likely that in s6 while she was still denying that it was okay to want any of that, she would not have been ready to have that conversation.  (Also, I'm not sure Spike even knows what they are.  I doubt vamps are into safe, sane, and consensual, as a rule.)
  4. JoSpangel added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    Excusing is not the same as examining. I agree that the scene s dark and disturbing - more disturbing to me than later scenes of note. But to simply label it as rape and move on does a real disservice to the show and the characters. The balcony scene should be examined because it is so complex and critical to Buffy's journey. This is the height of Spike's power over Buffy - his ability to draw her into the dark. Yes, she tells him to stop, but she makes no attempt to stop him. Physically Buffy does enjoy it - she closes hr eyes and leans back into him. She is as enthusiastic as someone engaged in public sex is likely to be.I know this is a complete abrogation of Buffy's right to choose but it works on far more than the sexual level.
    Once Spike tells her to open her eyes, it's clear that the fact she enjoys it fills her with self loathing. Her expression hardens into a blank mask of  bleak and helpless endurance.  This is what she puts herself through in order to feel. It's how she punishes herself for her anger at being forced to live again. Spike knows Buffy better than anyone, and he knows this is the handle he needs to draw her into the dark. She told him that she doesn't trust him, and barely likes him - that she can never love him. But she likes what he can do to her, what he can make her feel physically. And he truly believes she loves him and doesn't know it - just as he believed Cecily did, and Dru.
    When I talk about why Spike does what he does, and why Buffy reacts the way she does I am not excusing it - I am trying to comprehend.
    To call out the writers for this is utterly bogus, IMO.  Any drama is going to cover distasteful subjects - show distasteful scenes. If every resolution is pre-scripted for maximum social value then drama becomes unrealistic polemic. Is it better for rape victims to never see a rape? To see all rapes as physical attacks by strangers? To never see the layers of emotion that feed a mutually abusive relationship? To always see every victim able to fight back, every bad guy as a two dimensional villain, and every resolution as a triumph? How does that validate the complex issues that are part of abuse? It seems to me that it would further isolate victims since most assaults are not nearly that neat and simple. The very fact that most victims know their abusers shows that abuse - mutual or otherwise - is not simple.
    What I see here is that Buffy is allowing herself to be abused (regardless of how Spike intends it) because she needs it to feel anything at all. This is what she tells Tara. Buffy is in a battle with herself - against herself - trying to heal the rift between the person who jumped, and the person who was ripped out of heaven. Her support system has blown up, but she finally makes the effort to reach out and ask for help. The scene on the balcony made her hit bottom - and that's where she needed to be in order to finally break out of her self imposed withdrawal from the outer world. 

  5. Katie Barmazel added a topic in Who's Who   

    Excited to be here!
    Hi all, I've only just discovered story wonk but I've been obsessively catching up on some of the podcasts. So happy to be able to join in in real time from now on. I'm particularly excited by There and Back Again, I love Tolkien. 
    • 1 reply
  6. StrangelyLiteral added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    This counter-fact is so disappointing. I also loved Alastair's theory because the balcony scene does work so much better as Buffy's perception of her situation with Spike than as a continuation in kind of their on-screen relationship thus far. Spike wants her to be with him and to let go of her rigidity and embrace and enjoy her "dark side," but the key word there is enjoy. Ever since the house came down, he hasn't been actively trying to make her feel bad the way he is here. I think the story works much better when Spike genuinely thinks he's good for Buffy and doesn't understand why he's also terrible for her at the same time. This scene breaks that interpretation.  
    For me, the tonal weirdness is fixed by knowing that the BtVS writer's room was speaking directly to/about their fans (like Jupiter mentioned). Without the silly squabbling and typical humorous stuff, it would be easy to see the Trio as just evil villains. But the audience is clearly supposed to identify with them or at least empathize and laugh with them at the same time that they're planning all of these terrible things and revealing some very troubling ideas about women.
    The message is that there are some truly sinister things lurking within geek culture, and that it's not those other evil people that you don't identify with, it's people you know and like, and it might even be you.
  7. Kim W. added a post in a topic The Scot And The Sassenach 82: We Love Lord John   

