By now, most of us have probably seen this:

http://ew.com/tv/2017/08/21/joss-whedon-whedonesque/

Have you? If so, what are your thoughts? Angry, feeling betrayed by a feminist icon (hopefully not ready to throw all your BTVS media out the window!)?

Just plain upset that an artist of high caliber is being dragged through the mud?

Upset that his fans are being dragged through the mud but sorrowful for those in his family that have had to deal with his non-stellar ways?

Don't care one way or the other about politics, personal drama or inter-relational matter, gender equity or anything - just want more Joss writing All the Things? (yes I know I'm taking a light tone with this, bear with me.)

Whatever your opinion or take, let's discuss. Let's dish.

  • Do we look at the media and not the man or do we look at the man's actions and reflect on what that really means for the media he's been a proponent of?
  • Besides all that, what's your opinion on his main media-contact output shutting down - should they even be running off into the sunset, taking a leaf from Angel's playbook?
  • Do you think Whedonesque should have stuck out the P.R. nightmare, stuck to their "no comment" guns and just hunkered it out?

WWBD?

(lets keep it civil, please)

Views: 136

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for starting the discussion - I hope that I can interest some of the Elysian Fields shout box regulars to join - but they have already discussed.  One thing that I can say regarding the JW and empowerment of women is that for  many of the Spuffy fanfiction community this subject has been in discussion for a long time particularly regarding Buffy and her love relationships.  One can't help but think of the initial Older Man falling for 15 year old sucking on that lollipop imagery and the I fell in love with you right at first sight.  Was the intent that Angel was recruited by Whistler to help Buffy as a fellow warrior?  Or was it all along that this much older male, both in years and life experiences, should have this young woman as his reward as a Love Prize?  

Let's go forward to the Buffy 20 Years Reunion and Joss Whedon claiming that his Buffy-Angel love story is his greatest love story ever.  Go back into the series and look closely at that relationship and find the "great love story" that was not ultimately a destructive relationship for Buffy.  

Again - look at the BS8 comic book season and the Twilight Times arc and apply the same questions of Buffy as a prize made Even Greater as destructive with her transformation as a non-consensual sex avatar.  What the hell does this say about Joss Whedon and his treatment of Buffy as a symbol of women and their empowerment and value?  

It's the basic premise that I take such offense to - that Buffy is so dependent on her emotional need for Angel, that she could not move beyond him that keeps dragging her life back into Needs and loss of self-worth and independence from the Older Man/Lover that was establish from the start of her story that I thoroughly object to.

Even as late into the series as Buffy S10 we have Buffy and Angel and their reunion post all the misery and destruction they caused from their Love Reunion and her fall of Angel temptation meeting again as if nothing of any consequences has happened.  Buffy fully accepts him back into her life and he gets the Angel Forever Free Card again.  Where is the morality of his conduct and her use as a sexual avatar addressed - when is Angel and the Powers That Be who initiated these acts addressed in the series?  It's like a big "who cares" it's not important when it should be BASIC material if Buffy is a symbol of women and power and worth and self-worth.  

All I keep thinking is how sad and totally disappointed I was with Joss Whedon's 20 years later comments about Buffy and Angel being his greatest love story.  If that is a great love story and reflection/symbolic of Buffy as a powerful woman all I can say is Hell No!

Does this make the series on TV less than before for me?  No it does not - the work in this case for me, is not diminished because of the revelations from his former wife, Kai regarding their marriage and life they shared for all those years.  But it does tarnish his reputation as a person who was recognized as a spokesman for Women Empowerment.  

It's wrong to cheat on your life partner - if you want to have relationships with other partners that needs to be talked about with the person you have committed to as a life partner.  Talk about it, make choices about your relationship or deal with the "why I need someone else" issues and then stay together or break the relationship.  

Cheating is wrong and I suspect that in most cases it is some really stupid mistake that people get caught up with and after wish that they had never taken that path.  But repeated "cheating" - it's wrong and seems like the person involved wants the life partnership but freedom at the same time and that is not what their partner expects or believes their relationship is.  Of course - for some people an "open marriage or love relationship" is acceptable and they are very happy this way.  Kai however did not get that choice based on her revelations.

