For no reason at all (ahem), some old links I had laying around…

From 2017: My new album…

My new album, Joss Whedon Kind Of Really Sucks and Even Though I Have and May Continue to Enjoy Some of His Shows or Aspects of His Shows That Doesn’t Mean That I Don’t Need To Recognize How They Have A Lot of Problematic Elements, is coming out next week!

From 2017: I’m looking at screenshots…

The problem is that at some point in his career, Joss became so intent on the masochistic fantasy of being hated by strong women for being a nerd that he spent a decade writing stories about violating those women to ensure they would hate him.

From 2009 (content warning for late 00’s-era over-the-top snark with lots of I’m-cool-because-I-swear profanity and problematic language): 5 Reasons It Sucks Being a Joss Whedon Fan

Yeah, Buffy kicked unholy ass, Zoe was Mal’s Terminatrix-like enforcer, Faith begat Echo and Echo is the baddest ass Kung Fu Whore TV has ever seen, and yet, aside from the fact these girls have done some push ups and punched masculinity in its shriveled balls time and again, the idea that Whedon is some sort of hyper-feminist stinks….

I’m not mocking or disparaging those who are just now learning just how problematic Joss Whedon is (though it’s presented in a different context, I always try to keep XKCD’s Ten Thousand comic in mind); nor do I look down on those who still find things in Whedon’s work that they enjoy (there’s still a lot of Buffy that I enjoy, from the original film through most of the show and Angel).

I’ve said before that I believe it’s entirely possible to enjoy problematic media and media created by problematic creators; you just have to be willing to recognize those areas where they fall down, rather than ignoring or glossing over them because of the parts you enjoy.

Much of Whedon’s work, particularly Buffy, was groundbreaking and formative for many people, and that can make it hard to recognize and confront the failings of both the media and the creator. (Most recently, Harry Potter fans sure know something about this situation.) So if these things are new to you and you’re struggling with how to process them, and how they may affect your enjoyment of the media you grew up with? You’re not alone.

Maybe you’ll keep these things as part of your life, maybe you’ll decide you’d rather move on to new things and leave these as part of your past. As long as you’re recognizing why and making these decisions for yourself, there’s no wrong answer (though some may try to convince you otherwise).

As I noted above, there’s a lot about Buffy that I still enjoy; similarly, there’s a lot about the Harry Potter universe that I still enjoy. For myself, I’m not going to wholeheartedly expunge either from my life. But neither will I shy away from recognizing where they don’t hold up to my current ideals and standards, and I will continue to minimize the financial support I give to their creators. What you decide, of course, is up to you.

Sometime between March 31st and April 2nd, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • Rosie’s Phenomenal Precision Insult Machine!: Don't reach for those old, tired gendered, ableist, or otherwise lazy and harmful insults. Trust the machine to help you find the perfect, targeted insult for your specific needs! (Does not contain gendered- genital-based insults, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, dis-ableism, body-shaming, slut-shaming. May contain peanuts.)
  • Joss Whedon’s obsession is not feminism: The problem is that at some point in his career, Joss became so intent on the masochistic fantasy of being hated by strong women for being a nerd that he spent a decade writing stories about violating those women to ensure they would hate him.
  • Of dwarves and gender: So one day a dwarf is talking to a human and finally realizes that when humans say woman, they generally mean “person who is theoretically capable of childbirth” because for whatever reason, humans assign social expectations based genital differences.
  • On Wm. Golding’s Lord of the Flies: Basically all the good Golding scholars agree that Lord of the Flies is intended as a condemnation specifically of western positivism and superiority, not a condemnation of human nature.  Golding believed that good societies were possible, but that he was not living in one.
  • What’s Wrong With Using The Word “Gypsy?”: TL;DR: It's racist. Here is a list of myths and realities about the Romani/Roma people.

Most people who’ve known me for a while are aware that I’m not much of a fan of television — and actually haven’t really watched television in a long, long time. Seeing as how a couple people commented on my watching Lost, I thought it might be worth addressing this. :)

I’m really not sure when exactly I got sick of TV, but my best guess would be sometime around 1992/1993 or so I decided that it just wasn’t worth my time. Most programs didn’t have enough intelligence to keep my interest, and even when I did sit down to watch something, the insipid and insultingly stupid commercials would drive me up the wall. So I quit.