    Thank you and welcome back to Daphne. I really love your insights and additions to the podcast. This was a great episode, and I'm looking forward to hearing more from you!
  8. William'sbloodyawfulpoetry added a post in a topic Dusted 37: The Snark-Kick   

    I really enjoyed that pedantic post, but it did seem to hinge rather on the fact that Lady Chatterton didn't notice snow in Dublin at Christmas time - but it doesn't make it clear that Lady Chatterton was actually in Dublin at Christmas time (perhaps she was but the post doesn't make that clear). After all, she would have trouble noting the weather of Dublin if she was in fact in Galway or Limerick. If Britain is anything to go by, it is perfectly possible that Dublin could be buried in snow and 10 miles down the road they could be enjoying an unseasonable warm snap - Island weather is unpredictable and varied. And coastal towns seems to have climates that are a law unto themselves. I don't know much about Irish weather but Dublin is only a short hop across the sea from Liverpool (I mean, a really short hop), snow in Liverpool (and the whole North West) is rarer than in the North East, but it's certainly not unheard of. The Night of the Big Wind is memorable because the snow buried houses and made the landscape unrecognisable - that is unheard of, doesn't mean a smattering of light snow wasn't a regular occurrence.    
    Also her book is entitled 'Rambles in Southern Island', this being long before a Northern Ireland/ROI split we can assume she isn't using 'southern Ireland' to just mean not NI, the way people did in the mid- late 20th Century. In 1838 there is only one Ireland, and she is in the South of it. Dublin is Northish, so how could she be talking about Dublin with any kind of authority? It's not like she can check the weather app on her phone, now, is it?
    We can all be Pedantic - But Buffy is always right.
  9. William'sbloodyawfulpoetry added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    I LOVE the idea that Spike isn't really there and it's all just a dark fantasy in her mind (not least because a lot of so called 'good girls' fantasise about having their objections completely over ridden, good girls don't like or want sex - she said no, he didn't listen so she's off the hook).
    Unfortunately my encyclopaedic knowledge of Buffy is already telling me: 
     sad, but true.
    (having trouble quoting @xallanthia said:) They both clearly like power play; if I knew they had an established safeword that scene would be fine, particularly as her "don't" has something of the tone of a token protest. (Which, to be clear, does not make it a yes - it's still wrong - but it's also not the first time Buffy has said "don't" or "stop" and then switched to participate enthusiastically.)But she doesn't turn this into enthusiastic participation in this instance. It doesn't matter how many times she says 'stop' and then goes onto continue, every time she says 'stop' he absolutely must, or it's rape - they can always start up again once he's stopped, if she didn't mean it. Previous behaviour does not inform present consent. I agree with @JoSpangel that it is very unlikely that Buffy would have set up a safe word (and as we haven't seen it we have to assume there isn't one - a young teenage audience can't be expected to head canon bdsm practice in order to understand what they're seeing), and it doesn't matter how 'token' a protest is, it should still be listened to - like Xander and Willow in 'revelations.'
    Perhaps it is a product of it's time, and we have come a bit further since then, but whilst I would expect teenagers and college students to know 'no means no' and not much else (but she did say 'no'!) I would still expect the writers, adults with a wealth of life experience, to be a bit more knowledgeable and a bit more careful of what they were showing. I don't think we have really come a long way since 2002, in many ways we appear to have gone backwards, but I have a better understanding of consent and relationships than I did back then, not because the world has changed, but because my view of the world has changed - I've grown up. The writers were already grown up - what does this say about their view on consent and relationships? And how is that view informing the views of all the young people who watched their work?  
    I'd happily see the balcony scene as a product of its time if everyone called it out for what it was now. But they don't, most people never think twice about it and if they do they come up with reasons to excuse it. She said 'Stop' he said 'make me' and continued, I honestly don't understand how there can be discussion on it - claiming she didn't mean 'stop', or he couldn't know she meant it because she'd said it before, is rape apologism 101, and if this is what people genuinely believe when they see it happen on T.V - then no wonder rape convictions are so shockingly low.
  10. john-a-dreams added a post in a topic Dusted 37: The Snark-Kick   