What about you - do you think that your interpretation of the series is changed from these events?

Regarding WHEDONesque - I think that the owners had been thinking of closing down and these events gave them the final push to do so.  The Twitter Account continues to give them a source for connecting with the current active Buffy fans but it will make it harder for fans, like myself, who do not spend a lot of time on forums or keep track regularly of the Buffy cast members and the writers as well as other creative staff members. 

I am mostly a "separate the art from the artist" kind of person, so my love for BtVS and AtS is not diminished by this. I am disappointed by Joss Whedon as a person though. I don't think cheating on your wife is incompatible with being a feminist, but the way he talked about women in that letter is not what I would expect from a feminist.

I used to visit Whedonesque a lot in the past, but recently not so much because of the lack of talk about BtVS or AtS. I'm not interested in all the superhero stuff that Joss has been doing in more recent years.

Thanks for engaging. :)

Cil, your comments really strike home for me. As you know, I've always been of the "have issues with the Angel/Buffy dynamic" person from square one. Of particular note is that scene you reference from the very beginning: the lollipop; 15 year old stalking; ad infinitum.  It's... it's damn problematic. I love the stories and the art, I love the worlds he's built and the framework that they reference basic humanity from.

I do not love the way all the strong female characters just need a stronger man, to fix endemic problem,  on one level or another.  It's a thing. It's an art thing, and it's my thing, but despite it I still love pop culture. Work within the medium to promote change - I get it, sometimes it's rocky and sometimes it doesnt even pan out right, but I get it.

The cheating. *Sigh* Non-negotiated secondary or tertiary partners are always a no-go. The odds are, if one's sneaking around it's because one already knows one's doing wrong.  Period.

Has my interpretation of the series changed? I dont think so - I mean, most of us deep-fandom fans already knew there were issues, that just because4 a man says he's a feminist doesn't equate to reality, we've already identified numerous serious character-based tropes and flaws that all his heroines fall into. It's not really a secret.  He's a person. I'm not out to villify over representation other than to say maybe he could have employed more people who ARE under-represented and then he would have been a bit more on his toes. But that goes across the board for every major casting company, media label and production studio - it's not just his cross to bear.

It's always sad when someone people think is a pargaon turns out to have feet of clay, and I think the best analogy I can draw from that is the way this situation almost directly parallels some of the things he wrote about "for fiction". I mean... is it just me or wasn't this the theme of the majority of BTVS and ATS? Dollhouse, Firefly... pick a fandom.

DD,

I dont know that I can claim to separate the art from the artist. I know this wont diminish my joy of BTVS or anything else Joss has written, specifically to this date. I cant say how I'll react to the next script or set of characters I see from him. I dont know if I'll still be looking for the signs and wondering if the characters are doing what they're doing because its good theatre or because it's what he's struggling with. I guess I'll just have to see if the man manages to come back to writing.

I hope he does, again, in spite of his problematic tendencies.

I'm sad about Whedonesque. It was a hub, and its always a sadness to see pillars of fandom community go under.

Same with me DD - my heart connection to Joss Whedon is his work from his TV series not from his films.  Plus, I really have  very close connections to his involvement in the politics of the USA and the world.  His work is still extremely interesting and valued by me - but it's another "layer" that is now connected for good or bad.  For instance his comments from long ago that he saw nothing wrong with what Angel did becoming involved with Buffy.  I've never been able to understand his reasoning behind this statement because how the hell is their relationship a good thing for this very young woman.  Followed by his 20 Year Reunion statement on "his greatest love story" - it's even worse for me.  

Double Dutchess said:

I am mostly a "separate the art from the artist" kind of person, so my love for BtVS and AtS is not diminished by this. I am disappointed by Joss Whedon as a person though. I don't think cheating on your wife is incompatible with being a feminist, but the way he talked about women in that letter is not what I would expect from a feminist.

I used to visit Whedonesque a lot in the past, but recently not so much because of the lack of talk about BtVS or AtS. I'm not interested in all the superhero stuff that Joss has been doing in more recent years.

Sometimes I can't help but feel that the viewers and current fans had a better understanding of the story and the characters and what they were seeing on screen - how things were effecting and connecting with the viewers.  Take the infamous AR scene as the most iconic example of intent and reaction.

