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Date Posted: 07:45:09 03/08/08 Sat
Subject: Double Standard Conflatus
In reply to:
's message, "Double Standard" on 18:30:06 03/04/08 Tue
There's two things going on here that you, Trent, seem in my eyes to be conflating.
You originally questioned why the fans seemed to think that the rebellion was unjustified and the protos weren't entitled to do it. In the question of what the fans, i.e. the audience was doing, the fact that Buffy is the protagonist or main character or whatever you want to call it matters. Not because she's the main character, but because she's the main character. The fact that she is the main character means we know so much more about her, her faults, but also her strengths, her history. We know next to nothing of that for the potentials. So a viewer is likely to have a greater understanding of the nuances and complexities of Buffy's position than they will of the potentials position. I mean, if Buffy and Rona get into a fight to the death, who do you want to win? I think that even in spite of Buffy's leadership issues in season seven, the answer is Buffy. I think even you can understand the logic that says viewers will have a bias towards the character they know, understand and like best.
But you are also saying, that if the viewers were not being biased but reasonable, they would see that they are holding the potentials to a double standard. Here are some reasons why that is not so.
You have a number of times equated Buffy's rejection of the council with the potentials rejection of Buffy. You are by analogy equating Buffy in Season 7 with the council of earlier years. The differences are many. Buffy was utterly alone, and was the slayer. The potentials are not slayers and are not alone. The council was using Buffy for their benefit, not protecting her. Buffy may or may not have been "using" the potentials, but she was certainly protecting them. With the exception of Giles, who they fired, the council was never on the front lines assiting Buffy in the battles in any way. (And they in fact fired him precisely for entering the battle with her). Buffy was absolutely on the front lines, going in ahead of the potentials, putting her life at risk for theirs. REPEATEDLY. And successfully a number of times. Buffy's rejection of the Council was based on her contempt of their cowardice. They throw monsters at a little girl and then pat themselves on the back after they watch what happens. The potentials rejection of Buffy was based on THEIR cowardice, not Buffy's. That is such a huge difference that your analogy just falls apart. What Buffy does in Showtime is so monumentally different from what the council does in helpless or in checkpoint that their really can be no analogy.
(someone will of course try to bring up the pseudo cruciamentum that Buffy and Spike put the potentials through. Please reflect on the many differences between what Buffy and Spike do to the potentials compared to what the council does to Buffy before raising the issue, and perhaps you won't need to raise it at all.)
Also, the potentials have no basis to judge Buffy's leadership style as flawed, simply because they don't like it. Do soldiers reject their drill sergeant because he is rude or testy? We in the audience know that its flawed because we know that's not Buffy's true nature. The potentials don't' know from Buffy, and they don't know what they would have gotten from the council. AND THEY WOULD ALL ALREADY BE DEAD IF NOT FOR BUFFY. That, they do know.
So any attempt to legitimate the rebellion based on what Buffy did with the council is just clearly empty. There is no comparison.
The potentials DO have the right to reject Buffy. And we, as the knowlegeable fans have the right to trash them for it.
You also seem to argue that Buffy was going to lead them into a massacree, so they had a right to reject her and her plan. Buffy's plan was wrong. But They went into a massacre anyways, and in case anyone remembers, its Buffy that gets them out. You seem to want to do ends justify the means, but only certain ends. Buffy ultimately saves everybody in spite of their rejection of her. She then empowers them all in spite of her rejection of her. If the future and at that point unkown outcome or quality of Buffy's plan can play into the potentials decision to rebel, than surely, the future and at that point unkonwn fact of Buffy saving them all and empowering them all and defeating the First should also have played into their decision.
Buffy is, in her moral character, head and shoulders above everyone on the show. Certain members of the audience were able to recognize that even when Xander was betraying her because he got poked in the eye. She has died for these clowns twice, and oh how many injuries. I would have liked that episode better if as they were bitching and moaning, Buffy had taken off all her clothes and the camera had just panned up and down her naked body while she explained all her scars to them. Heck, that coulda been a two hour episode, in my opinion.
I think the best things the rebellion did were to give the potentials a small feeling of empowerment and to show them that following another leader wasn't going to be the answer either. Together that set them up to make the right choice when Buffy gave them the chance to be slayers. I sometimes think that Dawn recognized that they needed that. That they weren't ready to fight alongside Buffy yet. If you have leaders, chances are you have followers. And that doesn't do anybody any good.
But that doesn't make the complaints of Kennedy and Rona anything more than the bitching of frightened children. Buffy's complaints against the council had much more substance.
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