    I'll agree with Lani that the snow does more than just be a pretty miracle. Earlier in the Giles scene Angel is actually wondering who brought him back and what his purpose was and the visions from the FE are only pushing this narrative that his only purpose will be for evil. The mere fact that some other greater power is willing to intervene on Angel's behalf show him that he does/can have some other purpose.
    Count me as another person who loves this episode.
    Also, this episode is the subject of one of my favorite hilariously overly-pedantic posts on the Bad History subreddit.
  11. ben added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    kind of bummed this episode wasn't called 'heroin, AGAIN?!'
    once again al killing it with these banger one liners
  12. JoSpangel added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    Yup, and he could get her back by giving her what she wanted - but he never had to step back and see what she needed as a whole picture. Times were very different - Buffy would have staked him if he suggested a safe word. BDSM was for sick people.
  13. xallanthia added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    Some of this is probably a product of the time.  Explicit, enthusiastic consent education was much less a thing in 2002.  (I was in college; we heard "no means no" but not much else.)
    Furthermore, I see a lot of Buffy's issues with sex and Spike being somewhat of a complex about what "good girls" should like in bed, even down to her thinking that it isn't okay to have sex with someone you don't love.  They both clearly like power play; if I knew they had an established safeword that scene would be fine, particularly as her "don't" has something of the tone of a token protest. (Which, to be clear, does not make it a yes - it's still wrong - but it's also not the first time Buffy has said "don't" or "stop" and then switched to participate enthusiastically.)
  14. xallanthia added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    I think this is important - to remember Spike's relationship past.  He's always been the one following after, drawing back on, begging for attention from, his long-term lover (Harmony being the short-lived exception).  Dru, even before she was ill, would draw away, would leave, would cheat.
  15. JoSpangel added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    @Jupiter I could not agree more. For Buffy to let lose, relax her iron control, is so unlike her that it has to feel...well, that she came back wrong, that she is behaving demonically. It never occurred to me that Spike is only in her mind - gonna have to watch it again.
    And yes - I think Tara even mentions that she went through something similar coming out to her family when Buffy talks about how afraid she is that her friends will disown her.
    Also - Tara deserves so much more than just being Willow's girlfriend.
  16. Lady Ellie added a post in a topic The Scot And The Sassenach 82: We Love Lord John   