James Marsters, I think is right on with his comments on the scene and the viewers/fans reactions.  The real life source, and it being a woman, like it or not, makes a huge difference.  What was a huge emotional trauma for the writer comes across extremely different once it becomes a male/Spike attacking a woman. The scene demands that all the viewers consider the entire arc of their relationship and Buffy's history prior to her resurrection and involvement with Spike to have, IMO, a realistic interpretation of the tragic events for the AR.  It's So Complex and yet for so many viewers it became a black & white circumstance of Spike attempting to rape Buffy without the consideration all everything that came before.  

I know by now that no one thinks I am making excuses for Spike but it such a Trigger Topic for all the viewers and fans and it is not a scene for these two characters and their journey story that can be approach without the perspective of "entire story."  

How could the writers not see that the real life source was going to transform into a Hard Attempted Rape scenario when it is applied on Spike.  Absolutely the AR scene was Great Drama but it damaged the Spike character beyond repair for thousands of viewers and fans.  

Take the other attempted rape scene in the hyena Xander story - the writers hid behind "magic" and the "let's pretend it never happened" and compounded it by using the adult mentor figure of Giles to make it "acceptable."   The obvious question and contrast circumstance is "drinking and drunk driver" - is someone who is drunk and out of control not held responsible for the conduct?  If a man gets drunk and rapes a woman or another man not responsible for his actions?  If a person makes the choice to drink and get drunk and kills someone else while driving not held responsible?

The series has many cases where the morality and choice are swept aside to further a plot and most of those cases seem to involve female characters or the "outsider" or evil non-human like Spike.  Angel is given free pass after free pass throughout Buffy and Angel - What or Who does Angel represent is he the ultimate Plot Device character after all?

All of this, Cil. All of it.

The character-narrative enforced double standard was what really upset me about that entire debacle.

cil domney said:

Sometimes I can't help but feel that the viewers and current fans had a better understanding of the story and the characters and what they were seeing on screen - how things were effecting and connecting with the viewers.  Take the infamous AR scene as the most iconic example of intent and reaction.

James Marsters, I think is right on with his comments on the scene and the viewers/fans reactions.  The real life source, and it being a woman, like it or not, makes a huge difference.  What was a huge emotional trauma for the writer comes across extremely different once it becomes a male/Spike attacking a woman. The scene demands that all the viewers consider the entire arc of their relationship and Buffy's history prior to her resurrection and involvement with Spike to have, IMO, a realistic interpretation of the tragic events of the AR.  It's So Complex and yet for so many viewers it became a black & white circumstance of Spike attempting to rape Buffy without the consideration of everything that came before.  

I know by now that no one thinks I am making excuses for Spike but it such a Trigger Topic for all the viewers and fans and it is not a scene for these two characters and their journey story that can be approach without the perspective of "entire story."  

How could the writers not see that the real life source was going to transform into a Hard Attempted Rape scenario when it is applied on Spike.  Absolutely the AR scene was Great Drama but it damaged the Spike character beyond repair for thousands of viewers and fans.  

Take the other attempted rape scene in the hyena Xander story - the writers hid behind "magic" and the "let's pretend it never happened" and compounded it by using the adult mentor figure of Giles to make it "acceptable."   The obvious question and contrast circumstance is "drinking and drunk" is someone who is drunk and out of control not held responsible for the conduct?  If a man gets drunk and rapes a woman or other man not responsible for his actions?  If a person makes the choice to drink and get drunk and kills someone else while driving not held responsible?

The series has many cases where the morality and choice are swept aside to further a plot and most of those cases seem to involve female characters or the "outsider" or evil non-human like Spike.  Angel is given free pass after free pass throughout Buffy and Angel - What or Who does Angel represent is he the ultimate Plot Device character after all?

Um, how does it "become different" when the genders are switched??? It's OK for a woman to try to rape a man?? 
You're actually defending the double standard regarding rape - in the name of feminism?