In the intervening years I’ve seen bit and pieces of shows here and there, generally when I’ve been over at friends houses. For the most part, though, I’ve relied mostly on recommendations from friends as to what shows were actually worth watching…and then I’d wait for the DVDs to start coming out. Thanks to DVD, over the last few years I’ve seen (for the first time) all of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, the first four seasons of The X-Files, and the first four seasons of The West Wing.

More recently, adding BitTorrent to my repertoire has allowed me to keep up with more recent shows. I first saw Firefly this way, I’ve been keeping up with Battlestar Galactica, Gray’s Anatomy got a few trial weeks, and I’ll soon be watching the first three episodes of Surface to see if it’s worth keeping an eye on.

So I’m not really entirely against television as a whole — in a very general sort of way, yes, I think that TV is primarily a waste of time, and most people (especially children) would be far better off finding better ways to spend their time — but I’m not entirely opposed to finding specific shows that are better written, more intelligent and/or more entertaining than most.

I’d have been quite happy sticking with BitTorrent and watching things at least a day or two behind most of the rest of the world, too, except for two things: Prairie, and Lost.

Prairie, while sharing many of my views on the majority of the shows on TV these days, has never been quite as militant about her anti-TV views as I have been over the past few years. She’s had a few shows that she’s been enjoying keeping up with, with her top three being ER, Desperate Housewives, and Lost. All during last year, she’d occasionally drop tidbits of what was going on in that week’s episode of Lost to me…and then, after getting me to admit that it sounded interesting, and determined to get me hooked, she picked up the Season 1 DVD set when it came out.

We spent the next week powering our way through all of Season 1 — and she won. I’m hooked. So, Wednesday nights are now “Lost Night” for us. Admittedly, I still grit my teeth during most of the commercials (and even the ones that are cute once or twice get extremely grating the twentieth or fiftieth time they show up), but I’m quite enjoying watching the show itself.

So I’m still primarily anti-TV, and am far happier spending my free hours either fiddling with projects on my computer, wandering around town with my camera, or getting together with friends whenever possible. For one hour each Wednesday night, though, I’ll be joining the majority of America in setting back, grabbing some munchies, and keeping up with this week’s adventures on the boob tube.

(Oh, and while I’m just not interested enough in a hospital soap opera to get sucked into ER, she just might get me hooked on Desperate Housewives if I’m not careful. The last two episodes have been pretty entertaining, I must admit….)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Well, it’s over.

A year and a half ago, I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. At the time, I’d never seen any of the show — though I had rather mercilessly teased my dad about being a fan. As of tonight, nineteen months and a lot of DVDs later, I’ve seen every episode, from Buffy first arriving in Sunnydale to her final look forward into a new, changed world.

Damn, but that’s a good show, and I’m glad I overcame my initial trepidation and decided to give it a shot.

It’s good to know that every so often, there actually is a good show on television. I’m impressed.

My personal top three episodes, just off the top of my head, in reverse order (there really should be a way to make an ordered list in HTML that counts down rather than up…but anyway):

iTunesWalk Through the Fire” by Battle, Hinton/Caulfield, Emma/Gellar, Sarah Michelle/Head, Anthony Stewart/Marsters, James/Brendon, Nicholas/Orchestra from the album Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Once More, With Feeling (2002, 3:44).

As I’ve mentioned on here every so often, I’ve been working my way through the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series from beginning to end by renting the DVDs from NetFlix. I’m up to season six now (which means I’m going to have to take a break pretty soon, as season seven isn’t out for a little while yet), and I’m still thoroughly enjoying the show.

Season four had what is so far my all-time favorite episode — ‘Hush‘ — but last night I watched what’s now a very close second: ‘Once More, With Feeling‘.

In deference to friends who are also working their way through Buffy for the first time, the rest of these ramblings is behind the cut… Now, I’d heard about ‘Once More With Feeling’ (a.k.a. “Buffy — The Musical”) before hand, but I knew nothing about it beyond that it was a musical episode, so I was really looking forward to seeing it. I didn’t know how they were going to present it (music and spoken word, like a true musical; purely music, operetta-style; possibly something else), or how they were going to make it work within the confines of the show — though, admittedly, with a show like Buffy it’s easy enough to explain nearly anything away with a little creative work.