    Since "We all love Lord John", I do hope that you do some of the Lord John books. You are probably the only one of us to be farsighted enough to welcome the very late airing date for Season 3, I think you should do a seminar on The Scottish Prisoner. It occurs during Jamie's time at Hellwater, and I think it might give us more insight into Lord John's character and their friendship. Who knows, some of it could show up in the series. Please?
  17. Jupiter added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    Okay so; more Dead Things thoughts.
    Firstly, on Jonathan and Andrew, and their place within The Trio:
    1) They are always squabbling with each other. Not friends. Only just allies, united by Warren
    2) Andrew is continually jockeying to be #2 in the group, with Jonathan as the extra. Jonathan is just happy, or content, to be included. Warren is using them both. Andrew acts from infatuation on Warren, which becomes clearer and clearer as the episodes progress; and was especially apparent to me when first watching the show this season, as an LGBT person myself.
    Following this mode of thinking; when they first cast the spell, Jonathan looks anticipatory, Andrew just a little nervous; not actually thrilled by the idea of being able to have any woman. There's probably another reason why Andrew hasn't been a hit with girls thus far in his life.
    3) When J + A are acting ground control, Andrew, in a tone of nervous excitement, says 'we can have anyone we want', notably not any woman or girl. This is a common tactic among LGBT people, especially young or closeted, using gender neutral terms to dodge the issue of sexuality and having to lie or fake interest in the opposite sex.
    4) When Katrina comes in, french maided up, Andrew only talks about how 'cool' it is that the device worked. Jonathan openly expresses a wish to have had one when he was in highschool, to be able to do these things to other girls.
    5) Jonathan walks around Katrina, appraising her body from from every angle, while Andrew stands nervously by. He nervously adds, to Jonathan's sexually-charged comments, that he guesses she's 'cute' which offends Warren into going on a rant about all of her 'assets', which Andrew does not really react to or become enthused by.
    Altogether, Andrew does not like being put in the same box as Jonathan - a social outsider and someone who all throughout the highschool that they all attended - together, presumably - was seen as a friendless loser. Andrew, like Xander, is a nerd, and - although the writing is patchy with this, is going through some sexuality issues, but does not see himself on a par in the social hierarchy with someone like Jonathan. There are various levels of using each other within The Trio, which makes for an interesting comparison and counterpoint to the relationships within the Scoobies - and their associates - this season.
    Now, I don't completely excuse Andrew for being an accessory to murder and rape, but I do think seeing and keeping in mind the LGBT angle retains imporant perspective on his actions and also why
    Now, considering the Spuffy/Buffy elements in this episode, I agree with an earlier poster that I don't read Spike as actually being on the balcony with her in that scene.
    From the way it's shot, with him as a devil on her shoulder, and from the huge difference in how he talks to her now compared to how he talked to her earlier in the episode, are two reasons. I wouldn't put it past Buffy to be fantasizing though, rather than it just playing on her mind - and even that act playing into the darkness she feels - something like that isn't something 'good girls' do. Does the fact she's at The Bronze, somewhere she went as a young teen, make it worse, too? I think the fact that Buffy keeps reading in - or hearing - innuendo in everything her friends say to her, also suggests that her mind is preoccupied with this constantly at the back of her thoughts
    I symapthise with Buffy a lot. One view I've not seen raised so much is that she lives for control; specifically, her own control. She rejected the Watchers' and Kendra's theory-based modes of doing things. She rejected temptation from Faith, and from others earlier on. She would not let Riley put her in a box, and she refused to let Giles dictate to her that Dawn must be killed, instead finding another way.
    Now the enemy is a side of herself that she's never had to deal with, never known - or admitted - existed - , and that may have surfaced sooner if not for the general support of her friends. To be honest, I feel like what she's having now with Spike is something she would have been sorely tempted into, but resisted, during the mid-season gap between S2 and S3, and in Anne, when she lived alone, was similarly depressed, and had only herself to depend upon. As a single girl living in a rough, run down part of town, especially... I'm not sure if anyone's brought up that comparison timewise yet, of a time when Buffy was isolated and everybody else that she could think of was in a different place to her emotionally.
    This is a girl who morally (through Joyce's parenting) and through her calling as a Slayer has been told and reinforced over and over again that the world is black and white, good or bad, and that she must hold to that view in order to do her job. Finding shades of grey within those she came across and in her friends was bad enough, but finding them inside herself - that's even harder.
    The dichotomy is exemplified by her two colleagues. Kendra, a good girl, and Faith, a bad girl. Everything that Buffy castigated Faith for, she is now seeing shades of in herself. As if what Faith did and how she acted were just behaviours, rather than inherent characteristics. It's breaking her worldview. And to be honest, I think that's something a lot of - especially women I think, but people in general - can come up against when they find themselves in a new or trying situation. Humans are really bad at judging others by their behaviours rather than looking for reasons and excuses for those behaviours, and seeing the action rather than the person.
    Buffy isn't losing - or finding! - herself, but she feels that she must be, because of the way that she's been raised to look upon and see the world around her and that she lives within.
    Tara puts it wonderfully "it's not that simple." to which Buffy replies "it is! It's wrong! I'm wrong!" To accept otherwise is too hard.
    It's also interesting that it's the lesbian she confesses this to. Tara will have been through her own trials and tribulations, discovering that what and who she is, can be right, and natural, even though many people would dismiss it offhand as inherently wrong and evil. What Buffy (ironically, given the show's remit) needs right now is to sit down and have a good talk about feminism 101 and ways to live life outside of adhering to strict and repressive binaries.
  18. LilyAnne added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    I love how it builds on their relationship as it has already been gradually established. Buffy is a fairly guarded person, and it is a rare thing for her to just completely and openly confess herself and her deepest feelings to someone like this, especially so unprompted. It really beautifully mirrors their scene together in "The Body", when Buffy instinctively knew she could trust Tara with the things that she could not bring herself to share with anybody else, no matter the fact that they still barely knew each other at that point, and had probably never been alone together before. I love that Buffy goes to Tara for help in this episode. She gives the obvious reasons for why she can't go to Willow with her concerns, but I think there are much deeper reasons for why she goes to Tara that have absolutely nothing at all to do with Willow.
    As for the murky, undeniable issues of consent throughout this episode, I think it safe to say that if "Dead Things" were to air for the first time today, the writers would have been much, much more careful, thoughtful, and deliberate with... most of it.  As they should.
  19. 'integritty' added a post in a topic The Scot And The Sassenach 82: We Love Lord John   