As for Buffy and Angel getting involved - if you're going to judge it by the real world standards of what is OK for a 17 year old girl to do... yes, it's wrong for a much older man to get involved with a teenage girl. But you know what else is very wrong? Underage kids having to risk their lives, to go war and fight. By real world standards, Buffy and every (or almost every) other Slayer is a child soldier. So, you should be having a problem with the very premise of the show.
If you aren't old enough to have sex with anyone you choose, you sure aren't old enough to be sent to war. If you aren't considered mature enough to consent to sex, you sure as hell aren't mature enough to make decisions that affect the fate of the entire world.

So, take your pick. You can't just be outraged selectively about things that happen to line up with your ship preference.

Oh, as for Whedon sleeping around and having affairs on sets... My feeling is not giving a damn. I never worshipped the guy as a person, I never gave any thought to whether or not he has had affairs, I'm sure he can be a dick (the Charisma Carpenter situation) and say gross things (I've seen some of his recent tweets). I'm also pretty sure that Hollywood isn't exactly full of flawless people, and that if you stopped watching anything created by people who cheat on their significant others and/or have affairs at work place, including with their employees, and/or say gross things occasionally, you'd probably be left with very little you could watch (especially as details come out about Hollywood affairs, sometimes years or decades later, as it's happened in some cases).

Regarding Whedonesque closing, I'd understand if Whedon had been convicted of murder or rape, or had just come out as a Nazi. (And even so - it's not like people have stopped watching the films of Roman Polanski or reading the novels of Knut Hamsun or Ezra Pound's poetry.) But because of this? Really? 

Your first paragraph is actually the exact opposite of the argument Cil made. You are restating it backwards.

There is no lack of continuity here. RE-read.

TimeTravellingBunny said:

Um, how does it "become different" when the genders are switched??? It's OK for a woman to try to rape a man?? 
You're actually defending the double standard regarding rape - in the name of feminism?

As for Buffy and Angel getting involved - if you're going to judge it by the real world standards of what is OK for a 17 year old girl to do... yes, it's wrong for a much older man to get involved with a teenage girl. But you know what else is very wrong? Underage kids having to risk their lives, to go war and fight. By real world standards, Buffy and every (or almost every) other Slayer is a child soldier. So, you should be having a problem with the very premise of the show.
If you aren't old enough to have sex with anyone you choose, you sure aren't old enough to be sent to war. If you aren't considered mature enough to consent to sex, you sure as hell aren't mature enough to make decisions that affect the fate of the entire world.

So, take your pick. You can't just be outraged selectively about things that happen to line up with your ship preference.

Oh, as for Whedon sleeping around and having affairs on sets... My feeling is not giving a damn. I never worshipped the guy as a person, I never gave any thought to whether or not he has had affairs, I'm sure he can be a dick (the Charisma Carpenter situation) and say gross things (I've seen some of his recent tweets). I'm also pretty sure that Hollywood isn't exactly full of flawless people, and that if you stopped watching anything created by people who cheat on their significant others and/or have affairs at work place, including with their employees, and/or say gross things occasionally, you'd probably be left with very little you could watch (especially as details come out about Hollywood affairs, sometimes years or decades later, as it's happened in some cases).

Regarding Whedonesque closing, I'd understand if Whedon had been convicted of murder or rape, or had just come out as a Nazi. (And even so - it's not like people have stopped watching the films of Roman Polanski or reading the novels of Knut Hamsun or Ezra Pound's poetry.) But because of this? Really? 

As for paragraphs 4 & 5, I appreciate you sharing your view. I'm not entirely sure why your view  has to be stated in such an obviously hostile manner, but kudos to you for continuing the discussion.

TimeTravellingBunny said:

Um, how does it "become different" when the genders are switched??? It's OK for a woman to try to rape a man?? 
You're actually defending the double standard regarding rape - in the name of feminism?

As for Buffy and Angel getting involved - if you're going to judge it by the real world standards of what is OK for a 17 year old girl to do... yes, it's wrong for a much older man to get involved with a teenage girl. But you know what else is very wrong? Underage kids having to risk their lives, to go war and fight. By real world standards, Buffy and every (or almost every) other Slayer is a child soldier. So, you should be having a problem with the very premise of the show.
If you aren't old enough to have sex with anyone you choose, you sure aren't old enough to be sent to war. If you aren't considered mature enough to consent to sex, you sure as hell aren't mature enough to make decisions that affect the fate of the entire world.