I knew I was going to be in for a treat when the show opened to a widescreen ratio and old movie style credits. Obviously they weren’t going to go about this halfway! I spent the rest of the next hour with a goofy grin on my face, often laughing out loud as the trademark wordplay worked its way into the songs.

Musically, while it’s not perfect — the cast are actors, after all, and not professional singers (though Anthony Stewart Head and Amber Benson both do quite well) — it is a lot of fun, with styles bouncing all over the place, from soft-shoe jazz to rock power ballads, and even a few reprises of earlier themes popping up later on in the show. Whedon is obviously a fan of musicals, and that shows throughout the show, not just in the music, but also in his framing of the shots and the choreography of the dances.

While it’s definitely something that could only be done as a one-off concept episode, I had a blast with it. Enough of a blast that when I found out that the soundtrack is on iTMS, it was downloading to my computer just a few moments later. My favorite track from the show? Definitely Spike’s showcase number, Rest in Peace. Not only does it do a wonderful job of expressing Spike’s frustration in his non-relationship with Buffy, but it’s a fun power rock pseudo-ballad, and James Marsters does a credible job with it (even if his accent does slip a bit from time to time).

While ‘Hush’ still takes the prize as my all-time favorite episode that I’ve seen so far, ‘Once More With Feeling’ is a very, very close second. If only there were more television shows like this, I might actually bother to watch TV more often.

iTunesMain Title (from ”Once More with Feeling“)” by Orchestra from the album Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Once More, With Feeling (2002, 0:27).

Some questions for Buffy/Angel fans…

Never having seen any of the show before now, I’ve been slowly working my way through the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series, renting the DVDs one by one from NetFlix. At the moment I’m about 2/3 of the way through Season Three and just found out while bouncing around old episode reviews that I’m coming up on the spinoff point for Angel’s series.

Firstly: is Angel as good of a series as I’m finding Buffy to be? Should I start working my way through this series also?

Next, assuming that the answer to that question is a “yes”, my question is simply how best to proceed. Given that there were four years of overlap between the two series, did they relate to each other in any major ways than sharing characters? While I certainly don’t expect that the two series would be sharing events and plot lines back and forth every week, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they occasionally at least referenced each other, if not outright sharing a common story line from time to time.

I figure I’ve got two basic methods of watching both shows: continuing my run through the end of Buffy and then starting to work through Angel (jumping back four years in the timeline in the process), or alternating renting discs of Buffy and Angel in order to make an attempt at following both shows concurrently in an attempt to keep the respective timelines as close as possible.

At the moment, I’ve got all of Buffy lined up in my queue, with all of Angel (at least, the three seasons that have been released on DVD so far — I’m just hoping that by the time I make it through those three, at least one more season will have been released, if not both) queued up afterwards. If enough people think that it would be worthwhile to mix the two together, it would be easy enough for me to do so.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

(And please — no spoilers on upcoming events! As I mentioned at the beginning, I’ve never watched these shows before now, so aside from bits and pieces of information that I picked up over the years as they filtered into the popular consciousness (for example, I know that Willow comes out as a lesbian at some point, though I don’t know when, how, or with/to whom; I know that there’s a musical episode sometime towards the end of the series; and I know that Jim Morrison dies at the end (sorry…in-joke with my friends)), I’m very clueless about where things are going as the series progresses, and I’d like to keep it that way. Thanks!)

iTunes: “Sweet Soul Sister” by Cult, The from the album Sonic Temple (1989, 5:08).

The more I watch of Buffy, I’m starting to notice one definite similarity between my enjoyment of that show and my enjoyment of the X-Files. Nothing terribly earth-shattering, it’s just that both series have two basic types of episode: the “plot” episode and the “monster of the week” episode. In each case, while they’re both enjoyable, it’s really the “plot” episodes that I enjoy the most.

Like I said, nothing terribly earth shattering.

iTunes: “John the Fisherman” by Primus from the album Frizzle Fry (1990, 3:37).