    Marvelous podcast. Thank you both. So wonderful to continue the journey. But, I beg to differ on one point...Geillis DID make a change that certainly affected the life and times of one Roger (McKenzie) Wakefield... And you know how important that will be! Lord John is the Matsutake of mushrooms. 
  20. William'sbloodyawfulpoetry added a post in a topic Dusted 59: Demon, Demon, Steve   

    I don't think it implies incest but it does imply a considerable lack of boundaries - which we know she has because she walls him up when he wants to get married, clearly that was not her first act of extreme control/ keeping him on a tight leash.
    They're not strapped for cash
    'Maude Pearson built the place and took a unit there too' - she's the property developer! Why on earth didn't she take a 2 bed?  
    (I mean I know the real reason is Jane Espenson didn't think it through ... but still, seems a humorous oversight just sitting there, waiting to be noticed.)     
  21. iacobusleo added a post in a topic Dusted 59: Demon, Demon, Steve   

    Interesting observation, but I don't find it as creepy as you. XD Dennis could have simply stayed on the couch long-term, if they're strapped for cash (although the apartment looks nice enough that they don't seem THAT poor). Or, Dennis and Maude could have simply slept on the same bed long-term (it IS a pretty big bed).
    I personally have no problems sleeping with my mom or dad on the same bed long term, if there is enough space. It's not ideal, but it does happen and I would do it in a heartbeat if it's practical. I find it plausible and not too creepy that Dennis and Maude could have slept in the same bed, no implied incest necessary. Although knowing Maude, I wouldn't be too surprised if actual creepy things DID happen!
  22. William'sbloodyawfulpoetry added a post in a topic Dusted 59: Demon, Demon, Steve   

    So, I just rewatched this episode and something jumped out at me that I've never spotted in 18 years and hundreds of viewings, and it's so weird I felt compelled to dig up this zombie thread and post about it.
    Cordelia's apartment is a one bed, right? I'm basing that on a) we never see a second bedroom and b) when Harmony stays over she sleeps on the couch.
    But Maude Pearson lived there with her son (phantom Dennis) we know Dennis lived there because Kate says so when she reads the police report. Dennis is a grown man of marriageable age. He lives in a one bed apartment with his mother.
    Suddenly bricking him up in the wall doesn't seem like the most creepy thing Maude ever did to her son! 
  23. tensen added a post in a topic There And Back Again 6: The West And The Wild   

    I read The Hobbit in 5th or 6th grade (many, many years ago) and retained throughout my adulthood an awe at the apparent ability of the dwarves (ie the dishes song) and the goblins (ie the fire song) to make up a song on the spot about the current situation.  I always heard those songs as being coordinated between the characters in the group and wondered how they could do that.  Then I heard impromptu rap and watched people do comedy improv and have loved it ever since... I now read those songs as exchanges where one character starts with a line or three and somebody else makes up the next line or three.  It makes the songs even more tantalizing.
  24. No One in Particular added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    Mostly they set up speed traps on the interstate.  Sunnydale still has an infrastucture to support somehow...
  25. Jupiter added a post in a topic Dusted 156: Not A Moment Too Soon   

    I also adore it! Tara is so strong in this episode and the next one coming up.
    These episodes and the mini-arc we have coming up just makes it more
    Dead Things is a pretty interesting episode. Did we already talk anywhere about how Andrew, Warren and Jonathan could be seen as a knowing critique by the showrunners of a section of their own male fans? Or any nerdy boys who follow franchises with prominent female characters, largely for not-plot-related reasons? That conversation and topic feels a little familiar like something we may have touched on before, but it may well have been elsewhere online.
    Two other franchises at around that time that attracted some of those kinds of fans would have been Xena and Sailor Moon; the female-led action-adventure show in the US seems to have been quite popular at the time, compared to nowadays.
    I have a lot of thoughts about Andrew and Jonathan by themselves, but I might leave my above points to simmer and come back to this after rewatching the episode, or in a later episode.