So, take your pick. You can't just be outraged selectively about things that happen to line up with your ship preference.

Oh, as for Whedon sleeping around and having affairs on sets... My feeling is not giving a damn. I never worshipped the guy as a person, I never gave any thought to whether or not he has had affairs, I'm sure he can be a dick (the Charisma Carpenter situation) and say gross things (I've seen some of his recent tweets). I'm also pretty sure that Hollywood isn't exactly full of flawless people, and that if you stopped watching anything created by people who cheat on their significant others and/or have affairs at work place, including with their employees, and/or say gross things occasionally, you'd probably be left with very little you could watch (especially as details come out about Hollywood affairs, sometimes years or decades later, as it's happened in some cases).

Regarding Whedonesque closing, I'd understand if Whedon had been convicted of murder or rape, or had just come out as a Nazi. (And even so - it's not like people have stopped watching the films of Roman Polanski or reading the novels of Knut Hamsun or Ezra Pound's poetry.) But because of this? Really? 

I probably should not be posting when I'm tired and cranky - and in this case, I am both generally tired today, and specifically tired and fed up of all the drama on Whedonesque, Buffyforums and other places - all the "oh I can't see Buffy in the same way/Buffy is not such a good show, because Whedon slept around on set!" comments.

Holdt said:

As for paragraphs 4 & 5, I appreciate you sharing your view. I'm not entirely sure why your view  has to be stated in such an obviously hostile manner, but kudos to you for continuing the discussion. 

I wasn't going on Whedonesque that often lately, because like DD said, recently, discussions weren't so much about Buffyverse related stuff, so I had less interest in the content of the website. But it felt weird to see it close. I understand why they did it if they were considering doing it way before the Whedon thing happened, but closing it the day it happened left a bad taste.

Regarding the Whedon/Kai thing, I kind of don't care? To me, the message becomes independant of the messenger, and I liked most of his work, that's what I took from it that matters.

As for the cheating, I think it doesn't concern anyone but Kai and Joss, and I don't like it when such personal matters are being publicaly commented, the way it is for Joss, but this is maybe a cultural thing. I don't know the guy personally, so I certainly won't judge him on something that I'm sure most of both men and women from the Hollywood world (and from the rest of the world, in fact) have done or have been temptated to do. He didn't murder or assaulted anyone. Is it wrong to lie to your significant other? Of course. But the only person that is legitimate to be angry is Kai, and that's what I took from her letter. She's angry.

As for the fact that Joss is not practicing the things he preaches, again, I don't know the man personally. As long as he's been respectful of the consent of the women he got to be with, I'd say that it was him being a jerk to his wife. Defending feminist ideals doesn't make you magically perfect and nobody should be idealized this way.

I can definitely understand where you're coming from there. I've managed to stay away from the majority of the drama, so this post is more my way of opening the subject. I stay away from DH forums and I generally don't discuss BTVS or ATS with fans outside Btube these days. The animosity really gets me down. Apologies for snapping at you.

It wasnt my intent to suggest that the shows themselves were no longer any good. Obviously thats not true. Its the same show it always was, and Joss is the same man he always was. I think most of us are aware of this - its not a new thing, at least we've had these discussions befoer here prior to any word of familial difficulties.

You are right however. I agree- people are PEOPLE. They cannot be idealized. Unfortunately, you're having a conversation with one of the people who said that originally, and now is wondering what everyone who decided 'Joss is God' is thinking. :)

It seems like it might be pradigm-shifting for some folks., which is regrettable. I dont think anyone deserves the villification going on right now. :(

*nodding*


TimeTravellingBunny said:

I probably should not be posting when I'm tired and cranky - and in this case, I am both generally tired today, and specifically tired and fed up of all the drama on Whedonesque, Buffyforums and other places - all the "oh I can't see Buffy in the same way/Buffy is not such a good show, because Whedon slept around on set!" comments.

Holdt said:

As for paragraphs 4 & 5, I appreciate you sharing your view. I'm not entirely sure why your view  has to be stated in such an obviously hostile manner, but kudos to you for continuing the discussion. 

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